The column below is from Dr. Robert Moynihan, publisher of Inside the Vatican. The case of Alfie Evans is very concerning, since the High Court in England constantly refuses to give the parents the option of sending their son to the Bambino Gesu Hospital (Baby Jesus) in Rome. Italy has given the toddler citizenship in hopes of flying him for treatment, but the High Court refuses over and over. Video links are provided. Why have we in the West become so determined to kill people, from the unborn to the sick to the “disabled” (me included in that category) to the elderly? Why?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Alfie has been sustaining his own life since 9:17…” —Tom Evans, 21, father of

23-month-old Alfie Evans, yesterday evening in Liverpool, England,

after British doctors removed Alfie from his breathing tube at 9:17 p.m. —

12 hours ago as of this writing…


The removal was decided after British authorities were informed

by Italian government authorities that Alfie had unexpectedly been granted Italian citizenship.            

A UK judge ruled during a conference call earlier in the evening

that this fact would not change a previous court decision that the hospital could remove the baby’s life support in the conviction that it was in Alfie’s “best interest.”

The call happened between the family’s legal team,

Justice Hayden, the Italian ambassador to England, and hospital administration. 

Reportedly, everyone involved — the hospital authorities, the legal authorities, and even the child’s parents — expected that, without the breathing tube, Alfie would stop breathing on his own

within minutes, and so would die.  

But Alfie did not stop breathing…

Doctors have been left “gobsmacked” (astonished)

by the fact that Alfie continued to live after his life-support was withdrawn, Tom Evans said.

Here is a photo of Alfie this morning in his mother’s arms…


6 hours of breathing on his own so far, what a fighter! I’m sure this is much

longer than his executioners thought possible… His parents must be so proud.

Please Lord, help him through this night.” —Comment by a reader in the comment section of article during the night, about six hours ago as of this writing

The Court based their decision [to cease all treatment]at least in

part on the fact that he was incapable of breathing without sophisticated medical intervention. That fact has now been proven wrong…

——Comment by a reader in the comment section of article during the night

Alfie Still Alive… Though His Breathing Tube Has Been Removed

Little Alfie Evans is still alive as of this writing, more than 12 hours

after being removed from a breathing tube last night at 9:17 p.m., London time.

However, he could cease breathing at any time.

There is no explanation that has been offered for why he has been

able to breathe on his own for so many hours.

During the night, baby’s parents asked if Alfie could have oxygen,

to help his breathing, but the hospital refused to administer any oxygen.

After several hours, seeing that Alfie was breathing on his own,

Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, 21, asked hospital authorities to re-attach a hydration tube so that Alfie could receive water.

The hospital agreed.     The hydration tube was re-attached.

After another period of time, the hospital also agreed

also to administer oxygen to the child. So Alfie is now on a hydration tube,

and is receiving oxygen, but he is breathing on his own.

“Alfie is sustaining his own life,” his father said, repeatedly, on a

Facebook video posted last night.

A video of his father saying this can be seen at the

lifesitenews.comwebsite (link).

The Vatican’s Role

Alfie’s respiration tube had been scheduled to be removed at 2 p.m.Monday afternoon, though it was fully anticipated

by doctors that this would lead to his death due to asphyxiation

within minutes.

It was thought that Alfie’s story would then end.

But, in a startling development yesterday, Alfie was granted

Italian citizenship by the Italian government — evidently with

input from Pope Francis and other Vatican authorities,

who had also weighed the option of granting Alfie Vatican citizenship.

Andrea Tornielli, reporting this morning on the

Vatican Insiderwebsite, writes (link):

“Even in the Vatican, in the last hours, the possibility of

giving Alfie and his family the passport of Oltretevere

residents [of residents “on the other side of the Tiber,”

that is, of Vatican City, which is located on the other side of the Tiber

from the old center of Rome] was taken into consideration.

“The problem, however, is represented by the fact that the new

citizenship — the Vatican one as well as the Italian one —

would have been added to the British one, and therefore Alfie would have remained subject to the English laws.

“Moreover, the Vatican is not a member of the European

Union and therefore the citizenship of Oltretevere would

not have been decisive. Only the renunciation by the parents

of British citizenship would have questioned the jurisdiction of the English judiciary.

“Yesterday at dawn, as a sign of solidarity and closeness, i

n the name of Pope Francis, the president of the [Rome]

pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù [Child Jesus] and

an anesthetist boarded a plane and after a stopover

in Germany arrived at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. 

“They were not allowed to enter the child’s room or talk to the doctors.

“As you will already remember, last September [2017],

without media clamor, a medical team of the Bambino Gesù had flown to Liverpool to visit Alfie.

