Tuesday, April 16, 2013


In solidarity with those harmed and killed in Boston at the Marathon, runjunkees has a virtual event to show support.

This is not a paid or fund raising thing -- its a virtual event -- just print off one of the bibs, and run or walk. From the Runners Unite to Remember Facebook page:
This is a virtual run event, which means you can run (or walk) any distance, anywhere and at anytime. It is intended to both honor the victims as well as display an act of unity and solidarity in the running community. This was an event dreamed up by fellow Runners and you are welcome to invite anyone to join. THIS IS NOT A FUND RAISER. PLEASE be careful of scams (already) of people claiming to be raising money. A special thanks to TJ from VO2 the MAX for creating the "race" bib. Once you've completed your unity run you are welcome to post a picture to the RunJunkEes facebook page (please do not email pictures). Other runners are suggesting to wear a race shirt as well, so if you have one and you'd like to do so that would be great.

The bibs are here in black and white and purple

Just Do It.

Walk around the block if that's all you can do. 

Just Do It. 

And say a prayer for those harmed or killed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Every Pope dies in perfect health...

Photo (c) from http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00382/121731918__01_382927c.jpg

Years ago I met a priest who quickly became a friend, a mentor, and a guide in navigating the world of ideas and spirituality: the late Fr. Orestes "Russ" Coccia SJ. 

Russ told me in words to the effect, "While we are on earth we are called to glorify God with our lives through prayer, holiness and service; after death we can no longer glorify him by doing anything, but he then glorifies us." 

After speculation on a Spanish TV program that Benedict XVI was rapidly failing in health, and the report from Damian Thompson in the Telegraph, both of which were picked up by various Catholic bloggers here in the US, the Vatican has issued a statement to the contrary.

.- Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says that contrary to a report in the Spanish daily El Mundo, the Bishop-emeritus of Rome, Benedict XVI, is not suffering from any illness.

The report in El Mundo by Rocio Galvan quotes statements made by Spanish Vaticanista Paloma Gomez-Borrero in Madrid during the presentation of her most recent book.

“Benedict XVI has something very serious. In 15 days his physical condition has deteriorated tremendously, that’s the news I have,” Gomez-Borrero said.

In comments to CNA on April 10, however, Fr. Lombardi underscored that Benedict XVI “does not have any illness” and that “this has been certified by his doctors.”

He said he was saddened by Gomez-Borrero's comments and that the Spanish journalist, whom he has known for many years, “has begun to speculate after seeing images of a tired Benedict.”

“But to say that he has an illness is foolish. There is no basis for this,” the spokesman said.

“As we all know, Benedict XVI led a very engaged pontificate at his age, and therefore he is enduring the aches and pains of an elderly person who has worked very hard,” Fr. Lombardi added.

Benedict XVI was Pope for eight years and resigned just shy of his 86th birthday. During his pontificate, he made the same number of trips that Blessed John Paul II did in same span of time but at a much older age.

He currently resides at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo but will return to the Vatican to live once renovations at the former monastery of Mater Ecclesia are completed in May.
Pope Francis has visited Benedict XVI and spoken to him on several occasions by telephone since his election. The two maintain a cordial and close relationship.
There is no need for a lurid death watch or idle gossip -- Christ is the Lord of both life and of death, and his good servant Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger is undoubtedly trusting of that reality. Like Fr Russ Coccia before him, Benedict has spent his life in prayer, holiness and service to Our Lord and his Church. Eventually, as for all of us, his opportunity on earth to glorify God will end, and we hold confidence that he and we will eventually enter into God's glorify in the beatific vision.

Let us continue to pray for our Pope Emeritus, as well as for all elderly who suffer the ravages of time and the loss of faculties and vitality.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pope Francis gets it...

Someone recently quipped on Mark Shea's blog that "“Progressives hate the idea that Peter and the Apostles can bind. Traditionalists cannot fathom that Peter and the Apostles can loosen.”

Now exactly what can be loosened or bound needs to be understood.  A lot of "progressives" are looking to Pope Francis to loosen the Church's teachings on homosexuality, contraception and other "pelvic issues", the male priesthood, and the general sense of the Vatican as hide-bound by legalism and rubricism.

For instance, in an unfortunate NRO editorial, Conrad Black demands that "Pope Francis, Say 'Yes' to the Pill".
There must be a dogmatically respectable way to execute a dignified climb-down and declare the sexual act a consequential moral commitment appropriate to and generally reserved to marriage, but sometimes unexceptionable when undertaken with contraceptive precautions, and reprehensible only if entered into wantonly.
Evidently National Review is still in the mode that Church is Our Mother, but not Our Teacher. Going on 50 years since Humanae Vitae, it is hard to argue against the view that Pope Paul VI was prophetic in his concerns:
Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. 

