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THE CHURCH MILITANT - BELEAGUERED BY BERGOGLIANISM

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ALWAYS AND EVER OUR MOST BELOVED BENEDICTUS XVI



See previous page for earlier entries on January 10, 2019.






As we begin a New Year, I thought it would be right to recall the status of the judicial proceedings in Australia against Cardinal Pell, by David Pierre, Jr., who has almost
singlehandedly fought against the gross bias, misrepresentation and other falsehoods peddled in the media regarding the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Church. In 2010, he
wrote the book DOUBLE STANDARD: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church which Thomas Peters has called "essential reading for anyone who wants to
hear the other side of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The side the media hasn't told you, and side most of the public doesn't know ... Even for someone who has read about
this subject for years, it was eye-opening to me.... If someone attacks you or slanders the Church over the sexual abuse scandal, challenge them to read this book and
continue saying such things."


The witch hunt against Cardinal Pell:
Five facts you need to know

by David Pierre

dECEMBER 31, 2018

Yes, the cases against Australia's Cardinal George Pell are nothing less than a wild-eyed anti-Catholic witch hunt by the Australian government against the Catholic Church. Take it to the bank.

What is our evidence? Plenty. Here are five fast facts you should know about the false accusations against Cardinal Pell.

1. The Australian government began investigating Cardinal Pell over five years ago even though there had been no crime reported against him.

That's right. It is common sense that police only investigate a person when there is suspicion or evidence of that person committing a crime. But this was not the case with Cardinal Pell.

A Melbourne detective admitted in court that an investigation began against Pell in March of 2013 even though there were no criminal complaints against him. Pell's attorney then rightly observed, "It was an operation looking for a crime and a complainant."

2. Pell's publicly known accusers are a hodgepodge of career criminals, admitted drug addicts, and ne'er-do-wells who have lodged bogus complaints before.

As we posted last June, Pell's accusers are real winners.

There has been the late Damian Dignan, who had a criminal history for assault and drunk driving and also accused a female teacher of beating him during class when he was a youth. And Lyndon Monument, an admitted drug addict, served almost a year in prison for violently assaulting a man and a woman over a drug debt. The unlucky Monument has also accused a boyhood teacher of forcing him to perform sex acts.

But it would be hard to top the bloke who first accused Pell in 2002 of abuse back in 1961. This lad was indeed a career criminal who had not only been involved with drug dealing, illegal gambling, tax evasion, and "organized crime in a labor union," but also had an impressive 39 court convictions under his belt. A upstanding citizen, indeed. A judge cleared Pell after an inquiry.

One can only imagine the other shifty chaps we have not even heard about.

3. Even secular observers have admitted that Pell is not being treated fairly at all.

In a May 2017 article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian politician Amanda Vanstone began her piece by saying that she is "no fan of organized religion," but then she wrote:

"The media frenzy surrounding Cardinal George Pell is the lowest point in civil discourse in my lifetime. I'm 64.

"What we are seeing is no better than a lynch mob from the dark ages. Some in the media think they are above the law both overseas and at home …

"What we are seeing now is far worse than a simple assessment of guilt. The public arena is being used to trash a reputation and probably prevent a fair trial.
Perhaps the rule of law sounds as if it's too esoteric to worry about."


And a prominent legal group in Australia, the Justice Institute of Victoria, has concluded that the "lack of regard" for the cardinal's rights was "a startling affront" to the cornerstone of the nation's legal system.

4. Accusations against Cardinal Pell were widely circulated in a 2017 book that has been roundly discredited.

In 2017, media outlets in Australia fell over themselves to heap praise on a Pell-bashing book by muckraking writer Louise Mulligan. Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell is Mulligan's wild, 384-page attempt to single-handedly take down the cleric on her own, but the media surely tried to help the woman along.

But as writer Peter Craven demonstrated in a June 2017 review of the book, Mulligan's scholarship leaves a lot to be desired. In short, Craven concluded:

"Louise Milligan's Cardinal has plenty of inaccuracies ranging from St Kevin's uniforms to clerical titles. She is the diametrical opposite of Helen Garner in her famous trial books: instead of presenting herself as an unreliable narrator – full of doubts and flaws – she is a writer of flaming convictions and sensationalist prose who backs her intuitions in the face of any notion of evidence or scruple.

"The upshot is a racketing case for the prosecution. One can only hope to God that in the present climate people will be capable of realising this is a case being mounted for a witch trial."

And how true Craven's prophecy has become!

5. Cardinal Pell has vehemently denied all the charges against him.

Let us have Cardinal Pell speak for himself. Here he is in June 2017:

"These matters have been under investigation now for nearly two years. There have been leaks to the media, relentless character assassination, and for more than a month claims that a decision on laying charges is 'imminent' …

"I repeat that I am innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me …

"I have been consistent and clear in my total rejection of these allegations. News of these charges strengthens my resolve, and court proceedings now offer me an opportunity to clear my name and then return to my work in Rome."


When we outlined facts about Cardinal Pell's case last summer, we wrote at the time:

We're not buying any of this. We pray that justice will be served, but we doubt it.
TheMediaReport.com has been observing the climate against the Catholic Church in Australia for some time now, and we have never seen anything like it. Imagine the hatred against the Church of the Boston Globe and the New York Times combined and spread out over an entire country. The climate is truly insane.

Australian law enforcement is claiming that Pell's case is being treated like any other historical offense. No, it isn't. Police do not give a rip about someone coming forward to claim someone touched them over their bathing suit 40 years ago. But this is a Catholic priest, and a high-ranking one at that. This is a big fish in the eyes of law enforcement.

Will another innocent cleric be dragged off to prison for crimes he never committed? We believe so, but we hope we're wrong.




And just to round off the viewpoint from which Pierre reports on the abuse stories - which he does not deny nor does he minimize their import...


Five inconvenient truths about the media
the media narrative on clerical sex abuse


1 IT'S NOT ABOUT CATHOLIC PRIESTS
FACT: Catholic priests abuse at a rate far lower than that of other males in the general population.
Notwithstanding the media hysteria over sex abuse in the Catholic Church, priests abuse at a rate far lower than that of other males. While even one case of abuse is too many, approximately only 4% of all active priests between 1950 and 2002 were even accused of abuse – a rate far lower than that of other males in the general population.


Newsweek magazine, April 7, 2010:

"Based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. 'We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,' said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children …

"Experts disagree on the rate of sexual abuse among the general American male population, but Allen says a conservative estimate is one in 10. Margaret Leland Smith, a researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says her review of the numbers indicates it’s closer to one in 5 …

"Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations … It's been that way for decades."


USA Today, June 6, 2010:

"If anyone believes that priests offend at a higher rate than teachers or non-celibate clergy, then they should produce the evidence on which they are basing that conclusion. I know of none. Saying 'everybody knows' does not constitute scientific methodology."
– Dr. Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University


2 THE GRAND CONSPIRACY THAT WASN'T
FACT: You would never know it from the media's lurid and obsessive coverage, but the vast bulk of reported cases of abuse stem only from a historical anomaly, as most allegations occurred during only a small sliver of time during the Sexual Revolution from the 1960s to the early 1980s. And despite media suggestions of dark conspiracies and cover-ups, the Church – like every other institution at the time – simply followed the then-prevailing view of experts in the field that offenders could be successfully rehabilitated and sent accused priests off for treatment. [One must qualify this with the emerging truth that most bishops have also persisted in a terrible state of denial that such crime and sin could be committed by priests.]
From the 1950s through the 1970s, the Catholic Church, following the then-prevailing societal practice, sent suspected abusers to psychologists rather than calling the police.

In this respect, the Church was far from alone. When the Church was sending accused priests to psychological treatment, "the criminal justice system was doing the very same thing with convicted offenders – sending them to treatment instead of prison."

"From the 1950's to the 1980's, these treatment-based interventions for sexual criminals were not only enormously prevalent in the United States, but surveys of ordinary citizens showed that they were enormously popular …

"The science of human sexuality and sexual offending is extraordinarily young. Virtually all of the information we utilize today regarding the treatment and supervision of sexual offenders has been discovered since 1985."
– Dr. Monica Applewhite, Ph.D.


Yet in almost every media account, the media has failed to provide this important historical context that the Church was following the then-reigning advice of experts in the field to send accused priests to treatment.

"No one would hold a brain surgeon to today's standard of care for professional decisions he made in 1970. Yet the decisions made in 1970 by Catholic bishops, who routinely consulted with mental health professionals about sick priests, are being judged by today's standards. Today, the confidence of the mental health community about the likelihood of curing sexual disorders is far less than it was in 1970."
– L. Martin Nussbaum, "Changing the Rules" (America magazine, 2006)

Tragically, sending accused priests to treatment rather than reporting them to the police resulted in a high rate of recidivism among those priests. According to the 2004 John Jay College report, 149 priests were "serial abusers" (10+ victims) and accounted for an alarming 26% of all of the abuse that took place between 1950 and 2002.

Yet these 149 men represent only one-tenth of one percent of all priests who served in the Catholic Church in the United States between 1950 and 2002. Most accused priests (56%) have been the subject of only one allegation. [Through all this, one must not forget that even one sex-offender priest and even just one sex abuse victim is too much already.]

3 THE REAL NEWS: CURRENT ACCUSATIONS AGAINST CATHOLIC PRIESTS ARE EXTREMELY RARE
FACT: Almost all accusations against Catholic priests date from many decades ago, and indeed nearly half of all abuse accusations concern priests who are already long dead. In a body of 77 million people, contemporaneous accusations of abuse against Catholic clergy in the United States are very rare, recently averaging only 7 allegations deemed "substantiated" by review boards each year. [Nonetheless, the weight and degree of media attention given to these stories, even if most of them took place in the past, deliberately underscores the burden of blame placed upon the Church for her miscreant clergy.]
A 2004 U.S. Department of Education report reported that "the most accurate data available" reveals that "nearly 9.6 percent of [public school] students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career."

This result prompted Hofstra University's Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, the author of the study, to opine in 2006, "[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem? The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

A Meanwhile, that same 2004 report cited an important study from the mid-1990s:"In an early [1994] study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York, all of the accused had admitted to sexual abuse of a student but none of the abusers was reported to authorities."

That is an important and alarming fact:
Number of abusive educators: 225
Number reported by school officials to police: 0

So, in other words, as recently as just 1994, it was the universal practice in New York among school administrators not to call police to report abusers.

The 1994 study also reported that only 1 percent of those abusive educators lost their license. In addition, most alarmingly, "25 percent received no consequence or were reprimanded informally and off-the-record. Nearly 39 percent chose to leave the district, most with positive recommendations or even retirement packages intact."

4 THE STORY THE MEDIA WON'T REPORT: THE EPIDEMIC OF ABUSE AND COVER-UPS GOING ON TODAY IN OUR OWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FACT: The incidence of sexual abuse by teachers in public schools today has been estimated to be "more than 100 times" that by Catholic priests, and there is alarming evidence of school officials covering up abuse and failing to report suspected cases to authorities. Yet the mainstream media has largely ignored this shocking story while still rehashing decades-old allegations of abuse by Catholic priests.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), the independent research organization out of Georgetown University, has been tracking abuse data regarding United States Catholic clergy for several years. CARA issues annual reports through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

According to CARA, here are the numbers of accusations involving a current minor that have been deemed "substantiated" each year from 2005 to 2017:
Year / # of accusations
2017 6*
2016 2
2015 5
2014 6
2013 7
2012 6
2011 7
2010 8
2009 6
2008 10
2007 4
2006 14
2005 9
Meanwhile, according to government numbers, in the single year of 2010 alone, there were some 63,527 reported cases of child sexual abuse in the United States – an alarming societal problem that has received very little media attention.
(* – Of those 6 contemporaneous accusations in 2017, four of them were against the same priest.)


Rarely seen AP graphic of teacher abuse in American schools (non-Catholic).

5 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TODAY: A MODEL FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN
FACT: The Catholic Church is likely the safest environment for children today. [Only to the extent that Church authorities adhere to the guidelines for extending such protection and do not just use them to 'prove' they have adequate measures in place. We have been shown how the much-touted 2002 USCCB guidelines for dealing with clerical sex abuse deliberately did not include guidelines for the bishops.]

The Catholic Church's record of aggressive and proactive protective measures is unparalleled in any organization today. [Yes, it's all very well to have all this on paper, but how much and how well are these measures followed?] Since the beginning of the abuse crisis, the Catholic Church:
- has instituted a "zero tolerance" policy in which any credibly accused priest is immediately removed from ministry. Law enforcement is also notified;
- has trained over 5 million children in giving them skills to protect them from abuse;
- has trained over 2 million adults, including 99 percent of all priests, in recognizing signs of abuse;
- has conducted over 2 million background checks, including those in the intensified screening process for aspiring seminarians and priests;
- has installed "Victim Assistance Coordinators" in every diocese, "assuring victims that they will be heard";
- has conducted annual independent audits of all dioceses to monitor compliance with the groundbreaking 2002 Charter for Protection of Children and Young People;
- has instituted in all dioceses abuse review boards – often composed of child welfare experts, child psychologists, and abuse experts – to examine any claims of abuse against priests.

No other organization even comes close to implementing the measures the Catholic Church has taken to protect children in its care. In this regard, the Catholic Church in the 21st century is the model for other institutions to follow in the safeguarding of youth. [In the festering circumstances of the entire clerical sex abuse/episcopalcover-up story in the US Church today, it's hard to say that with a straight face.]
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January 7, 2017

I trust it is not just wishful thinking that makes anti-globalists, anti-indiscriminate mass migration passionates like me see signs of hope in the 'yellow vest' movement in France...

Following an eighth consecutive weekend of protests against high
living costs in France, marked by clashes with police, Italian Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the Italian anti-establishment party Five Star Movement (M5S), and Matteo Salvini, heading the anti-immigrant Lega, have voiced their support for the protesters.

Salvini, the Italian interior minister Salvini, often labelled a populist, has openly sided with the “yellow vests” movement and criticised French President Emmanuel Macron.

“I support honest citizens who protest against a governing president [who is] against his people”, he stated, at the same time firmly condemning the violence at the rallies, as cited by RT.

His coalition partner, M5S leader and Italian Minister of Economic Development Luigi Di Maio, also endorsed the "yellow vests" movement and lambasted Macron’s government for protecting the interests of the elite and not proving to be up to the expectations of the people.

He wrote an open letter to the protestors on his party’s official blog, which began with the call “Yellow vests, do not give up!” going on to write that his M5S was ready to give them the support they need.

“In France, as in Italy, politics has become deaf to the needs of citizens who have been kept out of the most important decisions affecting the people”, he said, pointing out that it “is the same spirit that fuelled the 5 Star Movement and thousands of Italians”.


He also echoed claims by one of the most well-known representatives of the "yellow vests" movement, Jacline Mouraud, about establishing a political party, and pointed out that “despite the insults and sneers, his party, the M5S, has entered parliament, and those who teased them, have disappeared from the political scene”.

At the same time, he strongly condemned those who have resorted to violence during the demonstrations, but expressed his belief that the movement itself is peaceful.

“A new Europe is being born. One of yellow vests, of direct democracy movements. It is a hard battle that we can fight together”, he concluded promising to assist with organising a Rousseau-inspired system of direct democracy.

Rallies against high living costs have continued for an eighth consecutive weekend, with at least 50,000 people protesting nationwide. On 6 January, some 3,500 protesters took to the streets of Paris.

The wave of so-called “yellow vests” protests — named after high-visibility jackets mandatory for French drivers to keep in their cars — started in mid-November. While the French government has scrapped its planned diesel tax hike, which is what initially sparked the protests, the "yellow vests" have evolved into a broader movement against the government’s policies and rising living costs. The rallies have been marked by violent clashes between protesters and the police.

The new Catholic ‘far-right’ in France
by Gary Potter

January 7, 2019

For the first time in decades politics rooted in France’s historical Catholicism is visible on the French political landscape. From the point of view and in the parlance of secular liberal globalists that makes the politics “far right,” “extreme right” or even “fascist”.

Given France’s position as one of the world’s leading nations, its role as a main actor in history and the lamentable fact that in 1789 it became the first country in Christendom to experience the overthrow of Christian government, the emergence of the new politics inspired by traditional Church teaching is of considerable significance.

It excites fear and loathing in some. One such is Mark Lilla, author of an article about the movement recently published by the New York Review of Books, that flag-bearer journal of the political left in the U.S. He fears that it can serve, at least in its “aggressive form,” as a “powerful tool for building a pan-European reactionary Christian nationalism.”

Bear in mind as we discuss it here that France is officially secular to the degree that the very buildings in which Catholics worship — their churches — are the property of the state. It should not surprise us, therefore, that the young men and women expounding the new politics do not foresee their ideas prevailing soon. On the contrary, we should take them all the more seriously for that reason.

As Lilla noted in his article about them, Antonio Gramsci is frequently cited in their journals and magazines. Gramsci was an Italian Communist theoretician imprisoned by Mussolini in the 1930s who saw and taught that the Marxist subversion of Europe and the rest of the West required intellectual transformation — a “long march,” as he put it, through educational and cultural institutions in order to weaken age-old attachments to family, community and religion.

The social turbulence of the 1960s and general collapse of Christian standards of behavior, exemplified by the sexual revolution of that decade, showed that the long march had begun to pay off. And it finally arrived at today’s secular liberal globalism which is culturally Marxist if it is anything, even if many globalists identify themselves as being on the political right.

Their true essential character is revealed by their economic vision of history and the life of society. If we assume they are familiar at all with the sayings of Our Lord, they have forgotten that man does not live by bread alone.

The young thinkers of the new Catholic right understand that nothing will roll back cultural Marxism except a long march in the opposite direction leading to the restoration of tradition. To speak of this restoration is to speak of peoples of former Christendom, in this case the French, embracing their Christian history and thereby revitalizing family, community and religion, institutions in which humanity flourishes and which, when they are strong, also insulate men from the power of the modern state that seeks for that very reason to weaken them. It aims to take their place and in many respects has.

We ought to note here that the last rightwing political movement of Catholic coloration to exercise serious influence in France was Action Française. Its sway was the widest in the period between the First and Second World Wars. Its leading intellectual light was thinker, writer and member of the French Academy, Charles Maurras.

If we allude here to Action Française it is for two reasons:
1) Ideas set forth by Maurras can be seen to figure in the thinking of the young men and women of the emerging politics. To be sure, they are adapted to today’s circumstances.
2) Apart from its monarchism, the most notable feature of Action Française was that it was anti-statist.

What are the exact, concrete positions staked out by adherents of the new politics?
- They reject the European Union, same-sex marriage and mass immigration.
- They also reject unregulated global financial markets, genetically-modified foodstuffs, consumerism and daily life dominated by what they refer to as AGFAM (Apple-Google-Facebook-Amazon-Microsoft).
- In Lilla’s words, they see “the fundamental task of society is to transmit knowledge, morality, and culture to future generations.”

Lilla goes on to explain that they oppose the E.U. “because it rejects the culture-religion foundation of Europe and tries to found it instead on the economic self-interest of individuals. Unlike their American counterparts…the young French conservatives argue that the economy must be subordinate to social needs.”

Of course from the Catholic point of view they are correct to do so. Having a sound economy depends on having right politics, the means by which the life of society is governed, but such politics cannot exist except on the basis of right morality, and that is impossible if society is divorced from God, restricting religion to purely private practice.

Another big difference between the young French conservatives and their American counterparts is that the French are strong environmentalists, whereas the Americans by-and-large have never understood that conservatism should conserve.

In the next installment of this article we’ll identify some of the leading figures among the young French Catholic conservatives, take a closer look at what they espouse, including some differences between them, and see how all this fits, if it does, in the context of the “yellow-vest” uprising that has rocked France since November.

Meantime, my attention has been drawn to a Spanish poll that shows that the Vox Party, whose meteoric rise I recently wrote about, now enjoys nearly twelve percent support among voters nationally after their stunning victory in Andalusia ended 36 years of Socialist rule in that region.

About twelve percent support was what the AfD Party had when it won its first seats in Germany’s federal parliament, where it is now the main opposition to lame-duck Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU-Socialist-CSU coalition government. It also now has seats in the legislatures of all sixteen German states.

[To be continued]
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This is an unusually hard-hitting commentary from the editor of FIRST THINGS who spent the first few years of this pontificate trying his best to give Jorge Bergoglio the benefit
of the doubt. Which no sane man can go on giving if the beneficiary erases all doubt by the ingrained habitual consistency of his questionable words and actions...


The current regime in Rome will damage the Catholic Church.
- Pope ­Francis combines laxity and ruthlessness.
- His style is casual and approachable; his church politics are cold and cunning.
- There are leading themes in this pontificate —­ mercy, accompaniment, peripheries, and so forth — but no theological framework.
- He is a verbal semi-automatic weapon, squeezing off rounds of barbed remarks, spiritual aperçus, and earthy asides
­(media are guilty of coprophagia!).
- This has all created a confusing, even dysfunctional atmosphere that will become intolerable, if it hasn’t already.

Every pope sets a particular tone, a party line.
- Benedict made no secret of his desire for the Church to recover the dignity and transcendent orientation of the old ways of worship. But he was measured and never denounced or insulted those who prefer guitars and casual liturgies.
- St. John Paul II’s great intellectual project was to redeem the promise of mid-century Catholicism’s turn toward cooperation with secular humanism. He sought to fuse the modern turn to the subject and freedom with a full-spectrum affirmation of the doctrinal tradition. One can judge his project a success or a failure, but it is beyond dispute that his intention was to span the gap between today’s individual-­oriented ethos and Catholicism’s theocentrism.

Pope Francis, by contrast, is quick to denounce, widening gaps rather than closing them.
- More often than not, he targets the core Catholic faithful.
- He regularly attacks “mummified” Christians and “rosary counters.” - On many occasions, Francis has singled out doctrinally orthodox priests for ridicule.
- The same holds for those who favor the Latin Mass, whom he derides as suffering from a “rigidity” born of “insecurity.”
- Early in his pontificate, his Christmas sermon to the curia recited a litany of condemnations.
- Francis expresses little sympathy or support for regular Mass-goers and the men laboring in parish ministry. “Go to the peripheries!” That’s one of his signature exhortations. In practice, that has meant neglecting (if not attacking) bishops, priests, and laity who do the ordinary work of sustaining the Church’s institutions and traditions.
- In November, Francis intervened to prevent the bishops in the United States from taking decisive action to address their failure to hold one another accountable.
- Meanwhile, it appears that the Vatican has come to an agreement with the Chinese government to regularize the underground Church in that country. The deal seems to allow communist bureaucrats to play an integral role in the selection of bishops.

The contrast is shocking.
- On the one hand, the pope slaps down men who have devoted their lives to the Church and proven their loyalty over decades of service.
- On the other hand, he is solicitous of the interests of commissars and accommodates them, even to the point of suspending one of the most important canonical principles of modern Catholicism, designed to protect the Church against secular control.


Any particular action by Francis and his team may be defensible. - Some have devoted themselves to marshaling arguments of one sort or another to show that each move is principled and exemplary.
- But Francis seems uninterested in developing a coherent theological justification for his actions. He governs with gestures, slogans, and sentiments.

Pope Francis has also revised the Catechism in a way that suggests a fundamental change in the Church’s teaching. This was done in a peremptory fashion without discussion or explanation. - It is as if Francis had meditated on St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, which guides one toward galvanizing discernments that come with commanding immediacy, rather than consulting moral theologians. This can’t help but create the impression that everything is up for grabs. Who knows what will come next?

“Time is greater than space.” Pope Francis put this forward as one of his guiding principles.
- It means that movements of the spirit matter more than official liturgies, authorized doctrines, and established structures.
- This principle is anti-institutional. It is a characteristic sentiment of ­Jesuits formed by the Spiritual Exercises who are old enough to take the Church’s institutions for granted.

I taught for a number of years at a Jesuit University. I’m familiar with a pastoral approach that treats disruption and rule-breaking as a spiritual tonic. Many Jesuits I knew were “liberal” in style and rhetoric. But I came to see that this was not always out of conviction. It was a tactic, a posture meant to enhance their evangelical effectiveness.
- Breaking rules and adopting heterodox views puts people at ease, they thought.
- It opens up space for the Holy Spirit, getting people onto the “ladder of love” that brings them into the Church.


This is not a crazy approach. In some circumstances, it can work. As St. Paul said, “I have become all things to all people,” suggesting a mobile strategy for the proclamation of Christ crucified.
- This Jesuit adoption of multiple, even contradictory, ecclesial masks helps us understand why Pope Francis can tack so quickly from “liberal” to “conservative” positions, suggesting a relaxation of the Church’s judgments about sexual morality (“Who am I to judge?”), while at the same time making striking statements about the unfitness of homosexual men for the priesthood.
- This approach coheres, moreover, with the Peronist tradition that seeks to transcend ideology in the service of the people. A true Peronist is left-wing —e xcept when he is right-wing.

This does not work as a general strategy for the Church. The Francis mode of improvisation depends on the underlying stability of the tradition for its effectiveness.
- If the Church becomes the agent of her own disruption and rule-breaking becomes the rule, then Jesuit freelancing tactics lose their spiritual effectiveness.
- They become, instead, futile gestures in an atmosphere of disorder and confusion.
This, I fear, is the effect of the Francis pontificate. He’s like the Baby Boomer who can’t understand why the kids aren’t inspired by his now clichéd and conventional unconventionality. “You shoulda been at Woodstock . . .”

Bishops, leaders of religious orders, and curial officials have institutional responsibilities. I’m not privy to their private conversations.
- But the disorder and anti-institutional bias of the Francis pontificate must be unsettling.
- The tendency of this pope is to undermine the Church’s most loyal servants. This is surely galling.
- His lack of interest in ­theology — in ideas generally — reduces his pontificate to the raw exercise of ecclesiastical power. This creates a dictatorial atmosphere that is unpleasant for those who run the Church’s institutions.

Like all Christians, Catholics believe in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We also believe in mother Church. This does not replace faith in Christ. It means we trust that, in her main outlines, the Church is not just a reliable witness to Christ, but also his real presence — the mystical Body of Christ. This is why Catholics often use the word “Church” as a synonym for God’s grace in Christ.

A Catholic is loyal to the Church — her teaching, traditions, and liturgies, to be sure, but also her institutions, even the very stones of her buildings. (In Rome, the cobblestones are known as sampietrini, “little St. Peters.”)
- This loyalty can become exaggerated. The regalia of the Knights of Malta are not essential.
- But on the whole, the spirit of devotion to the Church’s long-standing traditions and outward forms is evangelical.
- It is an embodied form of faith in Christ. To cling tenaciously to “space” is a first-fruit of Jesus’s lordship over all things.


Pope Francis seems to regard the uncertainty and instability as desirable.
- His anti-institutionalism tends to disembody the Catholic faith.
- A “field hospital” church can pick up and leave.
- The Church of brick and stone makes a claim to permanence.
- It contests with the City of Man for territory.
- It bears witness to the certainty and stability of God’s covenant fulfilled in Christ.

Looking back, we can see that Jorge Bergoglio wrecked some of the institutions he was in charge of before he was seated on the chair of St. Peter.
- He sowed division at the Jesuit seminary during his term as rector. When he stepped down as head of the Argentine Jesuit province, conflict and bad feelings reigned.

To be sure, some things need to be broken. I’ve written about the sclerotic chancery culture in the United States. Long ago, Joseph Ratzinger warned that the Church in the West must discard self-important illusions, legacies of her role in Christendom, in order to restore salt to her witness. By some accounts, Bergoglio broke down some of the corrupt connections between the Church and elite interests in Argentina. We can all think of needed reforms.

But those occupying the offices of leadership in the Church must also build up, unify, and encourage the troops. This Francis seems unwilling to do.
- He’s like a supreme commander who prizes his bold commando platoons while deriding the common foot soldiers.
- This leads to disaster, for the everyday soldiers, the grunts, are the ones who take and hold territory.

The Son of God came in order to take territory.
- The sharp edge of conquest can be found in the witness of the martyrs, the holiness of the saints, and the courageous words of prophets.
- But the “rosary counters,” the regular Mass-goers, the priests who care about canonical norms, the bishops who oversee their dioceses — they occupy and secure the territory.

I have the impression that the majority of the cardinals and other churchmen in positions of responsibility are increasingly aware the Francis pontificate is a failure.
- This judgment need not indicate theological disagreement. Indeed, part of the concern stems from the growing realization that Francis has no theology. (“Reality is superior to the idea,” as he puts it.)
- Authority without principle and rule without law run on intuition and discernment, which means either tyranny (the authority of one man’s intuitions) or anarchy (the authority of everyone’s discernments). Either way, the Church loses her specific gravity, and the world and its principles invade and advance to take territory.

A sagacious pope would try to temper the uproar in the American Church by appointing a man of impeccable reputation to the seat in Washington made vacant by the departure of the discredited Cardinal Wuerl.
- Francis is expected to do the opposite.
- And his proxies are sure to denounce any criticism of his pick as stemming from a cabal of rich conservatives who want to hijack the Church for political purposes.

Meanwhile, for all its talk of the poor, this pontificate has a close and cozy relationship with the Davos elite that is without precedent. Again, I’m not privy to the thoughts of cardinals and Vatican prefects, but I can imagine that a far-seeing ecclesiastical eminence rightly suspects that this pontificate will cut deals with the secular West not unlike its power-sharing agreement with the communist government in China.
- Instead of claiming territory, the Francis pontificate is turning Catholicism into a chaplaincy for the elite interests in the emerging global world order.
- Those who know Jesuits will recognize this as their historical pattern, still very much the norm amid lots of chatter about social justice.


****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

This article, which is featured in the February 2019 issue of FIRST THINGS, appears to continue on to two different subjects: 'Eternal Rome" and 'Augustinian political theology'. Both are interesting reflections...

ETERNAL ROME

The Bernini colonnade of St. Peter’s Square is grand. It was there that my wife and I met a friend, a priest long in residence in Rome. We opened up our umbrellas as we made our way past the Swiss guards and headed toward the entrance to the excavations under St. Peter’s. The wet cobblestone gleamed, and above us soared the walls of the grand basilica, the pope’s cathedral, the seat of St. Peter, the spiritual center of Western Christianity.

According to tradition, St. Peter was martyred nearby. He requested to be crucified upside down, thinking himself unworthy of imitating Christ’s death. His body was taken by the small band of Christians and buried amid a large complex of graves where the basilica now stands. The gravesite was likely kept secret, known only to the little band of Christians in Rome, in order to prevent the Romans from exhuming his body and tossing it into the Tiber.

In 312, Constantine defeated his rival, Maxentius. He ascribed his victory to divine intervention and became a patron of Christianity. He reorganized Rome in accord with his imperial plans. One of his building projects involved establishing a grand basilica on the site of St. Peter’s grave, which at that time was marked by a small shrine within a large complex of mausoleums, mostly of pagan origin.

The Romans did not remove existing structures from building sites. Instead, they knocked down walls and filled in vacant spaces to create foundations. And so, the original St. Peter’s basilica was built upon a necropolis, a city of the dead, with its high altar positioned atop what was thought to be St. Peter’s grave. The ancient basilica fell into neglect when the papacy decamped to Avignon. After failed efforts to rebuild the decayed structure, a series of Renaissance popes embarked on ambitious plans to erect an entirely new and much grander basilica atop the remains of the old St. Peter’s.

Romans have long discovered unknown treasures hidden underneath existing buildings. By the nineteenth century, modern archaeological techniques were being employed to uncover the ancient Roman ruins. After his election as pope in 1939, Pius XII commissioned a small team to begin excavations underneath St. Peter’s. Tradition held that the central altar of St. Peter’s beneath its soaring dome stood atop the bones of St. Peter. Was it true?

Our priest guide provided expert commentary on Roman burial practices as we made our way through the damp confines of the complex of mausoleums that excavations have uncovered beneath St. Peter’s. Many sarcophagi are decorated by wavy lines, which picture the strigil, a curved bronze tool the Romans used to scrape their skin clean when they went to the baths. It symbolizes the pagan view that in death a person’s body is separated from his spirit — scraped off, as it were.

Eventually, we arrived at the excavations underneath the central altar of St. Peter’s. No amount of archaeological or forensic science can prove with certainty that the remains buried two thousand years ago are the bones of the disciple whom Jesus pronounced the rock upon which he would build his Church. And our faith rests in the living Christ, not relics.

