Benedetto XVI Forum


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11/10/2017 22.03
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October 11,2017

The First Vatican Council defined the dogma that ex cathedra pronouncements of the Roman Pontiff were infallible ex sese et non ex consensu Ecclesiae (in itself and not from the consent of the Church); and that they were irreformabiles.

This welcome and necessary clarification of the standing of the highest class of papal statement left the field wide open to the implication that papal pronouncements which are not ex cathedra might require the consensus Ecclesiae before being fully recognised as the unalterable Teaching of the Church of all the Ages. And that such lesser papal statements might be reformabiles.

This, after all, is only common sense. Even if it might be difficult for the most hardline of the hyper-ultra-ueber-papalists, with their unCatholic belief that Pope Francis is ipsissima vox Spiritus Sancti (the very voice of the Holy Spirit), to grasp it.

The differing interpretations of various bishops and Episcopal Conferences make clear that Amoris laetitia, at least in the interpretation put upon it by the Bergoglians, does not have the consensus Ecclesiae

And the suggestions of Cardinals Mueller and Parolin, that dialogue should open between the two 'sides' into which Pope Francis has so lamentably divided our Holy Mother the Church, surely open up the possibility that Amoris laetitia may be clarified and freed of its ambiguities ... in other words, treated as reformabilis.

A minute but interesting piece of pedantry: Are footnotes an integral part of a Magisterial text? Surely not. Surely, therefore, footnotes could be either expunged or redrafted; new, clarifying, footnotes could be added. [Not that's a sensible and very doable suggestion! Given the right will and attitude, that is.]

Call me flabby if you like, but I do think that the current regime should be given ways of saving face. However, an essential part of such a dialogue would have to be the publication of the Comments sent to the HF after the CDF had studied the draft of the Apostolic Exhortation. [Ain’t going to happen! Again, the Bergoglian strategy appears to be to perseverate in deliberately confusing propositions (precisely because, clearly said, they could be materially heretical),thus reinforcing one of the elements defining persistent heresy!]

Meanwhile, the Catholic Herald today points out: “Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has said that Amoris Laetitia is fully in line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church in an interview marking its 25th anniversary. [It’s called lying through your teeth. Who is your confessor, Your Eminence?] A Google translation of the kathpress account is here:

The triumphant smugness of Cardinals Baldisseri and Schoenborn brandishing a copy of AL.
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12/10/2017 06.39
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A ‘CHI’ spread in 2016 showed a photo of Bertone’s penthouse while it was under construction.

Cardinal Bertone has been the lumberingly embarrassing elephant in the room, unseen and ignored, in the recent Vatican trial of ranking officials of the Vatican showcase health facility in Rome, the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Center, considered the best pediatric hospital in Italy. As Secretary of State, he prided himself in his close association if not direct oversight of the institution, but it turns out he colluded (or perhaps initiated) a scheme to use hospital funds to finance renovation of a Vatican apartment, including the construction of a penthouse, for his post-retirement residence.

Technically and legally, he may claim he did nothing wrong, but if he had any modicum of delicadeza (propriety), how could he not have known that the very optics of his scheme can only appear improper to objective observers who cannot understand how he could even think of appropriating funds from the children’s hospital to indulge his personal lifestyle. From a children’s hospital! It now appears he has paid back some of those funds, but why not all of it since it was for his personal use?

The silly excuse – which is no excuse but a lame pretext - that taking those funds, to begin with, could be justified because the ‘new apartment’ (especially its penthouse which gives it exclusive access to an entire roof as a terrace) would be used as the setting for fund-raising events in behalf of the hospital. (Does it not call to mind the rooftop gathering of those champagne-drinking Friends of Bergoglio including Francesca Chaoqui, to watch unobstructed and in great comfort the canonization Mass for John XXIII and John Paul II, for which ‘privilege’, funds were raised from the attendees?)

The big mystery here – which no one seems to bother about – is why the Vatican has repeatedly confirmed since this scandal was first revealed two years ago that Bertone himself was never the subject of investigation for this offense (I will call it that since I find the entire episode extremely offensive, if not disgusting), even as it went ahead and charged hospital officials, one of whom was its former president, who faces conviction with imprisonment, as the story below tells us. Why has the Bergoglio Vatican shielded Bertone from any direct responsibility for this offense? If Bergoglio had no qualms about firing Cardinal Mueller without cause, why would he appear to be protecting Bertone?

I can imagine the rabid anti-Benedict bloggers hypothesizing that maybe Bergoglio is doing it as a favor to Benedict XVI who may have asked him to do so, thus reinforcing the widespread perception that somehow, Benedict XVI has bought into his successor’s pontificate or has been coopted by his successor. [Along with his (to me) inexplicable failure to say the Traditional Mass in public even just once after Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI’s seemingly blind loyalty to Bertone – overriding even the well-meaning advice of far older friends like the late Cardinal Meisner and others who saw the disservice, if not actual harm, that Bertone’s misadventures as Secretary of State had brought to his pontificate – are the two things I hold most strongly against Benedict XVI.]

But the Vatican’s ‘protection’ of Bertone cannot change the appearance and perception of corruption to the tune of $500,000 and of unconscionable personal indulgence on the part of Bertone. Of course, it blots the record of Benedict XVI’s Pontificate that his trusted friend, in whom he apparently can see no wrong, and Secretary of State, has turned out to be no better than civilian politicians corrupted by power. Which is why, even amid the major ecclesial chaos caused by Bergoglio, I don’t think we should overlook this scandal. Considering who is involved, this is a genuine scandal compared to everything alleged in Vatileaks-I combined. And I would think the same even if I had no personal biases against Bertone to make my opinion questionable.

Vatican trial finds ‘opaqueness’ and ‘disorder’
in handling of papal finances

by Claire Giangravè

October 10, 2017

ROME- A relatively dull criminal trial is shedding light into what has been called a profound “opaqueness” and “disorder” in the handling of papal finances.

The trial concerns two former officials of the papally-sponsored Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, who stand accused of diverting roughly $500,000 of the hospital’s money to pay for the remodeling of a Vatican apartment currently occupied by Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Benedict XVI.

During the eight sessions of the trial on Oct. 9, the prosecution asked that Giuseppe Profiti, who served as both the president of the hospital and the president of its foundation from 2008 to 2017, be sentenced with three years imprisonment, a perpetual interdiction from public offices and a fine of roughly $5,000 dollars.

Profiti’s lawyers have so far worked hard to prove to the court that the massive transfer of funds from the hospital for the remodeling of the 4,500-square foot apartment was justified, because Bertone was going to allow fundraising events to take place in his home, which would more than recoup the costs. Profiti has always maintained the whole operation was entirely above board, and that he would make the same decision again.

Concerning the other accused, Massimo Spina, who served as treasurer of the hospital, the evidence was found insufficient to justify any charges, as they “did not pass reasonable doubt.”

The lawyer for the prosecution, Roberto Zanotti, concluded the session by pointing out that the entire affair “unfortunately sheds light on a case of surprising opaqueness, of silences and terrible mishandling of public money: An opaque picture that is not thrilling, but no matter how depressing, is not an aspect relevant to the trial.”

Mariella Enoc, who is the current president of Bambino Gesù, was the last witness called to testify during on Oct. 9. What the prosecution tried to get at was why the president, upon learning of the hospital’s large deficit, had been so quiet for many months before addressing the issue.

While on the stand, Enoc said that she first learned of the apartment remodeling on February 12, 2016, when she was told by Spina that the hospital was going to have to ask Bandera’s English companies for about $200,000 in reimbursement. [The writer is tagged by Crux as an ‘editorial assistant’. That does not justify the editor’s failure to provide an antecedent for ‘Bandera’ that the writer does not give and whose role is only mentioned several paragraphs afterwards.] To justify her lack of initiative in solving the problem for nearly eight months, Enoc said that she was not interested in the matter and “had to think of the future” of the hospital.

What also emerged from her testimony was a picture of confusion and disorder within the hospital management. Enoc stated that there was no official handover between herself and Profiti when she took his place in 2015, and that crucial documents for the trial - including letters between Bertone and Profiti - had not been logged, raising the issue of their veracity.

Enoc also recounted that Spina met with her at the beginning of her mandate with the documents concerning the apartment remodeling and offered to resign from his post as treasurer. “He led me to understand that he was a stranger to the affair and was even willing to hand me all that I needed, but I did not push the question further because it was not my concern,” Enoc said, adding that she never read those documents. [And who named this woman president of the hospital?]

Despite the fact that the case is rather straightforward, several elements of the trial raise other, serious questions. Mainly the fact that two major players who have principally benefited from the operation have been excluded from the story.

The work on the apartment was led by Gianantonio Bandera, who owned a now-bankrupt construction company, which did not complete the remodeling of the apartment, and who the court proved was paid twice for the work, first by the Bambino Gesù hospital and then by the Government of the Vatican City State. [But why on earth did the Vatican pay for the remodeling of a private apartment? Unless it is common practice there to pay the costs for residences assigned to retired cardinals like Bertone and Sodano before him who choose to live on the Vatican grounds. One assumes the Vatican did pay to remodel Mater Ecclesiae into a residence for Benedict XVI.]

Not only were no charges brought against Bandera, but he also appeared as a witness for the prosecution [Curiouser and curiouser!],which decided that “there is no proof of collusion [involving Bandera],” but it suggested that “someone should knock on the door of his companies to get restitution” of the money.

The other elephant in the room is Bertone, who currently lives in the remodeled Vatican apartment and was a friend to Bandera and Profiti from the time he was Archbishop of Genoa from 2002 to 2006.

“I found a letter where Cardinal Bertone was said to agree with the use of the apartment [for fund-raising events], but I always thought those were documents that did not concern me,” Enoc said while on the stand, referring to letters between the cardinal and Profiti. . [This woman is something else! How can she be so nonchalant about her nonchalance over the entire fishy affair?]

During a meeting between November and December 2015, Enoc brought the issue up to Bertone who, according to her testimony, insisted that he knew nothing of the matter and did not agree to the remodeling. [And she bought that – against obvious physical evidence that the remodeling had taken place???] No charges were brought against the cardinal by the prosecution, nor was Bertone called to the court in order to testify.

The news of the lavish remodeling of the cardinal’s apartment broke November 4, 2015 in an article by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, on the same day the Bambin Gesù was setting out to approve its balance sheet. As a result, the board of directors insisted that an outside company, Deloitte, check the balance sheet for 2014 before its approval.

Enoc testified that she eventually wrote to Bertone asking him or the Secretariat of State to return the funds to the hospital. The cardinal’s lawyer, Michele Gentiloni-Silverj - brother to Italy’s prime minister - initially refused but later relented, and Bertone signed a $118,000 check in 2015 followed by a $59,000 check in early 2016.

The amount provided directly by Bertone was not enough to cover the whole expense and in the 2014 balance sheet Enoc listed a $455,000 loss. [So the total disbursement from Bambino Gesu for Bertone’s apartment was $455,000+$118,000+$59,000=$632,000! Plus whatever the Vatican paid Bandera. The numbers speak for themselves! Does Bertone not feel any shame at all for this personal profligacy at the expense of others (especially of a children's hospital!)? And all the more one wonders why no one at the Bergoglio Vatican, especially the pope himself, has not gone after Bertone for this. Apparently, yet another illustration of the Bergoglian ethos that whatever seems to be a crime or a sin is not really crime or sin at all, but 'a state of grace', which seems to be Bergoglian code to indicate his favorite sinners-who-are-not-sinners-at all!]

The hospital has so far apparently not obtained any benefit from the remodeling of the apartment. Enoc dismissed the position held by Profiti and his lawyers that the apartment could serve as a fundraising tool for the hospital. “I didn’t know anything about it, and in any case, dinners at a cardinal’s house or another personality are not the fundraising style that I have in mind,” Enoc told the court.

The prosecution charged Profiti with misappropriation of funds and questioned whether the former president had the authority to disburse such a substantial amount of money without consulting the board of directors. “There are limits” to the position that Profiti held, the prosecution stated, adding that such limits were exceeded by “a vice that is the misuse of power.” For this reason, Profiti was accused of dismissing the principles of good management and illicitly using public funds.

Since all of the witnesses have been heard, the next and final session of the trial will take place Oct. 14.

12/10/2017 06.52
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October 11, 2017 headlines


What the Catechism says about the death penalty:

So, to mark the 25th anniversary of the modern-day Catechism of the Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio is up front about wishing (and intending) to change the Catechism at least insofar as what it teaches about the death penalty.

I am almost sure he already has named a commission to revise the Catechism according to the gospel of Bergoglio - and you can bet there will be changes far more substantial and critical than going back on the Church's teaching about the death penalty - and who better to name than his unctuously subservient surrogate Cardinal Schoenborn, whom Cardinal Ratzinger had named to head the editorial committee to prepare the Catechism after the 1985 Special Synod on the reception of Vatican II agreed that the Church needed a new Catechism.

Footnote 67 to source the content of CCC Section 2266 refers to Luke 23,41, in which the good thief says to the other thief of their death penalty sentence: "Indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”

The 'softening' of 2266 by 2267 is attributed to John Paul II who wrote in Evangelium Vitae 56: "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent'."

So, to mark the 25th anniversary of the modern-day Catechism of the Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio is up front about wishing (and intending) to change the Catechism at least insofar as what it teaches about the death penalty.

I am almost sure he already has named a commission to revise the Catechism according to the gospel of Bergoglio - and you can bet there will be changes far more substantial and critical than going back on the Church's teaching about the death penalty - and who better to name than his uncuously subservient surrogate Cardinal Schoenborn, whom Cardinal Ratzinger had named to head the editorial committee to prepare the Catechism after the 1985 Special Synod on the reception of Vatican II agreed that the Church needed a new Catechism.

Footnote 67 to source the content of CCC Section 2266 refers to Luke 23,41, in which the good thief says to the other thief of their death penalty sentence: "Indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”

The 'softening' of 2266 by 2267 is attributed to John Paul II who wrote in Evangelium Vitae 56: "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent'."

Steve Skojec tears into the Bergoglian position opposing the death penalty under any circumstance:

Pope Francis is wrong about
the death penalty and here's why

by Steve Skojec

Oct. 12, 2017

When the first version of this column was originally published in March, 2015, it was occasioned by comments made by Pope Francis to the effect that the Death Penalty is never justified. Since then, it has become necessary to revise and update it, due to additional comments on the topic from the pope. Of particular note, these appeared in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (83), which states: “the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.

This statement, which moved the pope’s position from the realm of personal opinion and into a document some perceive to be a part of his personal magisterium, was addressed by an eminent group of theologians as a potential heresy here [see A). 1).]. For illustrative purposes, here’s a screenshot the section in question:

The citations in the above make clear that the established teaching of the Church on the matter come from both the Scriptures and the Magisterium. And yet, in an address given today, October 11, 2017, marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the pope has taken his position even further, saying the Catechism needs to be revised to reflect the understanding that capital punishment “is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor”.

The teaching of the Church on the permissibility of capital punishment, however, is taken from Divine Revelation; it is, in other words, infallible, and not subject to such changes – even by a pope. As the late Jesuit theologian Fr. John Hardon explained:

In the 20th century, Pope Pius XII provided a full doctrinal defense of capital punishment. Speaking to Catholic jurists, he explained what the Church teaches about the authority of the State to punish crimes, even with the death penalty.

The Church holds that there are two reasons for inflicting punishment, namely “medicinal” and “vindictive.” The medicinal purpose is to prevent the criminal from repeating his crime and to protect society from his criminal behavior. The vindictive is to expiate for the wrong-doing perpetrated by the criminal. Thus, reparation is made to an offended God, and the disorder caused by the crime is expiated.

Equally important is the Pope’s insistence that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture of Christianity. Why? Because the Church’s teaching on “the coercive power of legitimate human authority” is based on “the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.” It is wrong, therefore, “to say that these sources only contain ideas which are conditioned by historical circumstances.” On the contrary, they have “a general and abiding validity” (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1955, pp. 81-2).

Behind this declaration of the Vicar of Christ is a principle of our Catholic faith. Most of the Church’s teaching, especially in the moral order, is infallible doctrine because it belongs to what we call her ordinary universal magisterium.

There are certain moral norms that have always and everywhere been held by the successors of the Apostles in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Although never formally defined, they are irreversibly binding on the followers of Christ until the end of the world. Such moral truths are the grave sinfulness of contraception and direct abortion. Such, too, is the imposition of the death penalty.

Certainly Christianity, like Christ, is to be merciful. Certainly Christians are to be kind and forgiving. But Christ is God. He is indeed loving and in fact is love. But He is also just. As a just God, He has a right to authorize civil authority to inflict capital punishment.

[Bergoglio's position reflects his mindset that mercy is universally and absolutely mandatory, and has nothing to do with justice. And of course, justice itself has no meaning in the Bergoglian world that has abolished any objective criteria for good and evil, where what a straight and clear mind would consider sin, especially when practised chronically and habitually, can actually be, in Bergoglio's church, a 'state of grace' worthy to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.The 'God' Bergoglio professes is nothing more than his hubristic and narcissistic projection of himself - his 'God' is one he has ideated in his, Bergoglio's, own image and likeness.]

What the Church actually
teaches about capital punishment

The Church’s stance on capital punishment has always been more than merely permissive; the idea, for example, that “rendering harmless” those criminals deserving of capital punishment is sufficient to eradicate the need for such a sentence is simply not consistent with the teachings of Holy Scripture, the understanding of popes, doctors of the Church, and various apostolic pronouncements.

Whatever the present pope’s desire, therefore, to eradicate capital punishment, he can’t — because even a pope lacks the authority to make such a change. In order to advance his position, Pope Francis would have to declare several of his predecessors — as well as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More (who prosecuted heretics in an England where that was a capital offense), a papal decree, an apostolic constitution, and also divinely-inspired Sacred Scriptures — to be in error.

We’ll begin with the Scriptures, leaving aside the more numerous examples that could be drawn from the Old Testament and focusing instead on passages taken from the New Testament:

“If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death.” (Acts 25:11)

“Let every soul be subject to higher powers. For there is no power but from God: and those that are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God’s minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil” (Romans 13:1-4).

We must also examine papal and magisterial pronouncements:

“It must be remembered that power was granted by God [to the magistrates], and to avenge crime by the sword was permitted. He who carries out this vengeance is God’s minister (Rm 13:1-4).

"Why should we condemn a practice that all hold to be permitted by God? We uphold, therefore, what has been observed until now, in order not to alter the discipline and so that we may not appear to act contrary to God’s authority.” (Pope Innocent 1, Epist. 6, C. 3. 8, ad Exsuperium, Episcopum Tolosanum, 20 February 405, PL 20,495)

"Condemned as an error: 'That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit'.” – Pope Leo X, Exsurge Domine (1520)

“The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thy shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives. In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps. 101:8). (Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, 1566, Part III, 5, n. 4)

“Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.” (Pope Pius XII, Address to the First International Congress of Histopathology of the Nervous System, 14 September 1952, XIV, 328)

And finally, some teachings from the doctors of the Church:

"The same divine authority that forbids the killing of a human being establishes certain exceptions, as when God authorizes killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time. The agent who executes the killing does not commit homicide; he is an instrument as is the sword with which he cuts. Therefore, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ to wage war at God’s bidding, or for the representatives of public authority to put criminals to death, according to the law, that is, the will of the most just reason.” – (St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 1, chapter 21)
"It is written: 'Wizards thou shalt not suffer to live' (Ex. 22:18); and: 'In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land' (Ps. 100:8). …Every part is directed to the whole, as imperfect to perfect, wherefore every part exists naturally for the sake of the whole.

