Benedetto XVI Forum


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5/27/2019 8:51 AM
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On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 92.


See preceding page for earlier entries today, May 27, 2019.

I find this presentation very clear and informative. Let the Bergogliacs refute it, argument by argument, if they can..

A reply to criticisms of the open letter
to bishops concerning the heresies of Pope Francis

by John Lamont

May 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the recent “Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church", a number of Catholic theologians and scholars accused Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy and asked the bishops to take action to address this situation. The letter has not surprisingly been the target of a number of criticisms.

These criticisms are not always easy for the general Catholic reader to assess, because the document is long, precisely rather than accessibly formulated, and sometimes technical in its language. These features of the letter are required by its purpose; a legal accusation against a Pope must be careful, detailed, and sometimes technical in its facts and arguments.

It may, therefore, be helpful to offer an explanation of some of the aspects of the letter that its critics have attacked. As a signatory of the letter, and a theologian who had some input into its drafting, I offer the remarks below with the intention of indicating why these criticisms lack any force.

What is the crime that Pope Francis is being accused of?
The letter accuses Pope Francis of having committed the canonical delict of heresy. A delict is a crime in canon law; an external violation of a law or precept that is gravely imputable by reason of malice or negligence.

The canonical delict of heresy is not the same as the personal sin of heresy. A Catholic can commit the personal sin of heresy by deliberate, obstinate, but purely internal doubt or disbelief of a truth of the Catholic faith. If this doubt or disbelief is never shown by word or deed, the canonical crime of heresy is not committed.

Canon law deals only with sins that are outwardly manifested and that can be established through publicly available evidence.
- The canonical crime of heresy requires public manifestation of doubt or disbelief in some teaching of the Catholic faith, in circumstances where it is clear that the person expressing disbelief knows that the teaching he is rejecting is a part of the Catholic faith.

One can reasonably suppose that when the canonical crime of heresy is committed, the personal sin of heresy has been committed as well; but a condemnation for the canonical crime of heresy is not in itself a condemnation for the personal sin of heresy. The two offenses are dealt with by different tribunals. The canonical crime of heresy is judged by a canonical, non-sacramental act of ecclesiastical authority; the personal sin of heresy is judged (if it is ever presented for judgment) in the sacrament of penance.

Are the views that Pope Francis is accused of maintaining really heresies?
Some opponents of the letter have denied that the positions listed as heretical are in fact heresies. The letter’s explanation of the canonical crime of heresy contains an account of the nature of heresy:

For the canonical delict of heresy to be committed, two things must occur:
- the person in question must doubt or deny, by public words and/or actions, some divinely revealed truth of the Catholic faith that must be believed with the assent of divine and Catholic faith; and
- this doubt or denial must be pertinacious, that is, it must be made with the knowledge that the truth being doubted or denied has been taught by the Catholic Church as a divinely revealed truth which must be believed with the assent of faith, and the doubt or denial must be persistent.

According to this passage, a heresy is a proposition that contradicts a truth that is divinely revealed, and that has been taught by the Catholic Church as a divinely revealed truth that must be believed with the assent of faith. This is the generally agreed definition of a heresy that is offered by canonists and theologians. The question is thus whether the propositions that are given in the letter as heresies satisfy this definition. These propositions are the following:

I. A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.

II. A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious manner, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.

III. A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience.

IV. Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right, or requested or even commanded by God.

V. It is false that the only sexual acts that are good of their kind and morally licit are acts between husband and wife.

VI. Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object.

VII. God not only permits, but positively wills, the pluralism and diversity of religions, both Christian and non-Christian.

The only proposition in these seven that involves some sort of theological sophistication is the first one. It describes theses concerning justification that were asserted by some Protestants. It was condemned as heretical by the Council of Trent.

All of the other six propositions concern fundamental aspects of Christian life and morals. They are denials of things that most adult Catholics need to explicitly grasp, believe, and practice in order to lead Christian lives and get to heaven.

So the fact that these propositions are false, and that they must be held to be false by Catholics, cannot reasonably be denied.
- The question is whether they are not just false, but heretical; that is, whether their contradictories are truths that have been taught by the Church as being divinely revealed, and as calling for the assent of faith.

For each one of these propositions, the open letter provides texts of the divinely revealed Scriptures that condemn them, and magisterial texts that condemn them as contrary to the faith. They thus satisfy the conditions for being heresies.

There is a further point to be made about the Catholic teachings denied by I) to VII). They are so fundamental that
- if you accept IV) and V), you will be left with no true moral principles about sexual behavior at all;
- if you accept VI) you will be left with no true moral principles, full stop;
- if you accept I), II), and III) you will be left with no connection between acting rightly and eternal salvation; and
- if you accept VII), you will be left with no true worship of God, and no true religion.

So if the claims described by the letter as heresies are accepted, every other teaching of divine revelation will be either falsified, or made pointless and powerless to redeem. As a result, if we hold that I) to VII) are not divinely revealed and proposed by the Church for belief, we will have to conclude that what is divinely revealed and taught as such by the Church is on its own useless for salvation. But this consequence is absurd.

Has Pope Francis in fact committed the crime of heresy?
The evidence for Pope Francis having maintained the heresies listed above is set out in the letter.
- It is not a complete description of the evidence for his heresy, and does not claim to be one.
- It simply claims to be sufficient to establish that he has publicly maintained these heresies.
- Catholics must judge for themselves in reading the letter whether this evidence is sufficient or not.

To assist Catholics in making this judgment, it can be pointed out that although much of the evidence consists of statements or actions that could individually be given a Catholic interpretation, for each of the numerous pieces of evidence, a Catholic interpretation would be strained or improbable to a greater or lesser degree.

From this it follows that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that all of this evidence taken together cannot be given a Catholic interpretation.

One should keep in mind a principle of the probability calculus; if the probability of event A is .25 (25 percent), and the probability of event B is .25 (25 percent), then the probability of A and B together is .25 multiplied by .25 = .05 (5 percent). If the probability of event C is .25 (25 percent), then the probability of A, B, and C together is (.25 times .25 times .25) = 0125 (1.25 percent); and so on. So even if there is a 25 percent chance of a given word or action by Pope Francis not being heretical, the probability of three words or actions with this chance of being Catholic all having an orthodox meaning is 1.25 percent.

Since he is the Pope, we should make every effort to understand the words and actions of Pope Francis in an orthodox sense. But even with the most strained, charitable and generous interpretation of the words and actions listed in the letter, after a certain point the weight of probability in favor of his being a heretic becomes overwhelming. Only a prior decision to never accept the conclusion that Pope Francis is a heretic can resist this weight of evidence.

We should therefore accept that Pope Francis has publicly and persistently upheld the heresies listed above. [Those who criticize the Open Leter and its authors have not even bothered to refute these documented facts, because they cannot. The documentation is far too substantial and abundant, starting with the Vatican's own daily chronicles and annals of the Bergoglio Pontificate!]
- It cannot be seriously questioned that Pope Francis knows that these heresies are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. He is the Pope. The charism of office given to him as Pope has the specific purpose of ensuring that he knows what the Catholic faith contains. He has taught Catholic theology for many years, as the letter documents.
- The heresies are not arcane or remote ones — it is not a question of his advancing the Monothelite heresy, or the Christological positions of Theodore of Mopsuestia. The heresies in question have been at the heart of theological debate — a debate in which he has taken part — for decades.

At this point, the ambiguity of most of Pope Francis’s heretical actions can be seen as a strategy rather than an excuse.
- Pope Francis is following the method of Arius, Nestorius, and other heretics in advancing his heretical views.
- He expresses himself in a plethora of words, confessing Catholic doctrine and the need for adherence to it in a general way, while undermining or denying it with other, more specific expressions and actions.
- Thus he couches his heretical utterances in words which are naturally understood to express heresy, while admitting of an orthodox meaning if they are given a strained and non-natural interpretation.
- He will allow others to take the lead at times in promoting heresy and show his approval of their views without necessarily endorsing their statements explicitly.
- These tactical oscillations are a most effective way for him to promote the heresies in which he manifests his belief.
- If he were to repudiate the Catholic faith in an open and straightforward manner, he would lose the power and the opportunity to exercise influence that stems from his office; his ability to advance his heretical views would be largely eliminated.

Is the course of action that the bishops are requested to take a reasonable or legitimate one?
To address this question, we must specify what exactly is being requested of the bishops. When a crime is committed and then dealt with by the law, three things occur.
- There is the commission of the offense itself;
- the judgment that the offender is guilty of the offense; and
- the punishment imposed for the offense by a legal sentence.

The signatories of the letter are not attempting to pass a judgment or a sentence on the crime of heresy.
- They are reporting to the responsible authorities — the bishops of the Catholic Church — that a crime has been committed.
- They assert that there is sufficient evidence to show that the crime has been committed, but they are not asking these authorities to rule that Pope Francis is a heretic on the basis of this evidence alone, strong as it is.
- They ask the bishops to take further steps to determine with complete certainty whether or not Pope Francis is a heretic.
- This determination, following the canonical tradition of the Church, is to be done by the bishops formally requesting Pope Francis three times to abjure these heresies and withdraw the words and actions that indicate his belief in them.
- If these steps are taken, and Pope Francis persists in his heresy, the bishops will then have both the right and the duty to judge that Pope Francis is a heretic, and to announce their judgment to the faithful.

This judgment would not be an exercise of superior jurisdiction, but the recognition of a public fact.
- The role of this judgment would be to give the public fact a juridical force; it would not be an exercise of authority that would create this fact or its consequences.

The sentencing for this crime can only be done by Pope Francis’s superior. This superior is God. We cannot expect a direct divine intervention to carry out this sentencing, but we do not need such an intervention, because God has made His will concerning heretics known to us through His law. The divine law concerning heretics is given in the Holy Scriptures.
- “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema”
(Galatians 1:8–9).
- “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: knowing that he that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment” (Titus 3:10–11).

A heretic is thus separated from the Church, and a fortiori from any office in the Church. If Pope Francis chooses to persist in heresy in such as way as to make this persistence a juridical fact, through the decree of the divine law he separates himself from the Church and from the papal office.

The letter is not intended to bring about this lamentable result. It is issued in the hope that the legal punishment that is due for the crime of Pope Francis will exercise its medicinal purpose of withdrawing a sinner from his sin through anticipation, rather than through actual infliction. [Insh'Allah, as the Muslis say! May God will it. Through a miracle no one expects, but we can pray, can't we?]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/31/2019 3:30 AM]
5/29/2019 6:31 AM
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Just in time to 'rescue' Jorge Bergoglio from having his face ground in the dust after the humiliating defeat of his policy of 'immigrants first and always, and the hell with Italian sovereignty and nationalism' which his bishops in Italy actively campaigned for in a bid to defeat Matteo Salvini's Lega candidates for the European Parliament, a couple of new bombshells which may momentarily distract from the voter slapdown of Bergoglio's immigrationism, but do aggravate earlier self-generated Bergoglio scandals.

The first has to do with former papal pet McCarrick - who became Bergogio's sacrificial lamb when he defrocked him in the full glare of the world's media spotlights. It was, of course, Bergoglio's way of trying to beat back the ignominy of having privileged McCarrick for years to make him one of his closest advisers and personal envoy for all the significant diplomatic initiatives of his pontificate.

Not only has McCarrick's former longtime secretary made public a correspondence file showing that McCarrick was indeed disciplined by Benedict XVI back in 2008, but also how the wily and then very powerful cardinal managed to violate the restrictions, following which the next pope 'rehabilitated' him completely by endowing him with the extraordinary and plenipotentiary powers he wielded in this pontificate until he was exposed to the public in June 2018 as a serial sex predator of boys and seminarians since the 1960s. Then, Bergoglio had no choice but to appear to renounce and denounce one of his favorite pets in the zoo of doctrinal and moral deviants that make up his satanic menagerie.

To make things look even worse for Bergoglio on the McCarrick front, he decides to give an interview to a Mexican TV outlet in which he declares - apparently with a straight face - that "About McCarrick I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing. I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea" because "I don’t remember if he [Mons. Vigano] told me about this. If it’s true or not. No idea! But you know that about McCarrick, I knew nothing. If not, I wouldn’t have remained quiet, right?”

It's a brazen tissue of lies, if only because this is the first time that he makes such a denial, having in the past 270 days, by Marco Tosatti's running count, staunchly refused to answer Vigano's charge sheet. Why couldn't he have said all the above when he as first asked about it, instead of the smug and self-righteous song and dance he made challenging journalists to find out the truth themselves!

Spadaro and Tornielli should provide Bergoglio with a constantly updated 'cheat sheet' as an aide memoire citing what he has already said about controversial issues, so that he does not embarrass himself - and all of us who have to witness the spectacle of a habitually lying pope - by contradicting what he has said before.

Writing for The Tablet, Ines San Martin reports on the highlights of the Bergoglio interview which contains at least a couple of other egregious examples of Bergoglian bloopers and whoppers having to do with his capricious and deceitful ways of appearing to 'deal' with episcopal and cardinalatial involvement in sex abuse scandals. [The way he dismisses Cardinal Pell as having been 'condemned' already is bloodcurdlingly callous and lacking one iota of mercy and charity!]

But it is his rationalization of how he has dealt so far with Mons. Zanchetta that takes the prize for most incoherent and least credible cover story that Bergoglio's devious mind has yet devised. Perhaps like all liars, he has not heard or completely ignores Sir Walter Scott's lament back in the 16th century - "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we set out to deceive!"

In new interview, pope claims
he 'knew nothing' about McCarrick

[Lies, lies, on videotape]
By Inés San Martín

May 28, 2018

NEW YORK – In his first direct comments about the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis said that “about McCarrick I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing.”

“I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea,”
Francis said in an interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki.

Speaking about the allegation made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who claimed last August that he had told Pope Francis about Vatican-imposed restrictions against the former Archbishop of Washington, the Holy Father said that “I don’t remember if he told me about this. If it’s true or not. No idea! But you know that about McCarrick, I knew nothing. If not, I wouldn’t have remained quiet, right?” [At least, he had the conscience not to say flatly, "No, he never told me what he claims he did!", resorting instead to the tried-and-tested legal ploy of saying "I don't remember..." But the ploy doesn't work and can't work because how can a pope not remember being told about such shocking misconduct by one of his favorite cardinals and agents???]

McCarrick was removed from the College of Cardinals last year, after he was alleged to have sexually abused both minors and seminarians. Earlier this year, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had removed him from the clerical state, after he was found guilty.

In a wide-ranging interview, he also spoke about the United States and Mexico.

Speaking about the trip he took to Mexico in 2016, where he said Mass at the U.S. border, Pope Francis said that he doesn’t understand this “new culture of defending territories by building a wall.”

“We know of one, the Berlin one, that brought us many headaches and a lot of suffering … But it seems that what man does is what animals don’t. Right? Man is the only animal that falls twice in the same hole. Right? We go back to the same. Right? [Man] lifts up walls as if this was the defense. Right? When the defense is dialogue, growth, welcoming and education, integration, or the healthy limit of saying ‘we can’t [welcome] anyone else.’” [Omigod, can he stop already with that self-righteous and oh-so-annoying rhetorical 'Right?' as a substitute for common sense argument!!!]

Still talking about migration, the pontiff turned to the example of what’s going on in the Spanish region of Ceuta and Melilla, which is on the coast of North Africa and is separated from Morocco by razor-wire fences. He said that it’s cruel to separate children from their parents, and that it goes against natural law.

Asked what he’d say if instead of Alasraki he was facing American President Donald Trump with no cameras on, Pope Francis said that he would say the same thing because he’s said so in public before.

“I also said in public that who builds walls ends up prisoner of the walls they build,” he said, adding that the territory can be defended, but perhaps through a bridge and not a wall. “But I’m talking about political bridges, cultural bridges. We cannot build bridges at every border, right? It’s impossible.” [Aaaargh, I want to 'kill' him already!]

The case of the disgraced Argentine
bishop ‘parked’ at the Vatican

Forgive me for resorting to one of Frank Walker's tawdry headlines, but in this case, it is as tawdry as the story it refers to.

Alazraki also asked Pope Francis about Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, the former Bishop of Oran, in northern Argentina, who was transferred by the Holy Father to the Vatican, and who’s currently suspended from his position at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA).

The journalist said many don’t understand why Pope Francis brought him to Rome to begin with, when there were already allegations against the Bishop.

The pontiff confirmed that Bishop Zanchetta is currently being judged by the Vatican.

“Before I asked for his resignation, there was an accusation, and I immediately made him come over with the person who accused him and explain it,” Pope Francis said. The accusation involved the Bishop’s phone, which contained homosexual pornography, and explicit sexual images of the Bishop in his bedroom.

“The defense is that he had his phone hacked, and he made a good defense,” Pope Francis said, adding that it created enough doubt, so Francis told Bishop Zanchetta to go back. [Assuming his phone was hacked, how would the hacker(s) have explicit sexual images of the bishop in his bedroom? Jorge Bergoglio, call your mind back home fron Alpha Centauri!]

“Evidently he had, some say, despotic treatment of others – he was bossy,” and a “not completely clear dealing of finances,” though as the pontiff noted, this hasn’t been proven.

“But certainly, the clergy didn’t feel well treated by him,” Pope Francis said. “They complained until they made an allegation as a body to the Nunciature,” meaning the Vatican’s embassy in Argentina.

Pope Francis says that he then called the Nuncio, who told him that the allegation of mistreatment was “serious,” and he understood it to be a case of “abuse of power.” So, he sent Bishop Zanchetta to Spain to receive psychological treatment and asked him to resign from the Diocese of Oran.

The treatment, Pope Francis said, found that Bishop Zanchetta was within the normal range, but they advised he received further treatment once a month in Madrid, so Pope Francis took him to Rome. In his own words, “parked him” in Italy.
[Psychological 'treatment', huh? Wasn't Bergoglio among those who have been denouncing the 1970s-1980s view of homosexuality as a 'treatable disease' - which he now invokes for Zanchetta!]

When it comes to the fact that Bishop Zanchetta is accused of misusing funds, Pope Francis said that at present there is no evidence of that, only that he wasn’t “ordered” when it came to money. Despite not being good at keeping track, the pontiff said, the Bishop had a “good vision.”

Once he had a replacement for the Bishop, the pontiff said, he opened the investigation of the allegations. He received the result of the investigation 15 days ago, “and I decided that it’s necessary to have a trial. So, I gave it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Regarding the “impatient ones” who accuse him of having done nothing, Francis said that the pope doesn’t have to “go publishing everyday what he’s doing, but I was never not on this case from the first moment.”

As Pope Francis noted, he asked for the investigation late last year, but between the holidays and the slowness of Argentina’s summer- which takes place from December to March – things took longer than they should have.

“There are cases that are long, that wait more [like this one], and I explain why, because I didn’t have the elements,” he said. But now that he does, Bishop Zanchetta is on trial. “Meaning, I didn’t stop.”

Francis also said that he must always follow the principle of “presumption of innocence,” something even the most “anti-clerical judges” follow. However, he said, there are cases where the guilt “is evident,” as was the case of McCarrick, which is the reason why he removed him from the college of cardinals even before the trial had ended.

The Council of Cardinals
Speaking about the Council of Cardinals that advises the pope on the reform of the Roman curia, Pope Francis said that it was “obvious” that Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, Emeritus of Santiago, Chile, couldn’t continue to be a part of the team. Pope Francis doesn’t give a reason, though he does lump him in with Australian Cardinal Goerge Pell, who’s “imprisoned and condemned, well, he appealed, but he has been condemned.”

Bishop Errazuriz is one of nine Chilean bishops who’ve been subpoenaed by the Prosecutors’ Office on charges that he covered up cases of clerical sexual abuse.

As Alazraki noted, there are also allegations against the coordinator of the group, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, of Honduras. Pope Francis said that “the poor [man] will get things from every side, but there’s nothing proven, no … He’s honest and I made sure to find things out. In this case, it’s calumnies.” [This is exactly what he said for the better part of three years about the accusations made by Chileans who objected to is appointment of Juan Barros as a diocesan bishop! Until he was forced to eat crow.]

“No one has been able to prove anything to me,” the pontiff said. “Maybe he made some mistakes, he’s done things wrong, but not at the level that they want to hang on him. It is important, so I defend him on this.” [Really? So why does he not release the report on Maradiaga and the hanky-panky in Honduras subitted to him almost two years ago by the Argentine bishop he sent to investigate the allegations against the cardinal and his now-dismissed #2 man about moral and financial shenanigans in Tegucigalpa? Is Maradiaga shaping up to be Bergoglio's next McCarrick?.. and BTW, I am surprised Alazraki did not bring up that report to challenge Bergoglio's reply!]

Violence Against Women
Pope Francis said that he wouldn’t know how to give a sociological explanation for what’s happening with violence against women, but “I would dare to say that women today are still in a secondary place.”

In the collective imagination to this day, he said, when a woman reaches a position of power, it’s noted as a thing: “Oh, see, a woman made it! She got a Nobel prize. Great coincidence.”

Going from being “in second place” to being treated as slaves, Pope Francis said, it’s not a long road. It happens in Italy, he said, in the streets of Rome, where women are forced into prostitution. “They are enslaved women. Enslaved. They’re for that … And well, going from there to killing them …” [Oh, please! It's all among the terrible consequences of the Fall. Isn't prostitution widely considered as 'the oldest profession'? Why doesn't Cardinal Krajewski devote some of his time to breaking up the prostitution rings in Rome and trying to rescue the prostitutes from sin - those who are prostitutes by choice, as well as those who are driven by necessity into a life of sin as slaves of organized crime? Wouldn't that be a more worthy enterprise than taking busloads of homeless to the beach on Sundays to have a day of'fun'?]

The number of femicides is growing throughout Latin America, with one woman being killed every 40 hours in Argentina by a partner or former partner.

“The world without women doesn’t function,” he said. “Not because she’s the one who brings children [into the world], let’s leave procreation to the side … A house without women doesn’t function. There’s a word that is about to fall out of the dictionary, because everyone is afraid of it: Tenderness. It’s the patrimony of the woman. Now, from there to femicide, slavery, there’s one step. What is the hatred, I wouldn’t be able to explain it.”

Alazraki came to international attention when she was asked to address the Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse which took place in Rome Feb. 21-24. She told the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences that journalists will be the bishops’ “worst enemies” if they continue to cover up abuse.

The subhead to the following story reads: "While confirming some elements of the allegations made last August by former Vatican nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Monsignor Figueiredo’s report does not answer key questions about what Pope Francis knew about McCarrick’s actions." [Isn't that a stupid remark? Does anyone really think that McCarrick and Wuerl between them would knowingly make any written references to the reigning pope's decision to ignore the sanctions imposed by his predecessor on someone he liteally cherrypicked to be a major powerplayer in his behalf???]

Correspondence confirms Benedict XVI
placed restrictions on McCarrick in 2008

by the Staff

May 28, 2019

A priest who was ordained by then-archbishop Theodore McCarrick and who worked with the defrocked prelate for decades has published a report detailing correspondence that confirms that Pope Benedict XVI had placed restrictions on McCarrick’s ministry in 2008.

The correspondence quoted in the report also indicates that these restrictions were known to then-Archbishop Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as head of the Washington, DC archdiocese; it further demonstrates that McCarrick’s disregard of the restrictions began almost immediately upon their being imposed.

Msgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, was secretary to Archbishop McCarrick for a year in the 1990s, and worked in Rome for decades in various Vatican offices, including the Curia and the Pontifical North American College. He stated that he published his report on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood by McCarrick, to “help the Church as she further endeavors to create a culture of transparency.” Reporters from Crux and CBS News have seen the correspondence quoted in Figueiredo’s report and confirmed its authenticity.

Crux has compiled the Figueiredo documents here:

Figueiredo’s report contains an admission by McCarrick that he showed “an unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing his bed with priests and/or seminarians at his summer house, but denies ever having or seeking sexual relations “with anyone, man, woman, or child.”

Confirming that restrictions were imposed on his ministry, McCarrick states in an August 2008 letter to Archbishop Pietro Sambi that, “having studied the letter of Cardinal Re [then prefect of the Congregation for Bishops] and having shared it with my Archbishop [Donald Wuerl],” McCarrick would seek a new residence with the help of Wuerl and would “make no commitments to accept any public appearances or talks without the express permission of the Apostolic Nuncio or the Holy See itself.”

In a letter to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then the Vatican’s Secretary of State, McCarrick again acknowledges the restrictions placed on him and expresses his willingness to be “less public a figure.”

While confirming some elements of the allegations made last August by former Vatican nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano —specifically that McCarrick was placed under some sanctions during the pontificate of Benedict XVI and that Cardinal Wuerl was aware of them — Figueiredo’s report does not substantiate Vigano’s accusations that Pope Francis knew about sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick; that Francis knew about Benedict XVI’s restrictions on McCarrick’s ministry; or that Francis “freed” McCarrick from his predecessor’s restrictions. [Further stupidity! I doubt that McCarrick's or Wuerl's candor - or of anywone in similar circumstances - would extend to incriminating themseles and their lord and master by acknowledging such things in writing.]

Figueiredo’s report does demonstrate that Benedict’s restrictions were disregarded by McCarrick almost immediately. Figueiredo writes: “Since the restrictions imposed were not made public and despite McCarrick’s promises, he continued his public ministry, including taking a highly visible public role, interacting with high-ranking Vatican officials (including Cardinals Sodano and Bertone and heads of Dicasteries), public officials in the United States and around the globe.” [As much as I love Benedict XVI, I do think it was a major error on his part not to have made his disciplinary action against Mccarrick known to the public. Failure to do that was tantamount to covering up for McCarrick, shielding him from public exposure, and was, in effect, a betrayal of his almost single-handed battle since 2002 to extirpate if possible the scourge of clerical sex abuses from the Church.]

McCarrick’s globe-trotting continued after the election of Pope Francis, Figueiredo writes: “Without any sense of the lifting of the restrictions, McCarrick continues his foreign travel after the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, as evidenced by a number of communications from him regarding his extensive activity around the globe.”

These included communications with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and with Pope Francis himself, in which McCarrick provides updates on his whereabouts and activities in China, the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Philippines, among other places.

The same day Figueiredo’s report was published, a lengthy interview with Pope Francis by a Mexican television station was published, in which the Holy Father stated, “I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing.”

In concluded his report, Msgr. Figueiredo states that he has other documents relating to McCarrick, and that these “will form the basis of further possible reports if this contributes to the good of the ongoing investigation and efforts to address the abuse crisis, love of Holy Mother Church, and ultimately the salvation of souls.”

LifeSite's Diane Montagna not only reports on Mons.Viganò's reaction to the reigning pope's latest untruth, but reports on parts of the interview not covered by San Martin in her account:

EXCLUSIVE: Abp Viganò says Pope is lying
in latest denial about McCarrick

by Diane Montagna

ROME, May 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — For what appears to be the first time, Pope Francis has openly denied that he knew anything of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s immoral activities, directly contradicting Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s account of their conversation on the subject.

“I didn’t know anything ... nothing, nothing,” Pope Francis said in a new interview on Vatican News.

In response, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States has directly accused Pope Francis of lying.

In comments to LifeSite following the release of the interview, Archbishop Viganò said: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. [...] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”

Both interviews coincide with the release of a leaked correspondence between Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, confirming that restrictions were placed on McCarrick by the Vatican in 2008, and that the former cardinal (who has now been laicized over charges of sexual abuse) travelled extensively during the Francis pontificate, playing a key diplomatic role in establishing the controversial Vatican accord with Communist China.

In the May 28 interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, Pope Francis sought to explain why he has never openly denied Archbishop Vigano’s original testimony, while issuing a denial seemingly for the first time.

Readers will recall that news of the former US nuncio’s testimony broke last August 25, while Pope Francis was attending the World Meeting Families in Dublin. One day later, during an inflight press conference on his return to Rome, the Pope sidestepped questions about the explosive allegations that he knew of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s abuse.

“Read the [Viganò] statement carefully yourselves and make your own judgment. I am not going to say a word about this,” the Pope told journalists aboard the papal plane (see video here). You all have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions.

It is an act of trust. When a little time goes by, and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak about it, but I would like your professional maturity to do this work. It will do you all good, really.”

[What shameless drivel! It was drivel then, and it is contradictory drivel now, when he claims he cannot remember what Vigano told him. If I were a journalist on that plane, would I have had the good sense to courteously protest and say, "But Your Holiness, what is there to carefully read about this one point: His statement is clear and direct that he told you about McCarrick when you brought him up yourself. Did he or didn't he?"

Maybe that might have forced him to come up then and there with the 'I don't remember...' ploy, which is used only by those who don't want to actually lie and/or who are constrained to be evasive on the grounds of avoiding self incrimination. Or maybe he mught have bitten the bullet, and lied through his teeth and the bullet, "No, we never ever spoke about McCarrick". Which he could have easily said right off the bat, without any hemming or hawing, if Vigano had been merely spinning a tale. Instead, Bergoglio indulges in self-righteous evasive folderol.]

In today’s interview with Alazraki, the journalist and long-time friend of John Paul II candidly tells Pope Francis: “That silence has been very burdensome, because for the press and for many people, when one is silent it is like a husband and wife, isn’t it? You catch your husband and he doesn’t answer you. And you say, ‘There’s something rotten here.’”

“So why the silence?” Alazraki pointedly asks Pope Francis. “The time has come to answer that question we asked you on the plane.”

“Yes,” Pope Francis responds.

“Those who studied Roman law say that silence is a way of speaking. The Viganò case: I saw it, I hadn’t read the whole letter. I saw a little and I already knew what it was, and I made a choice: I trust the honesty of journalists and I said to them, “Look, here you have everything. Study it and draw your conclusions.” And that’s what you did, because you did the work, that was great, and I was very careful to say things that weren’t there, but then, three or four months later, a judge in Milan said them when he was convicted.

“You’re talking about his family,” Alazraki asks.

“Of course,” the Pope responds. “I kept quiet, why should I make it worse. Let the journalists find out. And you found it, you found that whole world. It was a silence of trust towards you … And the result was good, it was better than if I had started to explain, to defend myself.” [What did anyone find out exactly about McCarrick and Vigano's allegations, when the Vatican has not provided access to any of the confirmatory documents he refers to? Bergoglio is delberately muddling the issue by misrepresenting Vigano's involvement in a family civil suit as a conviction - it was not - as if somehow that amounts to a refutation of any allegations made by Vigano.]

Pope Francis is suggesting that Archbishop Viganò has been exposed as unreliable because of a legal conflict with his brother that was settled in a Milan court.

In comments to LifeSite, Archbishop Viganò dismissed the Pope’s attempt to cast doubt on his reliability over a dispute with his brother concerning the management of their inheritance — a question he pointed out had “no relevance to the allegations regarding Cardinal McCarrick.”

“What Pope Francis said regarding the Milan ruling and my family has nothing to do with anything, because it has been completely clarified. It was only a division of property between brothers. I accepted it to make peace. Neither me nor my brother appealed the ruling, so the story ended there. And it has nothing to do with McCarrick. It is one of the many stories that they raised to destroy my credibility.”

Archbishop Vigano’s account of these proceedings has been extensively verified by LifeSite News.

In Oct. 2018, the Vatican announced that a “thorough study” of all relevant documents housed in Vatican offices would be conducted. It’s unclear however why Pope Francis would require an archival investigation to say whether he knew about Cardinal McCarrick’s misdeeds.

In his comments to LifeSite, Archbishop Viganò said: “On the return flight from Dublin, the Pope told journalists: ‘I trust in your professionalism.’ He promised to provide documents and he doesn’t provide the documents. Tell me how journalists are supposed to know the truth if you don’t provide the documents.”

“How much time has passed since the Vatican promised an investigation? It’s all a contradiction. He completely contradicts himself,” he said.

“The Pope pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick,” Archbishop Vigano added. “He pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place. And he pretends not to remember what I told him.”

The Pope even claimed during the interview that there have been allegations that Archbishop Vigano was bribed to make damaging claims about him [it is obscure to whom the Holy Father is referring], insinuating in the context a comparison of the former US nuncio to Judas Iscariot.

In the May 28 interview, Alazraki presses Pope Francis further on whether or not he knew about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds.

“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick, obviously, nothing, nothing,” he says. “I’ve said that several times, that I didn’t know, I had no idea.”

It’s unclear as to what Pope Francis is referring to when he says that he denied knowledge of McCarrick’s immoral activities on several occasions as his refusal to comment one way or another has been a particularly notable element of the scandal.

Pope Francis continues: “When [Archbishop Viganò] says that he spoke to me that day [on June 23, 2013], that he came … I don’t remember if he told me about this, whether it’s true or not, no idea! But you know that I didn’t know anything about McCarrick; otherwise I wouldn’t have kept quiet, right?”

Archbishop Viganò observed of this remark: “He tries to be clever, claiming that he doesn’t remember what I told him, when he was the one who asked me about McCarrick.”

The Pope says in the interview that there was a twofold reason for his silence. “First,” he tells Alazraki, “because the evidence was there, you judge. It was really an act of trust.”

“Secondly,” he adds, “because of the [example of Jesus], that in moments of viciousness it is better not to speak, because it makes it worse. Everything is going to go against you. The Lord taught use that path and I follow it.”

News of Pope Francis’s comments about Archbishop Viganò coincide coincided with today’s release of a correspondence between Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The correspondence, obtained by former aide to Theodore McCarrick, American Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, confirms that restrictions were placed on Theodore McCarrick by the Vatican in 2008, and that the former cardinal, who was laicized over charges of sexual abuse, travelled extensively the Francis pontificate, playing a key diplomatic role in establishing a Vatican accord with China.

Asked today about the correspondence, Archbishop Viganò told LifeSite “the letters sing.”

“Msgr. Figueiredo was McCarrick’s personal secretary when he came to Rome,” the former US nuncio said. “He has released these letters from McCarrick to Parolin and the Pope in which he reports on his trips to China, to Iran and other places. Therefore, they were all well informed about this.”

Archbishop Viganò also noted that the correspondence shows that the Vatican was informed about the fact that McCarrick was sharing his bed with seminarians. “McCarrick admitted it,” he said.

“To defend himself with the Pope, McCarrick said he never had sexual relations with anyone, but that he slept in the same bed with seminarians and priests,” the former US nuncio said. [McCarrick obviously cribbed a leaf from Michael Jackson's excuse book! Or this is the standard answer of sex predators who are in denial about their perversion.]]

Archbishop Vigano pointed out:

It’s the same thing he said before the ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The sentence to reduce him to the lay state him was based on abuse against adults, minors and also abuse in Confession. Either the sentence from the Holy Office [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] is irrelevant, or what McCarrick said, that he never had relations with anyone, is a lie — just like what the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie, just like what he said about not remembering what I told him is a lie, when he was the one who asked me.

