Catholic dioceses continue to battle over corpse of Fulton J. Sheen

Centuries ago, it was very popular for Roman Catholics to make pilgrimages to designated “holy” sites and shrines as part of a spiritual/penitential exercise or in an effort to obtain indulgences to shorten time spent in Purgatory after death. Catholic churches across Europe competed with each other to obtain the best “relics” (body parts or personal effects of “saints”) in order to attract potential pilgrims. The pilgrimage busine$$ is definitely not what it used to be, but devotees still flock to various sites.

I’ve previously posted a number of messages regarding the strange, ongoing legal tug-of-war over the corpse of former archbishop, Fulton J. Sheen. Sheen was one of the first Catholics to use the new media of radio and television to propagate the Catholic religion and became a national celebrity in the 50s and 60s. Sheen died in 1979 and is on the fast-track to sainthood because of his celebrity except for one huge snag. As we see in the recent news article below, the dioceses of Peoria, Illinois and New York City continue to fight over the final “resting place” of Sheen’s remains. He was born in El Paso, Illinois near Peoria but earned his great fame in New York as auxiliary bishop from 1951 to 1966. Both dioceses desperately want to be “home” to the crypt of this soon-to-be-canonized saint, but the Vatican won’t canonize Sheen until his “resting place’ is settled once and for all. They surely don’t want the negative publicity that would follow if he were canonized in the middle of this squabble.

None of this has anything to do with Christianity.

  • “Holy” sites and relics impart no blessings.
  • Natural man glories in the creature rather than the Creator. Can anyone imagine a passage in the New Testament in which two churches were fighting over the remains of a deceased believer? The veneration/worship of Sheen’s earthly remains is idolatry.
  • According to the New Testament, saints are all those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, NOT some subgroup of super-sanctified “holy” people.
  • Sheen proclaimed Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit rather than the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5:20-21

Bishop Fulton Sheen’s bones at center of raging court case

See my previous post on the fight over Sheen’s corpse here.


Canadian Catholics flocking to venerate Francis Xavier’s arm?

I was perusing through Catholic news over the weekend and came across the articles far below, which mention the tour of a “relic” of “saint” Francis Xavier, specifically his right arm (see photo above), across Canada this month. Xavier was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which was created in 1534 to counter the growing Reformation movement in Europe. Xavier spent the years 1541 to 1552 in India and the Far East, converting tens of thousands of souls to Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Today he is one of Catholicism’s most celebrated “saints.”

The church defines a relic as “a piece of the body of a saint, an item owned or used by the saint, or an object which has been touched to the tomb of a saint.”

The Catholic church has been collecting relics of “saints” for centuries. Catholics are encouraged to make pilgrimages to sites where relics are displayed in order to venerate and pray to the saint.

The purpose of relics, according to the church, are to “remind (Catholics) of the holiness of a saint and his cooperation in God’s work. At the same time, relics inspire (Catholics) to ask for the prayers of that saint and to beg the grace of God to live the same kind of faith-filled live.”

None of the above is Scriptural. We are to pray to God alone. There’s not one instance in the New Testament when a believer prayed to a dead believer or venerated one of their body parts or personal belongings. Praying to dead people and worshiping aka “venerating” their body parts is blasphemy. See the article, “How should a Christian view relics?,” here.

Xavier’s right arm will be presented for veneration/worship at 26 churches in 15 Canadian cities from Wednesday, January 3rd to Friday, February 2nd.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I wonder what Stephen J. Nichols of Ligonier Ministries thinks about the tour of Xavier’s right arm across Canada? Nichols betrayed the Gospel of grace when he included Xavier as one of the 26 “Heroes of the Faith” in his children’s book, “The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith.” See here.

Catholic friend, praying to dead saints or their body parts won’t save you. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. He is the only way to Heaven.

Question: “Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?”

The holy and uncorrupted arm of St. Francis Xavier is crossing Canada for a two-week tour
The holy and uncorrupted arm of St. Francis Xavier is crossing Canada for a two-week tour

Canadian cities and churches where the relic is scheduled to visit:

Chasing after a spiritual “high” by following the “mystics”

Teresa of Avila: An Ancient Mystic Who Helped Shape Today’s Spiritual Formation Movement
By Carolyn A. Greene
Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2017, 19 pages, $1.95

Within the evangelical church, we see trends and gimmicks come and go. Others stay around for awhile. Some hip pastor dreams up a new, “cutting edge” spirituality technique and then appears on TBN hawking his new book and the next thing you know “progressive” pastors all over the country are climbing on board so they don’t get left behind at the “last year’s news” station.

