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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, 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.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/9/2017 6:07 AM]
10/30/2017 4:23 AM
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October 29, 2017 headlines

PewSitter is still not functioning.
10/30/2017 5:21 AM
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by Andrew Brown
Oct. 27, 2017

Because I do not have the desire to go into an interminable but inevitably obligatory fisking chore, I originally did not want to post this puff piece on Bergoglio published by an ultra-liberal British newspaper - it takes off from the supposed 'war against Bergoglio' by his critics and pours on its profuse praises for the reigning pope by defending him with hyperbolic and often inevitably false positive 'reversals' of the criticisms... But I have decided to post the first few paragraphs which gives an idea of what writer Andrew Brown is attempting - his default position is that Bergoglio can do no wrong, and everything he does and stands for is good for the Church - but I will make not make remarks on the provocations therein (media boilerplate hype of what they find most 'admirable' in Bergoglio)...

Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility.

From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees.

But within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal.” Of course, after 10 minutes of fluent complaint, he added: “You mustn’t print any of this, or I’ll be sacked.”

This mixture of hatred and fear is common among the pope’s adversaries. Francis, the first non-European pope in modern times, and the first ever Jesuit pope, was elected as an outsider to the Vatican establishment, and expected to make enemies. But no one foresaw just how many he would make.

From his swift renunciation of the pomp of the Vatican, which served notice to the church’s 3,000-strong civil service that he meant to be its master, to his support for migrants, his attacks on global capitalism and, most of all, his moves to re-examine the church’s teachings about sex, he has scandalised reactionaries and conservatives.

To judge by the voting figures at the last worldwide meeting of bishops, almost a quarter of the college of Cardinals – the most senior clergy in the church – believe that the pope is flirting with heresy.

The crunch point has come in a fight over his views on divorce. Breaking with centuries, if not millennia, of Catholic theory, Pope Francis has tried to encourage Catholic priests to give communion to some divorced and remarried couples, or to families where unmarried parents are cohabiting. His enemies are trying to force him to abandon and renounce this effort.

Since he won’t, and has quietly persevered in the face of mounting discontent, they are now preparing for battle. Last year, one cardinal, backed by a few retired colleagues, raised the possibility of a formal declaration of heresy – the wilful rejection of an established doctrine of the church, a sin punishable by excommunication. Last month, 62 disaffected Catholics, including one retired bishop and a former head of the Vatican bank, published an open letter that accused Francis of seven specific counts of heretical teaching...

Read the whole thing here:

Meanwhile, four months since this pope dismissed Cardinal Mueller from the Curia, Marco Tosatti updates the tab on those Curial heads who have clearly 'overstayed' on two counts - exceeding their five-year term limit (some are already on their second or third quinquennials without re-appointment under Bergoglio) and being past 75.)

In their famous final meeting, Pope Francis told Cardinal Gerhard Müller that he wanted to limit the time in office for heads of dicasteries in the Curia to five years, and that Müller was “the first to whom the rule would have applied.” And so Müller was dismissed despite his young age, which normally would have guaranteed him another five-year term.

In the Church, the rule is that at seventy-five years of age the bishops — and in theory also the heads of curial departments — must submit their resignation to the pope, who can decide whether to accept it. So now there are supposed to be two restrictions in place for people working in the Curia: a single five-year term, and an age-limit of seventy-five years.

Müller reported the pope’s new policy in July, but it does not seem that Francis has been eager to implement it since then.

Let’s look at a few cases. The latest concerns Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He was born on October 18, 1942, so he has just reached seventy-five years, yet the pope has not accepted his resignation. Since 2007 he has been president of the Pontifical Council of Culture. So he has had not one five-year term, but two.

In August, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, turned seventy-six. He was appointed more than four years ago, but he has already exceeded the canonical limit by one year. [He is also supposed to be the pope's #1 'trustee' in the Curia.]

A few days ago, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo was reconfirmed as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Sorondo turned seventy-five on September 2017, and he has held his job at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 2001, when he was first appointed by St. John Paul II. Sixteen years, more than three terms!

These are not isolated cases. At the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts we have Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. He has been there since 2007 (two terms, then) and was born in 1938, seventy-nine years ago.

At the Congregation for Religious Life we find the Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the Grand Inquisitor of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. In 2011 he began his job — so though he is just seventy years old, his mandate should have ended in 2016. Yet he was never formally re-appointed to a second term, and there is no mention of a replacement.

The prefect of the Congregation for Saints, the Salesian Angelo Amato, is nearly eighty years old, and has held his position since July 2008—so he should be out on two counts. [Yet he was the one Ratzinger holdover whom the pope singled out in April 2013 (at the time he confirmed all the Curial heads in position who were considered resigned with Benedict XVI's rinuncia) as being confirmed 'donec aliter provideatur' (until further notice).]

Same goes for Leonardo Sandri, who was born in 1943 and has been prefect of Oriental Churches since 2007.

There is an element that unites all these people (except perhaps Sandri): They are all closely connected to the pope and have no doubts or dubia of any kind about Amoris Laetitia. [I did not realize Amato is one of them. Et tu???]

By contrast, there is the auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, Andreas Laun, who on October 13 turned seventy-five years old. That very same day, the pontiff accepted his dutiful offer of resignation. Last February, Laun had published on a letter received a German priest in Latin America. The letter reads:

While questions about the divorced and remarried remain vague and unanswered, as often happens with the Holy Father, then it may happen that the following absurd situation occurs: A penitent [in confession] says he wants to continue living as husband and wife with his partner, and then he asks for absolution, referring to various bishops’ conferences and finally to the pope himself. As a priest I tell myself: “My conscience tells me I cannot give absolution, though the pope keeps the question open; so I cannot give you absolution.”

But the man, referring to the pope, insists he wants to be acquitted, and receive communion. Do I then have to change the formula of absolution and say, “The pope absolves you from your sins in the name of the father, and so on. . . ”? For me this is absolutely absurd! But it is not the consequence of this?

Bishop Laun responded:

I’m afraid that this question contains a logic from which you can’t escape. . . . There is no such thing as a double truth, and to certain questions there is only one true answer — even when bishops, and entire conferences, give contradictory answers. Some answers are true, others are certainly false.

Here we may see the key to this apparently inconsistent application of the pope’s two rules. If the limit to a single five-year term and retirement at seventy-five seems to apply only to some, it is because a third rule is operating in the background. Those who question Amoris Laetitia must go; those who support it may stay.

Pope Francis has spoken against an overly rigid or consistent application of law. So, here we see him breaking his own 'rule' many times over. [i.e., He made up the five-year 'rule' simply to account for firing Mueller, and/or he is Bergoglio so he can break any rule or law - including Jesus's condemnation of adultery, for example.]

Trying to contain the items critical of the pope together in one post...

Once more, doctrinal development

Oct. 26, 2017

A phrase of St Paul, in one of the earliest documents of the Church's Magisterium, was, we have seen, taken up by S Vincent of Lerins in his insistence that development in Doctrine must be eodem sensu eademque sententia.

In the last couple of centuries it has been transformed, by repetition, into a central plank of the Magisterium. Two Ecumenical Councils and a succession of Roman Pontiffs have done this.
- You will find it in Ineffabilis Deus, by which in 1854 St Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
- It appears in the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican I Dei filius (at the end, just before the anathemas).
- St Pius X's Pascendi Dominici gregis repeats (para 28) these words of Dei filius in its treatment of Modernism, and
-The phrase was incorporated into the Anti-Modernist Oath taken by all clergy until 1967.
- After, St John XXIII used it in his highly significant and programmatic Address at the start of Vatican II,
- it was repeated in Gaudium et spes (para 62), and
- St John Paul II, interestingly, extended its use from Dogmatic to Moral Theology in Veritatis splendor (para 53).

And, if the Rule of Believing really is established by the Rule of Praying, then eodem sensu eademque sententia is right at the heart, not only of Vatican II, but also of the 'Spirit of Vatican II' as enunciated by the post-Conciliar liturgical changes: the crucial passage from the Commonitorium of S Vincent of Lerins is ordered to be read each year in the Liturgia Horarum (Week 27 of the Year, Friday). It is not surprising that Pope Benedict cited these words in his programmatic Address to the Roman Curia in 2005.

Fifteen hundred years ago ... and, if the world endures, fifteen hundred year from now, when Pope Francis XVI during some crisis or other is busily writing a Post-Synodal Exhortation ... it was and will be as true as it is today that the Deposit of Faith, the Tradition handed on through the Apostles, can only ever exist, can only ever be expressed, so that it comes to Christ's People with the same sense and with the same meaning.

Is the Magisterium in crisis?
Item: Capital punishment

Oct. 26, 2017

Here is an old post, from which I have chopped off a section on Humanae Vitae.

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to Capital Punishment, if that is the only possible effective way of defending human lives against an unjust aggressor.

Doctrine develops, evolves, is nuanced. But it must always be eodem sensu eademque sententia.

So, under S John Paul II, the Magisterium, after reiterating the traditional teaching, went on to teach us (CCC 2267 citing Evangelium vitae 56) that in our time, given the resources at the State's disposal, such occasions are rare, even very probably non-existent.

How can anyone find fault with that prudential judgement? Most certainly not I. All power to that Great and Holy Pontiff's elbow.

Recently, however, we have been told that Capital punishment is "inadmissable, no matter how serious the crime committed", and "an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person"; that "Thou shalt not kill has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty"; and that "even a criminal has the inviolable right to life". "Absolute", mark you. And "Inviolable".

I do not see how all this is eodem sensu as the Traditional teaching. I do not see how it is a development eadem sententia from CCC 2267. It is a novel theologoumenon which in fact contradicts the Tradition.

I view Capital Punishment with quite as much personal revulsion as the Holy Father does. When I read about the Death Rows and the botched executions in a handful of North American states; about the gentle delicacy with which the Chinese shoot their convicts so as not to damage organs which can be profitably 'harvested'; I feel both very angry and uncomfortably sick. But his and my revulsion is not the point.

Perhaps one should make allowances for the fact that Jorge Bergoglio spent his middle years in a barbarous land in which thousands were 'disappeared' and many more tortured under a murderous and corrupt military dictatorship (to the downfall of which my own country may have made some small contribution).

But when every allowance is made, the Magisterium is not an arena in which the Sovereign Pontiff is entitled to attach the prestige of his office to some personal enthusiasm.

Let me conclude by sharing with you my very own daring view about all this stuff.

I do not, I am afraid, believe that the Holy Spirit was given to Pope Francis, or to any other pope, so that by His revelation they can put out some new doctrine, but so that (with the Holy Spirit's help) they can guard and set forth the Tradition handed down through the Apostles ... what we call the Deposit of Faith.

P.S. Here is Mundabor's reaction to Andrew Brown's Guardian article...

Pope Francis: Even outsiders
now get it about his 'heresies'

About which, of course, they rejoice

October 28, 2017

The long article from the UK-based, proto-communist Guardian is extremely instructive (insofar as people who don’t understand anything of Catholicism can be instructive) for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

The author obviously does not understand anything of Catholicism:
- The insistent emphasis on the difference between how the world is and how the world should be according to the Church, as if this were a problem for the Church, is obvious demonstration.
- The one about it being necessary that Catholics give communion to adulterers to avoid the risk of extinction is so stupid that it must be a bad pun and has no theological depth at all (it is not true that divorced and “remarried” people already receive communion all over the world; but this is utterly irrelevant: the question is whether anyone who does so, which is very easy to do, commits a very grave sacrilege.)

However, even people who have done nothing more than a shallow research of the facts, and can’t write an article without giving us countless examples of ignorance and incompetence [seem to] understand this: Francis is a heretic by every Catholic standard of the last two thousand years.

In his confused way (fake news abound all over the article, see the already mentioned example), the author sees it evident that what Francis does is the contrary of what Popes for two thousand years before him have done. That this is supposed to be good does insult the intelligence of the writer (even an atheist should be able to understand that this is not acceptable for Catholicism, and therefore Francis is simply an unacceptable Pope), but it does not change the facts.

This article, like many other secular interventions in favour of the Evil Clown, indicts Pope Francis even as it supports him. If a magazine called Satanism Today praised Francis in high tones, what would that demonstrate about him?

Look and be stunned, Catholic world. A Pope is praised by the Guardian for his battle against Catholicism. [Well, they would never praise any pope for speaking up and defending Catholicism, would they? Look how they always thrashed Benedict XVI!]

I have tried to find out more about Andrew Brown but the only information I can find is that 'he writes about religion', according to the Guardian, that he is 'a fierce critic' of the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but is he even a Christian, when he describes himself as someone for whom "Christianity is only true backwards" [whatever he means by that - never ever make a quip that is not instantly understandable to most listeners!].

He has written five books so far -allof them apparently well-reviewed - only one of which is about religion (Anglicanism), the others being Watching the Detectives (1989), a well-reviewed account of four months he spent with the London police; The Darwin Wars (2000), about the widespread impact of Darwinism on contemporary life and thought; In The Beginning was the Worm (2004), subtitled 'Finding the secrets of life in a tiny hermaphrodite' (one wonders if he is pitching a political agenda in a book on popular science); Fishing in Utopia (2008), a travel book about Sweden; and That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England lost its people (with Professor Linda Woodhead)(2016). I hope he knew enough about the CofE to write the book. His seemingly blissful unawareness of his ignorance of the Catholic Church makes it questionable.

Anyway, for someone who has such catholic (small c) interests, judging from his book titles, and who has apparently won a prize as Best Religious Writer in the UK in the 1990s, one expects a minimum level of knowledge about Catholicism that one does not see in his Guardian article.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/31/2017 7:44 AM]
10/30/2017 1:18 PM
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In its headline below, DIE WELT expresses more explicitly what I mean by the label 'Jorge Martin Bergluther' - in which the thesis would be 'Martin Luther', the antithesis 'Jorge Mario
Bergoglio', pope and therefore presumed Catholic, synthesized into 'Jorge Martin Bergluther', the anti-Catholic apostate who continues to bestride the world stage.

It's forbidden to say anything
negative about Luther - so
even Bergoglio's anti-Luther statements
30 years ago are being censored out

Oct. 30, 2017

October 31 marks precisely five hundred years since the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. And on the part of the highest officials of the Catholic Church, the celebrations so far have been practically a one-way street: a chorus of praise for Martin Luther. “A medicine for the Church,” Pope Francis said of him in taking stock of his ecumenical journey in Sweden exactly one year ago.

Meanwhile, L'Osservatore Romano, however, and La Civiltà Cattolica have been cautious not to republish what Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote about Luther and Calvin before he was elected pope.

Only one of his texts on the Protestant Reformation has been preserved, from about thirty years ago. But it was republished in 2014 with a preface by the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, editor of [Civilta... and one of Pope Francis’s closest confidants/advisers, without the slightest disclaimer of the crushing anti-Protestant invectives contained in it.

When the text came back to light, in fact, the eminent Protestant theologian Paolo Ricca, a Waldensian, expressed his consternation in an editorial for the magazine Riforma:

“I ask myself how it is possible to still have today, or even thirty years ago, such a deformed, distorted, mistaken, and substantially false view of the Protestant Reformation. It is a view with which it is impossible to begin a dialogue, or even an argument, it is so far and divergent from reality...”

One thing is certain: on the basis of such a view, an ecumenical celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, in 2017, appears to be literally impossible.”

However, as we all know, Pope Francis has since succeeded - and then some - in retying the threads of dialogue and in establishing in public opinion the image of a Catholic Church friendlier than ever with Luther and grateful for what he did.

Naturally, setting aside entirely that text of his. Which it could be useful to read and is linked here:
> Luther At the Stake. No, At the Altars. The Double Vision of the Jesuit Pope

But this censorship of the anti-Lutheran Bergoglio is not the only one in this season of Bergoglian ecumenism. To it can be added another: on an author who is among the most prominent writers for "L'Osservatore Romano,” Marco Vannini, a renowned expert on theology and mysticism, especially that of Germany, and a scholar of Luther.

Vannini published a book this year that says right from the title what side he takes: “Against Luther and the false Gospel.”

Vannini calls himself “perhaps heretical but Roman Catholic,” although in an article in 2004, under the reign of pope Karol Wojtyla, La Civiltà Cattolica adjudged that he “excludes transcendence, suppresses the essential truths of Christianity, and by way of Neoplatonism inexorably arrives at a modern Gnosticism.”

But under Pope Francis, he has become a regular contributor to the pope's own newspaper.

But the OR has not devoted even one line to his erudite book against Luther. Curiously, it was noted in Italy only by the magazine Il Regno, an authoritative voice of progressive Catholicism, with an interview of the author, with passages like the ff:

“My familiarity with the texts of Luther dates back to my youth; then I moved on to my predominant interest, German mysticism before and after the Reformation. The controversy over Luther is certainly ‘outdated’, because in my view the Catholic or ex-Catholic world has incorporated ideas, tendencies, and ways of being from the Lutheran Protestant world. Lutheranism and the Reformation in general are responsible for one of the gravest evils of our world: individualism, the primacy of the subject who centers himself on self-love, which is ‘radix omnis mali et peccati’, the root of all evil and sin, as Saint Augustine said and Meister Eckhart often repeated. This is the reason for my hostility toward Lutheranism. It is no coincidence that Luther is so beloved by self-proclaimed secularists who have no affection for Christ or Christianity.”

