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7/23/2017 1:52 PM
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See preceding page for earlier entries today,7/23/17. [/DIM

After Rorate caeli published that article about 'the fake hermeneutic of continuity', they now have this by Mons. Schneider, written especially
for the blogsite. It is not presented as an answer to that spurious tract but I think Mons. Schneider meant it to be, since it comes almost
immediately on the heels of that poisonous post. It would seem like he did not want it to go unanswered right away.

Mons. Schneider decries the extremist positions about Vatican II ( one that it was all bad, the other that it was all good) and advocates
the realistic view as expressed in the hermeneutic of continuity that was always advocated by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, although it was
left to the latter to give it a name….

Once again, we are honored to post this guest op-ed, submitted to us by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. We not only allow but encourage all media and blogs to reprint this as well.

The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection
with the current crisis of the Church

By Bishop Athanasius Schneider
July 21, 2017

The current situation of the unprecedented crisis of the Church is comparable with the general crisis in the 4th century, when the Arianism had contaminated the overwhelming majority of the episcopacy, taking a dominant position in the life of the Church. We must seek to address this current situation on the one hand, with realism and, on the other hand, with a supernatural spirit – with a profound love for the Church, our mother, who is suffering the Passion of Christ because of this tremendous and general doctrinal, liturgical and pastoral confusion.

We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is the obvious case in our days. [That Mons. Schneider chooses to use the very words Benedict XVI used recently in his eulogy for Cardinal Meisner indicates that right from the get-go, he identifies himself with Benedict XVI's line of thought.]

As to the attitude towards the Second Vatican Council, we must avoid two extremes: a complete rejection (as do the sedevacantists and a part of the Fraternal Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX) or an “infallibilization” of everything the council spoke.

Vatican II was a legitimate assembly presided by the Popes and we must maintain towards this council a respectful attitude. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we are forbidden to express well-founded doubts or respectful improvement suggestions regarding some specific items, while doing so based on the entire tradition of the Church and on the constant Magisterium.

Traditional and constant doctrinal statements of the Magisterium during a centuries-old period have precedence and constitute a criterion of verification regarding the exactness of posterior magisterial statements. New statements of the Magisterium must, in principle, be more exact and clearer, but should never be ambiguous and apparently contrast with previous magisterial statements.

Those statements of Vatican II which are ambiguous must be read and interpreted according to the statements of the entire Tradition and of the constant Magisterium of the Church.

In case of doubt the statements of the constant Magisterium (the previous councils and the documents of the Popes, whose content demonstrates being a sure and repeated tradition during centuries in the same sense) prevail over those objectively ambiguous or new statements of the Vatican II, which difficultly concord with specific statements of the constant and previous Magisterium (e.g. the duty of the state to venerate publicly Christ, the King of all human societies, the true sense of the episcopal collegiality in relation to the Petrine primacy and the universal government of the Church, the noxiousness of all non-Catholic religions and their dangerousness for the eternal salvation of the souls).

Vatican II must be seen and received as it is and as it was really: a primarily pastoral council. This council had not the intention to propose new doctrines or to propose them in a definitive form. In its statements the council confirmed largely the traditional and constant doctrine of the Church.

Some of the new statements of Vatican II (e.g. collegiality, religious liberty, ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, the attitude towards the world) do not have a definitive character,
[And this is where the progressivists err – in reading these documents as though they were definitive when they cannot be insofar as they do not accord with previous Magisterium] and being apparently or truly non-concordant with the traditional and constant statements of the Magisterium, they must be complemented by more exact explications and by more precise supplements of a doctrinal character.

A blind application of the principle of the “hermeneutics of continuity” does not help either, since thereby are created forced interpretations, which are not convincing and which are not helpful to arrive at a clearer understanding of the immutable truths of the Catholic faith and of its concrete application.

There have been cases in the history, where non-definitive statements of certain ecumenical councils were later – thanks to a serene theological debate – refined or tacitly corrected (e.g. the statements of the Council of Florence regarding the matter of the sacrament of Orders, i.e. that the matter involved handing-over of the instruments, whereas the more sure and constant tradition said that the imposition of the hands of the bishop were sufficient, a truth, which was ultimately confirmed by Pius XII in 1947).

If after the Council of Florence the theologians would have blindly applied the principle of the “hermeneutics of the continuity” to this concrete statement of the Council of Florence (an objectively erroneous statement), defending the thesis that the handing-over of the instruments as the matter of the sacrament of Orders would concord with the constant Magisterium, probably there would not have been achieved the general consensus of the theologians regarding the truth which says that only the imposition of the hands of the bishop is the real matter of the sacrament of Orders.

There must be created in the Church a serene climate of a doctrinal discussion regarding those statements of Vatican II which are ambiguous or which have caused erroneous interpretations. In such a doctrinal discussion there is nothing scandalous, but on the contrary, it will be a contribution in order to maintain and explain in a more sure and integral manner the deposit of the immutable faith of the Church.

One must not highlight so much a certain council, absolutizing it or equating it in fact with the oral (Sacred Tradition) or written (Sacred Scripture) Word of God. Vatican II itself said rightly (cf. Verbum Dei, 10), that the Magisterium (Pope, Councils, ordinary and universal Magisterium) is not above the Word of God, but beneath it, subject to it, and being only the servant of it (of the oral Word of God = Sacred Tradition and of the written Word of God = Sacred Scripture).

From an objective point of view, the statements of the Magisterium (Popes and councils) of definitive character, have more value and more weight compared with the statements of pastoral character, which have naturally a changeable and temporary quality depending on historical circumstances or responding to pastoral situations of a certain period of time, as it is the case with the major part of the statements of Vatican II.

The original and valuable contribution of the Vatican II consists in
- the universal call to holiness of all members of the Church
(Lumen gentium 5),
- in the doctrine about the central role of Our Lady in the life of the Church (Lumen gentium 8),
- in the importance of the lay faithful in maintaining, defending and promoting the Catholic faith and
- in their duty to evangelize and sanctify the temporal realities according to the perennial sense of the Church (Lumen gentium 4),
- in the primacy of the adoration of God in the life of the Church and in the celebration of the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, nn. 2; 5-10).

The rest one can consider to a certain extent secondary, temporary and, in the future, probably forgettable, as it was the case with some non-definitive, pastoral and disciplinary statements of various ecumenical councils in the past.

The following issues – Our Lady, sanctification of the personal life of the faithful with the sanctification of the world according to the perennial sense of the Church and the primacy of the adoration of God – are the most urgent aspects which have to be lived in our days. Therein Vatican II has a prophetical role which, unfortunately, is not yet realized in a satisfactory manner.

Instead of living these four aspects, a considerable part of the theological and administrative “nomenclature” in the life of the Church promoted for the past 50 years still promotes ambiguous doctrinal, pastoral and liturgical issues, distorting thereby the original intention of the Council or abusing its less clear or ambiguous doctrinal statements in order to create another church – a church of a relativistic or Protestant type.

In our days, we are experiencing the culmination of this development.

The problem of the current crisis of the Church consists partly in the fact that some statements of Vatican II – which are objectively ambiguous or those few statements, which are difficultly concordant with the constant magisterial tradition of the Church – have been 'infallibilisized'. In this way, a healthy debate with a necessarily implicit or tacit correction was blocked.

At the same time incentive was given to create theological affirmations in contrast with the perennial tradition,e.g., regarding
- the new theory of an ordinary double supreme subject of the government of the Church, i.e. the Pope alone vs the entire episcopal college together with the Pope,
- the doctrine of the neutrality of the state towards the public worship, which it must pay to the true God, who is Jesus Christ, the King also of each human and political society,
- the relativizing of the truth that the Catholic Church is the unique way of salvation, wanted and commanded by God).

We must free ourselves from the chains of the absolutization and of the total infallibilization of Vatican II. We must ask for a climate of a serene and respectful debate out of a sincere love for the Church and for the immutable faith of the Church.

We can see a positive indication in the fact that on August 2, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a preface to the volume regarding Vatican II in the edition of his Opera omnia. In this preface, Benedict XVI expresses his reservations regarding specific content in the documents Gaudium et spes and Nostra aetate. From the tenor of these words of Benedict XVI one can see that concrete defects in certain sections of the documents are not improvable by the “hermeneutics of the continuity".

An SSPX, canonically and fully integrated in the life of the Church, could also give a valuable contribution in this debate – as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre desired. The fully canonical presence of the FSSPX in the life of the Church of our days could also help to create a general climate of constructive debate, in order that that which was believed always, everywhere and by all Catholics for 2,000 years, would be believed in a more clear and in a more sure manner in our days as well, realizing thereby the true pastoral intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

The authentic pastoral intention aims towards the eternal salvation of the souls -- a salvation which will be achieved only through the proclamation of the entire will of God (cf. Act 20: 7).

The ambiguity in the doctrine of the faith and in its concrete application (in the liturgy and in the pastoral life) would menace the eternal salvation of the souls and would be consequently anti-pastoral, since the proclamation of the clarity and of the integrity of the Catholic faith and of its faithful concrete application is the explicit will of God.

Only the perfect obedience to the will of God -- Who revealed us through Christ the Incarnate Word and through the Apostles the true faith, the faith interpreted and practiced constantly in the same sense by the Magisterium of the Church – will bring the salvation of souls.

+ Athanasius Schneider,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima
Astana, Kazakhstan

The salvation of souls is never mentioned as an end in the dubious propositions of AL and in Bergoglio's take-offs from Lutheranism - only the dispensation of 'mercy' for its own sake, even if Bergoglian mercy is really merciless and downright harmful, since it appears to care only about the 'comfort and convenience' of its recipients in the here and now - as if they would never have to be answerable at the Last Judgment for replacing genuine confession with self-discernment of their 'sinlessness' while continuing to live in chronic sin, instead of the firm purpose 'to amend my life and to do penance' as all sinful persons must.]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/29/2017 6:17 AM]
7/24/2017 8:52 PM
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Left, cover photo of Mons. Rathzigner's book shows Benedict XVI greeting him after a concert given by the Regensburger Domspatzen at the Sistine chapel; center, 'family photo' of Benedict XVI with his brother and his Mater Ecclesiae household taken in 2016;
and right, with Michael Hesemann.

Laying to rest the stories wrongly linking
Georg Ratzinger to 'sex abuse' reports

I personally do not see anything other than an unfortunate coincidence in the fact that the report on the abuses claimed to have been inflicted on pupils of the schools attended by members of the Regensburg Cathedral's Boys Choir (the Regensburger DomSpatzen) was released shortly after Cardinal Mueller's dismissal on June 30 and Benedict XVI's funeral eulogy for Cardinal Meisner on July 5. After all, the report was commissioned by the Diocese of Regensburg, and I do not see Bishop Voderholzer deliberately 'timing' the report release at an 'inauspicious' time. (Voderholzer is a longtime associate of Cardinal Mueller who also was the executive director of the Institut Papst Benedikt XVI, which has been publishing the COMPLETE WRITINGS OF JOSEPH RATZINGER, among its many activities, before Benedict XVI named him Bishop of Regensburg when Mueller went to the CDF.)

Nevertheless, it is necessary for readers of the 'news', such as it is, to know the context and background to news reports last week in order to place it in the right perspective, especially vis-à-vis the implied involvement of Mons. Georg Ratzinger in the abuses, and secondarily, with the aspersions that Cardinal Mueller did not do enough about the abuses once it came to his knowledge.

Claims about abuses reportedly committed against some members of the Regensburg Boys' Choir while they were schoolchildren first came out in 2010, but the new report disclosed earlier this week covers a much longer time period (1945-1992) and is the result of a thorough investigation first ordered by the Diocese of Regensburg, then under Bishop Mueller, in 2010. Mons. Georg Ratzinger had obviously nothing to do with the couple of abuse claims initially verified in 2010 because they took place before he was hired by the Diocese in 1964.

That did not, however, stop the media at the time from immediately tacking his name onto the headlines to give the impression that he was involved because he happened to be the Choir's Musical Director from 1964 to 1994 when he retired. Which is exactly what happened again this time, with the release of the complete report commissioned by the Diocese itself, because the new report covers the period from 1945-1992, a 47-year period that includes the first 28 years of Mons. Ratzinger's employment at the Regensburg Cathedral. [Some news reports last week claimed the investigation covered the years 1945-2015, and that this new report is based on an investigation begun in 2015 after the initial investigations ordered by the diocese in 2010 were criticized. In which case, if the period investigated was between 1945 to 2015, it is a 70-year timespan, during which the investigation found that 547 former pupils had probably been victims of physical and/or sexual violence. Of those, 67 suffered sexual abuse. He blamed 49 individuals, 45 of whom were physically violent and nine of whom were believed to have committed sexual violence.

(In which case, my earlier calculations of how the abuses averaged to becomes even lower since the figures would be averaged over 70 years instead of just 47 years, and it would come to 7.8 total abuses and 0.96 sexual abuses per year. Again, a single case of abuse is bad enough, and I do not in any way seek to minimize the gravity of the offenses, but one must also keep a proper perspective on the probable and plausible prevalence of abuses claimed. Perhaps the full report has a breakdown of the abuses reported by year, which would give us an idea at which time the abuses were particularly prevalent, and to know whether any sexual abuses were reported after 2001 when the Vatican took charge of the Church program to minimize if not eliminate the occurrence of sexual predation on minors by priests.]

The Regensburger Domspatzen story first broke on March 5, 2010 – at the height, as I have pointed out, of the concerted and determined effort by three of the world's media colossi – the Associated Press, the New York Times and Der Spiegel – to find out anything that could possibly show Joseph Ratzinger was directly or indirectly involved in a case of sexual abuse, or failing that, in covering up or playing blind to priests who did.

Their end game at the time was to force him to resign the Papacy – and as we all know, he did not flee these wolves, who, in effect, put much time and resources on a witch hunt or wild goose chase, take your pick. Which is why, IMHO, at the time Benedict actually did resign the papacy, none of these three giants even dared come up with a hypothetical 'scandal' – other than the picayune Vatileaks – to explain the 265th Pope's historic action beyond the plain and simple explanation he gave of ingravescentem aetatem and the increasing infirmities that come with advanced age.

Anyway, two brief news items from March 6, 2010 – the day after the Domspatzen story first broke – constitute a necessary background and context for what was greeted a few days ago as 'MAJOR SCANDAL – HUNDREDS OF BOYS RAPED IN GEORG RATZINGER'S SCHOOL' – with headlines that were deliberately and maliciously misleading, since, of course, the media jumps at any chance to put 'RATZINGER' and 'SEXUAL ABUSE' together in a negative headline! (On the other hand, they simply dismissed as 'routine news' any and all of Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's initiatory, decisive and continuing efforts to combat what he called 'filth' in the Church – it was never the stuff of their headlines, because how could the BIG BAD ROTTWEILER do anything good at all?]

From the 3/7/10 issue of L'Osservatore Romano:
Maximum transparency on
sex abuse cases in Germany


REGENSBURG, March 6, 2010 - The diocese of Regensburg will examine the accusations of sexual abuses alleged to have happened against members of the Regensburger boys' choir "with the maximum transparency".

This was stated by the diocesan spokesman Clemens Neck, who announced the formation of an ad hoc investigative commission to show that it is not afraid to seek the facts even on recent charges made about which there is still little concrete information.

Meanwhile, the diocese has apologized in an open letter to the families of the victims. The bishop of Regensburg, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, recalled the case of an ex-director of the choirboys' boarding school who was convicted in 1971 for sexual abuse for an incident that apparently took place in 1969, 10 years after he left the boarding school. He served two years in prison, and has since died.

Mueller called on anyone who has knowledge of reported sexual abuses in the Domspatzen institutions to provide information in order to identify the offenders and the victims. Further information about the Domspatzen institutions are published in a separate article [see below].

The recent plenary assembly of the German bishops' conference discussed the cases of sexual abuses by priests that have been uncovered lately. The various dioceses in which cases have been revealed are working to set things right with maxium transparency and determination.

The leadership of the Domspatzen institutions expressed their consternation for the cases that have been reported so far, including those that are linked to the Domspatzen in some way…

[P.S. 2017 Very importantly, Bishop Mueller's 2010 statement also made clear the relationship between the schools where the abuses were said to have taken place and the choir itself which is attached to the Cathedral of Regensburg. But this distinction has never appeared in any of the media reports about the abuses then or now.]


March 6, 2010
The Bishop of Regensburg, Mons. Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, has issued the following statement on the Regensburger Domspatzen:

The Regensburger Domspatzen have three components:
- The Gymnasium (high school), which is headed by a lay director
- The Boarding School (Internat), headed by a priest assisted by educators and pedagogues
- The Choir, directed by the Master of the Cathedral Chapel (Domkapellmeister).

The elementary school once in Etterzhausen, now in Pielhofen, is an institution that is independent of the Domspatzen. There is collaboration only on some specific areas in musical education. That is why it is called the Vorschule, the school preliminary to the Domspatzen.

In recent days, we recalled two cases of sexual abuse:
- The first case dates to 1958, and the offender was the vice-director of the preparatory school. When the offense was discovered. he was dismissed and subsequently tried and convicted to a jail term.
- The second case had to do with a person who in 1959 worked for seven months with the Domspatzen. Twelve years after he left the school, he was convicted and jailed for a case of sexual abuse. We are now investigating if there were any such incidents during his seven months with the Domspatzen.

Both cases were of public knowledge at the time they happened and are considered closed in juridical terms.

They do not coincide with the period of service by Prof. Georg Ratzinger (1964-1994).

In the canonical sense, it is the Bishop of Regensburg who has the responsibility for the church institutions in the diocese of Regensburg.

But once again, the lack of any substance to the insinuations made in the NEW headlines about Regensburg is probably the reason why after the initial flurry of headlines, there appear to be no new links indicating continuing media interest in the 'scandal', at least not in Catholic news aggregations, or even in a random survey of the major news agencies.

Two items deserve to be read which appeared immediately on the heels of the new Regensburg Choirboys' story. The first, is a review of the Weber report by Alberto, a German-speaking follower of Lella's blog, who noted that as far as it concerns Georg Ratzinger, the report simply confirms what the Emeritus Pope's brother had said in 2010, and obviously the report itself came up with nothing new or damaging against him, even if the lawyer who presented the report commented at his news conference that "Georg Ratzinger should have done something about it"! What could he have done about something he knew nothing about? Reuter's reported Weber's comments this way:

Weber said he [Georg Ratzinger] was “to be blamed especially for turning a blind eye and not intervening despite having knowledge”, adding the investigation did not show he was aware of sexual abuse. Several testimonies said he was generally friendly.

Georg Ratzinger, 93, brother of the former pope Benedict XVI, led the choir from 1964 to 1994. He acknowledged in 2010 that he had slapped pupils in the facebut said he had not realised how brutal the discipline was.

Alberto's conclusions are as follows [my translation]:

Thanks to

Mons. Ratzinger's position [as innocent and uninvolved in any way in the abuses claimed] is reinforced by the report considering that:
- The lawyer Weber who presented the report had been chosen specifically by the Diocese of Regensburg to conduct the investigation ordered
In 2010 because he represents Wasser Ring, an association founded to assist victims of abuse, which therefore gave the diocese a guarantee of maximum transparency and free of the suspicison that the investigators would somehow be in collusion with the diocese.
- Weber reached out to all possible abuse victims and heard their testimony but he never once contacted Mons. Ratzinger [perhaps because there was no reason to do so, judging from the testimonies he took].
- Weber's investigation was not one that required the victims to confront their abusers [if only because almost all the accused abusers are dead]. Rather, it was a historical inquiry which did not claim to be able to arrive at the full truth but, as Weber himself said at his news conference, was limited to determine the plausibility of the accusers' accounts in view of possible damages that the diocese is prepared to pay the victims.

Therefore, if that was the desired objective, and appropriate weight was given to the version of the former students about the abuses they suffered, it can be considered highly plausible – to paraphrase Weber's own words – that whatever they specifically said did not occur, did in fact not occur.

The Weber report dedicates pp 378-381 to the evidence it heard about Mons. Ratzinger from its witnesses, in which the report states that the violent incidents reported by the alleged victims (480 claimed receiving corporal punishment for corrective purposes, while 67 alleged sexual abuses) took place not during the choir's practice sessions and music lessons with Mons. Ratzinger at the Regensburg Cathedral, but at their boarding school.

The report does not accuse Georg Ratzinger of having been named as responsible for any maltreatment, neither physical nor moral, but at the most, that he may have heard here and there about the excessive use of physical punishment as a corrective measure but of not having intervened at all, except by writing a letter to the school director in 1989 to ask about an incident he was told about. [We must recall that in 2010, in his first reaction to the reports, he volunteered that he himself used to 'box the ear' of a misbehaving choirboy, but stopped doing it when Germany outlawed corporal punishment in schools in 1980, and expressed apologies for his transgressio9ns.]

In 2010, he had said about the abuse claims that now and then, he heard talk about physical abuses, but never sexual, but he had not imagined the degree and extent to which it was practiced.

The most serious accusation raised against him came from a student that Mons. Ratzinger was present at a dinner when the student pocketed some roast pork and was slapped by the school director for it, but Mons. Ratzinger did not intervene.

The report confirms that there is no proof he ever heard of any sexual abuses against the schoolboys and cites the opinions of ex-students who said it was highly improbable that he would have known anything because he was a very reserved person and his interest seemed to be only the musical training and quality of the choir, not in their school life.

None of the media reports mentions the words by some of the complainants who only seemed to have affectionate memories of their choir director:
, e.g., "He gave the impression that he was not really aware of what was going on around him outside music. He was a very respected person, like a grandfather who distributed candy to us every week, and whose highest passion was for good music… He knew nothing about our school nort what was happening there" (Lines 24-29, p. 378)).

On pp. 212-218, the report is not concerned with any eventual responsibility he may have had regarding the abuses, but rather his personality as described by 124 of the victims interviewed. [If the investigators specifically asked them about Mons. Ratzinger, even if no one had accused him of being involved, it can only mean that the investigators wanted to make sure they covered all the bases!]

The opinions were varied. Some remember him as being irascible and authoritarian – especially if their performance was not musically perfect – and some of them remember being boxed on the ears as the monsignor himself recalled, but they also said it was not because their choirmaster took pleasure in punishing them, only that he had his moments of temper. Most of the complainants however praised him:
- "He was authoritarian but he never harmed anyone".
- "He was really fair and competent. I remember him with respect."
- "He would scold, but in a friendly way, never vengefully."
- "He was strict, but there is no doubt he had a good heart."
- "I have a great memory of him as a very warm person".
- "Children were attracted to him and approached him without fear. It seemed he was always surrounded by groups of children."
- "Our Domkapellmeister, our leader, was appreciated by all the Choir boys, even when his musical demands were stressful on us".
- "Whenever possible, every afternoon at 4 we would be in front of his house [he lives within walking distance of the Cathedral], and he would give us cake, biscuits and candies."
- "The boys loved him."

A more specific defense of Mons. Ratzinger was made by German Church historian Michael Hesemann, who co-authored the monsignor's 2011 book entitled My Brother the Pope. In a July 21 interview with, Hesemann points out that none of the media stories say that the Weber report explicitly exonerates Georg Ratzinger from any involvement in the cases uncovered. Instead, most German accounts have indiscriminately conflated the comments of one of the victims who is promoting a book entitled 'Abused by the Church' with statements in the Weber report. I will post Hesemann's interview as soon as translated.

Meanwhile, read Andrea Tornielli's account of the 2010 Regensburg Choirboys story as I posted it at the time…

The good news is that most of the Italian Vaticanistas who reported on "Regensburg #2" in today's printed newspapers punctiliously avoided the prompt manipulation by the online newspapers and news agencies yesterday to link the Ratzinger name in the headlines - however tenuously - to a sexual abuse story. Andrea Tornielli also sets his readers straight on the facts…

A low blow to the Pope
and to his brother

by Andrea Tornielli
Translated from
March 6, 2010

A scandal has been uncovered involving the Regensburg boys' choir which was under the musical direction of the Pope's older brother for 30 years.

But to associate the charges of sexual abuse with Georg Ratzinger is sheer bad faith - the incidents revealed so far took place before he even came to Regensburg.

The Church in Germany is in the grip of newly-revealed sexual abuses committed against minors by German priests in the past - and mud has been smeared without basis on the Pope's brother, Mons. Georg Ratzinger, who was choir director of the Regensburger Domspatzen attached to the Cathedral of Regensburg from 1964 to 1994.

Yesterday, in the online editions of many newspapers as well as the news agencies, the Ratzinger name was associated arbitrarily to the reports of abuses said to have been committed against pupils of the choirboys' boarding school - even if there was nothing to connect Mons. Ratzinger to the incidents.

These are the facts: The bishop of Regensburg, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, earlier this week, issued an apology to the victims and their families for some cases [six to date, exactly] of sexual abuse that had taken place in the diocese in the past.

The diocesan website published a report on cases that had been ascertained to have happened [two of the offending priests, now both dead, were in fact sentenced to jail for the offenses] as well as a couple of newly reported cases said to have taken place in the early 1960s but not yet ascertained.

The Domspatzen is first mentioned in the diocesan report because a former rector of its special music high school who served in 1953-1958, was sentenced to jail for having been caught in flagrante with two of his wards.

A second priest was convicted in 1971 to 11 months in prison for sexual abuse committed in 1969. In 1959, this priest had served for eight months as the director of the choirboys' boarding school - five years before Georg Ratzinger came to Regensburg. But the offense for which he served time took place 10 years after he left the boarding school, while he was serving as the diocesan director for sacred music. [The victim's name is so far not known.] Therefore, this second case had nothing to do with the Domspatzen.

Both convicted priests died in 1984, far from Regensburg.

Of the other cases which the diocese is investigating one was a complaint about corporal punishment and sexual abuse, another for corporal punishment (including lashing) - both incidents not in the city of Regensburg.

Bishop Mueller's spokesman made clear that both in the old cases as well as the two newly-reported ones, none took place during the time Mons. Ratzinger led the Domspatzen.

The present music director, Roland Buecher, together with the prefect of studies Bethold Wahl and the director of the boarding school Rainer Schinko, signed a letter which says: "We are consternated that such shameful things have taken place in ecclesiastical institutions. We have just learned that an ex-choirboy has recently complained that he was the victim of sexual abuse in the early 1960s. On the basis of present information, it is not clear whether the abuses took place in our school or in the elementary school of Etterzhausen."

The letter also says: "Through a press clipping from the 1950s, we obtained concrete information about a case of sexual abuse, showing that a former director of the boarding school was convicted for the offense. At this time, we do not have other concrete facts on any other suspected cases of sexual abuse involving the Regensburg boys' choir".

But meanwhile, the name of Georg Ratzinger - who told Bavarian Radio yesterday that he had "no knowledge of any case of sexual abuse" involving the boy' choir - has been associated irresponsibly with this matter.

At the Vatican, the deputy press director said that the Holy See "considers the problem in Germany a serious matter" but it will not intervene directly in the Regensburg cases.

7/27/2017 3:08 AM
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Jesuit website touts Fr. Sosa
as the first SJ Superior General
to 'baptize himself a Buddhist'

[Not that Buddhists have a baptism nor is Buddhism about any god at all!]

By Steve Skojec
July 20, 2017

‘It is not permitted to be present at the sacred rites of infidels and heretics in such a way that you would be judged to be in communion with them’.
St. Alphonsus Liguori
Theologia Moralis, Lib.5, Tract. 1, Cap. 3.

I don’t even know where to start… Thanks to a tip from a reader this morning, I headed over to the official website of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean. While there, I did some looking around. I followed the link to their Facebook page. It’s colorful. Colorful in a way that carries its own possibly troubling meaning these days:

The specific article I was alerted to was about Fr. Arturo Abascal Sosa, the always controversial new Superior General of the Jesuits, who recently participated in a conference in Cambodia “between Buddhists and Christians who work for peace.” He gave a homily, according to the article, on the themes of diversity, fear of difference, the “building of walls” that results from fear, and violence.

He visited a Buddhist temple, where he addressed the 80 monks gathered there, on the themes of diversity, fear of difference, the “building of walls” that results from fear, and violence:

Thank you so much for your time and the wisdom you shared today. I have learned many things from you, and you have given me many things to think about and pray about. It is deeply consoling to see how we are united in our desire to promote peace and reconciliation in our world. It is also comforting to see how we share the belief that the path to peace begins from within, from the deep transformation of the inner person, from growth into detachment and loving-kindness.

I am grateful for what my Jesuit brethren do to promote dialogue with Buddhism here in Cambodia, whether at the level of academic exchange, prayer together or in the shared standard of living and common action at the service of the poor. Thank you for the meaningful and inspiring testimony of how you live our Jesuit mission of reconciliation.

Among the many things I have learned from Pope Francis, one is his insistence on the importance of creating a culture of encounter. He uses this phrase all the time. He believes that in our divided world, where some want to build walls, what we must do is to promote the encounter, without fear and respect, people who meet people, listening deeply and respectfully to each other, building relationships and friendships.

Thank you for this meeting event this afternoon, which has enriched me, and I hope it will bear fruit in service.

It was an entirely pedestrian address. Sanitized. No mention of Jesus Christ. No indication of Fr. Sosa’s desire to bring souls to the fullness of Truth, as so many of his forebears in the Society of Jesus were known for. As I finished reading through it, in fact, I couldn’t help but think of St. Francis Xavier, the apostle to Asia. One of the first Jesuits, he worked tirelessly in India, Malaysia, Japan, and had he not fallen ill before reaching the mainland, he would have become a missionary to China as well. The Catholic Encyclopedia says of St. Francis Xavier:

It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542 – 2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization.

St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction.

[In the church of Bergoglio, of course, the Church's principal mission - as Christ said in his Great Mandate to his disciples: "Go and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" – has been replaced by 'inter-religious dialog' and 'the culture of encounter', which, as Benedict XVI pointed out in his 2014 message to the Gregorian university, can never be a substitute for mission.]