Nevertheless, I was overtaken by the spiritual power of the encounter.
- The continuity of tradition is palpable.
- The Church remains a vast, expansive reality. Her history can’t be grasped in its fullness.
- There is always more to learn about Catholic practice and ­tradition.

Yet, standing only a few meters beneath the altar at which today’s pope celebrates High Mass, gazing at the bones of St. Peter, one feels the centuries collapse and the Church’s vastness contract.

My wife is Jewish. The next day was Saturday, her Sabbath. She wanted to go to Rome’s famous Great Synagogue. And we did. In 1870, after Rome fell to republican forces and the Papal States came to an end, the Jews of Rome were granted Italian citizenship. The civil liabilities limiting their freedom were abolished. In short order, the Jewish community of Rome, which traces its history back more than two millennia, set about to construct a building that would unify disparate congregations and boldly assert their presence in a city that had long suppressed them. The impressive structure was completed at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Reform Judaism is a German phenomenon, following the pattern of liberal Protestant rationalism. Conservative Judaism is mostly American in origin, perhaps best understood as Jewish Anglicanism—traditional in ritual and liberal in spirit. In places like Italy, historic synagogues maintain the old patterns.

And so, when my wife went through the security gate and into the synagogue compound, she was told to use the left door, the one that led to the women’s gallery. I was told to use the right door, which gave entrance to the main floor of the synagogue where only men gather to pray.

The Gabbai (the man facilitating the liturgy) approached me to ask (in excellent English) if I was Jewish. He smiled generously when I said “no,” and gave me a prayer book with English translations of the Hebrew. I’ve often accompanied my wife to services. I can’t claim knowledge of Hebrew, but I can recognize some key ­phrases in the worship service and am usually able to ­orient myself in the siddur, the Jewish prayer book. But Jews of Rome sustain a distinct, historic liturgy unique to their community, chanted in accord with unfamiliar tunes and tropes. The Hebrew was for me a blur of sounds.

The cadence of the cantor became a clattering cataract as he recited the preparatory prayers for the Sabbath worship, which are extensive, amounting to tens of thousands of words. The service slowly gained intensity. More and more men filtered into the sanctuary, finding their seats. Then, the Gabbai drew the curtain aside and flung open the two-stories-tall doors of the tabernacle, in which rested three or four large Torah scrolls, each topped with silver crowns and draped with elaborate vestments. The chanting of the congregation swelled.

We had reached the central moment of Sabbath worship. Reading from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, serves as the Jewish sacrament (if I may be permitted the word). The ritual reading from the scrolls is a “making present” of God’s covenant with Israel. The Pentateuch is read in continuous fashion over the course of the liturgical year, beginning with Genesis and ending with ­Deuteronomy. On that Saturday, the readings (again extensive) came from the end of Genesis—Jacob, Joseph, and his brothers.

The (to me) meaningless words of the Torah washed over me. I gazed up to the brilliant blue ceiling of the dome high above the synagogue floor and the worshiping congregation. The late morning sunshine streamed through the many windows and filled the enormous space. I turned my attention to the congregation, some following the ­Torah recitation in their own books, some distracted, others quietly greeting each other, “Shabbat shalom.”

At that moment, a thought arose in my heart.
- The man whose bones I had seen under the altar of St. Peter’s had in all likelihood mingled with this congregation, which has been chanting the Torah in Rome for more than two thousand years.
- Perhaps the men and women who claimed his dead body and buried it in the Vatican necropolis were from this community as well, some Gentiles on the fringes who sensed that the God of Israel is the living God in whom we live and move and have our being.
- Again, the centuries collapsed in a vivid awareness of the profound continuity and unshakeable permanence of God’s promises.

AUGUSTINIAN POLITICAL THEOLOGY

One of the central features of the modern mentality is the conceit that we live in an entirely new and unprecedented way.
- We have become aware of “history.” ­
- Science “disenchants.”
- Modern man is, for the first time, “mature.”
- We assume a great chasm between past and present.
But this is not true.

As St. Paul reminds us, quoting from the Torah itself, “The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” Not every community seeking to be faithful to God’s covenant has been worshiping continuously for two thousand years, but the Bible is ready at hand for whoever has the will to reach for it. Not every altar has St. Peter’s bones beneath, but even the most newly consecrated can have the incarnate Word upon it.

St. Augustine famously said of the Romans that their seeming virtues were not virtues at all, but rather glorious vices. Their conquests created a vast empire. Their monuments were grand. But their loves were wrongly directed.

“These,” observes Augustine, “are the two things which drove the Romans to perform such wondrous deeds: love of liberty and the desire for human praise.” As worldly loves, they turned Rome away from our true end, which is love of God and the desire for holiness.

Yet it’s wrong to think St. Augustine regarded pagan Roman virtues as without value. In Book V of City of God, he argues that Roman military success and political eminence served a providential purpose. Ancient Rome excelled “in matters of human honor,” and “we may profit from the kindness of the Lord our God by considering what great things those Romans despised, what they endured, and what lusts they subdued.”

Augustine makes two arguments for why Christians should affirm the Romans’ achievements.
- The first is pedagogical. It’s true that the Romans disciplined their souls “for the sake of merely human glory,” but their example can “be useful to us in subduing pride” and overcoming self-regard, which afflicts the followers of Christ no less than pagans.

By Augustine’s accounting, God’s providence ensured Rome’s worldly successes “for the advantage of the citizens of the eternal City [the City of God] during their pilgrimage here.” For as he recounts, the great Roman heroes did not covet wealth, and they often made great sacrifices in order to win praise from their fellow citizens.

We do well, therefore, to “diligently and soberly contemplate such examples.” The pagan Romans can put the followers of Christ to shame, and their example can awaken in us a heroic desire for sanctity. If Rome, an earthly city, “was so greatly loved by its citizens for the sake of merely human glory,” how much more should we be willing to serve the heavenly city.

Implicit in this argument is a claim about soulcraft. Parents who make sacrifices for the sake of their children, civic leaders who put the common good ahead of personal gain — these instances of natural virtue may lack the perfection of true virtue ordered to the final end of love of God; nevertheless, they offer worthy examples.

The person able to subordinate a desire for wealth to ambitions of public service — even if motivated by the worldly love of glory — has raised his eyes to something higher than immediate pleasures or accumulated riches. Properly ordered earthly loves can prepare our hearts for a higher love.

There’s a second argument in Book V as well, one that outlines an implicit political theology. Augustine runs through examples of pagan virtue. At first, the Romans sacrificed their private good for the sake of the public good of Rome’s independence, and then later they did so for the sake of Rome’s supereminence and dominance. The motive for this pattern of self-sacrifice was the desire to bask in the praise of their fellow citizens, the glory Romans longed to attain.

Again, St. Augustine is clear. Love of glory is a worldly love, and thus ultimately in vain. Nevertheless, such a love has temporal value. Love of glory contrasts to the two other, baser motives for gaining political eminence: the desire to use the levers of power to enrich oneself or to satisfy a lust for domination. These lower motives corrupt civic life at every level.

When civic leaders are motivated by the desire to enrich themselves, they turn public goods into private goods, commandeering the resources of the community to serve their own interests. This is the problem with oligarchs. When they are ascendant, political life is suborned as tycoons compete to capture political power to advance their business concerns. Politicians are bought, and government bureaucrats move to the private sector, “monetizing” their expertise and government contacts. This is always a danger in public life, especially in a democracy unleavened by an aristocratic ethos that longs for glory.

Economists are wrong to think everyone is motivated by money. As St. Augustine recognized, some desire to dominate. They take pleasure in humiliating others and relish the supine obedience they can compel. Anyone with a sadistic boss knows this. But it’s not just pathological lust that motivates a love of dominion. Motorcades, private jets, security details — power can bring intoxicating feelings of self-importance. There’s a chest-swelling pleasure that comes from being on top. This, too, can pervert the public realm, turning politics into an arena for powerful people to act out their private fantasies.

By contrast, love of glory has an intrinsically public orientation, as St. Augustine recognized. Glory is not a possession, nor is it an emotion. Instead, it’s a social reality. We attain civic glory when we are acclaimed by our community. Our collective goals can be perverse. Unless subordinated to the highest good, which is God, collective ambitions are inevitably perverse, to one degree or another. But they are public nonetheless.

As a consequence, love of glory drives talented men and women toward civic ends or purposes rather than private ones. This preserves the republic, the public res, from which any healthy political culture must be nourished and which it must be ordered toward preserving and promoting.

We do well to learn from St. Augustine’s reflections on Rome’s glorious vices. Christians tend to suffer from two political diseases, opposite in character. O
- One disease disdains public life, thinking it sullied by worldliness, or regarding it as tempting us to turn the nation into an idol.
- The other seeks to baptize temporal politics, fusing the authority of God to the plans and projects of this or that political figure or party.

St. Augustine shows us a better way. As Christians we have an interest in sustaining a healthy public life, and doing so means cultivating a proper love of glory. Patriotism, therefore, must play an integral role in the formation of citizens. Its value is obvious for our leadership class, which must be public-spirited in its ambitions.

But patriotic ardor also needs to be widely inculcated, for only a shared civic emotion of solicitude for the res publica causes the many to look up from their private concerns to applaud the few who achieve eminence in their public service. Without applause, there is no glory. Without glory, the love of glory withers unrequited. And as it withers, the best and most ambitious men default to the baser ambitions of attaining great wealth or achieving dominion for its own sake.

Now, for new developments at the Vatican...


The pope prepares a clean sweep:
Mons Gaenswein, Ecclesia Dei out

by Marco Tosatti
Adapted from Giuseppe Pellegrino's English translation from

January 10, 2019

Various sources from the Vatican say that two pontifical maneuvers are imminent, in the form of two Motu Proprio.

1. The first decrees the abolition of the Prefecture of the Papal Household. The Prefecture is the organism which is concerned, in general, with the appointments and audiences of the reigning Pontiff; but under the pontificate of Papa Bergoglio, a large part of the schedule is managed personally by the Pope, or by his personal secretary; and other audiences are organized directly by the Secretary of State.

According to the sources, the Prefecture of the Papal Household would become an office of the First Section of the Secretary of State (which is concerned with general and internal affairs), thus losing its autonomy and its role.

The present Prefect, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the former personal secretary of Benedict XVI and the person who still presently takes care of the daily affairs of the Pope Emeritus, would become, according to the sources, Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

The present Secretary of the Congregation is Msgr. Marcello Bartolucci was born in 1944 (he will turn 75 this coming April 9) and was named to his post in 2010 by Benedict XVI; thus, he meets the requirements of age and term to be replaced. The Prefect of the Congregation is the former Sostituto of the Secretariate of State, Angelo Becciu.

If this report is confirmed, the last vestiges of Benedict XVI's Pontificate will be gone. Some say that the Emeritus Pope had requested his successor at the beginning to retain CArdinal Gerahrd Mueller at the CDF and Mons, Gaenswein as head of the Papal Household.

Obviously almost six years have passed since then, and any 'guarantees' given by the pope would have lapsed (since the normal term for a Curial official is five years). It is probable that at this point, Monsignor Gänswein would be happy to be set free of a position that has perhapsbrought him more trials than gratification.

The same voices are confirming what already emerged a few days ago, about a Motu Proprio which will decree the end of the Ecclesia Dei commission and its integration as an office in the CDF. The commission has been in charge of dialogue with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX) and other traditional Mass societies, and has also been entrusted with overseeing bishops in the correct application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

According to our source, the Motu Proprio on Ecclesia Dei was alreadysigned by the Pontiff and was supposed to have been published before Christmas. The source has read it and given us a brief description: The text is rather short and written in a juridical style, and states that since the pastoral emergency of thirty years ago linked to the celebration of the Vetus Ordo which led to the creation of the Ecclesia Dei commission has ceased, there is now no longer any reason for the commission to exist in its present form.

The Motu Proprio of John Paul II which founded Ecclesia Dei on July 2, 1988, originated as a consequence of the illegal consecration of four bishops by Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre. Other powers and functions of the commission were modified by Benedict XVI in 2009.

The document of John Paul II gave the commission the faculty to “grant to anyone who asks the right to use the Roman Missal according to the typical edition in force in 1962, and to do so following the norms already proposed by the commission of cardinals ‘established for this purpose’ in December 1986, after having informed the diocesan bishop.”

Over the years, the commission has been the point of reference for those who, because of the position of individual diocesan bishops, appealed to it to obtain the revision of episcopal decrees forbidding the celebration of the Mass according to the Vetus Ordo.

Moreover, following the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI (2007), the commission has had the duty of overseeing its application, and it has studied the possible updates which have come to be needed by the 1962 liturgical texts: for example, the presence of new saints in the calendar.

Just as important, the commission was the place of final appeal for the faithful who request the celebration of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form and who have not received a positive response either from their parish priest or from their bishop. (Even if the results of such appeals have been mixed.)

It remains to be seen what power the office of Ecclesia Dei will be able to exercise, in which its top official wil no longer be its Secretary, Mons. Guido Pozzo, but the CDF Prefect himself.

Moreover, the affirmation that “the pastoral emergency has ended” gives rise to some more than legitimate doubts.
- In the November 2018 assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, bishops and “experts” sought to negate the juridical validity of Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, and called for its abrogation.
- There continue to be many bishops who oppose the celebration of the Traditional Mass directly or underhandedly, so to say that “there is no longer a pastoral emergency” appears fishy.
- In recent days the new Archishop of La Plata, Argentina, the pope's one-man brain trust and principle ghostwriter, Mons. “Tucho” Fernandez, issued a series of liturgical directives forbidding the use of Latin and the traditional Mass in his diocese.


If it is true that the FSSPX has expressed a preference to continue its doctrinal dialogue with the CDF rather than with a mere Commission, then it is evident that the problem of addressing traditional sensibilities within the Catholic Church requires a new footing and credible authority.

P.S. On his blogpost about this topic, Tosatti added the following paragraph on the news about abolition of the Papal Household Prefecture (my translation): "A curious thing about the prefecture of the Papal Household. Until 2017, it has furnished annual figures on the attendance at Vatican events presided by the reigning pope. But in 2017, there was controversy because some observers noted that since 2013, numbers had been falling off consistently compared the previous years, and even compared to similar numbers published during Benedict XVI's Pontificate. Curiously, the figures were not released for 2017, as far as I know.

A few months ago, around September, I asked an official at the Prefecture for the lapse, and I was assured that the figures would be published. It is now January and they have not been. One suspects that after the controversy in 2017 regarding the implied decline in the popularity of the reigning pope, the Vatican wished to avoid new discussions about the pope's popularity/

I thought I recently saw the figures for 2018, but when I went back just now to check the Vatican press bulletins in December 2018 and January 2019, I do not see the report at all.




Mons Nicola Bux:
'A pope cannot spread his private ideas instead of the eternally valid Catholic truth'

Adapted from the translation
by Giuseppe Nardi

January 10, 2019

ROME - The well-known liturgist Mons. Nicola Bux is objecting to some statements made by Pope Francis at the General Audience on 2 January. In an interview with the daily Quotidiano di Foggia, the theologian esteemed by Benedict XVI said: "The Pope cannot spread his private ideas instead of the eternally valid Catholic truth. The Gospel is not revolutionary".

Mons Bux was one of the advisers who were especially appreciated by Pope Benedict XVI, especially on liturgical questions. He supported the liturgical renewal which the German Pope wanted to promote through the recovery of the sacred in all things iturgical, and the promotion of the traditional Rite. Under Pope Francis, this changed. Like all the other consultors for papal liturgical celebrations, Don Bux was not confirmed in office nor re-appointed.

In an interview with Bruno Volpe for the Foggia newspaper, he commented on Pope Francis's controversial statement on January 4, who two days earlier had stated during the first General Audience of 2019 that the Gospel was "revolutionary'. It was apparently meant
as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. [That he should even have cited the Gospel in paying tribute to a secular and avowedly atheistic regime clearly shows, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to the Gospel. As if he were thereby absolving Cuba's communist dictatorship of evert possible transgression.]

Here is the full interview:
Don Nicola, is the gospel, as claimed by the pope, revolutionary?
No. This is a thesis that came into fashion in the 1970s after the publication of a few books, permitting the ideas of '68 and Marxism to shine through. It was intended to make the figure of Jesus more attractive, but has no theological foundation. [It was also the basis, more or less, for Christless 'liberation theology'.]

Why?
The Gospel tells us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to complete it. A revolution that is respected does not spare the past or even what already exists (the status quo). Jesus, on the contrary, is the One who recapitulates, according to the beautiful expression of St. Paul, he “unites all things in himself (Eph. 1:10). It is true that in the Book of Revelation it is written that he makes all things new, but that verse must be understood as a bringing to completion.

What about the pope's statement that it is better to be atheists and not go to church than to be Christians who hate?
I think that the problem is that the Pope deviates from the text prepared for him and seeks to say something he thinks will please the crowd. My sense is that certain statements, in addition to providing a certain self-satisfaction, arise from an aversion he nurtures toward the Church.

Pope Francis prefers a vision of the Church as an indistinct people, not as the People of God in its true sense. He doesn’t realize, however, that he slips into a contradictory and peronist vision, a schizophrenia that clashes with the very idea of mercy that he himself preaches.

Why?
When I say that someone who hates, that is, one who is objectively in a state of sin, does well to stay away from the Church, but at the same time allow remarried divorcees who are objectively also sinners, to receive Communion - that is a contradiction. Both are in a state of sin. But why be strict with those who hate, but merciful with the remarried divorced?

At present, paradoxically, one wants to let in those who are outside but wants to push out those who are inside. Certain statements are dangerous when they fall on weak or less conscious circles, and have devastating consequences. We risk emptying the churches even more.

That means?
It's a matter of principle. Can the Pope preach his private opinions instead of the everlasting Catholic truth? No. He is not a private theologian who can have questionable opinions about Catholic teaching.

It is inconceivable for a pope to change the Church as he pleases, or to create a church of his own that contradicts Catholic doctrine and beliefs. The Pastors of the Church must always express their faithfulness to the sound and everlasting doctrine and truth without any contamination, and must preserve it carefully.

I have not changed my practice to avoid reading any new statements or documents by this pope because it is like exposing myself to an occasion of sin. But obviously, if what he says provokes widespread objection, I am then obliged to check exactly what he said and judge accordingly. Alas, most of the time, the objectors turn out to be right.

So much so that Catholic news aggregator canon212.com posted a headline bait that read "Francis delivers talk on prayer in Paul VI Hall, hardly says anything sneaky or evil", implying it is news because it is an exceptional occasion when he does not do so.

As it turns out, the bait linked to an anodyne AsiaNews article about the pope's January 9, 2019 GA when he resumed a catechetical cycle about the Lord's Prayer. He talks about the value of prayer, and that even if it seems to us that God does not answer our prayer, he will answer if it takes a lifetime to do so - either by changing the things around us or by changing our hearts. Not bad.

Meanwhile, you may also want to look at this CRUX article on a Vatican News editorial by Andrea Tornielli
https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/01/10/new-vatican-editor-calls-media-hype-over-february-summit-excessive/
in which he warns against “excessive media expectations” regarding a Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on protecting minors called by Pope Francis for the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world, with the event being covered “as if it were … halfway between a council and a conclave.”

He said the purpose of the meeting, rather than coming up with sweeping changes, is “to ensure that everyone taking part in it can return to their own country being absolutely clear about what must (and must not) be done with regard to addressing these cases. Namely, what steps must be taken to protect the victims, with respect for the truth and the people involved, in order to ensure that no more cases are stonewalled or covered up.”

And does 'what must be done' include stripping off the Bergoglio church's insistence that the sex abuse crisis is due to clericalism, without ever mentioning the word 'homosexuality'? How can the bishops decide 'what must be done; if they do not first recognize and acknowledge the root evil?

Pope’s rebuke of traditionalists
better applies to Vatican II zealots stuck in 1960s

by Peter Kwasniewski

January 10, 2019

In the early days of the Francis regime, the world was treated to a wide and colorful array of insulting language from the Vicar of Christ directed at Catholics faulted for remaining “intransigently faithful” to tradition, with the implication that these were not like himself: a 1970s progressive, full of admiration for the United Nations and the European Union. In recent times the flood of insults has somewhat subsided. The pontiff has even warned us against the dangers of indulging in this verbal sport.

We might nevertheless wish to revisit an earlier official papal document, the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of 24 November 2013, where the then-new pope furnished a classy definition of those who exemplify what he called “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism.” He says

They ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.

A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelising, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.
(n. 94)


He then says that this mentality, like “gnosticism” (whatever that means), “are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism” (whatever that means), and concludes: “It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.”

While it is undeniable that such a tendency, or at least the temptation to it, can exist in any Christian at any time — and therefore also in communities that pride themselves on being “traditional” to one degree or another — one would be remiss to neglect a monumental fact: it is precisely a self-absorbed and neo-pelagian spirit that has infiltrated nearly all celebrations of the Novus Ordo.

None other than Joseph Ratzinger condemned the sociological conception of liturgy as “a work of this particular community,” one that trusts in the power of its active participation and feels superior to over 1,500 years of Latin liturgy because it “observes certain rules,” namely what popes have promulgated in the past 50 years, and “remains intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past,” namely, the 1960s and 1970s, in which Catholicism seems to be fatally trapped, like the mastodons of yore trapped in tar pits.

No doubt, a genuine evangelizing thrust could not emerge from such an adulterated form of Christianity. This perhaps explains why, at least in the Western world, the strongest growth is being seen in parishes, oratories, chapels, and religious communities that are expressly committed to “soundness of doctrine and discipline,” which
— surprise! — turns out to open doors to the grace of conversion. In a phrase used by a priest of the Fraternity of St. Peter, we see people “falling in Eucharistic love”!


The old Latin Mass is explicitly anti-Pelagian, categorically rejects Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and clearly reflects the true nature of sacrifice and the negative theology (sin, hell, penance, etc.) that is reduced or obscured in the new liturgical books. - Considered in itself, it is altogether a better antidote to the disease sketched out in Evangelii Gaudium.
- In no way could the Mass sanctified St. Gregory the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Blessed John Henry Newman ever be written off as “a particular Catholic style from the past.”
- If a traditionalist gets a bit drunk, so to speak, on the rich drink poured out for him by tradition, and is tempted to think himself at the end of the path when he is only just beginning to slough off the mortal coil of modernity, let’s rebuke him, but have mercy.
- If he “exhausts his energies” picking splinters out of others’ eyes, let him be kindly and calmly corrected.
These are incredibly confusing and difficult times, and most sheep are doing their best without the guidance of any shepherd worthy of the name.

The “good” traditionalist may consider himself “superior” precisely and only in this respect,
- that he submits his soul to be formed by a liturgy in which the tendencies Francis condemns are not inherent;
- that he emphatically does not trust in his own powers but in the universal tradition of the Church;
- that he trusts the power of Christ shown, lived, and poured forth in the traditional liturgy and its attendant devotions.

Our greatest concern should rather be for the masses of Catholics whose ordinary liturgical experience forms in them nothing other than neo-Pelagian, self-absorbed tendencies.
- Though I can’t prove it, I have a hunch that if you surveyed the average attendant of a Latin Mass (the average “traditionalist”?) and a typical Novus Ordo congregant, the “neopelagiometer” would sound the alarm much sooner over the latter than over the former.

Let us return, then, to the quotation from Pope Francis, and let us speak forthrightly:
- It is a tendentious caricature, a portrait of the worst traditionalist in his worst moment.
- It targets the traditionalist who is bitter and spoiled, not the one in healthy bloom.
- In this sense, it it unjust and mean-spirited towards the large number of Catholics who are striving to love the Lord and their neighbor with the aid of traditional practices of the Faith.
- It would be as absurd to accept this portrait as it would be to say, about Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo, that all of them are tambourine-touting, liturgical dance-promoting, helium-balloon-sporting, lukewarm relativists.

But then, Pope Francis has shown the world that he has a tendency to be a manipulator, an ideologue, a dictator, and a relativist about dogma, so perhaps it is not so worthwhile to take too seriously these problematic things he says.
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The Temple of Jerusalem today.

The desecration of God’s Temple
by Regis Nicoll

January 10, 2019

The lamentable condition - indeed, crisis - of our day in which heterodoxy and heteropraxy are not only tolerated but celebrated in the pew and pulpit, as well as the public square, was foretold by Jesus in arguably the most startling announcement of his ministry.

On the previous day, he had been received by the townspeople as the conquering king who would restore their nation to its former glory. Then, following an extended visit to the temple, Jesus looks back at the massive complex and tells his disciples, “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

To folks expecting the imminent return of the Davidic kingdom, those words were confusing at best and crushing at worst. Not only was the temple one of the most impressive structures of that era — renovated into a magnificent monument by Herod over a 40-year period — it was central to the religious life and corporate identity of the Jewish people.

Thinking or, perhaps, hoping that Jesus was referring to an event in the distant future, his disciples ask him about the timeframe.

Jesus responds with a list of precursors: famines, wars, earthquakes; things that have been a part of the human experience from the beginning, things that could be rationalized and dismissed from having any supra-natural significance.

But at the end of the list he adds something that no first century Jew could have mistaken: “the abomination that causes desolation.” [It's the second time we come across this term in the past few days. Excommunicated traditional priest don Minutella used it twice - in the form 'desolating abomination' as it is found in most Englsih translations - to describe what awaits Jerusalem because of the transgressions of the Chosen People: “Many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold…” (Mt 24, 10-12). Don Minutella refers specificially to the apparent apostasy at the very summit of the Church.]

It is the term the prophet Daniel used six hundred years earlier, foretelling the profane actions of a Syrian king. In 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes sacked Jerusalem and defiled the temple by sacrificing a sow on an altar erected to Zeus. The desecration ended the temple sacrifices and triggered the Maccabean revolt. It was a watershed moment in Jewish history, as familiar to Jesus’s questioners as the Boston massacre and American Revolution are to us today.

Jesus’s point was clear: The awe-inspiring temple that the disciples were admiring would be defiled by a similar atrocity. But unlike Daniel’s prophesy, Jesus’s was fulfilled within the lifetimes of its hearers. In 70 AD the Roman army laid siege to Jerusalem, razing the temple and erecting imperial ensigns over its ruins. (As an aside, the lack of mention of this historical event in the biblical record is evidence of the New Testament’s early authorship; that is, well within the living memory of eyewitnesses.)

The case has been made that “the abomination” also concerns an eschatological event — a blasphemous action by a future charismatic figure that ignites a period of intense global distress. While Jesus may have been predicting actions involving a re-built Jewish temple, it could be that his answer had to do with another temple.

Upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus made for the temple and, straight away, was incensed by what he saw: the Court of the Gentiles looked like a Damascus bazaar. The space devoted for gentile worship was crowded with stalls and merchandise. What’s more, temple authorities, animal inspectors, and merchants had conspired to exploit worshippers whose sacrifice or currency of exchange was deemed unsuitable.

Jesus’s table-turning reaction caused a momentary stir, but his stinging reproach, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” propagates out to the present generation.

In the Church age, God’s house is made up of believers who are, in the words of Peter, “like living stones, being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

As the temple of the living God, the Christian church is not a commercial enterprise, but it is vulnerable to commercial pressures. For instance, in the face of stagnant or declining membership, how do churches respond?

- Do they up the “wow factor” of worship with foot-tapping praise music and “relevant” sermons perfunctorily linked to biblical texts, or does it remain faithful to traditional forms of worship?
- Do they back off or water down the historic Christian teachings, or do they proclaim them boldly and unapologetically?
- Do they host more bingo nights and youth events featuring pizza, Coke, and movies, or do they invest in a structured, life-long process of catechesis to create a transformative community of Christ-like Christians?

A church obsessed with Wall Street indicators — bodies, bucks, and buildings — and Madison Avenue strategies — increased relevance and entertainment value — is a church that has filled its sacred spaces with marketplace kitsch. And like the temple court that Jesus happened upon 2000 years ago, it may be full of activity and people, but a divine eyesore bereft of true worship and worshippers.

Finally, there is a third temple that has bearing in Jesus’s Olivet warning.

Earlier that day, Jesus had been approached by a group of religious leaders and political loyalists. The curious teaming of Pharisees and Herodians — normally adversarial factions — signaled that something was up. Indeed, they wasted no time putting the gotcha question to him: “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If he answered, yes, he would be labeled a traitor to Jews; if, no, he would be labeled an enemy of the state; either was a potentially life-ending response.

As was his custom in these “gotcha” situations, Jesus answered their question with one of his own: “Whose image is on the coin of the realm?” When they reply, his comeback silences them as their gimlet eyes go wide.

Jesus’s memorable line, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” conveys the dual allegiance of Christians. As citizens of the city of God, living in the city of man, Christians owe respect and duty to the civil magistrate: he is God’s instrument for restraining evil and promoting justice, and his image on our coinage reflects his material claims on us.

But there is another Authority, a higher one, to whom allegiance is owed.
- His image is not on the coin of the realm but on us.
- The Imago Dei is a stamp of divine ownership on mankind. Of all creation, humans alone bear the divine image of rational thought, aspirations, imagination, creativity, transcendent yearnings, philosophical questions, and moral awareness; and
- Humans alone are duty-bound to the One whose image they bear
.


While all humans carry the imprint of the Imago Dei, Christians carry something more — something Paul described as, “Christ in you!” It is the fulfillment of Jesus’s promise to his disciples that he would abide in them through the Holy Spirit.

Paul told the Corinthian believers that their bodies are God’s temple, with a reminder that his temple is sacred. To a church that was gaining attention for carnality, rather than incarnational living, he warned: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Emmanuel (God with us) dwells with his people, in the collective body of the Church and in the individual life of each believer.
- We honor him and maintain his sacred temple when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, serving him with our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies as he has instructed us in his Word.
- We defile his temple when our affections for material success, social esteem, and sensual satisfaction result in the intrusion of a competing altar — that devoted to the sovereign Self.

Throughout the ages, God’s people have been identified by the “flesh.”
- Under the old covenant, the Israelites were identified by the circumcision of the flesh.
- Under the new covenant, Christians are identified by the works of the flesh — behaviors and lifestyles aligned to Jesus’s teachings with integrity of character reflecting the fruits of the Spirit. Problem is, as reported in various surveys over the years, the “flesh” of most Christians is not very distinctive.

This suggests that another gospel (an abomination) has found its way into our sanctuaries — one that, in the words of Protestant theologian Richard Niebuhr, famously tells of “a God without wrath who brings men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” [What a great definition for Christianity-lite and/or the church of Bergoglio!

So while the Christians have been looking for an abomination “out there,” in an individual or organization an ocean apart or galaxy far away, it could be that the Invader has been patiently, but surely, setting up residence “in here,” where it was least suspected. If so, it follows a familiar pattern of biblical prophesy, one that calls for serious self-examination for every denomination and every believer.

Fr Z takes off from Mr. Nicoll's reflection...

Of desecration of liturgy and identity:
Wherein Fr. Z rants


January 10, 2019

Let me begin with several hooks upon which we can hang some useful ideas as we look down the line at an article from Regis Nichols at Crisis.

First, in April 2017, a preface Benedict XVI wrote for the Russian translation of the volume of his Opera Omnia concerning liturgy was released. In the preface, Benedict argues that,
- As a Church, we have placed other things before the worship of God.
- Hence, we are undergoing a crisis which is subverting the Church. - He wrote that “a true renewal of the liturgy is a fundamental condition for the renewal of the Church.”
In 1998, in his autobiography Milestones, he wrote, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”

This has been his position for a long time. It has been my position since my earliest experiences of traditional liturgy and my earliest talks with Joseph Ratzinger about it.

What happened?
- First, the mandates of the Second Vatican Council were by far outstripped by ideologically motivated experts who had as their goal not just renewal of the liturgy, but changes to the fabric of the Church.
- The liturgists of the Consilium, who managed to bring Paul VI’s power into their ploys, constructed rites on desk tops, massively changing what the Council Fathers said should not be changed unless there was a true good for the Catholic people and unless those changes came organically from what went before.
- The result was an artificial rather than organic construct, suddenly imposed from on high on people who had never desired what they got.
- In the aftermath, our Catholic identity was badly shaken.
- Along with the abandonment of other aspects of Catholic life, such as fasting, etc., our compasses were smashed.
- Statistics regarding vocations, schools, Mass attendance, etc., indicate the bad fruits.