Further on in the interview Vannini doubles down on his criticism against the use that Luther makes of Sacred Scripture:
“I really do not forgive the use that Luther makes, at his pleasure, of Scripture, for example when he defines one text as absolutely the word of God, separating it from all the rest, or when he takes what he needs from Scripture and throws away what doesn’t work. [Criticisms that apply very well to Bergoglio as well.] Years ago, when I edited the prefaces for Luther’s Bible, his manipulations against the pope seemed intolerable to me.”

And against his rejection of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle:
“The authentic Gospel consists in the fact that the light of God, the eternal light, is always,d no matter what, on every man. In Luther I find instead something diabolical, there is a spirit of deceit that contrasts with the nobility of the spirit, with the truth and with the profound honesty that one experiences in reading the great philosophers. When Luther lays into philosophy, calling it a ‘prostitute of dialogue’, I perceive a radical hostility: here his false Gospel is going strong. It is false because it does not arise from the universality of reason, which is the most precious thing we possess, but is the fruit of his particular decisions.

But Vannini also goes so far as to sweep away, together with Luther, even the apostle Paul:
“The Christian faith without the lesson of ancient philosophy would be defunct. Today perhaps it could be a form of gnosticism or one sect among the many if it had not met on its way those great and honest philosophers who were also Christians, and whom Luther insults and despises.

Christianity would not have survived with Paul alone, whom Luther however loves so much. On this it would be necessary to read Nietzsche, a powerful psychologist who unmasks the profound self-affirmation of Paul, who begins the letter to the Romans by shamelessly insulting the classical world: something that is absolutely dishonest.

In fact, Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, the ousted prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has no platform left but a “foreign” outlet to repeat the elementary and enduring differences that divide the Catholic Church from Protestantism:
> Quella di Lutero? Non fu riforma, ma rivoluzione

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/30/2017 10:47 PM]
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Sermon for Christ the King Sunday:
Catholic paralysis following Vatican II
threatens the very foundation of the Church

by Fr. Richard Cipolla
St. Mary's Church
Norwalk, Connecticut
Oct. 29, 2017

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37-38)

The Feast of Christ the King was added to the Roman Calendar in Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical Quas Primas on December 11, 1925. This was the time of a most troubling interlude between the two World Wars that devastated two generations. It was also a troubled time for the Catholic Church. This time was the beginning of the rise of the understanding of an ideal government as purely secular.

This was also the time when the so called Roman question had not been resolved, the question being the dispute regarding the temporal power of the popes as rulers of a civil territory in the context of the Italian Risorgimento. It ended with the Lateran Pacts between King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI in 1929.

The Pope was quite explicit in why he thought it necessary and salutary to institute this feast for the whole Church. The date, the last Sunday in October, was chosen because it was the Sunday before All Saints Day, when the manifestation of the kingdom of Christ is seen in the glorious holiness of the saints in heaven; also because it was near the end of the liturgical year, and finally, because that Sunday had been traditionally observed as Reformation Sunday by Protestants.

I want to read to you the Pope’s own words that enable us to understand his conception of this feast from his Encyclical that promulgated the feast of Christ the King. He quotes St. Cyril of Alexandria. “Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence or usurped, but his essence and nature”. Then the Pope goes on:

“His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this: that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer.”

He then goes on to explain how Christ’s kingdom is spiritual and not at all concerned with worldly power. But it is at this point he adds:

“It would be a grave error, however, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since by virtue of absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power….Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor Pope Leo XIII: “ ‘His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’”

How do we react to those words, to this insistence that the kingship of Christ extends to all men and women living on this earth and that as a conclusion every government must understand their obligation to govern in a way that is consonant with the teaching of Christ the King?

To those of us who have grown up with the dictum of separation of Church and State, to those of us who have grown up since World War II and the secularization of society, to those who are young who have grown up with the assumption that Catholicism and Christianity are just one religion among many, for those who have grown up with pluralism as the ultimate gift of the gods, what can the kingship of Christ mean?

We could take refuge in trying to spiritualize the whole thing, but that would be dishonest with respect to what Pope Pius XI was saying. Or we can transfer the feast to another day and thereby change its meaning. That is what the reformers of the calendar did in 1970. In the Novus Ordo calendar this feast was transferred to the last Sunday of the Year, immediately before the First Sunday in Advent.

The readings for that Sunday are always about the end times: stars falling out of the sky, earthquakes, terrible tribulations. There is a validity in associating this feast with the end time when the Kingship of Christ will be made totally manifest. But to associate this feast with only the future — even the ultimate future — makes it much easier to dismiss the reality of the Kingship of Christ as just part of the End Times, which for many Catholics and for most people in general has no meaning right now in their lives in this world. It is much easier to deal with Christ the King who will come again in some vague way in the future than to deal with Christ the King right now.

Imagine someone — lay man or woman, deacon, priest, bishop or Pope - going to the UN and speaking about the kingship of Christ and the implications of his kingship for every member of the United Nations using the words of Pius XI. The representatives of the UN would be polite and not say out loud what they are thinking — this guy is crazy. And there would be polite applause after the speech, and then they would go to a fancy dinner in New York and talk about the crazy Catholic who spoke of the kingship of Christ in practical terms for each of their countries. They would laugh and order cocktails before dinner. At least Pilate had the sardonic intelligence to ask the King: what is truth?

The paralysis that has beset the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council threatens the very foundation of the Church, for it makes evangelization as defined by Christ himself before the Ascension impossible. [I disagree that 'paralysis' in the Church has been operative after Vatican-II, certainly not in the Church leadership under John Paul II and Benedict XVI.]
- Playing footsie with the world is not the same as being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.
- Denying the objectivity of sin in the name of mercy is not consonant with Jesus's words at the beginning of his ministry: “Repent and believe the Gospel!”
- Making mercy a principle that trumps the justice of God is worse than phariseeism.

But the current situation in the Church would be impossible without the rise of a hyper-papalism, that reduces the Church and her teaching to the person of the Pope. This irrational reduction of the teaching of the Church and the authentic development of doctrine to the preferential musings of a Pope is destructive to the Church of Jesus Christ.

“You are Peter”. The Pope is the Successor of Peter. And his job, and it is a job, a job that has certain perks handed down by Tradition, his job is to pass on the Catholic faith totally and unalloyed and to give his assent to those developments of doctrine that are the fruit of centuries of thought and prayer and then to define them as credenda, those things that are to be believed by Catholics because they are true.

What is missing? Why are we Catholics in the situation in which we find ourselves, emasculated and irrelevant with respect to the world? Because we no longer hear those words that are the antidote to the poison of secular contemporary secularism, the world of tweets and texts. Catholics no longer hear and understand those words: Hoc est enim corpus meum - those words that are the antidote to the frivolous and empty culture in which we live. Not “This is my body” or “Este es mi cuerpo”, or “Questo é il mio corpo, or “To jest moje ciałot”.

But Hoc est enim corpus meum. Those words that transcend the particularity of the cacophony of language and that are uttered in a language that is no longer a spoken language and therefore transcends particularity: they are the words that make real the presence of Christ the King in a world that despises him or does not know him or is bored with him or cannot turn off their text messages to pay attention to him or cannot stop tweeting to express their own banality — there it is. The words of Christ the King. The Truth. What is truth? Hoc est enim corpus meum.

My comment above to Fr. Cipolla's sweeping description of "the paralysis that has beset the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council" is, in fact, addressed in an earlier article which uses the more appropriate term 'soft discipline' instead of 'paralysis'...

The fruits of soft discipline
by Fr. Mark A. Pilon

October 26, 2017

When I was in the seminary in the early 1960s, we were indoctrinated in the notion that the harsh discipline of the Church over the centuries would be a thing of the past following Vatican II. Supposedly, none of this harshness had ever really worked to safeguard the teaching of the Church, so a new softer approach was needed.

A half-century later, the results are in – and it’s indisputable that the softer approach didn’t work. In addition to the exodus of priests, nuns, and religious, there’s been a massive loss of knowledge among ordinary lay people about what the Church teaches. And no wonder, since there’s been little effort to make Church teachings clear in the flight from the bad old days of “harsh discipline.”

The bad example most often cited back then was the effort by Pope St. Pius X to root out modernism by removing dissident professors and then, in 1910, instituting the Anti-modernist Oath “to be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.”

This oath began by embracing and accepting “each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.”

Those errors were then briefly explicated, followed by this submission: “I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.”

Now the “enlightened” critics of this oath were many and prominent during the Second Vatican Council, and they won just two years after it closed. In 1967, the CDF under Paul VI issued a much-shortened Profession of Faith in “substitution of the Tridentine formula and the oath against modernism.”

It is a brief restatement of the Creed with a closing qualifier: “I also firmly accept and retain each and every truth regarding the doctrine of faith and morals, whether solemnly defined by the Church or asserted and declared with the ordinary Magisterium, as well as those doctrines proposed by the same Magisterium.”

Fine, so far as it goes, but it names no specific errors, even when they contradict the Church’s “ordinary Magisterium.” By that point, the errors may have become so numerous that it was necessary to abbreviate the oath or profession.

But I’m not sure that’s the only reason. The change also reflected a desire on the part of powerful elements at the Council to present a new, softer face of the Church to the world.

Pius X was too smart to think that an oath was going to cleanse the Church of heretical dissidents. But it did set down markers for bishops who were obliged by their own office to discipline and remove not only those who refused to take the oath but also those who supported heretical doctrines.

Vatican II had affirmed the authority and responsibility of individual bishops as true successors of the apostles. So, you could argue, if the bishops fulfill their grave obligation to safeguard the faith, no such oath – or at least no such detailed oath – would be necessary.

Unfortunately, after the Council, discipline mostly collapsed, at least when it came to safeguarding the faith. Witness the open and massive dissent from Humanae Vitae – certainly an exercise of the pope’s ordinary Magisterium, but also a formal reaffirmation of a constant teaching of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium, which was defined as infallible by both Vatican I and Vatican II.

Yet it’s hard to think of anyone among the “clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” openly disciplined by his bishop for dissenting from this teaching.

Indeed, it took twenty-five years to remove one of the ringleaders of dissent, Charles Curran, from a Pontifical University (The Catholic University of America). Many others continued at Catholic institutions until they retired.

St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to change things, but with modest success.

Part of the problem was that several bishops were, themselves, dissenters, though secretly out of fear for repercussions. I had a certain respect for the honesty, at least, of one or two bishops who openly opposed Humanae Vitae. But you would have to be very naïve to think that there were only one or two bishop-dissenters. That’s become abundantly clearer in recent years.

Inevitably, the soft church became even softer when it came to the growing problem of Catholic laity and Catholic politicians openly supporting crimes against humanity such as abortion. How could the bishops discipline them when they failed to discipline even their own clergy and teachers in Catholic universities?

The double standard would have been obvious. So today we have a Church leadership that talks endlessly, but does virtually nothing to protect the faith of the little ones who were always the object of our Lord’s special love – and of the great popes of history. Often this soft discipline is justified in terms of charity. But what about charity toward the little ones who are easily – and gravely – misled?

Ordinary Catholics know well that words are cheap unless they are backed up by action. They know that no successful institution could operate the way the Catholic Church exercises discipline. If a person in authority contradicts the mission or disputes the principles that guide that mission, he will soon find himself out.

When bishops fail to discipline those who are in positions of grave responsibility, the ordinary person will no longer take a bishop’s words seriously. Perhaps that is why so many ordinary Catholics have come to side with the secular world on abortion, divorce, homosexual “marriage,” you name it.

But the ultimate victim of a failure to maintain discipline is truth. If you are not willing to defend the truth, then truth itself becomes a matter of opinion. That is, sadly, where we stand today.

Meanwhile, one of Marco Tosatti's Vatican sources comes out with a cri du coeur over what he sees as an acceleration of Bergoglio-initiated and/or -induced events that makes him think as though we were in the 'end times'. The Latin expression ‘motus in fine velocior’ refers to how time appears to speed up in the midst of a crisis, or in the case of the post-conciliar age, towards the end of an epoch.

‘Motus in fine velocior’?
My correspondent ‘Pezzo Grosso’ is terrorized
by what he is seeing in the Church…

Translated from

Oct. 30, 2017

Dear friends and even enemies who nonetheless read me,
I thought that I would have a day off today, but I got a message from ‘Pezzo Grosso’ [‘Big cheese’, one of Tosatti’s well-placed correspondents], which I must confess struck me hard: because of the tone of the message, and because I know he is someone who has seen quite a lot and is not an easily impressionable fellow. But read what he says:

Dear Tosatti, what I am writing you today is not intended to make you laugh. Not only am I quite dumbstruck since I am no longer surprised by anything in this pontificate – this time I am frightened. The acceleration of events in these past several days is surprising, as if we were facing an urgent deadline and no one wants to waste time by resorting to diplomatic ‘glycerin suppositories’ [makes the terrible medicine glide in easily directly to your gut, instead of having to take it by mouth!]

After preliminary sallies with ambiguous interpretation, we have passed on to something which no longer needs interpretation because they are declarations of war against the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ and the Immacolata.

First, the statements of esteem and praise for Martin Luther (the most recent was a lecture by Mons. Brune Forte on October 30), then those by a theologian very much in favor with this pope (Andrea Grillo) who has said on Facebook and other media (without any denial from the Vatican) that ‘Trans-substantiation is not a dogma’. And then again, the surprising and disquieting public ‘correction’ of Cardinal Sarah by this pope.

The formal title of the conference is "The Church and feemasonry: So close and yet so far apart".

And now, there is this conference on the rapprochement between the Church and Freemasonry which will take place on November 12 in Syracuse, with interventions by Grand Masters of the Grand Orient of Italy* (the sponsoring organization), the Bishop of Noto and another Catholic prelate from the Archdiocese of Syracuse. The flyer for the conference features Christ with the masonic compass in hand.

Of course, after his enthusiastic advocacy last year of rapprochement with the Freemasons by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, we should not be surprised. But Ravasi is Ravasi, and even when he is not speaking Aramaic or ancient Greek, one can hear him without understanding a word.

But now I am frightened above all by all these events following each other closely – as if we were fast approaching a deadline or an ultimatum. (Could it have to do with the visions of Leo XIII? The prophesies of La Sallette? Of St. Bridget? Of Our Lady of Akita? Of St. Vincent Ferrer?...)

What could we possibly expect to be the next move? Will the next rapprochement be with the tempter-serpent of Genesis who sought to justify his ‘good intentions’ to bring knowledge to Adam and Eve? Shall we then reproach St Michael Archangel for kicking him out? Perhaps we should even ask the Virgin Mary to apologize for having crushed his head beneath her foot! And even Jesus himself for not allowing himself to be tempted in the desert! Thus we would open up a multi-cultural pluralistic dialog with Satan.

Dear Tosatti, you will not believe me, but I am starting to be truly afraid. I have started to take up the prayer-exorcism to St. Michael the Archangel written by Leo XIII (which had always been said after Mass till 1964 when it was ‘inexplicably’ dropped) [That would have been under the pontificate of the Papa Buono, St. John XXIII. Why indeed was it dropped? I must remember to ask my parish priest at Holy Innocents if he would like to restore it after the traditional Mass.]

I ask myself if I shall have the strength to act against all this without the assistance of my Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church whose leadership I feel to be working against the Gospels and the Truth in which I was raised. The cardinals and bishops who still believe in the Truth of Christ must do something now! I fear as if we are in the ‘end times’, dear Tosatti.

From a terrorized Pezzo Grosso

*From Wikipedia: The Grand Orient of Italy is an Italian masonic grand lodge founded in 1805 by the stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte. As of March 2012 the grand lodge had 21,400 adherents divided in 757 lodges. Although once a significant player within international freemasonry, since 1993 it has not been recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England (due to accusations of corruption and Mafia involvement), and it is not recognised by the Grand Orient of France, the oldest Masonic lodge in Europe (most American Grand Lodges continue to recognise it, however).

In 1925, Freemasonry was suppressed in Italy by Mussolini, but the Masons resumed activities after the Second World War. Propaganda-2, the lodge that investigative journalists identified as being implicated in the 1982 murder of banker Roberto Calvi [chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, whose major stockholder was the Vatican, and which was used by the Mafia for money-laundering; the bank crashed in 1982 and the Vatican had to pay out about $250 million to clients victimized by the crash], was originally chartered by the Grand Orient which revoked its charter in 1974. The Grand Orient revoked its charter in 1974.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/31/2017 6:12 AM]
10/30/2017 4:23 PM
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On the 500th anniversary of Luther's schism and
the first years of his virtual canonization
by an anti-Catholic Pope

Extreme right, the most widely circulated 'death portrait' of Luther (1483-1546) apparently taken from the larger deathbed scene.

500 years of Protestant Revolution:
A must-read account of the life and errors of Martin Luther

October 30, 2017

Fifty years ago, on the 450th anniversary of the Protestant revolt, The Wanderer published Bp. William Adrian's detailed account of the life of German heresiarch Martin Luther. In a few words: Luther was a pervert obsessed with his own sins and temptations, who thought it impossible to try to be a better person: from there arise all his issues.

We have received special permission from The Wanderer to reprint this piece, which should be read by everyone interested in the history of the past five centuries.

