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11/14/2017 8:39 PM
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See preceding page for earlier posts today, 11/14/17.

The sacrilege Bergoglio has wrought widens its consequences...

After Brussels, Paris:
A group of young people say the Rosary aloud
in a church during celebrations marking Luther’s schism

Church officials called the police who led the group away

Translated from

November 14, 2017

[We remember the episode in the Cathedral of Brussels on October 31.]

A similar episode took place in the heart of Paris on the same day, at the church of Notre Dame des Blanc Manteaux (Our Lady of the White Cloaks) in the Marais district. But here, a lady pastor from the United Protestant Church was part of the celebration, during which she danced before the altar.

The young people wished to make reparation for what they consider a sacrilege [the commemoration of Luther’s schism in a Catholic church], and of course, some of those present protested. The police were called in, and the rosary-prarying group were led away.

You may see the video here:

When will it ever end????

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/14/2017 8:41 PM]
11/14/2017 9:45 PM
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Why can't this pope simply say, NO, YES, YES, YES, AND YES to the DUBIA?

Because he can't do so honestly, without contradicting himself and admitting to the world he is wrong and...gasp!, heretical!

1. Can the divorced and remarried who are still engaged in a sexual relationship receive absolution and communion without a change of life?
2. Do absolute moral norms still exist?
3. Does objective grave sin still exist?
4. Is the teaching still valid that however much circumstances may lessen an individual’s guilt, those circumstances cannot change an intrinsically evil act into a subjectively good act?
5. Does the Church’s teaching that an appeal to conscience cannot overcome absolute moral norms still hold true?

...And I don't know why Cardinal Burke persists in 'waiting for Bergodot'...

Because of the unexpected page change, I am posting the Edward Pentin's interview with Cardinal Burke on this page, and not with Steve Skojec's commentary in the previous page.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and Cardinal Raymond Burke at a Pontifical High Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo by Edward Pentin)

Cardinal Burke addresses the ‘Dubia’
one year after their publication

In wishing to honor his two recently deceased DUBIA colleagues,
he makes a final plea to the Holy Father for clarity, saying
the 'grave' situation is 'continually worsening' and that
it is 'urgent' the Pope 'confirm his brothers in the faith'

[What exactly does 'final plea' mean? If this goes unanswered, as it will,
what then? Just stop the pleading already and do something concrete!]

November 14, 2017

One year to the day since the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke has made a final plea to the Holy Father to clarify key aspects of his moral teaching, saying the gravity of the situation is “continually worsening.”

In a Nov. 14 interview with the Register, Cardinal Burke said he was turning again “to the Holy Father and to the whole Church” to emphasize “how urgent it is that, in exercising the ministry he has received from the Lord, the Pope should confirm his brothers in the faith with a clear expression of the teaching regarding both Christian morality and the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice.”

On Sept. 19 last year, Cardinal Burke, along with Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and recently deceased Cardinals Joachim Meisner and Carlo Caffarra, signed a letter expressing five DUBIA [arising from Amoris laetitia] to the Pope. They made the initiative public on Nov. 14, 2016, when it became clear the Holy Father would not respond.

Aimed at clarifying disputed passages of Chapter 8 of his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the five-question DUBIA — an ancient and customary practice aimed at clarifying areas of doctrine — sought to ascertain, among other matters, whether previous Church teaching forbidding civilly “remarried” divorcees engaging in sexual relations to receive the sacraments remained in force.

Since Amoris Laetitia was published in April 2016, some bishops’ conferences, drawing on the exhortation, have said certain civilly-remarried divorcees can now receive the sacraments depending on their personal circumstances, while other bishops, basing their position on the Church’s perennial teaching, say they cannot.

“The concern was and is to determine precisely what the Pope wanted to teach as Successor of Peter,” Cardinal Burke said.

“Far from diminishing the importance of our questions,” the current situation only makes them “still more pressing,” he added.

He also made it clear in this fresh interview that he intends to honor the two deceased cardinals by underlining the position of the dubia signatories and by giving a summary of the situation.

Your Eminence, at what stage are we since you, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and the two recently deceased cardinals, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, made the dubia public a year ago this week?
One year after the publication of the dubia on Amoris Laetitia, which have not received any response from the Holy Father, we observe an increasing confusion about the ways of interpreting the apostolic exhortation. Hence our concern for the Church’s situation and for her mission in the world becomes ever more urgent.

I, of course, remain in regular communication with Cardinal Walter Brandmüller regarding these gravest of matters. Both of us remain in profound union with the two late Cardinals Joachim Meisner and Carlo Caffarra, who have passed away in the course of the last months. Thus I once again present the gravity of the situation, which is continually worsening.

Much has been said about the dangers of the ambiguous nature of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, stressing that it is open to much interpretation. Why is clarity so important?
Clarity in teaching does not imply any rigidity, which would impede people from walking on the Gospel path, but, on the contrary, clarity provides the light necessary for accompanying families on the way of Christian discipleship.

It is obscurity that keeps us from seeing the path and that hinders the evangelizing action of the Church. As Jesus says, “Night comes, when no one can work”
(John 9:4).

Could you explain more about the current situation in light of the DUBIA?
The current situation, far from diminishing the importance of the or DUBIA, makes them still more pressing. It is not at all, as some have suggested, a matter of an “affected ignorance,” which poses doubts only because it is unwilling to accept a given teaching.

Rather, the concern was and is to determine precisely what the Pope wanted to teach as Successor of Peter. Thus the questions arise from the recognition of the Petrine office that Pope Francis has received from the Lord for the purpose of confirming his brothers in the faith. The magisterium is God’s gift to the Church to provide clarity on issues that regard the deposit of the faith. By their very nature, affirmations that lack this clarity cannot be qualified expressions of the magisterium.

[Once again, it cannot be over-emphasized how unrealistic that view is, even if it may be objectively true. It doesn't matter how you define or qualify magisterium, or say that it is not magisterium. That's just a technicality for the overwhelming majority of Catholics who still believe erroneously that 'whatever the pope says' must be gospel truth. That is what all those who oppose or criticize the dubious teachings explicit and implicit in AL have to fight against.

'Bergodot' will never 'clarify' what he intended to be deliberately ambiguous in order to get his way by hook or by crook about sacramental leniency, and so his defiance and violation of essential Catholic doctrine will 'stand' - until another, hopefully orthodox Catholic Pope, shall have replaced him and sets things to right (which won't be an easy task, because you cannot unscramble an egg).]

Why is it so dangerous, in your view, for there to be differing interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, particularly over the pastoral approach of those living in irregular unions, and specifically over civilly-remarried divorcees not living in continence and receiving Holy Communion?
It is evident that some of Amoris Laetitia’s indications regarding essential aspects of the faith and of the practice of the Christian life have received various interpretations that are divergent and at times incompatible with each other. This incontestable fact confirms that these indications are ambivalent, permitting a variety of readings, many of which are in contrast to Catholic doctrine.

The questions we cardinals have raised thus regard what exactly the Holy Father has taught and how his teaching harmonizes with the deposit of the faith, given that the magisterium “is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit; it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed” (Vatican Council II, dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, 10). [All useless verbiage to Bergoglio: He knows best about everything, and better than anyone, including Jesus.]

Hasn’t the Pope made clear where he stands through his letter to Argentine bishops, in which he said there is “no other interpretation” than the guidelines those bishops issued — guidelines that left open the possibility of some sexually active unmarried couples receiving the Holy Eucharist?
Contrary to what some have claimed, we cannot consider the Pope’s letter to the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires, written shortly before receiving the DUBIA and containing comments on the bishops’ pastoral guidelines, an adequate response to the questions posed. [Obviously not, even if it confirms his 'evil' intentions in AL and is, in effect, a YES to the first dubium.]

On the one hand, these guidelines can be interpreted in different ways; on the other, it is not clear that this letter is a magisterial text, in which the Pope intended to speak to the universal Church as the Successor of Peter. [Magisterium, shmagisterium!]

The fact that the letter first became known because it had been leaked to the press — and was only later made public by the Holy See — raises a reasonable doubt about the Holy Father’s intention to direct it to the universal Church. [But, Your Eminence, in a right-minded Catholic pope, shouldn't whatever he tells a local Church also hold true for the universal Church in the matter of faith and morals? Why excuse him by allowing that he may only have meant it for the Church in Argentina but not for the other local Churches that make up the universal Church? That is not at all logical.]

In addition, it would turn out to be quite astonishing — and contrary to Pope Francis’s explicitly formulated desire to leave the concrete application of Amoris Laetitia to the bishops of each country (Amoris Laetitia, 3) — that now he should impose on the universal Church what are only the concrete directives of a particular region. [But it is very wrong to begin with that he should leave the concrete applications of AL to the bishops of each country - although, of course, this would be a first application of his Evangelii gaudium announcement that he wishes to give episcopal conferences not just pastoral autonomy but doctrinal authority as well. (The second application was in his motu proprio that in effect gives the bishops' conferences the last word on their respective translations of the liturgical books.)

How can any Catholic accept a principle that would destroy the catholicity of the Church and make it a federation of local Churches, each with its own set of doctrines and of pastoral practices? How can Cardinal Burke seem to accept that principle at all???]

And shouldn’t the different dispositions promulgated by various bishops in their dioceses from Philadelphia to Malta then all be considered invalid? [NO! The interpretations that abide by Catholic doctrine cannot be invalid!] A teaching that is not sufficiently determined with respect to its authority and its effective content cannot cast into doubt the clarity of the Church’s constant teaching, which, in any case, remains always normative. [There you have it! Regardless of what this pope says is valid about sacramental leniency remains invalid if it does not conform to the doctrine and praxis that the Church always followed before Bergoglio.]

Are you also concerned that, by some bishops’ conferences allowing certain remarried divorcees living more uxorio (having sexual relations) to receive Holy Communion without a firm purpose of amendment, they are contradicting previous papal teaching, in particular Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio?
Yes, the DUBIA or questions remain open. Those who assert that the discipline taught by Familiaris Consortio 84 has changed, contradict each other when it comes to explaining the reasons and the consequences.

Some go as far as to say that the divorced in a new union, who continue to live more uxorio, do not find themselves in an objective state of mortal sin (citing in support Amoris Laetitia, 303); others deny this interpretation (citing in support Amoris Laetitia, 305), yet completely leave it up to the judgment of conscience to determine the criteria of access to the sacraments.

It seems that the goal of the interpreters is to arrive, in whatever way [or, colloquially, by hook or by crook!] at a change in discipline, while the reasons they adduce to this end are of no importance, nor do they show any concern about how much they put into danger essential matters of the deposit of faith.

What tangible effect has this mix of interpretations had?
This hermeneutical confusion has already produced a sad result. In fact, the ambiguity regarding a concrete point of the pastoral care of the family has led some to propose a paradigm shift regarding the Church’s entire moral practice, the foundations of which have been authoritatively taught by St. John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Indeed, a process has been put into motion that is subversive of essential parts of the Tradition. Concerning Christian morality, some claim that absolute moral norms need to be relativized and that a subjective, self-referential conscience needs to be given a — ultimately equivocal — primacy in matters touching morals.

What is at stake, therefore, is in no way secondary to the kerygma or basic Gospel message. We are speaking about whether or not a person’s encounter with Christ can, by the grace of God, give form to the path of the Christian life so that it may be in harmony with the Creator’s wise design.

To understand how far-reaching these proposed changes are, it is enough to think of what would happen if this reasoning were to be applied to other cases, such as that of a medical doctor performing abortions, of a politician belonging to a ring of corruption, of a suffering person deciding to make a request for assisted suicide ...

Some have said the most pernicious effect of all of this is that it represents an attack on the sacraments as well as the Church’s moral teaching. How is this so?
Over and above the moral debate, the sense of the ecclesial sacramental practice is increasingly eroding in the Church, especially when it comes to the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. The decisive criterion for admission to the sacraments has always been the coherence of a person’s way of life with the teachings of Jesus.

If instead the decisive criterion were now to become the absence of a person’s subjective culpability — as some interpreters of Amoris Laetitia have suggested — would this not change the very nature of the sacraments?

In fact, the sacraments are not private encounters with God, nor are they means of social integration into a community. Rather, they are visible and effective signs of our incorporation into Christ and his Church, in and by which the Church publicly professes and actuates her faith.

Thus, by turning a person’s subjective diminished culpability or lack of culpability into the decisive criterion for the admission to the sacraments, one would endanger the very regula fidei, the rule of faith, which the sacraments proclaim and actuate not only by words, but also by visible gestures.

How could the Church continue to be the universal sacrament of salvation if the meaning of the sacraments were to be emptied of its content?
[Obviously, Bergoglio has no such regard for the Sacraments, even if he may occasionally pay lip service.]

Despite you and many others, including more than 250 academics and priests who have signed a filial correction, clearly having very serious misgivings about the effects of these passages in Amoris Laetitia, and because you have so far received no response from the Holy Father, are you here making a final plea to him?
Yes, for these grave reasons, one year after rendering public the DUBIA, I again turn to the Holy Father and to the whole Church, emphasizing how urgent it is that, in exercising the ministry he has received from the Lord, the Pope should confirm his brothers in the faith with a clear expression of the teaching regarding both Christian morality and the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice. [Words addressed in vain to a deaf ear, who touts dialog but will not brook an iota of criticism to his convictions and actions.]

Steve Skojec has written a post-script to his surprisingly mild and meek account of the Burke interview earlier today [See preceding page where I posted it.] Here, he expresses the same kind of impatient exasperation, and more, as I did in my remarks on the substance of Cardinal Burke's interview....

Cardinal Burke’s 'final plea' to Pope Francis: Our take
by Steve Skojec

November 14, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, I received word through one of my sources that something would be coming today, at long last, in the ongoing and seemingly never-ending process that would move things in the direction of the highly-anticipated “formal correction” of the pope. I was told that it would not be the formal correction itself, but something preliminary to it.

There was no clear indicator of just what, exactly, was to be expected, or when the formal correction itself would follow. Only that a statement of some kind would be issued today, November 14, 2017, exactly one year since the publication of the original five dubia on Amoris Laetitia.

When Edward Pentin’s new interview with Cardinal Burke was published today at 3PM Rome time, we had our answer.

Not only was it not the formal correction, it did not even mention those words. Our summary of the document this morning included a list of important post-exhortation milestones over the past year along the path to this moment, but it is clear that this path, such as it is, continues to wind forward — for how long, nobody seems to know — into the future.

[As Skojec already summarized the highlights of the interview in his earlier post today and we have the full interview above, I am omitting his recap.]

In the end, he [Burke] makes a “final plea” that the pope “confirm his brothers in the faith with a clear expression of the teaching regarding both Christian morality and the meaning of the Church’s sacramental practice”.

But if the plea is actually final, then what might we expect next? What would be the consequence of the pope ignoring yet another plea, as he has done so many times before?

It seems certain that Cardinal Burke — along with those who are supporting his efforts — wants to make certain that he has given the pope every possible chance to fix what he is breaking. But with no clear indication of the repercussions of failing to do so, it remains impossible to determine what incentive the pope has to even pay this “final plea” any attention at all.

This interview, if it is indeed a final warning, should perhaps have been labeled as such. Saying “Please stop” hasn’t worked as a strategy before now, and the urgency — is there a sense of urgency behind the calm restatement of the problem? — demands more.

The time for deference and patience, I fear, has passed. The faithful are seeing the man on the Throne of St. Peter flouting divinely-revealed teaching and the safeguards of his divinely-assisted office — and getting away with it. And it is making many Catholics feel tempted to wonder: If Christ’s promises to the Church can be so easily broken, can any of what we believe can really be trusted? [What is being broken is far more fundamental than Christ's promises to the Church - his very word itself as recorded in the Gospels is being flouted and distorted by the man who is supposed to be his current Vicar on earth.]

In that sense, the pope isn’t the only one responsible for “the gravity of the situation, which is continually worsening.” The cardinals and bishops who have delayed taking action until now are, in their own unintentional way, intensifying the scandalization of the faithful. What the pope is doing is wrong, the laity think [those of them anyway who are aware enough to realize the enormity of the errors being perpetrated by this pope - and they are hardly a significant part at all of the Church's 1.2 billion members, most of whom may not even be aware there is any cotnroversy at all about this 'most popular pope ever'], but when even the faithful and orthodox shepherds of the Church fail to properly address it, does that mean we have been abandoned?

And while these doubts about the Church’s indefectibility are being daily introduced into the minds of the faithful, bishops around the world continue to move forward with their own subjective interpretations of what Amoris Laetitia means for their flocks — all of which will have to be unwound once the Church regains her senses. [As I remarked earlier, how really will the Church be able to unscramble all the rotten eggs Bergoglio has served up???? Satan apparently has found the perfect Screwtape to carry out his designs.]

Today, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 2017 General Assembly meeting, the agenda item of a “renewed pastoral plan on marriage and family life in light of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on ‘the Joy of Love’, Amoris Laetitia” was brought to the table by Bishop Richard Malone, who serves on the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. (For those who would like to hear the commentary themselves, you can follow it on video beginning here.)

In the ensuing discussion, popular Catholic speaker Bishop Robert Barron lamented,

“I just think it’s really been a tragedy that the reception of this document [Amoris Laetitia] has been so poor in our country. If you do a web search of Amoris Laetitia, you get a mountain of literature, but it’s all about a particular chapter and even a particular footnote within that chapter.

As important as that question is, I think it’s led to a overlooking of this really extraordinarily rich document, [referring of course to the elaborate and thick icing of apparent and obviously re-warmed orthodoxy slapped on by Bergoglio and his ghost-writers to 'camouflage' the poison pill in Chapter 8] so I think it’s good for us to seize control of that process, because I think we’ve been positioned by an awful lot of people in the blogosphere who are forcing people to read this document in a particular way.”

[This puts the capstone on Robert Barron's choice to slide over to Bergoglianism after all his previous record of orthodoxy. What a sad descent! Is this the price he feels he has to pay for being named a bishop by Bergoglio?]

“An awful lot of people in the blogosphere”? I wonder who he might be referring to. “Forcing people”? With what, our incredible mind powers? “Seize control”? He actually went on to mention the word “seize” — which, if we want to talk about force, means to “take hold of suddenly and forcibly” — two more times in his brief comments. I didn’t have the patience to listen to more of the discussion.

[Barron, of course, is actually conceding that Bergoglians consider the anti-Bergoglio blogosphere 'powerful' enough for them to have to deal with, from whom they must 'seize control'!The Pope and his followers just cannot stand it that they do not have full and total control of everything and everyone! If you don't know it yet for what it is, welcome to Bergoglian totalitarianism. ]

- The firing of Professor Seifert.
- The shaming of Professor Stark.
- The firing of Fr. Thomas Weinandy.
- The campaign of sustained ad hominems against the dubia cardinals as well as every theologian, priest, and layman who supports the work of authentic criticism of the exhortation.
- The Vatican-promoted heterodox interpretations of the exhortation itself, along with Vatican-promoted articles to give cover to these interpretations through an intentional obfuscation of Church teaching and the parameters of Magisterial authority.
- The “climate of fear” at the Vatican, where any criticism is reported and people suspected of opposing the official agenda are monitored in ways reminiscent of the techniques of the KGB.
- The entire apparatus of the Dictatorship of Mercy.

It is in these things where the true force in the matter lies. The only reason that the orthodox counter-narrative has been able to bubble up to the top at all is because those of us who care about the truth are relentless in our pursuit of it — and because God has blessed those efforts. But there is only so much we can do, and we’re all exhausted by being constantly outnumbered and isolated.

This is why, Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller, if you should happen to read this, you should know that time is of the essence. Perhaps you do. I continue to hear whispers that the formal correction itself is not far behind. But the question after that will be the same as now: then what? What happens when every effort is ignored? How will we move forward from here?

Will an imperfect council be called? Will the pope be declared to have deposed himself through pertinacious and obdurate heresy? Will a new conclave be assembled among the tiny remnant of the faithful bishops? Will we once again have two rival claimants to the Petrine See? [Very unlikely scenarios, these last two!] Or will it be something completely different?

Everyone wants to know what to expect. Everyone is wondering, and frustrated. Everyone is speculating on how difficult things might become, but nobody I’m hearing from seems to think that they could be worse than they are now. [Could not be worse, because we are already seeing the worst. But if not in degree, then things will be worse because Bergoglio will always find new things to wreckovate as he continues to literally tinker with the Church of Christ and make it into his own. After all, he apparently already thinks of himself as JESUS II.]

An uncomfortable certainty is far preferable to the interminable continuation of uncertainty and doubt.

Something has to give. Please, Lord, let it give soon. Grant the successors of your apostles the courage and wisdom to see this through and begin the work of restoring the Church.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 1:32 AM]
11/15/2017 1:22 AM
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November 14, 2017 headlines has updated its USCCB general assembly reports.

The last time I recall posting anything bylined Michael Sean Winters was back in the blessed pontificate of Benedict XVI when he wrote something
especially nice about the Pope, although I cannot recall what it was. Not that I had posted much from Winters before that, since he writes for
the NCReporter from which, even then, the only writer whose material I used (not without much fisking) was John Allen.

Anyway, in view of Winters's smug pre-vote statement yesterday that "Everyone is sure the vote will be a quasi-referendum on support for
Pope Francis", whereby he did not seem to doubt the outcome would favor Cupich, one could almost savor his post-vote report in which he uses
indecorous language to describe what the bishops 'did' by voting Naumann over Cupich.

US bishops, electing Naumann to lead
pro-life committee, break tradition

This amounted to the bishops giving the middle finger to Pope Francis

by Michael Sean Winters
Nov 14, 2017

The U.S. bishops broke tradition this morning selecting Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, to serve as chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee. He defeated Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago on a vote of 96 to 82. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this amounted to the bishops giving the middle finger to Pope Francis.

The Pro-Life Activities Committee has always been led by a cardinal, a way the bishops have signaled the priority they assign to that committee. [Oh, now I see what tradition Winters means was broken! Mons. Naumann is not a cardinal. Imagine that - a 'mere' bishop beating the reigning pope's #1 protege in the Americas! BTW, this is not the first election Cupich has lost in the USCCB since he was anointed Bergoglio's mini-me in the USA. Remember they did not vote him as one of their three delegates to the family synod, so Bergoglio had to name him one of his personal appointees so he could attend.]

The outgoing chair is Cardinal Timothy Dolan who, like Naumann, is a protégé of Cardinal Justin Rigali. [See how Winters manages to insinuate that Dolan as well as Naumann have presumably been 'ruined' by Rigali, or at least 'tainted' by association.]

In giving his committee report on Monday, Dolan singled out Naumann for praise. It was a none too subtle placing of his finger on the scales.

The contrast between the two candidates for chair of the Pro-Life Activities Committee was the starkest of the choices the bishops faced. Naumann and Cupich are both representative of the two divergent understandings of how the church should interact with the ambient culture. Naumann is a culture warrior. Cupich champions engagement and dialogue.

In 2008, Naumann told Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that she should not present herself for Communion because of her pro-choice position. This interpretation of Canon 915 was first advanced by Cardinal Raymond Burke but it was never the position adopted by most bishops who thought it a mistake to politicize the Communion rail.

Naumann also ordered his parishes to cease hosting Girl Scout troops over concerns they were somehow involved with Planned Parenthood. He is not exactly a poster child for the culture of encounter. [Really, now!]
Cupich, on the other hand, has openly embraced the consistent 'ethic of life' approach first introduced by his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. [I already remarked earlier how deceptive the tag 'ethic of life' is, as it used by Bernardin and his followers. As usual with these relativists, they practice a selective 'ethic of life': In simplest terms, Humanae Vitae no, abortion is not always evil, and abolish the death penalty.] Many of the zelanti in the pro-life movement deeply resented Bernardin's effort, wanting a singular focus on abortion. [Singular focus, no, but focus, yes. Unlike the reigning pope, we zelanti can never talk enough about the evils of abortion.]

