Thursday, December 08, 2016


Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and also the occasion of my annual beef about how Scripture's most important verse has disappeared from our Catholic bibles and even today's Mass readings. 

Enshrining the ancient belief that Mary was conceived without sin in her mother's womb into Dogma, Pope Pius IX declared:

“ the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.” - Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854

Pius IX is referencing Genesis 3:15, the protoevangelium, the "first gospel," so-called because it is the first instance of the announcement of a Savior (and thus Scripture's "most important verse"):

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."

Unfortunately (at least in my view), neither in our modern Catholic bibles nor in today's Mass readings, will you hear of the virgin crushing the head of the evil serpent as our ancestors did for almost 2000 years, and as is enshrined in countless artful depictions of this magnificent moment, which not only foretold of our salvation, but concludes it in an image of the final victory over Satan at the end of time. 

Instead you will hear (or read) this:

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”

Of course the "he" is Jesus, and of course it is Jesus who triumphs over Satan and wins our salvation (if we want it), but that's not what the Church has historically understood the Scripture to say. And for it to say what the modern translations say, we would have to destroy 2000 years of paintigs, mosaics, statues, and even songs, not to mention rewrite the Dogma as Pius IX wrote it.

Also, in this version, Satan's head is not even "crushed," only struck at, or in some translations, only "bruised."

We would also have to change the story about Our Lady of Guadalupe, the only apparition in which Mary names* herself: Tequantlaxopeuh, an Aztec word (since she was speaking to an Aztec) meaning “She who crushes the stone serpent,” the "stone serpent" being the dreaded Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, to whom were offered tens of thousands of still beating hearts gouged out of living chests. 

*In other apparitions, such as at Lourdes, Mary does not give her name but a title ("I am the Immaculate Conception").

Scholars have their reasons for changing the verse (much of it having to do with making peace with protestants who reject the Immaculate Conception), but in the scriptural absence of Mary as “serpent crusher”, Quetzalcoatl has ravenously returned: for whereas this dreaded Aztec god once feasted on thousands of human hearts ripped from living chests, he now devours millions of living infants ripped from warm wombs, and drinks to intoxication the rivers of blood which flow from our abortuaries and the other altars of slaughter erected in homage to the gods of the Culture of Death. 

Santa Maria Te Coatlaxopeuh, Protectress of Unborn Children, pray for us.

Other Note:
Also, for nearly 30 post-Vatican II years the words "full of grace" disappeared from the Gospel of December 8 until they reappeared in 1997 after John Paul II required the English translation of the Gospel to include them. And while the words of today's Gospel now include "full of grace," most of our Catholic bibles do not. Rather, "favored one" or something using the word "favor" is used. Scholars argue that this translation is more exact. In replying to this argument, a certain Fr. John Echert on EWTN makes the following reply:
"Granting your grammatical analysis, the fact that the Holy Spirit continues to work in the Church to guide Her in the interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures should lead us to accept the ancient tradition which translated the text of St. Luke as, “full of grace” rather than “highly favored” or some equivalent. The texts of Scripture should not be interpreted in isolation from the life of the Church, especially when a relevant dogma bears upon the subject. Such an approach assumes that there is only an original understanding and allows for no opportunity for a deepened understanding under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This approach was the failure of many of the Scribes of the time of Christ, who refused to understand the prophets and law beyond their own limited perception of meaning. As we know, many texts of the Old Testament have had subsequent applications and meaning, as is evident in the fact that they are quoted in connection with Christ. The Greek behind “full of grace” does not of itself prove the Immaculate Conception and neither would a similar Greek expression associated with another person, such as St. Stephen, demand that we say the same of him as to his conception. The Church teaches that Mary was conceived full of grace and while Stephen may have been full of grace at the time recounted in Acts, such was no doubt subsequent to his own baptism, wherein original sin was washed away and replaced by grace. ©

Friday, February 19, 2016


Once again, the Catholic media is scrambling to unscramble what the pope said. Once again, the controversy originates from remarks by the pope on a plane returning to Rome. And this time the issue is contraception.

A quick "google" of the words "pope" and "contraception" turns up:

Pope suggests contraceptives could be used to slow spread of Zika
CNN‎ - 1 hour ago

Pope opens the door to contraception in averting harmful ...
Los Angeles Times - 2 hours ago 

Zika virus: Pope hints at relaxation of contraception ban ...
BBC - 1 hour ago 

Pope Suggests Contraception Use May Be 'Lesser Evil' For ...
NPR - 5 hours ago

Pope suggests contraception can be condoned in Zika crisis ...
The Guardian - 2 hours ago 

Pope Francis Says Contraception Can Be Acceptable in ...
The Wall Street Journal - 6 hours ago

Pope Francis Says Contraception May Be 'Lesser of Two Evils' - 7 hours ago 

Is Pope Francis' Contraception Allowance During Zika ... - 3 hours ago 

So now we are in for another round of the Catholic media blaming the secular media for taking the pope's remarks out of context, etc., etc., etc...