“The conclusion was that there were no hopes of healing

or possible treatment, but the Vatican pediatric hospital

would have gladly welcomed the child by taking on the

risky transfer to Italy where Alfie would be assisted with palliative care.

“‘Bring Alfie here!’ Pope Francis had said at the

end of the meeting with the child’s father, a

private audience obtained by Thomas Evans on

the morning of Wednesday, April 18, a few hours after he had requested it.

“The Pope has launched four public appeals for Alfie,

the most important during the Regina Coeli [Sunday noon public prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace] on 15 April, and at the end of

Wednesday’s general audience which took place three days later[April 18].

“Last night [April 23 in the evening], Francis dedicated a tweet

to his appeal: “Touched by the prayers and the vast solidarity

in favor of little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal to listen

to the suffering of his parents and to be granted their

desire to try new possibilities for treatment.”

Lin Zhao visiting a tomb at Taoranting Park, Beijing in 1959.

Peng Lingzhao – Lin Zhao – in Beijing, 1959, from Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2018

On April 29, 1968, the Communist Chinese ordered the execution of a 36-year old Protestant woman known as Lin Zhao, after six years of  suffering in prison for  her “crimes” – of which she would be exonerated by the same government that killed her. Originally a Methodist convert in the 1940s, she became a Communist, hoping for an end to the rampant corruption of the Kuomintang government. Instead China received an incredibly harsh regime that remains in power today. While Mao Tse Tung Thought was rejected after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution caused millions of deaths (let alone all those who died from famine, lack of care, and the pollution of heavy industrialization), Xi Jingping Thought is now part of the Constitution; he also holds full, unlimited power, with no term limit. Dissidents fear China is regressing and losing any rule of law – ask Christians about that one as crosses get torn off church towers.

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Thousands of crosses have been torn off church towers since 2015 

Lin Zhao was imprisoned during Mao’s campaign against “rightists” – people who stood up to his dictatorial rule after the Hundred Flowers campaign in 1958. She was imprisoned, and on her release, returned to Christianity, just as the Churches were entering their worst period of oppression (so far) that would last until 1980. Jailed again, she literally wrote poetry and essays in her own blood on any material handy.  Her unknown writings so terrified the regime that her execution was ordered. Her family only found out when a government agent showed up at their door demanding the payment for the bullet that killed her. What kind of a leader is afraid of words? Words that only the secret police knew? What kind of leader is so afraid of what people might read about him? One who knows he does not hold a mandate from the people and who knows his position is insecure as a result.

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Chinese police expel people who were visiting Lin Zhao’s tomb on 45th anniversary of her execution in 2013 when 200 policemen were assigned to keep people away: South China Morning Post, 2015, 29 April 

Given the fear expressed recently by police driving away pilgrims to her tomb in Suzhou, the 50th anniversary will likely be marked by arrests and restrictions on entering the cemetery on Linyang hill. Who fears people going to a grave? People like Pontius Pilate.

You can read more about her at links below,  and many of her writings are in this book:  The Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China (Basic Books, 2018)




On the Roman rite calendar, today is the commemoration of St. Martin I, the last pope to die as a martyr – as of now, who knows what is coming? Anyway, Martin stood up to the power of the Empire at a time when popes were supposed to be confirmed only the by Emperor. That would mean the Church was subservient to the State – a problem still plaguing the Orthodox in some countries.

Not only did he begin his rule immediately upon election, he held a council at the Lateran Church in Rome (Rome’s actual cathedral) in 649, which condemned the heresy that Jesus had only a divine will, without a human will  (Monothelitism). Without the human nature of the unique Person of Christ having free will – as shown by the Agony in the Garden which we so recently observed – Jesus is not fully human, and we would not be saved. The council also condemned the attempts of Patriarchs Sergius and Paul of Constantinople to create a creed acceptable to the Emperor, but not the history of the Church’s theology.

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Saint Martin I abandoned in Crimea 

The Eastern Roman Emperor, Constans II,  had ordered St Martin to accept the heresy, but he refused, and for this he was arrested in 653 on false charges of collaboration with the Muslim invaders. The soldiers beat and tortured Martin and hauled him off to the Crimea – a favorite place of exile by the Roman Emperors – where he died in 655.

The freedom of the Church to operate in society without state controls is critical. Without that freedom, the Church becomes a tool of rulers – a curse visited upon Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, and in times past, Catholics in some countries. The results are never good for religion – witness the collapse of Christianity in much of western Europe and the severe losses of Catholicism in Latin America!