Such is the case with the “contemplative prayer” (aka “spiritual formation” and “centering prayer”) movement. It wasn’t enough just to read God’s Word and go to the Lord in simple prayer. No, as Christianity in America began moving farther and farther away from doctrine-based faith to subjective experientialism, “cutting edge” pastors began looking into methods for their congregations to “deepen” their prayer/worship “encounter.” But there was no need to reinvent the wheel. “Hip” pastors read accounts of the old Roman Catholic mystics and discovered exactly what they were looking for.

Cloistered monastic religious orders encouraged their monks and nuns to practice forms of extreme asceticism including self-mortification (flagellation, chronic fasting, sleep deprivation, etc.). Under these conditions, the mystics often fell into deep swoons and trances and claimed to experience ecstasies and the miraculous phenomena of levitation, bi-location, and stigmata as well as being visited by Jesus and/or the “Blessed Virgin.”

One such Catholic mystic was the celebrated “saint,” Teresa of Avila, Spain (1515-1582). In this pamphlet, Carolyn Greene refers to some of the writings of Teresa to illustrate her “otherworldly” experiences. This short pamphlet is not a thorough exposé of “contemplative prayer” or of the alleged experiences of Teresa, but serves only as a brief introduction.

Many “hip” pastors and church leaders have jumped onto the “contemplative prayer” band wagon. They extol the writings of Teresa and other Catholic mystics as guides for their followers to experience a deep, subjective, often trance-like “encounter” while in prayer/meditation. This technique began in the “emerging church” with people like Brian McLaren and Richard Foster and has since spread into mainstream “evangelicalism” through people like Sarah Young, Rick Warren, Dallas Willard, Tim Keller, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer.

Contemplative/centering prayer promotes emptying the mind and experiencing a self-induced trance similar to the TM trancendental meditation practices taught in Hinduism. I believe voluntarily surrendering control of one’s mind exposes an individual to demonic influences. In contrast, God’s Word commands that we are to be ever sober and vigilant rather than slaves of hypnotic euphoria.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:22-24

The other great danger of the contemplative prayer movement is that it serves as a bridge between evangelical Christians and Roman Catholicism. Teresa of Avila was a faithful follower of Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation through sacramental grace and merit. If your pastor proposes a contemplative/centering prayer initiative, it’s definitely time to find a new church.

For many resources that examine the dangers of contemplative spirituality and Roman Catholicism, see the link to Lighthouse Trails Publishing below.

Lighthouse Trails Publishing

Sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1652, “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” purports to show the “saint” in the throes of swooning ecstasy as an angel prepares to thrust a golden lance into her heart.

Betrayal in the camp

Ecumenism with religious error is rampant throughout the evangelical church these days. Over the last sixty years, the percentage of evangelical pastors, theologians, and para-church leaders who embrace Roman Catholicism with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit as a Christian entity has steadily risen. One of the few remaining bastions of non-compromise with Rome was the conservative Reformed movement. I admired men like D. James Kennedy, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and John Piper for their unyielding defense of the Gospel of grace in the face of compromise and betrayal that surrounds them. But accommodation and compromise with Rome is now in the camp of even the conservative Reformed.

A brother and trusted friend in the Lord recently posted a brief review of a children’s book, titled, “The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith,” (photo middle). My thoughts below in no way reflect on this brother who initially posted the review completely unaware of the facts I will present.

The author of the book, Stephen J. Nichols (photo left), is a very prominent figure in the conservative Reformed movement. He serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries, both founded by R.C. Sproul. Nichols is also strongly connected to the ministry of John MacArther and has presented at multiple Shepherd’s Conferences hosted by Grace Community Church.