The 450th anniversary
of the Lutheran schism

by Bishop William Adrian (Nashville, Tennessee)
September 21, 1967

In presenting the picture of Martin Luther I want to be completely objective, and rely on the authority of some of the most reputable scholars available, many of whom are non-Catholics.

During the last century, especially since 1883, the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Luther, there have been two Luthers – one of panegyric, romance and fiction, and the other the Luther of fact. Since the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation is being commemorated this year, these TWO Luthers are still being presented.

Only recently an ardent clerical Catholic ecumenist wrote that the Catholic Church now admits that it has been wrong all along about Martin Luther, and that he really deserves to be canonized as a saint. On the other hand, most historians presenting facts give quite a different account. These facts about Luther I will briefly present, and let you be the judge.

Dr. Guilday, former history professor at the Catholic University, summed up the work of Luther’s life this way:

“The cleavage of Luther from the Catholic Church was not caused by opposition to the Papacy, but by the false idea, which seems to have haunted him unto obsession – his total impotency under temptation. It was this negation of the moral value of human action – this denial of man’s ability to overcome sin – which led to his famous doctrine of the worthlessness of good works. The only hope he had was a blind reliance on God, whose Son, Jesus Christ, had thrown around him the cloak of his own merits. From this starting point it was facilis descensus Averni(an easy descent to hell). Opposition to all good works, and particularly to Monastic regulations and to Indulgences, led to opposition to authority – Episcopal and Papal.”

The facts of Luther’s life bear out the truth of this statement.

Martin Luther was born in 1483; he was the second oldest of eight children. The discipline in the home appears to have been strict by modern standards, but this could hardly have affected his later life, as some contend. He was a good student, and his father decided that his son should study law, and thus bring some prominence to the family which was very poor. The first four years of Luther’s studies were devoted to liberal arts, principally to the study of Latin, Greek, philosophy and ethics.

At the age of twenty-two he began his study of law, but discontinued after a few weeks, and decided, against his father’s will, to enter the monastic life. Luther gave as the reason for the change the fear for his salvation – caused by a bolt of lightning which killed a companion at his side. He said it was a sign from heaven, and he made a vow to enter a monastery, if his life were spared. Most scholars express doubt about this being the reason, and are of the opinion that Luther had long been pondering this move, and the episode about the vow provided him the occasion for carrying it out. He did not like the study of law anyway.

After one year in the novitiate Luther made his solemn profession at Erfurt, the Augustinian monastery. Some historians insist that “this was the rashest act of his whole life and certainly the most serious,” that Luther had not given any indication of having a vocation to the priesthood or to the religious life (Msgr. Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, Vol. III, p. 505). Nine months later he was ordained a priest, and then began his study of theology. After two years he was sent to Wittenberg to lecture on philosophy and theology.

What kind of man had Luther been up to this time? All agree that he was a tireless worker, but moody, fear-ridden, impulsive. He tried hard to be a good religious, but he did not find that peace for which he had come to the monastery; the anguish of former years, the fear of losing his soul, still remained. Luther frequently spoke of his temptations – the worst of which he says, were not carnal; “evil thoughts, hatred of God, blasphemy, despair, unbelief – THESE were the main temptations. I did penance, but despair did not leave me.”

It is quite clear that a large part of this mental and spiritual state of Luther, was the result of the errors in philosophy and religion being taught at the monastery at that time. A “new religion” was proclaimed, which was mostly a revival of the false teachings of men like Ockham and Wyclif of two centuries before. These heretics had taught that the Bible is the only source of faith – that Christ was the only head of the Church to the exclusion of the Papacy. Some taught a sort of predestination; that priest and laity are all equal – all of which theories Luther later adopted. But always back of Luther’s search was to find a way to overcome his fear of damnation.

In 1512 Luther’s Augustinian superior gave him complete charge of the school of divinity at Wittenberg. From that time on began a complete change in Luther’s life. He began to be lax in his spiritual life. “I seldom have time,” he wrote to a friend, “for reciting the Divine Office and celebrating Mass, and then, too, I have my peculiar temptation from the flesh, the world and the devil.” He gave the excuse of being too busy with preaching, studying, answering letters, administrative affairs, etc. – the incipient cause of the spiritual ruin of many a priest – “too busy” with many things to take care of the needs of his soul.

Although Luther was later to coin such phrases as, “invincible concupiscence,” and “sin boldly but believe more boldly,” and to 'marry' a nun despite his monastic and priestly vows; although he was to speak with the most revolting coarseness of sex-life in general, and his own relations with his wife in particular – it was not his body that was the seat of his real trouble and at times almost drove him insane.

Rather, it was his intensely active imagination, which pictured the anger of God and His punishment of sin so vividly that he could scarcely look on the crucifix. Thus, the one obsession of his life was to find a way for believing that his soul was predestined to be saved beyond all doubt.

About 1514 he thought he found the solution to his problem in the writings of Ockham. Peter Ockham was an English Franciscan friar, whose writings were condemned by the Church in 1347. His errors pertained principally to his ideas about the nature of God and of the constitution of the Church. He taught that what God willed was all-important – man’s will did not count. God could as well command a man to hate Him, as to love Him; HE could choose to damn the innocent and to save the guilty. Sin could co-exist in the soul along with grace. Briefly, salvation depends entirely on God’s will, no matter what man is or does. [Very much as Benedict XVI described the nature of the Allah professed by the Muslims as God, in his Regensburg lecture - someone whose will is entirely arbitrary and devoid of Logos.]

Luther meditating on these ideas, concluded that if what Ockham said was POSSIBLE with God, and were the actual way God operated, then his problem was solved; and he proceeded to formulate his doctrines accordingly.

Luther, after much study of Ockham’s teaching and his own problem, formulated these propositions:
(1) Man, because of original sin, is wholly and forever corrupted; therefore, he is incapable of ever doing any good, meritorious work.
(2) Man’s own sinfulness can have no effect upon his eternal destiny; once he is clad in the robes of Christ’s merits, he is accepted by God as justified, and no sin committed by such a man, can ever give the devil any hold on him.

From these propositions Luther deduced that the necessity of good works for salvation is a sham; penances, indulgences are not only useless, but blasphemous; prayers of petition and the whole sacramental system must be discarded. And so the need of a Church and priesthood disappears.

It was to defend these doctrines that Luther, in 1517, nailed to the door of the Wittenberg church the 95 theses – the question of indulgences included. Thus, Luther made the matter of indulgences, which was at the time a very live issue, the occasion for publicizing his new doctrines.

This episode was NOT the beginning of the revolution against the Church; for 200 years this had been brooding. Luther only brought before the Christian world his new version of the Christian dispensation.

Long before Rome’s solemn condemnation of Luther’s doctrines in 1521, his doctrines had been discussed and fought over in every university in Christendom. Nor had Luther at this time any intention of breaking away from the Church. When, in 1520, Luther was cited by Pope Leo X to answer the charges of teaching heresy, he replied: “Before God and man, I have never wished to attack either the Roman Church or the Pope, and today I have even less intention to do so.”

But in 1517 Luther’s doctrine was not yet complete. He had to find some BASIS for it – some AUTHORITY. Since the philosophy of Aristotle and the theological teaching of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas did not fit into his ideas of Christianity, he discarded them as “out of date,” and adopted the teaching of the Mystics.

This proved very dangerous to Luther with his wild imagination, as it has been to everyone who has not based his religion on the solid doctrines of the Church. Luther himself expresses his ideas thus: “Christianity is nothing but a perpetual exercise in FEELING that you have no sin, although you committed sin, but that your sins are attached to Christ,” meaning “covered by CHRIST’S merits, not your own, you have none.” Then he coined that famous phrase from St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans (3:28): “Salvation is obtained by FAITH ALONE.”

In this there were two fundamental errors.
(1) the word “ALONE” is not in the original text of Scripture.
(2) HE took this sentence out of context, as so many sects since have done, and ignored dozens of texts stating clearly that, NOT FAITH ALONE, but also GOOD WORKS are necessary for salvation.

For example, Christ declared in Matthew 19:17: “If thou wilt have life (salvation), keep the Commandments.” When someone asked Luther about the epistle of St. James declaring that “faith without works is dead,” Luther replied, “it is straw – not authentic.”

So, too, the legend that Luther was the first to translate the Bible into the German language and gave it to the people, is contrary to all the evidence. Luther DID make a copy of the Bible during the ten months that he lived incognito in Wartberg castle for fear of being killed by his enemies, but he probably copied it from an old German Bible. It was not a translation from the original text of Greek or Hebrew, since Luther was not familiar enough with these languages – nor could he get any help. Besides, there were literally thousands of Bibles in Latin and German existing at this time. It would seem that Luther wanted a Bible to suit his new doctrine, changing and omitting parts of it to conform – hence he wrote one.

As time went on, Luther became more bold, more proud, more vulgar. He thought himself inspired – that only HE spoke the truth. [J. MartinBergluther certainly emulates him very well at that.] When he was excommunicated by Leo X in 1521, he became very bitter toward the Papacy, and called it the agent of the devil – the anti-Christ – and he burned the document in the public square.

For Luther the Church was an invisible entity – purely spiritual, comprised only of the souls DESTINED to be saved and subject to God alone; the Papacy and the Hierarchy were founded by Satan; they have neither authority to make laws nor to enforce them. But since the power to direct and govern the faithful in faith and morals must come from SOME source, Luther placed this prerogative in the ruling prince – the State. By what authority? LUTHER’S AUTHORITY.

The State is God’s sole agent, he said; it is supreme; it can make laws governing the Church and rescind them; it can punish any infringement, even with death. King Henry VIII acted on this teaching of Luther.

Since man is all evil, he can gain no merit for salvation by good works; therefore, there is no need of the Sacraments nor of priests. “The Mass is simply devilish wickedness,” stated Luther. Likewise, since man has no free will in deciding his eternal destiny, the Commandments have no meaning; God decides whether a man is destined to be saved.

Faith alone saves; but how to acquire this saving faith Luther never made clear beyond saying that one must keep on believing until he is inwardly convinced that he is saved – all depending on feeling – nothing definite.

But it was in his moral conduct and teaching that Luther was foul-mouthed, scurrilous – even obscene. Most historians declined to print his vile talk. His slogan “Sin bravely, but believe more bravely,” gives the clue to his thinking. He advised priests and nuns to marry as he had done; he urged the State to abolish all monasteries and convents, and many States did. He preached that chastity outside of marriage is an abomination – that the vow of chastity is worse than adultery. He counselled concubinage and immorality for husbands – also divorce and remarriage at the husband’s will.

In his “Table Talks” he speaks jokingly of his sex relations with the mother of his six children. “I confess, he writes, “that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it is not contradicted in Scripture. – I myself could not and would not abstain from impurity.”

Nearly all historians agree that Luther was the instigator of the horrible peasants’ insurrection, and Luther admits it. Over 100,000 peasants were killed, but Luther was not disturbed. One historian remarks that he celebrated the event by marrying the nun, Catherine Bora.

Some insist that Luther reformed the Church; he did NOT reform it – he tried to DESTROY it as far as he could, and left a worse spiritual and moral order. Unquestionably, the Church needed reforming, and Luther did a good turn for the Church insofar as his preaching and writing aroused the Pope and Bishops from their complacency, and the Council of Trent resulted.

Nor is the fact is it any credit to Luther that Protestantism itself has broken up into some 40,000 sects, all contending that theirs is the one true Church Christ founded.

Luther toward the end of his life suffered much from disease; he was filled with remorse and often yielded to fits of anger, sparing neither his wife nor his friends. One of his regrets was that he had said Mass for 15 years. In his last sermon he sharply criticized the monks for refusing to discard their habits. On his deathbed he answered to the question put to him by a disciple that he persevered in his doctrines. On the wall, near his bed, the doctor found this inscription in Latin: “I was your plague while I lived; when I die I shall be your death, O Pope.”

“The least saintly of men,” an English Protestant Bishop said of Luther – hardly a worthy candidate for canonization! Who could disagree?

I will not say that Jorge Bergoglio's knowledge about Martin Luther is spotty or deficient, nor that he has failed to read the papal bull that excommunicated him on heresies regarding dozens of Catholic teachings he renounced, nor the dozens of histories and biographies about Luther that, alongside his positive qualities, also describe his piggish persona and the habitually vulgar and false statements he made about the Church and the popes - but that, as this pope habitually does even with the words of Jesus in the Gospels, he has chosen not to read or acknowledge any negatives about Luther and the poisonous statements he said which are historically documented,choosing instead to attribute nothing but noble and saintly qualities to him.

So for him to present to the faithful and to the world his selectively biased ideas about Luther is outright offensive - to the truth and to God whose Eighth Commandment is 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor", or more generally, 'Thou shalt not (knowingly) lie about anyone or anything' - especially if the lies seek to cover up evil words and deeds. Being pope does not exempt him from the Commandments.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/30/2017 10:45 PM]
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I was going to add this article to the post that had the above photos, but that post is too far back, so I am opening a new post. Once again, my thanks to Aldo Maria Valli for not missing any opportunity to bring up Benedict XVI's teachings which, as he says below, represent a counter-trend to the currently dominant thinking.

The travails of Benedict XVI
Translated from

The photo of Benedict XVI with a bruise under his right eye inspires infinite affection. Published on Facebook by ons. Stefan Oster, Bishop of Passau, who visited the Emeritus Pope Thursday, shows Joseph Ratzinger in all the frailty of his present condition.

Benedict XVI, who will be 91 in April, appears thin, but what struck me most was his expression. Perhaps I am wrong, but in that particular photo, he looks a little lost and betrays a kind of mortification typically of aged persons under certain circumstances.

We know that for years, Papa Ratzinger virtually sees nothing with his left eye because of a maculopathy, and also that he now has to use a hearing aid. All this certainly does not make it easy for him to entertain visitors. Nonetheless, in the former Vatican monastery that has become his residence, he gladly receives visits from friends, and with the simplicity characteristic of him, he did not mind being photographed with his injury, thus providing an image that has instantly become dear to all who think of him and pray for him.

There is so much truth in these recent photographs of Benedict XVI. And to see Papa Ratzinger this way, weakened and helpless, robed in a cassock that has become too large for him, reminds me of the words he wrote about suffering in his encyclical Spe salvi on Christian hope: “We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it” (No. 37).

He explains:

It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater.

It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.
(No. 37)

Farther on, Benedict XVI, with his characteristic lucidity, draws attention to the social implications of suffering and the close connection between the acceptance of suffering, and truth.

The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society.

Yet society cannot accept its suffering members and support them in their trials unless individuals are capable of doing so themselves; moreover, the individual cannot accept another's suffering unless he personally is able to find meaning in suffering, a path of purification and growth in maturity, a journey of hope.

Indeed, to accept the “other” who suffers, means that I take up his suffering in such a way that it becomes mine also. Because it has now become a shared suffering, though, in which another person is present, this suffering is penetrated by the light of love.

The Latin word con-solatio, “consolation”, expresses this beautifully. It suggests [ubeing with the other in his solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.

Furthermore, the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme.

Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie. In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I”, in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love
. (No. 39)

The entire encyclical should be re-read, such is it profundity and such are the reflections therein that are able to ‘hook’ in the reader, as a counter-trend to the dominant thinking today.

I will limit myself to one point which helps us to understand even better how the nonagenarian Ratzinger would be living his condition of advanced age day to day:

There used to be a form of devotion — perhaps less practised today but quite widespread not long ago — that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it.

What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.

And listen to what Benedict XVI said in May 2010 during his visit to the chapel of the Piccola Casa della Divina Provvidenza (Little House of Divine Providence) in Turin, better known as the Cottolengo [an Italian term for hospitals and hospices for the sick, derived from the Turin institution founded by San Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo, a pioneer among Turin’s great ‘social saints’ of the 19th century, and who also founded a religious order with priests, sisters and brothers]. Meeting with the wards in the institution, he said:

“Dear people who are suffering ailments: You are carrying out an important task: by living your sufferings in union with Christ who was crucified and rose, you are taking part in the mystery of his suffering for the salvation of the world. By offering our pain to God through Christ, we can collaborate in the triumph of good over evil, because God renders our offering, our act of love, fruitful.

Dear brothers and sisters, all of you who are here – do not feel that you are estranged from the destiny of the world, but know instead that you are precious pieces of the beautiful mosaic that God, as a great artist, is putting together day after day, with your contribution. Christ, who died on the Cross to save us, allowed himself to be nailed on it, because from that wooden cross, that sign of death, life would flourish in all its splendor.”

There! Wecan be sure that Pope Benedict is offering his own sufferings for the good of mankind and of the Church. And in that way, he is collaborating in the triumph of good over evil.

Let us unite ourselves with him.

I am struck by the name of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo - it is the second such combination in a saint's given names that I am aware of. The other is St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the beggar saint of Rome (1748-1783), one of the saints along with Bernadette of Lourdes, whose birthday on April 16 is shared by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Very auspicious portents!
10/30/2017 11:31 PM
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3,000 refers to the number that indicated they would like to be kept informed about the youth synod, out of some 150,000 visits.

Thanks to the blog 'Deus ex machina' by S. Armaticus for calling my attention to the La Croix International item about the response - or lack thereof -
to the Vatican online questionnaire intended for Catholic youths around the world, preparatory to the planned Bergoglian synod that is supposed
to focus on them...