The former nuncio to the United States also noted that the letters confirm Cardinal Parolin’s involvement in the McCarrick affair, adding that it’s time for him to be investigated.

“As I wrote in my first testimony, in May 2014 — when the article came out in the Washington Times referring to McCarrick’s trip to Central Africa — I wrote to Cardinal Parolin, asking him: Are the restrictions that were placed on McCarrick still valid or not?”

“Parolin never responded to me,” the archbishop said, adding that the Vatican Secretary of State should also be investigated. “He never responded to my letter, because is a total yes-man, as we see with the China deal.” [I am starting to develop an active odium towards Parolin who is now touted by even someone like Sandro Magister as the ranking papabile to succeed Bergoglio. I find him a blood-curdling political chameleon who is as slimy and slipery as an eel, and occasionally pipes up with something seemingly at odds with Bergoglio's position I suppose to show he is his own.. er.. eel.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/31/2019 3:32 AM]
5/30/2019 5:56 PM
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No amount of self-righteous drivel can dissimulate the deceit in Jorge Bergoglio's decision not to answer, until 270 days later, Mons. Vigano's account that the latter told him about Theodore McCarrick's misdeeds when they met for 40 minutes at the Vatican on June 23, 2013. Which was in reply, he said, to the pope asking him - as then Nuncio to the USA - "And how is Cardinal McCarrick?" (1P5's translator translates 'E Cardinal McCarrick, com'e?" below as "And what is Cardinal McCarrick like?", which is not the same as 'And how is Cardinal McCarrick?").

Then, according to Vigano, following his answer, the pope promptly switched the subject without comment - and of course, went on to make McCarrick his principal adviser on episcopal and cardinalatial appointments to the US Church, and his personal envoy to at least a dozen countries to advance the most important (and questionable) of Bergoglio's diplomatic initiatives.

When first asked about it back in August 2018, Bergoglio delivered that infamous shtick 'challenging' the journalists to find out 'the truth' for themselves:

“I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this... When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you."

Asked in a follow up question when he first learned about the abuse allegations against McCarrick, he said:
“This is part of the statement. Study it and then I will say.”

A load of bullcrap and a masterpiece of obfuscation and evasion. Which, of course, none of the journalists addressed dared to challenge farther, as in - "Your [Un]Holiness, what is there to study about the Nuncio's straightforward account of what he claims he told you on June 23, 2013? Did he or did he not then speak to you about McCarrick? That's all."

If Vigano had lied outright, why couldn't Bergoglio have simply answered then and there:
1. "No, he didn't talk to me about McCarrick at all" - the simplest answer to give to refute Vigano, if that was indeed the case. Or,
2. "Yes, McCarrick was mentioned in our conversation, but Vigano never told me what he claims he told me" - also a simple denial that, like the first one, places the burden on Vigano to prove his account of the conversation. Or
3. "I don't remember that he did", as he now claims after 270 days of 'reflection'.

So why could he not say any of those alternatives last August? Did he perhaps fear that Vigano carried a pocket tape recorder with him and recorded their conversation, so he, Bergoglio, couldn't risk lying by denying Vigano's statement about the June 23, 2014 conversation outright. Only to decide 270 days later that his safest answer - which he did not think of last August - was to resort to a trial witness's lawyer-advised ploy to say "I don't remember..." in order to avoid a) self-incrimination or b) perjury, and still give an answer for the record.

On second thought, I believe he must have known all along that all his private audiences are nonetheless taped 'for the record', and that if the tape of his June 23, 2013, meeting with Vigano were ever scrutinized, Vigano would be proven right, and then what? Not that there would ever have been a chance of anyone other than a Bergogliac listening to such a tape. and if anyone did, he probably did a quick Nixon-style erasure, or simply dumped the tape irrevocably, and who's to know better?

Obviously, Bergoglio could not - and cannot, perhaps can never - admit in any way that Vigano told him what he claims he did about McCarrick, because his apparent failure to react to Vigano's account - and subsequent privileging of McCarrick in every way - would have meant he either knew about those misdeeds earlier (remember, this is a man who often boasts he knows about everything that's happening in the Vatican) or, very unlikely, that he was hearing about it for the first time, implies his complicity in 'tolerating' and therefore covering up for McCarrick whom he would subsequently make one of his most trusted associates.

In this article, Steve Skojec saves me a translation task by providing an English translation of Marco Tosatti's blog post yesterday recounting the Vatican's attempt to 'clean up' what Bergoglio said in the interview for Mexican TV.

Vatican tries to edit pope's statements on Vigano
but restores omitted line when caught out

by Steve Skojec

May 29, 2019

In an interview published yesterday, Pope Francis finally addressed the allegations made by former US Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that he knew about the illicit sexual activities of former-Cardinal (and Bergoglio-promoter) Theodore McCarrick. Viganò has always claimed since his first testimony was released in August of 2018 that he personally told the pope about McCarrick.

The pope has now gone on record denying that he knew anything.

In response, in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Viganò has rebuffed the pope’s denial: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. […] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”

The former nuncio issued stinging criticism for the pope, who had dodged the allegations by telling journalists last year that he would say nothing, and to instead look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

“He promised to provide documents and he doesn’t provide the documents,” Viganò told LifeSite. “Tell me how journalists are supposed to know the truth if you don’t provide the documents. How much time has passed since the Vatican promised an investigation? It’s all a contradiction. He completely contradicts himself.”

“The Pope pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick,” Viganò continued. “He pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place. And he pretends not to remember what I told him.”

Meanwhile, Italian Vaticanista Marco Tosatti noticed a glaring discrepancy in the interview text published yesterday by the Vatican, compared to the original transcript sent to him by Valentina Alazraki, the Mexican journalist who interviewed the pope.

On his blog, Stilum Curiae, Tosatti writes that the Vatican omitted an entire line from the text, which it only replaced once he brought the error to their attention.

Thank God for screenshots of published texts - if captured at the right times, they can be and are irrefutable proofs of lying, deceit, and other kinds of textual
manipulation. The translations of the captures by Tosatti are found in 1P5's translation of his blogpost below.

Tosatti's observations bear quoting in full, and we thank Giuseppe Pellegrino for his translation.

Did the Pope lie?
The Vatican censors him by 'cleaning up' his statement
on Vigano after Stilum Curiae denounced an omission

May 29, 2019

After nine months Pope Bergoglio has responded, in a certain sense, to the testimony of Archbishop Viganò on the McCarrick case. In the last post we saw how he responded: very weakly, entrenching himself behind an “I don’t remember.” Here are his exact words: “And when he [Viganò] says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea.”

In response to this, Archbishop Viganò said to me, very simply, that if the Pope says something like this he is lying.

In order to understand why the Archbishop can make such an assertion, it will be good to reread his testimony concerning the days of June 20-23, 2013:

On the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2013, I went to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, to join my colleagues who were staying there. As soon as I entered the hall I met Cardinal McCarrick, who wore the red-trimmed cassock. I greeted him respectfully as I had always done. He immediately said to me, in a tone somewhere between ambiguous and triumphant: “The Pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China.”

At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election, as McCarrick himself would later reveal in a lecture at Villanova University and in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter. Nor had I ever thought of the fact that he had participated in the preliminary meetings of the recent conclave, and of the role he had been able to have as a cardinal elector in the 2005 conclave. Therefore I did not immediately grasp the meaning of the encrypted message that McCarrick had communicated to me, but that would become clear to me in the days immediately following.

And here is Viganò’s account of his audience with the pope (which lasted forty minutes) on Sunday, June 23, 2013:

I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday. And the Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: “Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing — and he added, raising both arms — and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.” Of course, the logic of the correlation between being left-wing and being homosexual escaped me, but I added nothing else.

Immediately after, the Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.

Thus it was Pope Bergoglio who asked Viganò about McCarrick. This detail, and the tone of Viganò’s response, which was so dramatic and serious, takes away credibility from the Pope’s present statement, “I don’t remember.” Besides, if this is so, he should have simply said so on August 26.

But perhaps – and this is what many people think – he wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any documentation that would dramatically contradict what he said.

But is it possible that upon hearing such a dramatic denunciation of McCarrick, the Pope did not bat an eyelash (as Viganò asserts) and [assuming he was learning about this for the first time] didn’t then try to find out for himself? A person who has worked in the Vatican for a long time made this comment:

Upon hearing what Vigano said, because of the high office to which he was elected and his great moral responsibility to both the Church as well as God, he [the Pope] should have made inquiries [regarding McCarrick] in the appropriate offices, at the very least for the sake of prudence and verification. Did McCarrick do these things or not? And what answers would have been given to him, if not the truth, of which the particulars are now known, as a result of which McCarrick has been reduced to the lay state?”

Thus, “I don’t remember” is certainly an unbelievable response, as well as an embarrassing one – so embarrassing that it was not reported in the FIRST version of the interview published by Vatican News. That sentence was expunged. Apparently somebody who is an expert in journalism (and we can easily imagine who), realized that that response was very difficult to defend, and thought it would be best to throw it out.

Except that the Vatican decided to restore the omitted statement, after Stilum Curiae noted the discrepancy with the original, which our outstanding colleague Valentina Alazraki kindly pointed out to us. Here are the two versions of the interview which prove what we are saying:

There are some who continue to think it is true and continue to ask whether you knew about McCarrick or not. In the press of course there are all sorts of things being said.
Pope: Concerning McCarrick I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did not know anything. You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I could not have kept silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because the proofs were there,[???] [colore-#b200ff] as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly an act of trust. And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus, that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is going against you. The Lord showed us this way and I follow it."

The pope's reply, now including the statements omitted from the above:
"Concerning McCarrick I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did not know anything. And when he says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea! You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I could not have kept silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because the proofs were there, as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly an act of trust. And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus, that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is going against you. The Lord showed us this way and I follow it."

Once again we must postpone a more detailed analysis of the part of the interview which concerns the Viganò testimony, and which shines a disturbing light on the personality of the Pontiff. [Yes, because every single phrase of his answer can be and ought to be fisked to question its veracity, logic and plain commonsense.] But we will be back.

Again and again, we are confronted with duplicity from a Vatican that can’t be trusted [which only reflects the habitual duplicity of a pope who cannot be trusted]. We’ve seen them change the text of papal comments before. We’ve watched them attempt to deceive and manipulate us. We know about the method of self-contradiction I call “The Peron Rule” and the fact that the pope is adept at gaslighting – a form of spiritual abuse. [We can call it many things, but in simple words, Jorge Bergoglio simply LIES whenever it is expedient for him. The reigning pope is a habitual liar. Period.]

Even so, some of the pope’s allies seem confused by our concern:

They continue their attempts to discredit Viganò, and it looks as though Msgr. Figueiredo, who issued yesterday’s report on McCarrick’s sanctions, may be next.

Nevertheless, Catholics have begun to see the truth: the only people who have given us reason to question their side of the story are the pope and his little cabal of collaborators. They lie to us with an apparent feeling of impunity. They seem not to recognize that fewer and fewer people every day see any reason to believe them.

[I would strongly qualify Skojec's observations by saying that he refers to the tiny minority of Catholics who regularly follow Vatican affairs and what the pope says and does through the super-abundant information overflow available on the Internet. The observations do not apply at all to the vast majority of Catholics - pewsitters, non-Churchgoers, and merely nominal Catholics alike - for whom whatever their local priest or bishops tell them that 'the pope says' take it to be 'gospel truth' literally.

So no- it is a great illusion and delusion to say outright that "Catholics have begun to see the truth", etc. The world's Catholics, by and large, continue to think Bergoglio is not only everything a pope should be, but based on the media myths created about him from the start - no doubt hammered home in every way by priests and bishops who are acting as mindless puppets literally following, acting out and preaching Bergoglio's every whim and caprice to their hapless parishioners - also the best pope that ever was.

Let us be realistic. Don't ever under-estimate the power of media myths in the Internet world, and the easy gullibility of the man on the street who has absolutely no idea that popes can be bad, if not evil, and certainly anti-Catholic, simply because, since the terrible popes of the Renaissance, Catholics have never before experienced having a truly bad pope and cannot even imagine an anti-Catholic one.

In fact, in another blogpost yesterday, Tosatti fisks Bergoglio's responses on the Vigano question. I have added ny own comments, and in general, I am far more severe on Bergoglio than Tosatti. ("Who am I to judge the pope?" Just an ordinary Catholic who is outspoken about what I perceive to be the reigning pope's deliberate destruction of the one true Church of Christ and of the Catholic faith as it has been professed and practised before he came along in March 2013, and who takes my duty under Canon 212.3 very seriously.)

‘The unfortunate one has answered’:
But it would have been better for him, after all,
to have remained silent on McCarrick

Translated from

May 29, 2019

Dear followers of Stilum Curia:
Never has Alessandro Manzoni’s famous phrase – this time in reference to a male – sounded more true.

[The phrase, “La sventurata rispose”, was the title of a chapter in Manzoni’s classic I Promessi Sposi, in which he describes the wrong-headed response of a cloistered nun of Monza (the unfortunate on)] forced by her father to be a nun at an early age, andwho succumbs to a seductor and thereafter enjoys her sinful life (the nun's response to her misfortune is to bring on more misfortune). In fact, my preferred translation for 'sventurato' or 'sventurata' for either the Pope or the nun of Monza would be 'The disgraced one" - disgraced, not just unfortunate or disgraceful.]

We refer to the interview that the excellent journalist Valentin Alazraki had with the reigning pope, seeking answers to some questions - obviously not all – to clarify obscure points about an embarrassing situation.

We present herewith the part of the interview concerning Mons. Carlo Maria Vigano’s Testimony in August 2018 about what he told Pope Francis in June 2013 regarding the sexual misdeeds of Theodore McCarrick. I ask you to be with me in a precise examination of the pope’s statements on the matter, point by point, and I will propose considerations which I hope will merit your attention. My remarks after each Q&A are in italics.

Alazraki: The issue of McCarrick leads me to another question I wished to take up with you. You asked me during one of your recent trips abroad to read Lettere della tribolazione’ which I have done, so I have fulfilled my assignment.

[It is a book published in Argentina in 1987 with a preface by Bergoglio to an anthology of eight letters written between 1758 and 1831 by two Superiors-General who led the Society of Jesus during the period the Jesuits call ‘the great tribulation’, when the Vatican suppressed the order. La Civilta Cattolica published an Italian edition in January this year, to which Fr. Antonio Spadaro added two letters written by Bergoglio as pope to the Bishops of Chile – one in May 2018 at the start of the meeting he convoked in the Vatican after he finally chose to take the accusations against Mons Juan Barros seriously . having dismissed them for three years as ‘calumny’, and the other, after the meeting, to ‘the People of God” in Chile – plus a third letter, Bergoglio's pro forma letter to the ‘People of God’ in the USA, in August 2018, after the release of the Philadelphia Grand Jury report detailing clerical sex abuse cases investigated in the dioceses of Pennsylvania. Obviously, Spadaro considered these letters major enough to rank with the writings of the Jesuit superiors at the time of the Jesuit suppression.]

Many times, I came across the word ‘silence’ and the explanation of why at times, silence is necessary./b] [I am betting the explanations are by way of self-justification. I hope Alazraki has read Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence - as against random justifications of silence in the pope’s letters - for a wide-ranging, fuller and far more authoritative testimony about the uses of silence!] Don’t laugh, Pope Francis, that’s how it is. You remember when eight months ago, there was this statement by the ex-Nuncio to the USA, Carlo Maria Vigano, who said that he had told you, at an audience shortly after the start of your pontificate, exactly who McCarrick was, and you did nothing. You answered us at the time, “I will not answer. Judge for yourself. I will answer at the right time”. That silence has weighed a lot, because for the media and for many people, when one chooses not to say anything .. well, it’s like between a husband and wife, no? Nag your husband, and when he does not answer, the wife says, “Something must be wrong here’. Why then have you kept silent about this? The time has come for you to answer the question we asked you on the plane – it has been eight months since, then Pope Francis. [Brava, Senora Alazraki!]
PF: Yes, those who have studied Roman law say that silence is a way of speaking. This case of Vigano – I had not read the whole letter, I saw a bit of it, and so I know what it is about.

[When asked about the Vigano testimony last August, his first words were I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested. Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word about this. I believe the statement speaks for itself... ” [#0026ff] Yes, it did and does speak for itself. It alleged two things that the journalist on the plane asked him specifically to say if they were true: that Vigano spoke to him in June 2013 about McCarrick’s record, and that Benedict XVI had imposed restrictions on McCarrick. There is absolutely no reason, other than fear of self-incrimination and/or perjury, that he could not have answered the question right there!]

So I made a decision: I trust in the honesty of journalists. [Really? Did he not infamously define the media a few months before he was elected pope, as 'shit-lovers and shit-eaters’ (though he used the Latin-derived terms coprophilia and coprophagia), to Andrea Tornielli, no less???]
So I told you (the journalists): “Look, you have everything in your hands. Study it [the Vigano testimony] and draw your own conclusions”.

[What a deliberate misdirection! They had Vigano’s allegations, but no access at all to any of the confidential documents he cites to support his statements about McCarrcik’s misdeeds and the sanctions imposed by Benedict.
- The obvious follow-up question would have been, “Well, will the Vatican let us see the documents he cites, so we can judge for ourselves?”
- No one asked that, and the Vatican has been promising it will release the documents as soon as it has completed its ‘investigation’ into Vigano’s allegations, but nothing has come out so far,
- And on May 28, in the wake of the new brouhaha over the Figuereido report and the pope’s TV interview, Cardinal Parolin repeated the promise, but with no timeline.

This is absurd! What ‘investigation’ is even needed to just, for a start, release the documents Vigano has cited , providing the corresponding dates ? The Vatican has never denied these factual and easily verifiable elements of Vigano’s testimony.
- The pope simply had to order to the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Bishops, the office of the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, DC, and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC., to make those documents available instantly (redacted as the Vatican sees fit, but at least available).
- We’re not talking here of voluminous archives such as those regarding Pius XII’s wartime activities, just ‘routine’ bureaucratic letters.
- If the Vatican has been footdragging so embarrassingly on these documents, it must be because they cannot afford to make those documents public and thereby corroborate Vigano’s testimony.
- McCarrick has already been dealt the ‘worst’ punishment the Church can impose on him, so it’s not as if he had any reputation that the Vatican felt called upon to ‘safeguard’.
- Moreover, other Vatican officials, including the current Prefect of Bishops, have already acknowledged in writing that the Vatican knew for years about McCarrick’s record and that Benedict XVI did indeed impose sanctions on him in 2008.

That the Vatican has not released any of the documents that journalists need in order to ‘judge for themselves' simply proves Bergoglio’s bad faith In making his sanctimonious and empty challenge to them, a very Bergoglian grandstanding attempt that simply does not play at all.]

Bergoglio: And this you have done, because you did the work, and in this case, it was fantastic! [What work? No one did any investigating; everyone simply branded Vigano a liar and frustrated cardinal-aspirant! That’s the work Bergoglio calls ‘fantastic???]

I have been very careful not to say things which weren’t there [in the testimony?] but which a judge in Milan three or four months later said [about Vigano] when he convicted him.

[Tosatti’s comment: He says he did not even read the whole letter [from Vigano]. And that he simply decided not to answer. Trusting in journalists. Well, he was right. Because apart from a couple of courageous journalists – Anna Mtranga and Cindy Wooden – there was no attempt on the part of the journalists to press the pope on the questions which everyone had. Not on that trip, not on the following trips. Instead, everyone – or almost everyone – launched themselves in support of the character assassination against Vigano undertaken by the team of journalists in the pope’s magic circle.

Everyone joined in the anti-Vigano campaign – from Catholic and para-Catholic media outlets, financed directly or indirectly by the Church (including those outlets who now rejoice at the end to this blog’s day-to-day count of how long Bergoglio has not answered Vigano’s main challenge) to the major newspapers and international news agencies: in short– all the letists and politically correct. Quite rightly, Bergoglio calls their work ‘fantastic’. And I must say that if I were one of them, I would cower in shame like a thief to be described as having done ‘fantastic work’.

As to Vigano's 'conviction' by a court, someone who has spent years working in the Curia pointed out: “Mons Vigano was ordered by a court to return money to a brother who is a priest, who had accused him of using part of their common inheritance from their parents for his own (Carlo Maria’s) benefit. He complied with the order and also paid the accrued interest on the questioned funds. It was a civil case, not a criminal one, and had nothing to do with the McCarrick case”.
] [Bergoglio’s intention in bringing it up was obviously to further discredit Vigano as someone who ostensibly ‘cheated’ a brother out of his share of their inheritance, so why should anyone trust the word of a cheat?]

Alazraki: You mean the problem with his family?
Bergoglio: - Of course. I did not say anything because that would have been muck-raking. Let the media find out for themselves. [This was an open and notorious case that had been known to the media for years, since at least 2011, around the time Vigano was still Secretary, or #2 man, at the Vatican Governatorate.]

And you did discover it – you found out all about ‘that world’. My silence was based on my confidence in you. I also told you at the time, “Look at it [Vigano’s testimony on McCarrick], study it – it says everything”. And the result was good – better than if I had tried to explain anything, to defend myself”. [The man is delusional and lives coccooned in self-delusion. That has to rank among Bergoglio’s most embarrassing self-justifications – because incoherent, illogical, and irrelevant in this case, deliberately mixing up Vigano’s family troubles with his denunciation of McCarrick.]

[Tosatti: So now he chooses to sling the mud. And again, he congratulates the journalists - who did not do their job as far as the Vigano testimony was concerned, and have since been constrained, step by step, to acknowledge that Vigano did not invent anything about McCarrick (the Figuereido report is only the most recent vindication of Vigano). I insist, because I believe it, that it would be a good time for many of my colleagues to examine their conscience.]

Bergoglio: Judge for yourself, with the proof in your hands.

[What proof???? Certainly none that would exculpate Bergoglio or the Vatican for having covered up for McCarrick, in effect, all these years. To the contrary, every fact so far unearthed about McCarrick simply reinforces Vigano’s testimony. In this interview, Bergoglio indulges in the fantasy that he never knew anything about McCarrick’s clerical sex abuse record.

In fact, after June 2013 and his meeting with Vigano, Bergoglio didn’t do anything to diminish McCarrick in his privileged position as papal adviser and confidante, in fact reinforcing his role with many favors, until a New York archdiocesan investigation concluded in June 2018 that a young man’s accusation of sexual abuse by McCarrick, a family friend, when he was a teenager, was credible and substantiated. This was quickly followed by public acknowledgement by two dioceses in New Jersey that they had paid substantial amounts to settle sex abuse complaints against McCarrick by ex-seminarians. After that, the floodgates opened to disclose ‘Uncle Ted’s’ long history of misconduct with seminarians for decades, a history that was an open secret to Church officials in the USA and in the Vatican. By which time, Bergoglio had no choice but to go into full hypocritical 'zero tolerance' mode - swiftly ending McCarrick's heretofore impunity in record time!]

Bergoglio: There’s another thing that has always struck me: The silences of Jesus. He always answered, even his enemies when they provoked him – ‘Can such and such be done, or not?” - to see whether he would fall into their trap. In that case, he answered. But when it became a ‘hounding’ on Good Friday, a hounding by the people themselves, he was silent. To the point that Pontius Pilate has to ask, “why don’t you answer me?” Which is to say that, in a climate of being hounded, one cannot answer. And that letter was a hounding, as you yourself have noticed, from the results.

[He is mad. Who exactly is hounding him and about what? No one dared question him again about Vigano until Alazraki did in the recent interview! What ‘results’ is he talking about? Does he consider the successive corroboration of almost everything Vigano said in his three testimonies as a ‘hounding”? Strange attitude towards the truth, but then we all know now that Bergoglio has habitual disregard for the truth. Yet brazenly cites Jesus who is the Truth to justify his falsehoods.]

[Tosatti: He continues to enlist the sympathy and complicity of newsmen. One cannot understand how a single document . [Three, actually, because the first Testimony was followed by two shorter ones] – which he refused to answer - can be called a ‘hounding’, which means repeated episodes. And to liken his refusal to answer a precise and documented question of fact to the silence of Jesus before Pilate – you be the judge whether that is not, at the very least, disrespectful, if not outright blasphemous.

Bergoglio: Some of you have even written that he (Vigano) was paid to do what he did. I don’t know, but I don’t think so. . [YECCH! How hypocritical, to bring up an insinuation few have bothered to even think about, and then to say, “...but I don’t think so!” Has any pope – in the age of audio and video recordings – ever allowed himself to say such hair-raisingly revelatory bits of malice and pettiness before?]

[Tosatti: Yet another insinuation that is objectively negative about the person who makes it. In the same way that what he says at the end is [B truly ‘clerical’ in the worst sense of the word: He brings up a calumny, and then says he does not think it is true - because he cannot prove it.]

Alazraki: There are those who continue to think you must have known about McCarrick and continue to ask why you would not say whether you did or did not know. Obviously, one can read anything in the media.
Bergoglio: Of course, I knew nothing about McCarrick, Nothing. I have said it several times. I knew nothing,, I had no idea at all…

[Tosatti: This statement sounds ‘shameless’. [Tosatti uses the Italian word 'inverecondia’, whose dictionary meaning is ‘shamelessness’, ‘indecency’.]/dim] “Many times”? To whom? When? Where? Alazraki’s courage apparently didn’t rise to making those obvious follow-up questions.] Until this interview, Bergoglio had not said anything in public about the Vigano testimony, nor in private but later reported publicly. This statement is either a pure lie, or the outcome of some mental disequilibrium.]

Bergoglio: And when he says that he spoke to me about it that day that he came to see me... I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, if it is true or not. I have no idea.

] [Wow! This man does not even lie well!
1) There are two components in the sentence: the second - about whether what was said was ‘true or not’ - implies that something was said! And
2)How can you – even if you were not the pope – not remember if one of your most important nuncios tells you, in response to your fishing question “And how is Cardinal McCarrick?’, “Don’t you know about him? There’s a whole dossier in the Vatican about his questionable record with seminarians and priests?”, and don’t even deny it but simply change the subject?

It might have been more honest to say to Alazraki now, six years after the episode, “He may have mentioned something, but I ignored it”, which is what he apparently did. Or simply, “It was six years ago – I really don’t remember what we talked about”, because even now, he cannot bring himself to say, “We never talked about McCarrick at all!”

Of course, I am taking Vigano’s account as essentially truthful. If he had fabricated the entire story, Bergoglio could have easily said from the start, “The nuncio is lying. We never discussed McCarrick, much less his supposed abuse record.” Human nature and common sense all militate against Bergoglio’s truthfulness in this matter.]

[Tosatti: On this point, Vigano is very clear: The pope is lying. That it was the pope who asked him about McCarrick, to which he got an explosive, harsh and very serious answer. In the face of which he apparently did not bat an eyelash. And now to pretend that he does not remember such dramatic accusations against an important cardinal whom he expressly asked about, is simply not credible. And an offense to the intelligence of his listeners. Always trusting, obviously, in the sympathy and complicity of the media – those of the Vatican, those who are servile to the Vatican and those who have interests to protect.

Bergoglio: You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick [his record of sexual misconduct], otherwise I would not have kept quiet. [Yeah, right!]

[Tosatti: How was anyone supposed to know what he knew about McCarrick when he refused to say anything? In other cases – Grassi, Inzoli, Murphy O’Connor, Barros, Maradiaga, Danneels, Zanchetta, just to cite the known cases – silence and complicity (i.e., covering up for the guilty) has been the pope’s rule of behavior. In October, he promised that all the documents relative to McCarrick in the archives of the Curia would be made public. It is almost June, and the only documents we have seen came from Mons. Figuereido. How can we trust him at all? ]

Bergogio: “The reason for my silence was first of all that the proofs were there. [Proofs of what, and where? Really, sir, you cannot expect us to ‘discern’ what you mean to say if you do not learn to speak as responsible grown-ups do. What is there to ‘discern’ about infantile twaddle, and why would anyone bother?]

Bergoglio: As I told you, ‘Judge for yourselves’. It was really an act of trust [in the media]. [ [AW, SHUT UP ALREADY! His [Un]Holiness does protest too much, and his word, such as it is, gets increasingly debased with every new protestation.]

An then, there’s what I said about Jesus, who in moments of provocation, could not speak because it would make things worse. The Lord has shown us this path, and I am following it.

[Tosatti: What proofs is he talking about? Since August 2018, every new revelation about the McCarrick case has only confirmed much of what Vigano said. And once again, the pope drags Jesus into the picture to justify his silence till now.

But the pope was perhaps right on one thing. That he could not speak about the Mccarrick case because ‘it would have been worse”. This interview he gave during which he finally ‘broke his silence’ on the Vigano Testimony shows it would have been better for him to keep refusing to answer. In order not to bring out in broad daylight the stuff of which his humanity is woven. It is not ‘the pope’, or better, it is not just the pope who is the problem: it’s the man who is the pope, as one of his fellow Jesuits, Fr. Joseph Fessio, pointed out.

[Tosatti ends this post by quoting what Vigano wrote in August about his meeting with the pope and what he claims he told him about McCarrick. This was also quoted in Tosatti’s companion post fully presented in Skojec’s post above.]

Now, we have a fresh example of the many petty and mean ways the Bergoglio Vatican can 'take it out' against anyone who publicly questions the reigning pope, let alone that he co-authored and signed the Open Letter accusing the pope of heresies... I think 'shame' is one of the words lke 'sin' and hell' that is no longer in the lexicon - and worldview - of Bergogliacs.

Pontifical university revokes parking privilege
for 83-year-old British scholar who signed the recent Open Letter-
and Catholic University press in DC now declines to publish
a book of tributes to Prof Rist's scholastic achievements

[C'mon, guys - what's next? Fire him from his job?]
by Dorothy Cummings McLean

ROME, May 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the English-speaking world’s greatest living scholars of classical philosophy was told he has been barred from all Pontifical Universities after he signed an Open Letter along with a number of prominent clergymen and scholars accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy.

Professor John Rist, 83, who converted to Catholicism from agnosticism in 1980, told LifeSiteNews that aafter a short absence from Rome, he had been refused entry into the Augustinian Patristic Institute in Rome where he has been doing academic work for 15 years.

A Pontifical university is an ecclesiastical school which has been established or approved by the Holy See.

“For years I have been allowed to leave a car at the Augustinianum where I am still doing [academic] work,” the scholar told LifeSiteNews by email.

“On May 18, I drove it out, chatting in passing with an old priest friend in the Augustinian curia, telling him I would be away for a week. When I returned on the 25th I drove in through the gate and found the barrier down. I waited for the porter to open it, but nothing happened. So I got out and was told I could not enter the property. Apparently ... this was because some Vatican apparatchik had issued a decree that I [was] now [persona] non grata and … to be forbidden entry to all pontifical universities,” Rist continued. [Of course, despite many instances where Jorge Bergoglio has demonstrated he has a penchant to micromanage some matters himself, I cannot think he ordered the parking ban on Rist, and that it is his mini-me's who are more Bergoglian than Jorge who decided it on their own. But what do I know?]

“Since I had received no previous indication of it ― not even when I had collected the car ― this less than Christian response took me completely by surprise, not least since I had been there a week before, and nothing was said about my being unable to return the car.”

The ban would be a sharp about-face for the pontifical universities: Professor Rist was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical institute Università della Santa Croce in 2002.

It is particularly worrisome to the professor because he was still supervising the PhD work of a student at the Institute, whose doctoral candidature is therefore now in doubt. Professor Rist told LifeSiteNews this morning that he has now been informed by the president of the Augustinianum, Fr. Giuseppe Caruso, O.S.A., that he may no longer supervise this student.

On April 30 Rist and eighteen others signed the Open Letter. The authors state in the letter that they based their charge of the Pope committing heresy on the many examples of the Pontiff embracing positions contrary to the faith, calling attention to seven in particular. The letter writers asked the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to "take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation" of a pope committing this crime.

Rist suspects that he has been barred from the Pontifical Universities because he signed the Open Letter.

When Rist attempted to return the car to the Augustinianum, he exchanged “free and frank” views with priests there but did not succeed in budging the “bureaucratic brick wall,” he said.

“When I was told by one of the priests that he could do nothing about it, I replied that he could just open the barrier - that being greeted with a cynical smile and shaking head: one felt the man of God (an American) was enjoying it.”

After the scholar, who had taught part-time at the Augustinianum as a visiting scholar for 15 years, told his interlocutor that he had nowhere else to leave the car and a plane to catch in four hours, he was told: “That’s your problem, not mine, isn’t it?”

“In the upshot, I left the car in the long-stay car-park at Ciampino [airport] and shall have to return for it before the costs mount too high,” Rist told LifeSiteNews. So far they are estimated to be 400 Euros ($446).

“I feel I have been treated with grotesque discourtesy,” he said.

Another discourtesy to Rist and a number of scholars is the refusal of the Catholic University of America Press to publish his Festschrift, a traditional collection of essays by former students and academic colleagues published to celebrate the achievements of a notable scholar. A Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto, Rist was the Kurt Pritzl, O.P. Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America (CUA) from 2012 to 2014.

LifeSiteNews has seen a communication explaining that Catholic University of America Press had rejected the book because the CUA Committee and Press believed it is “imprudent, at this time, to publish a volume” in Rist’s honor.

Scholars who had contributed essays in the collection included Catholics and non-Catholics, philosophers, ethicists, and theologians, scholars hailing from the Catholic University of America; Ave Maria University; Trinity College, Dublin; Yale University; the University of Toronto; Boston College; the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas; the University of Georgia, and a number of Italian universities.

Dr. Trevor Lipscombe, the Director of the CUA Press, confirmed that the Festschrift had been rejected.

“I can confirm that it was indeed declined for publication by the Catholic University of America Press,” Lipscombe told LifeSiteNews by email.

“The deliberations of the editorial committee are confidential, so I am not at liberty to go into any further detail. But I will add that, at that same meeting, another project to which Professor Rist was a contributor was approved, and we are proud to be the publisher of his book Plato's Moral Realism: The Discovery of the Presupposition of Ethics." Rist’s acclaimed Plato’s Moral Realism was published in 2012.

Rist was one of the contributors to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, a volume prepared prior to the Extraordinary Synod of the Family. Although it was sent to the members of the Synod through the Vatican Post Office, most of the copies never reached them, having been intercepted by the general secretary, Cardinal Baldisseri. Rist had contributed an essay on “Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church”.

Among Rist’s fellow essayists in the suppressed Remaining in the Truth of Christ were Cardinals Burke, Brandmüller, Caffarra, and Müller, as well as Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, SJ. The other scholar of Rist’s stature who signed the Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church was Fr. Aidan Nicholls, O.P.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/31/2019 2:12 PM]
5/31/2019 2:06 AM
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Time now to examine one of Jorge Bergoglio's trademark shibboleths, the delusional 'poor church for the poor'...