"For this reason we see that if the health of the whole human body demands the excision of a member, because it became putrid or infectious to the other members, it would be both praiseworthy and healthful to have it cut away.

"Now every individual person is related to the entire society as a part to the whole. Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since “a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6). – (St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae, II, II, q. 64, art. 2)

St. Thomas even proposes that accepting a death sentence has an expiatory nature:

“Even death inflicted as a punishment for crimes takes away the whole punishment for those crimes in the next life, or at least part of that punishment, according to the quantities of guilt, resignation, and contrition; but a natural death does not.” (Summa Theologica, Index, under the word mors [Turin, 1926]; As cited by Romano Amerio in Iota Unum, p. 435))

In his apostolic constitution, Horrendum illud scelus, Pope St. Pius V even went so far as to decree that actively homosexual clerics were to be stripped of their office and handed over to the civil authorities, who at that time held sodomy as a capital offense. He wrote:

“We determine that clerics guilty of this execrable crime are to be quite gravely punished, so that whoever does not abhor the ruination of the soul, the avenging secular sword of civil laws will certainly deter.”

For some of us, these teachings could be construed, to borrow words from the New Testament, as “hard sayings.” But as Catholics, we are obligated to wrestle with these teachings – especially the ones we don’t understand or find ourselves interiorly opposed to.

The above citations alone should be sufficient to prove that the death penalty has always been viewed by the Church as more than simply morally permissible in certain circumstances. The traditional view was that, when carried out justly, the execution of criminals deserving of such penalties by the legitimate authority of the state positively served the common good and even had the power to expiate temporal punishment on the part of the guilty.

Cardinal Ratzinger, before his election to the papacy, admitted that Catholics had room to disagree on this issue. He stated, as pertains to the question of capital punishment and the worthiness of an individual who supports it to receive Holy Communion:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. [i.e., such dissent does not constitute an excommunicable offense. But what if it is a pope himself who absolutizes a prohibition of the death penalty? In the view of the aforementioned theologians, he is thereby heretical against Sacred Scriptures and pernicious to the faith.]

While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Prudential considerations and Evangelium Vitae
Some will argue that the the Church’s moral position on capital punishment has evolved. As an irreformable truth on a matter of faith and morals, this is, of course, categorically false. Still, it is not difficult to understand how the faithful might come under this impression from a reading of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium Vitae:

Among the signs of hope we should also count the spread, at many levels of public opinion, of a new sensitivity ever more opposed to war as an instrument for the resolution of conflicts between peoples, and increasingly oriented to finding effective but “non-violent” means to counter the armed aggressor.

In the same perspective there is evidence of a growing public opposition to the death penalty, even when such a penalty is seen as a kind of “legitimate defence” on the part of society. Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform.[…]

This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God’s plan for man and society.

The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is “to redress the disorder caused by the offence”. Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

If one pays close attention to the language in the above citation, one does not see a reversal of the Church’s moral teaching on capital punishment, or an untenable accusation that it is “contrary to the Gospel,” but rather a questioning of its prudence in application. This is an important distinction.

There are certainly contexts in which a state — particularly considering that most modern states are secular, and refuse recourse to the moral guidance of the Church — might make use of capital punishment unjustly. For an obvious example, one need only look to the Communist regimes still operating in the world today, where minor offenses — some not even criminal in nature — result in summary executions.

Since the moral permissibility of the death penalty is not a teaching which can be overturned, such discussions of prudence in application leave room, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, for debate and disagreement. Setting aside the obvious injustices committed under ideological regimes that do not value human life, we are at liberty to ask whether some of the assumptions of Evangelium Vitae are realistic.

For example, EV asserts that criminals are rendered “harmless” by “steady improvements in the…penal system”, and yet the epidemic of modern prison violence — assault, rape, and murder — cast serious doubt upon this premise.

Comprehensive statistics on prison homicides in America are difficult to come by, since they are broken down by federal and state jurisdictions. Moving the focus to the dehumanizing crime of prison rape, however, we see a vastly different and more horrifying picture.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that somewhere between 86,000 and 200,000 cases of sexual assault happen in American prisons every year. This does not seem indicative of the “steady improvements in the organization of the penal system” that Pope John Paul II spoke about when declaring the need for executions “practically non-existent.”

Another common argument against the death penalty follows from EV’s assertion that “Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform.” This argument typically takes the form of a statement along these lines: “If criminals are executed, what chance do they have to repent and convert? The longer we keep them alive, the more opportunities there are for God’s grace to reach them.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, however, addressed this claim specifically. He wrote:

“The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement.

They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.” – (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, chapter 146)

These examples suffice to demonstrate that there are real prudential aspects to the application of the death penalty that should be evaluated by competent civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The Church certainly never demanded that the death penalty always be carried out in certain cases. The decision was relegated to legitimate civil authority.

This, too, was affirmed by no less than our Divine Savior Himself, who said to Pontius Pilate — knowing full well he was about to be sentenced to an unjust death — “Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above.” (Jn. 19:11)
Christ didn’t say that what Pilate was doing was just in that given circumstance. But he did affirm that the authority rested with him to do it.

It is demonstrably false that capital punishment is morally impermissible or in any way contrary to the Gospel. This is confirmed by both the Scriptures and the perennial magisterium of the Church. Any pope who wishes to overturn this teaching quite simply lacks the authority to do so and must be opposed.
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Now there appears to be a new Bergoglian offensive against John Paul II, whose Familiaris consortio 84 the current pope blithely rode over and trampled with AL, and whose Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family Bergoglio just as blithely abolished to replace it with one of his own (even if he took care to keep JPII's name), while 'upgrading' the sainted pope's term 'studies on marriage and the family' to 'sciences of marriage and the family'. Anything for one-upmanship, though one must ask what on earth are the 'sciences of marriage and the family' - which I suppose must range from anthropology and biology down the alphabet to zoology! How about 'the sacraments of marriage and the family'? Is that not the proper purview of a 'pontifical theological institute?... What are the Bergoglians up to now?

Scrapping the ‘theology of the body’ - and
proposing a 'new model' for the priesthood

More Francis-fanatic fallout from that Boston conference

By Phil Lawler

Oct 11, 2017

Reporting on a conference at Boston College, in which Amoris Laetitia was discussed by an impressive group of liberal Catholics— representing the full range of opinion from A to B — Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter reveals that the group was ready to jettison the thought of St. John Paul II. As he puts it, “the ‘theology of the body’ received only a couple of mentions and each time to point out how inadequate it is.”

Particularly revealing is Winters's report on a talk in which Richard Gaillardetz analyzed the thought of Pope Francis:

"Strikingly absent in his papal addresses is any sacral rhetoric regarding the priesthood and ministry. Rather, one hears a call to the church’s ministers, at every level of ecclesial life, to go out and meet people, attentive to their brokenness and particular concerns and insights".

Gaillardetz noted that in his address commemorating the synod,
the pope’s “choice was to associate the Christological character of presbyteral and episcopal ministry with Jesus’s washing of feet, rather than its more typical association with the institution of the Eucharist, is suggestive of a quite different trajectory for theological reflection on ordained ministry.”

For some years now, media reports on the Holy Thursday liturgy have focused almost obsessively on the footwashing rather than the institution of the Eucharist and of the sacerdotal ministry at the Last Supper. [Typically Bergoglian - to see only the 'social' implications in the Gospel episodes, and paying mere lip service (if not totally ignoring) their unquestionably spiritual and sacramental import for the salvation of souls - which is, after all, the ultimate mission of the Church which he seems to ignore in favor of becoming the world's most prominent and pro-active 'social worker' (and 'socialist worker') and mercymonger. If that's not liberation theology put into practice on a global scale by the current Successor of Peter, what is it?]

So there may be a tendency to forget that the former is a symbolic action, while the latter is sacramental — which is to say that it is real in the most powerful sense. The people in the church don’t really need to have their feet washed. But they — and the Church, and the world — need the Eucharist.

Gaillardetz now brings the focus on foot-washing into sharp relief, suggesting that it represents a new way to think of priestly ministry. Well, not very new, since Jesus quite explicitly told the apostles that they were to exercise their ministry in this humble fashion.

Still the priesthood is, in its essence, oriented toward the Eucharist. A priest can carry out Christ’s mission through service to the poor. So can I, as a layman. But I cannot confect the Eucharist, and a priest who forgets that difference — who forgets that his life is consecrated to that purpose — impoverishes both himself and the Church.

For that matter, the care that Christians offer to the poor is also oriented toward the Eucharist. (Ask the Missionaries of Charity, who follow Mother Teresa’s guidance, spending long hours in Eucharistic adoration before going out to serve the “poorest of the poor.”)

A focus on true Christian charity (as opposed to symbolic acts and political postures) is never an alternative to a focus on the Eucharist.
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The Church is beautiful because it is diverse?
Consider some newsbits from what is supposed to be ‘the Catholic Church’ –
where it is now considered right for anyone to do
as his ‘conscience’ tells him in matters great and small

October 12, 2017

Salesians hold conference on sado-masochism
A Salesian institute in Italy is organizing a conference on ‘sado-maso’ (you heard it right, ‘sado-maso’, not San Tomasso). They explain that“scientific interest in the subject [sado-masochism] responds to the formative needs of professionals and to the need for serious and profound anthropological reflection on it”.

Mass less important than catechesis
The archbishop of an important Italian diocese, making a pastoral visit to one of his parishes, left them some instructions, among which the following stands out: “[You must] promote decisively a return to personaland community knowledge of the Word of God as a form of evangelization. Where necessary, you can even do away with the Holy Mass in order to make way for catechesis and listening to the Word”.

Hindu rite at ‘ordination
In France, a bishop ordained an Indian priest performing Hindu rites, and did so with the traditional Hindu red spot on his forehead.

Mixed[-up] commission
A mixed Catholic-Lutheran commission
at the Vatican is seeking to arrive at a common sacramental interpretation of the Eucharist”, and in a document has stated this: “Martin Luther’s most profound concerns continues to challenge whoever wants to follow the Lord more closely and more consistently, because Luther sought nothing but to take the Gospel in hand and live it with the highest possible intensity and authenticity.” [DIM=8pt][So now, Luther is being likened to St. Francis!] And the cardinal in charge of the Vatican dicastery on promoting Christian unity (i.e., ecumenism) has said: “In commemorating the Reformation, we have highlighted above all what we [Catholics and Lutherans] have in common. I myself have proposed that after the Joint Declaration on Justification [in 1992], we must reach a new joint declaration on the Church, the Eucharist and the priesthood”. [Stunningly, Cardinal Koch in this pontificate has turned into the most passionate advocate of Bergoglian ecumenism, which aims to protestantize the Church as far as it can by seeking the lowest common denominator with protestants!]

For over three decades, the glorious John Paul II Institute for studies on Matrimony and the Family, established at the Lateran University at the wish of the sainted pope after his Synod on the Family in 1980, has contributed greatly to knowledge and dissemination of the Catholic teachings on these subjects. The first president of the institute was moral theologian Mons. Carlo Caffarra who served from 1980 to 1995 when he was named Archbishop of Ferrara. Now, that institute has been abolished and replaced by Pope Francis’s Pontifical Theological Institute for the Sciences of Matrimony and the Family.

What passes for church music these days/1
We have been told about the priest who while performing a marriage rite sang songs and danced. Now we learn that in the church of San Corrado in Piacenza, the parish priest during a homily sang pop hits from the group Nomadi, with titles like “Dio e morto’ (God is dead) and “Io vagabond”.

What passes for church music these days/2
In the Universidad Iberoamericana of Puebla in Mexico, Mass was celebrated with the music of the British rock band ‘Cold Play’ that was considered to have ‘religious content’. Perhaps thoe responsible for this outrage were not aware that the band’s lead singer, Christ Martin, said about God in an interview: “I am still trying to find out if ‘that’ is a he a or a she. Is he Allah or Jesus or Mohammed or Zeus? Probably Zeus!” [That’s supposed to be the height of ‘cool’!]

Church on the (ramp)way
In the church of San Nicolo in Jesi, a fashion show was held with a rampway, rock music, male and female models. Once upon a time, there were processions…

Strange bedfellows
In Trent [Yes, where the Counter-Reformation Council was held back in the 16th century), a bishop had said that Jesus was a ‘partygoer’ [festaiolo] and ‘often partied with people who today would be thrown out by by bouncers. Well, now they have a parish priest who celebrates ‘ecumenical Masses’ and invites a Protestant pastoress to concelebrate with him, even as now and then, he goes to her church to baptize and concelebrate in services.

Decorum in church? Don't worry about it!
In Lucera, Foggia province the parish priest of Santa Maria delle Grazie has distributed a pamphlet with the following invitations: “Enter all those whose hearts are troubled - even if you are in shorts”; “Enter all who feel the need to come in - even if your shoulders are; and “It is true that a ringing cellphone disturbs and distracts in church,

In gratitude for the ‘gifts’ of the Reformation
On the handout La Domenica, found in all Italian churches on Sundays, there was an article on Oct. 1 entitled “On the road to reconciliation” with a picture of Martin Luther. The article explains that “the two churches [Catholic and Lutheran] express their thanks for the spiritual and theological gifts of the Protestant Reformation”. [This madness has truly gone out of control!]

Just so you are clear about it…
A course of pastoral orientation was held dedicated to the theme «Ripartire dalle periferie. Diluire i colori ec abbattere i muri» (Starting out from the peripheries: Dilute the colors and tear down walls).

For whom the bell tolls
A parish council northern Italy has decided not to toll the bells during funerals. The reason? It is too lugubrious.

An ‘outgoing’ church
In Bologna, after the pope’s lunch with ‘the needy and the detained’ in the Basilica of San Petronio [yes, Virginia, the basilica was turned into a mess hall for the occasion!], two of the invitees walked away afterwards and never returned to their workhouse-residence in Castelfranco Emilia, a sort of alternative to jail.

[Valli had an earlier post about that San Petronio lunch, in which he imagines Don Camillo coming to the church and, at a side altar, engages Jesus in his familiar conversations with the Lord, to express his amazement that a church could be used as a mess hall (as if Bologna did not have a wealth of alternative and more appropriate places to hold that lunch! So much for church decorum!) Don Camillo goes away unhappy and perplexed because he seems to have been conversing with a 'JESUS II' who says the opposite of what he expects the real
Jesus to say.]

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Cartoon by Christian Adams

Climate of fear: the new crackdown on Catholic theologians
Scholars and clerics fear being punished for speaking out over Amoris Laetitia

by Dan Hitchens
12 Oct 2017

Orthodox Catholics are facing “persecution” – and not from secularists, but from their fellow believers. That’s the startling claim made last week by Professor Josef Seifert, the philosopher and friend of St John Paul II.

His remarks echoed some recent comments from Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who told the National Catholic Register that Vatican officials and university teachers were “living in great fear”. And Seifert and Cardinal Müller are only saying publicly what many will say in private.

In researching this article, I have heard from priests and academics on four continents who, as soon as I raised the subject of intimidation, immediately requested anonymity. Some referred to their need to earn a living or support a family. One professor quipped: “I am not ready for white martyrdom” – a theological term for the acceptance of great (but non-fatal) suffering for the faith.

As is often the case with inquisitions, the exact crime is hard to pin down. It relates to those questions which have caused so much unrest of late. The Church has always taught that one must confess serious sins before receiving the Eucharist, and that when the sin is public – for instance, divorce and remarriage – the priest should deny one Communion. Those teachings have been challenged in recent years, with both sides claiming the support of Pope Francis; and, inevitably, this debate has led to further questions: is adultery always a serious sin? Can one make general statements about sin? And so on.

Seifert’s case, described in his article last week for First Things, shows how serious the debate has become. Only two years ago Seifert’s relationship with his local archbishop, Javier Martínez of Granada, was one of mutual admiration. Seifert was impressed by Archbishop Martínez’s energetic leadership; the archbishop appointed Seifert to a specially created chair at Granada’s International Academy of Philosophy.

Everything changed in April 2016, with the publication of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Seifert’s view is that, while the text “contains many beautiful thoughts and deep truths”, it is also potentially dangerous. There is, for instance, an ambiguous sentence suggesting that conscience can identify “what for now is the most generous response”, and that “God himself is asking” for this response. One possible implication is that God could be asking someone to, say, continue committing adultery because the “more generous response” of stopping is impossible.

Seifert wrote an article for the journal Aemaet in which he said that this implication was so dangerous that he hoped the Pope would rule it out. His point was not that the Pope was wrong, but that the sentence needed to be clarified. For this, he says, he was sacked by Archbishop Martínez.

Seifert claims that the archbishop did not tell him directly: he found out through a few hints and from a public statement in which the archbishop said Seifert had “confounded the faith of the faithful”. Seifert is taking legal action for unfair dismissal. (The archdiocese has not yet responded to a request for comment.)

Seifert is not the only example of a scholar clashing with the local hierarchy. One academic in the United States, who asked not to be named, has been harried by his bishop for his criticism of Amoris Laetitia. He fears that his experience will be replicated elsewhere in open or subtle forms of coercion, a severe limiting of free speech, and a renewed effort to marginalise orthodox Catholics.

Amoris Laetitia seems to have been a turning point. The text is highly ambiguous, and different readers come up with very different interpretations. Just as literary critics have argued for centuries about Iago’s motives and Hamlet’s hesitation, so it is possible to find a variety of meanings in Amoris Laetitia – and just as Shakespeare is silent, so the Pope seems content to let the discussion develop.

This might have been part of a new era of untrammelled debate – something the Pope seemed to signal at the start of the family synod in 2014, when he told cardinals: “One general and basic condition is this: speaking honestly. Let no one say: ‘I cannot say this, they will think this or this of me.’” [One of JMB's many facile lies - I believe 'lip service' is the term I have courteously used so far for these patent mendacities.]]

But the Pope’s statements may have instead created a vacuum of authority, into which figures with their own agendas have inserted themselves. So the story of Church debate since Amoris Laetitia has also been a story of silencings and crackdowns.

Four months after the exhortation was published, 45 priests and theologians signed a letter to the college of cardinals. The document identified some of the wilder interpretations of Amoris Laetitia – those obviously contrary to Church teaching – and suggested that the Pope might condemn these readings. It did not accuse the Pope of spreading errors; in fact, it did not even address the Pope, but asked the cardinals to consider making the request to him.