This is one of the reasons why Benedict issued what will be seen in years to come as one of the most important gifts of his pontificate: Summorum Pontificum.
- This juridical act makes it possible for all Latin Church priests to use both the older, traditional liturgical forms together with the newer, post-Conciliar forms.
- It was his desire that side-by-side celebrations of the two forms would jump start, as it were, the organic development of our sacred liturgical worship, serving as a corrective to abuses while recovering much of what was lost, but which remains sacred, great and beneficial.

In the decade following Summorum Pontificum, from 2007-2017, the number of places where the traditional forms are celebrated in these USA shot from about 50 to over 500. This indicates something of the fruits of the document.
- Moreover, the knock-on effect on celebrations of the Novus Ordo is surely taking place as priests who learn the traditional form come to a deeper understanding of who they are – as priests – at the altar.
- This leaves an impression on congregations, who then begin to participate in the transforming rites in a new way.

Of course all of this has the liberal iconoclasts and the nearly papalotrous camp followers running scared. I have come to view them much as the vendors and hawkers who set up their tables in the Temple’s Court of the Gentiles. They write strings of scare pieces about neo-traditionalism, purposely lying about why people seek traditional forms, attributing to them all manner of mischief.

Next, if we get our liturgical worship of God wrong, then everything else we do will fail. We build on sand.
- Put another way, familiar to long-time readers here, everything we undertake in the Church must begin with liturgical worship and must be brought back to liturgical worship.

If the virtue of justice governs what is due to human persons, since God is a qualitatively different Person, a different virtue governs what we owe to God: religion. The primary way in which we individually and collectively fulfill the virtue of religion is through our sacred liturgical worship.
- If we screw up on the virtue of religion and our sacred worship, then all our other relationships will be out of harmony.
- We have to get our worship right. This is so intimate to who we are as Catholics that I constantly say: We Are Our Rites.
- And because we have an individual and collective vocation not just within the Church (ad intra) but to the world around us (ad extra), we might say even “Save The Liturgy – Save The World”.

But if we don’t know who we are, what we believe, how to act on it and have thin to no strong supports and sources in our sacred worship of God, then we will be ineffective across the board. Why should the world pay any attention to us if we don’t know who we are?

The virtue of religion can be sinned against by idolatry, superstitions, sacrilege, and blasphemy.
- We creatures must recognize who God is and act accordingly both inwardly and outwardly.
- When this at last becomes habitual for us, then we have the virtue of religion.
- A virtue is a habit. One good act does not make us virtuous.
- If being prudent or temperate or just, etc., is hard for us, then we don’t yet have the virtue.

Circling back to Ratzinger, and his thesis about genuine and artificial worship, he once said in an address in 1985 at a music conference, that artificiality in worship brings false, human productions into play, which, given the description of religion, above, smacks of, opens the way to, idolatry and sacrilege. He also said:

It has become evident that the primacy of the group derives from an understanding of the Church as institution based upon a concept of freedom which is incompatible with the idea and the reality of the institutional.

Indeed, this idea of freedom is no longer capable of grasping the dimension of the mysterium in the reality of the Church. Freedom is conceived in terms of autonomy and emancipation, and takes concrete shape in the idea of creativity, which against this background is the exact opposite of that objectivity and positiveness which belong to the essence of the Church’s liturgy. The group is truly free only when it discovers itself a new each time.

We also found that liturgy worthy of the name is the radical antithesis of all this.
- Genuine liturgy is opposed to an historical arbitrariness which knows no development and hence is ultimately vacuous.
- Genuine liturgy is also opposed to an unrepeatability, which is also exclusivity and the loss of communication without regard for any groupings.
- Genuine liturgy is not opposed to the technical, but to the artificial, in which man creates a counter-world for himself and loses sight of, indeed, loses up feeling for, God’s creation.
The antitheses are evident, as is the incipient clarification of the inner justification for group thinking as an autonomistically conceived idea of freedom.

BTW… “autonomy”, for Ratzinger, across the years of his writing is nearly almost a negative.

Take note of his point about being closed in, not truly free, a group discovering itself. This is why he argued for ad orientem worship which opens outward rather than creating a closed circle. That’s another issue.

This brings me to the piece by Regis Nichols in Crisis. He writes about The Desecration of God’s Temple in three different modes.

Nichols uses the images of the desecration of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem for how the Church today is being desecrated. First, in 167 BC by Antiochus Epiphanes, which prompted the Maccabean Revolt. Next, the violation of the Court of the Gentiles, which was dramatically cleared by the Lord. Also, as Peter describes, we are the living stones that build the new temple. Nichols plays that out:

Jesus’s table-turning reaction caused a momentary stir, but his stinging reproach, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” propagates out to the present generation.

In the Church age, God’s house is made up of believers who are, in the words of Peter, “like living stones, being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

As the temple of the living God, the Christian church is not a commercial enterprise, but it is vulnerable to commercial pressures. For instance, in the face of stagnant or declining membership, how do churches respond?

- Do they up the “wow factor” of worship with foot-tapping praise music and “relevant” sermons perfunctorily linked to biblical texts, or does it remain faithful to traditional forms of worship?
- Do they back off or water down the historic Christian teachings, or do they proclaim them boldly and unapologetically?
- Do they host more bingo nights and youth events featuring pizza, Coke, and movies, or do they invest in a structured, life-long process of catechesis to create a transformative community of Christ-like Christians?

A church obsessed with Wall Street indicators — bodies, bucks, and buildings — and Madison Avenue strategies — increased relevance and entertainment value — is a church that has filled its sacred spaces with marketplace kitsch. And like the temple court that Jesus happened upon 2000 years ago, it may be full of activity and people, but a divine eyesore bereft of true worship and worshippers.


Remember what Ratzinger said, above? Groups closed in and rediscovering themselves… and only themselves. That’s not true freedom and what they bring into the sanctuary is idolatry.
In another work, Spirit of the Liturgy, when Ratzinger talks about how people are imbued with immanentism, he describes how the Jews made the Golden Calf, not because they really thought it was a god, but because it was easier.

Speaking of easier, Nichols ends with a sobering quote from Richard Niebuhr, which I cannot help but connect to the logorrhea of Faggioli and a recent ridiculous offering at Fishwrap by a CTU teacher.

This suggests that another gospel (an abomination) has found its way into our sanctuaries — one that, in the words of Protestant theologian Richard Niebuhr, famously tells of “a God without wrath who brings men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”
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Thanks to Beatrice for calling my attention to this item...

The wall of idiocy
[or The consequence of groupthink]

Translated from the blog of

January 10, 2019

The password for the Planetary Cretin to make himself known and admired is: “We want bridges, not walls”. As soon as he says this, the Planetary Cretin will be lit up with incense, believe he has stated Mankind’s Supreme Truth, and display a smile of triumphal inebriation.

There is no sermon, no institutional discourse, no article, lecture or public message, no concert, film or theatrical show that is not preceded, followed or stuffed with this obligatory phrase. The Global Imbecile feels his conscience is in place, and is filled with a sense of moral superiority just by saying it. He differs from others like him depending only on whether he is a Neapolitan fool, a South American boob or a Sicilian lump. In Lombardy, there is a precise expression to describe someone those who posts himself at the frontier ready to be at the service of newcomers for a compensation: bauscia.

The Planetary Cretin always says the same thing, whether speaking of migrants or any other ‘protected’ category. He is always welcoming, as he is exhorted everyday by the testimonials of the ‘No Wall’ protesters, the Pope, and those politicians who daily earn a place in the popularity polls of those who persist in hitting their heads against walls.

The global parrots demonstrate against walls but their slogan is meant to wall up the Enemy, to separate from evolved and welcoming mankind those movements and persons inspired by patriotic love, by national sovereignty, by civilization and by tradition.

The call to break down walls and build dridges has become obsessive not only regarding peoples and territorial borders, but even sexes and natural limits, cultures and conduct, religions and affiliations, even the human reign of the animal kingdom. From the United Nations to the Golden Globe awards, from the preaching in talk shows to song and dance, the wave of idiocy is taking down the wall of common sense.

I wish first of all to note that the most infamous walls known to man are not those that keep people from entering but those which keep them from leaving. As necessarily, prison walls are, and the last infamous Wall in history, the Berlin Wall. Which was built not by any nationalist or sovereignist regime, not by a ditator and not by Trump, but by Communism. Whoever sought to breach that Wall and its barbed wire defenses to escape oppression was shot down by the Vopos [East German police].

No authoritarian or nationalist regime ever needed to build a wall to keep its people from escaping. Nor have there been population exoduses comparable to what Communism has inspired. And if we wish to confine ourselves to the Italian experience, to Rome in particular, there is only one wall in the heart of the capital that cannot be breached – the Vatican Walls, where the reigning pope preaches to the world but not to himself to bring down walls and welcome everyone.

Other famous walls, the walls of tears and of shame, do not belong to Christianity. That said, a sense of 'confinement' is attributed to those who love civilization and tradition, country and of national sovereignty. Confinement implies a sense of limits, of measure, of that threshold necessary to respect differences, roles, identities and communities.

All physical limitations are thresholds, doors which can be opened or closed, which can be used for confrontation whether in conversation or in conflict. At any rate, they limit or defend when necessary.

But the society without roots in our day has lost this sense of confinement – in fact it has overrun the limits among peoples, sexes, and persons. It has lost the boundary between what is legal and what is illegal.

To lose such limits is synonymous to transgression, bashing in, mad raving. The worst curse for the Greeks was hubris, which is losing oneself and all sense of measure in the infinite. Confinement is protection, ecurity, humility, care of the weak – it is not hostility or racism.

I would advise you to read Regis Debray’s ‘Eloge des frontieres’ (In praise of frontiers). [A 2012 essay by author and philosopher Debray, born 1950, in which he defined ‘limitation’ as necessary in this world, to the perpetuation of life, in a protest against ‘sans frontierisme’ (a world without borders). He is also known for his association with Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967 andfor advancing Salvador Allende’s presidency on Chile in the early 1970s.]

To the more modest, I would advise the eulogy on walls by Alberto Angela [Italian paleontologist, journalist and science popularizer, born 1962] who is by no means an official of the SS. [In 2017, Angela delivered a monologue in praise of walls on a popular TV talk show, in which he said, among other things, “A wall unites not just one people, but several peoples in the course of time… Without a wall or walls, we would not have today so many historic landmarks, masterpieces of art and ingenuity… Walls serve to protect persons, as those of a home; or to preserve thought, as in a library, or to preserve art, as in a museum or the Sistine Chapel… It is not the wall which is our enemy – it is the use that is made of it”.]

- Without walls, there are no homes, no temples, no security.
- Without walls, there is no modesty, intimacy, protection from the elements and from being incognito.
- Without walls, there is no sense of measure, no acknowledgement of limitations, much less of one’s own limitations.
- Without walls, there is no beauty, no fortitude, no city foundations, no building a civilization.
It is not by chance that the Eternal City was born from Romulus who set its limits, not from Remo who violated them.

Walls make up the bastions of civilization, hospitals of charity, libraries of culture, walls of art, recollection in prayer.

If the Planetary Cretin does not understand this, it was understood well by the anarchists of Tarnac who considered the collapse of their 'wall' as a victory for chaos and anarchy: The destruction of the capacity for autonomy of those who are dominated comes after the abolition of the frontiers of their being – individually and collectively. As long as there are frontiers, it is possible to oppose one system of values against another, one kind of right against another, to distinguish man from woman, mother from father, a citizen from an alien – in short, to distinguish true from false, just from unjust, normal from abnormal” (Gouverner par le Chaos – Ingénierie Sociale et Mondialisation, 2008) (Governing through chaos: Social engineering and globalization, 2008) [The anarchists of Tarnac were well-educated leftist young people who settled in Tarnac, a rural area of France which has a long history of communism, in order to live simply and communally. In November 2008, they were arrested by the French police for 'criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity', on the grounds that they had participated in the sabotage of overhead electrical lines on France's national railways in late October and early November that year. In April 2018, following a long and complex legal case, the group were acquitted of the most serious charges brought against them, some members being convicted on lesser charges.]

Cities without confines lose their identity, as people lose their identifying lineaments. Do not mistake love for family as homophobia, love for one’s country as xenophobia, love for one’s own civilization as racism, love for one’s own tradition as Islamophobia. Nor love for being confined within known halls as hate.

Of course, none of this is known to the Planetary Cretin.
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Another lie unmasked from the cardinal the pope has kept on
as 'apostolic administrator' of the Archdiocese of Washington


Wuerl knew McCarrick abuse allegations in 2004
by Ed Condon and JD Flynn


An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018.

Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed to CNA that an allegation against McCarrick was presented to Wuerl while he served as Bishop of Pittsburgh, as part of a complaint made by laicized priest Robert Ciolek.

In a statement, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Jan. 10 that laicized priest Robert Ciolek appeared in November 2004 before its diocesan review board to discuss an allegation of abuse Ciolek had made against a Pittsburgh priest.

During that meeting, “Mr. Ciolek also spoke of his abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. This was the first time the Diocese of Pittsburgh learned of this allegation,” the statement said.

“A few days later, then-Bishop Donald Wuerl made a report of the allegation to the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.”


The disclosure is the first confirmation by Church authorities that Wuerl was aware of allegations against McCarrick before the Archdiocese of New York announced in June 2018 a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against McCarrick.

The news raises questions about 2018 statements from Wuerl that denied he had even heard “rumors” about his predecessor as Archbishop of Washington.

Ed McFadden, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington, told CNA that in 2004 Ciolek “asked that his complaint against McCarrick be forwarded to the [apostolic] nuncio. And it was.”

“Wuerl forwarded the file and his complaint to the nunciature in 2004. At that time Ciolek asked for complete confidentiality, and that his name never be mentioned.”

The statement from the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed that Ciolek had originally insisted on confidentiality, but also that he had recently authorized the diocese to speak about the matter.

“Mr. Ciolek asked that the allegation regarding then-Cardinal McCarrick be shared only with ecclesiastical – that is – Church authorities,” the statement said. “In November 2018 Mr. Ciolek authorized the Diocese of Pittsburgh to respond to press inquiries about this matter.”

The diocese confirmed that Ciolek visited Pittsburgh recently to review files related to his complaint, and that diocesan officials were aware that he intended to discuss the matter with the press.

Ciolek reached a settlement agreement with three New Jersey dioceses in 2005 in connection with clerical sexual abuse allegations. The settlement awarded Ciolek some $80,000 in response to allegations that concerned both McCarrick and a Catholic school teacher.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh said it was not aware of the settlement until July 2018. Similarly, the Archdiocese of Washington said Wuerl was unaware of the 2005 settlement until that time.

Details of Ciolek’s settlement were first reported in September 2018. At that time, the Washington Post reported that the settlement agreement included references to Wuerl, and to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Neither the Pittsburgh diocese nor McFadden offered detail on the specific allegations made against McCarrick, but McFadden said they concerned behavior by McCarrick at his New Jersey beach house, where the archbishop is alleged to have shared beds with seminarians, and exchanged backrubs with them.

McFadden said Ciolek “never claimed direct sexual engagement with McCarrick” in his complaint to Wuerl.

The news that Wuerl received a formal complaint against McCarrick as early as 2004, and forwarded it to the apostolic nunciature in Washington raises serious questions about the intended meaning of Wuerl’s 2018 statements concerning McCarrick.

Wuerl wrote in a June 21 letter that he was “shocked and saddened” by allegations made against McCarrick.

In the same letter, Wuerl affirmed that “no claim – credible or otherwise – has been made against Cardinal McCarrick during his time here in Washington.”

In a Jan. 10 statement, the Archdiocese of Washington said that “Cardinal Wuerl has attempted to be accurate in addressing questions about Archbishop McCarrick. His statements previously referred to claims of sexual abuse of a minor by Archbishop McCarrick, as well as rumors of such behavior. The Cardinal stands by those statements, which were not intended to be imprecise.”

“Cardinal Wuerl has said that until the accusation of abuse of a minor by Cardinal McCarrick was made in New York, no one from this archdiocese has come forward with an accusation of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick during his time in Washington.”

“It is important to note that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was appointed to the Archdiocese of Washington in November 2000 and named a cardinal in February 2001, years before Mr. Ciolek made his claims. Then-Bishop Wuerl was not involved in the decision-making process resulting in the appointment and promotion.”


Wuerl’s resignation as Archbishop of Washington was accepted October 12, 2018. The cardinal was appointed by Pope Francis as apostolic administrator, or interim leader, of the archdiocese until a successor is appointed.

The cardinal fell under heavy criticism in the second half of last year, after a Pennsylvania grand jury report about clerical sexual abuse released in July raised questions about his leadership while he served as Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Despite earning a reputation as an early champion of “zero-tolerance” policies and the use of lay-led diocesan review boards to handle accusations of clerical sexual abuse, Wuerl faced questions about his handling of several cases during his time in Pittsburgh after he was named more than 200 times in the grand jury report.

The disclosure also raises further questions about how McCarrick was able to remain in office and in apparently unrestricted ministry during retirement. In July 2018, a priest named Fr. Boniface Ramsey told the New York Times that he expressed to Church authorities concerns about McCarrick’s conduct with seminarians as early as 2000, when McCarrick was appointed Archbishop of Washington.

Concerned by the appointment, Ramsey said that he contacted then-nuncio Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera to report allegations of McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians in his beach house. Ramsey said that he had heard accounts of this misconduct from his own seminary students.

Ramsey said he put his concerns in writing at the request of Montalvo, who promised to forward them to Rome.

Ramsey subsequently released a letter from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, dated 2006 and signed by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, acknowledging his complaint of 2000, apparently confirming that Montalvo had sent Ramsey’s letter to Rome.

Montalvo was still in his position when Wuerl reportedly forwarded Ciolek’s complaint in 2004, and would remain in Washington until August 2006, when he died suddenly.

McFadden told CNA that while he could confirm Wuerl sent Ciolek’s complaint to the nuncio as requested, neither he nor Wuerl were aware that any further action was taken on the matter.

“As far as we can tell, the nunciature never acted on that, but we don’t have any more information.”

Montalvo’s successor as nuncio in Washington was Archbishop Pietro Sambi. CNA has previously reported that in 2008, acting on explicit instructions from Pope Benedict XVI, Sambi ordered McCarrick to move out of the archdiocesan seminary in which he was living during his retirement.

That order, and other measures which may have been imposed on McCarrick during his retirement, were a central feature of the allegations of Sambi’s own successor, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

In his now-famous “testimony,” released in August last year, Vigano insisted that Wuerl had been aware of restrictions placed on McCarrick during his retirement for several years, and that they directly concerned his interactions with seminarians.

In a subsequent letter, Vigano said that these measures were not technically “sanctions” but “provisions,” “conditions,” and restrictions,” and they may not have been imposed in writing by Pope Benedict.

In response to Vigano’s claims, Wuerl denied “receiving documentation or information from the Holy See specific to Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior or any of the prohibitions on his life and ministry suggested by Archbishop Vigano.”

But how can we denounce Wuerl - and other US bishops - for their lies, without even graver denunciation of the pope himself has become the most habitual liar of them all???


************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

On a different matter altogether - even if the basic issue remains the same, namely, the erratic way that even Catholic media choose to report on this pope:


On the previous page of this thread, I posted a LifeNews story about a letter that 20 former heads of government and/or state in Latin America sent to this pope. Yet apparently, no other outlet picked up the story besides Il Messaggero, whose January 9 report by it Vaticanista, Franca Giansoldati, started out with this (my translation):

With an almost spectacular initiative, never before seen, 20 former heads of state of Latin America took pen to paper to send Pope Francis a 'shocking' letter, substantially protesting the appeal he made on Christmas Day from the central loggia of St. Peter's regarding the current situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua.


I reproduce again a translation of the letter:


We the undersigned, as former chiefs of state and government, have signed statements concerning Venezuela and Nicaragua that stem from the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA), and therefore come to you regarding your recent Christmas message in which you call for “harmony” among the peoples of both nations.

As we expressed in a previous message to your Holiness, we understand your concern for the suffering that today, without distinction, all Venezuelans and now Nicaraguans face. The former are victims of oppression by a militarized narco-dictatorship, which has no qualms about systematically violating the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity and, as a result of deliberate public policies and unbridled corruption, has scandalized the world and that have subjected them to widespread famine and lack of medicine. The latter case, in the middle of the year, there were 300 killed and 2,500 wounded in a wave of repression.

We are concerned that the call for harmony on the part of your Holiness which, given the current context, can be understood by the victimized nations that they should come to agreement with their victimizers. In particular, in the case of Venezuela, the government has caused the flight of 3 million refugees, which the United Nations predicts will reach 5.9 million in 2019.

The expression used by His Holiness, who we know which was in good faith and guided by his pastoral spirit, is being interpreted in a very negative way by the majorities of Venezuela and Nicaragua. Above all, there is currently, in these countries, a political dispute that demands understanding, tolerance between conflicting forces with different narratives within a normal or deficient democracy that today unfortunately does not exist there. Their entire populations are subjected to suffering by their governments, under regimes that serve a lie, and social and political leaders, opinion leaders and the press, who suffer jailings, persecution and death, as demonstrated by European and American human rights organizations.

Your Holiness: The encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram declares that the call to harmony must be made, fundamentally, "to those who govern the nations." "Those who oppress others and strip them of their due liberty can contribute nothing to the attainment of this unity” for the intelligence, of the spirits, of the actions, as your predecessor, St. Pope John XXIII, reminds us, and for which we long for the dear people of Venezuela and Nicaragua may regain, based on truth and justice, so that they may enjoy a just peace.

We wish your Holiness a very happy Feast of the Nativity. We look forward to meeting with you at an appropriate time.

Cordially,

Oscar Arias, Costa Rica
Nicolás Ardito Barletta, Panamá
Enrique Bolaños, Nicaragua
Alfredo Cristiani, El Salvador
Felipe Calderón, México
Rafael Ángel Calderón, Costa Rica
Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica
Fernando De la Rúa, Argentina
Vicente Fox, México
Eduardo Frei, Chile
César Gaviria T., Colombia
Osvaldo Hurtado, Ecuador
Luis Alberto Lacalle, Uruguay
Jamil Mahuad, Ecuador
Mireya Moscoso, Panamá
Andrés Pastrana A., Colombia
Jorge Tuto Quiroga, Bolivia
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Costa Rica
Álvaro Uribe V., Colombia
Juan Carlos Wasmosy, Paraguay


Twenty former heads of state or government in Latin America send a protest letter to the pope - and that's not considered news by anyone other than LifeNews and Il Messaggero??? Much less occasion for commentary? I will be charitable and think that those usually uninhibited critics of Bergoglio in the commentariat probably never saw the news item at all. But still...


P.S. Here's an additional reaction I found....

A call for harmony —
and a demand for truth

by REV. ROBERT SIRICO
ACTON INSTITUTE POWER BLOG
January 11, 2019

Pope Francis’s recent Christmas message, ‘Urbi et Orbi’, was a meditation on the roots of fraternity in the incarnation:

What does that Child, born for us of the Virgin Mary, have to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.

This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity.


The Pope is certainly right to call us to reflect upon the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man during the Christmas season. So many of our most cherished experiences of the Christmas season center on joyous celebration and solidarity with others in our families, churches, and communities.

Much of the rest of the Pope’s Christmas message focused on places in the world where those types of celebration and solidarity are more difficult to come by due to enduring conflict. The Pope mentioned particularly two nations close to my own heart: Venezuela and Nicaragua. What struck me as strange was that he failed to mention the sources of the conflicts there which I have followed so closely.

On January 5th twenty Latin American leaders, led by Noble laureate and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, sent an open letter to Pope Francis which stated plainly the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua:

As we expressed in a previous message to your Holiness, we understand your concern for the suffering that today, without distinction, all Venezuelans and now Nicaraguans face. The former are victims of oppression by a militarized narco-dictatorship, which has no qualms about systematically violating the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity and, as a result of deliberate public policies and unbridled corruption, has scandalized the world and that have subjected them to widespread famine and lack of medicine. The latter case, in the middle of the year, there were 300 killed and 2,500 wounded in a wave of repression.

We are concerned that the call for harmony on the part of your Holiness which, given the current context, can be understood by the victimized nations that they should come to agreement with their victimizers. In particular, in the case of Venezuela, the government has caused the flight of 3 million refugees, which the United Nations predicts will reach 5.9 million in 2019.




I would commend the entire letter to you. The letter quotes St. Pope John XXIII’s first encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram (On Truth, Unity, and Peace, in a Spirit of Charity) which teaches the need for both truth and truth-telling to reach any genuine unity and peace:

All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth — and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. Thus arise all manner of errors, which enter the recesses of men’s hearts and the bloodstream of human society as would a plague. These errors turn everything upside down: they menace individuals and society itself.

We pray with Pope Francis for a harmonious, virtuous, and prosperous future for all Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. We pray that it may come the only way it can, through telling and acknowledging the truth which President Arias and the other signatures of the open letter to the Pope make plain.

Needless to say, the Vatican has yet to acknowledge receipt of the letter from the Latin American leaders, who apparently, according to their text, had already previously written him of the same concerns. You would think the Vatican would do so, if only out of elementary courtesy. But then, it has never acknowledged getting the DUBIA letter - the Pope claims he only learned of it through the media! Liar, liar, pants on fire!

How this pope can contribute
to theological advancement
in the far-off future


January 10, 2019

I often read in the past that it was an open theological matter whether canonisations are infallible or not. The prevalent opinion was that they are, and I followed it at the beginning of this pope's strange canonisation practices.

However, as the canonisations became more and more outlandish, and increasingly more clearly politically motivated, it became more and more difficult to reconcile the prevalent opinion with the reality on the ground. One could have swallowed the canonisation of JPII as an isolated episode, and concluded that the man must be in heaven because the Church has canonised him. [Surely Mundabor is in a small minority here who question whether Karol Wojtyla is a saint!] But several additional years of savage canonisations and beatifications have, in my eyes, settled the question: the minority position appears the correct one.

Obviously, this extraordinary events must be looked at in the light of this extraordinary period: an age of insanity that could, if God so allows, go on for a long time and bury us all.

At some point – and be it only when we are all six feet under – sanity will come back and the dust will settle. When the dust is settled, I think that the prevalent opinion will be corrected to adjust for the facts.

I can easily imagine that, in the Year of the Lord 2933, and hopefully again in an age of sanity, theologians will teach that canonisations are generally considered to be extremely valuable indicators of a person being in paradise, but without no absolute guarantee, particularly in times of high corruption within the Church; as seen in the string of canonisations proclaimed by the horrible Popes of the XXI Century, many of them revoked in stages in the years 2167, 2274 and 2488 by subsequent councils.

We need to see the Church not merely as a worldly organisation, but also as a divinely ordained process.
- The Church is the sum total of the Catholics of the last two thousand years and of all the years after us until Judgment Day.
- Francis’z abuses are, whilst enraging, merely Satan’s tantrums against powers he cannot control.
- We see in the disorder of the present age the consequence of our rebellion as Catholics starting from the Sixties.
- But we also see all ages of the Church as a process of progressive refinement of all aspects of truths, a real evolution that is never, as Francis is so fond to say, a revolution.

It seems to me that even in the midst of this mess, Providence is helping us to grow in theological and every day matters.

Think of this: When this insanity has ended, we will be cured of clericalism and papolatry for a very, very long time.

Out of the evil, God always makes something good.


**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

P.S. In addition to MSM and Catholic media's apparent snub of the letter to the pope by 20 former heads of state/government of Latin America, I am still waiting for any media pick-up and commentary on an earlier and more substantive media snub: that of the wholly unexpected Islamabad Declaration earlier this week, which not even the official Vatican media have acknowledged.

Have I lost all sense of the newsworthiness of a story that nobody else seems to find this story significant enough, or significant at all?

It is sort of significant that the reigning pope has not named a new President for the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialog since the death of Cardinal Tauran in July 2018. Perhaps Bergoglio is telling us he really does not need a new president as he is fully capable - and thre is no one as capable as he - of carrying out inter-religious dialog all by himself.

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Reactions to the Minutella interview
Translated from


January 8, 2019
It was easy to predict that my interview with don Alessandro Minutella would provoke widespread reactions.

So many persons have written to say they share the positions of this excommunicated priest from Palermo, but there is no lack of those who wish to distance themselves from him. A third category consists of those who, despite agreeing in principle with don Minutella’s analysis of the present situation of the Church, part ways from him on the issue of the validity of Bergoglio’s election as pope, which don Minutella decisively questions to the point that he always refers to the reigning pope as ‘Cardinal Bergoglio”.

I would place in i his category the Dominican priest and theologian, Giovanni Cavalcoli (born 1941), who sent me a detailed reaction. He agrees that don Minutella is right to denounce with passion the modernist drift that the Catholic Church has taken, but he is wrong on a number of his assessments. Following is the essay sent to me by Fr. Cavalcoli:

I have read your interview with don Minutella who analyzes the present situation of the Church, highlighting some sad phenomena that truly exist, such as the infulence of Neo-Arianism, Rahnerism, Lutheranism and Freemasonry, as well as the liturgical disarray, the scorn for tradition, the falsification if Scripture, the mondanization of the Church, the seriousness and the spread of scandals, internal conflicts and moral corruption, the loss of faith and apostasy among many faithful, the negligence of pastors and the Pope in correcting errors [How can they correct errors that they have implanted and encouraged themselves?], in pacifying souls and in reforming bad habits.

I would even add Marcionism – and I think don Minutella would agree, which you highlighted in one of your books, a third-century heresy that has now been revived in the form of a misericordism which postulates a presumed God of the New Testament who is all sweetness and light, unlike the supposedly punitive, fearsome, vindictive and cruel God of the Old Testament.

Nonetheless, don Minutella is wrong on some points:
1. He is wrong to say that Pope Francis was elected invalidly and therefore is not the true pope, on the ground that his election was ‘orchestrated’ in violation of John Paul II’s 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, which prohibits cardinals, under pain of excommunication, “during the Pope's lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings”, and enjoins them "to abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons”.

But don Minutella, in insisting that Pope Francis was invalidly elected, is expressing a false and reckless judgment since he assumes, without having any way to prove it, that at the 2013 Conclave, a hypothetical group of cardinals – the so-called Sankt Gallen mafia [which is far from hypothetical inasmuch as one of its leading members, Cardinal Danneels tells the story in his autobiography] – was able to influence the majority of the cardinal electors to vote for Bergoglio, which is altogether unthinkable and unverifiable not just because of the secrecy demanded of the cardinals and their participation in the conclave, but because none of us, outside the cardinals, and not even don Minutella himself, could have known what happened in the Conclave, since none of us were there. [Certainly 'unverifiable' but 'unthinkable'? There is written testimony from some of those who were part of the cabal.]

Who told him that Bergoglio was invalidly elected? Don Minutella does not tell us. How can we believe him? The decisive argument is this: That not one cardinal who took part in the conclave has publicly questioned the validity of Bergoglio’s election, even as the Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI promised his successor obedience as befits a legitimate pope.

2. He is wrong to believe that only Benedict XVI is the legitimate pope and that Francis is not. He says this is based on the principle that there can only be one pope at a time. Which is right. But he does not take into account the distinction that Benedict XVI made between the Petrine office and the exercise of that office.
Christ wanted just one pope exercising the duties of pope. But he did not exclude the possibility of two legitimate popes, like now, of which only one exercises the office, in this case, Francis. [That's a theologian's audacious and pointless exegesis of something Christ never referred to!]

Celestine V, when he resigned as pope, wished to return to being a hermit monk but at the time, the distinction we now have was not explicit. [Let it be noted that Celestine himself drew up the document allowing his resignation after only five months as pope, but also that, much as he wanted to resume his life as a hermit monk, he had no chance to do so because he was immediately held in prison by his successor, and died in prison some three years after he resigned.]

Cavalcoli’s third argument, which follows, is all erroneous, IMHO, because it clearly begs all the questions and doubts raised by this pope’s statements and actions:
3.He is seriously wrong to consider Pope Francis heretical, because a pope - even if, like Francis, is not known for clarity of language, often uses language that is improper and equivocal, uses expressions that are infelicitous and ambiguous, is prone to make irreverent quips, expresses rash and reckless judgments, sometimes seems to be a modernist or a Lutheran – inasmuch as he has the mandate ‘to confirm his brothers in the faith’, if he speaks seriously and is not joking, if he is of lucid mind and not under threat by anyone, especially in his most important documents, he cannot be wrong, he cannot lie, he cannot deceive, but rather, teaches us the truth of the the faith, and is therefore ‘infallible’ – he is truthful, even in his daily ordinary magisterium, and not just when he solemnly proclaims a new dogma ex cathedra Petri.
[For a theologian, Cavalcoli omits the most important condition: as long as what the pope teaches does not contradict anything in the deposit of faith. He violates the basic condition of infallibility, restricted to what he says on faith and on morals, if he teaches his own opinion against what the Church has taught for more than two millennia.]

