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October 20, 2017 headlines

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/9/2017 6:08 AM]
10/21/2017 4:52 PM
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Because of the page change that occurred sooner than I expected, allow me to re-post here the last item from the preceding page.

We all live under his evil eye...

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 hubristically-driven headstrong idol, it styles itself by its very title as a 'laudation' or hymn of praise for the author of AL and all those 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 are accreting daily - such a division was already predictable 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 (even if JMB's apostasy is not formal but virtual and practical apostasy)- 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. Bergoglio has been the most astute of all 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 evoked 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 the popes after him, just to undo the damage of Vatican-II progressivism. Instead, it 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?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/26/2017 6:03 AM]
10/21/2017 8:42 PM
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Not having posted anything from Maureen Mullarkey in some time, I find the following commentary spot-on and characteristically original..

On Amoris Laetitia & the ‘Filial Correction’

October 10, 2017

Heresy-spotting is not my forte. I have no inclination or talent for it. But the word hangs heavy in the air these days. It is impossible to ignore it. Ballots went out as soon as Amoris Laetitia hit the stands: “Does the apostolic exhortation propagate heresy? Check the box marked Yes or No. Either way, might any other words, deeds, or omissions by the Supreme Pontiff constitute encouragement of heresy? Again, check the box marked Yes or No.”

The alternatives have been dueling for two years. There is no need to detail here the moves in this formalized combat beyond a brief reprise. You know what they are. First came the widely circulated DUBIA which Francis disdained to answer. His stonewall prompted a public “filial correction” by Catholic clergy and scholars. The press seized on it, intrigued by the newsworthy gap between the 14th century contest with Pope John XXII and today’s bout with Francis the Good.

In turn, the Correctio Filialis prompted a counter correction. “Its own dubia,” Sandro Magister called it. The contest is a bloodless, ecclesial variant of England’s old conflict between Royalists and Roundheads.The absolutist temper of a monarchial papacy, in which all authority flows downward from the Chair of Peter, is a cherished model among conservative Catholics. [???]
Yet it is conservatives who are now closer to the Roundhead position in spite of themselves. (The Roundheads opposed the divine right of kings, insisting that the English monarch could not govern without parliamentary consent.)

Charles I lost that battle, and his head along with it. But Francis I is not Charles. To date, the royalist party has been in the saddle. But is that momentum beginning to reverse? Joseph Shaw, one of the original signatories to the filial correction, thinks so. He wrote recently on Rorate-Cæli:

“… that position, or refusing to clarify, is crumbling now. We have now had two Cardinals, Müller and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, calling for a serious engagement between the Vatican and critics such as the signatories and the DUBIA Cardinals. Perhaps, just perhaps, we are approaching the end game.”

[Strange optimism, with all due respect for Mr. Shaw. Might not Bergoglio have looked on the recent deaths of two of the four DUBIA cardinals (within a year of their ill-fated letter) as a ‘God-given’ sign that it is he who is in the right? Regardless, he is relentlessly single-minded in pushing his agenda through in what he typically thinks will be an irreversible way.]

We can hope so. Though it remains uncertain how much comfort there will be in the outcome of this match.

Roberto de Mattei, writing from Rome in early 2015, published in Rorate Cæli an essay that resonates just now. “A Pope Who Fell Into Heresy; A Church that Resisted” summarized the 14th century contest between John XXII and defenders of Catholic orthodoxy over the issue of the Beatific Vision after death. Read it here.

Was de Mattei’s essay, written in advance of Amoris Laetitia, prophetic? Or was it an anticipatory stroke by a well-placed historian with his ear to the ground? I cannot say. But it is no stretch to read his essay as a bugle call to the faithful to grapple with any pope who takes it upon himself to nullify the episcopate and redefine doctrine to conform to his own lights.

While John XXII came to heel eventually, any such conciliatory act by Francis seems unlikely. He is the beneficiary of two forces.
- First, there is the willed assumption — a diplomatic pretense? - that the ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia is inadvertent, an oversight rather than a tactic.
- Second, there is the cult of papal veneration, a toxic bloom with tangled roots.

Singular deference to the person of the pope is the disfiguring aftereffect of conflation of papal primacy with papal inerrancy — on whatever matter the papal druthers plant a battle flag. Among the laity, the fusion exists as a species of idolatry. Papalolotry is today’s word for it.

Among the episcopate, the amalgam counts as a courtier’s safeguard against rousing the ire of a king. Few in upper management want to be exiled to an obscure diocese by lordly resentment. At court, the rightful authority of bishops is checked by courtesy and reliance on royal favor. Amenability serves job security and advancement better than debate.

Inklings of futility lurk in the Correctio‘s terms of address to Francis. It opens on bended knee by pledging “filial devotion toward yourself.” Filial, rather than fraternal, is a telling genuflection. So is the signatories’ reference to themselves as “subjects” (“subjects have by nature a duty to obey their superiors in all lawful things”). [I am sure the signatories were only too aware they had to observe respectful and deferential form by using these terms, otherwise they would have been accused a priori of insulting the ‘Holy Father’ not just by questioning his teaching but by being such jerks as to fail to observe expected form in terms of addressing him. JMB can be a boor as he often is, but that does not excuse being a boor yourself. In accordance with traditional usage, they couldn’t properly say ‘fraternal’ rather than ‘filial’, because somehow, the ‘Holy Father’ part has overshadowed the mandate to ‘confirm thy brethren in their faith’, for which ‘fraternal’ would be appropriate. However, the use of the word ‘subjects’ is truly jarring, as the faithful are by no means considered ‘subjects’ of the pope (except when the popes had temporal power and you happened to live in a papal state, then you were also a subject of the pope).]

Wording echoes the tone of Pius X’s comments in 1906 that “the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be a docile flock.” Francis’s pontificate illustrates the hazards of such cast of mind.

The people of God are not children. Rightly ordered in their relationships to one another — include clergy here — neither are they subjects. Certainly not as that word is commonly understood. Catholics are subject to the Gospels and to the magisterium oriented toward them. But neither we nor the episcopate are subjects of a pope in the menial, subservient sense carried by that plural noun. The Bishop of Rome serves as “first among equals,” not as an imperial monarch ascendant over an episcopacy reduced to the status of delegates for papal sovereignty.

Bishops are not vassals of the throne. Apostolic ministry does not exist to rubber stamp the politics or subversive cunning of a willful or wayward pope. In the increasingly bureaucratized structure of Church governance, however, that appears to matter less than it should.

It does not serve Francis’s objectives to clarify the ambiguities in Amoris Laetitia. He has only to allow the vagueness of “pastoral discernment” to stand. It will come by degrees to be the default position in pastoral care. Moral thinking will evolve — develop — to further accommodate the subjectivity implicit in discernment and in such fluid standards as accompaniment in weakness.

A discretionary end run around indissolubility will gradually assume the authority of Tradition, thereby deflecting need for clarification. Longevity will short-circuit any lingering effort to undo what will have become standard pastoral practice.

Not a word need be uttered to modify doctrinal insistence on the indissolubility of marriage or to palliate eucharistic prohibitions for the divorced and remarried. In the name of “complex realities” and “difficult situations,” a hit-or-miss, sentimental concept of charity will quietly displace adherence to outworn disciplines. Give Amoris Laetitia another generation or two and indissolubility, traditionally invoked, will molder in the archive of insensitivities for which some future pontiff can permit himself to apologize.

And the above practical facts of life are precisely what Bergoglio is counting on for his changes to ‘live on’ in the Catholic Church, not just in the church of Bergoglio. Look how all but a relative few in the vast Catholic world willingly threw out the Traditional Mass literally overnight - it didn't take even a few years for the Novus Ordo to be completely and universally accepted as 'the Mass'.]

It discomforts me to say so, but the names on the initial letter of correction are not ones to cause undue anxiety in Casa Santa Marta. They are names best known and respected among conservative Catholics — those rosary-counting, neopelagian irritants already under Francis’s skin.

Where were the world’s bishops when the letter was initially circulated? Bernard Fellay, an SSPX bishop, lent his name to the document afterward; retired Bishop René Gracida of Miami did the same. At the outset, no active member of the USCCB risked his signature. By the USCCB’s own numbers, there are 446 active and retired bishops plus 6 cardinals and another 7 retired cardinals. Only one retiree could hazard signing? The numbers bespeak an episcopacy reduced from one of agency in its own right to mere spokesmen for the pontificate.

A gelded episcopacy is a sorry omen. It augurs Francis’s ultimate success in capsizing the perennial understanding of the nature of Christian marriage. There need be no de jure change in doctrine. Indissolubility will remain on the books where it will retain its aura of prescribed authority. But in pastoral practice varieties of a hardship exemption will gradually enfeeble the rule.

No one should be surprised. Francis’s revised, user-friendly annulment process comes on the heels of decades of profligate dispensing of annulments in major jurisdictions and/or for persons of influence. It follows a trajectory that has already weakened the principle of life-long marriage. (Annulment was little more than a religious fiction in the Archdiocese of Brooklyn under Francis Mogavero.) Misuse of a just and necessary procedure has given annulment the tag “Catholic divorce” for good reason. Then tally in last year’s capricious declaration by Francis that some half of all sacramental marriages are invalid. Indissolubility has been dissolving for some time.

Francis’s divorced and remarried Catholics purportedly clamoring for admission to the Eucharist parallel Barack Obama’s Dreamers. Both populations find their illicit situations stressful. Existing civic and sacramental protocols designed to amend dereliction in both sets of circumstances are deemed onerous. Absolutes are inconsiderate, unwieldy. Relativism is more workable. It appears kindly in the short term, however mischievous in the long. Francis’s flexible magisterium, packaged in the rhetoric of mercy — pious-sounding gift wrap [and Bergoglio's all-purpose gift-wrapping for all problems, at least those he deigns to answer] — negates those ancient obligations that define a community. No dream should be deferred.

Political historian Paul A. Rahe, a practicing Catholic, did not mince words in his September 15 essay for Ricochet, “An Unworthy Pope:”

Francis is a student of theology — not an especially astute student, but he knows a thing or two. What makes him a very great
fool is that he is not a student of economics, climate science, or national security, and that this defect does not in
any way discourage him from pontificating (I use the word advisedly) on these subjects and making a great display
of his ignorance.

Rahe’s professional interest in the history and character of political regimes makes him particularly suited to view the Bergoglian regime with a clear eye. He strikes the proper tone — a lovely acid bite — in addressing Francis’s pretensions to statecraft. No courtly flattery. At stake are issues too grave for ceremonious bowing and scraping.

It turns out that Dr. Peters has the same reservation about a statement by Mullarkey in the above article...

On 'conservative Catholics' and the papacy
Orthodox, conservative Catholics are both
ecclesial monarchists and are ecclesial collegialists

by Edward N. Peters

October 20, 2017

Maureen Mullarkey’s recent post on Amoris laetitia contains a line that bears nuancing not just because it is misleading, and not just because it is widely held, but because getting the principle that underlies it correct would reinforce Mullarkey’s mention of “a bugle call to the faithful to grapple with any pope who takes it upon himself to nullify the episcopate”.

Mullarkey writes: “The absolutist temper of a monarchial papacy, in which all authority flows downward from the Chair of Peter, is a cherished model among conservative Catholics.” Hmmm.

If by “conservative Catholics” Mullarkey means conservatives who are Catholic or Catholics who are conservative maybe she’s right. I wouldn’t know. But if by “conservative Catholics” Mullarkey means ‘Catholics who hold demonstrably orthodox views in doctrinal matters and accept the disciplinary consequences that flow from such views’ (which is what I think Mullarkey means), then her assertion that these Catholics ‘cherish’ a model of the papacy according to which “all authority flows down from the Chair of Peter” is seriously deficient.

“Conservative Catholics” are, to be sure, very comfortable with (though they might not be able to quote) Canon 331 as it sets out, among other things, the Roman Pontiff’s “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”. They cherish papal power and thank Jesus that He left such authority to St. Peter and his successors. So far, so good.

But well-informed “conservative Catholics” will also know that, per Canon 336, the college of bishops “is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church,” in other words, that there are two foci of “supreme and full power” in the Church, a pope (who can act alone) and a college of bishops (i.e., a pope and the bishops in communion with him who cooperate with each other in a magnificent and mysterious manner distinguishable from a pope acting on his own).

It is this second focus of supreme and full power in the Church, one overlooked by Mullarkey but which Francis’s manner of governing is causing prelates and professors alike to begin to re-examine after several decades of post-conciliar quiescence, that bears closer examination — certainly closer than a blog post can offer.

In short, “conservative Catholics” are both ecclesial monarchists and they are ecclesial collegialists; noting the latter aspect of their ecclesiology (theirs, because it is the Church’s), instead of just noting the former, might help Mullarkey to demonstrate how Francis is setting lots of people to thinking about lots of things these days.

In this respect, Bergoglio has made many more Catholics aware of Canon 212 which prevents (or ought to prevent) any Catholic from thinking that 'The Pope says...' is always right and therefore binding, that they can and should, in fact, express their protest and disagreement with whatever papal statement or action manifestly appears to be not in conformity with the deposit of faith.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/22/2017 12:49 AM]
10/21/2017 9:50 PM
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Last year, a young American who works as a producer and operations manager for EWTN’s West Coast Studio at the Christ Cathedral campus in Orange County, California, wrote this book on Benedict XVI which went straight to paperback. The Amazon blurb for it reads:

Pope Benedict XVI is widely considered to be the greatest theologian and Catholic thinker of our time. In these pages, author James Day unpacks the voluminous teachings of Pope Benedict and presents his remedies for the many ills afflicting the Church and our culture, including individualism, materialism, secularism, and godlessness.

At a time when the many “isms” of our day are pulling people away from the Faith, Father Benedict presents a hope-filled future, but only if we are to follow the guidance of Pope Benedict and the path he presents to us in every aspect of life: the formation of the Christian faith, in loving others, in personal vocation, in education, and in how we see the natural world.

Pope Benedict XVI offers our generation one of the clearest understandings of our world today, tirelessly championing the New Evangelization and a sacramental return to Christ and His Church. Father Benedict offers a compelling case for the Christian way, guiding us through the thoughts and writings of the Bavarian priest who became the Holy Father, and who now simply wishes to be called “Father Benedict.”

Mr Day has now written this essay that amounts to yet another tribute to Benedict XVI...

From Bukowski to Benedict
The cinema was once the light in which I sought purpose and escape -
And then I read a challenge I could not escape:
To 'believe as if God existed' (J. Ratzinger, 1965)

by James Day

October 21, 2017

“Of course I am disappointed. By the continued existence of lack of interest in the Church. By the fact that secularity continues to assert its independence and to develop in forms that increasingly lead people away from the faith. By the fact that the overall trend of our time continues to go against the Church.”
– Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World, 2010

“In celluloid we trust.”
– Werner Herzog, The White Diamond, 2004

Imagine an autumn Saturday night in 1965. The Agony and the Ecstasy is playing at a local, one-screen theatre. A family of four takes in the show. The next morning, the very same family tailored in their Sunday best attends their local parish along with other members of the town community, some of whom they noticed at the movie house the previous night. They discuss the picture after Mass, agreeing that while they enjoyed seeing the Renaissance and Michelangelo depicted on screen, it was not one of Hollywood’s better epics.

Later that day, the family takes a drive in the country to see the changing leaves. With businesses closed on Sundays, there is little traffic on the roads. There is a quiet peace. Likely unconsciously, this family basks in living with clean consciences, spurred not only by church that morning, but in the entertainment value provided the previous night.

This keeping-holy-the-Sabbath-day-scenario is not intended as Norman Rockwell idyllicism, but a snapshot of the life of many throughout American history: hard-working people embracing the fortifying pillars of a successful civilization — family, faith, and mutual ethics.

Yet by the time of its release, October 1965, The Agony and the Ecstasy showed a Hollywood sagging. The sword-and-sandals pictures and Biblical epics of the 1950s had culminated with Ben-Hur’s 11 Oscar wins. The 1960s attempted to continue the formula, but El Cid, Cleopatra, and The Fall of the Roman Empire proved the thrill was gone.

By the time Charlton Heston climbed the scaffold of the Sistine Chapel, it was clear that change was in the air — social change and ethical change. The Second Vatican Council was two months from closing, the three year sessions arguably the imprimatur the world was waiting for to usher in a more relaxed new world order. With the abandonment of the motion pictures' Hays Code, the content of movies also entered a new era.

If that same family ventured to the movie house five years after The Agony and the Ecstasy, they would find the likes of Love Story and Myra Breckinridge [Hollywood's first transgender protagonist?] The disconnect between culture and church had begun its devastating divorce.

If one longed for the days of Bing Crosby as Fr. O’Malley, he or she would be hard pressed; new Hollywood had overtaken the crumbling studio system with brash abandon, bulldozing such sentiment out of its way. Rosemary’s Baby in 1968 gave way to The Exorcist and Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973.

In 1972, Paul VI lamented that the smoke of Satan, from some fissure, had entered the temple of God. The assault was underway, and relativism was the new mantra of this Age of Aquarius.

A quiet underground toward this new age had been developing for decades. In 2006, the Getty Center in Los Angeles ran “Cinema of Grace,” a film series of art house classics by filmmakers Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928), Fritz Lang (Destiny, 1921), F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, 1922), Robert Bresson (Diary of a Country Priest, 1951), and Werner Herzog, (Heart of Glass, 1976 and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, 1974). “These directors depicted what they saw with their ‘spiritual eye,’ finding beauty, goodness, and the transcendent in what others might see as ugly and dark,” the event advertised.

As a film student at the time, I took no issue with this program lineup. I did not fully realize — or perhaps did not want to realize — that often such praises of the kind the Getty heaped on these works came at the expense of the tenets of faith.

“Like other films in this series,” it touted for the 1951 Bresson adaptation of the Georges Bernanos novel, Diary of a Country Priest, "infused with a sense of the shallowness of everyday life and of the constraints of organized religion in the realm of the divine.”

Healthy skepticism means lucid objectivity. Agnosticism means true faith. Human experience and articulating it — that is what matters. On Dreyer’s Joan of Arc: “The struggle between the material and the spiritual, between institutionalized religion and pure faith, is a common thread.” Yes, those who condemned Joan to the stake were hierarchical prelates. But Joan became the saint, not them. Yet, it did not occur to me to question any of this verbiage. For this was art! This was truth! I also find it no coincidence that I had not yet even known of the concept of relativism at that time.

Today, asking a family to enjoy a Saturday night taking in a wholesome Hollywood entertainment is near impossible: so natural and casual does a script call for blasphemy against the Second Person of the Trinity, littered with routine curse words, all while pornography melds into mainstream, it becomes startling clear: Nowhere here does God exist.

“I fell away from you, my God, and in my youth I wandered too far from you, my true support,” lamented St. Augustine. “And I became a wasteland of myself.” But depicting that wasteland that is precisely what is considered art these days with maybe a glimmer of secular hope at the end, for wallowing and wasteland implies profundity and depth and meaning.

The God learned in second grade has long been packed away. Tragically, so many artists unconsciously steeped in the Catholic imagination as youths have not yet had a mature encounter of that God. Such an encounter was considered a frightening prospect. “Christ is an abyss of light,” Kafka warned a friend, “into which, unless you close your eyes, you will fall headlong.”

Something was gnawing at me. This was a mentality spilling out not just in entertainment but commanding an entire worldview. It was the first time I felt nervous about the state of the faith — and felt some responsibility towards its preservation. Despite knowing that to some degree or another Martin Scorsese, Luis Buñuel, Francis Coppola, or Alfred Hitchcock continually dipped in the fountain of Catholicism in their films, I began to wonder how many of our heralded Catholic filmmakers could be found on their knees Sunday after Sunday before the consecrated host?

Should the personal beliefs of artists matter in contemplating their art? “I had a dramatic religious phase at the age of fourteen and converted to Catholicism,” Werner Herzog admitted in 2002. “Even though I am not a member of the Catholic Church any longer, to this day there seems to be something of a distant religious echo in some of my works.”

Robert Bresson saw no distinction: “Must one look at the life of someone to judge his work? This is his work. And that is his life.” And Martin Scorsese has never been shy in expressing his youthful enrapturement with pre-conciliar Catholicism before setting out on a career depicting characters struggling — consciously or not — with faith.

And so if the life and the work are intertwined, what messages are our artists sending? Is it that in order to be truly alive one must shrug off the shackle of faith, of orthodoxy? That thinking for oneself is the true path to enlightenment — without realizing such a notion is free will, and to reach enlightenment one cannot avoid the presence of Jesus Christ along the way, the very path being trod?

Witness relativism run rampant, its effects on relationships with each other, in communities, how we process and receive information as citizens; its effects on the Church, from customized liturgical styles to debatable and faddish beliefs, to no longer being able to discuss matters of the faith with peers without being found polemical or proselytizing; its effects on our brains, what we choose to watch; and on art itself.

The most harrowing effect is the palpable absence of God in the world, as if experiments are conducted on our immortal souls to test their very immortality. Their destruction is possible, even for the pure of heart. “Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to yield it would be too great for my strength,” Gandalf admits to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring.

A theologian writing in the 1960s, seeing the seismic cultural shifts occurring, urged his students to hold fast the horizontal and dimensions of the Cross — the divine and the human dimensions, the personal and the communal, the questioning and the confession of faith. “And if you do doubt,” the theologian advised, “etsi Deus daretur — believe as if God existed.” Later, he would say this, something Herzog and Scorsese and the Getty Center might contemplate: “People are afraid when someone says, ‘This is the truth,’ or even ‘I have the truth.’ We never have it; at best it has us.”

Pursuing the truth found in the ugly and dark, in the messy, also defined the underground lit scene of Los Angeles. “Ah Los Angeles! Dust and fog of your lonely streets, I am no longer lonely. Just you wait, all of you ghosts of this room, just you wait, because it will happen, as sure as there’s a God in heaven,” mused the main character in John Fante’s Ask the Dust.

By the time Ask the Dust debuted in 1939, Fante had already established a life that would alternate between deeply personal writing and heavy drinking and gambling. He published his first short story at age 23, titled “Altar Boy.” Both Fante and later his protégé, Charles Bukowski, would halo those lonely streets of Los Angeles in their writing with depictions of the sordid real world as guided by alcoholism, of rotating women, and constant agitation, out of which came prolific odes to that world.