But when the letter was leaked, some of the signatories faced pressure. One, the Cistercian monk Fr Edmund Waldstein, withdrew his signature at his abbot’s request. Another priest was visited by his bishop for a dressing-down. A third signatory was demoted from a senior post at his university; another suddenly found teaching and writing work was drying up, and narrowly avoided losing his main job. (These last three cannot be named, for obvious reasons.)

While this has been going on, many Vatican officials are reportedly living in fear for their jobs. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who until this year was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal official, tells me this is “a natural reaction to the badly communicated and unjustified dismissals of competent cooperators”. During the cardinal’s tenure, three officials at his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were dismissed without his agreement.

Many who have spent time around the Vatican, permanently or temporarily, speak of an atmosphere of fear. Anna Silvas, who teaches at the University of New England (in Australia), was in Rome in April for a conference which raised questions about Amoris Laetitia’s possible dangers.

The evening before the conference began, five of the speakers were at a restaurant when a young priest came over to their table. He blessed the meal and the academics who were present, then paused to say something.

“The message I got from him,” Silvas remembers, “was this: ‘There are a lot of priests and bishops out there, behind all this, hidden. They are keenly interested in what you have to say. But they cannot show themselves at the conference because identities could be noted, names could be taken. There could be … repercussions.’ ” The priest added: “That you lay scholars are courageous enough to speak up in the present situation, I would say to you, is a sign of predilection” – that is, of divine favour.

On request, Silvas had undertaken a serious reading of Amoris Laetitiawithin a month of its publication. Her (critical) article eventually reached a worldwide audience. Recently, she heard from a bishop – she prefers not to say from what country – who told her that when he read the article he was very angry.

“But, he said, with all that has happened since, he now regards all that I said as absolutely true. He had also experienced at first hand the toxic atmosphere of intimidation. I asked him, ‘But what about the silence of bishops? It is a scandal to us, the lay faithful.’ ‘But of course,’ he said, ‘we’re all afraid.’”

The atmosphere may have worsened after last year’s publication of the DUBIA, in which four cardinals (two of whom have since died) asked Pope Francis whether he would reaffirm traditional teachings about Communion and the moral law. There was no response, and supporters of the Pope have accused the cardinals of disloyalty.

Bishop René Henry Gracida, a retired American bishop, believes that the dismissals of Cardinal Müller and of Cardinal Raymond Burke – both of whom had proclaimed the traditional teaching – have made other prelates too scared to say anything.

“Why are they silent?” he asks. “There seems to be no other explanation than that they do not want to suffer the humiliation experienced by Cardinals Burke, Müller, et al. And those bishops who aspire to the scarlet zucchetto do not want to jeopardise their chances.”

Bishop Gracida notes that careerism is something the Pope himself has often warned of; so did Jesus, when he reminded James and John that the Cross, not earthly glory, is the way of the Christian disciple. “Throughout the history of the Church men have been tempted to let ambition for promotion, careerism, cast a dark shadow over their ministry,” the bishop says.

Bishop Gracida has signed the recent “filial correction” of the Pope, along with more than 200 academics and pastors. The “correction” said that the Pope’s actions could help heresies to spread. For example, last year the two bishops of Malta issued a document claiming that adultery might be unavoidable. This was published in the Vatican’s own newspaper, and a representative of the Pope congratulated the Maltese bishops on the text. The “correction” suggested that this kind of move had helped to confuse Catholic teaching.

Claudio Pierantoni, a philosophy professor at the University of Chile, told that he had asked 10 fellow academics to join him in signing the “correction”. Seven, he claims, told him they would like to but were too scared. Fr Ray Blake, an English priest, blogged that “cowardice” held him back: “I admit it, I am afraid to sign and I know other priests who share my fear.”

Fr Cor Mennen, who lectures at the Major Seminary of ’s-Hertogenbosch Diocese in the Netherlands, wrote on his blog: “There are many people who agree with [the “correction”] but for various reasons want to keep a low profile. There is an atmosphere of fear, and ‘exile’ always lies ahead.”

I ask Fr Mennen how many agree. His reply surprises me: “I think most of the Dutch bishops are in favour of the filial correction, as are many priests – certainly most of the younger ones – but people are afraid of Rome, afraid for their positions.”

Some will respond to all this with a shrug. Isn’t it just the flipside of what happened to certain progressive theologians under John Paul II and Benedict XVI?[colore] [Hitchens is irresponsible in saying this. There is no comparison. All of the theologians (less than 10) who were disciplined at the time (while Joseph Ratzinger was CDF Prefect) were duly investigated by the CDF for publishing questionable teachings as Catholic theologians, and were appropriately disciplined. Moreover, the progressivists' vituperation, often virulent, relentless and unbridled, against John Paul II and Benedict XVI, was never 'silenced' or punished by the Vatican.]

And there is a risk, in presenting these stories, of giving the impression that people like Josef Seifert are right simply because they are persecuted. Few things are more tedious in modern debate than the struggle to win the argument by claiming victim status.

That said, there are important differences between today and yesterday. As Michael Sirilla of the Franciscan University of Steubenville observes: “In the aftermath of Humanae Vitae, many of the priests and theologians who feared reprisals rejected the traditional teaching of the Church on the intrinsic immorality of contraceptive acts. [But they were not at all reprised, were they? Neither by their bishops nor by the Vatican. And so, the whole Catholic world behaved as if adherence to HV was merely optional.]
Today, however, the fear is on the part of those priests and theologians who unswervingly adhere to the traditional teaching of the Church on the immorality of divorce and remarriage, and on the conditions for worthy reception of Penance and the Eucharist. Many of them worry that their local ordinary will revoke their mandatum [bishop’s approval to teach] or their priestly faculties.”

There is a further difference. Those disciplined under John Paul II could expect a sympathetic hearing in the secular press, and often – like Hans Küng – went on to enjoy successful careers outside official Catholic institutions. For the silent figures in today’s Church, however, no secular institution will back their cause; and they believe they could face financial ruin if their superiors take against them.

“Many academics,” says one professor, “are just resisting quietly: we teach the truth in the classroom without making a song and dance about it. But many of us suspect that, even then, our days in Church institutions are numbered.”

Some believe this strong-arming vindicates their cause. “It’s because there are no good arguments against our position,” says one theologian.

Others take consolation from the life of St Athanasius, who among the bishops of the 4th century stood almost alone against the Arian heresy, and endured exile, attempts on his life, and even an excommunication from the pope.

But the parallel is not exact: Many bishops have reaffirmed the traditional teaching against Communion for the remarried.
Cardinal Müller believes that things are not as dramatic as some make out. “There are plenty of bishops who are very clear,” he says. [Plenty? An actual head count will show they are few and faar between, considering there are more than 5000 bishops worldwide.]

The cardinal hopes that Catholics can “overcome controversial and polemical discussion” and “speak the truth with respect and pastoral sensitivity for those who are in difficulties in their marital and family life”.

The cardinal suggests that the way to peace lies in a shared commitment to orthodoxy. [Is he dreaming? When the man who is supposed to head the Church comes up almost everyday with a new heterodoxy, what 'shared commitment to orthodoxy can there be?]

“Nobody who interprets Amoris Laetitia in the context of the orthodox tradition should be disciplined,” he says. “Only if one denies the principles of the Catholic faith can he be censored. The burden of proof lies on those who want to interpret Amoris Laetitia in a heterodox way that is in contradiction to the words of Jesus and the dogmatic decisions of the Magisterium.” And who more than Jorge Bergoglio should provide that burden of proof? But he cannot without renouncing what he really believes and intends behind, over and above his deliberate ambiguities and casuistry in AL!]

And doctrine and pastoral care cannot be separated, he says: “Jesus Christ is at the same time the teacher of the Kingdom of God and the good shepherd laying down his life for the sheep.” [Did he ever try telling that to his pope?]

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Utente Gold

By Paul Badde
Translated by Michael J. Miller
EWTN Publishing Inc., 2017
208 pages, $15.95, paperback ($9.95 e-book)
To order: or (800) 854-6316

The original edition of this book in German was published in 2016 but I do not recall having read about it at all. And now that EWTN has published the English version, I have seen only two reviews of it so far, which I find exceedingly strange.

A journalist’s “inside look” at the papacy of Benedict XVI
Paul Badde’s new book tells the story of a dramatic papacy as it unfolded

By Paul Senz

Sept.19, 2017

A new book by Paul Badde, entitled Benedict Up Close: The Inside Story of Eight Dramatic Years (EWTN Publishing, 2017), takes a novel approach to a retrospective on the pontificate of Benedict XVI. Badde, a German journalist who was a Rome correspondent for Die Welt for many years, has collected articles and essays on the papacy of Benedict XVI written during that papacy. Rather than an attempt to assess in hindsight, this is a look back on what was said at the time.

This provides an interesting insight into the Benedict XVI years. How did journalists react when Joseph Ratzinger emerged onto the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica as the new pope? What was being said about the now-infamous “Regensburg address” at the time it was given? The many controversies that swirled around the pope may seem static in our memories—but how were they perceived as they were actually happening?

In the style typical of European journalists, these pieces often present behind-the-scenes information without attribution. Italian Vaticanistas are well-known for this, and Badde is in this same camp.

The tone of many of the essays in the book is intimate; one can tell that Badde had his own personal relationship with Joseph Ratzinger. Badde is writing of a man he truly loves, a shepherd he considers his own.

In Badde’s piece from February 11, 2013, the day that Benedict announced to the assembled cardinals and the world that he intended to renounce the Petrine office, Badde’s love for Benedict and his shock at the announcement are palpable.

“[He] is not resigning,” Badde wrote, “but rather freely going ahead into the inner sanctum of the Church’s prayer. It is incomprehensible and unprecedented, but I don’t care. It is just sad. It sticks like a lump in the throat. […] It is enough to make you weep.”

These are the words of a man crushed by the end of a pontificate with which he was intimately tied.

Benedict Up Close is an interesting read for those who are ready to take another look at the papacy of Benedict XVI as it unfolded. Time will tell what long-term effects Joseph Ratzinger will have had on the Church. But if the reader is seeking to experience his pontificate all over again, this is the book.

Chronicling Benedict XVI
By John M.Grondelski

October 7, 2017

A set of essays [reportage, really!] Paul Badde originally wrote for the German daily Die Welt during the eight years of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, Benedict Up Close discusses not so much what Benedict did as why he did it and why it mattered.

The book is not strict history, although its order is chronological. Badde’s essays touch all of the pontificate’s major moments: its beginnings, his pilgrimages (especially to Germany and the Holy Land), his encyclicals and other instructions, his ecumenical and interreligious gestures (including the Regensburg address), his attempt to reconcile the schismatic Lefebvrists, his efforts on sexual-abuse cases, his “reform of the reform” of the liturgy, and his resignation.

Looking back at these texts, Badde’s perspective was often spot on and uncanny. (I reserve judgment on all his enthusiasm about the Veil of Manoppello or some of his more positive waxings about the “German hour” in the Church under Benedict).

If one is searching for a meta-theme to Benedict’s pontificate, it is rediscovering the human face of God in Jesus Christ.

Catholicism is about a Person, not a proposition, a Person in whom the modern world’s faith is waning. Benedict understood his papacy not so much as one of administration or responding to the crises of the day, but about “Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever,” for whom the Petrine ministry exists to confirm the faith of his brothers.

That is why, says Badde, Benedict sought to reform the liturgy as the privileged place of sacred encounter with Christ. That is why he sought to surmount the false dichotomy that tries to split the “post-Vatican II” Church from the “pre-Vatican II” Church, forgetting that there is but one Church of Jesus Christ, bound together by a “hermeneutic of continuity.”

And that is why Benedict devoted much of his spare time to his book Jesus of Nazareth.

[Spot-on resume of B16’s Pontificate which underlines the abysmal difference with the current pontificate whose priorities are not just the polar opposites of Benedict XVI’s but nothing less than a betrayal of the primary mission of the Successor of Peter.]

The author calls Benedict the first “postmodern” pope (though I would argue that John Paul II was hardly unaware of the intellectual shoals of modernity). As a modern German, he is aware not just of the divide between Catholics and Protestants in his homeland, but of the “totalitarian secular worldview” of today’s Europe, as well — “the old front in the religious wars have long since taken a new course. [In Germany] it is no longer the Catholics and the Protestants who stand in opposition to one another. In the East, after two dictatorships on German soil, only a very few of them have remained, making way for a complacent majority of nihilists and neopagans.”

Yet while Benedict’s critics — including many in the Church in Germany — brand him “too conservative” (as if such terms were appropriate to the faith), Benedict sought to reintroduce modern people to Christianity or, more precisely, to Christ. Badde’s essays offer a thought-provoking assessment of the great challenge of faith that Benedict presented.

Badde’s introduction to his book:

Having lifted the above from preview pages made available on the Googlebooks presentation of the book, taking screenshots was the quickest way to reproduce it. The preview also includes Chapter 1.
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Psalm 18 and the Miracle of the Sun

13 October 2017

A great day, the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun, when the Sun was seen to dance down upon the Earth. I wish to share a few thoughts about the Typology of this event, with its deeply scriptural and traditional roots.

Our starting point should be Psalm 18, and the rich use which Holy Tradition has made of this psalm.

In the Pius XII Psalter which was masterminded by Cardinal Augustin Bea (bad ... bad), we read (verse 5) "He has made a tabernacle for the sun". An accurate translation, it may be, of the Hebrew.

But this is not what we find in both the ancient Latin Vulgate and the Greek Septuagint (abbreviated to LXX): the two versions by which Christians of both East and West have always worshipped. Here is a literal rendering of what these versions give us:

5.In the sun he has placed his tabernacle: and he himself like a bridegroom going forth from his chamber has rejoiced (LXX: will rejoice) like a giant to run his course.
6. From highest (LXX: furthest) heaven {is} his going forth: and his meeting is even unto its highest (LXX: furthest); neither is there one who might hide himself from his heat.

Our Catholic and Orthodox forebears took the Sun to be our Lady (St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem from 634: "For in thee, O Virgin, as in a most pure and sparkling Heaven, God has placed his tabernacle").

They understood the bridegroom to be Christ. The bridal-chamber is the womb of the Blessed Virgin. In that Womb he united Godhead with manhood as bridegroom is united to bride, so that he is a giant with two Natures in one Person. His going forth is his eternal generation, as the Divine and Only-begotten Son, from the Father. His meeting is the Son's equality with the Father.

Let's consider the Advent Office Hymn Conditor alme siderum. We will take the clever and accurate translation of stanza 3 by the Anglican John Mason Neale which appears as Number 1 in the English Hymnal:

"Thou cam'st, the bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine."

And a hymn by the great St Ambrose himself, Veni Redemptor gentium:

"Forth from his chamber goeth he,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now his course to run."

The Liturgy of the hours unfortunately misses out ('ad brevitatem') the next stanza, also based on our psalm, which Neale (English Hymnal 14) renders

"From God the Father he proceeds,
To God the Father back he speeds;
His course he runs to death and hell,
Returning on God's throne to dwell."

The Pre-Conciliar Breviary and the English Hymnal do not provide another ancient hymn, Fit porta Christi pervia, which the Liturgy of the Hours dug up and ordered to be said at Morning Prayer on January 1. Here is a literal version of the second stanza; it shows its indebtedness to Psalm 18:

"The Son of the highest Father has gone forth from the palace of the Virgin, bridegroom, Redeemer, Creator, the Giant of his Church."

I'm sure you've noticed the relevance of all this to the importance of celebrating Mass versus Orientem, towards the Lord who comes to us at the dawning of the day, walking to meet us from the womb of his Mother, the Woman clothed with Sun, the Tabernacle of Divinity.

But today, we think of the Sun as the great cosmic Ikon of the Mother of God, which spectacularly confirmed the authenticity of the Fatima Message; confirmed it for 1917 and for every successive year.

The Miracle of the Sun,
the blasphemies of Pope Francis, and
the betrayal of unfaithful Catholics

October 13, 2017

The Miracle of the Sun is 100 years today. What happened at Cova da Iria on 13 October 1917 is one of the greatest gifts a merciful God and His Mother ever gave to a skeptic humanity, prone not to believe unless they have seen. On that day, tens of thousands ‘saw’. We reflect on the events 100 years later and recognize, once again, that we keep being unfaithful, and undeserving of the gifts given to us.

One hundred years later, the consecration of Russia has not happened. In addition, a lurid process of obfuscation of Our Lady’s warnings has taken place, steered by the Vatican itself.

And then there is the vision of hell, happened during the series of apparitions. These are the words with which Sister Lucia described the vision:

“She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke.

Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear.”

One hundred years after the series of events in Fatima, culminating with the miracle at Cova da Iria, the extremely brutal warning on hell afforded by this terrifying vision has obviously escaped the current Pope, who, just days ago, without subsequent denial or recantation, allowed an interview to be published in which he, to use the arrogant words of the atheist journalist author, abolished hell. [If only because of the Fatima centenary and the vision of Hell Our Lady deliberately showed to the little shepherds, Bergoglio ought to have stayed away from speaking about hell in any way!]

One hundred years later, the Church is living a crisis – nay, a satanic infiltration – that seems to threaten her very existence, as the reigning Pope tries to transform the Church in the exact contrary of what Fatima stands for. One hundred years later, it is fair to say that the reigning Pope is more likely to consecrate Russia to Stalin than to the Blessed Virgin.

As the last of the Fatima apparitions occurred, on 13 October 1917, an atheist, devastating ideology was only weeks away from taking power in Russia and starting a reign of terror with global ambitions that went on for many decades. One hundred years later only some faint echoes of that terror remain, as Communist regimes have been almost extinct.

What a tragic irony that one of their few remaining, [not quite] closeted admirers of Communism – as always, not in formal words [but yes, that too!], but [worse,]in espousing its ideology, its social hatred and utter Godlessness [That is going too far, although Bergoglio does espouse the socialist ideals of communism and practices its authoritarianism in his own style of governing, but not its ‘utter godlessness’, as JMB does pay lip service to ‘God’, even if he says ‘there is no Catholic God’, thereby seeming to deny the Holy Trinity, but then he seems to think he is both Jesus II and the Holy Spirit, and the only Person of the Trinity he has not yet co-opted is God the Father] – should be, of all people, the Pope.

This day should be a sobering remainder of the extent of our unfaithfulness and of the pit of irreligious thinking in which our entire Christian civilisation has fallen in these 100 years, as millions of ‘small c’ catholics proving of their fornicating children, indifferent to sexual perversion, quite comfortable with abortion and divorce [and the adultery of remarried divorcees], and utterly approving of contraception are busy clapping in church as they read sacred texts and give communion to each other with sanctimonious “peace ‘n love” faces.

This pope did not come out of a vacuum. He is the product of decades of stupidity. Cova da Iria, 100 years later, reminds us of how big the stupidity has now become.

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October 13, 2013 headlines

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Thanks to Richard Hawker who shared these scans with NLM - and us. for sharing these scans with us.

1967: When the liturgical landslide
reached the bottom of the slippery slope


October 13, 2017

Here is an interesting bit of history from the post-Conciliar period, a new set of variations to the order of Mass issued in May of 1967, following those implemented in March of 1965.