Therefore, if any statement by this pope may seem heretical, or wrong-sounding, or scandalous, it turns out to be orthodox when subjected to ample exegesis. [???? Do the outrages in Amoris laetitia meet this test at all?]

If a pope can be heretical, it means that Christ, when he gave Peter the power to confirm his brothers in the faith, was deceitful, which is blasphemy even to think of. [Where is the logic here? Christ knew, from Peter’s own example, how fallible his own apostles could be. Nothing in what he said in Mt 16, 19 conferred infallibility on Peter and his Successors. Indeed, it took more than 1900 years for the Church to formulate a doctrine of papal infallibility which is still widely misconstrued and improperly applied.]

In short, a pope may be criticized for his moral conduct, for his pastoral ministry and his legislative dispositions, but not for his doctrinal magisterium, whether extraordinary or solemn, ordinary and daily. [[Not when such magisterium is demonstrably against what the Church has always taught! That's why the major controversy over Amoris laetitia and its sacramental leniency, and on the pope's singlehanded revision of the Catechism to declare that the death penalty is always unacceptable.]

To accept the first kind of Magisterium requires divine faith and theological conviction; to accept the second simply requires faith in the Church or the religious obedience of the intellect. In any case, the Church through the pope is always the teacher of truth, more highly proclaimed in the first case, less so in the second, but always the truth. [Cavalcoli does not seem to allow for the possibility of human fallibility in a pope! The Church would not be in crisis today if Bergoglio had not repeatedly shown himself to be anti-Catholic. Cavalcoli is fantasizing in his claim that subjecting Bergoglio's questionable teachings to 'ample exegesis' always show then to be orthodox.]

4. He is wrong to think that Vatican II was merely a ‘pastoral’ council because it did not issue any new doctrinal definitions. In fact, it issued two dogmatic constitutions – Lumen gentium, on the role of the Church in the world, and Dei Verbum on divine revelation, besides presenting doctrinal teachings in other minor documents. [YES, but none of these doctrinal statements was supposed to be new teaching, and therefore Mons. Lefebvre and other conservative Catholics did contest what the Council said on the matter of religious freedom, ecumenism and interfaith dialog, even if John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger rationalized the ‘new’ teachings by insisting they should be read ‘in continuity with tradition”, which is difficult to do on these three topics.]

That is why Benedict XVI insisted to the FSSPX that if they wished to return to full communion with the Church, they should accept all of Vatican II; that its pastoral teachings could be discussed, but without questioning the ‘truths’ expressed in its doctrinal teaching since none of it was new dogma. [I’m not sure that was Benedict XVI’s exact position vis a vis the FSSPX and Vatican II, especially since I share the FSSPX’s reservations about Vatican II’s position on those three doctrinal questions which would seem to abdicate the Church’s mission to “go and baptize all peoples in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit”.]

5. He is wrong in his scorn for modernity. One must be able to discern: There is a modernity that is compatible ith the Gospel, and Vatican II helped to identify this healthy modernity. And there is an unhealthy and corrupting modernity, agains the Gospel, which must be repelled. This would be an idolatry of modernity, taking on modernity in toto, just because it is modern, without judging it in the light of the Gospel. The modernist takes on the modern as an Absolute, and chooses the Gospel only if it conforms to that Absolute.

One must not necessarily reject what is modern. This is obvious in matters of civilization, culture, science technology, politics, society, medicine, nutrition or dress. Why not too in moral conduct, coexistence, customs, theology, sprituality, religious life and the life of the Church? Of course, it would be a betrayal if by modernizing, one meant subordinating a traditional and perennial value to the transient demands of the times in order to change or corrupt it. But if by modernizing, we mean overcoming obsolescence, make the good better, in other words, positive progress, then let us modernize.

Vatican II modernized the Church not in the sense of conforming her to corruptive innovation – this is modernity’s great deception – but to conform her to the novelties of the Spirit. ‘Renovabis faciem terrae et creabuntur.(Thou shalt renew the face of the earrth, and you will create them) [Cavalcoli sounds like Bergoglio here – does the Holy Spirit really offer us novelties at all, since Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and for always??? Morever, Cavalcolo alters the Veni Creator Spiritus invocation, which says: “Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur; Et renovabis faciem terrae”. [Send forth thy spirit and they shall be created; And thou shalt renew the face fo the earth”.]
- Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli, O.P.



Today, Valli published more reactions:

January 11, 2018
My interview with don Alessandro Minutella has opened up inflamed discussion which shows no sign of waning. I have received numerous comments, of course.

After the response of Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli, who himself provoked many reactions, I offer here a sampler of the reactions from other readers. I apologize that I cannot publish everyone and that I have made some cuts in the following reactions:


Thanks for the interview with don Minutella. I will tell you, briefly, what I think of him.
1. The substance is good, the form disputable. I share almost everything that he says, but am less enthusiastic about his tone and manner of expression.
2. I appreciate his theological knowledge and his overwhelming eloquence, but not some indications of narcissism that emerge here and there.
3. I don’t condemn the form of battle that he has chosen for himself, but I wouldn’t adopt it for myself nor would I advise others to follow it.
4. I was offended by his initiative to publicly invite Benedict XVI to emerge from his retirement and take a stand in the current controversies, and be interviewed as if his silent and prayerful self-immolation had no value at all, nor even his relationship to the ‘wolves’. [???? I must have missed this part in my translation!]*
5. Perhaps he forgets that a true solution to the problem cannot come from us, but only from the Lord who allowed the ‘coup d’etat’ of March 2013, and will know how to regain control of his boat.
In the meantime, we have a ‘substitute pope’ in the expectation that his heresy will become ever more evident and introvertible so that he can be fought more easily.
- FR GABRIELE ROSSI




I have read your interview with don Minutella. I was a friend of his, and in the past, I supported him with words and deeds.
- With words because I often encouraged him to carry on his battle against the teachers of error, and I congrtulated him often for his catecheses on Radio Domina and for confuting heresies.
- In deeds, I have taken part in some of the meetings he called, I have defended him privately to others, and have offered to defend him, if need be, as his rotal attorney before any Vatican dicastery, the curia of Palermo and its ecclesiastical tribunal (even if he chose to use others), and I went to the Apostolic Signatura, where I have good friends, to speak in his favor and to ask how to proceed if I were allowed to take his case.

But after the meeting in Verona on June 9 last year, he made a significant turn: He declared – as he continues to do so, and did in your interview – that any Mass celebrated ‘una cum Francisco’ is invalid. I consider this a very serious error, because no document of the authentic magisterium, no Father or Doctor of the Church, and no theological mannual adhering to the true magisterium, has ever supported such a view. [This was a major flaw in don Minutella's argumentation. I have re-examined the Te igitur prayer again, using Dom Gueranger's 1885 Explanation of the Holy Mass, and my sense of the 'una cum...' is not that the priest is 'concelebrating' it with the pope and his bishop, but that God may accept the offerings of the Sacrifice of the Mass "which, in the first place, we offer Thee for Thy Holy Catholic Church. Grant her peace and protection, unity and guidance throughout the world, together with Thy servant (name), our Pope, and (name), our Bishop; and all Orthodox believers who cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith." - i.e, to grant His graces not just on the Church, the pope, the priest himself and his bishop, but all other Catholic orthodox believers. I think one can pray for the pope without necessarily feeling 'in union' with him.]

A Mass is always valid as long as
1) the priest has been validly ordained (even if he has since become heretical, excommunicated, schismatic, a mason, or someone in a state of mortal sin)
2) it is celebrated in the manner and form established by the Church (with true unleavened bread, true winfe from the vine, and the Consecration prayers said according to the Missal)
3) the celebrant intends what the Church intends with the Mass
(which automatically happens whenever the celebrant pronounces the words of Consecration prescribed by the Church without altering them, unless the priest decides by his will not to follow what the Church prescribes).

Therefore, his position about ‘una cum…’ has caused confusion even among those faithful who are devoted to him. I have been asked by many, considering my friendship with him, to ask him to retract this very grave error, because many persons who follow him no longer think it is necessasry to go to Sunday Mass, which they now consider invalid, and are therefore vioalting the Third Commandment that obliges attendance at Sunday Mass under pain of mortal sin.

I have tried in many ways to contact him about this, but in vain. Therefore, I have had to dissociate myself from him with sorrow, because he mixes sacrosanct truths with equality sacrosanct falsehoods, and is fighting heresy with a heresy of his own.

He has been asked to discuss his position with theologians at his level (for example, Mons. Livi) but he refuses. He claims he hears voices from heaven whereby he supports his hypotheses, but evidently, such messages are not authentic, because Jesus, Our Lady and the saints would never give messages contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

I have been the official exorcist in an Italian diocese, and I know how the devil can deceive souls by disguising himself as an angel of light. Given the error in which don Minutella has fallen, it seems that the excommunication he incurred is valid, and the reasons he gives for saying the excommunications are invalid do not have a solid basis (because the acts of the reigning pope, even if he is substantially but not formally in heresy, are still canonically valid).

With my blessing,
A PRIEST




I thank you for the interview with don Minutella who bears testimony to facts that exist and which cannot rightfully be ignored.

However, reading some comments on the interview which are outraged, scandalized and even alarmed, it seems you have committed an act of lese majeste rather than a service of information:
- For some bienpensants [followers of politically correct ideas], you dared to talk to this priest when you should not have.
- You dared allow a priest from the periphery to explain the reasons for his personal apostolate, of te excommunications he has received at a time that has been described to as the ‘era of mercy’ – excommunication for schism and heresy.

As a baptized Catholic, I have been asking myself so many questions.
- First, what schism or heresy is there if don Minutella has not denied any dogma, any sacrament, or any article of the Catholic faith? [Does refusal to accept the legitimacy of a pope constitute schism or heresy?]
- Instead, it is sadly very well-known that in many churches, there are pastors who celebrate the Mass improperly, without any reverence for the Passion of Christ, who do nto even wear the right garments for Mass, who invent Consecration formulas as they please, who no longer believe in the existence of a devil, who do not believe in confession nor in the real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, who deny the virginity of Mary, who do not pray the Rosary because they are averse to Marian devotion, who approve of premarital-sex, and who seem social workers rather than Alter Christus, exalting the heretic Luther, and practising strange rituals in the liturgy.

It’s like a horror film, right? But that is the sad and disconcerting reality of that part of the Church that has been betraying Jesus. In Italy, we have a priest who said he does not recite the Creed at Mass because he does not believe in it; some who have called on their parishioners not to bother about Nativity scenes; and others who, like thee priests who left the Church by the tens of thousands in the late 1960s-1970s, wish to get married.


Yet it is don Minutella who is excommunicated.

Dottore Valli, I am not scandalized by this work of journalism that you have performed, and I wish to express my gratitude for your intellectual honesty, the honesty to acknowledge facts already known to many Italian Catholics and which concern hundreds of them, but which the fashionable salons of the world – and alas, even many church circles – have decided to ignore, I daresay in a cowardly way, perhaps because they do not wish to be stained by anything ‘unusual’ in this time of general lethargy, lukewarmness and blindness. They consider it a shameful stain to take a position that is not ambiguous or relativistic, or worse, not to inconvenience themselves by taking any position about don Minutella’s views which are considered by their peers to be bizarre or exaggerated.

But one’s ways correspond to one’s temperament and to one’s specific calling, whereas today, one must not just guard hypocritically against manners, but look at the contents of the objections being expressed (especially since one saint was ‘a voice in the wilderness’, another one was ‘the hammer of heretics’, and Caatherine of Siena said to ‘cry out in a hundred thousand tongues”).

One must be careful today to get to the bottom of doctrinal and prophetic questions, for a serious examination of the current debates, especially in the light of well-known prophecies such as those of Akita, La Sallette, Fatima, Tre Fontane, of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, of Venerable Fulton Sheen. The latter’s words about the ‘false Church’ (a term used by many mystics) lead us to reflect on the terrible trial that the Church must go through, as No. 675 of the Catechism says: “Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”

We must also recall and review the eschatological texts contained in the Bible, from the prophet Daniel, to the gospel of Matthew, to St. Paul’s letters, to the Book of Revelation, bearing in mind that this last is not a book of fable but the sacred text that reveals events which must take place and be fulfilled. And yet, most Catholics ignore it, or if any choose to talk about it, they are accused of being raving catastrophists.

Finally, I would like to say something about the Catholics who have chosen to support don Minutella’s apostolate.
- They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, united in a common defense of the faith of our fathers as conserved in the Church’s bimillennary doctrine.
- They are not, as many would say, sheep in a disbanded flock, who are brainwashed, ill-equipped, or worse, schismatic rebels. - Moreover, schism has been going on in the church for some time because of modernist sectarianism who even at the time of St. Pius X more than a century ago, were already sowing the seeds of heresy.

The Catholics who support don Minutella’s priestly work are
- those who welcome the Blessed Mother’s call for us to oppose the infernal dragon in this time of spiritual battle between Mary’s children and the race of devils.
= They are people who throb with love for the Church, who suffer and offer for the Church, for whom neither the persecution nor the indifference of the modernist establishment will ever muzzle the truth. It is we who note that the Church is under storm.

Even as, in the great spiritual confusion today, baptized Catholics have stopped speaking the same language and we are assaulted by everything from modernist pastors who are allowed to commit every kind of scandal, to the persecution of priests who, faithful to the Gospel, have the courage to bear witness to Christ with zeal and apostolic love, in this ‘desolating abomination’. we Catholics ar comforted by the promise of the Virgin Mary who said, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph’.
- SIMONA MARINO





In the desolate context of deliberate silence and/or indifference to what is taking place in the Church, you will be acknowledged, alone among the commentators whose opinions count, for having given proof of courage and pofessionalism for having called the attention of a wider public to the work and apostolate of don Alessandro Minutella.

Some things have become clear.
- Don Minutella has not formed a flock around him with their own ideas, and has therefore not, as many foolishly accuse him, constituted a ‘sect’.
- He has done nothing but to act as a leader to a flock that had spontaneously formed in small numbers as a consequence of their disorientation and dismay at the situation in the Church.

One cannot understand don Minutella’s work without placing oneself in this tragic situation which is a true and proper state of emergency, of exceptional emergency, for the Catholic Church.
- Once more, the image is quite false that has been constructed by the mainstream media, who are shamelessly and incredibly idolators of Bergoglio, and who therefore wish to downplay the opposition to the ‘Bergoglian revolution’, depicting his opponents as elitist, numerically insignificant, and limited to the circles that they scornfully call ‘traditionalist’.

Instead, what some of us Catholics see in don Minutella's following are those authentically Catholic Italians who have always loved the Catholic Church as it always was, as the Church of Christ, Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher). We are a devout people – Eucharistic, Marian and certainly not crazed all of a sudden.

Instead, those who follow Bergoglio are the ill-equipped wo lack credibility. His most wild-eyed supporters are those who have always hated the Catholi Church and have never failed to criticize all previous opes. But now they find themselves fanatical papists. If only because of this, one is led to ask all sorts of questions about them.

And although they are a tiny minority, don Minutella's followers have found in him a leader who is firm, courageous and credible.
- At a time when he had everything to gain by simply keeping mum, while holding on to his parish and any benefits thereto, by simply keeping to the new course as have many of his colleagues have done, he was willing to lose everything.
- He is a true pastor in the service of truth, ready to give his life for his sheep – unlike the many apostate pastors who have become Bergoglio’s idolators, who have instead forfeited their sheep to keep their own life ‘intact’.
- In his voice we recognize that of a good shepherd, one which we do not recognize in him who says he is the pope and in all those pastors who are scandalously following in his footsteps.

Don Minutella’s language is authentically Catholic, and it is really strange that anyone would accuse him of heresy and schism. It becomes downright ridiculous when these accusations come from those who are infesting the Church with the worst errors and have even insolently ‘enshrined’ the heresiarch Luther in the Vatican.

While the Catholic intelligentsia show themselves to be indifferent or ‘normalist’, or come out with analyses that may even be correct but without ever reaching a definite conclusion and identifying the root of the church’s disintegration, don Alessandro has taken the bull by the horns, has cried out courageously that a manifest imposture is in place, and that one cannot be silent about it.

To those who lament his ‘excessive’ tone, we say that if they are still unaware of it, the ship of the Church is sinking.
- One does not sound an alarm by whispering, and whoever brings up the question of ‘tone’ is a hypocrite. And they do so either because they are trying to negate the critics because theys hare Bergoglio’s thinking, or because, not finding the courage to imitate don Alessandro’s decision are laying down excuses and pretexts.

We are perhas living through the most difficult times in the history of the Church, nor can we exclude that we may be in the end times. Many signs lead us to believe this, many prophecies are coming to pass, especially those at Fatima.

All faithful Catholics are called on now and will be increasingly called on to make a clear choice: to stay faithful to Cathlic foctrine, or to become embroiled inexorably in a ‘new church’, even if it may be majoritarian, but schismatic and heretical, and led by an impostor.

Many have made their ‘calculation’ which they will tragically find to be wrong. They may think: Bergoglio will pass away, and the next pope will set things right once more. No. The next ‘pope’ will be worse than Bergoglio and the situation will deteriorate further.

We know that the Church is a divine reality sustained by a promise: “The gates of hell will not prevail against her” (Mt 16,18). The Barque of Peter is almost capsized but the Lord will never allow it to sink. As in so many times in the history of salvation, when everything seems lost, divine intervention will reverse what had seemed be an inevitable victory for evil. It is for us the faithful to resist with our Faith. In God and his Holy Mother, Lady of Victory over all the enemies of the Church.

- GABRIELE AMADIO




I join the chorus of gratitude to you for having given a wider voice, through your interview, to don Alessandro MiNutella, whom I personally met in March 2017 in Ravenna, during the course of his apostolate of lecturing throughout Italy.

Having since then deepened my acquaintance with him on multiple occasions, I can say that your interview correctly highlights the figure of this Palermitan priest who has been doubly excommunicated, one who truly has the defense of the Catholic faith to heart, and is suffering terribly for the vicissitudes of a Church so ‘manhandled’ by those pastors and prelates who are supposed to defend her.

That which is most striking about his case is that the Vatican decreed his two excommunications without any chance for him to defend himself, and without true and clear reasons. Above all, that don Minutella should be considered even more dangerous than Martin Luther was, who only received one excommunication decree despite the major schism that he caused in the Church.

Moreover, so far, don Minutella has been criticized more for the form (i.e., his inflammatory invectives against the false church) than the content of his protests, which speaks for the weakness of the present dominant thought in the highest Vatican circles, who believe they are strengthened by the great popularity of Bergoglio in the secular world, ignoring a widening circle of practising Catholics who are increasingly misled, many of whom, in fact, have deserted and left the churches even emptier.

Not to prolong this farther, I conclude by saying that don Minutella, in my opinion, has the great merit of keeping the faith upright and intact in these age of darkness for the Catholic Church. And he is doing so – as perhaps the only priest in Italy who has not chosen to speak of immigrants and the poor, especially if they are not Italian,. Instead, he has chosen to proclaim and carry the Gospel to all peoples,as we were taught bJesus Christ, Son of God, and second Person of the Holy Trinity.

- GIUSEPPE POLETTI



*Beatrice on her site, www. benoit-et-moi.fr/2019, links to Don Minutella's Facebook page which features a Radio Domina video of the priest recording a lengthy appeal to Benedict XVI on the evening of Nov. 22, 2018, in front of St. Peter's Square, as he walks away from the piazza down the Via della Conciliazione to a little church halfway down. After his appeal, he leads those who accompanied him in a recitation of the Rosary in Latin, up to the final singing of the Regina caeli.

www.facebook.com/radiodominanostra/videos/195852138015038/

He appeals to B16 to speak up - to and for all Catholics misled by his successor. His appeal is sure to go unanswered - unless something truly dramatic and earth-shifting happens to provoke it. I really believe that B16 considers himself in estoppel from openly criticizing, much less denouncing, his successor because of the unsolicited and public promise he made on Feb. 28, 2013, to 'revre and obey' whoever would be elected to succeed him. I hope, however, that don Minutella thought to send on a copy of the video to the Emeritus Pope and perhaps receive an appropriate response and not be ignored.

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Left, the 3-year lectionary for the Novus Ordo; right, the Edmund Campion Missal which contains the unchanging annual lectionary of the Extraordinary Form.

Unless you are one of those Massgoers who recite the Mass prayers by rote without really thinking about what the priest - and you with him - are praying, the following lengthy
article by Peter Kwasniewski should interest you.

https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2019/01/not-just-more-scripture-but-different.html#more

A CRITIQUE OF THE NOVUS ORDO LECTIONARY
by Peter Kwasniewski

January 11, 2016

Author's Note: The following study was completed in March 2016 and subsequently published as the Foreword to Matthew Hazell's remarkable reference work "Index Lectionum:
A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite."


The passage of time under the reign of Pope Francis has meanwhile witnessed the welcome development of a large number of Catholics of good will beginning to wake up to the
magnitude of the rupture effected by the liturgical reform. Because not everyone has this volume or expects to have it, I've been encouraged to share the Foreword with
a wider audience. Nevertheless, I encourage serious students of liturgy to purchase the Index Lectionum itself, because it is a formidable research tool.




Kwasniewski's major conclusion after comparing the 3-year lectionary cycle of the Novus Ordo to the unchanging annual lectionary of the Traditional Mass:

There are a fair number of passages of the Word of God that used to be read every year or multiple times in a year that were marginalized in or excluded altogether from the new lectionary and are therefore rarely or never proclaimed in the modern Roman Rite.

In short, the new lectionary does not merely present more Scripture, but different Scripture — and that, not only in terms of material content but also in terms of the liturgical pedagogy by which the faithful are exposed with greater or lesser frequency to various inspired books and the images and doctrines they contain.

Add to this the fact that the readings of the usus antiquior are in almost every instance mandatory whereas many in the new lectionary are optional, and one can see how different the actual outcome will be...

It was not merely poor translation that left the Church without a way of public worship that adequately expressed her faith for the first decades of the Novus Ordo; it was also, and continues to be, the suppression or downplaying of major elements in the doctrine of Sacred Scripture that had been taught on a yearly basis for centuries, stretching back to the age of the Fathers....

Father Adrien Nocent, one of the experts for the revised lectionary, observed that it “is destined in the long run, but inevitably, to change the theological mentality and very spirituality of the Catholic people.”

But what if a lover of the Church’s liturgy, without denying the possibility of judicious development, does not wish to lose the “theological mentality and very spirituality of the Catholic people” as these have been transmitted to us through cherished ecclesiastical traditions?

It seems that our times are once again receptive to the counsel of the Prophet Jeremiah: “Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls” (Jer 6:16).

The present Index Lectionum is, above all else and before all else, a labor of love from a Catholic scholar who, in harmony with the best of the Liturgical Movement, is deeply committed to living the vita liturgica in its fullness and sharing it with others.

His work stands in service of that great nexus of mysteries about which the Second Vatican Council eloquently said: “Liturgia est culmen ad quod actio Ecclesiae tendit et simul fons unde omnis eius virtus emanat”The liturgy is the apex to which the Church’s activity tends and, at the same time, the font whence all her power emanates.



Meanwhile, here is a review of Kwasniewski's new book:



Reflecting on the EF Mass
with tradition and sanity

Peter Kwasniewski’s most recent book is uplifting for those
who are fighting to revive the heart of traditional Catholicism.

by Amanda Ewinger

January 9, 2019

Those of us who love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass know what it feels like when heaven embraces earth in the liturgy - our spirits are hushed to an almost mystical serenity, and our souls are won over by the energy of divine grace.
- We know what it is like to tap into the resilience of the Latin Mass, savoring each moment, allowing ourselves to be carried away into the refreshing sanity of it all.
- We know what it means and we feel the power of the liturgy beating through the lifeblood of Mother Church. We get it.
- As Children of God and Children of the Light, we comprehend, we marvel and we hunger.
- We see Almighty God at work in magnificent ways through the Latin Mass, and
- We feel the urge to fight for its preservation and propagation with all of our being.

And yet, we struggle and struggle, and at times are simply overcome with discouragement and angst. We trudge through mud and we question the destiny of our efforts. Our love for the Extraordinary Form is so real, so raw, so burning and cutting into the very marrow of our bones – and yet, it is often misunderstood by so many, even some of the most devout members of Mother Church.

We believe in the transcendent Master of the Universe and an ethereal, unchangeable liturgy. We worship our King in union with an ageless Church, one that is victorious over the roaring winds of modernism and triumphant over the culture of death. As traditional Catholics, we do these things with zeal and conviction – and yet, so often, we do them alone and afraid.

Divine Providence, however, never leaves us without glistening hope on the horizon. Truly, He does not leave us orphans, but He comes to us. Along the way, He gives us what we need to accomplish His work on earth and bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

One such help for us traditional Catholics trudging along the way is the work of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a founding member of Wyoming Catholic College, a prolific writer and speaker on Catholic Tradition, and a composer of sacred music.

His most recent book, Tradition and Sanity, helps lift the spirits of us who are 'fighting the good fight' to revive the heart of traditional Catholicism. As Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakstan, writes about the book:

Peter Kwasniewski offers a theologically sure and faith-filled view of the nature of the sacred liturgy and its practice while unmasking many deceitful novelties of the liturgical and pastoral life of the Church from the past 50 years. His work is a sign of hope. as proclaimed in the book: The Sun of Justice, the Teacher of Truth, the Word made Flesh has never ceased to shine in the darkness for those who heeded His light, His voice, His real presence.'


Tradition and Sanity gives encouragement and a good dose of sanity to traditionally-minded Catholics and truth-seekers who find themselves pelted by the seemingly unanswerable questions and daunting trials that “come with the territory.” In the words of Dr. Michael Sirilla, Director of the M.A. Theology program at the University of Steubenville:

In this brilliant constellation of interviews, essays, and dialogues, Dr. Kwasniewski graces us with his wit and breathtaking style. Yet those elements merely adorn, encase and support the gem of consuming love for Christ the King and the Church, His Bride. The sustained reading of this collection will bear fruits of encouragement and, above all, of renewed commitment to discovering and recovering the balms of our precious traditions.


The book includes a stash of inspirational gems and nuggets that one can glean from its wealth. For example, toward the beginning of the book, Kwasniewski gives a powerful testimony highlighting the dawning of his love for the Extraordinary Form:

I found that there was a very deep sense of the mystery of the Mass, of the reverence that we owe to it. And the seriousness of the liturgy was something that really impressed me.

Of course, we know that a Mass celebrated with the proper intention and the proper matter is a valid Mass, but in a lot of liturgies I had been to in my life, it seemed as if people weren't really serious about what they were doing.

And when I went to the old Mass, there was this total focus on God and on our Lord Jesus Christ. It was something that both attracted me and provoked me, because it made me wonder: If we really believe what we say we believe about the Mass and the Eucharist, why shouldn't we always be treating it with this massive adoration and reverence, this devotion, care and seriousness?


Tradition and Sanity also features compelling discussions about sacred music, such as an interview with Diane Montagna, the Rome correspondent for LifeSiteNews, in which she says:

In my experience as a teacher, young people have a hunger for traditional Catholicism and are excited when they discover sacred music... Yes, we are living in a difficult and chaotic period, but you can see shoots of green pushing up here and there through the gray volcanic rubble. It's enough to presage the regrowth of a lush forest. Our Lord never abandons His Church. He patiently calls us back to the 'beauty of holiness' when we have forsaken it.


Overall, Tradition and Sanity is a light for us sojourners along the way, something to keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate goal of our labors – the high, majestic praise of Almighty God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
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Welcome to a new contributor
Who feels like a Martian seeing the situation in the Church today

Translated from

January 11, 2019

Today we welcome to our small community of writers a new personage, Osservatore Marziano, who explains the why and how of his participation, and his choice of pseudonym:


I ask for your hospitality, though with limited frequency, but I would prefer not to say who I am except to you. Having worked for a long time as a contributor to L’Osservatore Romano, I am using the pseudonym Osservatore Marziano for a very simple reason.

What I am seeing and hearing, when Catholics speak of the pope or the president of the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI), does not seem real! I no longer feel I am a terrestrian apostolic Roman Catholic – but rather, like a Martian who does not understand what the Church is becoming, and consequently, what will happen to the concept of good and evil.

Remember the little tale of the great Dino Buzzati [1907-1972, Italian novelist, poet, painter and journalist] abut the flying saucer that landed in front of a small country church? Let me recount it to you briefly, in my own words:

One night, while he was looking at the stars, a holy curate who had been sent to serve a small mountain village (perhaps because he celebrated the Tridentine Mass?), lamenting that he could no longer exercise his vocation to evangelize, saw a star that seemed to be advancing towards him rapidly. It was a flying saucer which landed in the small churchyard. It opened and some Martians descended.

Not at all intimidated, the priest thought to himself, “The good God has listened to me and sent me some Martians whom I can convert”. He approached them, made sure he could speak to them and be understood, and started to tell them about the Gospel of Christ. The Martians made it clear they understood perfectly what he was talking about. So when he got to narrating the Last Supper, they interrupted him to say, “So the Son of the Creator also came here to redeem you? Where is he that we may go adore him in his earthly incarnation?”


The priest said, “If you had let me finish, I was going to say that God incarnated on earth was crucified by men…” The Martians changed color, stiffened up, and spoke agitatedly among themselves. “The Son of the Creator also came here, and these creatures crucified him? Let’s not stay here any longer” So they got back into their flying saucer and took off, leaving the poor priest stunned.


As I said, I too feel like a Martian when I observe what is happening in the Holy Church established by Christ before he was crucified – I don’t recognize her anymore, and I feel like fleeing.

A few days ago, I heard the Supreme Pontiff say that it is horrible to refuse admission to refugees fleeing wars, famines, hunger, environmental dangers. But that is not true at all – these mass migrations are not primarily explained by such reasons. Just look at those wo are arriving – they are almost all young men between 20-30 years of age, very few families and no old people.

Is the pope lying? He celebrates Mass, recites the Angelus, and then he incites contempt and even hatred towards those who are concerned about poor Italians, old Italians, the security of Italians. He could be right. But why does he not treat them like a loving father, correct them paternally if he wishes, instead of simply writing them off as contemptible? Why?




Influential editorial declares
this Pontificate a failure:
Should we hope for an end to hyper-papalism?

by Fr. Richard Cipolla

Jnaanary 12, 2019

The very recent publication of the editorial by R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, declaring the pontificate of Pope Francis a “failure” ("A Failing Papacy", Feb. 2019 issue), is both newsworthy, and more importantly the beginning, we hope, of an intellectual examination of the present papacy that will result in an honest assessment of the present papacy and, one further hopes, a call for an end to the hyper-papalism of the past years - perhaps even over a century - as well as a theological reassessment, based on the Tradition of the Church, of the nature and role of the papacy.

That the editor of First Things, which became for some years, in my personal assessment, an organ for the Neo-Conservative agenda, has written this editorial may not catch the attention of the New York Times, but it certainly is significant among those Catholics who understand the Tradition of the Church and who have been and are greatly disturbed by the failure of this pontificate to articulate clearly and unambiguously the Catholic Faith in a time of political and cultural mass confusion.

Reno must be thanked for his courage and his clarity with regard to the current situation in the Church. Reno now understands that this papacy is not only not consonant with St John Paul II’s real attempt, grounded in the Tradition of the Church, to re-anchor the Catholic Faith in the person of Jesus Christ and the dogma of the Church after the threatened collapse of Church teaching and liturgical praxis after the Second Vatican Council.

This papacy, with its lack of fidelity to the Tradition and its cheap and outdated appeals to Modern Man ironically at a time when Modernity no longer exists except in the Roman Curia who are still living in 1965, has lost touch with those Post-Modern men and women, especially youth, who are searching for what is real and true in the detritus of Modernity.

