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10/5/2017 8:36 PM
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[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/7/2017 7:02 PM]
10/5/2017 9:35 PM
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I've not really had the time to review the backlog of reports and commentaries on the CORRECTIO, but Aldo Maria Valli's blog today provides an excellent take-off point.

After the 'Correctio' - what now?
Translated from

October 5, 2017

‘Heresy’ and ‘schism’ – near-archaic words which would seem to have virtually disappeared from the vocabulary of Catholics - are back in the center of numerous analyses and observations on the present situation in the Church. For many Catholics, who are concerned as much about safeguarding the faith as the unity of the Church, these words are a source of disquiet.

Thence, a question which – without ever losing faith in the Spirit of Truth, “assiduous Advocate and Defender of the work of salvation” (in St. John Paul II’s definition) – is laden with anguish: Now what?

Especially after the publication on Sept. 24 of the «Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis» (Filial correction on the propagation of heresies), the idea that the pope himself, through his magisterium, has fallen into statements with heretical content, is now in the center of a vast and vigorous debate which seems to be getting more passionate every day.

The origin of it all, as we all know, is the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia in which are found, according to the 40 original signatories of the Correctio (now 216, without counting the thousands who have signed on to it online), seven heretical propositions regarding matrimony, moral life and the reception of the Sacraments.

At the same time, Cardinal Brandmueller, one of the four cardinals who had sent this pope in July 2016 their Five Dubia about AL (the others being Burke, Cafarra and Meisner – though the latter two have recently died), has written an article reproposing the idea of a profession of faith to be made by this pope, an idea that had earlier been proposed by don Nicola Bux, liturgist and a consultant of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, of Divine Worship, and of the Causes of Sainthood under Benedict XVI.

Thus we asked Fr. Bux a number of questions.
In the light of recent declarations by Cardinal Mueller on the need for a public disputatio over AL, and the words of Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin that “within the Church, it is important to dialog”, what can we expect? Is it realistic to think that there may be a response from this pope and that he could agree to his personal profession of faith to dissipate doubts and shadows?
The authentic unity of the Church is achieved in the truth. The Church was established by its founder – he who said “I am the truth” – as “the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tim 3,15). Without truth, unity does not subsist, and charity would be fiction.

The idea that the Church is a federation of ecclesial communities – somewhat like the Protestant communities – would make it difficult for this pope to make a Catholic profession of faith.

In fact, his two ‘family synods’ have made way for a faith and morality which we could define at the very least as a dual-speed
highway – proven by the fact that in some places, it is not possible to give communion to [unqualified] remarried divorcees while in others, it is common practice. Thus, not a few bishops and parish priests are in a position of great embarrassment because of a pastoral situation that has become unstable and confused.

That being the case, I think it is realistic to think of a ‘roundtable discussion’, within the Church, to understand what is Catholic and what is not – a doctrinal confrontation, about what doctrine must dictate pastoral practice. Doctrinal development always gains with debate, which is won by those who have convincing arguments.

The example comes from Joseph Ratzinger, who, first as Prefect of the CDF and then as Pope, met with various dissenting theologians, confronting their arguments directly.

If there is no such confrontation, then apostasy will deepen and schism will widen. But rational and charitable confrontation within the Church makes a profession of faith by the pope necessary, in order to reaffirm the Catholic faith as the standard to be followed by every Catholic. To make it clear, a profession of faith similar to that which Paul VI made in 1968 [often referred to as Paul VI’s Credo] to reaffirm exactly what is Catholic in the face of errors and heresies which were disseminated soon after Vatican II, especially with the publication of the so-called ‘Dutch Catechism’.

Some have noted that the initiative of the Correctio, as ‘sensational’ as it has seemed to be, is really not a novelty, because even in the time of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and back to Paul VI himself, there had been manifestations and petitions to the pope from theologians, clerics and laymen, individually or in some organized way. These were position papers by scholars who claimed that Vatican-II, through its anti-dogmatism, or rather, a non-homogeneous development of dogma, had caused a rupture with the ‘preceding’ Church, and therefore accused those popes of centralism and closedness to the demands of modernity. Do you think that is analogous at all to what is happening today?
No, because those protests were an un-Catholic attack against Catholic magisterium. At the same time, other theologians and laymen, out of distrust of Vatican-II, manifested their opposition to every innovation, even healthy ones. In both cases, they manifested protests, not correction.

Now, the first type of protesters, many of whom have found a niche in the Church establishment, either have chosen to stay quiet or are defending the pope without ever going into the merits of the heresies that are being questioned, especially with regard to AL. Let us remember that St. Pope pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, warned that it is typical of mdernists to say heresies about the truth of the faith without admitting so.

But why do you think a profession of faith by the pope would be desirable? And if this pope – as everyone seems to think – will not do it, what would happen then?
In the Decree of Gratianus (pars I, dist. 40, cap.VI) we find this canon:

“No mortal shall presume to speak of an error by the pope, because he, who is charged with judging everything, must not be judged by anyone as long as he does not deviate from the faith”.

Distancing or straying from the faith is called heresy, which comes from the Greek airesis, which means the choice and absolutization of some truth that minimizes or denies truths which are in the roster of Catholic truths (I recall in this case Hans Urs Von Balthasar's essay entitled “Truth is symphonic”).

Obviously, since the problem [of heresy or probable heresy] exists, the deviati0n(s) [from Catholic truth] must be made public. And St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) [with St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), the two Jesuits who are Doctors of the Church, both having distinguished themselves during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation] – wrote that in a case of manifest heresy, a pope can be judged. Remember that Bellarmine also became Prefect of the Holy Office, charged by his office to safeguard respect for the orthodoxy of the faith by everyone, including the pope, who is himself dutybound to be the primary guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy.

The pope is called on by the Lord to spread the Catholic faith but in order to do so, he must show himself to be capable of doing that. Orthodox Christians – the Eastern Christians who split off from Rome in the Great Schism of 1054 – are called orthodox precisely because they underscored the primacy of the true faith as a condition of the true Church. Otherwise, the Church ceases to be a pillar and foundation of truth.

Consequently, anyone who does not defend the true faith forfeits every ecclesiastical, patriarchal, eparchial responsibility. In other words, in the case of heresy – just as any Christian heretic ceases to be a member of the Church – even the pope ceases to be pope and head of the ecclesial body, losing every jurisdiction. Heresy damages the faith and the heretic’s condition as a member of the Church, which are the root and foundation of jurisdiction. This was the thinking of the Fathers of the Church, especially Cyprian, in reference to Novatian, anti-pope during the pontificate of Cornelius (cfr Lib. 4,ep.2).

The pope is himself member and part of the Church because the hierarchy is within the Church not above it, as Lumen gentium reaffirmed (No. 18). In the face of such an eventuality [papal heresy or probably heresy], which is very serious for the faith, some cardinals, even the clergy or a Roman synod, can admonish the pope with a fraternal correction – they can ‘resist him frontally’ as Paul did with Peter in Antioch. They can confute him and, if necessary, interpellate him to the point where he is able to rethink his error(s).

And if the pope persists in his errors, one must part ways with him, as the apostle says (Titus 3,10-11).[“After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.”] Moreover, his heresy and contumacy must be publicly declared so that he may not cause damage to others and that everyone may be forewarned and prepared.

When such heresy is made public, the pope loses the pontificate ipso facto. In theology and in canon law, a heretic is pertinacious when he places a truth of the faith in doubt, consciously and voluntarily, i.e., in full awareness that such a truth is a dogma requiring full adherence of the will. There may be obstinacy or pertinaciousness in a sin of heresy even if it is committed out of weakness.

Moreover, if the pope does not wish to maintain his unity and communion with the entire body of the Church, as when he would try to excommunicate the entire Church or subvert the liturgical rites based on apostolic tradition, he can also be considered schismatic.

If the pope does not act as Pope and head of the Church, then the Church is not in him and he is not in the Church.

In disobeying the law of Christ, or even ordering anything that is contrary to divine or natural law, or whatever has been universally ordered by Church councils and the Apostolic See, the pope separates himself from Christ who is the principal Head of the Church, and around whom Church unity revolves.

Pope Innocent III said that one must obey the pope in everything as long as he does not oppose the universal order of the Church. In the latter case, absent any reasonable cause, he must not be followed because by his opposition, he is no longer subject to Christ and therefore separates himself from the body of the Church.”

Granted that we could now come to such a point, what would be the consequences be for the faith and for the Church?
Whoever is pope cannot oppose Catholic truth. It is very relevant what Joseph Ratzinger wrote years ago when he underscored that a pope ‘cannot impose his own opinion’, but must ‘always remember that the Church cannot do whatever she pleases, and that even he – or rather, especially he – does not have the faculty to do so”, because ”in matters of the faith and the sacraments, as also about fundamental problems of morality”, the Church “can only acquiesce to the will of Christ”.

In the case of contradiction between the text of a pontifical document and other documented testimony of Tradition, it is right and allowable for a Catholic who is educated in the faith and who has carefully studies the question, to suspend or deny his assent to the questionable document.

In the case of AL, it has been shown that the document is muddled and self-contradictory on many points, and thatm for example, the [truncated and out-of-context] citations of St. Thomas Aquinas were used for propositions that maintain the opposite of what the Angelic Doctor really said.

Thus we undersand what Joseph Ratzinger meant when he wrote:

“On the contrary, a criticism of papal pronouncements is possible and necessary to the degree that they lack coverage in Scriptures and the Creed, in the faith of the universal Church. Where there does not exist either unanimity in the universal Church or a clear testimony from the sources of the faith, no papal pronouncement can be obligatory or binding. If the pronouncement is formally made, it would lack the indispensable conditions [for obedience and obligation] and therefore, the problem of its legitimacy must be raised” (Joseph Ratzinger, Fede, ragione, verita e amore, Lindau 2009, p. 400).

In short, if the pope does not safeguard doctrine, he cannot demand discipline, and if he then loses the Catholic faith, then he forfeits the Chair of Peter.

“The power of Peter’s keys does not extend to the point where the Supreme Pontiffcan declare that what is sin is ‘not sin’, because that would be, in fact, to call good evil, and evil good, which is and always has been and always will be farthest from whoever is the Head of the Church, pillar and foundation of the truth” (cfr Roberto Bellarmino, “De Romano Pontifice”, lib.IV cap.VI, p. 214; and “Lumen gentium”, n. 25)

Consequently, the pope who, as a private person, identifies himself with a heresy, would no longer be the Supreme Pontiff nor the Vicar of Christ on earth. We must pray that Divine Providence intervenes in favor of the Church so that such an eventuality does not happen, as Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlandis, expressed at the end of an important article in La Civilta Cattolica (March 2, 2013) [i.e., just before Bergoglio’s election! How prophetic!]

Then, there's this:

On the moral liceity of
publicly correcting the Pope

by Michael Sirilla
October 5, 2017

There is a good bit of confusion currently among faithful Catholics about whether it was morally licit for the pastors and theologians to make public their filial correction of the Holy Father regarding portions of Amoris Laetitia and his actions that, in their estimation, propagate heresy; or the liceity of Prof. Seifert’s public expression of grave concerns about the same.

It is unfortunate that their actions (and those of others such as Germain Grisez and John Finnis) have been impugned by other theologians and by Catholic pundits (and even some bishops) who have claimed publicly and in Catholic media that these persons acted immorally and are causing damage to the unity of the Church, even inciting the faithful to disobedience to the Apostolic See. It seems as though more ink has been spilled over the fact that there is a filial correction than on the content of the correction itself.

My sole intention in this article is to show that the public expression of these concerns and corrections of the Holy Father is morally licit, prescinding entirely from the question of whether any particular interpretation of AL or of the Holy Father other words and deeds is correct.

St. Thomas Aquinas, drawing from the rich tradition of the Church’s history, specifically from St. Paul’s account of rebuking St. Peter in Galatians 2 as commented upon by St. Augustine, shows quite clearly that not only is it permissible for a subordinate to correct fraternally his prelate, but that it is also necessary for him to do so publicly in certain circumstances (and this, notwithstanding the alleged prohibition in “Donum Veritatis” art. 30 of theologians expressing their concerns in the mass media; below, it will be made clear that “Donum Veritatis” was not firmly prohibiting every instance of making concerns public).

In his treatise on the theological virtue of charity, an act of which is “fraternal correction” (a spiritual work of mercy), Aquinas argues that correcting the sinner is an act of love, helping to save one’s brother from sin and for virtue. One may even be bound to correct one’s superior in the Church because he is bound to him by charity; though he must do so “not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 33, a. 4, corp.).
Under very specific conditions, this correction may have to be given to a prelate publicly. Aquinas argues:

It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 33, a. 4, ad 2)

The basis in divine revelation for the proper exercise of the duty of fraternal correction is found in St. Paul’s narrative in Galatians 2:11 (“But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed”) and more generally in Christ’s words in Matthew 18:16-17 where He instructs the disciples to make known to the Church (i.e., publicly) the fraternal correction they gave to an errant brother, failing the first two attempts at private remonstration (“And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican”).

While Christ’s words form the basis for the Dominical directive of proper fraternal correction, St. Paul’s narrative constitutes the basis for the divinely-inspired directive of appropriate correction of superiors by subordinates.

The current Code of Canon Law recognizes that at certain times it is a duty, not just a right, for competent persons to make known to the faithful – again, that would be publicly – their opinion on matters pertaining to the good of the Church:

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
– CIC, can. 212, § 3

Whether one agrees with the assessment found in any of the corrections or concerns made public so far (the “filial correction,” Prof. Seifert’s letters, etc.), a fair reading and plain interpretation of those texts – one that avoids groundless conspiracy theories – shows that they meet the criteria mentioned so far:
1) competent, knowledgeable persons;
2) matters pertaining to the good of the Church;
3) maintaining reverence towards their pastors and especially the Holy Father;
4) attentive to the common good and the dignity of persons.

Along these same lines, it should be noted that canonist Dr. Edward Peters recently published an essay on his blog, “On arguments that may be, and sometimes must be, made,” arguing that the filial correction seems to fall within the boundaries of Canon 212, wherein it is stated that “in regard to persons with special knowledge, competence, and prestige in regard to ecclesiastical matters, that they ‘have the right and even at times the duty‘ to express their views on matters impacting the well-being of the Church”.

The canonical argument that has surfaced recently in the Catholic press against the filial correction is that it serves to incite animosity or malice among the faithful against the Pope. Canon 1373 has been cited to this effect:

A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.

The public corrections in question do not incite such odium, unless by “odium” here one means that it would be hateful to say, contrary to some alleged claims in Amoris Laetitia, that it is not permissible for divorced-and-remarried Catholic living in more uxorio to receive Communion. In other words, it would be hateful to say that the Pope is wrong to propose such a solution for those persons and that doing so would incite others to disregard the Pope’s teaching. (What would that say about Paul correcting Peter?)

On the contrary, the authors of all the documents mentioned do not incite hatred but explicitly affirm that they are moved by love of Christ, the Holy Father, and the good of souls in expressing their corrections because, in their estimation, proposing Communion for those living in more uxorio, those “knowing full well” that their situation is a problem (as AL rightly says), is a danger to the faith.

The authors take great pains to demonstrate their love for the doctrine of Christ and the Church, for the current Holy Father himself, and for the good of souls. The souls of persons who are not instructed of the gravity of their actions, who are told to receive Communion without repentanc,e are imperiled, and the souls of pastors who fail in their regard are more gravely imperiled by committing scandal in the strict sense (i.e., proposing that someone commit a sin; see Matthew 18:6).

The attempt to correct these errors is an act of charity to lead others, including our prelates, to divine truth and to a life of holiness in Christ.

Some intelligent and faithful Catholics think that AL and the Holy Father do not propose this pastoral approach. But others in the Church do, such as those bishops and episcopal conferences (such as Malta and Germany) who propose precisely this and who have the public support of the Pope. The diocese of Rome itself has adopted this policy.

But if those who have publicly corrected the Pope are right, then the danger to the faith that this proposal presents is real and grave and thus their public correction is warranted.

On the other hand, if the writers and signers misunderstood the Holy Father, it should not be impossible to clear this up and the Holy Father, whose principal duty as holder of the petrine office is to secure the unity of the Church, ought to do so or explain why doing so is not necessary.

He is not bound to do so by any earthly authority since he holds supreme jurisdiction in the Church on earth. Rather, the Lord Himself binds the successors of Peter to instruct the errant in matters of faith and morals as a matter of charity (Jn 21:15ff., “Do you love me?…Feed my sheep”).

It is hard to imagine a graver situation: to very many faithful Catholics it seems that we must choose to disregard either the Pope’s apparent directives in AL or those of Christ and St. Paul, consistently upheld by the Church’s magisterium up to the present.

Christ teaches that divorce and remarriage is adultery (Mt 5:32) and St. Paul teaches that receiving Communion unworthily is condemnable (1 Cor 11:29). It is a matter of whether our Lord’s teaching and that of St. Paul and the Church in this regard is being respected or spurned.

The Holy Father seems to affirm Christ’s teaching on divorce in AL; but the apparent pastoral proposal seems to fall afoul of St. Paul’s teaching. And this is not a matter of private judgment regarding Mt 5 and 1 Cor 11 since the Church has publicly and definitively affirmed the interpretation that divorce and unworthy reception of Communion is gravely sinful (e.g., at Trent, at Vatican II, “Familiaris Consortio,” etc.).

Still, serious confusion persists among faithful Catholics about whether or not theologians and other competent persons in the Church are permitted publicly to express their grave concerns about a non-definitive magisterial teaching.

In light of this dilemma and the one precipitated by various interpretations of AL (and whether or not one agrees with the assessment of the “correctors”) there is a way to judge between licit and illicit ways of going to the mass media, and the Church herself has given us at least some guidance on this.

A passage from the 1990 CDF document “Donum Veritatis” has been cited recently and mistakenly in the Catholic press in order to condemn the actions of the signatories of the filial correction. Speaking of situations in which faithful theologians find non-definitive magisterial teachings problematic or erroneous, “Donum Veritatis" (The gift of truth) art. 30, states:

"In cases like these, ,the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth."

Going back a few articles to number 27 we read:
"The theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33). For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them."

These two articles make it clear that going public is not licit when the intention is to exert public pressure on the Church to change her teaching (especially teaching that cannot be changed) and when the theologian has not made known their concerns to the “responsible authority” first.

It is also clear in this article that theologians must avoid “untimely” public expression of their concerns. Does this mean that there may be “timely” public expressions of concerns? The document does not give many explicit criteria for determining timeliness, but “exerting public pressure” (DV, art. 30) is certainly one criterion. As it stands, DV is arguably too vague to resolve this.

However, in 1990, during the official press conference on the release of DV, then-Cardinal Ratzinger himself (the co-author of DV) publicly affirmed that there may be licit public expression of grave concerns made by theologians regarding problems in magisterial statements. When questioned about theologians going public with a criticism of non-definitive magisterial teaching, Ratzinger replied: “We have not excluded all kinds of publication, nor have we closed him up in suffering. The Vatican insists, however, that theologians must choose the proper place to expound their ideas.” His comments are published in the July 5, 1990 edition of the journal “Origins” (page 119), a publication of the USCCB documenting official acts of the Church’s prelates and related articles.

Lacking further official guidelines for communicating problems with non-definitive magisterial teachings, the current state of the Church’s directives is summarized as follows:
- Going to the media to put pressure on the Church to change or correct her unchangeable doctrine is clearly illicit.
- Going public with a concern about an error in non-infallible doctrine or praxis put forth by persons in the magisterium may be done licitly as long as charity and prudence are followed.

Due to the constraints of space, it is not possible to cite all the other relevant portions of DV that ground this summary; the reader should consult the entire document, but especially art. 24 through 31 (especially note the section that begins with the words, “When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies”).

But, it is argued, aren’t the “correctors” illicitly expressing merely their “opinion” or “divergent hypotheses” as “non-arguable conclusions” (as prohibited by DV, a. 27, cited above)? On the contrary, they are reiterating what the Church has publicly, definitively, and consistently taught.
- It is not their private opinion that Christ says that divorce is gravely sinful (Mt 5), the Church publicly and consistently has taught this (Trent, V-II GS, Familiaris Consortio, the CCC, etc.). - It is not their private opinion that Paul teaches that unworthy reception of Communion is gravely sinful (1 Cor 11), but the Church again has publicly and consistently taught this.
- It is also not merely their private opinion that the Holy Father has publicly supported those bishops and episcopal conferences who permit reception of Communion by those divorced and remarried Catholics living in “more uxorio.” He has done so publicly.

Where they may “diverge” at all is when they “diverge” from the implicit liceity of such permission arguably granted in AL and clearly granted by some episcopal conferences (Germany, Malta).

Neither do they fall afoul of the concluding formula of the “Professio Fidei” nor of the last part of the “Oath of Fidelity” since in this matter they are, in fact, assenting to a definitive public teaching of the Church (on divorce and Communion) and at most refusing to assent to the recent pastoral directives to the contrary. Of course, if AL is not giving that pastoral directive, then they are not even refusing to assent to AL.

Surely, the “correctors” have privately discussed and debated their concerns with each other and they first approached the Holy Father privately with their letter before releasing it publicly. They consistently maintain a position of respect and reverence for the Pope. And the matter is timely, as discussed above.

Great damage is already occurring in the Church and dioceses and regions are being balkanized such that “what is permissible in Germany is gravely sinful in Poland.” Thus, regardless of whether one concurs with their assessment, it should be easy to recognize that they acted morally in a licit (allowable) way, if not heroically.

A final point of clarification: The filial correction does not accuse Pope Francis of heresy. Rather, it claims that Pope Francis has propagated heresy in his public approval and support of those bishops and episcopal conferences who are now permitting divorced and remarried persons not living in more uxorio to receive Communion.

More precisely, the “correctors” are pointing out that they consider the Pope to be failing in his duty to preserve, defend, and explain divinely-revealed truth in the area of marriage and the Eucharist by supporting those bishops who are granting such permissions.

There are ways to propagate heresy other than by teaching heresy; for instance, promoting and approving others who do so. This is not an act of heresy but of negligence. Pope Honorius was posthumously condemned by Constantinople III for allowing heretical teaching. This is truly distinct from actually teaching heresy.

This is a rather painful issue about which the brightest lights and authorities in the Church disagree.
- Many faithful Catholics hope and pray that the Holy Father, as our loving spiritual Father, would kindly reach out to these individuals and help them and all of us understand better and more clearly the deposit of faith and morals.
- They implore him to secure the supernatural unity of the Church in faith, hope, and charity which is the principal duty of the petrine office.
Those who have made public their concerns and corrections with these intentions have acted uprightly for the good of the Church and the honor of Christ.

Dr. Michael Sirilla is a professor of dogmatic and systematic theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the author of “The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles“, published by Catholic University of America Press (2017).
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/6/2017 10:48 PM]
10/5/2017 11:17 PM
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Fr. Hunwicke, one of the original 40 signatories of the Correctio, has called attention to a series of posts on the subject by Fr. Ray Blake, about which he writes: " Fr Ray, by publishing his frank and extensive account of the current atmosphere in Jorge Bergoglio's Church, has probably done more good than he could have achieved by merely wielding his signature. Thank you, Father."

To sign or not to sign

Sept. 28, 2017
I have been asked to sign the Filial Correction, I signed the letter of the 45 academics and pastors last year, and almost immediately found Cardinal Nichols's tanks parked on my lawn to inform me of his displeasure - which was quite mild unlike other lay signatories, who were sacked from their jobs in Catholic institutions for their pains, Dr. Josef Seifert being the most high profile.

I admit it, I am afraid to sign and I know other priests who share my fear. Many of those who might have signed have in the last four years have a certain fear about their place in the Church.

Rome and those surrounding the Pontiff have certainly become more vicious in defending him, never ever engaging in intellectual arguments, merely attacking like ravenous wolves or child bullies those who pose questions. The climate is bad throughout the Church - in Rome it is positively toxic.