The spiritual bankruptcy
of the 'poverty gospel'

by Ed Faust

May 29, 2019

“You cannot live charity without having interpersonal relationships with the poor, living with the poor and for the poor.”
– Pope Francis, May 27, 2019
Address to Caritas International

The enemy of souls in our time is materialism. Like a mist that spreads over the landscape, the vapor of materialism reaches everywhere, into every household, into every crevice of every structure; it is the air we breathe. It is in us and ever before us. It becomes the unspoken and barely conscious assumption that permeates our thinking.

When Nietzsche said that God is dead, even in the heart of the believer, he meant that the supernatural was no longer a living reality for modern man. Even those who profess belief in God find it difficult to see in the world the working of Divine agency.

Science has replaced God. We look to natural causes for an explanation of physical phenomena, not to the Logos. The creative Word has been replaced by the Big Bang: an explosion out of nothing from which all else is supposed to have “evolved” for no particular purpose. And all will disappear just as mysteriously. The world has been reduced to “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Matter becomes the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all things, and our very consciousness, our self-awareness, is taken to be an “epiphenomenon” of the brain, totally dependent on its physical structure and colored in its individual way by genetic happenstance. There is no truth; only sense impressions which we order in arbitrary ways so that we might survive for a time amid the chaos of existence.

This is materialism in a nutshell. It shapes our thoughts, often unconsciously, for it permeates the atmosphere in which we live and work. Religion is also conditioned by materialism. Christianity has been largely reduced to what might be called the Soup Kitchen Religion, according to which those of us who enjoy material comfort should offer some of our time, or at least some of our money, to those who are less well to do.

In the latter-day Catholic Church, the Soup Kitchen creed is formulated in what is called “the preferential option for the poor.” This is a decidedly odd and awkward phrase, made even more perplexing by the redundancy of “preferential option” (are there any other sort of options?).

The tone of the phrase is also at variance with the meaning given it by its adherents. An option is by definition not obligatory, yet the Soup Kitchen creed would make the “preferential option for the poor” not only obligatory but the essence, the sine qua non, of Christianity. Note the Pope’s radical declaration quoted above.

This identification of Christianity with Soup Kitchen Religion reaches its zenith in Liberation Theology, an attempt by South American Marxists to interpret the Gospel in the light of dialectical materialism. Pope Francis imbibed this sort of religion during his formative years in South America and it has become the font from which he draws his homilies and exhortations. He is, when all superficiality is stripped away, a Marxist ideologue railing against economic inequality.

So committed is he to this ideology, that he has proclaimed that we can only be Christian if there are poor people about to whom we can offer some assistance. So lacking in a sense of irony is the Pope that he fails to see that his ideology is one that limits the practice of Christianity to the affluent. If charity is dependent upon having “interpersonal relationships with the poor” through giving material aid, then it would seem the poor are not in a position to be Christians. The man who has nothing to give to another would seem to be left out of the picture.

But the Pope’s Soup Kitchen creed includes spiritual philanthropy: “…the preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.” In providing this care, we are said to grow spiritually. In fact, this is how, according to Francis, we imitate God.

But again, the emphasis is placed on the benefits accruing to the affluent, whether that affluence be material or spiritual. And again, the Pope fails to realize what a one-sided and condescending creed he is proposing.

Francis goes on to say, “The worst discrimination that the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual attention.” He also declares, without any supporting reasoning, that the majority of the poor “have a special openness to faith.” So, according to Francis, the poor not only suffer a deprivation of material goods, but they are also denied spiritual instruction. By whom? By the greedy capitalists who not only hoard their worldly wealth but make spirituality their private preserve?

Francis continues in a way reminiscent of what used to be called “the white man’s burden”: the idea that the Europeans must raise up the heathen races in Africa, India and elsewhere, so that they could share in the benefits of civilization.

Concerning the spiritual destitution of the poor, Francis says: “They need God and we cannot fail to offer them His friendship, His blessing, His word, the celebration of the sacraments, and the proposal of a path of growth and maturation in the faith.”

At this juncture it seems good to point out that the poor are very much like the rich, but they don't have money. That’s the main difference. An openness to the Faith is not dependent upon one’s income or social status, but upon the heart’s longing for truth and love. Not only do the poor not enjoy a privileged position in their receptivity to virtue, but crime statistics relative to income would indicate that the opposite may well be the case.

The poor need God. The rich need God.
- Why should the rich be seen as in a position to bring God to the poor? If anything, the Gospel teaches that wealth can be a great hindrance to spiritual advancement.
- And who is keeping the poor from religious instruction and the sacraments?
- And are the poor really waiting upon the affluent to propose for them “…a path of growth and maturation in the Faith”?

The Pope also abuses the affluent who are aiding the poor “with almsgiving, with beneficence” as possibly guilty of a “hypocritical or false charity.”
- He speaks with disdain of charitable organizations who aim at “philanthropic efficacy” but whose donors are not engaged in the work in a heartfelt way.
- No exhortation from Francis would be complete without his assuming the moral high ground and denouncing those below him (always unnamed miscreants) who fail to rise to the level of his understanding and ideals.

It is a universal characteristic of the ideologue that he never looks at reality, but always at his prefabricated notions, into which reality must fit, even if it be necessary to lop off a limb or two. Francis, as an ideologue, does not look at people as individuals, but as categories in his schema of the world. And he regards Scripture as an adjunct to his socialist manifesto.

But the Gospel does not show Our Lord practicing a “preferential option” for any group. And it is not the equalization or redistribution of wealth that Christ commends as the essence of charity. The essence of charity – charis – is charity: love itself. Love has no program, no calculus, no ideology. If all the poor in the world were to become rich, if everyone had the same amount of wealth, charity would not disappear. It does not depend upon our “interpersonal relationships with the poor.” It depends upon our relationship to Christ.

There is no equality in this world because we are unique creations of the Word, all at different points in our pilgrimage to Christ, the heart of our being, the Logos from whom we all descend. No one who lives for Christ would deny another his help. But no one who lives for Christ would define charity as dependent upon his interaction with the poor. He may very well be one of the poor. It is worldliness, not wealth, that leads one away from God.

The poor are just the rich with less money, objectively speaking. And a poor man and a rich man may be equally fixated upon wealth and, thus, both equally impoverished spiritually. To live in Christ is a possibility for every man, regardless of his circumstances. And if Christianity were dependent upon a heartfelt philanthropy, it would be restricted to those with the wherewithal to become philanthropists.

The dangers of the Pope’s ideology are manifold.
- It encompasses the sort of class distinction that breeds the envy and resentment which Marxist revolutionaries exploit.
- It materializes religion and focuses our attention on the passing circumstances of this world.
- It presupposes a class of superiors, both in wealth and spirituality, who must lift up those beneath them. This is not genuine charity, but condescension.

Ultimately, the Pope’s ideology is just that: an ideology, i.e. a mental construction of how the world ought to function according to a presumed human wisdom that vies with Providence. And like all ideologies, it generates anger toward those who will not submit to its demands. This is why the Pope cannot speak without denouncing someone or something. He is an angry ideologue.

Christ proposed no ideology. Even the doctrines that are formulated from His teaching have no meaning unless they are lived. We cannot merely give our assent to certain formulas and continue to go about our business as though materialist assumptions are correct. And we cannot fulfill Our Lord’s command to become perfect “even as your heavenly Father is perfect” by embracing the banalities of Soup Kitchen Religion.

If Our Lord teaches us anything about poverty, it is that it is a blessing to be embraced, not a disease to be cured. Liberation theology can find no basis in the Gospel. And the Pope can find no support for his ideology in Christianity. He took the name of St. Francis, Il Poverello (the little poor man). Let us pray that he will find the true spirit of Franciscan poverty, which is to have nothing in one’s heart but a burning love for Christ.

By definition, a narcissist cannot be humble. And hubris is, of course, the Luciferean drive that makes man think he can surpass God. It is hard to see where Jorge Bergoglio, hubristic narcissist nonpareil, can find any point in his being where Christ can have a foothold. Of course, I would say these things, but without any sanctimony, only with profound distress and daily despair. What would all of us, devout Catholics as we see ourselves, not give to be proven completely wrong about Jorge Bergoglio? To have him experience a Damascus-like re-conversion to the faith? It is the miracle I pray for every day when I pray for the Church and all who work in the Church, especially the faithless.

And Bergoglo's most recent affirmation of his most favored shibboleth for now, along with climate catastrophism? A move that didfollowed defiantly in the wake of the anticipated victory of Matteo Salvini's Lega party, as 33% of Italians voted to support his candidates for the European Parliament, and therefore, for his anti-illegal immigration, Italy-first policy - even as Italy's bishops, carrying out the Argentine pope's immigrationist pro-Islam activism, openly called on Italians to 'vote against Salvini', but saw instead the resounding defeat of the leftist parties which are unconditionally in favor of EU dominance over national sovereingty and also supported unconditionlly by the Church in Italy.

Pope Francis released document about ‘meanness’
to migrants to coincide with EU elections

by Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, May 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, May 27, the day after the European Union parliamentary elections ended, Pope Francis released his World Day of Migrants address. However, according to the Vatican’s Arabic, German, and original English translations, the document was signed on April 30, 2019.

This adds weight to speculation that Pope Francis timed the release, which condemns even 'unconscious racism', to coincide with the elections, so that his words would be seen as a rebuke to Europeans who voted for nationalist parties that oppose mass migration.

Quoting two of his own recent homilies, the pontiff condemned an attitude towards migration conditioned by 'ear'.

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid! (Mt 14:27). It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears. The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of ‘the other,’ the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner...We see this today in particular, faced with the arrival of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future...

“To some extent, the fear is legitimate, also because the preparation for this encounter is lacking (Homily in Sacrofano, 15 February 2019)...But the problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realizing it – racist...

“In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord [EXCUSE ME AS I SNORT!] (cf. Homily at Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 14 January 2018).”

Pope Francis targeted what he called “the most economically advanced societies,” saying that they are “witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism” which is combined with a “utilitarian mentality” and “reinforced by the media.”

“In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills,” he wrote.

But at the same time, the pontiff decried the West’s acceptance of the best and brightest of the world’s migrants, saying, “Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets.”
[But 'the best and the brightest' who do manage to migrate have done so by legal means, and if Bergoglio says that everyone who wants to find a better life elsewhere is entitled to emigrate wherever he wants, by hook or by crook, then why would he deny that same right to the ones who do it by the book? Which is not to say that the hordes of would-be illegal immigrants could not possibly include any of 'the best and the brightest'. But could anyone be numbered among 'the best and the brightest' who is willing to commit a subversive and ciminal act by flouting immigration laws as if any country ought to be obliged to receive any intending immigrant with open arms?]

Pope Francis did not refer to the millions of unborn lives, particularly those belonging to disabled babies, which have been lost thanks to Europe’s 50-year scourge of legal abortion. In western Europe, legal abortion followed the moral decay of the sexual revolution.

Sustainable development in the countries migrants are fleeing came second to the pontiff’s assumption that “the most economically advanced societies” must take in migrants.

“Dear brothers and sisters, our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” he wrote.

But at the same time, Francis said that this program should include anyone “living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated.”

“If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man,” he wrote.

“We will promote the integral human development of all people. We will also help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve.”

The success of conservative, nationalist or patriotic, and anti-illegal immigration parties in the European Parliamentary elections were pronounced in Italy, Hungary, Poland, France, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, and Slovenia.

In the European Parliament, the center-right was diminished as conservative-minded voters threw their support behind populists and nationalists. However, according to a chart produced by the BBC, there was a slight list to the left in the European Parliament overall, as other voters opted for liberals and, most dramatically in Germany, environmentally conscious “Green” parties.

The 2019 EU parliamentary elections, which took place between May 23 and May 26, followed four years of crisis-level illegal mass migration into Europe over the sea from North Africa, a phenomenon in which thousands of trafficked people have drowned. Some European nations, mindful of a rise in Islamic terrorism in Europe and other acts of violence linked to migration, have strongly resisted calls to embrace multiculturalism and accept large numbers of migrants.

In a recent lecture on the virtues of filial piety and patriotism, Cardinal Raymond Burke expressed his opinion that the resisting of large-scale Islamic migration to majority-Christian countries was a “responsible exercise of one’s patriotism.”

The 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will fall on September 29, 2019.

[And so the papal message for that occasion is released four months in advance! Not that I really think any but a handful of vested interests pay any attention to or make use of most 'occasion-driven' papal messages.

In Bergoglio's case, the secular world celebrates and exploits any messages he makes to advance its priorities which are also his - UN 'develop,ment' goals (he doesn't care that they openly promote population control but they are supposed to eliminate hunger and poverty in the world by 2030! - yes, we're 11 years away from 'paradise on earth'), globally enforced climate control measures, and yes, politically correct toleration if not encouragement of Islam. It's excruciatingly depressing just to think of this surreal and infernal agenda.] ]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/1/2019 5:29 AM]
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The pope's comments on those
who wrote the Open Letter

I get the impression from the relative lack of stories and commentary about the pope's recent interview with Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Televisa - after the understandable flurry of reactions to his too-late-too-little and embarassingly incoherent and self-contradicting statements about Vigano and McCarrick - that few n the media and the blogosphere have bothered to go through the entire transcript which is available on the Vatican site in Spanish and Italian (I have not checked the other languages).

While I can understand that after six years of enduring and haing to report on self-indulgent papal logorrhea, Bergoglio-blather fatigue may have set in among Vatican observers, professional and otherwise, and Vatican news junkies, I realize more and more that it would be useful not to ignore what he says, not only for its inherent content, which runs the gamut, but as an ongoing record of his thought processes, almost a stream of consciousness, in which oftentimes, he does not even mask open expressions of negativity, hostility and even contempt for those who oppose him in any way.

For example, only a couple of sites have reported Bergoglio's comments on the recent Open Letter to Bishops - or better, on those who wrote the Open Letter. Brief but telling comments on a subject he voluntarily introduced into the interview, taking advantage of Alazraki's remarks about polarization in the Church. I translated the ff from the Spanish transcript:

Pope Francis, there is much polarization, though not something sudden, in the world in general, and also in the Church, right here, for instance – not in this room - but inside the Vatican. Everywhere. It is not a prerogative of the Vatican.
A: To polarize is a destructive temptation.

But in the Church itself, these groups are felt to be very strong...
A: Yes, well… Now that you mention it, some have accused me of heresy, and…

How did you take that?
A: With a sense of humor, my child.

You don’t give it much importance...
A. No, not at all! Besides, I pray for them because they are wrong - poor people, some of them have been manipulated. I saw who were those who signed… No, seriously, [I took it] with a sense of humor, and I would say, tenderness, paternal tenderness. Which is to say, I don’t feel wounded at all, not at all.

What wounds me is hypocrisy, lying – that wounds me. But a mistake like that, which involves some whose heads were inflated, no, please! One has to take care of them, too. They must be taken care of...

The contempt and condescension - and 'incidental' insult - he packs into those few words chill the marrow. What paternal tenderness is there in calling the signatories "poor people, some of them manipulated... and whose heads were inflated"? When has he ever been even minimally charitable -m uch less paternal! - to all the various 'categories' of Catholics he dislikes and continuously insults?

"I don't feel wounded at all, not at all" sounds to me like whistling in the dark.

And what hypocrisy and lying is he talking about? The signatories came out in the open with what they had to say, no hypocrisy there - risking the head-shaking, finger-wagging disapproval and disparagement of many leading 'orthodox Catholic' voices one would have expected to add their signatures to the letter - among them those who in the past three years at least have been the most outspoken in denouncing the doctrinal errors advocated by this pope, errors the writers consider heresies and have ask the bishops of the world to at least 'investigate', given the super-abundant documentation that exists to support the charges. Documentation that rules out any possibility of lying on the part of the Open Letter authors.

Yet their detractors berate them for having 'gone too far'. These detractors are really saying that "Yes, Bergoglio has been trampling roughshod on many essential teachings of the faith, but that's not heresy! And not a matter for the bishops to look into!" Then what is it? When it's the pope himself who openly teaches doctrinal error, as the Open Letter detractors daily denounce? I have been calling it apostasy - informal yes, but very much de facto - because every anti-Catholic thing Bergoglio says and does is an act of apostasy.

Of course, Bergoglio is using the familiar psychological mechanism of projecting one's own besetting faults - certainly hypocrisy and lying are for Bergoglio - on one's opponents, which makes his words even more pathetic.

Mainly, he wants it made known that he scoffs at the Open Letter and everything it alleges. As he scoffed at the DUBIA - and at Mons. Vigano's testimony, originally - though never directly, as he does here at the Open Letter.

For the first time in living memory, serious Catholic theologians draw up a charge sheet of heretical words and acts against a pope - and it is nothing but 'humorous', and therefore, un-serious, to the man concerned. He is really also telling all Catholics who share the message of the Open Letter that he truly does not care what they think; he is the pope, afteralll, and his word will prevail over those he considers as nothing but insignificant 'poor people' who together represent only a minuscule minority in the Church, an infinitesimal fraction he can afford to ignore and ridicule because might is always right.

And how does he intend to 'take care' of these 'poor people'? In Spanish, "hay que cuidarlos" does not have the ominous connotation that "We must take care of them" can have in English. Is he going to assign 19 of his chief lieutenants to 'mentor' each of the authors of the Open Letter and get them to see the error of their ways? Not that any of them can even rise to the intellectual level and Catholic credentials of the authors! It would be like sending gnats to do battle with an elephant.

Or maybe he will host an Enemies' Day at Casa Santa Marta, inviting the surviving Dubia Cardinals, Mons Vigano and the Open Letter authors, maybe even Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli, Antonio Socci and Sandro Magister, along with Matteo Salvini, so that each may confront him, one on one, with the most important question each would like him to answer, framed like the Dubia so that he can answer simply with a Yes, No or Maybe, while looking at each interlocutor directly in the eye.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/3/2019 8:12 AM]
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Will this count as #2 of the 'filial corrections' addressed to the reigning pope after the Correctio Filialis of September 2017? If it does, then one more such filial correction has to be issued publicly to comply with Jesus's injunction in Matthew 18: 15-17):

“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Not that I think even Scrioture can prevail over a pertinaciuusly hubristic - if not heretical - pope who really does cherrcypick an/or edit Jesus's words to0 suit his agenda...

Cardinals Burke and Pujats and 3 Kazakhstan bishops
issue Declaration of Truths as an 'aid' to Pope Francis

June 10, 2019

A small group [5 persons] including Card. Burke and Bp. Schneider have issued a Declaration of Truths comprising some 40 paragraphs over 8-pages under various subheadings, and have also issued an Explanatory note comprising some 1300 words and 2 single spaced pages.

Declaration of Truths

Declaration of Truths Explanatory Note

From the Explanatory Note:

A common voice of the Shepherds and the faithful through a precise declaration of the truths will be without any doubt an efficient means of a fraternal and filial aid for the Supreme Pontiff in the current extraordinary situation of a general doctrinal confusion and disorientation in the life of the Church.

Another document that will be completely ignored by the pope and his Vatican media, and will be thoroughly mocked as ineffectual and futile by those who, desite their token protests and protestations, are really throwing in the towel in the doctrinal, ecclesial and moral battle - a fight to the death, really, in behalf of the fath - against the numerous and daily-increasing errors of thie very anti-Catholic pope, who IMHO is an undeclared but de facto apostate.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2019 6:42 PM]
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On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 93.


Resuming this endeavor without much ado after almost a year of inactivity, having relocated in the meantime to Stockton, California, where despite being in California, the pandemic mania was never as manic or all-pervasive as it has been in Manhattan or Frisco/Los Angeles, for that matter. Even I who meet the highrisk criteria of age and co-morbidities have been unencumbered in my activities, as I live within walking distance of my bank, grocery stores, Metro PCS, Target, Office Depot, Home Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens and the main transfer station to get on and off the local buses. Only problem is that with public transport suspended, Lyft and Uber both have less drivers available than usual, so it can take up to 20 minutes for them to find a nearby driver if I have to go someplace I can't walk (I don't drive). I still keep my co-op in New York but who knows when I can travel back there without having to quarantine myself for 14 days when I get back here?

My worst setback is that the nearest TLM is in Sacramento, 45 minutes away by bus, which meant getting up early to get the only Sunday morning bus to Sacramento, in order to attend the 10:30 am High Mass at St Stephen the Martyr church which is run by the FSSP. I must say that the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan has spoiled me for other TLMs (even those I have had to tune to after the churches closed, and that includes reliable Father Z's daily Masses in Milwaukee, those of St. John Cantius in Chicago, and the Institute of Christ the King's Masses in Limerick, Ireland).

Anyway, the pandemic has brought much of everything to an ultimate testing point, and the consensus is that the Catholic Church, still under the nominal - but oh-so-unChristian - leadership of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has come out for the most part shamed and forever tainted by the treasonous abandonment by the pope and most bishops and priests of their vows and supreme duty to provide spiritual guidance and consolation at all times to the faithful, by abjectly submitting to whatever the secular authorities have dictated. They have therefore abdicated the universal fundamental right to freedom of worship, setting a fatal precedent from which the Church will take a long time to undo.

Bergoglio, of course, keeps building up and escalating his shameless record of un-Popelike, un-Christian betrayals in every way (thankfully, enough right-thinking Catholic commentators have taken due note, renounced and expatiated enough on his behavior and actions, so everything is on the record) that no one should be surprised anymore at his self-indulgent, self-promoting, anti-Church and anti-Christian excesses, including his self-celebratory year of extraordinary events to mark the fifth anniversary of his demented science-defying Greta Thunberg encyclical.

In a Dark Time
by Theodore Roethke
The New Yorker
January 9, 1960
(Collected in The Far Field, 1964)


In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.


What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.


A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.


Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

With thanks to THE CATHOLIC THING which featured this poem today. Below, Irish journalist John Waters sums up the consequnce of the pandemic mania which simply morphed into a self-perpetrating, self-deating exaggeration of man's fear of death, disease and suffering.

On True and False Infinities

by John Waters

May 23, 2020

The playwright Arthur Miller, while he wrote, would place a card in full view in front of him with one word on it. The word was: forgo. It was a memo to himself to avoid bringing things to a head until the very last moment, so as to maintain the audience’s speculations and engagement until the final curtain.

In a way, the method catches also a key aspect of the religious sensibility. The “religious” person tends more than others to postpone satisfaction and forgo immediate pleasure or reward in anticipation of an ultimate prize on the far side of the horizon. The religious person knows that every material thing eventually disappoints.

Joseph Ratzinger, many years ago, warned us against the “false infinities” that might mislead us as to the nature of existence. “Infinities” of some kind — satisfactions false or real — are essential. Otherwise, human beings would stop dead in their tracks, as though their batteries had suddenly died.

Desire for infinite, eternal reality, for the embrace of the Creator who generates us, is ultimately what enables us to transcend the limitation of the false infinities, which lure us astray and always leave us deflated.

Man, diverted from the ultimate horizon, grows weary and skeptical. Materialism interposes itself for a time between him and the true destination of his desiring. For a time this encroachment proceeds unnoticed; but over the course of his life, a man discovers that his desiring for earthly things loses its lustre with escalating rapidity, that the false infinities become will-o-the-wisps.

When this happens, a man will either look upward again to the horizon, or downward to the bottom of a glass or pill bottle in search of the dregs of hope. Shadowing these attempts at self-delusion is our ineluctable awareness that we are unable to find in this dimension what we seek: We can’t get no satisfaction. But we try and we try and we try and we try.

In the encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI spelled out the process by which this works through a human life:

Day by day, man experiences many greater or lesser hopes, different in kind according to the different periods of his life. Sometimes one of these hopes may appear to be totally satisfying without any need for other hopes.

Young people can have the hope of a great and fully satisfying love; the hope of a certain position in their profession, or of some success that will prove decisive for the rest of their lives. When these hopes are fulfilled, however, it becomes clear that they were not, in reality, the whole.

It becomes evident that man has need of a hope that goes further. It becomes clear that only something infinite will suffice for him, something that will always be more than he can ever attain.

In this regard our contemporary age has developed the hope of creating a perfect world that, thanks to scientific knowledge and to scientifically based politics, seemed to be achievable. Thus Biblical hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world which would be the real “Kingdom of God.”

This seemed at last to be the great and realistic hope that man needs. It was capable of galvanizing — for a time — all man's energies. The great objective seemed worthy of full commitment. In the course of time, however, it has become clear that this hope is constantly receding. Above all it has become apparent that this may be a hope for a future generation, but not for me.

In the 1960s, freedom was redefined in Western cultures as the impulse to instantly cash in on every opportunity for pleasure, gain, and reward, with increasing skepticism about “the afterlife” providing an added rationale. The result was a growing but undiagnosed collective dissatisfaction — amounting to collective alienation — camouflaged by the creation of a “freedom escalator” on which previously unrecognized freedoms achieved in turn their fifteen minutes of fame.

The “boomers” (dread word, especially when it seems to include you) having already ceased to believe, then ceased to forgo —indeed repudiated that very idea —and all generations that followed implicitly acquiesced in their cultural leadership.

Since then we have been constructing cultures in which the religious dimension — that certain sense of a place beyond the beyond — is broken off from the collective consciousness, and can be preserved within the individual consciousness only with the greatest attention. Life goes on, but largely by dint of the false infinities, which have become all-important. With God eclipsed in culture, even the best-adjusted souls need to utilise as stepping stones the tiny pleasures that enliven an otherwise nondescript, meaningless-seeming day.

My book Beyond Consolation, published a decade ago, was inspired by the death of a colleague, Nuala O’Faolain, at my then newspaper, The Irish Times, following a short illness with cancer. An atheist, she went on radio soon after she received the terminal diagnosis to speak about her grief and despair.

In one section of the interview, she described how, after hearing the news, she had returned alone to her beloved Paris to revisit, one last time, “some of the joy of living.” She booked a room in a swanky hotel and next morning went out in search of a café. She described buying a coffee and tartine, sitting down and thinking, “Well, this is it. I love this.” She adored being there with her copy of the International Herald Tribune and her thick, crusty slice of bread and milky coffee. “And it worked great for half an hour. But then I walked too far and fell down and stuff and that didn’t work out too well.”

The devil is in the adjectives: “crusty,” “milky,” “International": all words denoting freedom, albeit of an ephemeral, fragile kind. Yet we instantly recognize the explosion of pure joy that such an evocation can release. The joy of being idle in a foreign country on a sunny morning in a trapped moment of pure, simple pleasure — a false infinity as real as anything earthly as long as it lasts, but here exposed in the dread light of imminent death.

This is so sad: That Nuala did not come to see the “little infinities” as gifts, or signs, from somewhere beyond. These things, the religious journey brings us to see, resonate only because there is beyond them the promise of something infinitely greater.

Coronavirus lockdown has brought us to a moment when, many of our “little infinities” withdrawn, we get to face the horizon with an enhanced chance of seeing that all joys, small and great, come from the same place.

It has been remarked already how strange it is that COVID-19 hit the West at the start of Lent. But I wonder if there was before, across the whole of Western civilisation, a time when the access to both the churches of God and most of the cathedrals of Mammon were blocked at one and the same time.

Not only are our churches closed, but so too are our shopping malls, gyms, and bars, the places to which Western populations have in recent years repaired to pursue the false-infinite joys that, if pursued obsessively, cause a short-circuit of the Infinite, Eternal, True connection.

Now, with the malls and pubs shuttered, we must make contact with infinities of whatever kind without assistance from middlemen. Although even in lockdown, there are still the off-mainstream diversionary delights on offer from Amazon and YouTube, we are mostly restricted to our contemplations, prayers and meditations, or else those lower-cased varieties of “infinity” capable of being accessed at home with a bottle opener, modem or remote control. It is hard, sometimes, to avoid the thought that this situation is the ambiguous gift of some mischievous, supernatural imagination, and not necessarily an evil one.

Secular materialism imposes pressure on all its subjects to foreshorten their horizons, to draw their desires closer to themselves so that they no longer stretch out toward an infinite Otherness.

In today’s Germany, or Spain or Italy or France or Ireland, it is almost pointless to speak even to the general population about the hope that manifests in Christianity. Even the elderly are cast adrift before a destination that surges towards them, and in this transfixed situation they busy themselves with what they can settle for: those “little false infinities” that make a day seem to be worth living — the trip to the secondhand bookstore to pick up a bargain, the cup of coffee afterward in the café across the road, the stroll in the park listening to a podcast on earphones, meeting an old friend at the gate and luxuriating in another cuppa, and so forth.

It is strange, in an age of ceaseless talk about mental illness, that the authorities of so many countries have so blithely sentenced the elderly, cast adrift on a cultural rock of secular nihilism, to deprivation of these small pleasures — as though, just as they have forgotten about the indispensability of God, they have now forgotten about the indispensability of what replaced him.

But perhaps, before the months of lockdown become a barely credible half-memory, we may find time to meditate on an experience that, properly observed, may allow us to look more usefully into our driving mechanisms, and comprehend more precisely the nature of our tick-tocking.

Temporarily deprived of so many of our “little infinities,” perhaps we will see that these transient joys are just stepping stones on the road to lasting joys. Let us hope that, when they rediscover their courage, Church leaders will grasp the opportunity offered to remind their congregations of the true meanings of earthly moments of happiness, and direct them thereby to the deepest nature of reality.

Sandro Magister underscores the extraordinary self-centeredness and total disregard for God on the part of Bergoglio in all of his pronouncements and all the 'Laudato si' celebrations he has lined up for the year.

In the celebratory year for 'Laudato Si',
party time for everyone,except for 'My Lord'

May 25, 2020

In these times of global shortages, those who hold the purse strings in the Vatican - the Jesuit Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, prefects respectively of the Secretariat for the Economy and of the Council for the Economy - have issued urgent calls to the heads of the Roman Curia to be “sober” and to “cut the costs of conferences, travel abroad, external consultancy.”

But the celebrations for Laudato Si’ are evidently an exception. Yesterday, Sunday May 24, was the fifth birthday of the signing of the encyclical, and a whole jubilee year was announced to celebrate it, with a seemingly endless program.

To begin with, there has already been a prologue, “Laudato Si’ Week”, launched on May 16 with a video message from Pope Francis amid evocative images of zebras, camels and savannas, and crowned on Sunday the 24th with the common recitation throughout the world, at noon according to local time, of a prayer composed at the Vatican for the occasion, so that we may all “know how to listen and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Among those who took part in the preparatory week - with a multiplicity of local initiatives - the United States came in first with 2,316 registrations, followed in the ranking by Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and then other nations, with minor numbers, with China dead last with just one signup.

But there is more in store for them. Because at the end of the summer they will meet together in the “Season of Creation,” as in years past to be observed from September 1, World Day ofPprayer for Creation, to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, with the commitment to invent and put into practice over the span of those days acts of “reparation of our relationships with others and with all creation.”

This is an ecumenical initiative launched not only by Pope Francis but jointly by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and by the outgoing secretary general of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, the Lutheran Olav Fyscke Tveit.

In the middle of the 2019 edition of the “Season of Creation,” a global climate strike made headlines on Sept. 20, with students from all over the world skipping school and with Greta Thunberg in the starring role. [Wikipedia says the strike organizers claimed 4 million participated worldwide, with 1.2 million from Germany alone. That's a minuscule percentage of the worldwide student population!]The strike is expected to have an encore this year.

But before the “Season of Creation” arrives, The Vatican has scheduled two initiatives of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson.

The first, on June 18, will consist of a web seminar (webinar) - - with experts from all over the world, called to formulate “assessments” and plan “future journeys” inspired by Laudato Si’.

The second will be the publication of an “Inter-Dicasterial Text with Operational Guidelines” as a practical follow-up to the encyclical.

Other webinars unspecified in number and content have also been announced for the autumn, these too organized by Turkson's dicastery.

Not to mention the round table - not via the web but with physical presences - that the Vatican will organize at the end of January in Davos, during the World Economic Forum that brings the who’s who of world powers together every year in that Swiss town.

At the beginning of the spring of 2021, a meeting is also on the agenda - for now only at the “proposal” stage - among leaders of the various religions, also under the auspices of Laudato Si’ and naturally with the pope.

All of it resulting in the concluding triduum, between May 20 and 22 of 2021, for this 'jubilee year', during which an international conference will be held at the Vatican and a “Multi-Year Action Platform” inspired by the encyclical will be launched.

The final triduum will be gladdened with the voices and sounds of the “Living Chapel” created by Julian Revie in partnership with the United Nations and the Global Catholic Climate Movement, with a choir of children from disadvantaged areas of the world, with the songs of birds recorded in forests devastated by man, with sounds from oil barrels and other recycled materials, and with texts by Saint Francis and by the pope who took his name.

Not only that. The Vatican has announced that it will
- support the goal of the “Living Chapel” to “create natural gardens and sacred spaces” inspired by “Laudato Si’”;
- promote the creation of a documentary film and an “immersive show” on the encyclical;
- join the battle against polluting plastic materials;
- upport the organization “Laudato Tree” in planting one million new trees every year in the arid regions of Africa; and
- launch on social media the first worldwide competition on reinterpreting the Bible in the light of “Laudato Si’.

In addition, the Holy See will put to work a number of volunteer dioceses, parishes, families, schools, farms, etc in “a 7-year journey of integral ecology in the spirit of Laudato Si’,” with the aim of doubling the number of those engaged in it every year and so mobilizing “a critical mass needed for radical societal transformation invoked by Pope Francis.”

To individuals who distinguish themselves through their efforts in the various areas of activity, starting in 2021 the Vatican will assign a dozen Laudato Si’ awards.

But that's not all. On the agenda of the celebratory year announced a few days ago, two separate events which were initially scheduled for this spring but then postponed until the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are two events in which Pope Francis has invested a great deal, but which also reveal the most vulnerable point of his pontificate.

The first will be held on October 15 at the Vatican and is entitled “Reinventing the Educational Global Compact.”

It comes as no surprise that a pope like Jorge Mario Bergoglio would take so much to heart the education and training of the new generations, being a member of the Society of Jesus, which has been,for centuries, a great educator of ruling classes.

But what is striking is the total absence in his educational project of any Christian specificity.

In the video message with which Francis launched the initiative there is not the slightest verbal trace of God, Jesus, or the Church. The dominant formula is “new humanism,” with its accessories of “common home,” “universal solidarity,” “fraternity,” “convergence,” “welcome”… And the religions? These too lumped together and neutralized in an indistinct dialogue.

The novelty of this initiative of Francis consists precisely in the fact that it is the first time - in the history of the Church - that a pope has made his own and placed himself at the helm of a worldwide educational pact so radically secularized.