Not only has this pontiff and his coterie not articulated the Catholic faith both to faithful Catholics and to the disbelieving and hostile world. Tthey also seem determined to accommodate the Catholic faith to the contemporary zeitgeist and all in the name of – mirabile dictu — mercy. And this mercy without the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The very idea of a Savior of the world becomes not necessary when the very understanding of sin, central to Christianity, is emptied out by an anti-intellectualism and sentimentality that both deny the intellectual/doctrinal history of the Church and posit, in the words of one of the Pope’s more out spoken members of the inner circle, Fr. Thomas Rosica, a version of the Church presided over by a pope who is free from the demands of the Christian faith.

This Canadian priest has infamously told us that Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is “free from disordered attachments. Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

This disordered lunacy could be an entertaining segment on a comedy show. But that such a statement does not cause Cardinals and Bishops to rise up and condemn such an unCatholic and unChristian statement is evidence both of the state of the Catholic hierarchy and of the intellectual level of those in charge of the Church (at least in charge in this world.)

This is why we must hope that Reno’s editorial is the beginning of an intelligent and honest assessment of this papacy that espouses an agenda that certainly does not have Christ and His Cross at its center, and in fact, goes out of its way not to speak words like Savior, Redemption, the Way, the Truth and the Life, that refuses to speak about the difficulty of leading a moral life based on the teachings of Christ and His Church, and an agenda that refuses to preach and teach the radical nature of the Incarnation that changes human history forever and in one specific way – the Cross and Resurrection - that demands the attention of every man and woman in this world, demanding a decision that is ratified in eternity.


The Zanchetta case:
A fatal blow to the Pope’s
reputation as a reformer

By Phil Lawler

January 11, 2019

Last week the Vatican acknowledged that an Argentine bishop working at the Vatican faces sex-abuse charges. The story drew little attention from American media outlets, and understandably so: just one more in a long line of complaints against clerics, in this case involving a bishop whose name (Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta) was unfamiliar to readers in the US.

But reporters who look at the story just a bit more carefully recognize it as a blockbuster: a potentially fatal blow to the reputation of Pope Francis as a reformer.

The facts, in brief: Zanchetta was appointed Bishop of Oran by Pope Francis in July 2013. He had served under the future Pontiff on the staff of the Argentine bishops’ conference, and was one of the new Pope’s first episcopal appointments. He abruptly resigned, however, just four years later, leaving the city without warning, at the age of just 53. At the time Bishop Zanchetta cited health reasons for his departure.

Today Vatican officials say that he stepped down because of administrative problems; he had developed a rocky relationship with the priests of his diocese. After a few months without assignment (during which he showed no signs of ill health), Pope Francis gave him an important post at the Vatican [created especially for him] at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the agency that handles the Vatican’s investments and its enormous real-estate holdings.

On Christmas Day, the Argentine newspaper El Tribuno revealed that Bishop Zanchetta had been accused by seminarians of sexual abuse. The Vatican insists that these charges were lodged only recently, and had nothing to do with his resignation from the Oran diocese. El Tribuno disagrees, saying that the charges date back to 2015 and were the reason for his removal. Readers can decide for themselves which claim seems more credible.

Now why is this bishop’s story so important? John Allen of Crux took the first step in explaining the significance of the Zanchetta case, noting that it is embarrassing to Pope Francis for two reasons.
- First, just as the Vatican is preparing for a February meeting on sexual abuse, here is another case in which the Pontiff himself has apparently protected — indeed promoted — a prelate with a questionable background.
- Second, the particular job that Zanchetta was given in Rome, with APSA, put the Argentine bishop into an office that is at the very center of debates about financial accountability.
How serious could the Pope be about financial reforms, if he arranged a soft landing for a troubled bishop as the second-ranking official at an agency that has been criticized for making sweetheart deals, arranging no-bid contracts, undervaluing assets, and resisting independent audits?

Sandro Magister, the veteran Vatican-watcher for L’Espresso, took the analysis a few steps further.
- If Zanchetta had been persuaded to resign because of his administrative deficiencies, he asked, why was he given an administrative job at APSA?
- And why was he placed in an agency handling financial affairs, when the accounts of the Oran diocese were reportedly in a shambles?
- What exactly was he doing at APSA, in a post (“assessor”) that had not existed before his appointment?

Magister also probed into the seminarians’ abuse charges, questioning whether Pope Francis had been aware of those complaints in 2017 when the bishop resigned, and had chosen to ignore them — just as, a few years earlier, he had dismissed charges against the Chilean Bishop Juan Barros; just as, according to Archbishop Vigano, he ignored complaints about then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Even without the Vigano testimony, however, and even without the precedent of Bishop Barros, it is undeniably true that in this case, Pope Francis appointed a bishop with a problematical past to a very sensitive position. That fact would be shocking enough, if it were an unprecedented move by the Pope. But it is not.

Along with APSA, the Vatican institution most central to any bid for financial reform is the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican bank. In 2013, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Battista Ricca as prelate of the IOR. Years earlier, Msgr. Ricca had reportedly brought a boyfriend along with him to a posting as a Vatican diplomat. Questioned about the prelate’s past, Pope Francis offered his famous rhetorical question: “Who am I to judge?” Msgr. Ricca remains at his post at the IOR.

Both Bishop Zanchetta and Msgr. Ricca have been charged with abusing their offices and with sexual misconduct. Yet Pope Francis has found jobs for them at the Vatican — and not just any jobs, but jobs in which they are responsible for detecting misconduct by other Church officials.

Let me put it plainly: Both were obvious potential targets for blackmail. And they were put in positions where they might have ample opportunity to blackmail others.

The Zanchetta case demonstrates that Pope Francis continues to protect his friends and allies, regardless of his professed commitment to accountability.
- This one case illustrates how, since Francis was elected, the Vatican has actually moved backward on two crucial fronts: the fight against sexual abuse and the quest for financial transparency.
- In this pontificate, the cause of reform is dead, unless the reform begins with the Pontiff himself.

I bet Andrea Gagliarducci's next Vatican column will continue to see silver linings and roseate prospects for Bergoglio's so-called 'reforms' and other aspects of this failing pontificate. What will it take to pop his helium isolation bubble and bring him down to earth with a painful thud!


Yet another blogpost from Marco Tosatti - two for January 12, in fact:

The nuncio's New Year's day homily in Medjugorje:
Propaganda on migrants drives away many faithful

Translated from

January 12, 2019

At a time when migrantist propaganda is reaching paroxystic levels, the institutional Church is not letting up. Of course, the drastic reduction in the human trafficking coming into Italy has hit the wallets of not a few persons and organizations who have profited from it.

Perhaps this explains the indignation of Italian cardinals and bishops - one they have not had against abortion same-sex unions and a series of other Italian laws against life, family and Christian morality.

But of course, these are the laws promulgated by their friends in the Partito Democrata [the once ruling party soundly rebuffed by Italians last year who voted in a government by centrist parties like the Lega and the Five-Star movement]. Pope Francis has called the author of the SSM law, Senator Monica Cirinna, a great Italian.

We report belatedly the testimony of a friend who went to Medjugorje to ring in the New Year. It was pubished earlier on the blogsite ‘Campari e De Maistre’. We supplement it with the photo of one of those ideological Nativity scenes created these days, about which it is kinder not to comment.

If only because the representation is dishonest. The human traffic reaching Italy and the rest of Europe in recent years is composed almost completely of males between the ages of 20-30. As an African nun commented: “Where are all their women folk?” What the photo shows is a family. Nothing to do with the actual migrants which the institutional Church led by the reigning pope are treating with sugarcoated ‘Christianity’.

So, therefore, this friend decided to ring in the New Year in Medjugorje, thinking it would calm him down. Alas, it was the opposite. What many Catholic blogs and newspapers like La Verita have been reporting about the priorities of Bergoglio’s demagogic-environmentalist-migrationist church was confirmed even in a holy place like Medjugorje. He says:

I would not have believed it if I had not been there myself.

The first Solemn Mass of 2019, celebrated at midnight by the Apostolic Nuncio Pezzotti with Mons. Oser (the Polish bishop sent by Bergoglio to evaluate and check out the veracity of the claimed Marian apparitions there) and the local Franciscan superior, don Milienko, for thousands of pilgrims, was highlighted by the Nuncio’s homily which provoked concern and opposition among many of those present – some of whom did leave the Mass to demonstrate their rage and dissent.

The homily was a political manifesto all but signed by Bergoglio. With the pretext of picking up the pope’s message on the World Day of Peace, Pezzoti rattled off 20 minutes of Bergoglian thought, focusing on two points with a high quotient of demagoguery and genericness: ‘good politics’ as an instrument to involve young people who have lost their trust in the church, peppered with appeals to conscience (perhaps Lutheran conscience?) and so much rhetoric about the common good, solidarity and the environment.

But he did not fail to castigate those politicians and parties who, he says, ‘wish to eliminate the migrant’. Pezzotti underscored the importance of face-to-face encounter, dialog and welcome for ‘people who have escaped wars, hunger, etc.' Obviously, Pezzotti is not aware that only about 5% of these migrants are genuine refugees from war zones.

What is really appalling is that this propaganda homily should have been said at a holy place like Medjugorje - in a country which, 20 years ago, was involved in a cruel civil war after decades of Communist oppression. The people of Medjugorje really suffered war, and in this sense, were martyrs who had no way of escape, and who after all the suffering, started to rebuild.

To begin 2019 with such a homily is a provocation and a paradox. Thousands of faithful in sub-zero weather stood on the esplanade listening to a smug bishop delivering what amounted to a campaign speech for Bergoglio to the Catholic faithful.

Day-after reactions from people who know Medjugorje was that the pilgrimage city is being ‘normalized’ along the new canons of the church of Bergoglio, before it can be ‘recognized’ officially by the Vatican as the genuine site of a Marian apparition. But they note that in the past two years, the number of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje has been drastically diminished, no small thanks to the reigning pope’s oft-expressed lack of sympathy for Medjugorje (having referred to the claimed Marian apparitions there as featuring ‘The Virgin Mary as postman’).


A parallel with China of the two churches – the clandestine, which is oppressed and persecuted, and the official, which is allied to the communist regime and the Bergoglio Vatican – is not unrealistic. Have the powers that be on Medjugorje considered that before making any strategic choice on the pilgrimage site, they should consider the Lady of Medjugorje?

And Tosatti's second post for the day - a new installment of his Bestiario Clericale:

Of another vile deed against B16, anti-EF madness in Sardinia,
and the good sense of a Sicilian scholar priest on Islam

Translated from


January 12, 3018


This afternoon, I thought I would be undisturbed and be able to observe my self-imposed rule not to pubish more than one self-written article a day on this site. But my calm was broken by a friend who sent me on a tweet from Austin Ivereigh. He is the Englishman who was the press officer for the late Cardinal Murphy O’Connor when the latter was Archbishop of Westminster (London).

If you recall, the cardinal was one of the leading members of the anti-Ratzinger, pro-Bergoglio Sankt Gallen Mafia [who told Ivereigh exactly what he and his colleagues did to ensure the election of Bergoglio in the 2013 Conclave, and which Ivereigh duly wrote up in his 2014 biography of the new pope]; Bergoglio then intervened to stop the CDF from investigating an abuse accusation against Murphy O’Connor by one of his former lady parishioners.

Ivereigh quickly became one of the most outspoken defenders of the Bergoglio establishment, those around the pope who govern the Church. The Anglophone version of Spadaro or Tornielli, if we may put it that way. His tweet referred to the disclosure by the Diocese of Pittsburgh (which he wrote about yesterday) that while he was Archbishop of Pittsburgh, Cardinal Donald Wuerl had known about
at least one case of inappropriate conduct by his friend then-Cardinal McCarrick as early as 2004. Yet Wuerl claimed over and over after Mons. Viganò’s first testimony on McCarrick last year that he knew nothing at all of any reports, or even rumors, about McCarrick’s behavior. A lie about which Mons Viganò repeatedly called him out.


In the tweet, Ivereigh has to admit that Wuerl lied last summer. But… look at his conclusion!

After Viganò released his first Testimony, the Bergoglio press gang immediately questioned whether Benedict XVI had imposed any sanctions or restrictions at all on McCarrick. Until Cardinal Ouellet, very likely urged by the pope to reply directly to Viganò’s subsequent testimony that Ouellet knew of the sanctions against McCarrick, admitted that there were restrictions imposed which he himself had communicated directly to Viganò, then Apostolic Nuncio to Washington, and presumably to Cardinal Wuerl, as Archbishop of Washington, where McCarrick lived.

So how dare Ivereigh – in the face of that known fact, official and made public by Ouellet – now claim that colore=#b200ff][Wuerl lied to protect the Vatican, and especially Benedict XVI. [More logically, how? By denying that he knew anything of McCarrick’s misconduct and that therefore the latter could not have been sanctioned by Benedict XVI?

By now recirculating the lie that Benedict XVI was negligent in failing to act against McCarrick, a lie that could easily be swallowed by people who have not followed this story closely. I think we have a leading candidate for the 2019 Oscar for intellectual dishonesty.

[How characteristic of the Bergogliacs to rig up some vileness against Benedict XVI to make him take the fall for Bergoglio! Another indication of their utter lack of respect for the Emeritus Pope – whom another Viganò earlier sought to claim had endorsed a Vatican-published series of booklets in praise of Bergoglio as theologian, when B16 had expressly refused to do so. Because he is an ex-pope, without any powers whatsoever, the Bergogliacs think he is completely expendable, if only to make Bergoglio look good.]

About Wuerl lying to protect the Vatican – that is plausible. And is, indeed, confirmed by facts. McCarrick enjoyed protection by highly placed officials in the Vatican [up to Bergoglio, by Viganò’s never-denied testimony]. Viganò named names [none of whom replied to his accusations other than Ouellet, who did Viganò a good service by confirming much of what Viganò had claimed]. It seems that the names mentioned do not wish any reference whatsoever to how they aided and enabled McCarrick. Perhaps because the Vatican cannot afford to have heretofore protected documents brought to light.

But one simply has to recall a string of events to get the sense of the ‘silence’.
- Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB, came to Rome to ask the pope to open an apostolic investigation into the McCarrick case.
- The pope said No.
- Instead of a judicial investigation which would look into all available documents, especially those specified by Viganò, he ordered an internal Vatican administrative inquiry on the McCarrick case [in which, obviously, the pope’s investigators would be able to suppress – if not destroy – any documents that would prove the accusations made by Viganò, and at any rate, to whitewash the whole case]. As we know, not just the pope, but all the other eminences named by Viganò, have not issued any denial at all of his accusations.

I think even the pope’s rejection of the US bishops’ proposal to put the investigation of sex abuse and cover-up charges against the US bishops in the hands of competent laymen – and therefore, outside the Church’s control – had to do with eliminating any risk of embarrassing discoveries.

If this what Catholic Voices [the group founded by Ivereigh to report the truth and fight the falsehoods against the Church and Benedict XVI before his visit to the UK in 2010] has become, it would be preferable for it to shut up.

The second episode in our Bestiary today is very amusing. The blogsite Messainlatino calls attention to an article in the journal Theologica et Historica, of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia, written by Mons. Tonino Cabizzosu, professor of Church history.

Cabizzosu claims in a couple of footnotes [this has become quite a useful ruse for Bergogliacs since AL] that the most serious problem of the Church in Sardinia is the ‘philo-Tridentine and anti-Conciliar’ drift [Bergogliacs use the terms as synonymous] by “a fringe of young priests who are critical of the Church’s post-conciliar ecclesiological openings”.

Amid empty churches, pederasty and homosexuality in the clergy, widespread corruption [brought about by clericalism, one must add]what does this professor see as the great problem? Those who celebrate the Traditional Mass.

Quos Deus perdere vult, dementat prius! (Those whom a god wishes to destroy, he first drives mad.)

Our third narrative, fortunately, shows that not everyone, in the central Church or in the Church in Italy, has lost their common sense for ideological reasons over the question of mass migration.



Mons Michele Crociata, a Sicilian scholar priest was interviewed recently by La Fede Quotidiana about a book he published in November, Cristiani e musulmani nei secoli (Christians and Muslims through the centuries)(2018, Flacconio).

[My contribution: The publisher’s blurb on the book said:

The text, which alternates between history and the present, analyzes a difficult problem that has remained unresolved: an epochal development which continues to assail the world, especially Europe, and Italy in particular, which had been overrun by barbarian waves in the second to the fifth century AD, and after Mohammed founded Islam, experienced cycles of attack by Muslim armies, many of them catastrophic, in the past 14 centuries. The study looks at the current Afro-Asian mass migrations to Europe, with the often inconvenient questions that the situation has raised.

The book offers the reader – and those who have political and strategic responsibilities today – a diachronic overview of the phenomenon, which has its roots in history. Such history must be read and known in order to be able to respond to the serious demands of the situation today.


The monsignor says: “The Church cannot tell the State – nor should it – how to manage the mass migration problem. What we are seeing today is an Islamic invasion”.

Monsignor Crociata, the pope and other representatives of the Catholic Church have called on politicians and the government to welcome all migrants. What do you think?
For the Church, no one is a stranger, since we are all equal before God, without distinctions. Accordingly, the institutional Church is following this postulate. However, the migrant problem is something that ought to be managed by the State and by its laws, so the Church cannot and should not interfere, especially when it cannot tell the government exactly how to manage the problem. This is not within her sphere of competence. I should add that the Catechism says we should be charitable and welcome strangers ‘according to ral and effective resources”.

So, it is not possible to indicate any unconditional solutions…
No, Besides, any self-respecting state must be cautious in assessing and controlling who enters the country, who he is and where he comes from, and whether he has a right to do so. Whoever knocks on our door must do so properly, respecting laws and customs, and adopting himself to the host country’s culture, to the customs of his hosts – otherwise, it is legitimate to refuse them entry or throw them out.

Here in Italy, out of an undisguised sense of ‘do-goodism’, we have yielded on so many things. Of course, charity has no frontiers, and all poor people are equal without distinction, but charity must always start at home, before it is extended to others. I have the impression that Italians in need have been treated worse than the migrants, a situation that understandably could result in ‘racist’ reactions.

I am thinking, for instance, of the young migrants who have become used to asking for handouts from businesses instead of working for a living. It is a mistake to accustom them to this – it encourages idleness, and the resulting troubles that idleness can bring.
If young Italians went around asking businesses for handouts, they would not be seen with benevolence at all.

You are a scholar of Islam. Is there a risk of Islamization?
It is not a risk. It already exists. The West is committing suicide. Wherever there is a spiritual void, it becomes occupied with something bad. The West is in the process of self-demolition.

Is Islam compatible with Western values?
Muslims look down on us smugly because they think we are stupid and because we have become so secularized. I am certain that sooner or later, if only through demographics, Muslims will overcome us in Europe. That has always been their historical plan. And Islam does not hesitate to dominate even by force. It is incompatible with Western values of freedom, respect and democracy. Only someone who has not read the Koran will say otherwise. To say that the Koran is merciful is false. Islam is a real menace, and the Koran justifies violence to impose Islam.

What do you think of the current pope’s attitude towards Islamist terrorism?
I am surprised that terrorism is not labelled Islamist when it is committed in the name of that religion. Maybe, because the pope is from Argentina, he does not really know Islam well enough, or he chooses to keep to an extremely prudent line. [Oh, Monsignor, how kind of you!]
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Anyone who follows Antonio Socci's work will know that is abiding interest in the life of the Church is matched by an equally passionate patriotism and concern for Italy's status in the world and her great history and culture...

Italy is waking up:
Let us recover art treasures taken away by past conquerors

They represent the beauty found in our history and identity

Translated from

January 10, 2019

Though it still seems incredible, Italy – whose artistic patrimony had been sacked especially by French and German conquerors (but not only they) – is lifting its head again with pride. Finally, Rome is concerned about how to bring back what belongs to Italy.

The wise German director of Florence’s Uffizi Museums, Eike Schmidt, raised ascandalized eyebrows when he said recently that her country, Germany, should return Jan van Huysum’s famous ‘Vase of flowers’ which belonged to the collection of the Palazzo Pitti also in Florence, and was among those depredated by Nazi soldiers during the German occupation of Italy in 1943-1945. Some said she did it to ingratiate herself with the new Italian government. But surely, she did it because she has sensed that things have changed.

Last November 25, I wrote here in Libero about the colossal looting of Italian art treasures by French and Italian conquerors, but at the time it was still a taboo subject in Italy. Especially in these years of euro-fanaticism, in which it was thought necessary for Italy to prostrate herself to the European Union. So even merely hypothesizing on the return of looted art exposed one to the accusation of truculent souverainism and blind nationalism.

But since the demand was made by Schmidt who is German, the Euro-fanatics were taken aback. In fact, he also said that “Germany should abolish its regulations about foreign works of art obtained during a war in order to enable these works to be returned to their legitimate owners”. Adding that in the specific case of the painting he wants returned, “Germany has a moral duty to return this work to our museum, and I hope the German state can do it as soon as possible”.

Salvatore Giannella, in his book Operazione salvataggio (Operation Salvage)(Chiarelettere), tells us that the call should include at least 1653 works of art looted in 1943-1945 (800 paintings plus dozens of sculptures, musical instruments including precious Stradivarius violins, and hundreds of historical ad literary manuscripts).

But the move of the Uffizzi director simply anticipated an initiatve by the new government, The Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Alberto Bonisoli, called a meeting yesterday to discuss the problem of Italian works of art that were depredated (in various times and for various reasons) and are now in foreign museums. Let us hope this is a turning point.

However, one is disconcerted by a cultural problem on the national conscience: Why does it seem that Italians themselves are totally unaware of what has happened? [Perhaps because what remains in Italy is mind-bogglingly vast!] Neither in schoools or in the media has attention been given to this tragic and fundamental chapter of our history. And yet, the looting and resulting loss to us have harmed not just the artisitic patrimony of our major cities, but also our identity – the soul of our people.

That is why we welcome a new book by one of the few intellectuals who has occupied himself with the problem and has uncovered the whole story: Alessandro Marzo Magno’s Missione Grande Bellezza: Gli eroi e le eroine che salvarono i capolavori italiani saccheggiati da Napoleone e da Hitler (Mission 'Great Beauty': The heroes and heroines: The heroes and heroines who saved the Italian masterworks looted by Napoleon and Hitler)(Garzanti).


It is an extraordinary book, heartbreaking and tragic in its meticulous reconstruction of the immense lost patrimony representing our history and identity, which was not just looted, but many of which were destroyed, devastated, dispersed.

Marzo Magno’s book should be read in all Itaian schools. It also makes us reflect on how, in the course of centuries, French and Germans (represented in this case by Napoleon and Hitler) have thought about how to unify the continent by conquest – to place all other European peoples under their governance.

Italy was always considered as a land to conquer, being a unique treasure chest of art and beauty, and therefore a target for pillage. But it is striking that a great part of Italian culture and politics have been silent all these years about this fact.

If we wish to find someone who has raised the question recently of restituting stolen Italian art to Italy , we must look abroad.

A singular case is Paolo Veronese’s huge and marvelous painting from 1563, The Wedding Feast in Cana, which was taken by the French from the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice, and installed in the Louvre, where it still is. It was just one of the masterpieces looted during the pillage of Venice by Napoleon’s troops. ATtalmost 7 meters by 9 meters, it is the largest painting in the Louvre.


Many years ago, someone publicly raised the appeal for its restitution to Italy, but it was not an Italian. Marzo Magno reconstructs the episode: A Parisian lawyer, Arno Klarfeld, wrote in Corriere della Sera, on February 1, 1994, that France should return the Veronese masterpiece to the place where it was painted, Venice. Klarfeld wrote: “The Louvre is harboring the greatest artistic robbery committed in the name of the Republic… Nothing justifies the presence of ‘The Wedding Feast in Cana’ in the Louvre – no juridical or artistic considerations whatsoever".

Klarfeld took up his call in the French newspaper Liberation: “Should the Veronese masterpiece be returned to Venice? Yes. Because Veronese’s painting, the largest in the world, is no longer where it should be – in the Refectory of the church of San Girfgio Maggiore. A hall designed by the most important architect of the Rebnaissance, Andrea Palladio, precisely to house Veronese’s painting… The setting itself is a jewel… France is not the painting’s owner, and is not entitled to it at all”.

Marzo Magno recalls that Klarfeld, when he launched his campaign, did so alongside his Italian fiance, Carla Bruni, who said at the time: “My commitment to recover The Marriage at Cana, after Arno explained the situation to me, is more than just normal, but logical”.

But then, Marzio Magno notes, “as we know, things went otherwise. Bruni did not become Mrs. Klarsfeld, but rather the wife of French Presdient Nicolas Sarkozy… And after that initial flurry more than 20 years ago, neither Klarsfeld nor Bruni have spoken again of returning the Veronese to Venice."

And yet, the total number of works to be recovered is immense. It wasn’t just the looting of paintings, statues and manuscripts. So many things were destroyed and lost forever such as the Lombard Gothic cathedral of San Pietro in Alessandria, which the French demolished in 1803 to make way for a parade ground.

Then there are those works that disappeared and no one knows where they are. Marzo Magno recalls, for instance, that in Venice “during the Napoleonic conquest, the musical archive of the Pio Ospedale della Pieta disappeared. This included copies of all the scores written by Antonio Vivaldi, who had been its violin master for 17 years. No one knows what became of these – they were either destroyed or lost”.

In any case, it is more probable that they have been lost, because if such an important collection of documents had been destroyed, it would have been reported. Imagine if, one day, we could recover Vivaldi’s scores of compositions we know he did – for example, an oratorio on Moses, or concerts dedicated to the various European countries, including France and Germany – but which have disappeared!

There is a symbolic value here: While an Italian master dedicated his sublime music to France and Germany, these are the countries that, in modern times, have invaded Italy to loot and pillage.

So whenever we say ‘Europe’, we must remember this story which teaches us many things, even today.


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This is one of those recent stories that deserves telling in detail because it is emblematic of the strong undercurrent of secular mentality even at a school that advertises itself
as 'academically excellent, passionately Catholic". It's an obverse aspect of the Finnis case in Oxford. First, the latest update - background will follow.


BREAKING: Stephen Lewis removed as
Chair of Steubenville english department


January 11, 2018

Stephen Lewis, the professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville who is at the center of the recent controversy over his assignment of a "pornographic" and "blasphemous" French novel that included sexually graphic musings, some involving the Virgin Mary, has just been removed as the chair of the English Department.

The department description, above, listing Dr. Lewis as Chair, was I believe still up yesterday (the cache itself is from January 8th). But a new description, without the Chair designation, has now replaced it. And there is a new name and picture as Chair (Dr. Mary Ann Sunyoger).

This follows an initial defense of Lewis's actions by Steubenville's Public Relations Manager, Tom Sofio. However, after pressure from other faculty members, donors and alumni, the President of Steubenville, Father Sean Sheridan, quickly backtracked and issued an apology.

According to Christina Niles at Church Militant, which initially broke the story, Stephen Lewis himself remained "defiant".

Lewis has been a controversial figure for some time. Among other things he had backed Rachel Bratten Weiss, the self-proclaimed "leftist feminist" that Steubenville had decided not to re-hire in 2017. His wife, Suzanne M. Lewis still edits the journal Convivium with Weiss and the two worked together on the Revolution of Tenderness festival in Pittsburgh.

As I reported on my Twitter feed, just last night most web links to the journal and the festival were suddenly made "private", even though the until then very public pages had previously been used by Lewis, Weiss and others to raise money for and publicize their writings and events. [Obviously, you can still view most of the pages by choosing the "cache" option in your Google search.]

The incident has been an embarrassment to Steubenville and perhaps a minor tragedy for its students. But I hope I will be forgiven for thinking it also has its comic elements. The Lewis-Weiss axis seems to have an obsession with juvenile vulgarity, whether it is assigning French "erotic" novels to graduate students or making political comments on Twitter.

Bratten Weiss spent much of yesterday defending Stephen Lewis in the twittersphere. "We're basically open-minded and unprudish Catholics. Why is Steubenville being so fascist?" was the general if predictable gist. But her last tweet was something else:


What a lovely young lady. Definitely Steubenville English Department material.

Now, for the background:



Steubenville prof assigns French novel
with graphic speculation on Mary's sex life

by Christine Niles

(This article received 342 comments)
January 8, 2019

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - Franciscan University of Steubenville is defending a reading assignment that includes graphic depiction of pornography and claims the Mother of Christ "had sex" and perhaps "even masturbated."

In a course for spring 2018, Dr. Stephen Lewis, chair of the English department, assigned his students The Kingdom: A Novel, by Emmanuel Carrère, an atheist who rejects the Catholic faith. The book is written from the author's perspective and is a hotch potch of random musings on various figures in the early life of the Church, from Zacchaeus to the Apostles to Mary and Martha, and others.

In the midst of his thoughts, which seem to be written in a disorganized, stream-of-consciousness style, he abruptly and without warning begins a graphic discussion of internet porn, in particular a female masturbation scene and how it relates to his thoughts on Our Lady.

The author details a female masturbation scene and how it relates to his thoughts on Our Lady.

Saying that evenings are quiet in a mountain village in the Valais region is an understatement, and I dedicate some — in fact almost all — of them to watching pornography on the Internet. Most of what's on offer leaves me indifferent, not to say disgusts me: extreme gang bangs, pu****s getting f***** by machines, pregnant women screwed by horses ... My most persistent inclination is toward female masturbation...

Carrère details an example of "incredibly exciting" porn titled "brunette masturbates and has two orgasms," going on to discuss how the porn is "intimately linked" to his speculation of Mary. He also offers gratuitous discussion of the female pubic area.

He follows this with a frame-by-frame account of the masturbation scene... going into graphic details... The author admits, "I have watched it twenty times over, and I will watch it again."

In the next section the author makes clear he rejects the existence of "the Holy Virgin," but acknowledges that Jesus had a mother, although a human mother who "had sex" and probably "masturbated."

This woman knew a man in her youth. She had sex. She might have come, let's hope so for her, maybe she even masturbated. Probably not with as much abandon as the brunette who has two orgasms, but whatever else is true she had a clitoris between her legs.


Church Militant has confirmed that various faculty are upset that the novel was assigned reading at a Catholic school that touts itself as orthodox and concerned for the spiritual welfare of its students. But In spite of being confronted by administration, Lewis has defended his decision to assign the novel in his course.

Church Militant asked the university why it was allowing this book to be assigned reading for students, why it was sold in the campus bookstore , and whether it had any plans to ensure the book was removed. The university issued a statement defending the novel as assigned reading. Tom Sofio, public relations manager, sent an email to Church Militant requesting that the following statement be quoted in full in our report:

Franciscan University challenges students intellectually, helps form them professionally, and engages them spiritually. This includes arming our students with the knowledge and wisdom to confront the challenges of a coarse modern culture, which often runs contrary to Catholic teaching.

Heresy, and sinful acts such as murder and adultery that go against Catholic teaching, are addressed at Franciscan to help to strengthen students’ faith and prepare them to engage with today’s culture. While this happens through the study of literature by authors such as Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare who portray many sinful acts, it can also happen when they grapple with significant challenges to Catholic faith by contemporary writers.

Franciscan students learn through critical comparison to consider multiple sides of an issue or argument, led by professors who always promote Catholic spiritual and moral perspectives. Thus, our students graduate better prepared to solve problems and engage with integrity in a world that desperately needs to hear the truth.

Where would we be, for example, if Catholics were unable or unwilling to engage with and push back against calumny such as The Da Vinci Code or against worse heresies and dangerous heterodoxies? Franciscan University promotes an authentic and vibrant Catholic faith—inside and outside the classroom—that helps students succeed spiritually, morally, and intellectually. We remain firm in providing the integration of faith and reason that will give them the best chance at lifelong success.


In a follow-up statement sent after this article went to press, Sofio clarified that only one copy of the book was sold as a textbook in the bookstore, but that it is no longer there. "There are no plans to use the book at Franciscan University again," said Sofio. Even so, the university defends Lewis's choice to assign the book in his previous course.

Franciscan styles itself a Catholic university faithful to the Magisterium, and among the few Catholic schools that offers an authentically Catholic education, thus appealing to a more traditional and conservative crowd. That orthodox branding, however, has come into serious question in light of a series of damaging reports revealing problems with the administration and faculty.

In 2017, Rebecca Bratten Weiss, an adjunct faculty member in Lewis's English deparatment, was asked by the administration not to return to Franciscan after she was exposed as a "pro-choice" feminist. She was also criticized for assigning reading to students that involved pornographic content. Weiss was supported and backed by Lewis, whose wife Suzanne is reportedly close friends with Weiss, and remains so to this day.

