Detecting the Top Five Fallacies

Detecting the Top Five Fallacies

A fallacy is an unsound or otherwise invalid argument.

Some fallacies are mistakes within syllogisms, like when you try to prove that Stevie Wonder is God:

Premise one: Stevie Wonder is blind
Premise two: Love is blind
Premise Three God is love
Conclusion: Stevie Wonder is God

In this case the fault lies in the equivocation of the word blind.

There are dozens of fallacies which would require how much longer video but I’ve chosen five because they seem to recur quite often:.

1 the Argumentum Ad Hominem (“against the man”)

2 Non sequitur (“it does not follow”)

3  Straw Man (arguing against something that either doesn’t exist or is not believed by the other person in order to dismiss it by not describing it accurately)

4. Petitio Principii (“assuming the initial point,” aka begging the question)

5. Sunk Cost fallacy (assuming that an investment of time or money justifies the subject matter that is being invested in continually even at a net loss)

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#156: Yes, Hell Exists And People Go There—Ralph Martin (Free Version)

#156: Yes, Hell Exists and People Go There—Ralph Martin (Free Version)

Is there a more urgent, vital question than what happens to you after you die? Despite misunderstandings about what purgatory or limbo are, the Catholic Church, following Scripture and Tradition, teaches with highest authority that there are only two eternal destinies: heaven and hell.

If you read the Gospels and pay attention to what Jesus says about hell, you’ll be surprised how often and how seriously He warns us about it. But are these merely “warnings”? Is Jesus bluffing to teach a lesson? Could hell, in fact, be empty?

The influential Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) wrote many books, including his last, and most controversial, Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? The fact that he raises the question signals his answer: yes, we not only “dare” but must hope that 100% of humanity is saved.

This notion has insinuated itself in Catholic preaching and teaching. It doesn’t purport to deny the existence of hell (Balthasar positioned himself as an orthodox Catholic thinker), so much as imagine an empty hell since the Church has no “decanonization” process that names individuals as damned, not even Judas—at least not by name.

It’s fair to say that the main promoter of von Balthasar’s empty hell proposal is auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Bishop Robert Barron. Perhaps Bishop Barron will accept our invitation to come on the show and discuss the matter openly. I hope so because a lot is at stake regarding the urgent need to evangelize and to understand what the Catholic Church has taught for 2000 years on the reality of hell.

In this episode you will learn

  • Where in Scripture hell is depicted as not merely a possibility but as actual unending punishment for those who die unrepentant in mortal sin
  • Examples of how Balthasar ignores Bible passages that teach two destinations while emphasizing passages that seem to support universalism
  • How Balthasar’s longtime, frankly strange, relationship with a woman and so-called mystic named Adrienne von Speyr raises serious questions about his objectivity and his capacity for discernment
  • The ways in which modern Catholic preaching seems to reverse the proportion of those who were on the wide way that leads to destruction and those who strive to follow the narrow way
  • How to answer those who claim that the Church’s liturgy presumes that we may “hope that all men be saved”

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Doesn’t the sheer fact that the church teaches that humanity is divided in the end by two categories—the saved and the damned—prove that Balthasar’s theory is wrong?


Punch Fear In The Face

Punch Fear In The Face

Ever had the experience of learning the meaning to a word for the first time, and then in the following days you suddenly see the word appearing everywhere?

Me, too.

The same thing can happen with a word in the Bible.

Take the word fear.

I did a keyword search and found there are 501 mentions of the word fear in the word of God.

Most of the references have to do with God telling us not to be afraid. I’m sure you remember the first words spoken by Saint John Paul II when he walked out onto the loggia when he was elected Pope in October 1978, “be not afraid.”

The question becomes why all this emphasis on not being afraid?

Why does God continually send the message that we are not to be governed or paralyzed in any way by fear?

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Here are seven of those 501 examples, plus an extra bonus at no charge.

