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Chrism, Peacock & Vatican-China Talks

Lenten Acrobatics


On Friday Pope Francis returned from his week-long Lenten spiritual exercises in Ariccia, where he and members of the Roman Curia have been on their annual retreat since Sunday afternoon.

Before boarding the bus that would take him back to Vatican City, he thanked Fr. José Tolentino de Mendonça for reminding them that “the Church is not a cage for the Holy Spirit,” and also voiced thanks for receiving a warning “not to shrink it with our bureaucratic worldliness!”

I bet that there were circuses and acrobats every day...



Age for Chrism or Confirmation

Good morning TIA,

When I was young and going to the Novus Ordo, I was confirmed when I was 15 or 16 years old (~1986). I've heard that this age is still common for confirmation today in the NO. Now that I have children, given the amount of filth in the world and attacks leveled at the young, I have decided to armor up my children with the sacrament of confirmation at age 9.

I asked my father, who was born in 1941, what age he was confirmed and he told me he was confirmed at about age 9. I suspect that the increase in age was a result of changes in Vatican II, is this true? This increase in age for confirmation seems to be more advantageous for the evil one, and sadly, for endangering souls.

What is the traditional age for confirmation?

     God bless!


TIA responds:

Good morning J.T.,

Regarding the proper age to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Roman Catechism teaches:

“After Baptism, all can per se receive the Chrism, but it is less convenient for this to happen before children reach the use of reason.

“Therefore, although it is not necessary to wait until the age of 12, there is however great convenience to postpone the reception of this sacrament until the child reaches the age of 7.

“Chrism was not instituted as an indispensable means of salvation, but for its virtue we become strong and courageous in the battles we have to fight for the faith of Christ. Now then, no one judges that children are capable of these fights before they reach the use of reason.” (Roman Catechism, Part II, III § 17)

So, your decision to ask for a Bishop to confirm your children at age 9 is approved by the tradition and practices of the Catholic Church.


     TIA correspondence desk


Great Age of Faith

Dear TIA,

I thank Dr. Horvat for her excellent comments regarding How to Survive in the Middle Ages.

I did not know about the "Positivism" method of history, though I did notice the book did not say very much about the Catholic Church.

This method seems to account for a lot of books that are quite dry because they leave out the Faith. I am glad that she concurs that the facts presented are true and that history should not be overly romanticized. It seems, then, that the book has value, though it must be read alongside books that do give the Catholic perspective, in order to be complete.

It is good TIA provides a complete history of The Great Age of Faith. I wonder if Dr. Horvat will write a comprehensive book on the Middle Ages? Or perhaps a much more simple children's book, to start?




Peacock as Maronite Symbol


I am looking for a picture of a peacock that I can use for a carving I am making to be used in the Catholic Maronite Rite.

Do you have one, or can you direct me anywhere?

     Many thanks.


TIA responds:


You may find some good pictures in high resolution in Wikimedia Commons: its photos are in the public domain without problems of copyrights.

Try here, for example.


     TIA correspondence desk


Vatican-China Talks Raise Indignation

Hello TIA,

Here is an article from a Chinese priest who makes interesting points. Although he is wrong in supporting the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Communist China, there are some good points. The main one is that, with these talks, the Church stops being the defender of the Truth and becomes a disseminator of error.

A very good point indeed, but that is what has been happening since John Paul II, who opened the Vatican to negotiations with the Chinese Patriotic Association.

He also mocks the Cardinal who stated that China is the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine.

     Some excerpts below.


Chinese Priest Writes about the Enflamed Climate
Surrounding China-Vatican Talks

Cheng Zhi

Feb 23, 2018 - As a simple believer, it is useless to say anything with regard to what is happening in China-Vatican relations. However, someone has suggested that, as a member of the Church, one has to express one’s opinion on Church affairs so as to guide people who do not know the truth. Although I would never dare to “guide” anyone by writing this article, I just want to express my point of view, which could be wrong, but is my personal statement on the matter!

Those who support Cardinal Pietro Parolin always say that opponents aim to obstruct China-Vatican negotiations and the establishment of diplomatic relations. A certain media outlet even wrote about "the recent ‘media storm’ fueled by political motivations, attempting to relaunch the campaigns orchestrated by some groups in Hong Kong and in some sectors of the West opposed to a possible turning point in relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Vatican."