George Neumayr has published articles exposing the connection between relatively recent hire William Gorman, chief operating officer, and disgraced Cdl. Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., for whom he previously worked, and Fr. Sean Sheridan's decision to hire Gorman.

"Sheridan hired Gorman to liberalize the school because he wants Wuerl to get Pope Francis to name him a bishop," a source told Neumayr. "Sheridan desperately wants to be a bishop and sees Steubenville as a conservative backwater that is beneath him."

Church Militant has confirmed with multiple reliable sources at Franciscan that, in spite of Sheridan's public denials about Gorman's role — he is allegedly implementing a "diversity" plan that includes greater welcome for LGBT members — the agenda is real and moving forward quietly, behind the scenes, and away from the view and knowledge of most faculty.

This is apparently the reason why solid professors like Dr. Scott Hahn could write a piece defending Franciscan's Catholic identity in the face of Neumayr's reports — because orthodox, conservative professors are being misled and deliberately kept in the dark.

Church Militant has also learned that the development department at Franciscan has received multiple complaints from parents and donors unhappy with the direction in which Franciscan is moving, some threatening to drop support, and that Gorman is on a "damage control" tour with various faculty in order to minimize the bad publicity and salvage Franciscan's reputation.

In light of this latest scandal, it remains to be seen whether that reputation is salvageable.

Concerns remain despite Steubenville apology
for blasphemous book as required reading

Faculty claim Dr. Stephen Lewis is damaging the credibility of the university

by Christine Niles

January , 2019

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - After intense backlash from outraged donors and parents, Franciscan University of Steubenville is backtracking on its defense of a blasphemous and pornographic reading assignment. Inside sources who have spoken with Church Militant make clear, however, that the apology is meant to placate donors and supporters, and signals no real change at the university.

Father Sean Sheridan, president of the university, issued a letter to staff Wednesday evening regretting the choice of a novel assigned by English department chair Stephen Lewis in a spring 2018 course.

"I would like to apologize for the use of Emmanuel Carrère's The Kingdom, in an advanced literature course at Franciscan University last spring," Sheridan wrote. "Above all, I would like to apologize to Our Blessed Mother and Her Son, and to anyone who has been scandalized by this incident."

Sheridan's apology came 24 hours after Church Militant broke the story that Lewis had assigned the novel, which includes graphic and explicit discussion of Carrère's internet porn addiction, the types of porn he watches, and how it relates to his thinking about Mary, mother of Jesus. Details from the novel are too graphic to include here.

In response to Church Militant's queries, the university, through spokesman Tom Sofio, initially defended Lewis's decision, claiming among other things that such literature helps prepare students to grapple with the Faith by considering multiple sides of an issue.

The backlash was intense and immediate; hundreds of outraged Catholics called, wrote and left comments online making clear they would drop all support for the school.

"It is unconscionable to me that Franciscan University of Steubenville actually issued a statement defending the assigned reading of a grotesque blasphemy against the Mother of God," wrote one graduate student who disenrolled from a $1,500 course in light of the scandal. "You have actually defended evil. You actually defended a satanic attack against the Queen of Heaven and Earth. I am horrified and disgusted. This evil goes well beyond the tepid and poorly reasoned statement issued by the University public relations manager Tom Sofio. Unbelievable."

"We homeschool our eight children, and this WAS one of the colleges we were going to look into to sending our oldest next year," said one mother of eight. "We will no longer need to waste our time visiting their campus. I wrote them a letter today telling them they will not see one of my dollars or any of my children."

Her comments were echoed by many others, who also made clear Franciscan was no longer a viable option for their family or friends. Financial supporters wrote, called and left comments online promising never to give to the university again.

Dr. Scott Hahn, professor of biblical theology and the New Evangelization, expressed dismay at the administration's initial response.

"Academic freedom is valuable, but it should not be exercised in a vacuum," Hahn wrote in a Facebook comment. "Rather it must be in service to the truth, and not serve as a license for perversity and sacrilege. Assigning this book was irresponsible and imprudent. Defending it is unwise and wrongheaded. Please pray for our university."

Dr. Anne Hendershott, professor of sociology at Franciscan, said in comments to Church Militant, "The novel is horrific — something that no student at a faithful Catholic university should have been required to read. It was a betrayal of the Catholic identity and mission for a professor to assign such a novel."

Sheridan's Wednesday letter makes clear the university's initial response defending Lewis was inadequate: "Again, the professor did not intend to scandalize, but The Kingdom is so directly pornographic and blasphemous that it has no place on a Catholic university campus," Sheridan wrote. "I regret that the University's earlier statement did not make this clear."

Missing from Sheridan's letter was an apology from Lewis, who sources make clear continues to defend his choice to assign the novel.

When administration confronted Lewis privately about the novel, before the story went to media, sources confirm Lewis was defiant, insisting on his right to assign such literature as a matter of "academic freedom." Faculty tell Church Militant he continues to stand by his decision, regardless of what Sheridan wrote.

A number of Catholics, including faculty, remain dissatisfied with Sheridan's response and want action against Lewis, who reportedly has a long track record of assigning questionable and inappropriate content to students.

According to multiple inside sources, Lewis is a large part of the problem at Franciscan and one of the main reasons the university has suffered damage to its credibility and reputation. Faculty in other departments are upset that one man overseeing a single department is being allowed to bring their beloved university into disrepute.

For instance, Lewis was behind the support for Rebecca Bratten Weiss, an adjunct professor in his English department for 11 years, who was forced to leave Steubenville in 2017 only after media exposed her as a "pro-choice" feminist. Since then, Weiss has also made clear her sympathy for the LGBT movement, repeatedly praising Jesuit celebrity priest Fr. James Martin, best known for his attempts to normalize homosexuality.

Weiss had also received complaints during her time at Franciscan for assigning students inappropriate literature — something she could not have done without the permission and approval of her department chair.

Weiss remains close to Lewis' family, working closely with Lewis' wife on editing a literary journal as well as hosting meet-ups with likeminded writers. She came to Lewis's defense in the latest controversy, publishing a blog post defending his choice to assign the novel while dismissing his critics as "far-right" journalists too unintelligent to comprehend his scholarly work.

In light of the latest controversy, Sheridan is now calling on all faculty to take the Oath of Fidelity. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the 1989 Vatican document on authentic Catholic education, requires that any professor teaching on matters directly pertaining to morals or doctrine must take an oath promising adherence to the Magisterium. Currently the theology faculty takes the oath, but other departments, including the English department, are not required.

Faculty have offered mixed responses to Sheridan's apology, with some grateful the president is adequately addressing faculty's concerns, while others are dissatisfied because he refuses to discipline Lewis.

"The first response from the university was disappointing," Hendershott told Church Militant. "Since Franciscan University prides itself on its support for Ex Corde Ecclesiae, it seemed to me to be a betrayal of that. Fr. Sheridan's response finally reflected the real concerns that faithful faculty at Franciscan University have had for quite a while now."

Even so, Hendershott says it's "time for action — not just promises for the future. It is clear that a distorted view of academic freedom has emerged among some on the faculty at Franciscan."

Hahn published a follow-up statement thanking Sheridan for his apology. "I am very thankful to Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR, the President of Franciscan University of Steubenville for his heartfelt response — a strongly worded and clear message — to address an unfortunate situation that emerged this week," Hahn wrote. "Please read it and then share it with whoever asks if our university is still wholeheartedly committed to being 'academically excellent and passionately Catholic.'"

But faculty who have contacted Church Militant make clear the administration has known "for years" about the problematic texts assigned and taught by Lewis. According to one faculty member who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, concerns about Lewis and his department were routinely "brushed aside" by Sheridan and the administration.

"Many of us on the faculty are appalled at the response of Fr. Sheridan," said the faculty member, who claimed that the president is making the situation "sound like a mistaken policy that needs to be addressed, instead of a scandalous professor who needs to be disciplined."

Sheridan claimed in his Wednesday letter that he was "unaware" the novel was being assigned in Lewis's course in spring 2018, and that he would ensure curriculum guidelines would be reviewed "to prevent future use of scandalous materials."

Although his statement is technically true, faculty confirm Sheridan has been aware of the graphic contents of the novel since at least the fall semester — long before his public apology.

"I can confirm without a doubt, 100 percent that Sheridan was aware of the contents of this novel last fall," said one faculty member who spoke with Church Militant on condition of anonymity. "Faculty approached him with concerns about the novel and about Lewis, and he dismissed them... He offered no apology to the Blessed Mother then, nothing," the source said.

Sheridan also failed to offer any assurances that the novel would not be assigned in a future course.

"He only offered the public apology after he was caught," the faculty member said, and only after donors called up threatening to drop financial support.

As to the call for faculty to take the Oath of Fidelity, some faculty members say the move is hypocritical and "highly insulting," as it is largely the administrators who "have yet to prove their fidelity" to the Magisterium, according to one source.

The public has also offered mixed reactions to Sheridan's letter. Although some are grateful for the clarification, others wonder why Lewis remains at the school.

"This is a garbage response that is meant to placate everybody," said Mark Ingoglio on Facebook. "We'll use the word 'scandalize' and that will satisfy the pious. We'll use the term 'unintentional' and that will let the prof off the hook. We'll get the committee to reword a policy so things like this won't have the potential to be discovered so easily in the future."

"If Fr. Scanlan was still there Lewis would have been gone yesterday," read another online comment.

"Good, but they have broken their trust with the people and would have gone forward with everything," said Elizabeth Shepherd Warynick on Facebook. "I would call for new leadership that people can trust to be REAL Catholics — I'd never send my child there until then."

Catholics also took to Twitter to insist Lewis should be fired.

I thought the ff would be a purifying touch for this post:


Vergine delle Rocce (Virgin of the Rocks), Fra Filippo Lippi, 15th cent.
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How frightening is that! The graphic contains the names of all the member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the USA. BTW, this is exactly the terrain that nurtured the likes of James Martin, S.J.


Thanks to Marco Tosatti for finally giving me a wider pretext to post this story other than as a reproof to Cardinal Cupich for his wink-wink-nod-nod approach to having had seven credibly-accused Jesuit sex offender living on campus at Gonzaga University in Spokane and failing to inform his successor bishop about it... Tosatti of course was sharing this with Italian readers who may not be aware of Jesuit influence in the USA.

Homoheresy widespread in
America Jesuit universities?

by Marco Tosatti
Translated from

January 11, 2019

The current deviation from Church teaching on sexual morality finds fertile and creative terrain in the Jesuits, especially those in the USA. It is all covered by the huge cloak of ‘discernment’, a term very dear to the reigning pope and which seems, however, to operate only and always in one direction – towards dismantling what has been taught by the Church before Bergoglio became pope.

Joseph Sciambra, an American blogger, has brought to light episodes and situations which would not otherwise have been known except locally. Sciambra was born in northern California, not far from San Francisco, in 1969. He was raised by a stable and loving family and attended parochial schools until he was 12. But he early felt attracted to fellow males, and then was subjected to sexual abuse by a priest. In the 1990s, he lived the lifestyle of the gay subculture in the notorious Castro district of San Francisco, which gave him direct knowledge and insight about their daily lives and struggles. He also became a porn actor and a professional ‘escort’.

In 1999, following a near-death experience, he decided t return “to the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Catholic Church”. Since then, he has written much about the real-life problems associated with pornography, homosexuality and the occult. He earned a bachelor’s degree in the History of Art from Universith of California in Berkeley and a subsequent MA from Sonoma State University.

He has a blogsite under his name. In which, among other things, he denounces the immorality that he observes in the Catholic Church. For example, what is taking place in some Jesuit schools. On January 9, 2019, he wrote: [The ff is taken verbatim from Sciambra’s site]:

According to Seattle University’s "Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming and Non Binary Inclusive Housing Policy", eligibility for student housing is determined not by biological sex but gender identity. In addition, students have the opportunity to: “Correct their gender identity, name, and pronouns…”

Jesuit-run colleges like Seattle University have a history of affirming transgender students as well as tolerating such public events as student drag shows. [There are 28 member institutions and two theological centers in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the USA.]

Bryan Massingale, a professor of theology at the Jesuit’s Fordham University, stated the following during his presentation at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress on the Catholic Church and Transgenderism:

So, what do we do when we don’t understand? It means the Catholic Church is all over the board on this. It means if you go to Holy Rosary College, and you transition as a student, they will welcome you with open arms, and the campus ministry will accept you and they will provide housing and accommodations. Or you go to Saint Kundykunda’s, try not to pick anybody…and you transition, you can be expelled. Because that’s the kind of place we are at right now – when the Catholic Church is in a period of discernment as we are trying to understand what we don’t understand.


In 2018, at Seattle University, the women’s rugby team performed at the University’s drag show where female team members, dressed in cowboy gear and thongs, twerked in front of a screaming audience. Similar events featuring male performers have repeatedly taken place at Seattle U.

Also in 2018, an “indecent” photograph from the drag show appeared in the University’s newspaper. In his response to criticism about the photo, Seattle U.’s President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., said: “I allow the drag show…But then to go and show that indecent posecfrom a drag show on the cover is taking it too far." (Apparently, Sundborg was not upset about the show, the performance, or the photograph – just that the photo was published.)

At the Jesuit’s University of San Francisco, prior to the University’s 2017 “Drag Ball,” the campus Queer Alliance offered a tutorial on “how to tuck and bind safely.” Tucking refers to a practice known among the transgender and drag communities involving the concealment of the penis and testicles between the legs, sometimes requiring the insertion of the testes up into the inguinal canals. Binding pertains to the forcible flattening out of the female breasts, occasionally through the use of elastic straps, in order to create a flat-chested male appearance.

Also in Seattle, the Jesuit-run parish of St. Joseph Catholic Church hosts an LGBTQ Ministry which openly promotes dissent and same-sex marriage. On July 7, 2017, James Martin S.J. posted on his Facebook page a response from John D. Whitney, S.J., Pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Parish, to Archbishop Chaput’s review of Martin’s book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity,” as well as the Archbishop’s understanding of Biblical condemnations regarding homosexual activity. Whitney wrote:

I appreciate that Archbishop Chaput enters into the dialogue, but I am intrigued, as well, by both the translation he uses (not the NABR, published by the Bishops) and by the sections he omits. Paul, a man of his times and circumstances, was clearly connecting the idolatry of the pagan world to the sexual behaviors that often accompanied it. Ritualized homosexuality and pederasty are significantly different from the loving and mutually chosen relationships of many committed gays and lesbians. It is for this very reason that the Church faces a deep call to moral examination and discernment: pederasty, hedonism, ritual and non-consensual sex are clearly contrary to the freedom of Jesus Christ. But, what we see today is something else, something not so easily answered by St. Paul’s words or those of Leviticus. We must dialogue, because we must discern – from the experience of real people as well as the historical understanding of the Church. When bad people act badly, that we can condemn; but when people who express great virtue in many ways experience attractions we had previously associated with evil, we must ask if our association has not been based on a false premise.


Whitney was also the former Provincial for The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province which
- in 2011, the settled priest sex abuse claims for $166 million as part of their bankruptcy proceedings and
- in 2018, it was revealed that the current Bishop of the neighboring Diocese of Spokane, Thomas Daly, was not informed by the Jesuits that unsupervised priests credibly accused of sexual abuse resided at Gonzaga University.
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/spokane-diocese-told-seven-accused-jesuit-priests-once-lived-at-gonzaga-uni

[The above news is important because it involves Bergoglio pet, Cardinal Cupich, now Archbishop of Chicago, who, in 2011, was informed by the Jesuit provincial, Father Patrick Lee, that seven priests, credibly accused of sexual misconduct and ‘with safety plans in place’ were living at Bea House, a residence owned by the Jesuits and not overseen by Gonzaga University.

Bishop Thomas Daly, who succeeded Cupich in Spokane and was installed in 2015, was not informed by the Jesuits or Gonzaga University or Cupich about the accused Jesuits, who were there because of declining health or because they had retired.

The so-called ‘safety plans’ forbade them from engaging with students. But media reports claimed some of them had regular unsupervised access to the university campus as well as unsupervised visits with students, and were permitted to lead prayer services in other settings, including on Native-American reservations.]


The Jesuits oversee numerous parishes with highly-affirmative LGBT ministries; most notably in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, Tacoma, Toronto, the Dioceses of Raleigh, and Charlotte.



Speaking of churchmen whose proclivities can no longer be downplayed, much less ignored, how about arch-recidivist Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn who has an unmatched record in the past decade or so for not just allowing but sponsoring questionable art shows and spectacles in his Vienna rectory museum and in St. Stephen Cathedral itself? Maike Hickson recounts the latest indulgence by this smug and smirking, fundamentally dishonest Dominican (who holds a noble title as Count of Austria) - who unfortunately besmirches the Emeritus Pope because I believe he remains president of the Ratzinger Schielerkreis Foundation. Despite having been one of the earliest 'Ratzingerian' turncoats to become a Bergoglio thurifer-bearer and theologian of convenience.

Art exhibition at Card. Schönborn’s cathedral gallery
features lesbians kissing on church step

by Maike Hickson


January 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A recently concluded art exhibition in the rectory of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria included an image of two lesbians kissing in front of a church as well as an image of an almost completely nude woman posing as the Resurrected Christ.

The Austrian news website Kath.net reported today that these pictures were to be found and seen in the Curhaus, the building adjacent to St. Stephen's Cathedral which is, among other things, the rectory and which is open for everyone, including children. The exhibition ran from September 2018 until January.

The artist, August Zoebl, states in the exhibition that “what is needed is the explosiveness of the pictures” in order to “communicate the outrageous message of the Resurrection.” These words are to be found next to the image of a naked woman, with light coming down from above, in a dark room, who partly covers her body with a white linen similar to the one that was found in the tomb of Christ. The photographer calls his picture “Pietà.” Also subtitled, “The first light in the sepulcher: a man". [Was the 'woman' image perhaps intended to be the angel guarding the tomb that first Easter?] That picture was for sale for a price of 25,000 euro.

Another picture shows a woman standing on the top balcony of St. Stephen's Cathedral, holding a golden chalice in her hand.

Other problematic art has been on display in the Cathedral gallery prior to this. In 2008, a display of a series of paintings by Alfred Hrdlicka in the art gallery attached to the cathedral depicted Christ and his Apostles as homosexuals engaged in a homosexual orgy at the Last Supper.

Kath.net reached out to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, but did not receive any comment from the prelate.

At the end of 2018, Cardinal Schönborn had caused a stir when allowing a charity rock concert and dramatized play to take place in St. Stephen's Cathedral. During this event, the main actor – who in the past has repeatedly played nude roles on stage and who played homosexual scenes with other men in movies – stood upon the Communion rail of the church to perform a song, his torso bare.
The play also included several demons and one female Satan. The event was hosted by Gary Keszler, a prominent homosexual activist.

Last year in October, Schönborn's diocese had a similar event in another church, the Franziskanerkirche, where there was a rock concert with an immodestly dressed woman standing in front of the altar, singing. There were flickering lights in the darkness, with loud music and white-hooded strange-looking monks. Father Karl Wallner, the prior of the Cistercian monastery Heiligenkreuz, near Vienna, hosted the event.

Explaining his decision to organize this event which was meant to introduce people to the Papal Mission Society in Austria, Wallner said that Pope Francis always “tells us to try something new, and that is what we have done now.” He also later added that perhaps for some people this event might be “provocative.” [What the hell has possessed Wallner? How can Cistercians, supposed to be closely observant Benedictines, listen to an entirely frivolous and spiritually irrelevant suggestion from a Jesuit pope? You'd think Heiligenkreuz was not the site of the Benedict XVI Philosophical-Theological College set up in 2007 after the pope visited Asutria.]
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CNN inadvertently proves
why walls and fences work

by Kelsey Harkness

January 20, 2019

In the span of less than 24 hours, CNN inadvertently helped President Donald Trump make his case for funds to build a new barrier at the southern border not once, but twice.

On Thursday, the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, posted a video showing viewers how an already-walled section of the border is “crisis-free.” In doing so, he showed how barriers act as a deterrent and facilitate safety and order along the border.

The night before, CNN’s Don Lemon helped a Democrat congressman from San Diego also (inadvertently) make that case.

“I live along the border, about a little over 10 miles from the border. It’s San Diego. I mean, it’s basically paradise,” Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., told Lemon. “It’s one of the safest places in the country. And the notion that we have a crisis there, a security crisis, is absolute nonsense.”

Vargas is right. San Diego is a thriving community with the lowest violent crime rates of any major city in the country, according to FBI data. Coupled with its year-round beautiful weather, most of us would be lucky to live in this part of the Golden State.

But San Diego wasn’t always this way, and the fact that it shares a border with Tijuana, the fifth-most dangerous city in the world, makes it an even more interesting case study to examine how walls and fences — when used strategically — work.


Directly south of San Diego are the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Tecate, which have a combined population of more than 4.5 million, according to the Department of Homeland Security. In the 1980s, illegal border crossings plagued the San Diego sector of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Patrol reached its breaking point in 1986, when agents caught more than 600,000 illegal border crossers. At the time, this accounted for approximately one-third of all apprehensions along the southern border.

Crime was also a serious problem. The San Diego Police Department logged more than 100,000 crimes committed in 1989.

In 1991, the government began construction of a 46-mile-long wall, now referred to as the “primary fence.” This fence stands between 8 and 10 feet tall. It was tall enough to stop vehicle traffic, but could be easily breached by ladders and fence jumpers.

In 1997, officials began building what’s known as the “secondary fence,” which runs 13 miles long and stands at 14 to 18 feet tall. This was meant to stop the illegal flow of foot traffic.

Today, the San Diego sector accounts for only a small fraction of border apprehensions each year. According to the Department of Homeland Security, illegal crossings have decreased in the region by more than 90 percent since the walls and fences were built.

The San Diego sector went from a peak of over 600,000 illegal border crossers in 1986 to 26,290 in fiscal year 2015. Crime rates also dropped, from 100,000 total crimes in 1989 to just under 34,000 last year.


Of course, it’s impossible to say how much of the decreased crime rates can be attributed to the addition of border walls and fences, as crime rates also dropped across the country. But given the dramatic decrease, it’s safe to conclude that walls and fences played a significant role.

“I have two daughters, I have a wife, you know, I come to D.C., I flew from San Diego today,” Vargas told Lemon on CNN. “I can tell you, they are safe. They are safe in San Diego, much safer than they would be here in D.C.”

Vargas is right. Crime rates are lower in San Diego than in Washington, D.C. But would the congressman feel that way if there weren’t fences and a wall separating his daughters from a city that just had its most violent month in all its history?

Of course, Lemon didn’t bother to ask.

Today, the border between San Diego and Mexico is so safe and controlled that families and businesses have moved in where they’d never been before.

During a trip to San Diego in 2017, I visited a shopping center located directly on the U.S. side of the border. You can see the border wall from most of the stores. This shopping center didn’t exist until after lawmakers approved a wall, nor did many of the luxury houses surrounding it.

At the shopping center, I spoke with a Mexican citizen named Heriberto Beltran, who crossed through the pedestrian port of entry on his day off from work to shop.

“It took me like 15 minutes, so it’s not hard at all,” Beltran said. On a busier day it could take longer, he added, but the wall seemed like no big deal to him.

Why? Because San Diego has a big wall, but it also has massive gates.

“People are getting so obsessed with symbolism, rather than substance,” Brian Bilbray, a former Republican congressman from California, told me during my visit.

“San Diego has the largest land port of entry in the world,” Bilbray said. “We have the biggest gate. But we also have a high fence. Even the Mexicans have a saying equivalent to ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., infamously called walls and fences “immoral.” Yet no one has bothered asking her what that means for San Diego — or why so many Democrats supported these efforts in the past.

If you visit San Diego, it’s difficult to imagine a fence or wall never being there at all. Democrats know this. Vargas knows that because of walls and fences, his children are better off. But Democrats aren’t interested in talking about the truth. They’d rather stick it to Trump.

A border wall is not the silver bullet that will solve the nation’s illegal immigration problem. In fact, it’s only a small step. But the San Diego example suggests that if we take this small step, the country could benefit in more ways than one.

As Bilbray said, “The fence sends the very clear message to everybody before they even try to cross the border: ‘No, don’t come here the wrong way. If you want to come to America, come here through the gates.’”

Or, as Trump likes to call it, the “big, fat, beautiful open door.”

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From Phil Lawler’s recent book

January 12, 2019

I have now read Philip Lawler’s recent book. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6: 'A Patrimony Squandered'. Lawler seems from afar to be channeling my own thinking. This chapter deals a great deal with liturgical practice, church architecture, music, etc. He is dead on right.

One of the points he makes at the beginning of the chapter comes from an experience he had of entering St. Peter’s Basilica. As he gazed at the amazing space, he had the reaction, “This is all mine!”. EXACTLY.
- Our tradition is our patrimony.
- Stories of the saints are our family history.
- Our liturgy is our very flesh and bone: we are our rites.
- When we squander our inheritance, we do terrible damage to our identity.
- Recovering our patrimony is an urgent task pressing on us all.
- We all have a role in this mission.

Anyway, here is the excerpt from the end of Chapter 6. My emphases and comments.

Parish closings are commonplace in America today, and prelates are praised for their smooth handling of what is seen as an “inevitable” contraction of the Church. A question for the bishops who subscribe to such a defeatist view. Why is it inevitable?

The closing of a parish is an admission of defeat.
- If the faithful could support a parish on this site at one time, why can they not support a parish today?
- American cities are dotted with magnificent church structures, built with the nickels and dimes that hard-pressed immigrant families could barely afford to donate.
- Today the affluent grandchildren of those immigrants are unwilling to keep current with the parish fuel bills and, more to the point, to encourage their sons to consider a life of priestly ministry. [See the connection? That’s why the vocation prayer I have promoted is so important.]

There are times, admittedly, when parishes are doomed by demographic shifts. There are city neighborhoods in which two Catholic churches were built, literally across the street from one another: one for the benefit of French-speaking families, the other for their German-speaking neighbors. Such cases, however, account for only a small proportion of the parish closings that we see in the US today.

More typically, the parish slated for closing is located in a comfortable, populous neighborhood, with no other Catholic church particularly close at hand and no special reason why the community that supported a thriving parish in 1960 cannot maintain the same parish now, fifty years later. No reason, that is, except the decline of the Catholic faith. Parishes close because Catholic families don’t care enough about the Faith to keep them open.
- Why don’t families care enough?
- Why is there such a widespread indifference to the treasures of the Catholic faith?
- At least one powerful factor is surely the attitude that lay Catholics have observed in their priests and their bishops.
- If the clergy, the stewards of the patrimony, are content to act as bystanders as the Catholic patrimony is degraded, their indifference becomes infectious.

In other instances, the parishes close because although the neighborhood is still populous, the Catholic families have moved out and the new residents come from different religious backgrounds or come without religious beliefs. In such cases, we are told, the Church must accept the new reality and realize that the neighborhood cannot support a parish. B
- But why make such a concession?
- Why should we admit that it is impossible to convert the new residents to our faith?
- A Catholic fired with apostolic zeal, discovering a neighborhood in which the population is mostly non-Catholic, should set out to convert the people, not to close the church.

In at least a few cases with which I am personally familiar, parishioners have asked their bishop to leave the parish open for a few years to give them an opportunity to build up a new model of evangelical outreach, to bring new converts into the parish and make it financially viable once again. When those appeals have been rejected, the parishioners have concluded, not illogically, that their bishop does not share their trust in the winning power of the Gospel.

When St. Patrick, having escaped slavery in Ireland, arrived again as a missionary, the country was pagan. By the time he died, the country was Catholic.
- He came into a “neighborhood” — an entire nation — that could not support a parish.
- But he did not accept what lesser souls might have considered inevitable.
- Instead, he changed the conditions of the neighborhood, and soon a parish was created. And another and another and another.
- During his years of ministry in the once-pagan country, he is said to have consecrated over three hundred bishops.
- In Ireland today there are seven dioceses — not parishes, dioceses — that trace their foundation to St. Patrick’s missionary work.

If as a bishop and missionary St. Patrick could convert an entire nation, why can’t his successors at least strive to match his success?
- We have material advantages that would have left St. Patrick gasping: the ability to travel hundreds of miles in a day, the capacity for instant communication across the globe.
- Is the content of the Catholic faith less viable today than it was in the fifth century?
- Is the guidance of the Holy Spirit less valuable?
I know how St. Patrick would answer those questions.


In another section, Lawler makes an excellent point that I had not thought of: that the Church’s pastors started squandering and destroying our patrimony right around the time that the birth rate began to drop with the rise of the sexual revolution, contraception and abortion. Here’s how he puts it.

Incidentally, the general appreciation of our Catholic heritage began to lag at roughly the same time that the American birth rate went into a steep decline, eventually dipping below the “replacement rate” at which population would hold steady without immigration.

Is it surprising that we, as a people, stopped thinking so much about what we would pass along to our children, during the same years that we stopped having so many children — that we turned our attention away from our heritage, as we chose not to have so many heirs?




Speaking of tradition and heritage, here is an unusual reflection on the use of the veil in Catholic practice:


Veil, vernacular, and culture
by Dan Millette

January 10, 2019

You will often hear from people who lived through the “great” post-Vatican II reform of the Mass that, despite the loss of reverence and sharp drop in attendance, it was good to have the Mass in the vernacular. Surely, understanding what goes on in the Mass is important.

Yet, surprisingly to some, understanding every prayer uttered is not the actual purpose of the Mass. Sacrificial worship is directed to God, not man. Why has the vernacular been seen as monumentally important to the Mass, even when the Church undergoes a veritable dumpster fire? The answer can, in large part, be explained by the loss of culture in our society.

We do not have a true culture. We have worship of sports and celebrities, horrendous “music,” scandalous movies, illiteracy in all things classic, smartphones for porn and games, and overall insanity. The loss of culture was gradual.
- In the United States, John Dewey’s educational theory, one greatly pushed in my teacher’s college experience, was perhaps the beginning of the end of education.
- Communism was a destroyer of the polis.
- Patriarchal “do what I say, not what I do” parenting was perhaps a key igniter of the sexual revolution.
- And vague Vatican II and post-conciliar documents induced the beginning of the end of worship.

That Latin was totally replaced with the vernacular in the New Mass [even if the Vatican II constitution of the liturgy authorized it only for some readings] - in a form of speech reduced to Grade-4 level, was a perversion in the actual purpose of the Mass.

Culture was not always this way. Once upon a time, William Shakespeare wrote plays on Julius Caesar and the philosopher Timon because his culture reveled in his wit and the depth of these stories. Truth be told, I went to a production of The Tempest in my undergraduate years, without pre-reading the play, and subsequently left the drama house with great frustration.
- I had no idea what was going on.
- The language was too difficult.
- references to ancient themes were far beyond my comprehension. - Surely, I could justly expect Shakespeare’s works to be simplified to fit my needs and abilities!

It took many years for me to rediscover that the problem was not with Shakespeare, but rather with me.
- Undergraduate that I was, I could not keep up with those seventeenth-century viewers deemed illiterate by today’s standards. - Sophocles, Shakespeare, Jonson, Marlowe, etc - they produced great works because they worked within a true culture.
- The masses of “illiterates” they created their works for were steeped in centuries of human achievements.
- The cultus, or tending of the garden, was alive and well.
- The dramas, paintings, music, buildings, and thoughts of the day were recognized as profound and worthy of immersing oneself in.
- It was not simple, but it was worth it. It still is worth it.

Fast-forwarding to today, there is perhaps less knowledge and wisdom now than at any other age of modern human history.
- Ease and instant understanding are the current crowning achievement of life.
- Evidently, depth and beauty are their casualties.

What is missing is the veil – the veil of mystery.
- The curtain separating instant results and laborious enlightenments.
- The sacred mystically withheld from the profane.
- If what we undertake must be instantly understood, then by definition, this undertaking will be utterly void of depth and profundity.
- The grade four vernacular Mass translation is what we are left with.

I suppose it fits well with our “liturgical” “Sing a Church into Being” ditties, which in turn provide great opportunities to daydream at Mass on how much money to place on the Bears for the Monday-Nighter. And the non-cultural wheel of misfortune repeats itself.

What is a veil? A veil is a covering. Its use is a rich occurrence seen throughout Scripture.
- The Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant are hidden.
- A veiling essentially is a revealing.
- To veil something is to reveal it as altogether important, sacred, and worthy.

