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Just a bit of chronological context: 'INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY', which became an almost-instant theological classic, was published one year before Jorge Bergoglio was ordained a priest.




Sandro Magister continues his HV watch, as if somehow, reporting on its probable fate on its 50th anniversary may ward it off...Bergoglio has already shown how he can trample
on Familiaris consortio and Veritatis splendor as much as he wants. Let's not even get into how often and habitually he misrepresents or edits Jesus's words!

'Humanae Vitae' under siege:
Does it really matter to Bergoglio what John Paul II
and Cardinal Caffarra said about it?

February 2, 2018

Fifty years after its publication, Paul VI’s encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' against artificial contraception is now solidly in the overhaul shop, as Settimo Cielo documented in the previous post.

And it is evident that Pope Francis’s intention is to bring about its reversal - which means in practice to legitimize contraceptives - in the most 'soothing' manner, as if this were a matter of a natural and proper evolution, devoid of rupture, in perfect continuity with the preceding magisterium of the Church and with the “true” profound dynamic of the encyclical itself.

But if one looks just a bit behind it, this artifice does not by any means appear easy to realize. [Are you kidding? If he can edit Jesus, how much easier it is to just run roughshod over his predecessors' magisterium or ignore them completely!] There are words of Francis’s predecessors that rise up like mountains against a change in the doctrine of HV. [They may seem like mountains to you - to Bergoglio, they're his happy stomping grounds!]

They are words that the proponents of change take care not to cite. But there they are, irremovable. [Just as Bergoglio hopes his words will be 'irremovable' once he has consigned offending and incompatible documents to the bowels of hell!]

There is in particular an address by John Paul II of November 12, 1988 that should suffice on its own to block the way. [Whence comes this naivete, Mr. Magister? Any words you cite will go the way of Veritatis splendor with Bergoglio - ignored and overridden by pristine Bergoglio doctrine unmediated by common sense and logic, much less by Christian truth!]

Twenty years had gone by since the publication of “Humanae Vitae,” and Pope Karol Wojtyla took the opportunity to defend it as the be-all and end-all, carving into stone words like the following:

“This is not a matter of a doctrine invented by man: it has been inscribed by the creating hand of God within the very nature of the human person, and has been confirmed by him in revelation. Bringing it into question, therefore, is equivalent to refusing God himself the obedience of our intelligence. It is equivalent to preferring the light of our reason to the light of divine wisdom, thus falling into the darkness of error and ultimately undermining other fundamental mainstays of Christian doctrine.

In front of him were bishops and theologians from all over the world, meeting in Rome for a major congress on none other than “Humanae Vitae.”

And John Paul II wanted precisely to identify and refute the reasons that had led so many theologians and pastors to reject what Paul VI taught in that encyclical.

The first of these reasons - he said - concerns a mistaken understanding of the role of conscience:

“During these years, following the contestation of ‘Humanae Vitae,’ the Christian doctrine of moral conscience has itself been brought into question, accepting the idea of conscience as creator the the moral norm. In this way has been radically broken that bond of obedience to the holy will of the Creator in which man’s very dignity consists.

Conscience, in fact, is the ‘place’ in which man is illuminated by a light that does not stem from his created and always fallible reason, but from the very wisdom of the Word, in which all has been created. ‘Conscience,’ as Vatican II wonderfully writes, ‘is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths’ (Gaudium et Spes, 16). [In stark contradiction to Bergoglio's dictum that every individual alone can decide what is good or bad subjectively, with no recourse to objective norms, even as post-AL, he has seemed to conflate 'conscience' and 'discernment' as synonyms - both individually subjective, of course.]

From this - he continued - follows a bad understanding of the Church’s magisterium:

“Since the Magisterium of the Church has been instituted by Christ the Lord to illuminate the conscience, […] one cannot, therefore, say that a believer has undertaken a diligent search for the truth if he does not take into account what the Magisterium teaches: if, equating it to any other source of knowledge, he sets himself up as its judge; if, in doubt, he follows instead his own opinion or that of theologians, preferring it to the certain teaching of the Magisterium...”

“Paul VI, qualifying the contraceptive act as intrinsically illicit, intended to teach that the moral norm is such as not to admit exceptions: no personal or social circumstance has ever been able to, can, or will be able to render such an act ordered in itself. The existence of particular norms in reference to the intra-worldly activity of man, endowed with such obligatory force as to exclude always and in any case the possibility of exceptions, is a constant teaching of the Magisterium of the Church that cannot be brought into question by the Catholic theologian.”

The error is so grave - John Paul II continued - that it brings into doubt the holiness of God:

“Here one touches upon a central point of the Christian doctrine concerning God and man. On close inspection what is brought into question in rejecting that teaching is the very idea of the holiness of God. In predestining us to be holy and immaculate in his sight, he has created us ‘in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’ (Eph 2:10): those moral norms are simply the demand, from which no historical circumstance can dispense, of the holiness of God who participates in the concrete, and indeed not in the abstract, in the individual human person...

“Not only that, but this negation renders vain the cross of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 1:17). In becoming flesh, the Word entered fully into our everyday existence, which is articulated in concrete human acts; in dying for our sins, he re-created us in the original holiness that must express itself in our everyday intra-worldly activity...”

“And again: that negation implies, as a logical consequence, that there is no truth about man that is exempt from the flux of historical becoming. The nullification of the mystery of God, as always, ends up in the nullification of the mystery of man, and the non-recognition of the rights of God, as always, ends up in the negation of the dignity of man.”

In closing this address, John Paul II urged the professors of moral theology in the seminaries to transmit with absolute fidelity the message of “Humanae Vitae.” And in particular he entrusted this task to the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which he founded in Rome a few years earlier and which in that very year, 1988, had created its first foreign branch, in Washington.

The head of the institute at that time was a theologian named Carlo Caffarra, who was also a consultant for the congregation for the doctrine of the faith headed at the time by Joseph Ratzinger, as well as being one of Papa Wojtyla’s closest coworkers in matters concerning life and family. And Caffarra’s mind and pen are easily recognizable in the text of the address cited above.

Caffarra was archbishop of Bologna from 2003 to 2015, and was one of the four cardinals who in 2016 submitted to Pope Francis five “dubia” on the correct interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia,” the postsynodal exhortation that is being used today as the source of a paradigm shift in the interpretation of “Humanae Vitae”.

Francis has never responded to the “dubia,” nor to the request to give an audience to the proponent cardinals, sent to him in a letter from Caffarra in the spring of 2017.

Caffarra died Last September 6, and even since then the pope has refrained from any gesture of understanding and esteem for him, even on October 1 when he went on a visit to Bologna.

As for the pontifical institute that still bears the name of John Paul II, Pope Francis refounded it last year with a new name: “For Marriage and Family Sciences,” and above all with a new grand chancellor in the person of Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, engrossed in “rethinking” the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” and therefore in legitimizing contraceptives, because - he says - “the norms are there to enliven human beings, not to operate robots.”

The address cited above is in any case not the only one in which John Paul II reproposed and defended the teaching of “Humanae Vitae.” Another can be recalled from June 5, 1987, addressed to participants in a study meeting on the natural regulation of fertility. And even more important are the references to “Humanae Vitae” that he included in the exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” of 1981 and in the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of 1993).

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03/02/2018 21.15
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The tears of Cardinal Zen and Mons. Zhuang -
the tears of the faithful Church in China

A priest of the official Church, pays tribute to the 88-year-old bishop asked by
the Vatican to step down in favor of an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime.

by Padre Pietro

Beijing, February 1, 2018 (AsiaNews) - Editor's Note: The Vatican's decision to replace Msgr. Pietro Zhuang Jianjian with another
bishop (currently excommunicated) to please the Chinese government, is provoking pain and confusion in China. A priest of the
'official' Church, Fr. Peter, expresses sorrow at the way this underground Church bishop is being treated. (It was he who requested
Cardinal Zen last month to bring the pope a letter explaining his position.)


Fr. Peter also recalls Cardinal Zen's report of meeting with the pope the day after he delivered Zhuang's letter at the end of a
Wednesday General audience
[at which he says the pope told him "I told them not to make this into another Mindszenty case", which gave the cardinal
some hope that the pope did not know that two faithful bishops had already been asked to step aside in favor of Communist Party-appointed 'bishops'. Only to be
publicly rebuffed by the Vatican which said the pope follows the China negotiations closely and knows and approves every move made by his diplomats.

Why could Bergoglio not have been honest with Cardinal Zen about the two bishops, in particular about Mons. Zhuang who had sent him the letter? How uncharitable
it is to give the 80-year-old Zen some false hope, even if - to give Cardinal Zen credit - he also concluded that the Vatican was, in fact, selling out the
underground Church in China, judging on everything that has been going on since the Bergoglio Vatican started negotiating to normalize diplomatic relations
with Communist China (with the immediate objective of getting an invitation that would make Bergoglio the first pope ever to visit China).]

Unlike certain images released by some media, the attempt by Card. Zen and the tears of Msgr. Zhuang are viewed as "impotent"
and "sad". Greater suffering for priests and more problems of conscience for the faithful in China.

I have no direct impression of the bishop of the diocese of Shantou Msgr. Pietro Zhuang Jianjian. I only know that when I was a seminarian, I liked to listen to Radio Veritas Asia and I heard from Radio Veritas Asia the news of the priestly ordination of Zhuang Jianjian in Shanghai - it was the first time I learned about the priest Zhuang Jianjian of the diocese of Shantou.

Radio Veritas Asia was not the only one to spread the news of his ordination: the magazine "Catholic Church of China" also published an article that said: "Father Zhuang Jianjian, was born in Jiexi county of the diocese of Shantou, in the province of Guangdong. In his youth he attended the seminaries of Meixian (in Guangdong) and Shanghai. He never changed his mind despite a 10-year interruption during the Cultural Revolution and went on to enter the Seminary of Sheshan (Shanghai) in 1985. Once he had completed his studies, on December 21, 1986, he received priestly ordination in the Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan, where he also celebrated his first Mass as a priest".

According to the circumstances of the time, I think that the ordination of Fr. Zhuang Jianjian was celebrated by Msgr. Jin Luxian, even if Radio Veritas Asia did not reveal who the bishop who presided over the ceremony was. But I'm certain in affirming that Fr. Zhuang Jianjian had always been a pastor of the official Church. That is until 2006, when Fr. Zhuang Jianjian was nominated by the Pope as bishop of Shantou and received episcopal ordination in secret, when his name became known to all.

In recent decades, every Pope has hoped to improve relations with mainland China, in particular Pope Francis. From the beginning of his pontificate, he has ardently desired that an agreement be reached with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops.

In October 2017, the Holy See representative Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, twice requested the resignation of Msgr. Zhuang Jianjian. At a meeting in Beijing, a Vatican delegation asked Msgr. Zhuang to step aside to make way for Msgr. Huang Bingzhang, who is an excommunicated bishop. The 88-year-old Msgr. Zhuang, on hearing the request, burst into tears, refused and said he preferred to "carry the Cross for disobedience".

According to normal ecclesiastical practice, a bishop should resign to the Pope at the age of 75, but given the special circumstances of the Chinese Church, many bishops were ordained at the age of 75, and some are still responsible for diocesan affairs at the age of over 80. This is due to the fact that, from 1960 to 1980, the Chinese Church never had the opportunity to make priestly and episcopal ordinations.

It is not that Msgr. Zhuang wants to cling to the post of bishop, the point is that he cannot accept leaving the sacred chair to an illegitimate bishop. It is a matter of faith and conscience: it should not be considered a mere question of obedience or disobedience.

For this he hoped that Card. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, would be able to express his concern to the Pope. On 10 January 2018, Card. Zen placed an envelope containing Msgr. Zhuang’s letter and another letter on his behalf in the Pope’s hands, on the occasion of the baciamano at the end of the Wednesday general audience.

Card. Zen’s courage in attempting to address the uncomfortable is admirable. His figure is precisely the figure of the faithful Church in China. Also that of Msgr. Zhuang Jianjian: his tears are the tears of faithful priests in China, tears full of mortification and sacrifice.

In an interview published January 31, 2018 in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the Vatican Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin spoke of the recent confusion caused by the behaviour of the Holy See, explaining that "the negotiations in progress are moving exactly along this line: constructive openness to dialogue and fidelity to the genuine tradition of the Church". He added hopefully that "the time will come, when the Lord wants, when we will no longer speak of 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate', 'clandestine' and 'official' bishops in the Church in China, but of an encounter between brothers, learning again the language of collaboration and communion ".

Regarding the concern of the faithful that the sufferings inflicted in the past and the present are erased, Card. Parolin – apparently in an attempt to offer some consolation to the people who are living through these sufferings - and said that "the Church will never forget the past and present trials and sufferings of Chinese Catholics. All this is a great treasure for the universal Church ".

I hope that Card. Parolin’s words are sincere and come from the heart. But the important question remains how can the ecclesial authority dry the tears of the faithful and allow their conscience to experience genuine and true peace and consolation?

Fr. Peter
Thursday, February 1, 2018

03/02/2018 21.40
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Sending Mons. Scicluna to Chile raises
more questions than it answers

Is this an ad hoc response to bad press, or a real pursuit of justice?

by Christopher R. Altieri
February 2, 2018

Even judging only by its perceptible consequences, the crisis in the Catholic Church over the sexual abuse of minors at the hands of clerics is the worst to face the Church since the time of the Protestant Reformation.

This is why the announcement of Pope Francis’s decision to send Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna to Osorno to hear evidence against Bishop Juan Barros — coming as it does on the heels of unprecedented public criticism of the pope's statements on the case — is too little, too late.

Pope Francis has publicly expressed his doubts about the accusations of several victims of the disgraced Father Fernando Karadima, who accuse Bishop Barros of covering for their abuser — accusations that have been public since at least 2012, several years before the Holy Father appointed Barros to the See of Osorno.

On Tuesday, the Press Office of the Holy See announced:

Following recently received information regarding the case of H.E. Msgr. Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, Bishop of Osorno (Chile), the Holy Father Francis has arranged for H.E. Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta and President of the College for the examination of appeals (in matters of delicta graviora) at the Ordinary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to go to Santiago de Chile to hear those who have expressed their willingness to submit elements in their possession.

The announcement of Archbishop Scicluna’s mission raises more questions than it answers. Some of them are:
- Precisely what information was recently received by the Holy See?
- How recently, exactly, did this information arrive?
- With what powers is Scicluna going? (Power to discover? To compel?)
- Will Scicluna interview Barros (and if so, with what powers, and in what capacity)?

Catholic World Report put those questions to the director of the Vatican’s Press Office, Greg Burke, who declined to answer them.

The choice of Archbishop Scicluna for the mission is in itself entirely unexceptionable, even praiseworthy. Before he became archbishop of Malta, Scicluna had a long career as Promotor of Justice — i.e., prosecutor — with experience as an investigator in difficult cases, including that of Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

Scicluna also investigated the allegations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien in Edinburgh, who eventually admitted to inappropriate behavior with seminarians and retired to a life of seclusion, keeping his red hat even though he lost all his privileges.

Scicluna also had a significant role in the legislative reform under Benedict XVI, which streamlined and facilitated the processes involved in investigating, prosecuting, and removing abusive priests.

Nevertheless, the nature and scope of Archbishop Scicluna’s mission in Chile remains unclear.

What we do know is that the decision to send Archbishop Scicluna came in the wake of public criticism without precedent in this pontificate, both for its intensity and for the high place and closeness of the quarters from which it came.

After Francis leveled charges of “calumny” against Father Karadima’s victims, Cardinal Sean O’Malley stated that the Pope’s words caused victims “great pain.” Father Thomas J. Reese, SJ, said Francis “just doesn’t get it when it comes to victims of abuse.” America’s editor-at-large, Father James Martin, SJ, described himself as “disappointed” and “mystified” by the Pope’s remarks. The editors of the National Catholic Reporter declared: “Francis’ commitment to abuse survivors in question.”

The plain fact of the matter is this: Pope Francis’s public record since assuming office speaks for itself.

He created a toothless advisory body, making a show of accepting its one major recommendation — a special section within the criminal court at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to be tasked with trying cases of episcopal negligence in handling abuse —before scrapping the project in favor of paper guarantees and setting the bureaucracy back to business as usual.

He acquiesced to the underhanded dismissal (under the guise of a “leave of absence”) of the more stridently outspoken of two abuse survivor-members of the toothless commission, Mr. Peter Saunders. Saunders had criticized the Holy Father’s appointment of Bishop Barros to Osorno and of Cardinal George Pell to the Secretariat for the Economy (Pell responded to Saunders’s criticism with a statement that included a threat of legal action).

Francis restored the disgraced Cardinal Godfried Danneels to honorable service at the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2015, years after audio recordings emerged in which Danneels is heard urging an abuse victim not to name his abuser (the victim’s own uncle, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe).

He named the archbishop-emeritus of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony — who notoriously mishandled abuse cases when at the helm in LA — as his personal representative at celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is still reeling from the abuse crisis and was as recently as 2016 the subject of a statewide criminal investigation.

He reduced the sentences imposed by his own court against two clerics guilty of molesting children, restoring them to the clerical state, only to dismiss one of them — Mauro Inzoli — after “new” evidence of wrongdoing emerged and an Italian criminal court convicted him of abusing five children aged 12-16.

He sat on information he had directly from deaf victims at the Antonio Provolo Institute in Verona, allowing their abuser — by then transferred to another school in the Pope’s native Argentina — to continue abusing children, waiting years before passing responsibility for any eventual investigation to the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

He scoffed at the clergy and faithful of Osorno, saying their suffering over his decision to entrust their diocese to Bishop Barros was “foolishness” and the result of their letting themselves be led by the nose by “leftists.”

He repeatedly accused the three abuse victims at the center of the Osorno controversy of calumny, even though a CDF tribunal had found them to be credible witnesses in the Karadima case [of which the Osorno case is an auxiliary accusation].

Archbishop Scicluna is a highly experienced investigator and a skilled lawyer, who is genuinely dedicated to the pursuit of justice and the service of the Church. He is not perfect — no one is — but there is no doubt he will do his best, and no doubt he deserves the full support of the whole Church as he carries out his work. [But as Fr. Lucie-Smith at the Herald pointed out earlier, there is also the Scicluna, Bishop of Malta, who has said apropos AL, that the faithful should only listen to what Pope Francis teaches, not to what his predecessors did. Such 'sycophancy' is unprecedented even in this pontificate!]

At the end of the day, though, this is not about Archbishop Scicluna. This is not even about Bishop Barros, who in any case has rights and deserves justice, whether he is guilty or innocent, as do his accusers.

This is about the Catholic faithful, who expect and deserve better — much better — than an ad hoc response to a bad couple of weeks in the press, followed by a return to amministrazione normale.

Ultimately, this is about the credibility of the Church as carrier of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. High-sounding words and grand gestures cannot repair the damage Pope Francis has wrought. We are way past that now.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/02/2018 14.18]
04/02/2018 15.16
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Cardinal Marx amenable to blessing homosexual unions
if local pastors so decide for 'concrete' cases

by Maike Hickson
February 3, 2018

Cardinal Reinhard Marx , president of the German Bishops’ Conference, has suggested he is open to the idea of a blessing to homosexual couples from the German Catholic Church.

In an interview with the Bavarian radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk BR, today, Cardinal Marx refers to Pope Francis’s call to accompany people more closely in their individual lives, in calling for more pastoral care for homosexuals.

Asked about the question of a blessing for homosexual couples that has been proposed by a German bishop, Marx answered “that we be pastorally closer to those [such as homosexuals] who are also in need of that pastoral care and who desire it.”

We also have to give encouragement for priests and pastoral caretakers to encourage people in concrete situations. I really do not see any problem with that. The question is how to do this publicly, in a liturgical form, i.e., where one has to be reticent and also act in a good way. [If the idea is all that good and commendable, why be 'reticent' about it? Don't you have the courage to act it out without pretense or subterfuge?

When asked whether he could imagine such a blessing for homosexual couples [but isn't that the specific concrete situation he has been discussing?], Cardinal Marx answered: “There are no general solutions; I do not consider it [a general solution] to be right, because it is about the pastoral care for individuals... (when there are cases) where we do not have a rule”.

This I really have to leave up to the local pastor 'accompanying' an individual. One can think about this through dialogue — and right now, there is taking place such a discussion [raised by the Vice President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode] — about how we could deal with this matter. But I would say I would leave this strongly in the hands of the local pastor, in every concrete situation, and not to demand rules in this matter. There are things that cannot be regulated.

With these still somewhat vague words (which seems to characterize Marx’s speech) favoring a decentralized approach, the cardinal appears to be open to the idea of priests blessing homosexual couples according to their discretion.

Such a blessing was proposed last month Mons. Bode, who said: “We have to reflect upon the question as to how to assess in a differentiated manner a relationship between two homosexual persons... Is there not so much positive and good and right [about their situation] so that we have to be more just?”

Moreover, Cardinal Marx had recently claimed that it is hard to determine whether someone is living in the state of mortal sin, applying this to the question of homosexual couples, and calling for “a respect for their decision made in freedom” and according to “conscience.”

Mathias von Gersdorff, German pro-life activist and author, commented on the cardinal's opening to homosexual couples: "That is nothing but a fig leaf. When it is acceptable to bless homosexual couples in individual cases, then that means that homosexual practices are no longer considered sinful".

Meanwhile, a German diocese now proposes even more concrete steps to establish an official liturgical blessing for homosexual couples. With the explicit encouragement of the Bishop of the Diocese of Limburg, a high-ranking priest, canon, and Dean of the City of Frankfurt, Johannes zu Eltz, responsible for around 150,000 souls, has now made publicly proposed a “theologically justified blessing” for those couples who are homosexual, remarried, or who for other reasons do not feel 'sufficiently worthy' of the sacrament of matrimony. [It’s not about how they feel – they are objectively unworthy of the sacraments if they persist in living a life of chronic sin! Of course, this is all about pushing the overall permissiveness of AL - I call it enabling sin, to the absurd point of even blessing it - in matters that the Church has always considered sinful.]

Zu Eltz now proposes a “liturgical celebration” that “omits the exchange of rings or the utterance of a marital vow.” Rather, one could, “with respect for a reliable partnership,” ask for God’s blessing “for a successful future of something that already exists.”

Apropos, Fr Hunwicke offers this generalization about the situation brought about by rampant Bergoglianism:

The current crisis about orthodoxy:
What does it all amount to?
- Part 1

February 4, 2018

During the Arian Crisis, one word was the flag, the symbol, of Orthodoxy: HOMOOUSIOS. The Son is Consubstantial, or of one Substance, with the Father. Now ... imagine somebody during that crisis putting forward a Creed or Profession of Faith which sounded perfectly OK ... indeed, if it had been put forward fifty years previously, everybody would have received it joyfully.

But, after the Church had defined the Dogma of the Co-equal Divinity of the Son by the word Homoousios, if somebody then put forward a new Creed which deliberately omitted this one word, he was seen to be a heretic. All the more so, if he put out a version of the 'Nicene' Creed with Homoousios eliminated from the text, he condemned himself as a heretic.

In our present crisis, the gravest since the Reformation if not since the Arian Crisis, the phrase, the Battle Standard around which the conflict is raging, is INTRINSECE MALUM, "intrinsically evil". This means that there are acts, so described, which are of themselves evil. Always; in all circumstances. Under no circumstances can they be right. Not even if ...

This doctrine has been under fire since the 1960s or earlier, when various dodges were dreamed up to get round it. The implication of all these dodges was that the rules of Catholic morality were generally good guides, but there were unusual circumstances in which it might be OK to break them.

I remember a popular book of Moral Theology which actually, laughably, but with a straight face, gave the following example.
Fornication is wrong. But suppose one is a spy working for the West, and one knows that a certain spy working for SMERSH, i.e. the Evil (Russian) Empire, possesses a crucial secret ... the Plan, let us say, for a new ICBM warhead or an ultrasuperhypermarvellous submarine or spacecraft ... then (if fornication would extract the all-important Plan from the enemy agent who, in those carefee days, was always of the opposite sex) the greater Good of the Survival of Civilisation As We Know It, would justify the fornication.

Yes; a 'serious' theologian could be so influenced by the light-hearted 1960s adolescent sexual fantasies concerning Commander James Bond, R.N., M.A. Cantab., that he did propound such risible codswallop.

(To be continued)

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05/02/2018 04.09
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In the traditional liturgy, today was Sexagesima Sunday, a pre-Lent observance to remind us that we are some 60 days away from Easter. But at the Church of the Holy Innocents
today, the Feast of the Dedication of the church in 1901 took precedence. I have not found an appropriate reflection on Sexagesima Sunday to post, but Rorate caeli posted two
excellent reflections on Candlemas which we celebrated last Friday. The first is a homily by Fr Cipolla in which he focuses on the figure of Simeon who is rewarded by holding and
beholding the Savior he had been waiting for all his life. Simeon's song, the 'Nunc dimittis', thanking the Lord for the fulfillment of his promise to him, is probably just as
famous as Mary's own 'Magnificat'...


Sermon for Candlemas:
‘And then there was silence’

by Fr. Richard Cipolla
February 3, 2018

The Song of Simeon
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

- Luke 2,29-30

He waited in the gathering darkness as he had every day for so long now. He tried to think back how long he had been doing this, but his mind seemed not to work well in thinking about the past. He remembered the fasting, giving to the poor, how no one was ever rejected who came to his house, he remembered saying the prayers, keeping the faith.

What else did he remember? He remembered the longing and the dread. The longing for an end to this waiting, he remembered the words of the prophet Malachi: the Lord will suddenly come into his temple. Into his temple - those words, those words which he had taken as a sign that he was meant to wait, and to wait here, not sure what he was waiting for, but he knew that his life was to wait against that dread that would envelop him especially at night when he could not sleep, that dread, almost a vision of a future of blackness and death.

In these hours he feared for his children and his children’s children, what would they know when faith was gone, what would they know when the obligations of love were denied, feeling a hovering over a birth season of darkness.

He stood in the inner court and could see in the distance the flame of the lamp which burned, always burned, burned to remind him and all of the presence of God in this place, the shekinah, the dwelling of God with his people in this special place, where sacrifice was offered, this special place of presence.

And the light burned. It burned and cut through the gloom. And suddenly there was a burst of light from the flame as if a strong wind had entered the court of the temple. The flame bent and danced and he could see the shadows moving around, and then it stopped. It just burned.

He did not notice them coming in, so wrapped up had he been in this own thoughts and this strange burst from the flame. He did not notice them, but when he turned there they were, a nondescript man and woman, she carrying a young baby, he carrying two pigeons in a cage. They walked slowly, she clutching the child to her breast as if she were guarding him against something or someone, the man following, the pigeons cooing. They were walking towards where the priest would be at that hour.

As they approached, he saw the child. He saw the child - and he knew, he knew what he could not have possibly known. The waiting was over, his life was over, and this knowledge prevented him from speaking, so all he could do was to hold out his arms, to hold out his arms to the mother carrying the child. No word was exchanged, but she knew as well what she must do and she held out the child to him and he took him into his arms.

He took the child into his arms and he sang. He sang a song he did not know, but it was the song to be sung at this time, this time of end of waiting, this time when death was approaching, he sang from depths he did not know existed with that longing which was his life and the life of his people. And as he sang the flame in the sanctuary lamp danced and gave a light that was impossible for a flame to give. It was as if the presence of God had suddenly expanded and exploded in that place.

Nunc dimittis
…Now, O Lord - came the song - I can die, because you have been true to your word, for I see your Word, for I hold Him in my arms, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word in my arms, I have seen what I now know what I have been waiting for, for my salvation, for our salvation, that light, not the light of the lamp which points to God’s presence but this Light which is that presence that I hold and feel and touch, the promise and the glory of what we all have hoped for and seen from afar.