Myths of Friday the 13th and the Knights Templar 

The mix of Friday and 13 was often considered unlucky in medieval times, perhaps due to the number of people at the Last Supper. But the Greeks think Tuesday the 13th is unlucky, from ancient times but reinforced by the fall of Constantinople in 1204 on Tuesday the 13th of April and Tuesday, May 29, 1453 to the Turks. So choose your day to fear – but our trust is in God and His mercy, not days and their numbers! Anyway below is an interesting article from National Geographic in 2016 from this website –

The origins of superstitions can be hard to pin down. There are often several theories about how they started, and a bunch of people ready to debunk those theories. Friday the 13th is one such example.

If you read Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code, you might remember learning that members of the Knights Templar—a medieval society—were arrested on Friday the 13th. Brown’s book helped popularize the belief that these arrests are the reason people fear the date. But although some of the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307, that isn’t the origin of the superstition.

Right now, the hottest take on Friday the 13th is that it wasn’t associated with bad luck until 1907, when a novel titled Friday, the Thirteenth was published. In his book on the number 13, author Nathaniel Lachenmeyerargues that before the 20th century, “13” had been an unlucky number, and “Friday” had been an unlucky day, but “Friday the 13th” wasn’t necessarily a concept.  Whether or not the superstitions began with that novel, it’s clear that a lot of  rationalizations for it—such as the Templar tale—are recent inventions. So, too are many of the other myths about these misunderstood knights.


“As far as the Templars went,” says Helen Nicholson, a medieval history professor at Cardiff University in Wales, the “evidence we’ve got shows them to be extremely boring Roman Catholics.”

The Knights Templar were a religious order of unmarried men, formed around A.D. 1119 to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, Christians donated their land and their money to the order (as was common with religious societies), making the knights powerful financiers.

The Templars continued passing around money and land until 1307, when the French King Philip IV, who was running low on funds, decided to go after theirs.

“The standard accusation against your political enemies in the early 14th century was to accuse them of being involved in heresy or magic,” Nicholson says.

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The Knights wrongly condemned 


Quite unimaginatively, Philip IV chose heresy. And on Friday the 13th, he had some of the Templars arrested for it. It’s important to note that the King of France, not Pope Clement V, accused the Knights Templar of heresy. Even so, the Pope disbanded the order since the whole heresy mess had defiled its name. That’s where the conspiracy theories come in.


The quick, anticlimatic end to the Knights Templar “doesn’t fit into the sort of narrative humans like,” Nicholson says. Some people think that “it’s got to have a proper ending. So there must have either been a conspiracy … or the templars must have been evil.”

Overwhelmingly, pseudo-historians like to think there was a conspiracy theory—the Templars were doing something the church didn’t like, and that’s why the Pope disbanded them.

One common myth is that “the Templars were created by this organization called the Priory of Sion to excavate in Jerusalem and find information about the bloodline of Christ,” says John Walker, a history professor who is writing a book about Knights Templar myths. (One wonders how they would have performed the DNA tests.)

Other theories claim the Templars discovered treasure, or the Holy Grail, or some heretical secret (i.e. that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, or never rose from the grave). There are also theories about what happened to the Templars after they disbanded. One of the most popular legends says the Templars became the Freemasons—a rumor that was actually started by some of the Freemasons.

“I suppose people like to have a more glorious past for their organizations,” Walker says.

The false connection between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons was promoted by some early masonic groups around the 18th century, and theories about the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar have been around for a long time, too. But a lot of the conspiracies about heretical cover-ups are fairly modern. In fact, Walker isn’t sure where they came from before they were popularized in the 1980s pseudo-history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

“It was really after that was published that you get this widespread interest in myths about the Templars, particularly when the Internet started in the ’90s,” says Walker. After that, The Da Vinci Code took up the Templar myths promoted in Holy Blood, Holy Grail—so much so that its authors sued Dan Brown for plagiarism. (They lost.)

“When you tell lies about history, you give people a false idea of how humans really behave, and how we got where we are now,” Nicholson says.

So yes, the Knights Templar are more interesting as protectors of an ancient secret, rather than single men who gave out loans. But if you tell the more sensational tale, you cover up the real story: that sometimes leaders are greedy, and they make false accusations. And sometimes people make things up to give recent phenomena like Friday the 13th a more profound, historical origin.

Follow Becky Little on Twitter.