I recall an auxiliary bishop telling me that after he gave a talk that advocated the consistent ethic of life, his ordinary called him and told him, "We don't use that language here." [Good for that extraordinary ordinary! You don't use deceptive language ever, in the Church, unless you happen to be Jorge Bergoglio and his minions.]

Underneath the issue of how to approach pro-life issues was a deeper issue: How do the bishops feel about Pope Francis? Cupich was plucked out of the relatively small diocese of Spokane by Francis and sent to Chicago, his first major appointment in the U.S. hierarchy. Francis also named Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops which vets candidates for the episcopacy and, consequently, is charged with shaping the next generation of leaders in the church. [So, how do the bishops who voted for Naumann feel about someone who, in Winters's words, they have just given the middle finger to? (pardon the indecorousness!_]

Fr. Z's comment on Winters's post-vote piece:

It is revealing that Comrade Winters would think like this: Catholic bishops elect for their PRO-LIFE committee someone whose priority would be defense of the unborn and against euthanasia… and that is considered an insult to THE POPE.

[Just another indication of how mentally unhinged the Bergoglians are, for whom nothing matters about the faith - their faith, Bergolianism, that is - except what is A-OK by JMB!]
11/15/2017 4:06 PM
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Not surprisingly, the USCCB vote yesterday choosing Archbishop Naumann to head its pro-lide committee over papal mini-me Cardinal Cupich
was big news in the Catholic world. Carl Olson has done an excellent job at presenting a balanced view of various commentators' reactions to the news...

Archbishop Naumann, Cardinal Cupich,
and the mysterious middle finger

While Naumann has shown that he is a warrior and a leader —
who can also dialogue when the moment calls for dialogue —
it’s not evident at all that Cupich would ever
really do battle for the prolife cause.

by Carl Olson

November 14, 2017

• The election of Archbishop Joseph Naumann as chairman of the USCCB’s committee on pro-life activities has caused some ripples, to put it mildly. It has also revealed that some progressive Catholics actually do care deeply about tradition — that is, USCCB tradition, not Church Tradition — as evidenced by this bit of, um, measured, incisive analysis by Michael Sean Winters:

The U.S. bishops broke tradition this morning selecting Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, to serve as chairman of the Pro-Life Activities Committee. He defeated Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago on a vote of 96 to 82. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this amounted to the bishops giving the middle finger to Pope Francis.

Goodness. Bitter much? Not surprisingly, Winters — who brings to Catholic punditry all the gifts and talents that Dan Brown brings to “thrillers” starring symbiologists — goes simplistic after going apoplectic:

The contrast between the two candidates for chair of the Pro-Life Activities Committee was the starkest of the choices the bishops faced. Naumann and Cupich are both representative of the two divergent understandings of how the church should interact with the ambient culture. Naumann is a culture warrior. Cupich champions engagement and dialogue.

Naumann, according to Winters, “politicizes” the Faith, as evidenced by the Archbishop letting it be known, in 2008, that then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius should not present herself for Communion because of her proud, unflinching, and unapologetic pro-abort stance.

And, “Naumann also ordered his parishes to cease hosting Girl Scout troops over concerns they were somehow involved with Planned Parenthood”—the “somehow involved” referring, apparently, to the Girl Scouts diving deep into the waters of lefty, trendy ideological vapidity. Naumann, sniffs Winters, “is not exactly a poster child for the culture of encounter.” Perhaps because the Archbishop can tell the difference between encounter and capitulation?

• Which brings us to Cardinal Cupich, whose resume consists of an impressive rise up the ranks and, really, little else. “Cupich,” writes Winters, “on the other hand, has openly embraced the consistent ethic of life approach first introduced by his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.” In fact, from all accounts, that’s about the only thing Cupich wishes to do; it was addressed two years ago in this CWR piece by Samuel Gregg, who wrote:

Right from the beginning, forceful criticisms were made of the consistent ethic position (often described as the “seamless garment”). One was that it would inadvertently help provide “cover” for Catholic politicians who supported legalized abortion.

Cardinal Bernardin himself lamented in a 1988 National Catholic Register interview that “I know that some people on the left, if I may use that term, have used the consistent ethic to give the impression that the abortion issue is not all that important any more, that you should be against abortion in a general way but that there are more important issues, so don’t hold anyone’s feet to the fire just on abortion. That is a misuse of the consistent ethic, and I deplore it.

Ten years later, the United States Catholic Conference’s document Living the Gospel of Life also criticized those who had used the consistent ethic to relativize the killing of unborn human beings by making it just one of a laundry list of concerns.

In a way, however, the political fallout from the 'consistent ethic' distracted attention from significant ambiguities that characterized important aspects of the seamless garment’s theological and philosophical apparatus. In light of what seem to be efforts to revive this approach as a way for Catholics and, more particularly, Catholic bishops to engage in public policy debates, it’s worth revisiting these problems.

Do read the entire article. My point here is that Bernardin’s approach, however well-intentioned, was a failure in more than one way (mostly, it seems, because it was so easily to misrepresent and misuse).

• Perhaps Winters was upset with this sort of rhetoric:

Not all values, however, are of equal weight. Some are more fundamental than others. … I wish to emphasize that no earthly value is more fundamental than human life itself. Human life is the condition for enjoying freedom and all other values. Consequently, if one must choose between protecting or serving lesser human values that depend upon life for their existence and life itself, human life must take precedence.

Oh, wait: that was an actual quote from Cardinal Bernardin. Go figure.

• Here’s my main point: both Naumann and Cupich have spoken against abortion. But while Naumann has shown that he is a warrior and a leader — who can also dialogue when the moment calls for dialogue —it’s not evident at all that Cupich, however much he “champions engagement and dialogue”, would ever really do battle for the prolife cause. I do think it’s that simple.

Cupich talks a great deal about dialogue. Fine. But he does not have the tried and true record of Naumann when it comes to actively and consistently fighting for life and working against abortion.

• Still, there have been a number of folks “shocked” by Naumann’s election. For instance, Rocco Palmo declared:

The shocker, again, is that the USCCB broke it’s ancient tradition (of four decades!) of electing a Cardinal to the position.

But, really, this was not a shocker. If there was any sort of surprise, it’s that Cupich garnered 82 votes. But, then, there were 34 bishops who abstained from voting, which means that 130 out of 212 bishops did not vote for Cupich. That can be sliced, diced, and parsed a number of ways; however, anyone who has been paying attention to the American bishops in recent years know that they are going to go with a more proven candidate with a “rubber meets the road” record.

• Theologian Massimo Faggioli‏, who is becoming something of the Richard McBrien of his generation (minus the collar), lamented:

[Unlike Olson, I have included in my screenshot the first two replies on Faggioli's combox. I also note with some satisfaction that Faggioli may feel smugly thst is Maximum Beans and all that, but note that as of this morning, his tweet only had 18 likes and 7 retweets. If that's an indication of his 'following', then let him bloviate all he wants.]

• Meanwhile, Christopher White of Crux also viewed the choice of Naumann as “surprising”, stating:

The results will likely be viewed by many that the “Francis effect” has yet to take hold fully of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a rejection of the “consistent ethic of life” methodology, promoted by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who served as Archbishop of Chicago in the 1980s and ’90s.

(Once again, why so surprised? More on that in a moment.)

And The Wall Street Journal also interpreted the results as a push against the Francis effect: “U.S. Catholic Leaders Signal Resistance to Pope’s Agenda”.

• But George Weigel, at National Review Online, is having none of it:

The so-called Francis effect is a media concoction that is difficult to define. But if it means anything, it means a Catholic Church that embraces what Pope Francis calls “collegiality” and “synodality.”

In choosing Naumann over Cupich — and in breaking 40 years of precedent by naming someone other than a cardinal to chair the conference’s pro-life committee — the bishops in fact embraced both of those principles, rather than rejecting them. It would be helpful if the herd of independent minds would recognize that, instead of repeating its mistakes ad infinitum (and ad nauseam).

For while it’s not entirely clear what the pope means by “synodality,” he at least means that he wants a Catholicism that trusts local churches to know their own ecclesial experience and to craft approaches to mission, evangelization, and public witness that reflect that knowledge.

That is what the U.S. bishops did in choosing as their pro-life committee’s chairman Archbishop Naumann — who displayed great pastoral skill and courage in dealing with the pro-“choice” governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, prior to her becoming secretary of heath and human services in the Obama administration.

Moreover, like his brother bishops, Archbishop Naumann knows that the pro-life cause embraces issues other than abortion, just as he knows that work for legal protection for the unborn must be complemented by effective action on behalf of women caught in the dilemma of unwanted pregnancy.

But Naumann also knows that the current American abortion regime [??? More Americans are against abortion now than those pro-abortion, so what regime is he referring to? The media-backed pro-abortionists of the Democratic Party and their fellow leftists?] has seriously eroded our national political culture and warped our national politics, and that these facts of public life cannot be ignored in deference to certain partisan sensibilities or other issues. That is something that the majority of the body of bishops also knows, and that helps explain Naumann’s victory.

Far from being some sort of act of disrespect to the pope, [Only MSWinters so far has said it was an act of disrespect, couching his obviously biased conclusion most indecorously. I am sure the bishops who voted for Naumann were simply freely expressing their will in a clearcut vote, not intending any disrespect for the pope. Unless to reject his candidate is now being interpreted as an act of disrespect to the pope. Then we are indeed in a totalitarian culture...] a vote for Archbishop Naumann was a vote to affirm the bishops’ broad-gauged pro-life position, which has developed “synodally” over time, while privileging several of the life issues — abortion, to be sure, and, increasingly, euthanasia — rather than muting those issues for the sake of others. [A most important distinction that the reigning pope does not seem to get when he complains that 'we talk too much about abortion".]...

“Those who insisted that the Cupich–Naumann election was a referendum on the current pontificate were wrong to do so before the vote, and they were wrong to spin the vote’s results in the same direction. If they would bring themselves to recognize that, perhaps they’d see some real synodality and some real collegiality at work among the U.S. bishops. And that might help wean them from promoting simulacra of synodality and collegiality in the name of a very un-Catholic notion of papal autocracy.” [It may be un-Catholic but all evidence so far points to a decided exercise of papal autocracy in this pontificate. I really don't understand why someone like Weigel appears to continue wishing to exculpate Bergoglio of his worst and most evident faults. Especially someone who has trampled on some of John Paul II's most significant documents, like Veritatis splendor. Or does Weigel really think Bergoglio has not violated VS - and therefore the deposit of faith that VS represents - at all in the calculated casuistry of AL which fails absolutely to mask the true intentions of its author.]

• I’m quite sympathetic to Weigel’s argument here, and he surely has far more direct knowledge of the ins-and-outs, the players, and the dynamics. However, it seems fairly clear, just from the vote alone, that there exists a serious divide among the bishops. That is, arguably, somewhat natural and hardly unique.

The entire matter raises some “what if?” questions for me: What if Cupich was a more likable candidate (it’s not much of a secret that he’s not a favorite among many of the bishops)? What if Cupich had accomplished a bit more than rise from Rapid City to Chicago on the basis of, well, what?

• Another question: why did many assume — and they surely assumed, based on what I’ve seen on Twitter and in various reports —t hat Cupich would win? The answer, apparently, is that Cupich is “America’s Pope Francis” (as he was dubbed by a CBS reporter after being named to Chicago) and that his oft-stated goal of being just like Francis would not only be enough, but would be the obvious choice.

This perspective overlooks a couple of things: first, saying that you want to be like Pope Francis is fine, but it’s not an accomplishment by any means; secondly, as noted, Naumann is a proven prolife leader (and warrior), while Cupich simply isn’t; third, Cupich doesn’t just lack the results, he doesn’t possess the sort of gravitas, charisma, and intangibles that would attract those “on the fence”. And perhaps there was also a bit of “echo chamber” effect in play as well; after all, Cupich gets plenty of media attention, but how much does that matter to the various bishops?

• As a quick aside, it’s still worth pondering what a “Francis bishop” is, especially since the image presented of Cupich and some of the “on the ground” reality do not mix well, as I described in my February 2015 piece on Cupich’s nearly disastrous time in Spokane.

• The Chicago Tribune headline shouts: “Cupich suffers rare political defeat at hands of fellow U.S. bishops”, and the story includes this: “Cardinal Blase Cupich has often been praised for his political savvy since he was installed in Chicago by Pope Francis.” Is that simply the perspective of the secular media? Or is there something to it? A big clue can be found in the Statement released by Cardinal Cupich following the shooting at a church in Sutherland, Texas; it included the following:

We must recognize that the factors that produce these tragedies will not change unless we take direct action to change them.

Comprehensive national gun control policies will not prevent every shooting but it will prevent some.

Access to mental health care — in legislation founded on the principle that health care is a right not a privilege — will not prevent every shooting but it will prevent some and will mean we will have fewer podium speeches about our thoughts and prayers.

Let it be our firm resolve to act and to advocate and to end this hideous blot upon our nation.

The Statement includes no mention of God, Jesus Christ, the reality of evil, salvation, mercy, hope, truth, or anything else; it could have been released by a politician or activist. And that, alas, is par for the course.

A few years ago, while in Spokane, I heard Archbishop Cupich being interviewed on a local station about immigration reform. In twenty minutes or so he said nothing that was Catholic or related to anything taught by the Church; it was all political talk.

• So, was the vote a slap at Pope Francis? I think that is a political reading of a vote that was not very political. In other words, folks (such as Winters) who see everything in terms of politics are always ascribing political motivations while insisting they are above politics. It’s not convincing. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

• Besides, as Weigel rightly notes, the U.S. bishops understand the situation here far better than Francis. To think otherwise is laughable.

• Which brings me, in conclusion, to a recent First Things piece —subtitled “Bourgeois Religion” — by R.R. Reno, which includes a startling but on the mark series of observations about Pope Francis the Church today:

Ask Cardinal Blase Cupich if sodomy is a sin, and in all likelihood he will start talking mumbo-jumbo about conscience and then say something about the Church’s emphasis on mercy.

The Holy Father himself famously replied to a similar question with the memorable (and misleading) paraphrase of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, “Who am I to judge?”

One of Pope Francis’s close associates, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, told a colloquium at Boston College on Catholic teaching regarding marriage, sex, and the family, “It is no longer possible to judge people on the basis of a norm that stands above all.”

I could add many more instances, but we know the routine: conscience, accompaniment, the “ladder of love,” etc., etc. That’s Welby’s [the Archbishop of Canterbury, the world's leading Anglican primate] answer with a more elaborate apparatus — and without his honesty.

The Catholic Church’s retreat from anything resembling clarity about sexual morality does not surprise me. It’s been a long time coming. Catholicism and other forms of establishment Christianity in the West tend to take the form of bourgeois religion. That term denotes the fusion of church culture with the moral consensus held by the good, respectable people who set the tone for society as a whole. In the aftermath of the sexual revolution, that consensus shifted. …

Given the inconvenience of the Catholic commitment to moral truth, the approach has been to remain silent. Insofar as bishops and cardinals have spoken about sex, it has almost always been to qualify and soften the Church’s moral voice. The strategy was one of careful retreat. The enduring hope has been to find a way to moderate the obvious clash between what the Church teaches and the bourgeois consensus about sex. It has become apparent that Pope Francis wants to make this retreat more explicit.

For this reason, I have given up trying to keep track of controversies surrounding Amoris Laetitia. The details don’t matter. Pope Francis and his closest associates have no interest in the sacramental coherence of their positions on matters such as divorce and remarriage, nor do they care one whit about defending the logic of the arguments they put forward.

I admire those who have explained the limits that the rich tradition of Catholic sacramental and moral teaching places on our interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. This is important work. But it has little bearing on the near-term outcome of this controversy. Pope Francis and his associates want to sign a peace treaty with the sexual revolution. They will use whatever arguments and rhetoric are necessary to achieve this goal.

This papacy’s goal of aligning the Catholic Church with the bourgeois consensus has other dimensions that show how unprincipled this process will be.

Euthanasia is not something our bourgeois consensus wishes to endorse, at least not enthusiastically. Most good and responsible people have misgivings. They recognize the dangers it poses to the weak and vulnerable. But they believe that intelligent, self-possessed people like them ought to have the option of doctor-assisted suicide, at least in some cases.

The general tone of the Francis papacy thus encourages bishops to mirror this position. Doctor-assisted suicide is not OK, exactly, but it is OK-ish. It falls under the rubric of “accompaniment,” which means saying “no” without saying “no,” which is a way of saying “yes” without saying “yes.”...

This papacy is not hard to figure out. Pope Francis and his associates echo the pieties and self-complimenting utopianism of progressives. That’s not surprising.

The Jesuit charism is multifaceted and powerful. I count myself among those profoundly influenced by the spiritual genius of St. Ignatius. Yet there’s no disputing that for centuries Jesuits have shown great talent in adjusting the gospel to suit the powerful.

And so, I think the European establishment can count on the Vatican to denounce the populism currently threatening its hold on power. I predict that this papacy will be a great defender of migrants and refugees — until political pressures on the European ruling class become so great that it shifts and becomes more “realistic,” at which point the Vatican will shift as well. What is presently denounced will be permitted; what is presently permitted will be denounced.

Adjustment, trimming of sails, and accommodation are inevitable. The Catholic Church is not set up to be countercultural. Catholicism, at least in the West, has establishment in its DNA.

But this papacy is uniquely invertebrate. I can identify no consistent theological structure other than a vague Rahnerianism and post–Vatican II sign-of-the-times temporizing. This makes Francis a purely political pope, or at least very nearly so. No doubt he has an evangelical heart. But ever the Jesuit, he seems to regard every aspect of the Church’s tradition as a plastic instrument to be stiffened here or relaxed there in accord with ever-changing pastoral judgments.

Harsh? Yes. Unfair? I don’t think so. And it helps explain a few things about the Naumann-Cupich election. And, in doing so, I suggest what transpired today was a step in the right direction.

I am sorry I missed seeing the Reno article on FIRST THINGS. I will be posting it in full for the record.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 4:07 PM]
11/15/2017 5:33 PM
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A true episode that confirms how one year later, the DUBIA
are more alive, necessary and providential than ever

Translated from

nOVEMBER 15, 2017

Romana Vulneratus Curia (RVC to friends) [the pseudonym translates as ‘Wounded Roman Curia’] has written us with a true story which fills my heart with confidence. It is a story of courage and seriousness that seems to be lacking in many levels of the Church today, unfortunately, not just at the lower levels. But read the story for yourself:

Dear Dottore Tosatti – One year since the DUBIA were made public, I read the new appeal of Cardinal Burke to the Pope to establish clarity about AL.

Now I wish to recount to you and your readers a comforting event which was related to me by those who experienced it:

A parish priest in a town in Tuscany refused to grant absolution to a lady who had been divorced and civilly remarried, who however wished to be allowed to receive Communion, referring to what the pope wrote in AL.

For obvious reasons, I cannot give names, if only to protect the priest from being suspended a divinis [he would be prohibited from exercising his priestly functions], but I guarantee the truth of the story which was recounted to me by the lady’s present husband (also divorced and remarried).

The episode, which shows that there are still priests full of the true faith and of courage, is significant for two reasons:
- First, because of the couple’s social and economic importance, and therefore, influenc,e in the community (the priest knew this), and so he knew he ran the risk that his action would be brought to the attention of the bishop with the intention of creating a ‘scandal’.
- The second reason is more significant. The husband related the incident to me without any resentment or criticism of the priest. On the contrary, he confided that beyond appreciating the priest’s courage, he had concluded that the priest was probably right to refuse absolution to his wife so she could receive communion, thus demonstrating his consistency and seriousness in defending the Sacrament and wishing to keep his wife from committing sacrilege, even if this is not made clear in AL.

In effect, this good news is twofold:
- There are holy priests – we must find them and support them.
- There are sinners who are aware that they do not ultimately wish to lack respect for Our Lord and do not really trust any of these openings, welcomings, accompaniments and discernments whose ‘content’ they do not understand.

I am sure that the episode will ultimately make the couple mature in their faith. The DUBIA not only are more alive than ever, but in a way, they are also more providential than we think.

11/15/2017 5:50 PM
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Fr H writes about one of the lesser-known and least addressed consequences of the post-Vatican-II liturgical reform...

Why is the post-Conciliar
Catholic Church so 'anti-Semitic'?

As if there were a concerted plot to rob our clergy and laity of
their consciousness of their essentially and gloriously Judaic identity.

November 15, 2017

I don't blame the Council; there is nothing, as far as I am aware, in any of its documents to justify all the antisemitism which followed in the trail of the Council.
- The Council did not mandate the dreadful reduction in the amount of psalmody in the Divine Office.
- It did nothing to encourage the untraditional, unorganic revolution of inserting "New Testament Canticles" into the Vespers psalmody, thereby reducing its psalms from five to two!
- And the Council encouraged the community celebration of the Office.

... yet how many Catholic Churches have Vespers on Saturday or Sunday evening? (God bless the Oratorians!)

How many even of regularly practising Catholics have ever attended Vespers, with that moving offering of Incense in memory of ... no; in continuation of ... the Evening Offering in God's Temple? Sicut incensum in conspectu tuo...(As incense before you...)

It is as if there has been a concerted plot to rob Christian clergy and laity of their consciousness of their essentially and gloriously Judaic identity.

The Council ordered that the Faithful should be given a richer diet of Scripture; and it is true that, in years following, an Old Testament reading was tacked on to the Sunday Epistle and Gospel.

But the price that had to be paid for this somewhat external and artificial alteration was the eviction of the more integrated and ancient structural elements which were lost during the process of 'reform'.
- The ecumenical twelve readings of the Easter Vigil had been reduced to a pitiful four (or fewer); the Pentecost Vigil, the Ember Days, the Lenten 'stational' weekday series of lections from the Hebrew Bible, all needed to disappear.
- The quiet, daily insistence of the Eucharistic celebrant, as he stood at the foot of the Altar, that he was going up to God's holy Hill of Sacrifice, treading in the footsteps of Abraham and Isaac and the Family from Nazareth and entering God's tabernacula, was ruthlessly expunged.

The Council did not abolish the Roman Canon*.Indeed, if the Conciliar movers and shakers had even hinted that this was the direction they were moving in, I bet enough of the Fathers would have risen in rebellion to prevent their plans.

So, fifty years ago, every devout presbyter of the Latin Church, every morning,
- explicitly remembered and renewed and fulfilled the sacrifices of God's Righteous Boy Abel, and our Patriarch Abraham, and the High Priest Melchisedek;
- offered the tamid lamb for God's People and looked for the Salvation which was to come from the East.

Nowadays, only an eccentric minority of clergy, out of favour with the current regime, take such words upon their lips. How many, indeed, of the clergy and laity out there in the 'Mainstream Church' are even aware that Holy Mass is a Sacrifice? How often does anyone remind them of it? How much awareness is there that the very heart of Man's commerce with the Divine, even before and outside the Mosaic dispensation, was and is sacrificial?

Our great Anglican Benedictine mystagogogue Dom Gregory Dix, who daily prayed the Canon of the Mass, memorably wrote of

"that mighty and most necessary truth, the majestic tradition of the worshipping Church, the rich tradition of the liturgy unbroken since the Apostles, and beyond - beyond even Calvary and Sion and the Synagogues of Capernaum and Nazareth, back to the heights of Moriah and Sinai and the shadowy altar on Ararat - and beyond that again".

And now we are told that the Council is 'finally' being implemented ... by a pope who attacks the Torah, God's Holy Law! Who has spoken about "the Torah with its quibbles [cavilli]". Indeed! Quibbles!!

I will not repeat what I have written about such 'antisemitism' in my paper included in Luther and his Progeny, Angelico Press; I situated them in the context of the unbroken and deplorable tradition of Lutheran and Protestant antisemitism since the sixteenth century.

Traddiland is in many ways a strange country; persecution may indeed have driven us into eccentricity! But, at least, we have preserved, against all the odds, the basic DNA, the fundamentally Hebrew grammar, of the Christian Faith. Nobody will be able ever to take that boast from us.