The second event, to be convened November 21 in Assisi, has the title “The Economy of Francesco” (the saint, not the pope who bears his name) and has as its objective nothing less than “a pact to change the current economy of world.”

It will be “a festival of the economy of young people with the pope, a middle way between Greta Thunberg and the powerful of the earth,” according to the announcement by the main organizer, economist Luigino Bruni, a member of the Focolare movement and a consultant for the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

Among the figures who have already confirmed their presence will be the Malthusian economist Jeffrey Sachs, in this pontificate an inevitable guest of every Vatican event concerning the economy and ecology; Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, who was Bergoglio’s personal guest at the synod for the Amazon; and the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, as highly praised among the “popular movements” dear to the pope (she participated in their third world gathering) as she has been discredited by the scientific community worthy of the name.

Curiously, Vandana Shiva and Carlo Petrini were a few years ahead of their time in the condemnation of the sin of “ecocide” that Francis has said he wants to introduce into the catechism. In fact, in October of 2016, the two of them staged a symbolic trial in Holland, at the Hague, in which they convicted the international biochemical company Monsanto, in absentia, for 'ecocide'.
In this other initiative of Pope Francis as well there is a glaring absence of any specifically Christian feature, replaced by a generic alignment with the dominant agnostic ideology of environmentalism, pacifism, and individual rights.

It’s all happening as if the invocation Laudato si’ from the canticle of Saint Francis had been purged of what comes next: “my Lord.” [Most of the verses in the saint's Canticle of Creatures start with 'Laudato si, mi Signore.." ("Be praised, my Lord...")].

On the same subject, the usual common-sense reaction of Padre Jorge Gonzalez on his blog...

A year for ‘Laudato si’
(I’d love to be an ostrich)

Translated from

Well! One more ‘incident’. I feel like paying attention to less ‘important’ things, perhaps because we don’t know, we don’t want to, we don’t dare to, ‘they’ won’t let us, or we cannot – best not to get started on why not – dedicate ourselves to things that I think are of extraordinary importance to the Church.

To dedicate an entire year to something, one would imagine it is because the 'thing’ is of extraordinary importance and gravity, and that it is almost a question of life and death that the whole world be made conscious of a reality that it is essential to transform. It’s another thing when, as the Church, we have nothing more urgent to think about than ecology as a whole.

Quite the contrary. Not to go very far, Rafaela and with her, Joaquina and all the good people of Braojos, Gascones and La Serna [three mountain villages near Madrid of which Fr. Gonzalez is now parish priest, or cura, having been reassigned from the more central Madrid parishes he had served for 30 years] do take care of the environment, they recycle and sort their wastes religiously – chimney ashes, cardboard, plastic, glassware, batteries, organic wastes. Practically every announcement tells us what is ecological, energy-saving, respecting the environment. The laws say so. We have forest agents who take care of our surroundings, and a unit from the Guardia Civil for the same thing. And there’s the UN and who knows how many other institutions preaching about the ecology all the time.

So I don’t think that our parishes and communities – with probably a rare exception – could be branded as ‘tree killers’, terrorists against nature, totally alien from the subject. On the contrary.

That is why it seems to me we do not need a year to keep insisting on this to us. Of course, there is always room to do better, but this is a concern that is faring more than well, with practically all of mankind aware of it, including the Church, of course. To dedicate an entire year to ecological concerns is simply to deploy efforts that could be better directed to other matters.

As a servant, speaking from the limited viewpoint of the three rural villages in my care, I will be using the year much better in any of three other directions.

Possibly the most urgent would be to dedicate the year to Veritatis splendor. I say this because if there is anything that has seeped to our very marrow about the state of the Church today, it is moral relativism, a consequence of doctrinal relativism, under which we have gone from being followers of Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life, to followers of Pilate – ‘And what is truth?’

We see it every day. Depending on your confessor, your spiritual director, your preacher, things can be black, white, green or fuchsia, or they can simply ‘not be’, or ‘seem to be’, or ‘perhaps are’ (what they seem to be). This goes back to ‘the Church' which, far from putting an end to it, encourages and accepts it. I wrote once that to find interpretations from bishops’ conferences that are altogether divergent from Christian morality is simply desolating.

The second possibility for which I would like a year dedicated is the defense of the unborn. According to official data, Spain now has some 100,000 abortions a year. In the world more than 55 million. But this is hardly spoken about in the Church, such that many Catholics, while not fully justifying abortion, exculpate it. Yet the sin of abortion is serious enough to merit excommunication. Is that not worth a year of study, reflection, preaching and consciousness raising?

My third suggestion would be to dedicate a year to the pastoral care and morality of the family. In Spain, the number of marriages has been decreasing every year. In 1981, there were 5.3 matrimonies per 1,000 inhabitants. Now, it is hardly 3 per thousand, of which only 20% are church marriages. Spain has gone from a fertility rate of 14.1 children per 1000 inhabitants in 1981 to hardly 9 today. Another interesting fact is that 40% of Spanish children today are born out of wedlock. Another: 6 out of every 10 marriages in Spain today ends in a break-up.

I could suggest more possibilities. But I leave it to the readers.

But I say that a Church comfortably ‘installed’ in relativism, which loses its members like water down the drain, in a world that yearly suffers millions of assassinations in their mother’s wombs, and in which the family, supposed to be the domestic church, is submerged in utmost crisis. To dedicate a year to ecology seems to me a form of fooling us.

Having said this, I will speak to Rafaela [the cura's quintessential parishioner] about what we can do.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2020 2:57 AM]
5/26/2020 10:18 PM
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Welcome back!
Dear dear Teresa!
It’s wonderful to see you posting here. When you get a minute can you send me an email ( my regular one- not via this forum). Much love,
Aqua xoxo
6/1/2020 7:47 PM
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So happy to see you again!
Dear Teresa,
Have missed you so much and have been worried about you.
I hope this posts OK, I have forgotten how this Forum works.
I think my name used to be Music of Lorien.
So happy you are OK.

Thank you both to Aqua and Remantharum (I do remember Spirit of Lorien from both the Benedict XVI Fan Club and the Papa Benedetto Forum). I'm still trying to manage my time here in Stockton, where I have a completely different job description and therefore a new work rhythm.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/3/2020 9:22 PM]
6/3/2020 9:00 PM
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Just acquired this book on Kindle, so I hope to be able to record my impressions, pertinent informal translations, as I go along. It is, of course, most exciting that the book is
a bestseller in Germany, for all that the German CINO(Catholics in name only) have always abominated him. Obviously, not a few German-speaking readers think enough of
Benedict XVI to plunk down $38 for a 1200-page book that would by no means be light and easy reading. Meanwhile, here is Edward Pentin's interview with author Peter
Seewald to provide more context for his new biography.

Peter Seewald’s
spiritual and historical journey’
with the Pope Emeritus

by Edward Pentin

May 28. 2020

In writing his definitive and monumental new work on Benedict XVI, biographer Peter Seewald discovered “countless” new elements to the Pope Emeritus’s life and character, including that his role in the Second Vatican Council was “not marginal but enormously significant.”

In this May 21 email interview with the Register, Seewald explains how the book, Benedict XVI: The Biography — running 1,184 pages in the German version — juxtaposes Joseph Ratzinger’s life and teaching with the dramatic and stirring events of the 20th century.

He also explains the genesis of the book, as well as Benedict’s relationship with Francis, the advice Benedict offers for dealing with the crisis of faith in the Church and the world today, and why Benedict decided to write a spiritual testament to be published after his death. Seewald also provides an update on how Benedict is faring during this time of pandemic.

The English edition of the first volume of Benedict XVI: The Biography will be published in November by Bloomsbury Continuum.

Why did you decide to write this book? How did it come about?
I sort of saw it as my job. Admittedly, there is now a wealth of books about Benedict XVI, such as the meritorious work of the Italian theologian Elio Guerriero. But there was none that showed Ratzinger’s biography and his teaching in connection with historical events, and that, above all, tries to tell the life, work and person of the German Pope in such an exciting way, as it corresponds to this life, in all its drama and its importance for the history of the Church and the world. To this end, I carried out extensive research, analyzed archives and conducted conversations with about 100 contemporary witnesses. Last but not least, Pope Benedict made himself available to me for this project in countless meetings.

It is not only about the past, but also about the future. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, therefore called my book a “brilliant pitch,” which connects the path of a scholar with the core question of what is important in the Church of today.

The book contains many new interviews with the Pope Emeritus. When did these take place?
I began them during the year 2012, when Pope Benedict was still in office. We continued the interviews until 2018, most recently in his small monastery in the Vatican Gardens.

You’ve known Benedict for many years, but when you wrote this book and from the interviews you had with the Pope Emeritus, what did you learn about him that you did not know before?
Oh, countless things. The life of Joseph Ratzinger is the biography of a century. One had always thought that the rise of the former professor of theology was one smooth progression, a career without any breaks. But there are countless ups and downs, with dramas that led to the brink of failure.

There were the experiences during the Nazi era, when it was said that after the “Final Victory” [of the Nazis], Catholic priests would either be banned or end up in concentration camps. As a student, he had fallen in love with a girl — a story that made his decision to enter priestly life an existential one. A critical essay almost cost him an appointment to a faculty chair at the end of the 1950s. In Bonn, on the other hand, he was feted as a new star of theology and, at the same time, considered to perhaps be a dangerous modernist or even a Freemason.

His proximity to uncomfortable, independent-thinking personalities is striking. I was also unaware that Ratzinger’s role in the [Second Vatican] Council is not marginal but enormously significant. He himself always played it down. But alongside Cardinal [Josef] Frings, he was basically the definitive Vatican spin doctor. Pure legend, however, is the story of his “trauma” during the student revolt in Tübingen [in 1968], or the story of his turn from revolutionary to reactionary brakeman. I have examined all these things thoroughly, including the so-called scandals, such as the [former Society of St. Pius X bishop Richard] Williamson affair or “Vatileaks,” and come to quite different conclusions than those [voices] who merely reiterate stereotypes.

Ratzinger is not without fault. Nor did he get everything right when he was pontiff. But it is not by accident that he is considered worldwide as one of the great thinkers of our time. His work is important, and his life exciting, so it is always worthwhile to study him.

In addition, the biography, with its contemporary historical background, is not only a spiritual and historical journey through an exciting and dramatic century; it also shows the lessons to be drawn from all those decades and the cutting-edge answers these provide to the current faith and Church crisis in the West.

According to what we already know from the contents of your book, Benedict says that modern society is in the process of “socially excommunicating” those who disagree with abortion or the same-sex agenda that he attributes to the spirit of the Antichrist. What does he advise believers to do in the face of these threats?
Pray and work. Just stand firm. Do not be infected by relativism, and do not despair — for, in the end, Christ will always be the victor. Society is dependent on the streams that nourish it through religion. We see from the cruel experiences of the 20th century what would be threatened if the Christian worldview and Christian ethics were to be completely banned from public debate.

At the same time, Ratzinger never had any illusions about the fundamental contradiction between secular society and the thought and life of Christians. He saw early on the situation of a diminishing community of faith coming closer. In his 1958 work The New Pagans and the Church, he says:

“In the long run, the Church cannot avoid the need to get rid of, part by part, the appearance of her identity with the world and once again to become what she is: the community of the faithful.”

Ratzinger saw in God's “path of salvation” a Church of the minority. That means a church of relatively few confessed faithful, who are then charged with representing the many. Only when the Church ceases to be “a cheap, foregone conclusion, only when she begins again to show herself as she really is,” he admonished, “will she be able to again reach the ear of the new Gentiles with her message.”

You mention that Benedict has written a spiritual testament to be published after his death. Why did he feel the need to write it, and do you have a general idea of what it might contain?
At first, the Pope Emeritus did not want to write a spiritual testament, but he has now come to think differently about it. I think that Benedict XVI wants to serve his Church and society once again with words that go beyond time. There is a good tradition in these posthumous papal texts. We think of the beautiful testament of Paul VI. I am not a clairvoyant, but I can imagine that in Benedict’s paper, he expresses concern for the future of the faith, but at the same time helps to strengthen people in troubled times, and not only the faithful.

You mention that relations between Benedict and Pope Francis are good, but there are some Catholics who wish that Benedict had not resigned, who contend that he would never agree with some of the decisions of this pontificate. What do you say to this view?
The former and the current pope have different temperaments, different charismas, and they each have their own way of exercising the office. We see from the popes of previous centuries that a more intellectual pontiff is usually followed by a more emotional one. That was never a disadvantage. Undoubtedly, there can be different views between Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. But that does not matter. The pope is the pope.

Ratzinger promised obedience to his successor before he even knew who would follow in his footsteps, and he has been scrupulously careful all these years to first of all ensure that no accusation of interference could arise. Many of the later questions I asked him, for example, he refused to answer. One answer, he said, would “inevitably constitute interference in the work of the present Pope. Anything that goes in that direction I must, and wish to, avoid.” Moreover, in my book he literally says: “The personal friendship with Pope Francis has not only remained, but has grown.”

Catholics who are disappointed with the current pontificate argue that Benedict remains pope. Is this question addressed in the book, and perhaps the concerns these people have that he seems to be promoting the image of “two popes” by retaining some of the trappings of the papacy?
As I said before, the pope is the pope. There is no other pope besides him, at least not in our time.

Talk of Ratzinger as a “shadow pope” is as nonsensical as the fairy tale that Bergoglio is hounded by the “wolves” in the Vatican. As the first really reigning pope in history who resigned his office, Ratzinger had to establish a new tradition in the Catholic Church, so to speak. Nobody knew what a resigned pope should call himself, how he should dress and which things he should or should not do after his resignation.

On the one hand, Benedict XVI is emeritus, as there are emeritus bishops; but on the other hand, as a former pope, he is different from ordinary bishops. This includes the fact that he removed the insignia of a reigning pope, but continues to wear white. I do not believe that people are so simple-minded that they do not know who is the incumbent pope and who is not. If Francis also resigns and Benedict XVI is still alive, there will even be three living popes, but only one who sits as vicarius Christi on the chair of Peter.

Does the book offer a more complete picture of Benedict’s reasons for his resignation, and if so, how?
The complete circumstances of his resignation are explained in detail in my biography. In addition, Benedict XVI once again takes a clear position on this. I think that with it, really, all has been said. Basically, this is also a very simple story. It only seems so mysterious because certain people don’t get tired of always spinning some secrets.

Anyway, the whole act was a resignation with an announcement. It had nothing to do with “Vatileaks,” as is still claimed, nor with blackmail or anything else. Like the popes before him, Benedict XVI, soon after his election, had signed a resignation declaration in case he could no longer exercise his office due to a serious illness, such as dementia.

In our interview book Light of the World, he already explained in 2010 that a pope not only has the right but sometimes also the duty to resign from office if he is physically and/or psychologically no longer able to really exercise it. John Paul II is a special case here. He had a charism of his own, and his ordeal, which was necessary to bring new strength to the Church, cannot be repeated. In the last years of Wojtyla’s life, however, a vacuum was created, which was not without problems.

Benedict XVI saw for himself another vocation. He was no longer a young man when he was elected into office. In the many decades before [his election] he also never spared himself, fighting as a front-line defender of the faith. During his pontificate, which lasted, after all, eight years, he had completely exhausted himself. The fact that he, at his old age and with health handicaps, of which the public had no idea, then also wrote a trilogy on Jesus almost bordered on the superhuman.

In the end, he was powerless and saw the necessity of giving the shepherd’s crozier to younger, fresher hands. Above all, he did not want to deprive his potential successor of the chance of starting his office with the thrust of the World Youth Day of Rio de Janeiro, as he himself began his pontificate with World Youth Day in Cologne.

Benedict XVI knew what he was getting into with his act of resignation. He thought through this step for many months and suffered through it in prayer. One can believe him when he says that he is at peace with it, especially with his Lord, to whom alone he is ultimately responsible.

Critics might say that the book is another breach of the oath that he swore to himself to remain hidden from the world, in silent prayer. Why do you think he agreed to speak not only in this book, but also already in the Last Testament and in sporadic statements and essays?
Stop — my biography is not Pope Benedict’s publication, but the work of a journalist. And Last Testament contains interviews that had already begun in 2012 within the framework of my work for the biography — that is, still during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. Ratzinger originally did not want them to be published in a separate work. But I was able to convince him to publish the work when speculation about his resignation would not be silenced. However, he made the publication of the book dependent on the approval of Pope Francis, who also gave it willingly.

Moreover, Benedict did not take a vow of silence when he resigned. His last words as acting pontiff were: “I wish to continue to work, with my heart, with my love, with my prayer, with my thoughts, with all my spiritual forces, for the common good, for the good of the Church and of humanity.”

How is Benedict doing these days, especially these days of quarantine? Are you in regular contact with him?
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, his Mater Ecclesiae residence has been subject to the general regulations for Italy. This meant for the first time: Nobody goes out; nobody comes in. Physically, the pope emeritus is now very frail. His voice has become so weak that one can hardly understand him. Mentally, however, he is still fit. He still carries out an extensive correspondence, and his letters are, as always, intellectually stimulating and refined. I only see him occasionally.

Pope Benedict has answered all sorts of questions from me over the years, and, of course, I still have some questions that I would like to ask. But at some stage, it’s enough. I am glad that the many encounters were possible and look with gratitude on our interviews, which help to correct misconceptions of Benedict XVI and give many people the opportunity to penetrate more deeply into the Christian faith through the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, or to discover Christ in a completely new way.

Meanwhile, here is a German journalist's observations - sketchy and seemingly at random - about the Seewald biography, in which he does cite some snippets from the book.

Benedict XVI’s way to God
A note about Peter Seewald's
'Benedikt XVI: Ein Leben'

By Thorsten Paprotny
Translated from

May 16,2020

Do you remember a bestseller in 1996, Salt of the Earth? It was published almost 25 years ago by journalist Peter Seewald – once a quarrelsome, later renegade agnostic, who returned to the Church and has since become a professing, deeply religious Catholic - at a time when interview books were not at all as ‘in’ as they have since become.

Seewald has undertaken many spiritual journeys with the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith who was labelled in Germany as the Panzerkardinal. And the fruits of his conversations with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger all became bestsellers.

At the time, many readers were particularly touched by the fact that the future Pope answered the question "How many ways are there to God?" quite simply: "As many as there are people." I came across this concept later, expressed in other words, for example by the Mariannhill Missionary priest Father Adalbert Ludwig Balling, who was particularly popular in Bavaria and widely read by simple-believing, pious Catholics – including the cardinal’s sister Maria Ratzinger.

Cardinal Ratzinger obviously had not specially thought out his answer but had simply stated what he always thought, using these words to express his trust in God and not to spell out any new mission ‘strategy’.

Peter Seewald succeeded like no other in conveying the personality and theology of Joseph Ratzinger in an understandable, easily accessible manner to the German-speaking world. More interview books followed [two more with the cardinal, one when Joseph Ratzinger was already Pope, and one after his resignation].

Now, Seewald’s long-awaited biography of Benedict XVI has been published, reverberations in the media that provide deep ‘insights’ which must be indulged by whoever wishes to deal with the book, which will survive the debates it is causing. Some perceptions and comments are meaningful, but what emerges more prominently are the ‘profiles’ of the commentators who range from critical to outraged. Perhaps no one should be surprised. [i.e., No one familiar with media targeting of Joseph Ratzinger in the past 50 years!]

The Christian faith is a religion ‘of the book’, but it is a story of relationships. For Peter Seewald, meeting Jospeh Ratzinger was extraordinarily important, formative, groundbreaking. Our faith thrives in relationships, and grows and matures through encounters with persons and with books. The image that we often have of the Church and theology, is sometimes sharply contoured. And it seems to me that while the public debates on the new biography [and on Joseph Ratinger/Benedict XVI] are current, they are perhaps not important in the whole picture.

Where can we hear God’s voice? What spaces are open for pilgrims of faith who only want to pray and who only seek protection and refuge? Peter Seewald’s supremely knowledgeable biography of Benedict XVI shows that the Church has offered and offers such a home. Not even surprising statements from within the Church herself, then as well as now, can detract from that.

Seewald does not hide the fact that, for example, the Freising bishops’ conference, though it did not give up its ideological reservations against the Nazis, said defensively in a 1933 statement: “Membership in the NSDAP [formal acronym designating the National Socialist Party] or any of its structures… no longer constitute a violation of Church law”.

[In contrast], the Catholic faithful often kept a clear eye. Even as the Church was preaching eschatological hope within, it was the secular spirit of Nazism that reigned outside the door. Even as a child, Joseph Ratzinge already knew that the Ratzinger family would only follow and be faithful to no one else but Jesus Christ and his Church.

All his life, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has spoken of the way with God and the way to God, through his quiet example, through the kindness, goodness and open-mindedness of the Catholic world that became his own, with humor as well as with great seriousness. Take up a copy of Seewald’s book if you want to know more of the Emeritus Pope’s life.

The stories of his childhood are particularly told lovingly. ”It is not known that he ever took part in a scuffle or a snowball fight. Nor in the wrangling of kids who would run down to the piers to lie on their belly to watch the fish during recess.”

There is the touching story of the teddy bear that the three-year-old Joseph absolutely wanted to own and which has accompanied him all his life, up to the Vatican. Seewald notes: “It [the toy] ended up on a chair in the bedroom of the papal apartment”. Even today, the almost 90-year-old toy must certainly be in the Emeritus Pope’s retirement home.

The youngest son of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger lived a somewhat ‘hidden’ life, unlike what it would be eventually: “He hardly had any playmates [other than brother Georg and sister Maria]. After school, children in rural areas mostly become occupied in farm and field work. Joseph indulged his romantic streak, preferring to pick flowers, write poems on nature and Christmas, and liked being with farm animals… Learning was easy for him, (though) he didn’t like school as much. He experienced physical education as a gruesome plague, and everything military was alien to him. He loved reading, mostly narratives, and especially the novels of Herman Hesse. Later, with Augustine, he was enthusiastic…”

“Joseph Ratzinger always lived modestly, at home, in Pentling [the only house he ever owned, located in a suburb of Regensburg] and elsewhere. When, after he was elected pope by a large majority, he first showed himself to the faithful on St. Peter’s Loggia of Benediction, his old sweater was clearly visible under the new cassoc.k”

Seewald recalls that Lufthansa once mocked the cardinal's battered suitcase as "damaging to business”. On the other hand, former students and companions report that, as a theology professor, whenever he heard about a student or employee's financial hardship, he would quietly say to them: "Write your account number on a slip of paper."

Joseph Ratzinger’s love for the Church, Seewald says, appeared to be ‘innate’. Franz Niegel, one of his students at the Freising seminary [his first teaching position], noted about him: “With the young theologian, a new sound had come into the world, at least into the world of Freising… He brought things that had never been heard before. The time was already very musty, and then someone comes and can tell you the message anew. We paid attention to the content of what he said. A new door has opened for us. Until then there was only the traditional view, and he was able to make things shine anew."

Theologically he was regarded as “left-wing Catholic”, (but) was free from professorial attitudes and was an attentive listener when students visited him or, by correspondence, as companions in faith, when they sent him troubled questions. And he would continue to do even as cardinal and pope, “as I myself would always thankfully experience with him,” Seewald notes. “How gladly Joseph Ratzinger would have had more time for theological studies in his old age. But the Lord needed him as Pope of the universal Church. Today he carries us all in prayer – even as we, too, pray for our dear Father Benedict in the Vatican”.

With his valuable book, which is important in every respect, Peter Seewald has given us valuable insights into the life of Joseph Ratzinger. We should be very grateful to him for this, and in faithfulness to God, like Benedict XVI to this day, remain connected to the Lord's Church. So we belong together as sisters and brothers in faith, safe in the great family of God, which encloses all times and places, and connects heaven and earth. How unspeakably beautiful it is to be Roman Catholic!
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/4/2020 3:42 AM]
6/4/2020 3:25 AM
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I don't necessarily share Maurizio Blondet's view that the Coronavirus pandemic was an overhyped and massive worldwide ploy by well-funded
elements pushing for a one-world government under the UN, if only because the human and economic toll it has taken are much too real to be
cheapened by such skepticism. However, it is a viewpoint shared by many serious Italian commentators.

I am much more convinced that China caused the pandemic by covering up the truth of the epidemic for weeks after it first struck Wuhan,
then callously allowed tens of thousands of Chinese who had come home to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year celebrations to return to their
adopted countries while preventing any travel form Wuhan to other parts of China. (Little noted by American commentators is that Italy's
northern Lombardy region, its industrial center, was first and hardest hit in Italy because it has about 200,000 Chinese workers. If even
only 10,000 of them - and many Chinese are still tradition-bound despite Communism - went home for the Chinese New Year, and of those,
only a few hundred went to Wuhan province, that would have been more than enough to spread the virus they would conceivably have borne
back from China.)

In any case, the following item from Blondet's blog is interesting for what it reveals about a recent Lancet article about Covid-19 and
hydroxychloroquine. he prestigious British medical journal had to issue a formal statement just one week after it had published the article,
that it was reviewing the article and the methodology employed by the study, in response to protests from many scientific experts. Why it
passed its peer review board, to begin with, raises serious questions about the integrity of Lancet and many so-called scientific journals
even more, following the decades that these journals have been 'validating' through publication the most tendentious, anti-scientific
and often outright fact-defying reports on climate change and global warming. And how could Lancet fail to vet the authors of the study and
their dubious data-gatherer?

Who pays for this enormous fraud
and all its consequences?

by Maurizio Blondet
Translated from

June 1, 2020

One week! All it took was one week, and the so-called study published by Lancet [a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal in the UK, one of the oldest well-reputed medical publications in English] – which your chronicler had immediately called ‘embarrassing’ – claiming that hydrochhloroquine kills Covid-19 patients, is coming down in flames.

The study had claimed to have looked at the clinical charts of more than 96,000 Covid-19 patients 'in hundreds of hospitals around the world' (although 70% of the hospitals are in the USA). The Australian Department of Health, noting that the number of Australian Covid deaths in the report was much higher than their own records, sought clarification from the 5 Australian hospitals cited by Lancet. The hospitals were flummoxed – they had never been contacted by Surgisphere, the ‘mysterious’ start-up cited as having gathered the data (96,000 charts!), nor had they even heard of it before.

When asked to provide the list of all the hospitals from which they claimed to have gathered the data, Surgisphere refused to do so.

Medical and epidemiologic experts were astounded at the fact that the ‘study’ indicated a mortality of 16-24% among Covid patients treated with hydroxychloroquine compared to only 9% in controls. “That’s an enormous number! How is it none of us were ever aware of this?” One expert said ironically, “There are not so many medications that efficient at killing patients!”

[Several estimates have suggested that the risk of dying, for those infected with Covid-19 and showing its flu-like symptoms, is around 1 or 2 percent. Elderly adults have a considerably higher risk of both becoming infected and dying, as do people with compromised immune systems. The estimates might change as new data arrive, but the range of 1 to 2 percent for fatalities among the symptomatic seems to be the consensus for now. The overall fatality rate for people infected with Covid-19 will be lower — possibly much lower — when we know how many people are infected but asymptomatic.]

Even the fact that the paper only had 4 authors seemed strange. With 96,000 study subjects from around the world, the study should have had at least half a page of acknowledgments and gratitude to collaborators around the world.

Yet hour by hour, something worse is being found out. Surgisphere, which claims to have carried out the work of gathering the charts and digitalizing their data, appears to have been legally liquidated (compulsory administrative liquidation’ is the legal term) in Sept 2015, as proven by the ff document:

Surgisphere was created on March 1, 2007, by Dr. Sapan Desai, who is listed as one of the four authors of the Lancet study. The enterprise was supposed to specialize in ‘big data’ and the use of artfiicial intelligence in the analysis of data. Another corporation under Desai’s name, Surgisphere Corporation, was established on June 28, 20112 then dissolved in Jan 2016. It appears that corporations with the same name have been created and cancelled in various states for lack of accountability.

As for Desai, he has no other scientific publication to his name except a few plagiarisms and has been dismissed by one patient as “More a businessman than a doctor – very bad experience”. In short, a crook.

What to say about the first author of the Lancet study? Mandeep R. Mehra is a specialist in vascular surgery. Being a professor at Harvard Medical School, his name gave some ‘luster’ to the Lancet study. Interviewed by France Soir, Mehra confirmed ‘the extreme danger posed by hydroxychloroquine toCOvid-19 patients, and claimed to have started active data collection of the use of HCG in the treatment of COViD-19 since December 2019”. [1) COVid-19 was not formally identified till February 11, 2020. 2) HCQ to treat Covid-19 obviously started later than that.] So it appears that he, too, is dishonest.]

The study itself is riddled with falsifications. The Guardian has published a story on the Lancet article that the rest of the media appeared to ignore.
[The Guardian reported on June 2:

WHO resumed use of HCQ after The Lancet, which published a study based on data provided by Surgisphere, declared that it was reviewing the data and methods of the study which had come in for criticism by a large number of experts.

“We are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention. We will update this notice as soon as we have further information,” said a statement issued by The Lancet on Wednesday…

At a press conference on Wednesday, June 3, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for Covid patients taking it.]

But doubts on the credibility of the Lancet study have been expressed even by the New York Times, considering that the scandal would soon be international despite the efforts of the mainstream media to ignore it. Lancetgate, in effect.

There is now concrete suspicion that the authors were paid by some entity to organize this falsehood. And that even Lancet was paid to publish the study. Must have been really big bucks, if the journal was willing to put all its prestige in play with this fraud.

But the questions should not stop here. Based on the Lancet article and its false alarms, our own Minister of Health (Italy’s) immediately banned the use by hospitals of HCQ to treat Covid-19. Was he too paid off? One almost wishes this were so, because if he did that on his own, he would confirm himself as an ignoramus, a zombie robotically obedient to the World Health Organization in an enormous falsehood. [In fairness to WHO, despite its corrupt China-manipulated leadership, it did promptly resume its HCG testing after the Lancet disclaimer.]

He has thereby made himself complicit in the enormous hoax about the entire Coronavirus pandemic, of the mediatic terrorism that has been deliberately carried out supranationally, of the lockdown and virtual house arrest of entire populations, for the purpose of forcing them to invoke obligatory vaccination so that they can be free to return to work – if they still have work to return to in the economy which the Coronavirus fraud has devastated.

“Now, Covid-19 from the medical point of view, no longer exists,” says Dr Alberto Zangrillo, the chief of San Raffaele hospital in Milan, where he is director of intensive care. “Samples tested in the past 10 days have a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal compared to that found in patients 1-2 months ago. We cannot continue calling attention to the words of non-clinicians, no matter how ridiculous, who are not genuine virologists but who are selfstyled professors. Clinically, the virus no longer exists”.

Still to be known is whether self-administration of HCG as a preventive measure by millions of doctors, nurses and hospital workers who were exposed to contagion daily, helped to neutralize the virus – which would have passed through them without being able to multiply – so that COVID-19 cases would disappear before a vaccine can be developed that authorities threaten to impose universally.

Lancet's article could be the crude, clumsy and belated attempt to ward off this outcome by the international criminal organization organizing the pandemic. At this point, Dr. Zangrillo's other observation becomes crucial: "Terrorizing the country is something for which someone must take responsibility.”

But who pays for all this? The world economy has been stalled by the virus-terror whipped up by the WHO and the media, by the "scientific committees" that have led governments to order the lockdown even of the healthy population (young people capable of working, among whom Covid-19 has been shown not to cause serious illness) instead of isolating the truly endangered minority – those older than 70 who have other serious ailments? Who pays for the irresponsible damage to the economy? And to what extent has it been conscious and deliberate?

With the excuse of health protection, an unprecedented global therapeutic dictatorship was established, to be extended now with mandatory clinical tracking using digital tools. Who pays?

In the USA, some 40 million unemployed. In Italy, one or 2 million, with many firms forced to close permanently, the tourism industry devastated for years, chains of suicides, to which we must add those who died from major diseases because they could not be treated due to the singular focus of all health personnel on Covid-19. Who pays?

Who pays for the absurd sadistic prohibitions, the fines pitilessly imposed on harmless innocents, the inability of children to play outdoors, the despotic and arbitrary violations of our personal liberties, all in the name of a pseudo-pandemic?
Who pays for the charges, intimidations and censorship of journalists who denounced the fraud, by the notorious Monitoring Center on Disinformation on Coronavirus?

This has been an enormous supranational/international fraud with national complicities and all the ramifications thereof, from governments to the media to the ‘scientists’, that has destroyed millions of lives. The European Commission has been working since 2018 to require a certificate of vaccination for all Europeans against whatever disease they may decree.

Recently, a whole series of Italian politicians lined up to advocate obligatory mass vaccination. To what end? So that citizens will be required to get a vaccination certificate in order to be able to go on with normal life? We can see the local executors of such a mandate on TV. Who is ordering them? Who are those who engineered this criminal enterprise of a pseudo-pandemic and its devastating consequences?

They have committed a crime without historical precedent, assisted by thousands of persons in authority who have played along with them. Is there anyone who will charge them with the crime? Not in Italy, where we no longer have a magistrature, but rather a ‘palamara' [referring to a noted Italian judges indicted last year for widespread corruption (money for magistrature favors), which led to the revelation that several more of Italy’s leading judges were just as corrupt].
We put our [weak] hopes in the USA or the UK.

For someone who has worked in the medical field for the past 30 years, it was with great shock that I learned of Lancet’s published study on HCQ and Covid-19 (also published by the equally prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in the USA), following the patently false alarm caused in the USA by a report on 358 elderly Covid-19 patients (median age 65, majority black), 60% with serious co-morbidities, treated at the Veterans Hospital from March 9-April 11, 2020.

The report concluded that “the study found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.”
• Doctors and epidemiologists who know how to read reports like these properly have pointed out a lot of procedural deficiencies in the study, chief being the selection bias that patients treated with HCG +/- azithromycin were inherently more seriously ill than those who did not receive those drugs as treatment, and that for the most part, they were treated at the point where they needed ventilation, which is an advanced stage of the disease.
• The ‘Results’ summary of the report says rates of death in the HC, HC+AZ, and no HC groups were 27.8%, 22.1%, 11.4%, respectively, but it conveniently omits these numbers in the Conclusion Summary, perhaps because it is clearly an apples-and-oranges comparison.
• Significantly, one of the authors of the Veterans Hospital report is someone who has received several grants from Gilead Pharmaceutical, the company behind the recently hyped remdesivir- a clear would-be competitor against HCQ.
• And it may be a technicality, but the paper is clearly labeled by the publisher as a pre-print which it defines as a “preliminary report of work that has not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.”
Which of course, the mainstream media in the USA, led by CNN and MSNBC, completely ignored, rushing to claim that the study supported their frank and total dismissal from the very start of the possibilities of HCQ to treat Covid-19, perhaps just because Donald Trump cited the favorable outcomes found in France, for example.