Under Francis the Vatican has become a place of fear and arbitrary oppression. There was a public glimpse of that in the sacking of Cdl Mueller by the Pope, and earlier in the dismissal of a couple of priests from the CDF and amongst laymen, of Libero Milone, former Auditor General and many others.

It is not just in theology that 2+2=5, or whatever number the Pope chooses that day, it extends to morality and ordinary human decency. Ultimately it is a serious attack on the rationality of the Catholic faith and intellectual rigour.

The abusive attacks on any one who asks legitimate filial questions or even of people like Cardinal Burke and the other Dubia Cardinals or even Cardinals Sarah or Mueller by the likes of Austen Ivereigh, Rosica or Spadaro merely echo the statements of the notoriously immoderate Cardinal Maradiaga the senior member of the Pope's Council of Nine, or the shocking insults always aimed at faithful Catholics by the Pope himself. Let us not even go to the shenanigans and manipulations surrounding the Synods on the Family.

The men who rule the Church are not even in the worldly sense good. As the former Prefect of the CDF has said "power has become more important than truth". It would be easy to dwell on the gay chem-sex parties hosted in the Vatican City itself and the advancement of those with a gay agenda, which produces apparently no reaction, not even a dismissal.

In the matter of financial mismanagement and corruption, there appears to be window dressing masking inaction. John Allen seems to think this is the big issue above others. In fact, maybe because Francis centralises and 2+2 = whatever he decides, many in Rome suggest things have never been worse - a 'kingdom of brigands' as one former Nuncio described it.

Dioceses are not Rome but they do reflect Rome: Cardinals and bishops intimidate clergy and others who are faithful. If Francis has done anything it is to highlight a deep rift in the Church, marked by the quite extraordinary rise of an Ultramontane/Liberal faction against those who are faithful.

Therefore, one of the chief reasons for my reticence in signing is my fear and cowardice.

Another reason is that I, like any other Catholic, have a deep reverence for the person of the Sovereign Pontiff, it is not Ultramontane and unquestioning but I have a problem in directly accusing him of heresy or of promoting it, or even of tolerating it. Some might say the evidence is overwhelming, I can't dispute that but there is a bit of me that hopes against hope, because frankly having a Pope who is heretical, promoting or tolerating heresy is so horrific for the Church I would prefer to put off admitting it.

i Feel more comfortable with that idea that the Pope is weak, ill, manipulated by his ministers. Certainly, the days of John Paul inadvertently misspeaking and ordering the destruction of whole editions of L'Osservatore are long gone with the coming of the internet.

I admire those who have signed, a friend who has signed said the question is WWSJFSTMD, What Would St John Fisher and St Thomas More Do?

At the moment I am like the majority of the priests I know, who remain silent and praying that the question is not put to them,

I know it is not worthy of Christ, conscience says one thing; fear and self-serving, what some might call prudence, says something else.

September 30, 2017
I was speaking to a brother priest, another who is deeply concerned about the state of the Church today, the bullying, and turning away from the plain teaching of Jesus Christ and scripture. He said he too was asked to sign the Correctio, he hadn't because he simply didn't have time to read Amoris Laetitia.

He said that although St John Paul had written some long documents, Amoris Laetitia was as long as all the existing Papal documents up to the reign of St John Paul. It is true. It took me over two weeks to read AL whereas Humanae Vitae can be read in less than an hour, Pastor Aeternus in half that time. My friend, deeply aware of the need for intellectual rigour, said that he thought the great problem for him was that parts of it were incoherent. [I have always favored that adjective to describe the 'thinking' of Jorge Bergoglio as evidenced by both his off-the-cuff as well as prepared texts. He confuses and muddles others because he himself is confused and muddled, to begin with. His unfailing bravado does not at all mask his incoherence.

I suspect many of our Pastors, even Cardinals, simply haven't read this document either and yet promote what "they understand" the document to say, or what their Episcopal Conference says it says, or what their favourite 'Catholic' newspaper, or heaven preserve us, of what the noisiest journalist says. It is similar to Benedict's remark about the two Councils - the Council of the media and the true Council.

The Pope encourages this sloppiness by referring people who question its meaning to Cardinal Graf von Schönborn or 'Tucho' or some obscure Conference of Bishops, like Malta. The situation isn't helped when it appears that the Pope himself might actually not comprehend, or even have studied what has been written for him and what the problems are - when questioned on the controversial footnote he actually replied that he couldn't remember it. I would like to quiz a few prelates on the Thomism of the document.

I am sure all the signatories of the Filial Correction have read AL. What concerns me is whether those who have expressed themselves online both for and against it have done so or even possess a copy.

I can understand many without a theological formation who are seriously uneasy about the political, theological, intellectual or even the sartorial (maybe 'style' might be a better term) direction the Pope is taking the Church. This should not be treated lightly, it is part of the sensus fidelium - the gut instinct of the Church, which is often ignored (churches, convents, seminaries being empty is one sign of it).

What I am trying to say is that just because someone like my friend has not signed the Filial Correction does not mean he is against it. He would certainly support those who have signed, but more is desired for formally and publicly correcting a Pope or another Successor of the Apostles than mere fellowship or even a gut instinct.

The Church of Jesus Christ is not a mob. The great flaw of Pope Francis is that rather than gathering the flock he is scattering it, sending many to wander in the desert or run away in confusion and fear.

There is another aspect best seen in the Mueller/Burke take on the matter: Burke sees the error as needing corrected by the Church's law NOW, Mueller by the Church's theology LATER (probably the next Pontificate, but both agree there is a problem. What they disagree on is the method by which it is to solved.

Despite not signing the Dubia, I suspect many Cardinals want it answered and feel the Church is suffering until it is. However, that does not mean they are willing to condemn the Pope publicly, though they might be very glad that Cdl Burke and the three have done so, just to show there is a problem. Perhaps they reasonably feel they will act in the next Conclave in the not so distant future rather than today.

Oct. 4, 2017
Reconciling our today with yesterday, seems important. The Fourth Commandment, with its promise is important: Honour your father and mother, and you shall live long in the land, is about much more than being nice to mum and dad - it is about roots and continuation. A society that forgets iat past has no future.

The leitmotif of Benedict XVI's papacy was the 'hermeneutic of continuity', a return to actual texts, whether it was to the scriptures or the documents of the Vatican II. There was an intellectual rigourism which frightened many. He was disarming with his gentleness whilst at the same time terrifying in his intellectual honesty, which often discomforted the intellectually shallow, for example, his words about the Missa Normativa, that it was "created ex nihil" [out of nothing].

He believed in the triumph of truth, the Augustinian in him echoed the saint's words. ‘The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.’

Some, both positively and negatively, have suggested that his greatest work was Summorum Pontificum, I don't think he intended that every priest or even every parish would be offering what he described as the Gregorian Mass and certainly not that it would replace the Missa recentior. What he did intend was to create an environment in which, "What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too."

It was a reminder of where we had come from, an attempt to provide something "created ex nihil",essentially 'rootless', 'often without much scholarship - with a counterbalance, and introduce a gravitational pull towards historic Catholicism, not by imposition from above but by creating a grassroots movement.

The greatest abuse of the faith for Benedict was the idea of 'rupture' - that somehow, after Vatican II, a new Church was sung into being, or that the Church somehow encountered a Pol Pot-like 'year zero' with no past and consequently no roots and, in his opinion, therefore incapable of bearing fruit and consequently with no future.

One of the 'semi-official' news agencies Rome Reports (is Mr Greg Burke involved in that?) actually claimed that the signatories of the Correctio 'rejected the Second Vatican'. Whilst I have difficulty interpreting the actual meaning of certain ambiguous passages, I would be inclined to sign the Correction precisely because I accept VII.

I am not sure about the wisdom of Bishop Fellay's name on it, personally I am glad it is, but even he says he accepts 98% of the Council, which is probably a lot more than your average Prelate both in Rome and in the peripheries.

A few of the names, like Dr Joseph Shaw's, are very much associated with the Traditional Mass, bur more so concerned with the truth itself, "What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too." It isn't about a prissy archaeologist's attachment to a certain liturgical style but about the immutability of Christ's teaching and divine promises of God's presence within the Church and within history.

Massimo Faggioli rather starkly underlines the problem:

The phrase "theologiocal views that are not Catholic anymore", stands in direct opposition to any thought of 'continuity' and direct opposition to all earlier generations considered sacred.
On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” - it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us.

Faggioli would would place himself alongside those who would claim, like the Maltese Bishops or recent appointees to the College of Cardinals such as Blaise Cupich, that all the previous teaching of the Church can be dispensed with except the current Pontiff's. The words of the present Jesuit Superior General express the real problem:

At that time, no one had a tape recorder to capture the words. What we know is that the words of Jesus have to be contextualized, they’re expressed in a certain language, in a precise environment, and they’re addressed to someone specific.

Sosa is right about the importance of contextualising Jesus' words, what is said to the Apostles is not necessarily to be applied to other disciples for exampl. But Sosa goes further by suggesting that the actual words and teaching of Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity, are not to be taken at face value or are even reliable.

This is an undermining of the very essence of Catholicism which is about the immanence of God through the Incarnation, through the sacred texts, through the sacraments, through sacred history and through the authoritative teaching of the Church, by the one who promises to be with his Church until the end of time, who won't leave us orphans but will send the Holy Sprit to lead us into all truth.

The patristic scholar Bishop Athanasius Schneider identifies the situation in the Church as being comparable to the Arian Crisis: Arianism was essentially about distancing Man from God by denying that the True God became Emmanuel that is Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin. This seems precisely where we have got to.

Marco Tosatti weighs in on the subject of fear in the Vatican...
Abbe Faria now fears going to the Vatican – and
Cardinal Mueller describes the Bergoglio-induced
climate of fear in the Church

Translated from

Oct. 6, 2017

‘Abate Faria’, who takes his pseudonym from a character in THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, is one of Tosatti’s correspondents who have entrée to the Vatican and ‘sources’ within…

After a strange period of silence, 'Abate Faria' has written me again. I had been a bit concerned about his silence but now I understand. Read what he says:

In these days of fraternal corrections and such, I have not been going around my usual haunts in the Vatican too much to avoid encountering brother priests and listening to their lamentations for and against our august Pontiff. There is chaos in Rome and the Vatican seems like Fort Apache. I am very cautious even with my brother priests and avoid taking selfies with them for fear of finding myself one day in a newspaper photograph next to a priest being investigated for some misconduct, because it seems that not a day goes by that a priest or bishop does not end up in crime news.

I am sorry for the pope. If I could talk to him, I would tell him what so many well-meaning souls whisper to me in confidence: that the reform of the clergy is truly a priority. If he is as clever as he says he is, let him take a look at the working conditions in his Vatican – and he will note that a fraternal atmosphere does not reign there. On the contrary.

Of course, not everywhere, and of course, there are good persons, but there are also those, including priests, with unbridled arrogance. In some Vatican agencies, there are many cauldrons boiling… and boiling…And the pope should not trust in anyone who has interests to protect or has his own lobby cause, whether geographical, political, masonic or sexual. (Can such people really be reined in?)

Quite clear, yes? Bravo for the Abate! Allow me to add a passage from an interview by the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin with Cardinal Gerhard Mueller about the climate one inhales today and since the reign of this pope. I have written about it many times, noting that in so many years of frequenting the Vatican and its surroundings, I have never perceived anything like it. And I am sorry to say that alas, the responsibility can be attributed to the pope’s governing style. I am happy that the cardinal, who is loyal to this pope, says it quite clearly:

Careerists and opportunists should not be promoted, and other persons, who are competent workers and team men, should not be excluded or expelled from the Curia without reason. It is not good. I have heard it said that those who work in the Roman Curia live in great fear – because if they so much as say a small innocuous word of criticism, spies pass this on directly to the Holy Father, and those who are falsely accused have absolutely no chance to defend themselves.

Those who speak ill and tell lies about their co-workers ruin all good faith in relationships as well as the names of those they continue to call ‘brothers’. The Gospel and Jesus’s very words are very strong against those who denounce their brothers falsely and create an ugly atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. Now I feel that no one dares to speak out in any way, that everyone has some fear that they could be objects for ‘espionage’…

Pentin commented: “A veteran prelate, speaking to me on condition of anonymity, has called it ‘a reign of terror’… Mueller replied:

It’s the same situation in some theological faculties. If anyone has any critical observations or ‘problems’ with Amoris Laetitia, he gets expelled, or otherwise disciplined…

Also, a certain interpretation of AL footnote 351 cannot be the criterion for choosing bishops. A bishop must be a witness to the Gospel, he is a successor to the apostles, and not just someone who repeats some words from one papal document without having any mature theological understanding.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/6/2017 10:47 PM]
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Moscow Patriarchate publishes Russian edition
of Joseph Ratzinger’s ‘Theology of Liturgy’

Translated from

October 3, 2017

On Sept. 25, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Moscow Patrirachate’s department for external religious relations, presented to both Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI a copy of Vol. XI from Joseph Ratzinger’s COMPLETE WRITINGS, The Theology of Liturgy, translated to Russian and published by the Patriarchate of Moscow.

This initiative is an outcome of a formal scientific and editorial collaboration between the Patriarchate’s pubishing house, the internal association «Sofia : Idea Russa, Idea d’Europa», the international academy Sapientia et Scientia, the Vatican publishing house, and the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI. Metropolitan Hilarion coordinated the project.

A formal presentation of the book will take place next spring in Moscow at the Patriarchate’s Theological School. The initiative will be followed by the Russian edition of Benedict XVI’s trilogy JESUS OF NAZARETH.

The emeritus Pope thanked Metropolitan Hilarion and expressed his wish that the Russian Orthodox faithful would find the book useful for a better understanding of liturgy.

The following is a translation of the Foreword written for the book by Benedict XVI:

Preface to the Russian edition of
Vol XI of Joseph Ratzinger’s COLLECTED WRITINGS
(The Theology of Liturgy)

“Let nothing be put before the Worship of God.” With these words, St. Benedict in his Rule (43,3) established the absolute priority of divine worship over any other task of monastic life. This could not be taken for granted, even in monastic life, because for the monks, working in agriculture and in the sciences were also essential tasks.

Whether in agriculture or in artisanship, or in the work of formation, there can certainly be temporal urgencies that might seem more important than the liturgy. In the face of all this, St. Benedict, by assigning priority to the liturgy, unequivocally highlights the priority of God himself in our life:“At the hour for the Divine Office, as soon as the signal is heard, let them abandon whatever they may have in hand and hasten with the greatest speed and seriousness”

In the consciousness of men today, the things of God, including the liturgy, do not, in fact, seem urgent. There is urgency for every other possible thing. God never seems to be a matter of urgency.

We can say that monastic life is, in any case, different from the life of men in the world, which is certainly correct. Yet the priority of God, which we have forgotten, is valid for everyone. If God is no longer important, then the criteria for establishing what is important becomes distorted. Man, by shelving God, subjects himself to constraints that render him a slave to material forces which violate his dignity.

In the years following the Second Vatican Council, there was renewed awareness of the priority of God and of the divine liturgy. The misinterpretation of the liturgical reform which became widespread in the Catholic Church led to placing more and more in the foreground the aspect of instruction and of human action and creativity. Man’s actions virtually led to forgetting the presence of God.

In such a situation, it becomes ever more clear that the Church lives from the correct celebration of liturgy and that the Church is in danger when the primacy of God no longer shows in liturgy and much less in life.

The most profound cause of the crisis that has upset the Church lies in this obscuring of the priority of God in the liturgy. All this led me to dedicate myself to the subject of liturgy much more amply than in the past because I knew that the true renewal of liturgy is a fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church. It is on the basis of this conviction that the studies gathered in this Volume 11 of my Opera Omnia were born.

Fundamentally, the essence of the liturgy in both East and West is one and the same. So I hope this book may help even the Christians in Russia to understand in a new and better way the great gift that has been given to us in the Sacred Liturgy.

Vatican City
Feast of St. Benedict
July 11, 2015

Benedict XVI is right to worry about the liturgy
When the liturgy becomes secondary, clearly
the Church is not functioning as it is intended to

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

5 Oct 2017

Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus, has written a very short foreword for the Russian edition of his book The Theology of Liturgy. It is short, but eloquent and full of meaning...

Is Benedict right? Of course he is. He is completely correct to point out that the purpose of the Church is the worship of God, and when the liturgy becomes secondary, then clearly the Church is not functioning as it is intended to, and neither are the people in it. This analysis is simple, but not simplistic. It is, rather, the simple truth.

Consider the life of a typical parish.
- How much time is spent on the Liturgy?
- How much effort goes into liturgical preparation?
- Are the social and educational activities of the parish all geared to the great end of enabling people to take part in the Liturgy?
- Or is the Liturgy something that feels “tacked on” or even worse, something that almost interferes with the other parish activities?
Parish activities are a good thing, but they should only happen for one reason – to build up the Body of Christ, the Body which takes part in the Liturgy.

Again, consider the life of a typical priest.
- Is he in the sacristy ready for Mass in good time?
- Or does he rush in at a minute or two before Mass is due to begin, out of breath and distracted?
- Does he spend far too much of his time dealing with invoices about double glazing, and fielding phone calls from photocopying companies, rather than celebrating the Liturgy, planning the celebration, making sure everything is ready for the celebration, and talking to his parishioners about the importance of the celebration, as well as, of course, perhaps most importantly of all, preparing himself in prayer for the celebration?

Again, are the people of the parish, encouraged by the priest, aware that Liturgy is addressed to God and God alone, rather than to the congregation, and that Liturgy is a language, and that every language makes sense because it has its own grammar?
- Are priest and people aware that certain practices, rightly called abuses, destroy the meaning of the Liturgy from within? - -- Have they imbibed the teaching of Redemptionis Sacramentum ,the 2004 instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship, which lays out what is to be done and what is to be avoided, in order to protect the integrity of the liturgy?
One hopes they are, though there is always work to be done in this field, as evidenced by some continuing practices in some parts of the world.

Benedict XVI has done us all a great service, reminding us that in the end, the Church’s chief function is the Liturgy. Get that right, and everything else follows. Get it wrong, and everything falls apart.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/6/2017 8:05 PM]
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Sorry, I don't know how to generate an embed code for the video.

Thanks to Beatrice as usual, from whose site, www.benoit-et-moi/fr.2017, I owe these Benedettian nuggets...

Benedict XVI receives a delegation
from the diocese of Lyons –
and one priest goes ‘social’ with his experience

Oct. 5, 2017

Abbé Hugues de Montjoye is the rector of the Church of St. George in Lyon. He informs us on his Facebook page that he was in Rome this week with a group of priests from the Diocese of Lyon led by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who met with the Emeritus Pope on Thursday, 10/5/17. He first announced it this way on Sept. 19.

Once in Rome, he tweeted this:

And then, finally:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/6/2017 10:31 PM]
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Benedict XVI awarded the Premio Capri honoris causa
after having won it twice in 1992 and 2004

Translated and adapted from

Sept. 29, 2017

The ceremony to award prizes for the 34th edition of the annual ‘Premio Capri-San Michele’ literary awards in Italy takes place tomorrow, Sept. 30, in Anacapri.

[Anacapri, on the slopes of the island of Capri’s tallest peak, is the second town on the famous tourist island and the site of ancient Roman ruins as well as the famous Villa San Michele built by the Swedish writer Axel Munthe. The Premio Capri San Michele, which takes its name from the church of San Michele where it was born, is considered “one of the reference points for contemporary Italian culture and has striven to contribute to the appreciation of Italian books in its choices and the objectivity of its criteria in seeking to recognize what is elevated and true about the human condition, to understand what it is and imagine what it could be, such that diverse lifestyles, dialog and reaching out to each other may harmonize and to the measure of man.” It awards prizes to the best books in 30 categories of writing.]

Two books on Benedict XVI published in 2016 are among the prizewinning books: Servitore di Dio e dell’umanità – La biografia di Benedetto XVI, a biography by theologian Elio Guerriero (Mondadori, 2016);, and Joseph Ratzinger Benedetto XVI – Immagini di una vita, a pictorial biography by the journalists Maria Giuseppina Buonanno and Luca Caruso (Edizioni San Paolo, 2017).

Above all, the jury decided to award Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI a Premio Capri-San Michele honoris causa “not just because of his relationship with the isle of Capri which started during the Second Vatican Council, followed by many serenely beautiful visits to the island; and for his precious thinking which is now part of the Premio Capri’s cultural patrimony, contained in his books Svolta per l’Europa? (A turning-Point for Europe?), which won the Grand Prize in 1992, and for Fede, Verità, Tolleranza, which won in 2004. It is also intended as a clear and heartfelt tribute on the occasion of his 90th birthday this year.” [Both books qualified for the prize because they were written originally in Italian.]

Cardinal Ratzinger in Anacapri in Sept. 1992, when he won the first of his two Premio Capri awards. I think the man behind to the right is Mons. Josef Clemens, who was the cardinal's private secretary then.

On the website of the Premio Capri, I found a letter sent to Benedict XVI by Raffaele Vacca, president of the Premio Capri foundation, the day after he announced his renunciation of the papacy. It is a very beautiful letter that I shall translate and share here.

I remember a few well-illustrated articles I posted in PAPA RATZINGER FORUM about Cardinal Ratzinger's visit to Anacapri in 1992 - during which, if I remember right, it was while he was waking through the piazza pictured above, that two young boys who saw him suddenly screamed "It's the pope! It's the Pope!"... Time I think to start a thread putting together the wealth of anecdotes available about him...]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/6/2017 10:35 PM]
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The day the CORRECTIO was made public, Antonio Socci wrote this column which places the right context for the sheer insolence, elementary discourtesy and a roster of far more negative qualities that distinguish Jorge Bergoglio as a person and as pope, i.e., perhaps he really does think of himself as the Second Coming of Jesus, in fact as Jesus II...

What has been wrought and what else is intended
by 'Pope Jesus II', wrecker of the one true Church


This morning, a letter from 62 Catholic scholars and theologians from many countries sent to Pope Francis on August 11 was made public. “A step that has no equivalent in the modern history of the Church,” wrote Sandro Magister, “because the last analogous event too place way back in 1333 with a public ‘correction’ of the them pope for heresies supported by him and subsequently rejected by Pope John XXII. There are seven Bergoglian heresies denounced by the signatories – all of it found in Chapter 8 of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia…

No pope had ever dared to take the name of Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, also known as the alter Christus. But Jorge Bergoglio did.

In a just published interview book with Dominique Wolton, Politique et Societe, he says jestingly – though he was not asked – that doing so was not an act of arrogance but rather of humility since he could well have chosen to call himself Jesus II. Let me underscore again that he was joking. (Though even Harlequin confessed through jesting…)

But then he adds some quips about the supposed presumptuousness of Argentines. (“Do you know what would make good business? Buy an Argentine for what he is worth and then resell him for the value he thinks he is worth!”) And adds that an Argentine commits suicide by falling off the peak of his own ego… [Wow! Don’t you feel just amazingly privileged to have such a wisecracking hail-fellow-well-met bloke for your pope?... And BTW, this just goes to show that as revolting as the task may be, it doesn't do for any concerned Catholic to ignore Bergoglio's inexhaustible logorrhea, as he is always bound to say something significant as the 'JESUS II' quip which are additional signals of his pathology, if you needed any more. As I was inactive over a month for purposes of the Forum, I do not know if any other commentator caught the quip at all. ]

In short, he shows a lot of self-irony on the ego of Argentines, enough to make us perceive that perhaps he has had problems with that! Or even perhaps a whopper of a problem which led him many years ago to see a psychoanalyst for some resolution. Probably in vain. Perhaps that was a subconscious way to get help.