What the Jesuits of 2017 present us with instead in the example of their leader, Fr. Sosa, is the image reproduced above, with a bizarre caption that appears when one holds their mouse over the photo: “Father Sosa is officially the first Superior Jesuit in Buddhist Baptism.” , an inexact Google translation of the Spanish caption, “Padre Sosa es oficialmente el primer Superior Jesuita en bautizarse budista.” i.e. “Father Sosa is officially the first Jesuit Superior to baptize himself Buddhist.”

Now, I have no idea what it means to “baptize oneself Buddhist.” Probably because it doesn’t. Mean anything, that is. Buddhists don’t baptize. Buddhists don’t really even believe in God. As Carl Olson and Anthony Clark explained in this piece on Catholicism and Buddhism from Ignatius Insight:

It is sometimes said that Buddhism is atheistic. Buddhism is not interested in the question of God, so it is more accurate to describe it as agnostic. Buddhism “works” whether or not there is a God. A Buddhist allows others to believe in a God or gods, but such beliefs are merely convenient means to the final end, which has nothing to do with a God or gods.

“God is neither affirmed nor denied by Buddhism,” wrote Thomas Merton in Mystics and Zen Masters, “insofar as Buddhists consider such affirmations and denials to be dualistic, therefore irrelevant to the main purpose of Buddhism, which is emancipation from all forms of dualistic thought.”

[When the people who write for the official Jesuit website do not even bother to look up Buddhism in order not to say anything ignorant about it, they are guilty, alas, of the common sins of laziness in place of due diligence, and arrogant presumption of knowledge in place of basic fact checking, that afflict most media practitioners today.]

It was the common teaching of the Church before the heady days of ecumenism and interfaith mania following the Second Vatican Council that Catholics were to avoid the majority of ecumenical prayer and of course, interfaith gatherings. In the excellent catechetical text, My Catholic Faith: A Manual of Religion, we read:

How does a Catholic sin against faith?
A Catholic sins against faith by infidelity, apostasy, heresy – [all 3 categories] indifferent to the sinner - and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.

We may lose our faith by: (a) not learning well the doctrines of the church; space (b) willfully doubting truthss that have been revealed to the church; (c) reading books and other literature against our religion; (d) attending assemblies of people who are opposed to our religion; and (e) neglecting the practice of our religion….

Persons who do not believe in Christianity as a divinely revealed religion, whether they have been baptized or not, are commonly referred to as quote infidels”. Infidelity is refusal to believe in anything that cannot be perceived with the senses, or comprehended with the understanding.

But is it not utterly reasonable to have faith in Almighty God Who knows much more than we can ever hope to know and Who can do things beyond our understanding? It is necessary that we serve God in the way He requires, not in the way it pleases us to do so. For this reason we must practice the religion revealed by God, and avoid making up our own religions according to our wins and innumerable fancies. Buddhists, Mohammedans, Hindus, Jews, and pagans, are infidels. As explained, Christians can also become infidels….

Why does a Catholic sin against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship?
A Catholic sins against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship, because he thus professes belief in a religion he knows is false.
1) It is wrong to be present at Protestant or Jewish services even when we do not participate in them, because such services are intended to honor God in a manner he does not wish to be honored in. If he instituted the church of his own he must wish to be honored in the ways of that church. In addition we then give bad example, and expose ourselves to the danger of losing our faith.

When necessary, for social obligations, a Catholic may be present at a non-Catholic wedding or funeral, but he must not participate in the services. In no case may he attend other services of non-Catholic churches, such as the installation of their ministers, sermons, etc….]

Now, look again at the picture above. Does Fr. Sosa appear to be “taking part in non-Catholic worship”? It certainly does.

And now the members of his own order see nothing wrong in saying that he has “baptized himself a Buddhist.” [A ridiculous because totally meaningless statement. Is Sosa now a Buddhist? He cannot be both Catholic and Buddhist. If he considers himself a Buddhist because he has 'baptized himself Buddhist', then he is quite clearly an apostate.]

Those of you who’ve been paying attention for a long time will no doubt be able to point to other similar examples in the not-too-distant past, perhaps most notably the so-called “ecumenical” prayer gatherings at Assisi, under the leadership of Pope John Paul II. Converts and those who’ve come recently to study the Church’s traditional teachings may not be aware of these things. For the sake of space, and my own sanity, I won’t begin listing them here. An exhaustive treatment would span many pages.

This kind of thing has to stop. As I’ve written before, as Catholics, we can’t be indifferent to indifferentism. And though we may be tempted to say, “What’s the big deal, this happens all the time now!”, we should resist that temptation. It’s always a big deal. It’s a big deal that we’ve become so cynical that it barely raises an eyebrow these days.

At times like these, I reflexively reach for the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Pope Pius XI), which I’ve shared with you before:

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: “Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever.” Amen.

And please pray for Fr. Sosa. He leads the deeply troubled order of which our own pope is a member.

My inability to do what I should be doing on the Forum over the past three days has been due to a constantly intransigent and super-slow Forum server which keeps freezing up on me in the middle of a post, even if I already try to compose as much of the post as I can on Word before I post it. The problem is trying to make the inevitable corrections - when even just to position the cursor on the word you want to correct, or try to backspace it can take forever. I don't know how much more of this unpredictability I can take. It ruins my entire work rhythm, not to mention the untold waste of time, besides building up my backlog of 'must' posts, whcih I don't think I'll ever catch up with at this rate.

I posted the above story on Father Sosa because I already had it all formatted on Word, but I believe it deserves attention because it is yet another blatant example of the anti-Catholicism that more and more of Bergoglio's nearest and dearest are displaying following the lead of their lord and master.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/27/2017 3:58 AM]
7/27/2017 3:08 AM
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July 26, 2017

Both aggregators posted a second set of 'above-the-fold' headlines today.

Archbishop proclaims
global warming hoax to be true

by Dave Blount
July 26, 2017

The Catholic Church is supposed to be Christian. But recently it has been taken over by progressives, who will keep the external trappings so long as they are useful, but who are hollowing out the insides and replacing the content with their own religion, moonbattery. [The first time I came across this blog site, I had to look up whether the word exists and it does - it is defined as 'leftwing lunacy', apparently a pejorative coined and disseminated on the Internet.]

The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences has again inferred that denial of the controversial concept of manmade climate change equates to flat earth mentality.

“From the scientific point of view, the sentence that the earth is warmed by human activity is as true as the sentence: The earth is round!”
said Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

Whether he has advanced scientific knowledge, he takes the liberal media’s word for it, or he read about Al Gore’s hoax in the Scriptures is unclear.

The archbishop has been a consistent and zealous promoter of manmade climate change as a non-negotiable Church issue, despite the status of care for the environment as a prudential matter.

Climate change ideology continues to be contested as a ploy perpetrated with manipulated data by the left to enact environmental regulations [i.e., centralized economic control] and taxes.

Even so, Archbishop Sorondo dismissed deniers of climate change in a recent Vatican Radio interview as “a small, negligible minority.”

[Obviously one cannot deny 'climate change' per se, but the catastrophism of those who vastly exaggerate 'manmade' influence on climate while completely ignoring the basic scientific fact that cosmic factors beyond man's control - starting with and especially solar activity - are the principal influences on earth's climate.]

Unlike people who aren’t swallowing the global warming hoax, Galileo Galilei really was part of a small, negligible minority. He was punished by the Roman Catholic Inquisition for believing that the earth goes around the sun.

Archbishop Sorondo is a close adviser to Pope Francis and the Chancellor of both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. He has repeatedly welcomed pro-abortion and population control advocates to the Vatican for conferences under the pretext of the climate issue.

Far left politics posing as science posing as Christianity is not what sincere Catholics signed up for. If this keeps up, the Church will wither away — to the delight of progressives.



These rumblings have been going on for some time, but unfortunately, I can now believe that Bergoglio is very well capable and ready to slap down
Benedict XVI where it hurts most, although I hope his merciless hand will be stopped by the intercession of all the saints in heaven who grew up
in and with, and lived the Mass for the ages...

Vatican rumblings: Pope Francis aims
to scrap 'Summorum Pontificum'

by John-Henry Westen

ROME, July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Sources inside the Vatican suggest that Pope Francis aims to end Pope Benedict XVI’s universal permission for priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

While the course of action would be in tune with Pope Francis’S repeatedly expressed disdain for the TLM especially among young people, there has been no open discussion of it to date.

Sources in Rome told LifeSite last week that liberal prelates inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith were overheard discussing a plan ascribed to the Pope to do away with Pope Benedict’s famous document that gave priests freedom to offer the ancient rite of the Mass.

Catholic traditionalists have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of the document, Summorum Pontificum. Pope Benedict XVI issued it in 2007, giving all Latin Rite priests permission to offer the TLM without seeking permission of their bishops, undoing a restriction placed on priests after the Second Vatican Council.

The motu proprio outraged liberal bishops as it stripped them of the power to forbid the TLM, as many did. Previously priests needed their bishop’s permission to offer the TLM.

Additionally, Summorum Pontificum stated that wherever a group of the faithful request the TLM, the parish priests should willingly agree to their request.

The overheard plans are nearly identical to comments from an Italian liturgist [who is quite influential in the church of Bergoglio] in an interview published by France’s La Croix earlier this month. Andrea Grillo, a lay professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome, billed by La Croix as “close to the Pope,” is intimately familiar with Summorum Pontificum, because he published a book against it before the papal document was even released.

Grillo told La Croix that Francis is considering abolishing [I think the proper verb is 'abrogating', or worse, 'invalidating'] Summorum Pontificum. According to Grillo, once the Vatican erects the Society of Saint Pius X as a Personal Prelature, the Roman Rite will be preserved only within this structure. "But [Francis] will not do this as long as Benedict XVI is alive.” [Wanna bet? And how can anyone know that Bergoglio will necessarily outlive Benedict????]

The plan, as related to LifeSite, involved making an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X and, with that agreement in place, sequestering those Catholics wanting the TLM to the SSPX. For most, that would strip them of access to the TLM since there would not be nearly enough SSPX priests to service Catholics wanting the TLM worldwide.

Moreover, LifeSite’s source suggested that the plan may explain a May 20, 2017 letter by the recently ousted Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Even though Cardinal Müller wanted the FSSPX fully reconciled to help fight modernists in the Church, the May 20 letter seemed to scuttle an agreement between Pope Francis and the FSSPX which would see them get a personal prelature. The letter includes provisions long known to be completely unacceptable to the FSSPX, thus nullifying an understanding believed imminent by FSSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The LifeSite source suggested that the May 20 letter by Muller perhaps was written because he knows what Francis was up to and wanted to avoid the plan to bury Summorum Pontificum with Pope Benedict. “It’s directed not so much against Fellay but against the agreement,” said the source. “Pope Francis was very angry that document came out from Cardinal Muller and some say that’s why he made the decision to dismiss him.”

It is really disgusting - this is all an extension of the post-Vatican II assault on the liturgy that quickly resulted in a Novus Ordo, and which have made millions of otherwise sensible and intelligent persons consider the Mass of the ages as an unspeakable horrific anathema to be extirpated from the earth once and for all, even if Summorum Pontificum does not impose it on anyone and all the fanatic Novus Ordoites can happily go to their graves without ever having to deal with the Traditional Mass at all. What does the traditional Mass take away from them but their illusion of triumphing over a mortal foe?

St. Pius V and all the communion of saints, preserve and protect this treasure of the deposit of faith!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/29/2017 6:10 AM]
7/27/2017 3:25 AM
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Is Cardinal Schoenborn improbably trying to position himself as the successor to Bergoglio on Peter's Chair? I can think of no other reason for his apparent abandonment of all reason – and his reason, to begin with - in order to defend and buttress the indefensibly anti-Catholic positions of Bergoglio in AL. Apparently he does not think that being European will not be a handicap for him against an Asian or African papabile in the next Conclave. If so, his self-delusion is complete... Christopher Ferrara slams Schoenborn as hard as anyone can for his astonishingly anti-Christian defense of AL in Ireland recently.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn:
Sophist in Chief

by Christopher A. Ferrara
July 25, 2017

Sophistry is the use of subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation to mislead the hearer. Perhaps sophistry is too generous a description of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s defense of the idea, introduced into the Church via Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (AL), that people living in “second marriages” condemned by Our Lord Himself as adultery can receive absolution and Holy Communion while continuing to live as if they were married and indulging in the marital act.

Schönborn’s arguments are not particularly subtle and could be refuted by any well-catechized child. But let us give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he is a sophist as opposed to someone who simply makes patently ridiculous arguments.

During the same speech in western Ireland in which he revealed that he had (ludicrously) assured Pope Francis that AL is perfectly orthodox after it had already been published, Schönborn proposed one sophism after another in defense of Holy Communion for persistent public adulterers.

While maintaining that AL upholds the Church’s infallible teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, Schönborn argued that “giving this answer is not an answer to all the single situations and cases that in everyday life we have to deal with.”

NONSENSE. Our Lord Himself has given the “answer to all the single situations and cases” involving divorce and purported “remarriage”¬ — they all constitute adultery: “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12) Adultery is an intrinsic evil, always and everywhere wrong. There are no “single situations and cases” in which adultery can be treated as if it were not adultery for purposes of admission to the Sacraments.

“Much more difficult is discernment,” Schönborn continued, “because you have to look closely, yes, in the light of the principles, but also at reality, where people stand, what is the drama of how did they come to a separation, to a new union, and so on.”

NONSENSE. There is no gap between the moral law laid down by God and “reality” or “where people stand.” The moral precept is reality — a reality inscribed in human nature itself as a precept of the natural law that binds all men, no matter where they claim to “stand” or what “drama” they recite. Schönborn here proposes nothing other than the evil of situation ethics, which would destroy the entire moral edifice of the Church by reducing morality to a mere set of “general rules” that may or may not apply in a given situation.

And that is exactly what AL purports to do:
- “Therefore, while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases.” AL 302)
- “It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations.” AL 304)

Need it be demonstrated that the appearance of such statements in a papal document is a catastrophe — indeed, a stage in the “final battle” over marriage and family of which Sister Lucia warned Cardinal Caffarra?
“Moral theology stands on two feet,” said Schönborn. “Principles, and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality…. The question of discernment is the key question for the right handling of right relation between principles and concrete application.”

NONSENSE. The negative precepts of the natural law, including “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” — which is what Schönborn is here addressing — apply in the same way to all people regardless of their situation. There are no “prudential steps to apply to reality” nor any problem of “concrete application” of the divine and natural law forbidding adultery. People engaged in adulterous relations are obliged to cease those relations if they wish to be admitted to the Sacraments, no less than the Mafiosi that Pope Francis threatens to excommunicate must cease their lives of crime against the natural law.

“The bonum possibile in moral theology is an important concept that has been so often neglected. What is the possible good that a person or a couple can achieve in difficult circumstances?”

The worst NONSENSE of all, as it reduces universally binding, exceptionless moral precepts to mere guidelines or benchmarks toward which people need only do the best they can under the circumstances, or what they deem “possible” for themselves. The Sixth Commandment thus becomes “Thou Shalt Do Thy Best Not to Commit Adultery.”

This sophist is the moral voice of the current pontificate. If this situation is not apocalyptic, then words have lost their meaning. We can only await, with fear and trembling, God’s dramatic resolution of a crisis unlike any the Church has seen before, in which even the foundations of the moral law are now under attack at the very summits of the Church.

The other very vivid reaction to Schoenborn's Bergoglideological descant in Ireland comes from Fr Vaverek, who has been a priest of the Diocese of Austin since 1985 and is currently pastor of parishes in Gatesville and Hamilton. His doctoral studies were in Dogmatics with a focus on Ecclesiology, Apostolic Ministry, Newman, and Ecumenism.

A diptych for Cardinal Schönborn
By Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek
July 25, 2017

During a talk in Ireland, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn revealed that he had suggested to Benedict XVI that St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio (FC) and Francis's Amoris Laetitia (AL) can be viewed as a sort of “diptych,” a pairing of artistic works that illuminates and transcends the meaning of each element. Benedict – he says – concurred, but did not accept the further assertion that FC is Platonic and AL is Aristotelean.

[Dear Lord, I had not realized that the 'Sophist in Chief' had made such an outrageous claim which, of course, he knows Benedict XVI has no way of denying or refuting! It is terribly unfair of the Sophist to 'instrumentalize' Benedict XVI in this way. And of course, all the traditionalist-conservative voices who already have consigned Benedict XVI to the same infernal niche where they have consigned Bergoglio will jump at this 'testimonial' to prove their point…

Diptych schmiptych! To even think of pairing the two documents is sacrilege in itself. In what way can a document that purveys falsehoods contradicting Jesus's own words be paired with a document that upholds in every way possible the splendor of Truth which is Christ himself – much less illuminate and transcend any Christian teaching at all? What shameless chutzpah for Schoenborn to even suggest that Benedict XVI would have concurred with his pairing!!!]

The Cardinal’s anecdote and subsequent discussion of morality suggest it might be good to consider his remarks in light of another diptych: Raphael’s Vatican frescos of The School of Athens and Disputation of the Holy Sacrament.

The Cardinal’s claim implies that John Paul’s theology of marriage and the family expresses idealistic principles, whereas Francis’s realism allows us to apply those principles to the nitty-gritty of daily life. Raphael famously depicted these contrasting philosophical approaches in the two central figures of the School of Athens: Plato, the idealist, whose raised hand points to the heavens, and Aristotle, the realist, whose outstretched hand is turned to the earth.

Raphael, The School of Athens, 1509.

That the Cardinal wants to read AL as a realist interpretation of the alleged idealism of FC is evident from his description of the moral life. He maintains that “Moral Theology stands on two feet: Principles, and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality.” For him, this is carried out through a discernment of conscience, which interprets the ideals within the context of human limitations. This produces a “right relation between principles and concrete application.”

The Cardinal praises AL for encouraging “a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of all particular [marriage] cases.” Once complete, this discernment can then address the question of reception of Holy Communion.

The difficulty with approaches like this is that they are founded on an inadequate premise.
Christian morality does not stand on two feet; it stands on the person of Jesus who is the principle – the source – of our moral life. Morality is nothing other than living united to Christ. In turn, Moral Theology is fundamentally the study of Jesus and our life in Him, not of abstract principles and their application

The teachings and commands of the Gospel are not philosophical expressions needing rational analysis to be validated and, then, implemented in daily life. They are the words and deeds of Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, which reveal to us in a humanly understandable way who God is and who we are. Jesus expresses the truth, which, as such, is already attuned to the realities of life.

When Jesus says, “you shall not commit adultery” or “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery,” He is not presenting an ideal or something that cannot be adequately put into words. He is announcing the concrete truth about Himself and is assuring us that, as the faithful God who has become the Bridegroom, He will never abandon us. He is also describing in unequivocal terms the reality of marriage, fidelity, and indissolubility.

Were these divine prohibitions merely abstract principles, then conscience would doubtless still find reasons for permitting remarriage after divorce. This would happen, not because such reasons are realistic or legitimate, but because without grace, fallen human judgment and concupiscence have rarely led to the discernment that marriage is, by nature, indissoluble. Jesus revealed this truth as a remedy for our weakness and to foster our well-being. Consciences that erroneously “discern” otherwise, therefore, cause suffering and need healing.

Raphael, The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, 1508

This brings us to Raphael’s diptych. The philosophers of Athens discuss wisdom in an entirely earthly setting surrounded by statues of mythical gods; the participants in the Disputation are united to each other and to the saints in heaven in giving worship to the living God who, in the person of the Word, has taken flesh as Jesus, who is in glory, and is present as the Eucharistic Host on the altar.

The earthly “disputants” are not engaged in partisan disagreement about who is adored in the Sacrament, but are instead discussing the wonder of that reality as members of the body of Christ, the Church.

Raphael’s frescos remind us that fallen human reason can discern much, but does not entirely free itself from error (note the idols) or reach agreement regarding ultimate truths (Plato and Aristotle point in contrary directions), while God’s self-revelation in Christ gathers us in the Church to know, love, and praise him even as we seek to penetrate more deeply the mysterious reality of God and His works.

Christ’s nuptial union with the Church is, like the Eucharist, a reality rather than an ideal. And it reveals the reality of human marriage. (Eph. 5:31-32) The Gospel teaching appears “idealistic” only because the Fall has clouded reason and weakened the will as regards the reality of marriage in the face of life’s difficulties. Through Faith, the reality of marriage – and the impossibility of a second union after divorce – stands out as clearly as the Eucharist.

Contrary beliefs and practices do not help anyone but keep them from knowing Christ more deeply and leave them suffering needlessly from the unrealities of their lives. Methods of discernment like the one proposed by the Cardinal cannot assist those in need or their priests. [How can Bergoglio and his theoretician/theologians fail to see that what they call 'discernment', which in their usage is equivalent to that 'primacy of individual conscience' which is a mantra of New Age, post-1968 modern man, really means that the individual sets himself up as the sole and best judge of what is good, without regard for objective goodness embodied by Christ himself, and that to do so is ultimately, self-deification? Bergoglio and company are, in effect, justifying and encouraging modern man's rejection of God.]

Without precise Christological criteria, fallen human reason and concupiscence cannot be expected to arrive at an accurate assessment of a first marriage, a second union, or the reception of Communion. All the more so when our Lord’s explicit prohibitions are treated as mere ideals. Such approaches are manifestly inadequate and unrealistic.

As long as Christian morality and doctrine are viewed as idealistic principles, their concrete meaning in life will be held hostage to the endless debates of diverse schools of philosophy and theology. Only when they are viewed within the Church as realities rooted in Christ and embraced in daily life will we be able to discover in them the true meaning of marriage, family, and all our joys and sorrows.

BTW, if you did not barf enough at Schoenborn's elaborate calisthenics with the truth, you probably will effect an unscheduled and most unpleasant purgation with this slavering article by John Allen.

P.S. This piece really belongs here...

As the pope persists in refusing
to answer the DUBIA himself,
Schönborn et al speak for him

A Roman prelate answers the Viennese cardinal's latest defense of AL

Adapted from the English service of
Sandro Magister's blog
July 25, 2017

I have received this from an authoritative churchman and have agreed to publish it without revealing his name.

Everyone is responding to the DUBIA
except the pope. This time, Schönborn again…

by ***

On July 13, 2017, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, spoke for four hours in two conferences and a question-and-answer session at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland.

The Austrian cardinal spoke in the context of the event "Let's Talk Family: Let's Be Family,” which is part of a series of assemblies organized in preparation for the World Meeting of Families (1), under the direction of the new Vatican super-dicastery for the laity, family, and life, which will be held in Dublin from August 21-28, 2018.

After reading the reporting on the event offered by the main specialized media outlets (2), I cannot help but note that when it comes to the DUBIA submitted to the pope by four cardinals, everyone is answering them except he himself; and that in this way, the chaotic chorus of most disparate comments and interpretations of “Amoris Laetitia” - which do anything but clarify for the faithful and confessors the problems raised by the document – has been further obscured by a new fog.

This is because the arguments offered by the archbishop of Vienna - at least as they have been reported by the most reliable media - are anything but convincing. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

1. An inopportune reprimand
In the first place, Schönborn reprimands the cardinals for even bringing up the DUBIA. Because they asked respectfully for an audience, he accuses them of having pressured the pope, i.e., they could have asked for an audience, but without saying so publicly. Here are the exact words of the Austrian archbishop:

That cardinals, who should be the closest collaborators of the pope, try to force him, to put pressure on him to give a public response to their publicized, personal letter to the pope - this is absolutely inconvenient behavior, I’m sorry to say. If they want to have an audience with the pope, they ask for an audience; but they do not publish that they asked for an audience.

I wonder if Cardinal Schönborn has read and/or believes in the following words this pope has said about the discussions that had already arisen over the course of the two 'family synods' he convoked in 2014 and 2015, which has then continued [and intensified] after the publication of his AL. I present just a few passages:

“One general and basic condition is this: speaking honestly. Let no one say: ‘I cannot say this, they will think this or this of me….’ It is necessary to say with parrhesia all that one feels. After the last Consistory (February 2014), in which the family was discussed, a Cardinal wrote to me, saying: what a shame that several Cardinals did not have the courage to say certain things out of respect for the Pope, perhaps believing that the Pope might think something else. This is not good, this is not synodality, because it is necessary to say all that, in the Lord, one feels the need to say: without polite deference, without hesitation. And, at the same time, one must listen with humility and welcome, with an open heart, what your brothers say. Synodality is exercised with these two approaches.”… (3)

“Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace.” …(4)

“The complexity of the issues that arose revealed the need for continued open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions.”… (5)

“Have the courage to teach us that it is easier to build bridges than to raise walls!” …(6)

Pope Francis does nothing other than speak of parrhesia, of synodality, of making not walls but bridges.
- He has said that he would have been concerned and saddened if there had not been animated discussions during the synod.
- He has written in the very document that is the object of these animated discussions, meaning in “Amoris Laetitia,” that there is a “need for continued open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions.”

And now this same pontiff, in spite of the aforementioned words, decides not to receive four cardinals who have humbly and legitimately asked for an audience. . . And they were supposed to have said nothing about this refusal? Cardinal Schönborn really has a strange concept of parrhesia!

But after this baseless complaint on the part of the archbishop of Vienna, we come to the more doctrinal questions.
- “Moral theology stands on two feet: Principles and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality.”
- In ‘Amoris Laetitia’ Francis “often comes back to what he said in 'Evangelii Gaudium', that a little step towards the good done under difficult circumstances can be more valuable than a moral solid life under comfortable circumstances.”
- “The bonum possibil’ in moral theology is an important concept that has been so often neglected. […] What is the possible good that a person or a couple can achieve in difficult circumstances?”

Let’s begin to analyze the first statement. What are the prudential steps for applying the principles of morality to reality?
Prudence, recta ratio agibilium [Aristotle’s definition of prudence as ‘right reason applied to practice'] selects the means in view of the end; it does not select them arbitrarily, but is bound to the truth. As a result, prudence, in order to be such, cannot choose evil means, or intrinsically evil acts, that are necessarily always imprudent. In fact, a prudent act must be good in itself; if it is not good, it is not prudent. And to make an act good - and therefore potentially also prudent - intentions or circumstances are not always sufficient.

This is what the Church infallibly proposes for belief. Saint John Paul II taught this in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor:

“Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts.” (7)

The end never justifies the means, therefore the end never makes an evil action prudent or proportionate to the ultimate end. So if it is true that “moral theology stands on two feet: Principles, and then the prudential steps to apply them to reality,” the cohabitation more uxorio of two persons who are not man and wife will never be a prudent application of the principles to the objective reality.

The second statement praises small steps toward the good, above all those that are taken in a state of difficulty. But those actions which are always evil, regardless of the circumstances, are never a small step toward the good, but a step - more or less grave - toward the bad.

Many small steps toward the good can be taken by persons living in a state of sin (charity, prayer, participation in the life of the Church, etc.), but what brings them closer to the good are certainly not the acts that constitute their state of sin: these are inevitably opposed to the journey toward the good, to the movement of the rational creature toward God, as Saint Thomas Aquinas would say.(9)

The third statement affirms the category of the possible good. This is a wonderful category if it is interpreted correctly (we think of the saying “Be good if you can” of Saint Philip Neri).
- But it is misguided if one forgets the words of Saint Paul: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (10).
- It is misguided if one goes against what has been infallibly defined by the Council of Trent: “But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified.” (11)
- It is misguided if, against the Catholic doctrine of justification, the doors should be opened - albeit in other terms - for invincible concupiscence of a Jansenist flavor, or to making social factors more influential than grace, or even than free will itself.

3. “Amoris Laetitia” is Catholic: Schönborn guarantees it
The website Crux also reports one episode that the cardinal himself recounted:

“Schönborn revealed that when he met the Pope shortly after the presentation of Amoris, Francis thanked him, and asked him if the document was orthodox. ‘I said, Holy Father, it is fully orthodox,’ Schönborn told us he told the pope, adding that a few days later he received from Francis a little note that said: ‘Thank you for that word. That gave me comfort’.”

[Of course, others have pointed out right away that if Bergoglio himself had to ask Schönborn if AL was ‘orthodox’, it means he himself realized or knew it may have crossed the line into heterodoxy, or worse. Maybe he should have consulted theologians from the other side of the ‘ideological’ divide in the Church – not a sycophant like Schoenborn or a fence-straddler like Mueller - before he even published the exhortation.]

This account – even if it indicates the humility of Francis in asking for a judgment from his trusted theologians, does not change the fact that it should be the pope who gives responses to the theologians, to the bishops, to the cardinals - who with the required parrhesia and the encouragement of the pontiff himself express to him their grave preoccupations over the state of the Church. This, in fact, is truly divided and wounded by the contrasting interpretations with which “Amoris Laetitia” has been proposed by various episcopates.

4. Conclusion
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, in a speech before the scholastic committee of the Veritatis Splendor Institute of Bologna (12), identified some of the current challenges to which Christians have to respond: relativism, amoralism, and individualism.

About amoralism, the then-archbishop of Bologna said:“I have spoken of amorality in a precise sense. In the sense that the statement according to which ‘there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong’ (Ap. ex. 'Reconciliatio et Penitentia' 17; EV 9/1123], has no foundation, [according to the present-day mentality].”

Cardinal Caffarra then warned against some pseudo-solutions to the aforementioned problems:

“One first pseudo-solution is the evasion of the true and serious confrontation with these challenges. An evasion that generically assumes the face of fideism, of the rejection of the truthful dimension of the Christian faith. It is a real and proper lack of engagement, not necessarily intentional, in the serious and rigorous confrontation on the properly cultural level. It is evasion in a faith that is solely articulated and not examined, solely affirmed and not considered.”

Evasion “in a faith that is solely articulated and not examined!” How many times do we hear the articulation of the words mercy, conscience, maturity, responsibility, etc., but with the rejection of a true search for the intellectus fidei, of the profound understanding of the reasons for faith. [Yeah, well, we really cannot expect this pope to give us - nor even lead us to - a profound understanding of anything, because he has nothing but boilerplate platitudes that sound meaningless or even absurd, pseudo-erudite phrases that amount to balderdash, and shallow ideas that are usually quite fallacious!]

