Author: Pedro Gabriel

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Benedict, Francis, and ideology – an overlooked continuity

“But there have always been those people who, without any official title, go about disturbing the Christian community with discourses which unsettle souls: ‘Ah, no, what he said is heretical; that cannot be said, not that, the doctrine of the Church is this’. In reality, they are fanatics about things which are not clear, like those fanatics who went about sowing weeds to divide the Christian community. So, this is the problem: when the doctrine...

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Which Pope said this?

“To speak of humaneness and generosity is to echo another constitutional principle of the United Nations, its positive summit: you are working here not just to eliminate conflicts between States, but to make it possible for States to work for each other. You are not content with facilitating coexistence between nations. You are taking a much bigger step forward, one worthy of our praise and our support: you are organizing fraternal collaboration between nations. You...

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What have we become?

In his New Year’s Day homily, Pope Francis denounced violence against women as a “blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman.” CNN immediately tried to capitalize on this for sensationalistic purposes, by tying his speech to the incident the previous day, when he slapped the hand of a woman who yanked his arm violently in order to release himself from her grip. I admit I was pleasantly surprised, not by the tweet, but...

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“Which Pope said this?”

“Good news. A single word – Gospel – that, even as it is spoken, becomes truth, brimming with joy and mercy. We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone. Truth, mercy and joy: these three go together. (…) The mercy of the good news can never...

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The infallibly erring Pope

“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day” — Popular proverb, unknown author One of the criticisms against our website we most often hear is: “you think that everything the Pope does or says is infallible.” Not so. We know full well that a Pope is only infallible when he makes an ex cathedra definition (even though it is also true that the Pope is acting infallibly in a sense when he promulgates a...

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On yanking and slapping hands

Today is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God: one of the holy days of obligation of the Christmas Octave and the first day of the New Year of 2020! So what better way for a Catholic to celebrate and cheer, than to badmouth the Pope? Yes, unfortunately, yesterday and today, Catholic social media has been boiling with a viral video of Pope Francis slapping the hand of a woman. The...

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Which Pope said this?

“Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (v. 24). With these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a matter of numbers, there is no “limited number” in Paradise! Rather, it is a case of taking the right way from now, and this right way is for everyone, but it is narrow. This is the problem. Jesus does not...

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Merry Christmas!

“From the womb of Mother Church, the incarnate Son of God is born anew this night. His name is Jesus, which means: “God saves”. The Father, eternal and infinite Love, has sent him into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. The Father has given him to us with great mercy. He has given him to everyone. He has given him forever. The Son is born, like a small light flickering...

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Which Pope said this?

“The enchanting image of the Christmas crèche, so dear to the Christian people, never ceases to arouse amazement and wonder. The depiction of Jesus’ birth is itself a simple and joyful proclamation of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture. As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey,...

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Ecological sin and the Cosmic Temple

“Equally worrying is the ecological question (…) At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God’s prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the...

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Fr. Pacwa and divine signs

I would like to end my series on the controversy around the Amazon Synod carved figure by making a brief commentary on a recent video by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. This video is the source of the “do you think we’re stupid?” canard. This catchprase has been repeated in a mantra-like fashion by those who have been clinging to the narrative that there was a pagan ritual in the Vatican. As I said since the beginning...

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Which Pope said this?

I want to address now, from this land of Cochabamba, peasant par excellence, to you, Quechua peasants, men of the “bronze lineage”, who from time immemorial populate these valleys and are at the roots of Bolivian nationality; that you have given to the world your nutritional and medicinal findings such as potatoes, corn and quinoa. The Lord continues to accompany your work with His help. He takes care of the birds of the sky, of...

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Which Pope said this?

“The profound sense that the earth is “suffering” is also shared by those who do not profess our faith in God. Indeed, the increasing devastation of the world of nature is apparent to all. It results from the behaviour of people who show a callous disregard for the hidden, yet perceivable requirements of the order and harmony which govern nature itself . (…) The gradual depletion of the ozone layer and the related “greenhouse effect”has...

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Who is Pachamama anyway?

In my past articles covering the controversy around the carved figure from the Amazon Synod, I arrived at the conclusion that–contrary to the accusations from the usual suspects–there is no evidence that a pagan ritual took place in the Vatican. The statue could represent, depending on who you asked, a kind of Marian depiction of Our Lady of the Amazon, or a mere symbol of life and fertility, without idolatrous intentions. The Pachamama references (which...

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It was clearly idolatry!

Over the past two months, we’ve witnessed papal detractors create and exploit a controversy based upon actions done during a prayer service led by indigenous Catholics from the Amazon region on the eve of the Synod of Bishops. They’ve used it to propel a narrative seeking to undermine the Synod (and, by definition, the Pope himself). According to their narrative, there is no question that what happened in the Vatican Gardens that day was a...

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Which Pope said this?

“In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. One also senses the urgent need to find innovative ways of implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect and of giving...

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Which Pope said this?

“The earth is a huge wounded creature; she is ill. Bending over her, not as a slave over the clod, but as the physician over a prostrate sufferer, the tiller lovingly showers on her his care. But love, for all that it is so necessary, is not enough. To know nature, to know, so to speak, the temperament of one’s own piece of land, sometimes so different from that of the very next plot; to...

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Conservatism and Fideism: My answer to Ross Douthat

When I heard that our website had been mentioned in the New York Times, I was overjoyed. It is always encouraging to know that one’s efforts are making a difference. However, I was extremely disappointed when I read the column. Not because it was critical of our work (in fact, I don’t think it was), but because it described our position inaccurately. What I read didn’t seem like a description of our site, but somebody...

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Pachamama – the missing piece of the puzzle

In my last article about the Our Lady of the Amazon / Pachamama controversy, I tried to reconcile the apparent contradictions between the various claims about the identity of the enigmatic wooden carved figure. I reached the conclusion, supported by interventions from official sources that the figure could be construed as either 1) a representation of life, fertility, Mother Earth (Vatican spokespeople and REPAM representatives); or 2) the Blessed Virgin Mary (the native woman who...

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Which Pope said this?

“So it is that Christ the Judge speaks of “one of the least of the brethren”, and at the same time he is speaking of each and of all. Yes. He is speaking of the whole universal dimension of injustice and evil. He is speaking of what today we are accustomed to call the North-South contrast. Hence not only East-West, but also North-South: the increasingly wealthier North, and the increasingly poorer South. Yes, the South...