But Bergoglio seems to have now become the prisoner of that war machine called Egolatry in the form of a planet-wide papolatry. Indeed, the mark of this pontificate is the enormity of its ambitions.

He appears to want to ‘re-found' the Church, literally proposing himself as Jesus II which would, of course, mean somehow displacing the true founder of the Church, Christ, who, knowing his own disciples, had warned then that his words and his commands are for always and will not change with time (Mt 24,35).

Jesus went so far as to fulminate against Peter, the first pope, calling him Satan when Peter started to think as men do, and not as God does (Mk 8,33). [“Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”] The risk is always there.

Now we are witnessing the Bergoglian ‘refounding’ in which Jesus himself is ‘corrected’ to be able to bring him up to date with the times and men today.

The Argentine pope’s ambition was stated by one of his closest collaborators in a May 10, 2015 interview with Corriere della Sera. His right-hand man [and one-man brain trust for decades], Mons. Victor Fernandez aka Tucho, said textually: “It is necessary to know that he (Bergogio) is aiming for irreversible reforms.” Words which can have a very revolutionary and heterodox interpretation for the Church.

In fact, of course, the Church belongs to Jesus Christ, not to the pope. Popes are merely temporary guardians, not the owners. They do not have any power that extends over the centuries forever as Jesus has.

By definition, only the law of God, which is in Sacred Scripture and in the constant magisterium of the Church, is irreversible. Popes are subject to this law – they are not masters in any way.

A pope ought to be like the driver of the car that is bringing the Bride (the Church) towards her encounter with her Spouse (Christ).
But if the driver appropriates the Bride for himself by changing her destination and other corollaries, he is replacing the Spouse. As if he were indeed Jesus II. But the driver is not allowed to do this. “Jesus is a jealous spouse,” Cardinal Biffi once said.

Indeed, Christ’s mandate to Peter and all his successors was not at all to ‘change’ the Church (least of all, irreversibly) but, on the contrary, to ‘safeguard’ her, i.e., safeguard the deposit of faith and confirm his brothers in that faith.

A pope, by definition, can only be a ‘conserver’, otherwise he is no longer a pope. His ministry is to guard and keep intact the faith of the Church – not to make her into a streetwoman at the mercy of the world.

Which brings us to Bergoglianism’s ‘irreversible’ changes. The most obvious is – in the eyes of the public – the ‘transformation’ of the Church from a supernatural reality that leads to eternal salvation into a humanitarian agency that processes a religion that is totally political and social, centered on mass migration as the Supreme Good, on catastrophist ecologism, and on the acritical embrace of Islam.

Bergoglio’s church, focused on these [appositely minted]‘human rights’, historian Ernesto Galli della Loggia noted a few days ago in a Corriere della Sera column,

“...has superimposed itself on other organized agencies, ideals and policies that have nothing to do with the tradition of the Church. Starting obviously with the major international agencies like the United Nations and its Food and Agricultural Organization.

An analogous and equally widespread super-imposition also exists on those secular-progressivist elements of the ideological universe of the Western countries, elements which obviously have nothing to do with Catholic tradition” and have programs, especially in terms of day-to-day social practice, “that are certainly alien to the Church of Rome”.

Galli della Loggia notes that the ‘themes’ [more properly ‘causes’ as in what one does battle for] of the Bergoglian church have also been super-imposed on the ‘humanitarian ideology’ “which today animates the outsize public presence of some super-rich and super-influential figures of so-called ‘global philanthropists’ (I do not know how else to call them – types like Soros and Zuckerberg and Bezos) now elevated by the media to the stature of true prophets, but even they are not just alien to Christianity and Catholicism but downright hostile”.

For centuries, such a transformation of the Church has been wished for by all the enemies of the Church. Like Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) who wrote [in his book The Essence of Christianity, published 1841] that in order to “kill Christianity”, it is futile to attempt ‘persecution which could instead feed and strengthen it”. But that its destruction could only happen one way: “It will be through the irreversible internal transformation of Christianity into atheist humanism with the help of Christians themselves inspired by a concept of charity which has nothing to with the Gospel”. [So Feuerbach predicted Bergoglio and Bergoglianism 172 years before this infernal blight came upon the Church!]

And so, here we are. First of all, however, the enemies of the Church must complete their goal to demolish the bimillenary cathedral that is the Catholic Church. After Amoris Laetitia which undermines three fundamental sacramants (penance, the Eucharist and matrimony), a new blow has been dealt with the recent motu proprio on the translation of liturgical books, which was promulgated behind the back of Cardinal Sarah who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Many informed Catholics believe that this would open the way to legitimize a final attack against the Eucharistic Sacrifice itseld and the priesthood. It appears aimed at a progressive fusion with Protestant rite which would mean “abolition of the Sacrifice of the Mass’”and the end itself for the Catholic Church. (Remember that, among other things, it has now become normal for Bergogians to call the Protestant Reformation as ‘a blessing for the Church’.)

But other revolutionary ideas are circulating at Casa Santa Marta. (‘Revolutionary’ is the adjective Scalfari always applies to Bergoglio.) One is the abolition of the Vatican itself as a state, which would allow the Argentine pope to go down in history as the pope who, in one fell swoop, swept aside the Roman Curia as well as ‘the temporal power’ of the Church (a topic that Scalfari keeps bringing up in his conversations with Bergoglio).

That is a very difficult goal. But since all this Bergoglian revolutionary ferment has already thrown much of the Catholic world into turmoil and even on a war footing, it is predictable that it could all lead eventually to an uprising in the College of Cardinals. [I would not be so hopeful. He has already co-opted the half of the present membership who are his appointees and will go on creating his cardinals until he has packed it with more than just the 77-vote minority to elect his anointed successor.]

Bergoglio has apparently ordered a study of how to get around canon law so that in ‘exceptional situations’, he would then be allowed to nominate his own successor, divesting the cardinals of their primary function and thereby making his revolution ‘irreversible’.

Basically, Mons. Fernandez already said as much in his 2015 interview with Corriere:

“Cardinals themselves can disappear in the sense that they are not essential. The pope and the bishops are essential… Nor is the Vatican Curia an essential structure. The pope could even go and live elsewhere outside Rome, he can have one dicastery in Rome, another in Bogota, etc, and connect with the liturgical experts who live in Germany…”

And that would be the church of Jesus II...

[When I first read the Fernandez interview in 2015, I had the ff comments on the chain of absurdities inherent in Fernandez’s smug but obviously ‘unthought’ statements:
1) ‘Cardinals… are not essential’? They are, if only because only they can elect a pope.
2) ‘The pope and the bishops are essential’ – i.e., this hypothetical pope would either change canon law so that bishops, and perhaps anyone else he deems qualified, could elect a pope, or make all the bishops cardinals so they can elect his successor – but does he not postulate a priori that cardinals are not essential?
3) Of course, the pope could go live elsewhere, not in Rome, but why would he do that, and abandon, to begin with, the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. John Lateran, cathedral of the Bishop of Rome? Unless, of course, he also changes canon law and Church tradition by claiming that the pope is no longer the Bishop of Rome (even if he is pope only by virtue of being Bishop of Rome), or that he can be Bishop of Rome even if he lives elsewhere! Then, would he recreate wherever he chooses to reside – at what unnecessary expense! - the entire physical, material and human infrastructure necessary for him to carry out his functions of governing the universal Church? But that is, of course, the logic of the man who eschewed the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace to commandeer one wing of the Vatican’s four-star hotel as his residence at great unnecessary expense and waste of resources! 4) “Connect with the liturgical experts who live in Germany”? It may be just an example but is also very indicative of the Bergoglio-Fernandez mindset that they think in terms of ‘liturgical experts who live in Germany’ – because those same ‘experts’ are the very ones who advocate the virtual protestantization not just of the Mass but of Catholicism itself.]

Fr. Scalese pursued one of the possible Bergoglian ‘reforms’ mentioned by Socci…

Exactly what ‘conversion of the papacy’
(cf EG 32) does Bergoglio have in mind?

Translated from

Sept.25, 2017

In his column yesterday on Libero, Antonio Socci returned to the subject we addressed in an earlier post, namely, the putative irreversibility of Pope Francis’s ‘reforms’, in which Socci underscores some statements made by Mons. Victor Tucho Fernandez in his interview with Corriere della Sera on May 10, 2015.

The most jarring passage in Socci’s piece is the revelation that the reforms now in the works could include the abolition of the Vatican itself, something also reported by Il Giornale. I would not know how reliable such ‘indiscretions’ are. But Socci has always proven to be a well-informed person (he must have strong sources in the Vatican). However, for now, this is nothing but rumor, and perhaps it is not worth wasting too much time on the issue.

For my part, I will simply say that while it is true that the Vatican is not a divine institution, it is equally true that in the Church there are many things which, though of human origin, do have their own not-secondary importance. But before getting into such questions, we would do well to inform ourselves about their historical genesis.

In the case of the Vatican, how is it that today there is the ’Vatican City State’ (Stato della Citta del Vaticano, SCV) [as it is formally called]? There is a serious answer to this question other than the slogan that it is ‘the seat of power of the Popes’. That is why, perhaps, some prelates, before saying quite superficially that “ The pope could even go and live elsewhere outside Rome, he can have one dicastery in Rome, another in Bogota, etc, and connect with the liturgical experts who live in Germany…”, would do well to study history a bit more (especially since the history of the Church and of Europe is quite longer and more complex than that of the South American states).

To get back to the putative irreversibility of the present pontificate’s reforms – about which Socci also blasts large: “Bergoglio has apparently ordered a study of how to get around canon law so that in ‘exceptional situations’, he would then be allowed to nominate his own successor, divesting the cardinals of their primary function and thereby making his revolution ‘irreversible’.”

I am equally ignorant of the factual basis for such a statement, and Socci would have his own reasons for expressing himself this way. Of course, it seems to me something incredible. Not only because it would be totally unprecedented and never heard before, but also and above all because it would go against all the principles that Pope Francis has always appeared to sustain, such as more collegiality. [But we now know that all that talk about collegiality and synodality is merely lip service by Bergoglio.] How does one justify the transformation of the papacy into a hereditary monarchy?

But I do acknowledge that the problem of seeking to ‘guarantee’ the irreversibility of Bergoglio’s reforms exists. In my earlier post, I already treated it, perhaps too facilely, thus: “None of these measures can tie the hands of future Pontiffs, who would continue to enjoy the same prerogatives as the present one, and could therefore decide sovereignly which ‘changes’ to maintain, which ones to update, and which ones must be renewed or changed.”

We cannot simply take it for granted that future popes will continue to enjoy the same prerogatives that Bergoglo now exercises – because those prerogatives could be re-sized in some way by the very reforms Bergoglio promulgates. In Evangelii gaudium, he wrote:

Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization.

Pope John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation. We have made little progress in this regard.

The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion. The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.

Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.
[EG 32].

EG is the programmatic document of this pontificate, and therefore, we can be sure that this pope will do everything he can in order to realize what he wrote therein. It remains to be seen in what ways. He wrote about ‘a conversion of the papacy’. But I do not think that transforming it into a hereditary monarchy comes under that heading.

More likely, I think, is a suggestion made by one of my readers, namely:

From the start of this pontificate, we have been made to understand that there is an obsession to find some mechanism to guarantee that ‘there can be no turning back’. The first time I read about this was in an interview with Cardinal Maradiaga back in 2013. I am not surprised. This is a scheme typical of revolutionaries: When they are in the opposition, everything is fluid and must be changed. Once they achieve power, then everything must remain as they wish things to be.

I believe that in the minds of Bergoglio and his men, it has all been planned: When they are convinced that they have lit enough fires and that the flames are well-fed, then they will act to demolish papal authority. Obviously, not magisterial authority [on faith and morals, which popes can and must exercise but always and only in conformity with Scripture, Church Tradition and 2000 years of papal magisterium]. But it will be something arrived at through that magic faculty of ‘discernment’, Discernment 2.0, i.e., a kind of general license meant to enable everything.

And as the pretext for doing so, they will probably exploit ecumenism and reconciliation with the Lutherans, etc. Which will, of course, create not a few problems for Bergoglio’s successors who would seek to rebuild the Church on the ruins he leaves behind. [ [It is not unlikely that in one of his countless interviews, Bergoglio may already have said that because he took his pontifical name from Francis of Assisi, he too has been commanded by the Lord to “repair my Church” – except, of course, that his idea of repair is wreckovation. Blasphemies never end in someone like Bergoglio.]

Other than canonical and theological problems, there would be problems of consensus: Bergoglian Pied Pipers will have another tune to attract behind them many souls who are obsessed with preserving the ‘freedom’ they believe they have struggled long to achieve. [ [Freedom, that is, from having to obey the commandments of God and of the Church, and to be guided only by their individual conscience and discernment – this being the most disastrous practical consequence of Bergoglio’s anti-Catholic propositions in AL.]

It seems evident to me that the objective is not the reinforcement of papal authority but rather its weakening – but, of course, only after having used the existing prerogatives and absolute power of the papacy to promulgate the desired reforms. My reader claims that ecumenism could be used as the pretext for such a weakening of papal power. It’s a plausible hypothesis – indeed, it would be a continuation of a process already underway and in a rather advanced phase, as these days, we have also been given the news that there has been an agreement within the mixed Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical commission on the issues of synodality and papal primacy. We must wait to see how this develops.

But other than the ecumenical pretext, we must also consider another declaration made by Bergoglio in EG, in which he speaks of ‘healthy decentralization’ in favor of local bishops (EG 16). As we already saw, in EG 32, he expressed the eventual goal of “a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority”. So I think he will continue along a line he already laid down officially.

I do not think that giving specific new competencies to the episcopal conferences could in any way scratch at the supreme authority of future popes (although it would initially make their work far more complicated) – because the Code of Canon Law recognizes in the Supreme Pontiff a potestas ordinaria suprema, plena, immediata et universalis (ordained power that is supreme, full, immediate and universal):

Can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power over the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

It is true that Canon Law can be modified, in which case, however, it can only be according to the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council:

If anyone, then, shall say that the Roman Pontiff has the office merely of inspection or direction ["to the operation of the other particular churches and to offer direction or advice on the correction and improvement of their affairs] and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the Universal Church, not only in things which belong to faith and morals, but also in those which relate to the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the world; or assert that he possesses merely the principal part, and not all the fullness of this supreme power; or that this power which he enjoys is not ordinary and immediate, both over each and all the Churches and over each and all the Pastors and the faithful; let him be anathema. (Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus, Pius IX, 1870, after Vatican I, in which he defined four doctrines of the Church regarding the papacy).

It is also true that we are in a phase of ‘pastoral re-reading’ of pronouncements, even solemn official ones, in the Magisterium before March 13, 2013 (think, for instance, of the ‘study group’ on Humanae vitae, instructed by this pope to ‘set aside many partial interpretations’ of the encyclical against artificial birth control). But it seems to be a far reach to proceed to a ‘pastoral re-reading’ of the dogmatic definitions given by Vatican I.

Of course, who knows? Life always has surprises in store…

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/23/2017 3:00 AM]
10/7/2017 11:17 PM
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Our Lady of Victories

October 7, 2017

What a telling title: Our Lady of Victories. So very Western Catholic; so Counter-Reformation ; so baroque; so redolent of the triumphalist Anglo-Catholicism of the 1920s and 1930s. When I was an undergraduate, the Church of St Paul up Walton Street was still a church and had a splendiferous statue of our Lady of Victories. You couldn't possibly imagine, could you, Byzantine Christians giving the Theotokos a title like that ...

Well, of course, they did. One of those Greeks did write a hymn to Mary as the hypermachos strategos with an aprosmakheton kratos (the Protecting General with an irresistible power). If the Orthodox had ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’, you would probably find in it a paraphrase of the Hymnos Akathistos beginning: ”Stand up, stand up, for Mary.” [The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem or chant, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary (Theotokos).] Or, taking my fantasy even further, imagine some Orthodox Sabine Baring Gould writing “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war; with the Robe of Mary, going on before…”

East and West may wear different clothes, but their realities are often so uncannily similar. Because, of course, the title Our Lady of Victories, just like the Akathist hymn, does have its military associations. That great Pontiff, St Pius V, established the Feast of our Lady of Victories to celebrate the triumph of Christian arms at the battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, a victory won by the countless rosaries which clanked through the hands of the Rosary Confraternities of Western Europe. They begged God for the safety of Christendom against the invading Turk.

Gregory XIII pusillanimously renamed the feast as 'of the Rosary', and popped it onto the first Sunday of October (a mere stone's throw from the Feast of the Protecting Robe of the Mother of God in some Byzantine calendars) where it stayed until the reforms of St Pius X.

But no homilist could be forbidden to preach tomorrow on our Lady of Victories, could he? After all, her Immaculate Heart will prevail!

And from a modern Pontiff who seems to be remembered only for his quixotic efforts to end World War I, an encyclical about St. Dominic that places the battle of Lepanto in the right context…

Lepanto: ‘The highest moment that the centuries
have ever witnessed’’ (Cervantes)

We cannot but recall that four great Roman Pontiffs came from the Dominican ranks. Of these, the last, St. Pius V, won undying gratitude from Christianity and civil society. He joined together, after unceasing efforts, the arms of the Catholic princes, and under the patronage of the Virgin Mother of God, whom, therefore, he ordered to be saluted in future as Help to Christians, destroyed forever at Lepanto the power of the Turks.

In this is amply shown the third quality We have noted in Dominican preaching: a most zealous piety towards the Mother of God. It is said that the Pontiff knew by Divine revelation of the victory of Lepanto achieved at that very moment when through the Catholic world the pious sodalities of the Holy Rosary implored the aid of Mary in that formula initiated by the Founder of the Friar Preachers and diffused far and wide by his followers.

Loving the Blessed Virgin as a Mother, confiding chiefly in her patronage, Dominic started his battle for the Faith. The Albigenses, among other dogmas, attacked both the Divine maternity and the virginity of Mary. He, attacked by them with every insult, defending to the utmost of his strength the sanctity of these dogmas, he invoked the help of the Virgin Mother herself, frequently using these words: “Make me worthy to praise thee, Sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies.”

How pleased was the Heavenly Queen with her pious servant may be easily gathered from this, that she used his ministry to teach the Most Holy Rosary to the Church, the Spouse of her Son; that prayer which, being both vocal and mental, in the contemplation especially of the mysteries of religion, while the Lord’s Prayer is fifteen times repeated together with as many decades of the Hail Mary, is most adapted to fostering widely piety and every virtue.

Rightly, then, did Dominic order his followers, in preaching to the people, to inculcate frequently this manner of prayer, the utility of which he had experienced. He knew, on the one hand, Mary’s authority with her Son to be such that whatever graces he confers on men she has their distribution and apportionment.

On the other hand, he knew that she is of a nature so kind and merciful that, seeing that it is her custom to succor the miserable of her own accord, it is impossible she should refuse the petitions of those who pray to her. Accordingly the Church, which is wont to salute her “the Mother of Grace and the Mother of Mercy,” has so found her always, but especially in answer to the Rosary.

Fausto appetente die
Benedict XV

June 29, 1921

The Catholics of Poland demonstrated their faith in a most extraordinary way on the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (Our Lady of the Rosary). Here is the New York Times account of an event that I believe is quite unprecedented in our time – and perhaps ever…

Polish Catholics gather at borders
for vast Rosary prayer event


OCT. 7, 2017

WARSAW, Poland — Polish Catholics clutching rosary beads gathered at locations along the country’s 2,000-mile border on Saturday for a mass demonstration during which they prayed for salvation for Poland and the world.

Many participants described it as demonstration against what they see as the secularization of the country and the spread of Islam’s influence in Europe.

The event, “Rosary at the Borders,” was sponsored in part by several state-owned companies and was timed to coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It also commemorated the 1571 naval Battle of Lepanto between Christian fighters, under orders from the Pope, and the Ottoman Empire.

Organizers noted that in the battle, “the Catholic fleet defeated the much larger Muslim fleet, saving Europe from Islam.”

“Rosary at the Borders” took place in 320 churches near Poland’s border and 4,000 so-called prayer zones, including the biggest international airport in Poland, a nation moving increasingly to the right. [Typically ultra-liberal code to express disdain for anyone who chooses to keep long-standing traditions which have proved their value over time! Use of it in this case is an unwarranted editorial comment. ]

The daylong event began with a morning Mass, with the rosary prayer then starting at 2 p.m. and ending about two hours later.

The event was planned by a lay organization called the Solo Dios Basta Foundation, or God Alone Suffices, but was supported by the clergy. The group, which said on its website that “the rosary is a mighty weapon against evil,” anticipated that about a million people in Poland and around the world would take part.

Rev. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik, spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference, said it was the second-largest prayer event in Europe after the 2016 World Youth Day, though it was too soon to provide exact numbers.

“During the prayer, I was at the Chopin airport in Warsaw, and there were so many people that they were pouring out of the chapel,” Father Rytel-Andrianik said. “This was an initiative started by lay people, which makes it even more extraordinary. Millions of people prayed the rosary together. This exceeded the boldest expectations of the organizers.”

More than 90 percent of Poland’s 38 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

Marek Jedraszewski, the archbishop of Krakow in southern Poland, said during his sermon on Saturday morning that people should pray for “Europe to remain Europe.”

“Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe,” Archbishop Jedraszewski said.

“It’s a really serious thing for us,” Basia Sibinska told The Associated Press. “We want to pray for peace, we want to pray for our safety. Of course, everyone comes here with a different motivation. But the most important thing is to create something like a circle of a prayer alongside the entire border, intense and passionate.”
In the northern city of Gdansk, Krzysztof Januszewski told The A.P. that he worried Europe was being threatened by Islamic extremists.

“In the past, there were raids by sultans and Turks and people of other faiths against us Christians,” said Mr. Januszewski. “Today, Islam is flooding us, and we are afraid of this, too. We are afraid of terrorist threats and we are afraid of people departing from the faith.”

The demonstration was endorsed by many Polish celebrities, athletes and several politicians from the ruling conservative Law and Justice party. But others criticized the demonstration.

Krzysztof Luft, a former member of the country’s largest opposition party, the liberal Civic Platform, wrote on Twitter, “A ridicule of Christianity on a massive scale. They treat religion as a tool for maintaining backwardness in the Polish backwater.”
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/8/2017 9:25 PM]
10/8/2017 12:04 AM
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Prof. Josef Seifert is considered one of the foremost contemporary Catholic philosophers and friend to both John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
As those who follow Church news ought to know, he was dismissed from the Granada-based branch of the International Academy of Philosophy
[which he founded] for having respectfully expressed criticism of AL in a published article. This is his reaction to the injustice of what
he rightly considers persecution. In the process, he also points out the self-contradictory positions that Jorge Bergoglio has been forced
to take publicly about AL – recognizing equally the erroneous Bergoglian interpretation of the bishops of Malta but also the position of those
like Cardinal Mueller and the Church in Poland, who, to save face for him, have declared that AL is in conformity with Familiaris consortio.
If this is not sheer LYING of the post-Watergate Nixonian ‘I am not a crook’ kind, what is?]

If one considers the transformation of Plato’s Academy, champion of eternal truth, into a center of radical skepticism against which St. Augustine wrote his Contra Academicos, or contemplates the splits and changes that have occurred in all other philosophical schools, one will see that the preservation of Catholic doctrine over two millennia is a miracle.

Considering likewise the countless divisions between and within the different Protestant confessions, as well as in other religions, it is evident that the way Catholic teaching has survived intact, becoming increasingly clear with each confrontation with error, is a wonder far greater than healing the sick or making the blind see.

Add to this the fact that many priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes not only lived very bad lives opposed to Catholic teaching, but rejected many Catholic doctrines, or simply did not believe them. Any purely human institution would long since have been dissolved, or suffered inner divisions and contradictions that would have been reflected in its creeds and official teachings.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Gamaliel declared the Church’s survival impossible unless it were established and preserved by God. The same line of thought underlies Boccaccio’s famous story in the Decameron, of the Christian merchant and the Jew, who converts precisely because the many unworthy and worldly men whom he met in the Vatican did not destroy the Church, which therefore must be of God.