Disappointing response to Vatican's
unprecedented youth survey

by Gauthier Vaillant
October 26, 2017

More than 4 months ago the Vatican posted an online international poll for people 16-29 years of age. It was part of preparations for the Synod of Bishops' ordinary assembly on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment" to take place in Rome in October 2018.

The direct consultation was unprecedented for the Vatican. It was meant to take place in parallel with the contributions from bishops' conferences from each country around the world. The survey was posted online on June 14 and was designed to be open to all young people irrespective of religion or geographic origin.

But a month after the survey closed, the Synod's secretary-general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, has revealed some interesting statistics. While a total of 148,247 people visited the survey site, less than half of this number -- a little more than 65,000 -- actually answered all the questions. However, some 3,000 respondents left their email addresses and said they wished to be kept informed of the survey's outcome.

The Vatican's daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported the figures in its October 25th edition. Cardinal Baldisseri had already unveiled them last week at a conference for Italian religious publishers in the Northern Italy city of Pordenone.

The figures are quite low for a worldwide survey [DUH!], particularly if compared to the 2.5 million people who participated in the most recent World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland during the summer of 2016.

Observers who have closely followed the preparations for next year's synodal assembly have noted that communications were not very effective in some countries.
- The language barrier was a problem. For instance, the survey was not translated into German. As a result, the German bishops made their own translation and distributed it locally. But the Gereman responses are not included in the figures given by Cardinal Baldisseri's office.
- During his address in Pordenone the cardinal also presented a summary of comments young people made on the survey itself. He cited several testimonies from French respondents who expressed satisfaction with the way the survey was carried out.

- On the other hand, he also noted various criticisms of the survey. For example, some respondents felt the questionnaire was too long,
- while others felt a number of important issues were hardly addressed or not tackled at all.These include problems linked to alcohol, drug and medicine consumption; sexuality and relationship issues; or even links with other religions.

Young people who attended a September seminar the Vatican held in preparation for the synod had already expressed some of these same concerns. Cardinal Baldisseri insisted last week that the contribution of young people “is essential for the conclusions to correspond to the reality of the Church and society".

He warned that without this “there is a risk of building ‘castles in the air', which will remain uninhabited because young people do not identify with them”.

It has now been decided that the questionnaire will remain online until November 30. Responses will be used to help draft the Synod's Instrumentum Laboris (or the working document for the assembly on youth), which is expected to be published in the summer of 2018.

HO-HUM! This pitiful response seems to tell us that an insignificant number of web-surfing addicts as most young people are these days showed any interest at all in the 'youth synod'. Perhaps the response would have been greater to a poll on who was interested in the traditional Mass.

BTW, the 'Deus ex machina' blog has a most interesting analysis comparing the troubled National Football League in the USA (where an increasing number of players are choosing to disrespect the flag when the national anthem is sung) and the declining attendance at NFL games, with the church of Bergoglio and its declining Mass attendance, as well as attendance at his public Vatican events...

10/31/2017 12:44 PM
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Left, Our Lady of the Rosary with Sts Dominic and Catherine of Siena (miraculous icon of Our Lady of Pompeii); center, procession banner of Our Lady of the Rosary, miraculous image commemorating the Battle of Lepanto in Manila's La Naval annual celebration of her feast and that battle; right, the Schutzmantelmadonna (Our Lady of the Sheltering Cloak), German term for Our Lady of Mercy or Mother of Mercy.

Some smartypants Bergoglians who are not Vatican insiders are discovering a way to instant global 'celebrity' - at least in the eyes of those who follow Church news on the Web. Which is, to say something even more Bergoglian than anything Bergoglio himself has explicitly articulated. Which means, in turn, the 'something' is bound to be truly outrageous, but voila! you will get yourself talked about online and in conventional media for weeks if not months on end - and get yourself invited to lecture and spread your word!

James Martin, SJ, first hit upon the strategy - by design or by chance - with his book that is a virtual manifesto for sexual deviants and their sinful practices, with the open endorsement of changing Church teaching to conform to his 'openmindedness' which is as anti-Catholic as most of the outrageous things his lord and master Bergoglio has been preaching.

Comes now one Massimo Faggioli (born 1970), an Italian who has lived in the USA since 2008 and is currently Professor of Theology and Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences of Villanova University in Philadelphia, who has made a niche for himself by commenting on Church events in as many publications (English and Italian) as he can. He is now a contributing editor for Commonweal, for which he has been blogging regularly, as well as a columnist for La Croix International and the Huffington Post. You can't have better Bergoglian credentials than that.

Except Mr. Faggioli (whom Fr. Z and others have dubbed 'Maximum Beans' from a literal translation of his name - almost anyway, because the word for bean in Italian is spelled with only one 'g') has lately been over-reaching his ultra-Bergoglian polemical tone and anti-Catholic content. To the point where he is fast approaching James Martin's global 'celebrity' status (i.e., mission accomplished for him!)... Fr Z takes him on, in his weird statements about the Rosary and Our Lady...

Yes, the Rosary is a spiritual weapon.
I perceive a cry for help from @massimofaggioli
who objects that the Rosary is a weapon and that
we should invoke Our Lady as our protective shield

October 20, 2017

I can only interpret Massimo “Beans” Faggioli’s confused statements about the Rosary as a cry for help. Otherwise, what he has repeated is truly dreadful. I had earlier posted a request to you readers to say the Rosary for him.

Now I see that he is at it again.

In Brussels there was an ecumenical service held - in the cathedral of all places -for “Reformation” Sunday. Some young Catholics had the audacity to pray the Rosary. The powers that be had them removed by the police.

Beans tooted on Twitter:

The Most Holy Rosary certainly IS a weapon. It is entirely proper to speak of the Rosary as a weapon.

Faggioli’s statement against thinking about the Rosary as spiritual weapon is a diabolical insinuation which, if taken seriously, could undermine how people pray and enervate our will to resist the attacks of the Enemy of the Soul with one of our most powerful spiritual tools. It is, quite simply, wicked in its implications. I hope and pray that he is merely confused.

Faggioli’s statement against thinking about Mary as a “human shield” is preposterous. It flies directly in the face of centuries of tradition, prayer and Catholic identity. One of the earliest Christian prayers which we possess is

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We take refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our needs, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Pope Francis has spoken of this prayer and the protection that Mary provides.

What on earth is Faggioli up to? Is it a cry for help in the shape of self-promotion? “Hey! Look at me! See how edgy I can be?”
Remember that he is one of the New catholic Red Guards.

Another writer of the New catholic Red Guards, Michael Sean Winters of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) has also tried to undermine our use of the Rosary by objecting to referring to it as a “weapon”. Coincidence?

Just do a search of the webs for “Schutzmantelmadonna“ (Our Lady of the Protective Cloak).

It is hard to understand how Faggioli can be so obtuse when it comes to this odd notion of his. But he has now repeated it.

Please place Massimo beneath Mary’s shielding mantle and say some or all of a Rosary for him. Pray for him and against his influence on the unsuspecting.

Perhaps also ask Blessed Bartolo Longo [1841-1926, the ex-Satanist 'priest' who found the true faith at age 30 and became a Dominican tertiary who would devote the rest of his life to propagating the Rosary devotion; he became instrumental for establishing in 1875 what is now the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii] to intercede for him with Our Lady and before the throne of God.

Let me help Massimo in a concrete way: At the Assumption Sunday Mass he celebrated in Castel Gandolfo in 2013 (the one and only time he has done so), Pope Francis told the crowds:

“Mary joins us, she fights at our side. She supports Christians in the fight against the forces of evil. Especially through prayer, through the rosary. Hear me out, the rosary… Do you pray the Rosary each day? I don’t know, are you sure? There we go!”...

"But this does not mean that [Mary] is distant or detached from us; rather Mary accompanies us, fights along with us, sustains Christians in their combat against the forces of evil. Pray with Mary, especially the Rosary – but listen carefully: the Rosary. Do you pray the Rosary every day? But I’m not sure you do [the people shout “Yes!”]… Really? So, prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this “combative” dimension, that is of struggle, a prayer that sustains us in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.

[How wonderful to be able to cite this pope positively,for a change!]

A propos Mr. Faggioli's 'celebrity-climbing' stunts, note the banner headline in this line-up (PewSitter is still not functional).

Read Faggioli's latest lunacy here:
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 10/31/2017 1:02 PM]
10/31/2017 1:53 PM
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Cardinal Mueller, however, outdoes Maximum Beans in headline-baiting. He continues to straddle the fence one fears for the discomfort if not damage to his 'posterior' (to be euphemistic about a five-letter word that starts with 'b') by doing it so much and so long. Here's his latest stunt - which is like acrobatic fence-straddling (sounds like a rodeo trick, doesn't it?).

Cardinal Mueller writes foreword for
AL defender's book on the exhortation from hell

Oct. 30, 2017

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has criticized both those who question the faith of Pope Francis due to the controversies over Amoris Laetitia, and those who say that, through the document, the Pope is presenting a “radical paradigm shift” in moral theology.

Such polarization, “schismatic temptations” and “dogmatic confusion” are “very dangerous for the unity of the Church,” he added, and insisted that chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia — its most controversial chapter dealing with the pastoral care of those in irregular unions including divorced and civilly remarried Catholics — “can and must be understood in the orthodox sense.”

[Of course, this has been Mueller's sanctimonious and consistent rationale for his fence-straddling on AL, but while it is true that like all ambiguous magisterial documents, an orthodox interpretation is advised as the default position, 1) in the case of AL, the heterodoxies are so patent, if casuistic and supposedly surreptitious (via footnotes), that an orthodox reading of them is bending over backwards and mental acrobatics - but Mueller has proven to be quite a master of all that - in order to see them in any charitable light; and 2) he does not at all address Buttiglione's defense of AL's questionable propositions (an insubstantial defense that Ed Peters and other canonists had a grand time tearing down).]

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the comments in the preface of a new book Risposte amichevoli ai critici di Amoris laetitia (Friendly Responses to Critics of Amoris Laetitia) by Rocco Buttiglione.

An Italian philosopher, politician and former friend of Pope St. John Paul II, Buttiglione has sought to defend Amoris Laetitia from its critics, insisting it is in continuity with previous magisterial teaching.

In the preface, Cardinal Müller agrees with Buttiglione that Amoris Laetitia can be read in an orthodox way and “does not imply any magisterial shift towards situation ethics,” and therefore the cardinal asserts it does not contradict Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, although the encyclical is not cited in Amoris Laetitia.

He further argues that Amoris Laetitia does not teach or propose “in a binding way” that a person in mortal sin can receive the sacraments if they have not repented with a firm purpose of amendment.

Cardinal Müller also says AL does not support the thesis that “an objectively bad act can become subjectively good” but adds there may be “mitigating circumstances” in an irregular union.

“An accurate analysis” of Amoris Laetitia, he says, “has not proposed any doctrine to be believed in a binding way that is in open or implicit contradiction to the clear doctrine of the Sacred Scripture and to the dogmas defined by the Church on the sacraments of marriage, penance and Eucharist.”
[You know what, Your Eminence? The faithful out there do not have time - nor is it their task - for any 'accurate analysis' of a deliberately ambiguous document whose main propositions are couched in classic doublespeak. Forget the analyses! Just look at how AL's multiple permissiveness comes across to the average Catholic!("The pope says it's OK!")]

He adds that “nowhere” in the document does it say that a baptized Catholic, in a condition of mortal sin, is allowed to receive Holy Communion. [DUH! As if Bergoglio and his gang of cunning casuists would ever expose themselves so directly and unequivocally to an accusation of material heresy!]

Furthermore, he says that the document’s statement “that no one can be condemned forever” must be understood “from the point of view of care, that never surrenders, for the eternal salvation of sinner rather than as a categorical denial of the possibility of an eternal condemnation which, however, presupposes voluntary obstinacy in sin.”

Later in the preface, the cardinal reinforces the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage [Of course, he would, pro forma, though I do not doubt he abides by it] while recognizing that “existential situations” can be “very different and complex.” [There we are, with an excuse for situational ethics which he denies is the case with AL!].

But he also criticizes parts of Amoris Laetitia, saying the controversial footnote 351 which opens the door for some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion, “suffers from a lack of clarity” [Yeah, right! As CDF Prefect at the time, he ought to have been leading the line demanding clarity on this and AL's other questionable propositions. Oh wait, would that not have constituted the principal comments/objections he submitted to the pope when given the draft AL for the CDF to review (obviously pro forma only) - but which comments, said to number about 200, were simply ignored, with no further protest from him? Why were the objections valid when presented in good faith, but suddenly, do not mean a thing at all to their proponent once they were ignored by the pope?] - majority of which, he says, could have been resolved by referring to the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council on the “appropriate way of receiving the Eucharist.” ['Majority' of what objections - considering that the antecedent in the sentence only cited one (the footnote)???]

Nevertheless, he insists that the footnote “contains nothing that contradicts” the need to confess one’s own grave sins through the sacrament of penance.

Cardinal Müller writes that an important point in Amoris Laetitia, one that is “often not correctly understood in all its pastoral meaning,” is the “law of gradualness,” which, he stresses, is a “process of clarification, discernment and maturation” based on the recognition of one’s own personal relationship with God.

For someone who wishes to change, to turn the Lord saying “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,” pastoral accompaniment “has a special importance,” the cardinal comments, adding it is, as the Pope says, “a way of love.”

He goes on to again emphasise that Holy Communion can only be received by those who have repented of their sins with the intent of no longer committing them again.

And he adds that a priest “cannot publicly humiliate the sinner by publicly rejection Holy Communion and damaging his good name in front of the community.” Instead, he must “warn everyone in general” of not approaching the table of the Lord before repenting.

The cardinal said the “bitter controversy” over chapter 8 is “regrettable” and that he accepted Buttiglione’s invitation to write the preface in the hope it would contribute to “restoring peace in the Church.” [Yeah, right! As if this foreword - and all of Mueller's very public fence-straddling since he was fired - could appease Bergoglio at all, much less deter him one iota from pushing Bergoglianism aggressively while nominally leading the one true Church of Christ!]

He praises Rocco Buttiglione as “an authentic Catholic of proven competence in the field of moral theology.” He also says Buttiglione's analyses “open doors and build bridges” to the critics of Amoris Laetitia, and calls on those who “superficially” read the document in order to relativize the indissolubility of marriage and “shake the foundations of morals” to seriously rethink their position. [So Mueller implicitly and explicitly rejects a priori and a posteriori all the arguments of the serious critics of AL, many of whom are perhaps fr better thinkers and far better Catholics than he is. QED, that is, Mueller's mental acrobatics and fundamentally dishonesty in his entire flipflopping, hemming-hawing fence-straddling positions on AL.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/2/2017 5:21 AM]
10/31/2017 6:06 PM
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Dan Hitchens is deputy editor of the UK Catholic Herald.

A crisis of doctrine, such as the one through which the Catholic Church is now passing, has several sad effects. Most obviously, the truth is obscured, with unthinkable consequences for the salvation of souls.

[That is why it infuriates me all the more that Cardinal Mueller behaves as if there were no crisis of faith at all - that provided Catholics say to themselves, "Whatever this pope says, I will interpret it in the orthodox way", it's all right for Catholics to inhabit a doctrinally-confused world in which it is the pope himself who unleashes the confusion intemperately and immoderately and relentlessly, when he is dutybound to 'confirm his brethren' in their faith.]

Heretical movements often unleash immoderate rage against orthodox believers (look at the ongoing clampdown on theological debate, and the well-grounded fears of the clergy). But the most obvious result is the very evident grief among faithful Catholics.

I keep hearing or reading things like, “It’s so tempting to just give up,” or “I don’t know how to explain this to my kids.” It may be only a small minority who are aware of the crisis, so far, but that minority is growing. The other day I bumped into an acquaintance who I can’t remember previously saying a thing about Vatican politics. Almost the first words out of his mouth were: “It’s terrible, isn’t it?”

St. Vincent of Lerins referred to such a situation as a “great trial” for Catholics: to keep one’s faith when it is coming under attack — hardest of all, when it is being attacked by distinguished teachers. [Let's not tiptoe around it and say it simply and honestly: hardest of all when the faith is being attacked by an anti-Catholic pope whom few are brave and realistic enough to recognize as such!]

How agonizing, for instance, for Origen’s followers, when he began to teach error. No one was more learned, more virtuous, more courageous, more inspirational, than Origen — and then he started to teach heresy! St. Vincent writes of him:

Truly, thus of a sudden to seduce the Church which was devoted to him, and hung upon him through admiration of his genius, his learning, his eloquence, his manner of life and influence, while she had no fear, no suspicion for herself — thus, I say, to seduce the Church, slowly and little by little, from the old religion to a new profaneness, was not only a trial, but a great trial.

[However, Bergoglio has certainly not 'seduced' by "his genius, his learning, his eloquence, his manner of life and influence"(none of which can be attributed to him, because even his 'manner of life' is a grand put-on), but by cunning and guile, and most of all, by shamelessly availing of his unparalleled position as elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church with his supreme and sovereign power over the entire Church. A power that is not absolute but that he wields as if it is!]