Posted by: Fr Chris | April 11, 2018

Holocaust Remembrance & Catholics: Part II

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Rescued Jewish children in Poland 

Sir Martin Gilbert, Jewish historian of the Holocaust, defends Pius XII

Refuting the Black Legend about Pope Pius XII

Framing Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII and World War II

All Saints Church was in the Warsaw Ghetto until 1942. Its priest, once known for  disliking Jews, used it as an escape route for numerous Jews out of the ghetto –,_Warsaw

Saint Augustine Church was in the Warsaw ghetto and was closed. But the priests stayed on, rescuing Jews and getting help for the ghetto. Both died for this –,_Warsaw

Irena Sendler with Jewish baby 

Polish Priests, Nuns, and rescue of Jews (book excerpts)

Banasiewicz Family who saved 15 Jews

Nuns Who Saved Polish Jews

Why don’t you take care of this child? – the rescue of a Jewish boy in Warsaw –

Irena’s Children – rescuing children from Warsaw Ghetto

I’m no hero – Irena Sendler, savior of 2,700 Jewish children –

Henrik Swalik, Polish diplomat who saved 5,000 Polish refugee Jews in Hungary & 35,000 Christian Poles in Europe, hanged by Nazis –,Polish-Wallenburg-honoured-in-Silesia

Consul Souza de Mendes, who defied Portugal’s dictator to save Jews – He also rescued the Imperial Family of Austria, Empress Zita and her children, who escaped to Canada because of him – they were wanted by Hitler.

Cardinal Stepinac and rescuing Jews in Croatia

Ulma Family, massacred for hiding Jews in Poland-

Nuns who saved Jews in occupied Poland –

Byzantine Catholic Bishop who saved Jews, Bl. Paul Gojdic  (use Google Translate, in Slovak)

Bishop Gojdic

Fr. Pierre Chaillet, underground leader and rescuer of Jews in France

Rescue of 85% of Italy’s Jews, and the work of Fr Francesco Brondello

Italian Catholic Rescuers

Italian TV about the rescue work of Angelo Ronacalli (Pope John XXIII)

Gino Bartali – saving Jews by bicycle

Belgian Rescuers

Sisters of Social Service in Hungary

Bl. Sara Salkhazi, SSS, killed for helping Jews in Hungary

The leader of the Council to Aid Jews in Poland

Book about the council:

Irene Gut Opdyke, a Polish Catholic woman who hid Jews literally under the noses of the Nazis

Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ, anti-Nazi German priest and rescuer of Jews

Msgr. Beniamin Schiavo, rescuer in Italy

Portuguese diplomats who rescued Jews by supplying them with visas –

Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky and the rescue of Jews in Ukraine, ongoing debate about making him a Righteous Gentile –

How FDR and the US kept Anne Frank from reaching safety in Massachusetts, while allowing in British children and also British purebred puppies.

The Polish doctor who saved a village with a false epidemic –






Posted by: Fr Chris | April 11, 2018

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018: Part 1

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Refugees in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo during the war 

After the genocide of the Jews – and also Gypsies, Poles and other “subhumans” – the motto was “Never again.” Sadly this has happened again and again – in Rwanda, Cambodia, and probably the first televised genocide, the “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia in the Yugoslav War and the bloody siege of Sarajevo.  

Today people talk about the Jewish Holocaust in different ways. One of the current ones in the US is to evoke the Nazis’ disarming of the Jews and compare that to possible gun control. That strikes me as incredibly insensitive, and it is also ignorant: Jewish groups have been asking for people to stop proclaiming that this would have stopped the Nazi bloodbath but any perusal of social media turns up memes using Holocaust photos.

Another disturbing  thing is how casually people talk with anger, vitriol and even hatred of those who oppose their views. Nothing gets done in Congress because the two sides barely speak to each other, and no longer socialize together where families would meet up for picnics, parties, and games. Conservatives and liberals alike malign one another – we live in the richest, most powerful nation the world has ever seen and yet we are incapable of solving our current problems. We have been The City on the Hill – the shining light of morality, ethics, and liberty, envy of the planet. Yet we now see our leaders, our media people, our own president speak viciously about other people who are also made in the image and likeness of Almighty God. What must our Crucified and Risen Savior think of us who claim a Judeo-Christian heritage? 

When remembering the Holocaust, it is worth remembering how hard it was for German and Austrian Jews to escape: Canada and America both shut the doors in their faces: Anne Frank’s relatives in the US were blocked repeatedly by our government. A Canadian immigration agent said of Jews fleeing Europe:  None are too many.  This is what happens we deny to ourselves that our political or social opponents are not equally worthy of dignity, when we blithely allow the massacre of unborn babies because they might be “deformed” or have Down’s Syndrome, or aren’t “wanted” by the abusive boyfriend, or because the mother is trapped in grinding poverty and thinks she has no options, we advocate for killing the elderly, the disabled. A culture of death has taken root. The Jews died because too many Europeans and people in the Western Hemisphere were not brave enough to step in, accept them into their nations, protect them – the Nazi propaganda, old stereotypes, and fear combined to let six million men, women, and children die horrible deaths. And what of the Christians trying to flee the Middle East today? Or other refugees: the new limit is 45,000 a year now can come into the United States – how magnanimous!