Thinking through Cardinal Bergolio's position on domestic partnerships

Likewise, there has been much gainsaying that Pope Francis supposedly supports gay unions, with a view that this portends a shift in direction on the Church's stance against homosexuality. The question gets confused because the Church recognizes, in a way the secular world cannot, that the civil order and its laws and the way the human community navigates social relationships can only roughly be ordered to the divine order. The Church can rightly hold in tension that (A) while homosexuality is an appetitive disorder (in as much as the object of sexual desire is not conducive to sexual complementarity and procreation), (B) all persons in a civil order have rights to the goods of the society which include protection under the law, civil rights of property ownership, survivorship, insurance and medical coverage, tax equity, and a basic human right of free association without government intervention.

Once it is agreed that the State can create and regulate artificial corporations for specific purposes in the mutual interests of the volunteering parties -- whether a business to make and sell things or a non profit to support the local arts -- and endow the corporation with rights and responsibilities so as to be able to conduct business, enter contracts, own assets, be liable for damages, etc., the question of justice for homosexual persons to have access to the goods of the society suggests that some form of corporate status (a "registered domestic corporation", "domestic partnership, etc.) may be allowed to resolve the matter in a reasonably equitable manner.

This however, is a separate and distinct social relationship from natural marriage: marriage between persons of complementary sexuality properly has its own distinct and unique place in society since it is only through such relationships that humans are engendered, and it is proper and healthy that the society promoted natural marriage to be exclusive, permanent, faithful, stable, monogamous, and fecund when possible for the sake of the spouses and any children born to the relationship.  It is important to note in this that the State (government, society) can only recognize and register marriage (and to a very limited extent regulate marriages) since marriage is a natural bond between two persons that precedes the State.  The State does not create marriage -- the couple does. The State only recognizes so that society knows who has rights and responsibilities in regard to others, both the spouse and the children born of the marriage.

This last point helps to illuminate the essential legal difference between natural marriage from all other voluntary social relationships and contracts: marriage must be able to accommodate the rights and responsibilities of third parties -- any children born to the marriage -- where as all other social and legal contracts are necessarily closed to those who voluntarily enter into relationship.  A third party cannot be bound unwillingly to a contract, nor can their consent be assumed or imputed, yet all societies through all ages always and everywhere recognize the natural rights of parents over their children, along with the natural responsibilities of parents to their children, and the natural rights of children to be cared for by their parents.  None of this applies at all to any other sort of natural, voluntary social relationship, which is why no other social relationship can be justly equated to natural marriage.

Thinking through the question of homosexual adoption of children

This, parenthetically, also gives insight into the adoption question: two or more persons have rights of mutual association, but adoption is an artificial legal accommodation regulated by the proper authorities to meet the dire needs of a third person, the child to be adopted. No one has any intrinsic right to adopt another person, that is something properly under the regulation of the courts. So in such exceptional cases, what principles should the courts consider?

First, and paramount, where the natural family precedes the State, all other legal corporations are created by the State.  The State does not "create" marriage between man and woman -- all the State can do is order that relationship by some regulation and to publicly register marriage so as to protect the rights and enforce the responsibilities of the spouses and their children. But all other corporations are artificial (what is called a "legal fiction") to make some accommodation for the special interests of individuals in society. In the dire and exceptional cases that require adoption, it seems reasonable for the good of the child (which is the ONLY good that ought be considered) to best approximate the natural family of natural marriage between one man and one woman, so that the spouses can serve the child as surrogates to the natural parents that the child does not have.

Second, natural marriage is naturally ordered to building a family (procreation) of other persons in a way that homosexual relationships can never be. Homosexual relationships can be ordered to the other goods found in marriage -- mutual affection and support, domestic tranquility and stability, companionship, and the like -- but they are not inherently transgenerational between the persons. This best shows the artificiality (not in any pejorative sense, but the experiential sense) of a domestic partnership/civil union, and why such social relationships ought to be properly understood and regulated for their specific purposes. 