*[quote[From Wikipedia: The Canon of the Mass is the name given in the Roman Missal, from the first typical edition of Pope Pius V in 1570 to that of Pope John XXIII in 1962, to the part of the Mass of the Roman Rite that begins after the Sanctus with the words Te igitur. All editions preceding that of 1962 place the indication "Canon Missae" at the head of each page from that point until the end of the Mass; that of 1962 does so only until the page preceding the Pater Noster and places the heading "Ordo Missae" on the following pages.

Before 1962 there were divergent opinions about the point where the Canon of the Mass ended. Some considered that it ended where indicated in the 1962 Roman Missal, others where indicated in the earlier editions from 1570 onwards (the end of Mass), others at the conclusion of the "Libera nos..." that expands on the final "Sed libera nos a malo" petition of the Pater Noster.

The editions of the Roman Missal issued since 1970 [i.e,the Novus Ordo missal] use the term "Roman Canon" only for the first of its four Eucharistic Prayers, and place the words "Prex Eucharistica" before the dialogue that precedes the Preface and the new heading "Ritus communionis" before the introduction to the Pater Noster.

It is always instructive to read what Joseph Ratzinger has written about the Judaic heritage of Christianity, of which he wrote several long essays. So I will quote here from his short Preface in 2001 to the report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission entitled "The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible".

The internal unity of the Church's Bible, which comprises the Old and New Testaments, was a central theme in the theology of the Church Fathers.

That it was far from being a theoretical problem only is evident from dipping, so to speak, into the spiritual journey of one of the greatest teachers of Christendom, Saint Augustine of Hippo. In 373, the 19 year old Augustine already had his first decisive experience of conversion.

His reading of one of the works of Cicero — Hortensius, since lost — brought about a profound transformation which he himself described later on as follows: “Towards you, O Lord, it directed my prayers... I began to pick myself up to return to you... How ardent I was, O my God, to let go of the earthly and take wing back to you” (Conf. III, 4, 81).

For the young African who, as a child, had received the salt that made him a catechumen, it was clear that conversion to God entailed attachment to Christ; apart from Christ, he could not truly find God. So he went from Cicero to the Bible and experienced a terrible disappointment: in the exacting legal prescriptions of the Old Testament, in its complex and, at times, brutal narratives, he failed to find that Wisdom towards which he wanted to travel...

Augustine was unable to convert to the Christianity of the Catholic Church until he had learned, through Ambrose, an interpretation of the Old Testament that made transparent the relationship of Israel's Bible to Christ and thus revealed that Wisdom for which he searched.

What was overcome was not only the exterior obstacle of an unsatisfactory literary form of the Old Latin Bible, but above all the interior obstacle of a book that was no longer just a document of the religious history of a particular people, with all its strayings and mistakes. It revealed instead a Wisdom addressed to all and came from God.

Through the transparency of Israel's long, slow historical journey, that reading of Israel's Bible identified Christ, the Word, eternal Wisdom. It was, therefore, of fundamental importance not only for Augustine's decision of faith; it was and is the basis for the faith decision of the Church as a whole....

Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be the true heir to the Old Testament — “the Scriptures” — and to offer a true interpretation, which, admittedly, was not that of the schools, but came from the authority of the Author himself: “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mk 1:22).

The Emmaus narrative also expresses this claim: “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures” (Lk 24:27).

The New Testament authors sought to ground this claim into details, in particular Matthew, but Paul as well, by using rabbinic methods of interpretation to show that the scribal interpretation led to Christ as the key to the “Scriptures”.

For the authors and founders of the New Testament, the Old Testament was simply “the Scriptures”: it was only later that the developing Church gradually formed a New Testament canon which was also Sacred Scripture, but in the sense that it still presupposed Israel's Bible to be such, the Bible read by the apostles and their disciples, and now called the Old Testament, which provided the interpretative key.

From this viewpoint, the Fathers of the Church created nothing new when they gave a Christological interpretation to the Old Testament; they only developed and systematised what they themselves had already discovered in the New Testament.

This fundamental synthesis for the Christian faith would become problematic when historical consciousness developed rules of interpretation that made Patristic exegesis appear non-historical and so objectively indefensible.

In the context of humanism, with its new-found historical awareness, but especially in the context of his doctrine of justification, Luther invented a new formula relating the two parts of the Christian Bible, one no longer based on the internal harmony of the Old and New Testaments, but on their essential dialectic linkage within an existential history of salvation, the antithesis between Law and Gospel...

That the biblical authors in the centuries before Christ, writing in the Old Testament, intended to refer in advance to Christ and New Testament faith, looks to the modern historical consciousness as highly unlikely.

As a result, the triumph of historical-critical exegesis seemed to sound the death-knell for the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament initiated by the New Testament itself. It is not a question here of historical details, as we have seen, it is the very foundations of Christianity that are being questioned.

It is understandable then that nobody has since... made the definitive break with the Old Testament that Marcion prematurely wished to accomplish. What would have remained, our New Testament, would itself be devoid of meaning. The Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission introduced by this Preface declares: “Without the Old Testament, the New Testament would be an unintelligible book, a plant deprived of its roots and destined to dry up and wither” (no. 84).

From this perspective, one can appreciate the enormous task the Pontifical Biblical Commission set for itself in deciding to tackle the theme of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments...The very concept of an interpretation of historical texts must be broadened and deepened enough to be tenable in today's liberal climate, and capable of application, especially to Biblical texts received in faith as the Word of God...

The Pontifical Biblical Commission made its own contribution in the Document published in 1993 on “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”. The recognition of the multidimensional nature of human language, not staying fixed to a particular moment in history, but having a hold on the future, is an aid that permits a greater understanding of how the Word of God can avail of the human word to confer on a history in progress a meaning that surpasses the present moment and yet brings out, precisely in this way, the unity of the whole.

Beginning from that Document, and mindful of methodology, the Biblical Commission examined the relationship between the many great thematic threads of both Testaments, and was able to conclude that the Christian hermeneutic of the Old Testament, admittedly very different from that of Judaism, “corresponds nevertheless to a potentiality of meaning effectively present in the texts” (no. 64). This is a conclusion, which seems to me to be of great importance for the pursuit of dialogue, but above all, for grounding the Christian faith.

In its work, the Biblical Commission could not ignore the contemporary context, where the shock of the Shoah has put the whole question under a new light.

Two main problems are posed:
- Can Christians, after all that has happened, still claim in good conscience to be the legitimate heirs of Israel's Bible?
- Have they the right to propose a Christian interpretation of this Bible, or should they not instead, respectfully and humbly, renounce any claim that, in the light of what has happened, must look like a usurpation?

The second question follows from the first: In its presentation of the Jews and the Jewish people, has not the New Testament itself contributed to creating a hostility towards the Jewish people that provided a support for the ideology of those who wished to destroy Israel?

The Commission set about addressing those two questions. It is clear that a Christian rejection of the Old Testament would not only put an end to Christianity itself as indicated above, but, in addition, would prevent the fostering of positive relations between Christians and Jews, precisely because they would lack common ground.

In the light of what has happened, what ought to emerge now is a new respect for the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. On this subject, the Document says two things.
- First it declares that “the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Scriptures of the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading, which developed in parallel fashion” (no. 22).
- It adds that Christians can learn a great deal from a Jewish exegesis practised for more than 2000 years; in return, Christians may hope that Jews can profit from Christian exegetical research (ibid.). I think this analysis will prove useful for the pursuit of Judeo-Christian dialogue, as well as for the interior formation of Christian consciousness.

The question of how Jews are presented in the New Testament is dealt with in the second part of the Document; the “anti-Jewish” texts there are methodically analysed for an understanding of them. Here, I want only to underline an aspect which seems to me to be particularly important.

The Document shows that the reproofs addressed to Jews in the New Testament are neither more frequent nor more virulent than the accusations against Israel in the Law and the Prophets, at the heart of the Old Testament itself (no. 87). They belong to the prophetic language of the Old Testament and are, therefore, to be interpreted in the same way as the prophetic messages: they warn against contemporary aberrations, but they are essentially of a temporary nature and always open to new possibilities of salvation.

To the members of the Biblical Commission, I wish to express gratitude and appreciation for their work. From their discussions, patiently pursued over several years, this Document has emerged which, I am convinced, can offer a precious aid to the study of one of the central questions of the Christian faith, as well as to the search so important for a new understanding between Christians and Jews.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Rome, the feast of the Ascension 2001

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 8:14 PM]
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First editions of THE RATZINGER REPORT...

In searching for an appropriate essay by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI on the essential nature of Christianity's Jewish roots, I came across a 1996 essay by a Catholic Jew recalling THE RATZINGER REPORT of 1985, which struck me as being very actual today, as it was in 1996, and as the REPORT itself was in 1985...

The Ratzinger Report
The Hebrew Catholic #64

November 1996-Feb 1997 issue

In August 1982, Vittorio Messori, an Italian journalist, interviewed His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once known as the Holy Office, or more somberly, as the Roman Inquisition. The interview which extended over a number of meetings, was characterized by the frankness of both partners to the dialogue. It took place in the old seminary of Bressanone, in South Tyrol, where the Cardinal was on vacation.

Questions were put and answers given in an atmosphere of calm and serenity, though they treated of the most disturbing phenomenon in the history of the modern Church: the apostasy of Europe from the Catholic faith.

Joseph Ratzinger was born in Bavaria in 1927, into a staunch Catholic family. Before being summoned to Rome by John Paul II to take up his present position he had been Archbishop of Munchen and had achieved fame as a theologian. At the conclusion of the meeting, Vittorio Messori set himself the task of drawing up a report of the interview, which he published under the title: Rapporto Sulla Fede (ed: Paolino 1985). His eminent interlocutor read the text and approved it for publication.

The appearance of Messori’s book sent shock-waves throughout the Catholic world. The book described the actual state of the Catholic Church as reflected in the mind of one of its most distinguished sons. A constant stream of information reaches the desk of the Prefect of the Congregation sent in by qualified persons from every point on the globe. If there be anyone of whom it can be said that he has his hand on the pulse of the Church, it is Cardinal Ratzinger. His views carry weight; they are those of an authority of the highest order.

Cardinal Ratzinger began by warning that heresy still exists though camouflaged in many ways.

He affirmed frankly that the last twenty years (1965-1985) have been unfavorable for the Catholic Church and that the results of the Vatican Council were “cruelly opposed” to expectations. The conciliar bishops expected a tranquil evolution of doctrine; the present writer would say, they gravely misread the signs of the times.

The crisis that occurred was of ecclesial dimensions, affecting every level of Catholic belief and practice. The essence of the crisis, according to the eminent Cardinal, lay in the loss of the authentic view of the Catholic Church. The Cardinal seemed to define the crisis as an apostasy from the faith.

He listed certain specific characteristics of the crisis without offering any explanation of the facts [the interview format obviously does not lend itself to detailed documentation, but the cardinal's comments were clear enough about where the problems lay in each of the fields he mentions]:
1) it was, above all, a crisis of the clergy
2) the religious, most instructed theologically (e.g., Jesuits, Dominicans), were those who suffered most gravely
3) every treatise in theology was affected: in the first place,
- the teaching authority of the Church,
- the Trinity,
- God the Creator,
- Original Sin,
- Christian morality, especially in the field of sexuality and marriage,
- Church law,
- religious life,
- spirituality,
- liturgy,
- sacred music,
- the sacraments,
- the Last Things,
- the mission of the Church.

Perverted views were expressed all along the line, the end of which would have been to offer an altered conception of the Catholic Church other than the one founded by Jesus Christ.

The frankness of the Cardinal Prefect deserves every praise; anyone who has lived through those painful years can testify to the objectivity of his observations.

The cause of the malady was, according to the Cardinal Prefect, a false interpretation of the intentions of the Fathers of the Council: They meant to restate traditional Catholic teaching in a way more acceptable to the modern man, not to change the identity of the Church.

Reacting to the danger, the Cardinal went on to affirm: “The Council did not intend in fact to introduce a division of the Church in time."

Whatever the intentions of the Council Fathers may have been, they the fact remains that the Council did introduce a division of the Church in time. What the Cardinal says is based on the truth, which is incontrovertible, that the deposit of faith cannot change. It has to be transmitted faithfully.

But there have been fractures anddiscontinuities in the history of the Church. To acknowledge the fact does not necessarily imply that the Church ever loses its identity as the Church founded by Jesus Christ, nor could ever lose it.

The Byzantine schism was a fracture, the Reformation of Luther was a fracture, Rationalism, Materialism, Communism, Nazism, all these were fractures, which impacted on the Church, because they led to the dissolution of Christendom, which is the meaning of the present crisis.

The dissolution of Christendom, not Christianity, is the greatest fracture that ever occurred in the history of the Church. It is defined by the apostasy of the Gentiles. It has left “oases” of genuine Christianity, to use the term of the Cardinal himself, but Europe as an ensemble of nations no more bears witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ and his Church.

Church leaders in general miss the point at issue when they blame “others” for the post-conciliar disaster. They adopt an a priori position, that the Council can do no wrong, given that it is guided by the Holy Spirit, therefore, the fault lies with “others”.

But the accusation laid at the feet of the Fathers of the Council is not any sin of commission, but a sin of omission. It consisted in not being able to offer the clergy an acceptable reading of the signs of the times.

The apostasy of the Gentiles signifies that the primacy of honor which Europe has enjoyed for so long, has been withdrawn from them, by the Holy Spirit, which has withdrawn from them not only the faith, but the capacity to believe, so rendering the application of traditional apologetics inefficacious, as the Cardinal realizes.

The Apostasy of the Gentiles and the Return of the Jews to their ancient homeland, seen together, represent the entry of the Church into a new phase in the history of salvation, an immense “jump” in the history of Christianity. The Lord is cutting off the dried branches of the Gentiles to make place for the ingrafting of the Jews. In this way, the Lord will compensate the Jews for the horrors of the Holocaust, the work of the apostate Gentiles and the death of the faith in their hearts and souls.

It is this vision which the Council failed to offer the faithful, especially the clergy. It invited them to update, to adapt to the modern world, without explaining the eschatological framework in which the modern world is held. For this fault of omission the Church has had to pay a heavy price.

Equally instructive is this review of RAPPORTO SULLA FEDE when it first came out by the late Ralph McInerny, who was a popular writer, philosopher, and teacher, as well as the co-founder of Crisis Magazine. He passed away on January 29, 2010... Of course, it doesn't take a theologian to conclude, as Pietro di Marco recently did in his essay 'It all started with Vatican II...' ['it' being the widespread heterdoxy that is now the coin of the realm in ths pontificate]. Cardinal Ratzinger's book-length interview published 32 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the end of Vatican-II makes it abundantly clear. McInerny'es essay has resonances even for the current state of the United States episcopate...

The Ratzinger Report

December 1, 1985

There are zingers and then there are ratzingers. The Rapporto sulla fede, an interview with the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is chock full of both.

If a zinger can be defined as a barbed remark, deftly delivered, a ratzinger is a simple truth about the Catholic faith and/or Vatican II which takes on an edge because its opposite has been stated by seemingly authoritative figures for all too long.

The Ratzinger Report, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Vittorio Messori, has been published in a translation by Salvator Attanasio and Graham Harrison by Ignatius Press.

It is without doubt the most refreshing, sustained and sensible look at what has actually taken place in the post-conciliar Catholic Church ever to appear. The Cardinal uses the term “crisis” again and again. Like anyone else with eyes to see he knows that the faithful have been subjected to a systematic perversion of Vatican II that began even before the final session drew to a close. In these frank discussions, he makes no effort to disguise this situation. Things are bad but they can only get worse if we do not face up to reality.

This book grew out of interviewing sessions Cardinal Ratzinger granted Messori, an Italian journalist, for an article which appeared a year or so ago in an Italian publication, and which was variously quoted and misquoted around the world. For the book, Messori conjoins with the remarks made during the interviews, passages from other writings and talks of Cardinal Ratzinger. The result, a remarkable presentation of the thoughts of a great theologian and now powerful Curia official, will come as a consolation to Catholics who have found these past years trying ones.

From time to time, during the years since the Council, I have heard intelligent people seriously say that the Church has made more progress in the past five, ten, fifteen years than in the preceding two thousand.

How this cheerful estimate could accord with the liturgical antics, the triviality and heterodoxy of much religious instruction, the revolt of the theologians, the exodus of priests and nuns, the abandonment of their patrimony by Catholic colleges and universities, the scandal of easy annulments, the strange stories of seminary life in the Age of Aquarius, and all the rest of the sad litany that has marked the decline of the Roman Catholic Church would be difficult to say.

With few exceptions, our bishops have been spectators of this disarray, diverting themselves with unnecessary pastorals addressed to God knows who, while under their noses the aberrations listed above have gone on apace. It is not too much to say that there is a pseudo-tradition of heterodoxy that has established itself in these last years that will be very difficult to uproot.

This can best be illustrated by the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s reiteration of the Church’s ban on artificial contraception.The dissident response to this encyclical was unparalleled in its boldness and insolence. Moreover, it was worldwide. Although elsewhere national conferences of bishops seemed to crumble before the onslaught, the response of America’s bishops was loyal.

Of course, their expression of solidarity with the Pope and the Church’s immemorial tradition did not settle the matter. The dissent crescendoed rather than abated and the official countering of it weakened. Charles Curran’s tenure dispute at The Catholic University was symbolic of the struggle, and when Curran received tenure the battle on behalf of the Magisterium seemed lost.

Soon individual bishops were voicing personal difficulties with the doctrine. One auxiliary bishop, alleging personal anguish over the Church’s opposition to contraception, married a divorcee. A monsignor cashiered himself, saying he was unable to support the Pope. The situation was rich in comedy. But there was more than comedy, and I tried to present the complexity of it all in my 1973 novel The Priest.

It was the theological establishment which consolidated the confusion. Karl Rahner spoke of a second Magisterium of the theologians, one that competed with the episcopal Magisterium. This odd novelty was eagerly seized upon to legitimate the systematic questioning, obscuring and countering of Catholic doctrine on the part of those who were presumably its conveyors, explicators and systematizers.

Soon there was no surer way to become confused about Catholicism than to take a course in theology at a Catholic college or university. No dogma was safe from the comment that “Some theologians wonder…”, with the suggestion that nothing was settled, everything open to fundamental change. And what of the meantime? Who was to adjudicate for the confused layman a dispute between pope and bishops, on the one hand, and theologians, on the other? Rahner suggested that history must decide.

Confusing discussions of the divinity of Christ, the Real Presence and the Resurrection, might seem to have no immediate impact, but calling into question moral absolutes influences what one does here and now. Masturbation, premaritial sex, contraception, of course, and, of late, abortion and euthanasia are said by moral theologians to be sometimes morally permitted to Catholics. The erosion of Catholic moral practice as a result of this steady assault on Catholic moral doctrine by Catholic moral theologians over a period of two decades was inevitable.

Nor could this attack be justified as the kind of abstract theological questioning that has long gone on in the academy. It did not confine itself to professional journals or to the aulae of graduate schools. It was advocacy in the undergraduate college classroom, not a discussion among peers, and the corrupt doctrine soon descended into high school religious instruction and, of course, into marriage preparation courses. Even when the “official” doctrine is mentioned, it is with a wink and the swift soothing assurance that one must follow one’s own conscience.

Here is but one instance of a crisis of the first magnitude. There has been a systematic misleading of the faithful as to what the teaching of the Church unequivocally is on matters of sexual morality. From the Vatican, throughout this time, there has been a steady reiteration of sound doctrine such that no doubt as to the true teaching of the Church is possible.

When Pope John Paul II visited the United States, he confronted the issue head on. If there ever was an occasion when our bishops had in their very midst and on their own turf a model of episcopal leadership, it was during that visit. On television, Father Richard McBrien nightly undercut the papal message, but one hoped that the American bishops would take heart and act like masters of the faith.
It did not happen.

Here was an opportunity and need to address the faithful on the very moral foundations of family life and sexual morality and to speak with authority and clarity on an issue that required both. The opportunity was there to make clear how different the Christian vision of sexual life is from the worldly.

After too much silence, this would have required great courage. It would have meant taking on the theological establishment. It would have meant telling pastors to reassume the responsibility for giving their parishioners sound doctrine. It would have meant opening themselves to the savaging of the media, whose moral standards are far more decadent than those of the mass of Americans. The need for and the making of a great pastoral letter was there for anyone to see. It was not written.

Our bishops seemed blind to what theologians were doing, to what religious education teachers were saying, to what was happening to the faithful in their charge.

To their great credit, our bishops opposed abortion, but such opposition could appear only an exercise in power politics when it was not lodged in a broad and coherent expression of Christian sexual morality.

Some who had dissented from the Magisterium, courageously changed their minds or withdrew their objections. Father Richard Roach, S.J., not the solitary boast of Marquette’s tainted theology department, is a notable instance. He attributes his change to the prayers of Carmelites. So too Michael Novak, in Confessions of a Catholic, who came a long, courageous distance from his earlier views. But the pseudo-tradition of dissent reigns all but uncontested now.

As presidents in domestic trouble seek solace in foreign policy, our bishops fled the chaos in their dioceses and, thanks to their Washington staff, managed to get on the wrong side of most Latin American issues. But the “peace pastoral” was their big bid to regain respectability. And they did. In a sense. With the leftist media, with those for whom America is always wrong. (That pastoral may one day be remembered largely because it occasioned the founding of Catholicism in Crisis.)

The heady response to the peace pastoral, led the bishops on into the thicket of the still-being-drafted pastoral on the economy. As of now, it is doubtful that a second success will be scored. (Given the money spent producing it, this pastoral may be remembered only as a stimulant to the economy it sought to criticize.)

Far worse than the content of these pastoral letters, is the notion, much favored by Cardinal Bernardin, that the bishops have hit upon a new method of teaching. By this he does not mean that pastorals are produced whose contents are not understood by those who sign them, though Dinesh D’Souza has shown this to be the case.

Cardinal Bernardin has in mind listening, dialoguing, and all the rest, which produces pastorals containing what are called “prudential” judgments of the bishops. This means that the bishops are asserting things with which Catholics may respectfully disagree.

Indeed, the only thing in the peace pastoral with which a Catholic cannot disagree — according to Cardinal Bernardin in a commencement address at Notre Dame in 1984 is that the direct killing of the innocent is always wrong.

This has been correctly described as a squandering of episcopal authority. At a time when the circumstances in this country cried out for clear, authentic, no-nonsense teaching on moral and dogmatic matters about which the faithful had been confused by theologians, the bishops chose to add to the confusion by inviting the faithful to disagree with them on military and economic affairs.

Such is the confused face of Catholicism in the United States of America twenty years after the close of Vatican II. Yet those of us who draw attention to it are as often as not taken to be alarmists, or “conservatives” or people nostalgic for the past. It has been by and large the lonely voices of those speaking without authority that have been stating these simple truths during the ceaseless corrosion of sound doctrine.

The bishops have not admitted how bad the situation is. Indeed, pleased with their peace pastoral, they seem rather inclined to congratulate themselves on how well everything is going.

It is against this background that Cardinal Ratzinger’s remarkable report will be read.

Far from dodging or denying how bad these twenty years have been, he calmly asserts that we are in deep crisis.

His appraisals are realistic, not negative.
It is libelous to suggest, as some have, among them Monsignor George Higgins, that Cardinal Ratzinger wishes Vatican II had not happened.

What Cardinal Ratzinger wants to do is to rescue the council from the pseudo-tradition sketched above. “We are dealing with an authentic crisis and it must be treated and cured. Thus, I confirm that even for this healing process, Vatican II is a reality that must be fully accepted. On condition, however, that it must not be viewed as merely a point of departure from which one gets further away by running forward, but as a base on which to build solidly”(p. 34). In short, he would rescue us from that notorious “spirit” of Vatican II which has been regularly invoked to justify the aberrations mentioned above.

