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8/3/2017 1:40 AM
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See preceding page for earlier entries today,8/2/17.

From the Facebook pages of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI,some recent photos of the Emeritus Pope – the first we have seen in July. The latest before these were the photos taken by 'Inside the Vatican' editor Robert Moynihan on June 26.

July 31, 2017
Monday evening, at the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI met with Giancarlo and Alessia Giuliani of Catholic Press Photo. Giancarlo founded CPP 45 years ago, and Alessia, whose photo byline must be familiar to most readers who follow Catholic news regularly, has been his chief photographer in the past two decades. Alessia presented the Emeritus with a special book containing the most beautiful photos of his Pontificate from the CPP files, whereas Giuliano gave him snapshots he took at various events, from the Consistory of 1977, at which Joseph Cardinal became a cardinal to a trip he undertook to the Holy Land. Benedict XVI fans will also remember that CPP had some of the most gorgeous 'formal' portrait photos of Cardinal Ratzinger.

GG has been quite remiss lately with using the comb on the Emeritus's hair after he takes off the baseball cap or beret he wears on these afternoon walks...

July 27, 2017
The Emeritus met with two Vaticanistas – Deborah Castellano Lubov of Zenit news agency, and Paolo Fucili who has covered the Vatican since 1999 for TV 2000, the television channel of the Italian bishops' conference. Last year, he came out with a slim volume on the 'Prayer for Peace' inter-religious meetings held in Assisi since the first one convoked by John Paul II in 1986 to the last one attended by Pope Francis in 2016.

(The Foundation gave no information other than the names of the two journalists and the day of their visit, so I had to look up who they are.)

P.S. I cannot sign off on this post without registering my objection all over to the Fondazione's decision to incorporate a picture of the Emeritus with his successor into the logo of the Foundation

which is also the cover of the Fondazione's official brochure. (I therefore refuse to use it on the Fonzadione's Facebook banner which does use it.) The Fondazione was founded with Joseph Ratzinger's personal funds from his book royalties years before Bergoglio became pope, a man who has nothing whatsoever to do with the Fondazione or its objectives. Nor does the Fondazione owe anything to the Vatican.

But just because the Bergoglio Vatican for whatever reason has since decided to appropriate the Fondazione as a 'Vatican agency' should not put it in thrall to the Vatican. However, that is exactly what is conveyed by the slavish decision to use the logo it now does - it's a virtual cattlebrand on Benedict XVI to remind him that he is no more than a prisoner of the Vatican now, the 'enclosure of St. Peter' where he has chosen to spend his final years. The price of obedience to a narcissistic totalitarian pope.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/3/2017 2:40 AM]
8/3/2017 3:47 AM
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The title for this piece was 'Metaphysical mischief: the Bergoglio gloss', which does not really describe what the article says, so I took
the liberty of putting a more appropriate title lifted from the text itself.

The thought of Pope Francis:
Blind emotion replaces reason, and
vide Hegel, 'whatever is, is right'

The intellectual backwash of the Enlightenment is
the philosophical basis of his teaching and his moral theology


August 2, 2017

Every theology necessarily incorporates a philosophy, for there will always be a natural way of thinking that under-girds the exposition of revelation. Like everyman, popes have philosophies, and although it is not the business of a pope to advocate any philosophy, the philosophy every pope presupposes will influence his representation of the Catholic faith and his government of the Church.

John Paul II is often cited as an exponent of Thomism as interpreted through the lens of the phenomenology of Husserl. Benedict XVI is steeped in the Augustinian tradition, which carries with it certain themes borrowed from Plato, but which in the end was not too different from the Thomism of John Paul II, both teaching that human intellect could grasp transcendent ideas. Like his mentor Saint Augustine, Benedict has spent much effort explaining the relation between faith and reason. Famously, Benedict cited the rejection of reason as the great defect of Islamic thought.

Philosophy is common sense raised to the level of reflection, and nothing in the thought of John Paul II or Benedict challenges reason, rather the opposite, for reason itself is elevated in their teaching of the faith.

But then comes Pope Francis who offers what seems to be yet another gloss on the Catholic faith. The pope does not deny the divinity of Christ or the necessity of the sacraments; his reiteration of Divine Mercy [according to the way he understands it, that is] and exhortation to solidarity in matters political and economic have won broad approval. ['Broad approval'? Really?]

