Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Holy Smoke! I Wish He Were Wrong, but...

Read an article about the address of His Eminence James Francis Card. Stafford, given the other day at the Catholic University of America (CUA).

Among other things, the Cardinal said that in the last 40 years since Humanae Vitae was so resoundingly rejected by most Catholics from wealthy nations, the US has thrown itself "upon ruins." Pause for a moment and reflect upon the strength of the language that the Cardinal uses in refering to the President-Elect's abortion policy: "aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic." Rarely do churchmen use strong language; in fact, these days it is a favorite of Catholics who are partisans of the GOP to criticize our bishops for failing to use strong language, let alone strong actions. Apocalyptic, most importantly, cannot be taken as "just a big word that means 'bad.'" Spoken by a churchman, it must be taken to have reference to the apocalypse - the final revelation of evil and its overthrow by the Kingdom of God at the end of time.

Now, Cardinal Stafford is an American, and is in Rome serving the Holy Father as Major Penitentiary. That means he is head of an office called the Apostolic Penitentiary, and its job is threefold. Firstly, the office regulates indulgences, issues new ones, and so forth. Secondly, the office grants any possible dispensations to various sacramental impediments. If for some reason a man is prohibited from being ordained or a couple from being married, for example, the office tries to find a way to make it possible. Thirdly, the office resolves on behalf of the Holy Father those excommunications that only the Holy Father has authority to remit. Basically, the Penitentiary are good guys. They are a happy office in the Vatican, the ones who get people out of purgatory, who find ways to make it possible for an otherwise well qualified man to get ordained in spite of a sketchy distant past.

And the head of the happy office is mad, or at least, very unoptimistic about America's course. And he's not talking about the economy either, folks.

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