There are three orders of reality. There is the divine existence. Just below that is the preternatural world, the world of spirits. Then there’s the natural world, where we live. But human beings also participate in the preternatural. Some people are more attuned to the preternatural world. “They kind of sense things better. Things like demons.” _ Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

FIRST HEAVEN _ The Earth (and Atmosphere)

For then the anger of the LORD will flare up against you and he will close up the heavens, so that no rain will fall, and the soil will not yield its crops, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you. (Deuteronomy 11:17)

First heaven is the natural world -- where human beings live, and also participate in the preternatural world.

Sword And Spirit - Spiritual Warfare
First heaven is where we fight against “the world rulers of this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). This is where we fight against the Devil and the fallen angels (demons) that were “thrown down to earth” (Revelation 12:9).

SECOND HEAVEN _ Between Earth (Natural World) and Paradise (Divine Existence)

Second heaven is the preternatural world -- the world of spirits (angels and demons).

“Daniel, beloved,” he (Archangel Gabriel) said to me, “understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

Archangel Gabriel Visits Daniel

“Do not fear, Daniel,” he continued; “from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out (from third heaven, God's dwelling place), but (while passing through second heaven) the (angelic) prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally (Archangel) Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and came (to first heaven, man's dwelling place) to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the last days; for there is yet a vision concerning those days.”

... Soon (returning to third heaven) I must fight the (angelic) prince of Persia again (while passing through second heaven). When I leave, the (angelic) prince of Greece will come... No one supports me (in my battles) against these (angelic princes of Persia and Greece) except Michael, your prince (guardian angel of Israel; and, guardian and defender of the Church of Jesus Christ). (Daniel 10:11-14;20-21)

~ * * * ~

First, St. Michael and his angels cast Archangel Lucifer and the rebellious angels out of third heaven (Paradise).

Lucifer is Cast Out of Paradise

God did not spare the angels when they sinned (against Him), but condemned them to the chains of Tartarus (the infernal regions) and handed them over to be kept for judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)

Then, St. Michael and his angels cast Satan (Fallen Lucifer) and the fallen angels (demons) out of second heaven.

Satan is Thrown Down to Earth

Then war broke out in (second) heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth (first heaven), and its angels were thrown down with it. (Revelation 12:7-9)

Revelation 12 does not refer to “the fall of the angels” before the creation of man (when these created spirits radically and irrevocably rejected God and His reign). We are now living the 12th chapter of Revelation.

Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time. (Revelation 12:12)

THIRD HEAVEN _ Paradise (Highest Heaven)

Third heaven is the divine existence -- God's dwelling place (the highest heaven, the place of God's enthronement).

The Throne of God

Listen to the petition of your servant and of your people Israel which they offer toward this place. Listen, from the place of your enthronement, heaven, listen and forgive. (1 Kings 8:30)

Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels; give praise, all you his hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all shining stars. Praise him, highest heavens, you waters above the heavens. (Psalm 148:1-4)

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)

I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter. (2 Corinthians 2-4)




Published: August 6, 2014

"A Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" is not meant to be a mere inspirational drama, but a heartfelt prayer, a Catholic meditation. It should be viewed as such: Focused. Silent. Penitent. My sincere hope is that you will grow in your love for God, and your Faith will be strengthened. _ Michael Sestak

The Church's Sacred Liturgy and Tradition

A Traditional Roman Catholic Mass (Pontifical Solemn High Mass) on the 5th anniversary of the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI. Celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2010
Looking for a Traditional Latin Mass?
Saint Stephen of Hungary
Roman Catholic Parish
510 West Union Street
Allentown, PA 18101




Pope Francis recently visited the gypsy community in Rome and celebrated Mass at San Giuseppe all’Aurelio. The Holy Father spoke about babies crying in church: “...Children cry, they are noisy, they don’t stop moving. But it really irritates me when I see a child crying in church and someone says they must go out. God’s voice is in a child’s tears: they must never be kicked out of church.” _ Catholic World News

Pope Francis was speaking to parents of children (babies) baptized in the last year. He called children’s tears “the best sermon” -- but when babies cry in church, they often scream as well... And when this happens, sensitive mothers usually remove their children of their own accord -- they are not kicked out of church. Are they?

Why do babies cry during Mass? Of course, there are many reasons -- but I want to focus on their “spiritual sensitivity”...