But something that seems alien is at work in his teaching, and that is because he accepts, perhaps deliberately, perhaps unwittingly, the intellectual backwash of the Enlightenment as the philosophical basis of his teaching and particularly of his moral theology. He is at heart a 'romantic' [read 'unrealistic'], and sympathy will always trump thought. [DIM=8pt][Not sympathy - blind emotion, or more specifically, the appeal to blind emotion, WHICH not just trumps thought but replaces it altogether!]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an eighteenth-century French critic and philosopher whose thought has permeated the West. It was a theme of his philosophy that man although naturally innocent had been corrupted by the intrusion of law and tradition, which, rather than informing and elevating, always restricted and deformed. [If that is the sum of what Rousseau thought, then it was really a secular take-off - and a very poor one at that - of Adam and Eve in Eden, and their corruption by Satan (A Biblical 'myth' which, of course, the 'Enlightenment minds' dismissed as religious drivel.)]

Pope Francis has not been known to advance a doctrine of original innocence, but his persistent theme that the mission of the Church is misrepresented by defenders of the tradition, whom he unfailingly associates with Christ-denying Pharisees, who are soul-damaging rigorists, is an idea that, while it may have other immediate sources, can certainly be traced, by however circuitous a route, to Rousseau.

It is probably unlikely that Francis has read the turgid philosophy of the famous Prussian G. W. F. Hegel who lived a generation after Rousseau, but he is arguably a disciple. Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History were among the most popular philosophical sources of the nineteenth century, and if few had read the book there were many who knew the Hegelian slogan: “Whatever is, is right.” [Probably the derivation for the absurd Bergoglian notion that "Reality is greater than ideas". Maybe he never read Plato.]

For Hegel, history was a process through which reason exhausts itself in events and world-historical persons. The truth of things is not known by the light of intellect or by the application of reason in its transcendent character but by what happens in history. In Evangelii Gaudium, Francis notes that there is always a tension between reality and ideas. But then he writes:

“Reality is greater than ideas. [There we are!] This calls for rejecting the various means of masking reality: angelic forms of purity, dictatorships of relativism, empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than real, brands of ahistorical fundamentalism, ethical systems bereft of kindness, intellectual discourse bereft of wisdom”(231).

At first sight this list seems unexceptionable, but at the same time one may see in it the shadow of the Hegelian triumph of 'whatever is' over thought. One of its terms is a nod to Benedict’s condemnation of the tyranny of relativism. The reference to angelic purity is puzzling. Does it refer to a dedicated pursuit of holiness or to a destructive scrupulosity? There are commonplaces: the unexceptionable rejection of empty rhetoric and unwise intellectual discourse. [Mmmm, this is typical of the faux erudition that often lards the Bergoglio-Fernandez texts, intended to mask the emptiness, unsoundness, or triviality of the underlying thoughts.]

But then what is “ahistorical fundamentalism”? In this context fundamentalism is a highly charged word. Ahistorical fundamentalism must be a system of rigorist moral precept that does not take into account what actually happens. However, it is the work of moral precepts not to take into account what may be done at any one time or place but instead to lift up, guide, and form.

In his introduction to his translation of Plato’s Dialogues Benjamin Jowett, the fabled president of Balliol College, Oxford, wrote:

“The universal is prior to the particular; the law conditions the event, the ideal regulates the actual. Knowledge consists in the discernment of a general pattern which the particular thing embodies, virtue consists of regulation of impulse according to eternal standards.”

Jowett was writing of Plato, but, broadly. Every Christian philosopher, including the modern popes, would subscribe to Jowett’s summary as the presupposition of thought and morality.

When Saint Thomas asks where truth resides, he answers that it resides in the mind and only secondarily in things. A historical or scientific account may derive truth from what happens in the world by explaining events under a generalization, but reality remains unintelligible without ideas, and in that sense ideas are always more important than reality. [One would have thought this was self-evident. Even the cosmos that God created surely started as an 'idea' in the divine consciousness!]