It is disgusting every time to see that news agency talk about the topic of China-Vatican relations. Now it is becoming more and more ridiculous, as its style of writing is fully aligned with that of Communist Party official media. I wonder – if the CCP were so amiable – why that news agency did not publish in other languages the interview with the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences who said that “China is the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine”. I guess that maybe even they feel embarrassed by such a slap in the face.

Well, these words have nothing to do with China-Vatican relations. What I want to say is that the opponents to a deal actually do not oppose an agreement between China and the Holy See, nor do they oppose the establishment of China-Vatican diplomatic relations. In fact, we have all along hoped for an agreement and the establishment of diplomatic relations. However, this agreement and diplomatic relations should not be achieved at the cost of abandoning the Church's longstanding disciplinary rules or her bottom line.

Furthermore, we should consider the creditworthiness of the negotiating parties. When did the Communist Party become credible since it was born out of lies? Except for its policy to impose violence on people of different ideologies – which is quite convincing – are there any other believable policies whose only aim is to maintain the stability of the government?

In other words, opponents of a deal do not oppose the agreement or the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican. What they oppose is abandoning the bottom line to achieve an agreement or diplomatic relations if the agreement brings no benefit to the Church.

What’s the point if diplomatic relations are eventually established? Look at the current situation of the Church in China. It is true that every place is different from others, but where does the Church truly exercise her rights? Where is the place that has truly implemented the law on religious freedom present in the Constitution?

Since ancient times, the Church has been the conscience of society, as it has always been the voice to criticize various injustices and evils in society. However, the current negotiations and any eventual agreement would not only see the Church lose its role as prophet and conscience of society, but would also promote the evil behavior of the unjust.

Of course, the Church’s role as prophet and conscience of society has such little effect in today’s China, and Church law is nothing more than an blank piece of paper for the Chinese Church. Who, among the illicit bishops, has really been punished? Aren’t illicitly ordained bishops, or those who illicitly ordain others, still running their administration? Not to mention the excommunicated bishops who still ordain priests. . . . How many parish priests do support abortion? It is curious to know about two bishops who – according to rumors on the Internet – have wives and children, even though they are not the ones I personally know. ... Faced with all these violations of the doctrine and even ethics, where is the binding effect of Church law?

Let’s get back to the government's treatment of the Church. Across the nation, there are constant episodes in which crosses are destroyed and churches closed or demolished. Minors have been denied the right to profess their faith or even enter churches, and there are strict rules for adults to enter in churches and how long they can stay there (well, someone may say: nonsense, where are such rules? I can only tell you to thank the Lord because your place is lucky). Even the dead cannot escape (in Xinjiang, the tombstone of Bishop Xie of Urumqi, who died last summer, was removed the night of his funeral). All this is actually done by the “best implementer of Catholic social doctrine” to cite a monsignor highly placed in the Holy See.

Again, let me reiterate: What the opponents are against is the contents of the agreement and the conditions for the establishment of diplomatic relations. ...

Original here.


‘Good’ Putin’s Laugh

Dear TIA,

I read your site daily.

On your What People Are Commenting, dated February 22nd, (2018), someone sent in a bit of propaganda regarding Putin. I knew immediately, at the end, that he was not responding to a question about being a Defender of Christianity. I had seen the video five (5) years ago!

His laugh was in response to a reporter's question about the "anti-missile systems built against Iran."

In my humble opinion, Putin's responses regarding Lenin's corpse is purely political. There are still too many communists in Russia who could cause him trouble politically. In many respects, it is no different than the boilerplate sound-bites that our politicians provide when answering questions about minorities and the jews.

Personally, I am much less worried about Mr. Putin than the intentional demographic changes being engineered here in our own country.

Do you know what would happen if the US withdrew from NATO? Nothing.

Do you know what Russia would do to Europe if the US withdrew her troops after withdrawing from NATO? Nothing.

All of the current crises would continue and the Islamic infestation of Europe (and the consequential social problems) would grow exponentially.

     Thank you for your attention.


Posted February 27, 2018

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA

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