Sorry I missed the really BIG story about Covid-19 yesterday, for the simple reason that none of the mainstream US media, and not even Fox News, even mentioned it at all - and yet it is a major piece of investigative reporting by the Associated Press, the premier news syndicate in the world. I first became aware of it this morning through the AsiaNews story that follows. (I will post the full AP story after that):

Recordings and emails show that
WHO and Xi Jinping lied about Covid-19

by Wang Zhicheng

June 3, 2020

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Chinese government, most notably WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Chinese president Xi Jinping, have lied to the international community:

According to the Associated Press (AP), backed by WHO recordings and emails, China did not share crucial information about the virus and its spread, whilst the WHO, aware of China’s silence, failed to voice its concern and instead praised Beijing for its response to the pandemic.

Wuhan doctors Li Wenliang and Ai Fen had already exposed delays. Medical authorities in Taiwan has also reported delays in making public human-to-human transmission of the virus.

AP noted first and foremost that China’s health authorities had sat for weeks on the virus’s genetic map or genome. Strict controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were largely to blame.

AP also found that Chinese health officials only released the genome after a Chinese lab published it ahead of authorities on a virology website on 11 January. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more at a time when the virus was spreading around the world.

According to a study by the University of Southampton, cited by Cardinal Charles Bo of Myangmar in an angry statement against the Chinese Communist Party, "if China had acted responsibly one, two or three weeks earlier, the number of people infected with the virus would have been 66%, 86% and 95% lower respectively."

At the WHO Assembly last month, Xi Jinping defended himself and his country by claiming that they had “acted with openness, transparency and responsibility” and “provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion”.

AP’s revelations come at a time of a power struggle between the UN agency and US President Donald Trump who decided to cut funding for the agency (US$400 million) accusing it of being too closely aligned with China.

According to WHO officials, cited by AP, the UN agency tried to woo Beijing in order to get it to release all the data it had. This happened, but perhaps too late.

China delayed releasing coronavirus info,
frustrating WHO,which nonetheless publicly
praised China for its pandemic 'response'

June 3, 2020

Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words.”

But behind the scenes, it was a much different story, one of significant delays by China and considerable frustration among WHO officials over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus, The Associated Press has found.

Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents.

Chinese government labs only released the genome after another lab published it ahead of authorities on a virologist website on Jan. 11. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more on providing WHO with detailed data on patients and cases, according to recordings of internal meetings held by the U.N. health agency through January — all at a time when the outbreak arguably might have been dramatically slowed.

WHO officials were lauding China in public because they wanted to coax more information out of the government, the recordings obtained by the AP suggest. Privately, they complained in meetings the week of Jan. 6 that China was not sharing enough data to assess how effectively the virus spread between people or what risk it posed to the rest of the world, costing valuable time.

“We’re going on very minimal information,” said American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, now WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, in one internal meeting. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”

“We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV,” said WHO’s top official in China, Dr. Gauden Galea, referring to the state-owned China Central Television, in another meeting.

The story behind the early response to the virus comes at a time when the U.N. health agency is under siege, and has agreed to an independent probe of how the pandemic was handled globally. After repeatedly praising the Chinese response early on, U.S. President Donald Trump has blasted WHO in recent weeks for allegedly colluding with China to hide the extent of the coronavirus crisis. He cut ties with the organization on Friday, jeopardizing the approximately $450 million the U.S. gives every year as WHO’s biggest single donor.

In the meantime, Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to pitch in $2 billion over the next two years to fight the coronavirus, saying China has always provided information to WHO and the world “in a most timely fashion.”

The new information does not support the narrative of either the U.S. or China, but instead portrays an agency now stuck in the middle that was urgently trying to solicit more data despite limited authority. Although international law obliges countries to report information to WHO that could have an impact on public health, the U.N. agency has no enforcement powers and cannot independently investigate epidemics within countries. Instead, it must rely on the cooperation of member states.

The recordings suggest that rather than colluding with China, as Trump declared, WHO was itself kept in the dark as China gave it the minimal information required by law. However, the agency did try to portray China in the best light, likely as a means to secure more information. And WHO experts genuinely thought Chinese scientists had done “a very good job” in detecting and decoding the virus, despite the lack of transparency from Chinese officials.

WHO staffers debated how to press China for gene sequences and detailed patient data without angering authorities, worried about losing access and getting Chinese scientists into trouble. Under international law, WHO is required to quickly share information and alerts with member countries about an evolving crisis. Galea noted WHO could not indulge China’s wish to sign off on information before telling other countries because “that is not respectful of our responsibilities.”

In the second week of January, WHO’s chief of emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan, told colleagues it was time to “shift gears” and apply more pressure on China, fearing a repeat of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that started in China in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people worldwide.

“This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,” he said. “WHO barely got out of that one with its neck intact given the issues that arose around transparency in southern China.”

Ryan said the best way to “protect China” from possible action by other countries was for WHO to do its own independent analysis with data from the Chinese government on whether the virus could easily spread between people. Ryan also noted that China was not cooperating in the same way some other countries had in the past.

“This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places,” he said, probably referring to the Ebola outbreak that began there in 2018. “We need to see the data…..It’s absolutely important at this point.”

The delay in the release of the genome stalled the recognition of its spread to other countries, along with the global development of tests, drugs and vaccines. The lack of detailed patient data also made it harder to determine how quickly the virus was spreading — a critical question in stopping it.

Between the day the full genome was first decoded by a government lab on Jan. 2 and the day WHO declared a global emergency on Jan. 30, the outbreak spread by a factor of 100 to 200 times, according to retrospective infection data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has now infected over 6 million people worldwide and killed more than 375,000.

“It’s obvious that we could have saved more lives and avoided many, many deaths if China and the WHO had acted faster,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

However, Mokdad and other experts also noted that if WHO had been more confrontational with China, it could have triggered a far worse situation of not getting any information at all.

If WHO had pushed too hard, it could even have been kicked out of China, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a global health professor at the University of Sydney. But he added that a delay of just a few days in releasing genetic sequences can be critical in an outbreak. And he noted that as Beijing’s lack of transparency becomes even clearer, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s continued defense of China is problematic.

“It’s definitely damaged WHO’s credibility,” said Kamradt-Scott. “Did he go too far? I think the evidence on that is clear….it has led to so many questions about the relationship between China and WHO. It is perhaps a cautionary tale.”

WHO and its officials named in this story declined to answer questions asked by The Associated Press without audio or written transcripts of the recorded meetings, which the AP was unable to supply to protect its sources.

“Our leadership and staff have worked night and day in compliance with the organization’s rules and regulations to support and share information with all Member States equally, and engage in frank and forthright conversations with governments at all levels,” a WHO statement said.

China’s National Health Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no comment. But in the past few months, China has repeatedly defended its actions, and many other countries — including the U.S. — have responded to the virus with even longer delays of weeks and even months. [????]

“Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have been continuously sharing information on the epidemic with the WHO and the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner,” said Liu Mingzhu, an official with the National Health Commission’s International Department, at a press conference on May 15.

The race to find the genetic map of the virus started in late December, according to the story that unfolds in interviews, documents and the WHO recordings. That’s when doctors in Wuhan noticed mysterious clusters of patients with fevers and breathing problems who weren’t improving with standard flu treatment. Seeking answers, they sent test samples from patients to commercial labs.

By Dec. 27, one lab, Vision Medicals, had pieced together most of the genome of a new coronavirus with striking similarities to SARS. Vision Medicals shared its data with Wuhan officials and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as reported first by Chinese finance publication Caixin and independently confirmed by the AP.

On Dec. 30, Wuhan health officials issued internal notices warning of the unusual pneumonia, which leaked on social media. That evening, Shi Zhengli, a coronavirus expert at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who is famous for having traced the SARS virus to a bat cave, was alerted to the new disease, according to an interview with Scientific American. Shi took the first train from a conference in Shanghai back to Wuhan.

The next day, Chinese CDC director Gao Fu dispatched a team of experts to Wuhan. Also on Dec. 31, WHO first learned about the cases from an open-source platform that scouts for intelligence on outbreaks, emergencies chief Ryan has said.

WHO officially requested more information on Jan. 1. Under international law, members have 24 to 48 hours to respond, and China reported two days later that there were 44 cases and no deaths.

By Jan. 2, Shi had decoded the entire genome of the virus, according to a notice later posted on her institute’s website.

Scientists agree that Chinese scientists detected and sequenced the then-unknown pathogen with astonishing speed, in a testimony to China’s vastly improved technical capabilities since SARS, during which a WHO-led group of scientists took months to identify the virus. This time, Chinese virologists proved within days that it was a never-before-seen coronavirus. Tedros would later say Beijing set “a new standard for outbreak response.”

But when it came to sharing the information with the world, things began to go awry.

On Jan. 3, the National Health Commission issued a confidential notice ordering labs with the virus to either destroy their samples or send them to designated institutes for safekeeping. The notice, first reported by Caixin and seen by the AP, forbade labs from publishing about the virus without government authorization. The order barred Shi’s lab from publishing the genetic sequence or warning of the potential danger.

Chinese law states that research institutes cannot conduct experiments on potentially dangerous new viruses without approval from top health authorities. Although the law is intended to keep experiments safe, it gives top health officials wide-ranging powers over what lower-level labs can or cannot do.

“If the virologist community had operated with more autonomy….the public would have been informed of the lethal risk of the new virus much earlier,” said Edward Gu, a professor at Zhejiang University, and Li Lantian, a PhD student at Northwestern University, in a paper published in March analyzing the outbreak.

Commission officials later repeated that they were trying to ensure lab safety, and had tasked four separate government labs with identifying the genome at the same time to get accurate, consistent results.

By Jan. 3, the Chinese CDC had independently sequenced the virus, according to internal data seen by the Associated Press. And by just after midnight on Jan. 5, a third designated government lab, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, had decoded the sequence and submitted a report — pulling all-nighters to get results in record time, according to a state media interview.

Yet even with full sequences decoded by three state labs independently, Chinese health officials remained silent. The WHO reported on Twitter that investigations were under way into an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases with no deaths in Wuhan, and said it would share “more details as we have them.”

Meanwhile, at the Chinese CDC, gaps in coronavirus expertise proved a problem.

For nearly two weeks, Wuhan reported no new infections, as officials censored doctors who warned of suspicious cases. Meanwhile, researchers found the new coronavirus used a distinct spike protein to bind itself to human cells. The unusual protein and the lack of new cases lulled some Chinese CDC researchers into thinking the virus didn’t easily spread between humans — like the coronavirus that cusues Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, according to an employee who declined to be identified out of fear of retribution.

Li Yize, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said he immediately suspected the pathogen was infectious when he spotted a leaked copy of a sequencing report in a group chat on a SARS-like coronavirus. But the Chinese CDC team working on the genetic sequence lacked molecular specialists and failed to consult with outside scientists, Li said. Chinese health authorities rebuffed offers of assistance from foreign experts, including Hong Kong scientists barred from a fact-finding mission to Wuhan and an American professor at a university in China.

On Jan. 5, the Shanghai Public Clinical Health Center, led by famed virologist Zhang Yongzhen, was the latest to sequence the virus. He submitted it to the GenBank database, where it sat awaiting review, and notified the National Health Commission. He warned them that the new virus was similar to SARS and likely infectious.

“It should be contagious through respiratory passages,” the center said in an internal notice seen by the AP. “We recommend taking preventative measures in public areas.”

On the same day, WHO said that based on preliminary information from China, there was no evidence of significant transmission between humans, and did not recommend any specific measures for travelers.

The next day, the Chinese CDC raised its emergency level to the second highest. Staffers proceeded to isolate the virus, draft lab testing guidelines, and design test kits. But the agency did not have the authority to issue public warnings, and the heightened emergency level was kept secret even from many of its own staff.

By Jan. 7, another team at Wuhan University had sequenced the pathogen and found it matched Shi’s, making Shi certain they had identified a novel coronavirus. But Chinese CDC experts said they didn’t trust Shi’s findings and needed to verify her data before she could publish, according to three people familiar with the matter. Both the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology, which oversees Shi’s lab, declined to make Shi available for an interview.

A major factor behind the gag order, some say, was that Chinese CDC researchers wanted to publish their papers first. “They wanted to take all the credit,” said Li, the coronavirus expert.

Internally, the leadership of the Chinese CDC is plagued with fierce competition, six people familiar with the system explained. They said the agency has long promoted staff based on how many papers they can publish in prestigious journals, making scientists reluctant to share data.

As the days went by, even some of the Chinese CDC’s own staff began to wonder why it was taking so long for authorities to identify the pathogen.

“We were getting suspicious, since within one or two days you would get a sequencing result,” a lab technician said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution.

On Jan. 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that scientists had identified a new coronavirus in samples from pneumonia patients in Wuhan, pre-empting and embarrassing Chinese officials. The lab technician told the AP they first learned about the discovery of the virus from the Journal.

The article also embarrassed WHO officials. Dr. Tom Grein, chief of WHO’s acute events management team, said the agency looked “doubly, incredibly stupid.” Van Kerkhove, the American expert, acknowledged WHO was “already late” in announcing the new virus and told colleagues that it was critical to push China.

Ryan, WHO’s chief of emergencies, was also upset at the dearth of information.

“The fact is, we’re two to three weeks into an event, we don’t have a laboratory diagnosis, we don’t have an age, sex or geographic distribution, we don’t have an epi curve,” he complained, referring to the standard graphic of outbreaks scientists use to show how an epidemic is progressing.

After the article, Chinese state media officially announced the discovery of the new coronavirus. But even then, Chinese health authorities did not release the genome, diagnostic tests, or detailed patient data that could hint at how infectious the disease was. By that time, suspicious cases were already appearing across the region.

On Jan. 8, Thai airport officers pulled aside a woman from Wuhan with a runny nose, sore throat, and high temperature. Chulalongkorn University professor Supaporn Wacharapluesadee’s team found the woman was infected with a new coronavirus, much like what Chinese officials had described. Supaporn partially figured out the genetic sequence by Jan. 9, reported it to the Thai government and spent the next day searching for matching sequences.

But because Chinese authorities hadn’t published any sequences, she found nothing. She could not prove the Thai virus was the same one sickening people in Wuhan.

“It was kind of wait and see, when China will release the data, then we can compare,” said Supaporn.

On Jan. 9, a 61-year-old man with the virus passed away in Wuhan — the first known death. The death wasn’t made public until Jan. 11.

WHO officials complained in internal meetings that they were making repeated requests for more data, especially to find out if the virus could spread efficiently between humans, but to no avail.

“We have informally and formally been requesting more epidemiological information,” WHO’s China representative Galea said. “But when asked for specifics, we could get nothing.

Emergencies chief Ryan grumbled that since China was providing the minimal information required by international law, there was little WHO could do. But he also noted that last September, WHO had issued an unusual public rebuke of Tanzania for not providing enough details about a worrisome Ebola outbreak.

“We have to be consistent,” Ryan said. “The danger now is that despite our good intent...especially if something does happen, there will be a lot of finger-pointing at WHO.”

Ryan noted that China could make a “huge contribution” to the world by sharing the genetic material immediately, because otherwise “other countries will have to reinvent the wheel over the coming days.”

On Jan. 11, a team led by Zhang, from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, finally published a sequence on, used by researchers to swap tips on pathogens. The move angered Chinese CDC officials, three people familiar with the matter said, and the next day, his laboratory was temporarily shuttered by health authorities.

Zhang referred a request for comment to the Chinese CDC. The National Health Commission, which oversees the Chinese CDC, declined multiple times to make its officials available for interviews and did not answer questions about Zhang.

Supaporn compared her sequence with Zhang’s and found it was a 100% match, confirming that the Thai patient was ill with the same virus detected in Wuhan. Another Thai lab got the same results. That day, Thailand informed the WHO, said Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control at Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

After Zhang released the genome, the Chinese CDC, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences raced to publish their sequences, working overnight to review them, gather patient data, and send them to the National Health Commission for approval, according to documentation obtained by the AP. On Jan. 12, the three labs together finally published the sequences on GISAID, a platform for scientists to share genomic data.

By then, more than two weeks had passed since Vision Medicals decoded a partial sequence, and more than a week since the three government labs had all obtained full sequences. Around 600 people were infected in that week, a roughly three-fold increase.

Some scientists say the wait was not unreasonable considering the difficulties in sequencing unknown pathogens, given accuracy is as important as speed. They point to the SARS outbreak in 2003 when some Chinese scientists initially — and wrongly — believed the source of the epidemic was chlamydia.

“The pressure is intense in an outbreak to make sure you’re right,” said Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealthAlliance in New York. “It’s actually worse to go out to go to the public with a story that’s wrong because the public completely lose confidence in the public health response.”

Still, others quietly question what happened behind the scenes.

Infectious diseases expert John Mackenzie, who served on a WHO emergency committee during the outbreak, praised the speed of Chinese researchers in sequencing the virus. But he said once central authorities got involved, detailed data trickled to a crawl.

“There certainly was a kind of blank period,” Mackenzie said. “There had to be human to human transmission. You know, it’s staring at you in the face… I would have thought they would have been much more open at that stage.”

On Jan. 13, WHO announced that Thailand had a confirmed case of the virus, jolting Chinese officials.

The next day, in a confidential teleconference, China’s top health official ordered the country to prepare for a pandemic, calling the outbreak the “most severe challenge since SARS in 2003”, as the AP previously reported. Chinese CDC staff across the country began screening, isolating, and testing for cases, turning up hundreds across the country.

Yet even as the Chinese CDC internally declared a level one emergency, the highest level possible, Chinese officials still said the chance of sustained transmission between humans was low.

WHO went back and forth. Van Kerkhove said in a press briefing that “it is certainly possible there is limited human-to-human transmission.” But hours later, WHO seemed to backtrack, and tweeted that “preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” – a statement that later became fodder for critics.

A high-ranking official in WHO’s Asia office, Dr. Liu Yunguo, who attended medical school in Wuhan, flew to Beijing to make direct, informal contacts with Chinese officials, recordings show. Liu’s former classmate, a Wuhan doctor, had alerted him that pneumonia patients were flooding the city’s hospitals, and Liu pushed for more experts to visit Wuhan, according to a public health expert familiar with the matter.

On Jan. 20, the leader of an expert team returning from Wuhan, renowned government infectious diseases doctor Zhong Nanshan, declared publicly for the first time that the new virus was spreading between people. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the “timely publication of epidemic information and deepening of international cooperation.”

Despite that directive, WHO staff still struggled to obtain enough detailed patient data from China about the rapidly evolving outbreak. That same day, the U.N. health agency dispatched a small team to Wuhan for two days, including Galea, the WHO representative in China.

They were told about a worrying cluster of cases among more than a dozen doctors and nurses. But they did not have “transmission trees” detailing how the cases were connected, nor a full understanding of how widely the virus was spreading and who was at risk.

In an internal meeting, Galea said their Chinese counterparts were “talking openly and consistently” about human-to-human transmission, and that there was a debate about whether or not this was sustained. Galea reported to colleagues in Geneva and Manila that China’s key request to WHO was for help “in communicating this to the public, without causing panic.”

On Jan. 22, WHO convened an independent committee to determine whether to declare a global health emergency. After two inconclusive meetings where experts were split, they decided against it — even as Chinese officials ordered Wuhan sealed in the biggest quarantine in history. The next day, WHO chief Tedros publicly described the spread of the new coronavirus in China as “limited".

For days, China didn’t release much detailed data, even as its case count exploded. Beijing city officials were alarmed enough to consider locking down the capital, according to a medical expert with direct knowledge of the matter.

On Jan. 28, Tedros and top experts, including Ryan, made an extraordinary trip to Beijing to meet President Xi and other senior Chinese officials. It is highly unusual for WHO’s director-general to directly intervene in the practicalities of outbreak investigations. Tedros’s staffers had prepared a list of requests for information.

“It could all happen and the floodgates open, or there’s no communication,” Grein said in an internal meeting while his boss was in Beijing. “We’ll see.”

At the end of Tedross’ trip, WHO announced China had agreed to accept an international team of experts. In a press briefing on Jan. 29, Tedros heaped praise on China, calling its level of commitment “incredible.”

The next day, WHO finally declared an international health emergency. Once again, Tedros thanked China, saying nothing about the earlier lack of cooperation.

“We should have actually expressed our respect and gratitude to China for what it’s doing,” Tedros said. “It has already done incredible things to limit the transmission of the virus to other countries.”

The story speaks for itself and confirms the US government's accusation laying the blame on China for the unnecessary spread worldwide of what was originally a local epidemic in Wuhan in the almost six weeks before WHO obtained the necessary data to finally declare a Coronavirus pandemic on March 11, a little over 2 months since scientists in China and elsewhere had sequenced the genome for Covid-19. Donald Trump was partially wrong, it turns out, by laying the blame equally on the WHO, because apparently its officials tried unsuccessfully for weeks to get the necessary information out of China upon which WHO could issue the right warnings. But WHO's director-general, a known protege of China who owed his WHO appointment to China, proved complicit with China in publicly praising their 'incredible commitment' to the cause of world health up to January 29 despite knowing that for weeks, China had refused to provide WHO with the necessary information it needed. If Tedros had any decency at all, he would have resigned immediately when Trump made the final decision to stop US funding of WHO, because the fundamental reform WHO needs to merit that funding and the trust of the world community is for the agency not to be beholden to any single country and accept its 'convenient' lack of cooperation because that country chooses to 'protect' its reputation and national interest at the expense of the rest of the world.

It remains to be seen whether and how the rest of the world can somehow make China compensate for all the lives lost, the disrupted lives and economies left in the wake of the pandemic.
Any monetary figure, no matter how high, would simply be mere token compensation for the global devastation China has caused. As ridiculously token as the $2 billion it has pledged to WHO to fight the pandemic that China alone caused.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/4/2020 6:20 PM]
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Mother Earth and the new
‘heralds of extermination’

Translated from

by Aldo Maria Valli
June 3, 2020

Dear Friends of Duc in altum [Valli's blog], I offer here my contribution this week for the feature La trave e la pagliuzza [The beam and the splinter] on Radio Roma Libera. [The title of Valli’s broadcast comes from Jesus’s well-known admonition that starts with “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”]

During the days of the recent nationwide quarantine, I followed the advice of a friend and reread an old science-fiction novel entitled L’araldo dello sterminio [published 1981 as The Herald, by PulitzerPrize-winning author Michael Shaara, renamed The Noah Conspiracy in its new edition], whose plot led me to reflect.

Published in Mondadori’s Urania line of mythical books, the novel, published in Italian in 1983,is the story of the moral dilemma in which a man finds himself after having been one of the very few survivors of a wave of murderous radiation deliberately caused by a group of scientists aiming for mass extermination of humankind, thereby giving rise to a new civilization, composed only of persons who survive the radiation because they are immune and therefore considered genetically superior.

The scientists’ plan is a sort of attempt to ‘re-boot’ mankind, eliminating through genetic selection everyone who is too coarse, stupid and/or driven by aggressiveness and hatred towards others. A salvific plan to eliminate the worst elements in mankind.
[Apparently, the plan is tried out on a small scale first, wiping out a town of 70,000 inhabitants.]

The protagonist, one of the few survivors, is charged by the government to go into the town to discover the source of the radiation and to destroy it. But during his mission, he realizes that maybe the tragedy could have consequences not altogether negative. Two out of every thousand inhabitants had survived, and to live where there had been too many people,could not be bad. [Except does Shaara discount the lasting toxic effects of radiation that could make the immediate and surrounding environment unlivable for years, if not decades? Or maybe, the radiation unleashed by the plotters was something that was ‘self-eliminating’ or’ self-cleaning’ after it is emitted.] In such a situation, the state – with all that it means in terms of limiting personal liberties – would no longer exist, and interpersonal conflicts would be minimized. In short, a ‘perfect world’.

What then should he do? Block the source of radiation and put an end to further genocide, or allow the lethal radiation to spread all over the globe, enabling the scientists’ vision of a new civilization even at the cost of killing billions of innocent human beings?

I will not say how it ends. But I will observe that the Malthusian, ecological and environmental reality in a world where few human being survive, without social structures (no bureaucracy/taxes/police/army) and relational problems (traffic, the very burden of having to live so closely with other people in a crowded world) could be a seductive vision.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, some events and images, let us admit, tickled the Malthusian in each of us: the water in Venice’s infamously putrid canals said to have turned crystalline; mountain peaks visible from a distance of kilometers thanks to the absence of smog; historical centers restored to their beauty because free of noisy, maleducated crowds; wild animals emerging to be seen again because no longer terrorized by the presence of humans…

Yet, the disappearance of mankind cannot be a good solution. It would be the classic case of the remedy being worse than the evil purported to be corrected. Of course, not everyone thinks this way.

You may recall that last March 30, the Vatican news pages online,, published an article in English entitled ‘Coronavirus: Earth’s unlikely ally”, in which the writer, Jesuit priest Benedict Miyaki, commented with satisfaction that the Coronavirus quarantine, resulting in the mass lockdown at home of almost everybody, had brought “unforetold benefits to the planet”, such as the aforementioned clearing of the water and return of the fish to Venice’s canals, and the reduction in carbon emissions and therefore of air pollution.

In all this, the good Jesuit said, “there is a lesson for the future that shows us what we can do for the planet”. Ofccourse, Miyaki quoted the reigning pope’e ecological encyclical, noting that the document warned mankind of the noxious effects of human activity on the ecosystem.

But the article nowhere mentions the human suffering caused by the virus, and when authorities responsible for the Vatican news services realized this, they took the article offline. After enough people, including myself, had read it.

What to say? When, in the grip of ecologist ideology, Mother Earth is held up as the new divinity, one can only arrive at such perverted thinking. The Jesuit was probably a bit too direct and cutting, but what he did was to bring his kind of thinking – that for the planet, man is the evil - to extreme consequences. And that therefore, if we wish to save the earth, let us eliminate mankind, or at the very least, let us reduce his presence significantly. This is in line with the new prophets of Malthusianism like Jeffrey Sachs, people who are so often invited, and not incidentally, ‘revered’ at the Vatican.

In these terms, ecologism shows its close kinship to Marxism. For the ecologist ideology as for Marxism, man is not the end btu the means. In his case, a means in the service of ecology.

Ideology, when it chooses a supreme value, makes it absolute, with respect to which human life can be sacrificed. New ‘heralds of extermination’, prophets of radical ecologism, are in our midst. The fact that their preaching has been incorporated into the thinking of Catholics at the highest levels of authority, can only be disquieting.

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Watching the memorial services for George Floyd today, I am most moved by the example of his family who spoke about their brother with great affection and as part of a big family that seemed
to have been raised in love and goodness and traditional American values even if they did not have much materially. All of it spoken with a smile, spontaneously, remembering a loved one and what
they loved about him, without any of the rancor and bitter anger that has marked many of those who have been protesting and rioting in his name all these past nine days... Almost as sickening
as all the senseless vandalism, rioting, thuggery and murderous intent that have been on show are the endless hypocrisies about justice, against racism, against police brutality preached nonstop
by those who encourage all of the above by sanctioning them in the protestors while protesting against the American way of life they ought to be upholding.

Yes, majority of the protests and protestors have been 'peaceful', which is a relative adjective, and really refers to 'contained rage' by those who do not dare to directly provoke the agents of the law
as their more aggressive fellow demonstrators do. But are you a peaceful protestor when you are out on the streets with a virtual mob defying curfew hours after it is supposed to be in
effect? How much of the turnout in the streets is genuinely out of grieving and outrage for Floyd, but rather in the spirit of adventure, defiance of authority, and freedom regained
after the forced inactivity of the past two months?

I do not discount that some of the protestors may be fuelled by youthful idealism, but what concrete ideals are they standing for - other than the abstractions of justice (Many of them want instant
'justice' for the Evil Four who killed Lloyd, and how is that different from lynching? Impatience does not serve due process, which does take time but can and should be expedited in this case)
and 'peace' (which in this case means, "We can do what we want to disturb the peace, even shooting and beating up the agents of the law, because we are the good guys and all policemen and government
officials are evil").

In the following article, Dale Ahlquist goes back to the real roots of all these unnatural inhuman happenings in a refreshing reflection...

Racism is a real problem, but
it’s part of a much bigger problem

by Dale Ahlquist

June 3, 2020

Right now we need some good news. Fortunately we have it. [Of which, more later].

But right now it seems that no one even wants to hear good news. It is a difficult time to think clearly. Passions are high. It’s such a complicated mess. A sickening video of police slowly killing an unarmed black man. A horrible outbreak of violence – widespread and unimaginable – an explosion not only of
racial tension, but of the frustration of being locked down for two months under the threat of an invisible microbe. A nation polarized and spewing vitriol at each other. Civilization falling apart.

It has been surreal to witness these things, especially since the flashpoint was right in my own hometown, just minutes from where I live. In Minnesota, we are much more accustomed to being ignored by the rest of the world. To suddenly have the whole world gaping at us through every news outlet has made it all the more freakish.

Painted on the walls across the city is the name of newly canonized George Floyd. But also terse verse for the cameras consisting mostly of the once unprintable vulgar word that is now used as verb, noun, and adjective. And also everywhere is the phrase, “No peace without justice.” This last one is absolutely true.

But vandalism is not justice. Looting is not justice. Arson is not justice. Vengeance is not justice.

And the armed law enforcement officials and National Guard soldiers who came in to quell the violence did not bring peace. They only stopped the rioting. G.K. Chesterton says, “Peace without love is only a still panic.”

Let’s make signs that say that. Let’s put them everywhere.

Peace without love is only a still panic. Hate will make you a monster. As long as everyone keeps hating and blaming each other, there will be no peace. There will only be fear and eventually more violence, whether it is white against black, black against white, or any group against any other group.

Racism is a real problem, but it’s part of a much bigger problem. Sin.

And until we admit that problem, we will only have more problems. Consider the fact that every day thousands of innocent people have the life violently crushed out of them. But would a video of a late term abortion, hideous as it is, go viral, cause outrage? And why not? Why are the very peaceful pro-life activists the ones who are villainized?

There will be no justice in a nation where abortion is legal and where those who attempt to expose its evil are considered criminals. A nation where people routinely kill babies because they are babies will kill blacks because they are black, and will throw firebombs and break windows because it is instantly gratifying. Justice cannot be founded on sin.

There will be no justice in a nation where churches are not considered essential. The Church is where you confront your sin, confess your sin, and find peace. No peace without God.

We need God to forgive us, and we need to forgive those who have sinned against us. That will bring peace. Peace without love is only a still panic.​

But there is another problem that no one wants to talk about. It is difficult to say it, but unless we recognize it, we will just keep spinning our wheels, and our society will continue to decay. The institution that has done more than anything else to cause the present chaos is the public school system.

G.K. Chesterton says that education is supposed to be simply truth in a state of transmission. It is passing the truth from one generation to the next. But if a school is not teaching the truth it is not teaching anything, and we are witnessing the catastrophic consequences of generations that have not been taught the truth. Neither have they been taught goodness and beauty. That is why they are so unhappy and angry and hopeless.
- The state-sponsored, state-imposed schools are factories of fashionable fallacies.
- Students have been formed by a pervasive materialist philosophy. - They have been taught that humanity itself is simply a lucky combination of chemicals, man is just another beast on the spectrum, economics is just a battle for bread, love is just sex, literature is just ranting, civilization is just a prison of oppression built by white Christian males.
- But Evolution means everything is getting better. Anything that stands in the way of progress and efficiency is bad. The past is the culprit. Old is bad. New is good.

The philosophy of progress, however, has been steadily stumbling for the last two hundred years. It keeps encountering what Chesterton calls a “healthy shock” which is “the whole philosophy of the Fall of Man.”

Our schools don’t teach the truth because they don’t teach the fundamental reality of sin. It is that reality that unravels every political and social philosophy. Sin has only one solution. The Incarnation. The Truth that informs every other truth. But this is the Truth that has been locked out of our compulsory education, and the minds of our children and our citizens have been formed without it. Behold the results.

But I said there is good news. The very night my city was burning, I was hosting an online open house for the Chesterton Schools Network. Hundreds of people had signed up from all around the country (and Canada). The good news is that next fall twelve new Chesterton Academies will be opening, and there will be 30 schools in the network, all stemming back to our humble beginning with 10 students 12 years ago sitting around one table right here in the Twin Cities.

The good news is that we heard great excitement and encouragement and hope as the different headmasters talked about the good things that were happening in their schools, stories of tremendous faith and joy and light in the darkness. The good news is that there are more people who want to start a Chesterton Academy in their city.

This growing network is part of a revival in education at the grassroots level that is already starting to restore truth, goodness, and beauty to a world that is starving for it. We have begun rebuilding civilization even as it crumbles around us.

And may many more such creative minorities spring up everywhere to instill the values of truth, goodness and beauty that are to be found in good solid Catholic education!

Riots, technocrats, and normality
We are fallen; we are in desperate need of salvation;
we cannot manufacture such salvation for ourselves,
no matter how talented we are at programming code,
creating vaccines, and 'fixing' things.

by Carl E. Olson

May 30, 2020

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. — Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

Yesterday afternoon, the weather here in Eugene, Oregon, was perfect: warm, with a breeze, inviting. The tennis courts at a nearby high school were finally unlocked, and so I was able to hit with a friend for an hour while two of my kids walked our new puppy on the nearby walking paths. It was, in short, idyllic and peaceful, with a welcome sense of normality to it.

Early this morning, just as the sun started to battle the clouds on the horizon, a fierce thunderstorm commenced. While most thunderstorms, in my experience, have a certain sound and feel, this one was quite different. At first, my wife and I thought people were dragging something metallic in the streets; then it sounded like gunfire and heavy artillery. It was completely natural, and yet seemed quite unnatural.

Then, checking the news soon afterward, we learned that there had been riots in downtown Eugene, less than three miles from our house, involving several hundred people. A number of businesses, including some we occasionally frequent, were looted and destroyed.

“What began as a peaceful march hours earlier Friday,” reported a local news outlet, “had by early Saturday morning ‘morphed’ into violence and vandalism.” What began as peaceful protests (and Eugene has protests constantly in response to all sorts of events and people) in reaction the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis soon became ugly, nasty, and unnatural. And, yet, it also seemed, in a way, quite natural.

I say that in the context of the past three months, but also with an eye to the decades (and even centuries) prior, both of which have provided plenty of instances and evidences of social schizophrenia, moral incoherence, and a bewildering array of double standards.

Like many others, I thought that the initial responses to the coronavirus by local and national governments were generally understandable and within reason. But it was almost inevitable, given the technocratic mentality and control-freak nature of so many in the elite and ruling classes — with a direct nod to the insights of Angelo M. Codevilla — that serious problems would arise. As Dr. Codevilla told me in a 2016 CWR interview:

Above all, the ruling class defines itself by a set of attitudes, foremost of which is contempt for those outside itself. This contempt stems from the rather uniform education that the ruling class’s members absorbed from universities and which they developed by living in their subculture.

