Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Quotation of the Week (December 29, 2019 - January 4, 2020)

A quotation of Pope Francis on 'taking care of
the elderly, children, and young,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Artwork by Ryan Andre D'Costa (aged 5 years)

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas to You All!

Photo (Santa Claus' sleigh and other paraphernalia
on a lawn on Huntingwood Drive, Scarborough, Toronto)
© Jerome D'Costa (Nov. 2019)

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Quotation of the Week (December 22 - 28, 2019)

A quotation of Neil Hetherington on 'hunger,
income, disability, affordable housing,
transportation, and child care issues,'
compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump Impeached By The House of Representatives

U.S. President Donald J. Trump
Artwork © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

Donald Trump, in his third year as the U.S. President, has been impeached in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 18. Next, the impeachment proceedings in the Senate will decide if he can remain in his office as the president. 

The House of Representatives (having the majority of its members as Democrats) as part of its impeachment proceedings, voted on two charges against the President -- (1) that President Donald Trump abused his power, and (2) that he obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, withholding documentary evidence, and preventing his important aides (assistants) from giving evidence. 

Now, as the second part of the impeachment procedure, the U.S. Senate will have to decide on whether the President should be removed from the power. It is unlikely to happen as the majority of Senate members belong to President Trump's party, the Republican party. The Senate's inquiry is supposed to take place in January of 2020.

Donald Trump is the third U.S. president to be impeached. The other two were: President Andrew Johnson (a Republican) who was impeached in 1868, and President Bill Clinton (a Democrat) impeached in 1998. Another president, Richard Nixon (a Republican) avoided the most possible impeachment by resigning from his office of the presidency in 1974.

For more, please read the following: 

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Pope Francis Abolishes 'Pontifical Secrecy' Rules For Clergy's Child Sex Abuse Cases

Pope Francis
Photo courtesy:

Pope Francis, on December 17, eliminated the existing 'pontifical secret' provision of the Catholic clergy sex abuse cases for greater transparency and cooperation with civil authorities. He also raised the age of a minor or child to 18 (previously it was 14 years). Any priest or bishop having sexual relations with a person under the age of 18 will be considered child sex abuse. A priest or bishop's possession of pornographic images of a person under the age of 18 will be considered a crime, too.   

The new Church laws allow qualified laypersons to represent and defend persons in Church tribunals in cases of sexual misconduct without having to ask permission. Previously, only the clergy was allowed to do it. 

For details, please read the following:

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., Speaks On the State of Catholic Church Before His Death In 2012

Pope Benedict XVI with Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J.
Photo courtesy:

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (1927-2012), an Italian Jesuit and once the Archbishop of Milan, was a progressive and liberal in thinking and, as a result, faced opposition from conservatives in the Catholic Church.

In his final interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, before his death on August 31, 2012, he had mentioned about the situation of the Catholic Church clearly: "The church is tired, in the Europe of well-being and in America. Our culture has become old, our churches and our religious houses are big and empty, the bureaucratic apparatus of the church grows, our rites and our dress are pompous. Do these things, however, express what we are today?... Well-being weighs on us. We find ourselves like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to be his disciple. I know that we can't let everything go easily. At least, however, we can seek people who are free and closest to their neighbor, like Archbishop Romero and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. Where are the heroes among us who can inspire us? by no means do we have to limit them by the boundaries of the institution."

About who can help the Church today, he further said: "...I advise the Pope and the bishops to seek out twelve people outside the lines for administrative positions, people who are close to the poorest, who are surrounded by young people, and who try new things. We need to be with people who burn in such a way that the Spirit can spread itself everywhere."

To counter the exhaustion of the Church, this cardinal recommends three options: "...The first is conversion: the church must recognize its errors and follow a radical path of change, beginning with the pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals compel us to take up a path of conversion." 

"...The second is the Word of God. Vatican II gave the Bible back to Catholics. Only those who perceive this Word in their heart can be part of those who will help achieve renewal of the church, and who will know how to respond to personal questions with the right choice. The Word of God is simple, and seeks out as its companion a heart that listens. ... Neither the clergy nor ecclesiastical law can substitute for the inner life of the human person. All the external rules, the laws, the dogmas, are there to clarify this internal voice and for the discernment of spirits." 

"Who are the sacraments for? These are the third tool of healing. The sacraments are not an instrument of discipline, but a help for people in their journey and in the weaknesses of their life. Are we carrying the sacraments to the people who need new strength? I think of all the divorced and remarried couples, to extended families. They need special protection. The church upholds the indissolubility of matrimony. It's a grace when a marriage and a family succeed ..."       --(The above translation is used here from the article on the last interview of Cardinal Carlo Martini)   

Pope Francis, another Jesuit from Argentina, was influenced by Cardinal Martini's writing and progressive ideas to make the Catholic Church step with the changed situation of the modern world instead of dragging its faithful to the past again and again. 