We know that babies are very sensitive and can be “over-stimulated” by the world around them. They can have difficulty processing it all -- people crowded together, the many voices, the music, the noise, the lights, the movement (standing, sitting, kneeling...) -- all too much to take in, especially while teething...

If we had eyes to see what is unseen, we would see a multitude of angels present at every Mass. But can evil spirits also be present in the church during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Babies are “spiritually” sensitive.

During a 3-year mission in the Miles Platting area of Manchester, England (1993-1995), I attended Mass at the Basilica of Corpus Christi, a Norbertine Priory. One day during Mass, I was unusually distracted. The babies in the church were crying -- all of them!

I received an inspiration and said, “Evil spirits in this church, I BIND you in Jesus’ Name.” Immediately, the babies in the church stopped crying -- all of them!

Yes. Evil spirits can be present in the church during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The people bring them in with them. And babies react to an evil presence. (In the Traditional Latin Mass, the priest sprinkles the people with holy water before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass begins. Holy water drives out evil spirits.)

Have you ever been unusually distracted by thoughts during Mass -- even while trying to focus your attention on the readings and prayers?

Whenever your “inner peace” is disturbed, realize that something is disturbing it! And one way to restore peace is to BIND evil spirits: “Evil spirits, I BIND you in Jesus’ Name.”




I know three families who are desperately trying to get help from the Catholic Church for a family member suffering with demonic possession. Two families have been trying to get help for about five years; for the other family, it has been eight years. (These are three cases I know about -- today! How many more cases of demonic possession are "falling through the cracks?" How many more desperate families are being ignored by their diocese or archdiocese?) I choose not to identify the nonresponsive diocese and archdiocese. I love the Catholic Church -- I only hope to make a difference. 


Listed in the Roman Ritual are five indicators (signs) of possible demonic possession: 1) speaking foreign or ancient languages of which the possessed has no prior knowledge; 2) supernatural abilities and strength; 3) knowledge of hidden or remote things which the possessed has no way of knowing; 4) an aversion to anything holy; 5) profuse blasphemy and/or sacrilege. And when these specific signs of demonic possession are absent, the “rite of exorcism” is usually denied.

But there are other signs/indicators of demonic possession. Sometimes it takes more time to discern these other signs. Sometimes it is a compilation of signs that point to possible demonic possession. (It is also possible for one to be “partially” possessed -- that is, demonized.)

Too many cases of possession are "falling through the cracks." They are considered (and dismissed as) oppression or obsession -- or misdiagnosed as mental illness. For these cases, it is almost impossible to get an exorcism approved.

What are these other signs/indicators of demonic possession?

The following is from a 2010 case that was not recognized as demonic possession. It is from my correspondence with a desperate mother seeking help for her suffering son.

It is obvious that something more than mental illness is happening here! And many of the same signs/indicators are present in current cases.

A young man had been depressed for a couple months...
His mother writes:

"He made his room real dark so that sunlight doesn't shine in. He starts crying for no reason. Then he shakes, becomes violent, and punches holes in walls. Cursing, throwing things, playing with fire. He broke windows, he had episodes of destroying his bedroom, ripping up photos, breaking stereos, cell phones, remote controls. He coughs alot and has thick phlem. He makes noises, and hears you talk even if you talk as low as possible." (!)

"His father committed suicide in 2003 and I think but am not sure if he is experiencing energy from the dark side. I need some help please. He also doesn't associate with family and friends much. He stays home all day and goes out at night between the hours of 9 pm and 2 am."

"... I didn't believe that this happens in real life. I just started noticing changes within the last couple months. He won't go see a psychiatrist for any help."

"My oldest son said when he lived here and slept in this room he would experience and see things. (!) I'm scared to death of what's going on. My sister would never feel comfortable here and would never use the bathroom upstairs." (!)


"He has never been baptized. (!) He got into smoking weed which makes him vulnerable for take-over -- Am I correct?"

"I'm not going crazy. I don't use drugs or alcohol, and I can feel something is really wrong. I feel like when I leave in the morning that someone is watching me from his window. (!) It's really scary and creepy."

"I am not getting no where with him. I had the cops here 4 times already and no help. I contacted the priest you referred me to but he has not returned any of my phone calls." (!!!)