Catholics are often blamed in social media for “not doing enough to stop the Nazis/ save Jews” – oddly enough, Western presidents and prime ministers who appeased Hitler and did nothing to save Jew are not reviled. The Church is also blamed because Hitler was a baptized Catholic – Lenin and Stalin were baptized Orthodox but nobody says the Orthodox Church is to blame for Communism’s atrocities! Here are some Catholics who stood up and did what was right and went the distance, at great risk, to save lives: 

A Jewish historian’s appraisal of Pius XII –

Andrea Tornelli: Pope was not silent:

Pius XII’s summer residence as a refuge for Italian and foreign Jews – — Jewish babies were born in his bedroom.

A second article on Castel Gandolfo and Jews

Activities of Pope John XXIII as a papal diplomat in the saving of Jewish lives –

Ten Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust

Augustinian Nuns of Rome who hid Jews in their cloister –

Bridgettine Nuns of Rome rescuing Jews in their monastery –

St Elizabeth Hasselbad and rescue of Jews –

Mother Elizabeth of the Eucharist, who hid both Jews and weapons for the French Resistance

The Rescue of Jews in Italian Monasteries in 1943-45

Cardinal Stepinac, reviled as a “Jew-lover” and the truth of his activities file:///E:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Father%20Chris/My%20Documents/Holocaust%20Rescuers/Stepinac%20and%20Jews.pdf

Cardinal Stepinac’s actions in Croatia for Jews against the fascists

5,368 Poles killed for helping Jews 1939-45  (The Poles are the largest nationality recorded at Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles)

Polish Rescuers –

The Council for the Rescue of Jews in Occupied Poland – the only occupied country to have a government recognized group involved in rescuing Jews from the Nazis – (in Polish, use Google Translate)

President Quezon of Philippines who saved 1,200 Jews –

Maronite Rite Jesuit who saved Jewish children in Italy

Brazilian ambassador who saved 1,200 Jews –



Posted by: Fr Chris | April 4, 2018

Executions of Catholics at Easter

A priest was executed by a gang in El Salvador on Holy Thursday, the feast of the priesthood and Eucharist, while he was on his way home from the Chrism Mass. In Pakistan, four members of a family were executed by Islamists in front of the family home in Quetta on Easter Monday. An ISIS statement said that “Christian combatants” were targeted. They did not say that they were civilians sitting in a rickshaw  – how brave the ISIS attackers were to shoot four unarmed adults and a little girl.

And how afraid the Salvadoran gangs must be of the Catholic Church’s priests who stand for justice and peace, to gun one down on Holy Thursday!

Image result for Pervaiz Masih, one of his parishioners killed in Quetta

Funeral in Quetta, Pakistan, of murdered Catholics, April 4

.- Fr. Walter Osmir Vásquez Jiménez was shot and killed the afternoon of March 29, Holy Thursday, on a dirt road outside of the town of Lolotique, El Salvador, as he was on his way to celebrate Mass.  The Archdiocese of San Salvador released a statement expressing “its sorrow over the murder of Fr.  Walter Vásquez. We express our solidarity with the Diocese of Santiago de María and his relatives. We urge the appropriate authorities to determine the facts,” they added.

According to the National Civil Police of El Salvador, the priest, 36, was stopped and killed “when he was riding in a car to celebrate a Mass in a place known as La Casona.” The local press attribute the crime to gangs active in the area. According to the Italian publication l’Avvenire, three armed men wearing ski masks robbed the priest and other passengers in the vehicle, taking their wallets, watches and cell phones. They then ordered the priest to get out of the car and took him some 150 feet away and shot him. However, Fr. Vásquez Jiménez was only grazed by the bullet and attempted to flee, when he was then shot again and killed. Witnesses claim it was “an execution.”

Image result for Walter Osmir VásquezAlthough the motive for the killing is unknown, l’Avvenire reported that the victim exercised his ministry in a violent area of the country where the gangs extort businesses and the priests often try to provide protection for the inhabitants. They also support young men who do not want to join the gangs. “We’re on the front lines, every day we wonder when they’re going to shoot us, and we’re surprised they still haven’t done it,” said a priest whose name was withheld for security reasons.

“We express our condolences and solidarity” with the family of the priest and to the faithful he cared for,” the Salvadoran diocese of Santiago Santa Maria stated.   “We condemn violence of any kind,” they said in a statement while they thanked “ the authorities for their prompt response in face of such a sacrilegious act,” in order to “find those responsible for the crime and that justice be done.”