And also with theological truth and moral precepts. And so also with the exercise of authority.
- The attempt to rule without reference to tradition or any other transcendent rational ground, or even the regulative claims of the past, however benign the results may or may not accidentally be, will result in a government that rests upon unmoderated will, difficult in principle to distinguish from a vernacular Marxism.
- The attempt to derive moral guidance from reality, from how mankind behaves, from the sorry story of our aspirations and failures, will make every teaching of the Church uncertain, as has Amoris Laetitia in the opinion of many.

An editorial writer in the Guardian has said that Francis has changed the Church forever from a rule-bound institution to an instinctive Church. Good luck with your instincts.

The world is full of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who think it would be good to receive the body and blood of Christ. If their instincts say they are at peace with God, why not? The vast majority of Catholics don’t follow Humanae Vitae anyhow so, as Francis has written, Humanae Vitae must be revisited. The teaching of the Church should be accommodated to what is actually happening. Rigorists, says Francis, do not go with the flow of life. Ah, Hegel.

Sed contra (on the contrary). Historically, it has been the role of the teaching Church, in the name of Christ,
- Never to accommodate itself to the ways of the world, but to ask of mankind the impossible, proposing the heroic and offering unstinting forgiveness for failure.
- It has been unsympathetic to claims that human nature must be treated gently. “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted unto blood” (Heb. 12:4).
- It has viewed with horror the deliberate defection of one will from obedience to God.

Cardinal Newman wrote:

The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse."

[Oooohhh, Jorge Bergoglio certainly disavows all that first part of the statement, because his primary concern really is to relieve if not eliminate temporal afflictions, believing man can create utopia (the putative Kingdom of Heaven on earth in the mind of Bergoglians) which Jesus, for all that he was God, did not even hint at, much less try for, while he was on earth! Hence, his abiding faith in the UN's 'Sustainable Development Goals' which aim to end poverty and hunger on earth by 2030! Are these people in their right mind?]]

To this has been appended the fact of the sacrifice of Christ, the aid of the sacraments and the offer of forgiveness. The requirement that we love God most is ideal, and it will be realized in his elect. Without this high calling, mercy is the answer to a question that has not been asked.

A more down-to-earth take on this pope's thought process and thinking in general comes from Mundabor with his now-familiar irreverence - or worse - for the man he calls the Evil Clown....

The inverted papacy

August 1, 2017

No, I do not mean to say that the Pope is a homo himself – though he may well be, and none of my readers would be surprised . Rather, by inverted Papacy I mean a papacy which inverts the logical order of things, and of thinking"

The Church is meant to use earthly events (happy or sad) and the natural phases of this life to remind you of eternal life. From war to pestilence and from birth to death, but also to the sacraments that mark the rhythm of our earthly journey (again: birth, marriage, holy days, adulthood etc.), the Church indefatigably leads us from the earthly to the heavenly, helping us to live and understand every phase of our path in the broader perspective of our eternal destiny.

Not so in this Inverted Papacy, where we continuously note a complete inversion of priorities, and the instrumentalisation of everything that is sacred, with a view to pursuing earthly goals.
- Jesus is constantly depicted as a pacifist, an environmentalist or a social justice warrior ante litteram.
- The heavenly dimension is constantly reduced to the earthly one, and the latter is made a paradigm for the former.
- Not being an environ-mentalist is to betray Jesus, building walls is unchristian, the Blessed Virgin is a poor unemancipated woman, and such like rubbish.

Francis has brought the supernatural down to earth and has dragged it in the mud of his political ideology. He seems to enjoy the exercise very much. This does not surprise us at all when we reflect that the man has no supernatural interests at all, and his enviro-commie-ideology based on social envy and social hatred is his true interest.

If you made an atheist bouncer with a propension for Communism,the Pope, what you would have is a man pretty much thinking like Francis. If the man were also stupid, you would have one talking like him, too.

[Except, of course, that Jorge Bergoglio is not stupid at all. In fact, for his purposes, he is very clever and cunning, and as a narcissist, he has to be. Narcissists by definition care only about themselves: they always think they are 'great', better than anybody else (as Bergoglio thinks he can do better than Jesus himself about what a church ought to be, or even about the things Jesus said which Bergoglio finds inconvenient as 'Go and sin no more').