Quite unsurprisingly, Cardinal Ratzinger sees confusion as to the very nature of the Church at the root of the crisis in Catholicism. The attacks on the hierarchical Church, the male, paternalistic Church, with which we have become all too familiar, the assertion that Vatican II’s talk of the Church as the People of God has democratized and de-hierarchized the Church, all these are appropriately ratzingered in the Report.

One sees here what is wrong with Cardinal Bernardin’s description of the new method by which episcopal pastorals are written. Dissidents understandably take this to be an implicit acceptance of the democratic Church which will eventually give us women priests.

It was Cardinal Ratzinger’s reiteration of his criticisms of episcopal conferences and their bureaucracies that drew the ire of a Monsignor Higgins.

“The decisive new emphasis on the role of bishops is in reality restrained or actually risks being smothered by the insertion of bishops into episcopal conferences that are ever more organized, often with burdensome bureaucratic structures. We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical, concrete function” (p.59).

The Catholic Church has an episcopal structure; it is not a federation of national churches. Ratzinger points out the intimidation and wheeling and dealing that go on in the voting sessions of such conferences. His critique of them is motivated by a desire to restore dignity and power to each bishop in his diocese.

Nor does the cardinal flinch from criticizing the criteria according to which bishops have been chosen during these past decades. Above all, he wants bishops to see their distinctive role, to assert their teaching authority, to be masters of the faith in their own dioceses.

On morality:

“In a world like the West, where money and wealth are the measure of all things, and where the model of the free market imposes its implacable laws on every aspect of life, authentic Catholic ethics now appears to many like an alien body from times long past, as a kind of meteorite which is in opposition, not only to the concrete habits of life, but also to the way of thinking underlying them. Economic liberalism creates its exact counterpart, permissivism, on the moral plane” (p. 83).

The divorce of sexuality from procreation, the exaggerated personalism of recent moral thought, must be countered with a Natural Law ethics. Consequentialism and proportionalism will not do.

On women:

“I am, in fact, convinced that what feminism promotes in its radical form is no longer the Christianity that we know; it is another religion” (p. 97).

“For the Church the language of nature (in our case, two sexes complementary to each other yet quite distinct) is also the language of morality (man and woman called to equally noble destinies, both eternal, but different” (pp. 97-8).

The confused male seeks distraction in action, while the confused woman seeks solace in introspection.

Perhaps the most moving pages in the Report have to do with Mary. Ratzinger candidly admits that there was a time when he was inclined to think the emphasis on Mary exaggerated. The remark, De Maria nunquam satis, seemed too much to him. Now he better understands the role of the Mother of God. The final chapter of Lumen Gentium locates Mariology firmly in ecclesiology, and the cardinal lists six ways of seeing the importance of Mary for the equilibrium and completeness of the Catholic faith.

In this connection, the discussion of the “third secret of Fatima” is intriguing. Has Cardinal Ratzinger read it? Yes. Will it be made public? Not now. Why? It might appear sensationalist. In any case, this third secret is consonant with what everyone already knows of Fatima.

Since the role of Communist Russia in punishing a sinful world is at the heart of the Fatima message, the reader senses an almost apocalyptic tone in these pages. How quickly we have forgotten the Soviet part in the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul I!. What lies ahead? The Catholic Left persists in seeing President Reagan and Star Wars as the problem. But the reference to Fatima reminds us what a true pursuit of peace requires. War is the punishment for sin.

The liturgy. The need for penance. True ecumenism. There is more, much more. And the book includes the statement on Liberation Theology, which one is permitted to link with the Fatima remarks.

The Ratzinger Report could be read as a look at what has actually been made of the 16 documents of Vatican II. If he faces up to the misinterpretations of them, Cardinal Ratzinger is calling us to a correct interpretation. It is as if only now the council can begin to have its intended impact.

From this point of view, one would like to think that the Report could serve as an agenda for the Extraordinary Synod which will be taking place when you read this piece. If so, we can hope for a call to order and then a new call to action in the true spirit of Vatican II.

[In fact, it informally served as the agenda, to the point that Cardinal Danneels (yes, he!) told a news conference at the opening of that synodal assembly, which John Paul II had convened to assess the Church's reception of Vatican II in the 20 years since it closed (which was more or less the burden of Cardinal Ratzinger's critique in RAPPORTO SULLA FEDE): "This is not a synod about a book!" At this point, I would love to re-post George Weigel's account of the 1985 synod in Part 1 of his biography of John Paul II, WITNESS TO HOPE. It is one I first posted in PAPA RATZINGER FORUM and then re-posted on this Forum. I will post some excerpts here:]


...Holding an Extraordinary Synod on the 20th anniversary of Vatican II to relive the Council experience and review its implementation had been John Paul's 'personal idea', according to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, himself a major figure in the Synod drama.

The Council was, in Karol Wojtyla's settled view, a great gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church that demanded both celebration and deepened reflection. Among other things, that deepened reflection required the entire Church to divest itself of the 'liberal/conservative' political interpretation of Vatican II and to think about the Council as a religious event in which the chief protagonist was the Holy Spirit.

Shortly after the Extraordinary Synod opened on November 24, 1985, Cardinal Godfreed Daneels of Belgium complained at a press confernce that "This is not a Synod about a book, it is a Synod about a Council!"

The book in question was Cardinal Ratzinger's review of the post-conciliar state of the Church, a lengthy interview with the Italian journalist Vittorio Messori which had been published in early 1985 under the provocative title The Ratzinger Report.

Danneels was right, of course, and Ratzinger would have been the first to admit it. Years later, Ratzinger said that "it was true and important for Cardinal Danneels to say that we had this Synod about the Council as fathers of the Church, and not to discuss a book", because Il Rapporto, as it was known all over Rome, was 'not the point of departure for the Synod."

There was a sense in which Ratzinger was being too modest, however. Il Rapporto was neither the cause nor the substance of the Synod. But Ratzinger's book had given permission, to to speak, for the Synod to debate two questions that had only been discussed quietly in the two decades since Vatican II.
- Had there been serious misinterpretations of the Council?
- Were these misinterpretations impeding the Church's reception of Vatican II's teaching, especially on the Church's distinctive nature as a 'communion'?

By putting these questions openly on the table, Il Rapporto was a major factor in setting the intellectual framework in which the Synod's deliberations were conducted and its recommmendations framed....

A careful reading of the Extraordinary Synod's Final Report suggested that, with varying degrees of conviction and enthusiasm, the Synod members agreed that there had been misinterpretations of the Council adn that it was necessary to reread Vatican II....

The Extraordinary Synod had a few surprises, among which was an inversion of roles.

The progressives at the Synod were the party of the status quo. "Why does there have to be a change?" one prominent progressive - himself a creator of the liberal/conservative taxonomy of Vatican II - complained. "What's wrong with the way things have been going?"

The progressives most inclined to complain about "Rome' and the Roman Curia were also the most vocal defenders of the new curias that had developed in the national conferences of bishops....

The inversion of roles was most pronounced in reaction to a proposal from Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, adopted in the Final Report, that a world catechism or 'compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals' be prepared.

The progressive party, failing to see its relevance to modernity, dismissed the idea as impossibly old-fashioned. Bishop James Malone, president of the US Bishops Conference, when asked about it, told a reporter, "Don't worry about that - you won't live long enough to see it completed."

Bishop Malone turned out to be dramatically wrong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992, became an international best-seller...

John Paul II saw the Synod, as he had seen Vatican II, as a preparation for the Church's entrance into the third millenium of Christian history. ..There was a real question in many Christian communites as to whether Christians could, after 2000 years, 'give an account' of their hope - as they were enjoined to do in the New Testament (1 Pt 3,15)...

The Catechism was a clear statement that Catholicism thought it possible to account for its beliefs and practices in a coherent, comprehensive and accessible way. it could 'given an account' of the hope that possessed and animated it. It could make a ptroposaltto the men and women of this age...

Although the ringing affirmation of the Church's evangelical mission at the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 did not end the divisions in Catholicism by any means, it did mark the end of a period in Catholic history.

The Council that had taken the gamble of not providing authoritative keys to its interpretation had been given an authoritative interpretation by the Synod. That process could now continue through further Synod assemblies and the papal exhortations that complete an ordinary Synod's work.

Certain interpretations of the letter and 'spirit' of Vatican II had been tacitly but decisively declared out-of-bounds. The temptation to self-secularization had been identified, which was the first step toward combatting it. At least some of the mythology about 'liberals' and 'conservatives' had been dispelled. That was accomplishment enough for two weeks' work...

- From WITNESS TO HOPE, pp. 502-505 re
By George Weigel, New York, 1999

It is of course an inestimable tragedy that the work of two Pontificates in 35 years to recover and validate the authentic teachings of Vatican-II have been greatly undone in the past four years at the hands of a pope who embodies the worst connotations of 'the spirit of Vatican II' and the progressivist anti-Catholic spirit animus inherent in that 'spirit'.

The various language editions of RAPPORTO SULLA FEDE. This does not include a number of reissues in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican-II.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 8:36 PM]
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The video is only about 13 minutes long, but well worth your while.

Raymond Arroyo interviews
Pope Francis

Produced by Meddling Catholics
November 14, 2017

]That's a most serious and worthy undertaking and I am glad the pope's anti-Catholicism can be treated with pointed humor in the spoof tape.

But back to non-satire - and my first reaction to the title was: Whatever this pope may be, he is anti-Catholic first and foremost.

"Is the pope Catholic?” For at least a century, this was the way we Anglicans joked about anything that seemed too obvious to state. Now we must ask in seriousness whether the pope is a liberal Protestant.

Early this month, an American theologian resigned under pressure from his post as theological advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. What had Fr. Thomas Weinandy done to deserve this public rebuke? He had made public a July letter to the pope, in which he charged that the Holy Father was causing “chronic confusion.”
- The pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is “intentionally ambiguous” on grave moral and doctrinal matters.
- It “risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” and “demeans the importance of Christian doctrine” by inviting changes to traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce.
- The pope “resents” criticism and “mocks” those who have challenged Amoris Laetitia “as Pharisaic stone-throwers.”

As an outsider, I can’t help but wonder whether the pope and the USCCB were particularly provoked by Weinandy’s suggestion that Jesus had allowed this controversy in order “to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.” Catholics will have to make up their own minds — but I’ll admit I have questions about the faith of Pope Francis, which seems, if not weak, at least different from that of the Catholic tradition.

Even before the release of Amoris Laetitia in March 2016, Francis had caused many to question his fidelity to that tradition.
- In 2014, the midterm report of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family recommended that pastors emphasize the “positive aspects” of cohabitation and civil remarriage after divorce.
- He said that Jesus’s multiplication of bread and fish was really a miracle of sharing, not of multiplying (2013);
- told a woman in an invalid marriage that she could take Holy Communion (2014);
- claimed that lost souls do not go to hell (2015); and
- said that Jesus had begged his parents for forgiveness (2015).
- In 2016, he said that God had been “unjust with his son,”
- announced his prayer intention to build a society “that places the human person at the center,” and
- declared that inequality is “the greatest evil that exists.”
- In 2017, he joked that “inside the Holy Trinity they’re all arguing behind closed doors, but on the outside they give the picture of unity.”
- Jesus Christ, he said, “made himself the devil.”
- “No war is just,” he pronounced.
- At the end of history, “everything will be saved. Everything.”

Weinandy and other Catholic critics have pointed to alarming statements and suggestions in Amoris Laetitia itself. The exhortation declares, “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”

In December 2016, the Catholic philosophers John Finnis and Germain Grisez argued in their “Misuse of Amoris Laetitia” that though this statement reflects a trend among Catholic thinkers stemming from Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, it contradicts the gospels’ clear statements and the Catholic tradition’s teaching that there is “unending punishment” in hell.

Finnis and Grisez charge that, according to the logic of Amoris Laetitia, some of the faithful are too weak to keep God’s commandments, and can live in grace while committing ongoing and habitual sins “of grave matter.” Like (Episcopalian) Joseph Fletcher, who taught Situation Ethics in the 1960s, the exhortation suggests that there are exceptions to every moral rule and that there is no such thing as an intrinsically evil act.

I take no pleasure in Rome’s travails. For decades, orthodox Anglicans and other Protestants seeking to resist the apostasies of liberal Christianity have looked to Rome for moral and theological support.

Most of us recognized that we were really fighting the sexual revolution, which had coopted and corrupted the Episcopal Church and its parent across the pond. First, it was the sanctity of life and euthanasia. Then it was homosexual practice. Now it is gay marriage and transgender ideology.

During the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, we non-Catholics arguing moral theology could point to learned and compelling arguments coming out of Rome and say, in effect, “The oldest and largest part of the Body of Christ agrees with us, and it does so with remarkable sophistication.”

Those of us who continue to fight for orthodoxy, in dogmatic as well as moral theology, miss those days when there was a clear beacon shining from across the Tiber. For now, it seems, Rome itself has been infiltrated by the sexual revolution. The center is not holding.

Though we are dismayed, we must not despair. For the brave and principled stand made by Tom Weinandy reminds us that God raises up prophetic lights when dark days come to his Church.

Gerald McDermott holds the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 10:12 PM]
11/15/2017 10:39 PM
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Error & fiction in Amoris Laetitia
pushed by the pope's own newspaper

[Why not? It's his newspaper. It would be news
if it didn't push AL as he conceived it]

November 14, 2017

The English weekly edition of L'Osservatore Romano has published an article attacking dissenters of Amoris laetitia,
saying Pope Francis supports the Kasper proposal (explicitly rejected at the two Synods). By anyone's standards this
would seem quite extraordinary, but it is also printing verifiable error!

For example, this paragraph is completely ridiculous as well as being verifiably false. What an extraordinary thing for L'Osservatore to print?! This question has been addressed before, by Jesus Christ. It was also addressed in Familiaris Consortio (no. 84) which upheld the Church’s perennial practice of “not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried,” unless they “take upon themselves the duty to live in complete continence.” Pope St. John Paul II actually emphasises the permanence of the discipline by insisting that it is “based on Sacred Scripture” (84).

In 1994, after a number of bishops and theologians had put forward certain pastoral proposals, strikingly similar to those found in Amoris Laetitia, (after all, we can see all these proposals in the National Pastoral Congress which took place here in Liverpool, England in 1980), allowing for exceptions to the discipline in specific cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the auspices of John Paul II intervened and reaffirmed the traditional discipline, which it called “the constant and universal practice” of the Church:

“This practice, which is presented as binding, cannot be modified because of different situations” (5).

Pope Benedict XVI explained the truly pastoral approach that is under attack by those who appear to push a false mercy void of truth.

“Some say...that the rigidity of law prevails over an understanding of dramatic human situations.

They claim that the human person of today is no longer able to understand such language, that Jesus would have had an open ear for the needs of people, particularly for those on the margins of society.

They say that the Church, on the other hand, presents herself like a judge who excludes wounded people from the sacraments and from certain public responsibilities...

Assuredly, the word of truth can be painful and uncomfortable. But it is the way to holiness, to peace, and to inner freedom. A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth. In the end, only the truth can be pastoral.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(then) Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

One would think he was commenting on the situation today!

Meanwhile, I'll let Christopher Ferrara express some of the sentiments I have regarding the inept fence-straddler Cardinal Mueller. I've had enough of head-swiveling to try and follow which side he's on at the moment...

Has Cardinal Müller joined the casuist brigade? – Part I
Follow his bouncing commentary

by Christopher A. Ferrara

November 10, 2017

The word casuistry has two meanings: “(1) a resolving of specific cases of conscience, duty, or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or religious doctrine, (2) specious argument.”

It is very easy for the first meaning to collapse into the second, especially when one is dealing with an ethical principle that is a negative precept of the natural law respecting intrinsically evil actions that are always and everywhere wrong, regardless of the situation in which they occur.

Such is the case with the dogged defenders of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (AL), which opens the door to absolution and Holy Communion for public adulterers in “second marriages” based on “the concrete complexity of one’s limits” (AL 303), which “limits” — in the amorphous category of “certain cases” — supposedly reduce the objective mortal sin of adultery to one that is merely venial and thus no bar to the sacraments.

This, of course, is simply situation ethics disguised by empty verbiage concerning “concrete situations” in life, as if any situation in life were not concrete. But as John Paul II taught in Veritatis splendor, the appeal to “concrete reality” in order to circumvent exceptionless moral precepts is absolutely inadmissible:

“In order to justify these positions, some authors have proposed a kind of double status of moral truth. Beyond the doctrinal and abstract level, one would have to acknowledge the priority of a certain more concrete existential consideration.

The latter, by taking account of circumstances and the situation, could legitimately be the basis of certain exceptions to the general rule [emphasis in original] and thus permit one to do in practice and in good conscience what is qualified as intrinsically evil by the moral law.

A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid in general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision about what is good and what is evil.

On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called ‘pastoral’ solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a ‘creative’ hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.

No one can fail to realize that these approaches pose a challenge to the very identity of the moral conscience in relation to human freedom and God’s law. Only the clarification made earlier with regard to the relationship, based on truth, between freedom and law makes possible a discernment concerning this ‘creative’ understanding of conscience….

“But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the ‘creativity’ of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids.”

How sad, then, to see Cardinal Gerhard Müller, following his sacking as the inconvenient head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, apparently joining the casuist brigade in defending AL’s “concrete complexity” canard.

In a preface to a book by Rocco Buttiglione, which has been trumpeted by progressives as a repudiation of the four cardinals’ DUBIA concerning AL’s attempt to smuggle situation ethics into Catholic moral theology, Müller makes an argument worthy of the Pharisees: He declares that the “Spirit’s sins can be more serious than flesh’s sins. Spiritual pride and avarice introduce into religious and moral life a more profound disorder than impurity resulting from human weakness”.

This is moral sophistry. There is no bright line between “sins of the spirit” and “sins of the flesh,” nor any categorical ranking of the first as worse than the second.

First of all, spiritual disorders and sins of the flesh go together, and pride is often involved — precisely as we see with those who insist their “second marriages” are valid unions and that they are entitled to the sacraments while continuing to engage in what Our Lord Himself called adultery without exception.

And the suggestion that the sin of avarice is a “spiritual” sin worse than the “fleshly” sin of committing adultery with a neighbor’s wife is laughable, for adultery involves both avarice and lust. Are we supposed to believe that the commission of adultery with a neighbor’s wife is less serious than coveting a neighbor’s fancy car?

Müller here exhibits the astounding tendency of the current pontificate: excusing or minimizing the gravity of violations of the Sixth Commandment. Yet Our Lady of Fatima warned the seers that “more souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason,” as such sins are more commonly committed and less often repented of before death.

Incredibly, Müller lends his name to the encouragement of such sins in the name of “human weakness,” as if the assistance of God’s grace were not even part of the picture.

Müller’s preface further argues for a purely casuiStical — in the pejorative sense — search for excuses for the continuation of an adulterous relationship. He writes:

“Individual Christians can find themselves without their own fault in the harsh crisis of being abandoned and of not being able to find any other way out than entrusting themselves to a person of good heart, and the result is a marriage-like relationship.

A special spiritual discernment of the confessor’s internal forum is needed to find a path of conversion and reorientation towards Christ that is right for the person, going beyond an easy adaptation to the relativistic spirit of time or a cold application of dogmatic precepts and canonical dispositions, in the light of the truth of the Gospel and with the help of the previous grace”.

Notice the classic Modernist caricature of Church teaching: “a cold application of dogmatic precepts and canonical dispositions,” as if it were cold and merciless to inform a penitent of Our Lord’s exceptionless teaching on the indissolubility of marriage:

“Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, commmitteth adultery.” (Luke 16:18)

The Sixth Commandment does not permit exceptions for an abandoned wife who purports to marry another and thus willingly engages in sexual relations outside of marriage with a partner in adultery, relations which are intrinsically evil — always and everywhere wrong — no matter what the claimed justification.

If it were otherwise, then the Commandments would be reduced to mere benchmarks for the heroically virtuous and thereby would cease to be the moral law as such.

The appeal to the hard case is camouflage to smuggle in the general proposition that people who persuade a priest in the confessional that they are “excusable” adulterers, given their particular “concrete circumstances,” can receive absolution and Holy Communion, whereas other adulterers would continue to be denied the sacraments if their excuses were not good enough.

[B]Müller embraces precisely the “easy adaptation to the relativistic spirit of time” he professes to deplore. But when has a priest-confessor ever played the role of “discerning” the “good” adulterers from the “bad” adulterers in the confessional? Never in the history of the Church. Never, that is, until the appearance of AL.

In an ultimate exercise in Pharisaical casuistry, Müller’s preface suggests that in the “internal forum” a priest could admit to the sacraments one who is convinced that his “first marriage” in the Church is invalid, even if “this cannot be canonically proven because of the material context or because of the culture of the dominant mentality” — whatever that means. In essence, Müller argues for the effective equivalent of “self-decreed annulments” without any canonical process, which equates to Catholic divorce — taking place in the confessional, no less!

When the former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department countenances such casuistical nonsense for the sake of defending a single errant document issued by a clearly wayward Pope, a document that flies in the face of all Tradition and even the teaching of Pope Francis’s two immediate predecessors, there can be no denying that the Church is now in the midst of the most acute stage in what was already the worst crisis in her history.

Here we encounter what Pope Benedict admitted is the true gravamen of the Third Secret of Fatima: not the execution of a Pope on a hill outside a ruined city, which is only the aftermath, but rather an attack on the Church from within by sin running rampant in her human element, leading to the apocalyptic scene in the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White.”

This is what Sister Lucia meant by “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan [over] marriage and the family.”

Has Cardinal Müller joined the casuist brigade? – Part II
November 13,2017

In the firestorm that followed publication of the Müller preface, the Cardinal has since walked back his statements — but not convincingly, in my opinion. In a telephone interview, translated into English by Life Site News, the Cardinal affirms that “The Dubia are authoritative and clearly legitimate….”

Yet, early this year, the Cardinal slammed the “DUBIA cardinals,” declaring that “what astonished me is that it was made public, trying to force the pope to say yes or no. I do not like this. It harms the church to talk about these things in public.” Not exactly a direct contradiction, but certainly a different tune from what the Cardinal is singing now.

The Cardinal went on to state that in his preface to Buttiglione’s book he was not proposing any “exception” to the ban on Holy Communion for validly married Catholics who purport to divorce their spouses and enter “second marriages,” but rather was merely referring to situations that arise in Latin America and elsewhere, where people marry “informally” without benefit of a priest, or “under regimes that persecute the Church, where it isn’t possible to be married canonically” and only a natural union based on consent is possible.

But even natural, non-sacramental marriages are indissoluble outside of the Pauline and the Petrine privileges. Yet in his attempted walk-back, Müller argues that with natural marriages based on consent, when the parties separate and purport to remarry “everything depends on the internal forum, on their honesty in acknowledging if there was consent…”

That simply isn’t so. The canonical forum, not the so-called “internal forum,” would still be needed to adjudicate the nullity of any purported natural marriage before the Church could approve of a canonical union with a new partner.

Moreover, Müller’s preface speaks of much broader circumstances than merely Third-World anomalies. He writes: “Individual Christians can find themselves without their own fault in the harsh crisis of being abandoned and of not being able to find any other way out than entrusting themselves to a person of good heart, and the result is a marriage-like relationship.” There is no limitation to natural marriages of possibly dubious validity.

And, of course, Buttiglione’s book, to which Müller lent his name, argues precisely for “exceptions” to the Church’s Eucharistic discipline even in the case of marriages according to canonical form.

In fact, while trying to walk back his preface, Müller only reaffirms his support for Buttiglione’s and AL’s opening to Holy Communion for public adulterers when he declares that

“These are cases of unconscious Christians, who are baptized but unbelieving, who may have gotten married in the Church to please their grandmother, but without a real awareness. Here it becomes a problem when, after many years, they return to the faith and then question the marriage. There are many such cases. Benedict XVI also looked at the issue. So what’s to be done?”

What does the Cardinal mean by “What is to be done?” He knows very well what is to be done: the same thing that has always been done before Pope Francis. That is, the one purporting to remarry in such a case must seek an annulment, and if one is not granted on grounds of lack of consent then he or she must accept that he/she is still validly married to the first and only spouse and cannot marry another.