Schönborn’s argumentations have been situated ante litteram precisely by these considerations of Cardinal Caffarra concerning the substantial rejection (not necessarily intentional) of the “truthful dimension of the Christian faith”:
-"etsi veritas non daretur,” as if the immutable truth about man and the sacraments did not exist;
- “etsi bonum non daretur,” as if there there were not an objective good to be done and an equally objective evil to be avoided, both of which are not determined but are discovered and chosen freely by man in conscience;
- “etsi gratia non daretur,” as if man were forgotten by God in a situation-trap, where there is no other choice but to sin.

(1) For more information see:
(2) Because Cardinal Schönborn’s statements have not been published in their entirety, I refer to what was reported on the website “Crux”, which among the websites consulted was the one that seemed most complete to us. The editors themselves define Crux as "an independent Catholic news site, operated in partnership with the Knights of Columbus.” All of the texts English are taken from this site. Another fairly exhaustive report can be found on "Catholic Ireland."
(3) First general congregation of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, words of the Holy Father Francis to the Synod Fathers, October 6, 2014
(4) Speech of the Holy Father Francis for the conclusion of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 18, 2014.
(5) Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” 2.
(6) In the course of the prayer vigil with young people at the Campus Misericordiae, during the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow.
(7) Encyclical letter “Veritatis Splendor” 115, August 6, 1993, emphasis added.
(8) It is enough to present, by way of example, what is stated in the Declaration from the congregation for the doctrine of the faith on certain questions concerning sexual ethics “Persona Humana” of December 29, 1975: “According to Christian tradition and the Church's teaching, and as right reason also recognizes, the moral order of sexuality involves such high values of human life that every direct violation of this order is objectively serious.”
(9) "De motu rationalis creaturae in Deum": Summa theologiae, Iª q. 2 pr.
(10) 1 Cor 10:13.
(11) Decree on justification of January 13, 1547, Sessio VI, cap. 11 (DS/36 1536).
(12) "Il cristiano e le sfide attuali", Meeting of the Scholarly Committe of the "Veritatis Splendor" Institute, June 3 2005.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/28/2017 5:19 AM]
7/27/2017 4:14 AM
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What a great title to this article and a very appropriate caption to the above!

Chaplains to the Zeitgeist
July 24, 2017

Recently, La Civilta Cattolica ran an article by that journal’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, and by Marcelo Figueroa, the Argentinian Presbyterian minister chosen by Pope Francis to be the editor of the Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which subsequently republished the article.

Since articles in La Civilta Cattolica are vetted by the Vatican secretary of state, since L’Osservatore Romano is the Vatican’s own newspaper, and especially since both Spadaro and Figueroa are reputed to be close to Pope Francis, this article has garnered enormous attention in Catholic circles.

Also noteworthy is the article’s thesis: a contrast between what it terms “Pope Franciss’ geopolitics” and an “ecumenism of hate,” the authors’ term for the alliance between American Evangelical Protestants and Catholics, who have been drawn together “around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.”

The first point to note, of course, is that the “geopolitics” of a particular pope are not matters of faith and morals, and the faithful are free to disagree with them. The authors concede as much when they use their essay to attack, of all things, the Holy Roman Empire, the entity created when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne on Christmas Day in 800 and whose leader was prayed for by name in the Easter Exsultet for centuries.

No Catholic need have any more deference to what Spadaro and Figueroa claim, accurately or not, to be Pope Francis’s political vision than Spadaro and Figueroa show to the political vision of the many popes who supported the ideal of Catholic monarchy for centuries, or indeed to the political vision of more recent pontiffs who had a warmer appreciation of political parties opposed to legalized abortion and homosexual marriage than Spadaro and Figueroa do.

Indeed, it is odd that Spadaro and Figueroa single out for criticism, of all the political movements in the world, one centered on agreement on Catholic teaching pertaining to matters of faith and morals.
- American Evangelicals were not behind the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.” (CCC, Section 2273).
- American Evangelicals did not lobby to have St. John Paul II declare, in Evangelium Vitae, that “direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being…. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”
- Nor were American Evangelicals the impetus behind Pope Francis’s declaration, in Amoris Laetitia, that “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

Not only does the “ecumenical convergence” between Evangelicals and Catholics center on matters of clear Catholic teaching, but, for many Evangelicals, this “convergence” represents a conversion. When Roe v Wade was decided, many Evangelicals were indifferent to the prospect of legalized abortion or even somewhat supportive. It was the Catholic Church that was the center of opposition to legalized abortion in America in 1973. One would think that this conversion would be a cause for joy in Catholic publications, but for Spadaro and Figueroa it represents instead an “ecumenism of hate.”

There are, of course, legitimate criticisms to be made of both American Evangelicals and American pro-lifers.
- Many American Evangelicals subscribe to a theological anti-Catholicism, and they actively seek to convert Catholics to Protestantism. These efforts are particularly pronounced in Latin America, where the region’s historic shortage of priests has left many Catholics poorly catechized and easily persuaded by Protestant arguments they have never been taught to counter.
- And many Republicans have been quite cynical in their professed opposition to Roe v Wade, which remained the law of the land even after professed pro-life Republicans had appointed a majority on the Supreme Court.

But, despite this political failure, the American pro-life movement has at least succeeded in keeping abortion alive as a moral issue. No matter how cynically many Republican politicians treat abortion, it is hard to say that the pro-abortion position has become dominant in America when a major political party claims to take the opposite position, its presidents profess to support the opposite position, and at least some of the justices on the Supreme Court continue to dissent from the decision that is the focus of the opposition.

Indeed, no one who pays any attention to American life can fail to notice that a substantial portion of the population does not accept the morality of abortion. The same cannot be said for many other Western countries whose politics Spadaro and Figueroa do not criticize.

Needless to say, these are not the criticisms Spadaro and Figueroa offer of the “ecumenism of hate.” Instead, they offer a potpourri of contemporary leftist tropes.
- They assert that those whose politics they disagree with are motivated by “hate.”
- They suggest that opposition to the legalization of abortion and gay marriage represents “the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state” and a “direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state,” the same positions advanced by secularists for decades.
- They attack American Evangelicals for being “composed mainly of whites from the deep American South,” sounding remarkably like Hillary Clinton bemoaning the “basket of deplorables.”
- They fret about “Islamophobia,” something that also worries The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel, but something that probably did not bother St. Pius V, who prayed for the victory of the Christian fleet he was instrumental in assembling at Lepanto, the date of which is marked on the Church’s calendar by the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
- They worry about man-made global warming, which has become a matter of faith for the secular left but whose scientific basis is still being disputed in peer-reviewed scientific articles, including recent papers by Nikolov and Zeller and Wallace, D’Aleo, and Idso.
- They claim an affiliation with the “ecumenism of hate” for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and of course Donald Trump, but they do not offer any criticism at all of any leftist politician, political coalition, or political figure.

Indeed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the main purpose of their essay is to bring about an alliance between the Church and the left, an alliance made difficult not just by Catholic teachings on abortion and marriage but by those Catholics whose votes are determined by those teachings.

They also come very close to suggesting that any opposition to non-Western immigration to the West is illegitimate, attacking members of the “ecumenism of hate” for being worried about “the migrants and the Muslims” and attacking moves to “build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire.”

The Church, however, has always taught that immigration is a prudential matter, with Pope Francis telling the Spanish newspaper El Pais that “each country has a right to control its borders, who enters and who leaves, and countries that are in danger —of terrorism or the like — have more right to control them.” [He did? It is a statement belied by everything else he has said and done about this issue!]

Similarly, the statement issued by Benedict XVI on immigration in 2010 indicated that states have the right to regulate migration and defend their frontiers, and also recognized the importance of respecting a country’s laws and its national identity.

Spadaro and Figueroa completely ignore the weighty reasons supporting calls for immigration restriction in both America and Europe, preferring to wail about a “narrative of fear” instead.
- But America has admitted tens of millions of immigrants in recent decades, a massive influx that has depressed wages and caused great social disruption in many American communities.
- In Europe, an influx of Islamic immigrants has resulted in numerous instances of terrorism and mass murder.
- And future immigration into Europe has the potential to dramatically, and permanently, alter the continent that has been the center of the Church for centuries.

At this writing, for example, many thousands of immigrants from the Mideast and Africa are hoping to be admitted into Italy. If everyone in the Mideast and Africa who wanted to come to Europe actually did, that number would be many millions.

Given the very low birthrates in Italy and the very high birthrates in Africa and parts of the Mideast, it is easy to imagine unfettered immigration producing an Italy where Italians were outnumbered in their own country. At some point, such an Italy would be what Metternich quipped it was, merely a geographic expression.

It is not clear, though, that Spadaro and Figueroa would be bothered by such a radically transformed Europe. They write that “the Christian roots of a people are never to be understood in an ethnic way.”
- So much for Belloc’s “The Faith is Europe, and Europe is the Faith.” - So much for Ireland being “the Land of Saints and Scholars,” so much for France being “the Eldest Daughter of the Church,”
- So much for Croatia being the “Antemurale Christianitatis,” a title bestowed by Leo X.
- So much, too, for this passage from Norman Davies’s great history of Poland, “God’s Playground,” of which I have always been particularly fond:

“The Church’s path, therefore, is strewn with ambiguities. Sometimes, no doubt, the Church has failed the Nation. Sometimes, no doubt, it has closed its eyes to social ills and to political injustices. Sometimes, no doubt, it has proved itself to be unworthy of the Faith. But of the central fact, that the Catholic Church embodies the most ancient and the most exalted ideals of traditional Polish life across the centuries, there can be no doubt whatsoever.”

Spadaro and Figueroa also claim that the “ecumenism of hate” employs a “Manichean language that divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil.” And this tendency does exist in American politics, as shown by George W. Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. But it is by no means confined to the Right, as shown by Hillary Clinton’s attack on “the basket of deplorables” and the continuing media assaults on Donald Trump and his supporters.

Indeed, despite Spadaro and Figueroa’s invocation of Pope Francis’s “ecumenism … of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges,” they seem remarkably uninterested in building bridges to anyone on their right, or even of trying to understand them.

In contrast to the American evangelicals and Catholics who incur the scorn of the powers that be by refusing to accept gay marriage and abortion, this, then, is the vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa: a Christianity where the highest expression of Christian values is for Christian nations to cease to be Christian, both in terms of the laws they enact and the composition of their populations, with endless dialogue and bridge building for those on the left and scorn and condemnation for those on the right.

In his great eulogy for the courageous Cardinal Meisner, Benedict XVI spoke of the need for pastors who resist the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist. The vision presented by Spadaro and Figueroa does not challenge the dictatorship of the Zeitgeist in any significant respect. Indeed, they seem all too willing to serve as chaplains to the spirit of the age.

Matthew Schmitz, literary editor of FIRST THINGS, has written a few insightful pieces off the beaten track since his landmark article last year describing how and why he finally saw the light about Jorge Bergoglio. In this contribution toe the UK Catholic Herald's print edition of July 28, 2017, he takes on the Spadaro-Figueroa tract on Bergoglian geopolitics and whatnot...

Why the Vatican is doing battle
with American culture

The pope's advisers have taken aim at US Christianity.
Here's why this matters...

by Matthew Schmitz
posted Thursday, 27 Jul 2017

In 1866, when Pope Pius IX’s secretary of state learned that the Habsburgs had lost the Battle of Sadowa, he exclaimed “Casca il mondo!” – the world is collapsing. “Good God,” he cried out as he struck his face, “what is to become of us?”

For decades, the popes had positioned themselves as the spiritual support of European powers challenged by revolution. The defeat of the Habsburgs cast the Church’s very survival into doubt.

Today, threats as varied as Corbyn, Putin, ISIS and Trump have left the leaders of the liberal order – based on open borders, free trade and secular pluralism – feeling embattled.

On the night of Donald Trump’s election, Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the US, tweeted, “After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes.” Florian Philippot, the impish adviser to Marine Le Pen, retorted: “Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built.”

[But]Once again, the pontiff was put forward as the bulwark of teetering powers. Fr Antonio Spadaro, a close adviser to Pope Francis, tweeted, “Who’s the world’s moral leader in this moment? Who leads the way? A voice emerges and continues to emerge.”

The men surrounding Francis see him as an indispensable support of a uniquely just political system. In a series of speeches on Europe, Francis has embraced that role, arguing that with the formation of the European Union, Europe finally “found its true self”. Europe had always had “a dynamic and multicultural identity”, but only since World War II has that identity been embodied in societies “free of ideological conflicts, with equal room for the native and the immigrant, for believers and non-believers”.Francis stresses diversity over identity, dialogue over agreement. (“If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue.”)

For all else the men share, this is a view opposed to that of Benedict XVI, who called on Europeans to “embrace our own heritage of the sacred” and warned that “multiculturalism, which is so passionately promoted, can sometimes amount to an abandonment and denial, a flight from one’s own things”.

Benedict XVI saw the Church and the liberal order standing in a deeply ambivalent relationship. If Francis is more optimistic that they can partner, it is perhaps because he desires both a liberal Church and a liberal politics – each ratifying the other in a kind of inverted integralism.

Integralism was the system in which church and state collaborated to secure man’s peace on this world and salvation in the next. Joseph de Maistre defended it with a formula binding pope to king: “No public morals nor national character without religion, no European religion without Christianity, no true Christianity without Catholicism, no Catholicism without the Pope, no Pope without the supremacy that belongs to him.” Essential to this arrangement was the idea that the state must be subordinate to the Church.

Today a new kind of integralism operates, in which the Church is subordinated to the state as the two conspire to uphold liberal values. If one were to update de Maistre’s syllogism, it would go something like: No cheap consumer goods or avoidance of genocide without liberalism, no liberalism without true Christianity, no true Christianity without an undogmatic Church, no undogmatic Church without a liberalising Pope, no liberalising Pope without accountability to the age and freedom from tradition.

It is in this context that one must understand the Vatican’s recent sally against America in the unofficial papal organ La Civiltà Cattolica. Written by Fr Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa, another papal confidant, the article is not merely an expression of anti-American spite or an attack on ecclesial enemies. It is an attempt to defend the liberal order against what is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an existential threat.

Spadaro and Figueroa believe that American Catholics and Evangelicals resemble ISIS, in that they have formed a “cult of the apocalypse” in which the “community of believers (faith) becomes a community of combatants (fight)”. Underlying this cult of the apocalypse is a “political Manichaeism”, a desire to identify “what is good and what is bad”, which ultimately “divides reality between absolute Good and absolute Evil”. Spadaro and Figueroa single out for censure a fringe website called Church Militant – perhaps less for its influence (which is minor) than for its martial name.

If an indigenous tribesman interrupted in his affairs by a Columbus or Pizarro had read the accounts those explorers sent home, he would have marvelled as I did while reading this document. Error and exaggeration bloom, as the authors survey an unfamiliar landscape. American deserts and wastes were once expected to disclose glittering El Dorados; today, obscure websites and forgotten thinkers are accorded capital significance. A minor stream of thought is plumbed as though it were the Northwest Passage; the Mississippi is disregarded. A position is attacked that no man defends, and the resulting massacre is set down as a famous victory. The authors depict themselves as heralds of the Prince of Peace, and Americans as savages painted with blood.

Yet for all their inaccuracies, Spadaro Figueroa have hit on something real. Americans are indeed more indulgent of both public religion and public violence than are their European counterparts. From prayer on the 50-yard line to stand-your-ground laws, from the First Amendment to the Second, Americans never seem to walk far from heaven or hell.

Spadaro probably learned this from the writer and Catholic apologist Flannery O’Connor, on whom he wrote his thesis, but the man who has thought most deeply about Europe’s and America’s differing approaches to religion and violence is the French political scientist Pierre Manent. “For Europeans the abolition of the death penalty constitutes the most eloquent expression, the one dearest to their hearts, of their identity and their distinctive values,” he writes. “Europeans find the American retention of capital punishment almost incomprehensible.”

It is no coincidence that America is more comfortable with both religion and violence – in some strange way, the two go hand in hand. Only if public moral judgments are potentially legitimate can public violence be justified, or dogmatic distinctions upheld. Traditionally, the state “could inflict the death of the body, as the church ruled over and for souls and therefore could inflict the death of the soul.”

Now Europe’s leaders have come to doubt the legitimacy of such judgments, and so, Manent explains, along with the church, “the secular state is itself becoming secularised”. No authority has the right to say who is worthy of receiving communion and who is not, who may live and who must die.

Americans are less confident that they can dispense with such judgments. “Since the risk of violent death at the hands of others never completely disappears, the right to self-defence cannot completely disappear” – thus capital punishment and the Second Amendment. Spadaro and Figueroa decry this as a barbaric version of the old integralism. For Manent, it is an acknowledgment of inevitable fact.

America’s savagery is all the more baffling to Europeans because the US is richer and less haunted by the past than are the nations of Europe. At once more advanced and more primitive, America is an unsettling sign that no amount of progress will reverse the effects of the Fall. [Which is the hubristic goal (i.e., to reverse the effects of the Fall! as if it were in the power of man to do that) of all post-Lucifer creatures who think themselves somehow better than God and his teachings - vide the authors and advocates of Amoris laetitia, to cite the best current example - which they claim do not apply to a human society that is 'drastically different' from what it was in Biblical times to which all Revelation dates. But the nature of fallen man has not changed at all - it has simply become more indulged by the Zeitgeist, and therefore, more prone to evil.]

Spadaro and Figueroa hope to overcome conflict and sorrow. They dream of “inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges”, of “working against ‘walls’ and any kind of ‘war of religion’”. They join Francis in refusing to say “who is right and who is wrong”, since “at the root of conflicts there is always a fight for power”.

When such sweet hopes are held out in an essay full of vehement rhetoric and stark dualisms, the chance of their realisation seems dim indeed. Certainly there is much to criticise in America today. But are Americans aberrant for believing that violence and religion must touch on politics – or are Europeans so, for thinking they need not?

Pope Francis and his advisers believe the Church must defend the system of open borders and celebratory diversity exemplified by liberal Europe. There are many things in that settlement a Catholic should value, but when hatred of borders extends to a refusal to fence the altar, and dislike of division overwhelms dogmatic distinctions, the Church begins to seem as imperilled as the world to which it clings.

Nonetheless, fears that the Church will fall with a collapsing world are mistaken. One day, the order championed by Francis, like the one blessed by Pius, will give way. The body of Christ, however wracked by conflict, will remain. [May it be so!]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/29/2017 6:12 AM]
7/28/2017 6:14 AM
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'The Drunkenness of Noah', Bellini, 1551. His sons cover up his nakedness to save him from embarrassment.

I'm glad someone picked up on a story from L'Osservatore Romano a few days back which was headlined by one of the news aggregators to the effect that "Vatican sees priests as main obstacle to pope's teaching", which if accurate, would imply that the article does indeed acknowledge this pope's 'teaching' is not being picked up and disseminated as it should be within the Church herself by those who have the duty to do so. Meaning priests and bishops. It's worthy of a big AHA! moment, and one wonders what kind of evidence the writers had to make such an acknowledgment, even if it was simply anecdotal as it would have to be since no one has brought up any scientifically sampled surveys on the issue...

But it does puzzle me that Fr. Pilon's title for this essay is "A New – and Encouraging – Form of Collegiality?" when he is talking about what he seems to think is the 'silent majority' of the world's priests who do not agree with many things this pope teaches but who simply choose not to speak up. But it is not 'collegiality' when majority of priests and bishops independently decide not to speak up against the pope when they disagree with him - because the notion of 'collegiality' as defined by Vatican II and as evoked here by Fr. Pilon means 'an agreement or consensus among bishops and priests together with the pope", not just among themselves.

In everyday terms, one might simply call such an agreement or consensus against the pope a 'silent mutiny'. Which does not mean anything, of course, unless the mutinous priests and bishops demonstrate their fidelity to the faith by continuing continue to preach and practice the deposit of faith as orthodox Catholics have recognized it to be until March 13, 2013 - and the depredations into that deposit by a man elected to lead the Church of Christ, but instead has been wreckovating it into the church of Bergoglio.

Is there a new - and encouraging -
consensus among priests against
the dicta of this pope?

by Fr. Mark A. Pilon

A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano by an Italian priest who teaches biblical theology is yet another example of the way the present papacy seems to look at priests and bishops who do not join in lockstep with the pope. I’ve never heard of this priest, Giulio Cirignano, but, evidently, he has some standing with the present regime.

The good father is clearly echoing an attitude that is prominent among the closest members of the papal entourage when he says: “The clergy is holding the people back, who instead should be accompanied in this extraordinary moment. . . .The main obstacle . . . is constituted . . . by the attitude of a good part of the clergy, at levels high and low . . . an attitude, at times, of closure if not hostility.”

This has become a frequent refrain in the pope’s own comments, i.e., that many clergy are rigid, closed, and hostile when it comes to his innovative teaching and practice. In my lifetime, I’ve never witnessed this kind of hostility coming from the papal office toward those who are meant to be co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord.

I try to imagine how such badgering of the clergy would have been looked at if it were a so-called “conservative” pope doing this. Suppose Pope John Paul II had been using this kind of language toward priests who were resisting his teaching. That great pope was anything but naïve, and he understood well that many clergy, including some bishops and cardinals, were resistant to the constant teaching of the church on matters like contraception, women priests, and divorce and remarriage. Yet never – to my knowledge – did he demean clergy who disagreed with him.

Or I try to imagine what would have been the response of the world’s press, secular and Catholic, if it had become known, say, that John Paul II had refused an audience to a group of cardinals who rejected his teaching on communion for the divorced and remarried in Familiaris Consortio. Imagine how outraged the secular and liberal Catholic world would have been had that pope treated his own privileged counselors in such a manner.

And yet Pope Francis seems to be the “Teflon” pope. No matter what he says or does in relation to the clergy and cardinals of the world, it doesn’t seem to affect his image as the compassionate, merciful, open pope. [As John Allen would say, the image is the narrative, and the narrative is still of a pluperfect pope who could possibly do no wrong, in the eyes of secular and liberal anti-Catholics.]

Maybe this is all we can expect in a world where truth matters little compared with images. But there is something interesting in this article that I haven’t seen commented on. This particular article confirmed for me, in a backhanded sort of way, some things about the reception of the more controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia, and how it all relates to the notion of collegiality laid down in Vatican II.

This Italian priest and the editors of the pope’s own newspaper obviously felt it quite necessary, or at least opportune, to browbeat clergy and bishops once again for their failure to get in line with the pope. And why? Perhaps it seemed urgent because this resistance was in fact not minor, but it involved a “good part of the clergy, at levels high and low.”

Evidently, the urgency had to do with the fact that this resistance was quite widespread, and someone, somewhere hoped that a clever analysis by a theologian might reverse that trend.

The fact that this resistance is the real story struck me some time ago. [Depends how real and widespread such 'resistance' is.] Sure, you can count on the usual suspects like the German hierarchy, or the bishops from the pope’s own country, or from a tiny island diocese.

But the fact remains that the vast, vast majority of local Church hierarchies around the world are remaining silent, and a good number of individual bishops are openly confirming their flock in the traditional practice of the Church regarding communion for the divorced and remarried. [I hope this is at least 50 percent right in reality. Isn't it rather rash of Fr. Pilon to state this as a fact absent any real worldwide survey???]

This silence is itself the big story. It bespeaks the urgency of the matter. The Pope Francis contingent in the Church universal expected that the national hierarchies would fall in line quite easily. Yet this expectation is itself somewhat surprising, given the open resistance at the two synods to any such innovative practices as Communion for the divorced and remarried who had not received annulments.

Only the manipulations of the Synod and its results made it possible for these innovations to make their way into the pope’s exhortation. But the manipulators obviously thought that blind obedience would follow once the pope had spoken

It didn’t. And what this grand silence really bespeaks, therefore, is collegiality in the true sense of that term. It seems the bishops of the world have great respect for the papal office and are hesitant to make any public display of disagreement that might embarrass the pope and undermine his office. A friend told me it was sort of like the sons of Noah covering the nakedness of their drunken father so that he would not be embarrassed. [But that's not true collegiality - when they actually disagree but only choose not to say so publicly, even when it has to do with one of Christ's most explicit teachings (when he directly confronted the problems of marriage, divorce and adultery - which were no different in Palestinian society 2000 years ago than they are today in the permissive era of a presumptuous Christ-substituting pope!)][/DIM]

Nonetheless, it’s simply a fact that the vast majority of bishops have not signed on to the interpretation of the Germans, the Argentineans, or the Maltese bishops. Nor have they given a rousing support to the “official” interpretation of Vienna’s Cardinal Schönborn. [True, insofar as there has not been a universal rush by priests and bishops to proclaim to the world through the media exactly where they stand on AL! In which the 'saving Noah from embarrassment' hypothesis would appear to be determinative!]

One of the ecclesiological purposes for calling Vatican II was to establish a certain re-balancing of the teaching on papal primacy in Vatican I. This balancing was, in fact, the teaching on collegiality, the close official relationship of all the bishops of the world to the pope, and the importance of collegiality in the exercise of the papal prerogatives.

The way this collegiality is exercised is complex. For instance, synods are a certain exercise of collegiality, but they do not exhaust the ways in which collegiality can take place.

We’ve now learned that one exercise of collegiality, perhaps not anticipated at that Council, may well occur through silence in the face of a possible case of papal overreach.
[OK, Fr. Mark, what we have then is 'a collegiality of silence to save this pope from embarrassment' but cui bono???]

Fr. Pilon is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, with a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Santa Croce University in Rome. He is a former Chair of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary, and a retired and visiting professor at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

P.S. It turns out Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture had an earlier reaction...

L’Osservatore Romano’s latest gambit:
Preferring culture to truth?

[Is this not SOP for preogressivist 'Catholics'?]

By Jeff Mirus
July 24, 2017

To avoid choking, one can only smile at the latest essay in L’Osservatore Romano which claims that Pope Francis’s plan for renewal is accepted by the “people” but resisted by “priests and bishops”.

Typical of Vatican periodicals during this pontificate, the article is long on cultural rhetoric and short on moral and doctrinal distinctions. Once again we see the Holy Spirit portrayed as the spirit of renewal at the expense of ceasing to be the spirit of truth.

The reader can hardly be surprised that the most recent example, an article by the Florentine theologian Giulio Cirignano, fails to identify particular issues on which anyone has advanced either a right or a wrong position. Instead, his approach is all smoke and mirrors.

Entitled “The Conversion Asked by Pope Francis: Habit is not Fidelity”, the article rests on two claims offered without the slightest evidence:

“Most of the faithful have understood, despite everything, the favorable moment, the kairos, which the Lord is giving to his community. For the most part, they’re celebrating.”

“The clergy is holding the people back, who instead should be accompanied in this extraordinary moment…. The main obstacle…is constituted…by the attitude of a good part of the clergy, at levels high and low…an attitude, at times, of closure if not hostility.”

In other words, Cirignano asserts that such pastors seek to hold the people back “behind an old horizon, the horizon of habitual practices, of language out of fashion, of repetitive thinking without vitality.”

Why smile, then? Only because such statements will be affirmed only by partisans; they can never pass for clarity of thought. The author says absolutely nothing substantive. He praises and denounces entirely without evidence. We have listened to such drivel for years, always coming from those who desire status in a culture that has first abandoned the faith and then driven it away. Their sycophantic mantra amounts to nothing more than this: “Get with it! The future is now! The answer is blowing in the wind! It’s 2017! Oh, and by the way, resistance is futile.”

[Mirus makes me realize I am not skeptical enough! Far from setting forth claims of implied widespread hostility to the Bergoglian Novus Ordo or New Order (generic, not referring to the Montinian liturgy) that is seemingly in command today, the writer (and OR) are instead simply magnifying and multiplying the literal 'straw men' Bergoglio sets up in his daily homilettes and other pontifications and trying to knock them down - or even burn them up! These strawmen constitute the permanent enemy (or legion of devils) that every ideological front must have to justify itself. Except, of course, that strawmen are always obviously strawmen, as fundamentally fictitious, but tactically and strategically crucial to those who set them up because they are 'easy to knock down'. It's all a game to them!]

Whenever people speak or write in this way it is because they wish to justify some position or course of action which is likely to meet greater resistance if it is clearly articulated.

For Catholics, it is always at least potentially dangerous to say flatly: “The Church is wrong in teaching that behavior X is always immoral or that doctrine Y is always true.” Instead, Catholics who sell their souls to the dominant culture undermine Catholic beliefs by accusing those who wish to clarify them of “repetitive thinking without vitality.”

Their rule is simple: Never directly contradict what the Church teaches. Instead, insist on openness while attacking the character of those who seek clarity.

As a prime example, consider the Cardinals who asked to speak with Pope Francis about several serious questions which seemed to be blurred in the text of Amoris Laetitia. The Pope refused even to grant them an audience.

Instead, in various interviews he denounced persons who raise such issues as “rigid”, as incapable of understanding the good he is trying to do — as being so stupid, apparently, that they have missed the whole point.

Unsurprisingly, those who seek preferment, including the most prominent contributors to Vatican publications today, take exactly the same line.

Note that such material is always published not as a rigorous argument but as a kind of celebration of the new order — a recognition, perhaps, of “the favorable moment…the Lord is giving to his community.” ['Favorable moment' for them, not for the one true Church of Christ.]

For this reason, the point of contention is never clearly identified with Church teaching. Instead, it is identified with the cramped and backward mentalities of those who, by defending the Faith, somehow prove that they do not want it to flourish. What, after all, is the first reason given for the sad failure of so many priests and bishops to appreciate the vision of Pope Francis? They have attained, wrote Cirignano, only a “modest cultural level”.

Truly, we should not be smiling after all. We should be laughing out loud.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/28/2017 6:33 PM]
7/29/2017 6:06 AM
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July 28, 2017

Goodnight and goodbye, sweet Charlie!
The angels have borne you off to heaven, from where, in the bosom of God,
you will watch over the parents you left behind.