Our situation today is, in many ways, better than what St. Vincent describes. It is better because the explicit teachers of error, in our own time, are not very impressive figures, whereas those renowned for their learning and wisdom — people such as Cardinal Caffarra, Bishop Schneider, Fr. Aidan Nichols, and John Finnis — have lined up on the side of the Church’s traditional teaching.

What is distressing, for many Catholics, is to find themselves out of harmony with the pope. To be clear: Pope Francis is not the one directly proclaiming strange novelties. [Oh please, if he quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc - he's the one and only Donald-Dude ultimately responsible for the universal dominance today of extreme Catholic-Liteism in its new brand as Bergoglianism.]

The ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia are probably open to orthodox interpretation. Nowhere does the text say that the remarried may now receive Communion if they are still sleeping with their new partner. Nowhere does it unambiguously teach any of the false theories which, as far as I can tell, would be needed to justify such a change.

[BS! The only ones who care that AL does not, after all, overtly, directly and unequivocally articulate its dubious and anti-Catholic propositions are those who would bend over backwards - like Cardinal Mueller, and now, Dan Hitchens here - to absolve Bergoglio of any doctrinal wrongdoing.

For everyone else, it is public perception that matters (what average man-in-the-pew would really bother to read a 200-page document of verbose ballast to dissimulate and dilute out the poison of AL Chapter 8?) - and surely Bergoglio and his minions have been counting on the habitual unquestioning obedience of Catholics on hearing 'the pope says...' without scrutinizing its source!

Yet for a pope to teach anything partially (e.g., omitting 'Go and sin no more' from the narrative of Jesus and the adulterous woman) or falsely (such as the erroneous and out-of-context citations in AL of St Thomas Aquinas) is a misuse of his magisterial authority and an offense against TRUTH, i.e., against Christ himself. How can Mueller and Hitchens justify such offenses in any way? Especially since they are habitual, and not just limited to AL but pervade the rest of this pope's dubious magisterium?

Let's not even mention the 2-3 years now that Bergoglio himself and his surrogates and sycophants have been conditioning the public mind about all their 'merciful' intentions towards adulterers and other sinners. from whom they will not even require sincere repentance and 'amendment of life' to correct their chronic state of mortal sin.

In view of all that, it is simply STUPID to keep saying 'AL should be read properly', especially since any Catholic in his right mind and aware of the essentials of faith would quickly see through all the elaborate ruses of AL to circumvent any charge of material heresy for heretical or near-heretical statements.]

But other figures, in the aftermath of that document, most certainly do.
- One prominent commentator argues that though Jesus forbade divorce, His words needn’t be taken literally, any more than “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” -
Another commentator, a very close associate of the pope, thinks that adultery should be considered as like killing — generally inadvisable, but not always wrong (what about self-defense?).
- The Maltese bishops’ conference is under the impression that having extramarital sex can actually be unavoidable, like one’s annual bout of the flu.
- An American bishop teaches that going to Communion is less a matter of whether one is in a state of grace, and more of deciding whether “God is calling” one to do so.
- A bishop in Argentina has — according to still-undenied reports —given Communion to thirty of the divorced and remarried in one big ceremony, without any mention of a resolution to live continently.

To be clear again: this is quite a time for opportunistic misrepresentation. After all — the Pope has not publicly taught any of this. And yet it is glaringly obvious that none of the teachings or actions above have been condemned by Rome [QED QED QED - WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO SHED THOSE FALSELY CHARITABLE BLINKERS?]

Whereas those who have upheld the teaching of the Church — the dubia cardinals, the signatories of the filial correction, Cardinal Müller — are ignored or sidelined. [Mueller has certainly made good use of being 'sidelined' to establish ever more firmly his intellectual dishonesty about AL and about this pope.]

It is also glaringly obvious that — to put it mildly — there is a tension between the pope’s words on subjects such as the death penalty and the doctrine of the Church. Every Catholic wants to sit at the feet of the Roman pontiff and accept what he says. [I always took this for granted and never thought that in my lifetime, I should have to live with an anti-Catholic pope taking over the Church of Christ to make of it what he pleases. But here we are, and there he is, the utterly effable (as opposed to ineffable) Argentine monster by the Tiber.]

But it is the teaching of the saints, of Scripture itself, that at times this may be impossible. And the thought that we may be living in such a time tears at the heart.

Some think it is their duty to correct the pope, in the most deferential and respectful words they can find; some address the errors head-on, but feel it is only cardinals who have the right to correct the Holy Father directly. Some limit themselves to saying that a clarification would be helpful. Still others attempt to convince themselves that the whole thing is a misunderstanding, that the pope wouldn’t dream of approving Communion for the remarried.

I do not know what the correct response is. But in this time of anxiety, the words of St. Vincent of Lerins may offer some comfort. If a heresy spreads and acquires strength, St. Vincent says, it is “because the Lord your God does make trial of you, whether you love Him or not.” St. Paul said that “there must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you.”

So each doctrinal crisis, St. Vincent tells us, is a chance to renew our love for Our Lord: “If the authors of heresies are not immediately rooted up by God … [it is] that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.”

11/2/2017 5:23 AM
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Sorry... I had a 'Reformation Day' post all ready for Oct. 31 but my laptop's 'on' switch retracted and locked into its 'off' position and I haven't been
able to turn it back on and all my new stuff is locked up with it. Must bring it to a repair shop. I can 'show off' a couple of banners I used in the post,
since I can recover my Cube-Upload images.

First, my new Jorge Martin Bergluther banner:

The Luther portrait, one of several by Lucas Cranach the Elder and possibly the most widely reproduced, dates to 1532, and features
a favorite motto of Luther "In silentio et in spe erit fortitudo vestra" (In quietness and in trust shall be your strength)(Is 30,15).
A strange choice for one who was as intemperately voluble as his 21st century heir, who, BTW, would do well to pick up the 'quietness'
part of the verselet.

Then there's this from the German newspaper DIE WELT:

which expresses in words what my Bergluther banner does: the 'thesis' being the supposedly Catholic Bergoglio, who was, after all,
elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church; Martin Luther as the 'anti-thesis'; and Bergluther and Bergoglianism (aiming to be the
21st century version of Lutheranism) as the 'synthesis'.

And from another German newspaper:

The very title, of course, illustrates that we have now progressed from the no-longer-rhetorical question "Is the (this) pope Catholic?"
to "How Protestant is the (this) pope?" As you can see, the evangelical theologian interviewed about Bergoglio considers him the
'true heir of Luther'. Marco Tosatti featured the interview in a double-post to mark the fifth centenary of the so-called Protestant
Reformation, and which made up the body of my lost post (which means I have to re-translate).

Finally, as a curio of sorts, Luther in death:

Left, death mask and hands-cast of Luther; center, a portrait depicting the death of Luther; and right, a version of the most widely
disseminated 'death portrait' of Luther, which seems to have been lifted from the deathbed scene.

And, lest you forget, my first 'banner' way back to protest the concelebration of the fifth centenary of Luther's schism...

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/2/2017 8:22 AM]
11/2/2017 5:46 AM
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November 1, 2017 headlines

It turns out that PewSitter's absence in the past few days was not a technical problem as announced but rather an end to the site,
at least in the form we have known it, with the possibility it may re-open eventually under new management.

I'd like to express my thanks to PewSitter and its staff for making it faster and more convenient for us Churchnews junkies (I became
one only when Benedict XVI became pope, and am compelled to retain a minimum of that junkie-ism even now, for as long as I
continue to post on the Forum) to get a quick overview of the news and commentary one must or would like to look up. Now, we are
left with the other Catholic news aggregator in English, Frank Walker's, which is, of course, an offshoot of PewSitter
after Walker left them over some internal wrangle.

I certainly hope that now Walker has been left alone in the roost, he will not take it as license to persist in his questionable manipulation of headlines. He can express his biases properly and much more effectively by providing responsible and mature headlines which can be eye-catching without being misleading or hyperbolic or juvenile. He could begin by cutting out the 'FrancisChurch', 'Franciscardinal', 'Francisbishop', Francis-this-or-that tags. Readers will know them by their name and the views they express!


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/2/2017 6:38 AM]
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Is the dam breaking that has kept most priests and bishops from spilling forth what they really think of this pontificate and the
actions of the pope? One must applaud Fr. Weinandy for going beyond the necessary courtesies of his opening and closing paragraphs
to express himself in direct, honest no-nonsense language that is far from 'filial' nor even 'fraternal', but rather 'paternal', in the
manner of a father who only has his wayward son's best interests at heart, by laying down the facts of his ill-considered actions and
their inevitable consequences, in order to straighten him out. Others may say that in short, Fr. Weinandy is really berating or
reproaching or denouncing Bergoglio. Anyway you see it, the good father is, in fact, seeking in his own way to correct the pope as
others have done before him (since he explicitly disapproves of the earlier corrections) - and why not?

US Capuchin theologian dismissed as consultant to the USCCB
after making public a critical letter he sent to the pope

Like the DUBIA cardinals, Fr. Thomas Weinandy decided to go public
after failing to get any response to his letter sent on July 31, 2017

by Carl Olson

November 1, 2017

Editor’s note: Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., is a highly regarded and accomplished American theologian who is former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His fields of academic specialty include Christology, Trinitarian theology, soteriology, and philosophical notions of God. He has taught at several American universities and for twelve years at the University of Oxford.

The author of several books and numerous articles for both academic and popular publications, he is the current President of the Academy of Catholic Theology, and a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Catholic Theological Society of Great Britain, the North American Patristics Society, and the Association Internationale D’Etudes Patristiques.

Fr. Weinandy recently made public a three-page letter he had sent to Pope Francis on July 31, 2017. The letter, posted in full below, expresses Fr. Weinandy’s concerns about several aspects of the current pontificate, including the much-debated Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father’s apparent low regard for Church doctrine, and the clear sense that many bishops “fear that if they speak their mind” about their concerns, “they will be marginalized or worse.”

I spoke for a few minutes this morning with Fr. Weinandy, and he told me that since the letter’s publication, he has received many positive and encouraging notes from theologians, priests, and lay people. However, the USCCB asked him to resign from his current position as consultant to the bishops, and he has submitted his resignation. In making such a request, the USCCB, it would appear, reinforces Fr. Weinandy’s very point about fearfulness and lack of transparency.

Fr. Weinandy has graciously allowed CWR to publish both his letter and an explanation of how he came to write his letter; both are reprinted in full below.

Fr.Weinandy’s note of explanation:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member. I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel. I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.

I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.

I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety. On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner. That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me. It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.

At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time. When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign. This is what the sign must be. Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran. After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine. During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time. That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain. Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind. However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside). I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop. We recognized one another immediately.

What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances, I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese. (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.) We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing. I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.

He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation. He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book. Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.
- First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised. Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received. This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.
- Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner. He accomplished it through an archbishop. By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’s fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.

Fr.Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First, there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.” I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.

The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.

As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.

Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.

Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine. Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.

But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.

Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.

What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice. This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being. As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.

Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern. You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church. You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this?

Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’s Church. [A GREAT AMEN TO THAT!]

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Here are the USCCB statements released yesterday on Fr. Weinandy (Fr. Z's comments are in red in the statement from the USCCB president) -
the title is what the USCCB gives to the letter on its website. Which is a big joke, of course, because how does one dialog with someone -
the pope, in this case - who refuses to answer legitimate questions raised to him, first in private, and after a reasonable interval,
shared with the public because of the lack of response. Note that Cardinal Di Nardo's statement was released the same day
Fr. Weinandy made his letter to the pope public.
... Just as importantly, it was immediately preceded by the ff news release
to properly set the stage for Weinandy's 'departure'...

USCCB president on
'dialog within the Church'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialogue within the Church today.

The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church. Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues. [However, personal opinions can be shown to be in keeping or out of keeping with the Church’s teachings. Pastoral issues are another matter, since they often deal with contingent situations that allow more than one solution.]

In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good. However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II. These distinctions are not always very helpful. [Look. This statement clearly concerns what Fr. Weinandy wrote. However, I read the letter Fr. Weinandy wrote. HERE. There is nothing “political” in Weinandy’s letter. Why bring in “pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II?” That is irresponsible. Are we to conclude that the statement is also a kind “declaration”… of something?]

Christian charity needs to be exercised by all involved. [Yes… all involved… which means the writers of statements.] In saying this, we all must acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work of the Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growing understanding of God’s truth.

As Bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “presupposition” to his Spiritual Exercises: “…that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.” This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father. [And… what about to Fr. Weinandy?] [Moreover, how does one put a 'good' interpretation on patently heterodox if not near-heretical statements reiterated in a variety of ways by the pope himself and his supporters???]

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who is "the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG, no. 23).” [[Obviously, not Francis/Bergoglio in himself - the Vatican-II statement refers to any pope, not anticipating or even remotely considering the possibility that within 50 years of Vatican-II, a pope would be elected who seems bent on being 'the perpetual and visible source and foundation of DISUNITY" among the bishops and the faithful.]

Fr Z's comment: Puzzling. [To me, it is not. Quite obviously, the USCCB wished to be on record - for the annals of the Bergoglio pontificate - that the US bishops are collectively distancing themselves from Fr. Weinandy and his criticisms of the pope - "Look, he's not one of us at all!" - openly implying that those criticisms are 'not charitable' to say the least, and therefore, wrongful to be addressed to the 'Holy Father' at all.]

Steve Skojec commented thus on the USCCB statement (I will omit his introduction referring to having published Fr. Weinandy's letter
earlier in the day)

Dialog? Priest who wrote a letter to the pope
has been asked to resign his USCCB position

by Steve Skojec

November 1, 2017

...One diocesan priest who spoke with 1P5 on condition of anonymity said that he was certain Fr. Weinandy’s letter “drew consternation from several US Cardinals and Bishops”, particularly where the letter addressed how “faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted” by the pope’s choice of some bishops, “men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them,” causing scandal to the faithful and weakening the sensus fidei.

“There is no way” the priest told me, “that this remark didn’t directly sting Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Ferrell, and Bishop McElroy in particular, as they have been busy supporting Father James Martin, S.J., and others like him. I would be very surprised if they were not directly behind Fr. Thomas Weinandy’s forced resignation.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the USCCB, released a statement today about Fr. Weinandy — never once mentioning that he was asked to resign, but only speaking of his unexplained “departure” — under the pretext that the situation is an opportunity to reflect on “dialogue within the Church.” [Here, Skojec inserts the text of Di Nardo's statement.]

The reader is left to wonder how “dialogue” has become a euphemism for “suppression of any views different than our own”.
- How is it that those who speak most forcefully in favor of “tolerance” are always the last to practice tolerance toward those with ideas they find inconvenient?
- How is it that the President of the USCCB lacks the courage to simply state that Fr. Weinandy was asked to resign for speaking an unpopular opinion, regardless of its merit, and without consideration given to the fact that it was voiced respectfully and in the exercise of his conscience on a matter of grave importance — and about which he has the requisite theological competency to comment?

For some time now, we have been using terms in our coverage like “The Dictatorship of Mercy” and “The Persecution of Orthodoxy” to help explain the reality orthodox Catholics face in the Church of 2017 [nominally and for all intents and purposes [mis]led by Bergoglio]: if you stand up for the truths of the faith, you will suffer the consequences at the hands of those charged with defending those same truths. And as we have told you, there is no reason to expect we won’t see this reaction continue to escalate.

Our Church has become Orwellian indeed. One is reminded of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s recent remarks, based on his experience growing up in the Soviet Union:

For decades it became within the Church politically correct and “good manners” to proclaim and to promote practically the freedom of theological speech, debate and research, so that freedom in thinking and speaking became a slogan.

At the same time, one can now observe the paradox that this very freedom is denied to those in the Church who in our days raise their voices with respect and politeness in defense of the truth.

This bizarre situation reminds me of a famous song which I had to sing in the Communist school in my childhood, and whose wording was, as follows: “The Soviet Union is my beloved homeland, and I do not know another country in the world where man can breathe so freely.”
[Ah, mintiendi gaudium!(the joy of lying).

Weirdly - wittingly, or unwittingly - the CRUX headline for the Weinandy story was this: Ex-bishops’ doctrine chief says darkness coming to light under Francis - which seems to say exactly the opposite of what Fr. Weinandy meant in the line "truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul".

P.S. Fr H adds some biographical information about Fr. Weinandy which none of what I have read so far even hinted at:

Fr Weinandy and his fine career at Oxford

Npv. 2, 2017

I very much regret that I have never met Fr Thomas Weinandy, whose letter to PF has just been published. He is a distinguished American theologian; he was in Oxford for a decade or two and his reputation was high when I came back here later than his return to America. He was Warden of Greyfriars, a Permanent Private Hall of the University, and for a time Chairman of the Theology Faculty.

The fact that the American Episcopal Conference, within minutes, sacked him from being a Consultor of their Doctrine Committee must indicate that America is awash with brilliant theologians. If that Conference really can so easily do without someone of his standing ...

It must also indicate that the USA Episcopal Conference is dominated by very little men. God bless the dear little fellows.

This cheap and vulgar ritual humiliation exemplifies the extent to which PF is presiding over a bully-boy Church in which midget bishops and minicardinals compete to defeat each other in the sycophancy stakes. Just as Tom Weinandy has, in effect, just said.