The imprudence of Sacrosanctum Concilium calling for “noble simplicity” and for the rites to be “simplified”, without specifying what exactly that should entail, has by this point become impossible to deny.

Less than three and a half years had passed since its promulgation, (the Council itself had been over for less than a year and a half), and the Roman Ordo Missae had already undergone more changes in that period than it had since before Trent. Altars were being turned around throughout the world, so that the faithful could see what the priest is doing at Mass; the time had come for there to be much less for them to see.

Less reverence is the order of the day; “the altar is kissed only once”, and signs of the cross and genuflections are rapidly disappearing, most shockingly, the genuflection immediately after the Words of Consecration.

Moreover, as William Riccio wrote earlier this year, the faithful who were made nervous by the seemingly endless barrage of changes to that which was always held to be unchangeable “... were told that the Canon, that most untranslatable prayer, would never be in the vernacular because it is too steeped in meaning. In 1967, it was put in the vernacular.”

The pretense that even the barest letter of Sacrosanctum Concilium would be respected, (“let the use of the Latin language be preserved... Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy ... should be given pride of place in liturgical services”) was now almost entirely thrown off.

We may also note that commemorations, a feature against which the reformers had a particular and wholly inexplicable animus, are now basically gone, with almost no exceptions.

At the very end, there is a footnote concerning the Divine Office; in the fairly few offices of three nocturnes left at that point, one may choose to say only one. The parts of Matins specific to choir ritual (the blessings before the readings and “Tu autem, Domine...”) may now be omitted, along with the prayer called the Absolution, which is a specifically Roman feature. This presages their complete disappearance from the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Ambrosian Liturgy of the Hours was not published until 1981, by which time many people were beginning to realize what a mistake some of these changes really were; it retained the blessings before the readings.

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Left, St. Agatho's mosaic portrait in the papal gallery of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome; left, depicted in the Menologion of Basil II, an illuminated manuscript designed as an Eastern Orthodox
Church service book compiled around 1000 AD for the Byzantine Emperor Basil II.

Ever heard of Pope St Agatho? Time for getting to know him… Here’s what the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us about him:

Born towards the end of the sixth century in Sicily; died in Rome, 681. It is generally believed that Agatho was originally a Benedictine monk at St. Hermes in Palermo, and there is good authority that he was more than 100 years old when, in 678, he ascended the papal chair as successor to Pope Donus. Shortly after Agatho became Pope, St. Wilfred, Archbishop of York, who had been unjustly and uncanonically deposed from his see by Theodore of Canterbury, arrived at Rome to invoke the authority of the Holy See in his behalf. At a synod which Pope Agatho convoked in the Lateran to investigate the affair, Wilfred was restored to his see.

The chief event of Agatho's pontificate is, however the Sixth Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople in 680, at which the papal legates presided and which practically ended the Monothelite heresy. Before the decrees of the council arrived in Rome for the approval of the pope, Agatho had died. He was buried in St. Peter's, 10 January, 681. Pope Agatho was remarkable for his affability and charity. On account of the many miracles he wrought he has been styled Thaumaturgus, or Wonderworker. His memory is celebrated by the Latin as well as the Greek Church.

Fr H today tells us about that Lateran Synod that preceded the Sixth Council.

Pope St. Agatho the Good…
and heretical popes

October 14, 2017

S Agatho's Synod in 678 was, when you think about it, quite a big one: 125 bishops. Larger, I think, than some 'Ecumenical Councils'. He was summoning it (Bede H.E. V 19) adversus eos qui ... dogmatizabant (against those who dogmatize [falsely]).

This Synod was held against a doctrinal error that had just arisen: against those who dogmatized that there was but one Will and Working in the Lord our Saviour (i.e. Monothelites). But the Holy Father did not call his Council to find out what those 125 bishops thought, nor to discover whether they had some splendid new ideas.

Inevitably, there was an Englishman in Rome and inevitably that Englishman was S Wilfrid. This indefatigable missionary tended to find himself embroiled in rows, and his instinct on such occasions was invariably the same: go to Rome. (After all, if one got there fast enough, the Holy See only heard one side of the story!)

So St Wilfrid to join in his synod so as to benefit from his thinking and his erudition ... NO: not a bit of it! Wilfrid was invited to speak his Faith, in other words, to make formal confession of his orthodoxy; but not of his own merely personal Faith: that of the Province or Island from which he came.

His adherence to Catholic orthodoxy was incorporated into the Acta Synodi: "Wilfrid, the God-beloved Bishop of the City of York ... was set in the seat of judgement in Synod with his 125 coepiscopi; and, in the name of (pro) the whole Northern part of Britain and Ireland, and the islands which are inhabited by the nations of the Angles and Britons, and also the Scots and the Picts, he confessed the true and Catholic Faith, et cum subscriptione sua corroboravit. (and strengthened it with his subscription).

The confidence with which St Wilfrid spoke for so much of (what in Irish scholarship is now neatly called) the Atlantic Archipelago, and for the orthodoxy of thousands of Scottic monks who had never met him and, had they done so, might have had strong things to say about his Paschal Mathematics, may well take our breath away. But I want to point out what this Synod was for.

A heresy had arisen, and a previous pope (Honorius I) half a century before had actually promoted the error. Heresy is a very grave matter; but a Pope is there to condemn it. Just think of what a massive ecclesial disorder is involved the pope himself actually favours the heresy and uses his office to spread it.

So our Holy Father Pope Agatho held a synod; and his brother bishops were there to strengthen his hand by bearing (written, formal) witness to the orthodoxy which they had, each of them, received and to which their Particular Churches bore witness. Subsequently, he called an Ecumenical Council, at which Pope Honorius, together with his fellow heresiarchs, was condemned and anathematized in the strongest possible language.

That is why, on this blog, he is known as S Agatho the Good.
The next pope, S Leo II, confirmed the Conciliar condemnations.

When will there be a Pope Agatho II? Domine, exaudi et miserere! (Lord, hear us and have mercy!)

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It is no accident that the Festival has chosen to use the same image that serves as the banner for the ‘Correctio Filialis’.

One inevitably thinks of the recent Boston conference among 40 of the staunchest Bergoglian faithful to strategize how to propagate further the errors of Amoris laetitia in the US Church. In Verona, Catholic orthodoxy will be proclaimed against Bergoglian apostasy...

Prominent Italian Catholic thinkers
at a conference on faith and culture

Translated from

October 14, 2017

The sixth annual Festival of on Faith and Culture takes place tomorrow in Verona, at the Palazzo Gran Guardia right in front of the famous Roman-built Arena di Verona. The festival is organized by the Catholic publishing house Fede e Cultura.

The following are scheduled to speak at the Festival:
Stefano Fontana, director of the Cardinal Van Thuan International Observatory on the Social Doctrine of the Church, author of many books on the faith, and a consultant to what was the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He will be presenting his new book La nuova chiesa di Karl Rahner [ which sees in the church of Bergoglio many features of the progressivist less-than-Catholic church that the 20th century Jesuit theologian advocated.

Giovanni Zenone, who founded the publishing house, and a longtime pupil of theologian Mons. Antonio , will speak about “Correctio filialis and the language of ambiguity”.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who needs no introduction, will speak on :The right way to fight poverty”.

Lorenzo Fontana, vice-mayor of Verona, a European Parliament member from the conservative Italian party Lega Nord, and the #2 man in that party after Matteo Salvini, will speak about how it is possible to live as a Catholic and a politician: “My experience as a Catholic in politics”.

Silvana De Mari, doctor, psychotherapist, author of fantasy novels translated around the world, will link a well-known fantasy theme [from Lord of the Rings] to current events: “The Orks on the attack against men and women”.

Francesco Agnoli, historian, philosopher and prolific contributor of articles on the faith to many Italian periodicals, will speak about the life of a man considered to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century, Alexander Grothendieck, who died three years ago after giving up atheism to find his faith in God. The title of his lecture, “The splendor that transcends”, is taken from an unpublished manuscript by Grothendieck.

The other speakers are Maria Bianca Graziosi, a leading scholar on monasticism, and Mons. Gino Oliosi, priest and qualified exorcist of the Diocese of Verona.
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The Fatima centenary is too important for the Church and for mankind as to simply fade away after the great celebration of the final apparition and its Miracle of
the Sun... Aldo Maria Valli had a most original way of commemorating Oct. 13 - by quoting Benedict XVI from his pilgrimage to Fatima seven years ago, and
relating those statements to timeless observations he made in his 2007 encyclical Spe salvi (in my opinion - which I was most happy to see was also that of
Fr. Schall - his greatest encyclical, if not also his best 'short work' as Joseph Ratzinger and as Benedict XVI. We shall mark its tenth anniversary on Nov. 30).

I believe I am seeing a pattern in Valli's commentaries lately - since he avowed his disillusion with the reigning pope. Somehow, he always manages to end up
citing Benedict XVI as a counterpoint to whatever current Church development he is commenting on - and find it a wonderful way to 'correct'
Bergoglio without doing so directly and 'in his face'. And it is wonderful that someone like Valli has made Benedict XVI his constant reference
point for commenting on current events in the Church

‘Who watches in the night?’
Benedict XVI on the message of Fatima,
and on God’s justice

Translated from

Oct. 13, 2017

Today on the 100th anniversary of the last Marian apparition in Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun that came with it, I remember words that Benedict XVI said seven years ago, on May 13, 2010, when, in his homily at a Mass in the shrine at Fatima, he asked:

Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith?...

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162)

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”

They are very clear words. As clear as what he told newsmen on the flight from Rome to Lisbon when, replying to a question about the Third Secret and on the possibility of including in the vision of a persecuted Church the sufferings of the Church as a result of the the sexual abuse of minors by priests, he said:

As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her external enemies , but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice.

In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history.

To relearn the theological virtues (faith, hope, charity), to do penance, to practice forgiveness not dissociated from justice, to convert, to pray. Benedict XVI’s ‘prescription’ cannot be more crystal-clear. His reflection took off from the issue of priestly sexual offenses, but certainly when he spoke of sin in the Church, he was not just thinking of that. In the Church today, so many sins, so much infidelity [to the faith, and therefore, so much betrayal of the faith, of the Truth which is Christ].

Recalling those words by Benedict XVI seven years ago, we also recall what theologian Joseph Ratzinger said in 1969 [just four years after the end of Vatican II] in a series of radio conversations during which, in what was soon defined as a true and proper prophecy of the Church of the future, he imagined a Church that would be small, downsized, forced to abandon many of her places of worship, humiliated, no longer socially relevant, and called on to return to her origins. A Church that would undergo an ‘enormous upheaval’ but precisely because of this, could be reborn purified.

“To me it seems certain that very difficult times are in store for the Church. Her real crisis has barely begun. She must be prepared to deal with great upheavals. But I am also sure of what will ultimately remain: not a Church of political ends, but the Church of faith. Of course, she will no longer be the dominant social force as it had been for centuries, until recently. But the Church will see a new flowering and will once again be a home for man, where he can find life and hope beyond death.

Then, he said, we shall see ‘the small flock of believers as something totally new’, and people will find them “as a hope for themselves, the answer that they had always been seeking in secret”.

Regarding justice and the need for the faithful to recover the very notion of justice, Benedict XVI wrote unforgettable pages in his second encyclical Spe salvi. After noting that “In the modern era, the idea of the Last Judgement has faded into the background”, he explains that when there is no God to render justice, then it is man himself who sets his own standards for justice – which, as history has shown, simply opens the way to injustice. “It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim”.

It is true, he underscores, that the image of the Last Judgment may appear terrifying to man, but it is more correct to say that “it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love.

God is justice and creates justice. This is our consolation and our hope. And in his justice there is also grace. This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ. Both these things —justice and grace — must be seen in their correct inner relationship.

Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value.
Dostoevsky, for example, was right to protest against this kind of Heaven and this kind of grace in his novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.

I wish everyone a happy October 13.

[The quotations from Benedict XVI in Fatima appear to constitute a reproach to the reigning pope who has downgraded the message of Fatima to just another call for peace, as well as a reminder that the greatest threat to the Church today comes from within! While the quotations from Spe salvi appear aimed at Scalfari's recent reportage about Jorge Bergoglio's idea that there is no Hell because evil souls will simply be annihilated [implying Bergoglio does not think all souls are immortal], which, Scalfari rightly concludes, would make the Last Judgment unnecessary. The Vatican, as expected, has not commented on this latest Scalfariade, much less corrected or denied it. As if Jesus himself did not speak about Hell many times as well as the idea of the Last Judgment.]
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Before I saw Valli's blogpost today, the ff was really the 'big item' I needed to post about the centenary. Even if I do take issue with a number of points made by
Prof. De Mattei, it provides a comprehensive historical context for the Fatima apparitions and Our Lady's message... I was going to put it in the same box as Valli's
post, but it is 5000 characters too long to be accommodated in the same box.

Fatima 100 years later:
A Marian call for the whole Church

By Prof. Roberto de Mattei
Lecture at Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England
October 13, 2017

The historical framework of the Message of Fatima
The message of Fatima is aimed at the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. [I am very uncomfortable with the formulation of this thought. It makes it sound as if the entire event was an ego thing for Our Lady. I think, more properly said, “The message of Fatima assures us that The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph”.] This is its essence, as Father Joaquin Alonso (1938-1981) [1], Father Serafino Lanzetta [2] and other authors have grasped well. The prophecy contained in the message of July 13th 1917 has its culminating point in the promise: “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. It’s important to emphasize that this promise is unconditional [3].

However, there is another dimension, no less important, which deserves our attention and which I intend to focus on. It‘s the prophecy, that says, if the world doesn’t convert, a great chastisement will befall it. Fatima isn’t a generic call to prayer and penance, it is, above all, the announcement of a chastisement and the final triumph in history of Divine Mercy.

In the vast horizon of private revelations, the Fatima apparitions have their own characteristic: their very close relationship with history. The great apparitions of Our Lady in the 19th century – Rue du Bac (1830), Sant’Andrea delle Fratte (1842), Lourdes (1858) while shedding light on their times, don’t have direct historical references.

Dom Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875) said: “Man has been called by God to a supernatural destiny, this is his end; the history of humanity must offer testimony to this” [4]. Fatima reminds us that history must be judged not on the basis of criteria of a geopolitical or socio-economic nature, but from God’s point of view, since history is a creature, and as such, is ordered to the glory of God.

The Revelation of Fatima is therefore a theology of history which has as its object, God’s supernatural plan in the history of the 20th and 21st centuries. Father Ramiro Saenz writes – a divine intervention in a specific historical circumstance to correct its course”[5].

“From every standpoint, notes Plinio Correa de Oliveira (1908-1995), “for the nature of their content and the dignity of the One who revealed them, the Fatima Revelations thus surpass all of what Providence has said to mankind about the impending cataclysms of history. Hence, it can be stated categorically and without fear of being contradicted, that the Apparitions of Our Lady and the Angel of Peace at Fatima, constitute the most important and most thrilling event of the 20th century” [6].

The heart of the Fatima prophecy is the Message of July 13th 1917. This Message is divided into three parts – also called secrets – but there is a single leading thread and each part is linked harmoniously with the other. The Fatima tryptich, writes Father Alonso “forms a compact, perfect unity, in which it is not possible to separate one part from another” [7].

The first part of the message consists in the vision of hell, which is the punishment for individual souls if they die impenitent. In the second part the chastisement is extended to the sins of nations. A nation doesn’t only commit sin when most of its members transgress the Divine Law, but most of all when it publicly contradicts this Law in its institutions. The chastisement of nations – which, unlike souls, do not have eternal life - is their material and spiritual annihilation. [dim=8pt [Oh, but Jorge Bergoglio has said that evil souls are not immortal, that their fate is annihilation (like that of nations), and so there is no hell because all evil souls would be annihilated!]

The third part of the secret extends to the Church. The sin of the men of the Church, who have the mission of guiding the faithful to eternal life, is not only their moral decadence but – in its most profound aspect – their apostasy from the faith. When Churchmen cease preaching the truth and condemning errors, they abdicate their role as pastors and commit a sin against the faith. The vision of the third secret offers us a symbolic image of the chastisement of the Church: the ruin of the Civitas Dei and the persecution of Her Pastors and faithful.

In the three secrets of Fatima each part is explained by the preceding one and Sister Lucy states, in a letter to John Paul II on May 12th 1982, that the tragic picture of the Third Secret refers to the words of Our Lady: “Russia will scatter her errors throughout the world” [8], that is, to the second part of the Message.

But why is this central role attributed to Russia and what are her errors? Not one of the scholars of Fatima have any doubt about this. Russia’s error is Communism, which, from 1917 onwards started to spread throughout the world. The sin of nations and of the Church consists principally in having embraced this error. The chastisement is in the sin itself committed, according to what the Book of Wisdom teaches: “per quae peccat quis, per haec et torquetur” (one is punished by the very things through which one sins) (Wisdom, XI, 16). Communism is the hell of nations, and the Church Herself will be the victim of this infernal machine.

How Russia came to spread her errors
throughout the world

On October 26th 1917, three months after the July 13th message, Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870 -1924), conquered Russia with a coup d’etat. ,”Russia became the source of an ideology diametrically opposed to Catholicism. “The philosophy of Marxism,” Lenin proclaimed, “is integral philosophical materialism” [9]. Integral materialism is also defined as dialectic materialism. Everything, according to Communism, is matter which is transformed and evolves. The soul of the universe is dialectic evolution, which denies at the roots, all stability of Being. All of the permanent institutions in society – the family, private property, the State, Religion – are destined to be swallowed up in the incessant fight of their opposites. [10]

Yet, Communism is not only a philosophical idea, but an organization of [singlemindedly dedicated] apostles of error, who propose changing society with their revolutionary action. In his second thesis on Feuerbach, Karl Marx states that man must find the truth of his ideas in their praxis, and, in his eleventh thesis, he states that the task of philosophers is not that of interpreting the world but of transforming it [11] [Why does that sound exactly like the practical principle propelling the agenda of Jorge Bergoglio? Forget all his pious lip services about God and the Gospel. This is a person totally in the service and servitude of the material, which unquestionably has priority and pride of place in his agenda as pope.]

The philosopher is replaced by the revolutionary, and the revolutionary must demonstrate the power and effectiveness of his thought in his praxis. Which means, as the philosopher Augusto Del Noce (1910-1989) pointed out, that “it is impossible to treat Marxism independently from its historical implementation, precisely because it cannot place its criteria of truth in anything but its historical verification” [12]. [i.e.,Reality is whatever we materialists have brought forth by our deeds. Much like the reality of the Church as perceived by Bergoglio and his followers today.][/dim

The word Russia then, doesn’t have a merely geographical significance: it refers to the ideological sect that governed the former Empire of the Czars from 1917-1987. Revolutionaries, writes Lenin, are men “who don’t dedicate only their free time to the Revolution, but their entire life”[13], “men whose profession is revolutionary action”[14]. The Bolshevik Revolution, in its author’s intents, is not limited to a nation, but is universal and permanent. [The same attributes Bergoglio believes his ‘revolution’ has, or that Adolf Hitler believed of his Reich. Christ revolutionized the world such that Christianity imposed its culture and values on most of the world in the past 2000 years, and, having overcome the Protestant Reformation with a remarkable Counter-Reformation, only lately, has its cultural and moral dominance come to be seriously challenged by secularism and Islam. But Christ promised that even the gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church. (Oh, there’s that word again. Was Jesus only using the word Hell figuratively and not literally, as Bergoglio seems to think? Remember how the initial gushy adulators of the new pope professed their ecstasy that Bergoglio had mentioned the devil in his first homily as pope? Must have been the smoke of Satan himself insinuating through the walls of the Sistine Chapel that prompted the reference, “Hey, do not forget me!”) ]

In 1919, in Moscow, Lenin founded the Third International, or Comintern, the international organization for Communist parties. At its July-August 1920 Congress in Moscow, it publicized its programme for the upcoming “Worldwide Revolution”.