Being the nerd that I am, I was curious to see who Nichols included in his collection of 26 “heroes of the faith.” I did a little digging and had my answer (see here). I was somewhat familiar with 18 of the 26 individuals on the list and one of them really stood out: Francis Xavier (photo right). What? I had to do a double take. Francis Xavier? Are you kidding me? As an ex-Catholic, I am very much aware of Xavier. He’s one of Catholicism’s most prominent and revered “saints” and his name adorns many Catholic churches and institutions. Xavier was a close friend and associate of Ignatius of Loyola. Together, with a few others, they founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, in 1534 (the official formation was in 1540). That’s right, the Jesuits! The order of the Jesuits was created specifically to counteract the work of the Reformation in spreading the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Ignatius and Xavier patterned the Jesuits according to a military model (Ignatius was a former soldier). The order would be the pope’s personal “army.” Jesuit priests pledged absolute loyalty to the pontiff and would use whatever means necessary to neutralize and defeat the spread of the Gospel. Much of their counter-Reformation work was done via the establishment of schools and expeditions to remote areas to spread Rome’s false gospel. Xavier was very active in India and the Far East. In 1546, he requested that the Portuguese king send the Inquisition to Goa, the center of Portuguese colonialism in India. The infamous Goa Inquisition (see here) imprisoned, tortured, and executed “heretics” until its abolition in 1820. Xavier died in 1552.

So, given all of the above, I have a few questions. How can one of the “bright young stars” of the conservative Reformed movement possibly cite Francis Xavier as a “hero of the faith”? Which faith? Certainly not the “sola fide, solus Christus,” faith alone, in Christ alone that I know and that Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin preached. Xavier was bitterly opposed to the Reformation and to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Xavier worked tirelessly to spread Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit throughout Asia. He was absolutely no friend of the Gospel or of the Reformers. How exactly does Nichols square all of that in his head? What is he thinking? How in the world can he see clear to calling darkness light? And how can faithful shepherds of the church swallow what Nichols is dishing out? What does R.C. Sproul say about Nichols’ presentation of Jesuit Xavier as a “hero of the faith”? What does John MacArthur say about Nichols holding up the co-founder of the Jesuits as an exemplary Christian?

Rest assured that Stephen J. Nichols pondered very long and hard as to who he would present in his list of 26 “heroes.” Including such a controversial figure as the co-founder of the Jesuits in this collection was no mistake. It’s clear Nichols has an ecumenical agenda and he’s obviously not afraid to push it. Will Sproul and MacArthur call him on it or will they let it go? After all, it’s only a children’s book, right? What will we see next, the leaders of the conservative Reformed movement writing biographies praising the various popes of Rome?

My heart grieves and my stomach turns. I can only pray for Stephen Nichols.

Catholic Shrines: “Holy” sites or whited sepulchres?

I listen regularly to Catholic talk radio show, “Calling All Catholics,” The Station of the Cross (101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY), and one of the priest-hosts is Peter Calabrese who works at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima here in Western New York

Making a pilgrimage to a “holy shrine” used to be a very popular endeavor for Catholics, although I’m sure much of the enthusiasm has faded among the younger generations. The Roman Catholic church teaches that its members can earn indulgences that remit temporal punishment in purgatory by visiting officially sanctioned, “consecrated” shrines.

There are many shrines all over the U.S., but the closest shrine to me is the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston, NY, around 100-miles west of Rochester. The shrine church was completed in 1965. It’s a glass-domed structure that depicts the Northern Hemisphere. A 13-foot-tall statue of Mary, “Queen of Heaven,” stands atop the dome (see photos).

On the 16-acre grounds are 150 statues of Mary, Jesus, and various saints. Special prominence is given to statues depicting the alleged Marian apparition at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

Imagine the many thousands of souls who have walked the spacious grounds of this shrine over the last 52-years, stopping before the many statues and offering prayers to Mary and the saints, asking for their intercession and help in bringing them to salvation. Most of what is presented at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is un-Biblical and even anti-Biblical. Many would say the shrine buildings and grounds are beautiful and inspiring. The lights. The statues. It’s all meant to appeal to the flesh. But genuine Christians worship the Lord God in spirit and in truth. Salvation does not come by pilgrimages to shrines and other religious exercises. Salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Buildings crumble and fall but Christ is the solid Rock of eternal salvation. Put your faith in Him and nothing else. That is what Mary really desires.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24

Just imagine, if you can, the apostle Paul and Barnabas, walking together through Lewiston and coming upon this shrine with its many statues and its focus on the “Queen of Heaven.” They would think they were seeing an idolatrous pagan Roman shrine rather than someplace supposedly associated with Christianity.