Cult fame would follow. Though raised Catholic, Bukowski eventually drifted. He evidently gravitated to Buddhism later in life. The idea of a lifelong postal worker turned writer, who embraced his own booziness and womanizing and acting as if beyond redemption, captivated many. “Food is good for the nerves and the spirit,” read a passage in his novel Post Office. “Courage comes from the belly — all else is desperation.”

I first read Bukowski during the last months of the life of another poet: John Paul II. “Church needs art. Does art need the church?” he asked in his 1999 “Letter to Artists.” But who by then was listening? Some, like Bukowski, choose to delve into agony. Others, at the risk of being labeled as puritanical, take the leap into the transcendent. A writer familiar with the trending atheism of Europe aptly identified the inner turmoil of its youth:

The dismal and destructive ecstasy of drugs, of hammering rhythms, noise, and drunkenness is confronted with a bright ecstasy of light, of joyful encounter in God’s sunshine. Let it not be said that this is only a momentary thing. Often it is so, no doubt. But it can also be a moment that brings about a lasting change and begins a journey.

This writer, the same I earlier quoted about believing as if God existed and that we don’t have the truth, it has us, is Joseph Ratzinger—Benedict XVI. There he was, I discovered, hiding in plain sight as the then-bishop of Rome down sending forth one masterpiece after another in his weekly audiences.

And then something even more startling occurred: he evoked within me the same sense of awe and identification once felt with the masters of cinema. What did it mean that the successor of Peter, the vicar of Jesus Christ, would be the one who so perfectly articulated the malaise and acedia of our time?

“Again and again man falls behind the faith and wants to be just himself again; he becomes a heathen in the most profound sense of the word. But again and again the divine presence becomes evident also. This is the struggle that passes through all of history.”

Of course, the great works of art indeed attempted to delve into the heathen world and the divine presence, but it was the expected reproach that anything having to do with the Church must be undermined that I simply could no longer stand nor wanted to contribute in the attempt to destroy it.

What continually frustrated me was how capable filmmakers and artists failed to realize that the story of faith in the world is the hard fought journey of the sinner to redemption — from one Gospel account after another of transformed, nameless sinners through Peter, Magdalene, Augustine, Ignatius, Chesterton, Dorothy Day, and the working class penitent who defies the standard of the day by hunkering down in the confessional and puoring out his faults. Gradually, I grasped what I read the Pope himself voice:

Of course I am disappointed. By the continued existence of lack of interest in the Church. By the fact that secularity continues to assert its independence and to develop in forms that increasingly lead people away from the faith. By the fact that the overall trend of our time continues to go against the Church.

The effort of moving outside oneself, of making it to Mass, to carve out time amid what could have been far easier, more lackadaisical, relaxing weekend choices, was difficult with so much disposable attraction available. But the physical action of getting into that church itself said something.

Benedict in 2006, speaking to journalists on the plane back to his Bavarian homeland, somehow understood this millennial stagnation. “I can continually do whatever I want with my life,” he stated, evoking the freedoms one has. “By making a definitive decision,” he continued, “am I not tying up my personal freedom and depriving myself of freedom of movement? Reawaken the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. Risk making this leap.”

While I remained indebted and committed to the truth of film, I gradually lost much interest in Werner Herzog and Jean-Luc Godard while still admiring their feats, some of which, like Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and Godard’s Contempt, are pillars of filmmaking. I suppose I decided to be less like them and more my own person. This meant I now had a duty.

I could no longer risk witnessing the withering of my own spiritual capacity, the precariousness of my own immortal soul. As Dorothy Day wrote, “I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer.” Benedict XVI quoted this in his first Wednesday audience after announcing his intention to resign.

I still had no doubt film is able to reach into the transcendent, but I believed it only goes so far. The majority of cinema, reduced to crass entertainment, simply lacked the substantive push and desire that Benedict managed to prompt within me: to think about God and the world, who Jesus was and is, and our place within that Trinitarian circle of light that Dante dreamed. I began to see belief meant not a crutch to dogma, but an active, daily setting out, even especially during times of doubt and darkness. I went to confession more, and meanwhile consumed every available book by Benedict XVI.

When reading Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, and meeting Blaise Pascal in the process, I knew I reached a crossroads. Previously, my only recognition of the name Pascal (other than a vague memory about his famous “wager”) was Werner Herzog’s Lessons of Darkness, which opens with a quote attributed to Pascal: “The collapse of the stellar universe will occur — like creation — in grandiose splendor.” Of course it is well known in film lore that Herzog wrote that line himself, and gave it to Pascal because to him it was something Pascal would have said. That is an undeniably fabulous anecdote, but then one comes across the real Pascal, such as in his “Night of Fire” sequence at age 31 (1654) that resulted in sewing “The Memorial” into his jacket and immediately one realizes he is before a master.

His Pensées remains a touchstone of inspiration: “A fine state for the Church to be in when it has no support left but God!” (#845). Pensées also served as a precursor in style to Robert Bresson’s book, Notes on the Cinematographer. And it was Pascal who originated the line Ratzinger quoted in Introduction to Christianity: Believe etsi Deus valetur: Believe as if God existed.

Eventually, something had to give. It took much discernment, but soon many books and films of and by Godard, Herzog, Buñuel, Oliver Stone, Woody Allen, coupled with Bukowski and Fante and others made their way to the donation chest at the local library. Bresson remained. Not only was life too short, but I simply had to make room for Guardini, von Balthazar, Belloc, Pieper, Chesterton, de Lubac, Lewis, Tolkien, Dickens, let alone the von Hildebrands and Fulton Sheen and James Schall and Flannery O’Connor, Bernard Lewis’s studies on the Middle East, Fr. Robert Spitzer’s quartet, T.S. Eliot’s Christianity and Culture, and the unceasing outpouring of current minds from a Catholic perspective, such as Paul Scalia’s That Nothing May Be Lost.

I took delight that Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy in 2000 was a spiritual remake of Guardini’s own The Spirit of the Liturgy from 1918. I had seen this before — in film. The Nouvelle Vague had given way to the Nouvelle Theologie.

And while I certainly continue to admire great film and the struggles and triumphs of those who see their vision through, godly matters had proven far more edifying than mundane trivialities. Even in a time so secular, agnostic, and atheistic, and even when the Church sometimes seems more focused on the human than on the supernatural, the sacred was still visible and still worthy of pursuit.

I immersed contemplatively in the music of des Prez and Respighi, gazed more appreciatively at the art over the centuries, the wonder of architecture, and gave thanks I had the opportunity by way of a faith pilgrimage to stand enveloped by Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Gaudí, Benedict XVI said at that very spot in 2010, “accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty.” Little to nothing could be added to the truth of that insight.

Werner Herzog likes to tell this story: After Michelangelo had finished the Pieta in Rome, one of the Medici family forced him to build a snowman in the garden of the family villa. He had no qualms about it; without a word he just went out and built the snowman. I like this attitude and feel there is something of absolute defiance in it.

If anything is certain in surveying modern culture, it is that the defiance Herzog speaks of in Michelangelo creating the snowman is needed for an artistic reclamation of this cynical world, to once again dare to glimpse the transcendent, or rather, the joyful encounter of God’s sunshine. Will the next Michelangelo or Dante please stand up?

In this age of remakes and reboots, it would be wonderful to see the triumph of the human condition portrayed in appropriate grandeur, but only with the authentic dignity toward the human person that once epitomized the art of the cinema, that lifted consciences, and actually inspired flocks of peoples from the theatre on Saturday to the pews on Sunday.
10/22/2017 12:42 AM
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As Jorge Bergoglio's year of 'celebrating' Luther and his Reformation winds down, Aldo Maria Valli cites egregious historical facts about how Luther was
a fiendish hater - of peasants and Jews, among others (what he thought of the popes, and worse, of Jesus, is a bit better known). But despite all that - on top of
having split the Church in a manner far more traumatic than the Great Schism of 1054 - Bergoglio has chosen to virtually canonize this fiend, whose apostasy
and contempt for Catholicism Bergoglio is seeking to surpass and not just replicate.

Historical facts about Luther militate against
the very idea of Bergoglio's church celebrating him

Translated from

Oct. 18, 2017

“Just look at this!” When Santa Subito says that, it means she is about to ask me to do something. In this case, to read something. But actually, more than to read something, to look at it. ['Santa Subito' is Valli's endearment for his wife Serena, which says a lot of their relationship.]

It was the current issue of a Catholic weekly, the issue being completely dedicated to the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the occasion of a new edition presented by Pope Francis. [I find this rather outrageous chutzpah on the part of someone who, if he has his way, is seeking to change many important points in the Catechism (I cling to my belief that he already has some work group preparing those changes, led by the very person who chaired the editorial committee that had prepared this Catechism in 1985-1992, the Cardinal from Vienna who has done a most spectacular act of turncoatism, in effect, from being a reputed Ratzingerian before March 13, 2013, to now being the semi-official defender of every new Bergoglian blow to Catholic teaching, from AL to abolition of the death penalty. Schoenborn simply claims that none of the Bergoglian propositions contradict the Catechism in any way!]

So then what? Santa Subito opens the magazine and shows me the dossier on the subject, in which the article “The Catechism in the life of the Church”, is illustrated with three paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a 16th century German master who was a Lutheran. Indeed, two of the paintings have Martin Luther in the picture.

Santa Subito looks at me and says: “Really? Luther? Was that at all necessary?”

I can understand why she is disconcerted. Perhaps they might have illustrated it with something that has to do with St. Pius VI, who published the firt modern Catechism of the Church following the Council of Trent. Or with St. Pius X, who published for the Diocese of Rome a Catechism that eventually was distributed everywhere. But then, I reminded Santa Subito, Luther himself had written two catechisms - the Large Catechism and the Small Catechism – so perhaps that justified it. [But they were not Catholic Catechisms, both having been published in 1529, the large one for clergymen to aid them in teaching their congregations, and the small one for children.]

Actually, the presence of the Cranach paintings showing Luther in the latest edition of the Catholic Catechism prompted me to reflect on something else. Which has to do with the climate of celebration in many Catholic circles in the year 2017, marking 500 years since the Protestant Reformation. It is a climate that in certain aspects, has taken on the aspect of a canonization of Luther – at the price of distorting history.

Let us consider a subject which is very dear to this pope and what the Catechism says about it: the death penalty. Presenting the new edition of the Catechism, the pope, speaking to the officials and personnel of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, expressed a strong and unequivocal position against the death penalty, which the Catechism considers an ‘extrema ratio’ – a last resort, if need be – but this pope says that the deth penalty is always inadmissible.

Well, let’s get back to Luther and Cranach the Elder. Let’s start with the painter – who was not just an artist, but had been elected several times by the municipal council of Wittenberg as treasurer and mayor. But he was also a judge, and as such, in 1540, imposed the death penalty by beheading on several persons who had been accused of assassination, black magic, and above all, witchcraft.

At that time, in effect, members of Luther’s Reformed Church were rather zealous and even pitiless in their [literal] witch hunts, persecution of those suspected as witches being far worse in the Protestant lands than in catholic countries. Luther himself advocated without any reservations the need to burn such women for being possessed of the devil (“For such women,” he wrote, “skip the niceties and just torture them!”). Likewise Melancthon (Luther’s premier theologian) and John Calvin.

Not surprisingly, the great number of executions of women accused of witchcraft were in Scotland, in Germany, and the Swiss canton of Vaud – all Protestant territories. And when the Puritans colonized America, they brought with them this persecution of witches, famously exemplified by Salem, Massachusetts, where 19 women were burned at the stake. The last witch execution took place in Switzerland in 1782 [after which it presumably became illegal]. Nor should we forget the brutality against prostitutes who were persecuted in Protestant lands with unparalleled cruelty.

As for Luther, let us recall with what violence he denounced the Peasants’ War, using words that were an exhortation fo systematic homicide:

“These rebels are proscribed by God and the emperor, therefore anyone who wishes to kill them is acting very correctly: against anyone who is manifestly seditious, every man should be both judge and executioner. Therefore, anyone can strike them, cut their throats and massacre them in public or secretly, keeping in mind that there is nothing more poisonous, harmful and diabolical than a seditious man, who must be killed like a rabid dog, because if not, he will kill you and with you, the whole nation. Therefore, dear sirs, liberate, save, aid and have mercy on poor people, but hurt, strangle and kill who you can, and if in doing so, you find death, then be happy, because you will not find a more blessed death, dying in obedience to the word and will of God and in the service of charity to save your neighbor from hell and the snares of the devil.” (Martin Luther, 1525, ‘Against the Murdering, thieving hordes of peasants”) [Yes, that was really the title of his tract!]

[Everytime I think I have read the worst of Luther – at his most sanctimonious irrational rage – there’s always something even worse. In this case, he was denouncing the peasants because he was currying favor with the princes for his new religion. I was thinking that JMB may never really have read a good biography of Luther (or done any serious study of him at all, other than superficial dabbing for something to say in his many encounters with Lutherans) or has only read saccharine pieces on him by his idolators, but imagine ignoring all of Luther’s egregious sins and faults to go as far as to thank the Lord for the ‘blessings’ Luther and his Reformation have brought to the Church!]

To disobey civilan power was, for Luther, a crime meriting the death penalty. The danger of subversion and anarchy must be repressed without pity, such that he himself would teach civil authorities the need to use the sword:

“Now is not the time to sleep or to be patient or merciful: this is the time of rage and the sword, not that of grace… Therefore, let the authorities proceed in good spirits and strike [the rebels] with good conscience for as long as a breath of life remains in them. They can then boast of taking the peasants out of their evil thinking and unjust case, and whoever among themis killed for this, is totally lost, body and soul, and eternally prey for the devil. But the authorities will have good conscience and a just cause on their side.”

[Gosh! The man was either a pervert or a lunatic or both. Bergoglio may not have gone so far in his rages against those he does not like because they do not think like him, but I can see the same streak of lunacy and/or perversion that ran through Luther running through his Argentine ‘spiritual son’.]

And could we forget Luther’s invectives against the Jews? One can only be rudely shaken by reading the words with which the former monk vents himself against them, calling on his followers to burn the synagogues, demolish their homes, deprive them of their religious books, prohibit the rabbis from teaching, deprive the Jews of safe-conduct passes and any juridical protection, sequester their wealth and oblige them to manual labor. [Four hundred years later, Hitler obeyed him to the letter – and beyond - to bring on the Holocaust. How does Bergoglio square all these barbaric Lutheran thoughts with his own voluble protestations of love for the poor and for the Jews? But if he has been deliberately glossing over all of Luther’s sins in order to make his case for ‘the cause of Luther’s canonization’ in the Church, then he’s an even worse hypocrite than I already think him to be.]

Of course, at that time, Luther was not alone in thinking all that, but he certainly stood out for his fervor in scapegoating peasants and Jews, so much so that Lutherans themselves acknowledge that the ‘Great Reformer’ did not change anything in this respect, but on the contrary, reinforced and disseminated these prejudices with devastating consequences.

Luther was totally a man of his time, but it cannot be ignored that he behaved like a true and proper retrograde old fogey who never subjected his own thought to self-criticism [Hmmm, why does that remind me of someone?] and embraced the most intolerant positions.

Just to make it clear, I repeat: Lutherans subsequently distanced themselves from certain far-out ideas of their founder, and have mostly opposed the death penalty as well as Luther’s anti-Judaism.

On the other hand, regarding the death penalty, we Catholics can recall, for instance, that St. Thomas Aquinas approved of it in some cases (reasoning that not only is it licit but also dutiful to extirpate a sick member in order to save the whole body); and that the death penalty was legitimate in the papal states until they were abolished in 1870. But that is not the point I wish to underscore on this occasion.

My point is that since, in 2017, with regard to Luther and Lutheranism, 500 years since the Reformation, we Catholics have been told, repeatedly ad nauseam, that from Luther’s world and its ‘spirituality’, we are exhorted to purify ourselves [as if the Church does not do that constantly], and that Luther was ‘medicine’ for the Church, [according to Bergoglio, repeatedly] looking back at historical facts is not at all a useless exercise.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/22/2017 12:45 AM]
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Here is a review by Fr. Rutle rof George Weigel's third biographical volume on John Paul II... Don't be put off by the inexplicably frivolous title
that the Herald chose to give it.

St John Paul II was a sublime visionary,
but had an Achilles heel

by Fr George Rutler

Oct. 20, 2017

George Weigel’s Witness to Hope was written before its subject was canonised, but that exhaustive biography vibrated with confidence that the day of universal recognition would be inevitable. Weigel has become something of a pontifical Boswell, and his third volume about John Paul II is like the last wing on a vivid triptych by Memling or Rubens.

The first two books were analytical, while this one – Lessons of Hope (Basic Books, £25) – is a portrait more ruminative and personal, and not without humour. It may even be more valuable precisely for that. History is disserved by those who think that private asides and impressions are secondary to major dates and deeds.

Weigel’s classical theological formation and his own urbane humanism made him a good fit for understanding Karol Wojtyła, and it would seem that the Holy Father sensed the same, enjoying his company and table talk. Through that association, Weigel was able to perceive the pope’s sources and initiatives, beginning with his pastoral work in Poland.

Wojtyła’s Polishness was not something to be thrust aside when he became Universal Pastor, like some gnostic shedding of irrelevant skin. Poland was an icon of Christ in its heroic deeds and salvific suffering, far more than most nations. That land, with trembling borders but unflagging chivalry, was crucified over centuries, only to rise with valour when its people cried out in 1979: “We want God.” And Wojtyła was there to hear them.

Carl Jung spent considerable effort trying to explain a dimension he called “synchronicity”, commonly shrugged off as mere coincidence. For the Christian, that dimension is often Divine Providence at work, and it would be pedantic to think that Wojtyła’s early suffering and experience of socialised atheism were not part of a supernatural scheme to prepare him for the papacy. Weigel’s familiarity with Polish culture may be the most important theme in what he writes of hope.

Another subject for another day is how the theological dissidents and dilettantish revisionists who patronised Wojtyła and loathed Ratzinger burrowed into the cultural underground, suborning the media and academies, waiting for their moment which, if tenuous and fragile, they think had arrived. The geriatric modernists are breathing fresh air, and the test will be how long their moment will actually last.

With scholastic realism, John Paul II believed that, in theology, 2+2 = 4. He did not subscribe to a Hegelian synthesis whereby truth is what is left after “making a mess”. His Theology of the Body was of a vision loftier and more demanding than instruction in how to kiss.

If anyone could express that even more clearly than Wojtyła it was Ratzinger, whose masterful articulation confounded all stereotypes of German obscurantism. John Paul evidently recognised that himself, which he is why he relied on him so much, and that may have been another instance of the wheel of Providence at work.

Both of them were like Bunyan’s pilgrim contending against “dismal stories” but they did so without subjecting doctrine to casuistry, or condescending to rudeness and insults.

The way John Paul focused on the horizon may at times have distracted him from what was going on around his doorstep. His episcopal appointments sometimes were perplexing and his idealism beclouded his willingness to acknowledge abuses within the clerical system.

My friend Fr Stanley Jaki once expressed to me his caution that phenomenology might be Wojtyła’s Achilles heel rather than the strength of his philosophical narrative. It is curious that such a sublime visionary should have been remarkably atonal in matters liturgical and artistic. His pontificate boasted no Borromini, and its cultural landscape was pockmarked with such offences as the Jubilee Church in Rome, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków, Los Angeles Cathedral and the pharaonic John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC.

With John Paul II and Benedict XVI now distant if venerable echoes, and even censored in some quarters, we find ourselves now much like Bernard of Chartres’s nanos gigantum humeris insidentes – dwarfs on the shoulders of giants.

Weigel’s generous spirit hoped for the best when the Church’s present ambiguities and unprecedented confusions began. He is enough of an authority about hope to know that hope is sturdier than optimism. While his completed triptych goads the reader to realise what great things the Holy Spirit has done, it also makes us something like the men in their doldrums on the Road to Emmaus. But there is still the Lord reminding us that all these things had to have happened.

These are perplexing and even scandalous days for the faithful. But if Bernard of Chartres thought himself a mere afterthought and unworthy heir, his image of dwarfs on the shoulders of giants is radiantly depicted in the south transept window of Chartres cathedral whose glorious construction began just a few years after he died. That then vindicates hope as a virtue, more than optimism as a wish.

Weeks ago, CWR published an interview with George Weigel by its editor Carl Olson but that was when I was hors de combat. But it's not too late to post it:

George Weigel on the 'lessons in hope'
he received from John Paul II

The papal biographer’s new book describes his relationship with Pope John Paul,
as well as the great challenges the pope faced in the final years of his life

Interview by Carl Olson

September 18, 2017

George Weigel’s two biographies of St. John Paul II — Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning — are widely considered the authoritative volumes on the life and work of the Polish pope.

Weigel has a new book out, Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II (Basic Books), which focuses on his decades-long friendship with St. John Paul and on the inspiring witness the pope offered the world in the face of great suffering in the last years of his life.

Weigel recently spoke to CWR editor Carl E. Olson about his new book.

At the start of Lessons in Hope, you note that you thought Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning, which totaled about 1,600 pages, contained all you could or would say about St. John Paul II. Why this third book? In what ways is this “album of memories,” as you describe it, different from the two biographies?
Lessons in Hope is almost entirely anecdotal; it tells the stories that wouldn’t have “fit” into two volumes of biography, but that illuminate, in one way or another, interesting facets of John Paul II’s personality and way of conducting the papacy. I’ve discovered in recent years that this is what people want, now: not so much analysis of a remarkable personality and his accomplishment, but story-telling that brings him alive in a personal way.

You write that the “experience of learning John Paul II and his life taught me a new way of looking at events in my own life…” What are some examples of that? And what are some of the events that paved the way for you to become John Paul II’s biographer?
At Fatima in 1983, one year after the assassination attempt that came within a few millimeters of taking his life, John Paul said, “In the designs of Providence, there are no mere coincidences.” What we think of as “coincidence,” or just happenstance or randomness, is actually a part of God’s providential guidance of history that we just don’t understand yet.