In Russia and in the countries where Communism has taken power, the method of the Revolution is Terror. On December 20th 1917, Lenin created the Cheka, the secret police with the task of repressing any “counter-revolutionary” demonstration. Its headquarters, in Lubianka Street, became the symbol of a political terror unknown to the world. According to the decree of September 5th 1918, any person could be asked what his origins were, his education, his profession and where he lived. If his answers to these questions indicated he was ‘middle class’ or ‘bourgeois’ to his interrogators, then his fate was sealed. [15]

General Alexander Orlov (1895-1973), who abandoned the Communist Secret Police to pass over to the West, estimates that the number of individuals shot between 1917 and 1923 reached more than 1,800,000 [16], not counting those who died of hunger and destitution. A year after the Revolution in Moscow, people wandered around in rags and dropped dead in the snow as a result of severe privation. Stalin made use of hunger and famine to exterminate entire populations, like the Kulaki.

The beginning of Ostpolitik
From the outset, few understood the significance of this tragedy. Unfortunately neither did the Supreme Pastors of the Church, at that time, Benedict XV (1914–1922) and Pius XI (1922-1939). As the historian Anthony Rhodes (1916-2004) noted: “It may seem strange today to realize that the new Soviet rulers of Russia in 1918 were at first regarded by the Vatican without undue apprehension”[17].

The principle on which Benedict XV and Pius XI based their politics was that of the ralliement of Leo XIII (1878-1903) with the Third French Republic[18] [‘Ralliement’ , literally a rallying, refers to the policy of adhering to the directives given by Pope Leo XIII to French Catholics in 1892]: that it is necessary to accept the established power[19].

And the power in Russia was Lenin, just as at the time of Leo XIII’s ralliement , the power in France was Freemasonry. For Leo XIII and for his diplomatic school, personal piety, even of a high level, was not to get mixed up in political action, reserved for diplomacy, of which the Church was supposed to be a Master. Another contemporary historian, Philippe Chenaux, wrote of Leo XIII’s successors: “Benedict XV and Pius XI thought they would be able to bring the Soviet authorities to a sort of concordat agreement”.[20]

An Italian scholar, Laura Pettinaroli, documented the intense diplomatic activity of the Holy See regarding Bolshevism, beginning with the Genoa International Conference held in April-May 1922[21]. The Holy See’s Archives of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, which I consulted, confirm that in 1923 negotiations began for an eventual recognition of the Soviet Government by the Holy See. The same Archive documents that, in December 1923, a cardinals’ commission discussed the possible acknowledgement of the Soviet government by the Holy See [22].

Yet, the Archives contain not only a vigorous and prophetic letter of protest sent to Pius XI during the Genoa Conference by the National Committee of the Russians in exile, presided by the Orthodox theologian Anton Vladimirovitch Kartachoff (1875-1960)[23], but, above all, an impressive note of 1923-1924 from a Bolshevik source on the Red Army plans for expansion in Europe, and the Middle East[24].

The mystery is thickened by the fact that, between 1922 and 1933, in a span of over ten years, Pius XI placed unconditional confidence in an ambiguous character, Father Michael d’Herbigny (1850-1957)[25], a member of the Society of Jesus, to whom he entrusted the office of Dean at the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

Father d’Herbigny, on behalf of the Holy See, carried out several missions in Russia between 1925 and 1926. In a pamphlet published in France, he recounted his impressions of the first trip he made in 1925. He claims that churches in Moscow were open, religious liberty was openly proclaimed, the Orthodox clergy went about in their church attire and there was no trace of violence, even if scientific propaganda against religion was on the rise[26]. During his second trip he stopped in Berlin where he was secretly consecrated bishop by Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli, in the chapel of the Nuncio’s residence. In turn, Monsignor d’Herbigny consecrated three clandestine bishops.

D’Herbigny’s activity had a twofold purpose: the attempt to reach an agreement with the Soviets and the creation of a clandestine hierarchy in Russia. On his return to Rome, in August 1926, Pius XI entrusted him with the direction of a Pontifical Commission Pro Russia, which absorbed the competences of the Oriental Congregation. In 1929, the Pontificium Collegium Russicum was created.

Monsignor d’Herbigny appeared to be close to receiving a cardinal’s hat when his ecclesiastical career suffered and mysterious collapse. Questions of a political nature linked to his secretary’s spy activity in favour of the Soviet Union (Alessandro Deubner, 1899-1946), seemed to be the cause of his downfall. In fact ,he lost all of his offices, and in 1937 he was even stripped of his title as bishop and banished to France. All of the bishops secretly ordained by Monsignor d’Herbigny were subsequently imprisoned, exiled or executed. His project was chimerical, but for ten years he incarnated the Holy See’s politics.

Sister Lucia’s new revelations
The life of Sister Lucia (1907-2005), the only surviving Fatima visionary, after the death of Francesco (1919) and Jacinta (1920), witnessed the unfolding of these events. In October of 1925, Lucia entered the Institute of St. Dorothy as a postulant, taking the name Maria de los Dolores. She would spend 27 years in this institute, first in the Monastery of Pontevedra and then in the Monastery of Tuy. On March 25th 1948, she left this religious order to enter the Carmel in Coimbra, where she spent the subsequent 57 years.

In the twelve years that followed the apparitions of July 13th 1917, Lucia received two important revelations. The first at Pontevedra, in 1925; the second at Tuy on June 13th 1929.

In the Message of July 13th 1917, Our Lady had said: “I will come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays” [27]. On December 10th 1925, Lucia was in her cell at Pontevedra when the Most Blessed Virgin appeared, promising to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, “all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me” [28].

On June 13th 1929, Lucia who was now in the convent at Tuy, received a new revelation from Our Lady, who said to her: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means”. [29]

On May 29th 1930, Sister Lucia transmitted the request to her spiritual director[30], Father José Bernardo Gonçalves (1894-1967), who asked her to respond to some questions related to the heavenly communication she had received. Replying to the questionnaire, the nun confirmed that “Our good Lord promised “to end the persecution in Russia”, if the Holy Father, himself was to make a solemn public act of reparation and consecration of Russia and “would approve and recommend” the devotion of the first fives Saturdays of the month[31]. The two requests of Pontevedra and Tuy are intimately linked and directed towards one outcome: the conversion of Russia and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On June 13th Father Goncalves transmitted the letter to the Bishop of Leira, Monsignor José Alves Correia da Silva (1872-1957), who, in turn, had it sent to Pius XI. On April 13th 1930, Monsignor da Silva approved the report of the Diocesan Canonical Commission, which established the supernatural nature of the events[32] and on October 13th of the same year in his pastoral letter ‘A Divina Providência’, he officially recognized the cult of devotion to Fatima[33].

At that time Stalin was at the peak of his power. The Cristeros war in Mexico had reached its climax and conclusion. In Spain, in 1931, an atheist and Masonic Republic was declared which opened up the way for anarchy and Communism. Our Lady, however, had entrusted the great remedy against Communism to the men of the Church. The Pope was requested to make, and to have made, the Consecration of Russia and promote Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All the faithful were called to respond to the Fatima appeal, but nothing could be done without the Pope. And the Pope at that time was Pius XI, convinced of being able to bend dictatorships by engaging in agreements with them.

Anthony Rhodes concludes his book dedicated to “The Age of Dictators” by stating: “There is no doubt however that mistakes were made by the Vatican in ‘the Age of Dictators’. Pius XI's belief that a series of concordats with the Dictators would promote the Church's apostolic activity more effectively than would Catholic parties appears to have been, on the whole, mistaken” [34].

On August 29th 1931, Sister Lucia transmitted a terrible message from Our Lord to the Bishop of Leira. She had received an intimate communication which said: “They did not pay attention to my request. Like the King of France, they will repent, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!” [35]

The reference is to Louis XIV, who, in 1689, failed to respond to the request that had been transmitted to him by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to enthrone the Sacred Heart solemnly and publicly, and consecrate his reign to that same Heart. The request would be answered, but too late, on June 15th 1792 by Louis XVI, in the Temple prison[36]. Father Alonso underlined the close resemblance existing between the two great unfulfilled promises: the one of Paray-le-Monial and that of Fatima[37]. [One to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the other to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.]

Under the reign of Pius XI there would be no consecration to Russia and the devotion of the First Five Saturdays would neither be approved nor encouraged. The Holy See was fully aware of the spread of Communist errors in the world. The Archive of the Congregation for Special Affairs contains a report sent on April 14th, 1932 by the Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli to nuncios and apostolic delegates of 48 countries about communist propaganda being spread worldwide[38].

However, during those same years Communism raised its ferociously anti-Catholic head in Spain. Most of the martyrs of the 20th century who have been beatified were killed ‘in odium of the faith’ in the first six months of the Spanish Civil War, from July 1936 to January 1937[39].

The Spanish War opened the Pope’s eyes. On March 19th 1937, he published the encyclical Divini Redemptoris, the first articulated analysis of the Communist doctrine, defining it as “intrinsically perverse” [40].

Yet, in the decade between 1929 to 1939, the remedy proposed by Our Lady to halt the Divine punishment was not fulfilled. Pius XI died on February 10th 1939, not having complied with the requests of Fatima. On March 2nd his Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, was elected Pope with the name of Pius XII (1939-1958). He had been consecrated Bishop in Rome on May 13th 1917, the precise day and hour of the Fatima theophany.

When the Second World War broke out, preceded by the heavenly sign pre-announced at Fatima, Lucia saw this as a tragic consequence, because of the Church hierarchy’s failure to fulfill the requests of Our Lady. They appeared to have lacked trust in Our Lady’s promise. “By this act,” Lucia wrote to Father Goncalves on January 21st 1940, “He would have appeased His justice and forgiven the world the scourge of war which Russia is promoting from Spain to other nations” [41]. Russia, in the words of Sister Lucia, was considered the promoter of both wars, the Spanish one, just ended, and the European one still in progress.

On December 2nd 1940, with the authorization of her spiritual director who corrected the letter, Sister Lucia wrote to Pius XII. Her letter is a historical text, not only because it was the first time the seer of Fatima addressed a Pope directly, but because it sums up the history of the apparitions in an exhaustive manner.

Sister Lucia recalls the two explicit requests received after the message of July 13th 1917: the first, in 1925, concerned the devotion of the first five Saturdays of the month, and the second, in 1929, concerned the consecration of Russia, adding that: “In several intimate communications, Our Lord has not stopped insisting on His request” [42].

On October 31st 1942, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the apparitions, Pius XII consecrated the Church and humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We know from Sister Lucia that this act obtained a shortening of the war, but not the conversion of Russia, because it was “incomplete”: it lacked, in fact, an explicit mention of Russia[43].

On May 4th 1944, Pius XII instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart, to be celebrated on August 22nd, and on May 13th 1946, he had the image of the Virgin crowned by his legate, Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella. On October 13th1951, the Pope closed the Holy Year by sending Cardinal Federico Tedeschini to Fatima as Papal legate.

In his speech the Cardinal revealed that on the eve of the definition of the dogma of the Assumption, October 30th 1950, Pius XII had seen in the Vatican Gardens , the same “dance of the sun” which 70,000 pilgrims had witnessed at Fatima on October 13th 1917. The miracle was repeated before the eyes of Pope Pacelli on October 31st and November 8th of the same year.

On July 7th 1952, the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavic populations, Pius XII with his Apostolic Letter Sacro Vergente Anno, consecrated all the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary. Once again, according to Sister Lucia, this was an incomplete act, because, even if Russia was named, the solemn union of Catholic bishops from all the world was missing.

Following the Conference of Yalta in 1945, communism had extended its dominion to Oriental Europe. Great fCatholic prelates, like the Archbishop of Leopoli in Ukraine, Joseph Slipyi (1803-1984); the Archbishop of Zagreb, Alòjzije Stepìnac (1898-1960); the primate Cardinal of Hungary, Josef Mindszenty (1892-1975), bore witness to the Catholic faith against Communism during those years.

In 1949, Mao Tse Tung proclaimed the People’s Republic of China, thus inaugurating an age of terror in China. On January 18th 1952, Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Letter Cupimus imprimis [44], did not hesitate in comparing the situation of the Catholics and the entire population of Communist China to that of the Christians in the first persecutions of the Roman era. The condemnation of Communism on the part of the Holy See was inflexible during these years, sanctioned by the Decree of Excommunication from the Holy Office on July 1st 1949[45].

In the meantime, the year 1960, when the Third Secret ought to have been divulged, was fast approaching. In 1958, Sister Lucia wrote to Pius XII explaining why he should have opened the letter in 1960. “In 1960, Communism will reach its peak, which can be reduced in duration and intensity, and this must be followed by the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Reign of Christ”.[46].

But Pope Pacelli died on October 9th 1958. He was succeeded by John XXIII, who, on January 25th 1959, announced the convocation of an Ecumenical Council of a pastoral not doctrinal character. In the same month of January, the Communist Revolution conquered Cuba, which became the propelling center for the diffusion of Communism in Latin America. Communism arrogantly expressed its imperialist program by banging a shoe on a table, as Nikita Krushchov the new President of the Soviet Union, did at the United Nations on October 13th 1960.

On August 13th 1961 - again the fateful date of the 13th - the Communist government of East Germany raised the Berlin Wall. In October 1962, the world was on the brink of nuclear war because of the installation of Russian missiles in Cuba.

On August 17th 1959, John XXIII opened the sealed envelope which contained the Third Secret of Fatima. After reading it, he limited himself to dictating a note to his secretary Monsignor Loris Capovilla, attesting that “the Pope had examined the content and passed on to others the task of making a statement” about it. [47]

In the vota of bishops gathered in Rome for the ante-preparatory phase of the Council, Communism appeared to be the most serious error to be condemned. [48]. The Second Vatican Council would have been a great occasion to reveal the Third Secret, solemnly condemning Communism, consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and publicly promoting the First Five Saturdays devotion. None of this took place.

Jean Madiran in the review “Itinéraires” of February 1963, brought to light the existence of a secret agreement, sealed, in August of 1962, in the small French town of Metz, [49] between Cardinal Tisserant, a Vatican representative, and the Russian Orthodox Archbishop, Nikodim (1929-1978)[50]. On the basis of this agreement, the Patriarch of Moscow, with close ties to the Kremlin, accepted John XXIII’s invitation to send representatives to the Council, while the Pope guaranteed that the Council would refrain from condemning Communism. In my book The Second Vatican Council: A history never written, [51] I offer a further confirmation of this agreement.

On February 3rd 1964, the Bishop of Leiria (Portugal) delivered to Paul VI a petition signed by more than 700 bishops, pressing for the Consecration of Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart. In 1964, during the Council, 319 archbishops and bishops from 78 countries signed a petition wherein they asked the Pope, in union with the Council Fathers, to consecrate the entire world and in a special way, Russia, as well as all the other nations dominated by Communism, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Council Fathers, however, did not grant the request.

The failure to condemn Communism at the Second Vatican Council can be traced back, along with the diplomatic agreements, to the new pastoral direction that had followed the death of Pius XII. It is in this period that a new climate emerged of “a thaw” between the Church and Communism. Ostpolitik was born - the politics of the Vatican’s opening to Eastern Communist countries, symbolized by the then Monsignor Agostino Casaroli (1914-1998) [52].

Ostpolitik picked up the legacy of Leo XIII’s ralliement and of the political concordats of Pius XI, but added something more. Both Leo XIII and Pius XI, even if seeking on the political level, a modus vivendi with the enemies of the Church, had firmly condemned the philosophical principles of the modern world. Ostpolitik attributed a positive value to modernity, of which Communism appeared to be the ultimate expression. Communism wasn’t to be condemned, but purified of its atheism and reconciled with Christianity.

In this perspective, the consecration of Russia was inconceivable. Since the 1950s the theologian, Edouard Dhanis (1902-1978), a Jesuit, had sought to relativize the message of Fatima, by reducing it to nothing more than an exhortation tor “prayer and penance” [53]. In 1963, Paul VI, nominated the Jesuit theologian Rector of the Gregorian University, and in 1967, chose him as “special secretary” to the first Synod of Bishops.

On March 27th 1965, Paul VI read the Third Secret, and, like his predecessor, he sent back the envelope to the Archives of the Holy Office, having decided not to publish it. [54] On May 13th of the same year, he sent a Golden Rose to Fatima as a sign of veneration. Two years later, on May 13th 1967, he went as a pilgrim to Fatima, the first Pope ever to visit a Marian shrine at an apparition site. During the Solemn Pontifical Mass, Sister Lucia received Holy Communion from him, but at the end of the ceremony when she asked if she could meet him privately, she heard from his lips a categorical “no”. [WHY????]
The presence of Paul VI at Fatima could have been the historic occasion to reveal the Third Secret and to begin fulfilling Our Lady’s requests, but it was not to be. On January 30th 1967, in the Vatican, the Pope welcomed the Soviet President, Nikolaj Podgornyi (1903-1977). Ostpolitik, reached its peak in the 1970s, causing lively opposition between Catholics on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

In his book “Le passé d’une illusion”, the French historian Francois Furet (1924-2006) outlined a history of the attraction and success of the Communist idea, whose diffusion in the world had been much greater than Communist power, that it has, in fact, “vécu plus longtemps dans les esprits que dans les faits; plus longtemps à l'ouest qu'à l'est de l'Europe” (has lived far longer in the spirit than in fact, and far longer in Wetern than in Eastern Europe). [55]

The Communist errors were spread throughout the world thanks to scientifically organized propaganda. The so-called “dossier Mitrokhin” [56] documented what had always been known; that is to say, that the Soviet Union, through the KGB, was conducting a systematic work of disinformation, using the mercenary services of politicians, journalists and even Churchmen.

In his biography of John Paul II, George Weigel relied on documents from the archives of the KGB, of the Polish Służba Bezpieczeństwa (SB,) and of the East German Stasi that confirm the fact the Communist governments and secret services of the East-bloc countries had penetrated the Vatican so as to promote their interests and infiltrate the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy[57].