Probably the most poignant photograph I have seen in years! The face, those eyes, speak volumes. If I had not known the epic
saga that constituted his all-too-brief life, I would not have thought this was the photograph of an irreparably brain-damaged baby.


Italian 'Grande Dame of Abortion'
and Bergoglio heroine Emma Bonino
speaks in an Italian church; protesting
Catholics were silenced and ejected

by Edward Pentin
on his blog at
July 28, 2017

In the face of strong opposition, one of Italy’s most notorious pro-abortionists spoke in a Catholic church on Wednesday while pro-life Catholics were locked out, silenced or ejected.

Emma Bonino addressed the issue of immigration at the July 26 event, on the feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim, at the church of San Defendente in San Rocco di Cossato in the diocese of Biella, northern Italy.

The church had been made available to her by the parish priest, Father Mario Marchiori, despite many protests by Catholics and a sit-in aimed at blocking the meeting. The event was sponsored by a local branch of Caritas Italiana, the Church’s aid and humanitarian organization.

Bonino, who supports an open-door policy for migrants, used her talk to promote the overturning of 2002 legislation that tightened Italy’s immigration laws. More than 500,000 migrants have entered Italy in the past three years, putting strain on local services and leading to heated disputes about how many refugees the country should accept.

An Italian radical leftist and human rights activist, Bonino served as Italy’s Foreign Affairs minister from 2013 to 2014. She had an illegal abortion at the age of 27 and then worked with the Information Centre on Sterilization and Abortion which boasted of performing over 10,000 abortions carried out using a homemade device operated by a bicycle pump.

Along with the late Radical Party member Marco Pannella, Bonino has long campaigned for civil rights and individual liberty, and fought for the legalisation of abortion and drugs as well as sexual and religious freedoms.

In 2016, Pope Francis praised Bonino as one of Italy’s “forgotten greats” for her work in helping refugees in Africa, saying in an interview that he recognized she thinks differently from the Church. “[I say] patience. You have to look at people, what they do,” he said. [And performing 10,000 abortions is what she did! Is this something this pope can overlook just because the woman preaches the same irrational immigration policy that he does? In the annals of this papacy, his defense of Bonino stands as a far more serious outrage than his off-the-cuff 'Who am I to judge?' even when taken in the context he said it (i.e., in defense of his appointment of Mons. Ricca to be the 'spiritual director' of the IOR!]

At Wednesday’s meeting, Bonino, who has fought against conscientious objection rights, told the audience she had agreed to speak in the church “because I come from a practicing Catholic family, but one that taught me to respect the opinion of others.”

She then claimed the world is overpopulated because of “poverty in Africa, where they are having children because they are poor” while Italy is facing “demographic decline” (Bonino and others like her believe sterilizing women and providing contraception is the answer).

Her comment prompted entrepreneur and pro-life activist Alberto Cerutti to interrupt her talk. “I merely said out loud that, with her abortion choices, she is among those responsible for the population decline,” he told Intelligonews, “at which point I was forcibly escorted out of the church.”

Cerutti said afterwards he was incensed that, despite the earlier protests, the meeting went ahead and was used to promote such “propaganda” from the Italian Radical party. He said what happened was “not a war between Catholics, but a clash between believers and secularists” which should “make us think.”

Two other Catholics, Leandro Aletti, a gynaecologist, and Giorgio Celsi of “Ora et labora,” a pro-life group, also spoke out during the event, but their protestations were drowned out by boos and whistles. Present in the audience were several other well known radicals such as Silvio Viale who led the legalization of the abortion pill RU486.

Police meanwhile questioned the group of protesters who had been praying the Rosary outside the church, and asked to see their identification and documents. Aletti said some of the police sided with the protestors.

The organizers reportedly kept the church doors tightly closed throughout the talk so that the sound of prayer would not enter the place of worship.

According to the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Aletti told Bonino that it was “absurd” to hear her arguments on immigration “from someone who does not accept our children.”

Bonino replied that they were old arguments that didn’t “scare” her. “I remain convinced of individual freedom, no one can tell you what to do, everyone chooses for themselves,” she said.

She then went on to say “we have no choice” but to regularize illegal immigrants “unless we want to drown them all in the Mediterranean.” [She recoils at undocumented intending immigrants drowning in the Mediterranean - under the circumstances, unfortunately, they can easily drown because of unsafe, overcrowded boats, but no one drowned them - but not that she was responsible for more than 10,000 embryo/fetal murders???? If Italy's abortionists whom she has led for decades had not been killing all those Italian babies in the womb, perhaps Italy would not have the demographic deficit it has.]

The head of the local Caritas office, Father Giovanni Perini, spoke in support of Bonino at the meeting, saying “we have no right to make life difficult for others” and accused anyone concerned about immigration of fuelling human trafficking, crime and exploitation. [Hey! Who is responsible for human trafficking, crime and exploitation in all this? The average European who opposes indiscriminate immigration for all the practical reasons it ought not to be allowed - and which he probably feels directly in a lesser quality of life because his government must stretch its resources to take care of illegal aliens - has enough daily problems of his own to face without having to be accused by bleeding-heart nincompoops of 'fuelling' major crimes!] He made no mention of the six million Italian children killed since abortion was legalized in the country in 1978.

Father Marchiori, meanwhile, has become well known for such controversy (he twice invited pro-euthanasia campaigner Beppino Englaro to speak), but his bishop, Mons. Gabriele Mana, remained silent about the event. Despite campaigners making their concerns known to him, and the disclosure that the bishop did not agree with his priest’s actions, he said he did not want to take sides. He also reportedly made no effort to try to dissuade Caritas from sponsoring the event. [Well, Marchiori and Mana and the lcoal Caritas are certainly all typical of the CINOs who, like their lord and master, are really now out-and-out Bergoglians!]

The Register contacted the bishops’ office for comment but no one was available to take our call.

Despite the depth of the controversy, it attracted little attention in Italy. For Italian journalist and bioethics expert Benedetta Frigerio, this is because supposedly intellectual civil, political and Church leaders don’t understand the situation which is visible to “simple, Christian people.”

The Church’s hierarchy is “very confused,” she said; people follow such leaders and become “ideological and confused themselves.” Others, she said, “feel lost, they don’t have a leader, and so they don’t take action and don’t know how to act.” Those who do fight, she added, are a small group, spread all over the country and so have minimal effect.

She believes the faithful and Church leaders are particularly confused on the issue of immigration, also during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, in that they believe all migrants must be welcomed. [Benedict XVI certainly never said that! Besides, in his time, the problem had not ballooned to what it is today because of Bergoglio's Lampedusa stunt very early in his pontificate.]

Frigerio, who writes for La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, told the Register July 28 it was a scandal that those Catholics firmly opposed to Bonino are equated with Islamist terrorist groups and accused of threatening peaceful coexistence. For a Catholic to defend Bonino who is so opposed to the Church, she said, is “really a disgrace". [Well, tell that to your pope who considers Bonino "one of Italy's contemporary greats" despite her record on abortion!]

Such actions, she added, go “against the faith, against Jesus Christ. We’re not able to fight for Him anymore. We’re not able to take on our shoulders the hatred of our enemies but told to prefer to be at ‘peace,’ to think we are good, that we are loved for our ego, but not able to suffer [for our faith] anymore.”

Aletti recalled the words of Bl. Paul VI who said in 1977 that such non-Catholic thought within the Church will “become the strongest [force]. But it will never represent the Church's thinking. A small flock must remain, no matter how small it is.”

Giovanni Ceroni, president of Italy’s Movement for Life in Biella, told La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana that the ultimate weapon in these circumstances is “the prayer of reparation and adoration of God.”

“In our prayers we remember Bonino and the many who were present, so blinded by ideology, but especially that priest [who] gives so much scandal to the faithful.”

“It’s possible to convert to Jesus,” he said, “by following the one True, Holy Church.” [Which is definitely not the church of Bergoglio, not the church this pope is imposing willynilly on the world's 1.2 billion Catholics!]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/30/2017 2:29 AM]
7/29/2017 6:36 PM
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With all due respect to the RORATE CAELI blogsite, the above post simply does not make sense. A rumor is a rumor. Until it is confirmed or not, no one can say whether the content of the rumor is true or untrue. That the rumor has been going round about SP is true, as the Rorate post itself reports. Just as rumors had been going round about the pope having named a commission to study some possible Bergoglian action on Humanae Vitae (HV).

The existence of the commission was denied to high heavens by the pope's closest associates until a few days ago, when the person he named to head the commission (whose members had been named - correctly, it turns out - in earlier reports on the 'rumor' by persons as well-informed and well-connected as Prof. Roberto De Mattei) disclosed in an interview with Vatican Radio that his group had indeed been asked to study the Vatican Archives for everything that had to do with the genesis, writing and final content of the anti-artificial contraception encyclical by Paul VI.

Of course, that is not the same as studying possible changes to the encyclical that could be 'legislated' by one of his successors (I have yet to check out whether a papal encyclical can be changed or abrogated by another pope - it seems to me that 'unwanted' encyclicals are simply ignored, as Bergoglio has ignored Veritatis splendor altogether, or DOMINUS IESUS, which although not an encyclical was a document issued with the full approval of John Paul II specifically for the Jubilee Year that marked 2,000 years of Christianity.)

But why would the current research on HV be undertaken other, than to find out any possible chinks that could be unearthed to show that somehow, its promulgation was defective, and that therefore, it behooves this pope to make the necessary correcti0n(s)? Charitably, of course, one could suppose Bergoglio's intention is so that he can then issue a papal proclamation that "HV remains the Church's final word on artificial contraception, so please, Catholics of the world - including those closest and dearest to me - stop impugning a pope I recently beatified!"

Stete Skojec at 1Peter5 also immediately rebutted John-Henry Westen's article for LIFESITE NEWS about the supposed rumors on SP. Not to say outright as RC would later that 'These rumors are not true', only to try to prove how Westen's report could not possibly be true. None of which matters, because in this pontificate, what matters in practice is only what Bergoglio wants, says and does.

All I know is that with this pope, one can never be certain what he won't do or will do, so the prudent thing is to wait and see. I say this, even knowing that he has never yet failed to live up to what I would call a default assumption by those like me who continue to be appalled by his hubristic derring-do - namely, you can always count on him to do the anti-Catholic thing. (In fact, a good label for the Bergoglio papacy would be 'The anti-Catholic thing', a take-off on the name of the excellent blogsite by Robert Royal and company.)

Realistically, what can he do about Summorum Pontificum? At the very least, he could go back to the status ante SP, before Sept 14, 2007, when SP went into effect – namely,that priests and groups wishing to use the traditional Mass have to get their local bishop's approval to do so.
- Does that mean that those priests and groups now using the EF must start from scratch and get their bishop's approval before they can continue to pray the Mass form they prefer as they are now entitled to do? – And what about the other traditional groups like the FSSP (Fraternal Society of St Peter) besides the better known FSSPX (named after St Pius X), that had always been allowed, pre-SP, to continue using the traditional Mass under the tutelage of the Ecclesia Dei Commission? According to the rumor, Bergoglio would limit the use of the traditional Mass only to the FSSPX.

Common sense would imply that Bergoglio gets nothing but selfish satisfaction – and of course, the undying gratitude of all his fellow progressivists committed to the complete extirpation of the traditional Mass from the practice of the faith - by going to all the trouble of rescinding SP out of sheer spite, it would seem.

Because it does not have to be pointed out that SP does not impose the traditional Mass on anyone who does not want to have anything to do with it, and that the latter can go on 'blissfully' to their graves without ever having to think at all about the Extraordinary Form – so what rational reason is there that they have made their absolute opposition to the Mass of the Ages a 'point of honor' they would fall on their sword to defend?

Earlier this week, however, Rorate caeli did provide us with a significant historical nugget in this translation of an article written as early as 1955 by one of the great writers of the 20th century, Paul Claudel. Published by the most important French daily, Claudel wrote against the idea of a Mass celebrated ad populum (facing the people) as early as 1955, a practice that almost immediately became de facto de rigueur with the imposition of the Novus Ordo a decade and a half later, even if nowhere in Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) is this ever legislated.

Mass facing the people means
there's no longer an altar

by Paul Claudel
January 23, 1955
Courtesy of

I wish to protest with all my strength against the growing practiCe in France of saying Mass facing the people.

The most basic principle of religion is that God holds first place and that the good of man is merely a consequence of the recognition and the practical application of this essential dogma.

The Mass is the homage par excellence which we render to God by the Sacrifice which the priest offers to Him in our name on the altar of His Son.
- It is us led by the priest and as one with him, going to God to offer Him hostias et preces (Victims and prayers).
- It is not God presenting Himself to us for our convenience to make us indifferent witnesses of the mystery about to be accomplished.

The novel liturgy deprives the Christian people of their dignity and their rights. It is no longer they who say the Mass with the priest, by “following” it, as the saying very rightly goes, and to whom the priest turns from time to time to assure them of his presence, participation and cooperation, in the work which he undertakes in their name. All that remains is a curious audience watching him do his job. Small wonder that the impious compare him to a magician performing his act before a politely admiring crowd.

It is true that in the traditional liturgy the most touching, the most moving part of the Holy Sacrifice is hidden from the view of the faithful. But it is not hidden from their hearts and their faith. To demonstrate this, during Solemn High Masses the sub-deacon stays at the foot of the altar during the Offertory, hiding his face with his left hand. We too are invited to pray, to withdraw into ourselves, not in a spirit of curiosity but of recollection.

In all of the Eastern rites the miracle of transubstantiation takes place unseen by the faithful, behind the iconostasis. It is only afterwards that the celebrant appears on the threshold of the sacred door, the Body and Blood of Christ in his hands.

A vestige of this idea lingered for many years in France, where the old missals did not translate the prayers of the canon. Dom Guéranger protested energetically against those who had the audacity to do away with this custom.

Today’s deplorable practice has turned the ancient ceremony upside down, to the great consternation of the faithful. There is no longer an altar. Where is it, this consecrated stone which the Apocalypse compares to the Body of Christ Itself? There is nothing but a bare trestle covered with a tablecloth, reminding us depressingly of a Calvinist workbench.

Naturally, as the convenience of the faithful was held up as the guiding principle, it was necessary to rid the aforementioned table of the “accessories” cluttering it up: not only the candlesticks and the vases of flowers, but the tabernacle! The very crucifix! The priest says his Mass in a vacuum! When he invites the people to lift up their hearts and their eyes…to what? There is no nothing left in front of us to focus our minds on the Divine.

If the candlesticks and crucifix were kept, the people would be even more excluded than in the old liturgy, because then not only the ceremony but the priest himself would be completely hidden from view.*

I would resign myself to this situation with the greatest grief, as henceforth, it would appear that not the slightest spiritual effort will be required of the common people. It seems necessary to stick the most sublime of mysteries in their faces, to reduce the Mass to the primitive form of the Last Supper and in doing so, change the entire ritual.

What would be the meaning of 'Dominus vobiscum' and 'Orate frates' spoken by a priest separated from his people and requiring nothing of them? What then is the significance of the sumptuous vestments worn by those we have delegated as ambassadors to the Divinity?

And our churches, would there be any reason then to leave them as they are?

*My footnote:
Actually, the Benedettian 'six candles and a crucifix' minimum required for a Novus Ordo Mass table (how can it even properly be called an altar when it does not contain the requisite relic that every church ought to have in its altar?) does not obscure the celebrant at all.

In fact the Bergoglian stepdown of the Benedettian minimum ensures you can't possibly miss the celebrant's presence at all - two candles off to one side, a low flower arrangement on the other side, the missal rests on a pillow instead of a stand, and the Crucifix is dwarfed even by the chalices he uses! (In fairness, behind the priest on the rear wall of the chapel in Casa Santa Marta is a huge Crucifix, so maybe the pope's liturgists think having an itsy-bitsy crucifix on the altar is just fine.

BTW, unless the crucifix on the mass table in the photo is double-faced, it seems it has its back to the Mass celebrant.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/30/2017 6:17 AM]
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Of course, all that follows in this post becomes irrelevant if and when this pope does abrogate or substantially amend Summmorum Pontificum
in any way. But there have been quite a few commentaries from 'traditional' bloggers on the most recent suggestions put forward by Cardinal Sarah
to improve and possibly standardize celebration of the Mass in both forms of the Roman rite. One or two have not met with the universal welcome
[by traditionalists] to his 'ad orientem' recommendation last year. While I have not posted anything of this current polemic, I shall start off
with this post by Fr Hunwicke who deals with the relatively non-controversial ones of Cardinal Sarah's recent liturgical suggestions. Fr H comments
as a priest and liturgist of the first Anglican Ordinariate, whose historically-based, Benedict-approved liturgy has remained stable and uncontroversial
in the first eight years of the experience so far.

Cardinal Sarah and the Ordinariate rite

July 27, 2017

In his latest lecture, the very admirable and very courageous Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (Oops ... have I perpetrated an anachronism?) adds, to the suggestions he had made earlier, at least two new points for the improvement of the Ordinary Form:

(1) The priest should genuflect immediately after the Consecration of the Host and of the Chalice.
It is, surely, unnecessary to explain why this is so desirable. I point out that it already happens in the Ordinariate Rite. (You will remember that, upon seeing a copy of our Ordinariate Missal, His Eminence wistfully commented "Why can't we have something like this?")

(2) The holding of thumb and index finger conjoined after they have touched the Consecrated Host.
After the regime of Edward Tudor had imposed the First Prayer Book upon the suffering clergy and people of England, the tyrants discovered that the clergy were assimilating the service as closely as possible to the Sarum Mass. So draft Articles of Visitation ordered "For a uniformity, that no minister do counterfeit the popish mass, as to kiss the Lord's table; washing his fingers at every time in the communion; blessing his eyes with the paten, or sudary; or crossing his head with the paten; shifting of the book from one place to another; laying down and licking the chalice of the communion; holding up his fingers, hands, or thumbs, joined towards his temples; breathing upon the the bread or chalice; showing the sacrament openly before the distribution of the communion; ringing of sacrying bells; or setting any light upon the Lord's board ..."

I suspect that the section I have boldened refers to the conjoining of thumb and index finger ... what, in the 1960s, trendy vandals used to call "finger pinching".

We of the Anglican Patrimony have a long experience ... centuries ... of catholicising defective liturgies imposed by soi-disant authorities. Perhaps we should set up a lucrative Consultancy to show those who want to catholicise their bog-standard Novus Ordo how it's done? No need ... if they attend a Latin Mass Society training week on the Extraordinary Form, they'll find it fairly obvious how to transfer the skills from EF to OF.

But it is Father Z who has done his best to keep track of the polemics regarding the more controversial suggestions from Cardinal Sarah, especially concerning the Lectionary – the prescribed Scriptural readings for the daily Masses and feasts of the Church. His posts on the topic are very useful because he cites the major arguments put forward by a few of the major commentators on the Sarah proposals, so I do not need to post his references in toto, though I have provided the links to the full articles…

Cardinal Sarah’s proposals for 'mutual enrichment'

July 21, 2017

There are strong debates going on over many important issues right now. One of those which most interests me has been stoked by the 10th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s monumentally important Summorum Pontificum. I called it the “Emancipation Proclamation”, and have dubbed it a foundation block of his “Marshall Plan” for the revitalization of our Catholic identity and a bulwark against the dictatorship of relativism.

For the 10th anniversary, the great Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote an article for the French magazine La Nef. The text was hard to find (I have it now). I was also sent a good English translation which I read as a PODCAzT. I didn’t agree with everything the Cardinal suggested about the future path of Benedict’s desired “mutual enrichment” of the two “forms” of the Roman Rite. However, I have prayerfully engaged them.

Fr. Raymond de Souza (he’s been busy lately), not an enemy of traditional expressions of worship but not a strong supporter, wrote an endorsement of Card. Sarah’s suggestions at the UK’s best Catholic weekly (for which I also write) The Catholic Herald: “Cardinal Sarah’s challenge to traditionalists". [Fr Z proceeds to quote excerpts, adding his comments in red.]

Sarah proposes that efforts be made to have a shared calendar and a shared lectionary, so that both the EF and OF would celebrate more feasts together and have the same Scripture readings at Mass. [Additions of saints to the traditional calendar is not terribly problematic. The addition of a new lectionary would introduce the serious problems of coherence that the Novus Ordo experiences, at least on Sundays. Also, I am not entirely sure that everyone would agree that the new Lectionary has been 100% successful. That said, yes, it would be easier for priests to have the same readings in both forms, especially when they – as I frequently do – say both forms on a Sunday. But easy isn’t a good objective in worship.]

That poses a twofold challenge. First, it requires the EF community to acknowledge that some aspects of the OF, particularly its reformed calendar and its lectionary – which includes far more Scripture than the EF one – are actual improvements and possible enrichments for the EF. [That isn’t apparent.]

There are certainly some in the EF community who are happy to acknowledge this and would be pleased to see a shared calendar and lectionary. [Again, these are two different issues.] But others, not an insignificant part, consider the entire OF to be an impoverishment with little, if anything, enriching to offer. [It would be good to put together the bullet points of what riches the OF would bring to the EF. That could be a helpful starting point for discussion.]In the background, of course, is the Society of St Pius X, which would be deeply suspicious of any talk of changing the EF Roman Missal, 1962 edition…

Moving towards Cardinal Sarah’s vision begins, though, not with practicalities but with a change of heart. That is likely why he chose the term “reconciliation”. Reconciliation requires a change of heart, a willingness to see the good in the other, and an openness to make things different in order to accommodate that good

I think we all can agree that at the heart of most instances of reconciliation, especially in the life of the Church, all parties need a “change of heart”.

However, I must of observe that, for decades, many of the traditional-leaning have experienced their hearts being torn from their breasts and stomped on by the other side, as it were. Their hearts have again and again been bruised and riven. If a change of heart is at the heart of reconciliation, then so are apologies. So is a time for healing.Talking about a change of heart is easy.

That brings me to another reaction to Card. Sarah’s 10th anniversary article, in dialogue with Fr. de Souza, by Prof. Joseph Shaw of Oxford and of the Latin Mass Society, who wrote a piece called “Why Cardinal Sarah’s liturgical ‘reconciliation’ plan won’t work“.

Firstly, Shaw recaps what Card. Sarah suggested for the mutual enrichment of the two forms. For example, Sarah proposes introduction – no – re-introduction into the OF of the ff: reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling (which should be the norm anyway); the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar; options for using the old Offertory prayers; quiet canon; and the so-called ‘canonical digits’ (the priest's fingers). [But Shaw questions] adoption of the Novus Ordo Lectionary (as Fr. de Souza praised) and what I consider a less problematic closer alignment of the calendars, so long as this is restricted to the addition of modern saints, etc. Shaw then tackles the issue of the Lectionary:

The new lectionary is sometimes held up as obviously superior to the old, but not everyone committed to the reformed Mass agrees. The Toronto Oratorian Fr Jonathan Robinson wrote in (The Mass and Modernity, 2005, p332): "I think the diversity, rather than enriching people, tends to confuse them… This may be because the selections, as has been noted by others, were drawn up more to satisfy the sensibilities of liturgical scholars than on traditional liturgical principles." [My old boss at “Ecclesia Dei” remarked that the addition of a third reading on Sundays lent an undesirable element of “didacticism” to Mass. And if there is greater variety of Scripture readings in the Novus Ordo, the yearly repetition of the same readings on Sunday and Feasts in the trditional Mass ensured that the faithful came to know them well. Today, ask people what the readings were as they walk out of Mass.]

However, another question is raised by Cardinal Sarah’s proposal: Can the lectionaries of the two Forms simply by swapped over? The short answer is ‘no’.

To take the most obvious problem, the 1969 Lectionary has no readings for the season of Septuagesima, because that season does not exist in the 1969 calendar. Were the ‘Ordinary Time’ cycle simply extended to this period of three Sundays before Lent, its penitential orations would conflict with readings which can be used after Pentecost as well as before Lent. [How about the reintroduction of the pre-Lent readings to the Ordinaey Form? How’s that as the step to mutual enrichment?]

Variations on this problem arise throughout the Church’s year. Many of the EF’s proper texts of feast days, and a good many Sundays, refer to the readings. The choice of readings in the Ordinary Form is so different from those in the Extraordinary Form that the discordance would be particularly jarring. [Moreover, there is often a strong resonance between the readings and the antiphons in Mass formularies that would be disrupted, as it has been in the Novus Ordo with it’s three year Sunday cycle.]
Shaw has more on the issue of the Lectionary. Then, however, Shaw make a strong argument, which I endorse.
Above all I would like to suggest that the Church has nothing to fear from a varied liturgical landscape: a landscape becoming more varied as Eastern Rite Catholics flee to the West. Vatican II reassured us on this point (Unitatis redintegratio 17): "…from time to time one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed it to better advantage. In such cases, these various theological expressions are to be considered often as mutually complementary rather than conflicting." This, surely, is the direction from which ‘liturgical reconciliation’ should come.

YES! The Church even in the West has had a varied and rich liturgical tradition of Rites. Pius V acknowledged and supported this by “grandfathering” in regional Rites to exist along side the Roman Rite which became the universal Rite for the Latin Church. Over time, the Roman Rite became stronger even in those places which had its own Rite… over time. With the sudden and brutal imposition of an artifically crafted Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, came the heart-breaking suppression of what was “sacred and great”.

I have argued for decades, ever since an article in Catholic World Report in 1992 (I think), that we have nothing to fear from side by side celebrations of Holy Mass in the traditional form and in the Novus Ordo. Card. Ratzinger wanted that contact, to help jump start the organic development of liturgy which, as the freezing of mustum halts its fermentation into wine, interrupted the centuries-long evolution of our liturgical prayer.

Sound liturgical changes take time… a lot of time. Impatience and imprudent imposition broke hearts and ruptured our Catholic identity, so enervating the Church that we are now experiencing crises in virtually every sphere of her global mission.

Back in the early 90s I was already arguing that we shouldn’t be afraid of side by side Missals. Over time, we would see the results. Eventually, however, there would emerge a tertium quid – as I was used to call it then – from the dialogue between the rites. This I got straight from Card. Ratzinger in chats and from reading his work.

One thing that the Extraordinary Form has already benefited from comes mainly from the ars celebrandi of priests who have had an experience of the Novus Ordo: there is a greater awareness of the presence of and role of the congregation now than ever before. I think that factor alone, if nothing else, has already produced great benefits for the EF. That’s not a change to the Rite itself. That’s a change within the mind and the heart of the priest celebrant.

Benedict XVI spoke eloquently of a priest’s ars celebrandi in his Sacramentum caritatis 38 ff., as the best way to foster the (properly understood) “active participation” of the congregation in the way that the Council Fathers hoped for in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Who says that we can’t have unity in diversity? In this, Shaw agrees with another great churchman on another 10th annversary. Back in 26 October 1998, St John Paul II, addressed members of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter who had come to Rome for the 10th anniversary of the his Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei adflicta” (which was superseded… or rather brought to fruition… by Summorum Pontificum). John Paul said:

In order to safeguard the treasure which Jesus has entrusted to her, and resolutely turned towards the future, it is the Church’s duty to reflect constantly on her link with the Tradition that comes to us from the Lord through the Apostles, as it has been built up throughout history. According to the spirit of conversion in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente (nn. 14, 32, 34, 50), [to which Card. Sarah could appeal] I urge all Catholics to perform acts of unity and to renew their loyalty to the Church, so that their legitimate diversity and different sensitivities, which deserve respect, will not divide them but spur them to proclaim the Gospel together; thus, moved by the Spirit who makes all charisms work towards unity, they can all glorify the Lord, and salvation will be proclaimed to all nations.

There is true unity in legitimate diversity.

I say, we need a long period of stability of the two forms side by side. We must work to establish more and more celebrations of the older, traditional form so that there is a greater opportunity for, not only mutual enrichment, but also the healing of a deeply wounded Church.

We are our rites. The rupture of our rites created the wound in our identity. It was the abrupt tinkering with our rites that made the wound in the first place.

Moreover, there is so much illegitimate diversity in the way that the Novus Ordo is celebrated, with odd variations and liturgical abuses, that a great deal of work is needed on that side of the Roman Rite before the reconciliation and mutual enrichment desired by everyone can get off the ground and pick up speed! Let’s learn from our mistakes.

We must take the prudent path of growth and stability for the Extraordinary Form and of first stabilizing the Ordinary Form and then letting it be what it is according to the desires of the principles enunciated by the Council Fathers.

Meanwhile, to further Card. Sarah’s call for reconciliation, keep in mind the old but true chestnut, often but wrongly attributed to St. Augustine: In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas. (Let us have unity in necessary things, liberty in doubtful things, and in all things charity.)

Fr. De Souza responds to responses about
'reconciling' the EF and the OF Masses

July 25, 2017

Some discussion about the “mutual enrichment” hoped for and promoted by Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum has been generated by Card. Sarah’s article in the French magazine La Nef for the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of that Motu Proprio’s text .. Cool reactions followed quickly. For example, scholars Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass Society in England
and Gregory DiPippo of New Liturgical Movement
A warm embrace came from Fr. Raymond de Souza
I had the impression that he thought that there should be a large-scale revamping of the traditional form and some tweaking of the newer form with traditional elements.

Inter alia, he made the claim that the post-Conciliar Lectionary was universally accepted as being superior to the older, traditional use of Sacred Scriptures in Holy Mass. Card. Sarah had written that there should be a reconciliation of old and the new. The aforementioned Shaw and DiPippo, however, made substantive arguments against such a move. I added my own observations.

Fr. de Souza has issued a new piece in which he doubles down on the Lectionary issue but seems to back away from the large-scale revamping of the traditional form.
In fact, Father says: "The more pressing issue by far is the enrichment of the OF, which can happily be done independent of any changes in the EF.”

I warmly agree. It is by far more pressing to deal with the OF, since it is dominant right now. It is attractive to think about the elements from the EF that might be introduced to the Novus Ordo. I suppose, however, they would be introduced as “options”.