That insight of his helped me to see how, for example, my philosophical and theological studies in college and graduate school, my work as a columnist and essayist, the people I met at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1984-85, and a week in Moscow in 1990 fomenting nonviolent revolution were all providential experiences that prepared me to take on the job of being John Paul II’s biographer.

One point made in several places is the importance of understanding John Paul II’s philosophical perspective and project. What are some key features of his philosophical work? And how has this been either misunderstood or even misrepresented?
John Paul II is persistently misunderstood as some sort of pre-modern mind, when in fact his was a thoroughly modern mind with a distinctive critique of modernity. At the heart of that critique was
- the conviction that ethics had come unglued from reality;
- that the moral life was wasting away into subjectivism and sentimentality; and
- that human beings (and society) were suffering as a result.

The entire philosophical project he and his colleagues at the Catholic University of Lublin launched in the 1950s was an attempt to get the moral life back on a sound footing: not from top down but from bottom up —through a rigorous and compelling theory of the human person, our capacity for responsibility, and the dynamics of our moral decision-making. That’s why his philosophical masterwork was called “Person and Act.”

How did you first meet John Paul II and how did your friendship develop?
Our first real conversation was in September 1992, when I gave him a signed copy of The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism, which he had already read on galley proof. Things snowballed after that, both in terms of personal conversations and correspondence, and both conversation and correspondence continued after the publication of Witness to Hope. The details of how our relationship evolved over the course of my preparing Witness to Hope and afterwards — during the dramas of the Long Lent of 2002, the Iraq War, and his last illness — are described in detail in Lessons in Hope.

John Paul II strongly encouraged you to meet with many of his friends from his time in university. Why was that so significant to him? How did that period of time shape the rest of his life?
It was not so much his friends from his own time in university (although I did meet with the surviving members of his underground wartime theatrical troupe, the Rhapsodic Theater), but the friends he made while he was a university chaplain in the late 1940s and early 1950s. As he was helping form them into mature Catholic adults, they were helping form him into one of the most dynamic and creative priests of his generation. He thought that story was crucial to understanding him “from the inside,” so he encouraged me to talk with these men and women, several of whom are now close friends of mine.

You emphasize, as you have many times over the years, that your two biographies of John Paul II were not “authorized biographies.” What does that mean and why is it so important?
An “authorized biography,” in the usual sense of the term, is one that has been vetted (and perhaps edited) by the subject or the subject’s heirs, in exchange for access and documents; so an authorized biography should be read with a certain reserve, given what one has to assume was the vetting involved.

At the very outset of the Witness to Hope project, I told John Paul over dinner that he couldn’t see a word of what I wrote until I gave him the finished copy of the book, and he immediately responded, “That’s obvious.” He knew, as I knew, that there could be no one looking over my shoulder as I wrote if the book was to be credible; he also thought that the book was my responsibility and he wasn’t about to change a lifelong pastoral habit of challenging others to be responsible without imposing his own judgments.

So while I hope Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning are as authoritative as possible, they are in no sense “authorized.” I also hope that Lessons in Hope ends, once and for all, the urban legend that John Paul II asked me to write his biography. He didn’t. I suggested the project and he agreed to cooperate with it.

What were some of the more challenging aspects of researching the life of John Paul II?
There were a lot of people in the Roman Curia who weren’t as eager for me to have full access to people and documents as John Paul II was, and the stories of my adventures in getting through that Italianiate obstacle course are very much part of Lessons in Hope. [That would explain Weigel's habitual negative appraisals of the 'Roman Curia' as a whole.]

Then there were the problems posed by my predecessors in the papal biographers’ guild, like Tad Szulc and Carl Bernstein: people who had spoken freely with them felt that they had been burned, in the sense that Szulc and Bernstein had slotted their reflections into what these men and women who knew John Paul II well thought were nonsensical analyses. And it took a while for me to convince some of them that I was different.

There was also the challenge of inviting a man with a deep sense of privacy to talk about aspects of his life he had rarely if ever discussed before; but John Paul answered every question I posed to him and in fact pushed me into exploring areas of his life to which I might otherwise have given short shrift.

In discussing the “Long Lent” — the clerical sexual abuse scandal that broke in early 2002 — you explain that there existed an “information gap” between Rome and the United States. Why did that gap exist? How well or poorly was John Paul II informed of what was happening?
The gap existed because of curial incapacity and the general Roman sense that “things can’t be as bad as all that,” which is too often applied to crises. The story of how the Pope got more fully informed of the situation, and my role in helping facilitate that, is told in detail in Lessons in Hope.

What are some lessons from John Paul II that you think are especially apt now, in 2017?
In this time of turbulence in the Church, it’s important to remember that we’re not in 1978. The growing parts of the Church throughout the world are the parts of the Church that have embraced what I’ve come to call “all-in Catholicism” as exemplified by the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and the dying parts are those parts that continue to embrace Catholic Lite.

This distinction is true of pastoral life, Catholic intellectual life, and the Church’s public witness. And that makes for a very, very different circumstance than the situation in 1978, when Catholic Lite pretty well ruled the roost. Catholic Lite is a failure and has no future; there is a compelling alternative to it, created by the Second Vatican Council as authoritatively interpreted by John Paul II; and if we all remembered that, things would be a little calmer these days.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/23/2017 3:46 AM]
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October 21-22, 2017

Seeing the headline above, my first thought was 'Soylent Green', that futuristic movie where it was thought that human corpses - and not
plankton from the sea as advertised - were being recycled into a food product rationed to hungry people; or, to take the above headline
literally, that garbage (food garbage, presumably) was being recycled for distribution to poor people. Thankfully, that is not the story at all -
and the Canon212 editors should observe a basic rule of journalistic responsibility: Do not knowingly lie and mislead.
And since Canon212 is a Catholic site, surely they must know that falsifying what a news report says by tagging it with a certifiably wrong
headline violates the Eighth Commandment! Yet Canon212 has been merrily doing this with a lot of other stories as well. It is just flat-out,
malicious lying, and it should stop.

As much as I appreciate the site's news aggregation effort for the convenience it provides, it is completely unnecessary for Canon212 to
invent eyecatching but false headlines. While I am at it, there is no need either to attach the prefix 'Francis-' to anything the C212 editors
disagree with or disapprove of. Readers are well aware of C212 biases and don't have to be bludgeoned in the eye by self-evident facts.

I personally do not see anything wrong with recycling soon-to-expire or just-expired (according to the recommended 'sell-by' date) grocery
products that are uncontaminated instead of the groceries simply incinerating them, because in Brazil, right now, apparently, they are
not allowed to donate such products.

The link for the banner headline is to a Google translation of a Spanish report, but the gist is that recently, InfoVaticana in Spanish, La Nuova
Bussola in Italian and L'Homme Noveau in French simultaneously published a letter by Cardinal Sarah saying that despite the authorization
given by the pope in the motu proprio Magnum Principiam for national bishops' conferences to publish their own translation of the Roman Missal
to the vernacular, the Vatican still retains the final authority to recognize and accept such translations.

The pope has since written Cardinal Sarah to 'correct' him, and I shall translate Bussola's account of it - in which the Vatican tells Bussola that
the pope wants his 'correction' to Sarah published in full - a probably unprecedented papal demand on a media outlet. (One assumes
the two other sites which published Sarah's letter also received the same communication from the pope.)

Anyway, I shall translate Bussola's account of this probably landmark event, but my immediate reaction goes even beyond editor Riccardo Cascioli's
guarded comment on the consequences implied by the pope's position: It used to be that because of all the local 'initiatives' by priests
imposing themselves on the Novus Ordo Mass, Catholics could no longer as in centuries past be sure that they could attend the same Mass wherever
in the world they happened to be.

Now, it is not just the rubrics and external aspects of the Mass that can be autonomously determined by a parish or a Mass celebrant, and therefore
differ from place to place. Now the pope has just authorized even the content of the Mass itself to be autonomously determined by the
bishops'conferences - because that is what they can do by authorizing a translation they approve of.
One can expect that it will no longer
be just a 'translation' from the Latin, but even a free-form rendition of what the bishops' conference thinks the Mass should be saying. (First 'victim'
of this autonomy, since it already is - despite Benedict XVI's correction - is the wrong and wrong-headed translation of 'pro multis' in the words
of the Consecration of the Wine to 'for all' instead of 'for many'. But then Bergoglianism finds 'pro multis' exclusivist so it ought to have no
place in the Mass
whereby JMB is once more editing words attributed to Jesus himself, these ones at the Last Supper.)

This is nothing less than liturgical anarchy - parallel to the pastoral anarchy proliferated by Amoris laetitia, it makes Catholicism
the victim of Bergoglian laissez-faire: "Let everyone do as they discern", being the euphemism for "Let everyone do as they please"
and an alternate formulation for "Let everyone follow his own conscience".

This anarchy is the logical and foresseable consequence of Bergoglio's idea, expressed in Evangelium gaudium, to allow bishops'
conferences full doctrinal authority, presumably without regard to what the rest of the Church is doing. This is no longer
the Catholic Church, in which 'catholic' means universal. Bergoglianism is now imposing a fragmentation of the universal Church
through a series of fiats effectively dissolving the unity and universality of the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church. No
Correctio, filial or fraternal, will remedy this - only an act of God will

If anyone still thinks this pope is not anti-Catholic and is not apostate, please wake up and face the facts!

Consider also the plethora of pro-Luther Bergoglian hype in the headlines these days - but I will come back to that later. Aldo Maria Valli
already did an excellent kick-off for this expose of growing Berglutheranism preached by the apostate Jorge Martin Bergluther.

Pope sends ‘Correctio fraternalis’
to Cardinal Sarah

by Riccardo Cascioli, Editor
Translated from

Oct. 22, 2017

Cardinal Robert Sarah’s interpretation of the motu proprio ‘Magnum Principium’ is incorrect – the spirit of the papal document is precisely to allow bishops’ conferences to carry out their own liturgical translations with autonomy and [the pope’s] trust which Cardinal Sarah would like to limit.

Pope Francis himself makes this clear in a letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, a letter we are publishing in full at the explicit request of the pope himself.

It was our news outlet that had published Cardinal Sarah’s note last Oct. 12 in which, taking note of already manifested reactions, he proposed the right interpretation of the motu proprio.

Having done that, we are now being asked by the pope to publish his own letter – an unprecedented gesture on the part of a pope.

Beyond the questions of merits discussed below, we are honored and thankful for this attention from the Holy Father which objectively confers on LNBQ the authority to host a debate on subjects fundamental to the life of the Church in which it has been a protagonist along with some cardinals.

But let us get to the point of the controversy – which has to do with the translations from the official Latin editions of liturgical texts used in different countries. Till now, the translations (versions and eventual adaptations) have been
prepared by each national bishops’ conference which then seek the approval of the Holy See. This is done through two instruments – confirmatio and recognitio – which, however, the motu proprio seeks to redefine.

At this point, here are the existing interpretations:
Cardinal Sarah says that confirmatio and recognitio are different and distinct in their effects, in which confirmatio refers to approval of a translation from the editio typica Latina of the missal [in Church language, the editio typica is the official source text of a particular document or book, and it always used to be in Latin, from which all translations should be made], whereas recognitio refers to approval of new texts and ritual modifications that are not substantial, yet they are identical acts from the point of view of the responsibility of the Holy See. Thus, in both cases, the Vatican can analyze every request for translation approval – translations from the typical Latin edition, changes in ritual, and new texts.

Cardinal Sarah’s concern, as CDW Prefect, is evident: to keep the unity of the Church even in the liturgy, while respecting the autonomy of bishops in each country to elaborate their own local liturgy [in conformity with the universal Church].

But now the pope has let it be known that this is not the spirit of his motu proprio, which must instead be seen as a true and proper liturgical ‘devolution’. He argues that confirmatio and recognitio are not identical [Sarah did not say that!], and that in the exercise of these two actions, the responsibility is different for the Holy See from the responsibility of the bishops’ conferences. [But it looks like he is taking away any responsibility from the Holy See regarding liturgical translations.]

He makes these distinctions:
a) Recognitio “only refers to the verification and preservation of conformity to canon law and to the communion of the Church”. It is a rather hermetic term, but it should probably be interpreted in the words used by Mons. Arthur Roche, CDW secretary, which accompanied the publication of Magnum Principium: “Recognitio… implies the process of acknowledgment on the part of the Apostolic See of legitimate liturgical adaptations, including ‘more profound’ ones, that the episcopal conferences can establish and approve for their territories, within allowed limits. On this ground of encounter between liturgy and culture, the Apostolic See is therefore called on to recognize – that is, to review and evaluate such adaptations by way of preserving the substantial unity of the Roman rite.
[Is that not precisely what Cardinal Sarah is saying???]

b) Confirmatio is the act on which the pope’s letter chooses to focus. In which he says very clearly that the judgment regarding the faithfulness of liturgical translations to the typical Latin edition belongs to the bishops’ conferences “in dialog with the Holy See”, which, in conceding the confirmation, will no longer carry out a “detailed word-by-word examination” of such translations, with the exception of evident questions in important formulations such as the Eucharistic Prayers or the formulas used in sacramental rites. In short, much more freedom is allowed to the bishops’ conferences. [But any examination of any ‘official’ translation ought to be ‘word by word’ – it can’t be a generic examination - “Well, it looks like, in general, it is saying what it ought to say, so it should be OK”, and has nothing to do with whether the part examined has ‘substantial’ or ‘insubstantial’ content.]

In his letter to Cardinal Sarah, the pope points out that his motu proprio effectively re-interprets or abrogates some part of Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), which has been the normative document for liturgical translations till now. Nos. 79-84 of LA regarding the approval and recognition of translations by the Apostolic See must be ‘re-understood’; while Nos. 76 and 80 have been abrogated. The latter is about recognition, and has obviously been re-formulated in MP, while No. 76 called on the CDW to participate “very closely in the work of translating into the principal languages” [So now the pope is saying that this has been abrogated - there is no longer going to be any close collaboration on translation? I'm not being 'discriminatory' but would the very small dioceses that the pope has been honoring with new cardinals really have people competent enough to translate from liturgical Latin to say, the vernacular in Myanmar? I'm not even sure we have such competent clerical translators in the Philippines where there are like 70 million Catholics!]

One other part of the pope’s letter demands attention. He says, “Magnum Principium no longer sustains that translations should conform in all points to the norms of Liturgiam Authenticam, as required in the past”. This statement, along with the statement that a ‘faithful’ liturgical translation ‘implies a three-fold faithfulness’ (to the text, to the language of translation, and to the comprehensibility of the translation to those who will use it) – tells us that MP is intended as the start of a process that can go very far indeed.

And here is the significance of this new ‘conflict’ in which the pope corrects Cardinal Sarah, who has only acted along the lines laid down by Benedict XVI on the liturgy. Indeed, there is no doubt that the spirit of MP, as defined and stressed in Pope Francis’s letter to Cardinal Sarah, is to move towards ‘national’ Missals that will inevitably be increasingly different among themselves, rather than a shared ‘spirit of the liturgy’.

The issue goes beyond the merely liturgical aspect, as Cardinal Ratzinger (and later as Benedict XVI) insisted repeatedly, about the very idea of ‘Church’ and the Church’s own understanding of what she is. The larger issue here is the role and powers of the bishops’ conferences, to whom Pope Francis intends to give ‘authentic doctrinal authority’, as he wrote in Evangelii Gaudium No, 32.

But on the contrary, as early as his 1985 book-length interview with Vittorio Messori, Rapporto sulla Fede (pubished in English as 'The Ratzinger Report'), Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while commenting positively on the proper appreciation of “the role and responsibility of a bishop” as defined by Vatican-II, lamented a negative post-conciliar drift in this respect:

The idea of reaffirming the role of a bishop has in fact been diluted or even outright suffocated by the assertiveness of prelates in bishops’ conferences that are increasingly organized and heavily bureaucratic.

"But we must not forget that bishops’ conferences do not have a theological basis, they do not form part of the Church’s ineliminable structure as Christ wished it, and that they only have a practical, concrete function.
[Principally, to coordinate actions of the different diocesan bishops in each country, and to provide them with a locus of interaction with one another.]

He was saying that the collective cannot replace the individual bishop.
“This is a decisive point, because it has to do with preserving the very nature of the Catholic Church, which is based on an episcopal structure, not on some kind of federation of national churches. The ‘national’ level is not an ecclesial dimension.

"It is necessary to make clear once more that in every diocese, there is but one pastor and teacher of the faith [the bishop as a successor to the Apostles], in communion with other bishops and with the Vicar of Christ.”

BTW, call it quibbling over 'trivia', but please note how the pope signs himself in the letter - simply as 'Francesco'.

Should not any communication from the pope qua pope (he is not writing an informal personal note to Sarah here, from one friend to another, but an official 'correction' of a curial dicastery head) be formally signed, in this case, "Francesco PP", as all other popes have signed themselves officially with the qualificative PP?

Since I have not really been following the minutiae of his pontificate, I do not know if he has ever signed himself 'Francesco PP', or if it has always been just 'Francesco', as if he were the only 'Francesco' in the world or in history. I do not know whether to say he is doing an ego trip a la popstar one-namers like Madonna and Cher, or the ultimate ego trip as in "God" who requires no prefix, suffix or qualifier.

I shall post a translation of the pope's letter itself later - not so much for what he says but for how he says it, and the tone of the letter, in general. Its ending is particularly sarcastic.

P.S. Before I go into a translation of the Pope's letter, I must post earlier material for proper backgrounding. On Oct. 13, Edward Pentin had this article:

Cardinal Sarah confirms that Vatican
retains last word on translations

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship discusses
the effects of the Pope’s recent revisions to canon law
governing the translation of liturgical texts

by Edward Pentin

VATICAN CITY, Oct. 13, 2017 — Cardinal Robert Sarah has weighed in on Magnum Principium, Pope Francis's motu proprio on liturgical translations, reassuring the faithful that the Vatican will continue to safeguard any changes or new liturgical translations to ensure they remain faithful to the original Latin.

In an article in the French Catholic journal L’Homme Nouveau, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) confirmed that the motu proprio’s changes to Canon 838 — which shifts some responsibility for translating liturgical texts away from the Vatican to local bishops — will still require the Vatican to give approval to any such changes or translations.

The article, officially dated Oct. 1 — the day on which Magnum Principium (The Great Principle) came into effect — bolsters the guidance issued with the motu proprio by Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the CDW. Archbishop Roche stressed that the Vatican’s role in confirming texts remains an “authoritative act” presupposing “fidelity” to the original Latin.

Cardinal Sarah’s statements on the matter contradict those who see the motu proprio as a gateway to more liberal vernacular interpretations of liturgical texts, inconsistent with their Latin original.

The Holy Father, who signed Magnum Principium Sept. 3, authorized changes to Canon 838 that decentralized the translation process, giving local bishops responsibility for translating liturgical texts, while retaining the Vatican’s authority to approve or reject a proposed translation. [But the Pope's Oct. 15 letter directly contradicts what his Motu Proprio says, as follows (in the English version provided by the Vatican):

§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognise adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.

§3. It pertains to the Episcopal Conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to ]b]approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

[The boldface parts are in the original, the underscoring is mine.]

The CDW will no longer instruct bishops to make proposed amendments, but retains authority to confirm or veto the results at the end of the process.

Among other consequences, this means that the Vatican commission Vox Clara, which was established by Pope John Paul II in 2002 to help the CDW vet English translations, will no longer be needed.

The Pope said he made the changes because of “difficulties” that unsurprisingly have sometimes arisen between the Vatican and bishops’ conferences. He added that he wanted “a vigilant and creative collaboration full of reciprocal trust” between the Holy See and bishops’ conferences, so that the renewal of “the whole liturgical life might continue.”

It, therefore, “seemed opportune,” he said, “that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”

Pentin's article, however, unduly condenses what Cardinal Sarah wrote. I am translating from what was published in Bussola, one of the three media outlets to which Cardinal Sarah provided the following commentary on ‘Magnum Principium’. Its very title indicates his intention was to help in the correct understanding of the motu proprio…

A humble contribution towards a better and
more correct understanding of ‘Magnum Principium’

The ‘recognitio’ of adaptations and the ‘confirmatio’ of translations in Canon 838

by Cardinal Robert Sarah
Translated from

October 12, 2017

On September 2, 2017, the Holy Father promulgated the motu proprio Magnum Principium on liturgical translations, modifying Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Canon 838 in the Code of Canon Law. We welcome with respect and adknowledgment this initiative of the Supreme Pontiff which allows a clearer and more rigorous definition of the respective responsibilities of episcopal confeences and of the Holy See towards a collaboration of fraternal and utter trust in the service of the Church.

This point, which in some way constitutes the heart of the motu proprio, is amplified in depth by a letter sent on Sept.26 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments to the various episcopal conferences. It is in this perspective that I have drawn up this humble contribution, starting from the following observation: on the part of our dicastery, collaboration in the work of adaptation and translation done by the episcopal conferences is totally included in tw words from Canon 838: recognitio and confirmatio. What do they mean exactly? The purpose of this simple text is to reply to that question.

Canon 838 before ‘Magnum Principium’:
Can. 838 — § 1. Sacrae liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet: quae quidem est penes Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, penes Episcopum dioecesanum.
§ 2. Apostolicae Sedis est sacram liturgiam Ecclesiae universae ordinare, libros liturgicos edere eorumque versiones in linguas vernaculas recognoscere, necnon advigilare ut ordinationes liturgicae ubique fideliter observentur.
§ 3. Ad Episcoporum conferentias spectat versiones librorum liturgicorum in linguas vernaculas, convenienter intra limites in ipsis libris liturgicis definitos aptatas, parare, easque edere, praevia recognitione Sanctae Sedis.
§ 4. Ad Episcopum dioecesanum in Ecclesia sibi commissa pertinet, intra limites suae competentiae, normas de re liturgica dare, quibus omnes tenentur.

Can. 838 §1. The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic see to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, piblish liturgical books and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limitscdefined in the liturgical books themselves.
§4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in the Church entrusted to him to issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.