The election of John Paul II (1978-2005) appeared to signal a turning point. Pope Woytjla was, like Pius XII, one of the Popes tied closest to Fatima. After being seriously wounded on May 13th 1981 in St Peter’s Square, he attributed his survival to the miraculous intervention of Our Lady of Fatima and was impelled to study the message more deeply. Thus, while he was in Rome’s Policlinico, he had his Polish friend Wanda Poltawska read the Documentos de Fatima, which Monsignor Pavel Hnilica (1931-2006) had obtained for him

Then, on May 13th 1982, he went as a pilgrim to the shrine in Fatima, where he entrusted and consecrated to Our Lady “those men and nations that are particularly in need of this entrustment and consecration”, with no explicit reference to Russia. On that occasion, he met Sister Lucia who spoke to him of the need to consecrate Russia in union with all the bishops of the world. “There are many difficulties”, the Pope had replied, “but we will do all that is within our power”. [58] [But what on earth could such difficulties be – other than political correctness - if a battle-scarred veteran warrior against Communism like Karol Wojtyla could not dare call on all the bishops of the world to join him in consecrating Russia to Our Lady? The Communists, being atheists and totally unreligious, do not believe in the Christian universe of God and his saints and the entire communion of saints, so would they really have minded if the ‘superstitious’ Christians consecrated their country to Our Lady? What harm could it have done them?

Even if I personally find it difficult to understand why failure to perform this act of consecration to the letter, without the slightest modification - specifying Russia, and offered by not just the pope but together with all the bishops of the world - should be such a ‘big deal’. Other than, of course, as a test of obedience to a command from heaven. That being so, why is it that eight popes so far (from Pius XI to Francis, and including John Paul I) could not bring themselves to do it?

Putin has made a big deal out of his pious return to the Orthodox faith of the pre-Communist Motherland. Would he really object to such a consecration? Now that the Russians have their faith back, can the pope not ask the Patriarchate of Moscow and the rest of the Orthodox Churches to join in this act of consecration? But would it dilute the act, or once again render it useless for not complying to the letter with Our Lady’s request, if not just Russia but all the countries of the world were to be consecrated at the same time? Besides, it would seem that for now, China, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela also need to be urgently consecrated to Our Lady, far more than Russia.

On March 25th 1984, in St. Peter’s Square, in the presence of the statue of the Virgin, brought purposely from Portugal, John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Pope had written to the bishops of the world asking them to unite with him, but very few answered this appeal. Not even on this occasion was Russia expressly named. There was only one reference “to the peoples for whom You expect our consecration and our entrustment”. Shortly after the act of consecration, the Pope explained to bishop Paul Josef Cordes, Vice-President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, that he had avoided naming Russia for fear that his words would have been interpreted by Soviet leaders as a provocation. [59]

[A bit of practical perspective here: In March 1984, the Soviet leader was the little-known Konstantin Chernenko, already 72 when chosen by the party to succeed Yuri Andropov (former KGB chief who succeed Leonid Brezhnev but who dies after only 15 months in office), and ailing with chronic emphysema, heart disease and liver cirrhosis. He died in April 1985 after only 13 months in office. About the only thing he may be remembered for is that he decided the USSR would boycott the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1984. Did John Paul II actually believe Chernenko would be spooked by an Act of Consecration that named Russia specifically? Anyway, Chernenko was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachov and his policy of perestroika, so the Gorbachov years (he would lead the USSR until its final collapse in 1991) could have been availed of by the Church. Why not?]

Sister Lucia, at least until 1989, said that she was dissatisfied with this consecration, but subsequently changed her mind and said she considered John Paul’s act to be valid[60]. It is difficult to understand, however, why this consecration was valid and the ones of Pius XII – just as incomplete – were not. John Paul II was the first Pope to have a meeting with Sister Lucia, and we can imagine that perhaps he had convinced her the prophecy of Fatima would have been fulfilled under his pontificate. The Perestroika of Gorbachev (1985-89) and the spectacular auto-dissolution of the Soviet regime (1991), with no insurrections and revolts, seemed to confirm this interpretation [There we are!]

In reality, what had been dissolved was not the nucleus of Communism’s errors, but the application of them that had occurred over the span of seventy years in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. In his message to the XVIII Italian Communist Party Congress on March 30th 1989, Gorbachev declared that “the profound sense of perestroika was in the rebirth of the original values of the October Revolution”. These values were never officially condemned as criminal in Russia, not even after the fall of the Soviet Regime. [61] [What does it matter? The regime collapsed, and was replaced by a nominally non-Communist government left without an empire, which Russia had acquired only after World War II, and Russia is back to just Russia by itself (this was before Putin’s power grabs in the Crimea and the Ukraine), trying to be a democracy but quickly mired spectacularly in corruption and organized crime. Soviet values were useless in such a world, not that anyone ever held to them, other perhaps than the authoritarian iron fist that Putin has used to stay in power all this time.]

John Paul II entrusted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the task of making the third part of the Secret public, with an “appropriate comment” by Cardinal Ratzinger. The secret was divulged on June 26th 2000, causing lively controversies[62]. On October 8th of the same year, John Paul pronounced a third act of entrustment of the Church and humanity to the Virgin.

Benedict XVI (2005-2013) who succeeded John Paul II in 2005, was in Fatima between May 11th and 14th 2010. On May 12th, kneeling before the image of Our Lady in the Chapel of the Apparitions. There he raised a prayer of entrustment to Her, asking for the liberation of “every danger hanging over us”, with no other references. In his Theological Comment on the Message of Fatima Cardinal Ratzinger had made the same affirmations as Cardinal Sodano, according to which “the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers, seem now to be part of the past” [63], [in which, one has to think, Cardinal Ratzinger had to toe the official line because that was John Paul II’s conviction. I have to read that Theological Commentary again to see whether the future pope gave himself some leeway with the formulation “…seem now to be a part of the past”], whereas on May 12th 2010, on his visit to the Sanctuary of Fatima, he stated that “we would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete”[64].

Pope Francis has demonstrated indifference to Fatima and is skeptical about apparitions in general. In his Marian act of October 13th 2013, he did not use the word ‘consecration’, and did not mention the Immaculate Heart, nor the world, nor the Church, and least of all, Russia. [What exactly did he say then???] On May 13th 2017, Pope Francis made a brief visit to the shrine of Fatima, but ignored once again Our Lady’s requests.

From 1917 to 2017, nine Popes have acknowledged Fatima. All of them, following Benedict XV, approved of the devotion. Six of them visited the Sanctuary, as popes or cardinals. Some of them, like Pius XII and John Paul II, manifested great devotion to the 1917 apparitions. Not one of them, however, complied with our Lady’s insistent requests.

The bloody toll the Communist ideology inflicted on the world has taken place in the space of a terrifying century. The publication in France at the end of 1997 of the Livre noir du communism revealed only a part of the largest massacre in history[65]. We are talking here of 200 million dead, distributed amongst the October Revolution, the subsequent civil wars in Russia, Mexico and Spain, the Stalinist dictatorship, the Chinese Revolution, the Cambodia of Pol Pot, the Cuba of Fidel Castro and North Korea. To these numbers we must add the forty-five million dead in the Second World War, and an immense number of victims caused by the legalization of abortion, which is also linked to the relativist ideology springing from Communism. Russia, in fact, was the first country in which abortion was officially authorized by the Communists in power (1920).

Yet Communism, before being a crime, is an ideological error which has pervaded the mentality and customs of all social levels. The atmosphere of relativism and secularization which today pervades the West, corresponds fully to the plan of “cultural hegemony” outlined by the founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937).

Today in Russia, Stalin is still celebrated as one of the fathers of the nation. In Moscow the embalmed body of Lenin continues to be venerated in the heart of Red Square. The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, opposed the removal of Lenin’s mausoleum, to avoid acknowledging that generations of citizens had followed a perverse ideology over the course of 70 years of Soviet Regime.

China is a People’s Republic in which power continues to be exercised solely by the Communist Party, governing since 1949. The greatest threat to peace in the world comes from the last heir of the first Communist dynasty in history – that of Kim – which for more than 70 years has been governing North Korea in a brutal, repressive manner. Even Islam has adopted the teachings of Lenin and Gramsci in their two strategic expressions of conquest: the soft-jihad and the hard-jihad.

It is not Communism that has been dissolved, but anti-Communism, in which the Catholic Church ought to be the soul. The errors of Communism frontally oppose Catholic truth guarded by the Church, which has Her universal tribune in the Chair of St. Peter. But there has been a Pope sitting on this Chair since 2013 who believes Communists think like Christians, and so Christians ought to think like Communists[66]. The mainstream media of the entire world have defined Pope Francis from time to time as a Marxist, a socialist, and leader of the international left [67].

Even many of Pope Francis’s opponents see the main enemy of the Church not in the errors spread by Russia starting from 1917, but in the United States [Who are these opponents, exactly? I find the statement bizarre!], and they acclaim Putin as a new Constantine, in the same way Gorbachev was acclaimed on December 1st 1989 in the Vatican, when, according to newspapers like the Corriere della Sera, his visit had opened up “the possibility of a new Constantine, not pagan, but head of a Communist, Atheistic State, which would contribute positively to a renewed ecumenical approach between the two great souls of Christianity” [68]. [So much for characteristically rash and self-serving journalistic judgments!]

The Third Secret
These considerations lead us to some final reflections.

The Third Secret released in 2000, consists in the vision of a chastisement which involves all of mankind, but which first of all strikes the Pope, bishops, priests and religious.

This chastisement is manifested in persecution. But we today know the scene of the Third Secret is not this concluding tragic picture. There is another dramatic scene, which isn’t part of the message, but is part of revelations received by sister Lucia.
In her biography, compiled by Carmel in Coimbra on the basis of documents unknown until then, conserved in its archives, a vision is recorded which Lucia had in the convent chapel at Tuy in front of the tabernacle on January 3rd1944. Our Lady, after having prompted her to write the text of the Third Secret, showed her a scene which Lucia describes in this way:

“I felt my spirit inundated by a mystery of light that is God and in Him I saw and heard the point of a lance like a flame that is detached touch the axis of the earth and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers and clouds exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my heart racing and in my spirit a soft voice that said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven!!” [69]

This vision seems to depict a scenario subsequent to the one of the Third Secret. The Third Secret shows us a terrible persecution against the Church, but the flame bursting out of the sword of fire which the Angel holds, is extinguished when it comes into contact with the light radiating from Our Lady’s right hand. Here instead, the point of the Angel’s lance is like a flame which reaches forth until it touches the axis of the earth. Our Lady has not been able to prevent the supreme chastisement not just because mankind has rejected Her appeal for penance, but also because the Shepherds of the Church have not fulfilled Heaven’s requests.

True, complete and infinite happiness can only be reached in Heaven. Yet, Heaven exists even here on earth: in the Catholic Church, which, like Her Founder, is the only Way, the [only] Truth and the [only] Life. “In eternity - Heaven, says Our Lady, but in time: “one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic”.

The reasons for the failed Consecration to Russia, do not only lie in the will not to meddle in the politics of a foreign country. The reticence of recent Popes in consecrating Russia explicitly is also due to the concern of harming the ecumenical reunification between Christians of the East and West. Thus, as Professor José Barreto notes, “ The Post-Communist, Russian Episcopate, accused of proselytism, sustains that the Fatima message of the conversion of Russia, doesn’t consist in making Russia a Roman Catholic country”.[70] [But when Mary spoke of the conversion of Russia, she most likely meant its conversion from the Godlessness of Communism back to its centuries-long Christian faith, i.e., the Russian Orthodox faith, and not the Roman Catholic Church! So how can a simple act of consecration turn into a political timebomb if it does not – and should not – make any mention of Orthodox Russians becoming Catholic?]

However any form of false reunification between the Churches of the East and West is condemned by the Blessed Virgin’s words. The conversion of Russia proclaimed by Our Lady is not only a purely political or generically moral conversion; it is a religious conversion. It means not only the total collapse of the Communist ideology in Russia and the world, but also the end of the centuries-old schism in which Russia is immersed. [With all due apologies to Prof De Mattei, who is an accomplished Church historian, what schism is he referring to? From what I can read of the beginnings of Christianity in Russia, it was introduced by Greek missionaries from Byzantium, in the 9th century, but the Russian Orthodox Church dates its birth from 988 when Vladimir I led the Kievan Russians to become Christian, choosing the Byzantine rite among his options. [The Great Schism took place in 1054.] So the Western Church (Rome) had nothing to do with the Russian Church at all, which was always Orthodox. The Kievan church was originally a metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the 14th century after Kiev had lost its political importance, the metropolitans moved their seat to Moscow. In In 1448, the Russian Church in Moscow became effectively independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople when they elected their own primate without recourse to Constantinople. Five years later, the Ottoman Turks finally toppled the Byzantine empire, and the Russian Orthodox Church called Moscow ‘the third Rome’ and legitimate successor to Constantinople.]

A nation is converted when its laws and institutions profess the true religion. Russia will convert when it returns into the bosom of the One True Church: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman. [Ummm, this is getting too far-out for me. How can anyone presume to interpret what Our Lady meant, and in such constrictive terms? Besides, consider what Sr Lucia said about the Virgin’s words to on July 13, 1917:

"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The [First World] war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.

When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

IMHO, I do not see how the words she said twice -'the conversion of Russia' - could be interpreted to mean conversion to Catholicism.]

The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, which is also the Reign of Mary announced by many saints and privileged souls, is nothing other than the triumph of the Church and the natural Christian order, protected by Her. Today it is this order which is violated, denied and overturned. It is this order we want to respect, affirm and restore.

[1] Fr. Joaquín Alonso, Doctrina y espiridualidad del mensaje de Fatima, Arias Montano Editores, Madrid 1990, pp. 167-202.
[2] Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta, Fatima. Un appello al cuore della Chiesa, Teologia della storia e spiritalità oblativa, Casa Mariana Editrice, Frigento 2017. Cfr. also Padre Stefano Maria Manelli, Fatima tra passato, presente e futuro, in “Immaculata Mediatrix, 3 (2007), pp. 299-341.
[3] Guido Vignelli, Fatima e il trionfo del Regno di Maria: significato e portata di una profezia incompresa, Conference held at the Fondazione Lepanto, July 4, 2017.
[4] Dom Prosper Guéranger, Il senso cristiano della storia, Società Editrice Il Falco, Milan 1982, p. 9.
[5] Fr. Ramiro Saenz, Fatima. Geografia, Historia, Teologia y Profecia, Gladius, Buenos Aires 2017, p. 56.
[6] Plinio Correa de Oliveira, Prefazione a Antonio Augusto Borelli Machado, Fatima: Messaggio di tragedia o di speranza? Con la terza parte del segreto, it. tr. Luci sull’Est, Rome 2000, p. 6.
[7] Fr. J. Alonso, Doctrina y espiridualidad, cit., p. 43.
[8] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Message of Fatima, Vatican City 2000, p. 8.
[9] Vladimir Ilic Lenin, Tre fonti e tre parti integranti del marxismo, in Opere scelte, Editori Riuniti-Progress, Rome s.d., vol. I, pp. 42-44.
[10] Fr. Gustave Wetter, Storia della teoria marxista (private use), Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome 1972.
[11] Karl Marx, Tesi su Feuerbach, it. tr. in Feuerbach-Marx-Engels, Materialismo dialettico e materialismo storico, edited by Cornelio Fabro, La Scuola, Brescia 1962, pp. 81-86.
[12] Augusto Del Noce, Lezioni sul marxismo, Giuffré editore, Milan 1972, p. 79.
[13] V. I. Lenin, I compiti urgenti del nostro movimento, in Opere, vol. IV, Editori Riuniti, Rome 1957, p. 406.
[14] V. I. Lenin, Che fare, in Opere scelte, Progress, Moscow 1947, vol. I, pp. 213-214.
[15] Antonio Caruso, Il comunismo al potere, Oltrecortina, Milan 1964, pp. 127-128.
[16] Alexandre Ouralov, Stalin al potere, it. tr. Cappelli, Bologna 1953, p. 6.
[17] Anthony Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators 1922-1945, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1973, p. 131 (pp. 131-140).
[18] Cfr. Roberto de Mattei, Il ralliement di Leone XIII. Il fallimento di un progetto pastorale, Le Lettere, Florence 2015.
[19] Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, Toute la Vérité sur Fatima, Editions Contre-Réforme Catholique, Saint Parres-les-Vaudes 1984-1985, vol. II, pp. 361-362.
[20] Philippe Chenaux, L’ultima eresia. La Chiesa cattolica e il comunismo in Europa da Lenin a Giovanni Paolo II (1917-1989), it. tr. Carocci, Rome 2011, p. 27.
[21] Laura Pettinaroli, La politique russe du Saint-Siège (1905-1939), Ecole française de Rome, Rome 2015.
[22] AA.EE.SS, Russia, Pos. 659, fasc. 38-41 (1923).
[23] AA.EE. SS, Russia, pos. 625, fasc. 10, ff. 3-8.
[24] AA.EE. SS, Russia, Pos. 626, fasc. 16, ff. 64-72.
[25] Antoine Wenger, Rome et Moscou 1900-1950, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris 1987.
[26] Michel d’Herbigny s.j., L’aspect religieux de Moscou en octobre 1925, Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, Rome 1925.
[27] Memorias et cartas da Irma Lucia, ed. by Antonio Maria Martins s.j., Porto 1973, p. 341.
[28] Fatima in Lucia’s own words. Sister Lucia’s Memoirs, ed. by Fr Louis Kondor SVD, Postulation Center, Fatima 1976, p. 192.
[29] Fatima in Lucia’s own words, cit., pp. 198-199.
[30] Memorias et cartas, cit., p. 405.
[31] Ivi, p. 411 (pp. 407-411).
[32] Documentazione critica su Fatima. Selezione di documenti (1917-1930), Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, Vatican City 2016, pp. 451-529.
[33] Ivi, pp. 517-522.
[34] A. Rhodes, The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators, cit., p. 355.
[35] Memorias et cartas, cit., p. 465.
[36] Fr. Jean-Baptiste Rovolt, Les Martyrs Eudistes, Gigord, Paris 1926, pp. 52-56.
[37] Fr. J. Alonso, Doctrina y espiridualidad, cit., pp. 221-235.
[38] AA.EE. SS, Circa la propaganda comunista nel mondo, in Stati Ecclesiastici, Pos. 473-474, fasc. 475, ff. 23-29.
[39] Vicente Cárcel Orti, Buio sull’altare. 1931-1939: la persecuzione della Chiesa in Spagna, Città Nuova, Rome 1999; Mario Arturo Jannaccone, La repressione della Chiesa in Spagna fra Seconda Repubblica e Guerra Civile (1931-1939), Lindau, Turin 2015.
[40] Pius XI, Encyclical Divini Redemptoris of March 19, 1937, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 29 (1937), p. 96 (pp. 65-106.)
[41] Memorias et Cartas, cit., p. 419.
[42] Ivi, p. 437.
[43] Ivi, p. 446.
[44] Pius XII, Apostolic Letter Cupimus imprimis of January18, 1952, in AAS, 44 (1952), pp. 153-158.
[45] AAS, 41, 1949, pp. 427-428.
[46] Fr. R. Saenz, Fatima, cit., p. 341.
[47] Giovanni XXIII nel ricordo del Segretario Loris F. Capovilla, Edizioni San Paolo, Rome 1995, p. 115.
[48] Cfr. Vincenzo Carbone, Schemi e discussioni sull’ateismo e sul marxismo nel Concilio Vaticano II. Documentazione, in “Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia”, vol. XLIV (1990), pp. 11-12.
[49] Jean Madiran, L’accord de Metz ou pourquoi notre Mère fut muette, Via Romana, Versailles 2006.
[50] È stato documentato che Boris Georgievic Rotov fu un funzionario del KGB (cfr. Gerhard Besier-Armin Boyens-Gerhard Lindemann,Nationaler Protestantismus und Ökumenische Bewegung. Kirchliches Handeln im kalten Krieg (1945-1990), Duncker und Humblot, Berlin 1999).
[51] Roberto de Mattei, Il Concilio Vaticano II. Una storia mai scritta, Lindau, Turin 2010, pp. 174-177.
[52] See also, Hansjacob Stehle, Eastern politics of the Vatican 1917-1979, Ohio University Press, Athens 1981; Alessio Ulisse Floridi,Mosca e il Vaticano, La Casa di Matriona, Milan 1976 and the documents collected by Giovanni Barberini, L’Ostpolitik della Santa Sede. Un dialogo lungo e faticoso, Il Mulino, Bologna 2007; Id., La politica del dialogo. Le carte Casaroli sull’Ostpolitik vaticana, Il Mulino, Bologna 2008.
[53] Edouard Dahnis s.j., Sguardo su Fatima. bilancio di una discussione, in “La Civiltà Cattolica”, 104, 2 (1953), pp. 392-406.
[54] Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Il Messaggio di Fatima, Città del Vaticano 2000, p. 4.
[55] François Furet, Le passé d’une illusion. Essai sur l’idée communiste au XX siècle, Robert Laffont /Callman Levy, Paris 1995, p. 13.
[56] The Mitrokhin dossier reconstructed the history of the KGB and its operations in Europe and in United States through thousands of documents that came directly from Moscow and were brought to Great Britain by the former Soviet spy Vasili Mitrokhin and catalogued by the University of Cambridge historian Christopher Andrei.
[57] George Weigel, The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, Doubleday, New York 2010, pp. 65-67.
[58] Carmelo de Coimbra, Um Caminho sob o olhar de Maria, Ediçoes Carmelo, Coimbra 2012, p. 417.
[59] Perché il Papa non ha nominato la Russia, in “Madre di Dio” (June 1985), p. 7.
[60] Frère François de Marie des Anges, Fatima. Joie intime, événement mondial, Editions de la Contre-Réforme Catholique, Saint-Parres-Les-Vaudes, 1991, pp. 372-382. In a letter to her sister Bélem of August 29, 1989, Lucia declared that the consecration done by the Pope on March 25, 1985, satisfied the requests of Our Lady.
[61] Mickail Gorbaciov, Perestrojka. Il nuovo pensiero per il nostro paese e per il mondo, it. tr. Mondadori, Milan 1987, p. 309.
[62] Cfr. Cristina Siccardi, Fatima e la Passione della Chiesa, Sugarco, Milan 2012.
[63] Benedict XVI, Theological commentary of the Message of Fatima, in Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, The message of Fatima, Vatican City 2000, p. 43.
[64] Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, VI, 1 [2010], p. 699.
[65] Aa. Vv., Le Livre noir du communisme, Robert Laffont, Paris 1997, it. tr. Mondadori, Milan 1998.
[66] Interview with Eugenio Scalfari, “La Repubblica”, November 11, 2016.
[67] George Neumayr, The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives, Hachette Book Group, New York 2017; Antonio Socci, Bergoglio è il leader della sinistra mondiale, “Libero”, November 13, 2016.
[68] Francesco Margiotta Broglio, Costantino in casa Wojtyla, in “Corriere della Sera”, February 2, 1990.
[69] Carmelo de Coimbra, Um Caminho sob o olhar de Maria, p. 267.
[70] José Barreto, Russia e Fatima, in Enciclopedia di Fatima, a cura di Carlos Moreira Azevedo e Luciano Cristino, tr. it. Cantagalli, Siena 2007, p. 430.