One cannot simply declare a “self-decreed annulment” through “discernment” in the “internal forum” and then receive the sacraments while engaging in sexual relations with someone to whom one is not married.

Furthermore, even if this sort of self-granted pseudo-annulment were possible for pastoral purposes — and it isn’t — what about the second “union,” which is likewise without canonical form?

Is the Church now supposed to recognize civil unions following divorce as valid marriages, or else permit Church weddings following a self-granted “annulment” in the “internal forum” without any declaration of nullity under canon law? Müller, signing on to Buttiglione’s sophistry, cracks open the door to chaos even as he purports to deny that he advocates any exceptions to the indissolubility of marriage.

And so, the Cardinal continues to talk out of both sides of his mouth. [The tragedy is that he does not appear to realize it, and keeps going to and fro with his pathetic arguments. He should just shut up for now - no one is hanging on his words, except those he thereby allows to instrumentalize him.]

And yet even this equivocating prelate was too conservative for Pope Francis. With defenders of the indissolubility of marriage like these, it is no wonder the Church is now involved in a “final battle” over marriage and family.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/15/2017 11:20 PM]
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Benedict XVI on St. Bonaventure
For an international congress marking the
8th centenary of the Seraphic Doctor’s birth

by Amedeo Lomonaco
Translated from the Italian service of
November 15, 2017

“Looking at the program for the symposium and the topics to be discussed, I realize how much the figure of St. Bonaventure has been greatly enriched, and therefore, how much he has to say to us at this particular historical moment.

This is what Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI writes in his message to the participants of the international congress “Deus Summe Cognoscibilis. L’attualità teologica di San Bonaventura” (God most knowable: The theological relevance of St. Bonaventure). 48 scholars from around the world are taking part in the congress which began yesterday and will last till Friday.

[Full translation of the message below]

The event to commemorate the eighth centenary of the birth of St. Bonaventure is part of a series of international congresses sponsored by the Pontifical Gregorian University since 1974. The congress intends to explore the many ways in which St. Bonaventure remains a stimulating interlocutor, through the potential of his thinking for meeting current challenges to philosophical, theological and spiritual reflection.

Presented at this congress is Volume II of Joseph R OPERA OMNIA entitled “Understanding revelation and the theology of history in St. Bonaventure”, the first integral translation into Italian of the emeritus Pope’s dissertation to obtain his Habilitation or license to be a professor in German universities back in 1957.

The first day of the Congress dealt with St. Bovanenture’s theological method and Revelation. The second day is dedicated to his theology of creation and Christology. The third and last day will consider ecclesiological themes.

The Congress is being held under the ausices of three academic institutions: the Pontifical Gregorian Unviersity, the St. Bovaneture Theological Faculty ‘Seraphicum’, and the Pontifical Antonianum University.

Giovanni Fidanza, known to us as Bonaventure, was born in 1218 in Bagnoregio. As a child, he became seriously ill but he was healed after a meeting with Francis of Assisi who on that occasion said to him, ‘Bona ventura’ (Good things happen). And from then on, he called himself Bonaventure. He joined the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) to fulfill the vow his mother made.

In 1257, he was elected the 7th Superior General of the Franciscans. He steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason. He thought of Christ as the "one true master" who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.

He died in 1274 at the age of 56 and was canonised in 1484 by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV. Pope Sixtus V proclaimed him Doctor of the Church in 1588, with the title Doctor Seraphicus. Among St. Bonaventure’s works, the best known is “Itinerarium mentis in Deum” (The mind’s road to God), a philosophical, theological and mystical itinerary for man in his ascent of the six steps to God and the peace of contemplation.

[Although he was a theologian, he was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. Much of St. Bonaventure’s philosophical thought shows a considerable influence by St. Augustine. So much so that some medeivalists consider him the best medieval representative of Augustinianism.

St. Bonaventure adds Aristotelian principles to the Augustinian doctrine, especially in connection with the illumination of the intellect and the composition of human beings and other living creatures in terms of matter and form. Augustine, who had introduced into the west many of the doctrines that would define scholastic philosophy, was an incredibly important source of Bonaventure's Platonism. The mystic Dionysius the Areopagite was another notable influence.]

Fr. Federico Lombardi, president of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI, said:

”The emeritus Pope devoted to St. Bonaventure a very important study when he was a young man. It was his dissertation to obtain his Habilitation to teach in German universities. In the course of his life, he has devoted to the Doctor Seraphicus a series of significant interventions.

Thus, the Congress also is the occasion for presenting Vol. II of the Pope’s OPERA OMNIA, recently translated into Italian, which presents the full manuscript Joseph Ratzinger originally wrote for this dissertation [the dissertation he defended successfully to earn him his Habilitation was only Part 2 of what he had written, which he rewrote for submission after his thesis adviser had rejected the full manuscript].

It must be noted that during Vatican-II, Joseph Ratzinger’s interventions on Revelation as a theological expert clearly showed the influence of Bonaventure’s thought. As Pope, he dedicated three catecheses to Bonaventure. And of course, he spoke extensively of him during his pastoral visit to Viterbo and Bagnoregio (Bonaventure’s birthplace) on September 6, 2009.

Benedict XVI's letter
It presupposes familiarity with the names and ideas he mentions, so I will provide some footnotes.

Most Reverend Professor,
We are approaching the date for the important symposium on St. Bonaventure organized by you on the occasion of the eighth centenary of the theologian’s birth.

I very gladly address to all the participants these words of thanks and my greeting. When your invitation reached me, I had just finished rereading the book of Fernand von Steerberghen (1) on the 13th century. Looking over the themes of the symposium, I realize with satisfaction how in the decades that have passed since he wrote it, our knowledge of the 13th century has truly grown and deepened, even with regard to the Seraphic Doctor.

Whereas at the time Bonaventure was considered almost exclusively in relationship to the Aristotelians of his time, today our knowledge of the profundity of his personality and the rich perspective of his thought has considerably grown.

Meanwhile it has clearly emerged, for instance, how Gioacchino da Fiore (2) was not just an outsider with his eccentric ideas, but the encounter of his ideas with the thought of St. Francis of Assisi uncovered new perspectives that reach into the depths of theology itself. It is also evident how the different ways in which the Pseudo-Dionysius (3) was received, which led to new focal points in theology and the spiritual life, have contributed to modify our knowledge of the 13th century.

The acknowledgment, that was very important for Bonaventure, that love is a force of knowledge in the intellectual darkness, represents a view of man that is completely different from that of St. Augustine. (4)

Looking at the program for the symposium and the topics to be discussed, I realize how much the figure of St. Bonaventure has been greatly enriched, and therefore, how much he has to say to us at this particular historical moment.

For this reason, I cannot but be thankful for what shall be discussed in depth at the symposium. I am happy for what I shall learn from the discussion texts even if I may not be able to read the entire weighty oeuvre that your program promises.

While expressing once more my heartfelt gratitude for your work, I send you my best wishes for the Symposum.


1) Steerberghen (1904-1993) was a Belgian priest and Thomist philosopher-theologian who specialized in the history of the 13th and 14th centuries.
2) To understand Benedict XVI’s allusion to Gioacchino (Joachim) da Fiore, I will append the second of his three catecheses on St. Bonaventure in which he explains the situation in the Church in the early 13th century.
3) Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, who claimed to channel Dionysius the Areopagite, the Athenian convert St. Paul of Tarsus mentions in Acts 17:3. This false attribution to the earliest decades of Christianity resulted in his work being given great authority in subsequent theological writing in both East and West. According to pseudo-Dionysius, God is better characterized and approached by negations than by affirmations. All names and theological representations must be negated, then "divine silence, darkness, and unknowing" will follow. His via negativa influenced many mystics like Meister Eckhart, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Thomas Aquinas wrote an explanation for several works and cites him over 1700 times. Bonaventure called him the “prince of mystics”.
4) I must confess I had to read this sentence over and over to make sure I had not mis-translated. But there it is, and I cannot reconcile it with the fact that Bonaventure was considered the greatest medieval representative of Augustinian thought. Nor how, for instance, the view that 'love is a force of knowledge in the intellectual darkness' could possibly be 'different' from St. Augustine's.

Here is the second of three catecheses Benedict XVI devoted in 2010 to St. Bonaventure:


Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 10 March 2010

As I have already said, among St Bonaventure's various merits was the ability to interpret authentically and faithfully St Francis of Assisi, whom he venerated and studied with deep love.

In a special way, in St Bonaventure's day, a trend among the Friars Minor known as the "Spirituals" held that St Francis had ushered in a totally new phase in history and that the "eternal Gospel", of which Revelation speaks, had come to replace the New Testament.

This group declared that the Church had now fulfilled her role in history. They said that she had been replaced by a charismatic community of free men guided from within by the Spirit, namely the "Spiritual Franciscans". This group's ideas were based on the writings of a Cistercian Abbot, Joachim of Fiore, who died in 1202.

In his works he affirmed a Trinitarian rhythm in history. He considered the Old Testament as the age of the Fathers, followed by the time of the Son, the time of the Church. The third age was to be awaited, that of the Holy Spirit. The whole of history was thus interpreted as a history of progress: from the severity of the Old Testament to the relative freedom of the time of the Son, in the Church, to the full freedom of the Sons of God in the period of the Holy Spirit. This, finally, was also to be the period of peace among mankind, of the reconciliation of peoples and of religions.

Joachim of Fiore had awakened the hope that the new age would stem from a new form of monasticism. Thus it is understandable that a group of Franciscans might have thought it recognized St Francis of Assisi as the initiator of the new epoch and his Order as the community of the new period the community of the Age of the Holy Spirit that left behind the hierarchical Church in order to begin the new Church of the Spirit, no longer linked to the old structures.

Hence they ran the risk of very seriously misunderstanding St Francis's message, of his humble fidelity to the Gospel and to the Church. This error entailed an erroneous vision of Christianity as a whole.

St Bonaventure, who became Minister General of the Franciscan Order in 1257, had to confront grave tension in his Order precisely because of those who supported the above-mentioned trend of the "Franciscan Spirituals" who followed Joachim of Fiore.

To respond to this group and to restore unity to the Order, St Bonaventure painstakingly studied the authentic writings of Joachim of Fiore, as well as those attributed to him and, bearing in mind the need to present the figure and message of his beloved St Francis correctly, he wanted to set down a correct view of the theology of history.

St Bonaventure actually tackled the problem in his last work, a collection of lectures for the monks of the studium in Paris. He did not complete it and it has come down to us through the transcriptions of those who heard him. It is entitled Hexaëmeron, in other words an allegorical explanation of the six days of the Creation.

The Fathers of the Church considered the six or seven days of the Creation narrative as a prophecy of the history of the world, of humanity. For them, the seven days represented seven periods of history, later also interpreted as seven millennia. With Christ we should have entered the last, that is, the sixth period of history that was to be followed by the great sabbath of God.

St Bonaventure hypothesizes this historical interpretation of the account of the days of the Creation, but in a very free and innovative way. To his mind two phenomena of his time required a new interpretation of the course of history.

The first: the figure of St Francis, the man totally united with Christ even to communion with the stigmata, almost an alter Christus, and, with St Francis, the new community he created, different from the monasticism known until then. This phenomenon called for a new interpretation, as an innovation of God which appeared at that moment.

The second: the position of Joachim of Fiore who announced a new monasticism and a totally new period of history, going beyond the revelation of the New Testament, demanded a response. As Minister General of the Franciscan Order, St Bonaventure had immediately realized that with the spiritualistic conception inspired by Joachim of Fiore, the Order would become ungovernable and logically move towards anarchy. In his opinion this had two consequences:

The first, the practical need for structures and for insertion into the reality of the hierarchical Church, of the real Church, required a theological foundation. This was partly because the others, those who followed the spiritualist concept, upheld what seemed to have a theological foundation.

The second, while taking into account the necessary realism, made it essential not to lose the newness of the figure of St Francis.

How did St Bonaventure respond to the practical and theoretical needs? Here I can only provide a very basic summary of his answer and it is in certain aspects incomplete:

1. St Bonaventure rejected the idea of the Trinitarian rhythm of history. God is one for all history, and is not tritheistic. Hence history is one, even if it is a journey and, according to St Bonaventure, a journey of progress.

2. Jesus Christ is God's last word - in him God said all, giving and expressing himself. More than himself, God cannot express or give. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. Christ himself says of the Holy Spirit: "He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (Jn 14: 26), and "he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (Jn 16: 15). Thus there is no loftier Gospel, there is no other Church to await. Therefore the Order of St Francis too must fit into this Church, into her faith and into her hierarchical order.

3. This does not mean that the Church is stationary, fixed in the past, or that there can be no newness within her. "Opera Christi non deficiunt, sed proficiunt": Christ's works do not go backwards, they do not fail but progress, the Saint said in his letter De Tribus Quaestionibus.

Thus St Bonaventure explicitly formulates the idea of progress, and this is an innovation in comparison with the Fathers of the Church and the majority of his contemporaries.

For St Bonaventure, Christ was no longer the end of history, as he was for the Fathers of the Church, but rather its center. History does not end with Christ but begins a new period.

The following is another consequence: until that moment the idea that the Fathers of the Church were the absolute summit of theology predominate -, all successive generations could only be their disciples. St Bonaventure also recognized the Fathers as teachers for ever, but the phenomenon of St Francis assured him that the riches of Christ's word are inexhaustible and that new light could also appear to the new generations. The oneness of Christ also guarantees newness and renewal in all the periods of history.

The Franciscan Order, of course, as he emphasized belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ, to the apostolic Church, and cannot be built on utopian spiritualism. Yet, at the same time, the newness of this Order in comparison with classical monasticism was vali,d and St Bonaventure as I said in my previous Catechesis defended this newness against the attacks of the secular clergy of Paris: that the Franciscans have no fixed monastery, they may go everywhere to proclaim the Gospel. It was precisely the break with stability, the characteristic of monasticism, for the sake of a new flexibility that restored to the Church her missionary dynamism.

At this point it might be useful to say that today too there are views that see the entire history of the Church in the second millennium as a gradual decline. Some see this decline as having already begun immediately after the New Testament.

In fact, "Opera Christi non deficiunt, sed proficiunt": Christ's works do not go backwards but forwards. What would the Church be without the new spirituality of the Cistercians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the spirituality of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and so forth?

This affirmation applies today too: "Opera Christi non deficiunt, sed proficiunt", they move forward. St Bonaventure teaches us the need for overall, even strict discernment, sober realism and openness to the newness, which Christ gives his Church through the Holy Spirit.

And while this idea of decline is repeated, another idea, this "spiritualistic utopianism" is also reiterated. Indeed, we know that after the Second Vatican Council some were convinced that everything was new, that there was a different Church, that the pre-Conciliar Church was finished and that we had another, totally "other" Church, an anarchic utopianism!

And thanks be to God the wise helmsmen of the Barque of St Peter, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, on the one hand defended the newness of the Council, and on the other, defended the oneness and continuity of the Church, which is always a Church of sinners and always a place of grace.

4. In this regard, St Bonaventure, as Minister General of the Franciscans, took a line of government which showed clearly that the new Order could not, as a community, live at the same "eschatological height" as St Francis, in whom he saw the future world anticipated, but guided at the same time by healthy realism and by spiritual courage, he had to come as close as possible to the maximum realization of the Sermon on the Mount, which for St Francis was the rule, but nevertheless bearing in mind the limitations of the human being who is marked by original sin.

Thus we see that for St Bonaventure governing was not merely action but above all was thinking and praying. At the root of his government we always find prayer and thought; all his decisions are the result of reflection, of thought illumined by prayer.

His intimate contact with Christ always accompanied his work as Minister General and therefore he composed a series of theological and mystical writings that express the soul of his government. They also manifest his intention of guiding the Order inwardly, that is, of governing not only by means of commands and structures, but by guiding and illuminating souls, orienting them to Christ.

I would like to mention only one of these writings, which are the soul of his government and point out the way to follow, both for the individual and for the community: the Itinerarium mentis in Deum, [The Mind's Road to God], which is a "manual" for mystical contemplation.

This book was conceived in a deeply spiritual place: Mount La Verna, where St Francis had received the stigmata. In the introduction the author describes the circumstances that gave rise to this writing:

"While I meditated on the possible ascent of the mind to God, amongst other things there occurred that miracle which happened in the same place to the blessed Francis himself, namely the vision of the winged Seraph in the form of a Crucifix. While meditating upon this vision, I immediately saw that it offered me the ecstatic contemplation of Fr Francis himself as well as the way that leads to it" (cf. The Mind's Road to God, Prologue, 2, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Opuscoli Teologici / 1, Rome 1993, p. 499).

The six wings of the Seraph thus became the symbol of the six stages that lead man progressively from the knowledge of God, through the observation of the world and creatures and through the exploration of the soul itself with its faculties, to the satisfying union with the Trinity through Christ, in imitation of St Francis of Assisi.

The last words of St Bonaventure's Itinerarium, which respond to the question of how it is possible to reach this mystical communion with God, should be made to sink to the depths of the heart:

"If you should wish to know how these things come about, (the mystical communion with God) question grace, not instruction; desire, not intellect; the cry of prayer, not pursuit of study; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness, not clarity; not light, but the fire that inflames all and transports to God with fullest unction and burning affection.... Let us then... pass over into darkness; let us impose silence on cares, concupiscence, and phantasms; let us pass over with the Crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that when the Father is shown to us we may say with Philip, "It is enough for me'" (cf. ibid., VII 6).

Dear friends, let us accept the invitation addressed to us by St Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor, and learn at the school of the divine Teacher: Let us listen to His word of life and truth that resonates in the depths of our soul. Let us purify our thoughts and actions so that He may dwell within us and that we may understand His divine voice which draws us towards true happiness.

When one puts together Benedict XVI's statement in his Oct. 31, 2017 letter to the organizer of the St. Bonaventure symposium about 'how much St. Bonaventure has to say to us at this particular historical moment" [I found it significant that the Vatican Radio reporter chose to open his report with that line, which was the only line he quoted from the letter] and the citations the Holy Father made in the above catecheses on how St. Bonaventure governs - not to mention how he describes the anarchic utopianism indulged in by Vatican-II prpogressivists - and we apply all that to 'this particular historical moment', then we have a full-bodied critique of the leadership in the Church today.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/17/2017 1:46 AM]
11/16/2017 10:48 PM
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The myth of the ‘revolution betrayed and hindered’
applied to the reign of Pope Francis: Is it credible?

Translated from

November 16, 2017

In human and political history, there are some recurrent models that are convenient and widely used, especially by the fans of autocracy. One of them is this: "He [the autocrat] wished to change so many things for the better, but ‘they’ would not let him do it!... If it were only up to him… Because yes, he had the best ideas… But ‘they’ simply turned the ideas inside out and thus ruined them”.

Of course, the ‘they’ is always, as a rule, undefined. We never get to learn the identity or the faces of those who opposed these proposals for reform, cleanliness, clarity, transparency, honesty, etc of the Great Autocrat. Which is, of course, unnatural, given that, in general, a great quantity of things are known in detail about such ‘failed revolutions’.

Usually the Great Autocrat has at his disposal ranks of professional and dilettante writers ready to divulge even the slightest detail of his ‘deep thoughts’. Just imagine: if the Great Machinery of Goodness and Mercy but knew who are responsible for putting spokes into its wheels or stones in its cogs, the latter would quickly be splattered to the four winds.

I was thinking of this in looking at the cover of the latest literary opus by Gianluigi Nuzzi [author of two Vatileaks books so far, as well as his first Vatican ‘expose’ in 2009, about IOR - i.e.,
someone who has made a profitable career out of professional muckraking about the Vatican
, entitled Peccato Originale (Original Sin) with the subtitle “Conti segreti, verite nascoste, ricatti - Il blocco di potere che ostacola la rivoluzione di Francesco” [Secret accounts,hidden truths, blackmail - The power block that is impeding Francis’s revolution).

Which makes us feel that the Vatican is teeming with moles who keep digging and digging for dirt while the poor pontiff – in his wing of the Casa Santa Marta – feels besieged by the noise of teeth gnawing at the pillars of his new church.

But I reflected and asked myself: Who could they be, these moles seeking to undermine the church of Bergoglio? I did a rapid mental review of the men who have power in the Curia and elsewhere in the Vatican. If you have the patience, stay with me, so later, we can draw our conclusions together.

The pope’s principal collaborator is the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, named by the pope himself. And beside him, the deputy (Sostituto) Secretary of State, Mons. Angelo Becciu. He was named by Benedict XVI, but we can now say without fear of being belied, that he has become the pope’s ‘man of confidence’. There is a reason Becciu has become the pontifical delegate to the Order of Malta, the commissar of a Vatican operation in which the ‘odor’ of money and power far outdoes any spirituality, and will perhaps forever be a big blot in the record of this pontificate. [This episode alone exposed the utter hypocrisy of the Bergoglio Vatican and the totalitarian caudillismo of Bergoglio.]

Let us go on. At the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there was Cardinal Mueller, loyal to the pope, but who could not keep himself from occasionally voicing reservations about the pope’s decisions. When his five-year term of office ended, the pope dismissed him without giving him another responsibility, and replaced him with a fellow Jesuit, Mons. Luis Ladaria Ferrer. [About whom we have not heard a peep since he became CDF head.]

Another Congregation that is central to the governance of the universal Church is that of the Clergy. And one of the first official acts of this pope was to dismiss without cause the ‘Ratzingerian’ Cardinal Mauro Piacenza as Prefect, replacing him with someone of his trust, Mons. (later Cardinal) Beniamino Stella, whose previous career was with the Vatican diplomatic corps, and is now said to be the leading ‘grey eminence’ in the Bergoglian court.

The second important Congregation in this regard is that of Bishops which is still led by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, named by Benedict XVI. Of course, Ouellet lost no time in declaring loyalty to the new pope [which is fine, except that in doing so, he has also been denigrating Benedict XVI]. Nonetheless, he has been virtually disauthorized in his own Congregation by his #2 man, who is a very close friend of the pope’s private secretary, and who was elevated to office with a stunning and absolutely extraordinary rapidity. And BTW, the pope’s private secretary has not given up his middle-management job at Bishops, where nothing happens unless the pope wishes it.

Proceeding with our so far unfruitful review of the possible conspirators impeding this pope’s ‘revolution’, let us turn to money and finances. The first Secretary of the Economy, Cardinal George Pell, named by this pope, is virtually ‘retired’, having been in Australia for a few months now to seek to answer multiple charges of sex abuse allegedly committed by him decades ago.

Besides him, there is Cardinal Bertello, head of the Governatorate of Vatican State; Cardinal Calcagno, who heads the resource-rich Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA); and Cardinal Versaldi, whom this pope promoted to be head of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Versaldi had always been thought of as among the followers of Cardinal Bertone, and probably gained favor because of Bertone’s support for Bergoglio in the 2013 Conclave.

Calcagno is often seen sharing a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) with the Pope at Casa Santa Marta; Versaldi, as we noted, was promoted; and Bertello seems happy with just running Vatican State administratively.

We know that the pope named another most faithful and ‘pleasing’ follower, Mons. Ricca, whom he rehabilitated from his inglorious past as an openly practicing homosexual in the Vatican diplomatic corps, to make him ‘spiritual director’ of IOR, the Vatican ‘bank’.

And the pope named an American ultra-liberal bishop, Kevin Farrell, now cardinal, to head the new Superdicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, as a powerful official of the dicastery, whom he also named to head and completely overhaul the Pontifical Academy for Life (dismissing all the members originally named by John Paul II and naming new members who are notorious for their pro-active anti-life positions).

It doesn’t seem like any of those we have named so far could possibly be part of the supposedly Fifth Column working against the pope’s ‘revolution’.

What about the Congregation for Religious Life, that has turned into Bergoglio’s hammer? Both its prefect, Cardinal Braz de Aviz, but most of all, its secretary, the Franciscan Mons. Carballo (who turned out to have led the order to financial disaster before he was called to the Vatican by this pope), are the arm and hand wielding the hammer for the pope.