1 Psalm 23:4
2. Psalm 56:3-4
3 Isaiah 35:4
4 Matthew 14:27
5 Matthew 17:7-8
6 Philippians 1:13-14
7. 1 John 4:18
Bonus 8—Revelation 2:10

Fact: courageous people are not those who are 100% free of fear but are those who feel the emotion of fear but refused to be cowed by it—those who do the right thing anyway.

 

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#155: Hope After Suicide—Father Chris Alar, MIC (Free Version)

#155: Hope After Suicide—Father Chris Alar, MIC (Free Version)

Suicide is a pandemic today. Most people are inclined to disbelieve how bad the problem is. Father Chris Alar, MIC, can relate. He didn’t give suicide too much thought.

Until his beloved grandmother killed herself at home.

That traumatic loss, after many years of confusion and grief, led by God’s providence, to his call to the priesthood. The author and preacher wrote a kind of handbook for friends and loved ones of those who have taken their own lives. It’s titled After Suicide: There’s Hope for Them and For You.

If you know and love someone who commited suicide or if you or someone close to you has thought about it for whatever reason, this riveting conversation is for you.

In this episode you will learn

  • Why the teaching of the Church has been so misunderstood
  • How the practice of the Church of forbidding a Christian funeral or burial in consecrated ground does NOT presume the eternal loss of the deceased person’s soul
  • The balance of justice, mercy, and new insights from psychiatry, shed light on the reasons why we can have hope for those lost to suicide
  • The relevant passages in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Why the private revelations from Christ to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy bear directly onto the issue of praying for the dead
  • How to understand the mystery of time in light of eternity regarding the efficacy of our prayers

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Am I committed to praying for those lost to suicide, and to comfort those they leave behind?


They Came For Don Cherry

The public firing of Don Cherry on Veterans’ Day, known in my native Canada as Remembrance Day, reveals a media culture way out of sync with ordinary people who exist outside politically correct urban bubbles. 

The sensitive elites who run SportsNet and Rogers pulled the same stunt in 2011 with popular sports anchor Damian Goddard over his tweet supporting the 3000-year-old cultural definition of marriage—sent on his private Twitter account, after work hours. But Goddard wasn’t high-profile enough: besides, in refusing to back down he outed himself as a practicing Catholic, so the chattering classes dismissed him as a religious zealot. 

But Cherry’s firing was different in degree and in kind.

For my American readers who may not know who Don Cherry is, it’s no stretch to call him a Canadian icon. In Hollywoodspeak, he’s Rush Limbaugh meets Archie Bunker in a zoot suit. For 38 years, Cherry co-hosted a feature called Coach’s Corner on the Hockey Night In Canada broadcast, covering N.H.L. games with a little man named Ron McLean. More about Mini-McLean in a moment.

Nicknamed “Grapes,” Cherry spent 20 years pounding away in minor league hockey. Reminiscent of Rudy Ruettiger of Notre Dame football, Grapes played a single game with the Boston Bruins whose coach he later became, twice winning twice Coach of the Year in his long, bumpy career. An impressive, if slow, rise to the top.

Don Cherry belongs to that generation of men who say things like, “To all you kids out there,” and “You people….” and punctuate their words with a confident jab of the finger. Too young to be part of the World War II generation and too old to be tagged as a boomer, Cherry comes off as ornery on the outside, but (you just know) baby poop in a sneaker on the inside. A hard hat man’s man who makes no bones about calling his brand of conservatism “right wing.” 

His deliciously garish suits and tough talking style are matched by an acute allergy to ass-kissing, which partially brought about his present job status. 

Cherry married young and stayed that way for decades, losing his wife Rose to liver cancer in 1996 after 43 years of marriage. He later quietly remarried; and for a nationally-known (albeit unlikely) celebrity he lives an ordinary life on a modest street in Mississauga, west of Toronto.

The man can also boast of an admirable track record of charitable giving and volunteering his time for others, especially on behalf of law enforcement and military members and veterans of all skin colors, whom he clearly loves. 

Which brings us to the irony.