"Still breaking holes in the wall, threatening to commit suicide. Nobody is helping. Police took him for several psychiatric evaluations -- and they let him go. I contacted Crisis today to see if they can help because even if there is demonic activity, he also needs phychiatric care."

"They are releasing him from the hospital today. I was wondering if you have heard anything yet about getting him baptized." (!!!)

"I have been praying, still haven't noticed a change, unless its my nerves. I've been real shaky and my body trembles when I'm sleeping. I hope he (parish priest) contacts me soon. (!!!) He was released today."

"...I think Father (parish priest) was trying to call me last night, but the phone only rang twice, and when I answered there was nothing but (name of church) showed up on my caller ID. (!) As for me, I am still praying and I am still shaky..."

"Thanks to the hospital releasing my son and not getting the help he needed, he ended up taking someones life. (!!!) I am totally stressed out and hurting so bad."

In submission to rightful spiritual authority, I presented the facts of this case to the parish priest. I explained that this is a case of demonic possession, and that the young man had never been baptized. I trusted the priest to act on this. But it took a tragedy to open his eyes.

The young man is now in prison. He has not yet been baptized -- and he is still possessed. The priest visits him in prison and is doing all he can do. (As a Catholic layman, I have more freedom to act.)

“O Jesus, I surrender
Miguel, Dillon, Daniel and Guillermo
To You;
Take care of everything!” 

“To fix a set ‘model’ for demonic possession would be a serious mistake; the affliction runs the gamut of symptoms and severity.” _ Fr. Gabriele Amorth




Dictated by St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) during a state of ecstasy while in dialog with God the Father.

St. Catherine of Siena
Of the use of temptations, and how every soul in her (his) extremity sees her (his) final place either of pain or of glory, before she (he) is separated from the body.
“The Devil, dearest daughter, is the instrument of My Justice to torment the souls who have miserably offended Me. And I have set him in this life to tempt and molest My creatures, not for My creatures to be conquered, but that they may conquer, proving their virtue, and receive from Me the glory of victory. And no one should fear any battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him, because I have made My creatures strong, and have given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of My Son, which will, neither Devil nor creature can move, because it is yours, given by Me. You therefore, with free arbitration, can hold it or leave it, according as you please.
It is an arm, which, if you place it in the hands of the Devil, straightway becomes a knife, with which he strikes you and slays you. But if man do not give this knife of his will into the hands of the Devil, that is, if he do not consent to his temptations and molestations, he will never be injured by the guilt of sin in any temptation, but will even be fortified by it, when the eye of his intellect is opened to see My love which allowed him to be tempted, so as to arrive at virtue, by being proved. For one does not arrive at virtue except through knowledge of self, and knowledge of Me, which knowledge is more perfectly acquired in the time of temptation, because then man knows himself to be nothing, being unable to lift off himself the pains and vexations which he would flee; and he knows Me in his will, which is fortified by My goodness, so that it does not yield to these thoughts. And he has seen that My love permits these temptations, for the devil is weak, and by himself can do nothing, unless I allow him. And I let him tempt, through love, and not through hatred, that you may conquer, and not that you may be conquered, and that you may come to a perfect knowledge of yourself, and of Me, and that virtue may be proved, for it is not proved except by its contrary.
You see, then, that he is my Minister to torture the damned in Hell, and in this life, to exercise and prove virtue in the soul. Not that it is the intention of the Devil to prove virtue in you (for he has not love), but rather to deprive you of it, and this he cannot do, if you do not wish it. Now you see, then, how great is the foolishness of men in making themselves feeble, when I have made them strong, and in putting themselves into the hands of the Devil. Wherefore, know, that at the moment of death, they, having passed their life under the lordship of the Devil (not that they were forced to do so, for as I told you they cannot be forced, but they voluntarily put themselves into his hands), and, arriving at the extremity of their death under this perverse lordship, they await no other judgment than that of their own conscience, and desperately, despairingly, come to eternal damnation. Wherefore Hell, through their hate, surges up to them in the extremity of death, and before they get there, they take hold of it, by means of their lord the Devil.
As the righteous, who have lived in charity and died in love, if they have lived perfectly in virtue, illuminated with the light of faith, with perfect hope in the Blood of the Lamb, when the extremity of death comes, see the good which I have prepared for them, and embrace it with the arms of love, holding fast with pressure of love to Me, the Supreme and Eternal Good. And so they taste eternal life before they have left the mortal body, that is, before the soul be separated from the body. Others who have passed their lives, and have arrived at the last extremity of death with an ordinary charity (not in that great perfection), embrace My mercy with the same light of faith and hope that had those perfect ones, but, in them, it is imperfect, for, because they were imperfect, they constrained My mercy, counting My mercy greater than their sins. The wicked sinners do the contrary, for, seeing, with desperation, their destination, they embrace it with hatred, as I told you. So that neither the one nor the other waits for judgment, but, in departing this life, they receive every one their place, as I have told you, and they taste it and possess it before they depart from the body, at the extremity of death -- the damned with hatred and with despair, and the perfect ones with love and the light of faith and with the hope of the Blood. And the imperfect arrive at the place of Purgatory, with mercy and the same faith.”
The Dialog of St. Catherine of Siena
A Treatise of Discretion (pp. 47-48)