There is nothing inherently unjust in the State making an accommodation for a heterosexual couple in a natural marriage to assume legal responsibility and parental rights for an adopted child, and to withhold these from a homosexual couple, any more than to prohibit Wal*Mart or McDonald's from adopting children. Civil unions and legal corporations may well have their place in society for accommodating specific interests of the parties, but the third party of the child whose interests must be most zealously protected in the unfortunate event that adoptive parents must be provided for the child. It seems eminently reasonable that in such unfortunate cases, the State ought to find a natural marriage which most closely emulates the relationship that the child lost with his or her biological parents. This is a matter of justice to the child, without judgment on the capacity of homosexual persons to love or raise a child. 

Thinking with St. Thomas on the question

Regarding domestic unions then, in short, what may be in the eyes of the Church a moral issue is not necessarily a legal issue. 

Thomas Aquinas was crystal clear that the State ought not try to make perfect citizens out of us ("because human law does not exact perfect virtue from man, for such virtue belongs to few and cannot be found in so great a number of people as human law has to direct"), and that the purpose of the civil law (the peaceful ordering of the society, "the temporal tranquility of the state") is different from the purpose of the divine law (the perfection and sanctification of the person, or "everlasting happiness"). 

The "goods" of persons can be entirely private and not impinge on the common good, and as such the State has no authority to coerce against human acts unless they are against justice in society itself. Aquinas interestingly notes that there is an obligation in justice to pay the prostitute for her services, even if intrinsically sinful, and more to the point follows Augustine in holding that the State ought not criminalize prostitution even while sinful, since "those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred". This last point is somewhat of an aside, but it gives insight into the way the Church views the proper role of the civil authorities in regulating common life.

Such an accommodation of regulated civil unions, as Cardinal Bergoglio suggested, would continue to uphold the primacy of the natural family (true spouses of complementary sexuality and the children naturally engendered from that union) while redressing the problem that homosexuals do not enjoy the same social benefits pertaining to their free will association between persons, and their own natural desire for companionship, domestic stability and tranquility, and equal access to protection under the law, which is an inherent part of the common good. 

So with these principles in mind, no one ought be scandalized by Cardinal Bergoglio's proposal, especially given the charge in the Catechism, no. 2358:
"[Homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

Holding bound and loosening....

Both of the issues brought forward recently, of contraception and homosexual unions, as if Pope Francis would or could change the Church's teaching, miss the central point about the Church's doctrine: if it is a matter of doctrine (faith and morals: what we ought to believe and how we ought to act so as to be in conformance with the Gospel), then it cannot change. The Keeper of the Keys can only bind and loosen what has been given to him to bind or loosen, which is the matter of grace and forgiveness, and not the teachings that have been given as the deposit of the Faith, entrusted to the Church by Christ and the Apostles.

But it is not just the "progressives" who fail to understand this. The "traditionalist" also fail to see that there is a whole bandwidth of prudential judgments, Church practices, lower-case "traditions", pastoral approaches, organizational systems, liturgical expressions, and conventional symbols that certainly admit of "loosening". This too is a prudential judgment -- the human person is made for tradition as much as for Tradition.

The altar rail is not an apostolic-era architectural feature, but it was surely a gross violation of human dignity to unceremoniously rip them out of churches in the 1960s. Expecting folks who had devotedly received the Lord since their First Holy Communions at the communion rail to suddenly stand and hold out their hands to receive, and not begin to call into question the whole enterprise, is at best naive and at worst uncaring and offensive to human dignity. Shocks to the Body of Christ need to be administrated only for the true good of the patient -- like a cardioversion or chemotherapy -- and only with respect the the organic nature of the whole Church. They are not to be made merely to make a point or to make changes only with respect to one's own inner lights. So here we must be able to differentiate what is essential from the merely accidental, although these do not easily admit of mutual exclusivity -- after all, we only experience the essential through the accidental.

So there has been a lot of kerfluffle about Pope Francis celebrating his first pontifical Mass in the Sistine Chapel on a temporary freestanding altar, and his decision to wear black shoes instead of the red shoes that signify the martyrdom of his predecessor (St. Peter was crucified upside down, as an expedient his body was evidently removed from the cross by amputating his feet, as the skeletal remains enshrined in the confessio indicate), and now he has decided to celebrate Holy Thursday in a prison, rather than at the Lateran Basilica. Are these matters of accident or essence? Are these shocks to the Body organic and for the good of the patient, with something to teach us about the deeper meaning of the Gospel, or are they mere caprices of a man who is stumbling into his papacy?

You won't get an answer from me, other than these seem to be matters well within the authority of the Holy Father to loosen. 