Believing themselves intelligent apostles of scientific truth, they regard others as dumb and in the grip of religious obscurantism. Religion is the greatest of the divides between the ruling class and those it deems its inferiors.

Whereas they believe themselves morally good and psychologically sound, they regard others as suffering from psychological dysfunctions and phobias — effectively as bad people. The ruling class does not believe that those outside itself have the right or capacity to conduct their own lives.

All of that can be applied easily to the past few weeks and to the growing tensions over the loosening of pandemic restrictions, religious freedom, and simply making sense of what we really know (and don’t know) about the coronavirus.

As for “intelligent apostles of scientific truth”, consider the rhetoric of software magnate Bill Gates, who wrote in late April that we will only “return to normal” when we “develop a safe, effective vaccine.” Humankind, Gates asserted with disconcerting confidence, “has never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus.” Never! Never? Those are words from a man who is either a stranger to history and reality, or who thinks history and reality can be bent to his will.

The inanity and insanity of what has been transpiring was summed up well by Michael McHaney, a judge on the Illinois Fourth Judicial Circuit Court, in a May 23rd ruling on a lawsuit brought by a Clay County small business owner against Governor J.B. Pritzker, contesting Pritzker’s shutdown order:

Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred:
- I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion, but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy.
- Selling pot is essential, but selling goods and services at a family owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential, but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.
- A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will.
- We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled.
- Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will.
- If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will.
- Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.

Along similar lines, Dr. Edward Feser, who has written several times for CWR, argues with his typical rigor and clarity that the lockdown “is no longer morally justifiable.”

The lack of common sense noted by Judge McHaney and the failure of clear logic pointed out by Dr. Feser are, however, part and parcel of the modern technocrats, who are simply disciples of what the French philosopher and Catholic intellectual Rémi Brague calls “The Kingdom of Man” and the “Modern Project”.

The Judeo-Christian heritage, Brague explains in his most recent book, understood that man was created by God and was ordered by nature to God; the goal of the modern project, which really hit its full stride in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the West, was expressed in the 1700s by the French Enlightenment thinker Raynal, who said, “The human race is what one wants it to be; it is the way one governs it that decides it for good or evil … Human beings are what the government makes them.” Man does not have a universal and objective nature; his nature is mere subjective putty in the hands of the enlightened elites.

Much more could be said on that topic, but what does this have to do with looters and “protesters” destroying eateries and other businesses in Eugene, Oregon?

A key part of the answer is that those who are deeply invested in the modern project — whether as leaders or disciples or propagandists — are either clueless about or openly antagonistic to the truth about human nature.
- They insist (rightly) on denouncing racism as evil, but then (wrongly but without a hint of hesitation) live and act as though “evil” is just an outdated religious construct created to control the masses, as people are actually inherently good.
- But, of course, “good” is not really fixed or certain; in fact, it is a continually moving target, depending on the whims (or what Christians would call “the passions”) of the enlightened few. Gender ideology, as Dr. Douglas Farrow recently and brilliantly explained here at CWR a few weeks ago, is a prime example.

As Brague notes, the Enlightenment sought, “explicitly or implicitly, the goal of rehabilitating human nature”. Salvation is no longer a concern, especially since it posits a transcendent horizon, “but rather of showing that man is already fundamentally good and, as a consequence, has no need of salvation.” In the words of Rousseau: “There is no original perversity in the human heart.” Put another way, there are simply errors or flaws that must be fixed, corrected, adjusted, tweaked, and so forth, all with scientific precision and scientistic bias.

What has happened, in short, is that words which once had substance — justice, for instance — have been stripped of their metaphysical and, ultimately, theological moorings. Most people know, instinctively (via synderesis, to use the traditional term) that murdering someone because of their race or opinion or money or any such thing is wrong. Period. They want justice.

But what does justice mean to people who are locked in the secular cocoon, insulated from objective truth and eternal perspective? How can they keep from from devolving into a passionate mob seeking revenge — or simply seeking a thrill and a pile of loot under the auspices of “revenge” — when they believe (rightly or wrongly) that “the system” is against them and so they must act?

Without any link — by way of family, or culture, or social interaction — to a sense of supernatural vocation, they act naturally, as fallen creatures seeking to be, to belong, to battle— but fall more deeply into base passions and evil pathways, what Proverbs describes as “the way of error” (Prov 12:28).

And this in fact is normal. There is, as the author of Ecclesiastes wrote so many centuries ago, nothing new under the sun. We are fallen; we are in desperate need of salvation; we cannot manufacture such salvation for ourselves, no matter how talented we are at programming code, creating vaccines, and “fixing” things.

Medicine for the body is wonderful; medicine for the soul is priceless and eternal. Only the Son — ”The wounded surgeon” who “plies the steel”, in the words of T.S. Eliot — who came below from above (cf Jn 3:13), can make things new, destroying the power of sin by His death, crushing the power of death by His Resurrection, and gifting the power of divine life when the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father in the Son’s name (Jn 14:26).

But, just as peaceful protests do not actually “morph” into violent riots, we must actively and consciously choose the grace offered, take up the Cross before us, and seek the Kingdom of God.

How the Church abandoned the inner cities
And US bishops censure Trump for visiting the JPII shrine and
holding up Bible in front of rioter-damaged 'church of the Presidents'

by Kevin Wells

June 5, 2020

One Sunday morning, during the summer of 2018, when much of America had come to regard the Catholic Church in America as a decaying organization beset by hidden evil, Baltimore auxiliary bishop Mark Brennan paid a visit to my former parish to celebrate Mass.

I was an altar boy for Bishop Brennan and knew him to be a good priest. He always seemed humble to me, devoted to prayer, and sincere. He took the CCD kids to Baltimore Orioles games, chaperoned retreats, and stopped by my St. Pius X classroom to offer catechism. He was also an intellectual. In fact, my deceased uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, who was in Bishop Brennan’s class in seminary, once said, “Mark Brennan is the smartest man I know.”

So when he stepped behind the ambo to give his homily at Our Lady of the Fields, I knew he’d oblige his shepherding mandate. He was dispatched by Archbishop William E. Lori, I figured that day, to address the disillusionment and outrage parishioners felt over the predator McCarrick, the Pa. grand jury findings, and multitudinous other Church scandals. American Catholics were beginning to flood out of the Church, and Bishop Brennan, I hoped that day, was asked by Archbishop Lori to help stem the tide.

Then he spoke, and his homily was centered on racism.

Heartbreakingly, I understood. This humble priest, who has since replaced the disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield in West Virginia, was told what to preach.

I approached my childhood friend after Mass. “Why would you preach on racism at this time, during this awful summer in the Church?” I don’t recall his answer, but I do remember his look. It seemed to be one of embarrassment and, even more tragically, confusion.

Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory recently said he found “reprehensible” two recent actionsof President Trump. What he and we should find more reprehensible are those actions by the Catholic Church that have contributed to racial disharmony and the tragic abdication of the black community in the U.S.

Gregory condemned President Trump and leaders at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine for his Tuesday appearance with the First Lady. Trumps’s visit had been planned long in advance “as an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom.” [Which he did, effectively appropriating $50 million to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.] Gregory used the opportunity to make Trump seem like an opportunist just a day after he was lampooned for holding a Bible in front of Saint John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House.

Various media sources and those in proximity to St. John’s claim that peaceful protesters were aggressively cleared out for Trump’s photo op, which if true, warrants rebuke. No peaceful protester should be moved an inch from his locale. A sincere apology by an administration would be in order whenever this happens. [Park police have since explained that they used smoke bombs after the demonstrators had refused three requests for them to move back from the area in front of the White House and some started throwing miscellaneous projectiles against the police. The MSM has ignored that explanation while not offering plausible evidence against it.]

Why, though, waste a precious archbishop bully pulpit on an opportunity to condemn a man for obliging an already scheduled commitment? There are enough hordes of willing participants to condemn Trump. What has Archbishop Gregory said that has brought people back to Christ and into the understanding of the unique role played by the Catholic Church in this endeavor?

The murderous event that took place on the street in Minneapolis is an unforgettable dark stain, an American evil. Eric Garner’s plea in 2014 on a New York city street for breath before becoming asphyxiated by a police officer seared the consciences of millions. Anger from the black community, and all faithful Christians [and any person who has any basic decency] is understandable.

Much of their grievances should be directed at the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Gregory, perhaps better than anyone as the first black bishop in Washington, D.C., should know why.

During the seismic upheaval in the Catholic Church in the 1960s, as the Black Power movement ascended into societal prominence, a large portion of Catholic leadership abandoned — or heavily divested itself of — its Christ-directed duty to feed, house, and care for the inner-city poor to the federal government.

Sixty years later, the question must be asked: are the souls of multi-generational welfare families closer to God? Has government welfare assistance for blacks in inner cities helped to promote virtue or holy priests like Venerable Augustus Tolton or Sister Thea Bowman?

More than 80 churches and schools have closed down in the Baltimore archdiocese over the past half-century, the majority of which were from inner cities.
- They closed because few Catholic leaders gave the community even a heartbeat’s chance to survive — they left their once tender care of the inner city mostly to the government.
- They closed because bishops said they didn’t have the money. Meanwhile, bishops continue to have personal drivers, personal secretaries, personal chefs, and personal multi-million-dollar residential accommodations.

Many have postulated about the merit or lack of merit of government programs. Yvonne Warren has lived within it the last half-century. “Once the government came into the community with the welfare system, everything changed,” said Warren, an elder stateswoman at a Catholic inner-city parish, who attended segregated Masses as a child. “Folks in the city lost their ambition and stopped setting goals. Things became disordered.”

Having worked in the construction industry for 17 years, I’d spent many hundreds of hours in poor communities in Southeast Washington, D.C. Over and over, I paid witness to horror —
- drug use in the open, murders and shootings on job sites, a pandemic of theft, stressed-out moms shouting vulgarities into their too-young children’s ears if they’re dawdling on their walk to school.
- Abortions rage, drug lords rule neighborhoods, few dads are at home, and there are killings every night.
Are souls closer to God because of government assistance? [And what has such government assistance done concretely - to outweigh the unhealthy and undesirable entitlement mentality it has encouraged and abetted among those who can avail of whatever government assistance is available?]

Why did the Catholic Church [i.e., the bishops responsible for dereliction of duty] seemingly aid and abet the secular world’s approach to meeting the needs of the poor and then abdicate its unique role? The government doesn’t do charity of heart very well. The Catholic Church does. Or does it anymore?

Just for starters, it’s simply not charitable to leave unaddressed the scandal of modern-day Catholics’ vanishing belief in the Eucharist.
- In the aftermath of Pew Research pollsters reporting that 70 percent of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, little was done by Church leaders or pastors to steer laity to the Catholic crime of their disbelief.
- It was a whitewashing of the most alarming news to rear up since McCarrick. ["Whitewashing? No, it has been plain indifference to something most of them have long taken for granted without doing anything about it, perhaps because in their heart of hearts, they share that apostate unbelief.]
- Without devotion to the actual Body of Christ, we might as well not be Catholic. The hell with it, as Flannery O’Connor said.

Accordingly, at this dark inflection point in history, there is a linear symmetry as to why so many hundreds of Catholic churches remain closed for Mass.
- If the Eucharist — the source and summit of our faith — has been relegated to a symbol by 70 percent of Catholics, why would bishops care to open up Masses and the Eucharist as a curative for the hate, destruction, and racial tension Americans awaken to each morning? The majority of Catholics don’t know of its salvific weight anyway.

Has our 2,000-year-old choir of shepherds forgotten its melody — or have they just decided to change it?
- Once, all bishops seemed to know that the cure for every single form of societal cancer was the Eucharist and the blazing furnace of the Gospel (even the thornier parts). But the Truth of the Gospel, too, has been constrained by Church leaders.
- While it was simple for Archbishop Gregory to find his Baptist-like prophetic voice on the social media topic of the day — the scoundrel Trump — he’s been muted on “transgender” genital mutilation, injecting sodomy into marriage, perversions, the secular zeitgeist, Fr. James Martin’s blasphemous rampage in the Church, and Catholic politicians who fight for the murder of a child at nine months in the womb.

That Archbishop Gregory and his confrères refuse to open Masses fully everywhere now — daily, Sunday, midnight, 5 A.M., round-the-clock, whenever — as this pandemic continues to wane speaks clearly to a lack of supernatural faith and compassion for the growing laity who hunger for the sacramental energy and restfulness found in the Mass.

If folks choose to remain home due to concerns over COVID-19, so be it. But the doors should be opened now, and Masses celebrated everywhere throughout a shaken and dispirited America. The Eucharist is the balm.

The question must be asked: have the USCCB and bishops decided to covertly re-engineer the Church’s shepherding mandate?
God desires that He be slaughtered, if necessary, for His flock; Jesus said as much at the Great Commission.

The bishop is the slaughtered lamb — the martyred apostle whose lifelong burden it is to steer souls to sanctity and to Heaven. It is easy to present a homily, dispatch a tweet on racism, or hold up a placard stating #BlackLivesMatter. What is not easy is obliging one’s identity to die to self — or to dig up the tomb of an abdication of spiritual and temporal care to a black community passed on to a welfare system in the 1960s.

The paternal deficiency of bishops and priests has been the foundational reason for the stack of lawsuits, the spiritually drained and fallen away Catholic laity, the subculture of grievous evil and shuttered parishes throughout a forlorn Catholic landscape. Perhaps because clergy have so poorly understood the essence of fatherhood the past half-century, they paid no mind to what would unfold from fatherless homes in inner-city neighborhoods.

One more vital question must be asked: Has a half-century of priestly avoidance of homilizing on the tougher aspects of Catholic teaching been the reason for what is going on in America at this grave hinge point? This dark hour in American history has little do with President Trump. It has everything to do with the ailing soul of America and the ominous place to which it’s lurching.

It’s been said that obliging Natural Law means being rooted in reality and that being rooted in reality grazes up against God’s heart. What does it say about ourselves when we abandon Natural Law — that we’ve attained a new kind of enlightenment? That we’ve progressed past antiquated cultural norms? That we’ve evolved? Well, maybe we have evolved, but God has not.

Why are Democrat mayors allowing killing,
maiming and burning in 'heavily black areas'?

June 3, 2020

The burning, looting and killing riots are not about George Floyd’s killing. Both Floyd’s girlfriend and brother have said that he would have opposed them as they oppose the riots.

The riots are pure evil.

Every sane person is against the killing of an unharmed man by a policeman and more so against mobs that are burning, killing and maiming blacks, minorities and whites in these riots against the wishes of the Floyd family.

If the riots are not about George Floyd’s killing, what are they about?

It is obvious that the riots are about giving criminals and evil groups such as Antifa the license to kill, maim and burn in “heavily black areas” at will as the Democrat mayors tell their police forces to stand down and allow the debauchery. The Washington Times reported:

Minneapolis and other major cities have finally re-opened, at least to looters and arsonists. For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. In New York City and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, police stood by as looters destroyed parts of those cities.

The same politicians who ordered police to stand down and released prison inmates are the same people who want to ban guns. These politicians prevent citizens from protecting themselves, at a time when police protection cannot be depended on.

For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. Sadly, so many of the victims of this violence have been blacks. Black store owners have lost their businesses. In these heavily black areas, blacks will lose their jobs. ]

Why are Democrat stronghold mayors giving their police forces orders “to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities… In these heavily black areas”?
Lawyer Scott Lively tells us why the Democrat mayors are destroying their own cities:

“The main purpose of the rioting, as was true of the now-waning COVID-19 Plandemic, is to spread fear. Fear is what keeps a sizable portion of the American people “sheltered-in-place,” and that phenomenon of social destabilization is the key to preventing economic recovery. An orchestrated economic depression is, of course, the cornerstone of the elites’ plan for taking down President Trump (which I again predict will fail).

That’s what this season of Psy-Ops, with all its disinformation, propaganda and political intrigue, has always been about from its very beginning, when Barack Obama first began to realize that Trump could actually beat Hillary, thanks to the sabotage of the HRC campaign and the DNC by Bernie zealot Seth Rich, the Wikileaker whistleblower who was (I opine) murdered in broad daylight for that act of treachery.

[After more than 3 years of constant lying (as we have now found out how the FBI, with the full knowledge and obvious consent of Barack Obama and now Democratic presidential wannabe Joe Biden, framed Michael Flynn for colluding with the Russians despite their investigations having found nothing derogatory about his calls to the Russian ambassador in his capacity as incoming national security adviser for the new President, in an all-out effort to hamper the new President whose election they could not accept and still cannot accept]) about the Trump 2012 campaign having been run in collusion with Russia - since debunked by the Democrats' own machinated Mueller investigation, whose findings they chose to ignore because it was against their BIG LIE - but despite all that, an inherently rigged impeachment of Trump last January by a Democrat-led House of Representatives. But no one in the MSM, or even in conservative news outlets like Fox - in fact, not even Trump himself - is blaming the Democrats as forcefully and insistently as the situation demands, for having spent three years, going into the fourth year, of relentless Trump-bashing, with all the waste of government time and resources it has entailed, to discredit his presidency since they have been able to subvert the election results of 2012 to invalidate his election.]

The timing of the rioting, and his immediate, highly inflammatory public statement, betrays the hand of Barack Obama behind it all… Lastly, I am also offering a different take on the significance of the riots. Yes, the fearmongering agenda is still in play, but I think there’s a new target for that fear added to the mix: Democratic leaders who now realize heads will likely roll for the Obama team’s actions and want to distance themselves as much as possible without being too obvious about it.

I think that’s why the race riots and Antifa aggressions are taking place in Democratic strongholds and not places like Ferguson and Charlottesville. They are reminders that pain can be inflicted on potential “traitors” as well as established enemies by the ones who wield the real power on the left.

And, call me crazy, but if that’s true, I predict master deal-maker President Trump may actually flip some Democratic leaders to his side by the time of the election. It’s a rare group of crooks that doesn’t turn on each other when actual prosecutors (as opposed to media pundits) start to draft actual indictments of their known associates.


To sum it up, the coronavirus hysteria and the riots have only one purpose which is to take down President Donald Trump and make the United States into one big hellhole like New York. Rush Limbaugh explains:

I want to go back to one point I made also at the bottom of the previous hour, the end of it. We had a caller who thinks that the governors, California and New York, do indeed want Trump to call out the military because nothing good can happen there. Military gets called out and somebody gets killed, somebody gets hurt, and that looks bad for Trump, and then the states are gonna have to be apologized to and all that. I don’t think that’s gonna be the case.

In fact, I think what these governors are actually hoping for is — they may be hoping for the military be deployed so that something happens that can harm Trump, but I think what they really are angling for is an economic bailout. Many of them, California particularly, still much more attached to things with the virus story than they are with George Floyd. They’ve got their share of protests and they’ve got their share of property destruction, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive, I mean, they’ve had their share of it, but the virus is still a dominant subject there.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if both Cuomo and J.B. Pritzker in Illinois and Newsom are doing what they’re doing angling for a federal bailout. A federal bailout to wipe out every debt they’ve got, including unfunded pension liabilities and all that. And I hope Trump doesn’t do it. I do think — you remember Kent State, remember the song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Four Dead in Ohio, four dead and Nixon’s come? Remember all that?”

“I think they’re hoping for something similar here. I think they’d love for the military to take out some innocent citizen if they’re deployed in New York or California. But I hope what really happens — I hope Trump leaves ’em alone. If you want a preview of what awaits this country if Democrats win the presidency, look at New York. Look at Minnesota. Look at California. Look at anywhere the Democrats run the show with no opposition. From nursing homes to riots, everything in between.

Everything that’s happened in these states was avoidable. The governor New York, the mayor of New York, they’re wannabe little, you know, almost miniature dictators. And they don’t like each other, and there’s none of this we’re in this together stuff. There’s, no, we’re stronger together stuff.

These two guys don’t like each other at all, de Blasio and Cuomo. Both of these guys, de Blasio and Cuomo, both of them botched the coronavirus response big time. They both botched the lockdown of the city and the state.

It was not necessary. They have destroyed so much, restaurants and other businesses that will never come back. These cities, if these people don’t get a handle on things, these cities in these states are gonna end up being unlike anything anybody remembers. There’s gonna be no reason to move back to them. With telecommuting having been a success, there’s no reason now that you have to live in New York to work there. There’s no reason you have to live in Connecticut and pay those exorbitant rents and commute to New York. Ditto, New Jersey. There’s no reason anymore.

It’s not an accident New York is imploding. It’s not an accident that people in New York are destroying it. It’s not an accident that Macy’s was looted with people holding the door open for ’em, in and out. And Joe Biden is just as incompetent as Cuomo and de Blasio. The sad thing is, voters get what they want, and voters in New York voted for what they’ve got. They got exactly what they voted for.

Now, I made mention of the fact that it may be tough to have a genuine nationwide economic recovery if we don’t get New York and California on board, that they are a large percentage of the American economy, and we need them rejuvenated economically if there is to be a national economic recovery.

I had some people say, ‘I don’t think you’re right about that, Rush. You say the U.S. economy has to have New York and California, but I think we’re about to see, Rush, that we don’t need New York or California. And here’s why I think so, Rush. New York City’s a war zone. New York City is over. New York City is done. Who in the world is gonna move back there now? Who in the world is ever gonna feel safe there? Who is gonna ever want to go back to that city and pay what it costs to live there when nobody is gonna lift a finger to protect you or your property? Now we got barbed wire, Rush, protecting Saks Fifth Avenue. Who in hell wants to live in a place where that’s required, Rush?’”

“Barbed wire at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s looted on all of its floors with the looters holding the doors open. And in one case the looters arrived in a $350,000 Rolls. Did you see that? Or Bentley? The looters arrived in a $350,000 Bentley. The looters get out, hold the door open, some looters go in. A forklift was used to get rid of some window plywood. No leadership to be seen.

"The thing you don’t get, Rush, New York was dying and sick before the China flu and the riots. The only thing different now is New York has no pulse. Just pull the plug. We’re gonna have to figure out how to live without them. And we will.”

Rush is telling President Trump to follow the Abraham Lincoln strategy.
- Lincoln never attempted to abolish slavery directly, before the war, because he knew if he limited its spread like a disease so that it was only in the South, then it would die a natural death.
- The Democrats- the slavery party- knew this too. That is why they started the Civil War.
- The Democrats of New York and elsewhere- the party of death and riots- also know also that their socialistic death policies will die a natural death if limited to their Democrat strongholds. They will not start a civil war because they are cowards and have no moral high ground.

If the Democrats of New York and elsewhere want killing, maiming and burning then let them have it and let their failed states go down in flames. As Rush said:

“The sad thing is, voters get what they want, and voters in New York voted for what they’ve got. They got exactly what they voted for.”

Maybe the voters in New York and other Democrat strongholds may wise up and kick out the party of death and riots.

For the rest of the country: New York going down in flames will be the prime example and reason to vote for Trump, again, as Rush said:

“New York Is What’s in Store for All Of Us If Trump Loses the Presidency.”[dim]

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Mass and the Church as well as for the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of the Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Mary.

Please, pray an Our Father now for President Trump and our country now because this is the important fork in the road for the United States. Please, keep this intentions in your prayers.

And what's with the stupid, deliberately thoughtless slogan that has become the name of a movement, 'Black lives matter"?

ALL LIVES MATTER! EACH LIFE MATTERS! but all the young people marching out there - feeling themselves all virtuous because they are marching in lockstep with the dominant liberal one-thought that has been imposed for decades on the US educational system - cannot possibly bring themselves to even think that 'All lives matter', because they could not care less for the lives of Trump and Republicans and conservatives and anyone who does not share their world view. And they obviously cannot say 'Each life matters' because they believe abortion is an inherent human right and the baby in the womb is not a life at all!

I will close this omnibus post with words from the ever-enlightening Fr. Rutler...

Who will guard the guardians?

June 4, 2020

Six or seven centuries “are like an evening gone” when tracing the course of common sense, and so James Madison found no anachronism in conjuring the shades of Juvenal and Cleon, more than six centuries apart, to make a point about the perils of the right and wrong manipulation of human will.

He asked with Juvenal, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The dilemma— Who will guard the guardians? — was the same dilemma that conflicted the Athenians during the Pelopponesian war when their better instincts for peace were compromised back in the fifth century B.C. by the seductive propaganda of Cleon.

In this thesis, Madison was joined by Hamilton and Jay in The Federalist Papers, which were not expected to be the daily reading of farmers and merchants, but which could easily be understood by them and anyone bound by human nature. The matter at hand was “a rage for paper money, for abolition of debts, for an equal division of property.” That rage resulted in Shay’s Rebellion, and occasioned reflection on mob rule.

People can indulge contrary instincts to riot or to stay calm, because their will is free to do so. It is a principle denied by those who excuse moral anarchy by saying, “The devil made me do it.” That is the theological version of the behaviorist’s impulse to blame disordered behavior on external influences.

The rage now inflaming our cities is taking place between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, although it is unlikely that those enraged are liturgically sensitive to that.

Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity follows Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the sublime truth of God as Three in One expands the limits of human intelligence. The perfect harmony of the Triune God is like music whose sound frequency cannot be registered by unaided hearing, but it reverberates in the systematic order of nature, evident in those things we take for granted: health, happiness, and peace.

The peace that Christ gives is not a human fabrication (John 14:27). But as the Creator has entrusted the care of His creation to humans as His most complex creatures, we are responsible for promoting what Saint Augustine called the tranquilitas ordinis — the tranquility of order.

When the human mind works in harmony with the indications of the Holy Trinity, great things can be accomplished. For example, this past week two astronauts on the SpaceX craft docked perfectly in outer space. In a devilish irony, this was accompanied by simultaneous rioting in our streets, nihilistic in its destructiveness.

As many of the bomb throwers and arsonists were middle-class suburbanites turned terrorist, this was a commentary on the collapse of family life and the abandonment of serious education in the schools, but essentially it was a specimen of the misuse of free will. Among “Millennials” grown dependent on forces that suborn conscience, who have never outgrown the need for a nanny, 70 percent favor socialism and one-third see something hopeful in communism.

The desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral with graffiti was not a display of adolescent erudition in the etymology of four-letter words rooted in German cognates and Old French. It was the screech of young people who for various reasons and from various sources had come to think that the Divine Word of Life is an incomprehensible whisper.

It is my lot to be the pastor of a parish in the middle of my city’s riots, just as New York has been an epicenter of the viral pandemic. Last night a shop next door was attacked. My parish has had a long experience of mobs, and the city records claim at least 34 riots of significance.

The first pastor of my parish, who served for thirty-four years, intervened in the 1863 Draft Riots to save a Presbyterian church nearby from burning, an act that anticipated the modern ecumenical movement but with more practical benefits. His efforts were not permanent: later in his tenure, in 1873, the Orange Riots nearby saw 63 killed.

Just days ago, I watched Macy’s department store being boarded up, to little effect since looters with impunity used crowbars to break in and steal jewelry and other expensive things in what much of the media said was an expression of their desire for social justice.

By the careful orchestration of mobs, and the systematic delivery of bricks and bats, it was clear that sinister plottings were at work, and that our President was right to call it terrorism. Not every authority was as acute.

Our mayor, Bill de Blasio, who for years has functioned like one of Job’s unhelpful condolers, said he was proud of his daughter who was arrested as a rioter. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a CNN interview: “Those were not thugs and looters. These are young people who still have idealism and want to make this nation better. And that’s a good instinct, and it should be encouraged.”

From our hierarchs, there has been little in the way of prophecy, save for occasional virtue-signaling bromides. But that is the consequence of a gradual emasculation of their moral influence.

So far, our prelates have not emulated the three archbishops of Paris — Denis-Auguste Affre, Marie-Dominique-Auguste Sibour, and Georges Darboy — who were killed respectively in 1848, 1857, and 1871. Affre and Darboy died in riots, while Sibour was shot by a cleric who thought celibacy was an imposition. All wore the same pectoral cross.

This week, as a church burned behind him in Washington, D.C., one television reporter, reminiscent of Iraq’s famous “Baghdad Bob,” insisted that there was no burning and that the “protesters” were peaceful. The disinclination of so many governors, mayors, and other social guardians — along with the media — to acknowledge that their perception of reality is unreal brings to mind W.E.B. Du Bois and Walter Duranty calling Joseph Stalin “a great man” and “the greatest living statesman.” This is much like George Bernard Shaw, who added panegyrics on Mussolini and Hitler, and John Kenneth Galbraith’s immoderate flattery of Mao Zedong.

Those not averse to objective reality still have voices. The president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, Thomas Mungeer, in a genuine protest, said that Governor Cuomo had given his men “zero support.”

He explained to Cuomo:

“Peaceful protesters do not arrive with hammers and Molotov cocktails, burn police cars, smash the windows of businesses or spray graffiti on St. Patrick’s Cathedral — criminal opportunists and vandals do.

Peaceful protesters do not start fires in the streets or to businesses — arsonists do.

Peaceful protesters do not gather en masse to openly disregard laws, create havoc and impede on the rights of the general public —rioters do.”

So there sounds once again, whether in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, or any other city where the acoustics of tradition can hear the voice of Joshua along the Jordan: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…”

This week, the contrast between astronauts and anarchists is a model of the blessings and dangers of free will. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17).

This simply and artlessly boils down to the choice between Christ and chaos, challenging the human mind to be rational or irrational. The human will is not bound to some arbitrary fate, but as John Milton put it: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…”

It has been said one way or another that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside.

By choosing misrule, distorted reason prefers Hell to Heaven. The gates of Heaven are opened by choosing the tranquility of divine logic. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me"(Rev 3:20).

To appropriate Rudyard Kipling, the destiny of souls depends on what people do with the “if” of their moral freedom: “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/8/2020 9:51 AM]
6/5/2020 11:58 PM
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Both Marco Tosatti and Aldo Maria Valli have posted on their respective blogs the following contribution from Prof. Gian Pietro Caliari, a professor at the Accademia Dante Alighieri, who has multiple doctoral degrees from Italian and British universities in economics and international law, and is apparently a Catholic thinker, having co-authored a 1996 book entitled Il futuro dell’Europa: Le sue radice cristiane (The future of Europe: Its Christian roots) and having written about liturgy for Italy’s Rivista Liturgica. Tosatti calls the essay a spiritual call to arms, and I use here Valli’s headline for the article, for which the author himself uses the first part of the citation from St. Luke he uses to begin the essay, in its Latin form: “Venient dies quando desideratis videre unum diem…”

How we have become pagans –
and how we can become Christians again

by Gian Pietro Caliari
June 4, 2020

“The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ [or] ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.” (Lk 17, 22-23)

The evangelist reports this admonition from the Savior at the end of a brief conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees about the time of the coming of the Kingdom of God. after Jesus had already told them just before those lines, “Behold the Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk 17,21).

We know that the expression “Kingdom of God” appears 122 times in the text of the New Testament and that the Fathers of the Church interpreted this expression in three dimensions.

The first – strictly Christologic – indicates precisely the auto-basileia [one's own kingdom] of Christ himself, that is to say, the full and complete revelation of God and his Kingdom in Christ himself.

A second more mystical interpretation indicates the presence of the Truth of Christ within the innermost being of the believer himself.

And the third is ecclesiological, which indicates that the Kingdom of God is actualized in history in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Without overshadowing or ignoring the first two interpretations – but reaffirming them, on the contrary – the Second Vatican Council chose to affirm the third dimension in a dogmatic sense, as a doctrine that must be believed by whoever is truly Catholic.

The mystery of the holy Church is manifest in its very foundation. The Lord Jesus set it on its course by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, which, for centuries, had been promised in the Scriptures: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”(Mk 1, 15; cf. Mt 4, 17).

In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men. The Word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field (Mk 4, 14); those who hear the Word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ (Lk 12, 32) have received the Kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until harvest time (Mk. 4, 26-29).

The Miracles of Jesus also confirm that the Kingdom has already arrived on earth: “If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you “ (Lk 11, 20; cf. Mt 12, 28). Before all things, however, the Kingdom is clearly visible in the very Person of Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who came “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10, 45). When Jesus, who had suffered the death of the cross for mankind, had risen, He appeared as the one constituted as Lord, Christ and eternal Priest (cf. Acts 2, 36; Heb 5, 6; 7, 17-21) and He poured out on His disciples the Spirit promised by the Father (cf. Acts 2, 33).

From this source the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom. While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King. (Lumen gentium, 5)

This very choice was prophetic because it seems as though someone had foreseen that the time of “Christ, yes, the Church, no” would soon be followed by something even more tragic, when the slogan would be “Not even Christ and his Kingdom, No”.

In short, the time of a return to paganism or of neo-paganism within the Church herself, as the central nucleus of contemporary preaching!

In the winter of 1958 – that’s right, 1958 – a young priest and theologian wrote:

The image of the modern Church is characterized essentially by the fact that it has become and is becoming ever more a Church of pagans in a completely new way: no longer, as originally, a Church of pagans who had turned Christians, but rather a Church of pagans who still call themselves Christian but who have really become pagans for some time. Paganism today resides in the Church herself, and this is really the characteristic of the Church in our day as it is of the new paganism. It is paganism in the Church, and a Church inhabited in its core by paganism. [Joseph Ratzinger, “Die neuen Heiden und die Kirche” (The new pagans and the Church), Hochland, LV, 51, 1958-1959, p.1)]

What did that young theologian already see in the second half of the last century? To understand him, we must be clear about what we mean by modern paganism or neo-paganism.

According to Doniger and Eliade, it comprises “diverse spiritual movements which, although distinguishing themselves from the magic rituals of the ancient pagans, revive authentic pantheons and rituals from ancient cultures, especially through an approach that is deliberately eclectic and reconstructionist, and through a particularly contemplative and celebratory attitude” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Merriam-Webster, 2000, pp. 794-795).

More descriptive and precise is the definition given by the Italian philosopher Salvatore Natoli,for whom although the new paganism is a movement with distinct theological, cosmological and anthropological visions, but a common and precise approach that is naturalistic, humanistic and relativistic (cfr. La salvezza senza fede (Salvation without faith), Torino, 2007).

Many Catholics, rightly so, were scandalized and enraged when they had to attend (or witness on TV) a disgusting satanic ritual of priests and nuns happily prostrating themselves in an act of apostatic adoration of the Pachamama and a phallic idol in the Vatican Gardens and in the presence of the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. [Well, as of Jan 1, 2020, those titles have been relegated to mere historical footnotes that should not detract from what supreme narcissist Jorge Mario Bergoglio appears to think is all the identification he needs – his name, plain and simple, unencumbered by references to Christ and Peter or the Catholic Church for that matter.]