The young Weinandy was taught at Kings, London, by the great Anglican Thomist Canon Professor Eric Mascall, which gives him a link with our great Anglican Patrimony. I like to think that his action redeems the honour of the American Church, just as the courageous lecture given in August by Fr Aidan Nichols redeemed that of the English Church.

Nichols is an Oxford man (Cardinal College) and Weinandy is Oxonian by adoption, so I feel that dear St Frideswide Universitatis specialis adiutrix (the university's special 'helper') must be quietly satisfied that, despite the demonic spirit of secularisation at work in modern Oxford, some of her lads have turned out good during this unparalleled crisis in the Church Militant. Floreat Oxonia (Oxford flourishes)!.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/3/2017 1:59 PM]
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In view of all the reactions to Fr. Weinandy's critique of the pope, one wonders at the perverseness of the writer from CRUX who derides the CORRECTIO FILIALIS as having 'died down' to a whimper because, he claims, 'very few' have added their signatures to it in the six weeks since it was initially published.

Yet Fr. Weinandy has just shown quite dramatically that even an individual 'rebuke' to the pope is no less effective than a collective Correctio if the position expressed is factually and doctrinally sound. The most important thing about the CORRECTIO was not how many initially signed it and how many have added their signatures, but that it was even issued at all! Because how many such correctio addressed to a pope have ever occurred? But especially because its framers and original signatories took it into their hands to do what Cardinal Burke has been announcing for months as the logical next step to the unanswered DUBIA, but has not gotten around to doing anything about it. Nor has any ranking Church hierarch even indicated he is willing to do it. 'Let's not rock the boat" is no excuse as that boat (at least it current helmsman) has long set sail towards the reefs of apostasy!

I am sure many of the signatories would have been happy to publish their own individual position papers, but they also realize that such a historic move with little precedent was best done – at least initially – by a cohesive group of like-minded theologically competent orthodox Catholics who could agree on a statement they could all subscribe to, namely, that this pope has been the primary agent for propagating certain heresies.

Fr. Brian Harrison, OS (Oblates of Wisdom), is an Australian-born (1845) Roman Catholic priest and theologian often cited in conservative Catholic circles. He is is a prolific writer on religious issues and was professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico from 1989–2007. He

Theologian Fr. Brian Harrison says ‘it’s not dissent’
to criticize ‘confusing cascade of papal novelties’

Not a signatory if the Filial Correction, he responds to its critics nonetheless
and provides guidelines to help Catholics navigate this challenge-fraught papacy

ROME, October 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, a group of over 60 scholars issued an almost unprecedented ‘filial correction’ to Pope Francis, charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies. This measure, unseen since the fourteenth century, has generated controversy around the world, while the number of signatories has risen to 250 professors and priests since it was made public on September 24.

Some writers, however, have accused the signatories of the Filial Correction of transgressing the requirement of a 1990 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — Donum Veritatis (Gift of truth) — which lays down the circumstances in which scholars might legitimately draw the attention of the Holy See to “deficiencies” in an official teaching document. On this basis, these critics accuse the authors and signatories of the Filial Correction of being ‘dissenters.’

We spoke to renowned theologian Father Brian Harrison, who himself declined to sign the Filial Correction, about the merits of this accusation. In this interview, Fr. Harrison says he is far from convinced such accusations are legitimate. He says they betray a conception of the doctrine of papal infallibility that “exaggerates to the point of absurdity the authority of papal pronouncements,” and maintains that contemporary theologians are faced with an almost unprecedented “nightmare” situation (wholly unforeseen in 1990) in which “an energetic and authoritarian innovator” has taken possession of the throne of St. Peter.

Here below is our interview with Fr. Harrison.
Fr. Harrison, can you please explain to our readers the nature and purpose of ‘Donum Veritatis’ (DV? Can you offer an example of a prominent case of theologians dissenting from Magisterial teaching that DV would address? Would it have applied to the dissenting response to Humanae Vitae (HV), for instance?
Yes, it certainly did apply to that, and to other widespread dissent from Catholic doctrines. DV was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1990 with the general purpose of explaining the relationship between the theologian’s vocation and the role of the Magisterium; but the particular historical context in which it was issued is very important in understanding and applying its more specific norms.

The two decades following HV (1968) witnessed an outburst of sustained dissent against the Church’s perennial teaching about human life and sexuality from very prominent theologians such as Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, Bernard Haering, Joseph Fuchs, and many others. They wanted the Church’s perennial teaching to change substantially so as to admit not only unnatural birth control, but also, at least in some cases, direct sterilization, masturbation, homosexual acts, pre-marital sex, women’s ordination, and Communion for divorced and invalidly remarried Catholics.

At a more basic level, these dissident theologians were denying the very existence of intrinsically evil acts — acts that can never be justified under any circumstances — and pushing for the replacement of this fundamental doctrine by the pernicious alternatives known as consequentialism and proportionalism.
These challenges led to a series of strong responses from the CDF under Paul VI and John Paul II, and then the latter’s encyclicals Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae in the 1990s.

Does a Catholic have to give religious submission of mind and will to the teachings of his diocesan bishop?
Vatican Council II answers this question affirmatively in Lumen Gentium #25, but the preceding sentence makes it clear that this presupposes that the diocesan bishop is “teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff.”

But a diocesan bishop can err?
Certainly, and in the event that his teaching is at variance with the papal magisterium, then according to Vatican II, it does not require this religious submission of mind and will. In earlier times when there was mass illiteracy, few or no newspapers, and no radio, television or internet, this norm of submission to the local bishop’s teaching probably had greater practical relevance than it does today, because he was the only representative of the magisterium to whose teaching most Catholics had access — usually via their parish priest. But today, except in very poor countries, Catholics can readily find out with their smart-phones or lap-tops, and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, what the Roman Pontiff himself teaches about almost any given doctrinal issue. [Not if the pontiff happens to be J Martin Bergluther!]

So religious submission of mind and will does not in itself presuppose the soundness of the teaching in question?
It does presuppose that the teaching is sound — or at least, very probably sound. But as I’ve said, the duty of submission simply doesn’t apply in regard to a particular doctrinal issue on which one’s diocesan bishop is himself not “teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff.”

Actually, very few bishops openly and explicitly teach heterodox doctrine. If they are dissenters they are much more likely to undermine orthodoxy indirectly, by failing to teach it clearly, failing to correct abuses, promoting dissenters to key positions, firing or marginalizing those who are outspokenly orthodox, and screening out orthodox candidates for the priesthood on the pretext of their alleged “rigidity”. [But there are some like the Americans Farrell, Cupich and McElroy who do not at all hesitate to proclaim their heterodoxies viva voce to all and sundry.]

But what should a Catholic do if the Roman Pontiff himself teaches something contrary to sound doctrine? Is that even possible?
It is possible, but throughout most of church history it has been rare. The famous examples of Pope Honorius’s letter supporting the Monothelite heresy and John XXII’s homilies teaching an error about the beatific vision were often quoted as evidence that not everything popes say about faith and morals is infallible. But unfortunately, Pope Francis has already in his first four years made many statements that do not sit well with the doctrine of his predecessors — for instance, his recent speeches and letters asserting that capital punishment is as such always “a mortal sin,” and is “in itself contrary to the Gospel.”

This confusing cascade of papal novelties is of course the context of the Filial Correction we’re discussing in this interview. Fortunately, the magisterium itself gives us some helpful guidelines in evaluating the greater or lesser degree of authority of different papal statements on faith and morals (which sometimes are basically just expressions of opinion).

Vatican II says that in order to understand the mind and intention of the Pope, we have to take into account “the character of the documents in question, the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, and the manner in which the doctrine is formulated” (Lumen Gentium, 25).

11So, for instance, when Pope Francis said in an airplane interview that a husband may use a condom to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus to his wife, that kind of spontaneous, informal comment cannot override our duty to assent to the much more authoritative contrary teaching of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, wherein Paul VI teaches that each and every marriage act “must per se be open to the transmission of life” (no. 11).

What do you think of the claim made in the recent article by Emmett O’Regan that DV “illegitimatizes” the Filial Correction?
First, I should mention that although I was invited to sign the Correctio addressed to Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia, I declined to do so. For while I agree for the most part with FC’s content, and am happy that its authors’ cri-de-coeur has rapidly gained worldwide attention, I think some of their complaints about the Holy Father’s words, deeds and omissions are overstated and not entirely fair. If Mr. O’Regan, in the October 3 Vatican Insider posting you refer to, had limited himself to pointing out such defects in FC, I would have no quarrel with him. However, he goes much further, and brings charges against the authors that I think are not well-founded.

For instance, he exaggerates to the point of absurdity the authority of papal pronouncements which, like Amoris Laetitia, do not contain any ex cathedra (infallible) definition. He accuses the FC authors of denying “one of the essential truths behind the teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, who is granted Divine assistance which prevents him from erring in matters of faith and morals, even when teaching non-infallibly.” The words I have italicized in that sentence are not found in the relevant magisterial documents (cf. Donum Veritatis, #17, Catechism of the Catholic Church, #892).

By adding them, Mr. O’Regan in effect makes the nonsensical, self-contradictory claim that when popes speak about faith and morals, they teach infallibly even when they teach non-infallibly.In fact, the limited “Divine assistance” given to the pope in his non-infallible ordinary magisterium does not necessarily “prevent” him from erring; it only makes it very unlikely that he will err. That’s precisely why such teaching requires only a “religious assent of mind and will,” and not the absolute, irrevocable assent due to infallible teaching.

In the same article, Mr. Emmett argues that: “Since the authors of the Filial Correction have turned directly to the mass media in order to present their dissent to Amoris Laetitia (which is part of the Ordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis), this action was made in direct contravention of the guidelines for dissenting theologians outlaid inDonum Veritatis (DV), and should therefore be considered illicit.”] However, the authors did not turn directly to the Mass media, but delivered the Filial Correction to the Pope’s residence at Santa Marta on August 11, 2017. Did their act contravene the guidelines for dissenting theologians laid out in DV?
You’re right that the FC authors didn’t “directly,” in the sense of “immediately,” post their submission on the Internet. But they eventually took that step, thereby opening the FC up for mass media publicity. And I think that’s the main thing that Mr. O’Regan thinks “illegitimizes” their action. Dr. Robert Fastiggi, an old friend of mine, and Dawn Eden Goldstein (whom I have also met, and admire) have co-authored another critique of the FC that makes much the same claim. But whether these and other like-minded critics are substantially right will, I think, depend on further considerations, notably, whether the FC authors can be fairly called “dissenters,” and just how relevant and applicable DV is to the kind of submission they have made now, in 2017, in a very different historical and ecclesial context to the one in which DV was promulgated more than a quarter-century ago.

Can you say a little more, then, about that original purpose of Donum Veritatis?
This CDF document reaffirms some well-known doctrinal teachings about faith and reason, and the authority of the magisterium; but I understand its primary purpose to be that of providing pastoral, prudential norms as to how Catholic theologians, in carrying out their scholarly role, should – and should not – interact with the Church’s pastors, who are her official teachers. DV neither enacts new legislation nor hands down new doctrinal decisions on points of faith and morals.

As regards its historical context, you’ve raised the question as to how much its disciplinary norms are applicable to the Filial Correction in a new situation that has arisen twenty-five years later. Can you elaborate on this?
Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, DV came out in response to the post-Vatican II epidemic of dissent against many authentic or even infallible Catholic doctrines, especially moral teachings. And that context has influenced the content of the document and the assumptions that underlie it.

Again and again, DV makes clear the CDF’s fundamental, ‘goes-without-saying’ premise that the teachings of the popes and bishops at that time (1990) are, as always, in continuity with what has been handed down from the past, while divergent theological opinions opposing them are not. On the contrary, the latter are avowedly innovative in nature – they’re prodding the Church to “correct” her “outdated” doctrine in line with supposed modern ‘insights’ and public opinion.

Can you quote some examples of that from DV?
Sure, there are plenty of them. I’ll use boldface on the words that bring out the way in which the CDF takes for granted that those teaching with magisterial authority are upholding Catholic tradition, while the theologians causing concern are advocates of novelty and change:
• In article 11 we read that theologians must offer the People of God “a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith. . . . Thus, while the theologian might often feel the urge to be daring in his work, this will not bear fruit or ‘edify’ unless it is accompanied by that patience which permits maturation to occur.”
• Theology is “a rational discipline whose object is given by Revelation, handed on and interpreted in the Church under the authority of the Magisterium” (art. 12).
• (The following opening sentence in DV’s section on the role of the Magisterium cites Vatican II’s Constitution on Divine Revelation): “God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations” (art. 13, citing Dei Verbum, 7).
• “By its nature, the [Magisterium has the] task of religiously guarding and loyally expounding the deposit of divine Revelation (in all its integrity and purity)” (art. 16).
• “The pastoral task of the Magisterium is one of vigilance. It seeks to ensure that the People of God remain in the truth which sets free” (art. 20).
• “The living Magisterium of the Church and theology, while having different gifts and functions, ultimately have the same goal: preserving the People of God in the truth which sets free” (art. 20).
• In rebuking “public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church, also called ‘dissent’,” DV identifies as one of its major contributing factors “the ideology of philosophical liberalism, which permeates the thinking of our age…. [and according to which] freedom of thought comes to oppose the authority of tradition which is considered a cause of servitude. A teaching handed on and generally received is a priori suspect and its truth contested” (art. 32).
• “[Among dissenters] the view is particularly promoted that the Church should only express her judgment on those issues which public opinion considers important and then only by way of agreeing with it. The Magisterium, for example, could intervene in economic or social questions but ought to leave matters of conjugal and family morality to individual judgment” (art. 32).

Isn’t it true, however, that at the time DV was issued there also existed ‘anti-liberal’ dissent from certain magisterial teachings? For instance, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X were claiming that some teachings of Vatican Council II contradicted traditional doctrine.
That is certainly true, but such anti-Vatican II traditionalists are not mentioned at all in Donum Veritatis. After all, they were (and still are) a tiny minority – maybe 1% of all Catholics – while the tsunami of liberal, novelty-pushing dissent the CDF is tackling in DV had deeply permeated our theological faculties, seminaries, chanceries and catechetical programs throughout the world, and was corrupting sound faith and morals among hundreds of millions of Catholics. In any case, the CDF has always rejected accusations that some Vatican II documents and the post-conciliar liturgy are in conflict with the Church’s traditional doctrine.

So why is that historical context of DV and its overwhelmingly anti-liberal emphasis relevant for evaluating the recent Filial Correction?
I’d say it’s very relevant because, frankly, a ‘palace revolution’ occurred in Rome in 2013 that has sent earthquake tremors throughout the worldwide Church and has seriously altered the way in which the Magisterium is functioning in practice.

To put it simply, the Vatican scenario in 1990 was the time-honored one in which the chief exponents of the Church’s teaching office, the Pope and the CDF, were the conservatives, and those resisting their strictures were the innovators. Now, the tables have been turned so dramatically that the supreme teaching office itself is in the hands of an energetic and authoritarian innovator! There’s no time or space here to begin citing the long and ever-growing list of Pope Francis’s anti-traditional statements, gestures and decisions that have deeply shocked so many faithful Catholics. For starters, readers can take a look here at your recent LifeSiteNews piece, the “A to Z” of concerns about the present Holy Father.

When they promulgated Donum Veritatis in 1990, St. John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger would never in their worst nightmares have dreamed that a man would soon ascend the throne of Peter who, as an archbishop, had already shown his colors by actively promoting dissent and disobedience to their magisterial insistence that Catholics living publicly in illicit sexual relationships may never be given Holy Communion. (Buenos Aires priests have testified that then-Cardinal Bergoglio authorized them to do this when celebrating Mass out in the poor ‘peripheries’ of the archdiocese.)

Now, it seems to me that this radically new situation casts doubt on the present-day applicability of DV’s norm that those disagreeing with papal teaching should not make their concerns known to the mass media, as the authors of the Filial Correction have done. The time-honored principle of epikeia in Catholic moral theology allows that a norm of human law does not necessarily have to be obeyed in exceptional circumstances that were not envisaged by the legislator. Obedience to a higher law can then take precedence; and it seems to me that would include the right and duty of priests and theologians to openly defend the perennial magisterial teaching that Pope Francis has effectively called into question via Amoris Laetitia and its aftermath.

The FC authors themselves rightly appeal to St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching in the Summa that subjects can and should correct their superiors even publicly when the faith itself is in danger. And c. 212 §3 of the Code of Canon Law allows competent members of the faithful to respectfully make known their views regarding the good of the Church not only to “the sacred Pastors” but also “to others of Christ’s faithful” – which would include the public diffusion of those views.

So if, as you say, the FC authors are actually striving to defend traditional, orthodox doctrine, is it accurate to depict them, as Emmett O’Regan does, as being “dissenters”?
No, I think such criticism is inaccurate and unfair. After all, the very idea of doctrinal dissent presupposes, first, a clear teaching of the Magisterium, and secondly, an equally clear disagreement with it. But that clarity seems to me lacking, both in Pope Francis’ language in Amoris Laetitia and in one of the propositions the FC authors accuse him of “upholding” and “propagating” (they don’t say “teaching”).