He handed the child back to his mother, and as he did so, he saw in the dim light a sword that pierced her breast. He paused, holding out the child, and waited until the sword retreated into the woman’s breast to place the Child in her arms, and he saw in her eyes that knowledge of pain and suffering, that martyrdom which, unlike the child’s, would be bloodless but yet martyrdom. And the light in the temple once again flickered and then was silent.

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.

(From T.S Eliot, “Song for Simeon”)

Reflections on obedience
for the Feast of Candlemas

By Veronica A. Arntz
February 3, 2018

The feast of Candlemas is a rich tradition in the Church; it is a day that we celebrate many events, including the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon.

In reflecting on this beautiful feast day, one common theme that we find present is obedience. Obedience is the proper response of an individual to God’s invitation and call; it is the fitting response to God’s commandments and law. We too should strive in obedience to follow the commandments of God, just as we find in the Holy Family and the aged Simeon.

The first example of obedience is Mary who, even though she was conceived without original sin, went to be purified in the Temple in accordance with the Mosaic Law. As we read, “And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’)” (Luke 2:22-23, RSV-CE).

I shall return to the Presentation of Christ later. For now, the reference to purification comes from Leviticus 12:2-8, which gives the laws for purification after a woman has given birth to a child. As St. Paul explains to the Galatians, we know that these laws were given to Israel because of the nation’s sinfulness: “Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19).

In other words, God gave the Israelites the laws about food, purification, and sacrifice because of their sinful behavior; in an attempt to bring them back into His covenant, He gave them more ritual laws to follow, to separate them from the other nations.

What is remarkable is the Blessed Mother’s obedience: in a certain way, she was not bound by these laws because of her lack of sin. Nevertheless, because she, like the individual in Psalm 1, who “meditates upon the law day and night” (Psalm 1:2), is faithful to God’s laws, submits herself to them out of obedience, and comes to the Temple for her purification. What a sublime example for those of us who live in the age of grace: we, who are fettered by the chains of sin, should strive to be obedient to God’s commands and to repent for our sins as we attempt, through His grace, to remain ever more faithful to His laws.

Furthermore, we find obedience in the Holy Family in bringing Christ to be presented in the Temple. This presentation is also rooted in the Old Covenant; as cited above, Luke quotes from Exodus 13:2, which states, “Consecrate to me all the first-born; whatever is the first to open the womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” Further, we read, “You shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb” (Exodus 13:12).

Thus, we see that the Holy Family is following the prescriptions of the Old Law: Jesus Christ, as Mary’s first-born Son (Luke 2:7), is brought to the Temple to be consecrated to the Lord.

This should strike us as somewhat odd and ironic. Jesus is the Lord; He is God. Should that not exempt Him from the laws, which He Himself established? How can the Lord be presented to the Lord?

First, we should note the Holy Family’s obedience to the Torah: Mary and Joseph are righteous Jews (Matthew 1:19), and so they desire to obey all the precepts of the Law. Even though one might think that they, above all people, should be exempt from bringing Jesus to be presented (since he is the Son of God), they still follow the precepts of the Law and bring him to the Temple.

Moreover, this presentation is a further sign of Jesus’s divinity. As we read in Psalm 110:2, “The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’” This verse is often interpreted to reveal the divinity of Christ: Christ the Lord is the only one who can speak to His Lord.

Similarly, only the Lord can be offered to His Lord in the Temple. Christ’s whole life was an act of obedience to the Father. As He prays in His high priestly prayer, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him….I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made” (John 17:1-2, 4-5). Christ accomplished the will of the Father on earth; he glorified the Father through His work, and now He asks to be glorified through His death, which is also an act of obedience.

Finally, on this feast day, we celebrate the obedience of the aged Simeon, who is described as a “righteous and devout” man, “looking for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). Furthermore, “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26).

Simeon comes to the Temple by the prompting of the Holy Spirit when Mary and Joseph bring Christ to be presented, and upon seeing them, he proclaims his beautiful and profound Nunc Dimittis prayer: “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon is finally rewarded for his obedience to God, in remaining devout and faithful, trusting in his promises. He has seen his salvation, and he can now pass into the next life peacefully. The Nunc Dimittis has traditionally become the Church’s prayer during Compline: we too are called to be like Simeon, obediently waiting for our Lord and anticipating our salvation.

Holy Mother Church gives us the opportunity to reflect on these holy individuals as examples of obedience to God. Indeed, even Jesus Christ, our Lord, is revealed as an example of obedience to His Father in Heaven. We too, who are living in the New Covenant, are called to give our obedience to God through obeying His commands, following the teachings of the Church, and frequenting His sacraments.

These are the means given to us to receive His grace; just as Mary and Joseph were righteous before God through following the Old Covenant, which Christ had come to fulfill, so too are we justified before God through His grace by being obedient to the means of salvation He has given to us in His Church.

Let us then pause on this beautiful feast day, especially as we approach the season of Lent, and ask for the grace to increase our obedience to the Father, through the “obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26).
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/02/2018 03.45]
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Utente Gold

Cardinal Zen fights back:
'The Vatican Secretary of State is wrong'

February 6, 2018

The following is a complete translation from the Chinese of the statement published February 5 on his blog by Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong.

Zen responds here to the Vatican reactions to this previous statement of his regarding his January 11 meeting with Pope Francis.
Which was indeed followed promptly by a Vatican Press Office statement clearly dashing the little hope he gleaned from the pope's reference to the Cardinal Mindzenty case and accusing him, without naming him, of sowing confusion and controversy in the Church and from the director of the Vatican press office, an interview with cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin, who appeared to confirm all of Cardinal Zen's worst fears about the Vatican-China rapprochement, and intimations in the news of an imminent accord between the Holy See and China.

by Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun

A few persons who care about me have advised me to pray more and not to talk too much. Of course it is right to pray more, because the Lord is our hope and we have confidence in the intercession of Our Lady, the Mother of God.

They have probably advised me in this way out of the fear that if I talk too much, I will be more easily attacked. But I am not afraid of this, because my words are correct and helpful. At my age I don’t care whether I gain or lose.

I want to keep talking because I have the impression that in a little while I will not be able to talk anymore. For this I ask your pardon.

1. In the reading at Mass this Sunday, Job has to endure the long night of suffering, in which he laments that he no longer sees happiness with his eyes. But Psalm 146 invites us to praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

In recent days, the brothers and sisters living on the Chinese mainland have learned that the Vatican is ready to surrender to the Chinese communist party, and therefore they feel uneasy. Seeing that the illegitimate and excommunicated bishops will be legitimized, and the legitimate ones will be forced to retire, it is logical that the legitimate and clandestine bishops should be concerned about their fate.

How many nights of suffering will the priests and laity endure, to think that they will have to bow down to and obey those bishops who are now illegitimate and excommunicated, but tomorrow will be legitimized by the Holy See, supported by the government. All the more so in that a disaster has already begun, without waiting for tomorrow.

As of February 1, new government rules on religious activity have gone into effect. The clandestine priests of Shanghai have asked the faithful not to go to their Masses anymore, because those who persist in doing so will be arrested! But do not be afraid, because the Lord heals the brokenhearted.

2. The Holy See Secretary of State has said that “we know the sufferings endured yesterday and today by the Chinese brothers and sisters.” But does this man of little faith know what true suffering is? The brothers and sisters of the Chinese mainland are not afraid of being reduced to poverty, of being put in prison, of shedding their blood: their greatest suffering is to see themselves betrayed by “family.”

Parolin’s interview is full of wrong opinions (hoping that his speech is in keeping with his thoughts). But it is not worthy of a high official of the Holy See to manipulate the letter [to Chinese Catholics] of a pope, even if he is already retired, citing passage (4.7): “The solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities,” concealing the fact that the letter immediately continues by saying that “at the same time, though, compliance with those authorities is not acceptable when they interfere unduly in matters regarding the faith and discipline of the Church.”

During World Youth Day in Korea, the pope told the Asian bishops that “the prerequisite of dialogue is consistency with one’s own identity.” Well-informed persons un the upper ranks of the Holy See are now saying with regret that “we are like birds in a cage, but the cage can become larger, we are asking for all the room possible.” But the real problem is not whether the cage is small or large, but who is in this cage.

The clandestine believers are not in it. But now they want to force them as well to enter it, in such a way that they too may be “reconciled” with those who are already inside! Of course, in the cage are persons who find themselves trapped there, but also servile and overbearing persons who find themselves inside quite willingly. (I was the first to say that in China there is only one Church and that all believers, both of the official Church and of the clandestine, love the pope; but now I no longer dare to say this).

Since I have decided to let truth and justice prevail (everything I say starts from the principle of preserving the pope’s reputation and setting the Church’s doctrine in clear light), I have no difficulty in saying that I reported these opinions of mine on “dialogue” to Pope Francis when he received me in private audience three years ago.

The pope listened to me attentively for forty minutes, without interrupting me. When I told him that, objectively speaking, the official Church of the Chinese mainland is schismatic (in that it has an autonomous administration independent of the Holy See and dependent on the government), the pope replied: “Of course!”

3. Yesterday not a few persons came to see me or telephoned me to give me some comfort, following the accusation made against me by the spokesman of the Vatican. But they misunderstood, because I do not need to be comforted. It would have been better for them to have gone to comfort that spokesman. He is the one who is a bird in a cage, forced to carry out such an embarrassing function (and he was certainly reading what had been written by others). One may recall that more than a year ago, before the 9th Congress of Representatives of the Chinese Catholic Church, he was the one who said that “the Holy See will make a judgment based on proven facts.” A year later, they are still waiting to come up with judgments.

4. Also deserving of pity is that commentator of the South China Morning Post who finds something every day to criticize and lampoon: he must be an expert who knows everything and could have his say on all the programs “de omnibus et aliquibus aliis.”

This person has written that I love politics more than religion. I want to wake him up a bit: “Where angels fear to tread, the fools rush in.” Does he know what religion is, what faith is? He has said that I have decided to make the believers of the Chinese mainland suffer. But does he understand what the real suffering is for persons of faith? Nonetheless, the last thing he said was right: “The Vatican has to readjust its worldly diplomacy, whatever its spiritual preferences.” But they are not only preferences, they are non-negotiable principles!

And a final nail on the coffin:

Beijing paper praises pope's
'wisdom’ on Chinese bishops

February 6, 2018

BEIJING - The state-run Global Times said the Pope had made 'substantive concessions' to China'

The Vatican and Beijing will re-establish diplomatic ties “sooner or later” thanks to the “wisdom” of Pope Francis, a Chinese government-run newspaper has said.

The Global Times said in an editorial that the Pope had made “substantive concessions” to the Chinese government. Relations are therefore taking a “clearer shape” despite the opposition of “Western media and certain radical religious groups opposed to enhanced Sino-Vatican ties”.

The column comes after an unnamed senior Vatican source told Reuters that the Holy See and China were close to signing a deal on the appointment of bishops.

Catholics in the country are currently split between those in the ‘underground’ Church who are loyal to Rome, and those in the government-backed Patriotic Catholic Association, which appoints bishops without Vatican approval.

The deal will likely involve Rome lifting excommunications on several government-appointed bishops in exchange for having a say in future episcopal appointments in the country. [I think that 'having a say' here means simply saying YES to any episcopal appointments made by the Chinese!]

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Bishop of Hong Kong, accused the Vatican of “selling out” loyal Catholics after it emerged that a Holy See delegation asked two ‘underground’ bishops to move aside in favour of excommunicated Communist-backed prelates.

The Global Times editorial is the first sign from Beijing that a deal is close. “We believe Beijing’s diplomats can manage the negotiations well, taking account of the national interest and the religious beliefs of Catholics,” it says.

The paper also hinted that the Vatican may drop diplomatic relations with Taiwan as part of the deal. The island is the last remaining territory under the governance of the Republic of China, which was ousted from the mainland by the Communists in 1950.

“Pope Francis has a positive image with the Chinese public,” the editorial concludes. “It is expected he will push China-Vatican ties forward and solve related problems with his wisdom.”

The bewildering state of the Chinese episcopacy:
illegitimate, 'official', clandestine,
recognized by Rome but not Beijing, or vice-versa, etc

But guess who Bergoglio is rewarding...

February 5, 2018

To judge from what is happening in China, from the sortie of Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun, from the Vatican’s reply, from the interview with Cardinal Pietro Parolin and from the words of Pope Francis to Zen, an accord between the Holy See and the authorities of Beijing on the appointment of the bishops would seem to be in the home stretch:
> China and the Vatican are close to a groundbreaking agreement

The two dioceses, in fact, in which the controversy was ignited, those of Shantou and Xiapu-Mindong, have remained the only ones in which there are two competing bishops: one that is legitimate in the eyes of Rome and another who is illegitimate, if not downright excommunicated; or viceversa, one officially appointed and recognized by the Chinese government and another who was not and is treated as clandestine.

To clear the field of this anomaly on the brink of schism - a serious obstacle to an agreement - the Vatican authorities have decided, for both dioceses, to “ask a sacrifice” of the two legitimate bishops, to step aside and recognize as the only titular bishop of the diocese the one appointed by the government, legitimizing him and absolving him if he was excommunicated.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this decision of the Vatican authorities has wounded not only the two bishops who have been urged to abandon their office, but also a large part of the Catholic community in China, to which Cardinal Zen has given voice.

Nor does it come as a surprise that Pope Francis should have told Zen that he had instructed the Vatican diplomats involved in the negotiation to “not create another Mindszenty case,” alluding to the heroic cardinal primate of Hungary who in 1971 was obliged by the Holy See to leave his country, in 1973 was removed from his position, and in 1976 was replaced with a new primate agreeable to the communist regime.

Zen interpreted these words of Pope Francis as “a consolation and an encouragement,” in addition to an expression of dissent from the pope with respect to the stance of “concession” of the Vatican diplomats.

But it is much more likely that Francis wanted to say something else. Cardinal József Mindszenty never agreed to resign voluntarily from the position of primate, it was Paul VI himself who was constrained to remove him from authority. And it is to this point that Jorge Mario Bergoglio does not want to come. He has told his associates to do all they can to convince those two bishops to resign of their own spontaneous will. In exchange, the Chinese authorities would officially bestow upon the older of them the title of "bishop emeritus" and on the younger that of "auxiliary bishop."

For his part, cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin has defended the justice of the course taken by Vatican diplomacy, the framework of which continues to be traced back to the letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics in 2007.

But a key element of that letter has certainly been dropped: where it defines as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” the membership of bishops and clergy in the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the main organism through which the authorities of Beijing exercise their full control over the Church. Today this membership is de facto allowed by the Holy See.

Moreover, it is astonishing that the Vatican diplomats are not demanding as a preliminary condition for an accord at least the restoration to freedom of the bishops still under arrest.

One of these, Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou, was able to go back to his diocese a few days ago, on January 27, after eight months of abduction and unfruitful attempts to force him to join the Patriotic Association. A public appeal for his liberation had been made in June by the German ambassador in Beijing.

But Augustine Cui Tai, coadjutor bishop of Xuanhua, still remains in confinement. And the same is true of Thaddeus Ma Daqin, bishop of Shanghai, whose case is even more spectacular.

On July 7, 2012, when he was ordained bishop with the approval of both Rome and Beijing, Ma Daqin withdrew in obedience to the pope his membership in the Patriotic Association. He was arrested for this and is still impeded from governing the diocese, in spite of the fact that he retracted his dissociation in 2015, made a public profession of submission, and stooped to concelebrating a Mass with a bishop who is illegitimate but in the good graces of the regime, precisely the one who is supposed to become the sole titulary of the diocese of Xiapu-Mindong.

Incredible but true, La Civiltà Cattolica judges the fate of Ma Daqin not as an example of “surrender” but of “reawakening” to reality, an exemplary model of “reconciliation between the Church in China and the Chinese government,” which the Holy See should “support and give a chance.” See, in this regard, the just-published book “In the soul of China,” edited by the Jesuit Anthony Spadaro, editor of Civilta printed with the “placet” of the [p[ePope Francis, on page 217.

But what is the up-to-date picture of the bishops in China, which will be affected by the accord given as imminent between the Holy See and Beijing?

Here is a classification for them by category and name, with their respective ages and dioceses, taken from the book by Gianni Cardinale “Vescovi nella terra di Confucio,” published last summer by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

With one advisory: that all those born before 1943, meaning over the age of 75, are required to present their resignation to the pope, who reserves the right to accept it or not.

The bishops appointed by the Chinese authorities and not recognized as legitimate by the Holy See at present number seven, three of whom are also under public excommunication.

Two of them work in the two dioceses in which are present also the two legitimate bishops who have been urged by the Vatican to step aside:
Vincent Zhan Silu, b. 1961, Xiapu-Mindong
Joseph Huang Bingzhang, b. 1967, Shantou, excommunicated

The other five are in dioceses that for the Vatican figure as vacant:
Joseph Liu Xinhong, b. 1964, Anhui
Paul Lei Shiyin, b. 1963, Leshan, excommunicated
Joseph Ma Yinglin, b. 1965, Kunming
Joseph Guo Jincai, b. 1968, Chengde
Joseph Yue Fusheng, b. 1964, Harbin-Heilongjiang, excommunicated

It turns out that all seven sent to Rome the request to be reconciled with the Church. And this is what will happen, in the framework of the agreement that is given as imminent.

Joseph Li Shan, b. 1965, Beijing
Francis An Shuxin, b. 1949, Baoding
Peter Feng Xinmao, b. 1963, Jingxian
Joseph Liu Liangui, b. 1964, Xianxian-Cangzhou
Joseph Sun Jigen, b. 1967, Yongnian-Handan
Peter Fang Jianping, b. 1962, Yongping-Tangshan
Methodius Qu Ailin, b. 1961, Changsha
Joseph Tang Yuange, b. 1963, Chengdu
Joseph Chen Gong’ao, b. 1964, Nanchong
Paul He Zeqing, b. 1968, Wanxian-Wanzhou
John Lei Jiaipei, b. 1970, Xichang
Peter Luo Xuegang, b. 1964, Yibin
Joseph Cai Bingrui, b. 1966, Xiamen
Joseph Gan Junqiu, b. 1964, Guangzhou
Paul Su Yongda, b. 1958, Beihai-Zhanjiang
Paul Liang Jiansen, b. 1964, Jiangmen
Joseph Liao Hongqing, b. 1965, Meixian-Meizhou
Paul Xiao Zejiang, b. 1967, Guiyang-Guizhou
Matthew Cao Xiangde, b. 1927, Hangzhou
Anthony Xu Jiwei, b. 1935, Linhai-Taizhou
Paul Meng Qinglu, b. 1962, Hohhot
Joseph Li Jing, b. 1968, Yinchuan-Ningxia
Matthias Du Jiang, b. 1963, Bameng
Joseph Zhang Xianwang, b. 1965, Jinan
John Fang Xingyao, b. 1953, Linyi
Joseph Li Mingshu, b. 1924, Qingdao
Joseph Zhao Fengchang, b. 1934, Yanggu-Liaocheng
John Lu Peisan, b. 1966, Yanzhou
Joseph Yang Yongqiang, b. 1970, Zhoucun
Joseph Zhang Yinlin, b. 1971, Jixian-Anyang
Joseph Han Zhihai, b. 1966, Lanzhou
Nicholas Han Jide, b. 1940, Pingliang
John Battista Li Sugong, b. 1964, Nanchang-Jiangxi
Francis Xavier Lu Xinping, b. 1963, Nanjing
Joseph Shen Bin, b. 1970, Haimen
Joseph Xu Honggen, b. 1962, Suzhou
John Wang Renlei, b. 1970, Xuzhou
John Battista Tan Yanquan, b. 1962, Nanning-Guanxi
Paul Pei Junmin, b. 1969, Shenyang-Liaoning
Paul Meng Ningyu, b. 1963, Taiyuan
Peter Ding Lingbin, b. 1962, Changzhi
John Huo Cheng, b. 1926, Fenyang
Paul Ma Cunguo, b. 1971, Shuoxian-Shouzhou
Anthony Dan Mingyan, b. 1967, Xi’an
Peter Li Huiyuan, b. 1965, Fengxiang
Louis Yu Runshen, b. 1930, Hanzhong
Joseph Han Yingjin, b. 1958, Sanyuan
John Battista Yang Xiaoting, b. 1964, Yan’an-Yulin
Joseph Martin Wu Qinjing, b. 1968, Zhouzhi
John Battista Ye Ronghua, b. 1931, Ankang
John Battista Wang Xiaoxun, b. 1966, coadjutor Ankang
Joseph Tong Changping, b. 1968, Tongzhou-Weinan
Peter Wu Junwei, b. 1963, Xinjiang-Yuncheng
To whom must be added:
Thaddeus Ma Daqin, b. 1968, Shanghai, impeded

Two of them work in dioceses in which they are supposed to surrender their titles to their illegitimate competitors:
Vincent Guo Xijin, b. 1958, Xiapu-Mindong
Peter Zhuang Jianjian, b. 1931, Shantou

The others are the following:
Stephen Li Side, b. 1927, Tianjin
Thomas Zhao Kexun, b. 1924, Xuanhua
Augustine Cui Tai, b. 1950, Xuanhua, coadjutor, under arrest
Julius Jia Zhiguo, b. 1935, Zhengding
Joseph Hou Guoyang, b. 1922, Chongqing
John Baptist Wang Ruohan, b. 1950, Kangding
Peter Lin Jiashan, b. 1934, Fuzhou
Peter Shao Zhumin, b. 1963, Yongjia-Wenzhou
Joseph Gao Hongxiao, b. 1945, Kaifeng
Peter Jin Lugang, b. 1955, Nanyang
John Wang Ruowang, b. 1961, Tianshui
John Pei Weizhao, b. 1966, Yujiang
Andrew Han Jingtao, b. 1921, Siping-Jilin
Joseph Wej Jingyi, b. 1958, Qiqihar-Heilongjiang
Joseph Zhang Weizhu, b. 1958, Xinxiang

Stephen Yang Xiangtai, b. 1922, emeritus Yongnian,
Joseph Zhu Baoyu, b. 1921, emeritus Nanyang
Andrew Jin Daoyuan, b. 1929, emeritus Changzhi,
Peter Zhang Zhiyong, b. 1932, emeritus Fengxiang
Joseph Zhong Huaide, b. 1922, emeritus Sanyuan

Melchior Shi Hongzhen, b. 1929, coadjutor emeritus Tianjin,
Joseph Shi Shuang-xi, b. 1967, auxiliary emeritus Yongnian,
Joseph Ma Zhongmu, b. 1919, emeritus Yinchuan-Ningxia,
Placidus Pei Ronggui, b. 1933, emeritus Luoyang
Peter Mao Qingfu, b. 1963, retired, Luoyang
Joseph Xing Wenzhi, b. 1963, auxiliary emeritus Shanghai,
Matthias Gu Zeng, b. 1937, emeritus Xining
John Zhang Qingtian, b. 1956, auxiliary emeritus Yixian
John Chen Cangbao, b. 1959, retired, Yixian

James Su Zhimin, b. 1932, Baoding, disappeared since 1996
Cosma Shi Enxiang, b. 1922, Yixian, disappeared since 2001

There is also the case of a bishop who is illegitimate for both Rome and Beijing: Paul Wang Huiyao, b. 1959, Zhouzhi [he declared himself a bishop, apparently, with impunity, so far.]

The dioceses enumerated above with their respective bishops amount to 74. While the dioceses and apostolic prefectures in China number 137 in the partition adopted by the Vatican, and 97 in that of the Chinese authorities, not recognized by Rome. Therefore with numerous vacant dioceses, in both partitions.

But it is also important to note which bishops the Chinese authorities wanted at the head of the Patriotic Association and of the Council of Bishops, whose terms were renewed at the end of 2016.

The president of the Patriotic Association is John Fang Xingyao, bishop of Linyi, recognized by both the Vatican and the Chinese government.

While the vice-presidents are the illegitimate and excommunicated bishops Lei Shiyin of Leshan, Huang Bingzhang of Shantou, and Yue Fusheng of Harbin-Heilongjiang, the illegitimate Ma Yinglin of Kunming, plus the legitimate and “official” Shen Bin of Haimen and Meng Qinglu of Hohhot.

The president of the Council of Bishops is Ma Yinglin, illegitimate bishop of Kunming.

While the vice-presidents are the illegitimate bishops Guo Jincai of Chengde, who is also secretary general, and Zhan Silu di Xiapu-Mindong, plus the legitimate and “official” Fang Xingyao of Linyi, Shen Bin of Haimen, Fang Jianping of Tangshan, Pei Junmin of Liaoning, Li Shan of Beijing, Yang Xiaoting of Yulin, He Zeqing of Wanzhou, Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun.

The Council of Bishops is an imitation episcopal conference under the strict control of the regime, from which are excluded all bishops who are recognized by Rome but not by the Chinese authorities.

And in the accord that is given as imminent, it would be up to precisely this Council to select and propose to Rome the names of future bishops.
[I reiterate my first reaction to the Beijing mouthpiece Global Times statement as follows:

The deal will likely involve Rome lifting excommunications on several government-appointed bishops in exchange for having a say in future episcopal appointments in the country. [I think that 'having a say' here means simply saying YES to any episcopal appointments made by the Chinese!]

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 08/02/2018 04.12]
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I hope this is not just wishful thinking. But 1P5 puts together just the most recent 'burning' issues engulfing the seemingly scandal-a-day Bergoglio Pontificate and it makes for a formidable indictment of this pope's increasingly shameless anti-Catholicism...

A breaking point in this papacy?
by Maike Hickson
February 6, 2018

At the beginning of 2018, Steve Skojec predicted that this year would [or could?] mark “the beginning of the end” of Pope Francis’s power. It is now becoming increasingly clear that this pontificate might be facing several distinct points of fracture. Francis’s international standing is being undermined.

There are at least five areas where the pope has become vulnerable: the Cardinal Marx scandal; the Bishop Barros abuse case; the Chinese crisis; the controversy concerning the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Ireland; and the growing resistance to Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Marx and Homosexual Unions
Let us first consider Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s welcoming comments concerning the idea to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church. While inviting such steps only for individual parishes, he made it clear that for him, homosexual acts are no longer to be considered sinful. This new “Marxian move” has caused much indignation among faithful Catholics in Germany, among them Mathias von Gersdorff.

But Dr. Markus Büning – Catholic theologian and book author – has also lost his patience after the recent German push on the homosexual front. (Büning had, not long ago, and after an initial support of the four cardinals’ DUBIA, turned around and signed the recent Pro-Pope Francis initiative.)

Now, Büning has called upon Pope Francis to rectify the chaos caused by Marx. He is astonished that “one of the highest-ranking collaborators in the Church’s senate – Munich’s Archbishop, Cardinal Marx – can proclaim in front of the world a grave moral heresy” while merely proposing such a “liturgical affirmation” on the local level.

Büning comments:

It is rather funny that this kind of Catholic “case-by-case logic” would not also apply to those Catholics who now, after these scandalous demands of a bishop, seriously, for sure, consider leaving the Church of the “Church Tax” “Kirchensteuer”-Kirche]."

While he does not propose to exit the Catholic Church, Büning makes it clear that this contradiction shows the “mercilessness of these shepherds.” The German theologian then proceeds to call out to Pope Francis to correct Cardinal Marx:

In my view, it is now clearly up to him who holds the highest teaching office in the Universal Church – the pope. If he is silent with regard to such a demand – supposing that he knows of this bold demand of the C9 – Cardinal Marx [member of the pope’s council of cardinals] – one necessarily has to conclude that he approves of it. Then the pope has a problem himself!...