Furthermore, that I truly do trust that the Holy Spirit continues to lead the Church through the Successor of Peter. The Catholic faith is vast and multifaceted, and no one person --even a Pope -- encompasses all aspects in perfect proportion. The Holy Spirit used John Paul II to form two generations of Catholic youth with vitality and evangelical vigor in hope. Perhaps the greatest gift Benedict XVI gave the Church was to restore the dignity of the language to the English liturgy -- and it seems particularly providential since John Paul II didn't do so, and I doubt it would be high on Francis' agenda. Francis now is teaching us to return to the core of the Gospel in love and service to our fellow man with true humility, poverty in spirit, and above all compassion.

And yet, he does so without equivocating the least on profound matters of human moral concern, even when dealing with grave errors against priestly chastity:  
Bergoglio: If one of them comes and tells me that he got a woman pregnant, I listen. I try to help him have peace and little by little I try to help him realize that the natural law takes priority over his priesthood. So, he has to leave the ministry and should take care of that child, even if he chooses not to marry that woman. For just as that child has the right to have a mother, he has a right to the face of a father. I commit myself to arranging all the paperwork for him in Rome, but he has to leave everything. Now, if a priest tells me he got excited and that he had a fall, I help him to get on track again. There are priests who get on track again and others who do not. Some, unfortunately, do not even tell the bishop.
Skorka: What does it mean to get back on track?
Bergoglio: To do penance, to keep their celibacy. The double life is no good for us. I don’t like it because it means building on falsehood. Sometimes I say: “If you can not overcome it, make your decision.”
Pope Francis, he gets it. 

Pope Francis and a Eucharistic Miracle???

I have no independent third party verification of this, which Patrick Archbold posted on his excellent Creative Minority Report, but it is intriguing to say the least.