Canon 838 after “Magnum Principium”:
Can. 838 - § 1. Idem
§ 2. Apostolicae Sedis est sacram liturgiam Ecclesiae universae ordinare, libros liturgicos edere, aptationes, ad normam iuris a Conferentia Episcoporum approbatas, recognoscere,necnon advigilare ut ordinationes liturgicae ubique fideliter observentur.
§ 3. Ad Episcoporum Conferentias spectat versiones librorum liturgicorum in linguas vernaculas fideliter et convenienter intra limites definitos accommodatas parare et approbare atque libros liturgicos, pro regionibus ad quas pertinent, post confirmationem Apostolicae Sedis, edere.
§ 4. Idem

Can. 838 - §1. [Remains the same]
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognise adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the Episcopal Conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.
§4. [Same as before]

NOTE: c 838 § 3: the word ‘aptatas’ (in the old canon) and ‘accomodatas’ (in the new canon) are synonyms, thus, the only translation is ‘suitably accommodated within defined limits’. The word change is justified in Latin by its context, because of the elimination of the reference to ‘in ipisis libiris liturigicis’ (in the same liturgical books) in the new Canon 838.3.

1. It must be stressed that the reference text for liturgical translations remains the Instruction ‘ Liturgiam authenticam’ (LA) of March 28, 2001. Faithful (fideliter) translations that are realized and approved by the episcopal conferences must consequently conform in every point to the norms of that Instruction. Therefore, there is no change to the necessary requirements and mandatory result for every liturgical book.
As will be seen later, given that the words recognitio and confirmatio, though not strictly synonyms, are nonetheless interchangeable, it is enough to simply replace the first with the second in LA, particularly for numbers 79-84.

2. The changes to Canon 838 only affect Sections 2 and 3, in particular these two points:
a. The distinction between ‘adaptation’, for which recognitio is requested, and ‘translation’, for which confirmatio is requested, from the Apostolic See.
b. As for liturgical translations, it is explicitly stated that the episcopal conferences must faithfully (fideliter) prepare the translations (versions in the vernacaular) of liturgical books, and to approve and publish these books after obtaining the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

It is important to underscore this: The novelty only concerns Point A – the distinction made between recognitio and confirmatio. Point B is the inscription ‘in stone’ by the Code of Canon Law of the habitual and constant practice that has been followed since the first Instruction on liturgical translations, ‘Comme le prevoit,’ in January 25, 1969, and a fortiori, by the promulgation of ‘Liturgicam authenticam’ in 2001.

3. Recognitio was defined by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in a 2006 document as “a conditio iuris (juridical condition) which, by the will of the Supreme Legislator, is requested ad valitatem (as a condition of validity) (Cf. Communicationes 38, 2006, 16).

Consequently, if recognitio is not granted, the liturgical book cannot be published. The purpose of recognitio is to verify and safeguard conformity to the law and to the communion of the Church (i.e., her unity).

4. Confirmatio is uised in the Code of Canon Law in different circumstances. Here are three examples:
a. In the case of an election that needs to be confirmed by a superior authority (cf. c. 147, 178, 179)
b. Confirmation of the decrees of an Ecumenical Council by the Roman Pontiff before they are promulgated (c. 341 § 1).
c. The decree of expulsion of the member of a religious order which can only take effect after a confirmation by the Holy See or the diocesan bishop, depending on wheher the institute is one of pontifical right, or of diocesan right (c. 700).

In all these cases, there is a responsible person who acts according to the authority vested in him, and a superior authority who must confirm that person’s decision with the end of verifying and safeguarding its conformity to the law.

Consequently, if an episcopal conference has prepared and approved the translation of a liturgical book, it cannot publish it without previous confirmatio by the Apostolic See. In the cases cited that require confirmatio, the superior authority, before granting it, is bound to verify conformity with the law in current force. Likewise, the Apostolic See should grant a confirmatio only after having duly verified that the translation is fideliter (faithful), namely, conforming to the text of the editio typica Latina, based on the criteria enunciated in LA on liturgical translations.

5. Like recognitio, confirmatio is in no way a mere formality, namely, a kind of approval given after a rapid examination of the translation approved by the episcopal conference on the basis of a priori favorable presumption that the translation is indeed fideliter. Moreover, just as in the old C838.3, confirmatio presupposes and implies a detailed verification on the part of the Holy See, and the possibility for the latter of making it a condition sine qua non for the confirmatio to be given, to require changes in some points that may be considered non-conforming to the criterion for ‘faithfulness’ (of translation) as previously provided in the Code of Canon Law.

Therefore, the decision of the Holy See is imposed on the episcopal conference. Note that, in this regard, this is the spirit of this norm (838.3) which corresponds to the interpretation given by Mons. Arthur Roche, secretary of the CDW, in his comment accompanying the motu proprio (MP).

The confirmatio of the Apostolic See is therefore not to be considered as an alternative intervention in the process of translation, but rather as an authoritative act by which the competent Dicastery ratifies the approval of the bishops. Obviously, this presupposes a positive evaluation of the fidelity and congruence of the texts produced in respect to the typical editions on which the unity of the Rite is founded and, above all, taking account of the texts of greatest importance, in particular the Sacramental formulae, the Eucharistic Prayers, the prayers of Ordination, the Order of Mass and so on.

Thus, for example, if in the Credo of the Mass, the expression ‘consubstantialem Patri’ is translated in French as «de même nature que le Père» (“of the same nature as the Father”), the Holy See can – and should – impose the translation «consubstantiel au Père» («consubstantial with the Father”), as a condition sine qua non for confirmation of the French translation of the Roman Missal in its entirety. [I wish the example given had been the ‘pro multis’ in the Consecration of the wine, as that has been such a messy – and totally unnecessary – controversy.]

It must be noted however that the change in Canon 838.3 (recognitio is replaced by confirmatio) does not in any way change the responsibility of the Holy See, nor consequently, its competences with respect to liturgical translations: the Apostolic See is bound to verify that the translations made by the episcopal conferences are fideliter to the typical Latin edition in order to guarantee, safeguard and promote communion in the Church, i.e., Church unity.

7. The words recognitio and confirmatio are not strictly synonymous for the ff reasons:.
a. The wordrrecognitio is reserved for adaptations approved by the episcopal conferences according to the law
whereas the word confirmatio refers to liturgical translations (C838.3). This differentiation is positive since it has the merit of distinguishing, from hereon, and in a clear way, two very different areas: adaptation and translation.

Although they are interchangeable insofar as the level of responsibility exercised by the Holy See (cf No. 6), the two words are not strictly synonymous with respect to their effect on the typical edition [of the liturgy].

Above all, the adaptations realized ad normam iuris modify the editio typica in certain cases determined by law (cf. for the Roman Missal, by the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani – General Order of the Roman Missal, Chap. 9, nos. 386-399), thus the necessity for a recognitio. But translations do not modify the editio typica – on the contrary, they must be faithful to it (fideliter), thus the need for a confirmatio.

It is necessary to underscore anew this important point: far from being a kind of attenuated or weakened recognitio, the weight of confirmatio is as strong as the recognitio referred to in the old C838.3.

b. In the second place, compared to recognitio, confirmatio seems to have a more unilateral character, since it comes at the end of the iter (process) of preparation/approval by the episcopal conference. In fact, one may say that since, by its nature, recognitio, which like confirmatio, comes into play a posteriori, it presupposes a prior agreement during the process of the translation work, which would allow the preparation of a text that is acceptable to both sides. [Yet Bergoglioo implies that the Vatican should keep hands off the translation process.]

In C838.3, as modified by MP, the confirmatio on the part of the Holy See must be paced in perpective with fideliter and approbatio on the part of the episcopal conferences. To the degree in which the episcopal conference is called on explicitly, by Canon Law norm, to ‘approve’ translations ‘faithful’ to the Latin editio typica, the Holy See trusts the episcopal conference a priori. Thus, usually, the Holy See intervenes in the work of the episcopal conference only at the time of confirmatio which constitutes a final or conclusive act (nonetheless, see No. 5 in this regard). It is evident that the procedure of confirmation can also involve preliminary exchanges when the episcopal conference sends a question to the Holy See, or when a process of coming to a mutual agreement by both parties is foreseen, which is to be desired.

The reality of recognitio and confirmatio is inscribed in our daily life: indeed, aware of our limitations, we naturally ask someone else to ‘verify’ the work we have done to the best that we can. In this way, based on that other person’s observations, or corrections if need be, we can improve our work. This is the responsibility of a professor to a student working on a thesis, or more simply, of parents overseeing their children’s homework, and in general, that of academic or guardian authorities.

Our life is woven out of recognitio and confirmatio which allows us to progress towards greater faithfulness to the demands of reality and all the areas of knowledgedin the service fo God and our neighbor (cf the parable of the talents, Mt 25,14-30).

Recognitio and confirmatio on the part of the Holy See, which presupposes a collaboration of fraternal and intense trust with the episcopal conferences, enter into this purview. As the Holy Fahter’s motuo proprio says admirably, it is about rendering more easy and more fruitful the collaboration between the Apostolic See and the episcopal conferences”.

Vatican City
Oct. 1, 2017

Two points I am not clear about:
1) whether Cardinal Sarah was ever involved in, or even consulted about the motu proprio, or was it just sprung on him just like that? (And why is it Mons. Roche who wrote the accompanying commentary?);
2) whether the pope himself read his own motu proprio before writing the letter to Cardinal Sarah in which he, Bergoglio, flatly contradicts some of what the motu proprio clearly says in its amendments to Canon 838 - no ambiguities there (unless I have suddenly lost my knowledge of Italian, that is what I have to conclude from reading his letter).

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/27/2017 10:03 PM]
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Now that Cardinal Gerhard Müller has been removed from his post at the Vatican, the main target of the circle around Pope Francis is Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Their latest coup is the release of a letter of “correction” aimed at Cardinal Sarah and signed by Francis. Published on Sunday, the letter was celebrated as a just humiliation of the cardinal and accompanied by calls for his resignation.

Earlier this fall, Pope Francis issued 'Magnum Principium' (MP), a document granting bishops’ conferences greater latitude to make their own translations of sacred texts and liturgy. Cardinal Sarah replied with a letter that offered a narrow reading of the document, preserving as much as possible the power of Rome to guard against mistranslations (such as the desire of German bishops to translate pro multis as “for all,” rather than as the correct “for many”). Pope Francis has now publicly declared that Sarah is wrong, and that MP has indeed reduced Rome’s power of oversight.

This is a calculated humiliation of Cardinal Sarah — and not only of him. Of Pope Benedict XVI, too, since he is the great champion of the “reform of the reform,” an attempt to correct the liturgical innovations that followed the Second Vatican Council. And of St. John Paul II, who in 2001 issued the document' Liturgiam Authenticam', which Francis has sought to gut with 'Magnum Principium'. [The third of his frontal assaults against JPII's Magisterium - after 'Familiaris consortio' and 'Veritatis splendor'.]

Cardinal Sarah suffered a similar humiliation a little over a year ago, after he urged bishops and priests to celebrate the Mass ad orientem, facing east, according to the ancient practice of the Church. This was another effort to advance “reform the reform.” The cardinal stated that he had talked with the pope about the topic, and that the pope had given his assent to the proposal. If so, the Vatican made no acknowledgment of this fact in its note of blunt denial.

An earlier humiliation occurred when the pope eliminated most of the existing members from the Congregation for Divine Worship and replaced them with people who are more hostile to Sarah and his liturgical views.

And there is the matter of the “Ecumenical Mass,” a liturgy designed to unite Catholics and Protestants around the Holy Table. Though never officially announced, a committee reporting directly to Pope Francis has been working on this liturgy for some time. Certainly this topic is within the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Divine Worship, but Cardinal Sarah has not officially been informed of the committee’s existence.

According to good sources, Sarah’s #2 man at CDW, its secretary Mons. Arthur Roche — who holds positions opposite to those of Benedict XVI and Sarah — is involved, as is Piero Marini, the right-hand man of Monsignor Bugnini, chairman of the liturgical commission that devised the Novus Ordo Mass.

To those names, add the Bergoglio-appointed CDW Undersecretary Corrado Maggioni, and a layman, the extremely “progressive” liturgist Andrea Grillo. Recently, Grillo harshly attacked Benedict XVI after the pope emeritus wrote in the preface to one of Sarah’s books that with Sarah, “the liturgy is in good hands.” And Grillo attacked Sarah himself, calling him “incompetent and inadequate.” If Grillo behaves so uncouthly, it must be because he is sure of being protected by friends in high places . . .

Now, we know that the pope is not greatly concerned with liturgy, and he probably doesn’t care much about this subject. But his general ideological orientation is nontraditional, and he tends to side with the part of the Church that calls itself progressive while seeking a return to the 1970s: the bishops of Germany, Belgium, and England.

Some of these figures are now asking for the head of Cardinal Sarah. But this is unlikely to happen. It was Francis who appointed Sarah Prefect of Divine Worship in November 2014. If he wants to replace him, he must wait at least two years, when Sarah’s five-year term will come to an end.[Don't be too sure of that - the pope as supreme monarch in the Church can always terminate without cause. I don't think Bergoglio would allow a Curial tenure provision to get in his way.]

So the self-styled reformers who make up the “magic circle” for the liturgy must patiently endure the presence and activity of the cardinal, who is not afraid to fight, even alone. [They really may not have to wait long, with this authoritarian caudillo-pope.]

Of course, the progressive party in the Vatican has another motive to attack Cardinal Sarah. In December, Pope Francis will reach age eighty-one. Cardinals are already thinking of a future conclave. One of the men viewed as most papabile is Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who seems to be distancing himself from some of the more questionable aspects of Pope Francis’s reign. [As much as this hypothesis has now seems embedded as a Vagiven among some Vaticanistas (Sandro Magister started the ball rolling), the only basis for it appears to be that Parolin is politically well-placed in more ways than one!]

And another is Cardinal Sarah himself, who is known for his holiness of life and lack of interest in any form of power or coercion, even in the Church. Moreover, Africa is the continent where the Church is growing most dramatically, and where faith is often practiced to the point of martyrdom. Nothing could be more fitting than for the next pope to come from that continent.

And so we come to the great irony of the campaign to discredit this quiet and long-suffering churchman. Cardinal Sarah is attacked precisely because he is seen as having the makings of a pope.

Cardinal Sarah publicly refuted by the pope on his
commentary to the motu prorio on liturgical translations

by Steve Skojec

October 24, 2017

In a new open letter rebutting points made by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments (CDW), Pope Francis has made clear that he is not in agreement with the African cardinal’s commentary on his recent liturgical moto proprio, Magnum Principium (MP).

This public “calling out” of the cardinal responsible for overseeing the Church’s liturgy is being celebrated by some progressive elements in the Church as a “rebuke”, leading to calls for Sarah’s resignation.

In my own analysis of MP, I argued that its delegation of liturgical translations to episcopal conferences was the “antithesis of authentic liturgical development” that represented an “intentional balkanization of the Church’s ‘ordinary form’ of the liturgy” which would “undoubtedly only weaken it further”. In essence, whereas ‘Quo Primum’ united and standardized the liturgy in the Latin Rite, MP represents a liturgical Tower of Babel moment.

I also speculated on the lack of Cardinal Sarah’s signature on the document, which instead bore that of the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche: "I don’t know if it’s standard practice for the secretary of the CDW to add the explanatory note on a papal motu proprio on liturgy, but the prefect of that congregation’s name — Cardinal Robert Sarah — was conspicuous by its absence. And it is hard not to wonder if it is because he wanted nothing to do with its contents." [My even more basic question was whether he was consulted at all about MP, before, during and after its promulgation, or was he never even asked. Of course, Cardinal Sarah did not commit the tactical mistake of addressing his commentary on MP directly to the pope, because if he had not published it independently as a commentary, no one would have heard about it.

And unlike Cardinal Mueller who sought to interpose ‘hundreds’ of questions/objections to the draft of AL that was sent to him and which questions/objections were apparently simply ignored by the pope and his ghostwriters, Cardinal Sarah has thereby been able to openly identify the major issues in MP and to ‘rectify’ them by spelling out the correct interpretation of the Bergoglian amendments to canon law on liturgical translations.

An Associated Press story on the Summorum Pontificum Congress — published just a week after the release of the motu proprio — suggested an alternative reason for his missing signature, claiming that Cardinal Sarah had been “effectively sidelined by his deputy”, Archbishop Roche, who “signed the explanatory note to Francis’s new law allowing bishops conferences, rather than Sarah’s office, to have final say on Mass translations.” [ [It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have concluded that!]

In a commentary published earlier this month on several websites in various languages (viewable here in English), Cardinal Sarah appeared to assert his authority while pushing back against interpretations of MP as an unfettered opportunity to decentralize the Mass with varying regional texts.

The National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin wrote that Sarah’s commentary had the effect of “reassuring the faithful that the Vatican will continue to safeguard any changes or new liturgical translations to ensure they remain faithful to the original Latin.” [Something that the pope disavows in his letter although it says so textually in the amendments he made to Canon 838.]

Pentin also noted that Cardinal Sarah reasserted “that the ‘authoritative text’ concerning liturgical translations remains 'Liturgiam Authenticam“, an instruction issued by the CDW in 2001 “that aimed to ensure ‘insofar as possible’ that texts must be translated from the original Latin 'integrally and in the most exact manner.'”

Now, Pope Francis’s October 22 open letter to Cardinal Sarah has refuted several key points of Sarah’s commentary, including [and most especially] the idea that the Vatican would have the final say on liturgical translations proposed by bishops’ conferences.

The pope also said that a number of websites had “erroneously” published the commentary in his name, and requested that Sarah take responsibility for contacting those websites — as well as “all episcopal conferences, and … the members and the consulters of the Dicastery" — to see that they receive his own clarification. It is unclear who the commentary is believed by the pope to have been written by, since it appears under Sarah’s signature.

[That’s what I found deliberately sarcastic about the pope’s letter – the claim about ‘erroneously’ – and since it was the concluding paragraph of the letter, it underscores the tone of overweening condescension that characterizes the letter, which does contain a few errors of fact that no one has so far pointed out. It made me wonder why Fr Z in commenting on the letter, it was, in effect, unexceptional and nothing to fuss about.][/dim

Veteran Vatican watcher Marco Tosatti says the pope’s response is being “celebrated as a just humiliation of the cardinal” and has been “accompanied by calls for his resignation.” Though some, like priest blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, have proposed a less inflammatory interpretation of events, Tosatti sees this not merely as an isolated incident, but part of a larger pattern] [Skojec proceeds to cite from Tosatti’s First Things article.]

In a commentary on the matter at his website Crux, John L. Allen, Jr. suggests that the reason the pope moved so quickly to address Sarah’s “interpretation” of MP - when he has avoided answering other public criticisms such as the dubia -is because of Sarah’s standing as “the Vatican’s top liturgical official” who is in charge of “the department charged with putting the document into action.” [Naaah, that’s being downright disingenuous! He had to answer it for the simple reason that it’s out there in public as independent commentary addressed to everyone who reads it. (Sarah was wise to choose three media outlets in Italian, French and Spanish to disseminate his commentary). Allen's reasoning is even more absurd considering that ‘the Vatican’s top liturgical official’ was apparently overlooked in the choice of who wrote MP’s accompanying commentary. It would have been as if, when the Vatican published the official version of the Third Secret of Fatima in 2000, Cardinal Bertone, and not Cardinal Ratzinger, was asked to write the accompanying commentary.

Besides, I continue to think that the one and only reason Sarah has been kept in his position till now is pro forma politics - because he is the only remaining African head of a curial dicastery (Cardinal Turkson’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace having been absorbed into the larger Dicastery for Integrated Human Development).]

“This is a pope, after all,” Allen writes, “who said in a 2016 interview that he ‘doesn’t lose any sleep’ over critics of his decisions, and has made not engaging those criticisms almost a principle of governance.” Nevertheless, Allen concedes that “this is hardly the first perceived gap between Francis and Sarah, and likely will reinforce the longstanding question in some quarters of why the pope doesn’t simply make a change.”

It seems fair to question, too, why Cardinal Sarah himself doesn’t make that change. Like Cardinal Müller before him, Sarah has been sidestepped and isolated as pertains to matters within his competence. Like Müller, he has had changes made to the dicastery he heads up without his consent. And like Müller, it seems likely that eventually, he’ll be phased out entirely. It appears that he has already been rendered irrelevant — a strategy Allen previously reported the pope has admitted to using when it comes to dealing with “difficult personnel choices.”

Perhaps it’s time for the forthright African cardinal to do what Müller failed to before it is too late: take a stand and resign in protest rather than allowing himself to be further co-opted by an agenda not of his making.
[ [Frankly, I think he should. He gains nothing by being a figurehead for the pope to ignore and bypass as he pleases.]

Not surprisingly, Cardinal Sarah has become a much sought-after speaker at gatherings organized by orthodox Catholics, and here, he speaks out on immigration and Europe's apostasy to a Polisch conference...

Cardinal Sarah: every nation has a right
to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants

24 Oct 2017

Every nation has a right to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants who do not share that nation’s culture, Cardinal Robert Sarah has said.

Speaking at the Europa Christi conference in Poland on Sunday, the African cardinal noted that Poland rightly refuses to accept the “logic” of migrant redistribution that “some people want to impose”.

In comments reported by Polish magazine Gosc, Cardinal Sarah added that while every migrant is a human being who must be respected, the situation becomes more complex if they are of another culture or another religion, and imperil the common good of the nation.

World leaders cannot question the “right of every nation to distinguish between a political or religious refugee” who is forced to flee their own land, and “the economic migrant who wants to change his place of residence” without adapting to the new culture in which he lives.

“The ideology of liberal individualism promotes a mixing that is designed to erode the natural borders of homelands and cultures, and leads to a post-national and one-dimensional world where the only things that matter are consumption and production,” Cardinal Sarah said.

The cardinal said European nations must take part of the responsibility if they have destabilised the countries that migrants are travelling from, however that does not mean changing themselves through mass immigration.

Cardinal Sarah also lamented the secularisation of Europe, saying the continent has been in an unprecedented civilisation crisis for the last two centuries, beginning with Friedrich Nietzsche’s words “God is dead, and we have killed him”.