Below is a listing of all the Catholic shrines in the USA:

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Getting our throats blessed by Saint Blaise was a big deal!

Memories of our childhood and of family traditions can be a joy and a comfort in thisFEAST ST. BLAISE increasingly fast-paced world. But we shouldn’t be slaves to tradition and ritual. Perhaps some of the things we were taught by well-meaning but misinformed parents, teachers, and authority figures weren’t correct or were even harmful.

I was listening to a recent podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY and they were discussing the feast of St. Blaise, celebrated this past Friday, February 3rd.

Oh, how I looked forward to the feast of St. Blaise when I was a young Catholic grammar school student! It was such a big deal for us Catholic children to get our throats blessed on that day. It seemed to us that Blaise was one of the most important and powerful saints next to Mary because we didn’t make special trips to church for the feast day of any other saint.

At the tail end of the mass on Saint Blaise’s feast day we would all line up at the altar rail. The priest would then place two crossed blessed candles at the throat of each supplicant and say the following formula:

“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The supplicant would then respond with an “Amen.”

I enjoyed the ritual of getting my throat blessed every February 3rd but I would inevitably come down with sore throats during the year. My young mind even wondered why there was so much pomp and ritual for the blessing of the throat but not for other parts of the body. Why was that? A few years later, I questioned why we needed to pray to saints for help when it seemed like we should be able to go directly to God in prayer. And then, when I was around eleven, I remember thinking, “If we have to obey the Ten Commandments and church rules to merit Heaven, as the Catholic church teaches, then why did Jesus have to die on the cross?” I wouldn’t have a satisfactory answer to that question until sixteen years later when I realized from God’s Word that we are all sinners and could not possibly merit Heaven. It was then that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Blaise doesn’t hear prayers or bless throats. It’s all a man-made tradition. There is only one Mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus. Accept Him as your Savior and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise. Traditions, rituals, and ceremonies don’t save. Only Jesus saves!

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

God’s Word says that “saints” aren’t super duper holy people, like the Catholic church teaches. No, rather saints are all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith.

Court settles feud over famous bishop’s remains

If you’re sixty-years-old or older you probably remember Catholic archbishop, Fultonbs J. Sheen. Sheen was the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of New York City from 1951 to 1965 and hosted two television shows; one pioneering show, Life Is Worth Living, from 1951 to 1957 and the other, The Fulton Sheen Program, from 1961 to 1968. In both programs he spoke on the topics of the day and propagated the Catholic religion.

I can remember as a young Catholic boy watching Sheen on TV, dressed in his bishop’s finery and with his piercing eyes. The man had a rapier wit and intellect and spoke to the camera extemporaneously for thirty minutes without the aid of notes or cue cards. He had a regal persona befitting a “prince of the church.” Rarely do we encounter Sheen’s brand of royal chutzpah in these days.

As we now know, Sheen was on very bad terms with his immediate superior, archbishop of New York, Francis cardinal Spellman. Spellman no doubt resented his subordinate’s national popularity. In 1957, Spellman demanded that Sheen reimburse the NYC diocese for the million-dollar value of powdered milk donated by the U.S. government that was distributed to the needy by Sheen’s Society for the Propagation of the Faith. When Sheen refused, Spellman brought the dispute before pope Pius XII who shocked the cardinal by siding with Sheen. Spellman swore to Sheen he would get his revenge someday. In 1966, Spellman arranged for Sheen to be appointed bishop of the inconsequential diocese of Rochester, N.Y. where I live. The Catholic community in Rochester was not privy to the political machinations in New York City and we all wondered how a man of Sheen’s national stature could be installed as the bishop of our small, humble city. I don’t remember too much about Sheen’s short episcopate in Rochester (1966-1969) other than some anti-Vietnam War statements that infuriated my politically conservative father and the fact that he chose to live in a humble apartment at the downtown CYO rather than at a 7000 square-foot mansion in the city’s ritziest neighborhood like his predecessor (see here). Sheen resigned his Rochester bishopric in 1969 and was crowned as a titular archbishop in the same year.