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Hundreds of faithful attended the priest’s funeral Mass and burial in Lolotique on April 1, Easter Sunday. Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez, the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, presided at the Mass, which was concelebrated by the Archbishop of San Salvador, Luis Escobar Alas. The archbishop stated that “unfortunately we must recognize and denounce sin, injustice, lies, corruption, arms trafficking, drugs and so many social evils, especially the violence which has caused and continues to cause so much pain.” “It is incredible that  on Holy Thursday, after having participated in the Chrism Mass, one of our priests, Fr. Walter Osmir Vásquez, would be violently murdered. It is not possible that this should happen in a Christian country,” he added. Speaking to the media, the prelate stressed that “it is not only the person of the priest that moves us to sorrow  but all those who die because of these kinds of situations which end up in these grave, very grave incidents.” Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, emphasized that “we are here along with Fr. Walter to say: Yes to life, yes to love, yes to forgiveness, yes to justice.”

This article is a CNA translation and adaption of stories originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa.

Quetta (Agenzia Fides) – “It is sad to see that once again our people are attacked and killed on the occasion of one of our religious festivities. First the bomb at Christmas and now a massacre of the innocents at Easter. I am praying for the persons involved and I pray that God will convert the hearts of those responsible for such acts of terrorism”: Fides was told by Rev. Wajid Michael, a Catholic priest who said Mass at the funeral of Pervaiz Masih, one of his parishioners killed in Quetta, capital of Beluchistan province, on Monday 2 April. Four men, all members of the same family, were shot dead in front of their home in Pervaiz Masih, Shah Zaman district, Quetta, and one young girl, the daughter of Pervaiz, was wounded. Three, all relations of Pervaiz, were from a village near Lahore, in Punjab, and the bodies were taken back for the funeral and burial. Pervaiz instead was buried in the Christian cemetery of Quetta.
Rev. Wajid Michael tells Fides: “It is terrible to know that a family was massacred in front of the gate of the family home. The massacre occurred just as the family were preparing for an outing. Protection and safety for minorities has become an important issue for the government of Pakistan: all the different religious minorities Christians, Hindu, Shiite and also many Muslims sects face discrimination, violence and terrorism”, says the parish priest.
Over three hundred Christians attended the funeral yesterday of Masih, who had invited his relations from Lahore to celebrate Easter in Shah Zaman, a mainly Christian district of Quetta. A neighbour told Fides: “Two men on a motorbike opened fire on the family seated in a rickshaw. Four adults, Pervaiz Masih, Tariq Masih, Imran Masih and Firdous Bibi were killed, the daughter of Pervaiz Masih was injured and taken to hospital”
Azeem, a local catechist says: “Most of the homes on that road belong to Christian families; the street is a dead end. The attackers opened fire and then turned back on the same road. The whole area is gripped by fear, and the other members of the family are in a state of shock. This is a grave loss for the family of Pervaiz Masih because he looked after them all and provided for them. The other three were relations visiting Quetta for the first time “.  According to local information, the so-called Islamic State (DAESH) claimed responsibility for the attack but failed to provide to evidence. Other observers speak of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorist group (TTP), active in the area. Moazzam Jah Ansari, a local police chief said: “This act of terrorism would appear to be a targeted attack”. 
In December 2017, the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta was attacked by two suicide bombers on the third Sunday of Advent, when 14 people were killed and 56 injured. (AG) (Agenzia Fides 4/4/2018)

Posted by: Fr Chris | April 3, 2018


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Troparion in the Byzantine Rite for the 40 days of Easter: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He trampled death, and to those in the tombs He granted life!

The Paschal troparion in different languages:


The daily greeting: Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Slavonic: Christos voskrese! Voistinnu voskrese!

Arabic: El-Masieh kam! Hakkan kam!

Hungarian: Krisztus feltamadt! Valoban feltamadt!

German: Christus ist auferstanden! Wahrlich ist Er auferstanden!

Greek: Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!

Easter Chants from different monasteries and churches in Russia and Ukraine:



Posted by: Fr Chris | March 31, 2018

An Ancient Homily: Holy Saturday

The origin of this is unknown, other than it goes back many centuries. As the homily says, this is a day to try and keep quiet, as Jesus prepares to descend in search of Adam and Eve and all the Just in Sheol, waiting to enter heaven. 

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Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

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He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

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Jesus reaches for Adam and Eve in Sheol 

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hades.

Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. 

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

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Jesus carries the life-giving Cross into Sheol to deliver the Just 

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. 