Something that, for sure, could be started unilaterally, would be to clean up many of the abuses inflicted on the Novus Ordo, which, alas, is rather open to abuse.

Concerning the Lectionary, de Souza pushes his point:

I wrote that the superiority of the OF lectionary was a matter of broad consensus. I understated that, actually; it is nearly a unanimous position even in conservative liturgical circles, but evidently leading voices in the EF community do not think so.

While there are clearly some weaknesses in the OF lectionary – the prologue of St. John’s Gospel is never heard by most Catholics [It is the final feature of the traditional Mass, read after the 'Ite, missa est' and the priest's blessing to the congregation] – its more ample inclusion of Scripture is surely an improvement. It may be here that Cardinal Sarah’s warning about treating the EF as a “museum object” is most on the mark."

Why, Father, the snarky dig at at the end?

Fr. de Souza also wrote that this blog [Father Z's] has “a pugilistic style”. And his dig isn’t pugilistic?

While I grant that one cannot make extended elaborations in short pieces online, Fr. de Souzasidestepped the substantive arguments brought up by Shaw, DiPippo, et al., about the alleged superiority of the new Lectionary. Fr. de Souza seems to think that the sheer quantity of Scripture used in the Novus Ordo is enough automatically to warrant superiority.

Fr. Finigan at his fine blog
made sound observations about Fr. de Souza’s views (my emphases and comments):

One problem is that of experience. Most of those Catholics who regularly participate at Masses celebrated in the usus antiquior have experienced the modern rite; most Catholics who regularly participate in the modern rite have not experienced the usus antiquior at all, and do not really understand its attraction or its salient features when compared with the rite that they know. [That is certainly the case with most younger priests.]

Some regular experience of celebrating the usus antiquior would lead most priests (or Cardinals) to understand the impossibility of forming a common reformed rite that would really be the usus antiquior which Pope Benedict understood as being attractive to many people, and which he said could not be suddenly considered forbidden or harmful.

This is a good point. The discussion about the interplay of the two rites would change dramatically were the priests involved well-versed also in the traditional form. When opining about their Roman Rite it is better to know the Roman Rite… which by definition includes the traditional Form.

Fr. Finigan goes on to address the Lectionary issue:

I would also gently urge that there needs to be greater awareness of the real work that is being done on the liturgy by traditionalist scholars.

To take an example that is relevant to the current debate: only last year, Matthew P. Hazell published what is volume I in Lectionary Study Aids: Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. His blog 'Lectionary Study Aids' has other resources that would be useful for anyone interested in actually studying the question. His book has a Foreword by Peter Kwasniewski and consists of comparative tables by which the lectionaries of the modern rite and the usus antiquior can be compared to see which passages of scripture are included or omitted.

Thanks to Matthew Hazell, it is no longer necessary to rely on feelings or impressions when forming an opinion about the lectionary of the modern rite and it is possible to go beyond the simple assessment that it has lots more verses of the bible and therefore must be so much better.

In the Foreword, Peter Kwasniewski makes a brief start on analysis of the modern lectionary, looking at, among other problems, Old Testament omissions, loss of Johannine material, omission of morally demanding texts (notoriously 1 Cor 11.27-29), and reductive redistribution.

Those who would defend the superiority of the modern lectionary cannot simply default to the position that “everybody” knows it is better because it has a higher biblical word-count; there is a real debate to be had, and an increasing amount of source material to be used.

Fr. de Souza brings up a point I made about the period of stability that we need before tinkering with the EF: traditionalists have often been treated horribly over the last few decades:

It is unlikely that apologies are going to be forthcoming. Yet Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s point about wounds requiring time to heal is valid; he may be right that the EF community is too wounded just now for reconciliation. A challenge though is to ensure that wounds are not passed down to younger devotees of the EF who were not around to have their hearts riven.

Cardinal Sarah’s intervention has made clear that even when friends of the EF – Sarah himself, or Cardinal Raymond Burke – speak about enrichment of the EF by the OF, they lack for supportive listeners in the EF leadership.

First, I had in truth written that “many” of the traditional community have been wounded. It is inaccurate to lump all those who prefer the traditional form of the Roman Rite into one group and them imply that “they are too wounded now for reconciliation”.

Fr. de Souza acknowledges that there are “younger devotees” who are frequenting the old form of Holy Mass (who did not personally experience the wars of previous decades), and hopes that they won’t get shot up in the crossfire. Fine.

However, start messing around too deeply and too quickly with the older form, start tinkering in an artificial way with the older form, and we will see in the 2010’s what we saw in the 1960-70’s: wounds.

Moreover, he seems to be saying that, “Those poor people over there are psychologically too fragile to do the work I think ought to be done.” That’s not at all pugilistic… Okay, in fairness, perhaps I read him wrong and he isn’t being dismissive.

Moving on, it seems to me infra dignitatem to pit “EF leadership” against Card. Sarah and Card. Burke in the way that Fr. de Souza did. I, for one, commented that, while I didn’t agree with everything Card. Sarah wrote, I was taking his suggestions to prayerful consideration. Does anyone seriously believe that “EF leadership” are against Cardinals Sarah and Burke just because they don’t want have their arguments swept aside and then see massive, sudden, artificial changes imposed on the EF?

I firmly believe in and have for decades argued for what Ratzinger/Benedict promoted: We must allow a way through “mutual enrichment”, or what I like to call a “gravitational pull” of two forms, to jump-start the organic development of sacred worship interrupted by the brutal imposition of an artificially created order. HOWEVER, we have to avoid the mistakes of the past and resist the temptation to start tinkering too quickly and too deeply.

Suddenly impose artificial changes on the EF, and a tremendous opportunity will be lost. We need a significant period of stability before we legislate changes.

Let the older rite take root and become, again, part of the warp and weft of our lives. Let the newer rite be cleaned up and implemented without wide-spread abuses imposed on it.

There are already mutual enrichments going on, which are not a result of tinkeritis. I think that reasonable and well-informed traditionalists understand that changes will result over time, nolens volens. That’s the way of things. That’s what happened over the centuries. If we force the process too abruptly, however, there will be problems.

We, especially we clerics, have to avoid the trap and resist the temptation to tinker, to “fix stuff”, into which Fr de Souza may have fallen… with many others.

We don’t have to be afraid of the side-by-side celebration of these two forms of the Roman Rite. Just let them be offered in the very best way possible and we will see what happens over time.

In any event, I welcome Fr de Souza’s additional comments, especially because they occasioned a thoughtful response from Fr. Finigan. I imagine that others will follow and a fruitful dialogue will continue.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/30/2017 6:22 AM]
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'Truth is power, lies are weakness'
[And yet in the church of Bergoglio,
deception and untruth rule with
the supreme authority of the pope]

By Steve Skojec

July 27, 2017

A reader wrote to me earlier this week and said, “Here is a link to a ‘financial’ article that maps very closely to what is going on in our Church.” I read it, and I found it to be excellent. Here’s an excerpt of the most relevant bits:

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness.

When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we’ve reached the perfection of dysfunction.

You know the one essential guideline to “leadership” in a doomed dysfunctional system: when it gets serious, you have to lie. In other words, the status quo’s secular goddess is TINA – there is no alternative to lying, because the truth will bring the whole corrupt structure tumbling down.

This core dynamic of dysfunction is scale-invariant, meaning that hiding the truth is the core dynamic in dysfunctional relationships, households, communities, enterprises, cities, corporations, states, alliances, nations and empires: when the truth cannot be told because it threatens the power structure of the status quo, that status quo is doomed.

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness. What lies, half-truths and cover-ups communicate is: we can no longer fix our real problems, and rather than let this truth out, we must mask it behind lies and phony reassurances.

Truth is power, lies are weakness. All we get now are lies, statistics designed to mislead and phony reassurances that the status quo is stable and permanent.

The truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems. Lies, gamed statistics and false reassurances are fatal because they doom any sincere efforts to fix what’s broken before the system reaches the point of no return.

We are already past the point of no return. The expediency of lies has already doomed us.

Honest accounts of hugely successful corporations that implode share one key trait: in every case, managers were pressured to hide the truth from top management, which then hid the truth from investors and clients.

This is the key dynamic in failed oligarchies as well: if telling the truth gets you sent to Siberia (or worse), then nobody with any instinct for self-perservation will tell the truth.

If obscuring the truth saves one’s job, then that’s what people do. That this dooms the organization is secondary to immediate self-preservation.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Which was Skojec's perfect intro to his second post that day, in which he puts together a timeline that led to the Vatican's last 'haw' after hemming and hawing over something they were loath at first to acknowledge...

The 'alleged' Vatican Commission on Humanae Vitae:
Is there really nothing to see here?

by Steve Skojec

July 27, 2017

Back in May, we shared a report from veteran Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, who had gotten wind of an alleged Vatican commission formed to study — and possibly to revisit — the teachings on contraception found in Humanae Vitae (HV). Within a month’s time, the existence of this commission was confirmed by Professor Roberto de Mattei in a piece for Corrispondenza Romana.

De Mattei cited words from Msgr. Marengo himself — the man who had been identified as the leader of this new commission on HV - and they were troubling indeed. They indicated that he favors an approach to the question of contraception that is reminiscent of the way Amoris Laetitia dealt with communion for the “remarried”.

In a more recent article in the same outlet (Vatican Insider, March 23rd 2017) with the significant title, "Humanae vitae and Amoris laetitia", Monsignor Marengo asks if: “the polemical game – the pill yes/the pill no, like today’s 'Communion to the divorced' yes or no – is only an appearance of discomfort and strain, [which is] much more decisive in the fabric of ecclesial life.[What does that mean, exactly????]

Marengo, in turn, cited the pope in this context, quoting Francis as speaking of an “excessive idealization, above all when we have reawakened trust in grace” that “has not made marriage more attractive and desirable, but quite the opposite.”
As I said in my commentary at the time: The key takeaway here is that - just like we’ve been told over and over again that Christian marriage is an all-but-unattainable ideal, so if you messed up, no big, enjoy your adultery and, by the way, here’s some Holy Communion - this is a mapping of that same “you’re never going to be able to live this way, so why even try” ethos onto the question of contraception.

Interestingly, months later, certain media outlets began pushing back against the idea of this commission, relegating reports like ours to the realm of conspiracy theory. Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service had a story yesterday in which she confirmed that “Four theologians specializing in marriage and family life are studying Vatican archival material with a view of telling the whole story of how and why Blessed Paul VI wrote his encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’ on married love.”

Wooden continues:

Msgr. Gilfredo Marengo, leader of the group and a professor of theological anthropology at Rome’s Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, spoke to Vatican Radio about the study July 25, the 49th anniversary of the encyclical’s publication.

Some bloggers, writing in the spring about the study group, alarmingly presented it as an initiative of Pope Francis to change the encyclical’s teaching against the use of artificial contraception.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chancellor of the John Paul II Institute, categorically denied the bloggers’ reports.

In reply to an email, Msgr. Marengo told Catholic News Service July 26 that the study “is a work of historical-critical investigation without any aim other than reconstructing as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical.”

“Anyone who imagined any other aim should have simply done their work and verified their sources,” he said.

Interestingly, Archbishop Paglia had also denied that such a commission even existed — and, according to Luciano Moia of Avvenire, that Msgr. Marengo was even associated with it. (More on that in a moment.)

Inés San Martín, the intrepid Vatican correspondent for Crux, takes a more sarcastic tone in her piece today entitled, “No, Virginia, there’s no ‘secret commission’ on Humanae Vitae“.[Eyeroll galore! She gets the prize for most original title!] The executive summary at the top of her commentary tells you most of what you need to know:

Rumors of late, circulated by mostly conservative blogs, have suggested that Pope Francis and Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia have created a secret commission to re-evaluate the teaching of ‘Humanae Vitae,’ Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on birth control. As it turns out, establishing the truth of the matter is even easier than generating the conspiracy theory in the first place.
San Martín continues:
Paglia has denied that any such commission exists. Speaking recently with Argentine journalist Andrés Beltramo Álvarez, Paglia said, “There’s no commission, that’s all been made up.”

This interview was published online on July 13 in the Spanish Alfa y Omega. Paglia himself provided a translation into English via Twitter.

Yet on Tuesday, Vatican Radio published a separate interview with Father Gilfredo Marengo, a professor of theological anthropology at the St. John Paul II institute in Rome. Responding to questions, he said he leads a “research group” on Humane Vitae.

That raised some eyebrows, since Marengo is precisely the man the rumors had identified as leader of the alleged “reinterpreting-the-document” commission. So, I picked up the phone, called the John Paul II Pontifical Institute, and asked to speak with him.

He wasn’t there, but the person on the other side of the line happily gave me his email. I wrote, and not ten minutes later I had a response.

Marengo told me that, together with colleagues, he’s part of a research group on Humane Vitae, but it “has nothing to do with ‘reforming the encyclical’.”...

Based on the Marengo interview with Vatican Radio, it would have been easy enough to whip up a piece claiming it proves Paglia was lying, that there really is a secret cabal planning to gut HV, slap on a click-bait headline, and presto: A new Internet sensation is born.
As it turns out, though, picking up the phone to get the actual facts of the situation was just as easy... [BRAVA, BRAVISSIMA!]

For Wooden and San Martín, it seems that the fact that the group not only exists and is headed up by the very people who were claimed to be running it months ago is irrelevant. You see, it’s just a research group! Nothing more. The word “commission” is nowhere to be found! And why would anyone believe that such a group might suggest some changes in pastoral application of HV’s guidelines on contraception?

Surely, something as unchangeable as the Catholic teaching on contraception has never been overturned by pastoral guidelines issued as a result of a working group set up to study a matter of established doctrine.

I suppose we’re meant to believe that it’s more plausible that this group has been set up under the guidance of a man who has publicly stated — recently — that he views contraception through the same lens as Communion for the “remarried” simply because he has nothing else to do with his time. It’s not like there’s a priest shortage or anything. “Humanae Vitae: The Untold Story” is obviously a top priority in 2017.

Here I will return to the man who broke this story three months ago: Marco Tosatti (who, I’m fairly certain, has been practicing Vatican journalism for longer than the young Miss San Martín has been alive, in case she’s interested in any pointers of her own). In his post today, he engages in a bit of a “connect-the-dots exercise”, but we’ve decided (with his permission) to reproduce a translation* of it in full below all the same:

On 11 May, we wrote that “In the Vatican, good sources tell us that the pontiff is about to nominate — or has even already formed — a secret commission to examine and possibly study changes to the Church’s position on contraception, as it had been settled in 1968 by Paul VI in the encyclical Humanae Vitae. It was the last document of this type signed by Pope Montini, and it was the formalization of what the Second Vatican Council had elaborated on this issue.

So far, we have no official confirmation of the existence and composition of this body; but a request for confirmation or denial has been issued to the competent headquarters and so far has not been answered. This could be a signal in itself, in the sense that if the news were completely unfounded, it would not be difficult to say so.”

A few days later, the US Catholic site OnePeterFive reiterated the report. And on June 14, Prof. Roberto de Mattei, on Corrispondenza Romana, provided some details. De Mattei wrote: “It will be Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, Professor at the John Paul II Pontifical Institute, [who will act as] the coordinator of the commission nominated by Pope Francis to “re-interpret” the encyclical Humane Vitae by Paul VI, in the light of Amoris laetitia, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the former’s promulgation, which falls next year.

The initial rumors of the existence of this commission, still secret, reported by Vatican reporter Marco Tosatti, were from a sound source. We can confirm that there is a commission, made up of Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, Head of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute, Professor Philippe Chenaux, Lecturer in Church History at the Lateran Pontifical University and Monsignor Angel Maffeis, Head of the Paul VI Institute in Brescia. The coordinator is Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, Lecturer in Theological Anthropology at the John Paul II Institute and member of the Steering Committee of the CVII-Center Vatican II Study and Research magazine.”

On 4 July, in the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, released an interview with Luciano Moia. As writes Lorenzo Bertocchi today for La Nuova Bussola Quotidana: “The journalist [Moia], committed to the renewal of moral theology established by Amoris Laetitia, asked the prelate if certain ‘media manipulations’ about a secret commission for the ‘revision’ of Humanae vitae, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI on contraception and human love, corresponded to reality.

Not only that; Moia also cited a supposed list of experts and theologians — from Pierangelo Sequeri to Gilfredo Marengo — who would be involved in this project. And then the fateful question: ‘Is there something true in all this?’

‘Just nothing’, Paglia replied, rather, ‘it is a good time for the Church to help everyone re-invent the force of generativity while the world risks sterility’.”

Two days ago, Vatican Radio hosted an interview with Mgr. Gilfredo Marengo, in which he says that there is indeed “a research group on the Encyclical, in view of the 50th anniversary”. The report also named the members of the group involved in the work: Monsignor Pierangelo Sequeri, head of the Pontifical Institute John Paul II, prof. Philippe Chenaux, professor of Church History at the Pontifical Lateran University and Msgr. Angelo Maffeis, head of the Paolo VI Institute of Brescia. The very names same indicated by Prof. De Mattei.

In substance: the news is confirmed, and even a certain secrecy — let’s call it that — about the existence of this group. So much so that neither the institutional sources that we had contacted in May, would reply, nor apparently Archbishop Paglia, who would have adjusted his denial in a different way, nor our colleague Moia, a specialist in these issues for the bishops’ daily, knew about it.

As we said, there are things here that I find satisfying. Which confirm my great trust and respect - while holding sound and profound reservations - towards official denials.

Why must we constantly play this cat and mouse game with the truth?
- Why, when we have a Vatican (and collaborators) that can’t be trusted — going so far as to change the wording of published translations and transcripts in a way that gives cover to controversial papal remarks (something John Allen of Crux defended) — should we believe these denials of reports that have been proven to be so close to the mark?
- Is it that the “reconstruction” isn’t quite right? Is that enough to justify saying that a thing isn’t true? It’s not a “commission,” it’s a “research group,” so despite the fact that all the other details match up, it’s a conspiracy theory or a fabrication?
- Certainly, it’s within the realm of possibility that this “research group” will work diligently on a “historical-critical investigation” that will reconstruct “as well as possible the whole process of composing the encyclical.”

But without any other aim? No searching for loopholes? No examination of what possible equivocations Pope Paul VI might have considered before deciding against them? No exploration of Pope Francis’s own deeply troubling statements and gestures regarding the permissibility of contraception? No progress made in working toward the Francis’s belief that “We must always go forward. Always forward!”, and his goal of accomplishing “irreversible reform“?

Mark me down as skeptical.

Earlier today, I posted an excerpt of an essay pertaining to institutions in the secular sphere, and how when lying becomes necessary to maintain the status quo, the organizational goose is cooked. One part stands out:

Truth is power, lies are weakness. All we get now are lies, statistics designed to mislead and phony reassurances that the status quo is stable and permanent. The truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems. Lies, gamed statistics and false reassurances are fatal because they doom any sincere efforts to fix what’s broken before the system reaches the point of no return.

The truth also has a name: Jesus Christ. And it is Him whom we serve. The present ecclesiastical system does indeed seem to have reached a point of no return, but Our Lord has guaranteed us that the Church He founded will never succumb to the enemy.

I long for the day when those in power in the Church lose the fear of confronting evil or of telling the whole truth, and instead work courageously to defend Christ’s teachings rather than constantly revisiting them in the hopes of finding a way around them.

The next day, July 28, Skojec saw fit to reprint a February 2017 article by Matthew McClusker for VOICE OF THE FAMILY - which I had posted at that time (page 564 of this thread) - which examined, with appropriate documentation, this pope's statements and actions so far about artificial contraception and Humane Vitae. Skojec's note says he was re-posting the article

" light of dismissals by some media outlets that the Vatican would ever consider a new, contraception-friendly pastoral “re-interpretation” of Humanae Vitae. The nature of the statements and gestures below — and the sheer number of them — should put any confidence that Humanae Vitae could never get the Amoris Laetitia treatment to rest.

The list below is, of course, not comprehensive. One could add to it the Vatican’s collaboration with global population control advocate Jeffrey Sachs, and the choice to invite pro-abortion advocate Paul Ehrlich, “father” of the modern population control movement and author of the 1968 best-seller The Population Bomb, to speak at the Vatican. Ehrlich’s talk took place after this article was written.

Unfortunately, Skojec, like too many other commentators, appear to overlook this pope's open support of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which he endorsed unconditionally when he addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2015. Significantly, even McClusker's rather comprehensive review below does not mention it either.

That blanket endorsement by the pope necessarily covers the notorious Article of the UN Declaration on its SDGs which asserts 'reproductive rights' for everyone. That is, of course, UN- and liberal-speak for contraception, abortion and population control in general, not just as 'fundamental human rights' [even if they are not included in the UN's own Declaration of Human Rights, which was drawn up two decades before the advent of 'the pill' and has not been amended since then] but as objectives to be pushed actively - and perhaps, to be universally mandated - by the UN and its member states, i.e., the governments of the world.

Bergoglio's support of the UN-SDGs which has the impossible objective of ending world poverty and hunger by 2030 - for which population control is an essential element - really underlies the Vatican's initiatives to host the world's most notorious advocates of population control - and must not be overlooked at all. Because right now, it is the most compelling reason to believe that Bergoglio does plan to amend or rescind Humanae Vitae, however he can canonically do that.

Where does Pope Francis
really stand on contraception?

by Matthew McClusker
February 1, 2017

The circumstances surrounding the resignation of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the appointment of a “papal delegate” to assist in the “renewal” of the order, raises further questions about the extent to which Pope Francis assents to the teaching of the Catholic Church on questions of sexual ethics. In this article we will revisit previous concerns regarding Pope Francis’s position on contraception, in the light of recent events.

At the heart of the crisis in the Order of Malta is the distribution of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs, over a number of years, by Malteser International (MI), the humanitarian arm of the order. Edward Pentin has provided details of MI’s programmes in his comprehensive article on the subject. An investigation by the Lepanto Institute provides further information about MI’s work promoting condoms and abortifacient drugs worldwide. Amongst their findings the following facts stand out:
- MI distributed 52, 190 condoms in Burma (Myanmar) in 2005 and 59,675 in 2006.
- A World Health Organisation report from 2006, entitled Reproductive Health Stakeholder Analysis in Myanmar 2006 includes “family planning” among MI’s “areas of expertise”, “contraception” amongst its “activities” and “birth spacing” amongst its “future plans”. The report also reveals that MI provided oral contraceptives to 2,500 women in one Burmese township.
- In 2007 MI received a four year grant of $1.7 million from the Three Disease Fund, for whom they distributed over 300,000 condoms in Burma.
- In 2012 MI entered a partnership with Save the Children to carry out a joint project, for which they received $2.1 million from the Global Fund, to distribute yet more condoms in Burma during the period from 2013-2016.

Malteser International was headed throughout this period by Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager. An internal investigation by the Order of Malta found that von Boeselager was ultimately responsible for the programmes that involved the distribution of condoms and abortifacient drugs. His role at MI was one of the major factors that resulted in his dismissal from the role of Grand Chancellor by the Grand Master, Fra Matthew Festing, on 6 December 2016, after he twice refused to resign.

Von Boeselager appealed to the Vatican. A commission was appointed to investigate his dismissal. [Mofe accurately, the pope named a commission to investigate the dismissal - an action that was clearly completely illegal because the Vatican has no right to intervene in an internal act of governance by the Order of Malta, which is a sovereign state in its own right.]

Edward Pentin has provided extensive, and disturbing information, about the make-up of this commission, which seems to have consisted largely of von Boeselager’s friends and associates. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which is a sovereign entity, refused to accept the legitimacy of this interference into their internal affairs.

On 24 January 2017 Fra Matthew Festing was asked to resign by Pope Francis and acceded to this request. The following day Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, stated that Pope Francis was declaring null and void all Fra Festing’s acts since 6 December, thus nullifying the dismissal of von Boeselager. Fra Festing’s resignation was accepted by the Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta on 28 January and it was announced that von Boeselager was restored to his position as Grand Chancellor of the order.

In short, Pope Francis has restored to office a man ultimately responsible for the distribution of condoms and abortifacient drugs, while removing from the office the man who tried to ensure that Malteser International remained faithful to Catholic teaching.

In the light of this, and of his decision not to confirm that he accepts Catholic teaching on the existence of intrinsically evil acts, it is reasonable to review other concerns regarding Pope Francis’s position on the morality of using contraceptive methods.
The list below draws readers’ attention to important incidents of which we are aware; it is not intended to be exhaustive.

5 March 2014 – Pope Francis is interviewed by Corriere della Sera. He is asked “At half a century from Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, can the Church take up again the theme of birth control? Cardinal Martini, your confrere, thought that the moment had come.” In his reply Pope Francis stresses that “Paul VI himself, at the end, recommended to confessors much mercy, and attention to concrete situations”. The pope also stated that “the question is not that of changing the doctrine but of going deeper and making pastoral (ministry) take into account the situations and that which it is possible for people to do. Also of this we will speak in the path of the synod.” The full implications of these words will become clearer during the two year synodal process.

13 October 2014 – The heterodox relatio post disceptationem of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family is published, after having received the personal approval of Pope Francis. This document adopts an ambiguous approach towards contraception, and an approach to conscience and the natural law of a kind that will inevitably undermine the Church’s moral teachings. The alternation between orthodox restatements of Catholic doctrine and ambiguous and erroneous statements will be followed in all succeeding synodal documents.

19 October 2014 – The final report of the Extraordinary Synod makes the approach of the above relatioits own in its treatment of contraception and the natural law; (This were examined in detail in Voice of the Family’s analysis of the document.)

16 January 2015 – Pope Francis makes reference to Humanae Vitae in an address to families in the Phillipines, once more laying emphasis not on the central doctrine of the encyclical but on his contention that Paul VI “was very merciful towards particular cases, and he asked confessors to be very merciful and understanding in dealing with particular cases. But he also had a broader vision: he looked at the peoples of the earth and he saw this threat of families being destroyed for lack of children.” The implication of this passage, especially in light of the comments of 19 January below, is that contraception might be tolerated in particular cases, and that the Church’s teaching is a “broader vision” or ideal. This would reflect the “gradualism” adopted in the synod documents and in Amoris Laetitia.

19 January 2015 – Pope Francis, during a press conference on his return flight from Manila, tells journalists that the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, was not about “personal problems, for which he then told confessors to be merciful and understand the situation and forgive, to be understanding and merciful” but rather about “the universal Neo-Malthusianism that was in progress”. Thus he frames Humanae Vitae not as being principally about a universally binding norm but rather as a political response to an ideological movement. During the same press conference he criticises a mother who had eight children by Caeserean section and accuses her of being guilty of tempting God. He goes on to say that Catholics should practice “responsible parenthood” and shouldn’t “breed like rabbits”.

17 June 2015 – Pope Francis appoints climate scientist Hans Schellnhuber to the Pontifical Academy of Science. Schellnhuber believes that there is a “population problem” and has previously stated that the “carrying capacity of the planet” is “below 1 billion people”. Schellhuber’s positions were analysed in more detail by Voice of the Family at the time.

18 June 2015 – Pope Francis promulgates the encyclical letter Laudato Si endorsing the theory of climate change and the environmentalist agenda. The encyclical makes no direct reference to contraception despite the close interrelationship between the environmental and population control movements. This connection is exemplified by the Vatican’s selection of Hans Schellnhuber and Carolyn Woo, then President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, an American organisation that has funded groups that promote abortion and contraception, to present the document at its launch.

23 June 2015 – The Instrumentum Laboris of the Ordinary Synod is published. This document, which was approved by Pope Francis prior to its release, gravely undermines the Church’s teaching on contraception, and her moral teachings in general. This is explained in detail in Voice of the Family’s analysis of the document.

10 September 2015 – 65 academics appeal to the fathers of the upcoming Ordinary Synod to reject “the distortion of Catholic teaching implicit in paragraph 137” of the Instrumentum Laboris. They write: “Paragraph 137 addresses a key document of the modern Magisterium, Humanae Vitae, in a way that both calls the force of that teaching into question and proposes a method of moral discernment that is decidedly not Catholic. This approach to discernment contradicts what has hitherto been taught by the Magisterium of the Church about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment, by suggesting that a well-formed conscience may be in conflict with objective moral norms.”

24 October 2015 – The final report of the Ordinary Synod continues to adopt a gravely problematic approach to the moral law, and to the issue of contraception in particular.

30 November 2015 – Pope Francis asserts, in the context of a question regarding the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV, that there could be a conflict between the fifth and sixth commandments. A German journalist asked: “Is it not time for the Church to change it’s position on the matter? To allow the use of condoms to prevent more infections?”

In his response Pope Francis stated: “Yes, it’s one of the methods. The moral of the Church on this point is found here faced with a perplexity: the fifth or sixth commandment? Defend life, or that sexual relations are open to life?”
In fact there can never be any conflict between the commandments of the decalogue. Pope Francis further implies that the Church’s teaching on this matter is not a priority:

“This question makes me think of one they once asked Jesus: ‘Tell me, teacher, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Is it obligatory to heal?’ This question, ‘is doing this lawful,’ … but malnutrition, the development of the person, slave labor, the lack of drinking water, these are the problems. Let’s not talk about if one can use this type of patch or that for a small wound, the serious wound is social injustice, environmental injustice, injustice that…

I don’t like to go down to reflections on such case studies when people die due to a lack of water, hunger, environment…when all are cured, when there aren’t these illnesses, tragedies, that man makes, whether for social injustice or to earn more money, I think of the trafficking of arms, when these problems are no longer there, I think we can ask the question ‘is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'”

10 December 2015 – Cardinal Turkson suggests that the world might be overpopulated and states that “this has been talked about, and the Holy Father on his trip back from the Philippines also invited people to some form of birth control, because the Church has never been against birth control and people spacing out births and all of that.” He later stated that he should have used the term “responsible parenthood” rather than “birth control.”