During the Coach’s Corner segment on Saturday night, November 9, 2019, Cherry went on one of his signature rants—this time bemoaning the lack of patriotism among so many Canadians including new Canadians. 

I searched online to find the rant, and every single clip was edited so as to suggest the most pejorative interpretation possible, and, most galling, little Ron McLean’s positive reaction was invariably cut. This is key to the whole story.

I finally found the full clip on the Rebel News platform. With a hat tip to Ezra Levant, here is the No Good, Awful, Racist, Divisive, Terrible Bad Thing that was uttered (start 3:13, end 4:04).

Cherry is obviously talking about everyone too cheap, or not paying enough attention, to buy a red poppy for Remembrance Day to honor our fallen military heroes. (So what if he additionally mentioned ungrateful new immigrants? Are they immune from all criticism?)

Stopping short of an apology (a smart move, as mobs are implacable) Cherry has subsequently clarified that he probably should have said “everybody.” But the point is moot.

The Sportsnet brass fired him.

On Remembrance Day.

Four decades of dominating TV sports—gone. Here’s the text of the announcement by Sportsnet/Rogers’ grand poobah of political correctness, President Bart Yabsley: 

“Sports brings people together,” he bleated. “It unites us, not divides us. Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for. Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.”

He left out why Cherry’s remarks were so “divisive” as to warrant giving him the Golden Boot Award. And by “our values,” Yabsley means leftist values, the values of Those In the Know. I would call this a joke, but that’s an insult to jokes.

Mirabile dictu, sports fans on Twitter gave the hypersensitive Yabsley what for:

Now watch the clip again, and notice how little Ron McLean, Cherry’s longtime sidekick, repeatedly nods his approval, even giving a thumbs up and an enthusiastic, “Love you for it.” (again, start 3:13, end 4:04):

That’s nice, eh?

Except that, within 24 hours, little Ron McLean inserted the knife into the back of his longtime friend (?) and co-host. Behold the following pitiful wincefest (starting at 37:20, ending at 38:18) if you can stomach it: Clip.

“Didn’t notice it,” eh?  We aren’t stupid, bub. He only noticed it, he played cheerleader for it. The bland McLean owes his lucrative career to the charismatic Cherry in the first place. Sad. The fact that he apologized for “both of them” is the (koff koff) cherry on top: an astounding betrayal by an individual who cares more about money than integrity.

I don’t know a single person who buys his fake apology. I’d say his career is done. At least Don Cherry can sleep soundly at night. Little Ron McLean did a solo speech the following Saturday. His confused word salad and doubling down on his betrayal was a sad and sorry sight. Yes, in this fallen world.

In this fallen world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does endless blackface still keeps his job. Don Cherry says two words—”you people”—and the virtue-signalling oligarchs throw a tantrum and expel the demon.

Of course, he wasn’t expelled  because of this. When you’re at the top, there’s a target on your back, especially if you’re a successful conservative voice in left-tilting Canada. By putting the nonsense phrase “diversity is our greatest strength” smack dab in the middle of his faux-pology, signals that little Ron McLean and his bosses have lost the plot.

Going forward, don’t count Grapes out. Who knows what the world’s youngest 85 year-old has cooking? I’d love to interview him on my podcast after he bounces upward.

Rich is the irony in being fired on  the very day whose commemoration he wanted to highlight. No, I’m not literally comparing him to a soldier in battle (okay trolls?), but his maddening ouster brings to mind the madness of war and the willingness of our best and brightest to put themselves in harm’s way.

Providentially, if Don Cherry had to be scapegoated for mad reasons, it strikes one as fitting that it all went down on Remembrance Day.

UPDATE: Don Cherry, as I predicted, has already launched a podcast, Grapevine, which you can hear HERE
(You gotta love the rush-to-get-it-out typo on the show title.)

Godspeed, Mr. Cherry!


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Is It Time to Cancel the USCCB?

Is It Time to Cancel the USCCB?