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Posted by: Fr Chris | March 30, 2018

Good Friday Poem

Jesus speaks directly to us in this English Catholic poem from the late 1400s:

Woefully arrayed
My blood, man for thee ran, it may not be nayed;
My body, blo and wan;
Woefully arrayed.

Behold me, I pray thee
with all thy whole reason
and be not hard-hearted,
and for this encheason,
sith I for thy soul sake
was slain in good season,
Beguiled and betrayed
by Judas’ false treason,
unkindly entreated,
with sharp cord sore freted,
the Jews me threated,
they mowed, they grinned,
they scorned me,
condem’d to death as thou may’st see;
Woefully arrayed.

Thus naked am I nailed.
O man, for thy sake;
I love thee, then love me,
why sleepst thou, awake,
remember my tender heartroot for thee brake;
with pains my veins constrained to crake;
thus tugged to and fro,
thus wrapped all in woe,
whereas never man was so entreated,
thus in most cruel wise
was like a lamb offer’d in sacrifice;
Woefully arrayed.
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Of sharp thom I have worn
a crown on my head.
So pained, so strained, so rueful, so red,
thus bobbed, thus robbed,
thus for thy love dead;
unfeigned, not deigned,
my blood for to shed,
my feet and handes sore
the sturdy nailes bore;
what might I suffer more,
than I have done, O man, for thee?
Come when thou list, welcome to me!
Woefully arrayed.

A Clerk of Oxford (perhaps John Skelton)

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Posted by: Fr Chris | March 28, 2018


Holy Thursday

We commemorate two events at the Last Supper: the institution of the Priesthood and of the Holy Eucharist.  In the communist countries people will go to extraordinary lengths to attend a Catholic celebration, to be in the presence of a priest for the Mass or Sacraments, risking arrest or even torture.Parishes in the Amazon basin see a priest once a year.

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Palm Sunday, Youtong village, Shijiazhuang, China, for Catholics not registered with the regime

 Yet 75% of American Catholics can’t be bothered to get out of bed on Sunday to go to church weekly – though they will go to run in a marathon, attend a sports event, go to a farmers market, join friends for brunch. But church? Seriously – today? For old people and fools.

This is one of the great tragedies of our age – due to poor catechism classes in the last 50 years, and watering down of dogma –  sometimes in the name of a false ecumenism whereas authentic ecumenism requires an honest presentation of one’s faith-  Catholics have lost their belief in the Church and what the Church offers, and left the Church in droves.

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Coptic Orthodox icon of the Last Supper 

This is My Body – This is My Blood.  Verses which all fundamentalists should take literally but which they suddenly decide are figurative words only.  Jesus makes it very clear what He means in chapter six of the Gospel of St John, another passage where Christians who proclaim Sola Scriptura, or only Scripture, suddenly decide that Jesus did not mean what He said: unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU – Jesus is very blunt and clear. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 

But only the apostles and immediate disciples remain: John says everyone else abandons Jesus as the words He says, Eat My flesh, Drink My blood, are too harsh.  Only the disciples remain with Him, because, they say, He has the words of everlasting life. Where else would we go?, says Peter.

Who else has the words of everlasting life? Churches like Sagebrush, or Calvary, or is it trendy atheists with snarky comments about believers? The second largest group of believers in this country is composed of ex-Catholics who go to a variety of churches or none at all. I thank God for the grounding in faith that I received from my parents, my grandparents, the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur at St John the Baptist in Kenmore, New York – I was presented with teachings in both university and seminary that were false, but without that grounding I might have lost my way.  Parents: what grounding is being given to your children? Look at all the children in our parish – but the odds are very high that unless they are steadily and constantly strengthened in faith, half or more will lose their way. We all have the obligation to prevent that, by our teaching and by our example – in our moral lives, in what we say and do, and how we approach the holy mysteries of the Church, the sacraments.

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Infant Communion in Byzantine Catholic church: adults must fortify children while being child-like in love of God 

Jesus is very clear in the Scriptures as to what He is doing in the Last Supper.  He does what Jews still do: first he does Berakah – blessed are You, O Lord.  Then he invokes Zikaron – which is the sense of “making present,” as if past and present coalesce into a single intensive experience of “now.”

It is as if we are able to inhabit two separate points in time simultaneously. For the Jew, this sacred time is most clear on Passover: they are present at the original event, while sitting around a table in a modern home. For the Greek converts, Saint Paul uses the word anamnesis, which is even more powerful – not only does it involve a memory but also something from the world of ideas becoming physically present.