So fundamentally, narcissists really do not care about others – except insofar as they can use them.
- And so he canonizes John Paul II – and then reverses him on Familiaris consortio and ignores Veritatis splendor altogether, as he has been ignoring DOMINUS IESUS.
- He beatifies Paul VI and pays lip service to Humanae Vitae, all the while plotting to subvert it somehow.
- He seems to make nice with Benedict XVI, who has become, in effect, his prisoner in the Vatican, but only to make it appear that the latter is fully and solidly in agreement with him on everything, while he merrily disregards de facto, if not yet de jure, anything Benedict said or did as pope.

And as Mundabor points out in a post last week, he even instrumentalizes Padre Pio – do not forget he had the saint's coffin brought to St. Peter's Square to mark the start of his Year of Mercy, hoping thereby to attract crowds that would not have come simply to walk through his Holy Door!

Abusing Saint Padre Pio

July 29, 2017

God knows the Evil Clown grates me in a number of ways. But when he grates me most is when he tries to abuse of great Saints of the past, and tries to enlist them as soldiers in his army.

Today it was, sad as it is to say it, Padre Pio's turn. Even sadder, it was not the first time.

Let me go on record and say that if Jorge Bergoglio had been a civilian in the time of Padre Pio, the great Saint would have slapped him in the face without any hesitation for countless of the impious, heretical, or outright blasphemous statements this man keeps spouting around as if he were a new oracle instead of a South-American wannabe Caudillo with more power than sense and more arrogance than both.

This pope is now eighty. After slapping him very hard in the face if he were alive today, Padre Pio would have reminded Jorge Bergoglio that he hasn't much time left to see the error of his ways.

Sadly, some people can ditch the priestly habit for the papal one. But in the end they still remain bouncers.

I understand why Mundabor uses the epithet Evil Clown for JMB, but somehow, I find it not quite right - I suppose because what it evokes for me is some creepy figure from a Stephen King novel. At least it is better than that stupid term 'the Francis', which both Anglophone Catholic news aggregators use, without thinking at all that it hardly sounds pejorative if that is what they mean by it. On the contrary, it sounds like they are singling him out as 'the quintessential Francis', sui generis, [the way 'The Donald' became after Ivana Trump's inadvertent coinage of it because, being Czech and learning English, she used to put 'the' in front of proper names, once going around looking for 'The Dick', one of her then-husband's vice presidents]. Well yes, certainly not to be confused or conflated with the two great Francises in Church history (Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier), rather than someone who really does dishonor to the name.

For good measure, let me add another recent Mundabor post that was very much on the mark, I thought:

Let us not forget the healthy fear of God
that underlies the genuine 'joy of Gospel'

July 27, 2017

I don't know about you, but I am tired of hearing the garden variety V-II priest talk of the “joy of the Gospel”, and invite his parishioners to “spread” said “joy”. It seems to me that the message is fundamentally off, and that it gives an extremely distorted view of Catholicism.

Yes, the concept has been around for 2,000 years now. But that joy was solidly grounded in the fear of the Lord and the ever present danger of damnation.

What happens now is that salvation is more or less taken for granted - no one of the pewsitters wanting to be so unkind as to think that his sign-of-peace-giving pew neighbour, or even his pot-smoking deviant nephew, could actually go to hell. How can anyone so rude and uncharitable to even entertain that possibility?

When hell is out of the equation, the “joy” is completely derailed, deformed, even betrayed. It becomes a sort of announcement that it is party time, without any mention of the conditions for admission and, in fact, without any real party in sight. This is also why it does not work.

- An agnostic being told to rejoice because of the Good News will simply answer to you that his daily routine is just as boring today as it was yesterday.
- A youth thinking of his pleasure and advantage will ask you whether this good news comes with, at the very least, music and beer.
- A single mother living in sin with lover number seventeen will think that the good news means she does not need to change anything in her life.
- A heathen believing in strange gods will think of you as his insurance just in case his own religion should fail him when he – as he still plans to do – dies in it. Etc…
- All of them will have no interest in something that is at the same time useless and already given to them for free.