Have we forgotten any? At the Roman Rota, there is Mons. Pinto, whose loyalty to the pope cannot be exaggerated. At the Apostolic Signatura (the highest Church court), that most competent of canonists, Cardinal Raymond Burke, was quickly replaced as we know by Mons. Dominique Mamberti, whose entire career was in Vatican diplomacy.

At the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood, there is Cardinal Amato, who is now 83 but continues in office even if, when Bergoglio re-confirmed all of the Curial heads in place at the time of Benedict XVI’s retirement, he was the only one whose confirmation was qualified by ‘donec aliter proveatur’ (unless otherwise decided).

Likewise, Cardinal Sandri, an Argentine, remains prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, though he has served more than 10 years in this office.

At the Superdicastery for Integral Human Development, we have Cardinal Turkson who could not be a more sycophantic follower of the pope, and at the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, known to be persona non grata to this pope for his attachment to traditional liturgy. [NB: A report earlier this week by Andrea Gagliarducci would have it that Bergoglio will remove Sarah from CDW but make him Prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, where he was #2 man until Benedict XVI named him to head the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. It appears Cardinal Filone, now heading Propaganda Fide, may be named Secretary for the Economy replacing Pell who is on indefinite leave. If this i true, then it is a lucky turn of the cards for Bergoglio, who cannot then be blamed for simply axing the highest-ranking African cardinal in the Curia.]

Then there’s Cardinal Baldisseri, who heads the Secretariat of the Bishops’ Synod, and his #2 man, Mons. Fabene – both of them tru-eblue Bergoglio loyalists. And Mons. Dario Vigano who heads the new Secretariat for Communications, who has emerged as one of the pope’s leading advisers.

Finally, there is Bergoglio’s Crown Council – the nine cardinals supposedly advising him on the governance of the Church and the reform of the Curia. Each and everyone of them was personally handpicked by Bergoglio.

In short, the governance of the Church is almost totally in the hands of Bergoglio’s own men. And therefore, if his reforms, whatever they are, are said to be hindered, it could not be because his own people are ‘rowing’ against him.

So the myth of the Great Autocrat of the good ideas and intentions who, however, is hindered by ‘dark forces’, remains as it always was: a myth that has no credibility.

After reading the blurb for Nuzzi's new book [not without shuddering!], I believe Tosatti’s account above arises from the extravagant claim of the book’s subtitle as to what it is, namely, about “the power block that is impeding Francis’s revolution”.

But according to the blurb, the book recounts scandals in the Vatican from the time of Paul VI to the present, although of course, the usual premise is that this supposed power block is never identified, or is simply presumed to be composed of all those who have been involved in or have manipulated every chicanery or crime ever attributed to the Vatican. The blurb is, of course, typical advertising for books that peddle purple prose and yellow journalism.

After Vaticano s.p.a., Sua Santita and Via Crucis, three investigative books that introduced us to the most profound secrets of the Vatican, Gianluigi Nuzzi in this new book, reconstructs through unpublished documents, confidential letters in the archives of IOR, and surprising testimonies, the three red threads – blood, money and sex – that link and explain the dense tangle of scandals in the Vatican from the pontificate of Paul VI to the present. A web of stories with devastating effects which have always raised questions that have remained unanswered and that paralyze every reform intended by Pope Francis.

He reconstructs finally many truths which have been lacking, starting with the mystery of John Paul I’s death and his never-before divulged meeting with Mons. Marcinkus [the American prelate who had been John Paul II’s chief bodyguard and whom he named to head the IOR in the late 1960s when the Banco Ambrosiano, of which the Vatican was the major stockholder, and which was apparently used by the Mafia for money laundering, collapsed - and the Vatican had to pay some $250 million in restitution to bank clients]; the confidential negotiations between the Vatican and the Rome magistrature to close the case on Emanuela Orlandi [teenaged daughter of a Vatican employee whose mysterious disappearance while waiting for a bus in Rome in 1983, is somehow being blamed on the Vatican, or that the Vatican has participated in a cover-up of the 'crime']; the accounts that cardinals, actors and politicians had in the IOR, involving transactions in the millions, gold bars and a cash flow said to come from international drug trafficking; evidence about a ‘gay lobby’ which supposedly weighs heavily in the decisions of the Vatican, wielding ‘violence’ and pressures that are documented here for the first time.]


All I can say is that the one account I have read so far from the book is about a letter supposedly written to Pope Francis by a young Pole who attended the Vatican pre-seminary [a boarding school for the middle grades, where the diocese sends children predisposed to a vocation, and during which they serve as altar boys and acolytes in services at St. Peter's Basilica], in which he says he was witness to nightly sex acts performed with his roommate Paolo by a certain Antonio (who was not a school official nor a priest but seemed to be able to do as he pleased). The writer later told Nuzzi that in September 2014 he received a letter from the CDF telling him that his complaint had been forwarded to the Congregation for the Clergy for action because "none of the facts you describe in your letter come under the 'grave crimes' of sexual abuse for which this dicastery has competence", and that he has not received any other communication from the Vatican since.

It may be that the reporter from Il Fatto Quotidiano who picked up this story from Nuzzi's book is rather incompetent because other than the CDF letter, he does not give any dates, but worse, he does not further identify Antonio, who, it seems, was not a priest (so he wouldn't fall under the competence of the CDF), but nonetheless, was there no investigation ordered at all of the pre-seminary and the Polish student's claims?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/17/2017 1:43 AM]
11/17/2017 2:08 AM
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The Pope Video —
Season 1 Episode 1 Version 2

November 15, 2017

You'd have to be 'Jorge' to have noted this!

The Vatican has released a new version of their inaugural The Pope Video.
One can watch it if they so wish below, as well as the original video.

New version, 11/15/17:

Original, 1/6/16:

The two videos are identical until they reach the 1 minute 6 seconds mark. The new changes last until the 1 minute 22 seconds mark and
are footage of Francis gladhanding heads of other religions and giving them hugs. Regardless, the message is still one of modernism and a false one-world religion.

I am almost sure that the pope had nothing to do with this revision of a video that is almost two years old. Does anyone really care to go back and look at a video clip that was really embarassing for Catholics? What did his communications experts think they were doing? (And I doubt any of them even bothered to consult the pope about it).

In any case, it was a horrible debut video, as everyone may still remember, because of its anti-Catholic premise that one religion is as good as another, a message propagated by the man who is now pope and supposed to be the leader of the Catholic Church, yet he says he does not want to convert anyone to Catholicism. And the changes made - replacing images of other religions with images of the pope gladhanding the leaders of those religions - only make it worse by turning the video into more of a vehicle for a 'selfie pope' celebrating himself!

Very apropos, Christopher Ferrara in THE REMNANT comments on the essay by an Anglican minister that appeared in FIRST THINGS two days ago and began with the no-longer rhetorical question "Is the Pope Catholic?":

...When even an Anglican theologian is publicly appalled by the liberal Protestantism of a Roman Pontiff, no Catholic of good will can continue to deny the obvious.

But where is the neo-Catholic commentariat in the midst of this great awakening? Committed as ever to their programmatic defense of the indefensible, lest anyone suspect that those radical traditionalists might have been right all along about the direction in which the Church has been heading since the Second Vatican Disaster, and that the neo-Catholic “normalist” narrative has been spectacularly wrong, if not outright dishonest, from the beginning.

As for the bishops and cardinals who must know this Pope is a menace to the Church, they continue to cower in obsequy or, at best, protest again and again that Francis must “clarify” what he has already made perfectly clear.

Or, like Bishop Barron — elevated to the episcopacy by Francis — they complain that the crisis Francis has precipitated with Amoris Laetitia is all the fault of Catholic bloggers and that the bishops should “seize control of [the] process,” because these nefarious bloggers “are forcing people to read this document in a particular way.”

That Francis himself reads his own document in that particular way, and applauds its disastrous implementation accordingly, must never be mentioned. Rather, the truth must be hidden by “seizing control” of the narrative, replacing statements of the undeniable truth with flowery praise for what Barron calls “an extraordinarily rich document.”

Would that the leaders of the Church spare us from “rich documents” and give us the faith of our fathers. But there is no counting on them now. The laity and their sensus fidelium are the primary bulwark of the Faith at present, assisted by the grace of the sacraments and the good priests, like Father Weinandy, who remain true to what God has revealed through His Church, despite the consequences they will suffer under a pontificate that represents a dictatorship of theological relativism, sustained only by raw power and the fear of reprisal, which the dictator dares to call “The Spirit”.

This pope may be nominally 'Catholic' - after all, he was baptized Catholic and was elected pope as a 'Catholic' - but he is as CINO as you can get, and without question the most anti-Catholic 'Catholic' breathing today. I insist that this is the most appropriate tag for him. Forget heretical, forget apostate even, but I think we can all agree on anti-Catholic.
He is also un-Catholic in many ways, but anti-Catholic better describes his proactive wreckovation of the one true Church of Christ

In this respect, Louie Verrecchio, whose reprehensible anti-Benedict bias is as extreme as his odium for Bergoglio, wrote something today that I could almost completely subscribe to, because I have said so in other ways often enough: That Bergoglio is an instrument of Satan, though Verrecchio puts it more harshly. How else does one explain this pope's Luciferian hubris?

Is Bergoglio “under the control of Satan”?

November 16, 2017

The Associated Press is reporting, and no doubt with considerable satisfaction, that Francis has charged so-called climate change deniers with being “perverse” concerning what he considers “one of the most worrying phenomena our humanity is experiencing.”

If only the Humble One’s propensity for dabbling in pseudo-science and name-calling was our biggest problem!

In a message to the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, His Greenness said (while quoting himself – one of his other favorite pastimes):

Unfortunately, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis are often frustrated for various reasons ranging from denial of the problem to indifference, comfortable resignation, or blind trust in technical solutions (cf. Encyclical Laudato si’, 14). We should avoid falling into the trap of these four perverse attitudes…

Francis reiterated his support for the Paris Agreement and its (allegedly) “clear path of transition to a low- or zero-carbon model of economic development,” exhorting the assembly: "I would like to reaffirm my urgent call to renew dialogue on how we are building the future of the planet."

Make no mistake, the planet “we” – meaning, Bergoglio & Co. – “are building” is the City of Man; one not just unlike the City of God, but rather one actively opposed to it.

The bottom line here is staggering and yet simple.

In his book, “The Fourth Secret of Fatima” (2009 English Publication, Loreto Publications), Italian journalist Antonio Socci offers details of a radio interview of Fr. Malachi Martin (who had read the Third Secret of Fatima) and his exchange with a caller:

A listener intervenes on the precise content of the Secret: making reference to confidences received from a Jesuit, he speaks of a Pope who “would be under the control of Satan. Pope John was reeling, thinking that it could have been him.” Father Martin responds: “Yes, it seems that this person would have had a means of reading or would have been given the contents of the secret.” Then he got to the heart of the matter: “it is sufficiently vague to cause hesitation, but it seems to be that.”

Can we be absolutely certain that the Third Secret of Fatima concerns a pope under the control of Satan? No.

I’m not even sure how anyone can be absolutely certain that Francis is actually the pope!

That said, there can be no doubt whatsoever that Francis is – if not under the control of Satan – the Evil One’s most powerful servant alive and active in the world today. [This is a conclusion I arrived at on my own much earlier.]

With nearly every Bergoglian initiative – from the Synod charade, to the Year of Mercy masquerade, and his numerous ecumenical endeavors – if one but scratches the surface, there one will find evidence that Satan is writing the script. And when I say “scratch the surface,” I mean just that – a mere scratch is all it takes.

A simple internet search of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( reveals the undeniable presence of the diabolical:

Population Growth as a Variable
“These false arguments [against coercive birth control and abortions] must no longer hold the poor to ransom. Globally, population growth is primarily driven by coercive pregnancy: where women and couples are not given informed choice to avoid pregnancy … Indefinite population growth is physically impossible on a finite planet. It must stop at some point: either sooner through fewer births by contraception and humane, pro-active population policy.”

Ways to advance the goal of gender balance in the UNFCCC
“…the creation of a fund to ensure that rural and poor women can access abortion services.”

Operationalizing a Gender-Sensitive
Approach in the Green Climate Fund

“An external evaluation of the Global Fund’s Gender Equality Strategy and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities Strategy in 2011 pointed out that rather than relying on individual staff members, the implementation of gender-mainstreaming has to be understood as a Secretariat-wide priority.”

The curious can do their own internet search and within minutes unearth countless citations of a similar nature; more than can be read in a single day.

So, how bad is it? After pledging his support for the efforts of the UNFCCC, and by appearance the endorsement of the Holy Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio – cashing in on his papal bella figura, whether real or imagined – concluded his message saying: “This commitment is supported by the wise providence of God Most High.” [True, if he is speaking as the Bergoglio who equates himself with God, which is a step down from his default position of knowing better than God - see, Luciferian as always? -e.g., mercy for all regardless!]

It’s high time for the milk-drinkers among us to throw away their sippy cups and come to terms with the bitter reality that is staring every authentic Catholic square in the face: Satan has taken up residence in the Vatican. [Might it not be more precise to say 'Satan has taken up residence in the mind and heart of Jorge Bergoglio? Or, to put it more kindly, "Has Satan taken up residence in the mind and heart of Jorge Bergoglio?"... because, face it, day by day, he's going from bad to horrific in every way that matters!]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/17/2017 3:29 AM]
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November 16, 2017 headlines

To Vatican meeting on end-of-life issues:
Pope says it is 'morally licit to discontinue
therapeutic measures when disproportionate'

'Avoiding overzealous treatment is not euthanasia'


VATICAN CITY, Nov. 16, 2017 - It is “morally licit to decide not to adopt therapeutic measures, or to discontinue them, when their use does not meet that ethical and humanistic standard that would later be called “due proportion in the use of remedies”.

Pope Francis made this statement on the complex “end-of-life” issue in a message sent to Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia and to the participants in the European regional meeting of the World Medical Association in progress in the Vatican and promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life headed by Paglia.

Reiterating what was already established in 1980 by the Declaration on euthanasia of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope explains that the specific element of this criterion is that it considers “the result that can be expected, taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources”. It thus makes possible a decision that is morally qualified as withdrawal of “overzealous treatment”.

[Rather than continue with the rest of the report which merely quotes huge chunks from the message, I will just post the entire message:]

Your meeting will address questions dealing with the end of earthly life. They are questions that have always challenged humanity, but that today take on new forms by reason of increased knowledge and the development of new technical tools.

The growing therapeutic capabilities of medical science have made it possible to eliminate many diseases, to improve health and to prolong people’s life span. While these developments have proved quite positive, it has also become possible nowadays to extend life by means that were inconceivable in the past.

Surgery and other medical interventions have become ever more effective, but they are not always beneficial: they can sustain, or even replace, failing vital functions, but that is not the same as promoting health. Greater wisdom is called for today, because of the temptation to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person.

Some sixty years ago, Pope Pius XII, in a memorable address to anaesthesiologists and intensive care specialists, stated that there is no obligation to have recourse in all circumstances to every possible remedy and that, in some specific cases, it is permissible to refrain from their use (cf. AAS XLIX [1957], 1027-1033).

Consequently, it is morally licit to decide not to adopt therapeutic measures, or to discontinue them, when their use does not meet that ethical and humanistic standard that would later be called “due proportion in the use of remedies” (cf. CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Declaration on Euthanasia, 5 May 1980, IV: AAS LXXII [1980], 542-552).

The specific element of this criterion is that it considers “the result that can be expected, taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources” (ibid.). It thus makes possible a decision that is morally qualified as withdrawal of “overzealous treatment”.

Such a decision responsibly acknowledges the limitations of our mortality, once it becomes clear that opposition to it is futile. “Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2278).

This difference of perspective restores humanity to the accompaniment of the dying, while not attempting to justify the suppression of the living. It is clear that not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment; from an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong, in that the intent of euthanasia is to end life and cause death.

Needless to say, in the face of critical situations and in clinical practice, the factors that come into play are often difficult to evaluate. To determine whether a clinically appropriate medical intervention is actually proportionate, the mechanical application of a general rule is not sufficient. There needs to be a careful discernment of the moral object, the attending circumstances, and the intentions of those involved.

In caring for and accompanying a given patient, the personal and relational elements in his or her life and death – which is after all the last moment in life – must be given a consideration befitting human dignity. In this process, the patient has the primary role.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this clear: “The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able” (loc. cit.). The patient, first and foremost, has the right, obviously in dialogue with medical professionals, to evaluate a proposed treatment and to judge its actual proportionality in his or her concrete case, and necessarily refusing it if such proportionality is judged lacking.

That evaluation is not easy to make in today's medical context, where the doctor-patient relationship has become increasingly fragmented and medical care involves any number of technological and organizational aspects.

It should also be noted that these processes of evaluation are conditioned by the growing gap in healthcare possibilities resulting from the combination of technical and scientific capability and economic interests.

Increasingly sophisticated and costly treatments are available to ever more limited and privileged segments of the population, and this raises questions about the sustainability of healthcare delivery and about what might be called a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in health care.

This tendency is clearly visible at a global level, particularly when different continents are compared. But it is also present within the more wealthy countries, where access to healthcare risks being more dependent on individuals’ economic resources than on their actual need for treatment.

In the complexity resulting from the influence of these various factors on clinical practice, but also on medical culture in general, the supreme commandment of responsible closeness, must be kept uppermost in mind, as we see clearly from the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37).

It could be said that the categorical imperative is to never abandon the sick. The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient. Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognizing the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity.

Let each of us give love in his or her own way — as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a doctor or a nurse. But give it! And even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death. This approach is reflected in palliative care, which is proving most important in our culture, as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome — pain and loneliness.

Within democratic societies, these sensitive issues must be addressed calmly, seriously and thoughtfully, in a way open to finding, to the extent possible, agreed solutions, also on the legal level.

On the one hand, there is a need to take into account differing world views, ethical convictions and religious affiliations, in a climate of openness and dialogue. On the other hand, the state cannot renounce its duty to protect all those involved, defending the fundamental equality whereby everyone is recognized under law as a human being living with others in society.

Particular attention must be paid to the most vulnerable, who need help in defending their own interests. If this core of values essential to coexistence is weakened, the possibility of agreeing on that recognition of the other which is the condition for all dialogue and the very life of society will also be lost.

Legislation on health care also needs this broad vision and a comprehensive view of what most effectively promotes the common good in each concrete situation.

In the hope that these reflections may prove helpful, I offer you my cordial good wishes for a serene and constructive meeting. I also trust that you will find the most appropriate ways of addressing these delicate issues with a view to the good of all those whom you meet and those with whom you work in your demanding profession.

Just as Vatican Insider did, the major Italian dailies chose to highlight the statement in the pope's message that allows ending treatment for terminal cases when the cost and effort would be judged disproportionate to what little positive effect it may have on the patient. Marco Tosatti calls their reporting 'fake news', because the headlines interpret the statement to mean the pope is supporting a proposed law to legalize euthanasia. And although they may have correctly quoted the pope's words, the interpretation they chose to give those words is entirely misleading.

Also, the particular statement that VATICAN INSIDER and the other dailies lead with appears to be the pope's synthesis of what the CDF said in its 1980 Declaration on Euthanasia about 'Due Proportion in the Use of Remedies" (see below). Actually, he would have done better to simply refer the participants to that document.

Fake news on the pope and
the law to legalize euthanasia

Translated from

November 17, 2017

This morning, I must express solidarity with my Vaticanista colleagues. I understand their suffering. As Giovanni Tridente tweeted, "Today is the triumph of 'titolismo'". We are obviously speaking of the news reports on the Pope's message regarding therapeutic obstinacy [the Italian term is accanimento terapeutico, more literally translated as therapeutic doggedness'] and euthanasia. And of the pope's so-called 'openness' to an end-of-life law that would legalize euthanasia in Italy.

It goes without saying that the Pope's written message, prepared no doubt with the help of the Pontifical Academy for Life, makes no mention at all of the law.

Besides, a pope saying NO to therapeutic obstinacy is not news at all. It goes back to 1958 and Papa Pacelli, later reiterated by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. And so I understand the plight of my colleagues whose reports have been 'violated' by their bosses with headlines linking the pope's message to the proposed law, even if the headlines are not borne out by the articles themselves.

What type of 'fake news' is this? It may not be 100% fake, but at least 75% is. And if you read the entire message, it says many good things, along with some ambiguities which I would attribute to the PAL drafters - and I apologize if I say so unjustly - but then, one remembers that Mons. Paglia had spoken in lavish praise of the late [Radical Party leader] Marco Pannella [one of whose decades-long political causes was the legalization of euthanasia].

Without getting into the euthanasia issue now, I would ask you to read an article in Bussola written by an expert.
[In which the writer, Tommaso Scandroglio, examines the ambiguities in the pope's message and concludes:

The message is focused for the most part on therapeutic obstinacy [the Vatican translates 'accanimento terapeutico' as 'overzealous treatment'] because "the temptation today (is) to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person".

It would therefore seem that the real danger in hospital practice today is therapeutic obstinacy and not euthanasia. But that is not the case. Existing norms in many countries, widespread clinical practice, the guidelines of some medical societies, and recent headlines such as the case of 'little Charlie', the clinics for 'sweet death' found here and there in the West [what they all have in common is that their aim is to hasten death in terminal cases] - all this tell us that the true emergency we phase is euthanasia and not therapeutic obstinacy.

But for now, we must be resigned: Ambiguity is a characteristic trait of this pontificate, evidently reflective of deeply-rooted personal traits.


The 1980 CDF Declaration on Euthanasia [/](a pre-Ratzinger document) ends with a section entitled DUE PROPORTION IN THE USE OF REMEDIES, which is precise and realistic in its guidelines, and is instructive to read and compare with Pope Francis's message yesterday:

Today it is very important to protect, at the moment of death, both the dignity of the human person and the Christian concept of life, against a technological attitude that threatens to become an abuse.

Thus some people speak of a "right to die," which is an expression that does not mean the right to procure death either by one's own hand or by means of someone else, as one pleases, but rather the right to die peacefully with human and Christian dignity.

From this point of view, the use of therapeutic means can sometimes pose problems. In numerous cases, the complexity of the situation can be such as to cause doubts about the way ethical principles should be applied.

In the final analysis, it pertains to the conscience either of the sick person, or of those qualified to speak in the sick person's name, or of the doctors, to decide, in the light of moral obligations and of the various aspects of the case.

Everyone has the duty to care for his or her own health or to seek such care from others. Those whose task it is to care for the sick must do so conscientiously and administer the remedies that seem necessary or useful. However, is it necessary in all circumstances to have recourse to all possible remedies?

In the past, moralists replied that one is never obliged to use "extraordinary" means. This reply, which as a principle still holds good, is perhaps less clear today, by reason of the imprecision of the term and the rapid progress made in the treatment of sickness. Thus some people prefer to speak of "proportionate" and "disproportionate" means.

In any case, it will be possible to make a correct judgment as to the means by studying the type of treatment to be used, its degree of complexity or risk, its cost and the possibilities of using it, and comparing these elements with the result that can be expected, taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources.

In order to facilitate the application of these general principles, the following clarifications can be added:
- If there are no other sufficient remedies, it is permitted, with the patient's consent, to have recourse to the means provided by the most advanced medical techniques, even if these means are still at the experimental stage and are not without a certain risk. By accepting them, the patient can even show generosity in the service of humanity.
- It is also permitted, with the patient's consent, to interrupt these means, where the results fall short of expectations.
- But for such a decision to be made, account will have to be taken of the reasonable wishes of the patient and the patient's family, as also of the advice of the doctors who are specially competent in the matter. The latter may in particular judge that the investment in instruments and personnel is disproportionate to the results foreseen; they may also judge that the techniques applied impose on the patient strain or suffering out of proportion with the benefits which he or she may gain from such techniques.
- It is also permissible to make do with the normal means that medicine can offer. Therefore one cannot impose on anyone the obligation to have recourse to a technique which is already in use but which carries a risk or is burdensome.