When one observes that “the Church” gloriously overcame the many crises it suffered, one can only mean the true voice and official teachings of the Church. One cannot deny that these same errors have lingered until the present day, and even gained force in many circles despite having been recognized and condemned.

In the last fifty years, the crisis that threatened the Church most gravely is one of moral theology and of thunderstanding of “natural law.” This crisis became dramatically clear after the publication of Humanae Vitae. [hv]. At first, b][theologians who opposed the document sought refuge in the sanctuary of moral conscience, the supreme subjective norm of morality. Instead of seeing conscience as founded upon the objective truth about good and evil, upon the infinite dignity of God, and the towering dignity of man, instead of recognizing that conscience is called to form itself through the truth, these men saw it as a subjective generator of what is good and evil—for me. As if it were not necessary that conscience correspond to objective moral norms that are inscribed in the essence of things and of human acts, and in the eternal holiness of God.

Yet the moral-theological phalanx that turned against HV was not content with saying that the ethical errors and gravely disordered acts of those who practice contraception are purely subjectively justified by their erring conscience. Instead, these opponents suddenly wanted to claim the full objectivity of their opposition to HV, saying that we do not deal here only with erring consciences (tirelessly invoked by Rocco Buttiglione in his defense of Amoris Laetitia).

Defenses of the subjectivity of conscience still implied that the sinner, who found himself entangled in errors of conscience, should be better taught and humbly submit his judgment to the objective truth about the intrinsic wrongness of his acts. Rejecting this, the new proportionalist and consequentialist ethical theory (really a rehash of old ideas) allowed theologians to claim: Under many circumstances the acts HV called intrinsically wrong are, objectively speaking, not wrong at all. Those who disobeyed HV not only had every right to follow their own conscience, even against the Church, they were objectively right when they chose to do so.

Whether this position was called “proportionalism,” “consequentialism,” “purely teleological ethics,” “situation ethics,” etc., the point was the same: It threw overboard the central teaching of all ethics since Socrates, Plato, and Cicero, and throughout the history of the Church—namely, the teaching that there are intrinsically wrong acts. Acts such as lying, raping a woman, abortion, murder, euthanasia, using false judgments to fulfill one’s own lust—as did the old judges who accused Susanna of adultery because she had refused their evil wishes—are always wrong and gravely disordered.

The young Daniel’s glorious act of uncovering their lie and injustice, and his just judgment against these evil old men, brings home with gripping force the existence of acts of injustice, lies, calumnies, killing the innocents, etc., that are absolutely and under all circumstances wrong; they are what is called an intrinsece malum (evil in and of itself).

Now this new moral theology, advocated by Fuchs, Demmer, Böckle, Schüller, and many others, denied that any act could be judged morally, except in terms of its good and bad consequences. Hence, there does not exist an intrinsically and always wrong human action. If an action, whatever its inner nature may be, promises to lead to a lessening of evils in the world, it can be justified.

We can easily see that with this ethics nothing in Catholic moral teaching would remain intact. Because no act would be bad by its nature, but good or bad only with reference to the concrete complexity of life and the web of causes and effects.
One can always find cases in which committing murder, betraying the innocent, or many other abominable acts can have a greater number of good consequences than an alternative action. For example, betraying one Jew and sending him to his cremation, considered in isolation, is certainly a most horrible act, these authors admit. However, this same act, under some circumstances, may mean the death of just one man, instead of risking that the Nazis, because of my unwillingness to deliver this one Jew to them, are murdering my own family of eight. Therefore, under such circumstances, we would be permitted, or even obliged, to deliver this one Jew to be killed by the Nazis.

It is not solely a clear teaching of the Church, however, but it is also evident to human reason, that certain abominable crimes cannot at all be justified through pointing out their good consequences. Consider the abominable act the prophet Daniel would have committed, if he had himself condemned the innocent woman, in order not to put his career as young judge into peril.

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the immense proportions of the crisis in the Church produced by such a false and vicious ethical theory. It is able to find an excuse for any kind of sinful act. If mere consequences could make human acts morally good or evil, there would remain no injustice, no cruel abortion, nor any abomination that could not be justified under some circumstances.

To this crisis, Pope St. John Paul II reacted most forcefully.
- In his Familiaris Consortio, he reconfirmed the teaching of the intrinsic evil of adultery, and of contraception, by which the unitive meaning of the conjugal act is actively and deliberately severed from the procreative one.
- In Evangelium Vitae, he insisted on the dignity of each human being, who is simultaneously a human person. Hence, any attack against human life, from its very beginning in conception until true death (not merely so-called “brain death”), is intrinsically evil and cannot be justified by any good consequence that such an act might have (such as saving a life or a marriage, or preventing that the husband leaves his children, etc.). No, invoking the authority of St. Peter, and thus (in my view), declaring this teaching a dogma, John Paul formulated in Ch. 68 of EV that in each and every living human being we must respect the full dignity of the person. Thus, any antilife act is intrinsically wrong and can never be justified in view of any external or posterior consequences.
- Finally, in Veritatis Splendor, the pope put an end to this proportionalist ethics, affirming with utmost force that there are acts that are by their nature evil and morally wrong. Their very end and essential intention (finis operis) make them morally wrong regardless of the consequences. VS condemned lock, stock, and barrel the moral-theological errors that denied intrinsically wrong acts. It thus gave HV its ultimate foundation in the unambiguous teaching that there are acts that are intrinsically wrong and cannot be justified in any situation.

Today the ethics rejected by VS has raised its ugly head once again. It threatens to bring about the climax of the moral-theological crisis in the Church, because now it is not just a mob of some rebellious theologians and bishops who deny intrinsically evil acts [but the current pope himself].

No, there are some formulations in Amoris Laetitia that have caused a deep shock in those of us who have fought, alongside St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, for decades against the immense evil of this false ethics. These formulations are what have provoked our “dubia,” questions posed at the highest level by four cardinals but expressed in various forms by bishops, priests, theologians, and journalists.

Could it be that Pope Francis threw away in AL the moral-theological teachings that have been declared most solemnly to be the perpetual teaching of the Church and eternal truths about morality? It is against this background that the five dubia of the four cardinals must be seen. They are in no way anti-pope or damaging to the community of the Church, but represent a supreme service to the Church and to the pope, by pointing out a threat of destruction of Catholic moral teaching if Pope Francis does not clarify things or correct some assertions he made.

The dubia are a church-historical necessity. They are questions that should be asked by all cardinals and bishops, and by all laymen across the world. Yet the four cardinals who asked these questions in the most refined, polite, and fraternal way, were insulted, maligned, made to seem like heretics and schismatics. Cardinal Müller was forbidden by the archbishop of Madrid to present a book that interpreted AL exactly along the lines of FC 84, and in the same way the Polish episcopate did, whose position was approved by Pope Francis (“for Poland”). No, these four cardinals, two of whom have died, are heroes, servants, and brothers of the pope, who ask him whether the shocking impression given by some of his assertions corresponds to his will, or not.

The same kind of name-calling and persecution of those who defend the solemn teachings of the Church directs itself against many others. A topsy-turvy inquisition has been launched against orthodoxy, and truth is persecuted by those called to uphold it. I have become one of the victims of this reverse inquisition. Asking the pope, in a paper in total agreement with VS, a question that coincided with one or two of the five dubia of the four cardinals was enough to get me fired by my archbishop whom I served faithfully during the past six years in Granada, Spain.
I only asked whether or not an iron logic must draw the conclusion that there are no intrinsically wrong acts from the thesis that conscience can know in some cases that God Himself wills us to commit acts of adultery and homosexual acts. I explicitly left the answer to the pope. If he answered this question in the affirmative, I wrote, I would beg him to revoke this affirmation.

For asking this question, and for saying that if the pope answers my question in the affirmative, he should please revoke at least this one sentence, I was charged by the archbishop of Granada in an extremely sharp way. He forced my retirement from the Dietrich von Hildebrand Chair for Realist Phenomenology in the IAP-IFES (the International Academy of Philosophy-Instituto de Filosofía Edith Stein). This chair had been created for me by Don Javier Martínez in 2015, nine months after my seventieth birthday. It was especially absurd, then, that my dismissal was later attributed to the application of a collective law of retirement of professors at age seventy.

One year before, I had already been removed from seminary teaching for another article: “Amoris Laetitia. Joy, Sadness and Hopes.” The second article was punished with my immediate forced retirement, which was never communicated to me directly, in a signed letter, but only indirectly by some hints in emails and telephone conversations, and by a salary receipt. This receipt bears the same date, August 31, 2017, of the press notice in which, next to expressing “the immense sadness of the diocese over my article,” the whole world was informed, without any reason offered, that through “my article” (that was not even cited), I had “damaged the community of the Catholic Church,” “confounded the faith of the faithful,” “undermined the authority of the Pope, and served more the world than the Church.”

The fact that publishing an article, which many voices, including cardinals, archbishops, and bishops called a great service to Church and pope, which is completely faithful to the whole body of magisterial moral teachings of Pope John Paul II, and to a 2,000-year tradition of Catholic moral doctrine, can cause one to be fired by a Catholic archbishop, is shocking, as Robert Spaemann said.

My case is only one of many examples in the present Church.
- Was not the removal of Cardinal Burke from the second part of the Synod on the family and from all his high posts in the Curia a kind of inquisition in response to his questions, which have not been answered but punished?
- Is not the same assumption necessary to explain Cardinal Müller’s abrupt removal as Prefect of the Congregation of Faith? - Is not the continuous and complete silence of the pope to the four cardinals’ questions a kind of “silent inquisition” and a victory of power and will over reason, a “papal positivism,” as Father Harrison points out in an excellent article?

There are countless other examples. Is all of this not a sign that a longstanding deep crisis of Catholic moral teaching in the Church has reached a new and disquieting climax, being not only linked to the supreme authorities of the Church, but espousing a new style in the Church? Not answering questions or doubts at all, not giving reasons, but remaining silent and acting by sheer power! The moral-theological crisis has moved from the bottom to the top of the Church. The victims of judgments or actions against them are denied the opportunity to defend themselves against unjust charges, a natural human right that is explicitly recognized in canon law.

There is a strong dose of “papolatry” in all of this. As the pope is by no means infallible in every statement he makes, none of the fierce charges against my article and the dubia of the four cardinals, which are in perfect harmony with FC and VS, and with 2,000 years of moral teaching, can be justified.

Moreover, the pope himself told the SSPX that they did not—and Pope Francis acted quite rightly in this—have to subscribe to all non-dogmatic documents of the Second Vatican Council in order to be fully reintegrated in the Church.

In sharp contrast, Archbishop Martínez turned any doubt regarding even just one sentence of the non-dogmatic assertion of the pope in a document of incomparably lesser weight than Council documents into a sort of heresy or crime against the Church, sufficient to fire me instantly.

According to chapter 3 of AL, the pope’s admitting divorced and remarried and homosexual couples to the sacraments is, according to his own assertion, not a magisterial teaching. The fact that the pope’s own, and the Buenos Aires Bishops’, interpretation of AL is not an act of the magisterium, is already clear from the fact that the pope explicitly accepted the contrary interpretation by the Polish Church that nothing has been changed through AL.

How is it, then, that the archbishop of Granada is more papal than the pope, and turns the Buenos Aires interpretation, which he accepted and demands to be accepted by his clergy, into a kind of dogma that justifies my suspension from the seminary teaching for asking critical questions about it, and seeking the clarification or revocation of some assertions in it, pointing out that the sense in which they are being read by many contradicts revealed truth?

And how can it be that now, in response to the second article, a Church authority regards a mere question, similar to some of the four cardinals’ dubia, put to the pope, as sufficient ground for my expulsion from a chair? Is asking a question now harmful to the Church, regardless of whether it is asked for good reasons or not? Does it not have to be answered (for neither the pope nor the archbishop answered the question), so long as the questioner can be sent home?

I love Archbishop Martínez and admire him for founding an excellent cultural institute, a new publishing house, a school of sacred music, an institute for women, and other good works. I have never seen an archbishop who initiated so many good activities and entities. I admire him especially for having created the Instituto de Filosofía Edith Stein and the Lumen Gentium Institute, which keep seminarians from being educated in all kinds of philosophical and theological errors taught in the Jesuit faculty of theology inside the Universidad de Granada. Because of this admiration, I wanted to remain in Granada for the rest of my life, and donated many books and unedited writings, including my own, to IFES.

That the archbishop does not remove Catholic theologians who spread errors and heresies while teaching in the name of the Catholic Church, but instead expels me from a chair he had created in a non-Church-affiliated school of philosophy, is beyond my comprehension. Such a persecution of someone who defends teachings that are entirely compatible with the Catholic Church is harmful not only for me, but for the archbishop himself and for the Church itself.

For this reason, I have found it appropriate—on the advice of a very saintly and brilliant cardinal of the Catholic Church—not to accept humbly and silently episcopal slaps in the face for telling the truth and asking questions of the greatest importance to the Church. Instead, I have resolved to fight against misrepresentations of truth and against injustice, both by an ecclesiastic and a civil legal action. Power must not be allowed to dominate over reason in the Church. Gravely damaging and false accusations are not to be simply accepted, not just in my case, but also in many other cases of a persecution of Catholic believers in the name of a pseudo-inquisition.

I have tried, and will continue to try, to propose a conciliatory and peaceful settlement before the peace Court in Granada, but not at the price of truth and of justice. For if I did forego truth and justice or duck down upon being illegitimately castigated, I would indeed damage the ecclesiastic community, confound the faith of the faithful, and undermine the true authority and reputation the pope, who is the visible head of the Catholic Church and the true representative of Christ on Earth.

May God give us a glorious resurrection of truth, of reason and of faith, in the Catholic Church, and may He prevent a new climax of the moral theological crisis in the Church from tearing down the most solemn Church teachings on the divine commandments and natural law!

The light of true morality, together with the higher light of the supernatural morality of the Sermon on the Mount, is entrusted to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church under the authority of the pope, who is called to be the Rock on whom Jesus built His Church, a truth I profess. And precisely because I profess it, I feel the obligation to accept the invitation Pope Francis addressed to all of us: to challenge him wherever we think that his words deviate from the truth of Jesus Christ, whom the pope is called to represent, but not to replace by proposing a new teaching.

If this new teaching, or even just one phrase contained in Amoris Laetitia, clearly seems to shake the foundations of the moral order, I am not just permitted but obliged to speak out. In doing so, the philosopher follows the example of St. Paul, who criticized the first pope publicly and sharply, as he tells us in the Letter to the Galatians and as St. Thomas Aquinas beautifully defends. I would not deserve the name of a philosopher and would betray Socrates and Christ (who addressed the first pope with the words “Get behind me, Satan,” when Peter spoke against the will of God) if I acted otherwise and, for base fear of the consequences, failed to speak the truth and to ask necessary questions.

Thus, I repeat again my plea to Pope Francis to answer the question put to him, and to answer unambiguously, with a simple Yes or No. If he answers that one of his affirmations has the logical consequence of denying intrinsically wrong acts and runs counter to the constant teaching of the Church, I implore him, in the name of God, Who Is THE TRUTH, to retract any affirmation that is counter to the truth and Church Teaching.

I do not act this way because I believe myself, in insane pride, to be more infallible than the pope. Rather, I do this because I profess a faith whose Scriptures teach us that sometimes a donkey can see something the prophet fails to see. If the prophet in such a case slaps the donkey, whom God sent him, he will receive the stern reprimand God gave the prophet through his angel.

I have been two days late posting this but I ran into my usual maddening quota of Forum server stalls the first day I resumed posting that I barely scratched the surface of what I had hoped to post...It's still a timewasting and tedious ordeal to post anything, even if I now do everything, including enhancement commands, on WORD first, and then cut and paste to the Forum.
10/8/2017 12:29 AM
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The pope’s iron fist, from the account of a victim,
the dismissed Auditor-General of the Vatican

Sept. 25, 2017

Perhaps in all the furor over the publication of the CORRECTIO, another report concerning the Vatican – more specifically, this pope, and if not him directly, then his trusted henchmen – probably did not get the attention it deserved. It illustrates almost graphically and visually the thuggery and skullduggery that appears to characterize the ugly manner with which the Bergoglio Vatican deals with those who have displeased Bergoglio, especially if the victim happened to be employed only on his say-so. Sandro Magister chronicled it thus:

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 24, the press office of the Holy See issued the following statement:

“The Holy See takes cognizance with surprise and regret of the statements released by Mr. Libero Milone, former Auditor General. In this way he has fallen short of the agreement to keep confidential the reasons for his resignation of the Office. It is recalled that, on the basis of the Statutes, the task of the Auditor General is that of analyzing the balance sheets and accounts of the Holy See and of its associated administrations. It turns out, unfortunately, that the Office directed by Mr. Milone, going beyond its authority, illegally engaged an outside Company to carry out investigative activities on the private lives of representatives of the Holy See.

“This, in addition to constituting a crime, irreparably damaged the trust placed in Mr. Milone, who, confronted with his actions, freely agreed to submit his resignation.
Assurance is given, finally, that the inquiries were conducted with every scruple and with respect for the person.”

The statement refers to the interview with Libero Milone in Corriere della Sera], the Wall Street Journal. Reuters news agency, and SkyTg24, made public on the morning of the same day:
> "Volevano arrestarmi. Ecco la mia verità sull'addio al Vaticano"
(“They wanted to arrest me – here is the truth about my leaving the Vatican”)

Milone’s [forced]resignation took place on June 19. Without any explanation at the time, from him or from the Holy See.
After the summer, however, the former auditor general - who says he is “one thousand percent innocent” - decided to reveal to four journalistic outlets gathered at his lawyer’s office what really happened that day.

First at the Secretariat of State:
“Received by the Sostituto (Deputy Secretary of State) Archbishop Becciu, I was told that the relationship of trust with the Pope had been damaged: the Holy Father was asking for my resignation. I asked for the reasons, and was provided with a few that seemed incredible to me. I responded that the accusations were false, and constructed to deceive both him and Francis; and that in any case I would speak about them with the pope. But the response was that this was not possible.”

Then at the Gendarmeria:
“I recall that at a certain point captain Domenico Giani shouted in my face that I had to admit everything, confess. But confess what? I had not done anything.”

And then, at his office as Auditor General of Vatican accounts:
“They held everyone inside the offices, including the secretaries, until 6:30 in the evening. And they ordered us to hand over all the documents. One of the vice-auditors was absent. And the Vatican firemen were called in to break open filing cabinet and desk.”

Among the accusations was none other than that to which the September 24 statement of the Holy See refers:
“They showed me two receipts made out to a single provider, and accused me of having committed a misappropriation of funds: meaning embezzlement, as a public official. I saw that both receipts bore the stamp of my office, but only one had been signed by me. The other had a scribble as a signature. They were accounts for countersurveillance measures, for 28,000 euro, to clear the offices of any bugs.

Moreover, the decree of the tribunal spoke only of my accounting responsibilities, without citing anti-laundering supervision and the fight against corruption, as contained in the statutes. And with this they also accused me of having improperly sought information about Vatican representatives. I discovered that they had been investigating me for more than seven months.”

This forced his resignation, which the statement would expressly say had been given “freely”:
“Since I asserted my innocence, Giani told me that I was either going to confess or risk spending the night in the gendarmeria. If your object is to get me to resign, I resign. I am going to prepare the letter, I said. They replied that it was already ready. They went to get it. I read it and said: I am not signing this. Because it was June 19, but the letter was dated May 12. We made a mistake: this is what they said.”

After which came the fruitless attempts to meet with the pope:
“In mid-July I wrote to the pope through a secure channel and I believe he got the letter. I explained that I was the victim of a frameup, and astonished by the contemporaneous exit of Cardinal Pell. No reply. Had the relationship of trust really been damaged? But then the pope could have called me and told me so.”

A pope who, moreover, had cut off relations with Milone some time before:
“After April 1, 2016 I didn’t see him again. In September I asked to see him but they told me to make the request through the secretariat of state. I made two of them, in writing. Never a reply. Before I met with him every 4-5 weeks. I believe that the pope was blocked by the old guard that is still all there and felt threatened when it understood that I could tell the pope and Parolin what I had seen in the accounts. This is what logic says.”

Libero Milone, 69, born in Holland, a specialist at the international level, was appointed auditor general of the Vatican balance sheets - the first to hold this office - on May 9, 2015. “I was chosen,” he says, “by secretariat of state Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and Cardinal George Pell. And the final decision lay with the pope. I did not seek that post. I was contacted by the Egon Zehnder office in Miami. And I accepted because I believed in the reforms of Pope Francis.”

I cannot help compare the rough-house tactics worked on Milone by the Bergoglio henchmen to the 'softer' but equally reprehensible moves taken against Ettore Gotti-Tedeschi by Cardinal Bertone and his axemen at IOR when they threw him out of the window at IOR after obtaining a psychological 'evaluation' that he, EGT, was mentally unstable from a doctor who only observed him once without contact at an IOR Christmas party.

Of course, EGT has continued to write as lucidly, rationally and informed as he has always done - and is anyone claiming that his articles and interviews are the products of an unstable mind? Because if so, then even his contributions to Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in veritate would have had to be the product of the same unstable mind! Is Bertone able to say that to Benedict XVI???
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/8/2017 12:48 AM]
10/8/2017 4:40 AM
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I found the title of this item almost absurd, in the sense that anyone familiar with the writings of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI - which I assume most if not all the initial signatories of the CORRECTIO are - would know that he has devoted considerable thought and space in his writings on the nature of the papacy and its limits. That, in fact, 'defenders' of the CORRECTIO ought to cite Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, as this writer does. Which leads me to the idea that some publisher should perhaps anthologize all of his writings on this subject into a book that would constitute the most cogent and apropos criticism of Jorge Bergoglio's misuse and abuse of his office, all the more potent because the principles are expressed in terms that apply to any pope - and Bergoglio just happens to illustrate par excellence how the papacy can be misused and abused.

The 'Correctio Filialis' finds
an involuntary ally in Joseph Ratzinger

by Carlos Esteban

October 7, 2017

When four cardinals made public their respectful petition to the Pope to clarify certain dark points of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the famous Dubia, the announcement began a silent debate on issues central to the faith affecting three sacraments and even the very concept of sin.

But the second chapter of this saga, the Correctio Filialis' initially signed by 47 orthodox theologians and Catholic thinkers who have since been joined by many others, raises a new debate in the Church: Is it lawful for the faithful to criticize the teachings of a Pontiff? [Has anyone ever asked why it should be debated now when, in our time, Catholic dissenters have stridently and viciously denounced Paul VI for Humanae Vitae, and John Paul II and Benedict XVI just for being orthodox Catholics and/or rejecting the progressivist line of the 'spirit of Vatican II' paladins? And no one thought then that the act of criticism itself -setting aside the manner of the criticism and the merit or demerit of its content - was wrong, so why all this hullaballoo now that the shoe is on the other foot?

It also ought to be a thoroughly unnecessary debate if Catholics had an essential understanding of the papacy beyond the erroneous pietism that 'it is wrong to criticize a pope' - but then before March 13, 2013, no one really thought the crisis of an overtly anti-Catholic pope would ever come to pass, certainly not in our time. Yet here we are.

In fact, the bulk of the attacks by the court(esan) theologians and their media allies have consisted, not in a response to the very serious accusations contained in the CORRECTIO, but questioning the lawfulness of the measure itself, as well as to disdain it by alluding the small number of the signatories and their supposedly low ranking as theologians (by the criteria of the media and their mindless followers).