18 February 2016 – Pope Francis seems to suggest that condoms are a “lesser of two evils” that can be used to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus and again makes the erroneous assertion that there can be “conflict between the fifth and sixth commandments” of the decalogue. He also seems to suggest the question of contraception is a “religious problem” rather than a “human problem”. This incoherent approach to the moral law was already predicted by Voice of the Family, in our analyses of the synodal documents.

19 February 2016 – The Vatican press office confirms that Pope Francis intended to approve the use of condoms in certain cases in his remarks of the previous day.

8 April 2016 – The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is promulgated. This document builds on the erroneous approach adopted in the synodal documents towards conscience and the natural law and pursues false approaches to moral theology, including gradualism, situation ethics and fundamental option.

1 September 2016 – Pope Francis states that he is “gratified” by the adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include “universal access to sexual and reproductive health”. These terms are understood to include contraception and abortion by UN agencies, national governments and international agencies.

Archbishop Mupendwatu, of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, had earlier told the World Health Assembly in Geneva that the Holy See welcomed the SDGs unreservedly and that Goal 3, on the two goals that calls for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health” was the key to achieving all the other goals.

The pope’s assertion that he is “gratified” by goals that will lead to further killing of unborn children threatens to destroy the credibility of the strong statements that he has made in opposition to abortion during his pontificate. [As I have often remarked on this Forum, I have personally found Bergoglio's unconditional endorsement of the UN's SDGs - which he enunciated starkly when he addressed the UN General Assembly - the clearest evidence that all his seeming praise and endorsement of Humanae vitae has been mere pro forma lip service. It has also been, surprisingly and rather outrageously, one of the most under-commented of his anti-Catholic positions.

19 September 2016 – Four cardinals write to Pope Francis asking him to resolve five dubia they have about the doctrine of Amoris Laetitia. These dubia, which raise questions regarding the nature of conscience and the existence of intrinsic moral evils, are of great relevance to the Church’s teaching on contraception.

24 October 2016 – Pope Francis praises Bernard Häring, a moral theologian and influential dissenter from Humanae Vitae. He told the 36th general Congregation that Häring was the “first to start looking for a new way to help moral theology to flourish again” and that “in our day moral theology has made much progress in its reflections and in its maturity”.

14 November 2016 – The four cardinals make the text of the dubia public after Pope Francis informs them that he does not intend to give an answer. The pope’s decision not to explain clearly the meaning of his own text strengthens the common perception that his teaching is deliberately ambiguous and intended to undermine the Catholic faith. [I call his objectionable teachings anti-Catholic pure and simple.]

The examples listed above demonstrate the extent to which the pontificate of Pope Francis has caused widespread doubt and confusion concerning the teaching of the Church on questions, such as contraception, relating to moral law.

In this hour of great crisis for the Church we must turn to God, with ever greater confidence, offering prayer and penance that he will soon manifest His almighty power and bring deliverance to His Church.

In the 2/2/17 issue of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, editor Riccardo Cascioli offers further facts on the extent of Boeselager's promotion of contraception when he was in charge of Malteser International. (I shall post a translation). One cannot underscore enough how outrageous it is that one of the consequences of Bergoglio's power grab at the Order of Malta was to reinstate Boeselager who had declared last December that he allowed the distribution of condoms and contraceptives 'as a liberal Catholic'.Originally published at Voice of the Family. Reprinted with permission.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/31/2017 5:35 AM]
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[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/30/2017 6:18 AM]
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Benjamin Disraeli, who was born a Jew but became an Anglican at age 12, famously said: "The Athanasian Creed is the most splendid ecclesiastical
lyric ever poured forth by the genius of man". Stephen Bullivant, who is the Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society of St. Mary's
University in England, wrote this article recently to call attention to this least familiar of the three Creeds professed by Christendom.

How can we teach
the sadly neglected Athanasian Creed?

by Stephen Bullivant
July 25, 2017

As the half-dozen or so readers of my little Trinity book will know already, I’m convinced that the doctrine’s essentials can be stated (and understood!) in very clear and simple terms. They will also know that the writer of the Athanasian Creed was in full agreement.

The Athanasian Creed, originating perhaps in the 6th Century (and thus not by Athanasius), is one of western Christianity’s creedal Greatest Hits. Sadly, unlike its only peers the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, the (admittedly rather long) Athanasian Creed is no longer widely known. This is a shame for many reasons, not least the fact that it includes the most useful statement of the orthodox understanding of the Trinity we have.

Ever eager to render service unto the People of God, and mindful of the catchiness of those modern hymns all the young folks are
raving about, I therefore give you… a (dynamically equivalent) rendering of the first section of the Athanasian Creed, to the tune
of that perennial liturgical favourite 'Autumn Days' – preserving, I think, the spirit of each.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/30/2017 5:20 PM]
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July 30, 2017


PewSitter appears to have moved little since July 29...

Serendipitously, Christopher Ferrara compiles a documentation of now- more-than-just gay creep in the church of Bergoglio analogous to McClusker's
examination of this pope's deceptive profession of praise for Humanae Vitae against his actual record in statements and deeds about artificial
contraception. Ferrara's analysis, however, is based on the men Bergoglio has appointed to high places and their activist endorsement of LGBTism
(to enlarge the scope of mere homosexualism)

Next stage in the church of Bergoglio:
Coming out gay and proud of it

[Forget Sodom and Gomorrah, and St Paul!]

By Christopher A. Ferrara
July 29, 2017

As I have noted on these pages more than once, the essential novelty of the Bergoglian pontificate, even in the midst of the turbulent sea of novelty that is the post-conciliar epoch, is its carefully planned and relentlessly executed assault on the Sixth Commandment under the guise of “accompanying and “integrating” public sinners involved in “second marriages” and other “irregular unions” through a vague process of “discernment” of their “concrete situations.”In other words, a form of situation ethics in matters sexual. This development is simply apocalyptic. There is no other word for what we are witnessing.

From the beginning, this assault was also aimed at mainstreaming the habitual practitioners of sodomy and their “homosexual unions.” We must not forget that it was Bergoglio who got the homo-ball rolling by approving and ordering the publication of a document falsely presented to the world as the midterm relatio of the Synod Fathers in 2014, when they had not even seen it and later resoundingly rejected it. Therein we read:

Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?/colore] /dim]

[The last statement there is self-contradictory, obviously, because one does compromise Catholic doctrine by 'accepting and valuing' homosexual orientation, but those who framed this statement cunningly provided themselves with two 'outs' – they only mention homosexual orientation, not practice; and the doctrine they would not compromise only has to do with family and matrimony, and not sexuality. So, they could always say, "Oh, we were not at all endorsing homosexual practices, and well, we did not mention sexuality because this synod is only about matrimony and family (besides, we do think there is a variety of human sexuality that is normal, not just male and female sexuality)." There we are – more self-deception and seeking to inflict doctrinal deception on the faithful!]

[In the sense meant by the pro-gay prelates] welcoming and accepting homosexuals qua homosexuals would include not just acceptance of their lifestyle but also and recognition of their diabolical mockery of marriage. Hence the same document declares that while “same-sex unions cannot be equated with marriage between men and women… there are cases in which reciprocal support to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support for the life of the partners.” [So what seemingly they concede to doctrine, they immediately subject to exemptions.]

It was Bergoglio who insisted that this abominable text be included in the proceedings of Synod 2015, as if the Fathers had adopted it [In fact, they protested that the topic was never even discussed, but Bergoglio's hand-picked secretary, Mons. Bruno Forte, who wrote the controversial relatio, wrote in all the stuff his lord and master approved for publication!], despite their rejection of “the most shocking document in the history of Rome,” whose fraudulent publication as “their” report helped spark an open rebellion against Bergoglio’s ham-handed manipulation of the synodal proceedings. (Note: the English, French and Spanish translations of the original Italian document appear to have been purged from the Vatican website; only the Italian and Portuguese versions remain.)

Consider the following indications of where Pope Bergoglio stands respecting the conquering march of militant homosexualism in Church and State:
•At the very beginning of his pontificate, Bergoglio appointed a notorious homosexual, Msgr. Battista Ricca, as prelate of his own papal household and the so-called Vatican Bank.
•Confronted with the scandal of the Ricca appointment during an airborne press conference, Bergoglio uttered his infamous “who am I to judge?” respecting “a person [who] is gay and seeks God and has good will…”— this about a homosexual proven to have been involved in sodomite relationships [including the Swiss lover he brought to him to his posting in Paraguay and managed to get the local nunciature to hire, as well as a police incident in Paraguay reporting he was trapped in an elevator with a male prostitute, all this while having a live-in lover. Yet not one report about this ever came out in the mainstream media when Ricca was appointed, much less when the pope defended his appointment with 'Who am I to judge?'
•Setting the tone for the entire project of the emerging Gay Church, in the infamous America magazine interview of September 2013, Pope Bergoglio scoffed at the very idea of disapproving homosexual conduct: “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation….” [At least in the July 2013 airborne new conference, he made a show of believing in the Catholic teaching against homosexual practices by telling the newsmen "I am a son of the Church. Look up what the Catechism says about this issue!" It took more words to say that than simply "The Church teaches that homosexual practices are sinful", words obviously which Bergoglio is unable to say – and has never said nor has ever been reported to have said!]
•Bergoglio has since made a big show of personally meeting with and physically embracing an assortment of deviants, even accepting as given the 'marriage'of a woman pretending to be a man who 'married' another woman.

•Bergoglio has ostentatiously kissed the hand and concelebrated Mass with a notorious pro-homosexual activist priest, and prayed at the grave of the pro-communist rebel priest, Lorenzo Milani, described by La Repubblica — Pope Bergoglio’s favorite, radical-Left newspaper — as “a bohemian artist of unconcealed homosexuality,” whose correspondence includes filthy, depraved references to his love for boys that he admitted aroused temptations to sexually abuse them, restrained only by his fear of Hell.
•Bergoglio has refused to speak out against the legalization of “homosexual unions,” “gay marriage” or even “gay adoption” in Italy, Ireland, the United States and Malta. For this default of his duty as Pope he offers the excuse that “the Pope does not place himself into the concrete politics of a country” - which, on the contrary, is exactly what he does when it comes to various political issues beyond his competence, such as climate change and immigration policy. [Or'the arms trade as the major cause for wars' and campaigning against the death penalty which Catholic doctrine has always allowed when employed as just punishment meted out legally (an issue within his competence but in which he openly contradicts Catholic teaching and Catholic thinkers more recognized than he is such as Thomas Aquinas!]
•One of the few forthright episcopal opponents of the emerging “Gay Church” is Archbishop Charles Chaput, appointed Archbishop by Pope Benedict. Chaput, who was elected as the US delegate to the rigged Synod, has issued pastoral guidelines forbidding Holy Communion to sexually active “gay couples” as well divorced and “remarried” couples who continue in their adulterous sexual relations. Tellingly, Francis refuses to make Chaput a cardinal, passing him over in consistory after consistory, even though Philadelphia is traditionally a major cardinalate see.

Now, with Bergoglio’s heavy hand on the tiller of the Barque of Peter, which he is yanking ever more violently to the left, the homosexuals who infest the Church at every level in the midst of the Church’s worst crisis in 2,000 years are “coming out” everywhere, often with Bergoglio’s direct assistance.

A growing cast of 'gay church' promoters and enablers

LGBT-mainstreamer James Martin, SJ:
The photo speaks for itself

The annoyingly prissy Father James Martin, who likes to say “What the hell!” a lot, is a relentless promoter of the “gay” priesthood and “gay” marriage. He has not only escaped all ecclesiastical sanction for his subversion of the Church’s infallible moral teaching, but Bergoglio has made him a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Social Communications.

Evidently, Bergoglio’s Vatican embraces his pro-homosexual activism, including a book on “building a bridge” between the Church and the imaginary “LGBT community” wherein Martin simply rejects the Church’s teaching, affirmed even in the Catechism of John Paul II, that the homosexual condition is intrinsically disordered (Martin would prefer to call it “differently ordered”), that homosexual acts are gravely depraved, and that sodomy is a sin.

Martin assiduously promotes the notion that God has “created” homosexuals and “transgenders” as such, which can only mean that He has positively endowed them with intrinsic disorders inclining them to acts of grave depravity.

In a video defending his book, Martin recites the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic immorality of sodomy and then promptly dismisses it as not having been “received” by the “LGBT community.” The rest of the video, featuring images of happy “gays” in their happy “gay” relationships, argues for the mainstreaming of the “LGBT community” in the Church.

Walter Kasper: from washed-up Modernist to head
theologian of the Bergoglian Age of Mercy. Peace out!

Cardinal Walter Kasper, Bergoglio’s favorite theologian whose Modernist notion of “mercy” has animated the entire Bergoglian program of moral insurrection, defended Ireland’s legalization of gay 'marriage' in 2015: “A democratic state has the duty to respect the will of the people; and it seems clear that, if the majority of the people wants such homosexual unions, the state has a duty to recognize such rights.”

Reinhard Marx: Pro-gay icon of a wealthy,
bloated and corrupt German hierarchy

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who informed the world press that Bergoglio expressed 'joy' over the German bishops’ authorization of Holy Communion for adulterers pursuant to Amoris Laetitia, sees no problem with the recent legalization of gay 'marriage”' in Germany. The real problem, says he, is that “the Church has not exactly been a trailblazer as far as the rights of homosexuals are concerned.” Concerning gay 'marriage', Marx declared: “The Christian position is one thing. It’s another thing to ask if I can make all the Christian moral concepts laws. Whoever fails to understand that the one does not automatically lead to the other, has not understood the essence of modern society.”

Christoph Schönborn:
'Official' interpreter of Amoris Laetitia and faux conservative;
point man on mainstreaming gay 'marriage' and gay 'parenting'

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, whom Francis has called a 'great theologian' under the embarrassingly mistaken impression that he was Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is leading the way to the Church’s acceptance of gay 'marriage', gay adoption/parenting, and LGBT families.

As LifeSite News reported, in a 2015 interview in La Civiltà Cattolica whose contents are vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State, Schönborn declared:“We can and we must respect the decision to form a union with a person of the same sex, [and] to seek means under civil law to protect their living together with laws to ensure such protection.” Bergoglio has said Schönborn's interpretation of AL is the correct one.

Schönborn’s own cathedral in Vienna has published a pamphlet on AL that features a beaming “gay couple” and the adopted child they have deprived of a mother. The accompanying text, written by one of the child’s 'two daddies', boasts of their “Rainbow family, modern family, unconventional family… there are many titles for our fine nest of sanctuary. But we are not so special, we, that is: daddy Bernd, Papi Georg, and son Siya…” As LifeSite News reports, “Daddy and Papi” plan to inflict themselves on another innocent victim of “gay adoption”: a three-year-old girl from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia:
Complete with “gay” sunglasses, he had himself
painted into a homoerotic mural in his cathedral

Pope Bergoglio has made this notoriously pro-gay prelate head of the Pontifical Academy for Life as well as Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Bergoglio has neutralized both of these Vatican institutions by sacking their previous members, appointing (among others) pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia members, whose appointment Paglia defends, and rewriting the mission statements and statutes. As LifeSite News notes, Bergoglio’s installation of Paglia as head of the two institutions is part of “an apparent overhaul … in favor of a departure from fidelity to Catholic teaching on life.”

Paglia paid a homosexual artist to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in 2007. The mural includes an image of the archbishop himself, looking up to a naked man.

Center, Bergoglio and Cupich yuk it up, as Bergoglio's 'gay church' rises.

Blase Cupich, slick-talking promoter
of Holy Communion for sodomites

Cardinal Blase Cupich, a key Bergoglian LGBT-mainstreamer, promptly announced a path to the reception of Holy Communion by gay couples upon his installation as Archbishop of Chicago: Based on their 'inviolable' conscience, they would be able join at the Communion rail (or on the Novus Ordo bread line) the public adulterers in “second marriages” that Cupich is accommodating while they “discern what the will of God is.” [Cupich is a prime example of favored Bergoglian prelates who are both PERVERSE - i.e., "acting contrary to the accepted or expected standard or practice in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable, often in spite of the consequences"; and PERVERTED, not necessarily in the original sexual sense of the word, but in its more general meaning of "corrupted or distorted from its original course, meaning, or state". And now that I have spelled out the meanings of both words, I realize it applies to all 'Catholic' progressivists and definitely, to all Bergoglians, starting with the church founder himself.]

As Cupich stated during a press conference at the Vatican Press Office: “I think that gay people are human beings too and they have a conscience.” [Oh what an original apercu! Has anyone in the Church ever said gay people are not human beings and that they do not have a conscience? This man seems to have the brain of a bedbug.] The new Bergoglian gnosis of “discernment,” he said, is “for everybody. I think that we have to make sure that we don’t pigeonhole one group as though they are not part of the human family, as though there’s a different set of rules for them. That would be a big mistake.” ][Told you! Bedbug brain!] In other words, ] “gay couples” habitually engaging in sodomy are just as entitled as heterosexual adulterers to receive Holy Communion while “discerning” whether to cease committing sodomy—a decision entirely up to them, however. [The inevitable reductio ad absurdum of AL's relativism/subjectivism!]

Timothy Dolan:
Guffawing his way through the rise of Gay Church

When the failed pro football player Michael Sam 'came out' as a homosexual in 2014, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose New York Archdiocese is thoroughly infested with homosexual priests, declared on national television: “Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya…. The same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, ‘Bravo.’” Dolan infamously served as Grand Marshall of the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade despite its inclusion of a Gay Pride contingent marching under a Gay Pride banner.

Joseph Tobin, friend of the LGBT community -
Always with the big grins, these people

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, made a cardinal by Bergoglio and placed at the head of the Archdiocese of Newark, last month gave his blessing to a 'gay pilgrimage' that ended with a sacrilegious Mass at the cathedral in Newark. One of the militant homosexuals who participated in this abomination called the Cardinal’s blessing of it 'a miracle'.The New York Times hailed the event under the following headline: “As Church Shifts, a Cardinal Welcomes Gays; They Embrace a ‘Miracle’”.

Tobin supports Martin’s pro-LGBT propaganda and lauds his book: “In too many parts of our church, LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome, excluded, and even shamed. Martin’s inspiring new book invites church leaders to minister with more compassion and reminds LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic.”[Shut up already with that sanctimonious baloney! All baptized Catholics – including CINOs like Cardinal Tobin and his Lord Bergoglio – are 'part of the Church'. The question is how faithful are they to the Church and her teachings, i.e., how faithful are they to Christ.]

Kevin Farrell: Another Francis-appointed,
Smiley, Warm and Fuzzy,
Gay-Welcoming 'Prince of the Church'

Elevated to cardinal status by—who else?—Pope Bergoglio, Kevin Farrell dutifully marches in Bergoglio’s growing “homophile” cardinalate brigade. He likewise praises Martin’s call to mainstream homosexuality and “transgenderism” in the Church. Martin’s book, he declares, is “[a] welcome and much-needed book that will… help LGBT Catholics feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.”
[Same-old, same-old sanctimonious yada-yada-yada!]. Before he was named cardinal, the pro-gay prelate was first named the first head of Bergoglio’s new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which should accomplish as much for the family as the phony Synods did.

Life Site News sums up the crucial role of Bergoglio’s cardinals in Martin’s subversion: “Francis-appointed Cardinals back Jesuit’s pro-LGBT book.”

Pro-gay Bishop Robert McElroy,
with requisite mirthful mien

Bishop Robert McElroy, head of the Diocese of San Diego—one of the earlyrecruits to the expanding corps of pro-gay”shock troops Bergoglio is installing in key dioceses, has praised Martin’s book thus:
The Gospel demands that LGBT Catholics be genuinely loved and treasured in the life of the Church. They are not. Martin provides us the language, perspective, and sense of urgency to undertake the arduous but monumentally Christlike task of replacing a culture of alienation with a culture of merciful inclusion.” ]colore=#0026ff][Either McElroy never heard of Sodom and Gomorrah and never read St. Paul on the sinfulness of unnatural relations, or he believes that God himself and later St. Paul have been fostering a 'culture of alienation' by enjoining man against sinful sexual actions. It is not the Church that has alienated sexual deviants but the deviants themselves who automatically think the Church rejects them, who have – especially n this new age of LGBT tyranny over the majority – self-alienated themselves from the Church and then blame her because they are unwilling and unable to live by her teachings.]

McElroy has also demanded that his diocese be “deeply inclusive: embracing mothers and fathers beautifully bonded in their married love and the love of their children, as well as… LGBT families…” He pronounces the Catechism’s teaching that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” to be “very destructive language that I think we should not use pastorally.” McElroy has already explicitly authorized Holy Communion for the divorced and “remarried” who “discern” that they are not guilty of adultery, while posing no impediment to Holy Communion for sodomites.
[It's hard to decide which American bishop is most odious and most anti-Catholic today – Cupich, Joseph Tobin or McElroy!]

Pro-gay auxiliary bishop Robert Dolan:
Serving under McElroy, he headed a 'gay parish'

A brand-new recruit to the growing gay-friendly hierarchy Pope Bergoglio is installing, Father Robert Dolan was made McElroy’s auxiliary bishop last June 29. Dolan is being billed as “Vice Disruptor” under McElroy, meaning he is part of the Bergoglian preference for what McElroy describes as “pastoral leaders, rather than theologians” with “more knowledge of the nitty-gritty of life.”

The “nitty-gritty of life” includes episcopal opposition to President Trump’s immigration policies, being spearheaded by McElroy (And what about abortions? The mass murder of unborn children is not that big a deal under this pope as welcoming all immigrants!) The nitty-gritty must also include the now-requisite “embrace of the LGBT community.” Accordingly, Dolan served as pastor of a ‘welcoming parish’ in the city’s gay and lesbian district, which assignment he describes as “an eye-opening experience, but also a joyful experience.”

There’s endless, unquenchable joy in Gay Church—now open for business in the “gay and lesbian district” of every city, which naturally requires at least one LGBT parish. Because, as everyone knows, “gay and lesbian Catholics” are different from just plain Catholics – they are special people. They can hardly be expected to attend just any old Catholic parish. Oh, no, no, no! They must have their own special parishes where they can be 'welcomed' with all their deviant lifestyle on public display and never be told they are living in sin.

Fr. Thomas Rosica: Nasty pro-LGBT attack dog
The unbearably smug Father Thomas Rosica, a Vatican Press Office attaché during the Phony Synods, indignantly declared during the rigged proceedings: “The jubilee of mercy requires a language of mercy, in particular in speaking about homosexuals or gay persons. We do not pity gay persons but we recognize them for who they are. They are our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.” [But he doesn't say that unlike most of us sinners, they do live in chronic mortal sin, and aren't their souls in danger???]

Assuming the role of LGBT attack dog, Rosica blasted Chaput and 'some other bishops' (who have been critical of Martin’s book and the LGBT mainstreaming campaign in general), accusing them of “erecting high, impenetrable walls and noisy echo chambers of monologue” and attributing opposition to Martin’s propaganda to “the dark, dysfunctional side of the Catholic blogosphere…”

Rosica harkened back to the Phony Synods, during which “courageous bishops and Cardinals of the Church challenged their brother bishops and Synod delegates to be attentive to our language in speaking about homosexual persons.” He praised New Zealand Cardinal John Dew in particular for his “fervent plea to examine our ecclesial language of 'intrinsically disordered’ to describe homosexual persons.” The language of the Catechism, according to Rosica, is merely “scholastic theology” that “misses the mark and ends up doing more harm than good.”[Did Rosica – or any other pro-LGBT prelate - ever try to tackle Cardinal Schoenborn directly about this? After all, the Viennese cardinal chaired the editorial committee that put together the Catechism from 1985-1992, even if now he routinely and blatantly violates provisions of that very Catechism. Why does no one tackle him about his downright hypocrisy and dishonesty?]

Alluding to one of Bergoglio’s demagogic slogans, Rosica declared: “Reality is more important than lofty theological or philosophical ideas”, in this case referring to the negative precepts of natural [and divine] law, including the absolute impermissibility of sodomy.

Robert Barron: Telegenic soft-pedaler
of Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil
of sodomy and the abomination of gay 'marriage'

Alongside the more obvious “gay Church” promoters are some smooth-talking 'conservative' commentators, such asBishop Robert Barron—made a bishop by Bergoglio, of course—who enable the same mission by insisting the Church is not “anti-gay” and apologizing for her supposed insensitivity to “gay persons,” while soft-pedaling the intrinsic evil and depravity of sodomy as merely (to quote Barron) “falling short” of “the high bar” of the Church’s teaching on sexuality, which is thereby reduced to a lofty ideal, and deviant sex as an “incomplete integration of the sexual act”, rather than one of the sins crying out for divine retribution.

Last, but far from least-
Francesco Coccopalmerio:
The secretary he recommended for bishop
has a thing for drugs and gay orgies

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who has declared (based solely on Amoris Laetitia) that
public adulterers living in “second marriages” should be admitted to Holy Communion if they find it “impossible” to refrain from adulterous sexual relations, has also stated that while this permission would not extend to “gay couples” because “it’s not a natural condition” —u nlike “natural” heterosexual adultery! — nevertheless “We can accept them, welcome them, accept their decision…”

In what is surely only the tip of a very large iceberg, Coccopalmerio’s personal secretary, Luigi Capozzi, was arrested in the midst of a drug-fueled homosexual orgy in an apartment located in the same building as the headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. According to the journalist who broke the story, Francesco Antonio Grana, Coccopalmerio had recommended (unsuccessfully) that Capozzi be made a bishop.

Edward Pentin, unable to obtain an official Vatican comment on the scandal (because it is undeniable), reports that his source within the curia admits that “the story is true” and that “the extent of homosexual practice in the Vatican has ‘never been worse’, despite efforts begun by Benedict XVI to root out sexual deviancy from the curia after the Vatileaks scandal of 2012.” Those efforts have clearly not only been halted but have gone into reverse.

As Pope Bergoglio continues to stack the College of Cardinals and the episcopate with pro-gay subversives or clueless liberal ding-a-lings, the faithful can only brace themselves for the next stage of the Bergoglian Debacle—the rise of Gay Church—while praying for a speedy (and probably miraculous) deliverance from the clutches of the Dictatorship of Mercy.

In its puff piece on Cardinal Tobin, The New York Times notes that after he was sent packing from the Vatican to Indiana on account of his failure and refusal to do anything effective to discipline America’s plague of dissident nuns — an assignment he resented — Tobin “lifted weights in the early mornings wearing a skull-printed do-rag.” What could be more appropriate to depict the gay-friendly Bergoglian regime Tobin so perfectly exemplifies than the universal symbol of death? [Bergoglio and his fervent acolytes obviously do not see that their open endorsement of LGBT lifestyles promotes the culture of death in the sense that they are endorsing lifestyles in which generation of new life is impossible.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/31/2017 10:54 PM]
8/1/2017 4:35 AM
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This makes a great companion piece to Christopher Ferrara's listing of the Bergoglian 'teacher's pets' who have been advancing this pontificate's LGBTism,
except that in Ferrara's list, only Kasper, Schoenborn and perhaps Marx would qualify as 'advisers'/theoreticians for Bergoglio. The rest of his cast of
characters are quintessential follow-the-leader-right-or-wrong minions, who can and often are more Bergoglian than Bergoglio in their
zeal to preach his 'gospel' and put it into immediate practice. They generally do not have any ideas different from their lord and
master - to use Bergoglio's own term, they have been happily and willingly 'colonized ideologically' by Bergoglio.

On the other hand, Spadaro, Fernandez and Figueroa might well be Bergoglio's Three Musketeers [Mouseketeers, perhaps?], though I am not too sure
how much 'intellectual' influence Figueroa has on this pope. Except that Magister seems to have overlooked the man most Vaticanistas claim to be
the true administrative 'grey eminence' to this pope –

Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, who has really managed to avoid projecting himself in any way, and is perhaps,
thereby more effective, as he avoids the stones that are usually thrown at the tallest, most visible 'trees' in the forest. He's obviously much older
than any of the Three Musketeers, but being named 'Beniamino', would he be their D'Artagnan? (To illustrate how low-profile he has kept himself, the two
pictures in the panel above, obviously taken on the same occasion, are the only two photos I can find online showing him with the pope, other than when
he was conferred the red hat.)

The 'Three Musketeers' of the Bergoglian court
By Sandro Magister
July 30, 2017

The classic communist parties had their “organic intellectuals.” But Pope Francis has them, too. Their names are Antonio Spadaro, Marcelo Figueroa, Víctor Manuel Fernández. [Not having met the term 'organic intellectual' before, I had to look it up, and I see now how and why Magister uses it.

"The concept of "organic intellectual" comes from Antonio Gramsci, the founder of PCI (Partita Communista Italiana). His idea was that the intellectual was at the service of the Party and, once the strategy and actions to be taken were established, the "organic intellectual" was the one in charge of looking for the best arguments to defend those strategies and actions, that is, something very similar to the behavior of politicians or the behavior required from a lawyer by a client. 'Traditional intellectuals' are not supposed to have this kind of commitment.

[As I recall, the Soviet Union referred to its 'house intellectuals' as the intelligentsiya – a Russian neologism from the 19th century that has become universally adopted to describe the social stratum of 'educated people engaged in the complex mental labours that critique, guide, and lead in shaping the culture and politics of their society'.]

The first is an Italian and a Jesuit, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica The others are Argentine, and the latter is not even Catholic but a Presbyterian pastor, but nonetheless, the pope made him editor of the first–ever Argentine edition of L'Osservatore Romano. [Ah yes, the ecumenism of favoritism! Apparently, this pope does not think there is any Argentine Catholic qualified for the job.]

Spadaro has turned Civilta… into the organ of Casa Santa Marta, meaning of the pope. And together with Figueroa, he wrote an article in the latest issue of the magazine that has slammed into the United States like a hurricane [the metaphor I would use would be 'like a North Korean ICBM' because it is just as malicious and misguided, and certainly far from a force of nature!] - it accused both Catholic and Protestant conservatives in the USA of acting “with a logic not different from that which inspires Islamic fundamentalism,” i.e., no better than Osama bin Laden and the ISIS.