If the pope does [approve of this Marxian approach], he would not fulfill his office and mission to preserve the unity of the Universal Church in questions of Faith and Morals in a credible manner.

[Well, DUH!, Herr Büning! He has lost that credibility in so many different ways in the past five years, and AL - which fanatic Bergoglians now treat as their Gospel and reference text for all doctrinal questions - set the seal of Satan on Bergoglio's conscious and deliberate efforts to polarize the Church to the point of a split. "I know I may go down in history as the man who split the Church" - how's that for a rare moment of self-honesty for Bergoglio?]

The Bishop Barros scandal
Some similar tones of concern come to us from Guido Horst – Rome Correspondent of the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost – who is also known for his usually conciliatory attitude toward Pope Francis. In the wake of the papal trip to Chile, Horst entitled an article with the words: “The Papacy at a Turning Point?”

In it, he wrote about the papal visit to Chile and pointed out how this visit seems to have become a pivotal moment for Francis, inasmuch as he has earned much criticism for his demeaning remarks about those victims of sexual abuse who criticized him for protecting Bishop Juan Barros, accused of actively witnessing said abuse and doing nothing about it.

Francis, says Horst, appointed Barros, “even though the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, as well as the Chilean Nuncio, both had already come to the conclusion to ask Barros to resign.” The rumors against Barros as a man who covered up the misdeeds of his spiritual leader, Father Fernando Karadima, never stopped. According to Horst, Barros himself even offered his resignation, but the pope would not accept it [which Bergoglio himself revealed to the media two years after the fact].

After the papal remarks in the airplane, where Francis demeaned the victims of abuse, Cardinal Seán O’Malley – the pope’s own top adviser on clergy sexual abuse – criticized the remarks, calling them “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.” As Horst comments:

For the first time, it happened that one of the closest collaborators of the pope distanced himself from Francis; and that the pope himself backed off. Many had done the same earlier – the cardinals Joachim Meisner, Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Leo Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Robert Sarah, Gerhard Müller, or Janis Pujats of Riga. Francis ignored them all, but not the Capuchin O’Malley.

In Horst’s eyes, the pope seemed to have “lost the favor of the media and of the public” in Chile.

These critical words of Horst have been followed now by a much more stunning report from the secular press, namely that, already in 2015, Pope Francis had – against his own claims – received a piercing description of Barros’s involvement in the sexual abuse cases.

The American Catholic journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty writes today at the National Review that no matter how one looks at the way the letter was handled, it signals a serious problem in papal leadership. And further: “The leaks about the hand-delivery of this letter to the pontiff may be evidence itself that senior churchmen are losing confidence in his pontificate. The barque of Peter sails into choppy waters.”

The China-Vatican compromise
Additionally, Pope Francis is coming more and more under pressure for giving a friendly hand to the Communist-appointed bishops in China, and then even asking some faithful and suffering true bishops to resign. La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana‘s Riccardo Cascioli entitled one of his recent articles: “The Vatican’s ‘Long March’ Towards Surrender to China.”

Scholar Steven Mosher, a Catholic author and expert on Chinese Communism, just effectively repeated this sentiment in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, saying that the Vatican’s negotiations with China are nothing more than “simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church” to the false church created by the Communists.

Ireland and LGBT
On top of all of these troubling developments, the pope is now being pushed into making a decision about where he stands with regard to the LGBT issue. At the beginning of February, the story broke that Mary McAleese, the former President of Ireland, had been barred by Cardinal Kevin Farrell – the head of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life – from speaking at a conference on women that was to take place on Vatican grounds. [Frankly, I am surprised at Farrell's action. He has been overly permissive on everything else.]

This act on the part of Cardinal Farrell has now provoked the indignation of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who claims not to have been consulted prior to this decision.

McAleese is a prominent promoter of homosexual “marriage” and other progressivist agendas such as the ordination of women. Archbishop Martin himself is now concerned that his message of “inclusion” for the upcoming August 2018 World Meeting of Families – see our story on the homosexual imagery and themes in the program for this event here – would be negatively affected by this recent act of “exclusion” on the part of the Vatican. He insisted that this event – which Pope Francis has also been expected to attend – “will be an inclusive event, open to all families and family members.”

In Ireland itself, pro-LGBT groups are so indignant about the recent decision by Cardinal Farrell that they now even advocate a removal of support for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’s planned upcoming visit to Ireland.

This seems to put Pope Francis at odds with both Ireland as a state, as well as with Archbishop Martin as the organizer of the upcoming Catholic event. On the other side, if he were to make a gesture toward them, he would have to make a signal of approving of the LGBT agenda. Only time will show how Pope Francis will resolve this conflict, a conflict where he will have to show where he truly stands in this matter.

The ongoing resistance to AL
Last but not least: Amoris Laetitia does not stop causing serious disruptions in the Catholic Church, even as more bishops have publicly come out to support the initiative of Bishop Athanasius Schneider – and two of his fellow bishops from Kazakhstan – to reject the idea of giving Holy Communion to adulterers.

Just yesterday, Bishop emeritus Elmar Fischer, of Austria, added his name to the list of signatories; the other signatories are Bishop emeritus Andreas Laun (Austria), Auxiliary Bishop Marian Eleganti (Switzerland), Cardinal Janis Pujats (Latvia), the former Apostolic Nuntio Carlo Maria Viganò (Italy), Archbishop Luigi Negri (Italy), Bishop emeritus René Gracida (U.S.). Thus, the number of signatories has now increased to ten, with possibly more to come, according to our sources. [A pitiably insignificant number if we consider there are more than 5000 active diocesan bishops throughout the world today,and conceivably even just 1000 retired bishops who could 'afford' to speak out since they no longer have anything to fear or lose by opposing Bergoglio on allowing communion to unrepentant adulterers!]

It appears that these potential cracks in the pontificate of Francis could lead to a breaking point; one that could potentially stop — or at least weaken — the papal agenda of adapting the Church to the modern world in such a way that the fullness of the Catholic Faith is no longer recognizable. If so, it might bring needed relief to the many souls at stake.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/02/2018 22.10]
10/02/2018 23.40
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Utente Gold

Forgive me, but missing even one day of updating this thread can make it very difficult to catch up, especially these days when the pluperfect pontificate of the
pluperfect pope appears to be unravelling day by day to show its (and his) true colors. One of the most significant news reports to me in the past week was the AP
item opening wide the Barros story and mentioning those extreme accusations against Barros that I had always wondered why they have been suppressed in most
reports about the case so far. Even after the AP story, accounts of it shy away from mentioning those accusations - as if seeking to 'protect' Bergoglio from further
embarrassment, or perhaps in sheer disbelief that a pope could read such accusations against a man he was considering to name a diocesan bishop and still go
ahead and name him anyway, against unprecedented opposition from the faithful of the diocese and half of the Chilean Parliament who signed a letter asking the pope
to desist from nominating Barros. So before anything else, let me go on record with the AP story.

AP Exclusive:
2015 letter about abuse cover-up belies
pope's claim of 'ignorance' about Barros


VATICAN CITY, February 5, 2018 (AP) — Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

The scandal exploded last month when Francis’s trip to South America was marred by protests over his vigorous defense of Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of witnessing and ignoring the abuse by the Rev. Fernando Karadima. During the trip, Francis callously dismissed accusations against Barros as “slander,” seemingly unaware that victims had placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s crimes.

On the plane home, confronted by an AP reporter, the pope said: “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”

But members of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors say that in April 2015, they sent a delegation to Rome specifically to hand-deliver a letter to the pope about Barros. The letter from Juan Carlos Cruz detailed the abuse, kissing and fondling he says he suffered at Karadima’s hands, which he said Barros and others saw but did nothing to stop.


Four members of the commission met with Francis’s top abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, explained their concerns about Francis’ recent appointment of Barros as a bishop in southern Chile, and gave him the letter to deliver to Francis.

“When we gave him (O’Malley) the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” then-commission member Marie Collins told the AP. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Cruz, who now lives and works in Philadelphia, heard the same later that year.

“Cardinal O’Malley called me after the pope’s visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope — in his hands,” he said in an interview at his home Sunday.

Neither the Vatican nor O’Malley responded to multiple requests for comment. [Paint the Vatican bright red for the deep embarrassment this must have caused Bergoglio and the guardians of his image! And Cardinal O'Malley caught in the crossfire!]

While the 2015 summit of Francis’s commission was known and publicized at the time, the contents of Cruz’s letter — and a photograph of Collins handing it to O’Malley — were not disclosed by members. Cruz provided the letter, and Collins provided the photo, after reading an AP story that reported Francis had claimed to have never heard from any Karadima victims about Barros’ behavior.

The revelation could be costly for Francis, whose track record on the abuse crisis was already shaky after a botched Italian abuse case he intervened in became public, More recently, he let the abuse commission lapse at the end of last year. Vatican analysts now openly question whether he “gets it,” and some of his own advisers privately acknowledge that maybe he doesn’t.

[Well, see, Ms Winfield and all you out there at AP - and the rest of the MSM as well - the problem is that you all always portrayed Bergoglio as one who walks on water without floundering as Peter did. And now that he is caught out in A BIG LIE, you are trying your best to save face for your own obvious miscalculations and misreading of this man.

What's not to 'get' about the filth in the Church constituted by clerical sex abuse and covering up for it? If Bergoglio didn't 'get it', would he even have tried all the pro-forma statements and actions he has taken to 'show the world' that he, Bergoglio, is 'more serious than anyone else has been in the Church' about cleaning out this filth? And you all dutifully reported everything a-critically and with great praise!

What a contrast to AP's modus operandi during Benedict XVI's pontificate, when every story about him, whether it had to with the subject or not, had a boilerplate paragraph criticizing him for not doing enough about the clerical sex abuse scandal - as if he had not been the man who almost singlehandedly confronted it with concrete measures and his own personal involvement in reading through all the cases of sex abuse forwarded to the CDF when he was its Prefect.

It all came to a head in 2010 when the AP, along with teamed up with the New York Times and Germany's power Der Spiegel group to try and uncover any shred of evidence that Joseph Ratzinger was directly or indirectly involved in a sex abuse scandal or its cover-up, and thereby force him to resign!]

The Barros affair first caused shockwaves in January 2015 when Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno, Chile, over the objections of the leadership of Chile’s bishops’ conference and many local priests and laity. They accepted as credible the testimony against Karadima, a prominent Chilean cleric who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for abusing minors. Barros was a Karadima protege, and according to Cruz and other victims, he witnessed the abuse and did nothing.

“Holy Father, I write you this letter because I’m tired of fighting, of crying and suffering,” Cruz wrote in Francis’s native Spanish. “Our story is well known and there’s no need to repeat it, except to tell you of the horror of having lived this abuse and how I wanted to kill myself.”

Cruz and other survivors had for years denounced the cover-up of Karadima’s crimes, but were dismissed by some in the Chilean church hierarchy and the Vatican’s own ambassador in Santiago, who refused their repeated requests to meet before and after Barros was appointed.

After Francis’s comments backing Barros caused such an outcry in Chile, he was forced last week to do an about-face: The Vatican announced it was sending in its most respected sex-crimes investigator to take testimony from Cruz and others about Barros.

In the letter to the pope, Cruz begs for Francis to listen to him and make good on his pledge of “zero tolerance.”

“Holy Father, it’s bad enough that we suffered such tremendous pain and anguish from the sexual and psychological abuse, but the terrible mistreatment we received from our pastors is almost worse,” he wrote.

Cruz goes on to detail in explicit terms the homo-eroticized nature of the circle of priests and young boys around Karadima, the charismatic preacher whose El Bosque community in the well-to-do Santiago neighborhood of Providencia produced dozens of priestly vocations and five bishops, including Barros.

He described how Karadima would kiss Barros and fondle his genitals, and do the same with younger priests and teens, and how young priests and seminarians would fight to sit next to Karadima at the table to receive his affections.

“More difficult and tough was when we were in Karadima’s room and Juan Barros — if he wasn’t kissing Karadima — would watch when Karadima would touch us — the minors — and make us kiss him, saying: ‘Put your mouth near mine and stick out your tongue.’ He would stick his out and kiss us with his tongue,” Cruz told the pope. “Juan Barros was a witness to all this innumerable times, not just with me but with others as well.”

“Juan Barros covered up everything that I have told you,” he added.

Barros has repeatedly denied witnessing any abuse or covering it up. “I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined, the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims,” he told the AP recently. “I have never approved of nor participated in such serious, dishonest acts, and I have never been convicted by any tribunal of such things.”

For the Osorno faithful who have opposed Barros as their bishop, the issue isn’t so much a legal matter requiring proof or evidence, as Barros was a young priest at the time and not in a position of authority over Karadima. It’s more that if Barros didn’t “see” what was happening around him and recognize it was problematic for a priest to kiss and fondle young boys, he shouldn’t be in charge of a diocese where he is responsible for detecting inappropriate sexual behavior, reporting it to police and protecting children from pedophiles like his mentor.

Cruz had arrived at Karadima’s community in 1980 as a vulnerable teenager, distraught after the recent death of his father. He has said Karadima told him he would be like a spiritual father to him, but instead sexually abused him.

Based on testimony from Cruz and other former members of the parish, the Vatican in 2011 removed Karadima from ministry and sentenced him to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes. Now 87, he lives in a home for elderly priests in Santiago; he hasn’t commented on the scandal, and the home has declined to accept calls or visits from the news media.

The victims also testified to Chilean prosecutors, who opened an investigation into Karadima after they went public with their accusations in 2010. Chilean prosecutors had to drop charges because too much time had passed, but the judge running the case stressed that it wasn’t for lack of proof.

While the victims’ testimony was deemed credible by both Vatican and Chilean prosecutors, some in the local church hierarchy clearly didn’t believe them, which might have influenced Francis’s view. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz has acknowledged he didn’t believe the victims initially and shelved an investigation. He was forced to reopen it when the victims went public, and has since apologized. He is now one of the Argentine pope’s key cardinal advisers.

By the time he finally got his letter into the pope’s hands in 2015, Cruz had already sent versions to many other people, and had tried for months to get an appointment with the Vatican ambassador to relay concerns about Barros’s suitability for diocesan work. The embassy’s Dec. 15, 2014, email to Cruz — a month before Barros was appointed — was short and to the point: “The apostolic nunciature has received the message you emailed Dec. 7 to the apostolic nuncio, and at the same time communicates that your request has been met with an unfavorable response.”

One could argue that Francis didn’t pay attention to Cruz’s letter, since he receives thousands of letters every day from faithful around the world. He can’t possibly read them all, much less remember the contents years later. He might have been tired and confused after a weeklong trip to South America when he told an airborne press conference that victims never came forward to accuse Barros of cover-up.

But this was not an ordinary letter, nor were the circumstances under which it arrived in the Vatican.

Francis had named O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, to head his Commission for the Protection of Minors based on his credibility in having helped clean up the mess in Boston after the U.S. sex abuse scandal exploded there in 2002. The commission gathered outside experts to advise the church on protecting children from pedophiles and educating church personnel about preventing abuse and cover-ups.

The four commission members who were on a special subcommittee dedicated to survivors had flown to Rome specifically to speak with O’Malley about the Barros appointment and to deliver Cruz’s letter. A press release issued after the April 12, 2015, meeting read: “Cardinal O’Malley agreed to present the concerns of the subcommittee to the Holy Father.”


Commission member Catherine Bonnet, a French child psychiatrist who took the photo of Collins handing the letter to O’Malley at Casa Santa Marta, said the commission members had decided to descend on Rome specifically when O’Malley and other members of the pope’s group of nine cardinal advisers were meeting, so that O’Malley could put it directly into the pope’s hands.

“Cardinal O’Malley promised us when Marie gave to him the letter of Juan Carlos that he will give to Pope Francis,” she said.

O’Malley’s spokesman in Boston referred requests for comment to the Vatican. Neither the Vatican press office, nor officials at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, responded to calls and emails seeking comment.

But O’Malley’s remarkable response to Francis’s defense of Barros and to his dismissal of the victims while he was in Chile, is perhaps now better understood.

In a rare rebuke of a pope by a cardinal, O’Malley issued a statement Jan. 20 in which he said the pope’s words were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” and that such expressions had the effect of abandoning victims and relegating them to “discredited exile.”

A day later, Francis apologized for having demanded “proof” of wrongdoing by Barros, saying he meant merely that he wanted to see “evidence.” But he continued to describe the accusations against Barros as “calumny” and insisted he had never heard from any victims.

Even when told in his airborne press conference Jan. 21 that Karadima’s victims had indeed placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s abuse, Francis said: “No one has come forward. They haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.”

He stood by Barros, saying: “I’m certain he’s innocent,” even while saying that he considered the testimony of victims to be “evidence” in a cover-up investigation.

“If anyone can give me evidence, I’ll be the first to listen,” he said.

Cruz said he felt like he had been slapped when he heard those words.

“I was upset,” he said, “and at the same time I couldn’t believe that someone so high up like the pope himself could lie about this.” [Unfortunately, the man elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church has shown himself to be a habitual liar and deceiver (on so many issues in which his lies and deception are documented and chronicled) - but as I always remark, if the man can dare edit Jesus's words from the Gospel and omit statements by the Lord that he, Bergoglio, does not agree with, what would he NOT dare do?]

Winfield then supplements her story with a timeline of the Barros case:

Bishop Barros – the story so far
by Nicole Winfield

VATICAN CITY, February 6, 2018 (AP) - Here's what you need to know about the Bishop Barros affair:

Pope Francis’s appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to head the small diocese of Osorno, Chile encountered opposition when it was announced three years ago and has contributed to a credibility crisis for the Chilean Catholic Church in the time since.

Bishop Barros was a protege of Fr Fernando Karadima, a charismatic priest who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors. Some of the victims allege that Barros witnessed the abuse, placing him at the scene when Fr Karadima kissed and fondled minors. Bishop Barros has denied knowing of the abuse or covering up for Fr Karadima.

Pope Francis created an uproar while visiting Chile in January, when he called the accusations against Bishop Barros “slander.” The Pope further insisted he never knew that any of Fr Karadima’s victims had come forward. The Associated Press reported Monday that Pope Francis received an eight-page letter in April 2015 that laid out in detail why abuse victim Juan Carlos Cruz thought Bishop Barros was unfit to lead a diocese.

Some key dates in the Barros affair:

January 10, 2015
Pope names Bishop Barros, then Chile’s military bishop, as Bishop of Osorno, over the objections of some members of the Chilean bishops’ conference. They were concerned about the fallout from the Fr Karadima affair.

January 31, 2015
Pope Francis acknowledged the bishops’ concerns in a letter, which the AP obtained last month. The letter revealed a plan to have Bishop Barros and two other Fr Karadima-trained bishops resign and take yearlong sabbaticals, but Pope Francis wrote that it fell apart because the nuncio revealed it. The Pope later acknowledged that he had blocked the plan himself because there was no “evidence” Bishop Barros was guilty of any cover-up. [Yet AP at the time did not even question why, if the pope had agreed earlier to the planned sabbatical for the bishops who were Karadima proteges, suddenly he revokes any action at all against (nothing more has been hear about the two other bishops) and goes ahead and nominates Barros away - having declined, the pope himself reveals, Barros's offer to resign. He didn't have to accept the resignation, of course - he simply ought to have suspended the nomination until a formal investigation into the matter. Which he never ordered.]

February 2015
Fifty Chilean lawmakers and priests, deacons and more than 1,000 laity in the Osorno diocese sign petitions protesting Bishop Barros’s appointment and urging Pope Francis revoke it.

February 3, 2015
Juan Carlos Cruz writes an eight-page letter to the Vatican’s ambassador in Santiago, Monsignor Ivo Scapolo, accusing Bishop Barros of watching the sex abuse he experienced and doing nothing to stop it. The letter, which Cruz said should be considered a formal complaint, would form the basis of a subsequent letter to the Pope.

March 21, 2015
The Mass installing Barros as bishop of Osorno is marred by violent protests. Black-clad demonstrators storm the church with signs that read, “No to Karadima’s accomplice.” Ten days later, the Vatican publicly defends Bishop Barros, saying it “carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.”

April 12, 2015
Four members of the Pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors fly to Rome to meet with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Pope Francis’s top adviser, to raise concerns about Barros’ suitability to run a diocese. The commissioners cite the victim testimony that Barros witnessed and ignored abuse. Member Marie Collins hands Cruz’s letter to Cardinal O’Malley, who would go on to tell Collins and Cruz he delivered it to the Pope and relayed their concerns

May 15, 2015
Pope Francis is filmed in St Peter’s Square telling the spokesman for the Chilean bishops’ conference that the Chilean Church had become too politicised and the opposition to Bishop Barros was coming from “leftists.” Pope Francis says: “Osorno suffers, yes, from foolishness, because they don’t open their heart to what God says and they let themselves guided by the nonsense all those people say.” [And people say this is a 'merciful' pope?]

January 15, 2018
Pope Francis arrives in Chile to protests that are unprecedented for a papal visit. During his first public remarks, he apologises for the “irreparable damage” suffered by all victims of sexual abuse. He meets with two survivors and weeps with them. [Oh, the melodrama of it all!]

January 18, 2018
While visiting the northern city of Iquique, Pope Francis is asked by a Chilean journalist about Bishop Barros and says: “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?” [Bergoglio in a most peremptory display of know-it-all arrogance!]

January 20, 2018
Cardinal O’Malley publicly rebukes the Pope, saying his words in Iquique “were a source of great pain” for abuse survivors. “Words that convey the message ‘if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed’ abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

January 21, 2018
Pope Francis partially apologises, saying he shouldn’t have used the word “proof” but rather “evidence.” During an in-flight news conference, he repeats that accusations against Bishop Barros are “slander” and denies any victims had come forward accusing Bishop Barros of covering up for Fr Karadima. “I’m convinced he’s innocent.”

February 5, 2018AP reports the contents of Cruz’s letter, which contradict the Pope’s claim about no victims coming forward. Cruz wrote: “Holy Father, it’s bad enough that we suffered such tremendous pain and anguish from the sexual and psychological abuse, but the terrible mistreatment we received from our pastors is almost worse.”

In the following article, Christopher Altieri - who worked for years at the English service of Vatican Radio, including during the first years of the Bergoglio pontificate, reviews the possibilities of whatever happened to the Juan Carlos Cruz letter given to the pope back in April 2015, in an analysis he would never have written for Vatican Radio:

The Bishop Barros crisis:
how bad is it?

by Christopher Altieri
Saturday, 10 Feb 2018

“How bad is it?” That was the question a friend put to me, à propos the leadership crisis in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis precipitated the crisis by levelling repeated accusations of calumny against survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by a prominent Chilean cleric, Fernando Karadima, who was convicted of his crimes by a Vatican court in 2011.

Karadima’s victims claim one of their abuser’s protégés, Juan Barros – ordained bishop in 1995 and appointed by Pope Francis to head the diocese of Osorno, Chile, in 2015 – witnessed the abuse they suffered at Karadima’s hands, covered for his mentor and enabled his abusive behaviour. Put just like that, it is bad enough.

It gets worse.

Pope Francis first accused the victims of calumny in a heat-of-the-moment exchange with a reporter in a press gaggle at the gate of the Iquique venue where he was heading to say Mass on the last day of his recent visit to Chile. News of the Pope’s “hot takes” overshadowed the final, Peruvian leg of his South American tour.

The Pope then used his in-flight press conference – days later – on the return trip to Rome, to double down on his accusations of calumny, saying he has not received any evidence of Barros’ alleged wrongdoing, and that the victims had never brought their case to him. “You [reporters], in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward,” Pope Francis said.

Even at the time Pope Francis made it – again, during the in-flight presser en route to Rome from Peru, days after his impromptu response had garnered the attention of the press – the assertion was, to say the very least, problematic.

The accusations against Barros have been before the public since at least 2012. Victims have given testimony to Chilean prosecutors regarding the matter. It appears, therefore, that the Pope’s assertion can save itself only if it rests on a hyper-technicality: that he had no direct, personal acquaintance with the accusations.

Upon hearing the Pope’s claim, however, the abuse survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Marie Collins, made it known that she had delivered an 8-page letter to the Pope from one of Karadima's victims, describing life in the Chilean institute where their abuse took place and detailing Barros’s alleged role in their abuse.

The letter, Collins explained to AP, was from Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Karadima and Barros’s most outspoken accuser. Collins claims she delivered the letter in 2015, through the Pope’s own chief adviser on sexual abuse matters (and president of the Commission for the Protection of Minors), Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston.

About the letter and its delivery, Marie Collins told the Catholic Herald: “It was at the time a private letter [written in Spanish] from Juan Carlos Cruz to the Holy Father.” Collins went on to explain: “As well as I can recollect it was sealed when given to Cardinal O’Malley. It was in a simple plain envelope. I did have a general idea of its content as [Mr Cruz] had also sent a detailed explanation of events in English.”

Asked specifically about Cardinal O’Malley’s confirmation of delivery, Collins told the Herald: “He said he had given the letter directly to the Holy Father and that at the same time he had discussed our concerns about Bishop Barros with him.”

At this point, there are four possibilities:
- Collins and Cruz are both lying about the letter;
- Cardinal O’Malley gravely misrepresented the diligence with which he discharged his promise to deliver it directly to Pope Francis (though Collins has expressed full confidence in him on several occasions);
- Pope Francis received the letter and did not read it;
- Pope Francis received it and read it, only to forget about it.

If O’Malley did not deliver the letter directly into the hands of the Pope, he needs to say so. If Pope Francis did receive the letter, only to put it aside without reading it, he needs to say so, and explain why he did not read it.

If the Pope did receive it, and read it, then the only way to save him from an accusation of deliberate untruthfulness is to admit he is relying on another hyper-technicality: that he received nothing submitted specifically and explicitly as evidence in an open judicial process, or that he received no new evidence – i.e. evidence about which he had no prior knowledge of any kind in any capacity – or that he received no evidence of Barros’s wrongdoing as a bishop, such as would warrant investigation and possibly trial under pertinent law.

As Fr Robert Gahl, who teaches ethics at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, told Catholic News Agency in a story that ran earlier this week, “[Barros’s] alleged failure to report did not constitute episcopal negligence and yet his being somehow an accessory, at least insofar as he is accused of not having stopped a crime from taking place, would constitute the negligence of someone who is now a bishop.”

The accusations against Barros arguably come to more than failure to report abuse. In any case, the point is that Pope Francis appointed Barros to the See of Osorno in 2015, years after the accusations against Barros were public knowledge.

The appointment of Barros was also over and against the objections of the bishops of Chile, who wrote to Pope Francis about the matter. The Holy Father responded to the Chilean bishops with his own letter, in which he explained that he had in fact asked Barros to resign the post in which he found himself at the time (when Barros was appointed to Osorno he was bishop of the Chilean forces). The Pope also asked Barros to take a year’s sabbatical, before being considered for any other post.

The AP story detailing the exchanges reports that the Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who acted as go-between, also told Barros that two other bishops who came up under Karadima were being given similar requests, and reportedly also told Barros to keep the news to himself. Barros, however, decided to give the names of the two other bishops in a letter he wrote announcing his renunciation of the military see. At that point, instead of sending Barros into retirement as damaged goods, or rejecting him as insubordinate, Pope Francis decided to make Barros the head of the Church in Osorno.

Quite apart from the legal cavils, the question is: what was Pope Francis thinking?

In various public and private conversations about the crisis, a few people have suggested that Pope Francis may have read and then forgotten about the letter. The details of the published excerpts alone make that highly unlikely.