But supporters of correction have found a strong ally, albeit quite unintentional as far as we know, in Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The person, in fact, not the Pope, since we should speak of Joseph Ratzinger [an unnecessary distinction here since Joseph Ratzinger did not cease to be a theologian and ecclesiologist when he became pope - and that what he has said and written about the papacy has been consistent before and after he became pope himself] who already in 1969 argued that criticizing the papal declarations was not only possible, but even necessary, if the Pontiff deviated from the Deposit of Faith and Apostolic Tradition.

Pope Benedict XVI included these same comments in an anthology of his writings published in 2009 under the title 'Faith, Reason, Truth and Love'. In them, the now Pope Emeritus explains literally that

criticism of papal pronouncements "will be possible and even necessary, as long as they lack support in Scripture and the Creed, that is, in the faith of the whole Church. When neither the consensus of the whole Church nor clear evidence in the sources is available, a definitive binding decision is not possible. If it were taken formally, it would lack the conditions for such an act, and therefore its legitimacy would have to be questioned."

The limits of papal infallibility and the obligation of any faithful to resist doctrines contrary to the Deposit of Faith have been themes that seem to have concerned Ratzinger throughout his ecclesial career.

Thus, in 1998, as Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith, he wrote:

"The Roman Pontiff, like all the faithful, is subject to the Word of God, to the Catholic faith, and is guarantor of the obedience of the Church; in this sense it is servus servorum Dei. He does not make arbitrary decisions, but is a spokesman for the will of the Lord, who speaks to man in the Scriptures, lived and interpreted by the Tradition; in other words, the 'episkope' of primacy has limits fixed by divine law and by the divine and inviolable constitution of the Church found in Revelation. The Successor of Peter is the rock that guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God in the face of arbitrariness and conformity: hence the martyrological nature of his primacy. "

Serendipitously, one of the recent blog posts by Aldo Maria Valli that I have translated, is a most appropriate complement to the above, starting out as a criticism of the irresponsibility whereby the current pope blathers on just about everything and ultimately citing Benedict XVI’s words on Peter and the Petrine mniistry. He also refers to Josef Seifert’s recent sacking from his professorial chair in the Spanish branch of the International Academy of Philosophy he himself had founded, a dismissal directly reflecting the take-no-prisoners ruthlessness of the Bergoglians towards anyone who does not join their cult…]

The words of Peter’s Successor
Translated from

Sept. 16, 2017

The numerous and always colorful reactions to what Pope Francis says during his inflight news conferences when he returns from one of his apostolic visits abroad (the last one to Colombia last month) prompt a few reflections on the way this pope communicates and the weight given to his personal opinions. Questions which are linked on the one hand to the high profile now taken by the figure of the pope in the public sphere, and on the other hand, to an analysis of the authentic tasks of the Successor of Peter.

For centuries, the Vicar of Christ on earth lived in privacy, spoke little, and few were even aware of what he did say, so that one could be Catholic without even knowing the name of the current pope. And even when popes until the past century (before the Media Age) had a decisive political weight, the way they expressed themselves officially followed set rules and took place through official documents.

Use of the global lingua franca instead of Latin, and much more so, the advent of social means of communication (Pius XI’s first radio message was given in February 1931) completely changed the context by making the pope a global personage often at the center of the news. Contemporaneously, in inverse proportion, his real ability to make an impact was diminished (during John Paul II’s pontificate, the line was that “they applaud the singer, not the song”).

Nonetheless, it is a fact that since the past century, popes had enormously widened their sphere of intervention, and for many decades now, especially after Vatican-II, they have not confined themselves to expressing themselves on faith, morals and Church governance, but on almost every question that touches the lives of individuals and of society.

The pontificate of Bergoglio has accentuated the papal tendency to intervene through the communications media via news conferences and interviews, which lend themselves not only to further broaden the field in terms of subject matter but also to solicit the pope’s personal opinions.

Speaking of everything?
Obviously, when the pope speaks a little bit about everything – especially when he does so during interviews or news conferences – without a text that has been previously well thought out and prepared, the pope, like any other person, could well be superficial in his words and/or commit mistakes. For the competent (i.e., knowledgeable) observer, this is not necessarily bad. Because whoever knows the prerogatives and primary tasks of a pope knows that his thoughts - even if they are about faith and the religious life, when not expressed ex cathedra, or at least, through official documents that are presumed to be very carefully prepared – such thoughts are only his personal opinion.

The problem is that the media system, though thoroughly secular, in dealing with a pope like Francis, whose thinking in many ways is evidently that of the dominant mentality, suddenly become so clerical as to ‘sacralize’ every papal statement. And so, even if reporting a simple papal opinion, and even when the all-too-human pope shows he is insufficiently prepared on a specific question, the words ‘the pope said…’ in customary news reporting has become a kind of ‘seal of authoritativeness’.

A little common sense
How then to put things back on the right track – at least a bit? I am not a theologian and I would not venture into a field in which I am not competent. Let me just note that perhaps one can simply apply common sense. For example, the pope should only intervene on questions which have been studied in depth, and not on those which - he ought to be the first to know - he really has nothing meaningful to say. He would thereby also provide an example of seriousness and humility in a world that already suffers from widespread verbosity and the tendency to intervene always and in some way even if one literally knows nothing about what one presumes to speak on.

I believe that if an authority figure like the pope, faced with a question on a topic about which he does not feel himself sufficiently competent or prepared, simply says “I don’t know”, no one would think any less of him. Rather, he would be contributing an honesty and integrity far better than the impression he would leave by venturing into answers which often result merely in raising the already very elevated level of confusion.

A question of prudence
These arguments about papal communication tie up at this point to the real tasks of the Successor of Peter which today are being lost from sight. It leads me to reflect on some words that Benedict XVI said at a Wednesday General Audience – the catechesis of June 7, 2006, which was dedicated to “Peter, the rock on which Christ founded his Church”.

Having underscored that Jesus’s mandate to Peter came only after the apostle had made his confession of faith (an aspect that must never be ignored), Benedict XVI noted that, at that moment, the prerogatives of Peter were defined clearly:

Peter would be the rocklike foundation on which the edifice of the Church would be built. He would have the keys of the Kingdom of heaven that he could open or close as he deemed right. And finally, he would be able to bind or loosen in the sense that he could establish or prohibit whatever he deemed necessary for the life of the Church, which is and remains the Church of Christ. It is always the Church of Christ, not of Peter.

“It is always the Church of Christ, not of Peter.” [How many times during his pontificate did Benedict XVI reaffirm this bedrock truth!] This awareness, by itself, should compel Peter to express himself exclusively on matters that have to do with his institutional tasks (which are, let us repeat: to be a rocklike foundation, to administer the use of the keys of the Kingdom, to bind and loosen) – avoiding a preoccupation with other concerns and not placing his personal opinions in the foreground.

It has to do with exercising the virtue of prudence. Which does not mean fear, self-censorship or escapism. It means, for the pope, to be aware that you, Peter, are the custodian of a great treasure which goes far beyond your person, and therefore, you are not allowed to banalize your role. Let us listen to Benedict XVI once more:

Then there is the fact that other key Scriptural passages referring to Peter could be read in the context of the Last Supper, during which Christ conferred on Peter the ministry of confirming his brothers in the faith (cfr Lk 22,31s), shows how the Church which was born from the Paschal commemoration that we celebrate in the Eucharist has the ministry that Christ entrusted to Peter as one of its constitutive elements.

These are significances that cannot be taken for granted:
- First, the Petrine ministry is one of the constitutive elements of the Church, but is certainly not the only one.
- Second, Peter is entrusted the mission to confirm his brothers in the faith.

Benedict XVI adds:

This contextualization of the Primacy of Peter in terms of the Last Supper, at the moment when the Eucharist, the Lord’s Pasch, was instituted, also indicates the ultimate meaning of this primacy: Peter, for all time should be the guardian of the Church’s communion with Christ; he must lead the Church to communion with Chris; he must insure that the net is not broken – so that thereby, universal Communion will endure. Only together can we be with Christ, who is Lord of all. Peter’s responsibility is to thereby guarantee communion with Christ, with the charity of Christ, leading the Church to the realization of this charity in the daily life of the faithful.

The pope as custodian
And the example of Joseph

Custodian of the faith and custodian of communion with Christ and with his brothers: (yet) the ‘poor human being’ who becomes pope knows that he is nothing else but a ‘poor human being’. Therefore, his decisions and actions must be seen in that light. Even the way he communicates. But can a custodian’s task wed itself to interventionism, to protagonism, to the tendency to speak about everything by expressing his own personal opinions? Certainly not.

With regard to the concept of custody or guardianship, Pope Francis said some beautiful words in his homily at the Mass inaugurating his pontificate on March 19, 2013, when he said of Joseph, who was the guardian of both Mary and Jesus:

How did Joseph exercise his guardianship? With discretion, with humility, in silence, but with his constant presence and total fidelity even when he did not understand… How did Joseph live his calling to be the guardian of Mary, of Jesus, of the Church? With his constant attentiveness to God, being open to his signs, willingly participating in God’s plan, not his…

And Joseph is a ‘guardian’ because he knows how to listen to God, allows himself to be led by God’s will, and because of this, he is even more considerate of the persons entrusted to him, he reads events with realism, he is attentive to everything around him, and he knows to make the wisest decisions. In him, dear friends, we see how one must respond to God’s calling – with willingness, with promptness – but we also see who is the center of Christian calling: Christ.

We know how much Pope Francis says he is devoted to St. Joseph, and I believe that for him to be inspired by the Universal Patron of the Church as a custodian, would be an optimal idea, even where it concerns the area of communications. [Bergoglio to learn discretion and silence? A consummation devoutly to be wished!]

Broken communion
Finally, with a firm hook onto the ecclesial reality that we are currently experiencing, some considerations on the communion with Christ that Peter is called upon to guarantee.

As you may have learned, an authoritative Catholic philosopher, Josef Seifert, friend of John Paul II and former member of the [pre-Bergoglio] Pontifical Academy for Life, was dismissed from the Spanish branch of the International Academy of Philosophy (an academy founded by him!) because he had expressed some critical evaluations of Amoris Laetitia, particularly Paragraph 303 of Chapter 8, in which, according to Seifert, this pope comes to the point of affirming that, by force of logic, in some circumstances God could demand every kind of evil deed, like adultery thereby contradicting his own commandments. [This read of Bergoglian logic recalls Benedict XVI’s description of the Muslim Allah in the Regensburg Lecture, quoting Western scholars of Islam:

For Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality...(T)he noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God'.s will, we would even have to practise idolatry".

The decision to dismiss Seifert was taken by the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández, who claims that Seifert, by his statement, “damages the communion of the Church, confuses the faithful, and incites distrust of the Successor of Peter, who ultimately is not serving the truth of the faith but the interests of the world”.
Allow me to note that it is not the lucid and respectful criticisms of Prof. Seifert (which need to be discussed, not punished) but actions like that of the Bishop of Granada which truly damage communion in the Church. And it would be stunning if a sign contrary to this comes from Casa Santa Marta, whose Primary Tenant likes to invoke and encourage ‘parrhesia’.

But on the question of communion, in the Seifert case, there is another reflection to make. Which was done by Prof. Claudo Pierantoni, professor of philosophy at the Universidad de Chile, in a recent essay entitled « Josef Seifert: Pure Logic, or the Beginning of the Official Persecution of Orthodoxy within the Church»

Above all, to say that someone ‘is damaging the communion of the Church’ in any way, one must presume a priori that such a communion – in respect to the subject matter on hand (Amoris Laetitia) – effectively exists within the Church.

Now, what bishop, what priest, what educated person who keeps himself informed about the Catholic Church today, does not know that there is no subject more controversial and more entangled in such terrible confusion as this (AL)? I ask, on which other subject is the ‘faith of the faithful’ more confused by the most contradictory opinions that followed the publication of Amoris Laetitia? …

Some might object that confusion existed before AL. Yes, but the enormous problem with AL is that the currents of relativistic thought and of situational ethics – which the three popes before Bergoglio had sought to stem – have now entered surreptitiously [‘Surreptitiously’? On the contrary – knowingly, and, as the perpetrators seem to think, cunningly!] into the pages of an official papal document.

And it has now come to the point that one of the most important and lucid defenders of the Magisterium in the preceding 35 years, who was personally supported and encouraged in his philosophical activities by John Paul II as one of is most precious allies in the defense of the infallible morals of the Church – Josef Seifert – has now been dismissed and treated as an enemy of communion in the Church…

Equally unjustified and ingenuous, I believe, is to affirm that Seifert “sows distrust for the Successor of Peter”. Bishop Martinez seems to be unaware of something just as evident as what we pointed out earlier: By including in an official papal document statements that contradict essential points of preceding Magisterium and the millennial doctrine of the Church, Pope Francis directly called on himself the profound mistrust of an immense number of Catholic faithful. The disastrous consequence is that this mistrust ends up by striking, in the minds of many, the institution of the papacy itself.

And what is the true cause of this distrust? Could it really be the strong and constant commitment of Josef Seifert to oppose the error of situational ethics – a commitment to which he has dedicated almost his entire life and that of the institution he founded n faithful service to the Church and the Word of God? Or is it not rather the fact that this same error – which is contrary to all of Christian tradition (one reaffirmed in Veritatis splendor, an encyclical as solemn as it is important) – has now been allowed to be insinuated into a papal document?

I think that when Prof. Pierantoni speaks of a communion that is broken by some of the propositions made in AL and of the ‘disastrous consequence’ of mistrust in the papacy, he has put his finger on two painful wounds that deserve to be faced openly (even by whoever will exercise the Petrine ministry after Bergoglio) and that must not be hidden behind reticence, ambiguity and a recourse to verbal laceration and censure.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/8/2017 7:48 AM]
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Some photographs of the Rosary Prayer Event in Poland yesterday, 10/7...

At Warsaw's Theater Square

People walk through a forest near Poland’s border with the Czech Republic.

Praying on the banks of the Bug River between Poland and Belarus.

On the Baltic shore in Gdansk.

In a rural churchyard.

Marco Tosatti began his blogpost today with these two paragraphs:

We have just witnessed the spectacle of faith demonstrated by hundreds of thousands of Poles – and other Christians around the world – who recited the rosary yesterday in hundreds of churches across Poland and in designated assembly points along landlocked Poland’s borders with other nations.

Perhaps I am not the only one who is stunned that such an impressive [if not unprecedented] event was not even referred to in the words of the reigning pope at the Angelus today in St. Peter’s Square. Yes, he greeted the people of Poland but on the occasion of Pope’s Day celebrated today in Poland in honor of John Paul II, [What he said was part of a sentence: “I affectionately greet all you pilgrims… in particular, the faithful from Australia, France and Slovakia, but also those from Poland who are spiritually united with their compatriots who celebrate Pope’s Day today”] but not a word about the appeal for peace and resisting the Islamization of Europe that the rosary-praying Poles manifested yesterday. A distraction???...

If I do not pass on the rest of the post for now, it is because I think he rashly interpreted that the Closing Concert for the Fatima Centenary celebrations at the Shrine in Fatima on Oct. 13 is all there is to the events that day in Fatima, and that the Shrine was marking the day with the concert instead of the Rosary.

I checked the website of the shrine and I find that on Oct. 13, the usual daily routine of liturgical events do take place from midnight onward – masses, rosaries, Eucharistic adoration, processions, confessions alternating throughout the day. The closing concert closes the Sacred Music Cycle that was one of the cultural events in the Shrine’s centennial celebrations.

But here is Antonio Socci on the Polish Rosary Event and related matters…

In Poland, God, country and family
(as well as monetary sovereignty)
have led to an economic miracle

Israel is another one – an example of people who love
their identity and freedom, and fight to defend them at all costs

Translated from

October 8, 2017

The New York Times wrote up the event right away, rather exceptionally. But in the Italian papers today, I could not find a single line on the Rosary Prayer Event in Poland yesterday – other than on Libero, where I write this column. It is a collective silence which amounts to self-censorship on the part of the Italian mainstream media.

But most scandalous of all is the total omission of reporting in Avvenire, newspaper of the Italian bishops, and in all the Vatican and ‘para-Vatican’ media. A sign that Bergoglio is furious with a nation that sent a million of its faithful towards its borders [with seven countries and the southern Baltic Sea]] to pray the Rosary in commemoration of the Christian victor at Lepanto against the Muslim Turkish invasion in 1571 and to commemorate the centenary of Our Lady’s message at Fatima.

One simply has to meditate on the Gospel today [in the Ordinary Form] in which Jesus severely admonishes the faithless vineyard workers who appropriated the vineyard of God. A most harsh admonition to ecclesiastics. [Compare the final verses of Jesus’s parable with what Bergoglio attributes to him in his Angelus today – and it is the exact opposite.]

Yesterday, in Poland, about a million faithful flocked to the borders of their land to recite together an immense rosary of the people.

In Karol Wojtyla’s country, borders are still considered important. Too many Poles have died to defend their country’s borders. For the Polish people, the words ‘homeland’ and ‘national identity’ ( and therefore ‘national interests’) are not considered blasphemous [or politically incorrect] as they have become here in Italy. And these words orient the decisions made by the independent Polish governments.

Lepanto and Fatima
The Rosary at the Borders was a great popular prayer event within the spiritual, cultural and physical borders of the nation. The spiritual frontier is the battle against evil, heeding the exhortation to conversion of Our Lady of Fatima in this centenary year of her apparitions in Portugal.

Indeed, the initiative resonates with the centennial celebration because it was at Fatima where Our Lady prophesied the Russian Revolution and the Second World War which ended up grinding Poland between two successive totalitarianisms (Nazism and Communism).

The great Polish Pope John Paul II was particularly bound to Our Lady of Fatima, and together with his compatriots, he had an enormous role in the peaceful and bloodless collapse of Communism in all of Eastern Europe.

The other anniversary celebrated by the Polish Rosary was that of October 7, 1571 – the Battle of Lepanto fought in the Mediterranean off Greece, in which an outnumbered Catholic fleet defeated an Ottoman Turkish armada and kept Islam off the continent of Europe.

Pope St. Pius V, who had organized the naval coalition of the Christian states of Western Europe, proclaimed Oct. 7 the Feast of Our Lady Of Victories, later renamed Our Lady of the Rosary. It is to her intercession that the Church attributes the salvation of Europe.

One century later, the Ottoman armies would try again by land, arriving as far as Vienna. And on that occasion, again with outnumbered men, a ragtag Christian army led by the Polish King Jan Sobieski defeated the Muslims and once again saved Europe from Islamization.

A great Christian people
That is why the borders at which the Polish people prayed yesterday define the cultural and Christian identity of their nation, but they are also physical borders that protect the integrity and sovereignty of the Polish state.

It is worth remembering that in the European Union, Poland is one of the few nations resisting de-sovereignization by the EU technocracy in Brussels. Just as it has been resisting the migrationist ideology which would fill up Europe with Muslims.

The fact that the Poles give primacy to national identity and national interests has brought positive results, and Poland, compared to Italy, now has a 3.9 percent annual increase in GDP (something we can only dream about in Italy), a public debt-to-GDP ratio of 54.4% (where Italy’s is 132%), and unemployment down to its lowest since the collapse of Communism.

Perhaps it is not accidental that Poland has not converted its currency to the euro, retaining its zloty, and her economic prosperity is rightly bound to her monetary sovereignty.

Thus Poland can afford to have a very active demographic policy to increase the national birthrate, and has even brought down compulsory retirement age to 60 for women and 65 for men.

It has therefore demonstrated that the senseless policies of the EU which aim at demolishing nation-states and turning into a huge welfare state do have a winning alternative. Poland is nor under the diktat of Brussels.

Trump in Warsaw
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump on his visit to whose visit to Warsaw on July 6, 2017, quickly found himself in harmony with the Polish people, with a very significant speech that impressed his hosts greatly, in defense of the right to life and liberty and in defense of Western civilization.

The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have enough confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who wish to subvert and destroy it?... Our struggle for the West does not begin in the battlefield, but in or our minds and hearts, in our will and spirit….

Our freedom, our civilization and our survival depends on our ties in history, culture and memory… And so, together, let us all fight as the Poles have done: for family, for freedom, for country and for God.

But Poland is not the only case. There are other countries who have shown that identity, patriotism, the defense of national interests and the values of Western civilization are also the levers that allow for avoiding decline, impoverishment and demographic collapse.

The Israeli miracle
Giulio Meotti, in his splendid book La fine dell’Europe. Nuove moschee e chiese abbandonate (The end of Europe: New mosques and abandoned churches) (Cantagalli), tells us the story of Israel. (Not accidentally, Israel, like Poland, is unpopular in Europe.)

Meotti writes of ‘the miracle of Israel’ and describes its record:

In 30years, its gross domestic product has increased 900%; fiscal pressure has come down to 32 from 45%; US aid, whichused to account for 10% of GNP, is now down to 1%; exports have risen by 860%. Thirty years ago, Israel did not have any independent source of energy, but today 36% comes from its own resources; and while 30 years ago, there was no desalinated water, today 40% of water consumption comes from desalination plants.”

He adds that the natural death rate in Israel is the second lowest in the West, and that a Wall Street Journal study has ranked Israel the second most educated country in the world (which says enough about its educational system). Life expectancy at 82 years is the highest in Western Asia, and Israel ranks among the first 10 countries in the world by health standards.

All this in a nation that since its birth 70 years ago has been constrained to live in a climate of perpetual war, totally armored, and has been paying a high price not just economically but in terms of lives to remain a free and democratic country, the only one in the Middle East.

Here is the rest of Marco Tosatti's blogpost today:

Following the Polish example, an appeal for
a nationwide Rosary event in Italy on Oct. 13

Translated from

Oct. 8, 2017

...Meanwhile, we are nearing October 13 and the hundredth anniversary of The Virgin Mary’s last apparition to the three shepherd children of Fatima which was marked by the ‘miracle of the sun’. This will be celebrated around the world in Catholic churches and marian shrines. Of course, it would be expected that the day would be marked by praying the rosary – a prayer offered to the Virgin over the course of centuries.

In Italy, the Associazione Italiana Accompanatori Santuari Mariani is leading the initiative. AIASM, following Mary’s repeated exhortations, inspired further by the Polish example, and considering the Rosary as the most powerful initiative for peace says that

“In Italy, too, a wall of faithful will be praying the Rosary at 5:30 pm on October 13”. a the most powerful initiative for peace.

In all the country, every man and woman of goodwill is enjoined to go to their parish church and/or create prayer groups with the same intention as our Polish brethren: To ask Our Lady to save Italy and Europe from Islamist nihilism and the rejection of the Christian faith. The rosary will start at 5:30, but fasting (with only bread and water) is urged for the whole day. Those who may not be able to fast should remember there are other ways to make a sacrifice.

[I wish the organizers of the event had hooked up with those who have been organizing the super-successful Family Day rallies in Italy to maximize the potential of their initiative.
But the Marian shrine itself in Fatima, Portugal, has chosen to close the centenary celebration not with the Rosary but with a musical concert and a sound-and-light production.

[Tosatti is right in that the concert on Oct. 13 will be the closing concert of the Sacred Music Cycle of the Centennial Celebrations, but I went to the website of the Fatima shrine and searched for the Oct. 13, 2017 timetable and came up with this – which appears to be the typical daily prayer celebrations at the shrine.
00:00 - 02:00
Eucharistic Adoration, in the Basilica of Most Holy Trinity
02:00 - 03:15
Way of the Cross, in the Prayer Area
03:30 - 04:15
Marian Celebration, in the Chapel of the Apparitions
04:30 - 05:30
Mass, in Portuguese, in the Chapel of the Apparitions
05:30 - 07:00
Eucharistic adoration and Lauds, in the Chapel of the Apparitions
07:00 - 07:30
Eucharistic Procession, in the Prayer Area
07:00 - 19:30
Confessions, in the Chapel of Reconciliation
09:00 - 09:45
Rosary, in the Chapel of the Apparitions
10:00 - 13:00
Mass, in the Prayer Area
15:00 - 16:15
Mass, in Portuguese, in the Chapel of the Death of Jesus
016:30 - 17:45
Mass, in Portuguese, in the Chapel of the Death of Jesus
17:30 - 18:30
Communal prayer, in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
18:30 - 19:30
Mass, in Portuguese, in the Chapel of the Death of Jesus
21:30 - 22:15
Rosary, in the Chapel of the Apparitions
22:15 - 22:45
Candlelight Procession, in the Prayer Area
However, the closing concert is scheduled for 18:30-20:30 which overlaps with a Communal Prayer but continues without having to overlap the Portuguese Mass at 21:30.