All because these Catholics and Protestants have come together to fight as “neo-Crusaders” on “issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in the schools,” in other words, on “a particular form of defense of religious freedom.” With the result, say Spadaro and Figueroa, of fomenting an “ecumenism of hatred,” out of nostalgia for “a state with theocratic features.” [What nostalgia might there be for something that never was in the experience of Americans???] - ergo, the exact opposite of the ecumenism of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a pope “of inclusion, peace, encounter.”

The trouble is that the defense of life, of the family, of religious freedom have been at the forefront of the American Catholic Church’s agenda for more than a decade – and US Catholics were rightly outraged that “believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true.”

The highest-level protest came from the archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, who rejected the article by Spadaro and Figueroa as “an exercise in dumbing down and inadequate.” But other comments have been much harsher and have had an easy time pointing out a series of colossal historical and logical blunders in the article.

Any other magazine would have tossed out such an article, the Canadian Raymond J. de Souza for example wrote on CRUX, the most important and balanced website of Catholic information in the United States. [Does Magister really believe that? What about National Catholic Register, which is decades older than Crux, and has a stable of veteran Catholic writers that dwarfs the few same-old, same-old contributors Crux depends on to augment what is produced by John Allen and Ines San Martin, who make up Crux's entire writing staff? Moreover, I doubt Crux would host Magister's generally Bergoglio-critical pieces at all. In fact, when was the last time there was a Bergoglio-critical article on Crux???]

But, of course, at Santa Marta, on Francis’s desk, the article was not tossed out at all. On the contrary, it was approved with full marks and made an even bigger splash because it was correctly interpreted by everyone as expressive not only of the pope’s thoughts but also of his management style.

In this case, it seemed to be an attack of unprecedented forcefulness, launched through his musketeers, on the “Ratzingerian” leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States.

[It is not, of course, accurate to describe the leadership of the US Catholic bishops in the USA as 'Ratzingerian'.
- USCCB president Cardinal Di Nardo was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI, true, but I will never forget that single news conference the US cardinals held before the 2013 Conclave when, one after the other, they described what they thought the next pope ought to be, and their statements sounded like a serial indictment of Benedict XVI for all that they thought he was not! (These cardinals included three created by Benedict XVI – Di Nardo, Dolan and O'Malley.)
- The USSCB Vice President is Mons. Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who, although appointed by Benedict XVI to succeed the infamous Cardinal Mahoney in that Archdiocese, has been unabashedly a more Bergoglian-than-Bergoglio advocate of accepting all immigrants unconditionally.
- The USSCB secretary is Mons. Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, about whom the only pertinent fact I can gather from his skimpy entry in Wikipedia is that he organized the World Youth Day celebrations held in Denver in 1998, and was therefore a John Paul II bishop.
- The USCCB treasurer is Mons. Gregory Aymond of New Orleans who comes closest perhaps to being Ratzingerian in that "he is known as a strong proponent of the Catholic Church's position of opposing abortion, artificial birth control, and euthanasia. Aymond also believes that homosexuals should remain celibate." [Sounds like a true rarity these days!]

In fact, after the death of Cardinal George of Chicago, I am hard put to think of any US bishop I could think of as Ratzingerian. Before Bergoglio, I thought Mons. Chaput was, but since March 3, 2013, he hasn't been as dependably 'conservative' as he once was.]

In the doctrinal camp Fr. Spadaro is fairly nonchalant, theorizing that “in theology 2 + 2 can make 5,” and is infallible in prognosticating Bergoglio’s revolutions big and small. But among the counselors and confidants one is even closer to the pope than he is - the Argentine Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, a theologian whose first and revealing work was, in 1995, a book entitled: “Heal me with your mouth:The art of kissing.”

It comes as no surprise that after this debut and after his other no less questionable literary productions, the Vatican of Benedict XVI first vetoed Fernández’s appointment as rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina, only to have to give in, in 2009, to the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires, who fought tooth and nail to get the nulla osta for the promotion of his protégé

In 2013, just after he was elected pope, Bergoglio quickly made Fernández an archbishop. And since then, this figure has almost spent more time in Rome than in Argentina, kept more than busy by being theological brain and ghostwriter for his friend the pope. Whole paragraphs of chapter eight of “Amoris Laetitia” [the document from Hell!] have been shown to have been lifted verbatim from articles by Fernández of a decade ago.

[Too bad Magister has nothing to add to the little we know about Pastor Figueroa – who had hosted a TV program (series?] in Buenos Aires featuring 'ecumenical' discussions with Cardinal Bergoglio and his friend, Rabbi Abraham Sikorska.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2017 1:13 AM]
8/1/2017 6:17 PM
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Last Saturday, one of the items I had set aside to post was this brief one – which I ended up not posting because GloriaTV, its source, has the most
frustrating unprofessional habit of not attributing its sources with a verifiable link for the news it reports...OnePeterFive has now picked up the story
and expanded it, but here first is the GloriaTV item that caught my eye.

Columbian academic calls
Pope Francis a 'false prophet'

July 29, 2017

The Columbian academic José Galat Noumer, 88, a former president of La Gran Colombia University in Bogotà and owner of the family- and Church-oriented television station Teleamiga, said that Pope Francis is the "false prophet of which the Bible speaks" who "teaches heresies" that go against the word of God and "paves the way for the antichrist."

Talking to Blu Radio, Galat assured that Benedict XVI is the real Pope, not Francis, who "was elected by a mafia of cardinals who afterwards confessed it loquaciously". He added that Francis is "false and harmful."

Galat pointed out that there is a "great ignorance" on the part of the Catholics and of a Church, which supports the "foolishness" of Francis.

The Columbian Episcopal Conference issued a statement urging priests to withdraw their support for the Teleamiga because of Galat's criticisms of Francis. Galat authored 22 books and is a lifelong Catholic activist.

Now, here's the 1P5 report with an update:

Professor who has criticized the pope publicly
is declared excommunicated by Colombian bishops

By Maike Hickson

July 31, 2017

Some troubling news has, once more, just come to us from Colombia. As we reported a while ago, there was the case of Don Uribe Medina, a parish priest punished for criticizing Pope Francis and his novel teaching concerning marriage. Fortunately, that case was resolved on good terms, with Fr. Uribe’s own bishop now even fully defending
the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage.

In the new case, however, Professor José Galat, former rector of the La Gran Colombia University and founder and owner of the television station Teleamiga, has been declared excommunicated for his purported schismatic attitude. More specifically, he and his own weekly TV program, Un Café con Galat (Coffee with Galat), have been accused of not being sufficiently obedient toward Pope Francis.

Significantly, it was Galat himself who, at the time of the Don Uribe case,hosted the priest and gave him the scope to defend his positions.

Galat himself recently made statements on his own television show, where, citing the “Sankt Gallen Mafia,” of whom Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels is among the most famous members, he claimed that Pope Francis was unlawfully elected. He also claimed that Pope Francis is distorting many aspects of the Catholic Church’s fundamental teaching.

For these statements – and especially in light of the imminent mid-September 2017 visit of Pope Francis to Colombia – the bishops of Colombia have taken canonical steps against Prof. Galat.

One of the more unusual steps is that, on 26 July, Monsignor Pedro Mercado, president of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Bogotá, published the following statement on Twitter (sic): “For obstinate disobedience toward the pope, José Galat has placed himself outside of the Communion with the Church. He cannot receive the Sacraments.” On the same day, the same prelate posted, again on his Twitter feed, a picture with himself and Pope Francis along with the caption: “I am Catholic and I am in communion!”

ACI Prensa, the Spanish branch of Catholic News Agency (CNA), has already published two articles on this Galat case. On 25 July, ACI Prensa reported that the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (CEC) “lamented the content of the Colombian television channel Teleamiga, which claims to be of Catholic inspiration but which attacks Pope Francis.” The bishops “urged priests, religious, and lay people to cease any support they give” to this program.

The bishops also state that “Teleamiga does not represent, nor reflect, the teaching of the Catholic Church; therefore it cannot call itself a ‘Catholic channel.’”

Here ACI Prensa also directly quotes the bishops: “Based on Canon Law, we point out that, by rejecting submission to the Pope and seriously injuring the communion of the Church, a schism is thereby incurred and other people are [thus also] induced to fall into it.”

The Colombian bishops – three of whom have signed the statement, among them the president of the Episcopal Conference – especially criticized the messages coming from 'Un Café con Galat' as carried out by the founder and director of Teleamiga. The bishops accuse him of sowing among the Catholic faithful, with the help of “superficial and harmful arguments,” “attitudes of detachment and doubt regarding the validity of the pontificate of Pope Francis.”

The Colombian bishops also stressed that they have sought “the way of dialogue” with Galat “over the years.” “However, a calm and fruitful approach has not been possible, nor has there been a change of attitude [on his part],” they added.

Next to telling Catholics not to support the channel anymore, the bishops also declare that it is an absolute contradiction that the Teleamiga channel should continue to transmit the celebration [and Sacrifice] of the Eucharist and that, in its facilities, there is to be found the Blessed Sacrament [reserved].”

Teleamiga has been airing traditional Masses. The Colombian bishops advise the faithful to look for other ways and means to find “sound doctrine.” For example, the bishops have explicitly invited the faithful to prepare themselves well for a welcome of Pope Francis on his upcoming visit to Colombia (Bogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín, and Cartagena) and to listen to him “with docility.”

It might be of worth to note that the Archdiocese of Bogotá, Colombia is also about to host a conference given by Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, concerning the papal document Amoris Laetitia, with 600 participants in registered attendance already.

Teleamiga is a television station licensed, among others, by the La Gran Colombia University, Bogotá, whose rector was Professor Galat himself from 1981 to 2017. Galat studied political sciences and philosophy at different universities in Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Colombia. He is now 88 years old…and just excommunicated.

On 26 July, ACI Prensa published a follow-up report on the Galat case, quoting Bishop Mercado: “With his angry response to the episcopate and his obstinate rejection of Pope Francis, Dr. José Galat has placed himself outside the communion of the Catholic Church … He should not be admitted to the sacraments until he shows clear signs of repentance.”

According to Bishop Mercado, “heresy and schism are typified as canonical offenses punished with (automatic) excommunication latae sententiae.” The bishop added, “Those who have committed this crime may not receive the sacraments of the Church until manifesting a visible and sincere repentance.”

At this point, Galat is disallowed from receiving even a Catholic burial. According to the bishop, “by disobeying Pope Francis in a visible, public, and reiterated way, Dr. Galat has placed himself outside the communion of the Church.”

According to ACI Prensa, Bishop Mercado said, “It is painful for me to realize that Dr. Galat, who for so many years served the Church faithfully, has ended his days in this pitiful spiritual situation.”

These tones do not sound very merciful, at least to some observers.

Prof. Galat himself has now responded on two occasions. First, on 25 July, he declared that “it is true that a Catholic must have love and adherence to the legitimate successor of the Apostle Peter.” But, according to Galat, one wonders about a pope “not chosen by God, but by men and even worse by a ‘mafia of cardinals,’” as it had been called by “Cardinal Godfried Danneels himself, who, with savvy, publicly declared that this mob determined the resignation of Benedict XVI and put Francis in the papacy.”

Galat goes so far to say that the present pontiff’s election “was the work of a political and corrupt mafia of cardinals.” The Colombian professor insisted that this is said not by him, but by Cardinal Danneels himself, as can be shown with the help of different sources, among them an article written by Edward Pentin.

Galat also spoke about Francis’s “undoubted illegitimacy of origin,” complemented by an “illegitimate exercise of teaching doctrines contrary to the Catholic Faith.” As examples, he mentioned Francis’s claim that everyone is saved, that proselytism is foolish, and that adulterers may receive Communion.

Galat claimed that he has presented even more facts on his television program. He also spoke about the “nonsense of him who figures [presents himself] as pontiff.” He accused the Bishops’ Conference of branding as formal “schismatics those who try to defend the Faith, when it is exactly the opposite.” Galat explained that those who attack the Catholic truths are, in fact, the ones who put themselves outside the Church.

He concluded that “‘false and harmful’ is the silence of those who are called to defend the Faith”; those who now practice “complicity or cowardice” also want to destroy Teleamiga, which does actually defend the Faith.

Galat “very respectfully” challenged the “Colombian episcopate itself to respond and to counter-argue – with the help of biblical evidence and the traditional teaching of the Church” in order to show “what are our alleged mistakes that have caused their ‘superficial and noxious’ anger.” And: “Why do they persecute those who defend the Faith of the Church?”

On 26 July, the day after his first response to the episcopal steps taken against him, Professor Galat also responded on his Facebook page to the claim that he is using “harmful and superficial” arguments. Galat rejected these reproaches, applying the same words to some of the confusing teachings coming these days from the Catholic hierarchy itself.

“False and harmful are the heresies taught by theologians, bishops, cardinals, and even by Pope Francis – and not the defense of the truths of the Faith as we have undertaken it on our channel.” “False and harmful” are, in Galat’s eyes, those who, instead, endanger the salvation of souls by teaching “false doctrines against the Faith of the Church, taught and sustained by Pope Francis.” Amoris Laetitia was also mentioned here for calling “sin” [i.e., adultery] an “irregular situation.”

“And harmful it is to destroy the family with the virtual legalization of adultery which is now to be easily achieved, according to the principles enshrined in that document,” explained Galat. After naming more examples, he concluded: “False and harmful are a multitude of other wrong teachings of the current pope.” Galat posted this same statement on the website of Teleamiga.

The Galat case has, so far, not been widely covered. But the well respected Catholic website Infovaticana published on 29 July a comment that asserts Professor Galat’s inclination to make himself the center of his TV program, in spite of his alleged defective theological expertise. The article uses even harsher language that I prefer not to repeat.

To an outsider like me, this article and tone seem inappropriate amid a grave situation where an 88-year-old Catholic man who seems to have contributed so much to the common good of his country – also economically, by fostering community-based enterprises that help the poor – is now threatened to be indefinitely excluded from the Sacraments.

Is this to be a fitting manifestation of the newly (and more expansively) merciful Church? Is this how Pope Francis’s welcome is to be prepared in Colombia – at the expense of an elderly Catholic veteran?

We might not agree with all of Galat’s own forceful statements and sweeping assertions, which certainly are hard to prove and may be said to lack prudence.

But we might also remember in this context that the well respected Italian journalist and papal critic Antonio Socci – who not many years ago also argued that the election of Pope Francis was invalid – received last year a personal letter from the pope, thanking him for his work and welcoming his criticism. How is it that one critic receives a papal thank-you note, while another – and much older – gentleman receives an excommunication? [It's comparing apples and oranges: Socci is a well-known Italian author and journalist, whom obviously even this pope felt he should not further alienate, so he writes him a 'thank you for your criticism' note - even if one can be skeptical about its sincerity. Galat lives in Colombia, and perhaps Bergoglio's house spies failed to inform him of Galat's anti-Bergoglio bias (even in advance of the pope's visit to Colombia), or they informed him of it but he has decided to let the Colombian bishops take care of the matter.]

Update: Infovaticana now published, today, another post on Prof. Galat, more differentiated, showing his many achievements and, while saying they don’t share Galat’s theses, calling Pope Francis to prudence. They also add the information that we should add, too – namely, “His Teleamiga Television Channel, of which he is co-founder and director, reaches 35 countries and more than 50 million homes.”
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2017 9:16 PM]
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Sermon for the 8th Sunday After Pentecost:
Protestantism in the Church has failed -
it is time to go back to Catholic Tradition

by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla
St Mary's Norwalk, Connecticut
July 30, 2017
Courtesy of RORATE CAELI

How the hammer of the whole earth has been cut off and broken! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations! "I set a snare for you and you were also caught, O Babylon, While you yourself were not aware; You have been found and also seized Because you have engaged in conflict with the LORD." (Jeremiah 50:23-24)

Brokenness. That is the only word, a neologism I am sure, that describes our current situation, our plight. Last evening before dinner I read the New York Times, skimming as I always do. I had no hope of objectivity in the reporting of the news. Objective reporting went several years ago.

But I was deeply saddened to see in an article on yet again another personal debacle within the Trump administration of revolving doors and twitter invective the reporting of the ipsissima verba of an offhand conversation of someone who is working at a high level in the administration and who worked to get someone high up fired and succeeded.

The Times reported his language in the very words he used, which included four letter words that are now common in the artistic media and in everyday talk among so many of our young people but still never until this time have been printed in a newspaper that is read by many people indeed, including young people. For me this was a powerful sign of where this society is.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Times did this on purpose to make clear the grossness of these people who are close to the president. But printing those words is crossing a line that needed not to be crossed, because we all know the low level to which discourse has descended among the majority of people.

When the terrible earthquake destroyed the town of Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and destroyed the monastery of Benedictine monks there, I said that this was the sign of the end of Western civilization as we knew it, that is, a civilization founded on the Christian faith, not perfect, but yet with a grounding in faith in the person of Jesus Christ and all that that means.

What is going on not only in this country but also in the whole Western world provides incontrovertible evidence that we are living not only in a post-Christian time but also in a real way in an anti-Christian time. [Underscored by the fact that we now have a manifestly anti-Catholic pope.]

The breakdown in the moral fiber of this country and of the Western world that happened in the 1960s is real and we are living in its aftermath. To make this observation has nothing to do with a stuffy moralism or puritanism or any ism at all.

We live in a time in which the real fruits of the Protestant reformation that denied the corporate nature of the existence of the individual within the Church as the body of Christ in the world, are plain to see.

We see its fruits in the so called rediscovery of the self in the Renaissance, the revolutionary spirit of the later eighteenth century and early nineteenth century and the attendant movement called the Enlightenment that placed the individual at the center of meaning, and despite the use of WE in the declaration of independence, the American vision placed the freedom of the individual, whose goal is the achievement of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the very center of the meaning of human existence.

That peculiar American understanding of the importance of being a corporate entity as one nation, a special nation, was nevertheless undergirded by that radical understanding of the self-determination of the individual that can never be reconciled with the Catholic understanding of the individual as necessarily linked to everyone else in the body of Christ that is the Church in this world.

And yet two terrible World Wars were fought with the belief that there is something very important in the corporate understanding of Western civilization that is worth fighting for and dying for.

But all this is broken and cannot be repaired. It is a foolish endeavor to try in any way to go back or to recapture the past millennia.

Despite the lowest Mass attendance perhaps in the history of the Church, at least per capita,
- despite the abandonment of the Catholic faith and its necessary moral component by the great majority of baptized Catholics under forty,
- despite the confusion and itching of the powers that be in Rome to make things more palatable to a non-believing and self-centered age, the Church seems to refuse to do what has to be done and preach and teach as did the Apostles, daring to tell this generation of the great danger they face if they do not repent and turn to God and throw themselves at his feet and ask for his mercy, a mercy that is never automatic nor can it be presumed, but is always there for the asking, for the asking, one must ask for mercy.

But how can one even preach such things in a Church that has taught her people to feed themselves of the Body of Christ?
- A Church who has taught them to stand to receive What is Holy in direct contradiction to the examples of the Magi and of St. Peter and the practice of the Church for nearly two thousand years?
- A Church that has forgotten the vision of Isaiah of the Holy, a Church in which the words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus have been emasculated by countless vernaculars that imitate the tower of Babel? - A Church where a priest faces his people and becomes a presider instead of a sacrificing priest?

Brokenness. Marriage, the understanding of the family, the constant upsurge in the use of ever new drugs to dull the terrible emptiness felt by so many of our young people, the avoidance of the alleviation of the real poverty of so many people on this earth and instead taking refuge in screeds about global warming, a theory that seems to have some basis in data but is not helping those who are the poorest of the poor and who suffer every day atrocities that we cannot even conceive — this has little to do with Jesus’s mandate to love especially those who are in need.

And what are the successors of the Apostles doing in this singular time? Beating the air. Trying to figure out how to get through this time of brokenness without admitting that things even in the Church are broken. That anti-intellectual and irrational positivism that the hierarchy has taken refuge in is crumbling in the face of the onslaught of a godless world and is becoming the laughing stock of what passes for the intelligentsia in our society.

The embarrassing attempt to attract disenchanted youth by imitating the failed methods of Protestant appeal to sentimentality and emotionis indeed disheartening. It does not seem to occur to them to draw on the deep and God-given Tradition of the Church to reconvert our people by truth spoken plainly, by goodness in living a life that makes a serious attempt to be holy, and by beauty, that beauty that is found in Catholic Tradition but needs to be put into practice especially in the liturgical life of the Church.

I was hoping for a good nor’easter, but then they said that the heavy rain would be confined to the Delmarva peninsula, a name that sounds like a 1930s hotel in Palm Beach. I had hoped to be able to put on my Gene Kelly hat and my Gene Kelly smile and my tap shoes and go dancing and singin’ in the rain. I pictured myself clicking my heels and gracefully swinging on a lamp post and let the rain help me forget the innumerable lines that have been crossed. But the rain never came.

So I donned my own peculiar hat and went to the stone altar and performed that primordial gesture of throwing smoke against a stone altar, an act that resonates with the whole history of man, an act that recalls the Abrahamic sacrifice in all of its terrible incomprehensibility.

But this altar was being prepared not for a sacrifice that was a test of faith. In this sacrifice there was no hand to stay the knife. In this sacrifice the very body of God incarnate was slaughtered like a sheep and the blood of God flowed onto the stone altar of the Cross and flowed over the thousands of lines that have been crossed by men and women who have deliberately confused freedom with self-fulfillment and that Blood covered those lines with the infinite merciful love of God.
8/2/2017 1:08 AM
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Antonio Socci this weekend called his readers' attention to the latest Scalfariade, which is one for Ripley's… All of a sudden, Eugenio Scalfari declares he is not an atheist - although he has declared himself one for most of his life. Now he calls himself instead a 'non-believer' while attacking atheists of having absolute intolerance and hatred towards everyone who is not an atheist!

Is this perhaps a sign of senility publicly displayed in his weekly column in L'Espresso? The weekly newsmagazine is Italy's equivalent of TIME, and part of the media empire including La Repubblica, which Scalfari founded and was editor in chief for decades, during which time his publications became the virtual bible of of Italian secularists and anti-Catholics.)In fairness, however, one must also point out that the resident Vaticanista of L'Espresso for the past two decades has been Sandro Magister).

Or maybe after Bergoglio more or less said to him that hell does not exist, Scalfari thinks he can now 'rest in peace'in immortality knowing there is no hell in the afterlife.

Flash! Scalfari attacks atheists
[But has he not been a declared atheist for decades?]
Translated from

July 30, ,2017

There is no more 'irreligion' [or is it 'lack of religion'?] Not even at the Repubblica-Espresso media conglomerate which has been for decades the temple of anti-clerical secularism. In the past few years, of course, La Repubblica has turned into a papolatrous confraternity that celebrates the Bergoglian religion with pages and pages wafting incense.

And now there is a surprising attack against atheists signed by the Supreme Secular Authority, Eugenio Scalfari, with an article entitled "Militant atheists, here is why you are wrong!".

'It is one thing not to see yourself in any revealed religion. It’s another to believe, absolutely and intolerantly, in the great nothing'. ]

The media empire's founder thinks that today, "there are not too many atheists". He explains that "the atheist is a person who does not believe in any divinity… For him, after death, there is nothing but nothing! In this, they are absolutists – and in a certain sense, one can call them clericalists because they proclaim their truth to be absolute!" [And doesn't Scalfari do that all the time? Before Bergoglio found a BFF in Scalfari and consecrated his anti-Catholic, anti-clerical certainties with his papal blessings, Scalfari, a cradle Catholic who received his early education from Jesuits, had already preceded him for decades in his anti-Catholicism.]

Already, that does not sound complimentary at all! But then he goes on to defend believers, who, he says, "also believe in an absolute truth, but are infinitely more cautious than atheists". Already quite stupefying words from him. But he goes farther and pulls the pin on his grenade.

"Atheists do not know they are not tolerant at all, but their attitude against religious institutions is rigorously combative. The true reason, often unconscious to them, it that their position demands hatred and intellectual wars against religions of whatever kind. Their avowed atheism wishes to be 'satisfied', therefore they do not preach it with elegant calm but provoke discussions by attacking those who believe in any afterlife, insulting and vilifying them, fighting them intellectually. Their 'thing' guides them and demands to be satisfied!" [Satisfied by getting into a fight? Having been the Secular Pope of Atheism for decades, is Scalfari telling us that was how he conducted himself?]

After this hammering, he then says he does not consider the atheist 'a person to be despised and isolated', yet soon afterwards, he steps his attack: "Often the atheist's manner is provocatory, quarrelsome and calumnious…(and) does not inspire sympathy because of the arrogance of his ego".

Having given the atheist that added blow, Scalfari says there is "a third position, profoundly different (from atheism) – that of the 'non-believers'." He defines the latter as those "who do not believe in a transcendent divinity" but, according to Scalfari, "assume the existence of a Being in the afterlife".

We can ignore the garbled sophisms that follow because, with all due respect, one can't make heads or tails of them.

All in all, one has the impression that Scalfari, after a life of absolute secularism, is today, at the age of 94, assailed by thoughts of rhe afterlife which leads him to ask, "And then what?" [He said that for atheists, nothing but nothing follows death. So it took him all these decades before he has begun to worry about that? For decades, it was OK for him if his death simply meant the absolute end of Eugenio Scalfari. But he was raised Catholic, so surely he knew that Christians believe the resurrection of Christ prefigured 'the resurrection of the body' at the end of time that we profess in the Creed. Was it part of his 'atheistic' self-delusion that he always had that in the back of his mind and therefore never really believed that 'nothing but nothing follows death'? Surely someone with his ego could not have borne it to think that he would not be immortal!]]

So he has made up this so called 'middle way'. But there has been a middle way all this time between atheist and believers – namely agnosticism, in which agnostics suspend their judgment simply because they cannot answer to themselves whether God exists or not and/or that no one can know for sure.

But obviously Scalfari will not settle for an already existing category and so has created an ad hoc category: the non-believers, who, he says, "do not believe in an afterlife dominated by the transcendent divinity that most religions believe in, nor in the arrogantly nihilist nothing professed by the atheists."

Then he continues hammering on atheists whose "ego(I), he says, is substantially elementary… that does not think, that does not see itself acting, and that does not judge. And therefore it is an ego that is animalistic. I am sorry that atheists remind me of the chimpanzees from which the human species evolved".

It is not clear when and why Scalfari stopped being an atheist. Nor why he has developed such a hostility for atheists. Indeed he himself had been declaring himself resolutely atheist. In an interview with Attilo Giordano on January 15, 2016, wile promoting his book “L’allegria, il pianto, la vita” (Joy, tears, life), he was asked: "Are you an atheist or an agnostic?" He replied: "Totally atheist. I said so even to the pope".

Now all of a sudden, he says an atheist is 'an I that does not think', in fact, 'an animalistic I' recalling 'the chimpanzies from which our species derive".

As a Catholic, I would never say that of atheists or whoever. The mystery of man is much more complex and profound. For instance, Giacomo Leopardi [great Italian litterateur of the 19th century) had professed himself atheist, yet it would be impossible for me to describe him as someone 'who does not think" or who is 'animalistic".

The strange and even scandalous philippics of Scalfari appears to have passed mostly unnoticed. Yet an atheist – Corrado Augias - who has collaborated with Scalfari all his life protested in La Repubblica itself. In his weekly column where he comments on letters he receives, he publishes a letter from a reader who says he is atheist but protests, "I do not recognize myself in the words that Scalfari wrote in L'Espresso".

Augias comments: "I, too, am an atheist, and tranquilly so – I do not hate anyone, if only because at my age, it doesn't serve any purpose. I do not know which atheists Scalfari knows to describe them in such crude terms". [Perhaps Scalfari is describing the atheist he knows best – himself, even if he now says he is no longer atheist. No, worse - he would seem to imply in this last column that he was never an atheist.]

Augias continues: "I have never met any atheists like this. Scalfari's description recalls the most smug anticlericals of the late 19th century, who either became caricatures or provoked episodes of genuine ferocity". And Augias recalls the time "some violent thugs tried to throw the coffin of Pius IX into the Tiber during his funeral in 1878, screaming 'Cast the pig of a pope into the river!'"

So the 'verbal encounter' on the pages of La Repubblica may seem to be acute indeed. But frankly, I do not think it is sincere.

*A note on Augias (born 1935): Wikipedia tells us "he is an Italian journalist, writer and TV host. He was also a member of the European Parliament in 1994–1999 for the Democratic Party of the Left. He became popular in Italy as host of several shows dealing with mysteries and criminal cases of the past. He also wrote a series of crime novels set in the early 20th century, as well as essays about peculiar features of the world's most important cities: I segreti di ("The Secrets of...") Rome, Paris, New York City and London."

I take it up from there. In 2006, he published a best-seller in Italy entitled INCHIESTA SU GESU (Inquiry on Jesus), in the form of an interview in which he asks questions of Biblical 'scholar' Mauro Pesce. They dwell on how very little is known of the historical Jesus from the Gospels but nonetheless attempt a 'historical reconstruction' in which, according to a sympathetic reviewer,

"What emerges clearly is an image of Jesus as a man who appeared to be invested with power that sometimes even he himself could not grasp, someone who was definitely a loner, an elusive figure, someone who probably would not have understood how much would be done in his name after he died. Above all, Augias and Pesce depict a man who had no intention whatsoever of founding a religion, but only to disseminate a message of redemption and forgiveness in view of the Kingdom of God which he considered to be imminent".

All the problems inherent in every idea within that paragraph arise, of course, from the fact that Augias and Pesce completely ignore the divinity of Jesus (they are atheists, after all, and recognize no 'god' but themselves) and seek to sketch out the biography of a mere man based on the 'objective facts' they can glean from the Gospels, which they admit is scant, likewise ignoring the fact that the Gospels are not - and were never meant to be - just about a man named Jesus, but about the Son of God who became man himself in order to redeem mankind from the Fall, and what he taught and above all, did, to make that possible.