An AP story published last Sunday contains lurid particulars. “[W]e were in Karadima’s room,” the story quotes Cruz’s letter, “and Juan Barros – if he wasn’t kissing Karadima – would watch when Karadima would touch us – the minors – and make us kiss him, saying: ‘Put your mouth near mine and stick out your tongue.’ He would stick his out and kiss us with his tongue.”
- If Pope Francis could read those sentences and forget he had, then there is reason to suspect that he is not in full possession of his faculties.

- If the letter was intercepted after Cardinal O’Malley delivered it, and before Pope Francis had a chance to read it, then the Holy Father is a victim of a grave and likely criminal disservice that has damaged his credibility.
- If he is a victim of such a disservice, he must nevertheless own his dismissal of the general public claims registered in the letter, and account for his part in the creation of a working environment in which such miscarriage was possible.
- He must also apologise to the persons whose names and reputations he has injured.

Even if the outstanding questions regarding Pope Francis’s handling of the Barros affair are clarified – as they must be – the crisis of leadership in the Church will nevertheless remain.

The known facts of this case and others constitutive of Pope Francis’s record in these regards bespeak a style of governance in which the man at the top is more inclined
- to listen to fellow clerics, than to victims;
- to believe bishops – ones with skin in the game, to boot – over laity who bring credible allegations of clerical misbehaviour;
- to trust his own “gut instinct” even when it is informed by the opinion of interested parties, and to compound this imprudence with the self-delusion of self-reliance in these regards;
- to believe he can manage the crisis of clerical sexual abuse by way of gimmicks like the powerless Commission for the Protection of Minors he set up between 2014 and 2015 before ignoring it and allowing it to expire;
- to blame underlings and hide behind cavils of law, rather than face the filth in the Church squarely and fight it without ruth or stint.

How bad is it? It is very bad indeed. If the manner in which the crisis as it has heretofore unfolded in the worldwide Church, and especially in the US and Ireland, is any lesson, then a candid mind would not be incapable of concluding that Pope Francis is not only part of the problem, but that he is the problem.

It is very telling that neither official Vatican media nor the usual prompter-than-a-sneeze defenders/apologists for Bergoglio have so far not said a word about this development in the Barros case. Oh, I know, they will say: The pope already sent Mons. Scicluna to look into this case - why don't we wait for his report? So be it! Though Fr. Lucie-Smith, also at Catholic Herald, promptly issued a caveat about Scicluna, whose absolute adherence to Bergoglio on allowing communion for unqualified remarried divorcees - and saying that it is this pope's magisterium we should listen to, not that of previous popes - does raise doubts about his impartiality.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 11/02/2018 00.20]
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Utente Gold

Hilary White has written a special report in her usual exhaustive way to highlight the implications of Bergoglio's tangled web of deception about the Barros case. And I am glad she gets
into the matter of Bergoglio's lies and deception, which is one of his most troubling characteristics, as I have always tried to underscore, but which is a point that the MSM and most
commentators, even the 'conservative' ones, appear to ignore. It has been most troubling to me because not only does he keep breaking the Eighth Commandment against 'bearing
false witness', i.e., lying, but worse for the supposed 'vicar of Christ on earth', he keeps taking the name of the Lord in vain - which is whenever he edits or misquotes
Jesus's words to serve his own personal agenda.

However, I disagree with White about the extent of the 'loss of trust' in this pope. The Catholic world is too big, and the number of persons who follow Church news closely insignificant
in that context,to make generalized statements about how the world's 1.2 billion-plus Catholics regard this pope. I don't think I would be wrong to say that the great majority of
the world's Catholics are completely unaware and/or uninformed of the anti-Catholic atrocities this pope has been perpetrating for the past five years. And by the
time it filters down to them in practices sanctioned and ordered by their local bishops and priests, they will just nod and accept whatever because 'the pope
says...', much as they accepted the Novus Ordo overnight,unquestioningly, 47 years ago.

Pope Francis and the Barros case:
Caught up in his own lies

by Hilary White
February 9, 2018

No more ‘humble pope’
Hey, remember five minutes ago when Pope Francis shouted at a reporter in Chile that there was “no evidence” supporting complaints against his good friend Bishop Juan Barros? And, just for good measure he accused the people accusing him – victims of sexual abuse by Barros’s mentor, the convicted sex-predator Karadima – of committing “calumny”?[1]

And remember when Cardinal O’Malley told the pope off in public over the “pain” these accusations had caused the victims of sexual abuse? And then remember how the pope had apologised-except-not-really because the accusations are, after all, still lies, and that there’s still “no evidence” against Barros…?

The press, secular as well as Catholic, is full this week of the story that the pope did indeed see evidence of Barros’ complicity in Karadima’s sexual abuse – not only that Barros had helped to cover it up but that he had been present and a direct witness at the time and therefore a passive participant. Nicole Winfield and the Associated Press dropped the bomb that the information came directly from the victims, whom Francis had dismissed and refused to meet with on his trip, and delivered through his own Commission on sexual abuse:

Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex-abuse commission have told The Associated Press.


The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for
sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of
his five-year papacy.

Now it appears that Francis had also overruled a 2015 warning from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Barros should not be made a bishop. The Italian Catholic daily La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana reports that not only did the pope see a letter from victims, but that the CDF, under Muller, “had already conducted an preliminary investigation into Barros and the other bishops close to Karadima which had led to the decision to relieve them of their duties…But with a letter signed by the Pope in January 2015 and sent to the Chilean bishops, the request for exemption is blocked and shortly thereafter Barros is promoted to…Osorno.”

The article points out that while Karadima was convicted by a Vatican tribunal on the testimony of the victims, it is the same testimony of the same victim-witnesses that Francis now dismisses in the accusations against Barros. The accusations that stood against Karadima come from the same sources as those against Barros, who the victims said was in the room watching at the time.

While the specifics are still not known, readers may be reminded by this of a peculiar incident about a year later in which Pope Francis summarily ordered the dismissal of three priests of the CDF, whose remit was investigations of clerics accused of sexual abuse. The website One Peter Five reports, via Marco Tosatti, that the pope ordered their removal without offering any explanation to then-cardinal prefect Gerhard Muller. When, after several attempts and three months later[2], Muller was able to get an audience with the pope to ask the reason, he received the response, “I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.”

Marco Tosatti reports the CDF incident, but it follows an odd story of a meeting of curial officials to discuss certain bishop appointments. Without naming name, (or, frustratingly, giving dates, [3]) Tosatti relates:

“It was some time ago in the naming of a new bishop (not in Italy). The nuncio to that particular country had prepared his terna (list of three candidates deemed suitable and qualified to be made bishop)]. When the Congregation for Bishops met in ordinary assembly to discuss new episcopal nominations, a cardinal, perhaps the head of the dicastery, took the floor to say: ‘The first candidate indicated is excellent, the second is good. But I would like to warn of the third, whom I know well, since he was a seminarian, and who presents problems both on the level of doctrine and morality. He hardly meets the necessary criteria”. But the third candidate was a friend of another cardinal, of the circle currently in power, who lashed out against his colleague, accusing him of impropriety. The meeting ended without further decisions.”

Whatever the details of these strange incidents, what is clear in Chile is that no amount of eyewitness testimony was going to make the slightest difference. Bergoglio wanted Barros as a bishop and that was that. Even while “apologising” the pope had doubled down when questioned about it by journalists, saying, “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward… In the case of Barros it’s been observed, it’s been studied; there’s no evidence. The best thing to do if someone believes it’s the case is to come forward quickly with evidence.”

The AP report, however, says exactly the opposite; that members of his own (now defunct [4]) abuse Commission had approached Cardinal O’Malley, the pope’s “top abuse advisor,” with the letter to deliver to the pope.

Marie Collins, the Irish abuse survivor and Commission member who resigned, citing the Vatican’s refusal to take meaningful action, told AP, “When we gave him [O’Malley] the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns. And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Juan Carlos Cruz, the Karadima victim whose membership on the Commission the Vatican had blocked, told AP, “Cardinal O’Malley called me after the pope’s visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope – in his hands.”

On the face of it, there are only a few logical possibilities here. In fact, unless Cardinal O’Malley – who has, as of this writing, remained silent – comes forward and says that he didn’t hand the letter over pope, there is really only one; that the pope lied. And this is what is now being said quite openly by a vast array of voices, secular and Catholic, left and right. As Winfield writes,

“The revelation could be costly for Francis, whose track record on the abuse crisis was already shaky after a botched Italian abuse case he intervened in became public[5]. More recently, he let the abuse commission lapse at the end of last year. Vatican analysts now openly question whether he ‘gets it,’ and some of his own advisers privately acknowledge that maybe he doesn’t.”

Lie big, lie often, and
when caught, keep lying

One of the many things these secular reporters seem not to be paying attention to is that “no evidence” is in fact a well-rehearsed, stock response for Bergoglio. He said almost exactly the same in 2013 when confronted about another predatory homosexual he was sheltering. The hoopla surrounding the “Who am I to judge” comment tends to obscure the context of the comment.

It was made in response to a question by a journalist about Monsignore Battista Ricca – a prelate whose promiscuous homosexuality is so well known it was reported by L’Espresso in Italy as early as 1999. Ilze Scamparini asked the pope about Ricca, saying, “What you intend to do about this? How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?”

What reply did Bergoglio give? His standard one: “No evidence.” About Monsignor Ricca: “I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged. We did not find anything of that. This is the response… In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything.” [If the journalists on the papal flight were doing their job properly, someone should have said, “Did you even check what’s in his dossier at the Secretariat of State?” – unless his dossier was preemptively whitewashed – because surely, there ought to have been an official record of Ricca’s many lifestyle-related vicissitudes starting with bringing his live-in Swiss lover to the embassy in Uruguay and getting him employed there by the Vatican.]

But Ricca’s activities, for which the pope claimed there was no evidence, were notorious. They include being caught in flagrante in an elevator with a teenaged male prostitute, and his sexual relationship with a captain in the Swiss army. So flagrant was Ricca’s behaviour that it took intervention by Uruguay’s nuncio to have him removed. It was reported in 1999 and 2000 by L’Espresso, who said the information was confirmed by “numerous bishops, priests, religious and laity” in Uruguay[6]. [Obviously, among the sources for the articles by Sandro Magister, Vaticanista for L’Espresso, protesting Ricca’s appointment to be the spiritual adviser of the IOR. The wonder is that no one in MSM bothered to pick up Magister’s account at all in 2013, except strangely, the UK Telegraph which is by no means Catholic-friendly and therefore was only too happy to use the Ricca story as a scandal to throw in the face of the Church.]

In fact, the evidence shows that Ricca is completely in line with Bergoglio’s normal procedures. As “Marcantonio Colonna” wrote in The Dictator Pope, “In fact his patronage of Monsignor Ricca fits the pattern which was well established when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, whereby he surrounds himself with morally weak people so as to have them under his thumb.”

It was at this early “no evidence” comment on the plane home from Rio that some of those paying attention started to understand that Bergoglio’s policy is in line with that of the practice that if a politician was going to lie, he should lie big and lie brazenly – and keep on lying after you’re caught.

The pattern of silence and, when pressed, flat-out denial, has been Bergoglio’s policy since long before he came on the international scene. He has a long record in Argentina of shaving close to scandals and vociferously denying involvement, and relying heavily on the broad good will of Catholics towards bishops to pull it off.

Perhaps his biggest error with Barros was failing to understand just how little of that capital of trust there is left in the Catholic world as a whole. Indeed, on the subject of priests sexually abusing young people, it could only be measured in the negative numbers.

Bergoglio’s record in Argentina
Though the website Bishop Accountability is blatantly anti-clerical, their data is unassailable since most of it comes from information that is already public. On their Argentina page is a long list of accusations that Bergoglio/Francis simply isn’t interested in hearing from victims.

“In Pope Francis’s 21 years as bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Wall Street Journal reports, including the years when he headed the Argentine bishops’ conference, he declined to meet with victims of sexual abuse… All of them tried to contact the cardinal archbishop in 2002 and later… In addition to Bergoglio’s failure to respond to victims, the public record contains no evidence that he released any information about abusers.”

In fact, he went so far as to flatly deny there had been any instances of abuse in his archdiocese. Weeks after his election to the papacy, he was quoted by his close friend, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, “In my diocese it never happened to me, but a bishop called me once by phone to ask me what to do in a situation like this.” Francis added that he agreed with the “zero tolerance” attitude of the Irish episcopate and admired Pope Benedict’s reforms – most of which he was later to quietly reverse.

It was at exactly this time, however, that victims from Argentina were attempting to get the new pope’s attention. One, known to the press only as “Gabriel,” wanted to talk to Francis about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Julio César Grassi, accused of molesting at least five boys, “who has been avoiding the sentences of the justice of Morón and the Court of Cassation. So far, judges and prosecutors at all instances found him guilty.”

In case anyone thinks the Grassi-Gabriel case was not serious enough for the pope’s attention, Bishop Accountability summarises, “A year after Gabriel had filed criminal charges [2003] but before the start of Grassi’s trial, three men ransacked the survivor’s apartment and beat him.” These men threatened to kill him if he did not retract his testimony and quit the case.

Ten years [after Gabriel filed criminal charges], in May 2013, with Grassi still free despite his conviction in 2009, “Gabriel and his attorney, Juan Pablo Gallego, brought a two-page letter addressed to Pope Francis to the office of the papal nuncio in Buenos Aires. An employee refused to accept the letter after learning of its topic and threatened to call security if Gabriel and Gallego did not leave the premises.”

The group surmises that it was Bergoglio’s direct intervention with judges in the case that prevented a conviction against Grassi for so long and delayed his sentencing through multiple appeals. In 2006, then-Archbishop Bergoglio complained of a “media campaign” and claimed that the Grassi case was “different” from other accusations. During his criminal trial Grassi said Bergoglio “never let go” of his hand. In 2009, Grassi was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault and corruption in the case of “Gabriel,” who was aged 13 at the time of the abuse, but the appeals dragged on until he was finally sent to prison in September 2013.

For the strong-of-stomach, several more similar cases, all of whom were rebuffed in their attempts to meet with Bergoglio, are detailed here:
[Again, the wonder of it all is that no journalist, MSM or Catholic, has even bothered to look at Bergoglio's Buenos Aires record on clerical sex abuse. Or maybe they did but held off because it does not square with their narrative of the pluperfect pope. John Allen ostentatiously travelled to Buenos Aires for two weeks shortly after the March 2013 Conclave to do first-hand research on Bergoglio, but I don't recall seeing a single line in his accounts about Bergoglio's record on clerical sex abuse. Nor do I recall it being cited in any reviews of the dozens of Bergoglio biographers so far. If it had been a sterling record, would they have deliberately ignored it? - especially on an issue that obviously titillates their journalistic sensibilities.]

A virtuoso performance-liar
Looking back and carefully examining his record, Jorge Bergoglio’s mastery of using the weaknesses of morally compromised men is becoming evident. It is arguable that even the members of the so-called “Sankt Gallen Mafia” who apparently conspired to put him on Peter’s throne were used by him. But he is also a master of judging an audience and telling them what they expect to hear; a key skill for all grifters and confidence tricksters.

Looking carefully at the infamous “Who am I to judge” comment, this was clear early on. The first part of that interview is a blatant and enormous lie, and it was from there that the pope moved on to his apology for homosexuality in general. Recall that this was the very first airplane interview, on the trip back to Rome from World Youth Day in Rio, a matter of weeks after his election. At the time, the papal apologists sprang instantly into action and we heard all about how the pope was talking strictly within the boundaries of Catholic doctrine.

But perhaps in hindsight, we are ready to examine the full implications of his little speech, one that was clearly well-rehearsed. (Don’t forget, no question is asked in a papal interview without being thoroughly vetted ahead of time. Journalists must submit their questions well in advance.) This was the pope laying out his policy regarding homosexuality, a policy for which he was duly rewarded by being lauded on the cover of the homosexualist lobby’s US trade magazine. Read his full answer carefully:

I see that many times in the Church, over and above this case, but including this case, people search for “sins from youth”, for example, and then publish them. They are not crimes, right? Crimes are something different: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, sins.

But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins. That is a danger.

This is important: a theology of sin. Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope. [I missed this line back in 2013! ‘They made him pope’? Who is ‘they? Only Jesus did – and he didn’t make him ‘pope’. He commissioned Peter to be the Rock upon which he would build his Church. ‘Pope’ was an office retroactively attributed to Peter by the Church when it institutionalized his Christ-given mission in the papacy. See, when some can be as slipshod as Bergoglio is on fundamental things, he can be as slipshod on everything else, which he generally is, especially in his speech. And isn’t Bergoglio constantly denying Christ in his own way by habitually editing his words to be self-serving for his agenda???]

But, returning to your question more concretely. In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything. This is the first question. Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there.

I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good.

If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”.

[Except, of course, that is not exactly how the Catechism puts it:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. ]u]They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and u]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.

In fact, Bergoglio egregiously avoids to say that homosexual acts are sinful:

[2357… Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.]

Paging Cardinal Schoenborn! As chairman of the committee that drafted the Catechism from 1985-1992, have you been named yet to head the committee that will revise this Catechism and make it Bergoglian rather than Christian? Remember how, starting around 2010, you started saying that under some specific circumstances, homosexual unions are not only OK but also praiseworthy?]

The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem. Thank you so much for asking this question. Many thanks.

One of the pope’s favourite rhetorical techniques is a combination of begging the question and conspiracy. He starts by assuming, without any effort at defence or explanation, a point that concedes the whole issue. This was the first time a pope had ever used the political term “gay”. Not “homosexual,” not “same-sex attracted,” but “gay,” meaning that he started by adopting the entirety of the homosexualist movement’s linguistic manipulations. Language counts in politics, and a pope using that term means he is by implication starting the discussion – and his pontificate – by aligning himself with the basic tenets of a movement that is violently opposed to Catholic moral teaching, and in direct opposition to his immediate, and still living, predecessor.

In this case too, he was addressing a planeload of journalists who were either secular themselves, or for the most part are the kind of Catholic who believes it is fine to “disagree” with Catholic teaching on sexuality. There are very few “conservative” Catholics in the Vatican journalist pool. This means that his use of this language was a conspiratorial wink and nod to his immediate audience, a sly message to say, “People talk all the time about a gay lobby, but you and I both know this is mostly nonsense, propaganda from those people… those conservatives…We cool and hip people don’t hate gays, do we?”

This astonishing departure follows an implied but very clear assertion that Ricca has repented and given up his activity, an assertion that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. We are simply asked to take the pope’s word for it, but given that it follows his astoundingly brazen lie that there was no evidence for Ricca’s homosexual activity in the first place, we can take the assurance for what it seems to be worth. [Let me stick to my charitable assumption that Ricca confessed formally to the pope, who absolved him, and therefore, as far as Bergoglio is concerned Ricca was starting anew with a clean slate, then Bergoglio’s ‘breach’ becomes more tolerable! ]

Next, after another little inside nudge-nudge-wink-wink joke about the “gay lobby” – implying (but of course never outright saying) that the whole thing is hysterical nonsense – we hear a direct contradiction to Catholic teaching from no less a source than his predecessor, Pope Benedict.

[n]“The problem is not having this tendency.” Well, actually, your holiness, yes it is, particularly in the case of priests. The “tendency” is called in the same catechism you quote “intrinsically disordered” and Ratzinger was very clear that this “tendency” is a sign of a serious emotional dysfunction that “must” preclude a man from being ordained.

Squandering the capital of trust
A few months ago in a piece for this newspaper, I wrote about why the Church (and nearly all human societies) regard lying as a sin:

A mistake many make about lying is to understand it only in terms of morality. But St Thomas makes the point that it is first a matter of metaphysics. Lying is an act at variance in its essence with the nature of reality.

Thomistic theology teaches that it is by lying that we become most like the devil, and most unlike God, because we are trying to change the nature of reality to suit our own purposes. Habitual lying in effect changes you into a different kind of being, one that is by nature b]an opponent of Truth, ordered against Truth. This of course means that a person whose “orientation,” as we might say, is towards falsehood, even when he is at any given moment saying something true, is still servicing his lies. He tells the truth only to continue to control and manipulate reality. It was not by violence, but by lying and manipulation, by issuing half-truths and pretending to be the kind of man he was not, that Shakespeare’s character Iago earned the title of most evil character in English literature.

Human beings are naturally ordered towards the truth, and we have to work at assuming a lie. This is why confidence tricksters can be successful, why lying works for getting what you want; people don’t see it coming. The first natural assumption is trust, at least at the basic level of expecting truth most of the time. We therefore instinctively see lying as a betrayal of trust.

Considering how much trust the Catholic faithful had in the papacy until about 1965, how much un-earned trust Francis started with just by being elected, this pontificate should be remembered as one of the great confidence scams in history. Believing Catholics have watched aghast as this pope has habitually trampled on every aspect of Catholic teaching. Sandro Magister recently published a piece on his website that listed in dizzying detail the many times, in only the last few months, that this pope has falsified with obvious intention, the words of Christ in Scripture and the teaching of the Church.

Of course this is of little interest to secular journalists, who have paid no mind to his habit of rewriting Catholicism, but the sex abuse crisis is something secular journalists are very interested in, a fact Bergoglio seems not to have understood. It is now irrefutable that Pope Bergoglio is a habitual liar – that in fact truth, like reality, seems to mean nothing to him except as a tool.

Sociologists talk about the concept of the “high trust society,” one in which citizens believe what they are told by the elites and trust them to govern and protect them adequately. They warn that the general loss of trust in institutions leads to a general state of chaos, in which laws on the books matter little as citizens turn to their last resort of protecting themselves and their own families. This is the way societies disintegrate. It has been said many times that the sex abuse crisis has created a massive loss of trust in prelates among the Catholic faithful, and this is true.

With a professional confidence trickster on the papal throne, blatantly using lies and manipulation to maintain power and ram through an agenda at radical variance with Catholic doctrine,
- how long before that predictable disintegration occurs?
- Are we seeing it already? Are we seeing it in the declarations of this or that episcopate on Amoris Laetitia and Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics?
- With Cardinal Marx and others promoting “blessings” for “same-sex unions” are we going to be seeing an escalation of it?

I have seen a veritable chorus of Catholics on social media declaring that if Paul VI is canonised, their loss of faith in the Church as an institution will be complete.

I am told from contacts inside the Vatican that after the trip to Chile Bergoglio’s support has completely dried up. He has no more resources of trust even among the people he has chosen to surround himself with and, after the reports of Cardinal Sandri going toe-to-toe with him in a shouting match, it seems that perhaps even his legendary vicious temper tantrums are failing to have the desired effect of terrorising his subordinates into submission. [Don’t give in to wishful thinking, Hilary! Being pope, Bergoglio still has almost infinite resources at his fingertips to cow or bludgeon everyone willing into submission.]

Marie Collins, by no stretch even a “conservative” Catholic, echoed this concern, saying the Barros affair has “definitely undermined credibility, trust, and hope” in Francis.

“All I can say is that people who had a lot of hope in this particular pope, and I am talking about just ordinary Catholics that I know in my own parish, would find it very difficult now…and cannot understand and cannot believe that this particular pope has said the things he has said in the last few weeks,” she told the National Catholic Reporter.

It may seem like a moment to enjoy, seeing the apparently unbreachable shell of papal teflon finally cracking, but in reality this situation is potentially very harmful for souls in the long run. There is a multitude of problems this pontificate has created or made worse that we will be dealing with for a long time after Bergoglio is gone, but perhaps one of the bigger ones will be the destruction of trust. Already fractured since the collapse of all Catholic institutions after Vatican II and the horrors of the sex abuse crisis, how much will there be to repair of the once-steadfast trust Catholics instinctively had in the Church after this?

[1] “Not one victim has come forward in Chile; show me the proof. This is slander and calumny. Is that clear?”
[2] The book “The Dictator Pope” relates that regular meetings between the pope and dicastery heads have been abolished and even high-ranking curia prefects are often unable to see the pope, whose appointments are now completely controlled by the Secretariat of State. It is certainly clear that no one sees the pope unless Cardinal Parolin approves, which may be the reason Cardinal Zen, in his efforts to warn Francis of the dangers of a Vatican deal with the communist Chinese government had to wait in the rain at a Wednesday general audience.
[3] This is common in Italian journalism that has somewhat different standards from that of the Anglo world… and drives the rest of us spare. Italians care about getting a general picture of what’s going on, where Anglo-Saxons are considered weirdly obsessed with trivial details.
[4] Though she never blamed the pope, Marie Collins complained that Vatican officialdom had simply not implemented the Commission’s recommendations. The time limit of the Commission’s members was allowed to lapse without renewal and though it was not dissolved formally the Commission has ceased to function with no word of any plan to revive it.
[5] Probably a reference to the Inzoli case in which Francis overturned a previous sentence of a Vatican tribunal after the priest – now laicised – approached some of the pope’s close advisors for help, including Cardinal Coccopalmerio.
[6] Not that anyone in Rome was trying very hard. Sandro Magister reported after the “Who am I to judge” comment, “Before the appointment, Francis had been shown, as is customary, the personal file on Ricca, in which he had not found anything unseemly. He had also heard from various personalities of the curia, and none of them had raised objections.”

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 15/02/2018 05.27]
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Utente Gold

The other big Vatican news this week was an all-but-formally-official confirmation of a Vatican-China deal in which Bergoglio apparently deludes himself that the Chinese will
'give him a say' in naming bishops to a 'Catholic Church' that the regime has 'sinicized' i.e., made independent of any foreign control (unless, that is, the Chinese now consider
the Vatican their vassal state and therefore not 'foreign' - but who are we kidding?)...

Compounding the 'state of insanity' that is the Vatican under Bergoglio was a Bergoglio favorite coming back from China
claiming that it is really only Communist China that is practising the social doctrine of the Church, and with other
encomiums for the Chinese regime to rival American reporter Lincoln Steffens's words "I have seen the future, and it works"
(falsely attributed to another reporter, John Reed) after witnessing the triumph of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

Unreality and incoherence
reign at the Vatican

February 8, 2017

Back in the 1920s and 1930s, it was fashionable for progressive and left-wing intellectuals to travel to the Soviet Union to find out what was “really” going on in the world’s first great experiment in communism. “The entire British intelligentsia,” the editor of the left-leaning New Statesman Kingsley Martin breathlessly exclaimed in 1932, “has been to Russia.”

The vast majority came back wide-eyed and deeply impressed by what they had seen. Following his visit to Russia in 1919, for example, the American progressive journalist Lincoln Steffens famously wrote, “I have seen the future, and it works.”

There were, however, realities about Soviet communism which few such individuals ever got around to mentioning. They rarely referred to, for instance,
- the Bolsheviks’ destruction of freedom;
- the cults of personality surrounding Lenin and then Stalin;
- the regime’s use of systematic terrorism against real but mostly imaginary opponents;
- the dynamiting of churches;
- the herding of peasants into collective farms;
- the murder of thousands of Orthodox and other Christian clergy; -
the Great Famine that killed millions in the Ukraine;
- the show-trials, purges and executions;
- the labor camps; and
- the relentless propaganda which assured everyone that everything was fine and that any problems were the work of saboteurs, kulaks, class-traitors, Czarist reactionaries, evil Western capitalists, and British Intelligence.

I was reminded of all this recently when reading a strange interview of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. He is the Argentine-born and Vatican-based longtime Chancellor of what are called the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Having recently visited China, the bishop described the one-party communist state as “extraordinary.”

Why extraordinary, you might ask? Well, according to Bishop Sanchez, China has “no shantytowns” and “young people don’t take drugs.” Moreover, he said, China takes climate change so much more seriously than most other nations. That’s hard to square with China’s relentless emphasis on economic growth. [Although the government reports it has cut down industrial emissions in Beijing enough to meet international benchmarks for the first time, and will seek to tackle vehicle pollution next in the Chinese capital.]