Such a refusal is not the equivalent of suicide; on the contrary, it should be considered as an acceptance of the human condition, or a wish to avoid the application of a medical procedure disproportionate to the results that can be expected, or a desire not to impose excessive expense on the family or the community.
- When inevitable death is imminent in spite of the means used, it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted. In such circumstances the doctor has no reason to reproach himself with failing to help the person in danger.

Equally instructive is the program of the three-day conference, the organization behind it, and its line-up of speakers:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/18/2017 7:44 AM]
11/18/2017 9:02 AM
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Is anyone keeping tab on the costs incurred in the never-ending series of conferences sponsored by the Vatican on social issues? More
concerning, of course, is the thrust of these conferences which appear to be ostensibly and ultimately, anti-Catholic. [As well they would be,
considering they serve the agenda of this anti-Catholic pope, and the speakers are, for the most part, liberals, ultra-liberals and radicals
whose ideology is necessarily anti-Catholic

Speaker tells Vatican conference:
Reducing population is best
solution to climate ‘crisis’

VATICAN, November 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the main concerns about the Vatican’s frequent conferences on climate change in recent years has been that many of the invited speakers favor population control as a means to protecting the planet.

This became patently clear at a Pontifical Academy for Sciences seminar last week when a key speaker said “it’s a little ambitious” to think we can cut the population in half by 2050, but it is “smarter” to cull the number of people first, thereby making the move to renewable energy easier.

The November 2-4 conference, hosted at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens, was entitled: "Health of People, Health of Planet, and our responsibility: Climate change, air pollution and health".

Answering a question from the academy’s chancellor, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, on whether there should be a “hierarchy” of solutions to address the “crisis” of climate change and global warming, Taiwanese professor Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee welcomed the fact that the number of children entering elementary school in his native land has dropped from 400,000 to 200,000 since 1994, calling it “amazing.”

Bishop Sanchez had said in his question that he thought renewable energy came first in Lee’s hierarchy of solutions, but in his answer Lee said halving the population by 2050 would be his priority as it would significantly reduce consumption. “Then we [can] talk about renewable energy,” he said, which can be “easily” achieved.

“But if we keep on saying that the population should increase, consumption and energy need will be increasing, then I don’t think we have a solution,” Dr. Lee told Bishop Sorondo. “So we really have to accede to the fact that we are overloading the earth […]. I don’t believe that the man-free car, an electric car driving all over the world is called ‘progress’. I think that we have to do something smarter than that.”

Dr. Lee’s remarks were met with silence, and the conference continued on.

In follow-up comments to LifeSite, Dr. Lee, who was appointed a member of the Academy during Benedict XVI’s pontificate, explained his position further, saying the government of Taiwan has tried to encourage couples to have more children. “But I think it’s not the right policy. I think we should let the population go down in Taiwan,” he said.

“We have too many people, 7.3 billion now,” he said. “With so many people consuming so much, it might take 1.7 earths or 2 earths to satisfy this need. So we pretend that with sustainable development we can cut the energy, and we can get there, but it is not right unless we cut down the consumption.”

Asked if he believes lowering the population across the planet is important, the University of California-Berkeley professor emeritus said: “Yes, that’s right. Yes.”

Bishop Sorondo denied Dr. Lee was advocating population control in their exchange, saying he spoke about “education in responsibility.”

“He said you need to regulate births intelligently. It’s not that he said you need to use birth control. This is the difference,” the academy chancellor said. “The best way to keep the population low is the Christian family. This is what he says.” [If the direct quotations from Dr. Lee are correct, that’s not at all what he said. Unless Sorondo thinks that Lee’s priority of halving the world’s population by 2050 is achievable by having ‘Christian’ families.

Even if the world added not another individual more to the 7.2 billion now populating the earth – an impossibility even in hypothesis – how does Lee propose to eliminate 3.6 billion persons in the next 33 years? I thought these non-stop Vatican conferences on social issues were meant to feature ‘leading experts’ in the chosen fields of discussion. How can not one person raise this obvious commonsense question?

The report says “Dr. Lee’s remarks were met with silence. And the conference continued.” I’d like to think the silence came out of sheer embarrassment among the other participants, but no! Most likely it was because no one else wanted to go on the record at a Vatican conference as supporting such lunacy, but again, no! Paul Ehrlich who has been proposing draconian measures of population control for decades was a recent speaker at one of these conferences.]

But when asked what he thinks “the best means” of lowering the world’s population are, Dr. Lee told LifeSite: “It means that awe really need to mobilize and help Africa,” by improving the life of the people, providing “family planning through education, and [by making] contraceptives widely available… Out of five babies born [in Africa], three of them are unplanned, and so we have to change that,” Lee said, lamenting that “no action is [being] taken” by the United Nations to remedy this.

“Better planning” requires providing security, jobs, better education and infrastructure, and making contraceptives more widely available, he said. '

Lee acknowledged that “would be a big thing for Catholics, if Pope Francis would say that they should accept contraceptives.” He hopes this pope will change the Church’s teaching on contraception, but added that he didn’t know if the pope would be open to this. “We can try, always trying. He’s a very decent person and always with his heart in the people,” he said.

“Abortion is a different thing,” Professor Lee made clear. But the Church’s acceptance of contraception would be a “big change” that would be very welcome. [Aha! Further laying down foundations for an eventual abrogation (be it ever by footnotes!) by Bergoglio of Humanae Vitae? Still, Dr. Lee, even if every reproductive-age woman on earth were to ‘contracept’, how do you propose to get rid of at least 3 billion people by 2050 by your lunatic dystopian desire?]

But as far as Bishop Sanchez was concerned, Professor Lee’s comments to LifeSite in support of contraception were irrelevant, because “he didn’t say it here [at the conference].” [Is that ridiculous argument really coming from the Chancellor of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences?]

The academy chancellor argued: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that we have to regulate the population. […] It’s part of the social doctrine. […] [NO, NO AND NO!] tAnd that is why I say that the Christian family is the best way to control the population. […] because it’s not only about having children but about educating them.” [Sanchez Sorondo maybe thinks no one will go and check what the Catechism actually says!]

The Catechism states that the regulation of births is one aspect of responsible parenthood, but says “legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception)” (CCC 2399).

It further states that, while for just reasons “spouses may wish to space the births of their children,” it is their duty to “make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood.”

In the same section on ‘the fecundity of marriage,’ the Catechism says the state “has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being,” and “in this capacity” may legitimately “intervene to orient the demography of the population.” Such intervention can be done “by means of objective and respectful information, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. The state,” it says, “may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children.”
(CCC 2372)

In other words, prudence requires that one consider the common good, including population size, when regulating birth in a moral way. But as one moral theologian told LifeSite: “For all Western societies, this means having more babies!” [True, because of the West’s demographic winter which is only getting worse while the Muslim populations in the West are procreating merrily.]

A central figure at the conference was Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, a close collaborator of George Soros and one of the UN gurus on climate change and sustainable development.

LifeSite spoke with Sachs one day before Dr. Lee’s comments emerged. Sachs, who received great adulation during the conference, denied the seminar had anything to do with “population control” — a term he said he found difficult to define. “If you mean by population control access to contraceptives, you’d find that most people outside this Church, and many, many people inside, support that,” he said.

And yet according to what he wrote in 2015, Sachs believes that “reducing the fertility rates voluntarily” is “essential” to sustainable development.

“Fertility rates must decline from their current levels,” he wrote in 2015, or the “unthinkable” will happen and the earth “would not be able to sustain it.” [Considering that fertility rates are currently below replacement level in most Western countries, Sachs surely cannot want those fertility rates further reduced. So whose fertility rates is he speaking of? Obviously, the Third World!]

Reducing the world’s population below current levels by the end of this century would be the “preferred” outcome, Sachs added, as it would “make it much easier to meet the social, economic, and environmental needs and goals of humanity.” [Again, without a worldwide program to eliminate billions of people in the next few decades – Do Lee, Sachs and their companion ideologues know exactly how they will carry out such massive human extermination? - how does anyone think that the world’s population can be reduced below current levels by the end of the century? Sachs is saying the same thing as Lee, only his time frame is 50 years longer.]

Sachs preferred to home in on contraceptive access and welcomed lower fertility rates across the globe. The “one place” where population growth is still high, he explained, is Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where Sachs has advocated educating girls “about sexual and reproductive health, and about the options for contraception.”

Revealingly, Sachs seemed misinformed about the Church’s teaching on life and the family, even suggesting the Church supports declining fertility rates.

“This Church has long understood that that is a very relevant and acceptable issue. […] Anyone can go and read Humanae Vitae and see that the Church recognizes both the importance and right of responsible parenthood. The issue for this Church has been which kind of contraceptive methods are used.[DUH! The only method acceptable to the Church is natural birth control, which is as simple as refraining from sex for a few days every month around the time the woman ovulates. Why can’t non-Catholics and Catholics intent only on artificial contraceptive methods consider the rationality of this?]

When this reporter suggested that the Church opposes a “contraceptive mentality” regardless of the methods used, Sachs replied: “That may be your interpretation. That’s not necessarily the interpretation of many people here.”

A leading figure behind the Sustainable Development Goals, Sachs denied abortion had anything to do with the SDGs and seemed keen not to be called “pro-abortion.” [Like Sorondo, he deliberately chooses to misread what the SDGs clearly say, and which makes it so reprehensible that the reigning pope endorsed it so unconditionally in person at the United Nations in Sept, 2015.]

“I’m not in favor of anything that’s forced,” Sachs insisted, a statement consistent with views he expressed in 2008, when he wrote that abortion being illegal in Sub-Saharan Africa is a “problem,” as is the “strong role of leaders from many religious affiliations” who oppose the use of contraception.] [The very fact he thinks abortion being illegal in sub-Saharan Africa is a problem means he thinks abortion should be legal, so if anyone can abort, then no one is being forced to keep an unwanted baby. Is that it?]

For Sachs, the real evil seems to be big oil and billions of dollars being used by a “tiny” elite to influence and “confuse the public.” [What exactly does he mean by that? Why doesn’t he come right out and say that drug companies have a vested interest in contraception for everyone, so they have to make sure the UN and rich Western nations will go on buying contraceptives in bulk for distribution in the Third World countries?]

But again, for Bishop Sanchez, Jeffrey Sachs’s comments to LifeSite in support of contraception and population control didn’t matter, pointing out that Sachs’s writings have not advocated legalized abortion.

“Jeffrey Sachs, in public, didn’t say it,” the academy chancellor insisted. “He didn’t speak here about this. He didn’t write here anything like this.” [Great, Sorondo’s OK with Sachs’s views provided Sachs does not express them at a Vatican conference. But I am sure he has done so in previous conferences, and it should be easy to check that out. Notably at that ‘climate change’ conference last year where a small delegation l of those who dissent with the establishment group think – which is Bergoglio’s, of course - were physically barred from attending.]

Peter Raven, a longtime mover behind the Vatican climate conferences, told LifeSite at the climate conference that “population growth is a very difficult problem for the Church.

“[Population growth] obviously has a major effect on the environment,” Raven said. “On the other hand, the Catholic Church, along with most Christian religions and many other religions, does not accept abortion … and does not accept contraception … That means clearly that it has to be a matter of choice, a matter of women’s choice. Actually, the Catholic countries of the world are the slowest growing countries of the world now.” [One must check out that statement, but Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world, despite its many social problems, is, along with China and India, the emerging economic powers since the turn of the century.]

Raven, who has been a member of the academy since 1990, attributed the downturn to “women being more empowered and making choices about how many children to have and how to lead their lives.” The longtime academy member did not seem to see this as a negative, however.

“There have to be a stable and sustainable number of people in the world,” Raven said, and the Church will “find ways to do it without embarrassing itself” or “breaking long held beliefs, except formally.” [Obviously, this is the argument that the experts have been using on Bergoglio, whom they must consider manipulable in this respect, if not already predisposed on his own to do what they want the Church to do.]

The Church can change, we have to “find our own moral ways,” and in any case,” Francis said you don’t have to have large numbers of children to be a Christian, or he even said it’s not necessary to ‘breed like a rabbit’ to be a good Christian". [COLORE]=#0026FF][What he was recorded to have said was: "It’s not true that to be a good Catholic, you have to be like rabbits." [Who ever said that, to begin with? I think even the most Catholic of Irish priests back in the days when the Irish were genuinely Catholic n,ever would have gone beyond telling women of reproductive age, “Do not avoid pregnancy. You must welcome every new life as a gift from God”, or “Have as many children as you want – the more, the better!” But surely, never “To be a good Catholic, you must breed like a rabbit”. What priest would be so gross as to say to that to any woman, especially since it is also a lie?] On the contrary, responsible parenthood requires that couples regulate the births of their children, as church teaching allows.” And citing the case of a woman he met who was pregnant with her eighth child after seven Cesarean sections, he said, “That is an irresponsibility!”]

Asked what it’s like for people who don’t share the Church’s views about the family to come together to discuss these matters at the Vatican, Raven said: “We respect the beliefs of the Church, that’s all. It’s a combination of a physical necessity with a doctrinal belief, and one just has to live with that and accept it.” [What does that mean exactly? What physical necessity – sex or population control?]

LifeSite asked Bishop Sorondo why he didn’t respond to Prof. Lee’s remarks. “It wasn’t the moment,” the academy chancellor said. He wished to point out that there is no mention of population control in the final declaration, and he adamantly reiterated that he is opposed to abortion. [I bet if one wished to waste his time by reading that final declaration, one will find population control advocated and endorsed somehow... I did read it, as it is rather brief, and the 'somehow' is found principally in #2 of the 12 'solutions' proposed, namely: All nations should implement with urgency the global commitments made in Agenda 2030 (including the Sustainable Development Goals) and the Paris Climate Agreement, where 'sustainable development' is code for population control in order to have enough resources to support the planet's population; and reinforced in Solutions 9 through 12.]

Although Lee’s comments at the meeting were met with silence, one member of the small Evangelical contingent participating at the Vatican conference, Mitchell Hescox, President and CEO of The Evangelical Environmental Network, told LifeSite he thought the remarks were “terrible.”

In his presentation later that morning, Hescox told academy members and participants including several US Democratic politicians who were present, led by [ueber-radical] California Governor Jerry Brown, who was the keynote speaker, that his community will never get on board with climate change until it becomes a “pro-life” issue.

One informed source with many years of experience working with the Vatican, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told LifeSite:

“There is clearly an issue with pro-contraception, pro-abortion population-controlling globalists wielding massive influence, strategizing at these conferences and shaping thinking. They are pursuing their climate-change agenda based on beliefs and practices diametrically opposed to God's law, scandalously exploiting the moral authority of the Church in order to impose their own agenda.”

Obianuju Ekeocha, founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, and author of the soon-to-be-released “Target Africa, Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-first century”, described Dr. Lee’s comments proposing population control for Africa as “outrageous in every way.”

Children are a “gift” and a “blessing” for the African people, Ekeocha said. “And so it is always quite painful when big organizations begin to refer to African babies as an ‘increase in population.’ If for them we are only ‘extra numbers,’ that is a different perception of the human person which we are hoping will not take hold in African society.”

“Dr. Lee talks about the ‘need to mobilize and help Africa’ and he denies the inordinate amounts of resources and emphasis that the Western World and some UN agencies are making in their push for population control in Africa,” Ekeocha told LifeSite.

“To start with, every year, several family-planning conferences, summits and meetings are organized and sponsored by western stakeholders targeting African women.

“Foreign Aid has also been significantly re-structured since the mid 1990s to include population programs for developing countries and in this way many funds that would have gone to education, water, food and basic healthcare have been re-directed towards the condom and contraception programs. A real disservice to the people of Africa,” she said.

Moreover, she added: “From 1996 to 2000, Africa received an average of about 414 million donated condoms, but this number has increased exponentially to almost 2 billion condoms every year. This works out to almost $70 million spent on condoms.”

[In the light of this data, do you wonder why this pope re-instated the KM Grand Chancellor who, as health minister of the Knights of Malta, had allowed a few tens of thousands of condoms distributed to three Asian countries where the Knights operate? In Bergoglio's eyes, why not? - whathBoeselager did was a water droplet compared to the oceans of condoms unleashed by the West on Africa!]

“On top of that,” she continued, “Africa has been flooded in recent years with various oral contraceptives and other forms of contraception. In 2014 alone, 77,225,741 units of unspecified birth control pills were collectively donated to African countries by the UNFPA, USAID, the IPPF, MSI, Population Services International, the German-government development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, and the British Department for International Development. So Dr. Lee would do well to familiarize himself with the well documented facts.

“Africa is inundated by western elites who want so much to depopulate our continent,” Ekeocha said. “That they have continued to fail in their attempts only shows the reluctance of the people to embrace this new culture that is being pushed on them.”

“Will world leaders now enforce this agenda while listening to population control alarmists like Dr. Lee?” Ekeocha asked. “We pray and hope that this doesn’t happen.”
11/18/2017 7:58 PM
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The 2017 winners of the Ratzinger Prize visited with Benedict XVI yesterday, Nov. 17, at his Mater Ecclesiae residence. From left, Fr. Menke, composer Pärt, B16, theologian Dieter, and Fr.Lombardi, Foundation president.

Pope Francis on 2017 Ratzinger Prize winners:
‘They have dedicated their life to the diaconate of truth’

by Luca Caruso
Translated from

VATICAN CITY, November 18, 2017 – “The diaconate of truth is the highest mission” to which, like Benedict XVI who chose his episcopal motto ‘Cooperatores veritatis’ (Co-workers for the Truth) from the Third Letter of St. John, the three personalities who are getting the 2017 Ratzinger Prize for Theology today have dedicated their lives.

This was the focus of the address by Pope Francis at the ceremony this morning at which he handed out the prizes to Lutheran theologian Theodor Dieter of Germany; Fr. Karl-Heinz Menke, also of Germany; and Christian Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt of Estonia at the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace.

The Pope also addressed ‘his affectionate and intense thoughts’ to his predecessor,, Pope Benedict XVI, recalling that “his prayers and his presence accompany us on our common path; his work and his magisterium continue to be a living and precious legacy for the Church and for our ministry”.

Thus, he called on the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation “to continue his commitment, by studying and deepening this legacy,while at the same time looking forward to validate its fruitfulness through the exegesis of Joseph Ratzinger’s works, and to continue, in his spirit, in its theological and cultural research even into new themes in which our culture today requires faith and dialog”.

“The human spirit,” he said, “needs this dialog, and so does the faith which is alienated if it is not embodied in time. It is needed by reason which is dehumanized if it is not elevated to the Transcendent”.

The Pope appreciated the fact that “the illustrious personalities who are receiving the Prize today come from three Christian confessions, including the Lutherans with whom this year we are living very important moments of encounter and a common path". [He had to work that in, of course!]

“The truth of Christ”, he said, “is not just for ‘soloists’ – it is symphonic: it requires collaboration and requires sharing. To seek, study, contemplate and translate it in charity forcefully draws us towards unity among ourselves. And truth becomes a living source of ever stronger love”.

The pope welcomed the idea of enriching the Ratzinger Prize by not limiting it only to theology but to other fields of study that contribute to Christian spiritual life.

In his introductory address, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, president of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI, explained that “The activities of the Foundation in the past year were very intense because of the 90th birthday of the Emeritus Pope, for which many people drew closer to him and many initiatives underscored the interest for his cultural and spiritual legacy”.

Among these initiatives, Fr. Lombardi highlighted:
- The publication of the Italian edition of two volumes from Joseph Rtazinger’s COMPLETE WRITINGS . by the Vatican publishing house
- The theological-culturall symposium to be held Novem 28- Dec 1 at the Universidad Católica de Costa Rica on the subject “Laudato si’ – La cura della ‘casa comune’, una conversione necessaria all’ecologia umana”.
- Collaboration with the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria of Madrid in pursuit of Joseph Ratzinger’s idea of ‘open reason’, which includes awarding prizes for metitorious investigative studies and university courses on the topic, to underscore the dialog of the scientific disciplines with philosophy, morality and faith.

Fr. Lombardi concluded by saying that the Foundation “intends to promote a theology and culture that serious, profound and living, along the path of the Church and her history. In this case, our teachers are the three men whom we are presenting to you today with a reward for their work of many years”.

He added a special word of thanks and commemoration for Manlio Simonetti, one of the first 3 Ratzinger Prize winners in 2011 who died in Rome on November 2. Born in 1926, he was a Patristics scholar who taught at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and the Augustinian Patristic Institute of Rome.

Benedict XVI said of him at the 2011 awards rite, "Professor Simonetti has approached the world of the Fathers in a new way, showing us with accuracy and care, what the Fathers say from the historical viewpoint; they become our contemporaries who speak to us."

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and a member of the Fondazione’s scientific committee which chose the prizewinners this year, spoke of the three awardees and why they were chosen.

An unusual part of the program was the performance by Prize winner Arvo Pärt of his work ‘Pater noster’ which he composed in 2011 for the 60th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s priestly ordination. He played it on Benedict XVI’s personal piano. The soloist was from the Voci Binache choir of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecicilia.

Brief musical interludes were aso provided by the Sistine Chapel choir under the diection of Maestro Massimo Palombella.

November 15, 2017
Ordinariate liturgy expert
visits the father of the Ordinariates

Left, the Emeritus pope with his guest; right, Prof. Feulner is decorated with the Order of St. Gregory the Great at the Papal Nunciature in Vienna in May 2015 by Mons. Stephen Lopez, who heads the Ordinariate for the USA and Canada.

The left photo comes from LA VIGNA DEL SIGNORE, via Beatrice and Gloria, but with little information. However, Beatrice found a 2015 article about Prof. Feulner on a site since absorbed into the website of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, an association founded in 2004 to provide independent support to the Ordinariates, foster relations among the members of the farflung churches of the three existing Ordinariates so far and promote their activities. Here is part of the article:

Professor Feulner was one of the first friends of Ordinariate Expats in Europe and he has been one of our trustiest members, regularly keeping us in the loop regarding the progress in the work on the liturgy.

Hans-Jürgen Feulner, born on February 22, 1965 in Kronach, Germany, attained a first class Licenciate of Theology degree from the University of Munich in 1992. His highly regarded and published thesis was on the Anglican Ordinal. He immediately began an academic career at the University of Tübingen, where he obtained his Doctorate in 1998 on “The Armenian Athanasius-Anaphora”.

He has been Professor of Liturgy and Sacramental Theology in the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Vienna since September 2002. From the beginning Professor Feulner has enjoyed international renown, not least because of his Licentiate thesis. Owing to his expertise in the field of Anglican Ordination Liturgy he was even appointed an extraordinary member of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England for the revision of the Ordination rite.

Professor Feulner has been a good friend of the Anglican Use for many years, and has visited the United States and elsewhere frequently to speak at conferences and seminars and to encourage the former Anglican communities before and especially since the establishment of the Ordinariate.

His enthusiasm for and commitment to the Anglican Use led to his appointment as a cradle Catholic with a profound knowledge of Anglican liturgy to the Anglicanae Traditiones commission, where he has been working tirelessly to develop the Ordinariate Use “Divine Worship”, which he believes should still properly be called the Anglican Use liturgy.

It was for this work that Prof. Feulner and Dr. Clifton Brand of Texas were invested by Pope Francis in December 2014 into the Order of St. Gregory the Great. [One of the five Orders of Knighthood bestowed by the Holy See, the honor goes to Roman Catholic lay and women (in rare cases to non-Catholics) in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their unusual labors, their support of the Holy See, and the excellent examples they set in their communities and their countries.] [I wonder who was responsible for bringing the names of Feulner and Brand to whoever recommends these honors to the pope. I hardly think the Ordinariate liturgy would be of particular interest to him.]

So, there's one place Latin is still used pro forma at the Vatican!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/19/2017 1:38 AM]
11/19/2017 6:33 AM
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by Katie Scanlon

Chinese officials have told Christians living in poverty to replace religious images in their homes with portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping or lose government assistance, according to the South China Morning Post.