The concert will mark the world premiere of two specially commissioned works by James MacMillan and Eurico Carrapatoso.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/9/2017 2:56 AM]
10/8/2017 11:43 PM
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Another 'strange' and rather random post - i.e., apropos of nothing in particular - on Benedict XVI, but other than posting it for the record, it's also a reminder that there are still quite a few martinets - especially among persons whom one had thought to be genuine "Ratzingerians' - who quibble vociferously now and again, from their narrow-minded viewpoints, about the Pope Emeritus title and his white garments. As if any of that were harmful to anyone, and as if the whole world including the media had not almost immediately adapted to the special curcumstances of Benedict XVI's retirement without petty ifs or buts...

For those who quibble about calling
Benedict XVI ‘Pope Emeritus’ or
that he wears white garments...

by Stephen Bullivant

Saturday, 7 Oct 2017

If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be sick and tired of a certain kind of Catholic pedant. You know the sort. Obsessed with the precise rubrics of clerical dress. Convulsed with horror at perceived misuses of traditional titles and honorifics: “Mgr So-and-so is wearing the wrong colour socks! … Doesn’t His Eminence know that it’s beneath the dignity of his office to introduce himself in that way? … And are those phylacteries of regulation breadth?” [Yes, but have you ever heard anyone quibble about the fact that the reigning pope wears black pants under his white cassock? It may be annoying to some fastidious persons but what harm does it do - despite that, he was named by Esquire the most elegant man in the world!]

This attitude can take many forms, and not always from quarters that you might expect. There’s a particularly virulent strain of it about at the moment. It unites voices – a great many of them otherwise very sensible – from all points on the theological spectrum. Blogs, tweets, articles in august periodicals (including, I dare say, this one), even – most recently – gatherings of fine canon lawyers … all deeply, deeply, oh-so-very-deeply worried about the way a certain priest is both dressed and addressed.

Let me explain.

In Rome there lives a certain holy and humble cleric. At the ripe old age of 90 he spends his days in prayer, receiving visitors, puttering around the garden and (probably) binge-watching episodes of his favourite TV drama 'Inspector Rex' (so far as I can work out, an Austrian version of Due South, with the Mountie replaced by a crime-solving Alsatian). Judging by the occasional selfie taken with him, he seems to favour wearing comfortable leisurewear: shell suits, padded jackets and baseball caps. All perfectly normal, and well suited for a man in deservedly gentle retirement.

But – and here’s where the Great Church Scandal of Our Age really kicks in – these clothes are white; white enough, in fact, to have featured in a 1980s Daz advert. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he is typically referred to as the Pope Emeritus.

This horrifying combination, I am reliably informed, can reap naught but scandal and confusion. It was a terrible, terrible error, made in haste. Worse, it is regrettably too late to rectify now, this time around. But the Church must – simply absolutely must – change canon law to prevent such a tragedy ever happening again, per secula seculorum, Amen.

This is nonsense, and for several reasons.

First, while the phenomenon of retired popes isn’t something we’re exactly used to, it’s hardly without partial (and instructive) precedents. The 1983 Code of Canon Law specifies that “A bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted retains the title of emeritus of his diocese”. The title of “Bishop Emeritus of X” is a relatively new one – as, indeed, is the norm of bishops retiring at all. (Before Vatican II, bishops tended to remain in post until death. If they were moved for some reason, they would normally be assigned a titular see to be bishop of.)

I dare say that when this innovation was introduced it was greeted with a great deal of concern: would it not confuse the faithful? Would a bishop emeritus hanging around a diocese undermine the authority of the new incumbent? I think it’s fair to say that neither (imagined, though plausible enough) fear has been realised.

Ah, but that’s precisely the problem, my (admittedly somewhat caricatured) detractor may say. For Benedict is not styled as “Bishop Emeritus of Rome” at all. That wouldn’t be a problem. “Pope Emeritus”, however, is a Tiber-muddying novelty too far.

This brings me to my next point. The pope is the Bishop of Rome, and the Bishop of Rome is the pope. “Pope” is simply the shorthand nickname – and an affectionate one (derived from papa) – that the Bishop of Rome has, more or less universally, come to be called. In the early Church, and indeed in several non-Catholic Churches today, “pope/papa” was used as an honorific for the incumbent of several venerable sees. Indeed, in the 3rd century, letters from even the Roman clergy to St Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, address him as “Pope Cyprian”.

If we normally referred to the successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome, it would likewise be normal to refer to retirees from that role as bishops emeritus. But we don’t. We call him the Pope, hence “Pope Emeritus”. As with bishops emeritus, no one – or rather no one sensible – should find this nomenclature remotely confusing.

Finally, there is ample precedent for the (arch)bishops of sees to which special titles have been historically attached retaining those titles and modes of dress in retirement. The title of “patriarch emeritus” is well est00’s University, Twickenham, and a consulting editor of the Catholic Herald.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/9/2017 12:04 AM]
10/9/2017 3:35 AM
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'Correctio Filialis':
A first appraisal

by Roberto de Mattei
Translated by Francesca Romana for Rorate caeli
Corrispondenza Romana
October 4, 2017

On September 25th, the day after the publication of the Correctio filialis sent to Pope Francis in August, Greg Burke, the spokesman for the Vatican, denied the news diffused by ANSA, the Italian news agency, that access to the site of the Correctio had been blocked by the Holy See: “Do you really think we would do this for a letter with 60 names?”, he asked with condescending irony.

Mr Burke, who apparently who judges initiatives on the basis of the number of “followers” , might be interested to know that, eight days after being put online, had more than 180,000 individual visits and 330,000 page visits.

The visits come from 200 different countries of the five continents. Italy and the United States lead the number of accesses. Further, the letter of correction addressed to Pope Francis by 62 scholars, has been subsequently joined by October 3rd, by 216 theologians, priests, professors and scholars of all nationalities, whose signatures are visible on the site.

Added to these, there are thousands of adherents, who put their signature on the official site or on other Catholic sites which actively support the initiative:,, katholisches.Info.

Guido Mocellin, in Avvenire of September 27th, had to admit that in “the ecclesial blogsphere” , thanks to a "modern website in six languages”, “the posts on the Correctio filiale directed to Pope Francis “as a result of the propagation of heresies” have been the most numerous over the past few days: they constituted 30% of all those that I was able to consult between Saturday 24th and Monday 26th of September.

If we want to stay with the numbers, the number of cardinals, bishops and theologians who have risen up against the Correctio, in defence of Amoris laetitia, is irrelevant. Even the Cardinal closest to Pope Francis, the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, took a position of equidistance, declaring that “people who are not in agreement voice their dissent but these things have to be discussed, in an attempt to understand”.

What is missing most of all, beyond the number of defenses, is substance in the argumentation of the efforts to reply to the Correctio. The greatest effort - though it is done with sophistic acrobatics - comes from philosoper-politician Rocco Buttiglione on Vatican Insider of October 3rd.

Buttiglione claims that the central passage of AL criticized by the Correctio, is “something absolutely traditional, which we all studied as children at Catechism in the Catholic Church, not only in the new one by St John Paul II, but also in the old one by Pius X”. It’s true that Buttiglione admits there is “an absolute impossibility of giving Communion to those in a state of mortal sin (and this rule is Divine law and thus unbreakable) but if, as a result of lack of instruction or deliberate consent, there is no mortal sin, and Communion may be given, from the point of view of moral theology, even to a divorced and remarried [person].”

For Buttiglione, like Pope Bergoglio’s trusted theologian, Monsignor Victor Manuel Fernàndez, the basic problem would be the 'imputability' of the sinful acts. An imputabilty which would be absent in the great majority of more uxorio cohabitants, since the concrete situations they are living in, mitigate their awareness and, above all, makes it practically impossible to observe the law of the Lord. [I cannot believe the sheer illogic of this reasoning! Imputability, shmutability. Mortal sin is mortal sin. Period. Concrete situations make them vereyconcrete mortal sins indeed. Buttiglione et al are standing on their heads to excuse mortal sin and allow 'weak' Catholics to continue living in a state of chronic mortal sin and consider it a state of grace that makes them qualified to receive communion. Sacrilege heaped on sacrilege!]

That affirmation cleaarly contradicts the Council of Trent, the Council that anathematized those who say “that the commandments of God are impossible even for a man who is justified and confirmed in grace" [Denz-H. n.1568). “God, in fact, does not command the impossible; but when He commands He admonishes us to do what is possible, ask what is not possible and He helps you to make it possible.” (Denz-H, n. 1356).

On the other hand, the bishops who apply Pope Francis’s teaching, are not inspired by Pius X’s catechism, nor John Paul II’s new one. In their dioceses, the divorced-and-remarried, perfectly aware of their situation, insist on Communion and according to AL, Communion is permitted to them as a legitimate right.

To justify this immoral practice, AL and its defenders have not hesitated to falsify St Thomas Aquinas’s thought. But an Italian moral theologian who signed the Correctio, Don Alfredo Morselli, demonstrated, on the Messainlatino blogspot on October 3rd, the impossibility of harmonizing AL with the doctrine of St. Thomas.

Don Morselli refers to some unequivocal passages by the Angelic Doctor, which affirm the contrary of AL 301:

“A good intention is not sufficient to determine the goodness of an act: since an act can be in itself bad, and in no way can it become good” (Super Sent., lib. 2 d. 40 q. 1 a. 2 co.). “There are some, (human actions) that have a a deformity inseparably belonging to them, like fornication, adultery and other things of this kind, which cannot be considered morally good in any way whatsoever.” (Quodlibet IX, q. 7 a. 2 co.).

Consistent with authentic Thomism, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, an Opus Dei prelate, recalled at a convention promoted to celebrate the 20 years of Humanae Vitae, that “the existence of particular norms of natural morals, having universal and unconditional value belong to Catholic doctrine, and actually is a truth of the faith” (Humanae Vitae, 20 years later, Edizioni Ares, Milan 1989, p. 129). Among these, the prohibition of contraception and the prohibition of adultery.

Has the teaching of the Universities of Santa Croce and Navarra (wich organized the convention along with the John Paul Institute) changed or will it change? One wonders, after the interview of September 30th at, in which the present Vicar of Opus Dei, Mariano Fazio, censures other members of the prelature who signed the Correctio, accusing them of “scandalizing the entire Church”.

This position is strange, to say the least: Neither the Argentine Bishops nor the Maltese Bishops, who authorize adultery in their dioceses, are guilty of scandalizing the Church, but those who protest against these scandals are.

The Pope, according to Fazio, can be criticized, but in private circles, never publicly. In the avalanche of contrary comments which submerged the blogsite Infovaticana, there is one which hit the nail on the head: “What about St. Paul?” Wasn’t it precisely St. Paul who corrected St. Peter publicly? (Gal 2, 7-14) The apostolic candour of St. Paul and the humility of the Prince of the Apostles have remained, since then, the model of the correct relationship between those who exercise authority and those who obey them with filial respect but not without discernment.

One of the most influential signatories of the Correctio, the theologian and philosopher of science, Don Alberto Strumia, prefers discernment. In an interview on September 30th with the daily, Il Giornale, he explained:

“The doctrine of the Church was not invented by theologians and not even by Popes, but is founded in the Scriptures and rooted in the tradition of the Church.
The Pope is at its service, as guardian and guarantor of this continuity and cannot break it not even covertly, implying, with ambiguous formulations, that today one might think of doing the opposite of what has been taught until now by the Magisterium, regarding essential questions such as the doctrine of the Sacraments and family morality, with the motivation that times have changed and the world demands some adjustment.

For this [reason] it is a duty of charity, which has the aim of “saving souls”, and a defense of the very dignity of the throne of Peter, and of the one who sits there, to highlight these ambiguities with the greatest respect.[…] To dare address a doctrinal correction to the Pope can be done and must be done only when the truth of the Faith is in danger and thus the salvation of the members of the people of God.”

At a time when consciences are darkened, the Correctio filialis expresses the sensus fidei of tens of thousands of Catholics who remind their Supreme Pontiff with filial respect, that the salvation of souls is the greatest good and for no reason in the world can one do evil or make compromises with it.
10/10/2017 12:17 AM
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With apologies and thanks to AKA CATHOLIC, whose 'anathema' banner I have adapted…

Antonio Socci comments on his Facebook page on a passage in an article by Eugenio Scalfari in today's La Repubblica:


October 9, 2017

Today, Scalfari has once again attributed to Bergoglio the thesis that Hell does not exist and that the soul is not immortal for everyone, thus attributing two heresies to him. Bergoglio has never denied previous statements of Scalfari to this effect and continues to treat him as a confidante and friend to whom he entrusts his thoughts [such as they are]. But can a pope really behave this way? [Yes, he can – and does, as and when it suits him – if he happens to be Jorge Bergoglio, who apparently thinks that having been elected pope means he has absolute sovereignty over everything and everyone in the Church, not excluding Jesus Christ himself, whom he has felt free to 'edit'. 'correct' and 'update' as he sees fit!]
I think that the pope should publicly deny these particular statements attributed to him. [Don't hold your breath!]

I tried, of course, to find the entire Scalfari article only to find out that Repubblica now has a paywall… But it seems the para-Vatican site IL SISMOGRAFO carried the entire article, which turns out to be a book review by Scalfari of a new book by Mons. Paglia.

Here is more of Scalfari’s article translated… in which things are even worse than the excerpt highlighted by Socci.

The church that fights narcissism
By Eugenio Scalfari
Translated from

Was Scalfari even aware of the dark irony in his title for this piece – when both Jorge Bergoglio and Vincenzo Paglia are arguably narcissists of the first order (do not forget the mural in Terni where Paglia had himself depicted among homosexual sinners)? Anyway, he part about Bergoglio’s beliefs – as Scalfari reports them, at least – came in becaused by Paglia in his book, entitled Il Crollo del Noi (The collapse of the ‘we’) [as opposed, that is, to the ‘I] apparently devotes much space to the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Paradise after having listened to the Devil in the form of a serpent:

...Here we have a problem that is not easy to resolve: To what do we owe the existence of the Devil? Is he a power opposed to God, or is it God himself deliberately disguised as the opposite of his nature? [Surely he jests!] The Catholic-Christian religion [That’s a new one! Is there a Catholic non-Christian religion?] obviously distinguishes between good and evil, but does not confront the origin of evil. Is it God himself who created it having given his human creatures free will? [Scalfari obviously thinks he’s clever asking that, but the revolt of Lucifer and his band of ‘angels’ preceded the creation of man! Perhaps the metaphysical answer is that everything created by God inherently possesses qualities that are polar opposites – day and night, good and evil, etc. and that reality is nothing but a manifestation of these qualities in varying degrees.]

Pope Francis, preceded in this by John XXIII and Paul V, [Really??? Must check that out!] but a more revolutionary force with respect to ecclesial theology, has abolished the places where, after death, souls are destined to go: Hell, Purgatory, Paradise. Two thousand years of theology have been based on this version of the Afterlife that the Gospels confirm. [So, by what authority, and more importantly, by what power, other than his hubris that he really is JESUS II - can Bergoglio 'abolish' these things? In effect, he really is doing away with three of the Four Last Things - in Christian eschatology, the Quattuor Novissima that are the last stages of the soul, i.e., Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.]

Note, however, that in part, this harks back to the letters of St. Paul (to the Corinthians and to the Romans) and in even greater part, to Augustine of Hippo, on the subject of Grace. Namely, that all souls are endowed with Grace and are therefore born perfectly innocent and remaining so as long as they do not embark on the path to evil. If they are aware of their evil and fail to repent even at the moment of death, then they are condemned.

Pope Francis, I repeat, has abolished the places of eternal residence for souls in the Afterlife. The thesis he maintains is that souls dominated by evil and unrepentant to the end simply cease to exist, while those who have been rescued from evil are assumed into the beatitude of contemplating God. [And this is not heaven? What about Purgatory for imperfectly rescued souls?]

This is the belief of both Francis and Paglia. I make here my own observation: The Universal Judgment in Church Tradition thus becomes devoid of sense. The souls who chose to be evil simply disappear, and the Last Judgment is nothing but a simple pretext that has led to splendid works of art. Nothing else but that. [Scalfari chooses to extrapolate on the Bergoglio-Paglia hypothesis that not all souls are immortal! As for the Last Judgment, I thought Scalfari had made it a point to study the Gospels thoroughly – did not Jesus himself refer to the Last Judgment literally and in other ways???]

Recently, I discussed this with pope Francis, asking him whether Spinoza’s condemnation could be revoked. His answer was No – that the transcendence of God could not be questioned, that without transcendence, the Divine Being would cease to exist if and when human beings disappear from the earth. If God were immanent, even he would disappear. [Well, bravo for Bergoglio on this point!] That is why Spinoza’s condemnation cannot be revoked. For a non-believer, this position is not acceptable even if reason says that transcendence is something comprehensible.

I shall close this book review with something Paglia wrote which illustrates the nucleus of this thinking: “Those who believe in God [religious persons] and those who believe in man [humanists] find a precious alliance in encountering the poor. [Paglia and Scalfari seem to think that believing in God and believing in man are mutually exclusive, even if the order of belief is different.][/dim I would say that one must start from this in order to repair the lacerations present in our society. Involvement in rescuing the poor draws an edifying line of change. For Christians, this humanism is fundamental: whoever encounters the poor encounters God himself”. [BS! If God is in every creature, as apparently Paglia believes, do we not encounter God in every man, animal and plant? In fact, we are taught in our earliest catechism that GOD IS EVERYWHERE, even if it is the basic reality that we all tend to forget almost all the time, because if we were mindful of it, then we could not offend him in any way by violating his law, i.e., by sinning.]

For my part, I will add: For non-believers, an encounter with the poor is an encounter with the secular values of liberty, equality and brotherhood. [As if the non-poor were excluded from this brotherhood!]

The tidal wave of anti-Catholic thought spewing forth these days from the pope and his followers appears to be on the rise (the recent Jesuit-sponsored Boston conference on AL is a veritable cesspool of it) after and despite the CORRECTIO, and probably because of it. Just to show all orthodox Catholics who is ruling the roost now, and tough luck if you can't live with it!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/10/2017 3:00 AM]
10/10/2017 3:05 AM
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October 9, 2017 headlines


Disregarding the divinely-rooted Canon 915
portends serious consequences for the Church and her faithful

Its object in prohibiting Communion for unqualified remarried divorcees
is to protect the faith community from scandal – but everyone seems
to be ignoring it in all the debates over the dubious points of AL

October 9, 2017

For several years I and others have argued that the question of admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion turns primarily on Canon 915 (which norm, against a backdrop of canons protecting the right of the faithful to access the sacraments, sets out a minister’s duty to refuse holy Communion under certain conditions).

Asserting the importance of Canon 915 in this Communion discussion, however, has been an uphill battle as virtually none of the official documents central to this debate—including Amoris laetitia,the Buenos Aires letter, the Maltese directives, the German episcopal conference document, and several others—so much as mentions Canon 915, let alone do they recognize that this canon directly regulates the sacramental disciplinary question at hand.

Till now I have but briefly noted the obligatory force of Canon 915 in terms of its being part of a Code of canons which “by their very nature must be observed” especially in that they are “based on a solid juridical, canonical, and theological foundation.” (John Paul II, Sacrae disciplinae leges (1983) [¶ 19]). Faithful Catholics should need little incentive to follow a canon beyond the fact that the Legislator has made it a part of his universal law.

Discussions as to the proper interpretation of a law are to be expected, of course, but such discussions would always center on a canon that all sides recognized existed and was relevant.

In the wake of Amoris, however, something different is happening: Canon 915 is slowly becoming an Orwellian “uncanon”, its existence not mentioned in key official documents impacting the Communion debate, its relevance to the precise sacramental issue at hand not being acknowledged. This notable official silence concerning Canon 915 portends, I suggest, serious consequences for the debate over the admission of divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion, to be sure, but, unless checked, it will also negatively impact other looming issues wherein Catholic doctrine directly interfaces with canonical discipline.

In light of the foregoing, then, I want to develop a point about Canon 915 that, while implicit in my earlier discussions of the Communion admission issue, seems now must be more explicitly made, namely, that the obligation to observe the sacramental provisions set out in Canon 915 when considering the administration of holy Communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics rests not only on that norm’s inclusion in a set of positive ecclesiastical laws but on its reflecting universally binding divine law itself.

Part 1 - The divine law roots of Canon 915
The canonist in me would be content to note that the character of Canon 915, as a modern articulation of a divine law precept that dates back to St. Paul and/or that aims at preventing divinely-forbidden scandal, is expressly and resoundingly upheld in
- a declaration on Canon 915 issued by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in 2000 and, further,
acknowledged by numerous canonical commentaries including
- the Exegetical Commentary (2004) III/1: 614-615;
- Code of Canon Law Annotated (2004) 709; and
- Codice di Diritto Canonico Commentato (2009) 767, to name just three.
There being zero question among canon lawyers that Canon 915 deals directly with the question of admitting, here, divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion, I would turn promptly to Canon 915 for directions.

But additional, more theological, foundations for demonstrating the divine law basis of Canon 915 are available.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2284-2287, for example, outlining the respect owed to the immortal souls of others, identifies scandal as “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil”, teaches that scandal “takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it”, notes that scandal can be given by policies “leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice”, and warns community leaders that using their power “in such a way that it leads others to do wrong” makes them “guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.”

Per the Catechism, then, individuals giving personal scandal to others violate divine law; Church officials giving institutional scandal to the community (say, by countenancing the personal scandal given by certain individuals) violate divine law more gravely still.

Furthermore, by prohibiting ministers of holy Communion from giving that “most august Sacrament” (1983 CIC 897) to any Catholic who “obstinately perseveres in manifest grave sin” (understanding those terms as they have long been understood in canon law), Canon 915 serves the common ecclesial good in, I suggest, at least three ways:
- first, it supports to some extent the faithful’s personal obligation under Canon 916 to examine their consciences (perhaps with the guidance of a confessor) prior to approaching for holy Communion;
- second, it reduces, though it does not eliminate, the chances that sacrilegious Communions will be made by the faithful;
- third—and most importantly, I suggest—it directly prevents ministers of the Church from giving institutional scandal to the faith community (and indeed to the wider watching world) such as would inevitably arise if the Church’s greatest sacrament were administered to Catholics whose observable conduct or status (such as, say, living together with another as if a spouse although at least one person in the relationship already was already married) contradicts core values of the faith (here, Christ’s repeated proclamations against divorce and remarriage).

In short, Canon 915 blunts the individual scandal given by the faithful who openly live lives contrary to fundamental Christian values and it prevents Church officials from giving institutional scandal by engaging in ministerial actions that would appear to treat such contrarian behavior as compatible with Church teaching.

But the problem of disregarding Canon 915 goes deeper still, I fear.

Into the void created by ignoring Canon 915, a canon fashioned over many centuries as a community defense against scandal and specifically against scandal given by ecclesiastical leaders, there has rushed in the contrary idea that the private judgement of individuals (perhaps reached with priestly advice) concerning their taking of the Sacrament, whenever they consider themselves fit for it and regardless of how inconsistent their public conduct or status might be with the teachings of Christ and his Church, is to be preferred to the common ecclesial good of protecting the faith community from the harm of public bad example. In other words, personal conscience is being urged as a substitute for public conduct as a key criterion controlling certain questions of ecclesiastical governance.