I strongly sense something terribly sinister unfolding… And I believe it is God’s will for me to write about this. As always, it is for you to (prayerfully) discern.

The state-controlled media is trying very hard to convince us that we should all be very afraid of this Ebola outbreak. The Ebola fear mongering propaganda campaign is in full swing. The purpose of this high level of media hype is to scare us.

We are being conditioned to blindly accept whatever Ebola vaccine the CDC recommends in the near future. And when the new vaccine comes out, people will run to the doctor or stand in line at the neighborhood drug store (or local inoculation station) to receive it! It has happened before.

The 1976 Swine Flu Scare & Vaccine

The CBS “60 Minutes” documentary on the 1976 “swine flu epidemic” that proved to be a hoax -- and the “swine flu vaccine” that killed hundreds and permanently maimed/injured thousands of people in the U.S.
Mike Wallace, “60 Minutes”
(November 4, 1979)

Summary of Interview:

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) did not test the actual vaccine that went to 46 million Americans. The swine flu vaccine killed hundreds and permanently maimed/injured thousands in the U.S.

The CDC knew about the possible permanent neurological damage that could result from taking the flu shot. The public was not warned, and waivers for people to sign before getting the shot omitted this information.

The entire vaccine campaign was ordered by the U.S. Government and started before any confirmed case of swine flu was actually found. [The only confirmed swine flu death was a soldier at Ft. Dix, N.J. who had the flu and collapsed on a forced march. Four other soldiers who also had the flu were back to normal within days without getting a shot.]

The CDC freely used the names of well-known celebrities without their consent to launch the mass immunization program. [Mary Tyler Moore’s testimony is: The CDC lied; she did not take the shot. She suspected it was not healthy, and her doctor later agreed.]

When challenged about the “important people” who took the flue shot, Dr. David Sencer stated, “…at least of that group President Ford did take the vaccination.” (President Gerald R. Ford was a 33rd Degree Master Mason, and it was President Ford who ordered the swine flu vaccination.)

Motto of the 33rd Degree

[Interesting Note: When the Mason has learned the mystery of his Craft, “the seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands, and before he may step onward and upward, he must prove his ability to properly apply (this) energy.” _ Manly P. Hall (33rd Degree), The Lost Keys of Freemasonry]

Dr. David Sencer, director of the CDC at the time, ordered the swine flu vaccination program, and the advertising campaign for it. Not once was any warning found in any of the literature.

The 1976 Swine Flu Epidemic was a hoax. It was the Swine Flu Vaccine that proved to be the real danger.

Was this about our health and welfare? Was this all about money, and profits for pharmaceutical companies? Was there something even more sinister happening? Was there a hidden agenda?

The 2009-2010 H1N1 Flu Scare & Vaccine

The 2009-2010 H1N1 (Swine) Flu Pandemic was another hoax -- a hyped pandemic that never happened -- and pharmaceutical companies made a lot of money selling vaccines worldwide. They still do! (A perpetual pandemic of 5 years, and counting?) Fear is a most effective marketing tool.

Since 2009, CDC-recommended immunizations (flu shots) for adolescents, adults, seniors and children are available everywhere in the U.S. -- 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year! (Walgreens never closes.)

[A Walgreens sign reads: “It’s not too late. Get your flu shot. Flu season lasts longer than you might think. No appointment needed. Walk in today.” __ A CVS sign reads: “Flu Shots Today. 20% Off Shopping Pass when you get a flu shot.”]