The U.S. Bishops met this past week in Baltimore and it was two days of fairly procedural discussions and long speeches and talk of preparing documents that very few people outside that that ballroom will read.

But a few things struck me watching the footage of the proceedings and from the transcript of what was said.

The first thing I noticed was how many of the interventions expressed viewpoints that are not in fact the teachings of the Catholic Church.

To take one example, the bishop of Venice Florida, Bishop Frank Dewane—apparently speaking to previous USCCB statements—supported the idea that civilians should have virtually no access to handguns.

Erm, what?

The Second Amendment should go?

The question of violence in our society is an important one but taking guns away from EVERYONE is worse than putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg, because it ignores the root problems:

…the breakdown of the family, the fallout of failed sexual revolution, the skyrocketing divorce rate, the epidemic of depression and suicide.

…the exodus out of the Church and away from Jesus Christ.

…the secularist media machine hell-bent on selling fear, relativism, and despair.

But the real clash of happened on the second day between Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

Bishop McElroy does not like the idea of non-negotiables for Catholic voters, Including please sing abortion and euthanasia as more important than the urgent them things like the environment and care for the poor. Full stop.

In his address to the Bishops, the Bishop of San Diego expressed displeasure with the phrase “preeminent concern given to the weakest members of society,” a reference to the killing of innocent unborn human beings through abortion.

This line appears in a 2015 USCCB document that very few people read called “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” The Bishop’s at this week’s meeting are set to publish another letter that contained the line, “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself.”

Well, Bishop McElroy objected to the line as being “at least discordant” with the pope’s teachings.

He didn’t say why this is, since Pope Francis has referred to abortionists as “hitmen.”

Among other things, McElroy said:

“It is not Catholic that abortion is the preeminent issue that we face as a world in Catholic social teaching. It is not. For us to say that, particularly when we omit the pope’s articulation of this question, I think is a grave disservice of our people…so either we shouldn’t have “preeminent” in there, or we should have the pope’s full paragraph where he lays out his vision of this same question, delicately balancing all of it in the words he does,”

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler Texas said that he thought preeminent should stay.

Next up was Archbishop Chaput wasn’t having any of the reasoning proffered by is brother Bishop McElroy.

Archbishop Chaput replied:

“I am against anyone stating that our saying [abortion] is ‘preeminent’ is contrary to the teaching of the pope. Because that isn’t true. It sets an artificial battle between the bishops’ conference of the United States and the Holy Father which isn’t true.

So I don’t like the argument Bishop McElroy used. It isn’t true.

In an unusual break with protocol, the bishop’s broke into applause.

This clash right here is a microcosm of the civil war going on right now inside the Catholic Church between those who go along with the word salad and the weaponized ambiguities of Pope Francis, and those who want continuity with the previous 265 popes and sacred Tradition especially in the area of moral theology.

First, is this disagreement imaginable under John Paul II or really any previous Pope?

Second, many people are beginning to ask why the bishops have to meet in lavish hotels in big cities? Wouldn’t any of the unused or abandoned retreat houses or monasteries across the country provide a more fitting setting?

Third, then Cardinal Ratzinger has explained that National Bishops conferences do not have magisterial authority and their pronouncements per se—especially in matters political or prudential—are not binding on the faithful.

Not including retirees, there are 433 Bishops in the United States. The airfare alone comes to over $130,000 for this 48 hour event, not including the army of staffers, not including hotel, Ubers, meals ,and other costs.

The annual budget of the USCCB is 180 million dollars, and not all of it is funded by donations. For the Catholic Relief Services alone, federal monies accounted for 64.70 percent of its total annual budget.

It’s getting harder to know where the Church ends and where the State begins.

Somehow the Church in America managed to preach the gospel, celebrate the sacraments, and teach the Faith before then for over 300 years, before the US Conference of Catholic Bishops began in 1966.

All things considered, with six adults leaving the Catholic Church for every convert who joins, maybe it’s time to streamline and get back to basics, and seriously consider putting the USCCB out of its misery.

 

Yes? No?