But, above all, the bishop exclaimed, “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.”

At this point, I started to wonder how the Argentine bishop reconciled some well-known facts about the Chinese communist regime with Catholic social teaching:
- its policy of forced-abortions in the name of population-control;
- its use of mass labor camps;
- its ongoing problems with rampant corruption;
- the growing cult of personality surrounding President Xi Jinping; - its absence of democracy;
- its bellicose and militaristic stance in the South China Sea;
- the surveillance and censoring of anyone deemed a threat to the Communist Party’s monopoly of power by the Ministry of State Security;
- its appalling treatment of the Nobel Peace Prize activist, the late Liu Xiaobo;
- its oppression of the people of Tibet and other ethnic minorities; - its demolition of Evangelical and Catholic churches; and
- its relentless harassment of Catholic clergy and laypeople who won’t support regime-puppets like the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association — with Catholic social teaching.

Incidentally, there are plenty of shanty-towns in mainland China, including in Beijing. And if Bishop Sanchez seriously believes that no young people use drugs in China, I can only (very charitably) conclude that he was given a very sheltered tour of China — perhaps something akin to Catherine the Great’s expeditions to the provinces in Russia during which her advisors made sure that she saw only what came to be called “Potemkin villages”: temporary edifices designed to shelter the sovereign’s eyes from unpleasant truths.

A disconnectedness from reality, however, seems to have become the norm throughout parts of the Holy See lately — or at least a tendency to view the world through a distinctly leftist lens.

Back in 2016, for example, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences of which Sanchez is Chancellor, held a conference to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus. This document reflected an openness to the market economy on the part of Catholic social teaching which had been absent during the heady days of the 1960s and the decade of decadence otherwise known as the 1970s.

This made it all the stranger that the two heads of state in attendance — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and Ecuador’s then-President Rafael Correa — were left-wing Latin American populists: i.e., politicians deeply hostile to much of Centesimus Annus’ messages.

Apart from significantly undermining freedom in their own nations in the name of “el pueblo,” both men have strongly and consistently supported Venezuela’s Cuban-backed left-populist authoritarian regime: the same government which, apart from having destroyed the Venezuelan economy, recently threatened to deploy “hate-crime” laws to try and silence one of President Nicolas Maduro’s strongest critics, the Catholic bishops of Venezuela.

One wonders if any mildly non-left wing relatively market-friendly head of state or government even made it onto Bishop Sanchez’s invitation list. Indeed, the event’s left-leaning character was confirmed by the presence of no less than Senator Bernie Sanders, America’s own embodiment of left-wing populism who was then running for President. The only surprise was that Comrade Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t at the meeting.

I could go on about the unending parade of leftist notables though the Pontifical academies since 2013. Perhaps the most notorious has been Paul R. Ehrlich: the now-aged exponent of the “population bomb” whose Malthusian prophecies of mass starvation and death as a result of population-growth somehow never materialized. The scientific debunking of Ehrlich’s predictions was, it seems, no obstacle to his attendance at a conference primarily for scientists.

It’s also worth noting that all of this goes hand-in-hand with some bizarre and badly uninformed views of the United States. In China, Bishop Sanchez stated in his recent interview, “the economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, something Americans themselves would say.” China, the bishop insisted, was focused laser-like on promoting the “common good” — an idea that has been destroyed elsewhere, Sanchez claimed, by what he called “liberal thought.”

By “liberal,” we can safely assume that Sanchez means “neoliberalism:” one of the perennial bogeymen in the conspiracy-theory laden world of Latin American populists (especially of the Peronist variety), alongside the “multinational oil companies” who, Sanchez claimed, manipulate and control President Trump.

Once again, however, Bishop Sanchez’s claims are difficult to reconcile with facts. Anyone remotely familiar with recent Chinese history knows that, since Deng Xiaoping’s time, China’s leaders have concentrated on accelerating economic development: so much so that this has long been, in addition to its self-preservation, the regime’s priority. That’s one reason why Beijing and so many other Chinese cities are regularly consumed by industrial-generated smog. So much for China’s overriding commitment to the climate.

As for the triumph of “liberal thought,” it’s hard to know what the bishop had in mind. In the United States, for example, overall economic freedom actually declined between 2006 and 2016. This suggests that “liberal thought” of the free market variety has been exerting considerably less influence throughout America. Indeed, President Trump has been a strong critic of free trade agreements.

Furthermore, far from being dominated by economic concerns, American politics has steadily drifted in the direction of a mixture of phenomena such as identity politics, debates between nationalists and globalists, and persistent arguments about social issues, ranging from abortion to gender ideology.

Bishop Sanchez’s peculiar ruminations about world affairs are, however, emblematic of how concern for precision and facts seems to have disappeared throughout much of the Vatican over the past five years. One need only recall the notorious 2017 Civiltà Cattolica article penned by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa: a piece which even some of its defenders conceded contained substantive errors about the history of religion in the United States and the role played by Evangelicals and conservative Catholics in American politics.

It doesn’t help the Holy See’s reputation to have some Vatican officials parading their fact-free, strikingly incoherent views of the world on the public stage. Bishop Sanchez’s claim that China is somehow one of the world’s leading exponents of Catholic social doctrine is frankly outrageous. It is also insulting to those Catholics and other Christians who have suffered so much for their faith under what is, after all, a regime that remains ideologically committed to atheistic materialism.

In any organization that took reality and its own credibility seriously, such remarks would likely result in such a person being formally, if not publicly rebuked by more senior officials and perhaps even removed from office.

The fact, however, that people like Bishop Sanchez apparently feel free to speak and act this way speaks volumes about prevailing atmospherics at the Vatican these days. And in the Catholic Church, the ultimate responsibility for that state of affairs falls squarely into one man’s in-box.

Whether he actually chooses to do anything about it is, at best, uncertain.

Sorondo's outlandish conclusions are hardly the sort of information the Bergoglio Vatican wants upfront while it is trying its best to justify its all-but-formal surrender to Beijing.

AsiaNews, the official news agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, is apparently not [yet] caught in the dragnet of Mons. Vigano's Secretariat for Communications, and its editor has words to say about Sorondo...

Mons. Sanchez Sorondo in Wonderland
The President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences exalts China as the best implementor of the Church's social doctrine.
Seems oblivious to the shantytowns of Beijing and Shanghai, the expulsion of migrants, oppression of religious freedom.
Praises China's cooperation with the Paris Climate Agreement, but silent on the links between wealth, corruption and pollution.
An ideological approach that makes a laughing stock of the Church.

by Fr. Bernardo Cervellera

Rome, February 8, 2018 (AsiaNews) - When my friends tell me they are going to China, I always advise them not to stop at the shopping centers, the ultra-luxury hotels and the skyscrapers, but also to go to out to the peripheries to get a better picture of real China. Since the economic disaster into which it had sunk after Mao's death, the country has certainly made great strides, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, modernizing industries, and becoming an economic superpower that now overshadows the United States.

But from here to presenting China as the "Land of Wonders" is a bit too far. In his interview following his recent trip to Beijing, Msgr. Sanchez Sorondo describes a China that does not exist or that vigilant Chinese escorts did not show him.

"There are no shantytowns", proclaims Msgr. Sanchez Sorondo. Did our bishop try to go to the south of the capital, where for months the city government has been destroying buildings and houses and driving away tens of thousands of migrant workers? Not to mention the suburbs of Shanghai or other Chinese mega-cities, where a "cleansing" is underway and a ban on the "low-end" and defenceless population?

The bishop, who is President of the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, even states that the Chinese are "the best implementers of the Churches’ social doctrine". But perhaps he is not referring to these mass expulsions, which would constitute an extreme example of the 'throwaway culture' constantly criticized by Pope Francis.

"No drugs", says the bishop: but did he go to Chinese prisons, filled with drug dealers and drug addicts, many facing the death sentence? And to Shenzhen, which is also the drug hub for Hong Kong?

Not to mention religious freedom in China. Religious freedom should be a pillar of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. We should perhaps propose the bishop read the daily news tracking violence, arrests of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, abuses on domestic churches, checks on official churches.

Maybe someone should tell Msgr. Sanchez Sorondo that since February 1, since the implementation of the new regulations,
- all the unofficial churches have been closed and at least 6 million Catholics have no meeting places:
- the penalties imposed by the regime that "best implements the Church’s social doctrine" include arrest, stratospheric fines and expropriation of the buildings where the faithful gather.
- Furthermore, local authorities will henceforth prohibit "minors under the age of 18" from entering churches, even official ones. As one priest said, "China has transformed the church into a night club, for adults only ".

Let’s not mention the naivety with which Msgr. Sanchez Sorondo speaks of the Middle Kingdom as the place where one looks at the "common good", where the economy does not dominate politics. What we need to mention, instead, is that in China the economy and politics are the same thing; that the billionaires sit in the Chinese parliament and determine politics according to their interests, which are not those of the rest of the population. According to scholars, at least one third of the Chinese population does not directly benefit from China’s economic development: farmers and migrants are not guaranteed land ownership (promised in the days of Mao and never kept); social rights and sometimes even pay are withheld, as shown by the monthly reports of the China Labor Bulletin.

Of course, and the bishop rightly states that China - unlike Trump and the United States - has decided to remain in the Paris Agreement on climate. But for now "it has promised" to work to stop pollution, and well it should, for the country has the most destroyed and poisonous environment in the world. This is undoubtedly the fault of many Western investors who exploit the sluggish Chinese legislation, but it is also the fault of the greed and corruption of Party members who prefer, just like many in the world, an immediate profit at the expense of their own population.

We can understand that in the enthusiasm of wanting an agreement between China and the Vatican, Chinese culture, Chinese people and Chinese mentality are exaggerated and exalted - as Pope Francis does - but presenting China as a model????

We should listen to the African bishops, who see the economy of their countries destroyed by the invasion of Chinese investment and labor and who watch as their resources are stolen from them, just as it once happened with the western colonizers.

It is true that in the world everyone is pressed to choose between the United States and China, between liberal capitalism and state capitalism, but the idolization of China is an ideological affirmation that makes a laughing stock of the Church and harms the world.

Cardinal Zen's opposition to Vatican-China
deal gains online support from HongKong youth


Hong Kong, February 9, 2018 (UCANews) - Young Catholics in Hong Kong are taking to Facebook to support Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, days after the city's sixth bishop blasted the Vatican for preparing to "surrender" to the Chinese Communist Party amid speculation of an agreement between the two sides on clerical appointments.

Legions of social media users in the semi-autonomous region are now changing their profile pictures to show their support for the retired cardinal.


The framed image was created by a Hong Kong designer with the Christian name Dominic. It features a yellow wave at the bottom with five Chinese characters superimposed on it. Facebook users can then add any other image on top of this, for example a photo of Cardinal Zen, a cartoon anime — or as is proving most popular, their own face.

"Seeing so many Catholics support 'grandpa' spontaneously, I decided to make this Facebook profile picture frame for them to use," the 38-year-old told, using an affectionate local moniker for the cardinal, who was named cardinal in 2006 and his term ended in 2009.

The five Chinese letters spell out the phrase "We support Cardinal Zen." The second character from the left implicitly identifies him as a martyr by showing Jesus on a crucifix through its use of red-and-white coloring.

This image "represents all of the clergymen who are suffering on the Chinese mainland," Dominic said.

The yellow wave evokes both the Vatican flag and blog posts by Cardinal Zen in which he refers to the church's troubles in China as a storm to be weathered. "We are unafraid of the storm because we believe in God," he wrote.

Christianity has made inroads in China since the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century but missionaries were expelled when the communists rose to power in 1949.

In recent decades the two have formed something of an uneasy truce despite Beijing demolishing churches and dictating which pro-government clergymen should be appointed and ordained.

The new Facebook meme was co-designed by another Hong Konger, a 29-year-old who gave his name as Peter. When asked if he was accidentally helping to ignite a 'cult of personality,' he said, "If anyone chooses to interpret it that way, it's their business. I certainly never saw it that way."

Another local person, who declined to be named, said that if a cult were being formed then posters of the pope and bishops of local dioceses would be strung up at religious venues across the city, which is not the case.

Hong Kong's youth have shown in recent years they are not prepared to be bullied or silenced by Beijing's encroaching control of the city after the 1997 handover back to China from the UK.

Only this week a senior appellate court threw out trumped-up charges against Joshua Wong and two other activists who were instrumental in leading the 2014 "umbrella" protest movement in the territory.

"Young people are not that quiet but I cannot stop them," Cardinal Zen was quoted as saying. He implied he would not try to stop them voicing their opinions against either China or the Vatican.

The retired cardinal pointed out that many older Hong Kongers also disagree with some of the gestures by the Holy See.

"I went to Mass at a cathedral [recently] and afterwards many sisters passed by and said quietly, 'I support you! I support you!'"

The retired cardinal added: "I don't like to make noise because there has already been too much noise."

Another Hong Kong local, a 36-year-old who gave her name as Giana, said she adopted the cardinal's meme on her Facebook page because she admired his courage and outspoken attitude.

"The Holy See does not understand our Hong Kong Catholics and the situation of the church in China. Now even the pope wants to compromise with the Chinese government," she said.

"Cardinal Zen is the only one sticking to his convictions with a conscience and telling the truth."

Another local Catholic, 30-year-old Michael Law, said he uploaded the meme to "express my love for him amid all the flak he has taken in recent days."

"We need the voice of a prophet even more now. Cardinal Zen is more than a shepherd — he is a living testimony to true religious freedom, and an example for young people to [follow]," he said.

He said the Catholic Church has built a strong reputation as a defender of human rights and personal freedom, even organizing non-violent protests in the past to resist former autocratic regimes in the likes of Poland, South Korea and the Philippines.

"I'm concerned that this Sino-Vatican agreement will further weaken the moral prestige of the church and narrow the rich mission of evangelization since the advent of Vatican II," he said.

George Weigel offers a historical context for the insanity of the apparent Bergoglio deal with Beijing...

On the Vatican’s reported
capitulation to Beijing

by George Weigel
February 5, 2018

Negotiating with the Devil has never been the long suit of Vatican diplomacy. The 'examination of conscience' is an important part of Catholic spirituality, which always precedes confession but is ideally practiced at the end of each day: a review of what one got wrong, and what right, as preparation for an act of contrition and a prayer of thanksgiving for graces received.

And while there are obvious and important differences between individual Catholics examining their conscience and Vatican diplomats reviewing the Church’s successes and failures in the thorny, dense thickets of world politics, one might have thought that this spiritual discipline would have some bearing on the diplomacy of the Holy See, if only as a reality check.

But if you thought that, you’d be hard pressed to find evidence for it in the history of Vatican diplomacy’s dealing with totalitarian regimes. As an integral part of the 1929 Lateran Accords (which also created an independent Vatican City State while recognizing the Holy See as a sovereign actor in world politics), Pope Pius XI made a concordat with Mussolini’s Italy — a treaty that was thought to guarantee the Catholic Church’s freedom of action in the fascist state.

Two years later, with blackshirt thugs beating up Catholic youth groups and the state media conducting a viciously anticlerical propaganda campaign, Pius XI denounced Mussolini’s policies with the blistering 1931 encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno, in which he condemned fascism’s “pagan worship of the State.”

In 1933, as Hitler was consolidating Nazi power, Vatican diplomacy negotiated the Reich Concordat in another attempt to protect the Catholic Church from the totalitarian state through a web of legal guarantees. The strategy worked as poorly in Germany as it had in Italy, and in 1937, after many attacks on churchmen and Catholic organizations, Pius XI condemned Hitler’s race-ideology in another thunderbolt encyclical, Mit brennender Sorge, which had to be smuggled into Germany to be read from Catholic pulpits.

Then came the Ostpolitik of the late 1960s and 1970s. Faced with what he once described as the “frozen swamp” of Communist repression behind the iron curtain, Pope Paul VI’s chief diplomatic agent, Archbishop Agostino Casaroli, began to negotiate a series of agreements with Communist governments. Those agreements were intended to provide for the sacramental life of the Church by facilitating the appointment of bishops, who could ordain priests, who could celebrate Mass and hear confessions, thereby preserving some minimal form of Catholic survival until Communism “changed.” And another disaster ensued.
- The Catholic hierarchy in Hungary became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hungarian Communist Party.
- In what was then Czechoslovakia, regime-friendly Catholics became prominent in the Church while the underground Czechoslovak Church of faithful Catholics struggled to survive under conditions exacerbated by what its leaders regarded as misguided Roman appeasement of a bloody-minded regime.
- In Poland, Holy See envoys tried to work around, rather than through, the heroic Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, in a vain attempt to regularize diplomatic relations with the Polish People’s Republic. -
And while all that was going on, the Vatican itself was being deeply penetrated by the KGB, the Polish SB, the East German Stasi, and other East Bloc intelligence services, as I documented from first-hand Communist secret-police sources in the second volume of my John Paul II biography, The End and the Beginning.

In light of this dismal track record, prudence and caution would seem to be the order of the day in Vatican negotiations with the totalitarians in charge in Beijing, at whose most recent party congress religion was once again declared an enemy of Communism.

But there has been no discernible examination of conscience at the higher altitudes of Vatican diplomacy. And now it seems likely that an agreement between Rome and Beijing will be announced, in which the Chinese Communist government will be conceded a role in the nomination of bishops — another step toward what various older but still-key figures in the Vatican diplomatic service have long sought, namely, full diplomatic exchange between the Holy See and the PRC at the ambassadorial level.

One such figure, speaking off the record, tried to justify the impending deal by saying that it was best to get at least some agreement now, because no one knows what the situation would be in ten or 20 years. This is obtuse in the extreme.

If the situation gets worse — if, through increasing repression, Xi Jinping manages to hold together a Maoist political system despite a rising middle class — then
- what reason is there to have any confidence that the Chinese Communist regime would not tighten the screws on Catholics who challenged the state on human-rights grounds?
- What reason is there to believe that the Chinese Communists would break the pattern set by Italian fascists, German Nazis, and Eastern and Central European Communists by honoring treaty obligations?
- Has nothing been learned from the past about the rather elastic view of legality taken by all totalitarian regimes of whatever ideological stripe?

In light of this dismal track record, prudence and caution would seem to be the order of the day in Vatican negotiations with the totalitarians in charge in Beijing.

If, on the other hand, things get better in a liberalizing China, with more and more social space being created for civil-society associations and organizations,
- why should those Chinese interested in exploring the possibility of religious faith be interested in a Catholicism that had kowtowed to the Communist regime?
- Why wouldn’t Evangelical Protestants who had defied the regime in the heroic house-church movement be the more attractive option?

Vatican diplomacy prides itself on its realism. But on any realistic assessment of China’s future — the bad news or the good news — the Catholic Church comes out the loser if it caves to Communist demands that the regime have a significant role in the appointment of Catholic bishops now.

As described in press reports, the new deal between the Holy See and China also violates the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the embodiment of that teaching in the Church’s own canon law.

For well over a century, Vatican diplomacy worked hard, and in this case effectively, to disentangle the Church from state interference in the appointment of Catholic bishops. That achievement was recognized by Vatican II in its decree Christus Dominus, “On the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church.”

There, the Council fathers said this about the imperative that the Church be free to choose its own ordained leaders: “In order to safeguard the liberty of the Church and more effectively to promote the good of the faithful, it is the desire of the sacred Council that for the future no rights or privileges be conceded to the civil authorities in regard to the election, nomination, or presentation to bishoprics.”

That conciliar desire was then given legislative effect in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, where canon 377.5 flatly states that “for the future, no rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation, or designation of Bishops are conceded to civil authorities.”

In theory, of course, Pope Francis, as the Church’s supreme legislator, could suspend or even abrogate canon 377.5 in the case of the People’s Republic of China. But to do so would not only make something of a mockery of Church law (a temptation too often indulged by some in recent years, in a campaign against “legalism”). It would also be to deny the truth that Vatican II taught: The libertas ecclesiae, the freedom of the Church to conduct its evangelical and charitable mission by its own criteria and thereby remain true to its Lord, is not easily squared with state involvement in episcopal appointments.

Vatican diplomats, primarily Italians, have been obsessed with achieving full diplomatic exchange with the PRC for decades. It is argued, by these men and their defenders in the media, that China is the rising world power and that for the Holy See to be a player on the world stage requires that it be in formal diplomatic contact with Beijing. But this is a fantasy indulged by Italian papal diplomats for whom “the Vatican” is still the Papal States, a third-tier European power that craves recognition of its status by superior powers. That world ended, however, at the Congress of Vienna.

The truth of the matter is that, today, the only power the Holy See wields is moral power, the slow accretion of moral authority that has come to Catholicism, as embodied by the pope, through the Church’s sometimes sacrificial defense of the human rights of all.

How playing Let’s Make a Deal with totalitarians in Beijing who at this very moment are imprisoning and torturing Christians adds to the sum total of Catholicism’s moral authority, or the papacy’s, is, to put it gently, unclear.

The same might be said for the de facto betrayal of Rome-loyal bishops in China who are now, it seems, being asked to step aside so that they can be replaced by bishops essentially chosen by the Chinese Communist Party apparatus. This is far less realism than a species of cynicism that ill befits a diplomacy presumably based on the premise that “the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

According to a (sometimes dubious) source, Pope Pius XI once said that he would deal with the Devil himself if doing so would accomplish something good and help the Church in its mission. I imagine that if he did say that, it was during one of that crusty pontiff’s crustier moments, and an expression of his own willingness to face down the powers of Hell if necessary.

But as strategy in the gray twilight zone of world politics, dealing with the Devil — at least as Vatican diplomacy has done in dealing with totalitarianisms — has never worked out.

Consorting with the Devil’s agents is a ticklish business; assuming their willingness to abide by agreements (much less their goodwill) is folly; and carrying the sulfurous odor of too much contact with the Devil’s legions does absolutely nothing to advance the evangelical mission of the Church. In fact, it does just the opposite.
[But 'consorting with the devil's agents is the most natural thing to do when those who are consorting are themselves devil's agents to begin with! However, ueber-normalist Mr Weigel, who at the start of this pontificate, smugly proclaimed that the new pope was going to carry out the 'evangelical Catholicism' Weigel advocated in his new book at the time, has found to little to praise and much to criticize about this pontificate lately, but is still unable to place the blame squarely on the man who is pulling all the strings!]

Christopher Ferrara has more to say about Weigel's curious if quite 'normalist' continuing equivocation about the reigning pope...

George Weigel gets it half right -
and that's the problem

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 9, 2018

The alarm among Catholics over this pontificate is spreading so deeply into the conservative “mainstream” that even the rather neoconservative (once decidedly paleoconservative) National Review (NR) has joined the ranks of the disaffected. Not because Pope Francis is anti-capitalist, which is the ground on which one would expect NR to take issue with him, but because, with Amoris Laetitia (AL), he is manifestly undermining the Church’s constant teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the related Eucharistic discipline concerning the divorced and pretend “remarried.”

A piece in NR entitled “Francis Gets His Mess” rightly scorns the claim by Cardinal Pietro Parolin — the same Parolin who is engineering the sellout of Chinese Catholics to the evil Beijing regime — that AL represents “a paradigm change” in the Church. Quoth NR:

“Paradigm shifts imply a rupture. Critics of [AL] — they include several cardinals and bishops — say that Pope Francis has called into question the indissolubility of marriage. That would certainly be a paradigm shift for the Catholic Church, given the words of Jesus about divorce in the Bible. The problem for the proponents of this ‘shift,’ as George Weigel has explained, is that the Church ‘doesn’t do paradigm shifts’; if it did, it would cease to be the Catholic Church. It would become more like the Anglican Church, no stranger to rupture and new ways of thinking.

“The new resemblance to Anglicanism is not the old division of High and Low Church in regard to the liturgy, although that is certainly part of the contemporary Catholic experience; you never quite know these days whether the priest will just celebrate the Mass or attempt a late-night comedy routine. The really acute division, which is why it is so serious, is over the interpretation of basic doctrine. In Malta, for example, the rules allowing or limiting Holy Communion for a couple one of whose members was divorced and remarried while the previous spouse was still living would be quite different for the same couple if they were in Portland, Ore. ‘Something is broken in the Catholic Church today,’ says Weigel.”

Speaking of Weigel, it seems that even this resolute apologist for the post-Vatican II status quo of ruinous novelty is waking up to the peril of our situation, although he is not yet willing to identify the ultimate source of the problem.

In the article in First Things cited by NR, Weigel rightly observes that “The Catholic Church doesn’t do rupture: that was tried 500 years ago, with catastrophic results for Christian unity and the cause of Christ. So it was unfortunate that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, recently described Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family, as a ‘paradigm shift.’”

Weigel laments that, indeed, a “paradigm shift” in the sense of a rupture with constant Church teaching and discipline “is underway… in Malta, Germany, and San Diego,” where public adulterers are being admitted to Holy Communion on the sole authority of AL, whereas it “is quite different than what has been mandated in Poland, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Portsmouth, England, and Edmonton, Alberta” — namely, the constant teaching and discipline of the Church forbidding Holy Communion to people living in adultery who intend to continue their adulterous relations.

“Because of that,” Weigel laments — quite correctly — “the Catholic Church is beginning to resemble the Anglican Communion (itself the product of a traumatic ‘paradigm shift’ that cost John Fisher and Thomas More their heads). For in the Anglican Communion, what is believed and celebrated and practiced in England is quite different from what is believed, celebrated, and practiced in Nigeria or Uganda.”

Just so. Sad to say, however, Weigel still seems to be encumbered by an ideological commitment, emblematic of “conservative” (versus “traditionalist”) Catholicism, to ignoring the role of the papacy in the current ecclesial crisis. According to him, “the Pope himself has insisted that Amoris Laetitia does not propose a rupture with the Church’s settled doctrines on the indissolubility of marriage and worthiness to receive Holy Communion.”

George, George, George.
- How can the man continue to maintain that Pope Francis denies precisely what he has openly advocated for the past five years: the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion?
- How can he continue to ignore Francis’s explicit approval of the AL guidelines of the bishops of Buenos Aires, which call for the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion whenever it is “not feasible” for them to practice continence?
- How can he pretend not to know that Francis has approved those guidelines as the only correct interpretation of AL in a document wherein none other than Parolin, by Francis’ authority, declares that interpretation to be “authentic Magisterium” — a blatant attempt to defraud the Church?

Weigel goes on to observe the symptoms while missing the diagnosis:

“This fragmentation is not Catholic. Catholicism means one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and unity is one of the four distinctive marks of the Church. That unity means that the Church embodies the principle of non-contradiction, such that a grave sin on the Polish side of the Oder River can’t be a source of grace on the German side of the border. Something is broken in Catholicism today and it isn’t going to be healed by appeals to paradigm shifts.”

Something is broken indeed. And I believe Weigel knows that what is broken is the exercise of the Petrine office by its current holder. It would behoove him to state publicly what he must know to be true and what Catholics the world over have already publicly protested.

Being half right in this case is of no help to his reader, for that half-truth hides the whole truth about “this disastrous papacy,” much like a doctor who gives his patient an accurate assessment of symptoms while refusing to tell him that their origin is a brain tumor. In such circumstances, being half right is worse than saying nothing at all.
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On February 5, approaching the 5th anniversary of his historic renunciation of the Papacy, Benedict XVI wrote a letter to editorialist Massimo Franco at Corriere
della Sera to thank all who continue to think of him and wish him well...


I am very touched that so many readers of your newspaper wish to know how I am doing in this last period of my life. I can only say in this regard that, with the slow decline of my physical strength, interiorly, I am on a pilgrimage towards Home. It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, in this last stretch of the road which is sometimes quite trying, by love and goodness such as I had not imagined. In this sense, I consider even the questions from your readers as an accompaniment along the way. For this, I cannot do other than to give thanks, while assuring you all of my prayers.