The report says Communist Party officials told Christians in Yugan county, a rural, impoverished area in southeast China, to remove religious artifacts from their living rooms and hang portraits of Xi in their place.

The order comes as part of a program described as an anti-poverty effort that also seeks to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party.”

The report notes that the order “hearkens back to the era of the personality cult” surrounding the late Communist dictator Mao Zedong, whose portraits were once universally displayed in Chinese homes.

Qi Yan, chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s Congress and the person responsible for the township’s poverty-relief efforts, said said the campaign has been in effect since March and villagers have used it “voluntarily.”

“Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses,” Qi said. “But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.”

“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior,” he continued. “After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”

He said officials have distributed more than 1,000 portraits of Xi, all of which have been hung in residents’ homes.

Qi said religious artifacts may still be hung in other areas of the home.

“We only asked them to take down [religious] posters in the center of the home,” he said. “They can still hang them in other rooms, we won’t interfere with that. What we require is for them not to forget about the party’s kindness at the center of their living rooms.”

BIZARRE! is the first reaction I had to the story...But it led Fr. Lucie-Smith to wonder aloud as follows:

Why is the Vatican still negotiating
with China’s sinister Orwellian state?

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

posted Friday, 17 Nov 2017

Xi Jinping, in having crosses replaced with portraits of himself, is possibly more egotistical than the Sun King ever was.

It seems clear that Mr Xi, the leader of Communist China, is now the most important such leader since Chairman Mao, the Great Helmsman himself. The signs are hard to read for us Westerners, but we have been told that Mr Xi’s “thought” has now been incorporated into the constitution of the Chinese Communist party, which puts him up there with Mao, Marx and Engels.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means that Xi is firmly ensconced in power, and will perhaps not be resigning after an agreed fixed term as previously thought. Xi is there for the long haul.

In the past, Chinese leaders were unveiled after each party congress – quite literally, they stood on a stage and a curtain was drawn back. This has happened again, but tellingly without a new leader-in-waiting. In other words, Xi is a fixture, for the moment.

At this point we should perhaps recall what has happened to all authoritarian rulers of the past who saw themselves as enduring. The Thousand Year Reich barely made it past its 13th birthday, etc, etc. The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed on October 1, 1949. It has been going for less than 70 years, and may have a few years left in it under the current regime, but it will not be eternal. After all, not even Mugabe went on forever.

All this has ramifications from the religious point of view. As this magazine has reported, Mr Xi’s officials have been paying poor Christians in rural China to remove their crosses and replace them with portraits of Mr Xi.

This reminds us that Mr Xi is a totalitarian, who can brook no rivals, and who cannot tolerate the thought that people might worship someone who is not Mr Xi. He is possibly more egotistical that the Sun King himself ever was. [I can easily think of someone who is more egotistical than the two of them put together and compounded with interest!]

It is a reminder, if one were necessary (which it should not be), that Communism with Chinese characteristics is simply not reconcilable with Christianity, or indeed any religious belief. Let us not forget the Chinese government’s persecution of the Falun Gong movement and its Muslim population too. But we do not really need to be reminded of this, because Cardinal Zen, who knows this better than anyone, has told us repeatedly that it is so.

We should be grateful that Mr Xi is having crosses removed and replaced with pictures of himself. It is also good to know that his officials tell us that Christians have “recognised their mistakes and decided not to entrust to Jesus but to the (Communist) Party”.

In addition we have the news that hotlines have been set up so children can denounce their own parents for anti-state activities. All of this should banish the temptation to wishful thinking and reminds us that China is Orwellian in its approach to religion, personal freedom and the cult of the state and the great leader.

Given that this is so, why on earth is the Vatican still negotiating with them?
[WHY INDEED? For the ultimate prize of a papal [ego] trip to Beijing? Which can only mean at this point that the ego at Casa Santa Marta capitulates somehow to the ego in Tienanmen.]

11/19/2017 11:47 AM
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Robert Mickens – Scaredy Cat

November 18, 2017

The analogy has been offered before. Once upon a time there were only a few news outlets which had a stranglehold on news, which was pitched from only one, liberal, view. Then came talk radio and after that cable. There was a whole new world of possibilities. In the Catholic sphere, there were very few news outlets. Then came EWTN and the internet and the whole scene changed.

Liberals hate this. They fear conservative voices in the new Catholic media and the power of the blogs.

This is a prelude to a quick romp and stomp through the befuddled head of Robert Mickens lately of La Croix International. This is his latest platform, ultra-liberal, wherein he exercises his role as cadre in the New catholic Red Guards, attacking the Four Olds in defense of Francis Thought.

Here’s his latest piece.

Supporting the pope and his vision for reform

Reform-minded Catholics should ask God to bless Francis with good health and Benedict XVI with continued long life....

LOL! Mickens hates Benedict, frequently insults him, and got fired from The Tablet because he publicly wished for his death.

Mickens was commenting on the fact that Pope Francis named Abp Loris Capovilla, who was John XXIII’s private secretary, a cardinal at the age of 91.

The reason why he now says their ilk should hope for a long-life for Benedict XVI is because Francis shouldn’t resign while he is still alive. As Mickens wrote: “But privately he’s also told aides that it would probably not be wise to resign as long as Benedict XVI is still alive.” Mickens’ hypocrisy has no bounds….
Going on… Follow the logic:]

There is another element regarding the perceived state of the Church. It is the myth of a Catholicism deeply divided, something that is being perpetuated by a very small minority within the Church, but which also includes a few of the voting members in the College of Cardinals.

It is becoming much clearer by the day that one of the main aims of this tiny group and its false narrative that Pope Francis is causing confusion and doctrinal uncertainty among ordinary Catholics is precisely to influence the next Conclave.

But it is a strategy based on a bogus hypothesis – that the Church is fractured into more or less equally opposing camps; or at least that those in the disaffected one are numerous. There is absolutely no evidence to support this beyond the rhetoric of a small cabal of bloggers and the presence of, in comparison to the worldwide Church, a minuscule number of neo-Tridentinist communities.

They are like shell companies. They look and sound like they are vibrant and growing, but they are actually quite hollow and unsustainable.
[A clever simile, but the traditional seminaries are growing and the families that frequent them have lots of kids.]

If a significant number of voting cardinals are swayed by this pressure group’s unsubstantiated narrative they will, in turn, try to convince the rest of the electors of the need to choose a “unifying” or “reconciling” pope. But this is a trap that, hopefully, most of the cardinals will see for what it is….

So… let me get this straight: There is no confusion or doctrinal uncertainty in the Church. Those who say there is confusion are a tiny minority. There are traditionalists and bloggers who are pushing “fake news”.They are hollow and unsustainable.

But apparently Mickens is pretty damn scared of them. It seems that these bloggers have more power than he will openly admit, if they can sway the next CONCLAVE. Does that sound hollow to you?

How scared is Mickens of these bloggers who are pushing fake news in an environment in which, as he claims, there really is no confusion?

If Francis wants to help make it more likely that the next Bishop of Rome is someone who will continue the “missionary and pastoral conversion” and vision for the Church he has begun, then the current pope might consider raising the number of electors. He could then fill those slots with new cardinals unwaveringly committed to his vision.

He is so terrified right now that he thinks the Pope should raise the number of Cardinal electors and then stack the College to stuff the ballot box.

Ecclesiastical gerrymandering? Yep, he’s a liberal, alright. What a hoot.

As far as his fear of bloggers is concerned, I am reminded of the story St. Augustine tells in City of God IV. Alexander the Great captured some pirates. Alexander asked the pirate chief how he dared to maraud on the seas. The pirate responded, “How do you dare to seize the whole earth? Because I have a little ship, I am called a pirate. But because you have a great fleet you are styled an emperor.”

To Mickens and his kind, I respond: Because I have a blog, I write “fake news”. But because you have a magazine behind a paywall you are a “journalist”.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
11/19/2017 12:10 PM
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The Bergoglio Vatican and its defenders: Playing the fool on AL

As the Bard might say….
How closely the catalogue of evasion presented in 'As You Like It'
tracks the dodgeball played by those who criticize the critics of AL
but who never engage the substance of the critics’ criticisms

by George Weigel

November 15, 2017

Four centuries after his death, Shakespeare remains a peerless playwright because of his remarkable insight into the human condition. Love, ambition, fear, guilt, nobility, pomposity, patriotism, absurdity, sheer wickedness – you name it, Will grasped something of its essence. His work continues to help us understand ourselves better because, whatever the changing of times and seasons, human nature changes very little.

Take, for example, the human propensity to dodge disagreeable arguments by way of evasion.

In As You Like It, the Bard neatly dissected the anatomy of evasion through the words of a clown, Touchstone, who outlines “the degrees of the lie”:

“The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct.”

Some twenty years ago, Fr. David Beauregard, a literarily-inclined Oblate of the Virgin Mary, used Touchstone’s taxonomy to challenge critics of John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical on the reform of Catholic moral theology, Veritatis Splendor.

Reading Father Beauregard’s Shakespearean take on theological controversy recently, I was struck by how closely Touchstone’s catalogue of evasion tracks the dodgeball played by those who criticize the critics of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on marriage, Amoris Laetitia, but who never engage the substance of the critics’ criticisms.

The Retort Courteous has come a little late to the game, but we now hear it from some of the shrewder and less edgy protagonists of Amoris Laetitia: The critics of the exhortation are well-meaning people, but a tad behind the curve theologically and pastorally.

As for the Quip Modest, well, that’s been in play for months: The critics, or so the line goes, misrepresent what the Holy Father was actually saying and what we, his defenders, have been saying the Holy Father’s been saying; there’s nobody here but us doctrinally solid, pastorally sensitive folk.

The Reply Churlish has not been lacking, as evidenced by several recent academic seminars: Why should we proponents of AL engage its critics? We’re the future; the wind is in our sails; get used to it.

As for the Reproof Valiant, it comes in the familiar form of academic snark: AL, its protagonists insist, is the Catholic tradition, and anyone who even suggests that elements of the exhortation may be in conflict with seemingly-settled matters in the tradition, or in conflict with revelation itself, is a dolt who doesn’t understand how to interpret Scripture or tradition.

The Countercheck Quarrelsome is rare in Rome, where bella figura [cutting a pretty picture] remains prized. But one senior Vatican official, in an unguarded moment, has let it be known that there are those who agree with and understand Pope Francis, and there are those who are stupid. Quarrelsome, indeed.

Then there are protagonists of the exhortation, including bishops, who claim that AL leads the Catholic Church into a bright future because it jettisons the notion of intrinsically evil acts:, namely, those actions that are always wrong, irrespective of the circumstances.

How would Touchstone categorize them? Here we are through the looking glass, for the claim itself might seem a defense, however porous, against the suggestion of an indulgence here in the Lie Circumstantial or the Lie Direct. Perhaps Shakespeare fails us at this point. I certainly hope so.

No doubt some criticisms of AL have been crude and ill-tempered, assuming a malign intention on the Pope’s part that no serious Catholic should assume. [So Weigel has not given up his 'loyalty to the pope whoever he is' stance.]

But to hint, suggest, or assert that virtually all criticisms of the exhortation are stupid, or malicious, or pastorally insensitive is a very strange position for the Party of Dialogue in the Church to take. [It's a position that the pope himself takes every time he talks about the critics of AL - talk of snark!]

In the debate over AL, we are dealing with matters of considerable doctrinal and pastoral importance. And what is at stake are not just arguments and academic egos but the happiness and beatitude that are the goal of the moral life. Surely sorting that out requires a spirit of tolerance.

Tolerance comes from the Latin verb tolerare, which means “to bear with.” So genuine tolerance does not avoid or evade or dismiss differences; it engages differences with charity and civility. Perhaps revisiting 'As You Like It' will encourage those protagonists of AL who’ve been avoiding a real debate to reconsider. [Then what? The one and only reason they don't debate the merits on which AL is challenged is because they can't: they really have no answer against the critics' arguments - and that is why they resort to ad hominem attacks and to all the Touchstone strategies of lying described above.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/19/2017 12:18 PM]
11/19/2017 9:01 PM
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A post-script to that sexual abuse incident at the Vatican pre-seminary that is one of the stories in Gianluigi Nuzzi's latest (4th) Vatican expose:

Embarrassment in the Vatican
by Domenico Agasso Jr.

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 19, 2017 - The Vatican, having taken note of 'new elements' in the case, is re-opening the investigation of alleged sexual abuses among "the Pope's altar boys".

The story involves a former pupil of the San Pio X Preseminary - where the young boys who serve as acolytes at St. Peter's Basilica, study, at Palazzo San Carlo, a few meters from Casa Santa Marta, Bergoglio’s residence. The seminarian accused of sexual harassment then became a priest. [Not 'sexual harassment', but forcing sex acts in nightly visits to a boy's dorm room in the presence of the victim's roommate, a Pole who disclosed this in a letter to Pope Francis, apparently sent in 2013.]

The scandal broke out after Gianluigi Nuzzi's recent investigations included in his book, Original Sin (Chiarelettere), and the in the TV show Le Iene The Hyenas).

Thus yesterday, the Holy See, in a note, explained that, following some reports, "from 2013 onwards, some investigations were carried out". They were led by the "superiors of the preseminary", but also by the Bishop of Como, because "the community of educators" at the Collegio (the pre-seminary), a group called l’Opera Don Giovanni Folci, belongs to his diocese...

The story seems to clear up some pertinent facts missing from the original report I saw in Il Fatto Quotidiano. The abuser was an older boy in the dorm who, the whistleblower claims, appeared to carry a lot of clout with the school officials, and so was able to coerce his victim with plausible threats. It would seem he then went on to real seminary and was later ordained a priest.

While it's all very well that a new investigation is looking into this case, why does someone not speak up, if only pro forma, for the pre-seminary, where, presumably, the education and lodging of these boys continue? And let the Vatican also investigate the schif ool itself to make sure it is a safe environment for children and minors.

And BTW, the Polish whistleblower claimed that the CDF wrote him in Sept. 2014 to say the complaint had been forwarded to the CDF, from the pope's office one assumes, but the CDF passed it on to the Congregation for the Clergy because the alleged abuse did not fall under the competence of the CDF. True, insofar as all it knew about the accused was that he was another pupil at the pre-seminary, but if it also knew that the accused had since then become a priest, what might it have done?

One wonders, with dread and horror, how many such stories are going on daily in the Catholic world.

From the profane to the sublime:
Fr. Stravinskas celebrated Mass again today at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan and finished up his homily on the Four Last Things that he began last Sunday, when he focused on the first three of the novissimi - death, judgment, and hell.

Today, it was about heaven, or better yet, how to get to heaven, quoting among the few that he did, St. Therese of Lisieux ("If you want to be a saint, start now, don't wait till tomorrow") and Benedict XVI's opening statements in the letter by which he decreed the Year of Faith (about the door to heaven being open once you are in the Church, but "The journey lasts a lifetime").

He listed seven aids to daily holiness which range from Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary Mediatrix, and practical things like simplicity, working at every task including the most humdrum and routine the best way you can, and a sense of humor that allows one to truly experience the joy of the Gospel even in the most trying circumstances. I came home from Mass at noon fully expecting to find the homily already posted in Catholic World Report, but it's not there yet.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/19/2017 9:25 PM]
11/21/2017 6:41 AM
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'The Light of Christ' is far more than an 'Introduction'
Fr. White’s new book is an erudite, rich, and accessible guide to Catholicism
that demonstrates in the inner cohesion and profound logic of the Faith

by James V. Schall, S.J.

“The key error is to oppose the transcendence of God with his real presence in the world. Religious awe is set in opposition to spiritual intimacy. Against this false opposition, the Church Fathers developed a deeper understanding of the mystery of creation. God’s transcendent mystery is distinct from the finite world, but not antithetical to it. In fact, it is precisely because God is the cause of all that exists that he can be intimately present to all that is.”
—Thomas Joseph White
The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism

“The goal of the physical creation from the beginning, then, was the creation of the human person. The goal of the creation of the human person was to establish an ecclesial community with God effected by grace. The goal of the life of grace was to permit human beings to live in stable friendship with God in view of the grace of the beatific vision, the deifying vision of the blessed Trinity. This beatifying vision given to the human soul of the human person would in turn affect the human body, and indirectly the whole physical cosmos.”
— Thomas Joseph White
The Light of Christ

During a time in which the intellectual claims of Catholicism and its philosophical foundations are downplayed and, surprisingly, even somewhat denigrated in Church circles, we find a remarkable number of books and studies going in precisely the opposite direction. They spell out the intellectual claims of Catholicism with a remarkable overall clarity.

There are older books such as Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity, Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity, and Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. We now have books including Robert Royal’s A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, Tracey Rowland’s Catholic Theology, Robert Sokolowski’s The Phenomenology of the Human Person, David Walsh’s The Being of Politics and the Politics of Being, and Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God. These books, among others, present profound considerations about the inherent consistency of the Catholic mind.

Into this latter group falls the new book by the Dominican scholar Thomas Joseph White, entitled The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism.

The term “Catholicism” in the sub-title is significant. While the book deals with Protestantism and Orthodoxy, as well as other philosophies and religions, it is primarily about Catholicism — what it is and what it maintains about itself. I have called it “more than an Introduction”, though it is certainly an excellent introduction to Catholicism.

The book presents a far-reaching unification of why things within Catholicism cohere, why its peculiar practices and teachings fit together, why they do not contradict reason but enhance it. The book is by no means “triumphalist” in the pejorative sense. But neither is it a book that backs off from stating what is true just because its truth is grounded in reason and revelation.

White’s understanding of intelligence is not one that cuts off elements of the things we need to know simply because its source is Revelation. His philosophy is a philosophy of the complete whole, not just of that part of the whole that was not itself addressed by Revelation. Whether one agrees with it or not, to not even to wonder what it claims would betray a remarkable intellectual prejudice.

White is a very clear and precise thinker. He has managed, in this readable volume of some three hundred pages, to touch on the basic historical, theological, and philosophical facts and understandings that make sensible and persuasive what Catholicism maintains about itself and the world.

The book is not polemical in tone; White sets down what is held followed by the reasons why it might make sense to hold it. He wants to know what exactly the various elements of Catholicism mean. But he also knows the objections to these views, and he consistently presents brief but well-thought-out responses to them.

The Light of Christ displays a minimum of academic apparatus. When one has finished reading this incisive book, he recognizes (not unlike reading Josef Pieper) that the author is very erudite. The book constantly makes the reader aware of the tradition upon which it is based. Yet the arguments are presented in a way that any normal person can, with some diligence, understand them.

It follows the tradition of Aquinas, who is very much present in these pages. It states the arguments against the truths and ways of life that are presented in whatever issue is taken up. White does not hide the failures of individual Catholics, the difficulty in understanding every argument, or the lack of brilliance of many bishops and popes.

We dwell in a world that displays considerable disorder. The Church is first concerned with sinners. Her members are subject to and too often indulge in sins and errors. This fact of fallen-ness is a central reason for there being a Catholicism as we know it. The likelihood is that truth will not always be willingly embraced or understood, even if heard or listened to.

The Incarnation, as presented to us, was made present among us as a divine initiative that responded to the fact that some human disorders of soul and errors of mind could not be solved by human thought and enterprise alone.

At every level, the book makes the reader conscious of the meaning and need of grace to reach an adequate understanding of what divine revelation reveals about the final end of man. Primarily, the book sees the need of grace for finite creatures to reach a goal that is, at bottom, above the capacity of their kind of being. Yet, grace never is pictured as something that deprives us of freedom or that instills in us an automatic necessity in all our works, good or bad.

The book is divided into seven parts: 1) faith and reason, 2) the Trinity, 3) creation and the human person, 4) Incarnation and atonement, 5) the Church, 6) social teaching, and 7) the last things. A divine “logic” is found in the way one topic leads to the next. All elements of revelation are coherently interconnected and depend on each other. The book is written by a theologian, that is, by a man who takes as his primary source of information and reflection what is presented in the revelation to the Jews and subsequently to the Christians.

The author believes that what he writes is true and about true things for which direct or indirect evidence exists and can be and is presented. From his epilogue on prayer and the carefulness with which he treats the Blessed Mother, we can see how seriously White takes the admonition of St. Pope John Paul II, in Fides et Ratio, that theology leads contemplation. It is not merely a quaint body of interrelated facts.

This approach means that we begin with the picture of God, man, and the cosmos as it is found in this Revelation. But at no point is there any intimation that what is found in this Revelation cannot, on careful reflection, be seen to make sense. We are not dealing with a “blind” faith, but an informed one.

These truths found in the sources of Revelation are often presented in the form of stories, histories, myths, poetry, allegory, or analogy. But it is clear that this faith/knowledge, as it is presented, often needs clarification in the light of man’s own experience and rational powers. We need to know it is at least negatively credible, that the arguments against it are themselves not defensible in reason.

Catholicism may indeed, as Chesterton had already suggested, be the last real defender of reason in the modern world, a world that has come to evaporate from its own mind any hint of an intelligence reflected in the order of things or any historical memory of how men came to know the truth of things in the first place.

White’s discussion of the Trinity is excellent. We do not argue to the Trinity from reason. We receive its reality from Revelation — then we think about it. The Divinity has a complete inner life. We understand it more as love and friendship than power and arbitrariness. The otherness within the Godhead is expressed eternally in the procession of Persons.

Creation, the cosmos, that very cosmos, as White cites several times, that seems to have begun some 13.7 billion years ago, does not explain itself or its own order, though obviously there is some intelligibility to it that the human mind can understand. Otherwise we would not bother with it.

Indeed, in the beginning, nothing existed but God — the God Who is. God’s initial purpose was not to create a physical cosmos but to associate with Himself in His inner Triune life other rational beings who were not gods. The cosmos turned out to be the place wherein this plan worked itself out.

White is very good on the question of the origins of human life and particularly on what the world might have been like had Adam not sinned. This alternate salvation history was a real possibility. But again, the person, human or angelic, to whom it is offered, is really was free to accept or reject this ultimate purpose for his creation.

Thus, it follows that we must look to Revelation to see what came next after the opening drama. The initial purpose of God in creation —to associate other free beings with Himself — did not change even when it was rejected. What “changed” was the way God chose to deal with finite persons, a way that would lead to the Cross.

He decided to send His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, to become flesh and dwell amongst us. This “plan,” as it is often called in Scripture, led through the Jews, to the life and death of Christ, the Resurrection, the establishment of the Church and its sacraments, to how we live in this world in the meantime, in the time in which we are.

Christ was not a myth. The God/man did exist in this world. We know the times and dates and personalities surrounding Him and His locality. White is careful to explain the relation of Christ’s divine and human natures to His personhood as one being. These are not indifferent or esoteric issues, but establish the credibility of who Christ was.

As Benedict XVI memorably affirmed at the end of his JESUS OF NAZARETH, when we have examined all the evidence, dealt with all the objections, we can only conclude that indeed Christ was exactly who He said He was. This conclusion is likewise White’s judgment.

White gives a very useful and informed explication of the seven sacraments in the life of the Church, as well as a reflection on the Church’s founding in the Apostles and its subsequent development. In reading this illuminating book, we are aware that we are dealing with ultimate, not temporal, things except as they relate (as they often do) to the purpose of our human existence, namely to be invited into the life of the Trinity.

The last section of the book is on the last things— heaven, hell, death, and purgatory. White makes them vividly alive. At the same time, he explains why they are not illusions.

As we read this book, we become conscious that each of our lives is indeed caught up in the final purpose and drama of our, to us, unexpected existence — in why we are rather than are not. This awareness is why I think that this book is “more than an Introduction,” both in the sense it is based on solid scholarship and in the sense it deals with thought that leads to prayer and contemplation.

Our lives and our prayers will likely manifest serious disorders if they are not based in what is true, if we do not take into consideration both what is revealed to us and what we can see makes sense about it. Thomas Joseph White’s book is a real contribution to the Catholic mind and, through it, to mind as such.

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