Let me know in the comments.

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#154: YouTube: The Lord’s Vineyard—Father Mark Goring, CC (Free Version)

#154: YouTube: The Lord’s Vineyard—Father Mark Goring, CC (Free Version)

You might not know it, but Pembroke-born Father Mark Goring has been churning out YouTube commentaries for many years now—almost daily—and with increasingly creative green screen backgrounds! He knows the risks of “permanentizing” your words for all the world to see and comment on.

Goring also knows the rewards.

A member of the Ottawa-based Companions of the Cross priests, Goring has built up a large following on YouTube by following a simple formula: tell the truth about Jesus and the demands of the gospel. Along the way, call out scandal and corruption.

Last summer, he got a “cease and desist” notice from what Goring described as “legitimate authority” because of his name-names approach to the Uncle Ted summer of shame and how we got there as a Church. So what did he do?

He obeyed, and was called back to his Canadian roots (he had been the director of the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston) and is now back in action from his old haunts in Ottawa. If it’s happening in the Church and affects ordinary Catholics, you can bet Father Mark is going to chime in with his direct, unambiguous, but unremittingly gentle communication style.

In this episode you will learn

  • Why social media platforms like YouTube multiply your audience size by a thousand fold, and more if you do it right
  • Why Goring became a priest in the first place
  • How the fractured and divided Church of today can be united (hint: something to do with the deposit of faith)
  • How to avoid the pitfalls of paying too much attention to negative feedback
  • The importance of speaking out against Church corruption in a way that is neither angry tub-thumbing nor rationalizing away the real root causes
  • How Father Bob Bedard, the founder of the CCs inspired Goring to “go for it”
  • Why more priests should get on YouTube and start teaching the Faith

Resources mentioned in this episode

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What does active participation in the Mass really mean to me?


The Top Five Mistakes Apologists Make

The Top Five Mistakes Apologists Make

Catholic apologetics really began to take off in the 1980s over 25 years after the close of the second Vatican Council. Today you have Catholic publishers that feature apologetics books, ETWN radio and TV, and lots of great speakers that feature apologetics as a topic.

And that’s all to the good, because for complicated reasons apologetics fell out of favor with The Groovy Spirit of the 60s and 70s and a kind of false ecumenism that arose in the turbulent wake of the Council.

Catholic apologetics is still in the middle of its Renaissance I think, but I believe too many apologists make three common mistakes. I would love to hear your comments below about this.

#1- Believing that apologetics is enough.

#2- Believing they have to be able to answer any objection on the spot.

#3- This is related to the first, and that is the mistaken idea that apologetics converts anybody. Apologetics has never converted a single person in the history of the Church.

#4- Believing that to be an effective apologist you need to read a lot of books or understand the original biblical languages.
ter what their intellectual level.

#5- Finally, believing that you can do apologetics without a prayer life.

I have a two-CD set that explains in much greater detail the least you need to know to get started in apologetics— including the sweet 16 books you really need to get under your belt if you want to take your game as an apologist and disciple to the next level. Click this link to get a copy of Getting Started in Apologetics. Great as gifts as well.

 

 

Last thought: if the Catholic faith is a sport then apologetics is defense and evangelization is offense…hopefully without giving offense.

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#153: The Extraordinary Latin Mass—Arch. Alexander Sample (Free Version)

#153: The Extraordinary Latin Mass—Arch. Alexander Sample (Free Version)

As the Irish used to put it, “it’s the Mass that matters.” The holy sacrifice of the Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life” according to Vatican II. In the short years following the Council, the reformation of the Mass, replacing the pre-1962 Missal with the Mass of Paul VI (aka the Novus Ordo Missae), has unfortunately led to what amounts to a two-track Church.

The 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI lifted the need for episcopal permission to celebrate the Extraordinary Form (the Traditional Latin Mass) so any priest could celebrate it. This in turn led to a resurgent interest in the Mass that nurtured saints and sinners alike for over 500 years.