For this very reason, Pope Francis also has been facing opposition from the traditionalist and conservative priests, bishops, cardinals, and laypersons from the very first day of his being elected the 266th pope of the Catholic Church. 

For details on Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's life, work, and teaching, please click on the following:

(Updated on Dec. 18, 2019)

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Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Quotation of the Week (December 15 - 21, 2019)

Image (Basilica of St. Anthony at Padua, Italy) courtesy: Messenger of 
Saint Anthony (International Edition: Padua, Italy) 

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

More Vatican Corruption and Scandals Come to Light

The Vatican City, with St. Peter's Basilica, in Rome, Italy
Photo courtesy:

No institution is beyond corruption and scandals. The Catholic Church, although claims itself to be holy and close to God, has its leaders and members who are not. 

Previously, the hierarchy made every effort to hide its members' weaknesses, but, in reality, there were corruption and scandals among them. 

In this decade, these can no longer be kept hidden due to the proliferation of various communication media available to all. Pope Francis is the one who is encouraging all to speak up the truth because the truth shall make us free.

Please read the following to have an idea of the corruption and scandals in the Vatican:

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Opposition to Pope Francis: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- (Part 3)

Please continue reading to see how the opposition to Pope Francis started since his election on March 13, 2013, as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Vatican 
ambassador to the U.S. and one of the Vatican 
bureaucrats, who oppose Pope Francis tooth and nail
Photo courtesy: CNS via

Father Edward Staniek, a theologian and rector of the Major 
Seminary in Krakow, Poland wished for the early death of Pope
 Francis in March 2018 for his "erroneous views" and support 
of Muslim migration to Europe
Photo courtesy via

Mr. Ross Douthat, The New York Times columnist
and an ardent critic of Pope Francis
Photo courtesy:




(The End)

(Updated on Dec. 13, 2019)

(To go to the beginning -- or Part 1 -- of this write-up, please click here)

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Quotation of the Week (December 8 - 14, 2019)

A quotation of a native American saying on 'success of involvement
of a person in understanding something rather than telling 

or showing him,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Opposition to Pope Francis: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- (Part 2)

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, from the USA, is one of the four
cardinals (the other two are from Germany: Cardinal Walter 

Brandmuller and Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one from Italy: 
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra) at the forefront 
of opposition to Pope Francis 
(Photo courtesy: 

Please continue to read the following to better understand what's going on in the Catholic Church today. 



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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Opposition to Pope Francis: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- (Part 1)

Pope Francis
Photo courtesy: Conde Nast Traveller

Since his election to the papacy on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has been facing opposition, especially from the conservative priests, bishops, cardinals, and laypersons. 

In the last three years, the opposition is getting fiercer day by day. This pope is trying to bring simplicity in the papacy and hierarchy, is trying to get the Catholics to follow Jesus Christ as taught by him in the Gospel, and, finally, is trying to implement the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, including some reforms. Yet, there is the ongoing opposition!

Reasons why Pope Francis is facing opposition:

  1. Before his election as the Pope, he was almost an unknown figure in the Catholic Church having no influence.
  2. Immediately after being elected pope, he abandoned the traditional clothing worn by newly elected popes and he chose simple and humble clothing instead.
  3. His use of Italian language instead of the traditional Latin in greeting the waiting crowd in St. Peter’s Square annoyed many a conservative.
  4. He also abandoned the use of the “papal palace” – that has lavishly furnished and costly apartments -- as his living quarters, instead he has been living with other priests, bishops, and cardinals in the Domus Sanctae Martae (St. Martha’s House) – a guesthouse nearby. This way, he wanted to show that as pope he is not a royal person following the tradition of the Church for hundreds of years.
  5. Like Pope John XXIII, Pope Francis is not a theologian. Most other popes in the last two centuries were theologians with their influences in the Catholic Church. The feeling among conservative intellectuals and theologians is: “How much can you expect from a non-theologian pope?” Pope Francis became a priest after the Vatican II, so his theology doesn’t get importance among the conservatives.
  6. Since becoming pope in 2013, like other popes before him, Francis has been giving his Christmas greetings to the members of the Roman Curia. But, unlike other popes, he, in his messages, has been publicly berating and scathingly critiquing Curia members' demeanor and behaviour -- such as, 15 'ailments' that are prevalent among these highest-ranking and 'power-hungry' Vatican officials, who are priests, bishops, and cardinals. A number of these officials took an affront to these papal talks and have been opposing this pope ever since.  
  7. Pope Francis belongs to the Jesuit Order. In Church history, we see there were differences of opinion and even clashes between the Jesuits and certain popes as well as members of certain other Religious Orders. Naturally, when this Jesuit cardinal became Pope Francis, there was hesitancy in accepting him for fear of what he may do in the future.
  8. He sometimes, giving a message to the crowd or public does not follow pre-written speech in totality. In the middle of it, he may speak up impromptu giving his own message, remarks or ideas.
  9. He is from Argentina, a third world country, and from a continent – South America – that had seen ‘liberation theology,’ “supposedly influenced by Marxism and communism.” Moreover, his parents were Italian immigrants to Argentina. Pope Francis, as Jorge Bergoglio, born in Argentina, was the second-generation Italian. Europeans, who have been elected Popes for hundreds of years, look down upon -- a kind of racism – anybody elected from a third-world country.
  10. Pope Francis has been vocal against ‘clericalism’ and wants it to be abolished from the Catholic Church. A good number of the clergy (priests, bishops, and cardinals) do not agree with him and are resisting his efforts.
  11. He declared death penalty inadmissible, whereas the Catholic Church still allows the death penalty in certain cases.
  12. He is a staunch advocate or crusader for the poor and oppressed people.
  13. He accepted the reality of man’s climate change and our responsibility in reducing the bad effects of climate change. Many conservative Catholics, however, do not agree with Pope Francis because they think that human-induced warming goes against God’s omnipotence, meaning, man cannot work against God’s power and work.
  14. Pope Francis, while in the Philippines, told Catholics not ‘to breed like rabbits.’ As the Catholic Church does not support birth control or abortion, or any contraceptive use, conservatives took this remark in a bad light.
  15. Pope Francis had said “Who am I to judge?” regarding homosexuals seeking God.  He also mentioned that homosexual or gay people are God’s creatures, too, and they should be accepted in the Church and society. This is against the Catholic Church's teaching that homosexuality is an aberration and homosexual acts should be condemned although we should behave well with homosexual persons. Conservative Catholics, priests, and bishops are “angry” and “frustrated” with Pope Francis who initially ignored complaints against Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick of Washington, D.C., U.S.A., being a homosexual.
  16. Pope Francis allowed priests in their parishes to pardon women who underwent abortions and reconcile them with the Church. Conservatives did not like it.
  17. He is asking that divorced and remarried Catholics be allowed holy communion, which is against the present teaching of the Church.
  18. Pope Francis has been washing feet of the twelve on Holy Thursday at different church in a different year including washing and kissing of the feet of Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Coptic Christian. Once he washed and kissed feet of a woman, the first-ever in the Church. Conservatives do not like this kind of loving, forgiving, and merciful gestures from a pope, considered to be representative of Christ and a ‘royal’ one.
  19. The Pope, when going by special popemobile, sometimes takes a sudden decision to get down from the vehicle (which is very unconventional and unpapal) to greet a child or a deformed or handicapped person waiting in the nearby crowd.
  20. He is encouraging close contacts and cooperation with non-Catholic Christian denominations, such as the Lutherans, Anglicans, and other evangelical Christians.
  21. He has been emphasizing dialogue with religious leaders of other religions – Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. He has been telling Catholics not to be afraid to dialogue and interact with persons of other faiths. Conservatives want to be careful about this matter.
  22. The Pope has been telling priests, bishops, and cardinals to be servants rather than rulers of the laypersons. He is asking them to go among the people – the lowliest ones, too – mingle with them, smell like them, and serve them as Christ had asked. Priests, bishops, and cardinals used to living in comfort, opulence, luxury, and ever obedience from the laity, find it hard to accept. They, of course, would not like Pope Francis for this change of attitude and lifestyle.
  23. Pope Francis gave interviews, which is untraditional and unusual, to newspapers (like Father Spadaro, S.X. and Mr. Eugenio Scalfari – an Italian journalist and an atheist), and magazines and freely expressed his opinions and views – sometimes palatable, sometimes.  Conservatives took this as an unpapal behaviour and demeaning for a regal pope!
  24. During the recent Amazon Synod in the Vatican, Pope has allowed Amazon indigenous people to bring their idols, like Panchamama, during worship ceremony and the Pope himself blessed some of those items. Conservatives saw ‘idolatry’ in this and they are demanding that the pope asks God’s forgiveness and reconcile with him.
  25. Pope Francis is going to allow married priests in the Amazon region of Brazil where very few priests are available. In the Latin rite Catholic Church, priests still are not allowed to marry. 

Since 2013, with the ascendancy of Pope Francis, all kinds of opposition are going on against him. There are punches and counterpunches, there is chaos and commotions. Where is God in all this?

To know and understand more on this issue, please read the following items:



(Updated on December 5, 2019)

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