Sheen died in 1979 and twenty years later the process began to have him canonized as a saint. Things were put on hold in 2010 because both the dioceses of New York City and Peoria, Illinois where Sheen grew up claimed title to the future saint’s remains. Imagine the believers of New Testament times fighting over someone’s dead body. On November 17th the Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled in favor of Sheen’s niece that the remains of the former celebrity be moved from New York to Peoria (see the news report below).

Now that the dispute has been settled, the Vatican will put Sheen’s canonization back on the fast track. The church benefits tremendously from the canonization of popular figures like it did with pope John Paul II and mother Teresa.

I may have watched 15 or 20 of Sheen’s television shows when I was a young guy. He spoke eloquently about the Catholic religion but he never once mentioned the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. In contrast, Sheen, like all Roman Catholic clergy, taught a gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. People reverence appealing and influential personalities like Fulton Sheen but he was a false shepherd with a false gospel. Venerating dead bodies is not helpful. Salvation is only by faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, the Savior.

New York court rules Fulton Sheen remains should go to Peoria

Back from the dead?


I was a member of the Roman Catholic church beginning in 1956, when I was baptized as an infant, until 1983 when I left the church and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. As a young person, I can remember the rampant superstition and the reports of supernatural phenomena that were rife in the church. We constantly heard tales of eucharistic hosts bleeding and statues of saints either moving, weeping, or bleeding. The nuns at our grammar school loved to pass along these tales to their young charges.

As I was scanning the news the other day, I came across the report below. The body of saint Inocencia is on display at the cathedral of Guadalajara in Mexico. The story goes that 300 years ago, Inocencia was stabbed to death by her father because she disobeyed his order not to join the Catholic church. Like many Catholic saints, Inocencia’s corpse went on display to attract pilgrims who were eager to pray to the saint and contribute monetary offerings. Only Inocencia’s mummified hands are exposed. The rest of her body is covered with a wax casing.

In the 40-second video above, a recent visitor to the relic supposedly records the saint’s eyes opening. Take a look. How do we explain this? Well, it’s either video tricks or demonic activity. In the past, I used to completely dismiss such Catholic miracles as religious hysteria, but the Bible says the evil one is capable of impressive  signs and wonders.

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:9

How can we be confident that all of the supernatural phenomena that bolsters Catholic superstition and idolatry can either be attributed to religious hysteria or demonic activity? I think I just answered my own question.

Back from the dead? A Catholic child saint who was stabbed to death by her father 300 years ago ‘blinks’ during tourist’s terrifying footage

What does the Bible say about demonic/satanic miracles?

The Vatican prepares to declare Mother Teresa a “saint”

Mother Teresa (born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, 1910-1997) is scheduled to be canonized as aMTTTT Roman Catholic saint at a ceremony at the Vatican on September 4th. Hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world are eagerly anticipating the canonization. The Time magazine special edition on the life of Mother Teresa is already in place at the grocery store check out lines (see photo). I’ve put together a little question and answer exchange below to shed some light on Mother Teresa’s upcoming canonization.

What does it mean when the Catholic church canonizes someone?

Through a vetting process including the evidence of two intercessory miracles, the church determines a dead person is a “saint” who merited entry to Heaven and declares they can act as mediators between God and people. Normally the canonization process takes multiple decades if not centuries, but it’s in the church’s best interests to capitalize on Mother Teresa’s high popularity. The New Testament doesn’t teach anything about “saints” being super-spiritual people who merited their way to Heaven more quickly than most works religionists. The Bible refers to “saints” as all those who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and are sanctified in Him.

But doesn’t the Bible say there’s only one Mediator between God and people and that’s Jesus Christ? [1 Timothy 2:5-6] 

Nowhere in the Bible does a believer pray to someone other than God. Teaching that dead people can hear any prayers let alone the prayers of thousands and even millions simultaneously assumes they have powers that only God possesses. As someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I can come directly to the throne of grace. [Hebrews 4:16] To teach there are other mediators between God and mankind is blasphemous and repugnant to all those who have accepted Christ and been bought with the blood of our Precious Savior.

Why is Mother Teresa so famous? Other people have been deeply involved in charity work.