Coincidentally, Volume 1 of Benedict XVI's JESUS OF NAZARETH was published a few months later - the total and complete antithesis of the virtual non-entity Augias and Pesce conjured as an open insult to the generations of Christians over two millennia who have lived the message of Jesus and those who have died proclaiming it.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2017 1:21 AM]
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Friends of Bergoglio: I thought it was a photomontage of Bonino standing next to a George Soros standup cutout, but it is an actual photograph - taken, we are told, at the 2015 annual 'In Pursuit of Peace' dinner.

Hilary White tackles the not-so-stealthy stratagems by which anti-Catholics have infiltrated their agenda into the Church for decades now, but never
so openly and proactively as they are doing now when the man who happens to be pope is also one of them.

However, for all of Ms White's research and exposition, she too fails to mention Bergoglio's unconditional endorsement of the UN's 'sustainable development
goals' - and its blanket promotion of 'reproductive rights' worldwide - when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

Inside the Vatican:
The Trojan horse of population control

by Hilary White

July 31, 2017

With the breaking of the news into the English language media-sphere the other day, some thoughts converged, into the form of a question: Why would anyone expect Emma “La Bicicletta” Bonino not to be invited to speak at a Catholic Church in Italy?

Catholic editorialists are furious that Bonino was invited to speak at the church of San Defendente in Ronco di Cossato, on July 26, 2017, “World Refugee Day”. But there is an underlying tone of defeated routine in their protestations, as though they are objecting out of a dogged sense of a duty to fulfill rather than any real outrage, let alone shock.

Antonio Socci shared this newspaper clipping that shows the extent to which the 'Catholic' community in the parish where she spoke shamelessly and sacrilegiously panders to the seculars!

This is a woman who entered parliament in the 1970s to avoid prosecution for, according to her own boasts, having committed over 10,000 illegal abortions. The nickname comes from the machine she built for the job from a bicycle pump and a pickle jar. Bonino launched the Center for Information on Sterilization and Abortion (CISA ) that achieved legalisation in 1975.

After this success, Bonino went on to a stellar career as a parliamentarian for the Radical Party, and later, as a protégée of George Soros, as a European Commissioner and Italy’s foreign minister where she spends Soros’s and a good bit of Italian citizens’ money promoting mass migration, European federalism and the abolition of national borders.

It is perhaps difficult for Anglos to imagine what the situation in the Church is here, but the abortionist doyenne of the bitterly anti-Catholic Radical party, Emma Bonino, is the embodiment of what the Italian hierarchy as a whole, and with very few exceptions, regards as the ideal politician.

At best her aggressive promotion of abortion is seen as a forgivable peccadillo [Even Bergoglio - and he is pope - openly dismisses it as being far outweighed by her advocacy of indiscriminate immigration! Yet how many habitual outrages like this (and his unconditional endorsement of the UN's agenda premised on population-control) are really being ignored even by the most zealous of orthodox Catholic commentators!] (and a dead issue now that Italy has “settled” its abortion laws) something to be brushed aside and politely not mentioned, while she is lauded for her work pressing the government to allow the landing of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants on Italian shores.

As it is in the US, limitless immigration is the most fashionable issue on the Church’s left – that in Italy we must simply call “the Church,” there being no structural “right.” And Emma Bonino is the face in this country of the Soros “open borders” plan to overwhelm Europe, especially European culture, with (mostly Islamic) migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

The sacramental life – that is, the Catholic religion – seems to be of little interest to anyone but the laity, slowly spiritually starving on bare subsistence rations. In the summer, many of the Masses in the small villages are cancelled completely. (It goes without saying that this is strictly the Novus Ordo, with the full complement of guitar-strummers; the traditional Mass is simply not on the radar.) Even worse, there are no scheduled Confession times at all; that Sacrament has simply gone locally extinct.

Italy is simply no longer a safe country, as it was only five years ago. The respectable village ladies are afraid to walk the five minutes from the church to their homes at the end of Thursday night Rosary. Most parish priests would be more likely to deliver a lecture against racism than change the schedule to help them be safe.

But none of this is apparently of any interest to the bishops. In Perugia, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, whom Francis recently appointed head of the Italian bishops’ conference and made a cardinal (at 75), a few months ago organised a sort of rally in the city up on the hill to “celebrate” the enormous influx of African Muslim migrants to our area.

This was after having given an interview in which he urged the government to grant legal concessions to same-sex liaisons, while cautioning Catholic participants in the Family Day demonstrations not to be “against” anyone: “The example comes from Pope Francis. His words are always of absolute clarity, the Holy Father is never against anyone, ever.”

The soaring rates of violent crime – a few months ago in the little town next to ours our station master was murdered by the gang of African migrant thugs who loiter about the train station day and night… he had dared to intervene in their bullying and took a broken bottle to the chest – seems inconsequential to the bishops and clergy.

In January this year an auxiliary bishop of Perugia came to the parish of the same town to celebrate Mass for World Migrant Day, saying that young African migrants are a “timid hope” in the face of Italy’s “devastating demographic winter.”

It is true that in the Francis pontificate the Marxist faction in the Italian episcopate has been emboldened. In March 2017 when Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia – yes, the one who commissioned the homoerotic mural for Terni cathedral, with himself as one of the featured nudes – gave a brief eulogy for a Radical Party founder, Marco Pannella.

Francis’s pick as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family went to a party meeting as a very special guest to call Pannella “a man of great spirituality,” saying his death is a “great loss” not just for the party but “for our country” and “for our world, which needs more than ever men who can talk like him.” [Panella spent his whole life fighting for radical causes including abortion, euthanasia and same-sex 'marriage' (and was a notorious practising homosexual himself). Yet Paglia has not apologized at all for his fulsome praise of a man who was every single one of the Church's non-negotiable principles! We must not forget that Bergoglio himself made a much-publicized telephone call to Pannella the year before he died to praise him for his hunger strike about some cause or other!]

Pannella, Paglia said had “spent his life for the least” in “defence of the dignity of all, especially the most marginalized.” Paglia described his warm and close friendship with Pannella, calling his death as “a great loss,” not just for the party but “for our country.” Pannella’s life, he said, is an “inspiration for a more beautiful life not only for Italy, but for our world, which needs more than ever men who can talk like him ... I hope that the spirit of Marco can help us to live in that same direction. [What adjectives can be stronger than brazenly shameless and anti-Catholic to describe the actions of Bergoglio and his incense-bearers??? But they are getting away with it - to the point where few even bother to call them out! And this is the condition - Apocalypse now! - to which Bergoglio has brought the 'institutional church' in just four years!]

In October last year, Catholic writers in Italy expressed their shock at the bishops proudly announcing their partnership with the Radicals to promote the party’s “March for Amnesty, Justice, Freedom” project demanding the release of criminals from prisons. Given the party’s devotion to driving the Church out of public life, the Italian bishops’ collusion with the Radicals could justly be described as the turkeys working with the butcher to promote Thanksgiving.

It sounds to an outside observer like the world’s most advanced case of Stockholm Syndrome: a Church demonstrating its bona fides to a bitterly anti-Catholic Left by committing ritual suicide. Perhaps the only sensible question we are left with is why Emma Bonino is not doing a preaching tour of all the major basilicas and cathedrals of Italy.

But the whole business does raise other questions. As we start to understand the advanced state of moral decay this anti-Catholic ideology has caused among bishops and clergy, we tend to forget that it was not always so.

The news has raised in my mind the question of how exactly this situation came about. How and why and by whom was Italy and the other Catholic nations of Europe so thoroughly de-Catholicised? Why, for example, are the “most Catholic” nations of Europe also the countries with the lowest fertility rates in the western world?

Why has Italy not had a fertility rate over 1.4 children per woman in the last 30 years? The country’s statistical agency, Istat, says that in 2015 the total fertility rate was 1.35, a demographic death spiral. Italian politicians now openly speak of Italy as “a dying nation.”

By now the looming “demographic winter” of the western and westernized Asian nations is an accepted reality, but why is it particularly acute – particularly advanced – in the formerly Catholic nations?

If we put what we know together with these questions, the logic drives us toward an inescapable, though profoundly disturbing, hypothesis. One could be excused for asking, “Has the Catholic hierarchy been colluding with the globalist population control agenda to effect the decimation, even the extinction, of the Catholic population of Europe? And if so, for how long? Who made the decision and when, and what did they get in exchange?”

Anyone who wants to can do the research; I’m not going to reproduce it all here but everything has been declassified and is available online. Suffice for now to note that in 1974 a document was presented to the United Nations, authored by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that demanded the resources of the UN – especially including all its aid organisations like UNICEF – be ordered to the reduction of fertility in certain “target” states[1]. Assistance to people in these countries was to be attached to a demand that they accept contraception and sterilization – and later abortion – or do without the help.

The Catholic depopulation work, however, was already well under way when Kissinger’s committee produced National Security Memorandum 200. - Had some controlling faction of the Catholic hierarchy already agreed in the 1960s to participate in a similar clandestine European Catholic genocide?
- Was there an agreement at the international level – as it has been said there was between Toronto’s Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter[2] and Pierre Trudeau – to suppress the teaching of the Church on marriage and family life in exchange for concessions of some kind?

Certainly the mood, the fashion, in Rome at the time was for making such deals. And it might have seemed like a pretty good one: progressives – and even normal Catholics who loved the approval of the secular world – were angry and deeply embarrassed by Humanae Vitae; they were definitely in a mood to suppress it. And after the debacle in Washington DC, it was clear that Pope Paul VI had no immediate plans to defend it.

And we have certainly seen that the Holy See’s decades of presence at the UN has greatly increased the Vatican’s prestige and influence in international diplomatic circles, as we were reminded by Pope Francis’s intervention in Cuba. [What a strange conclusion for Ms White to make! What prestige and what influence,
- when minor UN committees no one ever heard of can pillory the Church unjustly in 2013 for 'doing nothing' about sexual abuses by priests;
- when nothing the Vatican representatives at the UN can say has been able to keep out the UN bureaucracy's unceasing efforts to effect mandatory worldwide contraception and abortion programs de facto if they cannot yet do so de jure?
- And Bergoglio's collusion with Obama and Raul Castro on the highly defective 'Cuba deal' is certainly nothing to crow about!]

Is it possible that some character like a Agostino Casaroli[3] – thought by many in this country to be a Freemason – made a deal with the nascent population control movement at the UN to effectively suppress Humanae Vitae in Europe’s Catholic churches?

The Holy See established its mission – and received “permanent observer” status – at the UN in 1964. Ten years later, the UN formally entered the global population control business, but by that time the population slide in Europe was well under way.

The international contraception promoters had already been at work in Italy for some years by that time. A report by the abortion/contraception agency Pathfinders International, brags that their agents were already handing out hormonal contraceptives to poor women in Rome in 1958, materials that “had been supplied free of charge by a manufacturer in Great Britain.”

The agent of the Planned Parenthood affiliate group, Maria Luisa DeMarchi, “continued these visits for the next two decades, making weekly visits to over 550 clients annually—a total of over 7,000 visits.” The propaganda was effective: friends tell me that if you have one baby in a stroller, the nonnas will smile and coo; two or more children and the response is a lecture on overpopulation.

The results, the statistics, are easy to find; a recent report said that Italy now has the lowest fertility rate in Europe, one that has more halved since the 1960s. Births have fallen to fewer than in any other years since the modern state was formed in 1861. Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin – who thinks the problem can be solved by a 160 Euro monthly baby bonus – warned that Italy as a nation is facing an uncertain future without children.

“In five years we have lost more than 66,000 births (per year) – that is the equivalent of a city the size of Siena. If we link this to the increasing number of old and chronically ill people, we have a picture of a moribund country.” [Well, DUH! Don't the politicians look at the statistics at all? However, one reason they are all in favor of unlimited immigration is because they need to generate a new voter base - as the native Italian population grows progressively older and are dying off at a rate higher than the replacement birth rate, no wonder they are salivating at all the new 'Italian' Muslims for whom laws are already being made to hasten granting them citizenship and voting rights!]

This bleak picture, of course, gives the likes of Emma Bonino and her friend at Casa Santa Marta all the excuse they require to bring in as many African Muslim migrants as George Soros could wish. Italian parliamentarians on the left openly argue that these are the people needed to “replace” the native Italian population that is going extinct.

Italy’s fertility rate is well below the European average of 1.58, but that number itself falls far short of the 2.1 required to maintain a stable population. The CIA World Factbook, a project of the US State Department, tells us that Spain (67.8%), Italy (80%), Poland (87.2%), Portugal (81%) and the Republic of Ireland (84.7%), are among the “most Catholic” nations of Europe. Every one of them also has what demographers call the “lowest-low,” or below-replacement fertility rates. Incremental boosts in the birth rates have come in the last few years, but have been generally understood to be the result of influxes of more fecund immigrants.

Just taking a closer look at one country, the little bellwether nation of Malta, we see that the situation has to have been sliding for decades before the recent leftist governments started altering the legislative scene. The median age of the Maltese population is 41.5 years, which breaks down to “male: 40.4 years; female: 42.7 years,” well over child-bearing age. This could not be accomplished in a few years. It takes decades of low birth rates to push the median age so high, even for such a small population. The Total Fertility Rate of Malta was 1.55 children born per woman in 2016, a situation that would be impossible if the Maltese hierarchy and clergy had taught what the Church teaches about marriage and family.

It can be fairly said that Malta is the most Catholic nation in the world. Various estimates place it about 90-98%. The conscious abandonment of the Church’s teaching can be the only possible explanation for their current demographic situation. Fifteen years ago, about 80% of the population of Malta attended Mass every week. A few years ago when I visited it was down to 50%. Masses are mainly well attended, but only with older people, and the men generally stay away.

The installation of legalized divorce, contraception and now “gay marriage” in this Catholic nation could not have come about without at least the tacit cooperation of the Church. I was told that when the government moved to legalise divorce in 2011 – the first of a long line of legislative dominoes – there was no outcry, either from the laity or the clergy; indeed, many of the latter promoted the change from the pulpits. More recently still, we have seen the Maltese bishops becoming the poster-boys for the Bergoglian revolution; ordering their priests to give Holy Communion to people they know to be in unrepented adulterous liaisons.

For obvious reasons, it might also be worth looking at Argentina, for which the CIA’s notes are especially damning: “One-third of the population lives in Buenos Aires,” and are merely “nominally Roman Catholic, 92% (less than 20% practicing)”; this might be the only country for which the notes include this telling little caveat. It gives the fertility rate for Argentina as “2.28 children born/woman (2016 est.)” putting it just marginally above the level of population replacement of 2.1 children per woman.

The 2014 “country implementation” report on Argentina by the UNFPA, the United Nations office overseeing the global population control movement, notes that between 1990 and 2001, contraceptive use increased from zero to 65%. The report also notes that the government has “major concerns” about adolescent fertility,” and is implementing “direct support for family planning” among young people.

North American conservative Catholics, working with their local political categories, are often hampered in understanding this situation. They laugh at the wild “conspiracy theories” of Traditionalists, with our table talk of Freemasons and Communist infiltration… What’s next? UFO abductions?

But on the old continent, these realities are acknowledged as part of the landscape; Italians know that Freemasons and Communists are not fairytales; the prominent displays of hammers and sickles at the “Gay Pride” parade every year in Rome being a bit of a give-away. We sheltered Anglos really have no idea how commonplace it is for Italian priests and even bishops to openly operate as Communist agitators or sympathizers. Every village, town and city in the country has its “Via Gramsci.” [This is the second time Gramsci crops up in a post here on the same day. He was, of course, the father of the Italian Communist Party and one of the most outstanding theoreticians of Communism in the 20th century.]

Many years ago, when I first became interested in these issues, I started reading about the movement by wealthy western countries to “curtail” the birth rates of poor “developing nations”. At the time I had no strong objection to contraception per se, but it struck me immediately that it was a gross moral violation for rich people to start demanding that poor people stop having children, so they could maintain their extravagant consumption indefinitely.

This was clearly a case of genocide, on a global scale. But it is simply a fact that the European Catholic fertility rates started plunging well before the UN’s aid agencies started working to curtail births in the developing world.

Mass contraceptive and sterilization programmes, including government propaganda promoting them, is genocide. And this is what the UN has been doing in every “developing” nation in the world since the early 1970s.

Given what we know now about how things have worked in the Vatican since the 1950s, I see no reason not to suspect, very strongly, that the extermination of Catholic Europe, that has been on the secularist, Freemasonic agenda since the early 19th century, was not brought into the Church by the turncoat Trojans in Rome.

[1] The countries named in the 1974 memo for special treatment were India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. With the revelations since then that UN-funded health organisations have been entering South American and African countries and sterilizing women without their knowledge or consent, one can assume that the mandate has expanded.

[2] Carter was one of the Church’s most outspoken opponents of Humanae Vitae and the author of the key paragraphs of the Winnipeg Statement repudiating its moral teaching. He publicly called the encyclical a “tragedy” and issued confessional guidelines for priests all but instructing them to ignore it: “Because of the doubt in the practical order, no priest can refuse absolution to persons using the pill, unless their motive is clearly sinful.”

[3] Secretary of State 1979 – 1990, Casaroli was a lifelong Vatican diplomat. Under John XXIII he was the author of the Vatican’s “Ostpolitik” approach of appeasement of Communism. He was included in the famous “Pecorelli’s List” of suspected Vatican Freemasons, as was his immediate predecessor in the office, Jean Villot.

8/2/2017 5:07 AM
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August 1, 2017

Canon212 was obviously diligent about updating their 'headlines' today,
but PewSitter made up for its lag by remembering to observe the 49th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which seems to be on
the verge of planned extinction.

Which should also remind us all that next year will also mark the first half-centenary of the 1968 Cultural Revolution that gave birth
overnight to the I-me-my generation of sex-drugs-and-rocknroll, 'Who am I to judge?', 'primacy of conscience' and all the despicable
shibboleths of that civilizational watershed.


P.S. I feel it incumbent to post something about what's happening in Venezuela, where this pope still continues to think he
can 'mediate' anything
in a hopeless situation that has long gone far beyond a split between the unbelievably totalitarian
President Maduro and the country's bishops who have long opposed his government and that of his late mentor-predecessor
Hugo Chavez.

There is a total disconnect between Maduro and the people of Venezuela whose interests he has completely ignored and sacrificed
to keep himself in absolute power. And Bergoglio was ill-served and ill-advised by his over-rated Secretary of State Cardinal
Pietro Parolin, whose experience as Nuncio in Venezuela in the final years of Hugo Chavez's life and the first months of Maduro's
succession, apparently failed to make him grasp what has been obvious to everyone else for years - that the situation in
Venezuela is far beyond mediation by anyone, least of all by him even if he was acting in the name of Bergoglio.
It is preposterous of wimps, especially clueless wimps who think they know it all, to pit themselves against
resolute ironhanded dictators.

The socialist revolution
devours Venezuela

Any government in a democratic country that failed this spectacularly
would have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago.

August 1, 2017

Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.

People are now literally starving — about three-quarters of the population lost weight last year — in what once was the fourth-richest country in the world on a per capita basis. A country that has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is suffering shortages of basic supplies. Venezuela now totters on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, in the national catastrophe known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

The phrase is the coinage of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, succeeded by the current Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. The Western Hemisphere’s answer to Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Maduro has instituted an ongoing self-coup to make his country a one-party state.

The Chavezistas have worked from the typical communist playbook of romanticizing the masses while immiserating them.

Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.The result is a sharp, years-long recession, runaway inflation and unsustainable debt. The suffering of ordinary people is staggering, while the thieves and killers who are Chavezista officials have made off with hundreds of billions of dollars. At this rate — The Economist calls the country’s economic decline “the steepest in modern Latin American history” — there will be nothing left to steal.

Any government in a democratic country that failed this spectacularly would have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Maduro is getting around this problem by ending Venezuela’s democracy. The Chavezistas slipped up a year or two by allowing real elections for the country’s National Assembly, which were swept by the opposition. They then undertook a war against the assembly, stripping it of its powers and culminating in a rigged vote this week to create a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution.

The goal of Maduro’s alleged constitutional reforms is to no longer have a constitution worthy of the name. All you need to know about the spirit of this exercise is Maduro’s threat to jail the opposition leaders who boycotted the vote (outside observers estimate less than 20 percent of the electorate participated, despite the regime’s absurd claim of a popular wave of support).

Denied the ordinary means of dissent via the press and elections, the opposition has taken to the streets. Already more than 100 people have been killed in clashes over the past several months. Worse is yet to come.

Lacking legitimacy and representing only a fraction of the populace, the Maduro regime will rely on the final backstop of violent suppression. It is now the worst crisis in a major country in the Western Hemisphere since the heights of the Colombian civil war in the 1990s and 2000s.

There is no easy remedy to Venezuela’s agony. If mediation were the solution, the country never would have gotten to this pass. Endless negotiations between the government and the opposition have gone nowhere — the organized crime syndicate that has seized power under the banner of revolution knows it has no option but to retain its hold on power by any means necessary.

The U.S. needs to use every economic and diplomatic lever to undermine the regime and build an international coalition against it.
- We should impose more sanctions on specific officials and on the state-run oil company;.
- We should advertise what we know about the details of how Chavezistas park their ill-gotten gains abroad.
- We should nudge our allies to further isolate the Venezuelan government by pulling ambassadors and breaking diplomatic relations. The hope is that with enough pressure, the regime will crack, and high-level officials will break with Maduro, weakening his position and making a negotiated restoration of democratic rule possible.

In the meantime, the Bolivarian Revolution is proceeding according to its sick logic — and there will be blood.

PPS - I am appending this piece by George Weigel here, which is his belated reaction to the ignorance-ridden, Bergoglian ideology-laden Spadaro-Figueroa riff in La Civilta Cattolica, because he rightly points out the irresponsibility shown by the Vatican Secretariat of State which allowed its publication, to begin with. Not that anyone in that superdicastery would even had dared utter a whimper if the imprimatur came straight from Casa Santa Marta and the Sovereign of the Vatican.

But some of Weigel's reflections on the implications of the article for the Secretariat of State - which is supposed to guide and advise Vatican diplomacy - do go to the point I raised above about the over-estimation given to Cardinal Parolin and his abilities in his current role, not just by this pope but by most commentators.

Even those who 'credit' him for having managed to get back to his Secretariat many administrative responsibilities that had originally been transferred to the now severely castrated Secretariat of the economy, have appeared to overlook or underplay his successful power grab-back within the Vatican. Obviously, with the blessings of the pope, Parolin has made his superdicastery the only linchpin of the Bergoglian Curia. He has appeared to have made his mark consolidating his powers rather than consolidating a coherent Catholic policy on international affairs and geopolitics in general.

Spadaro, Figueroa, and questions of competence
by George Weigel
August 2, 2017

It’s a safe bet that 99.95% of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics have never heard of La Civiltà Cattolica [Catholic Civilization], a journal founded in 1850 by the Jesuits of Rome to combat the evils of the age (then taken to be secularist liberalism and freemasonry).

Its current circulation is perhaps half that of First Things, and while it has recently made attempts to broaden its readership by publishing English, Spanish, French, and Korean editions, it’s also a safe bet that Civiltà... will remain a small-circulation magazine with a readership confined to what we might call “Catholic professionals:” clergy of various ranks; papal diplomats; officials of the Roman Curia; academics and pundits.

And the vast majority of them will read (or at least scan) it, not for scintillating content, but because its articles are vetted by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, and are thus assumed to have some sort of quasi-official status: which means that those articles are taken to reflect the cast of mind of the current pontificate. So if you want to be in the know, you read (or at least scan) Civiltà....

On occasion, however, that can be a journey through the looking glass and into Wonderland.

Last month, Civiltà... featured an article co-authored by its editor-in-chief, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, and Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, who edits the Argentine edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

The article purported to analyze a startling “ecumenism of hate” in the United States, forged by ultra-conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and creepy-dangerous for its indulgence in a new Manicheanism that distorts the Gospel and divides everything in the world into rigid and narrowly-defined categories of good and evil.

This bizarre screed HAS generated weeks of controversy in the blogosphere, during which Father Spadaro tweeted that the article’s critics were “haters” whose vitriol confirmed the article’s hypothesis – a Trumpian outburst [Love that expression, detest the unbridled narcissism of its eponym!] ill-becoming a paladin of “dialogue.”

My friends and colleagues R.R. Reno, Robert Royal, and Fr. Raymond de Souza have ably replied to the comprehensive inanities of the Spadaro/Figueroa article:
- its ill-informed misrepresentation of American religious history; - its surreal descriptions of 21st-century American Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism;
- its obsessions with marginal figures in contemporary American religious life like R.J. Rushdoony and Michael Voris;
- its misreading of the dynamics of religiously-informed public moral argument in American politics; and
- its weird description of the premises of current Vatican diplomacy, which will give comfort to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Raul Castro, and Nicolas Maduro.

Those who care to sift through this intellectual dumpster can consult Dr. Reno’s article, Dr. Royal’s, Fr. De Souza’s. The questions I’d like to raise here involve Civilta's relationship to its putative overseers in the Vatican Secretariat of State.
- What kind of vetting did this misbegotten article get? [None, I bet. Spadaro has direct access at any time to the Sage of Casa Santa Marta which I doubt even Cardinal Parolin has, much less anyone else in his Secretariat. Spadaro probably sent on the manuscripts for the issue with a note clipped to his tract, "Don't bother reading - His Most Absolute Holiness has approved it absolutely!"]
- Were any knowledgeable experts on U.S. Catholicism or American evangelical Protestantism consulted on what the overseers must have known would be an incendiary piece? [Neither the authors of the screed nor the supposed overseers would have done that - the first, because like their lord and master, they think they know everything and know it better than anybody else; the second, because they did not need to do anything about a manuscript that already came with the pope's imprimatur.]
- Does the Spadaro/Figueroa article really represent the views of the Secretariat of State about today’s debates at the intersection of religion and politics in the United States? [If it did not before, it does now! And Parolin better believe it!]
- If the answer to the last is “Yes,” then what does the Secretariat of State make of the American situation as described by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, in his addresses to the U.S. bishops – a description that bears no resemblance to the wasteland of madcap pseudo-theology and hatred described by Spadaro and Figueroa? [Perhaps the Secretariat of State knew nothing either, of what Mons. Pierre would be saying (or cared to know) - since whatever it was, he would never say anything contrary to Bergoglio's thinking.]
- If the answer is “No,” then why was the Spadaro/Figueroa article cleared for publication? [Because with the pope's far-from-unofficial spokesman Fr. Spadaro as editor of Civiltà..., everyone at State knows it's a useless exercise to pretend they are really 'clearing' anything.]
- Does the Secretariat of State share the authors’ seeming view that murderous jihadists rightly think of those who oppose them as “crusaders”? [It sounds more to me like an original view from Bergoglio that Spadaro and Figueroa were simply articulating in case we morons still do not get it: Muslims, even jihadists, good! Any Catholic who does not think like Bergoglio, SATAN!]
- And can it be true that the Holy See’s approach to conflict situations in the world has abandoned the notions of “right” and “wrong,” as the Spadaro/Figueroa article suggests? [For relativists like Bergoglio and his followers, there is no objectively absolute 'right' or 'wrong', only what they say is right or wrong.]

Because of its relationship to the Secretariat of State, Civiltà... has long been read, not in the way serious readers read serious journals, but like ancient augurs read the entrails of sacrificial animals. Perhaps both the future of this venerable journal and the credibility of the Secretariat of State would be better served by severing the connection. For at the moment, the auguries raise deeply disturbing questions about the competence of both parties.


BTW, on a most relevant tangent, because it has to do with the ascendancy of Cardinal Parolin and the new ascendancy of his Secretariat of State:

Everyone appears to have given up the Secretariat of the Economy for dead, with Cardinal Pell on indefinite if not terminal leave. In effect, it is, or at least, it is on life support.

But what about the Council for the Economy established by this pope motu proprio in February 2014? It was to be "a new coordinating agency for the economic and administrative affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State", further defined as "an entity having oversight for the administrative and financial structures and activities of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the institutions linked to the Holy See, and the Vatican City State" - all functions which belonged to the Secretariat of State pre-Bergoglio. Hading this Council for the Economy is another papal pet, Cardinal Marx.

The same motu proprio says that the Secretariat for the Economy,
1) "in keeping with the policies established by the Council for the Economy" is
2)"competent for the economic control and vigilance over the agencies mentioned" and
3)that the Cardinal Prefect who heads the Secretariat for the Economy "acts in collaboration with the Secretary of State."

Surely, Cardinal Pell, reading that motu proprio, ought to have realized that from the very beginning, he was already hobbled since
1) Policy and oversight originate from the Council of the Economy;
2) His Secretariat's functions are limited only to 'economic control and vigilance' - no mention there of administrative control and vigilance; and
3) It is explicitly directed that he must act in collaboration with the Secretary of State, who presumably, and in effect, retains administrative control and vigilance of all Vatican/Holy See structures and agencies.
So all that talk about the new Secretariat for the Economy being co-equal in status and importance to the Secretariat of State was nothing but window dressing. And the Secretariat of State has come out far more firmly in the administrative saddle. (The fact that Cardinal Marx has not so much as raised a pip about this state of affairs - nor even made any statement with the departure of Cardinal Pell - simply means that he is yet another convenient figurehead in yet another sham or faulty structure in Bergoglio's supposed Curial reforms.)

For all of Cardinal Pell's announcements of financial transparency improvements, even his initiatives in this respect were gradually watered down or neutralized by the independent publicity-seeking actions of the head of the Agency for Financial Information and the powers regained or retained by Cardinal Calcagno at the Administration for the Patrimony of the Holy See, which is really the Vatican's de facto Ministry of Finance.

The grave had been dug and the tombstone laid for the Secretariat of the Economy almost at the time it was born - and Cardinal Pell's unfortunate legal challenges in Australia simply represented another shovelful of gravel dumped into that grave. Sicut transit Bergoglio's Curial reform!
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2017 8:11 PM]
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