I agree that those seven propositions contradict infallible Catholic doctrines (assuming that in no. 2 the word “nature” is taken to mean “grave sinfulness”) so that if Pope Francis did clearly teach them, he would be the one guilty of public dissent, not his FC critics. In any case, theirs is a sort of ‘umbrella’ complaint: they make no claim that he formally and unambiguously enunciates any of these heterodox propositions; rather, he “propagates” them “directly or indirectly” and “by words, deeds and omissions”. (My parenthetical comment in answering Q. 4 above seems relevant here.) I think for the most part this complaint is justified, though not entirely. But while I can therefore give only give a qualified support to the FC authors’ initiative, I do think Mr. O’Regan is quite unjustified in labelling them as the kind of “dissenters” who are rebuked by Donum Veritatis.

Oh, and BTW, why are the Bergoglians now protesting, though incorrectly as usual, about violations of DV - which is, after all, 'merely' an Instruction from the CDF - when they have been perfectly fine with their lord and master selectively preaching the Word of God himself, and trampling roughshod over an encyclical like Veritatis splendor and an Apostolic Exhortation like Familiaris consortio? Because they will use anything at this point to assail 'dissenters' of Bergoglianism instead of trying to answer their criticisms on merit - which they clearly cannot.

But as much as they can try to kill the messengers with words, they will never be able to kill the message they bring, which is what Jesus brought to mankind - a message of eternal salvation for those who follow his words fully and well, not just pick and choose what is convenient.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/3/2017 6:39 PM]
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Hagiographic Vatican stamp to mark
the 5th centenary of Luther's schism

So finally we know what it looks like. It's the best thing JMBergluther could possibly do right now to honor his principal spiritual forefather, short of formally canonizing him. Remember, a German Lutheran theologian recently said Bergoglio was 'the true heir of Luther'.

An explanation for the stamp image:

“The postage stamp issued by the (Vatican) Philatelic Office for the occasion depicts in the foreground Jesus crucified and in the background a golden and timeless view of the city of Wittenberg. With a penitential disposition, kneeling respectively on the left and right of the cross, Martin Luther holds the Bible, source and destination of his doctrine, while Philip Melanchthon, theologian and friend of Martin Luther, one of the main protagonists of the reform, holds in hand the Augsburg Confession (Confessio Augustana), the first official public presentation of the principles of Protestantism written by him.”

The blogger at CALL ME JORGE comments:

Symbolically, this stamp is stating that Martin Luther’s condemned 95 theses are correct, as well as the Augsburg Confession — that Our Lord is in agreement with the two heresiarchs, Luther and Melanchton.

To have the nerve to replace the Blessed Mother and St. John at the foot of the Cross with the two heresiarchs takes chutzpah! [Not exactly 'replacing' them but perhaps suggesting or implying the association. However, aren't we all Christians supposed to be always symbolically at the foot of the Cross?]

These are people who denied the presence of Our Lord’s Body and Blood [in the Eucharist] for Melanchthon said, “Christ instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of His Passion. To adore It is therefore idolatry and Luther said, “It is, therefore, clearly erroneous and impious to offer or apply the merits of the Mass for sins, or the reparation of sins, or for the deceased. Mass is offered by God to man, and not by man to God.”...

About the city of Wittemberg as the background for the Crucifion on the stamp, one could call it an obvious unintended consequence of the stamp designer's fancy, since it could be interpreted to mean that Christ was cruficied all over in Wittemberg and thereafter by the heresies of Luther, Melancthon and their followers.

And at Rorate caeli, New Catholic put it well:

What truly happened on October 31, 1517?

On All Hallows' Eve, a perverted monk in Upper Saxony, possessed by the prince of darkness, divided Christendom forever [??? We certainly do not hope so, nor even think so!], and deprived billions of souls of Sacramental life.

Another reflection here...

Luther and Melancthon
at the foot of the Cross

By Lorenzo Bertocchi
Translated from

November 1, 2017

25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
26 When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (Jn 19, 25-27)]

It is one of the most fundamental moments in the life of Christ, at the apex of his redemptive mission. Mary was there, and next to her, John the Apostle. From that moment, Mary became the mother of all who would be in the Church: Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church), as Paul VI called her when he closed the Second Vatican Council.

But now 'Holy Mother Church' [nominally and formally led by Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis] has decided to 'commemorate' the day Martin Luther posted his heretical theses on the door of the Church in Wittemberg, with a stamp issued by the Vatican, which describes it this way in the official presentation:

It depicts in the foreground Jesus crucified ,against the golden and a-temporal background of the city of Wittemberg. In an attitude of penance, kneeling to the left and right, respectively, of the Cross, Martin Luther holds a bible – source and goal of his doctrine – while Phillip Melancthon, theologian and friend of Luther, one of the major protagonists of the Reformation , holds the 'Confessio Augustana', the first official exposition of the principles of Protestantism that he edited.

It is true that we are in an atmposphere of 'relaxation' between Catholics and Lutherans ['relaxed' deliberately and unconscionably by this pope], and it is true that a bishop [Mons. Galantino, Bergoglio-appointed #2 man at the I talian bishops' conference] has said that "The Reformation begun by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit", but this new stamp is truly unusual:

That 'Holy Mother Church', Of which the Virgin Mary is Mother and model, reproduces on a stamp a mosaic executed in 1851 by August von Kloeber is a sign of the times – our time today when the Vatican itself would go back to when the two men shown at the foot of the Cross originated Protestantism which had defined Mariology as 'the sum of all heresies'.

So it turns out the artwork is a reproduction of an 1851 painting! Could the stamp designers not have chosen some neutral artwork, or why didn't they design their own graphic instead of choosing an extremely inappropriate illustration?

Apropos heresies and heresiarchs - which in this pontificate, we are bumping up against at every turn - consider the ff brief reflection on Hillaire Belloc(1870-1953). An Anglo-French writer and historian, he was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was also known as an orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works.

What would Hilaire Belloc think
of the Reformation ‘celebrations’?

by Francis Phillips
friday, 3 Nov 2017

Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Great Heresies, has an uncompromising title. First published in 1938 and now republished by Ignatius Press, the very word “heresy” is a reminder that the Church used to guard and defend the Faith in a robust fashion:A “heretic” was someone who left out or altered a dogmatic belief taught by the Church and who thus promulgated “heresy.”

Even by 1938, as Belloc writes in his Introduction, the word had come to connote “something odd and old-fashioned.” If you called someone a heretic today, they would be completely mystified.

The heresies in the Church’s history that Belloc has selected are Arianism, Islam, the Albigensians, Protestantism and the “Modern Phase.” Of these, the two that are of particular interest just now are Islam (Belloc calls it Mohammedanism) because it is enjoying a renewed impetus, and Protestantism as we have just passed the 500th anniversary of Luther’s historic challenge.

In his article in the Herald for 11 August, Richard Ingrams is right in remarking that Belloc is little read today. He was hardly a disciplined and scholarly historian, more a restless man of letters, whose intellectual interests were eclectic and whose opinions were argued with passion and pugnacity. An anti-Semite, he also believed in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Yet as Ingrams notes, he remained a “devoted and belligerent Catholic all his life”. It is from this stance that he wrote The Great Heresies.

On Islam, Belloc argued that
- it began as a Christian heresy and only later evolved into a quite distinct religion.
- He pointed out the “numerous affinities” between Islam and the Protestant Reformers, such as their joint aversion to images, the sacrifice of the Mass and the celibacy of the priesthood.
- He remarked on how hard it was to convert Muslims and, with an extraordinary prescience, he reminded readers that,
- far from falling into permanent decline in the 20th century as had seemed likely, Islam “is the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past.” Indeed, he predicted that “our sons and grandsons would see a renewal of that tremendous struggle…”

Belloc is famous for stating that “the Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith.” Historically this was essentially true. Nonetheless, by 1938 he could read the signs of the times, lamenting presciently, that Europe, “the very civilization which [the Church] created…is now generally abandoning her.”

As for the Reformation, Belloc would have had little time for ecumenical gestures towards Lutherans or joint statements on the theology of justification. Accepting that the Church needed deep-rooted reform, he described the Reformers’ trajectory: from the genuine demand for change to rebellion against the Church’s spiritual authority. The result, as he saw it, was that “the old moral unity which came of our universal Catholicism was ruined.” Who would argue with that today?

Yet rather than conclude with Belloc’s pessimism I prefer to draw attention to an article by George Weigel in the autumn edition of the Plough, a Bruderhof publication. Entitled “Re-forming the Church”, it suggests that what is needed at this “quincentenary of Wittenberg is a re-formed Church of saints… men and women on fire with missionary zeal, because they have been embraced by the love of Christ and are passionate to share that love with others.”

Unless he formally re-defines 'saint' soon for his church, the church of Bergoglio can never be a church of saints, because it has conceded a priori that even the most basic rules of conduct, e.g, the Ten Commandments, are much too difficult for 'Catholics' to put into practice, which is Step 1 to simply decreeing that nobody sins who simply follows what his conscience tells him is 'good' - Bergoglio and his minions have articulated this concept enough in various ways, but never directly so far. Scalfari called it 'Bergoglio's abolition of sin'. (God was soooo wrong, Bergoglio seems to think, to have expelled Adam and Eve from Eden when he could have been merciful to them and to their tempter, Satan!)]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/3/2017 7:25 PM]
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Fr. Weinandy was clear and direct. The USCCB was not.
The Bishops had the right – perhaps the duty – to require Fr. Weinandy’s resignation.
Nevertheless, the Catholic faithful have a right to know the Bishops’ mind in this regard, and
Fr. Weinandy deserves at least a straightforward reproach

by Christopher Altieri

November 2, 2017

When the former chief-of-staff of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine (and now former consultant to the same), Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., sent a private missive to Pope Francis on July 31st, he was taking a bold step: it is not a small thing to criticize the Vicar of Christ on Earth – to rebuke him, essentially, even if only in writing, and not “to his face” as St. Paul the Apostle did Peter.

Fr. Weinandy is a distinguished theologian and a member of the International Theological Commission [named to the ITC by this pope himself], and as such, he certainly meets the standard set by Canon 212, which states:

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

Even so, the exercise of a right, or the discharge of a duty upon which that right rests, is not without its perils, and Fr. Weinandy knew what he was doing when he wrote Pope Francis to tell him, among other things:

You seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.

While Fr. Weinandy’s missive to Pope Francis on July 31st was not ostensibly conceived as a letter of resignation, its appearance before the public on November 1 meant that it might as well have been. [Rather non sequitur. Does Altieri mean that upon sending his letter to the pope last July, Weinandy should have resigned his current function at the USCCB but did not (and hence had to be asked to resign by the USCCB secretary who called him on the day his letter to the pope was made public).]

The Holy Father may yet prove tolerant of Fr. Weinandy’s temerity, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) swiftly moved to see that his official association with them be ended. Within hours of the letter’s appearance before the public, the Conference had required, and received, Fr. Weinandy’s resignation.

One may not fault the USCCB for requiring his resignation. For one thing, consultants have no responsibility, and serve at the pleasure. The Bishops were under no strict obligation to give a reason, nor would they have been, should they have determined to dismiss Fr. Weinandy (which, formally, they did not).

For another, the USCCB does work “in support of, and in affective collegiality with the Holy Father,” as the statement from the USCCB’s chief communications officer, James Rogers, announcing Fr. Weinandy’s resignation says. It is more than merely understandable that the Bishops should be less than perfectly confident in the counsel of a man who has so publicly declared what is certainly disappointment with the Holy Father’s record of leadership, and published what may be fairly characterized as criticism that dances on the edge of intemperance.

Had the Bishops said nothing, but only required and accepted Fr. Weinandy’s resignation, it is a fair bet the story of it would not have come to more than, “Dog bites man.”

We would have seen hotheads vent, and the lunatic fringe take up his “cause” for a day, but those heads were going to blow in any case, and the lunatic fringe these days will work itself into a frenzy over just about anything.

Fr. Weinandy, however, is neither a hothead, nor a member of the lunatic fringe. For a man of his character, accomplishment, and reputation to entertain such truculent language is, if nothing else, an indication of the depth and breadth of frustration within the Church.

Also, the Bishops were not silent. The Bishops’ communications chief issued the aforementioned statement regarding Fr. Weinandy’s decision to step down – one that offered no detailed information about the conversation that preceded his tendering of his resignation, nor any direct explanation of the reason it was required.

Within minutes (they were tweeted 14 minutes apart) of that statement’s release, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, issued his own “reflection on dialogue within the Church” – one that began by noting Fr. Weinandy’s departure:

The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives [sic] us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.

Cardinal DiNardo goes on to decry the tribalism and spirit of faction that have infected the public counsels in the Church and in society more broadly – and he is quite right to do so. Neat reductions, such as those one will find of this specific contretemps, e.g., “How dare you say the Pope doesn’t tolerate criticism? – You’re fired!” are just that: neat reductions, which do no party true justice, and tend to diminish our capacity for empathy – however genuine and even justified the sentiment that gives rise to the temptation to such reductions is.

Then, he lists a series of requisites for the proper conduct of public controversy within the Church, including – in primis – charity: then honesty and humility; presumption of good faith; finally, a spirit of collegiality, which it must be the particular care of the bishops and their organs to foster and in which the bishops and those who serve them must abide.

While wholly unexceptionable and even entirely praiseworthy in its substance, the context in which Cardinal DiNardo places the meat of his reflection makes the whole thing read rather as a list of standards against which Fr. Weinandy may or may not have been measured, and found wanting.

Since Cardinal DiNardo quoted from St. Ignatius Loyola’s famous presupposition to the Spiritual Exercises, it is worthwhile to visit the ample quote, of which Cardinal DiNardo gave only a part [Oooohhh, lesson well-learned by the cardinal from our habitually truncation-happy pope!]:

In order that both he who is giving the Spiritual Exercises, and he who is receiving them, may more help and benefit themselves, let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself.

[DiNardo omitted the statements in boldface.]

If some of Fr. Weinandy’s remarks were strident, they were also candid, offered with the free spirit of parrhesia (for which Pope Francis has repeatedly called), and frankly, trenchant. It is difficult, therefore, to see how the manner in which the Bishops went about their business meets the exacting standards of charity and candidacy in dialogue, which the President of the USCCB so admirably rehearsed in his reflection, especially if we consider the portion of St. Ignatius’s presupposition, which Cardinal DiNardo omitted.

Invocation of the omitted portion, however, cuts both ways: we owe the Bishops the fairest possible construction of their actions and their statements regarding them, as well as the presumption of good faith and sound motives in the absence of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. We owe each other the same, and the Pope as well, above and before all. [Well, no! Altieri here omits the other two steps in the three-step process spelled out by St. Ignatius - harking back to Jesus's own admonition about how we ought to proceed when disagreeing with someone - 1) if we cannot 'save' something we find objectionable in another's words (i.e., give the most charitable interpretation to it),"let him inquire how me means it" (which the DUBIA cardinals did directly about AL); 2)"If he means it badly, correct him with charity" (which is what the CORRECTION FILIALIS was); and 3) "If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself." (The whole point in why so many Catholics are being so outspoken about this pope's 'shortcomings'!]

The Bishops had the right – perhaps the duty – to require Fr. Weinandy’s resignation. Nevertheless, the Catholic faithful in every state of life in the Church have a right to know the Bishops’ mind in this regard, and Fr. Weinandy deserves at least a straightforward reproach.

In short: If the USCCB believes that Fr. Weinandy failed to act according to their standards of propriety and civility, they ought to say so plainly, in words. Then, we would know – and be in a position to judge on the merits – what the mind of the Bishops is with regard to Fr. Weinandy’s foray into public criticism of the Holy Father.

More important for the broader and urgently pressing issue of recovering and repairing ecclesial discourse, Cardinal DiNardo’s reflection could have served the purpose for which charitable reading and candid reception would have disposed a reader to receive it. Was such a declaration impossible? If so, why? [And we are back at the fact that Bergoglians have no fallback but ad-hominem and/or procedural attacks when they have nothing to argue with on merits! "I can't answer your arguments, but I can certainly insult you and attack you in every other way!" ]

The ff is a well-considered reflection on the more general 'degeneracy' suggested by the USCCB's treatment of the Weinandy letter. IMHO, it should also stir up fresh outrage at the all-purpose use of the word 'dialog' as the 'solution' to all problems. The way it is conceived by its proponents, starting with the current pope, dialog is an a endless Hegelian cycle of thesis-antithesis-synthesis,in which every synthesis becomes a new thesis to be faced with a new anti-thesis, etc, etc ad nauseam, i.e., dialog for the sake of dialog, just to say 'something' is being done, never mind how pointless. The ultimate excuse for inaction out of cowardice and indecisiveness....But Bergoglio's ideal 'dialogue' would be brief and definitive: "I speak, you say Amen! Niente di piu!"

The USCCB and the weaponization of 'dialogue”
by Steve Skojec

November 3, 2017

In the wake of the latest instance of a faithful son of the Church pointing out that the papal emperor has no clothes, we have been treated to yet another flurry of loud and aggressive assertions that there is nothing to see here, no confusion really exists, and can everyone please stop acting childish and just move along?

Meanwhile, that faithful son — Fr. Thomas Weinandy — has been forced out of his position as a doctrinal consultant to the USCCB, while their president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, had the audacity to talk about his “departure” under the auspices of “an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.”