Is this about our health and welfare? Is this all about money, and profits for pharmaceutical companies? Is there something terribly sinister unfolding? What is the hidden agenda?

Flu season occurs during the cold winter months. And yet, since 2009, every time I go to the VA Medical Center during the hot summer months, I am reminded that I have not yet received my flu shot. This doesn’t make sense. Where I live, no one gets the flu in August!

[Last month I received a form in the mail from the VA (Veterans Administration). If I am not getting the flu shot from the VA, the VA wants to know where I am getting it -- or am I declining to get it. (What is in the flu vaccine that the U.S. Government wants inside the body of every veteran?)]

Like the 1976 Swine Flu Epidemic, the 2009-2010 H1N1 Flu Pandemic was a hoax. But people continue to get the flu shot every year; they have been successfully conditioned to do so. And when the new Ebola vaccine comes out, they will run to the doctor or stand in line at the neighborhood drug store (or local inoculation station) to receive it!

~ * * * ~

We are also being conditioned to accept whatever solution the UN may propose to fight this Ebola pandemic. [The WHO (World Health Organization) is the United Nations public health arm. UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) is in 190 countries and territories.] This solution will probably be a global vaccination program. But can the UN be trusted?

The UN has a history of using vaccines to infect and kill. The UN has a sinister population control agenda that includes forced vaccinations in third world countries. How safe are we?

Very sobering indeed.

“Mother of God, spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over all of humanity, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

November 14, 2014 _ The following article appeared on CNSNews.com. 

Population Control

UNICEF Denies Catholic Bishops’ Claim Kenyan Tetanus Vaccine Is Laced With Birth-Control Hormone

While the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, along with the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, assert that a tetanus vaccine sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is laced with a hormone that causes miscarriages and infertility, UNICEF denies that the vaccine is tainted and the WHO says the “allegations are not backed by the evidence.”

Both the WHO and UNICEF say the vaccines “are safe,” and UNICEF states the “Catholic bishops are wrong” and are “putting children at risk.” Kenya’s Ministry of Health also asserts the vaccine is safe.

The bishops, who help oversee 58 Catholic hospitals, 83 health centers, 311 dispensaries, and 18 medical training schools in Kenya -- a country where the Church has been providing medical care for more than 100 years -- say their independent tests of the vaccine show the hormone is present, and that the vaccination campaign is a “disguised population control program”…

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
(Ephesians 5:14)



Coat of Arms of Holy See

Revolution on the Way?

(October 14, 2014)

Response to Synod Document
(October 15, 2014)

“THE confusion we are seeing envelop Rome today in the wake of the Synod document released to the public is, really, no surprise. Modernism, liberalism, and homosexuality were rampant in seminaries at the time many of these bishops and cardinals attended them. It was a time when the Scriptures where de-mystified, dismantled, and stripped of their power; a time when the Liturgy was being turned into a celebration of the community rather than Christ’s Sacrifice; when theologians ceased studying on their knees; when churches were being stripped of icons and statues; when confessionals were being turned into broom closets; when the Tabernacle was being shuffled off into corners; when catechesis virtually dried up; when abortion became legalized; when priests were abusing children; when the sexual revolution turned nearly everyone against Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae; when no-fault divorce was implemented… when the family began to fall apart.”
_ Mark Mallett, “Without a Vision” (October 16, 2014) http://www.markmallett.com/blog/without-a-vision/

The Ongoing Debate
Inside the Synod on the Family

Cardinal George Pell 
(October 16, 2014)

Pope Francis’ Closing Address
(October 18, 2014)
Vatican Radio’s provisional translation of Pope Francis’ address to the Synod Fathers:

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters, With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consulters, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that -- with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality -- we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” -- and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough;” other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

__ One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called -- today -- “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

__ The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

__ The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

__ The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfill the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

__ The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted -- and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) -- His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard -- with joy and appreciation -- speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always -- we have said it here, in the Hall -- without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church -- the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquility, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock -- to nourish the flock -- that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome -- with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears -- the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s -- she is His bride -- and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant -- the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being -- by the will of Christ Himself -- the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

[The hymn Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.]

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

This Catholic Lay Apostolate will always remain faithful
to the Pope of Rome.