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October 15, 2015 headlines

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New photos of Benedict XVI

Doubtless to counteract those rumors about Benedict XVI’s supposedly worsening health, two official sources released recent pictures of Benedict XVI.

The Facebook page of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI published this unusual photo today showing Benedict XVI at lunch with his
brother Mons. Georg Ratzinger and his former second secretary, Mons. Alfred Xuereb, now Secretary-General of the Secretariat for the Economy, on Oct. 14.

The photo is remarkable in that it is the first time (that I know of, at least) that we are shown the Emeritus Pope’s dining room at Mater Ecclesiae.
Not surprisingly, it is as simple as the dining room he had at the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

And Vatican Press director Greg Burke yesterday tweeted this picture taken on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 18. Unfortunately, he did not identify the
two nuns with the Emeritus Pope.

And from the very pro-active website UN PUNTE DE FE (A bridge of faith):

‘The Emeritus Pope is well for his age’:
Mons. Gaenswein refutes new rumors

Translated from

October 19, 2017

In recent days, after a visit to Mater Ecclesiae on October 3 by Egyptian Coptic Bishop William Samaan, the social media and some Italian newspapers have reported rumors that Benedict XVI’s health has worsened, based on the bishop’s statements that the Emeritus Pope has ‘serious problems’ with walking [ [Have we not all known that since he started using a walking aid even when he is inside Mater Ecclesiae?] and that it has become impossible for him to celebrate Mass because he is unable to stay on his feet long enough to do so, requiring Mons. Gaenswein’s assistance at all times.

[In fairness to Bishop Samaan, if this Aleteia article is right, the part about the Emeritus Pope being too weak to celebrate Mass apparently did not come from him but from a report in Mittelbayerische Zeitung’s website. This was the one German newspaper that Benedict XVI reportedly kept up with during his Pontificate, and one presumes, even now.]

Coptic Catholic bishop of Egypt says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
is now very weak at age 90, but still ‘aware of everything’

October 3, 2017
Bishop Kyrillos William Samaan of Assiut gave this report after a meeting with the Pope Emeritus at the beginning of September, according to the Swiss Catholic Information agency in an article published today.

According to Bishop Samaan, he spent 45 minutes with Benedict XVI, who asked him about the various problems of the Church in Egypt, including dialogue with Muslims and the relationship with Al-Azhar University, the highest Sunni authority.

On September 23, the German news website Mittelbayerische reported that Benedict is now too weak to celebrate Mass by himself. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his private secretary who is also prefect of the Pontifical Household, assists him. The Pope Emeritus will turn 91 on April 16. [DIM]

Moreover, some Facebook pages have been reporting that Mons. Gaenswein has asked people to pray for Benedict XVI, referring to his state of health. Of course, Mons. Gaenswein always asks everyone to pray for Benedict XVI.

[And not just for his health, but that he may face every day with joy and continue to exercise his mental brilliance. And may God spare him from more unkindnesses and injustices big and small!]

German author Michael Hesemann said he has directly received from Mons. Gaenswein assurances that the
rumors are totally false – that the Emeritus Pope’s health is appropriate to his age (he will be 91 in April) with its age-related ailments and limitations, and that Benedict XVI has enjoyed the recent days in the company of his brother Mons. Georg Ratzinger.

We thank Mr. Hesemann for giving us the information.

[ [One of the practical things I always brought out to answer those who insist B16 should have ‘soldiered on’ as pope regardless of his health was that the very people who said this after February 11, 2013, would have been the very first to jump on him if, had he continued as pope, the day came when he would be unable to say Mass in public because of worsening infirmities. (I remember that when B16 first used the rolling platform to bring him to the altar at St. Peter's back in 2010, Aldo Maria Valli wrote a scathing criticism of it. I wonder if the Valli who now cites B16 as his touchstone reference will one day soon repent of his unwarranted unkindess then!)

Celebrating Mass is not just standing and walking back and forth before the altar as needed, but also performing rubrics with one’s hands, including the all-important rituals from the Offertory onward. God forbid that a priest, especially if he were the pope, should fumble with the sacred vessels and the bread and wine before and after Consecration! One can imagine what efforts he must be making now to cope with saying his daily Mass at Mater Ecclesiae, and if that means having GG help him to ambulate, then why not?]

BTW, about Mons. Xuereb, he recently gave an interview - with much information we never heard before, about his experience with Benedict XVI from the time the latter informed him about his decision to retire about a week before February 11, to the following March 15, when he left Castel Gandolfo to return to the Vatican to serve as Pope Francis's first private secretary at Benedict XVI's recommendation. He served as such until the pope named him secretary of the new Secretariat for the Economy several months later... The interview is one of those I have yet to translate but will as soon as I can.

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October 18, 2017


October 19, 2017

About that new statement by Cardinal Mueller:

He's still trying to straddle the fence whenever he can, and will soon be rivalling Bergoglio himself in speaking to everyone and anyone out of both sides of his mouth...He has probably given more interviews since he lost his job at the CDF four months ago than Cardinal Ratzinger ever did in 23 years there.

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Three in a row from Father H...

Newman on the suspense of
the functions of the Magisterium

Oct. 18, 2017

Speaking only on my own, individual behalf, I have to say that I feel very let down by PF's apparent decision not to reply to the Correctio Filialis which I together with others sent to him at the Domus Santa Marta last August. I retain to the full my feeling of the proper respect due to the individual who currently occupies the Petrine See, but in human and affective terms, his apparent view that I and so many others are not worth bothering with introduces a sense of hurt and pain, if not alienation. I am sure that there is a providential purpose in all this, and I pray that I may be enabled ever more profoundly to embrace the humiliations permitted by the Divine Will.

The decision of PF not to fulfil the Petrine mandate to confirm (sterizein) his brethren, is a striking event not easily paralleled. And a refusal to respond to formal requests can hardly not itself constitute a formal act. So I turned, as surely we in the Ordinariate instinctively do, to our beloved Patron Blessed John Henry Newman, quo quis doctior, quis sapientior (Who can be more learned, who more wise?):

"...The body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission... At one time the pope*, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils**, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth ... I say, that there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the Ecclesia docens (the teaching Church). The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicaea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years ..."

[dim=9pt [Newman is referring to Pope* Liberius; and, in referring to general councils**, he does not mean Ecumenical Councils. He explained later that he follows St Robert Bellarmine in distinguishing between Ecumenical Councils and councils which, even if large, do not count as Ecumenical. So ... not applicable to Vatican II!]

I am testing in my thoughts (doing what we colloquially call "sleeping on it" or "thinking aloud") the possibility that PF's decision to ignore the cries for help which are sent to him, whether by Eminent Fathers of the Sacred College or by nonentities like me, may be seen as formally constituting the beginning of a period in which the functions of the Papal Magisterium are in "temporary suspense"; in a vacatio (freedom, exemption) which will be ended at the moment when the same Petrine Magisterial organ formally returns from dogmatic silence to the audible exercise of the functions rightly attributed to it in Catholic Tradition and Magisterial Conciliar definition; that is, devoutly to guard and faithfully to set forth the Tradition received through the Apostles; i.e. the Deposit of Faith.

If readers want an expansion of my way of thinking, I refer them to the masterly address on Apostasy delivered last week at the Buckfast Fatima Conference by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. "The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church's pastors in the matters of Worship, teaching, and moral discipline ... ". His dear Eminence always puts things so much better than I could! Incidentally, I suspect that the Conference ... and, not least, Cardinal Burke's powerful address ... may go down in history as one of the significant moments in the recovery, the 'fight-back', of orthodoxy. [I confess I was not aware of the address before this – must look it up!]

As if to confirm my thoughts, in the last few days PF is reported to have contradicted another of the Church's teachings: the teaching with regard to Capital Punishment; and to have done so not incidentally or in an airliner but formally, reading a written text to one of those "Pontifical Councils" which absorb so much money and effort.

This suggests to me that PF has himself consciously stopped even bothering to remain within the parameters set by the Magisterium to which he is as much under an obligation to submit as anybody else. The current careful formulation of the Church's teaching with regard to the Death Penalty, which PF said he wants changed, is precisely twenty years old. A "Magisterium" which contradicts itself every twenty years is not a Teaching Authority to which many people are likely seriously to consider themselves obliged to give assent. (I say this as a strong opponent of the use of Capital Punishment in modern states.)

I can see no present grounds plausibly to speculate that PF's divagations from orthodoxy will in future tolerate any restraints. It is as if, having discovered himself at the bottom of a hole, he has decided that the only thing to do is to keep digging with redoubled energy.

Or, like the Duke of Wellington in the Fifth Act of the Battle of Waterloo, perhaps he is saying to the world "In for a penny, in for a pound"! Or does he think that he might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb? Will his parting gift to the Church Militant be a ringing endorsement of the homoiousios? En pote hote ouk en? [’Homoiusious’ is the Greek term referring to the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son, which the Arians disputed with the slogan ‘Een pote hoe ouk een’ (There was a time when he was not), and the orthodox quickly countered with "Ouk een pete ouk een" (There was never a time when he was not).]

By joining with Newman in this analysis, I do not, of course, in any way suggest that PF and the silent or heterodox bishops have lost the right or capacity to use the Magisterium of his and their office. Precisely as Newman did, I am simply observing that, as a matter of fact, he is not and they are not using it. [Indeed, that we now have de facto, a suspended Magisterium. Better to consider the current papal 'magisterium' suspended than to have to keep questioning it - or, on the part of the Bergoglian paladins, seeking to 'rationalize' what is basically unrationalizable. Kyrie eleison!]

I am certainly not suggesting (and I do not believe) that this Suspense makes any difference whatsoever to the status or powers of the current occupant of the Roman See or of other bishops. Those who argue that PF has forfeited his See, or that his Election was for any reason void or voidable, are, in my judgement, talking piffle. Quae sit huius verbi etymologia quaero. Num verbi 'pontificalis' depravatio est? (What is the etymology of this word search? Is the word ‘pontifical’ a perversion?}

Newman and Ratzinger

Oct. 19, 2017
A friend drew my attention the other day to a post on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society blog, which printed an ancient piece of mine from 10 September 2009. I thought it read rather well, but then, I suppose I would, wouldn't I! Anyway, here it is again, unchanged. PLEASE remember its date! [It was several days before Benedict XVI was to beatify Cardinal Newman.]

Sept 10, 2009
The other day, in Fr Ker's admirable biography of Mr Newman, I found a diverting error in the Index. Nothing less than a description of Cardinal Manning as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ah, the might-have-beens of History. Today, I would remind you of Manning's bad-tempered criticism of Newman; that with Newman, even after his reception into Full Communion, it was still the same old Anglican, Oxford, Patristic tone. We can do worse than recall this as we approach the beatification of that very great man.

This may irritate some readers, but since this is my blog I will say it all the same: the whole point of Newman is that Manning was right; he never ceased to be an Anglican; that is to say, a superb exemplar of all that was best, God-given, grace-given, wholesome, and holy, in the life of the Provinces of Canterbury and York while in separation from the Voice of Peter. When he put off all that was schismatic, separatist, narrow, flawed, partial, heretical, in the ethos he imbibed from the Church of England, he was free to be more perfectly and fully Anglican than ever he had been before.

Because there is more to say about 'Anglicanism' than I said in yesterday's post. An Anglicanism which purports to be a doctrinally distinctive, even a superior, form of Christianity: yes, it is a diabolical mirage. But in the unhappy centuries of our separation from Peter, grace was not stopped up. A tone emerged; a style, a way of doing theology, of living the Christian life, which in itself is by no means unCatholic; a sober tone, a careful tone, a tone which read deeply and with understanding in the Fathers and looked to Byzantium and beyond as well as to Rome.

I know I surprised some readers and enraged others not long ago by describing Benedict XVI as the first Anglican Pope. But I believe it is wonderfully providential that it falls to this man to raise his fellow-Anglican John Henry Newman to the Altars of the Church.

Have you read the Ordinary Teaching that this pope gives week by week? His sympathetic exposition of the Fathers of East, West, Syria? When you read his own theologising, can you avoid a feeling (I can't) that you are reading one of the Fathers;
that you have picked up a volume of Migne [Jacques Paul Migne, 1800-1875, a French priest who published inexpensive and widely distributed editions of theological works, encyclopedias, and the texts of the Church Fathers, with the goal of providing a universal library for the Catholic priesthood. He is best known for his Patrologiae cursus completus (complete course in Patrology), published in a Latin series (Patrologia Latina) in 221 vols., a Greek series (Patrologia Graeca), first published in Latin (85 vols); then published with Greek text and Latin translation (165 vols)]. ... you aren't quite sure whether it's from the PG or the PL, and you're even less certain which volume it might be, but anyway, that's the corner of Bodley that you're sitting in, and out of the window there's Newman's Church of St Mary, with his college of Oriel just beyond. And it is very easy to feel that it would be the most natural thing in the world to raise your head from your desk in the Patristics Room and see, in the chair opposite you, the diffident, erudite face of Professor Ratzinger, verifying a reference or two before hitching an ancient MA gown round his shoulders and scuttling through the traffic in the High back to his lodgings in Tom Quad. [What an endearing image - one that can be evoked only by someone who truly loves Joseph Ratzinger and knows him viscerally in the way kindred minds can.]

Anglicanism as some self-important separatist codswallop that prides itself in its separation from the Successor of Peter: let's flush it away fast. But then the cry can go up: "Anglicanism is dead! Long live Anglicanism!"

Correcting the Correctio
blast to the Correctio Filialis. Go and read; go and enjoy! Spread knowledge of it! It is important that journalists and the Internet do not forget our Correctio!

Strictly entre nous ... and entirely within these four walls ... the counterblast was actually masterminded in the echoing marble halls of the Correctio Secretariate as a disinformation device to keep our Correctio Filialis in the news. On no account divulge this; it is top secret. I know I can trust you.

We had no trouble collecting signatures for the Correctio Correctionis! For some reason, fear of reprisals doesn't seem to deter people from signing a pro-Bergoglian manifesto! Among the signatories we secured is the (Jesuit) Master of Campion Hall in this University. I knew he would be up for it because he authored a pro-Bergoglian document which, festooned with the word CONFIDENTIAL, was circulating earlier this year in at least one English diocese. I got a copy which, as far as my recollection goes, had fallen off the back of a lorry.

But our biggest coup was a much more interesting signatory. Martha Heizer, leader of the Austrian branch of We Are Church. Martha belongs to a very elite group: those who have been excommunicated in and by this pontificate ... yes, even under the regime of Mercy, excommunications happen!!

Why were Martha and her husband, in 2014, excommunicated? For the canonical offence of Simulating the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The pair of them hosted priestless "celebrations of Mass" in their own home. Ergo ... is it Canon 1378? Rigid, but fair!

After receiving the sentence, Martha interestingly expressed the view that they were still members of the Church because of their Baptisms, and would remain so unless they themselves left the Church.
(1) The Good News: Martha understands and accepts the dogma of the indelible Character marked upon the soul in Baptism.
(2) The Bad News: Martha seems to think that she (and hubby) do themselves have the power to wipe the Character of Baptism off their souls by 'leaving' the Church.