Benedict XI and his letter to Corriere:
‘I am in pilgrimage towards Home’
The emeritus Pope responds to so many readers who ask how he is doing
in a letter delivered by hand to the Rome office of our newspaper

By Massimo Franco
Translated from
February 6, 2018

The letter, URGENT BY HAND DELIVERY, arrived yesterday at the Rome office of Corriere della Sera from the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, V-120, Vatican City, the ‘hermitage’ within the Sacred Walls where the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, has lived since he renounced the papacy five years ago.

But it seemed to have come from another world, much farther than the few kilometers that mark the physical distance between the two places. The envelop contained a folded parchment enclosing another sealed envelop that contained a message of nine lines. A message with strong words, true, and not formal: a gesture of exquisite attention to those who have been asking ‘How is Papa Benedetto doing?” – in short, how he is living what he himself calls in the letter “this last period of my life”.

A few days earlier, through a private channel, we had asked him for a message, confident we would get a response. After five years in which he has practically disappeared from the public horizon, meeting a few friends and other privileged guests from all walks of life, cutting down on his walks through the Vatican Gardens, now moving with the aid of a wheeled walker, he may have thought he has been forgotten.

Probably unaware that his figure remains very present, in the epochal ‘first’ of ‘two popes’ co-existing within the Vatican walls. However, his days without media coverage, with rare photographs and even rarer appearances at some Vatican ceremony to which he has been invited by Pope Francis, have both sharpened and magnified his profile.

Benedict XVI is around, ‘hovering’ somehow without wishing to. Perhaps he is rooted in public memory precisely because he has sought to dissolve himself in an existential limbo to leave the stage entirely to his successor – that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of who he once said “whose handwriting is even tinier mine”.

But his signature to the letter is minuscule – as if it has been shrinking along with his physical energies, even showing perhaps that it has become difficult for him to write. [Perhaps that explains why Franco chose not to include the signature in the reproduction of the letter.]

They say that, in private, he notes this with some sadness – that he can no longer dedicate himself to writing those texts of great theological refinement which for decades had traced the course of the Catholic Church. Yet he accepts his physical weakness. In his words, which are said in gratitude but at the same time, almost seem like a farewell, one grasps more than one message.

His reference to “the slow decline of his physical strength”, the confession of being “interiorly in pilgrimage towards Home” (with a capital H); and his ‘thank you’ to ‘the so many readers’ of Corriere who continue to ask after him: a few well-chosen words which convey great depth. Perhaps, in the admiration and in the nostalgia for Benedict XVI which now and then is expressed in some sectors of the Catholic world, one senses that the ‘trauma’ of his renunciation onFebruary 11, 2013 – a truly historic and in many ways unprecedented departure - has not been completely assimilated.

But there is also an acknowledgment of an exemplary relationship with his successor in these five years. [Franco is imagining this.] A coexistence that does not follow any rules, but depends only on the character of two completely different persons, despite the official insistence of continuity between their two pontificates.

It was not taken for granted that ‘two popes’ in the Vatican would succeed in coexisting without ‘overlapping’, or worse, sending a message of division. If there are any differences between them, it remains a ‘secret’ between them – as if they each know that the important thing is to maintain unity in a Church that is beset by a thousand and one tensions.

It is a sign of his spiritual strength and humility that he sublimates in addressing those who express an interest in him in a tone of near familiarity: “I can do no other but to give thanks”.

Benedict XVI:
On his way Home, in silence

by 'Gregorio'
Translated from
February 8, 2018

Benedict XVI’s letter to Massimo Franco last week has stirred up much emotion. The journalist had asked him, on behalf of his readers, how he was doing, and the emeritus Pope replied with nine lines which may seem little but really say everything.

Joseph Ratzinger lives in retirement and in silence, after having been in the spotlights of global media and the reference point for more than a billion persons. Yet, after all the hubbub, he chose a monastic life. A lesson, perhaps the most important one from his life, that leads back to the essence of the Christian experience. Catholicism, in particular, is an encounter with the silence of eternity, abandonment of the noise of the world. Only in silence does one encounter God and repair that bond with him that the world has been seeking to cut off.

Cardinal Sarah’s book, The Power of Silence, helps us to understand Benedict’s choice. Jesus himself lived 30 years in the silence of his privacy, and during his public ministry, often went off to pray by himself. Aware of his example, hermits and cloistered religious live in prayer and contemplation. And so, Pope Benedict chose the ‘Benedict option’, the way of life prescribed by the saint of 'the Rule'.

Indeed, unbridled activism it is not necessary to be Christian. Rather, Cardinal Sarah points out, continual activism – that which never ceases not even to say a prayer or to give thanks – is itself a true and proper heresy.

Many who are otherwise sympathetic to the emeritus pope still write us that he abandoned us to our fate – and given the current situation, that reproach may be valid. But the incessant prayers of a silent monk are more powerful and do much more than a great deal of farcical activity. We must always remember that and pray more, seeking the recollection and contemplation of silence.

To mark the anniversary today, RAI-TV is re-broadcasting a one-hour documentary produced as a tribute to Benedict XVI when he turned 90 last year.
The program may be watched here:

Scenron's LA VIGNA DEL SIGNORE continues its annual observance of a day of prayer for and with Benedict XVI on the February 11th anniversary:



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A spirit of resistance
out of love for the Church

by Roberto de Mattei
Translated for Rorate caeli by 'Francesca Romana' from
February 7, 2018

As the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election draws near, we hear repeatedly that we are facing a dramatic and absolutely unprecedented ‘page’ in the history of the Church. This is only partly true. The Church has always experienced tragic times which have seen the laceration of the Mystical Body since its very beginnings on Calvary right up to the present day.

The younger generations don’t know and the older generations have forgotten how terrible the years that followed the Second Vatican Council were, of which the present age is the result.

Forty years ago while the 1968 revolt was erupting, a group of cardinals and bishops, who were protagonists at the Council, sought to impose a radical change on the Catholic doctrine of marriage. The attempt was frustrated by way of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae of July 25, 1968, which reaffirmed the prohibition of artificial contraception, restoring strength and hope to a disorientated flock.

However, the Paul VI of Humanae Vitae, was also the one who caused a deep rupture with Catholic Tradition in 1969 by imposing the new rite of the Mass which is at the origin of all contemporary liturgical devastations.

On November 18, 1973, the same Pope promoted Ostpolitik, by assumimg the grave responsibility of removing Cardinal József Mindszenty (1892-1975) from his office as Archbishop of Esztergom, Primate of Hungary – and champion of Catholic opposition to Communism. Papa Montini had hoped for the attainment of a historical compromise in Italy, based in the agreement between the Secretary of the Christian Democrats, Aldo Moro, and the Secretary of the Communist Party, Enrico Berlinguer. The operation was abruptly interrupted by the kidnapping and killing of Moro in 1978, after which Pope Montini himself died the following August 6th. The 40th anniversary of his death also falls this year. [During which he will most likely be canonized. It saddens me that according to the manmade rules having to do with the 'making of saints', Paul VI is being raised to the honor of the altar where his own mentor, Pius XII, whom people other than the Jews) regarded as a living saint during his papal years, is still a 'Venerable'. ]

During those years of betrayal and blood, courageous voices spoke out which we of necessity recall, not only for the record, but because they help us to orient ourselves in the darkness of the present time. We remember two, prior to the explosion of the so-called “Lefebvre Case”, the French Archbishop whom Monsignor Athanasius Schneider highlighted in a recent interview for his “prophetic mission during an extraordinary dark time of general crisis in the Church.”

The first voice belongs to a French Dominican priest, Father Roger Calmel, who right from the very beginning in 1969 had rejected Paul VI’s Novus Ordo and in June 1971 wrote in the magazine Itinéraires:

“Our Christian resistance of priests and laity [is] very painful as it forces us to say No to the Pope himself about the modernist manifestation of the Catholic Mass. Our respectful but unshakable resistance is dictated by the principle of total fidelity to the living Church of all time - in other words, the principle of living fidelity to the development of the Church. Never did we think of holding back, much less impeding, what some ambiguously call 'progress' in the Church. Rather, we think in terms of homogeneous growth in doctrinal and liturgical matters, in continuation with Tradition, in sight of the consummatio sanctorum...

As Our Lord has revealed to us in parables, and as St. Paul teaches us in his Epistles, we believe that the Church, over the course of the centuries, grows and develops in harmony through a thousand adversities, until the glorious return of Jesus Himself, Her Spouse and Our Lord. Since we are convinced that over the course of centuries, growth of the Church is occurring, and since we are resolute in becoming part of this mysterious and uninterrupted movement as honestly as possible, as far as it is up to us - we reject this supposed progress which refers to Vatican II and which in reality is mortal deviation.

Going back to St. Vincent of Lerin’s classical distinction, the more we desire good growth – a splendid “profectus” - even more do we reject, uncompromisingly, a ruinous “pennutatio”, and any radical and shameful alteration whatsoever. Radical, since it comes from modernism and denies every faith; shameful, since the denial of the modernist sort is shifty and hidden.”

The second voice is that of a Brazilian thinker and man of action, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, author of a leaflet of resistance to the Vatican Ostpolitik, published on April 10, 1974, from his organization 'Tradition, Family and Property' (TFP), entitled "Vatican Politics of Distension towards Communist Governments: not to intervene or resist?"

Corrêa de Oliveira explained: “To resist means that we would advise Catholics to continue fighting against the Communist doctrine through all legitimate means, in defense of Country and Christian civilization under threat...

The lines of this declaration would not be sufficient to contain the list of all the Fathers of the Church, Doctors, moralists and canon lawyers – many of whom have been beatified or canonized – who sustain the legitimacy of resistance.

A resistance which is not separation, nor revolt, nor acrimony, nor irreverence. On the contrary it is fidelity, union, love and submission. “Resistance” is the word we have chosen on purpose, as it has been used by St. Paul himself to describe his stance.

Since St. Peter had taken disciplinary measures to retain practices in the Catholic Faith which survived the ancient Synagogue, St. Paul saw in this a grave risk of doctrinal confusion and harm for the faithful. So he rose up and “resisted” St. Peter “to his face” - yet the latter did not see an act of rebellion in this energetic and inspired action by the Apostle to the Gentiles, but [an act] of union and fraternal love. Furthermore, knowing well where he was infallible and where he wasn’t, he yielded to St Paul’s arguments.

The saints are model Catholics. In the sense that St. Paul resisted, our position is resistance. In this, our conscience finds peace”.

“Resistance” is not a purely verbal declaration of faith but an act of love towards the Church, which leads to practical consequences. Those who resist are separated from the one who has caused the division in the Church, they criticize him openly, they correct him. In 2017, along these lines they expressed themselves with the Correctio filialis to Pope Francis and the leaflet of the pro-life movement appeared with the title: “Faithful to true doctrine, not to pastors who are in error.”

Today, Cardinal Zen’s stance of no compromise in regard to Pope Francis’s new Ostpolitik towards Communist China follows such a line of resistance. To those who defend the Vatican policy, saying it is necessary “to try to find common ground to bridge the decades-old division between the Vatican and China”, Cardinal Zen replies: “But can there ever be anything in “common” with a totalitarian regime? Either you surrender or accept persecution, but remain faithful to yourself (can you imagine an agreement between St. Joseph and Herod?)”.

To those who ask him whether he is convinced that the Vatican is selling out the Catholic Church in China, he says: “Decidedly, yes. If they are going in the direction that is obvious in everything they have done in recent months and years.”

On April 7th a conference has been called in Rome to discuss the present crisis in the Church. The participation of some cardinals and bishops, and above all Cardinal Zen, would give maximum importance to this conference. [I believe this is the meeting first proposed by the late Cardinal Caffarra not long before his untimely death last year.]

We must pray that from the meeting voices will be raised, full of love for the Church and firm resistance to all the theological, moral and liturgical deviations of the present pontificate, without being under the illusion that the solution has anything to do with insinuating the invalidity of Benedict XVI’s abdication or Pope Francis’s election. Taking refuge in this canonical problem, means avoiding debate of the doctrinal problem which is at the root of the crisis we are experiencing.

Blink and you might have missed it. I nearly did - but here's yet another example of blatant lying from the Bergoglio Vatican:

There is a papal commission
re-examining Humanae Vitae -
earlier denied by the Vatican

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

February 6, 2018 ( – An official of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has admitted in an interview that a papal commission exists to carry out an historical review of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, according to Kathpress, the official news agency of the Catholic bishops of Austria.

Kathpress reports that it received confirmation of the existence of the papal commission from Msgr. Alejandro Cifres, who has long overseen the archives of the CDF and is currently the dicastery’s Chief of Office.

“It is not certain whether or not a reinterpretation of the ‘pill encyclical’ (Humanae Vitae) is coming soon from the Vatican,” stated Kathpress last week. “The fact that a commission on behalf of the Pope is investigating the genesis of ‘Humanae vitae’ was recently confirmed to the news agency Kathpress by the head of the Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Alejandro Cifres.”

Humanae Vitae, an encyclical published in 1968 by Pope Paul VI, famously upheld the Catholic Church’s perennial condemnation of artificial birth control.

However, the writings of Pope Francis are leading some of the Vatican’s theologians to contradict the encyclical, and Francis himself appeared to deny the encyclical’s teaching on the intrinsic evil of contraception in an in-flight press conference in 2016.

When the Italian journalist Marco Tosatti broke the story of the commission’s existence in May of last year, followed by articles confirming it by Maike Hickson and Roberto de Mattei, the Vatican said nothing about the matter for a month, and then responded by denying the commission’s existence.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Spanish Catholic weekly Alfa y Omega that, “There isn’t any commission. That has been completely invented.”

In an interview with the Catholic News Agency (CNA), Paglia repeated his denial in a more qualified way, claiming that “there is no pontifical commission called to re-read or to reinterpret Humanae vitae” but added that “we should look positively on all those initiatives, such as that of Professor Marengo of the John Paul II Institute, which aim at studying and deepening this document in view of the 50th anniversary of its publication.”

Fr. Gilfredo Marengo, who was identified as the head of the commission by Roberto de Mattei, also issued a denial, claiming that the story of a commission to revise Humanae Vitae is “an imaginative report.”

Marengo told Catholic News Service that the scholars were members of a “study group” whose aim was to carry out “a work of historical-critical investigation without any aim other than reconstructing as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical.”

“Historical-critical” methods seek to understand texts by means of the processes that produced them as well as the social and cultural contexts in which they were written. With regard to the Bible, they have been used in doctrinally orthodox ways but have also been used to justify revisionist forms of interpretation that deny traditional understandings of Scriptural texts.

Additionally, Marengo has admitted that his “study group” has been given unprecedented access to the Vatican Secret Archives for the period of the composition of Humanae Vitae, that is, the mid-late 1960s. The archives from that period are strictly closed to scholars, and are not scheduled to be opened to them for many years.

Marengo has sought to dispel concerns that he is seeking to reconcile Humanae Vitae with Pope Francis’s confused apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but that is exactly what his recent scholarship appears to do.

Last year, Marengo wrote an article for Vatican Insider called “Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia,” in which he belittles the Church’s condemnation of birth control, asking if “the polemical game – 'the pill yes, the pill no', like today's 'Communion to the divorced, yes or no' - only appears to indicate 'discomfort and strain', [when it is much more decisive in the fabric of ecclesial life.”

In the same article, Marengo parrots the reasoning of AL that seeks to lower Catholic moral dogma to an often unattainable and purely abstract ideal. “Every time the Christian community falls into error and proposes models of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals, it conceives its pastoral action as the schematic application of a doctrinal paradigm,” Marengo wrote, citing AL to assert that “We have presented a too abstract theological ideal on marriage, almost artificially constructed, far from the concrete situation and the effective possibilities of families as they really are. This excessive idealization, above all when we have reawakened trust in grace, has not made marriage more attractive and desirable, but quite the opposite.”

Paglia’s and Marengo’s denials of the existence of a papal commission to revise Humanae Vitae led the Bergoglian site CRUX to mock concerns raised by orthodox Catholic blogs about the commission’s existence, publishing an article headlined “No, Virginia, there’s no ‘secret commission’ on Humanae Vitae.”

“Perhaps the moral of the story is this: If conspiracy theorists would devote the same energy to real reporting as they do to mental gymnastics and connect-the-dots exercises, they might actually know what’s going on once in a while,” wrote Crux's Inés San Martín. [One doubts if San Martin actually sought to find out the truth about the commission - looks like she merely took the word of Paglia and Marengo for it!]
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As the writer of the ff article fails to mention Benedict XVI at all, I thought it best to supplement the article by posting a few
items displayed on Page 1 of the results from a Google search for "Benedict XVI and the loss of a sense of sin".

'The greatest sin is losing the sense of sin'
One wonders if Pope Francis and his pet Cardinals Cupich and Coccopalmerio
comprehend the impact of sin upon human nature — and hence upon human reason

by Eduardo Echeverria
February 11, 2018

In an October 1946 Radio Message to the Participants in the National Catechetical Congress of the United States in Boston, Pope Pius XII spoke a prophetic word: “Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin.”

Early in his pontificate, on January 1, 2014, Pope Francis echoed Pius in a homily. One wonders, however, whether Pope Francis, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, and Cardinal Francis Coccopalmerio are as adept as Pius in comprehending the impact of sin upon human nature —and hence upon human reason — as it savagely wounds and seriously disturbs our nature’s proper functioning, particularly in explaining the dynamics of marriage and family life in contemporary culture?

In his recent address at the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund College, in Cambridge, England, Cardinal Cupich claimed:

Pope Francis offers in Amoris Laetitia a new way of relating to the lives of families today by introducing a set of hermeneutical principles. These principles are deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition and yet are profoundly attentive to the dynamics of marriage and family life in the contemporary world.

Francis’s first principle is, according to the cardinal, that “if we accept that families are a privileged place of God’s self-revelation and activity, then no family should be considered deprived of God’s grace.”

Putting aside the questionable claim that the family is the privileged site of God’s self-revelation (where is the Church in this view when, according to Catholic ecclesiology, it is the Catholic Church that has the fullness of the means of salvation?), this principle excludes attending to the sinful dynamics of marriage and family life in contemporary culture. There is much talk about grace, but no attention is given to sin. [A hallmark of Bergoglianism, the religion of ueber-Nice, in which one must never ever talk about anything unpleasant - and though Bergoglio has in many ways 'abolished sin', as Eugenio Scalfari rightly concludes, he and his followers, find the very idea of sin unpleasant in the extreme indeed, because of some residue of Christian teaching still in their brain cells.]

Thus, while he focuses at the start of his speech on Gaudium et Spes, Cardinal Cupich presents an anthropology that actually overlooks the teaching of Gaudium et Spes §13 — and hence of Christian revelation — namely, that there is a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness in human life, and hence within our culture:

Examining his heart, man finds that he has inclinations toward evil too, and is engulfed by manifold ills which cannot come from his good Creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his beginning, man has disrupted also his proper relationship to his own ultimate goal as well as his whole relationship toward himself and others and all created things. Therefore, man is split within himself.

As a result, all of human life, whether individual or collective, shows itself to be a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. Indeed, man finds that by himself he is incapable of battling the assaults of evil successfully, so that everyone feels as though he is bound by chains.

But the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting out that “prince of this world” (John 12:31) who held him in the bondage of sin. For sin has diminished man, blocking his path to fulfillment. The call to grandeur and the depths of misery, both of which are a part of human experience, find their ultimate and simultaneous explanation in the light of this revelation. (GS,§13)

St. John Paul II, in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus §25, echoes Gaudium et Spes §13 but also quotes §16 when he wrote that “man, who was created for freedom, bears within himself the wound of original sin, which constantly draws him towards evil and puts him in need of redemption. Not only is this doctrine an integral part of Christian revelation; it also has great hermeneutical value insofar as it helps one to understand human reality. Man tends towards good, but he is also capable of evil.” [I have remarked here a couple of times that I don't think Bergoglio believes in Original Sin at all - that he feels it was a huge mistake for God to have been so 'merciless' in punishing Adam and Eve and through them, the whole human race. Because Bergoglio does not believe in punishing anyone - and so he preaches this myth of an all-merciful God whose mercy is not tempered in any way by justice nor genuine charity towards the sinner.

When he repeats his mantra, "God accepts you just as you are", he implies somehow that sinners do not have to do anything to change themselves to correct their situation - that 'amend my life' we promise in the Act of Contrition and when we go to confession. And so, for Bergoglio, remarried divorcees living in chronic adultery don't even have to abstain from conjugal relations (pending a regularization of their marital status in the Church, e.g., by annulment of a Catholic marriage previously biding one or both of the civilly remarried couple) but can go ahead and receive communion if they 'discern' they are worthy of communion!]

It is precisely this integral part of Christian revelation, which is central to Christian anthropology, that is missing in Amoris Laetitia. And it is also missing in Cardinal Cupich’s recent address as well as in Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s 2016 Commentary on Chapter Eight of Amoris Laetitia.

In Chapter 6 of his brief study, Coccopalmerio concludes with the claim that Pope Francis’s “hermeneutics of the person” — in short, the pontiff’s 'Christian' anthropology — affirms that “the person has value in itself” and “is therefore important and lovable.”

“the person, and therefore every person in whatever condition they find themselves, has value in and of themselves, despite the elements of moral negativity.”

[No one disputes that, but it is the duty of the Church and her ministers who are directly responsible for the care of souls, to make sure that each individual overcome these 'elements of moral negativity', which is a fancy phrase to say 'sin'.]

Put differently, using traditional theological distinctions, Coccopalmerio is distinguishing the order of creation and the order of fall into sin — except he doesn’t say anything about the order of the fall into sin and the latter’s impact upon human nature.

However, John Paul II affirms this distinction in orders (see Part I of his magnum opus, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body), as does the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its teaching on a theology of sin and also on marriage (§§385-421, 1601-1620).

But, in a lopsided manner, Coccopalmerio's 'hermeneutics of the person' does not reflectathe integral hermeneutics of creation, fall into sin, and redemption. In particular, unlike Gaudium et Spes and John Paul II, he — as well as Cardinal Cupich — pays no attention to the “great hermeneutical value [of sin] insofar as it helps one to understand human reality.”

Now, Amoris Laetitia affirms that mitigating factors and complex situations make it impossible for us to say that the divorced and civilly remarried, or, for that matter, by implication, a cohabiting couple (whether homosexual or heterosexual) “are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (§301). One of the reasons given for this claim is that a couple “may know full well the [moral] rule [namely, that sexual intercourse of a man and a woman outside of marriage is morally wrong], yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent value’” (§301; see also §298). Is this reason sufficient in specific cases to claim that individuals are not culpable for living in a state of mortal sin or deprived of sanctifying grace, as Francis and Coccopalmerio claim?

Significantly, Cupich simply abandons all discussion of culpability — crucial for the moral logic of pastoral reason in Amoris Laetitia in discerning whether “all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (AL §301). He merely makes the unqualified assertion that no family whatsoever (“not restricted to those [families] who meet the Church’s marital ideals,” according to Cupich) should be considered deprived of God’s grace because they are the privileged site of God’s self-revelation.

Regarding the claim of diminished culpability that follows from having great difficulty in understanding the inherent truth or good regarding limiting pre-marital sex to marriage, it is clear that rejecting this precept does not as such diminish culpability because an individual may “‘take little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when [his] conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin’ [Gaudium et Spes §16]. In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits(Catechism of the Catholic Church §1791).

This, too, is Aquinas’s view when he speaks about how understanding a moral precept may be distorted “by passion, or evil habit, or an evil disposition.” None of these factors figures centrally in Al’s account, nor in the accounts of Coccopalmerio and Cupich, regarding civil marriage or cohabitation (Amoris Laetitia §294).

Pope Pius XII, in comparison, has a sense of sin’s hermeneutical value in explaining human reality, particular through natural reason. In his 1950 encyclical Humani Generis he refers to the concrete situation in which we exist as fallen human beings and the noetic effects of original sin, which leaves the proper ordering of our intellectual powers to the truth in a precarious, confused, and disordered state (see §2).

In this, Pius echoed Thomas Aquinas, who argued that the knowing powers of human reason suffer the wound of ignorance and are deprived of direction toward truth; additionally, that the disordered state of our intellectual powers also affects “man’s desire to know the truth about creatures,” for he may wrongly desire to know the truth by not “referring his knowledge to its due end, namely, the knowledge of God.”

Furthermore, according to Aquinas, a man may fail to know that something is true because human reason may be perverted. Indeed, he identified five ways in which that may be the case: passion, evil habit, and evil disposition of nature, vicious custom, and evil persuasion. J. Budziszewski, in Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law, succinctly explains Aquinas’s view:

Corruption of reason by passion: Momentarily blinded by grief and rage, I unjustly strike the bearer of the news that my wife is deep in adultery with another man.
Corruption of reason by evil habit: little by little I get into the habit of using pornography or cutting corners on my taxes. At first my conscience bothers me, but eventually I can see nothing wrong with my behavior. . . . although I am still capable of restraint, it is more difficult for me than it might be for someone else.
Corruption of reason by evil disposition of nature: a defect in one of my chromosomes predisposes me to violence, abuse of alcohol or homosexual acts. although I am still capable of restraint, it is more difficult for me than it might be for someone else.
Corruption of reason by vicious custom: I have grown up among people who do not regard bribery as wrong, and so I take it for granted.
Corruption of reason by evil persuasion: I use electronic tricks to make free long-distance telephone calls, justifying my behavior by the theory that I am merely exploiting the exploiters.

Thus, wounded human nature does not merely suffer the loss of a supernatural addition to our natural human reason. Aquinas, for one, makes clear that original sin, which wounded human nature, involves the dissolution of a natural harmony pertaining to human nature, which he also calls a “sickness of nature.”

As he stated: “original justice was taken away by the sin of the first parents. as a result all the powers of the soul are in a sense lacking the order proper to them, their natural order to virtue, and the deprivation is called the ‘wounding of nature’. . . . in so far as reason is deprived of its direction toward truth, we have the ‘wound of ignorance’.” Thus reason is, as Etienne Gilson put it, “stripped of its disposition for truth.”

It isn’t that wounded natural reason as such is unable to grasp certain truths about God, man, and the world after the fall; rather, the necessity of divine revelation is justified by the “weakness of human reason which, left to itself, would inevitably become entangled in the grossest errors.”

In conclusion, since the fall had an effect on the whole of human nature, including natural reason, human reason has been “wounded and weakened by sin” (John Paul II, Fides et Ratio §51). Hence, any account of human reality that ignores the great hermeneutical value of sin in that account cannot be said to be deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition, contrary to the claims of Cardinals Cupich and Coccopalmerio.

I find the choice of papal photo to illustrate the poster emblematic of how the powers-that-be at St. Edmund's appear to consider Bergoglio as a pop icon above all else!

I had been wondering why Cupich was invited to deliver the annual Von Hügel Lecture at St. Edmund's College in Cambridge - and I have not yet come across an
explanation. St Edmund's College is one of the 31 constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge - it only accept students reading for either masters
or doctorate degrees, or undergraduate degrees if they are aged 21 or older. The Von Hügel Institute is one of the college's 2 research institutes; it was founded
in 1987 to carry out research on Catholic Social Teaching. Considering the topic Cupich spoke about, one must conclude that, God help us all!, the Institute
considers AL a significant 'development' in Catholic social teaching. Especially since the man they chose to give this lecture in 2017 was Cardinal Luis
'mini-Bergoglio' Tagle...