Consider some veils that still exist in the Tridentine Latin Mass and Divine Liturgy, or to a far lesser degree in the Novus Ordo – the chalice veil, the tabernacle veil, the tabernacle itself, incense, the humeral veil, the iconostasis in Orthodox churches, narthex doors, and ad orientem worship.
- These postures and components reveal a sacred mystery.
- They demonstrate that the Mass touches the Divine.
- It is not human and earthly. It leads us to heaven.
- If there is no veil, there is nothing to say. There is nothing to be revealed.

To retranslate Shakespeare into grade four speech for the sake of a lazy undergraduate student, and remove all references to antiquity or virtue, is to make Shakespeare inconsequential. The same danger applies to the Mass.

Latin is a veil. Yes, it is much more than this, such as a foretaste of heavenly praise, but it still is a veil.
- Latin is not our mater lingua.
- You will not understand Latin at first listen. Nor fiftieth listen.
- It takes long and laborious work to understand Latin fluently.
- One can follow along with a pocket missal, but even that is too much work for some.

No, what is lost on today’s Church is the truth that Latin is a veil, too – a veil that reveals heavenly mysteries. The profound German writer Martin Mosebach explains one such instance: [qote]“How amazed I was the first time I heard a Latin Te Deum. It was a lengthy piece, hovering to and fro, with its feather-light questioning and answering, a mixture of psalm, litany, and profession of faith… The Latin Te Deum takes both listener and singer gently by the hand and leads them to a high mountain, where an unlimited vista opens out before them.” (Heresy of Formlessness, p. 24)


An unlimited vista. Grade-four speech where every amplified breath of the priest cannot be missed does not evoke an unlimited vista. Indeed, Latin is a veil.
- It is a language for worship.
- We do not speak the common tongue to worship the heavenly God.
- We rather sing with the cherubim and seraphim.
- Did it matter to the Irish that St. Patrick said the Mass in Latin? Was this a barrier?
- Or maybe, just maybe, they recognized that Patrick was performing a ritual sacrifice, that he was communicating with the Divine.
- Did they understand this? Not fully. There is a veil – a paradoxical veil that is necessary to reveal.

As instant gratification and factual demands weaned out the great depth of Western culture, the Mass was not spared.
- Indeed, because of the need to understand everything, we understand less than ever.
- The veil of Latin revealed the sacred purpose of the Mass. Removing Latin from Mass did not make the Mass more understandable; it simply lowered Mass to the level of uncultured banality.

Ratzinger says, “Whenever people talk about inculturation, they almost always think only of the liturgy, which then has to undergo often quite dismal distortions. The worshippers usually groan at this, though it is happening for their sake” (Spirit of the Liturgy, pp. 200-201). The groaning is due to an absence of culture by which to inculturate.

- I question the proud stance taken against Latin in the Mass, or further the desire to hear every amplified breath the priest utters. - I question the advantage of newly created Eucharistic prayers, arising mysteriously like the dewfall, in simplified vernacular language for the ostensible purpose of convenience and brevity.
- And I question the forfeiture of a chanted Gospel, done in an act and language of worship, in exchange for storytelling-like Gospel readings proclaimed at a podium from a priest who is always facing you, always telling you exactly what he thinks is going on, usually with affirmations and accompaniment.

We can sing a new Church into being yet not understand a sacred thing. How utterly easy. How utterly insipid.

Remove the veil. Reveal a dead culture.

The following is a very moving account by an Australian Catholic who is a member of the FSSPX:


'Granny leads prayer', Norman Rockwell.

50 years later: An Everyman reflection
on the revolution of Vatican-II

by Anthony Massey

January 12, 2019

“Given constant exposure to the new mass, a family’s faith would be largely extinguished within two generations.”
- A faithful priest's prediction many years ago


Millions of words have been written and spoken for and against the revolution within the Catholic Church called Vatican Council 2. The Council was such a stark break with tradition, a hermeneutic of rupture as they say, that it demands a choice of every Catholic.
- Nothing was left unchanged following the Council, but most significantly the liturgy was progressively changed beyond recognition both intrinsically and in outward appearance.
- It is an incontestable fact that since that Council the Church worldwide has been in catastrophic decline by all measures.

I am not qualified to discuss any of this as a theologian or philosopher or church historian or canon lawyer or even as someone with an opinion that deserves to be heard.
- I am just someone who has lived right through this revolution, who has seen it develop, who has watched the tragedy unfold right up to the disastrous pontificate of Pope Francis.
- I have seen and experienced it from within and in a sense have regarded it from without. Not in the sense of being outside the Church but in the sense of comprehending to a degree the bigger picture as the plot unfolded.
- I am an eye itness who is at least entitled to reflect on the tragedy I have lived through as a child, a youth and an adult, as a father and grandfather.

A priest said to my family many years ago that, given constant exposure to the new mass, a family’s faith would be largely extinguished within two generations. This little vignette bears those prophetic words out, but it is not all doom and gloom.

I was five years old when Vatican 2 commenced in 1962. Obviously I was completely unaware of what it was let alone its possible ramifications. As I grew I went to the local parish primary school and became an altar boy serving Novus Ordo Masses. However from my earliest memories I recall Dad having animated conversations and sometimes arguments with relatives and friends, and even Mum, about things happening in our Catholic Church. It was only over the course of years that I began to understand what was being discussed and what was at stake. I developed this awareness by osmosis rather than by lectures and study.

In the early 70s my parents began driving from parish church to parish church on Sundays in the hope of finding a Mass that didn’t contain gross novelties and a priest who still appeared to believe all the tenets of the Faith.
- I recall a priest at one of these churches saying in his sermon: “Not that Jesus is really present in this bread and wine…”
- That was red rag to the bull for my father and equally repugnant to me, even as a teenager.
- Another time the priest refused communion to us because we were kneeling at the rails. He insisted on us standing to receive holy communion, which we refused to do.
- Those parishes were crossed off our list.

It was incidents like these that kindled in my heart a sharp awareness that there was a “good versus bad” battle raging within the Church, even though I was still largely unaware of the details. Like Dad, I just knew there was something terribly wrong and like him I had enough fire in my belly to be irritated.

Following the Council, a prince of the Church by the name of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was making headlines around the world by resisting the Vatican 2 zeitgeist.
- He came to Australia around this time (late 70s) and Dad was understandably eager to hear what this man had to say, since other bishops here in Australia whom he had approached were ‘understanding’ but at the same time unsupportive and inert, and that is how they remained.
- I met the archbishop, genuflected on the wrong knee and kissed his episcopal ring. Looking at that benign smile of his, I was simultaneously keenly aware of his sanctity and my sinfulness.

In the 70s I was a fairly typical teenager; I wasn’t floating around with my eyes and hands raised to heaven. I was attending modernist diocesan schools, obsessed with sport, growing my hair too long, enjoying the music and (regrettably) the fashions of the day, enjoying a relatively early introduction to alcohol and, not surprisingly, developing an interest in girls, fanned by proximity to the magnificent surf beaches of Sydney’s north shore where we lived at that time. The world was making some pretty convincing overtures and I, like most people my age, was listening.

Ironically, the Marist and Christian brothers running the schools I attended were giving out the same worldly messages.
- They were downplaying sin, even those unspeakable ones that have gripped society so tightly in recent years, showing immoral movies to upper high school students on Friday evenings at the school, talking up the “positives” of other religions while attacking the tenets of our own Catholic faith. Is it any wonder my peers developed doubts?

Most assuredly this was not all the brothers; many were holy men, but the radical ones were free to do as they pleased. Where two religion lessons finished the day at school I took the opportunity to leave early and catch the express bus. “Wagging school” was the term. Arriving home early Dad would make the obvious enquiry. “Double religion” was the short response, and all that was needed for his approval.

There are so many moments in those years that I have long regretted, so many times when things could have gone horribly wrong, where loss of life would have spelt eternal disaster.
- Despite all this, neither I nor any of my four brothers rebelled and said “I’m not going to mass this Sunday”, like the majority of our peers did.
- I was a sinner but I had not participated in the mass apostasy that characterised my generation.
- I put this down to the prayers and sacrifices of our parents. In the end, who really knows why.

We went along to out-of-the-way places where a good old priest was still offering the sacrifice rather than inviting us to a meal.
- In these years a relatively small congregation of faithful in Sydney was spiritually nourished by a Vincentian priest by the name of Fr Fox who chose never to celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass.
- As an aside, a young man about my age by the name of Mel Gibson was attending these Masses with his parents Hutton and Anne and his siblings. Mad Max himself was attending Fr Fox’s Mass. No wonder he was able to defeat the bad guys.

Anyway, fast forward a few years and our family moved bit by bit to Brisbane where we all settled into our adult lives.
- Here masses for a faithful few were celebrated in homes, halls and even an office building by a diocesan priest, Fr. Buckley.
- Fathers Fox and Buckley sacrificed everything to provide the mass of all time to a small unworthy Catholic remnant.
- They endured censure, threats, ridicule, ostracism, calumny, you name it.

- As it turned out, what they were doing was heroically holding the fort for Archbishop Lefebvre who visited again in the early 80s and promised FSSPX priests for Australia.

The next bit of the story I am sure has been repeated often throughout the world.
- The laity get together, buy a church or a property for conversion, an FSSPX priest is assigned to that place, a parish is born and flourishes beyond all expectations.
- While some people come, experience the liturgy and the Catholic culture and then at some point disappear, as no doubt has happened throughout the history of the Church, the vast majority are deeply thankful for the privilege they have been offered.

Today there are many hundreds of people in the parish and I can safely say more than half of them are under 30 years of age.
- The excesses and scandals of the current pontificate are pushing more and more people to tradition.
- More than 200 children, including some of my grandchildren, are learning the ancient faith and attending the Tridentine Mass in an FSSPX school independent of the Archdiocese and bulging at the seams (the school is achieving exceptional academic results as well).
- The school’s motto is Sine Deo Nihil – ‘Without God there is Nothing’. How true.
- All this is what you can expect when lives are centered on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of all time.
- Remember too, this is all happening within a raging sea of apostasy and militant secularism.

As I indicated earlier, Dad and Mum had five sons. Four of the five married. One married an already tradition-minded Catholic, one married a convert from agnosticism, and two married girls brought up in the post Vatican-2 church, but who embraced tradition once exposed to it.

From there, 25 grandchildren (7 married) and to date 18 great grand-children – 61 people in a growing family counting Dad who has passed on. All but two of the grandchildren have embraced the faith with enthusiasm, and prayers are constantly offered up for those two. Family get-togethers are common, rowdy and joyful affairs. God will not be outdone in generosity.

There are other families within this parish and I am sure around the world with similar or more impressive stories to tell. I mention all this not to brag but to make a point.
- The point is we are rational creatures and we have to make choices.
- This story simply illustrates the importance of the choices we have to make as Catholics and the consequences of those choices even in this life.

o A choice between the faith of all time and the counterfeit dross served up as something catholic;
o A choice to pray or not to pray (especially the rosary);
o A choice between children and worldly possessions;
o A choice between the real men being formed into priests of God in traditional seminaries, and the often effeminate (or worse) social workers trickling from Novus Ordo seminaries who can offer nothing but worldly platitudes to their ever-diminishing flocks (with apologies to those holy seminarians with genuine vocations and priests of the Novus Ordo who are wearing themselves out with the best spiritual interests of their flocks at heart).
o Most importantly a choice between the beautiful ancient liturgy, the central act of worship in the Church and the greatest source of grace, and the new liturgy stripped as it is of its sacrificial character and even of good taste.

There is nothing extraordinary about the families I just described. - They were the norm when the Tridentine Mass was the norm, when it was not ‘extraordinary’.
- They only look extraordinary now because the Novus Ordo Mass is the norm.
- The contrast between the fecundity of the sacrifice of the Mass that Jesus Christ, God Himself, instituted, and the sterility of the Novus Ordo meal, the work of a committee, could not be more stark. - - This is the greatest choice we have to make. Proximity to the Tridentine Mass has been a prime consideration in our deciding where to live and even where and when to holiday/vacation.

Now a quick look at those who did not choose as my parents chose. I look at our aunties and uncles of Mum’s and Dad’s generation who were brought up with the ancient culture and the Mass of all time but who chose to drift with the tide; who accepted the novelties, sometimes with grieving hearts; who continued to pray and attend the Novus Ordo Mass on Sundays, but who deep down knew that something was terribly wrong.

In their twilight years some look at their often fragmented families and sadly lament while others try to convince themselves that all is good with the world, that God will understand their ‘concrete’ circumstances.
- They have eagerly swallowed the poison of subjectivism.
- Their children, my cousins, many of whom I happily spent my childhood and youth with, are by and large naturally good people who have known nothing but the sterile Novus Ordo and who, it could be argued, have hardly been given a choice in this respect.
- Some attempt to practice their faith, some don’t.
- Their children by and large have nothing because they had by and large nothing to pass on to them beyond natural virtues.
- For their children’s generation the faith does not come into their reckoning. They blend seamlessly into our secular, anti-Christian society.

Two generations and the faith is extinguished. The prophesy has come to pass.

The results of these choices are sadness, regret, self deception, denial of uncomfortable dogmas, feelings of helplessness and sometimes hopelessness; in some cases apostasy. These are the very fruits of modernism which is the motivating principle, the essence of the Council.

I say again, I have nothing to brag about. The above is not in any way self congratulation. I didn’t earn or deserve the happy life I have and I have everything for which to be thankful. What I have learnt without too much pain is that every choice we make has ramifications for both our temporal and spiritual lives.

Looking back over nearly 60 years of Vatican II, I have concluded that
- firstly the world and the Church are as they are now because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been largely replaced by a man-centred communal meal.
- The principal source of grace for the world has been all but cut off.
- That is the ultimate aim and the primary crime of the revolution. - Neither the Church nor this world will be fixed until the Mass of all time is restored.

On a cheerier note, allowing for individual situations and speaking generally,
- Choose tradition and you will be exposed to the beauty of Catholic liturgy and culture in all its forms including a clear connection to 2000 years of church history – you won’t be drifting aimlessly;
- You will know why you are Catholic and you will love and value your faith above all things;
- The world will never be able to serve up anything to make you despair;
- You will always have serenity within the depths of your soul;
- You will very likely have many happy and well adjusted children and grand children, and your life will always have purpose and joy even in tough times.

I acknowledge times will get tougher for our children and their children but as mentioned above, God will not be outdone in generosity.

I thank God that I was guided to chose wisely, not having any idea what the rewards would be in this life, let alone in the life to come if I persevere. I thank my parents, those heroic isolated priests ,and Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society of St Pius X for being the instruments to bring about such a happy and fortunate life in this world of apostasy and despair.

There is still hope and joy on offer for people who choose wisely.
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Obviously, although I compltely disagree with don Alessandro Minutella that Jorge Bergoglio is not a legitimate pope and that Benedict XVI still is - and the consequences he draws
from this error - I am sympathetic to most of his views. And I do wish he would stop preaching that all Masses are invalid where the reigning pope is mentioned by the
priest in the Te igitur
, for the reasons I have earlier explained.

Those who read Aldo Maria Valli's interview with Minutella will have formed an idea about this doubly excommunicated priest, an idea that I think cannot be totally dismissive. They
may be even less dismissive after reading the following exchange of arguments with Fr. Cavalcoli summarized by the latter himself in the letter to Tosatti dated Jan. 12, 2019...


Don Minutella says Fr. Cavalcoli
has turned Rahnerian all of a sudden

Translated from

January 13, 2019

A debate has been building up in the social networks and on various blogs between don Minutella and Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli. The latter, a Dominican theologian, has sent us a summary of the exchange so far, which I gladly publish here, for the benefit of my readers.


Minutella: I have been able to read with more calm the reply of the Dominican theologian Cavalcoli to statements I have made which are widely shared by many Catholics. In particular, he claims that I am wrong when I underscore that Vatican II was a pastoral and not a dogmatic council, and therefore, in my opinion, its declarations are not binding.

He says Vatican II had ‘dogmatic constitutions’ like Lumen gentium and Dei verbum, which is true, but Cavalcoli seems to miss the point – I hope not willfully – that it was not the intention, thank God, to give them a binding character, as the Council of Niceae in 325 did with the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father (omousios tò Patrì), or as the Council of Trent did with the dogma of Trans-substantiation, in the 16th century. These, like other dogmas declared by previous ecumenical councils, are binding. And whoever denies these truths of the faith, yesterday as today, incurs excommunication.

Now I ask Fr. Cavalcoli: What binding dogmatic proclamations did Vatican II impose? Not one. To the point that Ratzinger could speak of the attempt [by the ‘progressivists’] – which now seems to have been adopted by Fr. Cavalcoli – to make the entire Council itself a ‘superdogma’, given the absence of a binding nature in any of its documents.

In other words, the 20 ecumenical councils before Vatican II did bind the faithful, on pain of excommunication, to the doctrinal declarations which they issued. But all this, by the grace of God, did not happen with Vatican-II. It is certainly not don Minutella who has invented for himself that Vatican-II was not a doctrinal council.

This was stated by both John XXIII and Paul VI, among the many eminent spokesmen for Vatican-II, including an increasingly stunned Hans Urs von Balthasar (who is no heretic as the most inveterate but misinformed traditionalists claim), who lamented precisely that the Council Fathers had not made binding declarations, and an increasingly saddened Ratzinger who in the post-conciliar period, seeing the damages produced by its many wrong misinterpretations, seemed ‘a voice in the wilderness’.

Therefore, the declarations of Vatican II remain simply orientations and pronouncements but not binding in terms of faith. [Therein lies the dispute.] And this applies to everything concerning post-Conciliar decisions that led a disappointed Paul VI himself to speak of a profound winter in the Church, where a spring of the Spirit was expected.

[At this point, in support of don Minutella and what I have always thought myself, later reinforced by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s teachings, I wish to quote from John XXIII’s opening address to Vatican II on October 10, 1962:

"The greatest concern of this Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven…

That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will…

Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries.

The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all. For this a Council was not necessary.

But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought.

The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character."


Cavalcoli: Pope Benedict told the Lefebvrians that “if they wish to be in full communion with the Church, they must accept the teachings of the Council”.

It was John XXIII who planned a pastoral council. But Paul VI wished to add a doctrinal aspect with the constitutions Lumen gentium and Dei verbum. [Which did not add anything new to Church doctrine per se, but to its pastoral dissemination today.] Since then, the popes have not ceased to recommend, explain and apply the doctrines of Vatican-II [Because he insists Vatican-II was doctrinal, Cavalcoli uses the term dottrine instead of the more generic insegnamenti – both mean ‘teachings’, but insegnamenti does not falsely brand a pastoral teaching as ‘new doctrine’]which have been included in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. [Which does not mean they were included as ‘new doctrine’ added to the deposit of faith. Cavalcoli’s reasoning is circular and leads nowhere.]

The teachings of Vatican II do not define new dogmas, yet they are true and binding, even if they do not belong to the first grade of magisterial authority, defined in John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter, Ad tuendam fidem, that is, they do not require assent of divine faith, which if not given, would be an act of heresy.

[I think Cavalcoli is taking liberties here with Ad tuendam fidem, which does not ‘grade’ magisterial authority as such, but differentiates the three levels of assent that a Catholic must profess according to the Profession of Faith formulated by the CDF on May 18, 1998, to which Ad tuendam fidem was appended.

Subsequently, Cardinal Ratzinger published a commentary on formulations contained in the Profession of Faith – which “restates the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and concludes with the addition of three propositions or paragraphs intended to better distinguish the order of the truths to which the believer adheres. The correct explanation of these paragraphs deserves a clear presentation, so that their authentic meaning, as given by the Church's Magisterium, will be well understood, received and integrally preserved.”

More importantly, for those, like me, who are not very good at following theological arguments in detail, Cardinal Ratzinger names specific examples of these three ‘orders of truth’ to which the believer adheres. None of his examples are from Vatican-II. Considering that he wrote the commentary in June 1998, he would have cited at least one Vatican II ‘truth’ among his examples.

All 3 documents may be read on:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_1998_professio-fidei_en.html

]In the second and third levels described by the Apostolic Letter, it is said that the Magisterium "cannot err or deceive", even if the assent required is merely that of ‘faith in the authority of the Church’ [on “all those teachings belonging to the dogmatic or moral area, which are necessary for faithfully keeping and expounding the deposit of faith, even if they have not been proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as formally revealed”] (second level); and ‘religious submission of will and intellect’ to the third level [teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act."]

The ff is Cavalcoli’s opinion – and may well be the subject of continuing dispute.]
The level of authority of the teachings of Vatican II is of the second and third.
- Whoever denies the teachings of the second level is near heresy or suspected of heresy.
- Whoever denies the teachings of the third level rebels against the authentic Magisterium.
- Therefore, whoever rejects the teachings of an ecumenical council is not necessarily heretical – it depends on the level of authority of such teachings.
- But whoever, like Luther, maintains that the teachings of Council can be wrong, is heretical.

As for Von Balthasar, it is not true that he was not heretical, because he notoriously denied the existence of damned souls in hell, as I demonstrate in my book L’inferno esiste. La verità negata (Hell exists: A truth that is denied)( Edizioni Fede&Cultura,Verona 2010).

As don Minutella does not answer Cavalcoli’s false sally about Von Balthasar, I would recommend the interested reader to read the following essays that straighten out this misconception:
https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/03/31/did-hans-urs-von-balthasar-teach-that-everyone-will-certainly-be-saved/#.UpRAmGT5lIl
freebeacon.com/culture/the-harrowing-of-hell/amp/?__twitter_impress...


The Foreword to his book Dare we hope that all men be saved? (which was accompanied by his Short Discourse on Hell) underscores that the Swiss theologian begins by saying "all human beings stand under the divine judgment. Whatever else Hans Urs von Balthasar says in this book, the one thing he is quite clearly not saying is that we have certain knowledge that all people will be saved. But he will insist — in fact, it is the gravamen of his argument — that we are permitted to hope that Hell might be empty of human beings.]


Minutella: I find it significant that the post-Vatican II ‘list of sorrows’ named by an increasingly disoriented Paul VI (who by 1972 had come to state that ‘the smoke of Satan’ had somehow entered the Church) are almost analogous to those of Mons. Lefebvre, who had spoken of apostasy and the confusion of Catholic identity.

For more than 50 years now, the whole church has been living out the significance of te Third Secret of Fatima. The orientations of Vatican II were not just unproductive [for the preservation of the faith, not to mention its growth] but now constitute the fortresses from which progressivists and neo-mondernists launch their attacks. And Father Cavalcoli knows this very well.

Cavalcoli: The bitter, sorrowful and correct analyses made by Paul VI and Mons. Lefebvre of the situation of the Church after Vatican II were certainly very similar and were contrary to the futile optimism of the modernists and the goody-goodies. But the remedies they proposed were prfoundly different.

The pope proposed a correct interpretation and application of the Council [It ended in 1965 – he only realized the damage it had done in 1972? But this was after the worst error he made, promulgating the Novus Ordo in 1970. There was no way he could ‘lock the barn door’, as it were, after all the horses had stampeded out and wrought havoc among the faithful, the theologians, the seminaries, the clergy, and the bishops.]

Whereas Lefebvre proposed te correction of the supposed ‘modernistic’ errors of Vatican II, when the Council fact indicated the way to a healthful modernity in the light of the Gospel, such as to welcome the good and beneficial aspects of modernity while rejecting those that are evil and damaging. [Cavalcoli misses the point that Paul VI eventually saw: in the post-Vatican II years, only the evil and damaging aspects of ‘modernity’ had prevailed in the Church – in which, to begin with, abortion, contraception, divorce, female priests, and married priests were openly advocated by the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ fanatics.]

Minutella: It is curious that someone like Cavalcoli defends Vatican II orientations by defining them as dogmatic, thereby becoming all of a sudden, an exponent of Karl Rahner’s thought, who has his signature in those sibylline orientations.

So Cavalcoli who has expended himself for years in warning against Rahner, now ends up being his defender. For years, he has condemned Rahner’s theses, and now, he considers them ‘binding’. And Cavalcoli knows I speak the truth when I say that the questionable statements of Vatican II really represent the victory of the Rahnerians.

If Vatican-II orientations, particularly that of its naïve ‘dialog with the world' (whereby, Von Balthazar said, worldliness – Weltelei – has swept away the very idea of Christian witness and announcement of the faith) – if such orientations were binding, then Cavalcoli should be the first to apologize for having steeped himself in anti-Rahner criticism and, if he is to be honest with himself, should now make a public profession of faith not just to the orientations but to the ‘binding dogmas’ of the Rahnerian council. Abandoning the role of a defender of the Catholic faith, he must now profess himself a defender of Rahnerism.

Cavalcoli: After 40 years of studying Rahner [I wish he had spent as much time studying, say, St Augustine] and having published some articles abput him, I wrote a book, Karl Rahner. Il Concilio tradito (Karl Rahner: The council betrayed) ( Edizioni Fede&Cultura, Verona 2009) followed by other articles, precisely to show that although Rahner had contributed to Vatican II, which is obviously orthodox[/B] [no, it is not obviously so, and certainly, not at all by the testimony of all the ‘spirit of Vatican II' fanatics], he was able to spread his modernistic interpretation of the Council only afterwards because of te weakness and connivance of ecclesial authorities. [And who might those authorities, be, in primis, if not Paul VI? Rahner died in 1984, three years before the pope.]

Therefore in defending the docgtrines of Vatican II, I am not defending Rahner at all, because as I have written, [B]Rahner did make a positive contribution to that Council.
Above all, he manifested his errors after the Council. If I criticize don Minutella in te name of the council, I do not do so because I have become a Rahnerian, but because don Minutella depreciates the teachings of Vatican II.]




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Obviously, although I completely disagree with don Alessandro Minutella that Jorge Bergoglio is not a legitimate pope and that Benedict XVI still is pope - and the consequences
he draws from this error - I am sympathetic to most of his views. And I do wish he would stop preaching that all Masses are invalid where the reigning pope is named by
the celebrant in the Canon of the Mass
, for the reasons I have earlier explained.

Those who read Aldo Maria Valli's interview with Minutella will have formed an idea about this doubly excommunicated priest, an idea that I think cannot be totally dismissive. They
may be even less dismissive after reading the following exchange of arguments with Fr. Cavalcoli summarized by the latter himself in the letter to Tosatti dated Jan. 12, 2019...


Don Minutella says Fr. Cavalcoli
has turned Rahnerian all of a sudden

Translated from

January 13, 2019

A debate has been building up in the social networks and on various blogs between don Minutella and Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli. The latter, a Dominican theologian, has sent us a summary of the exchange so far, which I gladly publish here, for the benefit of my readers.


Minutella: I have been able to read with more calm the reply of the Dominican theologian Cavalcoli to statements I have made which are widely shared by many Catholics. In particular, he claims that I am wrong when I underscore that Vatican II was a pastoral and not a dogmatic council, and therefore, in my opinion, its declarations are not binding.

He says Vatican II had ‘dogmatic constitutions’ like Lumen gentium and Dei verbum, which is true, but Cavalcoli seems to miss the point – I hope not willfully – that it was not the intention, thank God, to give them a binding character, as the Council of Niceae in 325 did with the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father (omousios tò Patrì), or as the Council of Trent did with the dogma of Trans-substantiation, in the 16th century. These, like other dogmas declared by previous ecumenical councils, are binding. And whoever denies these truths of the faith, yesterday as today, incurs excommunication.

Now I ask Fr. Cavalcoli: What binding dogmatic proclamations did Vatican II impose? Not one. To the point that Ratzinger could speak of the attempt [by the ‘progressivists’] – which now seems to have been adopted by Fr. Cavalcoli – to make the entire Council itself a ‘superdogma’, given the absence of a binding nature in any of its documents.

In other words, the 20 ecumenical councils before Vatican II did bind the faithful, on pain of excommunication, to the doctrinal declarations which they issued. But all this, by the grace of God, did not happen with Vatican-II. It is certainly not don Minutella who has invented for himself that Vatican-II was not a doctrinal council.

This was stated by both John XXIII and Paul VI, among the many eminent spokesmen for Vatican-II, including an increasingly stunned Hans Urs von Balthasar (who is no heretic as the most inveterate but misinformed traditionalists claim), who lamented precisely that the Council Fathers had not made binding declarations, and an increasingly saddened Ratzinger who in the post-conciliar period, seeing the damages produced by its many wrong misinterpretations, seemed ‘a voice in the wilderness’.

Therefore, the declarations of Vatican II remain simply orientations and pronouncements but not binding in terms of faith. [Therein lies the dispute.] And this applies to everything concerning post-Conciliar decisions that led a disappointed Paul VI himself to speak of a profound winter in the Church, where a spring of the Spirit was expected.

[At this point, in support of don Minutella and what I have always thought myself, later reinforced by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s teachings, I wish to quote from John XXIII’s opening address to Vatican II on October 10, 1962:

"The greatest concern of this Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven…

That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will…

Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries.

The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all. For this a Council was not necessary.

But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought.

The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character."


Cavalcoli: Pope Benedict told the Lefebvrians that “if they wish to be in full communion with the Church, they must accept the teachings of the Council”.

It was John XXIII who planned a pastoral council. But Paul VI wished to add a doctrinal aspect with the constitutions Lumen gentium and Dei verbum. [Which did not add anything new to Church doctrine per se, but to its pastoral dissemination today.] Since then, the popes have not ceased to recommend, explain and apply the doctrines of Vatican-II [Because he insists Vatican-II was doctrinal, Cavalcoli uses the term dottrine instead of the more generic insegnamenti – both mean ‘teachings’, but insegnamenti does not falsely brand a pastoral teaching as ‘new doctrine’]which have been included in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. [Which does not mean they were included as ‘new doctrine’ added to the deposit of faith. Cavalcoli’s reasoning is circular and leads nowhere.]

The teachings of Vatican II do not define new dogmas, yet they are true and binding, even if they do not belong to the first grade of magisterial authority, defined in John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter, Ad tuendam fidem, that is, they do not require assent of divine faith, which if not given, would be an act of heresy.

[I think Cavalcoli is taking liberties here with Ad tuendam fidem, which does not ‘grade’ magisterial authority as such, but differentiates the three levels of assent that a Catholic must profess according to the Profession of Faith formulated by the CDF on May 18, 1998, to which Ad tuendam fidem was appended.

Subsequently, Cardinal Ratzinger published a commentary on formulations contained in the Profession of Faith – which “restates the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and concludes with the addition of three propositions or paragraphs intended to better distinguish the order of the truths to which the believer adheres. The correct explanation of these paragraphs deserves a clear presentation, so that their authentic meaning, as given by the Church's Magisterium, will be well understood, received and integrally preserved.”

More importantly, for those, like me, who are not very good at following theological arguments in detail, Cardinal Ratzinger names specific examples of these three ‘orders of truth’ to which the believer adheres. None of his examples are from Vatican-II. Considering that he wrote the commentary in June 1998, he would have cited at least one Vatican II ‘truth’ among his examples.

All 3 documents may be read on:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_1998_professio-fidei_en.html

]In the second and third levels described by the Apostolic Letter, it is said that the Magisterium "cannot err or deceive", even if the assent required is merely that of ‘faith in the authority of the Church’ [on “all those teachings belonging to the dogmatic or moral area, which are necessary for faithfully keeping and expounding the deposit of faith, even if they have not been proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as formally revealed”] (second level); and ‘religious submission of will and intellect’ to the third level [teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act."]

The ff is Cavalcoli’s opinion – and may well be the subject of continuing dispute.]
The level of authority of the teachings of Vatican II is of the second and third.
- Whoever denies the teachings of the second level is near heresy or suspected of heresy.
- Whoever denies the teachings of the third level rebels against the authentic Magisterium.
- Therefore, whoever rejects the teachings of an ecumenical council is not necessarily heretical – it depends on the level of authority of such teachings.
- But whoever, like Luther, maintains that the teachings of Council can be wrong, is heretical.

As for Von Balthasar, it is not true that he was not heretical, because he notoriously denied the existence of damned souls in hell, as I demonstrate in my book L’inferno esiste. La verità negata (Hell exists: A truth that is denied)( Edizioni Fede&Cultura,Verona 2010).

As don Minutella does not answer Cavalcoli’s false sally about Von Balthasar, I would recommend the interested reader to read the following essays that straighten out this misconception:
https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/03/31/did-hans-urs-von-balthasar-teach-that-everyone-will-certainly-be-saved/#.UpRAmGT5lIl
freebeacon.com/culture/the-harrowing-of-hell/amp/?__twitter_impress...