Rubbish! Nobody has the power to extinguish the full effects of Baptism. Not the Pope; not the Canon Lawyers; not the Heizers.

Martha's mental confusions are the reason why I am now going to disappoint all you hardline bloodthirsty Traddies: I am uneasy about this use of Excommunication. I do understand the importance of marking the seriousness of offences the Heizers had committed against the Body of Christ, the Church. But ... these poor dim silly confused creatures ... would it not be more merciful to excommunicate them formally but to suspend the full effect of the sentence to the extent of allowing their canonical pastor to use his discretion ad salutem animarum (for the salvation of souls)?

Here's Roberto de Mattei's take on that correction to the correction - though as usual, it is not a correction that responds to the merits of the Correctio, but rather, more than simply an ad hominem defense of their headstrong hubristic idol, it styles itself by its very title as a 'laudation' or hymn of praise for the author of AL and countless and daily increasing offenses against the Catholic faith if not to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (individually and as the Trinity).

The Bergoglians' answer to the Correctio filialis:
A Laudatio of Pope Francis

by Roberto de Mattei
Translated by 'Francesca Romana' for Rorate caeli from
Corrispondenza Romana
October 18, 2017

After three weeks the first organized response to the Correctio filialis has appeared: a Laudatio published on the web, signed by a group of priests and intellectuals prevalently from the Austrian-German domain. (

Who are the signatories of the Laudatio? One of them, the German Monsignor Fritz Lobinger, Bishop emeritus of Aliwal (South Africa), is the “father” of the expression “community priesthood” which he explained in the book Team of Elders. Moving beyond Viri probati (2007), wherein he hopes for an introduction in the Church of two types of priests, diocesan priests and those of the community; the former full-time celibates and the latter, married with a family, at the disposition of the community where they live and work.

Another signatory, Father Paul Zulehner, a disciple of Karl Rahner, is known in turn for his fanciful “pastoral futurology” (Pastorale Futurologie, 1990). In 2011, he supported the “appeal to disobedience” launched by 329 Austrian priests, favouring married priests, priestly ordination for women, the right for Protestants and the divorced and remarried to receive Communion and for the laity to preach and lead parishes.

Matin Lintner is a Servite religious from Bolzano, teacher at Bressanone and President of Insect (International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology). He is famous for his book The Rediscovery of Eros. The Church, Sexuality and Human Relations (2015), in which he is open to homosexuality, pre-matrimonial relations, and his enthusiastic response to Amoris Laetitia, which, in his opinion is “a point of no return” in the Church. In fact, “we can no longer say that today there is a categorical exclusion from receiving the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation for those in a new union, who don’t abstain from sexual relations. Of this there is no doubt, on the basis of the text of A.L. itself” (, December 5th 2016).

It is clear at this point that the deep division running through the Church is not between the detractors and fans of Pope Francis. The breaking line runs between those who are faithful to the immutable Teaching of Popes and those who are complaining to Pope Bergoglio for pursuing the “dream” of a new church, different from the One founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. [Just a few months into this Pontificate back in 2013 - it seems decades ago the way the pope-induced attacks on the faith have simply proliferated and accreting daily - such a division was already clear because it was already clear this pope was intent on setting up his own church, shamelessly on the back of and at the expense of the one true Church of Christ.]

You don’t need to be a historian to understand that we are experiencing a completely new phase in the life of the Church. We are not at the end of the world, but with regard to our age, we can apply the words of Our Lord, when He spoke of His return at the end of time, saying with sadness: “But yet the Son of Man when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18, 8).

The loss of faith, even on the part of men of the Church, is now quite evident. On January 27th 2012, addressing the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed: “We are faced with a deep crisis of faith; a loss of the religious sense which constitutes the greatest challenge for the Church today. The renewal of the faith must therefore be the priority in the undertakings of the entire Church in our times.” This loss of faith, has today, the characteristics of a general apostasy.

[There we are! Apostasy has been my favored word for describing what Bergoglianism is - not heresy because it is virtually wholesale rejection of everything that the Catholic Church stands 0n (Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium, as we have them in the deposit of faith), and certainly not schism, because the schismatics in this case have the Church in their grip, and will not and cannot let go because without the Church, they will only have Bergoglianism, and Bergoglio has been the most astute of all Catholic apostates because as legitimately elected pope, he has virtually absolute power to do what he wants with (and to) the Church he was entrusted to lead, just that no one ever suspected he would use his office to set up his own church.

Forget the fiction that this pope is 'reforming' the Church - he has been seeking to remake the Church Christ founded into a 'better' church - which as he sees it, is into his own image and likeness and therefore, no longer the Church of Christ, but his, Bergoglio's church.

It seems to be difficult for Catholics to grasp the fact that we are witnessing and being victims of the most audacious rape ever attempted and imposed on Holy Mother Church because it is a crime that boggles the mind and until March 13, 2013, seemed and was impossible. Luther's Reformation seems trivial by comparison because Luther's poison could not act within the Church and indeed inspired a great Counter-Reformation in the Church.

Bergoglio's apostasy, on the other hand, means that the legitimately elected leader of the Catholic Church holds the Church hostage, to do with her as he pleases with the near-absolute powers he possesses as pope. Yet Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church - so perhaps it will take an act of God to stop Bergoglio and Bergoglianism in their tracks once and for all. May it happen soon!]

Cardinal Robert Sarah, intervening at a meeting of the European Episcopal Conferences held in Trieste on November 4th 2013, affirmed that “even among the baptized and the disciples of Christ there is today a sort of “silent apostasy”; a rejection of God and the Christian Faith in politics, the economy, in the ethical and moral dimension and in post-modern Western culture.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, for his part, in a homily delivered on October 13th 2017 at Buckfast Abbey, recalled how the message of Fatima “deals with the diabolical forces let loose in our time upon the world, entering the very life of the Church, leading souls away from the truth of the Faith and, thus, from Divine love, which flows from the Glorious, Pierced Heart of Jesus.”

Souls are being lost because language is ambiguous and deceiving, and errors and heresies are being disseminated every day among the faithful. Pope Francis’s Pontificate represents the result and the peak of a process of the Church’s self-demolition which has remote origins but today has reached a dizzying speed. [But this so-called self-demolition also had alongside a vigorous self-correction under John Paul II and more so, under Benedict XVI - a self-correction that would have continued and needed to be continued under a genuinely Catholic pope and series of popes to undo the damage of Vatican-II progressivism, but which instead mutated catastrophically overnight on March 13, 2013, into a deliberately proactive destruction of the Church by the very man elected to lead it - dutybound to keep it as she has been for over 2000 years, but instead using the opportunity of his office to trample on the deposit of faith and proceed to erect his own church as an improvement on the Church of Christ. I turn apolectic everytime I contemplate Bergoglio's sheer hubris - it is as if Lucifer had finally found the perfect tool (and fool) to destroy what Christ had built, and never mind what Jesus said about the gates of Hell not prevailing, because Lucifer-Bergoglio thinks he is Jesus II and an improvement on the original.]

The Correctio filialis of October 24th 2017 has been like a ray of light piercing the darkness of the night in which souls are immersed. The denunciation of the heresies sustained and propagated by Pope Francis has resounded from one end of the planet to the other, spreading through to the Media and becoming the dominant theme of private conversations among many Catholics. In these conversations few deny the truth of the facts denounced in the Correctio. Divergences regard rather, “ the what to do” faced with a situation which has no historical precedents.

There are no lack of those who practice the double-truth: they criticize in private but render homage in public to those who are leading the Church towards disaster. This behavior was defined “nicodemite” by Calvin to indicate those Protestants who concealed their doctrine, by rendering public homage to the faith and rites of Catholics. Yet the Catholic Church too has always condemned dissimulation, indicating as a model of life, the public confession of the faith, even unto martyrdom.

Confessing the faith means denouncing the errors that oppose it, even if proposed by bishops, and a Pope, as happened to Honorius I (625-638). It is not important to know whether Honorius was a heretic or favens haeresim. The fact that he was solemnly condemned by the VI Council of Constantinople (681), presided by Pope Leo II, and that his condemnation was confirmed by two successive Ecumenical Councils, demonstrates that the possibility of a heretic Pope (admitted by all the medieval canon lawyers) is possible, independent of the fact that it has been verified historically.

Who has the authority, however, to resist and correct a Pope? First of all, this duty belongs to the cardinals who are the Pope’s advisors in the governing of the Church; then the Bishops, who constitute, in union with the Pope, the teaching Church; and lastly, the ordinary faithful, priests, monks and sisters, even lay, who, being baptized, have that absolutely certain sensus fidei which allows them to discern the true faith from heresy.

Eusebius, before becoming Bishop of Dorylaeum, was a lawyer from Constantinople. In 429, he publically interrupted a homily by the priest Nestorius who was placing the Divine Maternity of Mary in doubt. Eusebius would have done the same thing if it had been the Patriarch or the Pope himself speaking that day. His Catholic spirit would not tolerate the Blessed Virgin being insulted in front of the Catholic faithful.

Today the Church has no need of nicodemìtes, but confessors of the faith, with the temperament of a Eusebius or Maximus the Confessor, a simple monk who did not hesitate in challenging the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Byzantine Emperors. To those who wanted to oblige communicating with the heretic Monothelites, he replied: “Even if the entire universe communicates with you, I alone will not”. At the age of 80, after three trials, as a result of his fidelity, he was condemned to having his tongue and right hand mutilated, the two body parts through which his words and writings had fought errors and heresies.

He would have been able to repeat the words of St. Paul: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their charge. But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be accomplished, and that all the Gentiles may hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion”. (2 Timothy 4, 16-17).

The fact of being just a few - misunderstood and persecuted - is permitted by Divine Providence in order to increase the merits of the witnesses to the Faith and render their behavior not only right and proper, but also holy and heroic. What else is the exercise of heroic virtue but the accomplishing of one’s duty in exceptional circumstances, not counting on our own strength, but on the help of God?

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/10/2017 16.49]
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Utente Gold

Introducing the following blogpost by Sandro Magister on his Facebook pages, Antonio Socci’s comment was: “Always getting worse! Magister
reconstructs some incredible Bergoglian theses. Now tell me if this is a Catholic Pope!”
[No, “Tell me if this is a Catholic!”, let alone pope...
So Magister has provided us with a small and recent compendium of the gospel being preached by Bergoglio as Christian, when he has cut, trimmed and fitted
Scripture to tailor it to his agenda and his persona. There must be a more systematic way however to keep track of all these anti-Christian Bergogliades...]

The ‘Last Things’ according to
the gospel of Bergoglio

[in which our hubristic pope blithely goes on editing Jesus
day after day, leaving out the parts he does not agree with]

October 20, 2017

In the newspaper La Repubblica which he founded, Eugenio Scalfari, an undisputed leader among Italian secular thinkers, last October 9 returned to speaking in the following terms about yet another aspect of what he considers a ‘revolution’ by this pope, reporting comment reportedly made by the pope in one of their many friendly‘conversations’:

Pope Francis has abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven. The idea he holds is that souls dominated by evil and unrepentant will cease to exist, while those that have been redeemed from evil will be taken up into beatitude, contemplating God… The universal judgment that is in the tradition of the Church therefore becomes devoid of meaning. It remains a simple pretext that has given rise to splendid paintings in the history of art. Nothing other than this.

It is seriously doubtful [Really?] that Pope Francis really wants to get rid of the “last things” in the terms described by Scalfari. [Then why has the Vatican spin machine not budged an iota to deny or refute the statements Scalfari attributes to the pope? It’s exactly the way Bergoglio likes it – just keep everyone reeling in confusion, from one new Bergoglianism to the next, these being launched at us daily like scattershot from a demented (or criminal) rifleman.]

There is in his preaching, however, something that tends toward a practical overshadowing of the final judgment and of the opposite destinies of blessed and damned.

On Wednesday, October 11, at the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis said that such a judgment is not to be feared, because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus,” and therefore “everything will be saved. Everything.” In the text distributed to the journalists accredited to the Holy See, this last word, “everything,” was emphasized in boldface. [As if the ‘merciful Jesus’ had not warned again and again of hell and eternal damnation. 1) If God meant ‘everything’ (which obviously includes ‘everyone’) to be saved, he would never even have driven Adam and Eve out of Eden, and there would have been no need for salvation history. But didn’t he already earlier condemn Lucifer and his followers, making it possible for Lucifer/Satan himself to tempt the first human beings to follow his sin of hubristic arrogance, that he could be as God himself. The Original Sin Jorge Bergoglio is re-committing everytime he presumes to edit, distort or otherwise deliberately misinterpret the words of Christ. “Here, Jesus, let me, Jesus II, show you where you went wrong, and where I can do better than you!” This is a man who seriously deludes himself that he can improve on God!

2) No wonder that for Bergoglio, 2017 has been important, not because of the centenary of Fatima, but so he can celebrate the first saint of the church of Bergoglio, Martin Luther. Isn’t it all a farce for him to feign homage to Our Lady of Fatima when he denies the Hell that was such a central part of Mary’s message and the most horrifying of the visions she showed the three children at Fatima? Does he even say the little prayer recommended to be said at the end of each decade of the rosary, “Lord Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven especially those who are most in need”?]

At another general audience a few months ago, on Wednesday, August 23, Francis evoked the end of time with an image that gave for the end of history an image that was only and entirely ‘comforting’: “an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively.” An image that was not his own but comes from chapter 21 of Revelation.

Except that he did not continue with the rest of the passage, in which the Lord says, “The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

At the Sunday Angelus in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 15, he commented on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22: 1-14) from the Gospel that day, avoiding, of course, the unsettling parts:
No reference to “the king became indignant, sent his troops, had those murderers killed and their city burned.” Nor to the part in which, the king, having seen “one man who was not wearing the wedding garment,” ordered his servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness; there shall be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth.”

On the previous Sunday, October 8, he also quoted selectively from the parable of the murderous vineyard ]workers (Matthew 21), leaving out what the vineyard owner does to those who had killed his servants and finally even his own son: “He will put those wretches to a miserable death.” Much less did he cite [nor would he cite] the concluding words of Jesus, referring to himself as the “cornerstone”: “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him.”

Instead, Pope Francis insisted on ’defending’ God from the accusation of being vindictive, almost as if wanting to mitigate the justice [justice he probably thinks excessive, if not downright unnecessary!] illustrated in the parable: “It is here that the great news of Christianity is found: a God who, in spite of being disappointed by our mistakes and our sins, does not go back on his word, does not stop, and above all does not avenge himself! Brothers and sisters, God does not avenge himself! God loves, he does not avenge himself, he waits for us to forgive us, to embrace us.” [Well, whoever said, to begin with that God ‘avenges’ himself ? It’s really Bergoglio projecting himself onto God! You think if Bergoglio were ‘God’, he would be ‘all-merciful’? He would be infinitely ‘merciful’ to his followers and pitilessly, implacably ruthless with the rest of us, for which he would probably ‘re-invent’ hell - and realize he does not know better than God after all.]

In the homily for the feast of Pentecost, last June 4, Francis argued, as he often does, against “those who judge.” And in citing the words of the risen Jesus to the apostles and implicitly to their successors in the Church (John 20:22-23), he intentionally cut them off halfway through: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven.” Omitting what follows: “Those you do not forgive, they will not be forgiven.”

We know the truncation was deliberate because he did it earlier - the exact same deletion of the words of Jesus on the previous April 23, at the Regina Coeli of the first Sunday after Easter.

Last May 12, while visiting Fatima, Francis showed that he wants to set Jesus ‘free’ from the image of being an inflexible judge at the end of time in warning against “A Mary of our own making: one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God; one sweeter than Jesus the ruthless judge.”

Of course, the liberty with which Pope Francis cuts and stitches up the words of Sacred Scripture does not concern only the universal judgment [as everyone who has ears to hear and eyes to read will have known since March 13, 2013, which, to borrow from Franklin Roosevelt, I have begun to think of more and more as ‘a day which will live in infamy’!] Deafening, for example, is the silence in which he has always shrouded Jesus’s condemnation of adultery (Matthew 19:2-11 and parallel passages).

In a surprising coincidence, this condemnation was contained in the Gospel passage that was read in all the churches of the world precisely on the Sunday of the beginning of the second session of the synod of bishops on the family, October 4, 2015. But neither in the homily nor at the Angelus on that day did Pope Francis make the slightest reference to it.

Nor did he make any reference to it at the Angelus of Sunday February 12, 2017, when that condemnation was once again read in all the churches.

Not surprisingly, the words of Jesus against adultery also do not appear in the two hundred pages of the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”

Just as AL makes no reference whatsoever to the terrible words of St. Paul condemning homosexual practices in the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans.A first chapter that was also read - another coincidence - at the weekday Masses of the second week of the synod of 2015. But of course, neither the pope nor any of his paladins ever cited them during the synodal discussions about changing the paradigms of the Church on this issue. Paul said it all quite bluntly:

"Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Rom 1, 26-32).

[One imagines Bergoglio has no love at all for St. Paul who is never less than scathing in denouncing what is wrong, especially those who take the Body and Blood of our Lord in vain. BTW, someone ought to write a takeoff on what Paul might have said about the Bergoglian outrages proposed in AL!]

Moreover, at times Pope Francis even takes the liberty of rewriting the words of Sacred Scripture as he sees fit. For example, in the morning homily at Santa Marta on September 4, 2014, at a certain point the pope attributed to Saint Paul these “scandalous” words: “I boast only of my sins.” And he concluded by inviting the faithful present to “boast” of their own sins, in that they have been forgiven from the cross by Jesus.

But in none of Paul’s letters can such an expression be found. The apostle instead says of himself: “If it is necessary to boast, I will boast of my weaknesses” (2 Cor 11:30), after having listed all the hardships of his life - the imprisonments, the floggings, the shipwrecks. Or: “About myself I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Cor 12:5). Or again: “He said to me: ‘My grace is enough for you; strength is in fact made fully manifest in weakness.’ I will therefore gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor 12:9), with more references to the outrages, persecutions, anguish he has suffered.

Coming back to the final judgment, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that "in the modern era, the idea of the Last Judgement has faded into the background.” [In which he was simply stating an obvious observation.]

But in his second encyclical, Spe Salvi, he forcefully affirmed that the Last Judgment is “the decisive image of hope.” It is an image that “evokes responsibility,” because “grace does not cancel out justice,” but on the contrary:

“The question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favour of faith in eternal life (because) “with the impossibility that the injustice of history should be the final word does the necessity for Christ's return and for new life become fully convincing…

“Grace does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. Dostoevsky was right to protest against this kind of Heaven and this kind of grace in his novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov.’ Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.”
- Benedict XVI

[Aldo Maria Valli quoted these same passages in one of his recent commentaries on Bergoglio’s dismissal of Hell and Judgment from the Four Last Things (death, Heaven, Hell, judgment).]
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 21/10/2017 11.07]
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