So let's go to exactly what the pope said as reported by the Catholic News Agency:
Paloma GarcĂ­a Ovejero, Cadena COPE (Spain): Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else to avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?”  
Pope Francis: Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.  
Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.  
On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.  
First, the pope completely mishears the question and thus inappropriately responds. The reporter DOES NOT call abortion "the lesser of two evils," his reference is to "contraception: "As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?

Next, it is sad that the pope compares abortion to "what the Mafia does." The Mafia may kill people, but there is nothing to compare to the direct killing of a victim who is as helpless and innocent as an unborn child. Equating abortion with the Mafia knocking off people who get in their way radically devalues the Catholic teaching that there are different degrees of sin. Obviously the killing of an unborn child, unable to scream or run, is grossly more serious than the mob knocking off a drug dealer for blowing a deal. But now, according to Pope Francis, it is not. This is very dangerous and such a comparison gravely undermines the effort to bring attention to the dignity and innocence of the unborn child. 

Next, Pope Francis appears to pit God against God: "we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment." There is no conflict in God, least of all in God's law. But yet, this is how Pope Francis frames it: apparently, because of the latest health issue to affect humanity, even though it is yet a tiny portion, somehow we must choose between the fifth and the sixth commandment. HUH? The fifth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill (murder)." And the sixth is "Thou shalt not commit adultery." There is no conflict. Both are mortal sins. 

Next he references the case of Paul VI and the nuns in the Congo: "Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape." Sadly, no one was talking about rape here. The reporter's reference was to the potential for birth defects precipitated by a mother's exposure to the Zika virus. Anyone can see that the reporter was not speaking of unwanted pregnancies, let alone those brought on by rape. Yet the pope uses this extreme example permitted to nuns in an extreme situation. 

However, here is where Francis either makes a huge error or permits a real slip of an agenda many are beginning to suspect. Let's talk about the error first. 

According to the Catholic News Agency, the "nuns in the Congo" issue occurred in the early 1960's. Due to the very high danger of being raped and impregnated, Paul VI was reported to have permitted nuns to use oral contraception. Since the permission was said to have been given in "the early 1960's," and Paul VI became Pope in 1963. We can guess that this occurred between 1963 and 1965, right at the same time he expanded "The Pontifical Commission on Birth Control."

The Commission originated with Paul VI's predecessor and continued under Pau VI. It was charged with determining whether or not the use of oral contraceptives by married couples could be morally allowed. So at the time Paul VI permitted the use of oral contraceptives for the nun's self-defense, the Church had not definitively decided on whether or not the use of oral contraception was an intrinsic evil. That was decided and defined by Paul VI about five years later in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. 

Yet, Francis uses Paul VI's very narrow permit, employed specifically by a specific group of women (nuns) who were ministering in a severely dangerous situation, and a permission granted at a time when the immoral use of oral contraceptives had not yet been magisterially defined, as a model for the use of contraception generally when there is a potential of viral harm to the fetus. 

This was either an absolute misreading of the historical context, or Francis has let slip his desire to liberate the Church from that which he is not authorized to liberate.

Next, I really don't know what he is doing appealing to the Hippocratic Oath at this point. It appears that he is trying to separate religion from the world, which of course would make his liberal press friends happy. This is really obvious when he says: "Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem." Really? Somehow, human problems and medical problems, are not the concern of theology? Personally, I think I know the finer point of what the pope is trying to say, but on its face, the pope's comment just gave justification to the liberal's calls to "keep your religion out of my life." 

Then he ends the second paragraph with more confusing moral relativism: "Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned." This is not true. The Church has ALWAYS permitted the killing of another human being in self-defense. This underlying moral principle extends to the doctrine of Just War, and is even the main reason why the Church has never and can never completely condemn capital punishment. However, the real problem with this comment is that the pope once again devalues the helplessness and innocence of life in the womb by equating the killing of the unborn child with all killing.

Then there is his saying: "avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil." This statement could be true. There is nothing evil about not engaging in sex and thereby "avoiding pregnancy." However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church - which elsewhere in the report Francis says he supports - defines
"every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil..." (CCC 2370)

I personally do not think (yet) that the pope is intending mischief. I think he simply talks too much and without much thinking. At least I hope that's the case. We shall see.

Note: After posting the above, evidence that the alleged permission of Pope Paul is a myth was verified here
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