Thus when Jesus says Do This in Memory of Me, it is extremely powerful. The mistake so many Reformed and other Protestants make when reading this phrase is approaching it in English – Jesus did not speak English nor were the Gospels written in English. It is not a remembrance – it is making something from the world of ideas and word physically present. It is here, alive, among us, exactly what will happen on this altar in a few minutes when the priests repeat Christ’s words and invoke the Holy Spirit upon the gifts. Christ is alive, in the tabernacle, NOW – waiting for us to be with Him, visit Him, pray to Him. Christ will be coming to us in the consecrated gifts – He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

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Just as every generation of Jews would experience the original Passover, we are privileged to experience at every Eucharist the fullness of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, complete and whole. The matter or form remain: bread with wine and water, but the essence is changed to Christ.

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Roman Rite Holy Communion, Palestine, Ash Wednesday

Christ speaks literally –  Eat My flesh, Drink My blood – at every Divine Liturgy, Mass, Qurbana – whatever the word, that is what happens to the bread and wine: Christ is present in them, Body and Blood, Soul, Divinity – the fullness of Jesus the Son of God and Son of Mary, God and Man. Because He loves us so much, He comes to us in the most intimate way possible – food inside of us. Why? Because He WANTS to be with us, inside us, close to us. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Abide here is according to the dictionary definition of the verb: to continue in a place, to live there, to continue in a place. Jesus desires to continue on inside us, to live there, to be with us. For how long? As long as it takes for the human system to consume these forms of bread and wine – thus the liturgies always end quickly after Communion  -the idea is that we will go out into the world, with Christ Jesus abiding inside us, and therefore inspiring us, changing us, guiding us as we encounter the world.

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Byzantine Rite Holy Communion: preparing the Chalice 

Only this way will the world be healed, brought to fullness in God, only this way can Christians cooperate with God’s grace most fully in converting the fallen world into the Kingdom of God, to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ in the best way possible.

Tonight after the Last Supper Jesus is betrayed with a kiss – Judas has to kiss Him so that the soldiers know Who Jesus is because the hillside and gardens were packed with sleeping Jewish pilgrims who had come for Passover. Do not betray the Lord with the kiss of coolness, or laziness, or embracing false teachings. May we instead come for the kiss of love from Christ in the Holy Eucharist and draw ever closer to His heart, the Heart that will be pierced with the soldier’s spear tomorrow, and let our hearts be wounded by His great love and let them be united to He Who will lift up all humanity with Him on Easter Sunday, to restore us to our destiny: to be lovers of God and beloved by Him, working with God and His grace throughout our lives on earth.

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Tonight the Jewish leadership breaks their own laws – there could not be trials at night, witnesses had to be honest and not paid for, and no physical abuse of a prisoner was allowed. All those rules and more are broken, and then Jesus is led out – starved, thirsty, beaten – and turned over to the Roman occupying forces, where a mob is brought into the courtyard to call for Jesus’ punishment and the release of a terrorist. But as Jesus says in the gospel, all this must be done so that what was written about Him in the prophets is fulfilled.

The Last Supper and the Cross are intimately connected – it is one united sacrifice. In the Passover ritual of Jesus’ day, there were 4 cups of wine that had 4 separate prayers. Saint Paul tells us that after supper Jesus takes a cup of wine – this was the third cup. But instead of the normal blessing, Jesus consecrates it into His Precious Blood. Then Jesus says He will not drink wine again until He drinks it in the Kingdom of God. The gospels say that they got up and left and headed out to Gethsemane – they did not finish the meal. In the Garden Jesus prays three times about the cup of suffering, and then comes the betrayal, arrest, and the beginning of His Passion. Wine is offered to Him on Mount Calvary by the soldiers mixed with myrrh, in order to relieve His suffering, but He rejects those. But on the Cross, as He is dying, He finally accepts wine. When? John 19:23-30: Jesus says I thirst, and the soldiers pass up a sponge soaked in sour wine, the wine that they carried with them all the time. That Jesus drinks, then He says, It is finished, and dies. Thus the Last Supper, the First Eucharist, is extended to unite with the suffering and dying on the Cross. This is My Body given for you – Luke and Matthew – as a ransom for many – Mark – and so the Cross and Supper are one offering, one gift. The Blood we drink is that Blood which soaked into the wood of the Cross, the Body we eat is the Body broken on the Cross, and every Eucharistic liturgy makes present both the Last Supper and the Cross on Calvary.

Let us never betray the Lord with the kiss of coolness, or laziness, or embracing false teachings. May we instead come for the kiss of love from Christ in the Holy Eucharist and draw ever closer to His heart, the Heart that will be pierced with the soldier’s spear tomorrow, and let our hearts be wounded by His great love  and let them be united to He Who will lift up all humanity with Him on Easter Sunday, to restore us to our destiny: to be lovers of God and beloved by Him, working with God and His grace throughout our lives on earth.

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