“Europe has since then been in an ongoing crisis caused by, among others, atheistic ideologies, and is now plunging into nihilism,” he said.

Cardinal Sarah said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when many nations regained their freedom and democracy, it seemed that a new, positive period had begun for Europe.

However, the European Union decided not to revert to the continent’s Christian roots, but instead began to build its institutions on abstractions such as the free market, equality of individuals, and individualist human rights.

The was a mistake, Cardinal Sarah said, because all laws should be based on the concept of human dignity, which can only come from God.

“Europe, built on faith in Christ, cut off from its Christian roots, is now in a period of quiet apostasy,” the cardinal added. [Except one cannot call it 'quiet' when it is blatantly open in the rejection of any mention of Christianity in the EU Constitution and the continuing and increasingly pro-active anti-Christian (often also overtly pro-Muslim) diktats from the EU whose bureaucracy appears to govern the continent over and above its member state.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/28/2017 7:39 AM]
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Cardinal Newman’s rules for blogging
According to his definition of a gentleman

[They apply to all of us, not just bloggers, but even to popes]
by Donald R. McClarey

October 23, 2017

(I first published this on January 18, 2015. Time to remind myself again as to how blogging should be conducted.)

Blogging can be rough amusement. I will attempt to keep the Definition of a Gentleman written by Cardinal Newman in 1852 in mind as much as I can and still keep the readers of TAC informed and amused. It is almost as if Newman could perceive blogging over a century and a third before it began, as his Definition of a Gentleman is, in part, almost a code of behavior for bloggers. Here are some rules for blogging I have distilled from it:

Bloggers would do well to keep the following in mind:
1. His great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd.
2. He never defends himself by a mere retort.
3. He has no ears for slander or gossip.
4. He is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets everything for the best. [In commenting on this pope, I fail most on the criterion of interpreting everything for the best!]
5. He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.
6. From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.
7. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults.
8. He is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.
9. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles.
10. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it.
11. He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust.
12. He is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive.
13. He throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes.
14. He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits.
15. He will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it.
16. He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent.
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Saint Vincent of Lérins was a soldier who retired to be a priest at the monastery of Lerins off the coast of Cannes, France. Three years after the
Council of Ephesus (431), he wrote a book against heresies called the Commonitorium which became a famous source of teaching on the
principles by which heresy could be distinguished from orthodoxy. In it, he enunciated an axiom that became classic: the true and Catholic
doctrine is that which has been held always, everywhere, and by everyone
— "quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est”.
The other equally famous statement from him is that doctrinal development must take place "eodem sensu eademque sententia"
(keeping the same meaning and the same import)
, distinguishing the legitimate growth in understanding of divine revelation from
the false alteration of orthodox Catholic dogma.
Here is an illustrative passage:

Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale.

Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.

The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, b][but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.

The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold their component parts with the passing of the years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.

The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.

There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earlier years.

If, however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or even if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.

In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.

On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase it may flourish and be tended in our day also.

-(Commonitorium, Chap 23: PL 50, 667-668)
[used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings
for Friday in the 27th week of Ordinary Time)

Fr Hunwicke, perhaps more than any other blogger, has always been insistent on St. Vincent’s formulation of the abiding guideline for determining the orthodoxy, or rightness, of authentic Catholic doctrine as it is taught and disseminated. His emphasis has been asserted and reasserted in the face of the doctrinal laissez-faire that distinguishes this increasingly anti-Catholic pontificate. He has touched on it once again in two recent posts…

Four words from St. Vincent of Lerins
on development of doctrine

Oct. 21, 2017

Recently, attempts to change the Church's Teaching have been justified by appealing to some words of St Vincent of Lerins about development.

I have been writing about this subject since at least 2009. Henceforth, I shall repeat some of these old posts, starting below. But it is my intention, Deo volente, to continue putting up a new post every morning.

Development must take place eodem sensu eademque sententia [keeping the same meaning and the same interpretation/judgment/opinion]. (In the Liturgy of the Hours, the whole passage can be found in Vol IV.)

This phrase has a big place in the Conciliar Magisterium. It appeared in Gaudium et Spes (Para 62), and even before that,it lay at the heart of the address by St John XXIII at the start of the Council. But here it is necessary to avoid a dangerous tripwire.

In the popular English paperback collection of Conciliar documents (Chapman) edited by W M Abbott, a misleading paraphrase of this speech is given in which the phrase is totally omitted. This became the occasion of an important correspondence in the Tablet in December 1991, in the course of which Professor John Finnis of Oxford University demonstrated conclusively that Peter Hebblethwaite's Pope John XXIII (p 432) is guilty of gross errors.

Hebblethwaite, a failed Jesuit, fabricated a story about how some 'brave' and liberal words of John XXIII in his adddress to the Council were distorted, in a curial plot, by the later addition, in publication, of the words I quote. The papal address did not, according to Hebblethwaite, originally contain them. This gross distortion of events promptly became part of the mythology of the 'liberals', being cited as fact by Basil Hume and [the present Bishop of Guildford] Christopher Hill.

This passage by St Vincent lies at the heart of Newman's ‘Essay on Development’, which straddles his life as an Anglican and as a Roman Catholic (Chapter 5 Section 1). Its presence in the post-Conciliar Liturgia Horarum marks it as a part of the Conciliar documents which remains the everyday Magisterium of the modern Chuch.

More about doctrinal development

Oct. 23, 2017

Pope Benedict XVI gave us an admirable piece of advice in his celebrated 2005 Christmas address to the Roman Curia. He referred us to and quoted from the Discorso d'apertura del Concilio of St John XXIII’s opening address to the Second Vatican Council, delivered on the Feast of the Maternity of our Lady, October 11 1962. But ... what did S John actually say? Here there is a most lamentable confusion which is still extant and which is even perpetuated and accentuated by - it appears - current Vatican employees. Let me explain ... even if this does take me into some intricacies.

I presume that the authentic text of the Holy Father's Address to his Curia was delivered in Italian. [It was!] In which hecites the words of Papa Roncalli about expressing the Faith in ways adapted to our own time, concluding, as Pope John did, with the phrase conservando ad esse tuttavia lo stesso senso e la stessa portata. In the original Latin of Pope John, this is eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia.

But the English version of Pope Benedict's quotation from Pope John concludes: "The substance of the ancient doctrine of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another ..." In other words, the quotation is cut short in such a way (after "another ...") as to imply that Pope John did not say “eodem sensu eademque sententia.

hen, after those quotation marks, the English quotation continues with “retaining the same meaning and message”. This is indeed, in my view, a fairish, if not particularly good, rendering eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia. But the point is that the English translator implies .... and presumably thought ... that those words were not part of Pope John's original text but had been added by Pope Benedict.

It then becomes clear why and how the English translator has made this rather significant and profoundly deplorable mistake. In brackets, he gives his source: "(The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p 715)". Abbott's English translation of the Conciliar documents was what my generation put upon its bookshelves. But here, Abbott did not give an accurate rendering of the Latin. In fact, Abbott omitted the words eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia from his rendering of what the Pope had actually said. I think, I hope, that I should blame the English translator of Pope Benedict's words for simple error rather than conspiracy. Here is what must have happened:

He had, on his bookshelf as I do on mine, Abbott's yellowing little paperback, and he looked at that rather than bothering himself with silly old Acta Apostolicae Sedis. But, in doing so, he did, as far as Anglophone readers were concerned, considerably muddy the waters for anybody who tries to trace the lineaments and history of a phrase which is of very considerable Magisterial significance, and he has badly blunted the intended impact of the Holy Father's teaching with regard to the Second Vatican Council and the hermeneutic by which it should be understood.

P.S. Fr H continues to hammer home St. Vincent of Lerins's principles of doctrinal development...

Doctrinal development, continued

Oct. 26, 2017

Again, that phrase which was used by Pope S John XXIII in his opening address to Vatican II, but which was mistranslated in the English translation put out at the time (the error survived into the Abbott translation of Conciliar texts). Those same words were also used by Benedict XVI in his highly important Address to the Roman Curia in which he laid out his Hermeneutic of Continuity (the English translator made a mess of it by treating Abbott's translation of the Conciliar texts as accurate). Here is the phrase:


In whatever ways the Faith is expressed; however new its presentation; whatever theological refinements and developments may be the gifts of the centuries ... it must always be a formulation with the same sense and the same meaning.

To be blunt, these words irritated - and irritate - those who see Vatican II as constituting a rupture with the past. This phrase makes clear that Catholic teaching is essentially unchangeable, even though the Church's understanding of her inheritance grows ever more mature. Eodem sensu eademque sententia is a red rag to any and every errant and heterodox bull. Where does it come from? What degree of Magisterial weight has it acquired over the centuries? What does it mean for us in the present crisis?

St Vincent of Lerins (c434) is often given the credit for this elegant and lapidary affirmation of continuity and identity within Catholic Tradition. Less often do people point out that he seems to have got it from St Paul. We had better look at S Paul's words and their context. And don't forget that, in terms of Magisterium and Authority, Scripture has gallons and gallons of it.

Given the sense of urgency with which the Man from Tarsus felt he had to teach the Gospel to the whole oikoumene, it is hardly surprising that he repeatedly received information that a crisis had arisen in an imperfectly formed ekklesia from which he had just moved on. So it was undoubtedly with a sense of deja vu that he sat down to dictate a letter to his Corinthian converts hoping thereby to repair the damage just reported to him by Chloe's People.

He beseeches them dia tou onomatos tou Kuriou hemon Iesou Christou (notice this explicit insistence on his Apostolic Magisterium: "through the authority of the Lord's Name"), to "say [legete] the same thing, all of you"; to eschew schismata; and to be "fitted together [katertismenoi]" in (RSV) "the same mind and in the same judgement". St Vincent read this in his Latin Bible as eodem sensu eademque sententia; S Paul had written en toi autoi noi kai en tei autei gnomei.

St. Paul is urging the Corinthians to a synchronic unity. It is not to be a vague pluralist unity in which different, even contradictory, statements can be judged, "deep down", to mean the same. To auto legete pantes, he insists. He requires a unity manifested in verbal identity.

And, for a subsequent Christian generation, diachronic unity - 'vertically' down through the history of the Church - is going to be just as important as the 'horizontal' unity within the universal Christian community at a particular time. So St Vincent of Lerins very properly expanded the reference of the phrase so that it described the development of Christian doctrine generation by generation. But it never ceases also to retain its original Pauline synchronic reference; in Origen's Homily 9 (which is included in the Liturgia Horarum as a reading for the Solemnity of the Dedication of a Church); and most recently when Paul VI aptly quoted I Corinthians 1:10 in Humanae vitae.

In its synchronic sense (all Christians now should say the same thing), it is a powerful antidote to any rubbish about Sophisticated Germans having a more Nuanced Faith than Uneducated and Superstitious Africans. In a diachronic sense (all Christians throughout the ages should say the same thing) it has had a long and important dogmatic history.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/27/2017 12:55 AM]
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October 24-25, 2017 headlines

Now, Cardinal Mueller, the fence straddler, blows hot again (pardon the mixed metaphors), though this is something he has said in a different
formulation before when he was still part of Bergoglio's Curia.

Cardinal Müller says Bergoglian documents
lack theological competence

October 24, 2017

Some documents of Pope Francis would need a better theological preparation according to Cardinal Gerhard Müller speaking at
the Fondazione Iniziativa Subalpina in Stresa, Italy (October 20), “This could have avoided divergent interpretations of
Amoris Laetitia Chapter 8.” [Yet 'better theological preparation' is useless if the theology and doctrine proposed
are essentially heterodox, to begin with and to say the least.]

Müller doubts for instance the theological competence of the Argentinean Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close
adviser of Francis, who wrote parts of Amoris Laetitia, and who wrote the book “Heal me with your mouth: The art of kissing”.

[As usual, however, I fault GloriaTV for failing to provide a link to its original source for this item, or at least, to identify it, so one can flesh out
their rather sketchy report.]


Liturgy scholar Kwasniewski says Pope’s liturgy reforms
risk taking Catholics ‘back to the 1970s’

ROME, October 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — What might be the repercussions of Pope Francis’s public letter to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, correcting him for seeking to rein in the Pope’s new liturgical decentralization?

To gain perspective on the significance and potential impact of the Pope’s letter to the cardinal, we spoke with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a prolific writer and international lecturer on the liturgy, as well as a cantor, conductor, and composer of sacred music.

Dr. Kwasniewski, what in your view is the most significant aspect of Pope Francis’ letter to Cardinal Sarah?
The most significant aspect by far is the rather blunt setting aside of key provisions of Liturgiam Authenticam, which was the fruit of years of responding to egregious difficulties and errors on the part of many vernacular translations.

The original ICEL translation of the Roman Missal and other books was a pathetic travesty of the source texts and led to the entrenchment of numerous bad mental and liturgical habits. (As a bishop once said to a member of the original ICEL team: “I see the dynamism, but where’s the equivalency?”)

The process that led to the new English translation, while certainly not perfect from any number of viewpoints, at least ensured a substantial correspondence in the lex orandi or law of prayer. I still notice when attending OF Masses [Novus Ordo] how much richer and more Catholic the texts are, in spite of their remaining defects in comparison with the traditional Roman Missal.

In the Pope’s letter to Cardinal Sarah, it is clear that the principles for which Wojtyla and Ratzinger fought are being retired or sidelined so that we can go back to the 1970s – “always backwards, never forwards” seems to be the motto of the liturgical progressives, who are nostalgically stuck in a certain “spirit of Vatican II” mentality and cannot advance beyond the narrow agenda characteristic of that phase.

Can you please explain for readers what principles of Liturgiam Authenticam have been changed?
Liturgiam Authenticam seems to have been an attempt to halt the balkanization and banalization of worship that had taken over in almost every language, with the exalted beauty of liturgical texts being reduced to cartoon caricatures (e.g., “he took the cup” instead of “he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands”).

Liturgiam Authenticam had maintained that it was absolutely necessary for the Holy See to retain ultimate governance over translations of liturgical books, and that the Vatican can and should have final review of the texts, with the authority to change the texts. Magnum Principium and this new clarification at least open the door to a reversal of that long-overdue course correction.

As the Church prays, so she believes. What long-term effects could these changes have on people’s faith?
When we see the phrase “legitimate adaptations,” we should recognize it as code language for experimental inculturation that breaks apart the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. Indeed, this has already been done by the hundreds of vernacular translations already in existence, as well as the plethora of options in the new liturgical books, but in recent moves we are seeing an acceleration of regionalism and pluralism.

The episcopal conferences already have far too much power, which has taken away from the role and responsibility of individual bishops and of the Pope. It is not in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity because each bishop is supreme in his diocese, and the Pope is supreme over the whole Church; episcopal conferences are mere bureaucratic mechanisms having no inherent office, authority, or responsibility.

One might compare them to the difference between individual sovereign nations and the United Nations. Already at the Second Vatican Council, when some of the Fathers expressed a desire that greater authority, independent of Rome, be vested in national episcopacies, other Fathers strongly countered, saying it would fragment the Church in her expressions of faith.

More deeply, the calling into question of Liturgiam Authenticam, n. 80 in particular, is a continuation of the Pope’s novel explanation of doctrinal development, where he sets aside the perennial principle of St. Vincent of Lerins, often cited by earlier Popes, that whenever something new is said — and we could consider a liturgical translation to be a new thing being said — it should always be in eodem dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque sententia — expressing the same doctrine, the same meaning, the same judgment. [I knew good old St. Vincent of Lerins was going to come up sooner or later, as he will in this apostate pontificate. See previous post.]

This is not at all the way progressives think about dogmatic definitions, moral teachings, or liturgical texts. All of these, for them, are permanently adaptable, changeable, even contradictable, depending on the supposed “progress” of society, culture, and mentality. It is an inherently evolutionist point of view, indebted to Hegel and Darwin, where one can get a fowl from a fish. Whether or not this is true about the natural world, it has never been believed to be true of sacred doctrine.

Dr. Kwasniewski, you have written extensively on the liturgical fallout after Vatican II. What do you anticipate might be the repercussions of the Pope’s letter and its contents?
The invoking of “comprehension of the [liturgical] text by the recipients” risks reintroducing the kind of rationalism that has made a wasteland out of Catholic liturgy. The liturgy, as a divine mystery and the work of God in our midst, cannot be comprehended by any man or even any angel.

There are various ways into the liturgy, through the five senses and the intellect, and of course it should offer the faithful “handles” they can grasp in order to follow the unfolding rites. But a liturgy that aims to be simply and immediately understood is doomed to impoverishment, superficiality, and boredom. There is nothing to fascinate, bewilder, challenge, delight, or reward the participant.

In the liturgy, we aspire to put on the mind of Christ, which is the work of a lifetime. We have to go through darkness and light, ideas and feelings, silence, emptiness, self-discipline, suffering, buoyed up by the rich resources of our 2,000-year old tradition. The reduction of liturgy to a commonplace, horizontal, tidy, and effortless “understanding” is the great error and scourge of the past 50 years.

On the other hand, some claim — and I do not know how strong their claim is — that the new process put into place by Pope Francis will make it more difficult to secure a new translation, because it will require the unanimous consent of an entire bishops’ conference, rather than being in the hands of a steering committee working in tandem with the Congregation for Divine Worship to secure the latter’s approval. If this is true, it will make local change more difficult, which is probably a good thing at this point.

Frankly, I cannot imagine the US bishops in general wanting to do another translation, or a substantial modification of the current translation, so soon after this was promulgated as the end result of an absurdly long process. I don’t imagine we’ll see changes right away.

The real matter for concern, it seems to me, is how this is one more element in a larger campaign to undo the reformatory work of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which was, in many ways, too little and too late, but is nonetheless the object of bitter hatred on the part of those who could never stomach the “conservatism” or even “traditionalism” of Wojtyla and Ratzinger.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

It occurs to me that there is something important that needs saying. As you know, Cardinal Marx said that Magnum Principium frees up episcopal conferences and makes Liturgiam Authenticam a dead letter. Cardinal Sarah publicly disagreed with Marx on this point — and now Pope Francis is transmitting the signal that he is taking the side of Marx rather than Sarah, just as he has endorsed Cardinal Kasper’s position on communion for the divorced and remarried.

In this way, the Pope is making it clearer all the time that he essentially stands with the German hierarchy, known to be one of the most liberal in the world, on the hot-button questions of the day.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/26/2017 12:06 AM]
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So, increasing use of the word apostasy - not heresy, not schism, but apostasy, for the reasons I have advanced here quite a few times - to discuss what is happening in the Church today, even if, and especially because, it begins with the pope himself. Truly unprecedented in the history of the Church... And Fr H reveals something I had never read before about Paul VI...

Fatima, apostasy and the tail of the devil

October 25, 2014

In 1977, Blessed Paul VI, on the sixtieth anniversary of the last Fatima Apparition, said this:

"The tail of the Devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church, even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the Faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church".

I know some of you chaps out there sometimes feel a bit dubious about Blessed Papa Montini, but, really, faced with words of such prophetic discernment, how can you maintain your reservations? Come on!

By the way: have you yet read Cardinal Burke's very fine Buckfast Address on ... Apostasy? If not, you jolly well ought to get on with it ... [And no, I have yet to read it, but I will surely post it.

Apostasy is a word we ought to be more willing to do business with. The beginning of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England is commonly dated to 1833, when blessed John Keble preached a sermon on "National Apostasy"! Very Patrimonial! Immensely Prophetic! [Another reading I must seek out.]

Bergoglianism: Is it really Lutheranism masquerading as Catholic-lite?

Judging intentions
Translated from

October 23, 2017

Some readers have asked me to express an opinion over recent declarations made by Mons. Nunzio Galantino at the Oct. 18-19 conference organized by the Pontifical Lateran University, entitled “Passion for God”, on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation.

In his introductory address to the third session of the conference on the theme “The spirituality of the Reformation in its ecclesiastical actions”, Galantino [the pope’s appointee as Secretary General or #2 man at the CEI, the Italian bishops’ conference (#2 man) to be his eyes and ears at the CEI in the final years of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco’s 10-year leadership] reportedly said (and I say reportedly because I have not found the full text online, merely some reports of his intervention) that “The reform begun by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit”.

The statement naturally provoked an outcry among many. To be sincere, I am not surprised – Galantino’s statement expresses a tendency that is now quite diffused in the Church. So I really don’t feel like going after Galantino, as he is simply the spokesman for a belief that has become rather widespread.

I think it is completely useless for me to repeat what has been said by others, nor do I have the slightest desire to get into a theological dissertation to show that Luther was heretic, not just because such an analysis is not something one ought to do in a blog, but above all, because no one has made me a judge of orthodoxy or heresy and things in between.

For me, it is enough that Luther was condemned by the Church as a heretic. I trust the Church – even the Church 500 years ago. [As long as it is the Church and not the upstart impostor ‘church’ Bergoglio is seeking to impose over and above the one true Church]. For me, Luther is neither a devil nor a saint – just a poor sinner who needed, like all of us, God’s mercy. So I shall simply throw out some reflections here as they occur to me, without any claim to being systematic nor exhaustive, in the style I have adopted for this blog.

As Stefano Fontana rightly noted a few days ago in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, it has become the fashion in the ‘new’ church to say that “Luther’s intentions were good and inspired by the Holy Spirit, but then things took a different way, and the closure of many Catholic churches [in the territories that quickly turned Lutheran] contributed to this.”

I find all this a public 'trial of intentions' for which I am not qualified. It is a questioning of motives, whether it claims to find Luther’s intentions benevolent, or it is to judge the motives of the Catholic Church negatively. In this case, we can truly ask ourselves, ‘Who are we to judge?” [We can’t ‘judge’, surely, but we can have opinions, as Fr. Scalese has his.]

It is perhaps my own professional ‘de-formation’, but I think that the only legitimate attitude, in this as in many others, is that of the historian. He is not called on to express value judgments but historical judgments [but surely his personal value judgments, not to mention his personal biases, enter into his historical judgmenthe ts, and in that way, no historian is strictly objective. Just look at the competing histories of Vatican-II, not to go far afield!]