Dialogue? Really? Since when does dialogue include the immediate dismissal of a man who posed his concerns — rooted in his conscience, which we are constantly informed by our betters in the Church can serve as the arbiter of all critical moral truths — with such deference and respect to the pope that people have criticized him for being too obsequious?

Of course DiNardo wasn’t man enough to come out and admit that Fr. Weinandy had been told to resign; instead, he referred to his “departure” as though his former chief of staff on doctrinal matters had merely drifted away inexplicably on a gentle breeze like Mary Poppins.

Let’s make something clear: the USCCB is a disgrace to Catholics everywhere — a predominately progressive organization that has enriched itself through hundreds of millions of dollars of government money for refugee resettlement while opposing any sensible laws to restrict immigration — a fact that looks very much, as Catholic writer and author John Zmirak pointed out on yesterday, like political simony. “How much would we have to pay the bishops to teach what the Catechism says on #immigration?” he asked. To put it more bluntly, I’d be interested in knowing how much we’d have to pay them to just be Catholic.

The USCCB’s concern for disassociating itself with an uncouth thinker only goes so far, however. For example, they still haven’t asked Ralph McCloud to resign. McCloud is the head of the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development, who split his first year working for the US bishops by moonlighting as treasurer for the political campaign of Wendy Davis, a Planned Parenthood-endorsed candidate for the Texas state senate who was at that time was in the process of unseating a pro-life incumbent. Davis would go on to be known for her 11-hour long filibuster in the Texas legislature to block more restrictive abortion regulations.

Under McCloud’s leadership the CCHD has been linked to funding from Planned Parenthood affiliates and an organization performing same sex marriages. No “departure” for Mr. McCloud while wistful reflections on dialogue were issued.

Or what about the USCCB subsidiary, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which was recently exposed as being involved in developing an African sex-education program “aimed at children as young as 10, encourages condom use, promotes abortifacient contraception, normalizes homosexuality and masturbation and lists Planned Parenthood as a resource.” Was action taken? Nope.

For that matter, how about Jessica Garrels, a “program quality coordinator” for CRS, who, as Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute reminded us yesterday, “had strongly supported and promoted Planned Parenthood on her Facebook page.” Among other examples Hichborn cited — including a profile picture with a Planned Parenthood graphical overlay on her account — on January 9, 2016, Garrels “wrote “Well said!” cheering on the statement of US Representative Gwen S. Moore in her defense of maintaining funding to Planned Parenthood.” Hichborn continues: "Shortly after the the article on Garrels was published and sent to the bishops of the United States, Garrels’ Facebook page was locked up tight to hide her posts from public view. CRS never issued a response to the report, and when LifeSiteNews contacted CRS for a comment on the matter, “CRS did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ inquiry into the information about its employees’ public support for Planned Parenthood.” As it turns out, Garrels is still employed at CRS over a year later.

Just this summer, Garrels gave an interview to the Huffington Post on behalf of Catholic Relief Services. Clearly, they think she’s a perfectly acceptable ambassador for the brand.

Support abortion? Not to worry! You can stay at the USCCB.

Respectfully ask the pope to consider the damage he is doing to the Church by citing specific examples raised through pastoral work via the concerns of the faithful? Get. Out.

Knowing just how impossible it is to do what I’d really love to see happen — defund the USCCB — makes fighting back challenging. After all, with a tidal wave of cash coming from the federal government, we can only do so much damage by starving them of income from the faithful. And we should starve them in any way we can.

Not a single penny should be transferred from the faithful to a single USCCB program. In fact, we should probably begin putting the pressure on our own bishops through their annual appeals.

Perhaps we should all put letters in those envelopes in lieu of checks, telling our bishops that if they don’t rein in the conference, they’ll get no more money from us.

But to be honest, it’s hard for me to come up with a specific action item in this regard because the whole thing should simply be gutted and set on fire and dumped into the nearest ocean. (And nuked from orbit, just to be sure.)

Feeling this frustration yesterday and looking for any opportunity to make our voices heard, I began encouraging people on social media to go to the Facebook page of the USCCB and leave one-star reviews after I saw others encouraging the same. Within no time, their page was flooded with people complaining about their treatment of Fr. Weinandy along with other issues. Clearly, there’s a lot of pent-up frustration out there amongst the faithful.

But the USCCB wasn’t having it. They began banning anyone who left a negative review from interacting with their page, making it impossible to comment on other reviews or posts or even to so much as hit the “like” button. Today, since Facebook won’t allow a page owner to edit or delete negative reviews, they’ve instead found a way to remove the reviews feature entirely. (That’s okay, though. I saved a whole bunch of them in a nice long screenshot. You can download the PDF here. For posterity!)

So. Much. Dialogue!

You can still go to their contact page and give them a piece of your mind. Mostly, though, this will be a minor irritation that low-level staffers will have to deal with.

After all, important members of the USCCB — like Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is in the running for the USCCB’s pro-life committee despite repeated collusion with pro-abortion politicians and an outrageous statement about the undercover Planned Parenthood videos — have to give critical talks like this week’s “Dialogue [there’s that word again!] in the Key of Pope Francis”, in which he is seen defending Fr. James Martin, SJ, and telling us that if we want to “take up discernment” in the mode of Pope Francis, we must “be prepared to let go of cherished beliefs and long-held biases”.

Cupich, of course, makes an important point here about the evolution of decentralized ecclesiastical structures. Many people simply discount the role of the USCCB because it has “no power” and “no official authority” within the Church. But remember, Francis wants to change that too. From his exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (32):

The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.

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

The pope took a big step, in fact, toward granting significant autonomy to bishops conferences in his motu proprio Magnium Principium, which, as he clarified in his very public rebuke to Cardinal Sarah, grants them the authority to perform their own regional Mass translations without Rome’s pre-approval. (Already, the excitement in parts of Europe is bubbling over with the new possibilities!)

Meanwhile, the faithful are left with no recourse to this style of “dialogue,” which effectively amounts to being shouted down and told to know our place, under the iron fist of the Dictatorship of Mercy.

In addition to continuing to speak out, prayer and penance is most likely the course of action the saints would recommend. Admittedly, however, such a response feels incredibly meager in the face of the continued implosion of all we hold sacred.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/3/2017 8:48 PM]
11/3/2017 10:45 PM
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Married priests are the wrong answer
to the Amazon’s problems

The practical obstacles are insurmountable.
What's needed is a renewed call for missionary work

by Ed Condon
Friday, 3 Nov 2017

Yesterday, those of us foolish enough to trust headlines were given a brief spasm of panic when the Daily Telegraph ran an article headlined “Pope requests Roman Catholic priests be given right to marry.” Of course, he said nothing of the kind.

Supposedly, Cardinal Hummes has made repeated requests that the Church in Brazil be allowed to consider ordaining some married men in answer to a severe shortage of priests in remote areas of the Amazon. The pope is alleged to have told Cardinal Hummes to “speak to the bishops [of the region] and make valid proposals.” These would then be discussed, so it seems, at the forthcoming Synod for the Amazon region in 2019.

Let us be clear: no one, not the pope nor Cardinal Hummes, nor anyone else in any position of authority in the Church, is suggesting that “priests be given the right to marry.” There is a world of difference between discussing the ordination of some married men in specific circumstances, for which there is precedent, and marriage as an option for already ordained priests, which exists nowhere in the Church. The Telegraph’s new toned-down headline is more accurate: “Pope raises prospect of married men becoming priests”.

Of course, there are some people who would like clerical celibacy to become optional everywhere. These tend, especially in the United States, to be the remnant of a 1970s generation of liberals who expected the post-Vatican II Church to reform itself into a socially progressive, and sexually permissive, form of Catholicism which was in tune with the wider trends of their time. They were left disappointed, and many of their number left the priesthood to marry and become social workers or psychotherapists.

Those who remained still consider clerical celibacy as the icon of their frustrations, and the pointy end of a disciplined Church which drove their old friends away. Their arguments for a total end to celibacy often creep in to discussions, like the request by some of the Brazilian Church, which treat specific situations and muddy the waters terribly.

Behind their argument is usually a lazy logic which runs something like this: Because clerical celibacy is disciplinary not doctrinal, it can be discussed (correct); because it can be discussed, it is open to potential change (true); if it can change and hasn’t yet, this is proof of lack of “progress” in the Church (false); opposing such change is inflexible and doctrinaire (also false).

It takes little or no account of the prophetic witness and dignity of celibacy and virginity in the Catholic Church, something which is fundamental to the Church’s teaching. It also presupposes that there is a long queue of men who would be priests, are desperate to be priests, but are not because they would rather married.

Leaving aside the lack of any proof that such a body of men exists, it raises the question: why is it a good thing to ordain people for whom anything, even the unquestionably praiseworthy vocation of marriage, obviously took or takes precedence over a priestly vocation?

It also ignores very real practical issues which would accompany a substantial number of married priests. Such men would, I’d assume, be living their marriages as a praiseworthy example to their flock, and would be generously open to life. But no priest I know could support a family on a clerical stipend, nor could any diocese I know afford to pay priests a living wage, or house numerous families in parish accommodation.

[Condon overlooks one supposed prerequisite for viri probati to be ordained as deacons or priests: That their families are already well-established, for whom they no longer have any financial obligations to maintain (because their children are all grown up and have families and jobs of their own, or they are independently wealthy) - which is why they would have to be men in their 50s or older. Which, of course, thins out the already sparse population of potential viri probati. The 'solution' is, at best, an insignificant stopgap that would probably create more problems than it's worth.

No substitute for the Church attracting vocations in substantial numbers because she provides young people with the right incentives to nurture any internal call they may already have. And study after study has shown that in all these decades of a priestly drought, the only ones that have consistently drawn more vocations are the religious orders and the dioceses who offer Catholicism with an intact deposit of faith, not the liberal, Catholic-lite orders and dioceses.]

This is without considering the potential problems which could arise. What if, God forbid, a married priest divorces? Or what if his teenage children openly dissent from Church teaching while living in the presbytery? The current examples of married priests don’t settle the issue: in the Eastern Churches, they have existed for two millennia and institutions have organically developed to support them. As for former Anglicans, they were admitted on a case by case basis following considerable scrutiny. These small exceptions cannot make a case for the kind of disruption to the very fabric of the Latin Church which an end to clerical celibacy would bring.

As for the Amazon, is undeniable that there are far too few priests to meet the needs of some communities. (Some estimates have put it at the ratio of one priest for every ten thousand Catholics in the more remote areas.) But I am totally unconvinced that ordaining married men is the answer.

Supposing that married candidates for the priesthood of proven quality could be found, there is no reason to think that they would be many in number – were there that many sincere vocations to the priesthood, it is unlikely they would all have forgone the chance of ordination for marriage. This being the case, they would be a drop in the bucket next to a ratio of one priest to ten thousand faithful. [Which shows you just how hallucinatory are Hummes and company who think viri probati would make any difference at all to the priest shortage, in the Amazon or anywhere else.]

Making any real difference in the numbers would require ordinations on a mass scale, with concurrent lowering of standards and expectations for candidates – which would be a huge disservice to both the priesthood and the faithful.

Moreover, how many married men, presumably with families, would be willing to serve in these remote communities, in harsh conditions, and requiring significant travel between villages? It is hardly a life suited to raising children.

Perhaps a better answer, though not a simple one, would be a renewed appreciation for the vocation and work of missionary priests and orders, whose excellent work and proud history could and should celebrated much more loudly.

The call to the missionary priesthood is a real and distinct vocation, and one we hear little about in the modern Church, where the essential work of evangelisation is often only spoken of as the post-modern need to re-Christianize the lapsed nations of Europe*. We forget that many parts of the world are still mission territory proper.

The needs of places like the Amazon would be far better served by a serious rediscovery of the Church’s missionary history, and by assisting religious orders in nurturing vocations, than by upending centuries of tradition and discipline in the hope of a quick fix.

*There is, of course, one serious and unprecedented factor militating against evangelization in the age of the supposedly 'joy-of-the-gospel' pope: For all the 'joy' he professes, he really does not care to spread the Gospel at all beyond paying occasional lip service to doing so. His idea of missionary work is for priests to leave their churches and go to the 'peripheries' (ignoring that the center cannot hold if it is left a vacuum).

On the other hand, how many times has he said he has no desire to convert anyone to Catholicism, that everyone is good as they are and God accepts them as they are, that trying to convert anyone to Catholicism would be proselytism which is bad-bad-bad, etc etc, and the rest of his anti-Catholic biases.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/3/2017 10:53 PM]
11/3/2017 11:32 PM
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On the future of ISIS
CRISIS magazine
November 2, 2017

What exactly has been defeated in the recent battles against ISIS? The relative success of ISIS in recent years has been made possible largely by the failure of its opponents to understand what it is.

Its military successes in the Near East and in the worldwide turmoil caused by frequent suicide bombings, shootings, and truck crashings (as we saw in New York this week) can hardly be unknown anyplace in the world. ISIS is often said to be a “terrorist” organization unrelated to or not identified with Islam. Once it is isolated and neutralized, the theory goes, everything can return to normal.

The current military defeats of ISIS will test this thesis. One school of thought maintains that the threat will now largely disappear. Peaceful Muslims will be in charge in what are called their own lands.

The other school thinks that ISIS is now free to pursue a more lethal and worldwide expansion in the vast new areas in which the Muslim presence is now being rapidly established. A morally decadent West, in its own areas, will find itself unable to cope with the zeal of this, to it, strange new religion now encamped in its midst.

The Trump administration has been more systematic than that of Obama.
- It has paid careful military attention to the once-thought triumphant ISIS arms, with its trucks, tommy guns, and black uniforms.
- Most of its strongholds, now largely in ruins, have been retaken. - Millions of locals have fled the area, usually for Europe.
- A concentrated persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim groups has decimated many of the most famous cities and areas in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.
- The White House has just recognized the bias against persecuted Christians when refugee services relied solely on United Nations agencies.

Under this more centered military attack, ISIS leaders were killed or placed under constant threat. Recruits have begun to surrender. These men have been responsible for some of the worst crimes against innocent civilian populations in human history. Their practice of beheading their enemies on TV has left a deep, sickening impression, as it was intended to do. In their own minds, no doubt, ISIS members carried out these atrocities under a religious motivation. Sufficient justification exists in Islamic texts and its military traditions for their zeal and methods.

It has been a major failure of intelligence in dealing with ISIS and its affiliates to classify them as members of a group that enjoys killing for the sake of killing. ISIS fighters, however, conceive themselves as loyal troops doing a work that Allah willed. This mission to convert the world to Allah fires the soul of anyone who takes the Qur’an seriously.

A modern man finds it difficult to believe that a project that began some twelve centuries ago in far-off Arabia could still be reinvigorated and remain a constant threat in century after century since then. But many Muslims have no trouble in understanding this abiding mission, which, if it is defeated or fails in one era, will reappear in another, inspired by the same sources.

But the defeat of self-proclaimed Muslim arms is not worthless. Islam is a religion that sees itself under the will of Allah. If their religiously inspired jihad is set back or stopped by superior military force at a given time or place, a Tours or a Vienna, it is looked upon as a defeat for Allah. Hence, they begin to doubt their mission.

But the thinkers who inspire the expansion of Islam are also hard realists.
- They know that the refugee/immigration of millions of Muslims into Europe and America represents an opportunity for them unparalleled in their recent history.
- They are already on the ground of the nations that they want next to conquer, nations that once blunted their thrusts into Europe. -
- They are often welcomed there and given the privileges of citizenship.

Their new hosts often think that they will be able to change this violent Islam into peaceful ways through association with the so-called modern secular world. All Islam needs to do is rid itself of any aspiration to reestablish its own law and customs.

What is happening, however, is the realization that Islam does not assimilate. It re-creates its own enclaves, laws, mosques, dress, dietary, and familial customs wherever a sufficient number of new peoples are present. In addition, its birth rate is considerably higher so that often the most frequent numbers of children seen in a European city today are Muslim children.

As a result of the ISIS experience, two things became clear to many Muslim thinkers.
- One is that terror, at least in the short run, works. Even the crashing of a truck into a mob of citizens at a market or along a bike path becomes an international incident. Modern armies, while effective against ISIS in an open field, are not so useful when it comes to this random city chaos that such bombings and shootings can cause. The defeat of ISIS in the Near East may well result in an increase elsewhere of this sort of arbitrary chaos.
- The other alternative is the Islamization of new cities and countries by taking advantage of the laws and protections of the societies in which they find themselves. Once this tactic is embraced — it need not presuppose the cessation of random violence —gradually, step by step, Muslim laws will come to rule in larger areas as a result of what are called democratic processes.

In the end, we can expect 1) that few non-Muslims will remain in traditional Muslim lands and 2) that more and more areas will be subject to the laws and customs of Islam, now updated through the recent ISIS lessons.

But the Western world, obviously oblivious to its consuming death wish, and with it, the death of Western civilization, continues to bury its collective head in the sand, even as Islam is already gobbling up its rear end.
11/3/2017 11:57 PM
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November 2-3 headlines

Now that C212 no longer has competition, it seems to be stepping up the pace on its updates. Here's its third 'above-the-fold' headline summary for today.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/4/2017 12:03 AM]
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