Or to the lugubrious procession of bishops who, ignoring that as bishops , they are successors to the apostles, carried these same idolatrous effigies on their shoulders from the Altar of the Confession at St. Peter’s Basilica to the Synod Hall.

But this was not just about Amazonian folklore!

Too many Catholics, wrongly, have not been indignant at all about the constantly hammered, spreading and ever more dishonest preaching that has all but expunged, if not altogether excluded, the announcement of Christ and his Kingdom, in order to impose a neo-pagan dogma whose content is shamelessly naturalistic, humanistic and relativistic.

Yet this, it appears, is the central nucleus of the ‘outgoing Church’ and of ‘going beyond the Church’ by avoiding’ any self-referentiality’ in the name of ‘integral ecologism’, of ‘neo-humanism’, of the ‘concrete situation’, and of ‘universal brotherhood’, all of which must be integral [to each other]. Simply replace ‘integral’ with dogmatic, and the game is over.

What then must the Catholic do who does not wish to fall into the trap of those who neo-paganistically point to ”Look at this!’ And “Look at that!”? Certainly, “do not go there, do not follow them” (Lk 17, 23). But exactly how, concretely?

Three elements appear to be essential.

Before everything else, the recovery of liturgical sacredness in the face of the banalization of the Sacrum of God himself, the Most Holy Trinity. Because it is this banalization, precisely, that has shown the total failure of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform.

“In fact, the foundation of man’s union with God is the full distinction between man and God. That is why Christian Revelation spells out the fullness of this union, which places the union between God and man starting with the distinction between God and man. The redemptive act is a unique action, by Chtist alone: yet an inter-trinitary action in which the Son offers his humanity and that of the world in sacrifice to the Father in an act of absolute adoration. It is here alone that the trinitarian Mystery is manifested in all its truth” (G. Baget Bozzo, The Anti-Christ: The prince of the world works out of small fissures in history, Milan, 2001, p. 46).

Indeed, it is in the liturgy that the gravest and most lethal blow has been inflicted on the faith and the Catholic people, in the sense of liturgy’s original and most essential dimension as Mysterion, Sacrum.

Then, there is non-conformism as an essential dimension of the Catholic faith: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12,2).

This admonition by the Apostle to the Gentiles was commented on by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

“We must rediscover the courage of non-conformism in the face of the tendencies of the opulent world. Instead of following the spirit of the times, it must be we ourselves to brand that spirit with evangelical austerity. We have lost the sense that Christians cannot live as any others live. The stupid opinion according to which a specific Christian morality does not exist is an expression particularly driven by the loss of a basic concept: the difference between a Christian and the models of the world.” (V. Messori, The Ratzinger Report, 1985. P. 64)

This means the necessary rediscovery of Catholic identity, nourished by the simple but radical joy of having encountered He who alone is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn 14,6), but also by the humble pride of the Catholic Church continuing to be “the homeland of the soul” for those who are “exhausted and oppressed” by the increasingly pervasive and deadly oppression of the dominant neo-paganism.

To rediscover, therefore, the martyrologic-missionary characteristic of our faith, without unfounded and suspicious proselytism, which is itself integral and therefore, dogmatic.

Ratzinger continued in the interview book with Messori:

“The atheist culture of the modern West continues to live thanks to freedom from fear of the devil inherent in Christianity. But if Christ’s redemptive light should be extinguished, then despite all its knowledge and all its technology, the world will fall back into terror and desperation. There are already signs of the return of these obscure forces, while Satanic cults continue to grow in the secularized world (V Messori, op.cit. p. 79).

In short, it is not enough to be a good neighbor to others in the name of an integral and charitable neo-humanitarianism, stuffed with gaudium and laetitia. Paul VI wrote,

“These will always be insufficient, because even the most beautiful testimony will show itself impotent in time, if it is not enlightened, justified – what Peter called ‘give reason for your hope’ – expressed by a clear and unequivocal announcement of the Lord Jesus… There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom, the mystery, of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, are not proclaimed (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22).

[Something, however, that Bergoglio, who professes to be a follower of Paul VI, has chosen to completely ignore in his constant proselytizing for a single world religion that bears the characteristics of both Freemasonry and the appalling United Nations, and in which he shamelessly quashes Christianity along with all other world religions and faiths.]

In the end, it comes down to three apparently banal points for reflection. Yet, it would appear that we are not certain ourselves that they would suffice to avoid "the abomination of desolation, of which the Prophet Daniel spoke” (Mt 24,15).

Of one thing, we are nonetheless certain – and these are not themes for hossanizing, festive masses, but sought after by others – that is, a way to a parvulus grex, that little flock that is strong, joyful and proud of its Lord who continues to encourage it to resist the world and invites it not to despair: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12,32). [i.e., Cardinal Ratzinger's 'creative minorities' who would seem to be the immediate future of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.]

Similar neopagan hypotheses have obviously relaxed missionary tension. Some have started to ask themselves: “Why ‘disturb’ non-Christians inducing them to baptism and faith in Christ, seeing that their religion is their way of salvation in their culture, in their part of the world?” Forgetting in this way the link that the New Testament establishes between salvation and truth - knowledge of which, as Jesus explicitly affirms, will make us free, and therefore saved.

Or, as St. Paul says, “God our savior wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2, 4-7). That is how much we must continue to announce Jesus - humbly but forcefully – to the world today, following the committed example of the generations which have preceded us in the faith.

One of my regrets about the past months I was absent from the Forum is having had to forgo translating and therefore transmitting to Forum readers the always remarkable and tireless reportage-commentary by Aldo Maria Valli on the state of the Church today under Bergoglio. There is no doubt he has become the foremost lay voice in the Church today who has been documenting and commenting on practically every new anti-Church initiative by the reigning pope. I do not think there has been any writer more proactive in this kind of genuinely Catholic documentation of the state of the Church. He now writes up to four different posts on his daily blog. In addition to which, he has been turning out books to reinforce his witness. Here are four of his latest books:

From left:
1) Non avrai altro Dio (Thou shalt have no other God)
Reflections on the Abu Dhabi Declaration
2) Gli strani casi (Strange cases)
Surprising and unexpected stories of lived faith
3) Le due chiese (The two churches)
The synod on the Amazon and Catholics in conflict
4) 'Non abbandonarci alla tentazione' (Do not abandon us to
temptation) - in which he collects reflections
on the new Bergoglio-approved translation of the 'Our Father'
for Italian missals
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/9/2020 7:09 PM]
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Thanks to Beatrice for calling my attention to this item which properly rebukes Donald Wuerl's and Theodore McCarrick's successor as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. for his sanctimonious arrogance in ignorance...

In this case, who is truly
'baffling and reprehensible'?

(On the emblematic hypocrisy of Bishop Gregory
and other frankly anti-Trump bishops)

By Phil Lawler

June 3, 2020

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles,” said Archbishop Wilton Gregory after President Donald Trump visited the St. John Paul II Shrine in Washington.

Do you want to know what I find baffling and reprehensible, Archbishop Gregory?

I find it baffling and reprehensible:

… that a Catholic archbishop would issue a patently partisan statement at a time when our nation is already deeply divided.
… that any responsible leader would issue an inflammatory statement without checking the facts — and learning, in this case, that Trump’s visit to the Shrine was not connected with the demonstrations and riots in our cities, had been planned well in advance, and was intended to focus attention on the international quest for religious freedom — which, the last time I checked, was a cause that did not violate Catholic religious principles.
… that a Catholic prelate evidently didn’t bother to contact an important Catholic institution, to hear its side of the story, before issuing a public condemnation. The Knights of Columbus, who administer the St. John Paul II Shrine, have been scrupulously loyal to the Catholic hierarchy; they deserve at least this elementary courtesy in return.
…that a Catholic archbishop ripped into the President at a time when Trump was advancing a cause that is, in fact, unequivocally in accordance with Catholic principles. While at the Shrine, Trump signed an executive order that directs the US government to make religious freedom a high priority in foreign affairs, and provides [$50 million] funding for that campaign. Whatever else Catholics might think about White House initiatives, this one deserved support, not angry denunciation.
that a Catholic pastor who has passively accepted the imposition of government restrictions which effectively prevent the public celebration of Mass would make a political matter — not the administration of the sacraments — his top priority.
… that Archbishop Gregory would be hypocritical enough to criticize someone else for allowing the manipulation of the Church for political purposes, when he has given over the pulpit of his cathedral to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose ardent defense of abortion on demand unquestionably “violates our religious principles.”
… and for that matter, that Archbishop Gregory, who devoted a Pentecost Sunday statement to a condemnation of racism, so blithely overlooks the most evident display of racial disparity on our nation: the systematic extermination of African-Americans in the womb, aided and abetted by the liberal Catholic politicians who welcomed the archbishop’s latest petulant outburst. [Petulant? This was more than just bad-tempered sulking. This was a deliberately malicious, aggravated by the willful ignorance it betrayed about the subject matter, and most execrably reprehensible indeed, to correctly use Gregory's own adjective to describe an action he did not even bother to inform himself about before getting on his lame stilts!]

America’s utopian city wreckers
We live in the real world, not the world of John Lennon’s imaginings.
Those who seek utopia rather than rational reform will never be happy with what they get.

by William Kilpatrick

June 7, 2020

“The best is the enemy of the good.” That observation by Voltaire may help to explain the vast destruction resulting from two weeks of violent protesting following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The saying means that those who are satisfied with nothing less than perfection will never be satisfied. In the case of the death of George Floyd, the sentiment is encapsulated in the slogan “no justice, no peace.” One suspects, however, that what is sought is not practical, achievable justice, but perfect justice — the kind only God can deliver.

In a perfectly just world, George Floyd would never have been killed in the first place. But there can be little doubt that practically the whole nation agreed that he had been done an injustice, and that everything possible ought to be done to right that injustice.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota authorities acted quickly. The officer who killed Floyd was quickly removed from the force, jailed and charged with third, then second degree murder. The three other officers who were involved have also been jailed. The Minneapolis City Council has even proposed that the police force be dismantled.

Moreover, many of those who are protesting the killing of Floyd are white. In some cities, white protesters seem to be in the majority. [White protesters who, more than anything, are virtue-signalling, and since most of them are young people who have been victims of America's mind-crushing, free thought-stifling, relentlessly liberal and ultimately anti-American educational system over the past half-century, their hysterical rants of the senseless slogan 'Black lives matter!, sounds very much like 'mea culpa' screams of self-flagellation for 'white guilt'.]

Would this be the case if America were an irredeemably racist society in which blacks will never see justice? What’s more, many of the racial justice reforms that were sought in the past have long been in place. Numerous cities have black mayors, black city council members, black judges, black police chiefs and, in some cases, black majority police forces. In Minnesota, where the nationwide protests first erupted, the chief justice officer is Attorney General Keith Ellison, a black man.

Of course, there is, and will always be room for improvement. But, once again, it seems that what many people [i.e., the demonstrators] — both black and white — want is not improvement, but perfection: the kind of perfection that human beings by their very nature are incapable of.

It’s not just perfect justice in the area of racial relations that is sought, but, increasingly, in every area of life. And, in some cases, what is demanded is not simply perfection, but impossibilities. Thus, some people believe that there can be no justice in society until everyone is free to choose their own gender. And not only that, but they believe there can be no justice until everyone else is forced to assent to their beliefs. In their quest for justice for one group, they deny it to another.

Likewise, the nationwide protests over the injustice done to George Floyd have resulted in myriad new injustices: almost two dozen killed, more than a thousand injured, many hundreds of businesses destroyed and livelihoods lost.

I am not discounting the role of outside agitators, such as Antifa, in fueling anger and discontent among the throngs of protesters. They play a large role in provoking violence, in spreading the protests and in keeping them alive long after they would normally die down. These groups —mostly leftist — did not spontaneously “hijack” the protests. They had for some time been organizing and preparing to exploit just such an occasion as the one that arose in Minneapolis. And human nature being what it is, the occasion inevitably did arise.

Antifa and Antifa-like groups tend to subscribe to a Marxist vision of society. And that vision is essentially a utopian one. [Not to forget that u-topia literally means 'no place' or 'nowhere', so utopias would and could never be.] It promises an almost perfect society which will emerge once wealth is equally shared. Although some of these leftist agitators seem to be without conscience, it’s probable that some of them are motivated by idealistic dreams of a perfect society and perfect justice. [About youthful idealism, one recalls the saying, falsely attributed to Winston Churchill, to the effect that "If you are not socialist or communist by age 20, you have no heart. But if you are still a socialist or communist after age 30, then you have no brain."]

The question is, why are so many others so susceptible to the same dream? Why do they find it intolerable that perfect justice and peace has not yet been achieved? Why do so many in our society believe that utopia is or ought to be just around the corner?

The answer is that they have been exposed to an educational system that is heavy on societal responsibility and light on individual responsibility.
- Part of this comes from a therapeutic strand in education that is obsessed with the goodness of the child’s inner self, and the wrongness of inhibiting its expression.
- Part comes from the Marxist-socialist strand (typified by Howard Zinn’s view of history) that blames social structures for all of life’s ills.

This approach dwells on the many imperfections in American history and gives the impression that perfect harmony is the normal state of mankind, and anything less is the result of oppressive racist and capitalist institutions. Each new injustice, such as the killing of George Floyd, is used to confirm this narrative.

The overall message is that you are not responsible for your troubles, society is. Likewise, you are not responsible when you cause troubles. Indeed, your rioting, looting, and arson may be justified by the oppressions you have suffered at the hands of society. Or, as the gang member in West Side Story explain, “We’re depraved ‘cause we’re deprived.”

The evidence that we are in the grip of this Rousseauian-utopian delusion keeps piling up. The latest iteration of this noble savage view of human nature is the “We-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-cops” movement now underway in numerous cities. The theory behind the movement is that once you remove the police from the scene, everyone will begin to act like Jean Valjean after the bishop saved him from the gendarmes.

Thus, the mayor of Los Angeles wants to severely cut back the budget for the Police Department, dozens of cities want to defund the police, and, as mentioned, Minneapolis wants to disband its police force. But that’s okay. It will be replaced, says one city council member, by a “public safety” committee.

Hmm. “Committee of Public Safety.” Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, that was the group that organized the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. But not to worry, says the city council member: “We can reimagine what public safety means…we can invest in cultural competency and mental health training, de-escalation and conflict resolution…we can declare policing as we know it a thing of the past, and create a compassionate, non-violent future.”

Polls show that the police are more highly trusted by the public than most other professional groups. So perhaps they are more compassionate than the city council member gives them credit for. But, even supposing that police forces can be made super compassionate, does that solve the problem of the lack of compassion in spouse-beaters, looters, arsonists, muggers, and rapists? Will restructuring law-enforcement reshape the criminal? Will you feel safer in a community where the police have been disbanded and re-imagined as social workers and therapists?

I’m reminded of T.S. Eliot’s comment on men who try to solve the problem of fallen human nature “by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.”

It’s interesting that the line occurs in the context of the Church’s duty to talk about “Evil” and “Sin,” lest men be deluded into thinking that salvation comes from reforming societies rather than reforming lives.

In a press conference during the protests, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio invoked John Lennon’s utopian song “Imagine.” “What about a world where we didn’t live with a lot of the restrictions we have right now?” asked the mayor.

Restrictions? Like prisons? Like the presence of police? But we live in the real world, not the world of John Lennon’s imaginings. Those who seek utopia rather than rational reform will not be happy with what they get. Utopian cities without police to enforce the law will not be pleasant places. The word “utopia,” of course, means “nowhere.” And the cities of the utopian dreamers’ imaginations are nowhere that any sane person would want to live.

[DIM98pt]Well, Mayor No-Goodnik De Blasio, if you believe yourself, why not abolish the NYPD - and dismiss all 40,000 members of the force - and see what happens! Crime rates soar where police forces are inefficient; what would happen if there were no police forces at all? And isn't it the elected leaders' first duty to protect and defend the citizenry? How would you do that - do you think those demonstrators would volunteer en masse to give up everything else in order to proactively guarantee law and order for the city?

You could, of course, say that you will spend the considerable police budget on 'community programs to improve black communities' (as if the city weren't supposed to be doing that, anyway), but you will also suddenly have 40,000 men and family bread-earners suddenly out of work. And this goes for all those Brave New World cities deluding themselves that any community today can live without a police force to enforce law and order, and that it would be an 'easy exercise' to dissolve a police department and throw all of its members out of work.

June 9, 2020
It appears that more than just Abp Gregory's nauseating hypocrisy about President Trump, he was guilty of far worse in this case: he was actually invited to be present at the JPII shrine event days before it happened, and the White house has released both the White House invitation and Gregory's rejection of it on the ground that he had' prior commitments'.

Of course, it should be no surprise that Gregory lies, since we are all familiar with the record of BIG LIES told since Day 1 of his papacy by no less than Gregory's Supremo, and all the big and little lies told by the hundreds, if not thousands, of priests and bishops invoved in the sex abuse scandals, starting with McCarrick and et alia (not just 'and others' in this case but 'and allies/accomplices' who have all covered each other's asses all these years.

Archbishop Gregory was invited to
Trump event at JPII Shrine days before
the bishop's censure statement

By JD Flynn

Denver Newsroom, Jun 8, 2020 (CNA) - The White House said Sunday that Washington’s archbishop was invited to attend an event with President Donald Trump several days before it took place, amid media reports that the archbishop did not learn of the event until it was announced publicly the night before it took place.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNA June 7 that “Archbishop Gregory received an invitation to the President’s event at the St. John Paul II Shrine the week prior to the President’s visit. He declined due to other commitments.”

Correspondence between Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s office and the White House indicates the same.

In correspondence dated May 30th and obtained by CNA, Gregory’s office declined “the kind invitation to attend the event celebrating International Religious Freedom on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at the Saint John Paul II Shrine.“

The correspondence further stated that the archbishop had “a prior commitment on his schedule at Catholic University and unfortunately must decline,” and added that Gregory had personally conveyed his regrets at being unable to attend when he spoke to a member of the White House staff directly on the evening of Friday, May 29.

Crux reported June 7 that Gregory had not been told of the visit until June 1, when it was publicly announced by the White House.

Trump’s June 2 visit to the shrine has been the subject of considerable controversy.

On the day of Trump’s visit, the shrine said that the White House had “originally scheduled this as an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom.”

The visit was cut into a shorter event following Trump’s controversial visit the night before to St. John’s Episcopal Church, adjacent to the White House.

Trump stood outside that church in front of cameras holding a Bible in one hand in an apparent photo-op. The church had suffered fire damage during protests on Sunday night.

[So what's wrong with a 'photo op'? All politicians see every moment of their public life as a photo op(portunity) - those moments at least that will withstand scrutiny. All those demonstrators see everything they do in public as a photo op. So most photo ops are genuine in the sense that they do record actual events, as the photo of Trump did.

I was watching the event live on TV, and I was really taken by surprise when he held up the Bible - it was a gesture I had not expected at all but one I immediately appreciated: he was demonstrating his Christian faith unashamedly - as he has done so in his countless pro-life initiatives - in defiance of the thoughtless Godless who had tried to burn down the historic church. Those who call themselves Christian and professed to be offended by his gesture are really offended because at least in their own minds, Trump has shown them up to be the real hypocrites.

I dislike and deplore Trump's blatant narcissism and coarseness in dealing with those he perceives as enemies, and I deplore his past record of womanizing, etc., as much as most decent people do, but I also give him credit for all the positive things he has accomplished as President, most of them things he promised during the campaign and things none of his precedessors had done -such as the economic upturn not just for the country as a whole but for all US minorities, which none of is opponents can dispute - that is what I judge him about. By what he does for the American people, because I dare anyone to cite what, if any, he has done against the American people.]

Before the president arrived at the episcopal church, crowds had stood across from Lafayette Square behind the White House, protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Those demonstrators were cleared from the square by police shooting pepper balls and other non-lethal weapons, before Trump walked across the square to visit the church.

On June 2, before Trump arrived at the John Paul II Shrine, Gregory issued a statement denouncing the visit.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/9/2020 5:23 PM]
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Stained glass from St Etheldreda's church in Ely Place, London. (Photo: Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.)

A great meditation for Trinity Sunday...

The Trinity: Three Persons in One Nature
Excerpt from his classic work Theology and Sanity, in which the late great apologist addresses the “arithmetical problem” of the core Christian doctrine.
by Frank Sheed

June 7, 2020

The notion is unfortunately widespread that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery of mathematics, that is to say, of how one can equal three.
- The plain Christian accepts the doctrine of the Trinity; the “advanced” Christian rejects it; but too often what is being accepted by the one and rejected by the other is that one equals three.
- The believer argues that God has said it, therefore it must be true; the rejecter argues it cannot be true, therefore God has not said it.

A learned non-Catholic divine, being asked if he believed in the Trinity, answered, “I must confess that the arithmetical aspect of the Deity does not greatly interest me”; and if the learned can think that there is some question of arithmetic involved, the ordinary person can hardly be expected to know any better.

Importance of the doctrine of the Trinity
Consider what happens when a believer in the doctrine is suddenly called upon to explain it — and note that unless he is forced to, he will not talk about it at all: there is no likelihood of his being so much in love with the principal doctrine of his Faith that he will want to tell people about it. Anyhow, here he is: he has been challenged, and must say something. The dialogue runs something like this:

Believer: “Well, you see, there are three persons in one nature.”
Questioner: “Tell me more.”
Believer: “Well, there is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.”
Questioner: “Ah, I see, three gods.”
Believer (shocked): “Oh, no! Only one God.”
Questioner: “But you said three: you called the Father God, which is one; and you called the Son God, which makes two; and you called the Holy Spirit God, which makes three.”

Here the dialogue form breaks down. From the believer’s mouth there emerges what can only be called a soup of words, sentences that begin and do not end, words that change into something else halfway. This goes on for a longer or shorter time. But finally there comes something like: “Thus, you see, three is one and one is three.” The questioner not unnaturally retorts that three is not one nor one three. Then comes the believer’s great moment. With his eyes fairly gleaming he cries: “Ah, that is the mystery. You have to have faith.”

Now it is true that the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery, and that we can know it only by faith. But what we have just been hearing is not the mystery of the Trinity; it is not the mystery of anything, it is wretched nonsense.

It may be heroic faith to believe it, like the man who "wished there were four of ’em, That he might believe more of ’em".
Or it may be total intellectual unconcern – God has revealed certain things about Himself, we accept the fact that He has done so, but find in ourselves no particular inclination to follow it up.

God has told us that He is three persons in one Divine nature, and we say “Quite so”, and proceed to think of other matters – last week’s Retreat or next week’s Confession or Lent or Lourdes or the Church’s social teaching or foreign missions.

All these are vital things, but compared with God Himself, they are as nothing: and the Trinity is God Himself. These other things must be thought about, but to think about them exclusively and about the Trinity not at all is plain folly. And not only folly, but a kind of insensitiveness, almost a callousness, to the love of God.

For the doctrine of the Trinity is the inner, the innermost, life of God, His profoundest secret. He did not have to reveal it to us. We could have been saved without knowing that ultimate truth. In the strictest sense it is His business, not ours. He revealed it to us because He loves men and so wants not only to be served by them but truly known. The revelation of the Trinity was in one sense an even more certain proof than Calvary that God loves mankind.

To accept it politely and think no more of it is an insensitiveness beyond comprehension in those who quite certainly love God: as many certainly do who could give no better statement of the doctrine than the believer in the dialogue we have just been considering.

How did we reach this curious travesty of the supreme truth about God? The short statement of the doctrine is, as we have heard all our lives, that there are three persons in one nature. But if we attach no meaning to the word person, and no meaning to the word nature, then both the nouns have dropped out of our definition, and we are left only with the numbers three and one, and get along as best we can with these.

Let us agree that there may be more in the mind of the believer than he manages to get said: but the things that do get said give a pretty strong impression that his notion of the Trinity is simply a travesty. It does him no positive harm provided he does not look at it too closely; but it sheds no light in his own soul: and his statement of it, when he is driven to make a statement, might very well extinguish such flickering as there may be in others. The Catholic whose faith is wavering might well have it blown out altogether by such an explanation of the Trinity as some fellow Catholic of stronger faith might feel moved to give: and no one coming fresh to the study of God would be much encouraged.

“Person” and “Nature”
Let us come now to a consideration of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity to see what light there is in it for us, being utterly confident that had there been no light for us, God would not have revealed it to us. There would be a rather horrible note of mockery in telling us something of which we can make nothing. The doctrine may be set out in four statements:
o In the one divine Nature, there are three Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
o The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father: no one of the Persons is either of the others.
o The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
o There are not three Gods but one God.

We have seen that the imagination cannot help here. Comparisons drawn from the material universe are a hindrance and no help. Once one has taken hold of this doctrine, it is natural enough to want to utter it in simile and metaphor – like the lovely lumen de lumine, light from light, with which the Nicene Creed phrases the relation of the Son to the Father.

But this is for afterward, poetical statement of a truth known, not the way to its knowledge. For that, the intellect must go on alone. And for the intellect, the way into the mystery lies, as we have already suggested, in the meaning of the words “person” and “nature”. There is no question of arithmetic involved.

We are not saying three persons in one person, or three natures in one nature; we are saying three persons in one nature. There is not even the appearance of an arithmetical problem. It is for us to see what person is and what nature is, and then to consider what meaning there can be in a nature totally possessed by three distinct persons.

The newcomer to this sort of thinking must be prepared to work hard here. It is a decisive stage of our advance into theology to get some grasp of the meaning of nature and the meaning of person. Fortunately the first stage of our search goes easily enough.

We begin with ourselves. Such a phrase as “my nature” suggests that there is a person, I, who possesses a nature. The person could not exist without his nature, but there is some distinction all the same; for it is the person who possesses the nature and not the other way round.

One distinction we see instantly. Nature answers the question what we are; person answers the question who we are. Every being has a nature; of every being we may properly ask, What is it? But not every being is a person: only rational beings are persons. We could not properly ask of a stone or a potato or an oyster, Who is it?

By our nature, then, we are what we are. It follows that by our nature we do what we do: for every being acts according to what it is. Applying this to ourselves, we come upon another distinction between person and nature.

We find that there are many things, countless things, we can do. We can laugh and cry and walk and talk and sleep and think and love. All these and other things we can do because as human beings we have a nature which makes them possible. A snake could do only one of them – sleep. A stone could do none of them. Nature, then, is to be seen not only as what we are but as the source of what we can do.

But although my nature is the source of all my actions, although my nature decides what kind of operations are possible for me, it is not my nature that does them: I do them, I the person. Thus both person and nature may be considered sources of action, but in a different sense. The person is that which does the actions, the nature is that by virtue of which the actions are done, or, better, that from which the actions are drawn.

We can express the distinction in all sorts of ways. We can say that it is our nature to do certain things, but that we do them. We can say that we operate in or according to our nature. In this light we see why the philosophers speak of a person as the center of attribution in a rational nature: whatever is done in a rational nature or suffered in a rational nature or any way experienced in a rational nature is done or suffered or experienced by the person whose nature it is.

Thus there is a reality in us by which we are what we are: and there is a reality in us by which we are who we are. But as to whether these are two really distinct realities, or two levels of one reality, or related in some other way, we cannot see deep enough into ourselves to know with any sureness. There is an obvious difference between beings of whom you can say only what they are and the higher beings of whom you can say who they are as well. But in these latter – even in ourselves, of whom we have a great deal of experience – we see only darkly as to the distinction between the what and the who.

Of our nature in its root reality we have only a shadowy notion, and of our self a notion more shadowy still. If someone – for want of something better to say – says: “Tell me about yourself”, we can tell her the qualities we have or the things we have done; but of the self that has the qualities and has done the things, we cannot tell her anything. We cannot bring it under her gaze. Indeed we cannot easily or continuously bring it under our own.

As we turn our mind inward to look at the thing we call “I”, we know that there is something there, but we cannot get it into any focus: it does not submit to being looked at very closely. Both as to the nature that we ourselves have and the person that we ourselves are, we are more in darkness than in light. But at least we have certain things clear: nature says what we are, person says who we are. Nature is the source of our operations, person does them.

Now at first sight it might seem that this examination of the meaning of person and nature has not got us far toward an understanding of the Blessed Trinity. For although we have been led to see a distinction between person and nature in us, it seems clearer than ever that one nature can be possessed and operated in only by one person. By a tremendous stretch, we can just barely glimpse the possibility of one person having more than one nature, opening up to him more than one field of operation.

But the intellect feels baffled at the reverse concept of one nature being totally “wielded”, much less totally possessed, by more than one person. Now to admit ourselves baffled by the notion of three persons in the one nature of God is an entirely honorable admission of our own limitation; but to argue that because in man the relation of one nature to one person is invariable, therefore the same must be the relation in God, is a defect in our thinking. It is indeed an example of that anthropomorphism, the tendency to make God in the image of man, which we have already seen hurled in accusation at the Christian belief in God.

Let us look more closely at this idea. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore it is certain that man resembles God. Yet we can never argue with certainty from an image to the original of the image: we can never be sure that because the image is thus and so, therefore the original must be thus and so. A statue may be an extremely good statue of a man. But we could not argue that the man must be a very rigid man, because the statue is very rigid. The statue is rigid, not because the man is rigid, but because stone is rigid.

So also with any quality you may observe in an image: the question arises whether that quality is there because the original was like that or because the material of which the image is made is like that. So with man and God. When we learn anything about man, the question always arises whether man is like that because God is like that, or because that is the best that can be done in reproducing the likeness of God in a being created of nothing. Put quite simply, we have always to allow for the necessary scaling down of the infinite in its finite likeness.

Apply this to the question of one person and one nature, which we find in man. Is this relation of one-to-one the result of something in the nature of being, or simply of something in the nature of finite being? With all the light we can get on the meaning of person and of nature even in ourselves, we have seen that there is still much that is dark to us: both concepts plunge away to a depth where the eye cannot follow them.

Even of our own finite natures, it would be rash to affirm that the only possible relation is one person to one nature. But of an infinite nature, we have no experience at all. If God tells us that His own infinite nature is totally possessed by three persons, we can have no grounds for doubting the statement, although we may find it almost immeasurably difficult to make any meaning of it. There is no difficulty in accepting it as true, given our own inexperience of what it is to have an infinite nature and God’s statement on the subject; there is no difficulty, I say, in accepting it as true; the difficulty lies in seeing what it means. Yet short of seeing some meaning in it, there is no point in having it revealed to us; indeed, a revelation that is only darkness is a kind of contradiction in terms.

Three Persons – One God
Let us then see what meaning, – that is to say, what light – we can get from what has been said so far. The one infinite nature is totally possessed by three distinct persons. Here we must be quite accurate: the three persons are distinct, but not separate; and they do not share the divine nature, but each possesses it totally.

At this first beginning of our exploration of the supreme truth about God, it is worth pausing a moment to consider the virtue of accuracy. There is a feeling that it is a very suitable virtue for mathematicians and scientists, but cramping if applied to operations more specifically human. The young tend to despise it as a kind of tidiness, a virtue proper only to the poor-spirited. And everybody feels that it limits the free soul. It is in particular disrepute as applied to religion, where it is seen as a sort of anxious weighing and measuring that is fatal to the impetuous rush of the spirit.

But in fact, accuracy is in every field the key to beauty: beauty has no greater enemy than rough approximation. Had Cleopatra’s nose been shorter, says Pascal, the face of the Roman Empire and so of the world would have been changed: an eighth of an inch is not a lot: a lover, you would think, would not bother with such close calculation; but her nose was for her lovers the precise length for beauty: a slight inaccuracy would have spoiled everything. It is so in music, it is so in everything: beauty and accuracy run together, and where accuracy does not run, beauty limps.

Returning to the point at which this digression started: we must not say three separate persons, but three distinct persons, because although they are distinct – that is to say, no one of them is either of the others – yet they cannot be separated, for each is what he is by the total possession of the one same nature: apart from that one same nature, no one of the three persons could exist at all.

And we must not use any phrase which suggests that the three persons share the Divine Nature. For we have seen that in the Infinite there is utter simplicity, there are no parts, therefore no possibility of sharing. The infinite Divine Nature can be possessed only in its totality. In the words of the Fourth Council of the Lateran, “There are three persons indeed, but one utterly simple substance, essence, or nature.”

Summarizing thus far, we may state the doctrine in this way:
o The Father possesses the whole nature of God as His Own, the Son possesses the whole nature of God as His Own, the Holy Spirit possesses the whole nature of God as His Own.
o Thus, since the nature of any being decides what the being is, each person is God, wholly and therefore equally with the others. o Further, the nature decides what the person can do: therefore, each of the three persons who thus totally possess the Divine Nature can do all the things that go with being God.

All this we find in the Preface for the Mass on the Feast of the Holy Trinity: “Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, … we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead …: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”

To complete this first stage of our inquiry, let us return to the question which, in our model dialogue above, produced so much incoherence from the believer – if each of the three persons is wholly God, why not three Gods?

The reason why we cannot say three Gods becomes clear if we consider what is meant by the parallel phrase, “three men”. That would mean three distinct persons, each possessing a human nature. But note that, although their natures would be similar, each would have his own. The first man could not think with the second man’s intellect, but only with his own; the second man could not love with the third’s will, but only with his own.

The phrase “three men” would mean three distinct persons, each with his own separate human nature, his own separate equipment as man; the phrase “three gods” would mean three distinct persons, each with his own separate Divine Nature, his own separate equipment as God. But in the Blessed Trinity, that is not so. The three Persons are God, not by the possession of equal and similar natures, but by the possession of one single nature; they do in fact, what our three men could not do, know with the same intellect and love with the same will. They are three Persons, but they are not three Gods; they are One God.

Frank Sheed (1897-1981) was an Australian of Irish descent. A law student, he graduated from Sydney University in Arts and Law, then moved in 1926, with his wife Maisie Ward, to London. There they founded the well-known Catholic publishing house of Sheed & Ward in 1926, which published some of the finest Catholic literature of the first half of the twentieth century.

Known for his sharp mind and clarity of expression, Sheed became one of the most famous Catholic apologists of the century. He was an outstanding street-corner speaker who popularized the Catholic Evidence Guild in both England and America (where he later resided). In 1957 he received a doctorate of Sacred Theology honoris causa authorized by the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities in Rome.

Although he was a cradle Catholic, Sheed was a central figure in what he called the “Catholic Intellectual Revival,” an influential and loosely knit group of converts to the Catholic Faith, including authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Arnold Lunn, and Ronald Knox.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/8/2020 10:00 AM]
6/8/2020 9:32 PM
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Archbishop Vigano writes
President Trump

June 6, 2020

AMV has published on his blog both the Italian and English texts of a letter sent by Archbishop Vigano to President Trump on Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2019. It is sure to earn him an avalanche of new anathemas by those who have started to excoriate him unforgivinglyfor his increasingly more militant and outspoken views on the increasing secularization towards a one-world-government under the aegis of both Jorge Bergoglio blatantly misusing his position (as de facto and de jure temporal head of the Roman Catholic Church) and the United Nations whose agenda he supports 200 percent.