The historian is not authorized to judge the intentions of historical personages but only to observe historical facts [which result directly or indirectly from the actions or inaction of such personages] with objectivity, and link the facts according to cause and effect. I believe this should be our attitude in considering the Protestant Reformation.

[Since I first studied World History as a subject in my first year in high school, I had always questioned why the event came to be called the ‘Reformation’ (even if it is alternatively called ‘the Protestant Reformation’, which is equally misleading). It certainly did not ‘re-form’ nor reform the Catholic Church (the legitimate reforms that resulted were part of the Catholic Reformation that had begun in the 14th century and peaked after Luther in the so-called ‘Counter-Reformation)’, and it gave birth to a major non-Catholic Christian faith (which has since grown to tens of thousands of splinter groups), shouldn’t it have been more properly called the ‘Protestant Formation’?]

That the Church in the early 16th century needed reforms is clear – just as it does today. But there is legitimate doubt that Luther and his fellow Protestant reformers had reformed the Church at all. [Precisely – they did not care what the Church did anymore, because they had set up their own churches where they could start from scratch and do as they pleased.]

What was the result of the Reformation? The division of the Church. Could this be considered a reform at all? Hardly.

Personally, I find the true ‘reformers’ in the numerous saints who constellated the 16th century Church, not only after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), but above all, before and contemporaneous with the start of the Reformation – men and women who best exemplified the still not-sufficiently appreciated [nor even acknowledged] Catholic Reformation [that phenomenon of spiritual revival dating back to the 14th century when the question of salvation became central once again for the Church].

In this regard, I wish to cite statements made by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on May 28, 1997, during the centenary celebration of the canonization of St Antonio Maria Zaccaria (1502-1539), one of the leading exponents of the Catholic Reformation:

I must say that this saint is dear to me because he is one of the great personages of the Cahtolic Reformaiton in the 16th century, one who was committed to a renewal of Christian life at an age of profound crisis in faith and morals. His life coincided with a turbulent period in which Luther sought to reform the Church: an attempt which, we know very well, ended up in the tragedy of dividing Christianity yet again [the first division was the Great Schism of 1054 when the Eastern Churches broke off to become the Orthodox Christian churches].

In seeking to work out the problems of his time and his own personal life, Luther re-discovered the figure of St. Paul, and with the intention of following the Apostle’s message, he went his own way. Unfortunately, he contraposed St. Paul and the hierarchical Church, the law against the Gospel, and so, even if he rediscovered St. Paul, he detached him from the totality of the life of the Church, from the message of Sacred Scripture itself.

Antonio Maria Zaccaria also ‘discovered’ St. Paul, wished to emulate his evangelical dynamism but saw him in the totality of the divine message, within the community of Holy Mother Church. I think this saint is a man and a saint of great relevance tpday, a figure who was both ecumenical and missionary, who invites as to demonstrate and to live the Pauline message in the Church herself.

He shows our separated brethren that St. Paul has his true place in the Catholic Church and that it is not necessary to oppose his message to the hierarchical Church, but that the Catholic Church has all the room for evangelical freedom, for missionary dynamism, for the joy of the Gospel.

The Catholic Church is not just a Church of laws, but it must show herself concretely as the Church of the Gospel and of the joy of the Gospel in order to open the way to Christian unity.

[Thank you. Fr. Scalese. I had not seen this citation before.]

Even on the matter of the spread and the ‘success’ of Luther’s Reformation, it is more appropriate to comment as historians would, not as as apologists or hagiographers. In Mons. Galantino’s address, he cited a text of Luther in which the latter wrote:

“I have ranged myself against all papists, I have constitutued myself as the implacable opponent to the Pope and to indulgences. But I did not appeal to force, to persecution, to rebellion. I have done no more than to spread, preach and inculcate the Word of God – I have done nothing else. Such that in my sleep or while drinking beer in Wittenberg, the Word of God functioned in such a way that the papacy fell, as no prince or emperor has fallen. [What papacy fell????] I did nothing: the Word of God determined the success of my preaching.

I do not know if the ‘success’ of the Reformation could be attributed to the Word of God, or was it rather to the German princes who adhered to Lutheranism and became its patrons for politic-economic rather than religious reasons (bringing with them their respective subjects according the principle that ‘Cuius regio, eius religio’ established by the Peace of Augsburg [a political settlement in 1555 that made the legal division of Christendom permanent within the Holy Roman Empire, allowing rulers to choose either Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism as the official confession of their state. ‘Cuius regio, eius religio’, literally ‘whose realm, his religion’ meant that the religion of the ruler was to dictate the religion of those ruled].

But since I am interested in philosophy as well as history, I cannot ignore the influence that Lutheran doctrines have had on the successive development of the history of ideas. Well, the intellectual consequences of the Reformation have been devastating not just for the Catholic faith but also for philosophy. Although those doctrines have their root in the decadent Scholasticism of the Late Middle Ages, there is no doubt that we can trace back to them the origins of subjectivism and modern relativism.

So I find it rather audacious for Galantino to claim that the Reformation was ‘an event of the Holy Spirit’. Rather than venturing forth into reckless historical revisionism, I would prefer for Catholics to simply maintain an attitude of great respect for our sperated brethren but at the same time, to insist on extreme clarity on the differences that divide us.

To say, as someone did recently, that at this point, there are practically no more differences between Catholics and Lutherans, can only mean two things: that the Lutherans have become Catholics, which obviously is false, or that Catholics have become Protestants – something which, for not a few Catholics, appears more truthful.

The now-seemingly ubiquitous Cardinal Mueller weighed in quite rightly and promptly on Galantino's statements. But I do not remember him protesting earlier about the reigning pope's pro-Luther eulogies amounting to a virtual informal canonization of the Great Heretic nor the Vatican's extravagant and extremely inappropriate statements about the Reformation centenary celebration... At least this time his comments are unequivocally orthodox.

Cardinal Müller rebukes Italian bishop
for calling Protestant Reformation
‘an event of the Holy Spirit’

Oct. 25, 2017

ROME, October 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller has rebuked the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) for claiming that the Protestant Reformation was an “event of the Holy Spirit.”

It is “unacceptable to assert that Luther's reform ‘was an event of the Holy Spirit,’" wrote Cardinal Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a recent article published in the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. (LifeSite provides a full English translation of the cardinal's article here.

"On the contrary, it was against the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit helps the Church to maintain her continuity through the Church’s magisterium, above all in the service of the Petrine ministry: on Peter has Jesus founded His Church (Mt 16:18), which is 'the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15)," the cardinal wrote. “The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself,” added Müller.

Müller’s rebuke was directed to a verbatim quote of the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, who spoke on the topic October 19 at the Pontifical University of the Lateran.

During his address on the topic of “the spirituality of the Reformation in ecclesial practice,” Galantino reportedly said, “The Reformation was, is, and will be in the future, an event of the Spirit,” and “The Reformation carried out by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit,” according to various Italian media.

“The Reformation corresponds to the truth expressed in the saying ‘Ecclesia semper reformanda,’” Galantino is quoted as saying. “It was the same Luther who did not make himself the cause of the Reformation, writing: ‘while I was sleeping, God was reforming the Church.'”

“Even today, the Church has need of a reformation,” said Galantino. “And even today only God can do it.”
[All very well and piously said, but what if like all Bergoglians - and their lord and master himself - Galantino really thinks that Bergoglio channels the Holy Spirit in everything he says and does?]

Bishop Nunzio Galantino was appointed to the position of General Secretary of the episcopal conference in 2015 by Pope Francis himself, with an established record as bishop of attitudes hostile to Catholic doctrine on life and family [and therefore, supremely and eminently Bergoglian!]0

“My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality,” Galantino said in 2014, according to Crux.

He also appeared to endorse communion for adulterous second “marriages” prior to that year’s Synod of Bishops, holding that “the burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination.”

In 2015 Galantino sought to undermine the Family Day protests against the creation of homosexual “marriage” in the country, according to reports in the Italian media.

Galantino’s recent remarks on Luther were made during an “international conference” on the Protestant Reformation held by the faculty of theology at the Pontifical Lateran University from October 18-19. The conference, called “Passion for God,” claimed to present the result of recent research into the Reformation by Biblical scholars, historians, and Catholic theologians. It was financed and supported by the National Service for the Superior Studies of Theology and Religious Sciences of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

The favorable remarks by Galantino regarding Luther and the Reformation are consonant with recent acts and statements made by Pope Francis and other officials of the Holy See expressing affinity for Luther’s work to “reform” Christianity, statements that have troubled the Catholic faithful.

In October 2016, Pope Francis traveled to Lund, Sweden, to meet with Lutherans and to launch a year-long commemoration of the anniversary of the launch of the Reformation. Included in the scheduled program was a prayer giving “thanks” to God “for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation,” and added “Thanks be to you [God] for the proclamation of the gospel that occurred during the Reformation and that since then has strengthened countless people to live lives of faith in Jesus Christ.”

In January 2017, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued a joint statement with the Lutheran World Federation stating that “Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognizing him as a ‘witness to the gospel.’” In the same month, the Vatican announced that it would be issuing a commemorative postage stamp with Luther’s face on it.

Such acts have caused great consternation among Catholics, given Martin Luther’s unorthodox denial of the five of the seven sacraments, of the hierarchical nature of the Church and the authorty of the papacy, of the necessity of good works for justification, and numerous other novel doctrines contrary to Catholic dogma.

Martin Luther was excommunicated for heresy by Pope Leo X in 1521, after the same pope had condemned forty-one of his teachings several months earlier.

Meanwhile, on his Facebook page yesterday, Antonio Socci had this item:
Lesson for Bergoglio
even from Papa Luciani

Translated from

“The pope is not master over revealed truth but its servant. The Word of God is above him – it leads him, it is not for him to dominate it to say whatever he pleases… We are therefore far from any papal omniscience, even in matters of faith. The pope is so far from being omniscient that although he must trust in divine assistance, he is obliged to first study, consult about and reflect well on the thinking of the Church before defining it. If ecclesial consensus is not a matter of infallibility, it nonetheless must accompany any [magisterial] definition, and in practice, it has never happened that there is no consensus for something so defined for the Church."
- Cardinal Albino Luciani (later John Paul I)

from ‘Note sulla Chiesa’ in the diocesan magazine of Venice
December 1974
(re-published in Il magistero di Albino Luciani, scritti e discorsi, Edizioni Messaggero pp. 211/212)

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/27/2017 12:16 AM]
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October 25, 2017 headlines

The day's headlines on this subject are all misleading - because the story refers to this pope's apparent readiness to try recruiting 'viri probati'
(older married men who already have stable families that presumably they can leave in order to carry out the priestly ministry) in Brazil's vast
and sparsely populated Amazonia region in order to provide ministry to its numerous but widely scattered population 'centers'. A report we have
heard about for at least two years now, but today's headlines make it appear that the pope is ready to do away with mandatory priestly celibacy.
mHe may be, for all we know, but for now, the 'viri probati' experiment is his trial balloon. 1Peter5's headline is at least circumspect.

Pope reported to be considering ordination of married men
by Maike Hickson

October 25, 2017

According to the Austrian Catholic website, Pope Francis is considering allowing the ordination of so-called viri probati. These “tested men” are considered to have “proved their worth” by living virtuously in their marriages and in parish life, and allowing them to be ordained as deacons [and eventually priests] would relax the Church's requirement of celibacy in the priesthood. [Apparently, these viri probati would assist regular priests in their duties, including the offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In which case, they would have to be priests themselves, because deacons cannot celebrate Mass.]

Based on a report in the German newspaper Die Zeit, says that the promoter of the idea of married priests, Bishop Erwin Kräutler — an Austrian-born prelate who has spent much of his ecclesiastical career in Brazil — is said to have helped to write up a paper which is now lying on the desk of Pope Francis fo rhis signature. With this likely decision, the pope hopes to help alleviate the priest shortage in the Amazon region in Brazil.

The measure is meant to help alleviate the priest shortage in the Amazonia. The move must be seen in the context of the pope's recent decision to convoke a 2019 special synodal assembly to discuss the Amazon region and its unique challenges for the Church.

At the beginning of 2017, Pope Francis gave an interview to Die Zeit in which he spoke about the idea of ordaining viri probati. As we reported at the time:

When discussing the matter of married priests, Pope Francis answers: “But voluntary celibacy is not the answer.” He did show, however, more openness toward the idea of giving clerical faculties to the “viri probati,” older married men who have lived abidingly a tested and proven virtuous life and, if they so desire, would be eligible to train for the permanent diaconate [if not the priesthood].

Francis said: “We have to reflect about whether the viri probati are a possibility. Then we also have to determine which tasks they could have, for example in far distant parishes. […] In the Church, it is always important to recognize the right moment, to recognize when the Holy Ghost demands something. That is why I say that we will continue to reflect about the viri probati."

[Even if the pope signs a decree admitting viri probati into the clergy now, today, candidates have to be recruited - unless Krautler has been doing his homework and already has a roster of candidates - and those selected would then have to be formed appropriately.

Do the chosen ones undergo the first three years of seminary and then become ordained as deacons, just as priests training for the priesthood do one year before they are ordained priests? This means it will be at least four years before we see the first 'viri provati' deacons (seven years if the viri provati decree does not come until after the 2019 synodal assembly on the Church's problems in the Amazonia). It can't happen overnight...

Or maybe the Bergoglian viri probati will not be made to have formal traning other than a basic orientation course in Bergoglianism, after which they will be sent off to apprentice with priests already serving the jungle populations, so that way, they learn their assisantship duties on the job. Which means such viri probati will never become priests. Unless Bergoglio decrees a 'dispensation' allowing apprentice deacons, after a specified period of time, to celebrate Mass. Anythig is possible with JMB!

A second consideration is does Mons. Krautler think he will recruit enough qualified and willing men to make up, at least minimally, for the priest shortage in the Amazonia? While married men are already allowed to train for the permanent diaconate (as they do not intend to be priests) since this ministry was re-established by the Second Vatican Council, the number of permanent deacons worldwide in 2015 (last year for which the Church has statistics) was 42,455 worldwide, 98 percent of them in Europe and the Americas (the USA alone accounted for 15,200). Compared to 400,000-plus priests, that number is insignificant. So you see the practical problems of the viri probati idea.]

Bishop Kräutler had earlier publicly spoken about the fact that Pope Francis had encouraged him privately about the furthering of the idea of married priests. As I reported in 2016:

He [Bishop Kräutler] claims that these words [“have courage!”] are “among the favorite words” of Pope Francis.

Francis, says Kräutler, encourages especially the bishops to be courageous: “I will never forget how he [Pope Francis] told me during a private audience on 4 April 2014 that he expects from the bishops ‘courageous proposals’ ….” When asked what proposals he himself is thinking of with regard to the shortage of priests in some regions, the bishop answers that one needs to rethink the admission requirements for the priesthood.

He continues: “But the Eucharistic celebration should not be dependent upon the fact whether or not a priest is present who is celibate. Pope Francis certainly does not want to decide this question all alone, but especially in this context he expects ‘courageous’ proposals.”

Last September, the German service of Vatican Radio reported that Bishop Kräutler had raised the issue of married men again, in light of the lack of priests in his region in Brazil, saying again that “whether or not there is a celebration of the Eucharist should not be dependent upon the question whether there is available a priest who is celibate.” The bishops of the region of the Amazonia had already been speaking about the matter last year, but were now seeking support “from Europe,” according to the Radio Vatikan report.

Bishop Kräutler has also reportedly proposed to study further the work of Bishop emeritus Fritz Lobinger of Aliwal, South Africa, who is not only in favor of married priests as such, but is also a promoter of female deacons, and has voiced support for the idea of female priests. Pope Francis himself once recommended the writings of Lobinger to the German bishops during their Ad Limina visit to Rome in 2015.

Leonardo Boff, a liberation theologian from Brazil who has served recently as a consultant to Pope Francis, said last December that Cardinal Hummes, also from Brazil, had suggested that the pope consider the option of allowing married priests to perform pastoral care in his country, where only 18,000 priests serve a population of 140 million Catholics.

Boff said that he was told the pope wanted to try an “experimental period in Brazil” to this end. Marco Tosatti and Sandro Magister, both long-time Vatican watchers, indicated in separate reports last year that they see movement in this direction.

Simultaneously, the issue of relaxing celibacy has been pushed by the largest lay Catholic organization in Germany while Germany is facing an unprecedented vocations crisis. Their support comes at a time when the bishops of Germany are enjoying enormous influence in the Vatican.

Bishop Kräutler, whose study on the married priesthood is said to be under review by the pope, also said that Pope John Paul II’s proscription against women priests in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis “certainly has a lasting effect, but it is not a dogma.”


The banner headine above links to:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/26/2017 7:37 AM]
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‘Sacred music is the language
of the beauty of the faith’:

Abp Gaenswein answers newsmen after the presentation
of a new CD by the Sistine Chapel Choir

Translated from

Oct. 25, 2017

This CD shows the beauty of sacred music. My question to you, Excellency, is this: There has been no better benefactor of sacred music than Pope Benedict, who in his time, paid great attention to the Sistine Chapel Choir. Does the emeritus Pope continue to appreciate sacred music, does he still play the piano, and basically, how is he doing?
Let us say that you’ve finally asked the real question! [Laughter] The fake news reports [about B16’s health] have all been refuted. So I shall start by answering your last question, your most important one… At age 91, he is well. Erase everything that has been placed into my mouth [i.e., falsely attributed to him].

As for sacred music, Maestro Palombella [director of the Sistine Chapel Choir] always gifts Pope Benedict with all their CDs from Deutsche Grammophon, and he listens to them, not just once. Of course, he appreciates sacred music. But as to the piano, there’s been a change: he listens more to piano music now instead of playing it himself.

How important is Christmas music for you and for Pope Benedict?
Sacred music in itself is important not just in those so-called ‘strong’ liturgical seasons but throughout the year. Of course, in those strong seasons, music takes on a more profound importance. Music is the language of the beauty of the faith. Where there is beauty, ultimately there is faith. Where there is faith – because faith is expressed in music, as well - there is musical beauty, which presents us with multiple possibilities of entering into the world of sacred music. Not for aesthetic reasons, but for reasons of faith itself, so that it strengthens faith, or even creates it, even as it can give spiritual peace.

We know of the Holy Father’s concern for the poor. Will part of the sales from these albums go to charity?
Everything that comes in from the sales of the CD coming to the hands of the Holy Father [Pope Francis] will go to benefit the poor and the papal charities, just as everything earned by the Sistine Chapel goes to the papal charities. [I suppose he is referring here to the mega-rentals charged by the Vatican for the use of the Sistine Chapel as a promotional venue for large multinationals.]

Any figures?
If I understand you right, let me say, we can talk about the sin but not about the sinner. Which means, I don’t wish to answer the question. [Laughter]
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October 26, 2017 headlines

October 27, 2017 headlines

Both headline sets are from because PewSitter has had technical problems and says may not be functional again till Monday or Tuesday.

Now let's get to the so-called 'black eye' touted above. The story comes from Bergoglio tout Andrea Tornielli, but other than the title, it does
not seem malicious at all. (It may not seem so at all today, but before March 13, 2013, Tornielli was seemingly a sincere all-out Ratzingerian
who had nothing but praise for Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger.)

The image comes from the Facebook page of Mons. Stefan Oster, Bishop of Passau in Bavaria, who visited the Emeritus Pope at Mater Ecclesiae on Oct. 26. Is that Peter Seewald on the left???

The photo with Ratzinger’s 'black eye'
Benedict XVI is fine, but slipped last week
suffering a hematoma (bruise) below his right eye

by Andrea Tornielli

Oct. 27, 2017

VATICAN CITY - The latest rumors about the alleged aggravation of his health condition had been shut down by the publication of a photo that portrayed the Pope emeritus during his afternoon walk in the Vatican gardens.

Now another new photo has gone public of Pope Benedict XVI, who has no problem about being photographed as he is, with his age-related railty, and continues to receive visits.

Stefan Oster, the bishop of Passau, posted it on Facebook on Thursday, 26 October, together with the author Peter Seewald - who published four book-length interviews with Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI – as he presented the pope with a book. In the picture, we see Benedict XVI carrying on his face the sign of a recent fall.

In reporting the news, Mons. explained that the visible bruise under Benedict's right eye was caused by a fall at home a week ago. This is the caption that accompanied the photos of the meeting (which was translated and posted on Facebook by Vik Van Brantegem, former assistant to the Press Office of the Holy See):

What a heartfelt encounter today in Rome with our beloved Father emeritus Benedict XVI! Together with the well-known journalist Peter Seewald, I had the honor to present him with a wonderful new book: a volume that our diocese has published together with Seewald. Title: “Benedict XVI - The German Pope”. Great images, many short, deep texts on great themes and a brief summary of his life.

Although Pope Benedict has a black eye after a fall last week, he has met us in good health, good shape, full of spirit and with many small and great memories of people from his and our diocese. He sends his greetings to all of us and has given us all his blessing.

Just over a month ago, [Pope] Francis [Has Tornielli taken on his pope's use of 'Francis', unqualified, to refer to himself? As if the mere name identifies him totally, in what he perceives as his uniqueness in the world and in history!] was left with a black eye, in his case, on the left. During the last day of his trip to Colombia, in the city of Cartagena, while he was on the popemobile -it had been prepared by the Colombians with a high glass partition separating the Pope’s side from the driver’s cabin.

The pope slammed into the glass divider when the driver braked suddenly to avoid running down a person who had thrown himself in front of the vehicle. The result was a hematoma visible for several days after on Bergoglio’s face.

Personally, I wish Oster had not published this photo at all - was it the best of the photos he had on the occasion? Not because of the bruise, but because the Emeritus Pope looks particularly downcast in it, in great contrast to Oster's wide and happy grin.

More than that, however, I wish someone in the Mater Ecclesiae household 'minds' the Holy Father 24/7, because at his age, a bad fall that results in any bone fracture could eventually be fatal.