Moreover, this abandonment of the faith community to the dangers of scandal contrary to the divine law protections reflected in Canon 915 is presently being pushed in regard to Catholics living in “public and permanent adultery” (CCC 2384) but the logic of substituting personal conscience for public conduct in regard to ecclesial governance issues does not and will not stop at marriage questions.

Part 2: How the problem took hold and is spreading
That the question of admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion should henceforth turn largely on an individual’s perception of (diminished or even absent) personal culpability for sin as that might be discerned in personal conscience, and need not honor primarily the divine law prohibition against giving personal and institutional scandal to others, is a proposal so startling in its novelty and so shocking in its implications that it seems to have taken over, almost invisibly, the very framing of the question of admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion. It is as if the world of sacramental discipline groaned and awoke to find itself subjectivized.

Now, this erosion of the canonical protection of the faith community against scandal is not being achieved by a frontal attack on Church teaching (indeed Church teaching is often verbally honored) nor so much by turning a blind eye toward disciplinary abuses (as has always been with us), but rather, first, by the simple expedient of pervasively ignoring Canon 915 and its scandal-prevention orientation, and second, by treating the norm (if it must be mentioned at all, and which must, one supposes, deal with something) as if it dealt with the Church’s (in itself, quite legitimate) pastoral concern for sin, as follows:

First, as noted above, mention of Canon 915 itself has been almost completely absent from the most important documents dealing with the question of admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion. But, realizing that admitting divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion is somehow “not okay” canonically, some mechanism for addressing that “not okay-ness” needed to be developed.

That mechanism is, I suggest, the constant repetition of certain tropes or themes according to which Canon 915 (or at least some unnamed law dealing with the faithful going to Communion), deals largely with questions of personal sin, not scandal.

Once the conversation about Canon 915 (or some unnamed restrictive norm) has, by the steady repetition of nearly invariable refrains, been shifted away from this norm’s primary task of protecting the community against scandal and toward its allegedly being a response to personal sin, the rest proceeds easily:

Upon correctly pointing out, say, that divorced-and-remarried Catholics are often in situations of reduced moral culpability and after rightly stressing the pastoral importance of weighing case-by-case factors in pastoral accompaniment—and being careful to avoid acknowledging that such considerations have basically nothing to do with the operation of Canon 915, a norm concerned with the prevention of objective scandal, not internal assessments of conscience the conclusion comes gradually to be accepted that, as no law or human being can judge another’s culpability for sin, so no law or human being may prohibit another from taking Communion based on that other’s “culpability” for conduct.

Ministers of Holy Communion thus become sacramental ATMs. To the minister’s prompt, “Body of Christ”, a Catholic responds with the password “Amen” [although of course, one is not supposed to say Amen to the priest’s words when he administers the Eucharist], and the Eucharist is disbursed. Scandal is ignored; Canon 915 is diverted; and the community is left to deal with the effects of the bad example of others and of their ministers as best it can.

In short, once people think that Canon 915 (the few times it is mentioned) is mostly about assessing the sacramental consequences of the personal sins of the faithful and is not concerned with preventing institutional scandal by ministers, then anything that mitigates one’s culpability for personal sin (and many things do mitigate such culpability) necessarily mitigates the force of Canon 915. The subversion of the Communion debate concerns over scandal is complete, and its resolution in favor of a highly subjective determination of eligibility for holy Communion is achieved.

A final note
There is, alas, another consequence of wrongly framing the question regarding the admission of divorced-and-remarried Catholics to holy Communion as if it were [merely] a question of culpability for sin instead of it turning on the community’s right to be protected from personal and institutional scandal.

It is this: in consequence of the urgent need to reorient the debate over Canon 915 back toward protecting the faith community against scandal as required by divine law, the discussion of many other pressing pastoral questions on marriage (such as the terrible ill-preparedness of so many people to enter marriage, the inadequacies of certain canonical formulations of various points of marriage doctrine, the correct operation of the ‘internal forum solution’, the worsening anomalies of requiring canonical form for valid marriage, the procedural problems of the older canon law on annulments and of Francis’ newer norms, and a dozen points besides) is repeatedly delayed.

Because of the need to respond to the deeper threat to ecclesial order that ignoring and misrepresenting Canon 915 poses to the Church, people calling attention to Canon 915 are dismissed as legalists for their harping on esoteric laws while there are real people with real marriage problems to be tended.

As if we didn’t know that, and as if we didn’t prefer to make positive contributions to the pastoral advancement of canon law instead of having, nearly constantly these days, to take time out to defend norms such as Canon 915, and the very important values they represent, against destruction by those unaware of, or not concerned with, what such canons mean “in the life both of the ecclesial society and of the individual persons who belong to it.” (John Paul II, Sacrae disciplinae leges (1983) [¶ 16]).

If you still doubt that there is method in Bergoglio's hubristic madness, consider the ff story, in the light of Ed Peters's eye-opener on the systematic 'shelving' of Canon 915 by the Bergoglians. Now, it seems he is bent on turning all of canon law on its head to suit his agenda. This pope is acccelerating his demolition of the one true Church and replacing it with his own church which he presumptuously dares to still call the Catholic Church.

Pope says canon law must serve
Vatican II vision of the Church

[For this pope, of course, the vision is that of total rupture
with the past - what hermeneutic of continuity?]

by Cindy Wooden
Oct. 9, 2017

ROME - The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law is an instrument that must serve the church’s pastoral mission of bringing God’s mercy to all and leading them to salvation, Pope Francis said.

Just as the first full codification of Catholic Church law was carried out 100 years ago “entirely dominated by pastoral concern,” so today its amendments and application must provide for a well-ordered care of the Christian people, the pope said in a message Oct. 6 to a canon law conference in Rome.

Leading canonists, as well as professors and students from all the canon law faculties in Rome, were meeting Oct. 4-7 to mark the 100th anniversary of the first systematic Code of Canon Law, which was promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917.

Work on the code began under the pontificate of St. Pius X and was a response in part to the need to examine, systematize and reconcile often conflicting church norms, Francis said.

After the Vatican lost its temporal power, he said, St. Pius knew it was time to move from “a canon law contaminated by elements of temporality to a canon law more conforming to the spiritual mission of the church.”

The 100th anniversary of the code, which was updated by St. John Paul II in 1983, should be a time to recognize the importance of canon law as a service to the church, Francis said.

When St. John Paul promulgated the new law, the pope said, he wrote that it was the result of an effort “to translate into canonical language … the conciliar ecclesiology,” that is, the Second Vatican Council’s vision of the church, its structure and relation to its members and the world.

“The affirmation expresses the change that, after the Second Vatican Council, marked the passage from an ecclesiology modeled on canon law to a canon law conforming to ecclesiology,” Francis said.

The Church’s law must always be perfected to better serve the church’s mission and the daily lives of the faithful, which, he said, was the point of his amendments to canon law streamlining the church’s process for determining the nullity of a marriage.

Canon law, he said, can and should be an instrument for implementing the vision of the Second Vatican Council.

In particular, Francis said, it should promote
- “collegiality;
- synodality in the governance of the church;
- valuing particular churches;
- the responsibility of all the Christian faithful in the mission of the church;
- ecumenism;
- mercy and closeness as the primary pastoral principle;
- individual, collective and institutional religious freedom;
- a healthy and positive secularism; (and)
- healthy collaboration between the church and civil society in its various expressions.”

[He touches all the code words of his pontificate - using seemingly unexceptionable terms to mask his ruinous agenda.]

Also very apropos is Ed Peters's earlier comment on a 'new' defense of AL in the light of the CORRECTIO, in which he points out how the defender Rocco Buttiglione, appears to ignore canon 915 altogether, in addition to other canonical errors :

A corrective to some of Prof. Buttiglione’s
recent assertions about canon law

He has misunderstood and/or misrepresented some important, if more subtle,
canonical points in his recent critique of the Correctio Filialis.

October 6, 2017 Edward N. Peters

It is simply not possible for me to re-explain, every time I address the latest canonical misstatements proffered by some writer or another, the whole canon law on the reception of holy Communion and the administration of that Sacrament by ministers. Further information on those crucial topics is available elsewhere.

Here I comment only to caution others that some of Prof. Rocco Buttiglione’s recent comments on the administration and reception of holy Communion are not canonically sound. [In the light of Bergoglio's virtual dismissal of existing canon law as mutable by his will and fiat, perhaps his apologist Buttiglione does not care about existing canon law, either!]

Readers might recall that a year or so ago Buttiglione authored an essay alleging that divorced-and-remarried Catholics had been excommunicated until John Paul II courageously eliminated that supposed sanction from the 1983 Code. I showed that no such excommunication existed in universal law (searching back more than 100 years) and suggested then that Buttiglione was not a reliable historian of canon law. To my knowledge he did not modify his claims. Oh well.

Now Buttiglione has authored another essay, this time against the Correctio Filialis. As stated earlier I have no position on the Correctio itself but I pause to suggest that, once again, Buttiglione has misunderstood and/or misrepresented some important, if this time more subtle, canonical points. Our discussion is hampered by Buttiglione’s failure to specify exactly which disciplinary norms he has in mind at various stages of his essay. Sorry, we’ll proceed as best we can.

For example, Buttiglione writes:

There is an absolute impossibility of giving Eucharist to those who are in mortal sin (and this rule is of Divine law and therefore imperative) but if, due to the lack of full knowledge and full consent, there is no mortal sin, communion can be given, from the point of view of moral theology, also to a remarried-and-divorced.

There is also another prohibition, not moral but legal. Extra-marital coexistence clearly contradicts the law of God and generates scandal. In order to protect the faith of the people and strengthen the conscience of the indissolubility of marriage, legitimate authority may decide not to give communion to remarried-and-divorced even if they are not in mortal sin. However, this rule is a human law and the legitimate authority can allow exceptions for good reason.

There are many canonical mistakes in the above passage though I will deal with only three at present. Also I will rephrase some of Buttiglione’s words because I think bad translations might have interfered with his message.

(1) There is an absolute impossibility of giving the Eucharist to those who are in mortal sin. [Even plain common sense tells us this is FALSE! A priest administering communion does not know who is in mortal sin and thereby committing sacrilege by receiving Communion!]
This claim is wrong. Setting aside the impossibility of one human being knowing for sure whether any other human being is “in mortal sin” — why do so many people think that reading souls is part of a canon lawyer’s stock-in-trade? — it is quite possible, indeed,canonically required, to administer holy Communion publicly to members of the Christian faithful whom a minister suspects (perhaps on excellent evidence) to be “in mortal sin” unless all five elements of Canon 915 (obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin) are simultaneously satisfied.

This is standard sacramental law, yet Buttiglione seems unaware of this norm and unaware that Canon 18 requires its strict interpretation such that, doubtless and sadly, sacrilegious Communions can be made in accord with Church law — something hardly possible if divine law absolutely prohibited it. This botching of a crucial point in his argument does not instill confidence that Buttiglione will handle other points reliably.

(2) Extra-marital cohabitation clearly contradicts the law of God and generates scandal.
Sometimes false. I am aware of no divine law that prohibits “extra-marital cohabitation” per se (let one alone “clearly” prohibiting it) and can imagine situations wherein such “cohabitation” (not extra-marital sex, but cohabitation), strictly speaking, could be prudently countenanced, at least for a time (complex discussion omitted).

Rather I suspect that Buttiglione is, wittingly or not, confusing “cohabitation” with “divorce-and-remarriage” and thereby substituting what the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2384 describes as “a situation of public and permanent adultery” for something that mightbe morally acceptable. Again, such an assertion hardly exhibits the level of precision that discussion of these points requires.

(3) To protect the faith of the people and to strengthen the respect for the indissolubility of marriage, legitimate authority may decide not to give communion to remarried-and-divorced even if they are not in mortal sin. However, this rule is a human law and the legitimate authority can allow exceptions for good reason.
Again Buttiglione assumes that ministers and canonists know who is “in mortal sin” and who isn’t. For the last time, that’s balderdash. But more to the point, Buttiglione’s earlier erroneous assertion that divine law always prohibits ministers from giving holy Communion to persons “in mortal sin” (assuming we even know who they are), returns now to create new confusion between canons resting on divine law (as some do) and canons supposedly resting on mere human law (such as, one surmises, Buttiglione believes Canon 915 does when it prohibits administration of holy Communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics) which law, because it is ‘just a law’, and not ‘morals’, can supposedly be changed.

But, as has been explained numerous times, Canon 915, operating in the face of obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin (here, the sin of contradicting the permanence of marriage by purporting to marry again while a prior spouse is yet alive), prohibits ministers from giving holy Communion to certain persons when such administration causes scandal to others, scandal being defined by the Catechism as “a grave offense” which is worsened “when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others”. (CCC 2284-2287). In other words, Canon 915 rests at least in part on divine law, the divine law that prohibits, among other things, anyone (especially ministers of the Church!) from giving scandal to others. Buttiglione seems unaware of this aspect of Canon 915.

Canon 915 is not about withholding holy Communion from a couple that one thinks is illicitly “doing it”; it is about withholding holy Communion when its administration would lead the community to, here, doubt the gravity of the contradiction that civil divorce-and-remarriage gives to marriage as proclaimed by Christ and his Church.

Even the much-invoked and usually misunderstood “brother-sister” accommodation is to be considered only if the couple’s status as divorced-and-remarried outside the Church is not known in the community (and if the couple promises continence which, obviously, ministers cannot monitor).

But at this point, I must repeat that these wider matters are explained elsewhere, and my focus now is on Buttiglione’s latest essay, which essay, I think I have shown, is not a reliable guide to the canonistics in question here.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/10/2017 7:57 PM]
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I herewith intend to get out of the way that agit- provocative tactical psywar session in Boston last week on ramming AL through the already wide-open doors of the secularized Church in the USA.

That Jesuit-run Boston College conference on AL

Oct. 6, 2017

[Fr Z's comments in red]

The Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) has a post about a conference on Amoris Laetitia held at Jesuit-run Boston College. The report has an aggressively tendentious title: “Conference weighs how ‘Amoris Laetitia’ rejects ‘infantilization of laity’.” Infantaiization?

First, consider some of the speakers: [bCardinal Blase Cupich, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna and San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a theologian at Manhattan College, Jesuit Fr. James Keenan, Jesuit Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro, C. Vanessa White, a theologian at Catholic Theological Union, etc.

Great, right? What could go wrong? Everything, apparently.

It is hard to assess the usefulness of conference from a news piece written by someone with a clear agenda, but we can glean a few things from the quotes.

One thing that emerged is that they are pushing the primacy of “experience”. This means that if your experience prompts you to do X, well, that must be okay even though the Church teaches that X might even be intrinsically evil. Your “experience” authorizes you to do X. Furthermore, the clergy’s role must then be to affirm your choice and accompany you as you pursue it. I think I got that right.
Leaving aside completely Cupich’s talk, for now… Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a theologian at Manhattan College, said Latino reception of Amoris Laetitia “cannot be understood” outside the historical legacy of the colonial system in the Americas. “ Oh, Sure. Right!

Imperatori-Lee said that in Francis’s call for better respect of decisions that laypeople make in their lives, Latinos see the pope “pointing to the infantilization of laypeople and families that is so commonly a feature of colonization.” [colonization?]

“The infantilization of the laity has its historical roots in a view of laypeople as objects of clerical control: pay, pray and obey, or as Pius X notes in [the 1906 encyclical] Vehementer Nos, “the protagonist of its own destiny.”

“Couples become the subjects of their history, even as pastors and confessors retain a role of accompaniment and listening,” she said.

I’m pretty sure that this is code for: [You don’t have to listen to the Church if you don’t want to.

“The replacement of conscience is an act of domination, again colonization,” she said, paraphrasing Peruvian theologian Gregorio Pérez. [I wonder what theological school he could be aligned with.] “It is an abuse of power. The formation of conscience, on the other hand, is life-giving ministry.” [I’m not quite sure who that Gregorio Pérez is, but I suspect it could be this guy.] [Fr Z links to some biodata that identifies Perez as a passionate ‘liberation theologian].

I think this means that if a priest or bishop teaches something clear about what the Church teaches on faith and morsals, that would constitute an attempt to “replace” the conscience and is, therefore, a symptom of domination, like colonization (which must, I guess, be really bad… colonization must be evil). I’ll bet that the speaker thinks that “formation” of conscience means something like affirming whatever people think, with your fingers crossed that they’ll get it right on their own… but if they don’t, affirm them anyway. You don’t, after all, want to be a colonizer.

And this….
C. Vanessa White, a theologian at Catholic Theological Union, focused on how the black Catholic community has understood the exhortation. To prepare for her talk, she sought input from other black Catholic theologians and lay ministers on how the document had affected their parishes.

“Sad to say, most of those who responded say there has been little impact,” said White. One lay minister told her: “When Amoris Laetitia first came out it was discussed briefly … but there wasn’t an overall interest from the parish to read the document in its entirety. That’s more like it!

And what to make of this? Cathleen Kaveny, a theologian and civil lawyer at Boston College, spoke about how the church considers people who have been divorced and remarried without first obtaining annulments.

Kaveny used her dual professional background to examine how the church might turn to U.S. civil law as a resource for a re-evaluation of how it sees remarriage as a continuing kind of adultery. [US civil law as resource… Does that mean theological locus? What about laws that permit abortion? Aren’t there still some sodomy laws on the books? What about the Ohio law that it is illegal for five women to live in the same house?]

She cited a case in which the Supreme Court decided that prosecutors pursuing a case gainst polygamists could not charge them with separate counts for each year they were married because the crime had to align with the “lived experience” of the people at question. [There it is. “lived experience”. But wait! The good stuff is coming up!]

“Jesus clearly disfavored adultery,” Kaveny concluded. Disfavored. Interesting word choice. I can picture Christ now, biting his lower lip like Bill Clinton and then accompanying the adulterers with a hug and smile.] “It’s clear that he rejects divorce and remarriage as contrary to the original will of God. [Get ready for the poison…] But nothing in Jesus’s words or conduct demand that the sin involved in divorce and remarriage must be conceptualized as a sin that continues indefinitely, without the possibility of effective repentance.” [What she means, I think, is that at a certain point the adulterous union ceases to be a sin without any changes or amendment of life. ]

“To impose such a requirement in every case is not merciful,” she said. “And mercy is the ultimate touchstone for the divine lawgiver.” [Mercy means never having to say “I’m sorry".]

“We do not need to disturb Jesus’s teaching in order to refine and develop it in these ways, in ways that moral theologians and canon lawyers have always done,” she said. [‘To refine and develop Jesus’s teaching indeed! Bergoglio’s hubris has infected his minions!]

Look. This is a biased report in the worst excuse for a catholic source you can find. It is hard to know what really happened there from this mishmash of quotes. However, I’ll bet you all the money in your pocket that it was held to promote a specific agenda, and that no one walked out wondering what it was.

The AL agitprop workshop in Boston
and Schrödinger’s cat

Oct. 7, 2017

I wrote about the first installment of coverage of the agitprop workshop going on at Boston College about issues concerning Amoris Laetitia. It seems to me, having read something about the second round (including the talk about Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro) that this is a practical workshop for [Bergoglian] agents where they are giving marching orders and talking points for how to attack those who disagree with their interpretations.

I just had a great conversation with a fellow who is a physicist. We were talking about the work of another physicist who was part of the gravity team which was awarded the Nobel Prize... In the course of our chat the classic case of Schrödinger’s Cat came up. And in reference to the BC agitprop workshop, I observed that, right now, those who are undermining Catholic teaching with ambiguity and chatter about “lived experience” have jettisoned the principle of non-contradiction.

Something hit me. The people who are saying, in effect, that people who are in the state of sin can go to Communion without confession and a firm purpose of amendment, are like those who stand in front of the box containing Schrödinger’s Cat. Except, they refuse to open it in order to find out what’s inside. So long as they never have to open the box, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time.

When questions are asked (“Is the cat dead or alive inside that box, Prof. Schrödinger?”), instead of opening the box to find out, the key is simply squirreled away in a place no one can access. Hence, you can have one bishops’ conference interpreting ALs one way while another conference goes another way, in blatant violation of the principle of non-contradiction.

Refuse to look and you can have it anyway you want. That’s fine when it’s just a cat in a box. It’s not fine when we are talking about the salvation of souls.

More on the AL workshop in Boston
By John-Henry Westen

BOSTON, Massachusetts, October 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Two cardinals and a dozen bishops attended a conference this week at Boston College where they met with a number of dissident Catholics to discuss strategies for implementing Pope Francis’ controversial teachings on marriage and family in dioceses across the United States.

Jesuit Fr. James Keenan, a theologian at Boston College and one of the main organizers of the October 5-6 event, said the conference will “fortify and further the ongoing reception of Amoris in the U.S." He said that the event is about “setting an agenda for the future of the Church” in the U.S.

Keenan had testified in 2003 against a Massachusetts amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He argued that “as a priest and as a moral theologian, I cannot see how anyone could use the Roman Catholic tradition to support [the amendment].” He said the bill would deny “gays and lesbians” the “full range of human and civil rights.”

The dissident news service National Catholic Reporter (NCR) appears to have been given the exclusive privilege of covering the conference. Links about the event on Boston College’s website refer to articles on NCR’s website. On its website, NCR states that a “handful of press outlets have been invited to report on the proceedings, including NCR.” It remains unclear, however, if any faithful [orthodox] Catholic news outlets covered the event.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is co-hosting the conference. In June, the cardinal interpreted Amoris Laetitia as a call for Catholics to graduate from “an adolescent spirituality into an adult spirituality” where they will be able to use their “freedom of conscience” to “discern truth” in their life. [Chicago has had the great misfortune to go from the most Ratzingerian of US cardinals in the late Cardinal George, a genuine intellectual and holy man, to the most Bergoglian of robots in Cupich (in my mind, I think of him as ‘Cup-yechhh’!)]

During the 2015 Synod of the Family, which Cupich attended at Pope Francis’s personal invitation, the then-archbishop said that active homosexuals should be able to receive Holy Communion. He later defended his view in an ABC interview, stating that if “gay people” in “good conscience” discern that they should receive Holy Communion, then “they have to follow their conscience.”

The Boston College conference consisted of panel discussions between prelates, theologians, and canon lawyers, many of whom hold positions contrary to perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, the sacraments, conscience, and the existence of absolute moral norms.

[Westen proceeds to report the same things Fr. Z picked up in his Oct. 6 blog from the Fishwrap, so I shall not repeat them.

Attending the conference is Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, papal confidant and editor of the Italian magazine La Civiltà Cattolica. Spadaro has defended Amoris Laetitia as opening the door for divorced and remarried Catholics to access the Sacraments. He stirred controversy in January when he tweeted in reference to the backlash caused by the Pope’s teaching that “2 + 2 in #Theology can make 5” because “it has to do with #God and real #life of #people.”

Spadaro told attendees at the conference that after Amoris Laetitia, the Catholic Church can no longer set down general rules that apply to entire groups of people.

"We must conclude that the pope realizes that one can no longer speak of an abstract category of persons and ... [a] praxis of integration in a rule that is absolutely to be followed in every instance," he said.

"Since the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases, the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same,"
[colore] he added.

"It is no longer possible to judge people on the basis of a norm that stands above all," he concluded.

[The above statements by Spadaro are what PewSitter headlined as “Pope Francis thinks the Ten Commandments are optional”, which is the sense of what Spadaro said, but still, the headline PS went for suggests Spadaro said so literally.]

Also attending the conference was Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Vatican's new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Farrell has said that Communion for [unqualified] remarried divorcees is the outcome of a “process of discernment and of conscience” that is arrived at after a “journey” where the couple is accompanied by a priest. He has criticized a fellow U.S. bishop’s guidelines that refuses Communion to the remarried as causing “division.”