Holy Trinity Sunday
June 7, 2020

Mr. President,

In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority.

And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them in a situation of moral inferiority with respect to their adversaries, who often hold strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media. In an apparently inexplicable way, the good are held hostage by the wicked and by those who help them either out of self-interest or fearfulness.

These two sides, which have a Biblical nature, follow the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent.
- On the one hand there are those who, although they have a thousand defects and weaknesses, are motivated by the desire to do good, to be honest, to raise a family, to engage in work, to give prosperity to their homeland, to help the needy, and, in obedience to the Law of God, to merit the Kingdom of Heaven.
- On the other hand, there are those who serve themselves, who do not hold any moral principles, who want to demolish the family and the nation, exploit workers to make themselves unduly wealthy, foment internal divisions and wars, and accumulate power and money: for them the fallacious illusion of temporal well-being will one day – if they do not repent – yield to the terrible fate that awaits them, far from God, in eternal damnation.

In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans.

They seem to be so certain of already having everything under control that they have laid aside that circumspection that until now had at least partially concealed their true intentions.
- The investigations already under way will reveal the true responsibility of those who managed the Covid emergency not only in the area of health care but also in politics, the economy, and the media. We will probably find that in this colossal operation of social engineering there are people who have decided the fate of humanity, arrogating to themselves the right to act against the will of citizens and their representatives in the governments of nations.
- We will also discover that the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances, because they would be followed by repression which, although legitimate, could be condemned as an unjustified aggression against the population. The same thing is also happening in Europe, in perfect synchrony.

It is quite clear that the use of street protests is instrumental to the purposes of those who would like to see someone elected in the upcoming presidential elections who embodies the goals of the deep state and who expresses those goals faithfully and with conviction.

It will not be surprising if, in a few months, we learn once again that hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence there are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom: Solve et coagula [Dissolve and coagulate] as the Masonic adage teaches.

Although it may seem disconcerting, the opposing alignments I have described are also found in religious circles. There are faithful Shepherds who care for the flock of Christ, but there are also mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves.

It is not surprising that these mercenaries are allies of the children of darkness and hate the children of light: just as there is a deep state, there is also a deep church that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God. Thus the Invisible Enemy, whom good rulers fight against in public affairs, is also fought against by good shepherds in the ecclesiastical sphere. It is a spiritual battle, which I spoke about in my recent Appeal which was published on May 8.

For the first time, the United States has in you a President who courageously defends the right to life, who is not ashamed to denounce the persecution of Christians throughout the world, who speaks of Jesus Christ and the right of citizens to freedom of worship. Your participation in the March for Life, and more recently your proclamation of the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, are actions that confirm which side you wish to fight on. And I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons.

For this reason, I believe that the attack to which you were subjected after your visit to the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II is part of the orchestrated media narrative which seeks not to fight racism and bring social order, but to aggravate dispositions; not to bring justice, but to legitimize violence and crime; not to serve the truth, but to favor one political faction.

And it is disconcerting that there are Bishops – such as those whom I recently denounced – who, by their words, prove that they are aligned on the opposing side. They are subservient to the deep state, to globalism, to aligned thought, to the New World Order which they invoke ever more frequently in the name of a universal brotherhood which has nothing Christian about it, but which evokes the Masonic ideals of those want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches.

The American people are mature and have now understood how much the mainstream media does not want to spread the truth but seeks to silence and distort it, spreading the lie that is useful for the purposes of their masters. However,

it is important that the good – who are the majority – wake up from their sluggishness and do not accept being deceived by a minority of dishonest people with unavowable purposes. It is necessary that the good, the children of light, come together and make their voices heard.

What more effective way is there to do this, Mr. President, than by prayer, asking the Lord to protect you, the United States, and all of humanity from this enormous attack of the Enemy? Before the power of prayer, the deceptions of the children of darkness will collapse, their plots will be revealed, their betrayal will be shown, their frightening power will end in nothing, brought to light and exposed for what it is: an infernal deception.

Mr. President, my prayer is constantly turned to the beloved American nation, where I had the privilege and honor of being sent by Pope Benedict XVI as Apostolic Nuncio. In this dramatic and decisive hour for all of humanity, I am praying for you and also for all those who are at your side in the government of the United States. I trust that the American people are united with me and you in prayer to Almighty God.

United against the Invisible Enemy of all humanity, I bless you and the First Lady, the beloved American nation, and all men and women of good will.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America

June 9, 2020
A public reaction to the letter has come from Giuseppe Pellegrino, familiar to many who follow sites like OnePeterFive and Stilum Curiae, for whom he has translated articles on the Church from Italian to English and vice versa. He wrote this article for Church Militant. A site, BTW, that has had its share of baffling twists and turns and controversies, the latest being a seeming crusade against the FSSPX for alleged sexual abuses by its priests and the coverup thereof.

For the open letter to Trump,
a light shining in darkness.

by Giuseppe Pellegrino

June 8, 2020

“It is important that the good — who are the majority — wake up from their sluggishness and do not accept being deceived by a minority of dishonest people with unavowable purposes.”

With these words in his “Open Letter to President Donald Trump,” released on the first Saturday of June in this most distressing and unprecedented year of 2020, Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò has kindled a light for the Church in these hours of darkness that shines as a beacon above the present chaos and confusion.

Like the paschal candle that rises in the darkness on the night of Easter, inviting the children of Israel to follow it through the turbulent waters of the Red Sea to freedom and joy, so Vigano’s powerful and prophetic words invite the Church of 2020 to reflect on what is really happening with the eyes of faith and to raise our eyes to the things that are above and to what endures.

Viganò addresses his letter to President Trump, thanking him for his unprecedented pro-life witness. This gratitude should have been expressed by the bishops of the United States on the occasion of President Trump’s visit to the John Paul II Shrine to promote religious freedom. But since it was not, Abp. Viganò has chosen to fill a vacuum of leadership, expressing this gratitude on behalf of the many faithful Catholic laity and clergy who recognize Trump’s courageous leadership on behalf of life.

But Viganò also intends by his letter to instruct the faithful and all people of goodwill — to rouse us from our sluggishness — inviting us to understand and reflect on what is really happening.

As a good teacher and father, Abp. Viganò is reminding the flock to remember what is most fundamental, what is most essential — an act of leadership that is vitally important since we live in such superficial times. Invoking the foundational text of Genesis chapter 3, he reminds us of the biblical nature of a struggle as ancient as Eden: The serpent wages war against the woman and her offspring.

This is the same struggle that Our Lady reminded her children of at Fatima in 1917 — it is a battle for souls, a battle that involves the entire human race, a battle that will ultimately end in victory for the woman and her divine Son but that, at present, in many ways appears to be tilting in favor of the serpent.

Viganò reminds us, in accord with fundamental biblical principles, that although the wicked — the children of darkness— constitute a minority, they hold undue authority and power over the good — the children of light. This means that the good suffer at the hands of the wicked, and in a mysterious way, this also happens within the Church.

How refreshing and consoling it is to have such clarity spoken to us from a Catholic bishop!

Here is Mundabor commenting on another act of recent blatant hypocrisy in the USA. An act that was, surprisingly, criticized
in many of the leftist Democrat-coddling media and by some African Americans...

Nancy 'Kente' Pelosi and
her band of walking memes

June 9, 2020

Firstly, a warning: nowadays, everything must to go on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds exactly. Not one more, not one less. When you have breakfast, I suggest you make it go on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds exactly, “to honour George Floyd”.

I am pretty sure this is the duration of Nancy Pelosi’s expensive ice cream sessions from her extremely expensive and, well, oh very white fridge. I would like to know how long an abortion procedure takes on average. We can then suggest to Nancy that she has her lunch – including very expensive ice cream dessert if needs be – go on for exactly the same time.

End of your lunch and of a human life, Mrs Pelosi. Are you satisfied?

Secondly, a suggestion: if you want to become a walking meme, try to impress the inhabitants of the Democratic Plantation by doing something that shows to the poor simpleton that their Democrat Overseers really, really care.

The warning and the suggestion were admirably combined by the elite echelons of the Dumbocrat Party yesterday, and the comic effect will remain forever.

Let us forget for a moment that, in a further comedy moment, Nancy couldn’t get up, further raising the question whether she is far too old to make a joke of herself in this way, or actually to be Speaker of the House in the first place. This post is not about that.

The real news is the stupidity of using “cultural appropriation” (a big liberal no-no) for their pathetic exercise in tokenism, and the ultimate futility of it. The reaction, as you can see from the link, was not awaited for long, and drew anger and mockery from both the left and the right. They really had it coming.

This was really myopic, and certainly done on the spur of the moment; without any reflection about the countless, and ever increasing, rules of political correctness. Democrats hate “cultural appropriation”, and the more on the left they are, the more they hate it. These people are trying to impress a segment of the population that finds racism in absolutely everything, including Nancy being still alive.

They should understand that, being White, there is nothing they can do that can appease the Black Communist Party; but the more they try to do it, the more they expose themselves as ridiculous, manipulative, pathetic tools in the eyes of many Democrats. Therefore, they keep digging a deeper and deeper hole around themselves, and think that somehow, magically, they will be able to jump out of it and appeal to the – largely White – moderate base they also desperately need.

A conservative President tends to drive the Democrats to the left, leaving too much space to the activist cooks, who then ruin the soup for the population at large. Ask Walter Mondale if you don’t believe me. Riots and disorders are also no great friends of the Democrats. They can excite the fringes, but they scare the middle ground.

Also, there is no way to appease the fringes anyway. The likes of Black Lives Matter and assorted extremist movements will never be happy with her, will always ask for more concession from her, will ultimately criticise her merely for being part of the White Democrat Establishment. Nancy and her merry band of Walking Memes are playing a stupid game.

This is like scratching mosquito bites. A very short sense of relief is followed by a bigger sense of discomfort. The Democrat Overseers scratched their bites with this stunt, but the discomfort will go on, and become more painful.

They are playing a game without possibility of victory, and they are playing even that in a very stupid way.

Nancy, you should have stayed near your fridge.

Amusing post-scripts to the Pelosi stunt:

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York is one of the most sanctimonious politicians ever
to disgrace the national scene. At least, Pelosi tried to 'kneel'. Doesn't it call
to mind Bergoglio who cannot even bring himself to genuflect briefly at
Consecration or before the Blessed Sacrament, even if he effortlessly kneels
before persons whose feet he so 'humbly' washes? But no humility before the
Lord, eh? Of whom he apparently considers it beneath him to be called 'Vicar' of!

BTW, what is loosely called 'kneeling' as in the poses of athletes defying the
American anthem and flag is really half-kneeling, or genuflection, what
traditional Catholics do when first entering a church or upon leaving it,
as opposed to full kneeling during liturgy. I bet none of those models of
American machohood and robust health, nor any of their congressional imitators,
could really kneel with both knees if they had to, at least not for longer than 8:46

More hypocrisy - not to mention
disrespect for the dead -
from the uber-sanctimonious
types at

The headline, plastered on C212's homepage the day of Floyd's funeral, would seem to imply that the police victim was nothing but a 'violent career criminal and drug addict'. He did have a criminal past, for which he served his time in prison, but he came to Minnesota to start a new life in 2014. There is no evidence he had any brushes with the law since then until the day he was killed by a rabidly overzealous policeman.

In fact, nothing about that criminal past is mentioned in the letter from the Botswana bishop for the simple reason that he became friends with George before the latter began his life of crime.

Does the world of and Frank Walker not recognize repentance and second chances made good, or does it just choose to tar everyone they (and he) disapprove of with pejoratives like 'evil', 'thug', 'Francis-something-or-other', etc? What is Christian about that at all? George Floyd does not deserve to be unjustly dishonoured in death - that is killing him all over, and just as brutally as Derek Chauvin did.

And just to put the right perspective about 'racism' in America, consider the figures and other relevant facts cited in this article:

Let’s take a closer look
at #BlackLivesMatter

by Robert Hutchinson

June 3, 2020

On Monday night, the Black Lives Matter protest came to the sleepy beach town of Huntington Beach, California: about 500 protesters, most of them white, denouncing police brutality against black men.

A diverse group of students, retirees and mothers with children faced off against about 200 police officers, some mounted on horses, many of them Hispanic.

There had been a report that more ominous Antifa demonstrators were being bused in to loot local shops, so about 30 stores had boarded up their windows with plywood, just in case. The police found weapons hidden in several alleys, including cinder blocks, weights and rocks, indicating plans for possible violence.

Yet in the end, little happened. The demonstrators chanted “I Can’t Breathe” at the cops, held up signs for TV camera crews, then left. This is what occurred in most small and medium towns across America.

But in America’s cities, it’s a different story.

For a week now, Americans have been sitting in front of their televisions, transfixed, as cities across the United States erupt in riots not seen since the 1960s. At least 40 major cities have imposed curfews, with 23 calling in units of America’s National Guard to restore order.

After two months of strict lock-downs engineered primarily by Democratic mayors and governors, some 40 million Americans are now unemployed [Had been left unemployed by the pandemic, but a significant number of them have now been reinstated in their old jobs], most of them without savings, many with no hope of returning to work.

When people ventured out to beaches or parks for fresh air, some of the overzealous mayors and governors ordered arrests and imposed US$7,000 fines.

Not surprisingly, the entire country, like the entire world, has been on edge for weeks.

And then came the tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man killed or allowed to die on May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis’s ethnically diverse police department.

Like the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago, the brutal treatment of Floyd triggered an explosion among disparate groups across the country – the black community, extreme left groups like Antifa, and run-of-the-mill criminals, thugs and looters.

Most Americans, including most police officers, appear to be sincerely outraged by what happened to Floyd. Police chiefs across the country denounced the actions of the officer involved.

Yet what happened to Floyd was hardly unique – and not confined to black males.

Three years ago, a 40-year-old Australian yoga instructor named Justine Damond called the Minneapolis police to report what she thought was a sexual assault then taking place.

When Minneapolis police arrived around 11:30 pm, Damond ran up to the squad car to report what she had heard. One of the police officers, a Somali immigrant named Mohamed Mohamed Noor, reached across his partner in his squad car and, through the car’s open window, shot Damond in the chest, killing her.

There were no riots for Damond, no quick arrests for the officer involved.

Instead, nine months after the shooting, a warrant was finally issued for Noor’s arrest. He was convicted a year later of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, a conviction the Somali Police Association said was racist.

According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, which claims to track every police shooting in the United States, since 2015 America’s various police agencies have shot or otherwise killed a total of 5,360 people – about three per day on average.

Of those, 887 were Hispanic, 1,262 were black, and 2,412 were white. Another 799 were unknown or “other.”

The media often highlight the cases involving black men, because that fits the narrative of “systemic” white racism, but the reality is that police shootings are not perpetrated solely, or even primarily, against black males.

There are literally hundreds of cases every year of American police shooting to death white males (and a few females) who confront police with weapons, or, in a handful of egregious cases, fail to comply with police orders.

- In December 2010, a drunk white man named Douglas Zerby, 35, was sitting on his porch in Long Beach, California, playing with his garden hose. Responding to a false report that a man might have a gun, two police officers approached, and, seeing the hose and without issuing any commands, opened fire, shooting Zerby 12 times. The Long Beach prosecutor declined to press charges against the two officers.
- In 2011, a white homeless man, Kelly Thomas, the son of a retired L.A. Police Officer, was killed by three members of the Fullerton, California police department when they beat him to death for failing to obey their commands. The officers were eventually tried for second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter but acquitted by a jury.
- In 2012, two police officers in the sleepy community of Bainbridge Island, Washington, responded to a call of a mentally ill man, who was white, yelling in the garage apartment of his parents. One of the officers ordered the man to drop an axe he was holding and, when he refused, shot him dead. A jury acquitted the officer of using excessive force.
Examples such as these fail to mollify media critics who claim the
police are inherently racist.

The critics point out that, while more whites are killed annually by police than blacks, blacks are only 12.1% of the US population.

The critics say that this means that African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by American police than are white people – 30 deaths per million for blacks versus 12 deaths per million for whites — and point to this fact as proof that “systemic” racism permeates American society in general and the police in particular.

“There are two viruses killing Americans,” said CNN anchor Don Lemon after the riots began. “Covid-19 and racism”.

Yet supporters of the police say that the shooting statistics don’t tell the whole story.

For one thing, about 50 police officers are shot and killed in the line of duty each year, some from deliberate ambushes.

Every police officer knows of incidents in which a cop inadvertently stepped into an ambush and paid with his or her life – such as the five officers killed in Dallas in 2016 when they were ambushed by a black military veteran named Micah Xavier Johnson.

Johnson, who watched Black Lives Matters protests over and over on TV, told friends that “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

In addition, when it comes to interracial violence blacks are many times more likely to commit violence against whites than whites are against blacks.

According to the US Department of Justice statistics,
- in 2018 there were 547,948 acts of violence perpetrated by black offenders against white victims… compared to 56,915 acts of violence committed by white offenders against black victims.
- When it comes to homicide generally, the offending rate for African Americans is almost 8 times higher than for whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher.

Thus, if racism is defined by acts of violence, it would seem that black racism is at least as much of a problem ín America as white racism.

Plus, a study of police shootings by Michigan State University professor Joseph Cesario found that white police officers are not more likely to shoot minority citizens than non-white officers for a very simple reason: most of the shootings of black suspects by police are done by black police officers, not white ones.

“We found that the race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot,” Cesario said. “If anything, black citizens are more likely to have been shot by black officers, but this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens there are in a community, the more black police officers there are.”

Thus, it turns out that the entire premise behind the current round of riots – that American police are inherently racist and more likely to shoot or cause harm to black offenders than to white ones – is likely false in two different ways.

Not only are more whites killed by police every year than blacks, but, if the Cesario study is accurate, then most shootings of black offenders are done by black officers, not white officers.

The cases the media constantly highlight – such as unarmed black men being shot or choked – are relatively rare and, thanks to improved training, decreasing.

According to the Washington Post, of the 5,360 people killed by police over the past five years, only 321 were unarmed. Most involved suspects brandishing firearms (3,053) or knives (924) or driving vehicles towards police (126).

In the end, stoking the flames of racial hatred, as the media and the political left are now doing so enthusiastically, ultimately serves no one.

Despite what left-wing activists claim, studies have shown that riots, violence and looting usually trigger an electoral backlash that bolsters conservative political parties – as occurred with the election of Richard Nixon following the 1968 riots.

In the ultimate irony, it could well turn out that the looters now stealing TVs and beating up old women will only succeed in re-electing Donald Trump.

Robert J. Hutchinson is the author of many works of popular history, including, most recently, What Really Happened: The Lincoln Assassination (2020).

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2020 1:30 AM]
6/9/2020 7:04 PM
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A precious lesson from
'ignorant' peasants

Translated from

by Aldo Maria Valli

Dear Friends of Duc in altum, I offer herewith my latest contribution to the feature La trave e la pagliuzza for Radio Roma Libera:

I remain most impressed by a video that a friend sent me recently, with the testimony of some elderly peasants and animal breeders, presumably from central Italy, who, when asked about the pandemic, Coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it, candidly show they know nothing about all this. The video is beautiful because the testimonies are laden with disarming sincerity, the faces show simple dignity, and none of those asked tries to be anything other than who he is.

In turn I sent the video to some friends and one of them, who is in agronomy, commented: “They are lovable, and how many like them I know! Persons who are not well educated, far from the social media and the world shaped by the media. I love them all, because they are our [Italian] history: Woe to those who would touch them!”

A female friend commented: “Simple to the point of making you feel protective about them! They live in the same world as we do but they have not been overwhelmed by it. They deserve our attention and respect.”

None of my friends even thought of calling the persons in the video ‘ignorant’. Nor would I say that of them. Though they are truly ignorant, in the literal sense, because they ignore or don’t know about so many things - but it is not as if we, educated metropolitanites, know any much more than they!

If we think about what we really know about Covid-19, we must admit that we remain profoundly ignorant. Despite our exposure to social media and our daily reading of so much news and commentary, we are full of doubts and questions, and the things we do not know surpass by far the things about which we think we know, more or less.

We still do not know well how and where the virus was born, nor how it was first transmitted to humans. We do not know exactly how many deaths attributed to the virus were really due to other pre-existing conditions. We don’t know exactly who died of Covid-19 or because of Covid-19, and who did not. [The fatality numbers in Italy are particularly suspect because health officials have admitted that most Covid-19 deaths reported, especially of the elderly, were attributed to the virus even when the dead persons may not have been infected at all.] We do not know if the virus has really ‘gone away’, we don’t know if it will come back, we don’t know if we should all get vaccinated or not, we do not know what would be the best treatments if the virus came back, etc. etc.

If we know that we do not know very much, we would be cautious and humble, but since we have been overloaded with ‘information’, we presume to know, and so, we become aggressive. It is the aggressivity of the weak who attacks out of uncertainty.

The rural people interviewed in the video had the beautiful bronzed faces of older people accustomed to being in the open air. The fact that they live in isolated rural villages placed them automatically outside the risk for contagion, but not just of what the virus caused: I also refer to their contagion from ‘information’.

Their faces show they have not been stressed by terror of the unknown or by sensationalism. Having been without television, newspapers, the social media and all other sources of outside information, they have maintained a regal detachment and an unassailable serenity.

Does this mean we should not keep informed? Of course not. But the lesson we get from our older rural compatriots is nonetheless instructive: one can die of (mis/dis) information overload as much as of Covid-19. One can die of information indigestion, of news-related stress, of nervous exhaustion from the information overload.

It’s not easy to say how much ’news’ we should have in order not to develop some kind of neurosis. We can each regulate our personal dose as we think appropriate. But the problem is not just quantitative. One should discern the quality of the information we get, information that is truly ‘free’ [and objective] – rara avis in terris!

Watching the video with the elderly peasants, I also thought back to the TV appearance of our Prime Minister during the pandemic when, in the primest of prime time, he entered our houses, in which we had been cooped up by the nationwide quarantine, and he started to reel out figures and to announce measures the government was taking on the recommendation of its ‘scientific and technical committee’.

This was the classic case in which we presume we have received knowledge but in reality, knew nothing at all. We had no way of knowing how the data we were being given was collected, we were unable to compare it with other sources of information, we had no way to understand how the committee came to take certain decisions, we did not know the true competence of these persons who were called on to make the decisions.

All of us, lacking any objective means of judgment, were called on to nothing less than an act of faith. Which gave the sensation, totally illusory, that we knew something when it was simply that we believed [or were made to believe] we knew something.

We must admit that we have lived – and are living – in illusion. The illusion of knowing, of being free to make up our pown minds, the illusion of being free to judge. And the illusion continues.

One naturally starts to think of Plato’s cave, with its enchained slaves who did not know they were only seeing shadows because, being unable to face the source of the projections, identified the shadows cast as effective reality.

It is well to hear the voices of those who, in helping us to recognize our limitations, would call us back to the realism of humility.

Tomasso Scandroglio, who often writes about scientific developments and their bioethical implications, indulges his philosophical fancy about the virus.

The shameless realism of Mr. Coronavirus
By Tomasso Scandroglio
Translated from

June 9, 2020

The virus confesses that it came to expose human illusions: “You marched for peace, and I have turned you into epidemic bombs. Your fear is a reflection of your selfishness, so I have given you isolation. You loved to laugh at the void, and I have covered your mouths. You have been living virtual lives, so I have taken away your real life. You thought of science as liberating, now scientists are keeping you at home”.

I hear someone calling me. I turn around. I recognize those eyes above the now-mandatory face mask. It Is Marco, with whom I had played soccer many glacial years ago. Stouter now but not aged, he starts to recount anecdotes from the past while our shopping carts are in violation of social distancing. Other customers swarm attentively but prudently around us.

At one point, Marco, whose cart is already loaded, says, “You know, I read your interviews. You really do meet all kinds of odd people”.
- “But that’s what the world has to offer, my friend”.
- “You know who you should interview?”
- “Tell me!”
- “Why not Mr. Coronavirus?”
- “I’ll leave that pleasure to others”.

And after a series of exchanges, each one horribly banal, Marco finally broke off and resumed his rounds of the supermarket aisles. At that point, I heard a flat atonal voice addressing me: “Your friend was right. You should interview that which you call Coronavirus.”

I turned and found myself facing an older man, short and rather lean, who wore ‘important’-looking eyeglasses, with completely opaque lenses. He took off his face mask and stepped towards me. One step too near, which forced me instinctively to take one step away. I step back.

- “But yes, interview the Coronavirus. Interview me!”
- “Excuse me?”
- “My pleasure! I am the ex-detainee SARS-CoV-2”, and saying this, he held out his hand as if he was holding a pistol. I moved back farther, while he smiled in a friendly manner: “With armed hands, carissimo”. The two esses in carissimo (‘dearest’) came out hissing and prolonged, like the sound of a dentist’s drill.
- “So, today, each hand has become a weapon, and a gesture of peace becomes a threat! You have taunted war as much as you have marched for peace and I have changed each of you into a potential epidemic bomb. It’s the law of counterpoint, carissimo”.

Again, the hissed esses annoy me. I am also short of breath because of the face mask, but my interlocutor has his hanging from his ear like a big earring. Then I manage to mentally frame the question that seems most logical to me: “Are you really who you say you are?”

"I notice you are at a loss for words," said the little man in a very bored tone, reminding me of the most tedious of my high school teachers.
- “Prove to me that you are Mr. Covid!”
- “First of all, don’t confuse me with Covid-19 – that’s the disease. I am a virus. And I can easily prove who I am. If someone else comes nearer, I can prove it to you.” A strange light flickered in his eyes. I step back again.

He turns, takes three steps and touches a girl, a curly-haired brunette, wearing a fancy mask.

I move towards him, and say: “Well, let’s say you are our Coronavirus. Why do you call yourself an ex-detainee?”

The old man, putting his mask back on, turns to me and asks in a completely different tone: “Excuse me, are you talking to me?”

The brunette, after removing her mask, tells the old man: “Look, he was talking to me!” in a flat exhausted tone.

I immediately understood what had happened. Sars-whatshisname had transferred from the old man to the girl. I was more amazed than frightened.

«I am an ex-detainee because I escaped. Don't ask me if it was from a lab or from the body of a bat. Useless question - even if it is true that before moving here, I had adapted myself to live in those hideous bats. Then, spillover, a jump between species, happened. Listen to how nice it sounds, s-pill-o-ver. Come on, repeat after me: s-pill-o-ver”.

I pay no attention. My reporter’s nature asserts itself. “How would you define yourself?”

“I am a parody of Original Sin – which also made the jump from animal to man, from a serpent to a human being. It’s curious how some things repeat themselves, no?” She puts out her hand and touches the collar of a boy in a crumpled baseball cap who had strayed from his mother’s side. The same thing happened as earlier. The girl put back her mask, and the boy, taking off his, turned towards me.

“What is your greatest value, assuming you have one?”, I ask the boy.

And the boy, in a flat and colorless tone, answered: “I am a realist who obliges everyone to face facts for what they are. Thank me because I have made you know your limitations, I have forced you to look into the mirror. I am the personification of the evil within you and which consumes you, which has infected you and which is killing you. I have given form to your sin because my contagion is wide-spreading, just as the evil in you is diffusive. I am your counterpoint”.
- “What do you mean?”
- “The company you sought before this blazing time of darkness was nothing else but food for your individualism, a showcase for your vanity. So I made you a gift of isolation in which you can savor all the rancid fruits of your selfishness. You loved to laugh at the void, so I covered your mouths with a mask – I have taken away your smiles. Speaking of masks, you are liars, not authentic, hiding yourselves behind a thousand masks, so I have gifted you with millions of masks. You were so enamored with the social media and the possibilities offered by the Web, and now I have chained you to it as your only possibility to communicate with the world. For years, you have enclosed yourselves in a virtual life and now your real life is only virtual. Finally, you had always thought of science as liberating. And now the scientists have you imprisoned at home”.

A woman of exceptional size passes by the boy. He takes a step and touches her shoulder with a finger. As if on cue, she takes off her mask.
- “ And who might you be?” I ask.
- “I will tell you who I’m like, carissimo,” she says in the same tone as the earlier ‘hosts’ of Mr Sars-CoV-2, and pronouncing those esses like a dentist’s drill as they did. “I am like God. I am here but I also in many other places, I can give death or I can save lives, I shake consciences in their innermost.” She smiles and shows her teeth.
- “I observe your pride”, I say.
- “Pride is a luxury I can afford. Come on, it’s clear for all to see: a such a tiny thing has brought all of mankind to its knees. Of course, I feel much better than you all. One example out of many? For some time, you have stopped having children. Whereas I can replicate as much as I wish to”. She laughs, almost to tears. “Better give me a sedative, or I will suffocate from laughter”.
- “You indulge in black humor…”
- “Let me ask you a question: are you afraid of me?”
- “Of course. Naturally”.
- “Then let me tell you that your fear is the reflection of your selfishness. For instance, no one is scandalized by the one million and a half children who die every year of tuberculosis, for the simple reason that they are not your children. But for the first time in a hundred years, a daily scourge in one part of the world is now also your scourge. And so, your consciences have awakened from torpor and numbness which is lethal. And yet, the scourge has merely touched you briefly. I decided to pluck out the flowers that had already faded, to end the silver years, to visit those in the winter of their existence, leaving the buds to be able to germinate even amid unforeseen spring chilliness”.

A man in his 30s, tall and robust, risks turning his back on the woman. She extends a leg and gives him a kick in the calf.
- “It really seems as if you take pleasure in infecting him”.
- “I do not take pleasure in it, Sir. It’s just an attempt to survive. In this, you and I are alike. You survive. But you certainly don’t live. You drag yourselves by the belly because you think and act according to what your belly and lower belly demand".
- "Another question. You have lived hundreds of thousands of deaths up close, even from within. How do men prepare to die? "
- «Those who believe always find the right word, those who do not believe simply do not find any words. It is death that says the last word for them."

The man in his thirties puts on his mask again without having touched anyone and then quickly leaves me. I understand that the interview has ended.

After a few minutes of disorientation, I start shopping again and then I go to the checkout. I go out and in the parking lot, I notice, scattered about, an old man, a girl with dark curls, a boy with a crumpled baseball cap, an obese woman and a well-built man in his 30s, who all turn towards me at the same time, take off their masks, and say in the same flat voice: “Next time, I will interview you”.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/9/2020 11:50 PM]
6/10/2020 1:06 AM
Post: 32,783
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Martin Luther at Wittemberg.

No one could be happier than I am that more of the prestigious widely-read Catholic writers are increasingly using the word 'apostasy' to
describe the overall doctrinal laxity that has plagued the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church since Vatican II, and which, since March 2013,
has spread like a vast evil inkblot throughout the Church starting from the man who was elected to symbolize the unity of that Church. Those
who have spoken of 'heresy' all these years are being too kind and totally wrong in their imprecision. Almost from the start, 'apostasy' was
my word of choice for this evil.

A paradigm drift to apostasy?
By George Weigel -June 8, 2020

June 8, 2020

Yale University’s Carlos Eire masterfully demonstrated in Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 that there was no one “Protestant Reformation” but rather several religious movements, often in disagreement with each other, that shattered western Christendom in the 16th century.

Still, Martin Luther’s protest at Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, has long been taken as the starting gun for “the Reformation,” and various Protestant denominations celebrate “Reformation Day” on the Sunday closest to that date.

So “Wittenberg” can serve as a synonym for other efforts to distance Christian communities from the authority of Rome and the papacy.

Which suggests that what’s afoot in German Catholicism today is “Wittenberg” in synodal slow motion. In this instance, there is no nailing of contested propositions to church doors.

Rather, the gears of a vast, well-funded ecclesiastical bureaucracy are grinding away toward outcomes that seem baked into the process from its inception:
- a German revision (meaning abandonment) of the discipline of clerical celibacy;
- some form of installed, or ordained, role for women in German Catholicism;
- a German substitute for the Catholic ethic of human love;
- a German “democratisation” of Church governance
– in short, the dreams of the Catholic Revolution That Never Was, realised at last from Cologne to Berlin and from Hamburg to Munich.

This is the “synodal path” on which the Church in Germany has launched itself.

The anti-Roman and anti-papal subtext to all this has typically been disguised or flatly denied by Cardinal Reinhard Marx and other German Catholic bishops.

But the Central Committee of German Catholics – the lay Politburo (to use a more accurate and related title) that is co-managing the “synodal path” with the German bishops’ conference – recently let the cat out of the bag.

Gobsmacked that bucketloads of German money at the 2019 Amazonian synod did not produce the desired results, the Zentralkomitee responded to Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on Amazonia by deploring the absence of a papal endorsement of married priests and women deacons.

And it did so in baldly Wittenbergian terms: “We very much regret that Pope Francis did not take a step forward in his [exhortation]. Rather, it strengthens the existing positions of the Roman Church both in terms of access to the priesthood and the participation of women in ministries…”

“…the existing positions of the Roman Church…” Well, well. That formula at least has the merit of candour, if not theological heft. But please note what is going on here.

The “Roman Church,” it seems, is but one among any number of local Churches. Which implies that the Bishop of Rome, its head, is but one among the bishops who form the episcopal college. And that flatly contradicts both Scripture (see Matthew 16:13-19) and the authoritative tradition of the Church as expressed in the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.


But I’m now wondering whether that’s quite right, and whether the more appropriate description for what’s going on along this German synodal path is apostasy: an arrogant determination to break with settled Catholic doctrine in the name of a contemporary intelligence superior to what Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation called Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

That, it seems to me, is what’s implied by the formula used in the Central Committee’s smackdown of Pope Francis. In light of this, those who believe that the Catholic Church does “paradigm shifts” might want to re-consider.

For what’s happening along the German synodal path is a true paradigm shift: a shift toward the notion of the Catholic Church as a federation of local Churches, each of which legitimately espouses its own doctrine, moral teaching, and pastoral practice.

That, however, is not Catholicism. It is Anglicanism. And anyone who knows anything about world Christian demographics knows that local-option Anglicanism hasn’t turned out very well.


It is astonishing that, confronted by unmistakable empirical evidence that liberal Protestantism has collapsed around the world, German Catholic leaders, ordained and lay, seem determined to create a nominally Catholic form of liberal Protestantism through a slow-motion “Wittenberg.”

But perhaps this sad business is not all that surprising. Almost 20 years ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told me that “organised Catholicism in Germany is a task force for old ideas.” At the time, we both understood him to mean the tried-and-failed ideas of the 1970s. It now looks, however, as if those “old ideas” have a 16th-century pedigree.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2020 8:20 AM]
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