From a website dated to 2010, by a Fr. M. Piotrowski, SChr (SChr is a Polish congregation of priests, the Society of Christ Fathers): 
A consecrated Host becomes flesh and blood
At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.
On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Ricardo Castañón Gomez ("Castanon", sic throughout) took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of its provenance. One of these scientists was Dr. Frederick Zugibe, ("Zugiba", sic throughout) the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”
Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, witnessed these tests. Knowing where sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s testimony. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they had come from a piece of human tissue, which had been kept in water. They would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes, Dr. Zugiba replied. The journalist then told the doctor that the source of the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water; only then had the sample been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugiba’s was at a loss to account for this fact. There was no way of explaining it scientifically, he stated. Only then did Mike Willesee inform Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host (white, unleavened bread) that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science—a mystery totally beyond her competence.”
Only faith in the extraordinary action of a God provides the reasonable answer—faith in a God, who wants to make us aware that He is truly present in the mystery of the Eucharist.
The Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires is an extraordinary sign attested to by science. Through it Jesus desires to arouse in us a lively faith in His real presence in the Eucharist. He reminds us that His presence is real, and not symbolic. Only with the eyes of faith do we see Him under appearance of the consecrated bread and wine. We do not see Him with our bodily eyes, since He is present in His glorified humanity. In the Eucharist Jesus sees and loves us and desires to save us.
In collaboration with Ron Tesoriero, Mike Willesee, one of Australia’s best-known journalists (he converted to Catholicism after working on the documents of another Eucharistic miracle) wrote a book entitled Reason to Believe. In it they present documented facts of Eucharistic miracles and other signs calling people to faith in Christ who abides and teaches in the Catholic Church. They have also made a documentary film on the Eucharist—based largely on the scientific discoveries associated with the miraculous Host in Buenos Aires. Their aim was to give a clear presentation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the subject of the Eucharist. They screened the film in numerous Australian cities. The showing at Adelaide drew a crowd of two thousand viewers. During the commentary and question period that followed a visibly moved man stood up announcing that he was blind. Having learned that this was an exceptional film, he had very much wanted to see it. Just before the screening, he prayed fervently to Jesus for the grace to see the film. At once his sight was restored to him, but only for the thirty-minute duration of the film. Upon its conclusion, he again lost the ability to see. He confirmed this by describing in minute detail certain scenes of the film. It was an incredible event that moved those present to the core of their being.
Through such wondrous signs God calls souls to conversion. If Jesus causes the Host to become visible flesh and blood, a muscle that is responsible for the contraction of a human heart—a heart that suffers like that of someone who has been beaten severely about the chest, if He does such things, it is in order to arouse and quicken our faith in His real presence in the Eucharist. He thus enables us to see that Holy Mass is a re-presentation (i.e. a making present) of the entire drama of our salvation: Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus says to his disciples, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe” (Jn 4: 48). There is no need to actively seek out wondrous signs. But if Jesus chooses to give them to us, then it behooves us to accept them with meekness and seek to understand what He desires to tell us by them. Thanks to these signs, many people have discovered faith in God—the One God in the Holy Trinity, who reveals His Son to us: Jesus Christ, who abides in the sacraments and teaches us through Holy Scripture and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
A mystery that surpasses our understanding
 The Eucharist—the actual presence of the risen person of Jesus under the appearances of bread and wine—is one of the most important and most difficult truths revealed to us by Christ. Eucharistic miracles are merely visible confirmations of what He tells us about Himself; namely, that He really does give us His glorified body and blood as spiritual food and drink.
Jesus established the Eucharist on the eve of His passion, death, and resurrection. During the Last Supper, He “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks,and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Mat 26: 26-28). When Jesus took and gave the apostles the bread and wine, He said, “this is my body….this is my blood” by which He clearly meant that the bread and wine which He gave them to eat and drink really was His body and blood, and not some sort of symbol.
Earlier, in the famous Eucharistic sermon recorded by St. John the Evangelist, Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6: 53-56). Shocked by Jesus’ words, the Jews said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (Jn 6: 52). Many of Jesus’ disciples were also scandalized. “This saying is hard,” they objected, “who can accept it?” Knowing that the truth of the Eucharist was a shock and a scandal to many of His listeners, Jesus responded not by retracting His words, but by raising the stakes: “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life”” (Jn 6: 62-63). Here Jesus goes to the heart of the mystery by anticipating the glorification of His humanity through His death, resurrection, and ascension. He will give His flesh and blood as food and drink after the Ascension; that is, when His flesh and blood have been glorified and divinized, for, unglorified, “flesh” is indeed “of no avail.”
Not all Jesus’ listeners accepted His teaching of the Eucharist. Thus He turned to them, saying, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him” (Jn 6: 65). Judas’ betrayal began with his rejection of Jesus’ teaching about His real presence in the Eucharist. In confirmation of this fact, Jesus said, “‘Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?’ He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve” (Jn 6: 70-71).
The Eucharist is the Risen Jesus Himself in His glorified, and thus invisible, humanity. This is the essence of His teaching of the Eucharist (Jn 6: 62-63). By its death and resurrection, the humanity of Jesus takes on a divine nature; it assumes a new order of existence: “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity, bodily” (Col 2: 9). In His glorified humanity, the Risen Jesus, becoming omnipresent, gives of Himself in the gift of the Eucharist. He shares with us His resurrected life and love that we may even here on earth experience the reality of heaven and partake of the life of the Holy Trinity.
Confronting the mystery of the Eucharist, human reason feels its impotence and limitations. In his encyclical devoted this sacrament, John Paul II writes: “‘The consecration of the bread and wine effects the change of the whole substance of the bead into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. And the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called this change transubstantiation.’ Truly the Eucharist is a mysterium fidei, a mystery which surpasses our understanding and can only be received in faith, as is often brought out in the catechesis of the Church Fathers regarding this divine sacrament: ‘Do not see—Saint Cyril of Jerusalem exhorts—in the bread and wine merely natural elements, because the Lord has expressly said that they are his body and his blood: faith assures you of this, though your senses suggest otherwise’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 15).
The Eucharist is Christ’s supreme gift and miracle, for in it He gives us Himself and engages us in His work of salvation. He enables us to participate in His victory over death, sin, and Satan, share in the divine nature, and partake of the life of the Holy Trinity. In the Eucharist we receive “the medicine of immortality, the antidote to death” (EE, 18). For this reason, Mother Church holds that every deliberate and freely willed absence from Holy Mass on Sunday is an irretrievable spiritual loss, a sign of loss of faith, and hence a serious sin. Let us also remember that if “a Christian’s conscience is burdened by serious sin, then the path of penance through the sacrament of Reconciliation becomes necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” (EE, 37). 
Fr. M. Piotrowski SChr
I've found a couple of other older references (from before Cardinal Bergoglio's elevation to the See of Peter) to this on Vietnamese, Czech and Slovak websites, and an Argentine website from 2010 (where the doctor's name is Zugibe)-- but no independent verification directly from any of the parties mentioned (Drs. Castanon (Castañón) or Zugibe, or Mssrs. Tesoriero or Willesee, or Fr. Pezet or Pope Francis....).

I will attempt to contact the primary parties to see if anyone can substantiate this report.