He has also praised Jesuit Fr. James Martin’s book ‘Building A Brid ge’ which has been criticized by other bishops, and even a cardinal, for its failure to speak about the sinfulness of homosexual acts and its tendency to normalize homosexuality.

Farrell spoke yesterday on a panel about Amoris Laetitia’s message to Catholics who have become disaffected by authority structures, according to National Catholic Reporter.

Speakers also included Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who co-wrote guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia in January that allow civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion if they are “at peace with God.”

The Malta archbishop told Malta Indep in a 2016 interview that homosexual civil unions are a "service to the dignity of these people.” “I think that we should support legislation that gives same-sex partners their dignity and their social protection,” he said. Malta legalized homosexual “marriage” in July with little opposition from Scicluna or his brother bishop, Mario Grech.

Also attending the conference is San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy. He called on priests in his diocese last November to allow divorced and remarried Catholics living in adultery to “utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist." He has also told priests to embrace "LGBT families" in their parishes.

The conference took place about two weeks after 60 Catholic clergy and lay scholars from around the world issued a “Filial Correction” to Pope Francis for “propagating heresy,” asserting that Pope Francis has supported heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the Eucharist that are causing a host of “heresies and other errors” to spread throughout the Catholic Church.

Finally, a wrap-up from Fr. Z….

The Boston AL conference as a 'how-to’
in the Bergoglian ‘Cultural Revolution’

Oct. 9, 2017

The recent Jesuit-run Boston College conference on the reception of Amoris Laetitia in these USA seems to have been intended as a closed workshop on how to “struggle” (in the Cultural Revolution sense) against the Four Olds (in this case, Familiaris Consortio, Veritatis splendor, Humanae vitae, and the Principle of Non-Contradiction). As a confirmation of same, I noted at LifeSite‘s article about it:

The dissident news service National Catholic Reporter (NCR) [aka Fishwrap aka National Schismatic Reporter] appears to have been given the exclusive privilege of covering the conference. Links about the event on Boston College’s website refer to articles on NCR’s website. On its website, NCR states that a “handful of press outlets have been invited to report on the proceedings, including NCR.”

Look at the line up of cadres and commissars who spoke. Look at the Jesuit-run location. Look at the planned and controlled coverage. What could go wrong?

Now we see the lib catholic equivalent of Big Letter Posters from Fishwrap. They have received their caps and booklets. It’ll be a constant harangue now of “Down with the Cow Demons! Down with the Snake Spirits! Down with Dubia Askers!” Soon we will see their version of the Four Pests Campaign rev up against “Converts who Have Opinions, Lovers of Tradition, Signers of Filial Letters, Upholders of Law”. Let us go Down To The Countryside of “Lived Experience”.

We must now force the legalist Cow Demons to learn the wisdom of El Pueblo and their “lived experience” which overcomes the Four Olds. Criticize! RECTIFY!

(I suppose some will question my choice of imagery.)

How many people attended this workshop? Here is a photo from Fishwrap of the “participants”.

Tens of people! Perhaps these were just the speakers and organizers? Wait…. that was the attendance! According to Fishwrap: “These panel presentations were stimulating and prompted an extraordinary amount of discourse among all 40 participants”.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/27/2017 11:10 PM]
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Abp Hon Tai-Fai, the pope’s latest Vatican victim, was the highest-ranking Chinese in the Church.

Pope Francis removes anti-Communist
archbishop from key Vatican post

The pope has made a number of overtures to China's ruling communist party since 2013

By Paul Huang

October 9, 2017

Epoch Times is an independent, global news source, headquartered in New York, with a focus on uncensored China news, culture and science.

A senior archbishop known for his strong opposition to the Communist regime in China has been removed from a key post in the Vatican by Pope Francis. The move is the latest in a series of overtures Pope Francis has made in recent years to seek resumption of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Chinese regime, which has always rejected the Pope’s authority to appoint Catholic bishops in Mainland China.

Pope Francis made the surprise announcement on Sept. 28 that Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) at the Vatican, will be reassigned to Athens, Greece to serve as the Vatican’s papal nuncio (diplomat). The 67-year-old Archbishop from Hong Kong, who has been the highest-ranking official of Chinese origin in the Vatican, has no prior diplomatic experience.

As the French newspaper La Croix noted, Archbishop Hon has been one of the most senior bishops opposed to Pope Francis’ policy of rapprochement with the Chinese regime. His position at the Vatican’s Propaganda Fide, where he served for seven years since being appointed there by previous Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, was a powerful post as that put him second-in-command in the Vatican body that directly governs Vatican’s missionary works.

The Vatican and the People’s Republic of China have had no diplomatic relations since 1951, as the Chinese Communist Party insisted from the very beginning of its rule that all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in mainland China should be appointed by itself so as to maintain control. Instead, a regime-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) was created to supposedly represent Catholics in China, yet the CPCA has never been recognized by the Vatican.

Since Pope Francis was elected in 2013, however, he has made numerous overtures to open diplomatic relations, such as a Papal flight over China in 2014, and an announcement in February of this year that an agreement over the issue of the power to appoint Bishops has been reached with Beijing, among other events.

Archbishop Hon is known for being a close ally to Cardinal Joseph Zen, the respected former Bishop of Hong Kong who retired in 2009. Just like Hon, Zen has been a staunch opponent of the Chinese regime and its many violations of human rights and religious freedom. In recent years, Zen has emerged as the most prominent critic of Pope Francis’S approach with Beijing.

“Finally they got rid of him! But Greece is not further away from Rome than Hong Kong!?” Joseph Zen wrote in his blog in response to Pope Francis’ decision to remove Hon.

Now age 85, Zen undertook a high profile visit across the United States and Canada this week, and repeatedly criticized what he claimed to be Pope Francis and the Vatican officials’ misguided optimism when it comes to a deal with the Chinese regime.

“The Chinese government has not made any concessions in the negotiations,” he told the Chinese-language World Journal in New York on Sunday. “[Pope Francis] does not understand the Chinese Communist Party at all.”

Archbishop Hon’s removal shows that Pope Francis has made up his mind on the issue of opening relations with the Chinese regime and is not listening to any opposing view, according to Zen.

The Vatican has yet to respond to the latest remarks by Cardinal Zen, and The Epoch Times’ repeated phone calls to the Vatican’s Press Office to request for comment have not been answered.
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A three-week-old column by Ross Douthat continues to be timely and relevant, though not completely unexceptionable...

Expect the Inquisition

Sept. 20, 2017

In the Catholic Church of Pope Francis, it is dangerous to be too conservative. Professor Josef Seifert, a distinguished Catholic philosopher from Austria, discovered this recently, when he was dismissed from his position at the University of Granada in Spain by the local archbishop.

Seifert’s sin was to have raised questions about Amoris Laetitia, the controversial papal exhortation on marriage, whose ambiguous statements on divorce and remarriage the philosopher described as a potential “theological atom bomb” for Catholic moral teaching. Such stark criticism of a sitting pope “damages the communion of the church,” Granada’s archbishop wrote, in retiring the professor from his academic post.
Meanwhile, in the Catholic Church of Pope Francis it is also dangerous to be too liberal. [Dont’ know about that! It seems more like you cannot be liberal enough for Bergoglio.] Father James Martin, a famous American Jesuit author, discovered this last weekend, when he was disinvited from a talk at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America, and had another talk in London rescheduled, after an internet campaign by traditionalist priests and laypeople. [Not surprising, as the reaction against Martin’s unabashed heterodoxy/heresy on the matter of homosexual practices is not unlike the reaction of everyone who finds the pope has gone too far in Chapter 8 of AL. That doesn’t mean that the Bergoglian church itself has found anything questionable at all in Martin’s proactive pro-homosexualism.]
Father Martin is the author of a new book, “Building a Bridge,” urging dialogue and reconciliation between the Catholic Church and gay people, and his critics charge him with effectively denying church teaching on sexuality (a charge that he denies). The institutions who disinvited him did not endorse the charge; they simply decided to duck the controversy.
After the Martin cancellations, Professor Massimo Faggioli of Villanova, a frequent commentator on Catholic matters, wrote a piece bemoaning the rise of conservative “Catholic cyber-militias.” These self-appointed inquisitors, Faggioli lamented, are resisting Pope Francis’s reforms by imposing “a new kind of censorship,” using methods that threaten to subvert all the normal lines of authority within the church..
Professor Faggioli’s sudden concern about online campaigns was interesting to me, because it was just a short while ago that the professor was himself busy organizing an online campaign against myself — which urged my employer to censor my writings on Pope Francis and Catholicism, because of my lack of theological credentials and my putatively incorrect opinions on the doctrine of the faith.

But of course Professor Faggioli felt justified in organizing his particular militia, because he apparently felt that I had previously tried to get him fired during a waspish exchange on Twitter (it’s inquisitions all the way down, I’m afraid), when I suggested that his views on the potential evolution of Catholicism might be usefully acknowledged as a heresy.

Threatening the professor’s employment was never my intention, and since his current academic job seems impressive and my own job has been happily secure, we both seem to have come through the auto-da-fe unscathed. And in the interest of securing some rare common ground, I think his analysis ob][what is happening to Catholic life under Francis — the rise of informal inquisitions, the paralysis of Catholic institutions, the failure of normal ecclesiastical structures — contains some important truth.

Where he’s wrong is in suggesting that this is just a right-wing Catholic phenomenon, and that it’s just an unfortunate, internet-abetted byproduct of Pope Francis’s attempted liberalization and decentralization.
In fact the conflicting inquisitions, liberal and conservative, are the all-but-inevitable result of the pope’s decisions to stir the church’s tensions into civil war again, and then to fight for the liberal side using ambiguous statements and unofficial interventions rather than the explicit powers of his office.

Indeed, when Professor Faggioli complains about a “Catholic social media that has completely bypassed” the way the “Catholic Church has worked for centuries,” he might just as easily be describing Pope Francis, whose personalized style has made the lines of authority within the church maddeningly unclear.

On issues large and small, Francis has decentralized authority informally while retaining all the formal powers of his office and encouraged theological envelope-pushing without changing the official boundaries of what counts as Catholic teaching and what does not. This has effectively created two different versions of that teaching — the one on the books versus the one that the pope offers in his winks and nods — to which different Catholics can appeal.

In this environment, anyone who wishes to know what the pope really thinks is better off ignoring official Vatican offices and instead listening to the coterie of papal advisers who take to Twitter to snipe against his critics.

But even that kind of Kremlinology doesn’t completely clarify the pope’s intentions, which is why Francis’s liberalizing allies are frequently impatient with him and sometimes get out ahead of his intentions and find themselves reined in.

for remarried divorcees varies from country to country and diocese to diocese, and even papal admirers can’t seem to agree on what the official Vatican position entails. The church’s teaching on suicide now varies in different parts of Canada, and since the Vatican seems to accept that variation a Belgian religious order has pushed things even further, insisting that it intends to actually carry out assisted suicide at its hospitals. (This Rome seems to regard as a bridge too far — but the Belgians are not submitting quietly.)

Both Professor Seifert and Father Martin are more personalized cases in point. In one sense, by critiquing Pope Francis’s tacit shift on communion for remarried divorcees, the Austrian professor was simply defending the official teaching of past popes and church councils — none of which has been overturned. So one can say (with his conservative defenders) that Seifert was effectively dismissed from a Catholic university for too much Catholic orthodoxy.

But at the same time (as those same conservatives might have argued under Benedict XVI and John Paul II) [except that they taught nothing unorthodox, except perhaps, John Paul II’s absolute rejection of the death penalty], the pope is supposed to have the last word on what orthodoxy entails, and directly criticizing a sitting pontiff is the sort of thing that ought to put a high-profile Catholic post at risk. Not so under the two previous pontiffs, nor do I remember anything similar in the earlier postwar popes!] Perhaps Seifert should have expected the inquisition [in this pontificate!]

Likewise with the popular and prolific Father Martin, whose book on homosexuality and the church has been praised by some cardinals and critiqued by others, in each case for understandable reasons — since it offers an often-wise critique of Catholic unkindness and indifference toward gay people, [Douthat makes it sound as if such unkindness and indifference were typical of all Catholics, though I doubt anyone would say that for American Catholics, most of whom have joined their secular brethren in a celebration of all kinds of sex deviancies] joined to a certain ambiguity about the church’s teaching on chastity and marriage. [Failing to mention sin in any way in his blanket advocacy of homosexualism and other sexual-deviant varieties now rampant, it seems, in the West, is not ambiguity at all but a deliberate choice to whitewash sexual deviancy of any taint of sinfulness.]

Meanwhile on other questions, less hot-button but also crucial to Catholicism — the nature of communion, the relationship between Jesus’s divine and human natures, the possibility that God might actually want a believer to commit a serious sin if it relieves suffering — Martin has lately asserted a number of views that seem at odds with traditional teaching. As a result, even before the disinvitations there were frequent guerrilla battles over Martin’s work on Twitter, in which priests from the rival Dominican order sought to correct the Jesuit’s forays.

And as with Seifert you can understand both sides. Martin’s critics are correct that he seems to be staking out positions that Rome deemed heterodox not that long ago. At the same time Martin has a point that in a hierarchical church it is his superiors, not online critics or other orders, who decide whether he’s a priest in good standing — and that his ultimate superior, the pope, is seemingly open to experiments, with the limits studiously unclear. [With the pope clearly setting the example, is it any wonder all the more-Bergoglian-than-Bergoglio mini-me’s like Spadaro, Paglia, Rosica et al blithely blather away every Church dogma and discipline they find inconvenient, to the point that in their mind, anyone following his ‘conscience’ as the primary standard for good or evil ends up not committing any sin at all, and, in fact, in the Mad Hatter’s world of Bergoglian theology, would be considered in a state of grace no matter what objective mortal sin he commits habitually!]

This is a situation calculated to make everyone feel self-righteous and self-justified, to complain about toxic rhetoric while flinging insults frequently themselves.

It also places Catholic institutions — schools and parishes and universities and diocesan shops — in a very difficult position. The temptation, already evident, will be to shy away from conflict, to self-segregate theologically (liberal speakers to liberal campuses and parishes, vice versa for conservatives) and avoid even acknowledging the conflict.

But this approach is foolish. When the Supreme Pontiff is allowing argument to flourish and public division to increase, it does no good for institutions to pretend that none of this is happening — as though the average Catholic will somehow not notice that the leaders of the church are increasingly opposed to one another. (The poison of online debate is itself partially a reaction to this public pretense of tranquillity.)

Instead the only serious course is to invite serious argument and encourage respectful debate. [Aren’t we beyond that now – when the Bergoglians do not even bother to answer the arguments against the pope’s well-known positions (overt or covert, explicit or implicit, and very often unacknowledged)? When they attack the messengers for ‘attacking’ the pope when these messengers are simply exercising their right under Canon 212? When obviously in their avoidance of the issues, they are simply following Bergoglio’s example?]

Have the Dominicans and Jesuits bring their online debates into university auditoriums and parish halls; let Catholic students and laypeople understand the stakes. Invite Father Martin to speak on controversial topics; then invite his critics to answer him. Let the bishops who clashed behind closed doors at the synods on the family address one another in public and in person. I myself am only a train ride away from Professor Faggioli’s Villanova and would happily allow him to educate me on my theological deficiencies on a platform of his choosing.

It is hard to know what will come of this era’s Catholic crisis. Can the church really become Anglican, with sharply different Christian theologies coexisting permanently under a latitudinarian umbrella? Is the period of dueling inquisitions and digital militias a prelude to the sweeping liberal victory that many Catholics felt that John Paul and Benedict cruelly forestalled? Will the pendulum swing back, as Francis’s nervous allies fear, leaving his legacy to be buried by young traditionalists and a reactionary pontiff in the style of HBO’s “Young Pope”?

Faith gives some observers certain answers, but natural reason counsels doubt. Regardless, firings and cancellations and self-protective censorship will not make the conflict any less painful in the end. There is no way forward save through controversy. Postpone the inquisitions; schedule arguments instead.
[Ain’t going to happen!]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/11/2017 6:44 PM]
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[Developments in the church of Bergoglio are now taking place at a seemingly fast and furious pace that pretty soon, few of us, even the most eagle-eyed and alert of heresy/apostasy-sniffing Catholic experts, will be able to keep track, and the less we are able to, the bolder ‘Jesus II’ will be in dismantling – or seeking to dismantle and replace – the one true Church of Christ. Ideally, one should keep a daily log of all these developments in order to have a quick go-to reference for the now-countless outrages wrought by Bergoglio and his minions to the Body of the Church.]

The Communists dear and near
to the Pope – it’s mutual admiration

October 11, 2017

In recent days, a couple of surprising things [in the church of Bergoglio and among the Bergoglian faithful – those that we know of, at any rate] have happened in Rome. And they are instructive in their way.

The first is that Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, has taken on satirical comics author Sergio Staino with a Sunday strip entitled “Hello, Jesus!”

Staino is an unwavering communist, once a “flower child” and a champion of free love, and until a few months ago, the editor of L'Unità (once the newspaper of the Italian communist party that was subsequently continued by the parties that succeeded it), as well as honorary president of the Italian UAAR, the Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics.

The absentminded Jesus in his strips still lives in Nazareth with Joseph and Mary, gives his father a hand in the woodshop, but his head is already elsewhere, looking to the time when he will leave to finally become - in Staino’s words – “the first of the socialists, the first to fight for the poor.”

Interviewed in Avvenire on the day he debuted with them, Staino recounted that some time ago, when Pope Francis, during a “long telephone conversation” with Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, was told that back in 1948 Staino’s mother had been denied sacramental absolution for having voted for the communist party, the pope burst out laughing and said: “Tell the mother of this friend of yours that I will give her that absolution.”

Nonetheless, Staino’s arrival at Avvenire has provoked a deluge of protests. Including that of the newspaper’s titular publisher, in the person of the secretary general of the CEI, Italian episcopal conference, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, whose disapproval was reported to by Avvenire’s own editor Marco Tarquinio: “I do not agree, because I do not understand just what added value comes to our newspaper from Staino’s strips.”

And this is where the episode is also instructive of power politics within the Bergoglian court. It confirms recent suspicion that Galantino’s power over the CEI and its newspaper is no longer what it was when Pope Francis appointed him secretary general at the CEI, his one and only de facto lieutenant there, which means that every word and decision of Galantino came down as if from the pope himself.

But the CEI has since had a new president - Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who very close to Francis and said to be much more skillful in understanding and seconding his wishes, leading to Galantino’s fall from the pope’s graces.

Tarquinio evidently decided to hire Staino on his own, without having “asked for authorization beforehand from the publisher,” but demonstrated his defiance of Galantino by publishing the latter’s words of disapproval for the new hire.

The second episode also had a newspaper as protagonist: Il Manifesto, the only organ in Italy that proclaims itself as “Communist daily” in its masthead.

On Thursday, October 5, not coincidentally on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution that brought Soviet Communism to Russia,Il Manifesto went to the newsstands with a free supplement in the form of a booklet containing three speeches by Pope Francis to the “popular movements,” which he convened for the first time in Rome in 2014, then in Bolivia in 2015, and then again in Rome in 2016.

Interviewed by Avvenire, Manifesto editor Norma Rangeri explained the decision: “We feel these messages of the pope to be our own, and we want to bring to our readers the radicality and simplicity of these words of his. […] They contain a new idea of politics… The pope also cites Esther Ballestrin the young Bergoglio’s high school chemistry teacher, and he met with her two daughters during his visit to Paraguay, in July of 2015).

Our readers of Settimo Cielo are already extensively informed about Francis’s speeches to the "popular movements" and his political vision:
> Bergoglio, Politician. The Myth of the Chosen People

But further information can be gleaned from the Manifesto booklet. In addition to the speeches, there is an interview with Argentine Juan Grabois and a postscript by the Italian scholar Alessandro Santagata – both
enhance the overall picture [of Bergoglio’s unabashed advocacy of socialist/communist ideals that conform to his own social and political agenda].

Grabois, 34, the son of anistoric Peronist official, today heads Argentina’s Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular and has been close to Bergoglio since 2005, since the time that the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was head of the Argentine episcopal conference. After he became pope, Francis appointed Grabois as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, since absorbed into the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Grabois has been the most active agent in tying together the threads of all the “popular movement’ convocations revolving around Bergoglio.

The idea for these convocations began to take shape immediately after Francis’s election. After the inaugural Mass as pope - at which, along with heads of state seated in the front row, there was the Argentine Sergio Sánchez, head of the Movimiento de Trabajadores Excluidos - Grabois says that he was contacted by fellow Argentine, Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who has been hovering at the edges of the Bergoglio favorites clique and can’t wait to get into it.

Sorondo asked Grabois to help him organize a seminar at the Vatican entitled “Emergenza esclusi” (Emergency of the excluded), which was held in December of 2013 and attended by Joao Pedro Stédile, leader of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Movement of Landless Rural Workers) in Brazil.

This seminar was the preview of the subsequent first convocation of the ‘popular movements’ called by the Pope in Rome - a network of a hundred organizations from all over the world but mostly from Latin America, to a large extent, the same organizations responsible for significant anti-capitalist and anti-globalization gatherings in Seattle and Porto Alegre.

To organize this and the subsequent meetings, a committee was created made up of Grabois, Stédile, and two other activists: Jockin Arputham of the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Charo Castelló of the Mouvement Mondial des Travailleurs Chrétiens. Plus the Jesuit Michael Czerny, now the undersecretary of the Department of Migrants and Refugees at the human development dicastery, a department that the pope decided he himself, Bergoglio, would head. Grabois thinks that Fr. Czerny has so far been “of vital importance for connecting with the various popular organizations.”

In the Manifesto booklet, both Grabois and Santagata point out that many of the “popular movements” on which the pope relies are critical toward the Church as an institution and opposed to Catholic dogmas on questions like abortion or homosexual rights. But “such contradictions do not affect the work of the meetings too much, because this is focused on specific issues related to the struggle for land, housing, and work.”

A fourth convocation of the “popular movements” was scheduled for Caracas in October of this year, but had to be postponed because of Venezuela’s current catastrophic crisis.

To make up for that, the movements have begun holding meetings not on a global but on a regional scale. The first was held in Modesto, California from February 16-19 of 2017 for the movements of the United States. Another was held from June 20-21 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for the movements of Latin America.

Pope Francis took part in the Modesto meeting by videoconference, reading a speech perfectly in line with the three previous ones, but not at the Cochabamba meeting.

Santagata writes that at these regional meetings, “I was told by Vittorio Agnoletto that criticisms were raised over a proposal to build more networks that, in his judgment, risk giving rise to a series of ‘empty boxes’ in competition with the organization of the World Social Forum.” [A very Communist tactic and strategy - 'organize to death' by self-asphyxiation!]

Agnoletto, elected in 2004 to a five-year term in the European Parliament running as a candidate of Italy’s Rifondazione Comunista, was for a long time an Italian representative on the international board of the World Social Forum created in Porto Alegre, and has taken part in various meetings at the Vatican on these issues.

Between the World Social Forum and the “popular movements” dear to Pope Francis, there is in fact increasing friction. In the judgment of Grabois, the former “has betrayed its essence to transform itself into a sequence of rituals or tourist activities for militants, whereas the movements blessed by the pope “would today be the only ones capable of allowing the communal organization of the excluded to build from the bottom up the humane alternative to a marginalizing globalization”…even at the cost of straying from the “strict confines of official democracy” and adopting “practices that could be criminalized by states.”

Obviously, the booklet on Bergoglio’s pet ‘popular movements’ does not include a list of concrete achievement that they can cite so far, after four years, other than holding meetings and staging demonstrations! Magister would not have omitted citing these achievements if they were reported! What about this World Social Forum – what has it done?
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