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, OR, taught himself how to say the Latin Mass, and has nuggets of wisdom as to why the Church benefits from its celebration and the sense of balance needed to avoid extremist attitudes. He’s also an expert in sacred music, which is a much-overlooked element of the Divine Liturgy.

In this episode you will learn

  • The basic backdrop for the 1969 new Mass
  • The reason why liturgical music must be sacred
  • How to explode myths like “the priest turns his back to the people”
  • Why families who attend the Extraordinary Form tend overwhelmingly to have large families and be actively involved in the pro-life causeWhy ghettos of “pre” and “post” conciliar Catholics is damaging to Church unity
  • Why the 1903 motu proprio Tra Le Sollecitudini by Pope St. Pius X needs to be the magna carta for modern Catholic liturgical music
  • Tips on how to get the most out of participating in the Mass
  • Reasons why you should try attending a Latin Mass at least once

Resources mentioned in this episode

Our Sponsors 

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What does active participation in the Mass really mean to me?

 


Why Was Joe Biden Denied Holy Communion?

Why Was Joe Biden Denied Holy Communion?

Poor Joe Biden is back in the news.

Last Sunday, when he was in South Carolina, he did what he normally did at Sunday Mass—what no one has ever objected to him doing—he presented himself for Holy Communion.

Well, the pastor there at St. Anthony parish, Father Robert Morey, recognized him right away and….did something very charitable and courageous on behalf of Mr. Biden.

He denied him Holy Communion.

Here is the actual text of Canon 915:

“Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

And here is 1 Cor chapter 11, where St. Paul describes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and also the dangers involved when you receive the holy Eucharist unworthily:

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

So Father Morey expressed charity towards this very confused man….the same Calf Lick (licker of the golden calf) who praised the one-child-only policy in China, who flipflopped and now supports the repeal of the pro-life Hyde Amendment, and who said, if president he will appoint justices that protect Roe v Wade.

He presided over a so-called gay wedding, which he wholeheartedly supports.

Not to everyone. Not everyone agrees with following the Bible and Church Law.

Father James Martin of course disagreed with characteristic vehemence, wondering on twitter what’s next, Catholics who support the death penalty or who dissent from Laudato Si.”

Good grief!

Speaking with “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Cardinal Dolan of New York said he would not have done the same thing.

“We also remember Pope Francis — ‘I personally can never judge the state of a person’s soul.’ So, it’s difficult, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not there as a tribunal, as a judge in distributing Holy Communion,” Dolan continued. “I’m there as a pastor, as a doctor of souls.

In the Sept. 4, 2008 edition of the Diocese of Wilmington’s newspaper — can you guess what it’s called? The Dialog — addressed the issue four days before his installation as Bishop:

“I look forward to the opportunity to enter into a dialogue on a number of issues with Sen. Biden and other Catholic leaders in the Diocese of Wilmington. However, I do not intend to get drawn into partisan politics nor do I intend to politicize the Eucharist as a way of communicating Catholic Church teachings.”

Why is helping someone avoid the mortal sin of sacrilege politicizing the Eucharist? Is there NOTHING that a Catholic can’t get away with and still be eligible to receive Holy Communion? Owning a slave? Joining the KKK? Destroying the environment?

Offending Pachamama?

What?

A bit more context: Investigative journalist George Neumayr revealed that ex-priest Jack Anderson— who is “married to” another ex-priest—served for years as a defender of the marital bond for the diocese of Wilmington.

Not a typo, not a parody. Under Bishop Malooly, Joe Biden’s bishop, a homosexual ex-priest who is married to another homosexual ex-priest had authority to help decide annulment cases in a Catholic Diocese (even though both left the Church for Episcopalianism.

Presumably, Bishop Malooly had that dialogue with Biden. If he did, a grand total of nothing came out of it.

Finally, I want you to see this.

Joe Biden had to walk past this sign to go to Mass last Sunday, thanks to the clear priorities of the pastor who cared enough about Mr. Biden to call him to repentance.

 

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