As for that banner headline hyping a story by documented Benedict-hater Robert Mickens [he has found a second life as a correspondent for the fairly new La Croix International, after having been fired by the Tablet two years ago for tweeting that he looked forward to 'the Rat's' funeral!] - it really is a defense of Bergoglio and an attack at all of his critics, in which Mickens shamelessly uses Benedict XVI by claiming that he does not support any of Bergoglio's critics.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/28/2017 7:32 AM]
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Two recent articles by Vaticanistas tackle the public ‘correction’ of Cardinal Sarah by Pope Francis…

Francis's slap at Cardinal Sarah:
Behind the scenes

Oct. 26, 2017

The letter with which Francis recently contradicted and humiliated Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, is the latest proof of how this pope exercises his magisterium. [I do not think the cardinal would have felt humiliated at all! He knows exactly who he is dealing with, what kind of person he is.]

When Francis wants to introduce innovations, he never does so in clear and distinct words. He prefers to open discussions, to set “processes” in motion, within which the innovations are gradually affirmed.

The most glaring example is “Amoris Laetitia,” for which contrasting interpretations and applications are in fact given, with entire episcopates lining up on one or the other side.

And when he is asked for clarification, he refuses. As in the case of the five DUBIA submitted to him by four cardinals, not deemed worthy of so much as a reply.

But when a cardinal like Sarah, an authority by role and responsibilities, weighs in to give a papal motu proprio on the liturgy the only interpretation he sees as correct and therefore to be implemented by the congregation of which he is prefect, Francis does not remain silent but reacts with harshness, in defense of those passages of the motu prorio - which in effect are anything but clear - that contain the liberalizations dear to him.

This is just what has happened in recent days.

Let’s recapitulate. On September 9, Francis publishes the motu proprio “Magnum Principium” concerning the adaptations and translations into vernacular languages of the liturgical texts of the Latin Church.

In defining the role of the Congregation for Divine Worship concerning the adaptations and translations of the liturgical texts prepared by the national episcopal conferences and submitted for the approval of the Holy See, the motu proprio distinguishes between “recognitio” and “confirmatio,” between review and confirmation.

But the distinction is by no means explained with clarity. And in fact, two sides took shape immediately among the experts.
There are those who maintain that the “recognitio,” meaning the advance review by Rome, concerns only the adaptations, while for the translations the Holy See need give simply a “confirmatio,” its approval.

And there are those who instead maintain that on the translations as well, Rome must carry out a careful review, before approving them.

In effect, this is what was done before and it is why various new translations of the missals have had a troubled life - like those of the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland - or are still awaiting approval from Rome: like those of France, Italy, and Germany.

In particular, the new translation of the missal in German was an object of criticism by Benedict XVI himself, who in 2012 wrote a letter to his fellow countrymen bishops to convince them to translate with more fidelity the words of Jesus at the last supper, at the moment of consecration:
> Vatican Diary / "For many" or "for all"? The right answer is the first

Getting back to the motu proprio “Magnum Principium,” it must be noted that when this was drafted, it was kept in the dark from Cardinal Sarah, prefect of a dicastery whose middle management has long been rowing against him.

On September 30, Sarah wrote to Pope Francis a letter of thanks accompanied by a detailed “Commentaire”, aimed at a correct interpretation and application of the motu proprio, one that was rather restrictive concerning its multi-purpose formulations.
In Sarah’s judgment, “recognitio” and “confirmatio” are in reality “synonymous” or in any case “interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See,” whose task of reviewing translations before approving them remains intact.

A couple of weeks later the cardinal’s “Commentaire” appeared on various websites, leading to the conclusion - given the position of the author of the “Commentaire” - that in Rom, the CDW would act according to its guidelines. This greatly irritated Pope Francis, who on October 15 signed a letter harshly repudiating Cardinal Sarah.

A letter in which the pope assigns the national episcopal conferences the liberty and authority to decide on translations themselves, with the sole condition that the CDW gives the final “confirmatio”. In any case - the pope writes - without any “spirit of ‘imposition’ on the episcopal conferences of a given translation made by the dicastery” in Rome, even for “significant” liturgical texts like the “sacramental formulas, the Credo, the Pater noster.”

The conclusion of the pope’s letter to the cardinal is barbed with venom: “Considering that the ‘Commentaire’ in question has been published on a number of websites, and erroneously attributed to your person, I graciously ask you to see to it that this response of mine be released on the same sites as well as being sent to all the Episcopal Conferences, to the Members and Advisors of this Dicastery.”

There is an abyss between this letter from Francis and the warm words of esteem expressed in writing to Cardinal Sarah a few months ago by “pope emeritus” Benedict XVI. Who said he was sure that with Sarah “the liturgy is in good hands,” and therefore “we should be grateful to Pope Francis for appointing such a spiritual teacher as head of the congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the liturgy in the Church.”

Needless to say, the object of the clash between Francis and Cardinal Sarah is not a marginal one, but touches the foundations of the Church’s life, according to the ancient maxim: “Lex orandi, lex credendi.”

Because the “process” that Francis wants to set in motion is precisely that of changing, through a devolution of liturgical adaptations and translations to the national Churches, the overall structure of the Catholic Church, turning it into a federation of national Churches endowed with extensive autonomy, “including genuine doctrinal authority.”
These last words come from “Evangelii Gaudium,” the agenda-setting text of Francis’s pontificate. These words too were enigmatic when they were published in 2013. But now a bit less so. [They were never ‘enigmatic’, because there was nothinawdropg equivocal about the intention expressed to ‘convert the papacy’ by devolving even doctrinal authority to bishops’ conferences, which, as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI do not have any theological basis at all and are merely bureaucratic structures. I think the general reaction – other than from so-called ‘conservative’ Catholics – to the jawdropping intentions spelled out in EG was to sweep them under the rug as too unprecedentedly audacious and even objectionable that they seemed unreal and therefore unlikely.

Remember it was only November 2013, just seven months into Bergoglio’s pontificate, and to most people, including Catholics, he was still bathed in the glow of the media’s instant myth that this was the greatest pope ever, if not the greatest man ever to walk the earth. Yet EG was, in fact, Bergoglio’s manifesto of his hubris. But even did not think at the time that his hubris would run to thinking of himself as Jesus II (and let not the fact that he said it in jest made it any less offensive for him to even verbalize his inner illusion – or better, self-delusion).]

Andrea Gagliarducci’s article is, as usual, maddening in parts…

Why Pope Francis ‘corrected’ Cardinal Sarah publicly
By Andrea Gagliarducci

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2017 (CNA/EWTN News).- To understand the recent publication of a letter sent by Pope Francis to Cardinal Robert Sarah, it is helpful to understand the wider discussion into which it fits.

The letter was sent as a reaction to a commentary the cardinal wrote on the Pope’s motu proprio ‘Magnum Principium’ (MP issued last month by which Pope Francis changed and amended those parts of the Code of Canon Law governing the translations of liturgical books into “vernacular languages.” The document gave more flexibility to bishops’ conferences to propose and draft [and approve!] their translations, leaving it for the Apostolic See only to “confirm” such translations.

At the time the motu proprio was issued, Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, released an official commentary, explaining that “the confirmatio of the Apostolic See is not to be considered as an alternative intervention in the process of translation, but rather as an authoritative act by which the competent Dicastery ratifies the approval of the bishops.”

Roche’s commentary went on to say that, “obviously, this presupposes a positive evaluation of the fidelity and congruence of the texts produced, with respect to the typical editions on which the unity of the Rite is founded, and, above all, taking account of the texts of greatest importance, in particular the sacramental formulae, the Eucharistic Prayers, the prayers of Ordination, the Order of Mass and so on.”

If things were so clear, why did Cardinal Sarah draft an additional commentary, and why Pope Francis react so strongly to it? [Because for all his obsessive micromanagement of those changes which he arrogantly deems will forever be irreversible, this pope seems not to have read the rather straightforward text of the amendments made to Canon 838.2 and 838.3, nor, for that matter, the commentary he obviously asked Mons. Roche to prepare, otherwise he would not seem to be contradicting his own motu proprio in the ‘correction’ he made to Cardinal Sarah’s own commentary to MP.]

These questions have no definitive answers [of course, they have definitive answers – or rather, obvious self-explanatory answers – just that the answers would be given and/or received differently depending on which side of the liturgical war you are on], , but there are some clues as to why these things happened.[Prior indications, or omens, if you will, rather than clues.]

First of all, Pope Francis wants to reiterate that this reform is intended to fit the de-centralizating goals of his papacy.
In 'Evangelii Gaudium', widely considered the playbook for Pope Francis’s pontificate, he wrote that “it is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound ‘decentralization’.”

The letter to Cardinal Sarah pursues such “sound decentralization”, in this case, with regard to the liturgy. The Pope’s letter stressed that “the judgment of fidelity to Latin and any necessary corrections had been the task of the dicastery, but now the norm grants to episcopal conferences the right to judge the quality and consistency between one term and another in the translation from the original, even if this is in dialogue with the Holy See”.

So, the Pope said, “confirmatio no longer supposes a detailed word-by-word examination, except in the obvious cases that can be brought to the bishops for their further reflection.”

The letter to Sarah can also be understood best in light of his amendments to Liturgiam Authenticam (LA). Issued in 2001, LA was the fifth of a series of instructions delivered by the Congregation for the Divine Worship, intended to implement the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. A note from the Holy See Press Office in 2001, when the instruction was issued, helps to fully understand the instruction.

LA was presented as “a new formulation of principles of translation with the benefit of more than thirty years’ experience in the use of the vernacular in liturgical celebrations.” Among these guidelines was the need “not to extend or restrict the meaning of the original terms” and to avoid “terms that recall publicity slogans or those that have political, ideological or similar overtones” since the secular ‘handbook on styles’ cannot be applied because “the Church has distinctive things to say and a style of expression that is appropriate to them.”

The note also stressed that “the preparation of translations is a serious charge incumbent in the first place upon the bishops themselves,” and so “at least some of the bishops should be closely involved” in the process of translations. Procedures for the approval of texts from bishops and the presentation of those texts for review and confirmation from the Congregation of the Divine Worship were clearly established, ensuring that translations done by bishops’ conferences would be vetted for fidelity at the Holy See.

In his letter to Cardinal Sarah, the Pope clarified that “recognition” and “confirmation” are not interchangeable [which Sarah did not claim – what he said was that the effects of both processes as exercised by the Holy See are interchangeable] and stressed that “Magnum Principium no longer argues that translations must conform in all points to the norms of Liturgiam authenticam, as was previously the case.”

The Pope specifically cited n. 76 and n. 80 of LA that “the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments will be involved more directly in the preparation of the translations into these major languages,” and that “the required recognitio of the Apostolic See is intended to ensure that the translations themselves, as well as any variations introduced into them, will not harm the unity of God’s people, but will serve it instead” as points on which MP has stepped back.

Francis’s decision can be understood as a shift in focus to bishops’ conferences, which are entrusted with making faithful translations on their own, although a confirmation from the Holy See is still required.

The Pope wrote to Cardinal Sarah that “confirmatio is not merely a formality, but necessary for publication of the translated liturgical book: it is granted after the version has been submitted to the Apostolic See for ratification of the bishops’ approval, in a spirit of dialogue and aid to reflection, if and when necessary respecting their rights and duties, considering the legality of the process followed and its various aspects.” [In other words, his default position is that such ratification, dialogue and aid is not necessary at all!]

Can these clarifications be read as an attack on Cardinal Robert Sarah? [No, it’s actually a eulogy of him! What a question to ask! It is obvious that Cardinal Sarah’s approach to liturgy is not that of Pope Francis. Cardinal Sarah often speaks about a ‘reform of the [liturgical] reforms’, as did Benedict XVI, referring to some liturgical practices and norms developed after the Second Vatican Council, without changing the Council’s teaching on liturgy. [No, Mr. Gagliarducci! The best-known misuses of the liturgical reform intended by Vatican II, as laid down in its Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), have to do with violating SC itself, such as the virtual elimination of Latin from the liturgy (when use of the vernacular was only intended for certain common prayers and Latin was encouraged to be kept on, and in fact, for its study and use to be promoted) and what music is allowable in the Mass (no guitars, no pop songs, but strictly sacred music with piano, organ and voice); plus the add-ons that are nowhere found in SC, such as turning the altars around so the priest faces the people and receving communion in the hand in a standing position. These are such obvious points that for more than 50 years now, progressivists and all the Catholics who have simply settled into and with these misuses and abuses without question, have simply ignored.]

On July 5, 2016, Cardinal Sarah delivered a speech at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London urging priests to start celebrating Masses ad orientem, often seen as a hallmark of the “reform of the reform” movement, and his words were interpreted as new liturgical directives. [ [To be fair to the cardinal, he very clearly said it was his personal suggestion and exhortation to all priests.]

A statement from the Holy See Press Office some days later said that the Pope and Cardinal Sarah had discussed the issue, but that Sarah’s remarks did not constitute a new liturgical directive.

Despite this difference of views, Pope Francis’s letter to Sarah seems mostly a reaction to the fact that Cardinal Sarah’s “commentary” was leaked to several magazines. The letter ends with the Pope’s request to “provide this response to the same sites” where the Cardinal Sarah’s commentary was published, “and also to send it to all episcopal conferences, and the members and consultors of your dicastery.” [What’s the problem with Gagliarducci? Did he not read the pope’s letter at all? It starts out saying this:

“Eminence, I received your letter dated Sept. 30 in which you wished to express benevolently your gratitude for the publication of the motu proprio Magnum Principium and to transmit to me an elaborate nore entitled ‘Commentaire’ intended for a better understanding of the text.

In thanking you sincerely for your commitment and your contribution, allow me to express simply, and I hope clearly, some observations about the abovementioned note which I consider important [the observations, not the note] above all for the application and right understanding of the Motu Proprio and to avoid any equivocation…”

[See what I meant in an earlier post about the tone of the letter? Which I still have not gotten around to translate, but which I ought to complete doing. It starts out with a load of sarcasm (‘you wished to express benevolently your gratitude’ – as though Sarah’s letter were condescending - and ‘to transmit to me an elaborate note…for a better understanding of the text.’ (i.e., ‘How dare you explain to me my own motu proprio!’) Then follows that authoritarian and uncompromising second paragraph…]

The Pope recognized that the commentary’s leak [Not the leak but the commentary itself] was “erroneously attributed” to Cardinal Sarah; it seems clear that Pope Francis does not consider Cardinal Sarah to be the “leaker” of the letter. [[Once again, Mr. Gagliarducci, let us refer to the pope’s letter (my translation from the Italian) which ends as follows:

“Finally, Eminence, I reiterate my fraternal gratitude for your commitment and noting that the ‘Commentaire’ has been published on some websites and erroneously attributed to your person, I respectfully ask you to take steps so that my response may be published on the same sites, and send the same to all the episcopal conferences, and the members and consultants of your dicastery.”

The pope must have known very well that the Commentaire was not ‘leaked’ but openly sent by Cardinal Sarah to three major websites by the very fact that it was entitled ‘A humble contribution to towards a better and more correct understanding of Magnum Principium’, so it was quite unworthily disingenuous and hypocritical for him to pretend that the ‘Commentaire’ was ‘erroneously attributed to your person’. That comment was then followed by the papal demand – a punishment, really - not only that Sarah make sure the papal reply is published by the websites that published his Commentaire, but that he should also send the pope’s letter to all episcopal conferences and to the members and consultants of the CDW. But once again, the pope was being disingenuous, because according to La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, one of the sites that originally published the Commentaire, the newspaper received the papal reply directly from the Vatican with the express request ‘from the pope’ that it be published in full. Surely, the Vatican must have done that too with the two other outlets.]

Cardinal Sarah’s commentary was first published in French, in the magazine L’Homme Nouveau, and then translated into several languages. [ [Tut-tut. As I understand it, the commentary was sent out simultaneously to three outlets – one French, one Italian, one Spanish, and obviously in the corresponding language.] A source within the Congregation for the Divine Worship shared with CNA that the commentary was initially sent only to the Pope, and shared by Sarah only with some high-ranking officials.

Once more, it is important to go back to the beginning of the story, in January, when veteran Vatican watcher Sandro Magister reported that “directed by the secretary of the Congregation (for Divine Worship), the English archbishop Arthur Roche, a commission has been set up within the dicastery at the behest of Francis” with the goal of demolishing “one of the walls of resistance against the excesses of the post-conciliar liturgists,” namely “the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam issued in 2001, which sets the criteria for the translation of liturgical texts from Latin into the modern languages.”

According to Magister, the agenda of the commission was established in an article drafted by the theologian Andrea Grillo, which apparently had the support of Pope Francis. Grillo’s article criticized the way the instruction addressed the issue of the “too liberal translations,” and suggested that it contained the groundwork for Benedict XVI’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which liberalized the use of the so-called “Extraordinary Form.”

According to Grillo, the fact that the phrase Summorum Pontificum is already present within Liturgiam Authenticam, together with the “new season of renewal” called for by the instruction suggests that it was the framework for the “reform of the reform” Cardinal Sarah advocated.

Grillo, however, said that “it is evident that a new season of renewal will be possible only overcoming the contradictions and nostalgic naivete of this act of interruption of the pastoral turn began with the Second Vatican Council.”

Apparently, the Pope felt he had to make sure that his understanding of liturgical reform is not sidelined by any other possible interpretations.

Though reaffirming the need for a confirmation of the Apostolic See, the Pope intended to show that he really aims for a decentralization, giving more responsibility to local bishops in the area liturgy. More, the Pope intended to show that there is no way to reverse the liturgical reforms he understands to be required by the Second Vatican Council.

In the end, the Pope himself, speaking Aug. 24 to the participants of the 68th Italian Liturgical Week, stated, “After this magisterium, and after this long journey, we can assert with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

The concern that some of those advocating a “reform of the reform” might really be reversing Vatican II’s liturgical reforms is ultimately – at least in part – the reason why Pope Francis reacted with an unprecedented public letter to Cardinal Sarah’s commentary.

Here, finally, is my translation of the pope’s letter to Cardinal Sarah:

Vatican City, 15 October 2017

To his Eminence the Most Reverend
Cardinal Robert SARAH
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of Sacraments
Vatican City

I received your letter dated Sept. 30 in which you wished to express benevolently your gratitude for the publication of the motu proprio Magnum Principium and to transmit to me an elaborate nore entitled ‘Commentaire’ intended for a better understanding of the text.

In thanking you sincerely for your commitment and your contribution, allow me to express simply, and I hope clearly, some observations about the abovementioned note which I consider important [the observations, not the note] above all for the application and right understanding of the Motu Proprio and to avoid any equivocation…”

First of all, it is important to point out the importance of the clear difference that the new MP establishes between ‘recognitio’ and ‘confirmatio’ as set forth in sections 2 and 3 of the revised Canon 838, in order to abrogate the practice adopted by the dicastery pursuant to Liturgiam authenticam (LA), which the new MP meant to change. Nonetheless, one cannot say that between ‘recognitio’ and ‘confirmatio’ are ‘closely synonymous or interchangeable’ nor that they are ‘interchangeable at the level of the Holy See’s responsibility’.

In fact, the new Canon 838, in distinguishing between ‘recognitio’ and ‘confirmatio’, asserts the different responsibilities between the Apostolic See and the episcopal conferences in the exercise of these two actions. Magnum Principium no longer sustains that translations should conform in all points to the norms of LA, as it was required in the past. That is why the individual points of LA must be scrupulously re-interpreted, including Nos. 79-84, in order to distinguish what is required by canon law on traduction and that which is called for by legitimate adaptations. It is therefore clear tat certain paragraphs in LA have been abrogated or have lapsed as they have been reformulated in the new canon under MP (e.g., No. 76 and No. 80).

On the responsibility of the bishops’ conferences to translate ‘[liturgical texts] ‘fideliter’, it must be specified that the judgment on faithfulness to Latin and eventual corrections necessary, were once the task of the dicastery, whereas now the new law grants the bishops’ conferences the faculty to judge the rightness and the consistency of specific terms in the translation from the original, but in dialog with the Holy See.

Therefore, ‘confirmatio’ no longer implies a detailed word by word examination [of the translation compared to the original text], except in cases that could be presented to the bishops for further reflection. This goes particularly for the relevant [ritual] formulas, like the Eucharistic Prayers, and especially, the sacramental formulas approved by the Holy Father. ‘Confirmatio’ must also consider the integrity of the [liturgical] book, by verifying that all the parts of the editio typica have been translated.

Here, we might add that, in the light of MP, the ‘fideliter’ in Sec. 3 of the canon implies a three-fold faithfulness: first, to the original text; to the language into which it is translated; and finally, on the comprehensibility of the text by those for whom it is destined (cfr. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani nn. 391-392).

In this sense, ‘recognitio’ only means verification and vigilance over the [translation’s] conformity to the law and to the communion of the Church. The process of translating liturgical texts (e.g., sacramental formulas, the Credo, the Pater Noster) in a language – from which they are to be considered authentic translations - should not lead to a spirit of ‘imposition’ on the episcopal conferences of a given translation made by the Dicastery, since this would violate the bishops’ right allowed by the [revised] canon as well as by Sacrosanctum Concilium 36.4.

Moreover, one must bear in mind the analogy with Canon 825.1 on versions of Sacred Scripture that do not need ‘confirmatio’ on the part of th0 Apostolic See.

It would not be right to attribute to ‘confirmatio’ the finality of ‘recognitio’ (i.e., ‘to verify and safeguard conformity with the law’). Certainly, ‘confirmatio’ is not a mere formality but necessary to the publication of the translated liturgical text: it is granted after the translation has been sent to the Holy See so it can ratify the approval of the bishops [Sounds like ‘putting a rubberstamp’ on the bishops’ translation!] in a spirit of dialog and to help in reflection if and when this should be necessary, respecting their rights and duties, and with due consideration of the legality of the process they followed and its modalities.

Finally, Eminence, I reiterate my fraternal gratitude for your commitment and noting that the ‘Commentaire’ has been published on some websites and erroneously attributed to your person, I respectfully ask you to take steps so that my response may be published on the same sites, and send the same to all the episcopal conferences, and the members and consultants of your dicastery.

And in asking you to pray for me, I assure you of my prayers for you.