BTW, I looked up Cupich's academic credentials - he earned his bachelor's degree in theology from the Pontifical North American College in Rome in 1974, then
his Master's in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1975, and a doctorate in Sacramental Theology (!) from Catholic University of America in 1987.
Curiously, although he finished seminary in 1971, he was not ordained a priest till 1975. Obviously, he is far from unlettered, but his entire formation was
post-Vatican II, and a review of his church career shows a series of ultra-liberal post-V2 positions. No wonder Bergoglio found him his perfect prototype cardinal
for the Church in the USA. (Wikipedia tells us that the cardinal's last name is pronounced SOO-pitch. He has Croatian ancestry.)

Fr Hunwicke, an Oxonian to the marrow, has had two short comments so far on Cupich in Cambridge ('the other university' for Fr H):

Cupich the Super Slippery (1)
February 10, 2018

Lecturing yesterday at the other university, Cardinal Cupich gave a superb example of cunning slipperiness. In its skill, it is positively beautiful. In its scope, breathtaking.

"Their [married couples' and families'] decisions of conscience represent God's personal guidance for the particularities of their lives. In other words, the voice of conscience ... (is) the voice of God ... or if I may be permitted to quote an Oxford man here at Cambridge, what Newman called 'the aboriginal vicar of Christ' ... could very well affirm the necessity of living at some distance from the Church's understanding of the ideal, while nevertheless calling a person 'to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realised' (AL 303)"

(1) Again, we have the very corruption I tried to nail down in a recent post, the idea that the Law of God (neatly here packaged and neutered as 'the Church's understanding of the ideal') can be trumped, set aside, by some other factor: here, 'Conscience'. Observe also how cleverly 'Sin', in this case Adultery, is replaced by the exquisite circumlocution 'living at some distance from the Church's understanding of the ideal'. [So, in the Confessional, I suppose we shall be hearing "And, Father, I have lived at some distance from the Church's understanding of the ideal seventy three times." It will make those pre-Easter sessions in the box even more lengthy.]

(2) But also, yet more brilliantly, notice the masterly way in which Newman is parenthetically invoked to sanctify a proposition which Super Slippery could (if taken to task) deny he actually attributes to Newman. He does not actually say that his formulation is what Newman wrote, said, or thought. But by waving the name of Newman over his words and citing a single phrase ...

Wow!! What a man!

Cupich (2)
February 12, 2018

I have to rely upon second-hand accounts of how things went in the Q&A session which followed the Cambridge lecture. But I gather that His Eminence launched into lengthy and impassioned assertions of the the authority of the Magisterium. The answer offered to one questioner was the further question (asked in deeply shocked tones) as to whether those expressing doubts or concerns about Amoris laetitia perhaps failed to believe that the Pope was inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit in writing it.

Thus the Magisterium was invoked not only in all its panoply, but in that crude form which, in the heyday of the old Catholic Evidence Guild, that Guild's speakers justly dismissed as being a misinformed Protestant or rationalist notion of what Infallibility means in Catholic theology.

More, later, on Cupich, Deo volente.

Cupich (3)
February 13, 2018

In the text of Cupich's Cambridge lecture, he acknowledges a widely felt problem: "While admitting that different cultural realities call for different pastoral conclusions, this is not to suggest that the existence of widely varying teachings among regions (or dioceses) is a positive element in Church life. There is still a dilemma that needs further attention and and study lest we end up with opposing magisterial directives even within regions which share a similar culture and realities in family life".

Indeed. It has often been pointed out that you already get a different magisterial answer by taking that single perilous footstep which carries you from Poland into Germany. [And I seem to remember that PF sanctioned the reaction of the Polish bishops to AL as being proper for their country ... does anyone know a reference for that?] It would certainly be highly amusing if one had in this country a different AL hermeneutic in, say, Shrewsbury and Liverpool.

Cupich goes on to sunder this particularly Gordian knot.

"In this regard, PF has now offered a pathway forward* with the publication in Acta Apostolicae Sedes [sic] of his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires and their Pastoral which confirms that their interpretation of Amoris authentically reflects his mind as being official Church teaching. It will now be up to all in the Church, particularly the hierarchy, to respond in a spirit of affective and effective collegiality with the Successor of Peter ...".

So, although Cupich only a minute or two earlier referred to PF's own stress upon "the importance of local variation in our global Church", when the whatsit hits the thingummy there is only one valid understanding of AL. And guess which one that is ...

In an earlier age, one might have wondered how well mannered it was for a foreign bishop to visit our shores so as to lecture our bishops ("it will now be up to ... the hierarchy ...") on how they should understand their duty. But we must understand that Blase Cupich is riding high, wearing that red hat which by tradition would have gone to the occupant of a different American See, and is intoxicated with the sweet wine of pontifical favour.

His words constitute one of the most aggressive ... and totally unacceptable ... assertions so far of an extremist and absurdly simplistic misunderstanding of the role within the Church Militant of the Roman Bishop.

When Catholic professional ecumenists discuss the Roman Primacy with non-Catholics, do they, I wonder, make clear that (once unity has been established) all discussion about a particular point at issue must instantly come to an end as soon as something is published in AAS? If not, perhaps they should start being honest enough to make it clear. Or else to disown this novel superstition.

*Notice a fine piece of weaselspeak: Cupich means that, in his view, PF has authoritatively imposed something. In weaselspeak, this becomes "has offered a pathway forward". Observe also the equivalence apparently made: 'his [PF's] mind' = 'official Church teaching". Things get better and better!

I do not have the inclination nor the time - nor, more importantly, the grit - to read Cupich's full lecture, as I dread the very thought of encountering more Bergoglianism than I need to, but if you are interested, guess who published the full text of the lecture: none other than the pre-eminent media site for Bergoglianism, VATICAN INSIDER:

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Cardinal Zen renders the traditional 'baciamano' after falling in line to meet the pope after the GA on January 10, 2018.

Thanks to Fr. de Souza for this long-overdue tribute...

In praise of China’s outspoken cardinal
Cardinal Zen has history on his side, and he knows China
better than any in the Vatican diplomatic corps

by Fr Raymond de Souza
February 11, 2018

Joseph Cardinal Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, will not go away quietly. Which makes it difficult for the Vatican diplomats to go quietly and cut a deal with Chinese regime. What is playing out now, as the Holy See reportedly nears a deal with China on normalising relations, revisits a centuries-long debate about how the Church should deal with hostile, persecuting powers.

More specifically, the very public denunciation of Vatican diplomacy by Cardinal Zen revisits the Ostpolitik practised by the Holy See during the 1960s and 70s. The “eastern politics” of Vatican diplomacy sought to achieve breathing room for the Church under communism by ratcheting down the anti-communist rhetoric and reining in the underground Churches faithful to Rome. The Ostpolitik was the attempt by Blessed Paul VI to try a different path than that of Venerable Pius XII, who shut down all official contacts with the Soviet empire and its satellites.

In practice, Ostpolitik was bitterly opposed by the much of Catholic leadership who had suffered persecution behind the Iron Curtain. To do a deal with the Devil was to betray the witness of the martyrs. Or, as Cardinal Zen puts it with characteristic frankness, it is like St Joseph negotiating with King Herod after the massacre of the innocents.

Blessed Paul VI’s Ostpolitik was a cause of suffering for him; while he believed it was right, he took no pleasure in either dealing with the Devil or opposing the heroic pastors who daily bore the brunt of the battle. It was not, he conceded, a “policy of glory”. It was employed on the grounds that it was, according to the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, the best way to salvare il salvabile – to save what could be saved.

The policy did not save much. It did not strengthen the Church behind the Iron Curtain, though it did secure the release from prison – at the cost of permanent exile – of several bishops.

The one local Church that remained steadfast and strong under communism was in Poland, and there the primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, insisted that he, and he alone, would deal with the Polish communists. Such was his towering stature that he kept Vatican diplomats at bay for some 30 years, blocking the ne plus ultra of Vatican diplomacy, a full-status nunciature and exchange of ambassadors. He judged the price of that to be too high.

Cardinal Zen has rather the same view. The difference today is that we are able to hear the disagreements openly.

“In the Church there is a full right to disagree and to tell one’s own criticisms, and that the Holy See has a moral duty to listen to them and to evaluate them carefully,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, said in defending his China policy. “It is legitimate to have different views over the most appropriate responses to the problems of the past and present. That is entirely reasonable.”

Cardinal Parolin may well think that a “far eastern politics” will succeed where Ostpolitik failed. But he acknowledges that his view is not the only one, and that those who have suffered most are in disagreement with him.

Whereas under the original Ostpolitik the Vatican’s diplomats could do their work in secret, and the underground Church had little recourse, today Cardinal Zen ensures that the betrayal of the Church in China – as he sees it – will have to be accomplished in the open.

After Cardinal Parolin’s defence of the Holy See’s China policy, a senior official – perhaps the cardinal himself, but certainly someone authorised by him – gave a lengthy interview to America magazine in which he laid out the path ahead with the Chinese regime.

“It is a suffered accord; it is not a good one, it is not the one we would like, but it is the best that we can get at this moment,” anonymous source said. The best that we can get. Salvare il salvabile.

Cardinal Zen argues that no accord is better than a bad accord. Don’t save what the communists will let you save, he argues. That is an illusion offered by fraudsters. The better way is to save your integrity and the fidelity of Catholic witness.

I am inclined to side with Cardinal Zen. He has history on his side, and he knows China better than any in the Vatican diplomatic corps. But I also am inclined take his side because he is man who speaks clearly and has evident courage.

In 2013 I hosted Cardinal Zen in Kingston [in Ontario, Canada, where Fr. de Souza is a diocesan priest] for our annual dinner in support of our mission on campus, the St John Fisher Dinner. I invited him – without having any relationship with him – because I admired him greatly. Yet I was shocked when he accepted. For a retired octogenarian, the trip from Hong Kong was long and tiring. Why did he accept?*

He explained at the dinner that it was foolish for him to travel so far at his age; and, after all, he had to re-arrange the classes he was now teaching to seminarians. But he “had to come” when he saw the invitation. Anything to honour St John Fisher, he said, meant that he had to accept. Cardinal Zen came to Kingston in 2013 because the Church needs more men like St John Fisher in the face of persecuting regimes. And that’s why he went to Rome last month to press his case again.

*Which is why my blood boils when I read criticisms of Benedict XVI's resignation as pope at age 88! With some mocking him for saying he did not think he could make any more travels such as the one to Mexico and Cuba. Would anyone of those critics insist that their own father continue working even an ordinary day job at 88? Would they themselves do so if they were 88? Let alone to go on functioning as pope at peak performance, which is the way Joseph Ratzinger has always carried out his tasks!

Don't they see from photos and accounts over the past 5 years how greatly Benedict XVI's physical condition has deteriorated? And to blame him because he 'made it possible' for Bergoglio to become the pope ('man proposes, but God disposes') is like asking God why do you make things like Auschwitz possible or why do innocent children get cancer!

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And many thanks to Andrea Gagliarducci for a most refreshing out-of-the-box lookback at the final days of Benedict XVI's Pontificate - in terms of his rich Magisterium...

Benedict XVI’s final magisterium
February 12, 2018

The fifth anniversary of the historic renunciation of Benedict XVI was anticipated by a letter written by the now Pope emeritus to an Italian newspaper. The Pope emeritus described himself as “in a pilgrimage to Home”, a wonderful metaphor to describe the last path of his earthly life.

Five years after, it is worth looking back at the Final Magisterium of Benedict XVI, that is, to his words and speeches in those last two weeks that preceded the sede vacante. It was a series of last public words that, in fact, best epitomize the situation of the current Church.

All of those words were overshadowed by the emotion and the lack of clarity of that time: it was a historical moment, lived with the Pope and on the Pope’s side. Rather than listening, we were looking for answers to questions, and those questions were left unanswered. Or, in the end, they got a response, but it was no accepted. Because, as the principle of the Ockham’s razor say, the simpler response is the most correct one. But, as human nature has it, the correct response is never fully accepted.

Benedict XVI thinks that the history of the Church meets eschatological requirements: everything has a sense, including the Church itself. To Benedict XVI, the Church is a living body, as it was to Romano Guardini, one of his favorite theologians.

Feb. 13, two days after the announcement of the renunciation. General Audience. Benedict XVI reads at the beginning a statement to reiterate that he had taken his decision to renounce to the Petrine Ministry out of his free will and with no constraints. Then, he starts the catechesis, focused on the Gospel of the following Sunday, especially on the passage of the temptations of Jesus in the desert.

“Reflecting on the temptations to which Jesus was subjected in the wilderness invites each one of us to answer a fundamental question: What really counts in my life?”, says the Pope. He then speaks about the temptations and finally he summarizes:

“What is the essence of the three temptations to which Jesus is subjected? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use him for one’s own interests, for one’s own glory and for one’s own success. And therefore, essentially to put oneself in God’s place, removing him from one’s own existence and making him seem superfluous”.

For this reason, Benedict XVI asks to “overcome the temptation to subject God to oneself and one’s own interests, or to put him in a corner, and be converted to the correct order of priorities, giving God first place”, as this is “a journey that each and every Christian must make over and over again”.

Converting – the Pope adds – “means letting God transform us, in order to stop thinking that we are the only ones to build our existence. It means recognizing that we are creatures, that we depend on God, on his love, and that only by 'losing' our life in him can we gain it”.

To sum it up, it is not possible to be a Christian as a mere consequence of living in a society with Christian roots. Christian life must be renewed every day, confronting “the temptations that a secularized culture constantly suggests and in the face of the critical opinion of many contemporaries”.

“It is far from easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in daily life, to make room for prayer and inner silence. It is far from easy to oppose publicly the decisions that many take for granted, such as abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness, and embryo selection in order to prevent hereditary diseases (as) the temptation to set faith aside is always present, and conversion becomes a response to God that must be strengthened several times in life.

February 13, evening, Ash Wednesday Mass. 15 days to the end of the Pontificate. Pope Benedict’s homily seems to be the consequence of the morning catechesis.

“To ‘return to God with all your heart' on this Lenten journey means embracing the cross, following Christ along the path which leads to Calvary, unto complete self-giving. It is a journey which teaches us each day to abandon our selfishness and self-absorption in order to make room for God, who opens and transforms our hearts...

Our witness, then, will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory and the more we realize that the reward of the just is God himself: being one with him here below on the journey of faith, and, at life’s end, in the luminous peace of seeing him face to face for ever.”

February 23, end of the Curia Lenten Spiritual exercises. Benedict XVI delivers his next-to-the-last address to the Curia. He reminds them Curia that, after he retires, “there will not be a visible and exterior communion” between him and them, but there will be “a spiritual closeness, a profound communion in prayer. With this certainty, let us go on, certain of the victory of God, certain of the truth of beauty and love.”

February 24, the last Angelus. Benedict XVI’s words deal with a central issue of his pontificate: scandals are not the problem, the problem is faith. The Gospel of the Day presents the Transfiguration, and Jesus is described as climbing up the mountain.

“I hear this word of God as addressed to me in particular at this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me 'to scale the mountain', to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church; indeed, if God asks me this it is precisely so that I may continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.”

February 27, last general audience, Pope Benedict speaks of the Church, recounts that he received letters from the most important people on earth, but also from normal people. These people

”write to me as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters, with a sense of a very affectionate family bond. (And from this) one can sense palpably what the Church is – not an organization, an association for religious or humanitarian ends, but a living body, a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, which makes us all one. To experience the Church in this way and to be able as it were to put one’s finger on the strength of her truth and her love, is a cause for joy at a time when so many people are speaking of her decline. But we see how the Church is alive today!”

February 28, meeting with the Cardinals before the departure to Castel Gandolfo. Benedict XVI underscores to them once more that the Church

“is not something devised by planners, but a living reality... The Church lives, grows up, is reawakened in souls that, like the Virgin Mary, welcome the Word of God and conceive it through the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh, and in their poverty and humility they become able to generate Christ today in the world. Through the Church, the mystery of incarnation stays present forever. Christ keeps on walking through all the times and all the places.”

All of these words are part of the final magisterium of Benedict XVI. He provides the notion of a Church as an alive community, focused on faith. This is the legacy we tend to forget, more than anything else. We focused very much on his speech to the clergy of Rome, that identified the real Council and the Council of the media, and we commented a lot his governing decisions.

And yet, his final magisterium is a hymn to the joy of the Gospel and of relying on God. This is what is really missing in all the 'debates' about his resignation.
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One could already judge from the excerpts initially cited in the initial reactions to the Cupich lecture in Cambridge last week how appalling the entire
thing must be - which I do not intend to read as persons far more qualified than I to demolish it have done that and already crushing Cupich's tract on AL
for its overall typically Bergoglian mendacity - but should we expect otherwise from someone who could not possibly be more Bergoglian? Two unflinching
critiques here...

Does Cardinal Cupich think 'Humanae Vitae' has been replaced?
The cardinal's much-discussed lecture contained numerous errors

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
February 14, 2018

Cardinal Cupich’s lecture in Cambridge last week has generated some commentary, and having read it myself, one feels the need to add to it. The lecture is diffuse and hard to summarise, though this magazine tries its best, as one can read here. The whole thing can be read here.

It would take far too long to do a point by point refutation of everything the Cardinal says, so I am not going to try to do so. Instead, I will just pick out two or three points that strike me as extremely misleading, sticking, if you like, to the low hanging fruit.

First, an error of fact. The Cardinal says: “The bishops gathered at the synods on the family were united in this regard, in the end voting for all the proposals by over a 2/3 vote and in most cases nearly unanimously.” [In which Cupich simply repeats a lie Bergoglio has said publicly more than once, as if to cover up - I don't know why he thinks he has to - that AL, which was supposed to convey the thinking of the two 'family synods' he convened in order to facilitate his general laissez-faire on the sacraments of matrimony, penance and the Eucharist, simply rode roughshod over the synodal consensus against such a laissez-faire to be an exposition of Bergoglianism as the Religion of Nice and forget-what-Jesus-said-I(Bergoglio)-am-here-and now].

Actually, at the first synod the proposals to admit the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion were not passed by a 2/3 majority. As the ever valuable Wikipedia reminds us:

Of the three paragraphs that failed to get a two-thirds majority but were included in the final report, two deal with the question of whether in some circumstances to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to be admitted to the Eucharist, and the third discusses pastoral care for gay Catholics. Paragraph 52 won the least support (104 in favor, 74 against) and described the disagreement among the participants on “the possibility of giving the divorced and remarried access to the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The paragraph gave no indication of the proportion between those who favored the idea and those who rejected it, but said further study was needed. Paragraph 53 had very similar content and presentation got a slightly better reception: 112 votes in favor, and 64 against.

Paragraph 55 was the third paragraph that failed to get a two-thirds majority and was headed: “Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies.” … It came close to a two-thirds majority, getting 118 votes for and 62 against. Odd that the Cardinal should have overlooked this. But let it not be forgotten that the Synod did not endorse communion for the divorced and remarried.

Secondly, in his opening paragraphs, the Cardinal talks of a holistic approach, using that word holistic numerous times. What does it mean? Usually, it is taken to mean the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. That is not a bad principle in itself.

However, parts are important too, and there is no whole without parts. In moral theology, no whole can ever justify an action that it is intrinsically evil. That is the thrust of the teaching of Saint John Paul II, particularly in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor. But that was not an innovation on the part of the Saint. Blessed Paul VI also has something to say about the holistic approach, except back then it was called “The principle of totality”.

In Humanae Vitae, the Pope asked:

Moreover, if one were to apply here the so called principle of totality, could it not be accepted that the intention to have a less prolific but more rationally planned family might transform an action which renders natural processes infertile into a licit and provident control of birth? Could it not be admitted, in other words, that procreative finality applies to the totality of married life rather than to each single act? (HV3)

He answered his question thus:

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these.

Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.

Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong. (HV14)

It is inconceivable that Cardinal Cupich is not aware of these passages, which must lead one to the inevitable conclusion that he thinks, for no reason I can fathom, that the “paradigm” of Amoris Laetitia, as he interprets it, somehow replaces the thinking behind Humanae Vitae. [Oh no, Father – nothing to fathom here! Cupich thinks that, because like the most fanatic Bergoglians, he has effectively been Bergogliobotomized and brainwashed to the point that Bergoglio has replaced Jesus as their Lord and Master and Amoris laetitia has replaced the Gospel as the 'word of the lord' in the parallel universe that is the church of Bergoglio. One however that superimposes itself on the one true Church of Christ by the simple fact that Bergoglio was elected to be the leader of that Church, however much he has tried since Day 1 to convert it to his likeness and image.]

Please note – the thinking behind Humanae Vitae, as opposed to the practical application of that thinking. For the thinking behind Humanae Vitae is the thinking of the Catholic Church as it has been for centuries. [And the thinking behind Amoris laetitia is what the secular world has wanted to impose on the Church since the Enlightenment in order to trigger its destruction.]

Is this what Cardinal Cupich wishes to sweep away? If so, let him tell us clearly. Are Aquinas and Augustine and Alphonsus Liguori all wrong? Or is there another possibility? Is it possible that the person who is wrong is Cardinal Cupich himself?

There are several other startling shortcomings in the Cardinal’s lecture which I will address in further articles.

The 'clarity' of Cardinal Cupich
CRISIS Magazine
February 14, 2018

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is all for clarity. It has been a consistent theme:
- In September of 2017 he issued a decree banning guns in all parishes, schools and other facilities across the archdiocese “so there would be absolute clarity on our position.” His official statement put “clarity” in italics.
- When he was bishop of Rapid City, he called for “civility and clarity” in discussing legislation that would limit abortion, but he was somewhat unclear in explaining that the law “must recognize both the suffering of the unborn children in abortion and the suffering of the pregnant women in dire circumstances.” The bill was defeated 55 percent to 45 percent.
- As bishop of Spokane, he spoke clearly in prohibiting the use of the traditional Latin liturgical books in the Paschal Triduum.
- He made very clear his disapproval of seminarians and priests demonstrating against Planned Parenthood: “Decisions about abortion are not usually made in front of clinics.”
- In 2012, his pastoral letter on a state referendum to legalize same-sex “marriage” said: “I also want to be very clear that in stating our position the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity.”

Clarity requires effort because it requires honesty, which can be a costly commodity. So George Orwell said: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

Clear expression issues from clear thinking, which in turn requires conforming thought to reality. [Which is why Bergoglio's words are so often muddled – his mind is muddled, and instead of conforming his thought to reality, he conforms it to what he thinks reality ought to be, by his standards.]

This was a primary concern of the Master in his holy agony, for he prayed to the Father that his Church never fudge the truth: “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). [When the pope, Bergoglio, demonstrably lies so often and in public for self-serving purposes, what 'truth' can we expect from him?]

The Superior of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, seems wary about the unclear tenor of Christ’s teaching about marriage (Mt 19: 3-9), because “no one had a recorder to take down his words.” Consequently, what Christ said must be “contextualized,” because human reality “is much more nuanced” and “never black and white.” Jesus did say, without the benefit of recorders other than the Evangelists: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mt 24:35). There is nothing nuanced about that, but Jesus was not a member of the Society of Jesus.

In an interview the day before he lectured on the exhortation of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia at the Von Hugel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry in Cambridge England, on February 9, Cardinal Cupich hoped that his words “might bring some clarity for people who have raised questions, and then also to raise a challenge for them to also take a second look at the document.”

In the lecture itself the cardinal quoted Amoris Laetitia, n. 38: “Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals.”

A year earlier, on February 14, 2017, Cardinal Cupich said that “the pope’s exhortation “expresses with absolute clarity marriage doctrine in full fidelity to traditional Church teaching.”

One supposes that Cardinal Cupich’s lecture in Cambridge was intended to explain why the Exhortation’s clarity was unclear to so many around the world, even though they have the benefit of recording machines and all the social media, which Jesus lacked, although his voice could be heard by thousands on hilltops and seashores.

In the Von Hugel lecture, which was recorded and thus cannot be nuanced, Cardinal Cupich said by way of apophasis that “It goes without saying…” and then went on to say that “Amoris Laetitia will also mean rejecting “an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity.” There is Cupich's 'clarity' again, in all its frustrating opaqueness.

And after rejecting authoritarianism and paternalism, the cardinal invoked Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 25, to declare that “an innovative interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the bishops of Buenos Aires, which, by virtue of “the publication in Acta Apostolicae Sedes [sic]” of the papal letter commending it, qualifies as an official Church teaching “which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with.”

It should be, and I think it is, clear as night and day, that Jesus would not have been crucified had he been more nuanced. There are those who have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to make clear by subtlety, with their own frail command of classical letters, that the official Latinity of Amoris Laetitia proves that it is faithful to authentic doctrine, and is not as flawed as its critics claim. This is on a par with Edgar Nye’s opinion that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. Excuses like that are defeated by Pope Francis himself who told those Argentinian bishops that their eisegesis “explains precisely the meaning of Chapter VIII.”

Cardinal Cupich called Amoris Laetitia a “radical change” and Cardinal Parolin said “It’s a paradigm shift and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us — this new spirit, this new approach!” The exclamation point conveys His Eminence’s enthusiasm. Cardinal Cupich asks for a more “holistic” application of the Gospel, in fact using the term ten times without a clear definition of what it means.

There have indeed been paradigm shifters in Christology, but there have been no Doctors of the Church among them, and none has been salubrious in the annals of grace. To skim the surface, they have included Arius, Nestorius, Priscillian, Montanus, Mohammed, Waldo, Luther, Calvin, Jansen, Joseph Smith and Phineas Quimby who coached Mrs. Eddy. [A Hall of Infamy to which Jorge Bergoglio would be a most worthy addition. Mrs. Eddy is Mary Baker Eddy, 1821-1910, who founded the 'Christian Science' religion and its church, the Church of Christ, Scientist]

Those who have studied the early Modernist period, might assume that the Von Hugel Institute has as its eponym the Baron Friedrich von Hugel, mentor of the Modernists Alfred Loisy and George Tyrrell. Actually, it was named for his brother, Anatole, who was a distinguished naturalist. The baron himself managed to keep his balance, while using the active if neurasthenic minds of younger theologians like guinea pigs, watching them degraded while maintaining his own claims to fidelity.

The tedious von Hugel (even his English writings are cadenced as impenetrably German) visited John Henry Newman at least three times, and on each of these occasions he found Newman melancholy, concluding that Newman could not be a saint since saints must be joyful. “I used to wonder how one so good, and one who had made so many sacrifices to God, could be so depressing.”

One biographer remarked with astuteness beyond the reach of the humorless baron, that the only evidence we have of Newman being demonstrably depressed was when he was visited by von Hugel.

This writer writes these words hastily, and knowingly exposes himself to imputations of illogic, irascibility and uncharity. Of only the last I vitally excuse myself, for I mean no irreverence or ill intent as a parish priest commenting on superiors. In the fullness of charity, I suppose that Cardinal Cupich is so occupied with the essential works of mercy incumbent upon a spiritual leader of many, that he may have availed himself of the advice of others inadequate to the task of preparing his attempts at clarification.

The one complaint I invoke, albeit a strong one since much of my life’s studies have been nurtured by an intuitive friendship with John Henry Newman, who in an unworthy simile is to me as Philip Neri was to him, is that Cardinal Cupich has cited Newman on conscience to represent the very opposite of what Newman lived and exhausted himself to declare: that [dim]=12pt]conscience must be informed by the Holy Ghost and not left to wander about like a ghost of the subjective human ego, validating uninformed impulses.

In his famous Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Newman distinguished between the operation of conscience and the exercise of private judgment. Such distinctions may be too delicate for hasty doctors of theology, but they are matters for which men were made martyrs. Errors must not be the template for the formation of consciences innocent and malleable.