Influential British journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge, brought Mother Teresa to the world’s attention in 1967 and her reputation snowballed. Pastors – both Catholic and Protestant – held Mother Teresa up as THE standard of “Christian” charity.

Did Mother Teresa believe in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone?

No. It’s clear from her many statements (see the article below) that Mother Teresa followed the Catholic gospel of sacramental grace and merit. She also supported her church’s teaching that people of all religions and even atheists can merit Heaven if they obey “the light they’ve been given” and are “good.”

If Mother Teresa followed a gospel of sacramental grace and works then why do so many evangelical pastors point to her as the standard of Christian charity?

Good question. We’re seeing the compromise and betrayal of the Gospel of grace by some in the cause of “Christian unity.” Notice that the forward to the Time magazine special edition commemorating Mother Teresa’s canonization was written by “America’s Pastor,” Rick Warren. That was no afterthought.

Isn’t it uncharitable to speak negatively about Mother Teresa?

I love all Roman Catholics and I pray they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Mother Teresa symbolizes a religion that teaches a person must merit their salvation. It’s much more charitable to be honest with Catholics and to point them to Jesus Christ than to remain silent about the unbiblical and spiritually deadly doctrines that were upheld by Mother Teresa.

I’ve posted Tim Challies’s informative article below on Mother Teresa a couple of times but here it is again for anyone who hasn’t seen it:

The Myth Of Mother Teresa

Patriotic saint or fascist collaborator?

We’ve seen a lot in the press over the past year regarding threats to religious freedom.Step Individuals and groups have made headlines in their opposition to new federal mandates which interfere with religious beliefs regarding insurance coverage for contraceptives and marriages of same-sex couples. We’ll undoubtedly see further assaults on religious freedoms in the future.

The Catholic church has been an outspoken defender of religious freedoms during this current controversy. The relics of saints Thomas More and John Fisher recently concluded their tour of several U.S. cities as part of the church’s “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign. More and Fisher were murdered by Henry VIII in the 16th century because of their refusal to acknowledge the king as the leader of the breakaway church of England. But the Catholic church conveniently forgets to mention that in the same era when More and Fisher were killed, hundreds of thousands of Protestants were put to death as heretics by civil authorities in league with the church in countries where Catholicism dominated. Also, when Donald Trump first made his negative remarks regarding Muslims last December, journalists were quick to remind us that Catholics had once been the target of nativist Protestants in 19th and 20th century America. What the pundits failed to mention was that anti-Catholicism in the United States was at least partially a reaction to the suppression and persecution of non-Catholics in Catholic countries. See my earlier post here.

Several days ago I saw the article below about Croatia overturning the 1946 conviction of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac as a fascist, pro-Nazi collaborator. No one can deny that Stepinac was an early supporter of the murderous Catholic Ustase. Few Americans are familiar with the story of the bloody Ustase and their alliance with Nazi Germany. See here. But Croatians who currently campaign for Stepinac’s canonization view him as a patriot and supporter of Croatian independence rather than as a patron of fascist intolerance. Survivors of the Ustase and their families are understandably outraged at the canonization efforts on behalf of Stepinac.

But Stepinac and the Ustase weren’t alone. There were many other fascist movements in 20th century Europe that had the full support of the Catholic church including:

  • Francisco Franco and Nacionalcatolicismo in Spain
  • Antonio Salazar and Estado Novo in Portugal
  • Benito Mussolini and the Partito Popolare Italiano in Italy
  • Engelbert Dollfuss and Austrofacism in Austria
  • Jozef Tiso and the Slovak People’s Party in the Slovak Republic
  • Leon Degrelle and the Rexists in Belgium
  • Philippe Petain and Vichy France
  • The Endecja and post-Pilsudski Sanacja in Poland

For the purposes of this post I won’t digress into Catholic falangism that sprouted up throughout Latin America.

The church used its strong connections with fascist, pro-Catholic regimes to restrict and oppress non-Catholic religious groups, but only seventy-years after the peak of clerical fascism in Europe, the Catholic church portrays itself as the defender of religious freedom. Yes, European clerical fascism is water well over the dam at this point but there’s an irony here that should not be missed or forgotten.

Croatia overturns conviction of WW2 ‘collaborator’ Cardinal Stepinac