It is useful to look at Fr. Scalese's initial reaction to Magnum Principium at the time it was released:
Wiping the slate clean
on liturgical translations

Translated from

Sept. 11,2017

On Sept. 9, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s motu proprio Magnum Principium (MP), which modifies Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law in regard to the respective competencies of the Holy See, bishops’ conferences and diocesan bishops in the matter of liturgy, specifically, the translation of liturgical texts.

Tje Vatican Press Office published MP with a “Note about Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law” and commengay on the motu proprio by the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Canon 838 has four paragraphs – the first of a general character; the second defining the responsibility of the Holy See in the matter of liturgical translations; the third on the corresponding role of bishops’ conferences; and the fourth indicates that of the diocesan bishop. MP modifies paragraphs 2 and 3, leaving 1 and 4 unchanged.

Here is the text of Canon 838 as it was, and as it has been modified :

Here is the translation of the canon, in the old and new formulations (I took the liberty of touching up the translation of 838.3 provided by the Bulletin of the Holy See as it did not seem to me faithful enough to the original Latin) [There will be continuing problems like these for as long as we can no longer rely even on Vatican translations. Is there a separate translation team working on press bulletins and non-papal documents and another one at the Secretariat of State reserved only for papal text translations? Obviously, liturgical translations ought to be done and overseen for purposes of final approval by special teams of competent translators named and supervised by the CDW.]

Can. 838 §1. The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy, publish liturgical books, and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books into vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.
§4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in the Church entrusted to him to issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.

In the new formulation:
838.1 No change.

838.2 It is the competence of the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish the liturgical books, review the adaptations approved, according to the norm of law, by the episcopal conferences, as well as to exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.
838.3 It pertains to the bishops’ conferences to prepare and approve the versions of liturgical books in their national languages, faithfully and conveniently adapted within defined limits, and publish the liturgical books for the region that pertains to them, after confirmation by the Apostolic See.
838.4 No change.

In the older law, the tasks of the Apostolic See were:
- Ordering the liturgy at the universal level
- Publishing the liturgical books
- ‘Recognitio’ of the translations into vernacular languages
- Exercising vigilance that liturgical regulations are followed everywhere.
While the role of the episcopal conferences consisted in
- Translating the liturgical books
- Adapting the translations to local circusmtances
- Publishing the liturgical books as translated after obtaining the recognitio of the Holy See

[Fr. S’s note: One must note that the Italian edition of the Code of Canon Law edited by Luigi Chiappetta (Edizioni Dehoniane, Naples, 1988) translates the Latin ‘recognoscere’ as ‘approvare’ (to approve), saying that, ”In Italian, the term ‘approval’ is more exact juridically for the process of ‘review, examination and checking”, whereas the Italian version of the new motu proprio adds the ff note: “In the version of the Code of Canon Law, commonly in use, the verb ‘recognoscere’ is translated as ‘authorize’”, but the explanatory note of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts has specified that recognitio “is not generic or summary approval, nor is it simply ‘authorization’. Instead, it also means a careful and detailed examination or revision [prior to the approval]”...(April 2, 2006.)]

So what has changed? In effect, the Holy See has renounced ‘recognitio’ of translations, whic[h responsibility is now entrusted exclusively to the bishops’ conferences (leaving it only with ‘confirmatio’ of liturgical books translated and approved by these conferences), and exercising ‘recognitio’ only for adaptations (the term used in a wider context than simply adaptations used in the translations) already approved by the bishops’ conferences.

What to say about these changes? Formally, they seem to be unexceptionable, being presented as largely conforming to the dispositions of Vatican II and making a clearer distinction between liturgical adaptations (i.e., of the rites themselves (which require the Holy See’s ‘recognitio’ in view of its duty to safeguard the unity of the Roman rite) and liturgical translations (which are now solely the competency of the bishops’ conferences and only require ‘confirmatio’ from the Holy See).

But beyond the formal correctness of the changes, it seems legitimate to raise some perplexing questions. Above all, regarding the Holy See’s ‘confirmatio’ required for the publishing of liturgical books as translated and approved by the bishops’ conferences. The CDW secretary, Mons. Arthur Roche, in his commentary accompanying the motu proprio, says specifically that it would not mean an ‘alternative translation’ (as often happened in the past, raising an outcry among liturgical experts) by the Holy See, but simply a ratification of whatever the bishops’ conferences have approved. As much as such a ratification is presented as an ‘authoritative action’, the impression is really that the Holy See’s ‘confirmatio’ is nothing but a notarial intervention.

It is true that the motu proprio presupposes “a positive evaluation of the faithfulness [of the translations] and the congruence of the texts produced with the editio typica of the Roman Missal i.e., the reference edition in Latin on which all translations must be based]”, but if that is so, then why has the previous act of ‘recognitio’ been withdrawn, which term includes, beyond just approval, also prior review and evaluation? Giving up the right of ‘recognitio’ gives the impression that the Holy See is declaring its own lack of competence with regard to liturgical traditions, since this competence is now attributed exclusively to the bishops’ conferences.

An aspect that seems to have been totally ignored in the revision of Canon 838 (it also was in the older version, but not in the practices followed by the CDW) is the fact that some languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) cannot be considered only as national languages but are, in fact, international languages spoken in various territories (that are comparatively vast and global). The canon, as formulated then and now, assumes a correspondence between bishops’ conferences and languages, but such a correspondence exists more in the minds of those who drew up the canons rather than in reality.

[Let’s take my country as an example. I have not attended a Novus Ordo Mass in my country, the Philippines, for over 30 years now, so I do not know if the text currently used is the English translation (as it was in the 1970s) - English being the country’s second official language - or if there is now a translation in the national language, Pilipino, not to mention the other major indigenous Filipino languages like Cebuano, Ilongo and Ilocano. (Our archipelago has more than 93 distinct languages, not dialects, languages which only those born to the language or raised in the language can speak and understand; Pilipino is based on and is largely Tagalog, the language spoken in Manila and surrounding provinces, as decreed by a law in the 1930s, and it is mandatorily taught in all elementary schools throughout the country, disseminated even more conveniently by local movies which are exclusively in Pilipino and television, largely in English and Pilipino, although the language of instruction everywhere continues to be English, as it has been since the U.S. colonized the Philippines back in 1898.]

Aside from the fact that there are countries in which many local languages are spoken, which means that the bishops’ conferences should provide multiple translations (but with what competence, since not all of the bishops would speak all of the local languages), and in the case of the multinational languages cited above, which bishops’ conference would bear the responsibility for the translations?

[For the English-speaking countries, the so-called ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) was established in 2003 as a mixed commission of several bishops conferences in accordance with the CDW Instruction’ Liturgiam authenticam’, which ‘Magnum Principium’ implicitly and explicitly seeks to replace. Eleven bishops conferences are full members of ICEL, each of them represented by a bishop – those ofAustralia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States of America. Another 15 countries in which English is widely spoken and/or is an official language are associate members: the Antilles, Bangladesh, CEPAC (Pacific islands), Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, Malawi, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The ICEL secretariat in Washington assists the member shiops and coordinates the work of specialists throughout the world who work on preparing the translations.]

According to the new formulation, one would conclude that each country would be responsible for its own translations. Resulting in multiple ‘approved’ translations in the same language! Which to me does not make sense. [Anarchy upon anarchy! Already, the updated ICEL translation which went into effect in Advent 2010 continues to be denounced if not rejected outright by many vociferous bishops, priests and liturgists who are perfectly happy with the haphazard as well as liturgically deficient and semantically compromised English translation imposed soon after the Novus Ordo became the Mass form practiced around the world, and who think that the current ICEL translation is much too ‘literal’ and ‘traditional’. Do those 26 member conferences of ICEL now intend to jettison ICEL-2 and impose their own national English translations, be it a return to the deficient ICEL-1?]

In my opinion, it is inevitable that in every major language, commissions or international committtees directly responsible to the Holy See would be formed to arrive at common translations valid for all the territories in which the specific language is spoken, as has been done by the English-speaking countries.

So now, what happens? Every English-speaking bishops’ conference will now think it is has the right to proceed to their own English translation. One is curious to see where all this will end. One thing is for sure: while the world proceeds towards progressive globalization, the Church has not succeeded in ridding itself of linguistic specificities.
[In short, the present ‘Church’ under Bergoglio is losing or deliberately renouncing its ‘catholicity’ or universality, which would be consistent with the anti-Catholicism and anti-Catholicity of Bergoglianism.]

But what leaves a bitter taste in the mouth is that the new motu proprio, in effect, serves to wipe out Liturgiam authenticam which was issued “on the use of vernacular languages in the publication of the liturgical books of the Roman rite” published in 2001, i.e., under John Paul II.

Is it just accidental that not even in MP nor in the “Note on Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law”, LA is never cited? It is cited only by Mons. Roche in his accompanying commentary when he explains that the adverb ‘fideliter’ was inserted into 838.3 in order to recall “the principal concern” of the instruction LA.

It is true that LA has not been formally abrogated in full by MP, and that, theoretically, it should continue to guide Biblical and liturgical translations around the world. But since this is not explicitly stated, then anyone will feel authorized to interpret MP vis-à-vis LA as he pleases. [Typical for this laissez-faire pontificate!]

Of course, everyone will say that their translations are faithful to the original Latin text – but it remains to be seen what they mean by ‘faithful’: whether it is formal correspondence or ‘dynamic equivalence’. Meanwhile, the Holy See will limit itself, like a good notary, to simply ‘confirm’ the translations ‘self-certified’ by the individual bishops’ conferences as ‘faithful’.

The moral of the story: This motu proprio shows that the liturgical reform begun after Vatican II and which has gone on in the past 50 years as a process that has been progressively deepening and particularizing, is not at all…
irreversible. [I don’t know that anything has deepened or particularized in a positive way as far as the Novus Ordo is concerned, especially since it continues to be widely abused, and in new and different ways. About the only true liturgical ‘reform’, i.e., a reform of the reform, is Benedict XVI’s restoration of the traditional Mass to full legitimacy and equivalency with the NO, and perhaps, a far second, the new ICEL translation. One might add Cardinal Sarah’s recommendation that all Masses, in whatever form, be said ‘ad orientem’ even if the positive response to it has been numerically insignificant.]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/28/2017 1:40 PM]
10/29/2017 12:47 PM
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October 28, 2017 headlines

Former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life (pre-Paglia)
set up a new John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family

by Maike Hickson

October 28, 2017

Today, 28 October, an encouraging piece of news comes to us. At the Conference on Humanae Vitae which taking place at the Pontifical University St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and which was organized by the lay organization Voice of the Family, Professor Josef Seifert – a former member of the recently reformed Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) – presented the newly founded John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF).

Seifert is the President of this new lay institution which has been established independently of the Church’s structures. The new Academy aims at continuing the good aspects of the work which was once done by the now-changed Pontifical Academy for Life, as well as by the newly-reformed John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

This new Academy will work for the defense and the further study of the Church’s traditional moral teaching concerning such important matters as contraception, abortion, family and marriage. It thus comes to us as a new voice at a time where – in Sister Lucia’s words – “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

Several members of the Board of the new Academy are loyal and charitable critics of Pope Francis, such as:
- Professor Josef Seifert himself;
- Professor Roberto de Mattei; and
- Professor Claudio Pierantoni.
Several members of the Academy are, like Seifert, former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life which has been so gravely changed by Pope Francis:
- Judie Brown (president of the American Life League),
- Dr. Thomas Ward (founder of the U.K.’s National Association of Catholic Families),
- Mercedes Wilson, (president of Family of the Americas);
- Christine Vollmer (president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family);
- Dr. Philippe Schepens (General Secretary of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life); and
- Professor Luke Gormally (a former research professor at Ave Maria School of Law).

Some of them are, in fact, founding members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which was founded in 1994. Additional members of the new Academy are Professor Carlos A. Casanova (Universidad Santo Tomás de Chile) and John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews).

In his introduction to this new Academy at the Humanae Vitae Conference, Professor Seifert said:

In October 2017, a new JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND THE FAMILY (JAHLF) has been set up to serve the same goals as the original Pontifical Academy for Life, founded 1994 by Pope St. John-Paul II for the interdisciplinary study and defense of human life in all its stages. [By the motu proprio Vitae Mysterium on February 11, 1994.]

Already in 1981, Pope John Paul II had founded a Pontifical Institute of Marriage and Family, to study the cradle of human life: marriage and the family. JAHLF will take up the study both of human life and of marriage and the human family.

It has been founded by a few former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life including a former Professor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

In additional comments, Professor Seifert points out that, ever since the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968, there have been many Catholic moral theologians working to cast doubt on whether acts such as abortion, contraception, or homosexuality [not homosexuality per se, but homosexual practices] may still be considered “intrinsically evil acts,” which are wrong under all circumstances. As Seifert explains:

Between Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor many, indeed a majority of moral theologians, have promoted this so-called ethical proportionalism that may justify any actions if the sum-total of goods that follow from them seem a lesser evil than any alternative course of actions.

Professor Seifert makes it very clear that the new Life and Family Academy will not accept these false moral theories. He says:

Thus, against all social or historical pressures of the spirit of our time that wants us to water down or to deny entirely the truth that there intrinsically evil acts, we in JAHLF never want to give in to such pressure and false teachings.

Also we know that we should take into account in our words and writings the changed moral taste of our time, in order to reach those who live in error, but we know even more certainly that we must never compromise the truth by adapting our moral judgments to the ethical opinions dominant today, if these are false. Rather we should do everything in our power that a society that deviates most grievously from the eternal moral truth adapts itself to truth.

For us, taking into account the change of social climate in which we live can only mean that we must seek new ways to make men understand and live the same old, nay eternal truths that can never change. We must adapt people to the truth, not the truth to people.

Moreover, Professor Seifert gives us even more encouraging words concerning this new voice and witness of truth when he says:

Our task in this Academy is exactly this: rejecting any of the horrible evils and errors which shape modern society and have even entered the doors of the sanctuary of the Church, by the clear exposition of, and by living, the truth about human life and the family. This entails also calling abortion murder and not interruption or termination of pregnancy, abstaining from dishonest names that obscure the truth.

While thus becoming a witness for the goodness and defense of life, marriage and the family, the new Academy also points to the importance of considering each of these aspects in light of eternal life. Professor Seifert says:

The JOHN-PAUL II ACADEMY FOR HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY likewise does not restrict its understanding of human life to mere biological human life. It recognizes and affirms the reality of the soul of man that stands at the origin of human life. Therefore, JAHLF also occupies itself, quite generally speaking, with the metaphysical and anthropological foundations of ethical truth.

As Seifert explains, the new Academy will “likewise explore the ultimate value of human life residing in eternal life” and it will thus counter a materialist world-view which merely discusses these matters on natural terms. Yet, when we consider sinful acts – such as divorce and abortion – as mere natural evils, we omit that these acts also threaten the life of sanctifying grace in our souls, thus endangering the salvation of souls. As the Austrian philosopher puts it,

while considering the relation of human life to God and eternal life, and their link to ethical questions such as euthanasia, infertility treatment, artificial insemination, etc., this Academy will in like manner address those moral dimensions of human and medical action that can only be understood when relating human life, moral life, and eternal life to God.

The President of the new academy highlights that non-Catholic experts may also be invited as members, but that the foundation has to be the Catholic moral teaching based on Revelation, as well as the natural law which is recognizable by natural reasoning.

Areas of concern will also include the brain death debate, the moral and spiritual dimension of palliative and hospice care for the dying, and “those ways of caring for the old, the sick, and the dying that are linked to religious dimensions of the moral life revealed through Christ, especially in the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount and the sacraments.”

Let us thus welcome with joy this new voice of Moral Truth as presented at today’s Humanae Vitae Conference, as graciously permitted by Voice of the Family. Let us end here with the final words of Professor Josef Seifert’s longer presentation of the new Academy:

The Academy’s aim is to clarify, to teach, and to spread that part of the truth about man and about God that serves human life and the natural family, and, through serving these, serve and glorifies God.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/30/2017 1:52 AM]
10/29/2017 1:56 PM
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Where Jorge Martin Bergluther is headed next in his 'ecumenical' efforts...In which, in a much more definitive manner than his earlier open
advocacy of inter-faith Communion, he seems willing to sacrifice the doctrine of Trans-substantiation - one of the fundamental Catholic
distinctions from Protestantism - to the ecumenical kumbayafest bonfire

'Transubstantiation is not a dogma',
claims Italian liturgist said to be working
on Bergoglianism's 'ecumenical Mass'

by Steve Skojec

October 28, 2017

In his Monday column at First Things, Italian journalist and veteran Vatican-watcher Marco Tosatti gave voice to what had previously been little more than a whispered rumor: that a group was at work, with Vatican knowledge and support, on a kind of interfaith liturgy:

There is the matter of the “Ecumenical Mass,” a liturgy designed to unite Catholics and Protestants around the Holy Table. Though never officially announced, a committee reporting directly to Pope Francis has been working on this liturgy for some time. Certainly this topic is within the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Divine Worship, but Cardinal Sarah has not officially been informed of the committee’s existence.

According to good sources, Sarah’s secretary, Arthur Roche — who holds positions opposite to those of Benedict XVI and Sarah — is involved, as is Piero Marini, the right-hand man of Monsignor Bugnini [who chaired the committee that devised the NovusOrdo Mass]

Today, on his blog, Stilum Curiae, Marco provides a bit more information on this story:

I cannot help recalling a comment sent to me by a friend, even though it was made several months ago. It was made by a highly regarded unrestrained lay liturgist, Andrea Grillo, who is, according to what they tell me, involved in the work to create an ecumenical Mass. Namely, that “Transubstantiation is not a dogma, and as an explanation [of the Eucharist] it has its limits. For example, it contradicts metaphysics.”

I would like to understand then: All those people who during the last two millennia have thought that the consecrated bread and wine are truly the substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus – and those who still believe this now – have they all been taken for a ride [by the Church]? Or, in a more benign hypothesis, were they victims of a false belief (to say nothing of Eucharistic miracles)?

Grillo’s comment on Transubstantiation appeared on his Facebook page:

The Council of Trent, Session 13, Chapter VIII, says:

“If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.”

I reached out to Marco Tosatti this morning, and he told me that Andrea Grillo is a layman who teaches sacramental and liturgical theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum San Anselmo in Rome and that Grillo has recently attacked both Cardinals Caffarra and Sarah, “more or less asking Sarah to be dismissed from his position.”

Tosatti’s sources have indicated that Grillo is a member of the secret commission to prepare this alleged “ecumenical liturgy,” which would allow Catholics and Protestants to “share the table.” Grillo is said to be influential in Rome, and to have the ear of the pope.

Grillo is also noteworthy for his opposition to Summorum Pontificum, and has written a book entitled, Beyond Pius V: Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform, which was reviewed by the eminent liturgical theologian and author Dom Alcuin Reid, who called it “a theological and political ‘shot across the bow’”.

Grillo’s fundamental stance that one must accept “the” liturgical reform absolutely and to the exclusion of all that came before (and of course, to the exclusion of any possible “reform of the reform”—which is dismissed out of hand)…

If he is indeed involved in the preparation of a new liturgy, one is left to wonder if this same attitude of liturgical evolution with no looking back will be pervasive in its implementation, too. [Does anyone doubt it will, once Bergoglio promulgates any such sacrilegious, anathematous liturgy? That's exactly how the Novus Ordo got imposed - and was universally received in the Catholic world - overnight back in 1970.]

With no substantial confirmation of this secret liturgical commission’s existence, some will no doubt be skeptical of its plausibility. And yet there is not a little evidence that the Vatican under its current leadership might support such an effort.

The pope and his associates had already been making overtures in this direction beginning in 2015, which I outlined at some length in my December, 2016 article, “Up Next on the Vatican Agenda: Intercommunion“. At the time, it had appeared that the goal was to allow Protestants to receive communion in Catholic churches.

But an interfaith liturgy would take things quite a bit further, and would, it seems, be not entirely unthinkable in light of the Vatican’s own joint celebrations with the Lutheran churches marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will reach their culmination this month on October 31st — the day Martin Luther published his 95 theses in a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz in 1517. In those very celebrations, there have been hints of what might come. As I reported last December:

On October 31, 2016, following the commemoration, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told reporters that “it was a ‘very beautiful’ day, one that’s ‘very late’ in coming, but ‘very important.’ It’s a ‘new beginning of a way to leave conflict in the past and go toward communion in the future’”. A joint statement issued by the Vatican and Lutheran World Federation that same day said that “many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression of full unity. … This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavours, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”

[Does Koch or anyone seriously think that any such 'theological dialog' will lead the Protestants to accept the doctrinne and fact of Trans-substantiation?]

Koch has also said that “in the Second Vatican Council, Martin Luther would have ‘found his own council'”, and that “the commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 can only be made in ecumenical communion.”

For Catholics, of course, intercommunion isn’t theologically possible. Yet in Germany, we have seen evidence that this is already taking place in a very public fashion. And with the advent of Magnum Principium, it will be far easier for regional implementations of liturgical change to take root without the “imposition” of corrections from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The question therefore of what, if any, additional liturgical surprises Rome may have in store remains an open question.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/30/2017 1:41 AM]
10/30/2017 4:10 AM
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What an unusual photo!

Thanks to Beatrice, who found it in an item promoting this new book published in France

It is a collection of some 300 photographs from the Vatican archives that portray the contemporary popes in informal circumstances and most of which have never been published before. The anthology is annotated by an unlikely pair - Osservatore Romano editor Giovanni and Caroline Pigozzi, longtime Vaticanista for Paris Match. (The only reason I can think of for their collaboration is that Pigozzi found a French publisher for the project. BTW, Pigozzi wrote particularly venomous articles on Benedict XVI in his time).

Anyway, this particular photo of Benedict XVI is as Pope Emeritus, and Beatrice was able to date it because back in 2014, she used a couple of stills from a TV-Sette videoclip, which obviously yielded the bigger photo.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Mons. Oster of Passau had a couple more pictures of his Oct. 26 meeting with Benedict XVI – in which he sports a red bruise under his right eye (on his upper right cheek, really, so I don’t understand why it was called a ‘black eye’). Here is his Facebook entry on Oct. 26 (I translated his ‘report’ in my original post on this occasion.

And yes, the third man is Peter Seewald, though I did not recognize him with eyeglasses on.
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