Chesterton warned: “The more doubtful we are about whether we have any truth, the more certain we are (apparently) that we can teach it to children. The smaller our faith in doctrine, the larger is our faith in doctors.”

In his revision of his book The Arians of the Fourth Century, Newman explained in more detail what he meant by consulting the faithful on doctrine, and it is far different from soliciting the views of confused people who think truths are ideals beyond their reach. As a beacon of clarity, Newman knew that Christ is a Saviour and not an Idealist.

The word “consult” is, in its Latin root, to consult with or to take counsel in the sense of submission to a truth, as one consults a barometer or takes one’s pulse. Newman said this himself. Conscience is not a license for invention or epistemological fabrication, and consultation of the faithful is not a survey to warrant a “paradigm shift.”

Ronald Knox prefaced his translation of the Bible: “The teaching office of the Holy Spirit does not consist in imparting to the Church the knowledge of hitherto unknown doctrines, in addition to the deposit of faith, but in making our knowledge of doctrines already revealed fuller and more precise.”

Cardinal Cupich likes the term “cherry picking” as a reproach. On February 1 in Holy Name Cathedral, as he had done in 2004 in Rapid City, he faulted Pro-Lifers for “cherry-picking” instead of accepting the entire “seamless garment” theory. In 2017, he spoke against “cherry picking” in immigration issues. But Amoris Laetitia cherry-picks in citing only one part of the Summa Theologica II-II, q. 140, in a way that posits the exact opposite of what Aquinas meant, just as Cupich cherry-picks Newman on the “aboriginal vicar of Christ.” [And just as Bergoglio flagrantly cherry-picks when he quotes Jesus!]

Cupich cites Gaudium et Spes, no. 16 which calls conscience “the most secret core and sanctuary of a man … (where) he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths.” As Newman was one of the greatest masters of English prose, that kind of lame poesie would have appalled him. It also is sourced from a document parts of which Pope Benedict once called downright Pelagian.

The clarification of doctrine is a risky business. In his novel Loss and Gain, Newman invented a “little, prim, smirking” character, a preacher in Oxford University named the Reverend Dr. Brownside: “As a divine he seemed never to have had any difficulty in any subject; he was so clear or so shallow that he saw to the bottom of all his thoughts: or, since Dr. Johnson tells us that 'all shallows are clear', we may perhaps distinguish him by both epithets.”

Let us be perfectly clear: Dr. Brownside existed only as a sketch on paper, unlike the Bridegroom of the Church who, even without the corroboration of a recording machine, is believed to have “taught as one having authority and not as the scribes.”

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Utente Gold
Poster from Mali saying "Stop illegal immigration" and the ironic catchline "My Eldorado is Mali" seeks to instruct intending emigrants on how to do things right.

The pope's obsessive concern with migrants
By Marco Tosatti
Translated from
February 14, 2018

Holiness, give us some respite! You have bewailed what you called an 'obsessive concern' on issues regarding life, implicitly criticizing your precedessors and saints of the caliber of Mother Teresa who constantly fought against abortion [and other, for them, non-negotiable issues about the sanctity of human life and the family[]but you have instead made us Catholics and other citizens of this unfortunate nation endure your obsessive 'pastoral' concern for migrants [who are overwhelmingly non-Christian, so it beggars belief why he should be 'pastoral' about them while failing the flock he was elected to lead!].

And excuse me, but even the lies claiming the Church does not 'do' politics cannot stand up. Of course, 'the church', such as she is today, does politics. As the Genoan shipowner in the joke commented upon learning of a colleague's suicide, "It must have been convenient!", we can well imagine that the Church in Italy finds some convenience in this business involving millions and millions of euros having to do with 'welcoming' undocumented migrants.

But you are the pope – and even if you do not care a whit about this devastated country, even if you only read one Italian newspaper (which also happens to be the most leftist, the most Sorosian and the most pro-Partita Democrata there is), even if your advisers are who they are and they only tell you things in a certain way – given all of that, don’t you think that the frequency with which you speak about this issue is truly obsessive? [As usual with Bergoglio, he can never see the log of prejudice in his eye while he points out the motes in others' eyes!]


Yesterday, we read your Twitter feed that seemed prompted only so as not to run the risk that we would be deprived a single day without being reminded of it: "With the spirit of mercy let us welcome the victims of human trafficking and those who are fleeing from war and hunger".

Yet just two days before that, we also read that you said, "So many times, migrants are besmirched by unkind comments", to young people meeting to discuss the problem of human trafficking. "A few months ago, I saw a newspaper headline about a small city [in Italy]: 'the city where the most rapes were committed this year, and 40% of the rapists were migrants'. That's one way of smearing them. And who were the other 60 percent? Italians! It's a way of presenting things which twists the truth". [Dear Lord, this man has a real talent for 'twisting the truth', because it is he who habitually does that! Remember when he likened jihadist terrorist crimes with domestic violence crimes in Italy? Considering that migrants now constitute less than 10 percent of the Italian population, it means, roughly, that 10 percent in a given community are responsible for 40% of rapes. Yet even just one rapist among them would be reprehensible enough and unacceptable!]

Then you told them: "Don't be afraid of meeting the migrants. Open up your hearts and let them come in" because "you can encounter Christ in these people who have left their homes and remain trapped in the net of slavery". And you told the story of a girl who was 'deceived by a very Catholic lady' – she arrived in Italy and was "then enchained in prostitution". And when she was rescued from that life and brought to an institution headed by a sister, "she did not wish to enter because it had been a very Catholic lady who had deceived her and made her a slave".

He couldn't resist that jab against 'the very Catholic lady' since we know that many Catholics are not at all to this pope's liking. But it would be useful to read what the current statistics show about crime in Italy.

Comparing the percentage of foreigners in Italy against the percentage of foreigners responsible for major crimes.

Keep in mind that non-Italians make up only 8 percent of the country's population. Regardless, we don't really need to increase our native criminal fauna by importing more of them!

A Brussels [i.e, EU] agency that tracks these things tells us that in January 2018, 4,800 undocumented migrants arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean – a number double that in December 2017. Rightly, Bergoglio speaks of those victims of human trafficking, namely, those who gladly pay the traffickers to facilitate their departure from their homeland for Europe.

But is not the constant drumroll of calls by the pope and his representatives in the Italian Church to welcome any and all migrants partly responsible for 'stimulating' the phenomenon? That's not exactly combating a phenomenon expressly denounced by the bishops and government leaders in the migrants' countries of origin (mostly Africa). If I know that I will be welcomed with open arms [and the blessing of the pope, no less], then of course, I would risk leaving home. Otherwise, why should I set forth on a hopeless venture [and pay a fortune to do so]?
17/02/2018 02.59
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Utente Gold

Pope Francis is playacting Realpolitik
The Vatican’s diplomacy with China and other authoritarian governments,
is based on a century-old fantasy of its worldly power

February 15, 2018

In recent weeks, many observers have been puzzled, and some deeply disturbed, by what appears to be an impending deal between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China. The agreement would concede a significant role to the Chinese Communist regime in the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops in China, as a step on the path to full diplomatic relations between Beijing and the Holy See. More than a few questions have been raised about such an arrangement. ['A significant role' is a delusion of Bergoglio and his diplomats - synonymous to Cardinal Parolin's saying 'The Vatican will have a say' in the appointment of Chinese bishops. As I've said before, yeah, right! – that 'say' is going to consist entirely of saying YES to any bishops nominated by the Communist regime, which will probably never even bother to ask the Vatican if it has any nominees at all to a vacant diocese. It's the Chinese sop to help save face for the Vatican and make it seem like it is getting something for its abject total surrender to the Chinese, and all for what? To establish diplomatic relations in order to facilitate an invitation for Bergoglio to visit Beijing?

How, in conscience, can the Bergoglio Vatican be so delusional about the ruthless Godless nature of a Communist regime that has now outlasted by more than quarter century the parent Soviet regime? And what exactly does Bergoglio thinks his diplomats will do for the Church in China except to be Beijing's errand boys in suppressing the anti-regime underground church, so as to leave the playing field free for the official 'Catholic Church' of China, which being no longer subject to the Vatican or to the pope, will no longer be a catholic (small c) church at all, but a true and proper independent 'national church' that is a travesty of the Church – neither holy nor Catholic nor apostolic nor Roman. Beijing may choose call it ‘the Catholic Church in China’ for purposes of its ‘dialog’ with the Vatican, but it really is only the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association taking over the entire infrastructure and institutions of what was the Catholic Church in China (much as the church of Bergoglio has taken over the infrastructure and institutions of the one true Church of Christ).
We have here the spectacle of a bogus universal Catholic Church, really the church of Bergoglio, cooperating with an atheistic regime to actualize a bogus ‘national Catholic church’ in China which is in every way a contradiction of everything that a particular Church within the universal Church ought to be.]

Why would the Vatican trust any agreement cosigned by a totalitarian power, given its previous unhappy experiences with Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Third Reich, both of which systematically violated concordats they concluded with the Holy See?

Why have the Vatican’s diplomats (and perhaps even Pope Francis himself) dismissed warnings from within China, and from the retired bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, about the negative impact of such a deal on those Chinese Catholics who have remained loyal to Rome rather than to the regime-sponsored Patriotic Catholic Association?

Why would the Church violate its own canon law (according to which “no rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation, or designation of bishops are conceded to civil authorities”) as a step toward full diplomatic exchange with a regime that routinely violates human rights, often with great cruelty?

What has motivated the dogged pursuit by Vatican diplomats of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China over the past four decades?

Answering these questions requires three steps back: first to 1870, then to 1929, and finally to 1962.

In 1870, when the forces of the Italian Risorgimento captured Rome and made it the capital of a unified Italy, the last vestiges of the old Papal States (which once encompassed all of central Italy) disappeared, and Pope Pius IX retired behind the Leonine Wall, styling himself the “Prisoner of the Vatican.”

The Holy See, which international law and customary diplomatic practice have long recognized as the juridical embodiment of the pope’s role as universal pastor of the Catholic Church, continued to send and receive ambassadors even as it lacked any territory over which it exercised internationally recognized sovereignty. But Pius’s four successors tried nonetheless to reach an agreement with the new Italian state that would guarantee the pope’s independence from all earthly powers.

That goal was finally achieved by Pius XI in the 1929 Lateran Accords, which created the independent Vatican City State on a 108-acre tract surrounding St. Peter’s Basilica.

But while the Lateran Accords assured the pope’s freedom to conduct his global ministry without interference from another sovereign, the reduction of the pope’s sovereign territory to the Vatican City microstate underscored that, in the future, Holy See diplomacy would have to reply on the exercise of papal moral authority, not the usual tangible instruments of state power.

The largely Italian Vatican diplomatic service never quite grasped this implication of the Lateran Accords, though. Rather, it seems these foreign-policy professionals continued to think that the new Holy See/Vatican City was something like the old Holy See/Papal States: a third-tier European power. And as Italy itself became a less serious actor in world politics, it was natural for Italian papal diplomats to seek some significant role for “Rome” on the global stage, working the system as other third-tier powers did.

Then came October 1962. It has been insufficiently remarked that the opening of the Second Vatican Council — the four-year meeting of all the world’s Catholic bishops that became the most important event in Catholic history since the Reformation and set the foundations for Catholicism’s current role as a major institutional promoter and defender of human rights [??? That’s a puzzling statement in the light of what Weigel affirms in the next paragraph. How did Ostpolitik help champion human rights at all when it was cooperating with the tramplers of human rights for little crumbs that amounted to a whole lot of nothing for the Catholics it meant to help and protect?] coincided precisely with the Cuban missile crisis.

Pope John XXIII and the Vatican diplomatic corps were sufficiently shaken by the possibility of a nuclear war that might have ended Vatican II before it got underway that they devised a profound redirection of Vatican diplomacy toward the European communist world
. This became known as Vatican Ostpolitik, and its principal agent was the career Vatican diplomat Archbishop Agostino Casaroli.

[One most lamentable early consequence of this was that Communism as such- and in the early 1960s, it cut a formidable and fearful swathe from Mongolia, China and South Korea in the Far East, across the continent of Asia from the Soviet Union's easternmost outpost in Vladivostok to its satellite republics in Central and southwest Asia, across the Urals and the Caucasus to the eastern half of Europe - was never even mentioned at all in the four sessions of Vatican II nor in any of its documents. That is a blatant and reprehensible historical omission which I don't believe even Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI - nor for that matter, Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II - ever discussed about Vatican II.]

Casaroli’s Ostpolitik, which unfolded during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI (1963-1978), aimed at finding a modus non moriendi, a “way of not dying” (as Casaroli frequently put it), for the Catholic Church behind the Iron Curtain.

In order to appoint bishops, who could ordain priests and thus maintain the Church’s sacramental or spiritual life under atheist regimes, [so they thought, anyway!]
- the Vatican ended the anti-communist rhetoric that had characterized its public diplomacy in the 1950s,
- removed senior churchmen who refused to concede anything to communist governments (like Hungary’s Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty and Czechoslovakia’s Cardinal Joseph Beran),
- discouraged any public role for exiled Catholic leaders like Ukrainian Cardinal Josyf Slipyj,
- urged underground Catholic clergy and laity to cease their resistance to their local communist regimes, and
- diligently sought various forms of agreements with communist governments.

One premise informing this remarkable volte-face was that the Vatican’s once-harsh anti-communist rhetoric had been at least partially to blame for communist regimes’ persecution of the Church; the theory was that if the Vatican showed itself more accommodating (the buzzword was “dialogue”), such mellowness would be reciprocated. It wasn’t. And by any objective measure, Casaroli’s Ostpolitik was a failure — and in some instances a disaster. [How many modern crimes of appalling magnitude have taken place in our time in the name of fruitless futile 'dialog'! It is a ploy for so-called leaders to make believe they are doing something that I have come to think of - and forgive the simile - as nothing but self-indulgent mental masturbation.]

In Rome, it led to the deep penetration of the Vatican by East bloc intelligence services, a counterintelligence debacle (now fully documented from original sources) that put the Church’s diplomats in an even weaker position in negotiations with their communist counterparts, who frequently knew the Vatican game plan thanks to the work of well-placed moles and informers inside the Roman Curia.

In the countries that were to be the putative beneficiaries of Ostpolitik, there were no improvements of consequence as a result of Casaroli’s shuttle diplomacy, and in fact more damage was done.
- The Hungarian Catholic hierarchy became what amounted to a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hungarian state, which of course meant the Hungarian communist party.
- Repression increased in what was then Czechoslovakia, with regime-friendly faux-Catholic organizations achieving public prominence while underground bishops and priests worked as janitors, window-washers, and elevator repairmen, conducting clandestine ministries at night.
- Ostpolitik did nothing to improve the situation of Catholics in the Soviet Union: The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church remained the world’s largest illegal religious community, and Lithuanian Catholic resistance leaders found themselves doing hard time in gulag labor camps.

Ostpolitik had no serious effect in Poland, however, where the wily primate Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and the charismatic archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, nodded politely to visiting Vatican diplomats but continued to confront the Polish communist authorities with vigorous public protests when they thought that necessary to preserve the Church’s tenaciously held free space in a communist state. That strategy, in turn, strengthened the most vigorous national Catholic community in the Soviet sphere, even as the Vatican Ostpolitik was weakening local Churches in other Warsaw Pact countries.

When Wojtyla was elected pope in 1978, taking the name John Paul II, the Casaroli Ostpolitik was quietly buried — although the shrewd John Paul appointed Casaroli his secretary of state, thus creating something of a good cop-bad cop strategy. Casaroli would continue his shuttle diplomacy in east-central Europe. But that, John Paul understood, would provide him useful cover as he, using the megaphone of the papacy, boldly challenged communist human rights violations in his pilgrimages all over the world, most notably on his first papal visit to Poland in June 1979, and then in October of that year from the rostrum of the General Assembly of the United Nations. That two-track strategy was instrumental in igniting the revolution of conscience that shaped the Revolutions of 1989 and the self-liberation of east-central Europe from communism.

Yet the lessons that ought to have been learned from all this — that Ostpolitik was a failure because the appeasement of communist and other authoritarian regimes never works, and that the only real authority the Holy See and the pope have in world politics today is moral authority — were not learned by the heirs of Agostino Casaroli, many of whom are influential figures in Vatican diplomacy today.

At Rome’s Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Ostpolitik is still presented to future Vatican diplomats as a model of success, and at no level of the Vatican Secretariat of State has there been an intellectual reckoning with the evidence demonstrating the failures of Casaroli’s diplomacy.

The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope Francis in March 2013 has not changed the “Casarolian” cast of mind dominating Vatican diplomacy; quite the opposite, in fact. Bergoglio brought to the papacy a record of resistance to the authoritarian Kirchner regime in his native Argentina, with which he had tangled on several issues. But he had no experience of world politics, and from the outset of his pontificate, Francis made it clear that he believed that “dialogue,” perhaps his favorite word when speaking of international affairs, is possible with the likes of Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, Nicolás Maduro, and Raúl Castro. [In fact, Bergoglio has probably made more headline-generating Communist/Marxist/socialist statements than any of these Communist/Marxist/socialist leaders themselves.]

[Thus under Francis, the accommodating Casaroli approach to Vatican diplomacy has made a great comeback, while the world-changing achievements of John Paul II, the result of charismatic moral leadership, seem to be virtually ignored by the Church’s senior diplomats. And one result of that comeback is the new démarche with China, which the senior Italians among the Vatican’s diplomats regard as a rising world power with whom they must be a “player.”

John Paul and his successor, Benedict XVI, could have had the deal now being proposed by Beijing, or something very similar to it. Both declined, because they knew it was not a step toward greater freedom for the Catholic Church in China but a step toward greater Catholic subservience to the Chinese Communist regime, a betrayal of persecuted Catholics throughout the People’s Republic of China, and an impediment to future evangelism in China.

Both may also have weighed the fact that any formal Vatican diplomatic exchange with Beijing would necessitate ending diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the first Chinese democracy in history — and that would be a bad signal to the rest of the world about the Vatican’s commitment to Catholicism’s own social doctrine.

Vatican diplomacy today rests on shaky and insecure foundations — and on Italianate fantasies that the 21st-century Holy See can act internationally as if this were 1815, when Cardinal Ercole Consalvi, Pope Pius VII’s chief diplomat, was a significant actor at the Congress of Vienna. Those shaky foundations and that fantasy are not a prescription for diplomatic success. They are, rather, a prescription for both diplomatic and ecclesiastical failure, which is the likely result of the deal now being bruited between the Vatican and China.

Bergoglio has this delusion that he can do anything he sets his mind to do, but while I do not doubt that he is dead set on establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing, he probably thinks that by doing so, he may ‘soften’ or even ‘overcome’ the inherent Godlessness of China's Communist leaders and their ideology. But perhaps I’m giving him too much credit – perhaps he really does not mind the scandalous Godlessness of his friends like Evo Morales, Raul Castro and Nicolas Maduro, provided they continue to proclaim they are doing everything to improve the lot of their people even if obviously they are not. But Bergoglio does not seem to care – has he even said a word, for instance, in behalf of the Venezuelan people crushed by the corruption, political arrogance and overall impotence of Maduro’s regime?)]

The title of this op-ed piece in the New York Times is very appropriate, but the writer errs on the side of extreme naivete by postulating that the negotiations revolve around finalizing 'a joint vetting venture' for episcopal nominations in China. It's the fig leaf to hide the shameful abjectness of the Vatican surrender to Beijing. The writer is a commentator on Hong Kong and Asian affairs, and professor of economics at a university in Japan.

Why the pope is genuflecting to China

by Yi-Zheng Lian
February 9, 2018

On Feb. 1, the same day that new repressive regulations of religion went into force in China, the Vatican took a deep bow before Beijing. After long resisting, it finally agreed to recognize several hack bishops designated by the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.), even sidelining two of its own long-serving appointees for the occasion.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the outspoken, blogging, 86-year-old retired archbishop of Hong Kong, had recently flown to Vatican City to personally plead the case of the two bishops to the pope himself. How nettlesome. He was shoved off, and has since been called an “obstacle” to a deal between the Vatican and Beijing.

The reasons the Holy See is caving to the (atheist) Communist government are not entirely transparent, but it appears to be hoping for a historic thaw. Diplomatic ties were severed in 1951, not long after the Communists came to power in China, and relations have since been testy at best.

Catholics in China are thought to number between 9 million and 12 million today, with about half of them adhering to underground congregations loyal to the pope in Rome and refusing to recognize a state-sanctioned version of the Church called the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association or, more informally, the “patriotic church.”

One major conflict between the two governments has been the method for appointing bishops: Traditionally a prerogative of the papacy, Beijing has steadily tried to usurp it in China. The deal that the Vatican currently seems to be seeking would likely formalize some joint vetting procedure.

The Vatican justifies its conciliatory stance toward Beijing as an attempt to overcome the schism that has divided the Catholic community in China for nearly seven decades — as “a balm of mercy,” it has said, for the pain caused by the barriers that have prevented Chinese Catholics “from living in communion with each other and with the Pope.”

Rapprochement could also give the pope, nominally at least, ultimate authority over all the Catholics in China — a standing, however symbolic, that may well matter to a Vatican that is losing ground to other Christian denominations among Chinese converts. [That's a real howler! If he can't even get to name bishops, what ultimate authority, in real terms, could he possibly hope to have over ‘all the Catholics in China’? Moreover, this writer seems to ignore Beijing’s Sinicization policy, whereby no formal or direct influence outside the Communist regime could possibly be allowed into any area of Chinese life. In whatever form the Bergoglio-Beijing concordat may come, whatever language it uses, there is no way it will imply in any way that the Vatican or the pope will have any say at all about what the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association chooses to do in, with and about its ‘national independent church’!]

The total population of Christians in China has grown considerably, from about 4 million in 1949 to perhaps as many as 100 million today. In relative terms, however, Catholics are falling behind. By some estimates, whereas Catholics in China outnumbered Protestants by 3 to 1 in 1949, today Protestants outnumber Catholics by 5 to 1.

A major explanation for the increasing differential is that the Roman Catholic Church wields not only religious and moral authority, but also political and diplomatic power. The Catholic Church has a relatively unified command structure, a well-defined ideology and a disciplined organizational backbone. It has global reach and mass appeal, commands great loyalty and has long demonstrated the ability to survive and expand, all on the merits of peaceful soft power. In each of these ways, it rivals, perhaps even bests, the C.C.P.

And so, naturally, the C.C.P. sees Chinese Catholics’ allegiance to the pope as a direct challenge to their allegiance to the party. Vatican City is also, still, among the 20 states, all small, that recognize Taiwan diplomatically.

Many Protestant churches, although deemed suspect as well, are on better terms with the C.C.P. After a visit to Beijing in 1983, the archbishop of Canterbury gushed about liberalization in China and reportedly praised the emergence of “a church with Chinese characteristics.” [There speaks the pitiable pastor of a community that is hopelessly fractured since it first started kowtowing to the modern world in the early 20th century!]

Like his predecessor, the current Anglican archbishop overseeing Hong Kong and Macau is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a body including luminaries that supposedly advises the C.C.P. but often promotes the party’s interests informally or clandestinely. Both men have tended to support Beijing’s restrictive reading of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong and opposed the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014.

Representatives of other faiths have gone further. A vice president of the Buddhist Association of China called President Xi Jinping’s speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Congress last fall, “the Buddhist sutra of the current age.”
Buddhists in China — who are variously said to number between more than 100 million to more than 240 million — have been treated with a relatively light hand by the party, at least if they are not of the Tibetan kind.

Yet even if brown-nosing seems to pay off, the Vatican’s appeasement of the Chinese government would have great downsides, for itself and for the rest of the world. [ Oooohhh, ‘brown-nosing’ is even more descriptive and appropriate than ‘genuflecting’ to describe what Bergoglio and his diplomats have been doing vis a vis Beijing!]
- By recognizing China’s so-called patriotic church, the Vatican could harm the wholesomeness of Catholic teachings in the country. Sermons given in government-sanctioned churches already have been known to exclude passages of the Bible deemed politically subversive (like the story of Daniel) or to include Communist Party propaganda. [ [Is that any different from Bergoglio’s own blasphemously selective and self-servingly tendentious preaching of the Gospel?]
- Millions of faithful Catholics in China might also soon feel abandoned, perhaps even betrayed, after having suffered decades of oppression. Worse, the government, emboldened by the deal, could well come down even harder on them. In fact, the religious regulations that recently came into effect include much stiffer fines on underground churches and penalties for public-school teachers who give Sunday-school lessons on their own time.
- And then, rapprochement might augur the Vatican’s readiness to eventually stop recognizing Taipei and instead recognize Beijing as truly representing China. Such a shift would alter the delicate balance of power across the Taiwan Strait, as well as harm Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.
- It would also confer legitimacy — and with the pope’s imprimatur! — on authoritarian regimes throughout the world that crack down on churches and sects.

The Catholic Church already has a checkered record dealing with fascist or totalitarian states.
- Pope Pius XII was criticized for betraying the Jews of Europe during World War II: Hewing to what he described as a position of neutrality between the Nazis and the Allies, he never denounced Hitler’s Final Solution.
- After Soviet forces violently repressed the Hungarian uprising in 1956, the Vatican sidelined the outspoken anticommunist Archbishop József Mindszenty in favor of a deal with the new puppet regime.

The Vatican’s eagerness to play catch-up in China today may do it no favors either. Beijing doesn’t have much of a reputation for honoring commitments. Just look at its application of the “one country, two systems” arrangement it promised HongKong, which was supposed to guarantee the city a large degree of autonomy until

Even under the deal the Vatican seems to want, the Chinese government could eventually come to control the Catholic Church in China [ [There is no ‘could about it’. It will come to control the entire Church in China the moment it seals any deal with Bergoglio, who foolishly thinks he will outdo the ‘Nixon in China’ stunt which made for great headlines but so what? And what does it say of a pastor who will close the deal with the devil by mercilessly sacrificing the underground Church for his own ‘honor and glory’?] - by, say, simply delaying nominating anyone for bishop or repeatedly rejecting candidates presented by the Vatican until all the bishops previously selected by the pope have retired or died out. [This writer seems to be under the impression that any ‘deal’ about naming bishops is possible and for real!]

Bishops ordain priests, and so without bishops, in time there could be no priests, or very few, and Catholicism in China would have died a silent death. [It is already dying! When the Vatican forces two legitimate bishops to resign their positions to give way to illegitimate bishops of the ‘patriotic Church’ (one of whom had been formally excommunicated by Pope Benedict), and the Vatican’s top diplomat says it is a ‘necessary sacrifice’, then the Vatican itself is aiding and abetting in killing off the authentic Catholic Church in China.]

Four decades ago, when a destitute China was emerging from deep Maoism, Western companies got tipsy at the mere notion of selling deodorant to two billion Chinese armpits. Now that average Chinese have much more disposable income, major international corporations are willing to hand over proprietary technology, stoically endure violent xenophobic outbursts and take on members of the Chinese Communist Party as senior managers rather than risk losing out on the business prospects.

No one, it seems, can resist the lure of the great market of China, for deodorants, cars — or congregants. Not even the Vatican. [But the Bergoglio Vatican is not catering to China to get more congregants! On the contrary, it is helping to stamp out an underground Church whose numbers are not insignificant. Besides, the immediate objective of all this diabolical dealing with Beijing is to get Bergoglio invited to China as the first pope ever to visit the world’s most populous nation. That’s the only history Bergoglio and his diplomats care about. As for the members of the underground Church, Bergoglio is probably thinking: “But I am really giving them the chance to be martyrs! They can fend for themselves as they have done these past 70 years! What does not kill them can only make them stronger, and what kills them will make them martyrs!”
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/02/2018 04.42]
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