The Foreword to his book Dare we hope that all men be saved? (which was accompanied by his Short Discourse on Hell) underscores that the Swiss theologian begins by saying "all human beings stand under the divine judgment. Whatever else Hans Urs von Balthasar says in this book, the one thing he is quite clearly not saying is that we have certain knowledge that all people will be saved. But he will insist — in fact, it is the gravamen of his argument — that we are permitted to hope that Hell might be empty of human beings."]


Minutella: I find it significant that the post-Vatican II ‘list of sorrows’ named by an increasingly disoriented Paul VI (who by 1972 had come to state that ‘the smoke of Satan’ had somehow entered the Church) are almost analogous to those of Mons. Lefebvre, who had spoken of apostasy and the confusion of Catholic identity.

For more than 50 years now, the whole church has been living out the significance of te Third Secret of Fatima. The orientations of Vatican II were not just unproductive [for the preservation of the faith, not to mention its growth] but now constitute the fortresses from which progressivists and neo-mondernists launch their attacks. And Father Cavalcoli knows this very well.

Cavalcoli: The bitter, sorrowful and correct analyses made by Paul VI and Mons. Lefebvre of the situation of the Church after Vatican II were certainly very similar and were contrary to the futile optimism of the modernists and the goody-goodies. But the remedies they proposed were prfoundly different.

The pope proposed a correct inte rpretation and application of the Council [Vatican-II ended in 1965 – yet it seems he only realized the damage it had done in 1972 with his 'smoke of Satan homily. But this was after the worst error he made, promulgating the Novus Ordo in 1970. There was no way he could ‘lock the barn door’, as it were, after all the horses had stampeded out and wrought havoc among the faithful, the theologians, the seminaries, the clergy, and the bishops.]

Whereas Lefebvre proposed te correction of the supposed ‘modernistic’ errors of Vatican II, when the Council fact indicated the way to a healthful modernity in the light of the Gospel, such as to welcome the good and beneficial aspects of modernity while rejecting those that are evil and damaging. [Cavalcoli misses the point that Paul VI eventually saw: in the post-Vatican II years, only the evil and damaging aspects of ‘modernity’ had prevailed in the Church – in which, to begin with, abortion, contraception, divorce, female priests, and married priests were openly advocated by the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ fanatics.]

Minutella: It is curious that someone like Cavalcoli defends Vatican II orientations by defining them as dogmatic, thereby becoming all of a sudden, an exponent of Karl Rahner’s thought, who has his signature in those sibylline orientations.

So Cavalcoli who has expended himself for years in warning against Rahner, now ends up being his defender. For years, he has condemned Rahner’s theses, and now, he considers them ‘binding’. And Cavalcoli knows I speak the truth when I say that the questionable statements of Vatican II really represent the victory of the Rahnerians.

If Vatican-II orientations, particularly that of its naïve ‘dialog with the world' (whereby, Von Balthazar said, worldliness – Weltelei – has swept away the very idea of Christian witness and announcement of the faith) – if such orientations were binding, then Cavalcoli should be the first to apologize for having steeped himself in anti-Rahner criticism and, if he is to be honest with himself, should now make a public profession of faith not just to the orientations but to the ‘binding dogmas’ of the Rahnerian council. Abandoning the role of a defender of the Catholic faith, he must now profess himself a defender of Rahnerism.

Cavalcoli: After 40 years of studying Rahner [I wish he had spent as much time studying, say, St Augustine] and having published some articles abput him, I wrote a book, Karl Rahner. Il Concilio tradito (Karl Rahner: The council betrayed) ( Edizioni Fede&Cultura, Verona 2009) followed by other articles, precisely to show that although Rahner had contributed to Vatican II, which is obviously orthodox[/B] [no, it is not obviously so, and certainly, not at all by the testimony of all the ‘spirit of Vatican II' fanatics], he was able to spread his modernistic interpretation of the Council only afterwards because of te weakness and connivance of ecclesial authorities. [And who might those authorities, be, in primis, if not Paul VI? Rahner died in 1984, three years before the pope.]

Therefore in defending the doctrines of Vatican II, I am not defending Rahner at all, because as I have written, Rahner did make a positive contribution to that Council. Above all, he manifested his errors after the Council. If I criticize don Minutella in the name of the council, I do not do so because I have become a Rahnerian, but because don Minutella depreciates the teachings of Vatican II.]



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And now, Bergoglio wishes to wipe out
the legacy of Benedict XVI

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

January 13, 2019

In a matter of days, two important threads linking Pope Francis to his predecessor will be cut off. Increasingly insistent voices from the Bergoglio Vatican say that for sure
1) the Prefecture for the Pontifical Household will be abolished (its current prefect is Mons. Georg Gaenswein, who is also the personal secretary of the Emeritus Pope)
2) likewise, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which was set up in 1988 primarily for dialog with the FSSPX (and eventually other traditionalist groups wishing to use only the Traditional Mass), and since 2007, has been the authority on the application of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.

[What Cascioli does not mention is that the rumors also say that 1) the functions of the Household Prefecture will devolve to an office in the Secretariat of State; and 2) Ecclesia Dei, though formally placed under the CDF in 2010, will now be a mere ‘office’ in the CDF instead of an autonomous commission.]

Two decisions which, if confirmed, have great symbolic value beyond their operative consequences. But these are not really surprising moves.

The first eminent Ratzingerian to fall was US Cardinal Raymond Burke whom Benedict XVI had called to Rome in 2008 to head the Apostolic Signatura (the Church’s highest canonical court). In 2014, the reigning pope named him Patron of the Knights of Malta [an obvious demotion, if not a downright sinecure], although already in 2013, he had not reappointed him to the Congregation for Bishops [replacing him instead with Cardinal Donald Wuerl].

[For some reason, Mr. Cascioli forgets that the first Ratzingerian struck down by the Bergoglio axe was Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who just six months after Bergoglio’s election, was suddenly demoted by the pope from being Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy (and one of the Curial stalwarts Benedict XVI depended upon for "his efficiency and in-depth knowledge of how the Congregation worked and its problems" and "his traditionalist ecclesiastical line of thought", as Piacenza’s Wikipedia entry notes, quoting from Marco Tosatti’s La Stampa report on Oct 22, 2017 to head instead the Apostolic Penitentiary*.]

*[The Apostolic Penitentiary is chiefly a tribunal of mercy, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Catholic Church. It has jurisdiction only over matters in the internal forum, the realm of conscience. (In canon law, this refers to acts of governance made without publicity, as opposed to the external forum, where the act is public and verifiable. For example, a marriage might be null and void in the internal forum, but binding outwardly, i.e., in the external forum, for want of judicial proof to the contrary.) The work of the Apostolic Penitentiary consists mainly of 1) absolution of excommunications latæ sententiæ reserved to the Holy See, 2) dispensation of sacramental impediments reserved to the Holy See, and 3) the issuance and governance of indulgences.]

Then it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who had been Prefect of the CDF since 2012 and a personal friend of Benedict XVI (he has been the editor of the Emritus Pope’s 16-volume Opera Omnia), whom the reigning pope promptly replaced the day his five-year appointment expired on June 30, 2017.

But the pope has used a different modality in dealing with the Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, whom Francis moved in November 2014 from being president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum** which he had led since 2010, to be Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship - where he has been neutralized by surrounding him with Bergoglians [who like the pope have nothing but contempt for tradition], circumventing his decisions and isolating him publicly, even with open rejection of his initiatives.

**[Cor Unum supervised and coordinated the Church’s worldwide charitable activities – about which Cardinal Sarah followed Benedict XVI’s stipulation that all Catholic social initiatives must promote Catholic values. In other words, even if Catholic charities seek to treat all needy people regardless of religion,charity work must be seen as “a means of opening the door of faith to those who seek the love of Christ”. A view not shared by Cardinal Maradiaga, then the head of Caritas International, and his successor at Caritas, Cardinal Tagle, nor obviously by the reigning pope. Cor Unum was suppressed as of January 2017 when it was integrated into the new super-dicastery for integrating human development.]

Now the last vestige to be removed is Mons. Gaenswein, an inconvenient person who, in interviews and lectures, has kept open the question of ‘two popes’, well explained by the new book by Antonio Socci with statements that reject the role of ‘wise grandfather’ that his successor has cast for him.

“With his renunciation on February 11, 2013, he [Benedict XVI] has not abandoned his ministry”, Gaenswein has said. “There are not two popes, but de facto, an enlarged ministry with an active member and a contemplative member”.

[Words I wish GG had never said - at least not in public. It’s a wonder Bergoglio did not sack him then and there. But the pope holds all the cards – supreme uncontested power and authority in the Church - while Benedict XVI has nothing substantial or negotiable. As a retired pope, he does not even have the power that the least employee in the Vatican has. There is no role for an ex-pope – only what Benedict XVI has spelled out for himself as Emeritus Pope, and by doing so, ensured that at least as long as he is alive, the Church – and the world – will have a modicum of respect for the dignity of the office he held, which cannot be trifled with.]

Words that could not have been pleasing to the pope. So, abolishing the Prefecture of the Papal Household – assigning the task of scheduling appointments and audiences for the pope to a section of the Secretariat of State - now allows him to get rid of Gaenswein and justify it as part of his Curial reform. [But part of the rumor is that the pope will make him secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood.]

But even more significant and ominous for its consequences is the second move, which has been in the air for some time: closing down the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which strikes at an important magisterial act of Benedict XVI, namely, the re-validation of the traditional Latin Mass according to the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V in 1570, in its latest edition by John XXIII in 1962.

In June 2007, with his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI made it the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Roman rite, whose ‘ordinary form’ is the Novus Ordo Mass promulgated by Paul VI in 1969. In this way, Benedict XVI sought to recover a treasure of the faith that was ‘never abrogated’ and which deserved ‘due honor’, thus seeking to do away with dangerous divisions in the Church on account of the liturgy.

It is no secret that many bishops who insist on a ‘revolutionary’ reading of Vatican II have blocked and continue to seek to block the application of this decision. A mindset shared by the reigning pope who has never hidden his aversion for the ‘extraordinary form’ which he considers nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia that borders on obsession.

Abolishing Ecclesa Dei will formally change nothing, but this will strengthen the position of those who would want Summorum Pontificum abrogated and with it, the traditional Mass ‘forever’.

This may seem a technical question, but it touches on a vital element of the Church, since liturgy is the heart of the Catholic faith, and in a church that is already so divided and confused, the last thing she needs is yet another rupture. [Which is so unnecessary! Why is the pope of mercy incapable of tolerating the Mass that nurtured all the saints of the Church – at least until he canonized quite a few Novus Ordo types, starting with Paul VI and Oscar Romero, for ideological reasons?]

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Mons. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington has begun a two-part essay on the basics of Christian anthropology, an important topic in these days of absurdly proliferating 'gender' types... The State of New York, believe it or not, lists 31. Some LGBT 'scholars' have identified up to 63. No, really! I bet none of those who cooked up these 'genders' can even remember what they all are ... Here is Part 1 of Mons. Pope's essay.

Basics of Christian anthropology - Part 1 of 2
by Mons. Charles Pope

January 8, 2019

Anthropology is, most simply, the science or study of human beings through time and space. Different specialties focus on the analysis of biological/physiological characteristics and the examination of societies/cultures. In the religious sense, anthropology deals with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings.

In our times there are many moral issues emerging from viewpoints that diverge widely from our given nature, both physical and spiritual. Numerous false notions (e.g., “transgenderism”) have arisen that either disregard or even deny physical data. Other errors involve ignoring the clear evidence of humans’ spiritual nature, which so distinguishes us from animals.

A Christian/biblical anthropology, however, sees the created order —and the human body in particular — as revelatory. The body is not just accidentally or incidentally present. No, the body is a revelation because through it, God speaks to us of who and what we are and what we ought to do. To this revelatory quality of the body God adds His own words in Scripture, leading to the emergence of a Christian anthropology.

In this essay I would like to review certain aspects of this Christian anthropology. This is by no means a complete or systematic treatise. Rather, it touches on certain key points that address modern errors. The order of these observations is not a perfect progression, but I have tried to progress from basic to more complex points.

We are the union of a body and a spiritual soul.
We are not merely our body nor are we merely our soul. We are the union of the two. Gnostic and dualistic anthropologies seek to divide body and soul or to indicate that a person is only his body or only his soul.

Although we can distinguish body and soul intellectually, in reality they are so together as to be one. It is much like the flame from a candle. Although one can distinguish the light of the flame from its heat, one cannot put the heat over here and the light over there. They are so together as to be one. It is like this with our body and soul.

What is the soul?
On one level the soul is the animating principle of any living thing. Hence, even plants and animals have souls. The soul is related to the mysterious principle we call life. Although we casually use words like “life,” “death,” “living,” and “dead,” life is a mysterious reality.

Imagine that in one hand I hold and acorn and in the other a stone. From a great distance they may even look alike. However, the acorn has the mysterious spark we call life while the stone does not. If I plant each in the ground and water the area, the acorn responds: first a shoot emerges and eventually a mighty oak tree. In contrast, the rock will do nothing no matter how long I wait; it does not have the mysterious spark called life. Neither does it have the animating principle we call the soul.

If the mysterious quality called life is taken away, the plant, animal, or human “dies.” Because the life that organized him/her/it is gone, the body or what is left falls into disorganization and decay. The force we call “life” and what we call the “soul,” are deeply mysterious.

What makes the human soul unique?
The human soul is different from that of animals and/or plants in that it is a spiritual soul. Scripture says of man, In the image of God He created them (Gen 1:27). It also says, Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into [Adam’s] nostrils, and the man became a living being (Gen 2:7).

To no other creatures are such attributions made. To say that we have a spiritual soul, that we have the breath of God within us and are made in His image, is to say that we have intellect and free will. It is our dignity to unite two orders of creation, the material and the spiritual, in our one person.

Angels are pure spirit. Animals, though possessed of a soul (an animating principle), have no spirit and are thus material. Humans, however, unite the spiritual and the material. This is our glory and it is the central reason why our body will rise one day, gloriously transformed, and be restored to our spirit.

Sadly, there is a tendency today to equate humans with animals. Some say that humans are merely smart apes and that there are other creatures (e.g., dolphins) just as intelligent as we are. This is demonstrably false. You will know something by its fruits; you can see a cause by its effects.

Humans are vastly different from all the other animals, even the highest primates, and this is evident in the effects we produce. While our bodies resemble other animals (especially mammals) in many ways, the similarity ends there.
- If the animals are just like us, where are their cities and farms? - Where are their universities, libraries, and museums?
- Where is their art, their literature?
- Where are their legislatures where they pass laws or their courts where they hold one another accountable?
- Have they traveled to the moon and back?
- Have they learned and then handed on their knowledge to later generations?
- Where is their technological progress — or any progress at all, for that matter?
- Why are animals really no different than they were thousands of years ago?

Clearly there is a vast difference between human beings and other animals. This can be seen in the way we live and what we do, and in what they do not do.

Morally speaking, reducing humans to the state of animals not only robs us of our dignity but also our freedom, because it says that we are merely at the whim of instinct.

A common error today regarding the unity of body and spiritual soul is claiming that one is not one’s body but rather only one’s thoughts and feelings.
This is common among proponents of transgender and/or homosexual ideology. A certain man might say, “I am actually a woman.” A normally observant person would likely retort, “No, your body indicates that you are a man.” Yet, in transgender ideology, that observation is dismissed by saying, in effect, “I am not my body. My body has nothing to do with what or who I really am. I am my thoughts and feelings.” This amounts to a denial that our bodies are revelatory.

In homosexual ideology a similar error is encountered. A biological assessment makes it clear that the male and female reproductive organs are designed for each other. Further, an exit is not an entrance. Here, too, they dismiss the body as being of no relevance. This is pure Gnostic dualism: the body is of no account; one is only spirit, only thoughts and feelings. In such a world, what matters are intentions and thoughts; what the body teaches or indicates is of little account. This is an error because it dismisses the reality that the body presents to us.

The opposing but equally untrue claim is that one is only one’s body.
This is materialism and it denies the existence of soul. In this view, a person is merely a collection of chemicals and interactions between them. We only do what the chemicals and nerves “tell us” to do. We have no spirit and thus no free will.

Because human behavior is said to be merely the result of physical interactions over which we have no control, there is no such thing as right or wrong. The absurdity of such a claim can be illustrated in this way:

Materialist: “You are just matter, a mere bag of chemicals.”
Believer: “I think that is dead wrong and an unfounded claim.”
(The materialist then becomes angry at the believer’s refusal to accept his claim.)
Believer: “Why are you angry? I am just a bag of chemicals and my behavior is just the result of the random firing of synapses. I am only saying and doing what those forces are making me say and do. Hence, I am not a responsible agent and your anger is unfounded.”


Obviously, the notion of right and wrong and of being accountable for our actions only makes sense if we have a spiritual soul that is able to rise above the effects of chemical reactions or nerve impulses.

We come in (only) two kinds.
In the creation of the human person, God says, So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Gen 1:27).

There are not dozens of different sexes/genders, as some assert. In fact, until recently, the word “gender” was used almost exclusively as a grammatical term (in some languages, nouns, adjectives, verbs, and/or pronouns have a gender) while the word “sex” referred to the classification of organisms as either male or female. (If you doubt me, look in a dictionary that was published any time prior to the last ten years or so.)

Yes, we are either male or female, and it is God who designates this and creates it. Our bodies reveal to us our sex, as designated by God. There is no need for a lengthy study of this matter; it is quite evident from a simple look at the body.

Some object that there are people born with both genitalia or who are ambiguously equipped, but the existence of such abnormalities does not indicate that there is a third (or fourth or more) sex. It does not follow that every anomaly indicates a different kind of human being. For example, some babies are born missing an arm; from this we do not conclude that there are two different sorts of human beings, those with two arms and those with one.

Therefore, given God’s teaching that we are either male or female, any acceptance of “transgender” ideology is inimical to Christian anthropology. It rejects what God has revealed to us in our bodies and what He teaches us in His written word.

We must refute claims that there are more than two sexes/genders and insist that people accept the reality of what God has done. There is no such thing as a female “trapped in a male body” or vice versa. Neither can one “transition” so as to “be” the opposite sex.

No matter how many surgeries one endures or how many hormones one takes, no matter what sort of clothing one wears, one’s sex cannot be changed. It is written in every cell of the body. One does not simply declare one’s sex nor can one change it. No, each person must humbly accept his or her sex from God, who is Creator and Lord.

In tomorrow’s post we will look at some other principles of Christian anthropology and relate them to errors of our day...

[I have checked - he has not yet posted Part 2.]
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New book details Iranian-American’s
journey to the Catholic Church

by Charles C. Camosy

January 12, 2019

Editor’s Note:
Sohrab Ahmari is an Iranian-American author who serves as the op-ed editor of the New York Post. In 2016, Ahmari was received into the Catholic Church,
a conversion he recounts in his memoir, From Fire, By Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith. He spoke to Charles Camosy about his life and the reasons
he joined the Catholic Church.


As a teenager living in Iran you came to the conclusion that there was no God. What sorts of ideas or experiences led you to this conclusion?
In the Iran of my childhood, “God” took the form of judicial amputations and floggings, scowling ayatollahs and secret police. God in the Islamic Republic was law and political dominion, and he offered no love or mercy.

As I entered pubescence, I was first puzzled, then repelled by the double lives led by people under an Islamist regime. My parents, our friends and relatives - they all had to profess one set of values in public (to keep their heads, naturally) while they lived very different lives behind closed doors. If God required this hypocrisy, then I wanted nothing to do with him.

In addition to being an atheist you were also a Marxist at this time. Did you see a connection between the two?
The Marxism came later, in college, after my mother and I had immigrated to the United States. My renouncing of faith clearly didn’t put an end to my search for truth and meaning, and Marxism offered a totalistic understanding of the world - and a seemingly penetrating account of my own predicament, as a son of the Iranian upper middle class who had suddenly found himself poor, “fresh off the boat” and on the margins.

Then, too, there was a religious aspect to this godless ideology: the promise of the movement of society in a predetermined direction, culminating in a violent revolution that would settle all the accounts of the past and redeem all of history’s injustices. So I was still seeking after God, in a way, even when I professed Leninism and Trotskyism.

Your wonderful new book gives us the full version of the story, but can you give us the short version of what caused you to change your mind? What prompted your conversion to Catholicism?
Well, I don’t want to give away too many “spoilers.” But I had a number of astonishing and quite providential encounters with the Mass. These came while I still insisted that I was an unbeliever.

But in moments of great personal crisis, I was for some reason drawn to church - and specifically to Catholic churches (in New York and Greater Boston). These experiences opened up my interior life and my imagination to the Catholic Church, even though I didn’t know the first thing about the supernatural action at the heart of the Mass. So I would say that the thing that played the decisive role in my conversion was our Lord’s Eucharistic presence. There was much else, of course, as readers will find out.

As you no doubt know, some cradle Catholics criticize Catholic converts for thinking of membership in the Church as an (often uncritical) assent to a set of propositions-rather than, say, being welcomed as a new member of a family with lots of diversity and often hard differences. How do you react to such criticism?
You know, I think there is something to these criticisms. And it’s an especially dangerous temptation among writers and intellectuals who convert. I’m ashamed when I think back to my period of instruction and first few months as a baptized and confirmed Catholic, when I thought that, having read some important books and memorized a few of the necessary prayers in Latin, I could pronounce with authority on ecclesial debates. What vanity!

It’s only now, more than two years since I was received, that I’m beginning to understand what being part of that great family - reaching across heaven, earth and purgatory, with Christ as our head - is all about. All that said, I still recoil when some cradle Catholics dismiss and even mock intellectual converts merely on account of their being converts. That’s a patently anti-Gospel attitude.

My work is very much geared toward building bridges across difference, but honoring that difference in the process of dialogue. Given your unique background, I wonder if you think there can be cooperation between serious Muslims and serious Christians in Western secular cultures when it comes to carving out a space for religious practices? As a bioethicist, I’m particularly concerned with religious freedom for health care institutions and individual practitioners.
Yes, of course. I look with great admiration to someone like Professor Robert George of Princeton, who is especially adept at uniting diverse people of faith to fight for shared interests in religious liberty and bioethics. But you are right to emphasize seriousness, and to me that also means recognizing the limits of such dialogue and staying true to ourselves as Roman Catholics.

The encounter between Islam and the West is a fraught one, and Catholics have a crucial role to play in negotiating that encounter. The Church has far more experience with Islam than all the various Protestant denominations, a dialogue carried out sometimes by scholars and sometimes at the edge of the sword.

Like the French philosopher Pierre Manent, I’ve come to believe that relations between Islam and the West, and between native majorities and Muslims residing in the West’s geographic boundaries, will be eased when Western societies come to honor the Christian mark that distinguishes the West.

Put another way: The Muslim other sees the Cross when he looks at the West - whether we like it or not. So there would be greater clarity if Westerners themselves honored and recognized the Cross as well. An empty, end-of-history multiculturalism breeds greater confusion than if the West were to say, “We are this, and you are that.”

One sees the obvious difference between Muslims and practising Christians in that no Muslim is shy about proclaiming his faith, with great conviction and price - especially since they must do so ritually five times a day. Whereas most Christians in everyday situations, especially in the West, are reluctant or reticent to proclaim themselves and their faith.

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It is with great joy and relief that one now hears from Fr. Schall himself, who last week, had been reported to be in precarious condition following major surgery. He will be marking
his 91st birthday on January 20. As always, my favorite Jesuit has sublime thoughts and sublime prose.



Schall at 91 —
an interim report

by James V. Schall, S.J.

January 12, 2019

Note: Many people have inquired about Fr. Schall’s health over the past few weeks. We did not much comment on it here because the situation seemed unclear and we also wanted to respect the good padre’s privacy. But Lo! Here he is, back, to explain his situation (and, as usual, much more) himself.Robert Royal

Let me first acknowledge the many prayers and greetings that have been sent to me by so many people. I am deeply touched and grateful. Though I expected to be in the great beyond by now, Schall is not calling the shots. The colon operation was successful and the patient lives, though not so comfortably as before.

This was the fourth major operation that I have had during my four-score years and ten – and counting. The overwhelming issue that one poses to himself in sickness and accident is not “Why me, Lord?” Rather it is the silence of God about us. We each exist for a purpose, probably for many purposes. The very concept of a final judgment includes seeing what such purposes might be in the context of the whole of reality.

We are created, as Ignatius of Loyola said, to praise, reverence, and serve God and by this means to save our own souls. We either achieve this purpose or not, such is the power God bestowed in our being. We are conscious of our sins, so no clear path to glory seems open to us, apart from some power to forgive, something we do not give ourselves.

Somehow, I have found the so-called “Jesus Prayer,’ to be most helpful – “Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on me, a sinner.” One’s life is often filled with prayers for others, and rightly so. But in the lonely hours when you cannot sleep or get comfortable or figure out what it is all about, you realize that you too are now the locus of the reality that is you.

We are each of us created to participate in the eternal life of the Triune Godhead. At times, the connection between this life and the next seems very close. But we are not given the clarity of seeing the complete connection. Our minds still prod us to know what all of this experience is about.

At another level, I have what I might call the “orthodoxy” problem. Is the center holding? I have been long convinced of that insight of Chesterton’s about the abidingness of Rome in the essential narrative of faith and reason. It was this deposit of faith and reason abiding over time that would stand down the ages.

Now we seem to have a Church whose center waffles. We are not being persecuted, at least not overtly. The problems in the Church seem to be of its own making. We are more than perplexed. Concern about eternal things seems to be a side issue to a this-worldly Messiah that claims to be able to make us at home in this world.

We want to say that nothing basic is really going on. Yet too much evidence appears that some huge disconnect it taking place in our midst. That clear line of thought from Aristotle to Aquinas to Benedict seems frayed.

Orthodoxy meant a confidence that what was handed down was not itself changing or becoming obscure. It also meant that reason would meet what was revealed to us as compatible with what we could learn by ourselves. The truths of God made reason more itself, when thought out.

Strictly speaking, if what is revealed and what is understood are no longer coherent to each other, then that central promise on which we rely for stability of doctrine and practice cannot be maintained.

Belloc’s “How odd of God to choose the Jews” becomes “How odd of God to let such concerns go on in our midst.” We are reminded often that, “My ways are not your ways.” There is some comfort in this assurance.

I have frequently remarked during the era of John Paul II and Benedict that Catholicism has never been intellectually stronger or culturally weaker. That sharp edge of intellect seems dimmed to me. The God of faith and reason still seems untouched in its integrity.

But the world is not converted. It calls us with loud voices to come, be human, and forget the Man on the Cross who was sent into your midst, lo those many years ago.

It turns out that Christ was serious about our knowing and observing the commandments. Socrates was correct. It is never right to do wrong. There are deeds that are intrinsically evil. To insist that they are good is to undermine our souls. We now see daily that no sin is forgotten, even as it may be forgiven.

God created the world with a plan in mind. We are included in it, each of us. Prayer, for me, has always depended on dogma. To pray is also to seek the truth of what is. Only the truth can make us free. We pray for so many others. We also pray for the Church that it remain the bridge between this world and the next.


Also, from THE CATHOLIC THING, a review of the book Maureen Mullarkey cited in her critique of Pope Francis's Christmas Day message on 'fraternity'.


'The Idol of Our Age'
by Robert Royal

January 14, 2019


In times like these, when so much is deeply unsettled in both the Church and the world, there are few reliable guides to our predicament. But one has just appeared: Daniel Mahoney’s brief but powerful book: The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity.

A few decades back, American evangelicals used to denounce secular humanism, rightly – but without knowing what it was other than a denial of religion. During the same period, St. John Paul II, tried to recover an authentic Christian humanism, i.e., a rich “anthropology” in which the human person is only rightly understood in relation to God.

A Christian humanism is necessary because unless we properly value life in this world, religion can become distorted, a kind of Puritanism that denies our nature as creatures with bodies, minds, and spirits.

A Christian humanism is necessary, however, because without God, we close in on ourselves. The sciences discover truths about our world, but cannot say anything about why we’re here, what our lives mean, or where we go after death.

In the vacuum left by exclusion of religion and moral truths, we make idols of human desires – repeat the original wrong turn in the Garden of Eden – and think we are gods, as we see only too clearly in our post-Christian culture.

Mahoney provides a wise and wide-ranging account of how we got here, starting with Auguste Comte who, in the decades after the French Revolution, formally developed a “religion of humanity.”

Similar currents cropped up in America, Western Europe, and Russia; Mahoney deftly relates how Orestes Brownson, Aurel Kolnai (a little know but brilliant Hungarian), and Alexander Solzhenitsyn responded to proliferating branches of “humanitarianism.”

As the great political philosopher Pierre Manent says in a foreword to this book, humanitarianism is the “ruling opinion” in developed Western societies now, it “commands and forbids, inspires and intimidates.”

Humanitarianism is a demanding idol that serves a dual purpose. Initially, it filled the gap left by the abandonment of religion. Though atheism deprived people, individually, of a future life, they could at least see working for “humanity” as something that transcends any single person.

These ersatz religions inevitably go awry, however, because they cannot really fill the spiritual gulf, and therefore have led, historically, to ever more radical – and tyrannical – movements like Marxism, progressivism, and the current “identity” fads.

In recent times, humanitarianism has taken an additional turn. It’s now a stick with which to beat various particularisms: attachments to nations, specific religions, families, communities. Such attachments are now often portrayed as a kind of sectarianism that offends against “humanity” as a whole.

Then again, much depends on where you stand in the progressive “arc of history.” Non-Western and anti-Western groups are allowed their particular “identities.” Muslims, African and Latin American migrants, homosexuals, etc. are useful in undermining the traditional markers of identity – religion, family, and nation – in favor of “humanity.”

Mahoney relates all this to Pope Francis in a particularly trenchant chapter, which is remarkable both for the strength of his critique and his fairness to the often-overlooked traditional sides of the pope. He counsels us to take the pope’s written arguments seriously (not his “remarkably undisciplined off-the-cuff remarks”) as matter demanding careful reflection and appraisal.

The main problem, says Mahoney, has been that “His admirers, and sometimes the pope himself, confuse Christian charity with secular humanitarianism.”
- Largely because of that emphasis, the pope, though he has expressed opposition to things like abortion and gay “marriage,” also gives the impression that “mercy” means not pushing too hard against them in public.
- He’s done the same for the divorced and remarried within the Church.

By contrast, he’s been relentless in opposing war and capital punishment, which Church teaching has always classified as sometimes moral necessities.

But “Divine mercy is not humanitarian compassion. It is not a substitute for repentance and the firm, if humane, exercise of the rule of law.” By his blurring of such distinctions, Francis has left the Church “divided and vulnerable to an unthinking political correctness.”

And such confusions lead to others. The pope’s writings on the environment, for example, rightly remind us of the drive towards the Promethean “mastery” of nature that has marred Western science and technology – something quite different than the “dominion” over the Creation in Genesis. Laudato si, therefore, can be partly read as a sort of conservative green stance rooted in a deep Christian spirituality.

But the Vatican’s incautious alliance with radical environmentalists has led to “mistaken emphases.”
- For instance, the pope often condemns business for greed, rarely commends it for creating wealth and helping out the very poor in whose name he speaks. (To my knowledge, he’s never recognized that globalization – for all its problems – has raised hundreds of millions out of sheer destitution.)
- He seems to pay little attention to the fact that modern “humanitarian” regimes – i.e., the Soviet Union, China, Cuba – that claimed to represent “the people” have been among the most murderous, oppressive, environmentally disastrous systems in human history, while evil “capitalist” nations have steadily cleaned up their environments.

Francis vehemently denounces Western leaders for refusing to open borders to migrants. But he’s indulgent towards Venezuela and China, the Castros, Bolivia’s Evo Morales. The Yale historian Carlos Eire, who was born in Cuba, has argued that the pope shows a kind of “preferential option for the oppressors.”

And he also seems to have greater trust in international technocrats and a “world authority” over nations – i.e., smaller groups, more responsive to concrete human conditions.

The Christian tradition has always emphasized moderation, prudence, realism in human affairs.
- In a fallen world, the attempt to create heaven on earth by fallen creatures, is a recipe for various hells, as recent history shows beyond doubt.
- And that’s true even when the humanitarianism comes to us dressed in equality, tolerance, acceptance.
- True Christian charity is a hard school that includes those ideals, but also the sterner virtues that prevent our all-too-human efforts from becoming idolatrous – and demonic.
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