This is not how our forefathers saw the entire matter. Their belief was grounded in a very solid fear of a very concrete danger of damnation. And the possibility and reasonable hope to, by fighting the battle to the end, reach one day an eternal state of unimaginable happiness was, and is cause of much joy. But it is joy grounded in a solid knowledge of the basis for it.

The V-II “joy” talk has nothing of it. It is, in the end, inane talking, because it refuses to be rooted in truth.

When I speak to heathens or atheists about Christianity I do not even mention the “joy of the Gospel”. I actually start with the very actual, very real threat of hell that the Gospel represents for him. You do it in the right way – playful, but serious; we aren't Protestants bashing bibles, but we aren't V-II wussies, either – and you will see how it sits.

Get that sting in the brain. It will not go away so soon, as the message has far more serious consequences for the recipient than a “joy” pretty much free for the asking, or without even the asking. It might bear great fruit one day.

You will, of course, be more or less friendly mocked, or worse. But this is a small price to pay for a chance of conversion, perhaps – and with God's grace – many years down the line.

The 'joy of the gospel' [which is limited to lip service] is soon forgotten. The Threat of the Gospel works a lot better.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/4/2017 3:50 PM]
8/4/2017 4:24 PM
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August 3, 2017


Perhaps it's because we're in the dog days of summer, but PewSitter has seemed to be slacking off the past few days...

And is it to be wondered at that the New York Times would agree with the Spadaro-Figueroa screed against 'conservative' America despite its obvious
fallacies, mistruths and general shoddiness?
8/4/2017 4:47 PM
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This is a post that is long overdue because confirmation of the 'rumor' about it came in late June as Prof. Di Mattei discloses in his post at the time.
I shall append to his post a series of items by Father Hunwicke in which he comments more expansively on the implications of yet another stealth move
by which the Bergoglio Vatican - or more properly, Bergoglio himself - is seeking to undermine Summorum Pontificum and the traditional Mass in general
without, as yet, a direct assault...

This pope seeks to impose concelebration of daily Mass
in the priestly colleges and seminaries of Rome

Which means depriving the priest of his right to celebrate his own private Mass

by Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
Translated by Francesca Romana for

June 28, 2017

There is this rumour going around in the Vatican. One of Pope Francis’S collaborators asked him if it were true that a commission had been set up “to re-interpret” Humanae Vitae and he responded “It is not a commission, it’s a study group”. This is not only a linguistic ploy to hide the truth, but a play on words which reveal how the cult of contradiction is the essence of this pontificate.

Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, coordinator of the 'study group' on HV, sums up this philosophy well when he says we need to avoid the “polemical game ' the pill - yes - the pill, - no', just like today’s 'Communion to the divorced - yes - Communion to the divorced – no'" (Vatican Insider, March 23rd 2017).

We need this premise to present a new confidential document, also,the product of another 'study group'. It is the 'working paper' of the Congregation for the Clergy “On Concelebration in the Colleges and Seminaries of Rome”, which is circulating in an unofficial way in the Roman colleges and seminaries.

What emerges clearly from this text is that Pope Francis wants to impose Eucharistic Concelebration in the colleges and seminaries of Rome, de facto, if not in principle, affirming that: “the celebration in community must always be preferred to individual celebration".

The motive for this decision emerges from the document. Rome is not only the See of the Chair of Peter and the heart of Christendom, but it is also the place where priests and seminarians from all over the world meet to acquire that veneration towards the faith, the rites and traditions of the Church, which was once called “the Roman spirit”.

The sojourn in Rome, which helped to develop love for the Tradition of the Church, today offers the opportunity for a liturgical and doctrinal “re-education”, to those who want to “reform” the Church according to the directives of Pope Bergoglio. Life in the Roman colleges – affirms the “working paper” in fact: offers the occasion “of experiencing, at the same time, an intense period of permanent, integral formation”.

The document refers explicitly to a recent speech given to priests studying in Rome, wherein Pope Francis expressed the ecclesial importance of concelebration in the context of the communities of priest-students:

“It is an unending challenge to overcome individualism and experience diversity as a gift, seeking the unity of the priest, which is a sign of God’s presence in community life. The priest who doesn’t maintain unity, de facto, drives God away from the life of the community. He doesn’t give witness to the presence of God. He drives Him out. Thus, gathered in the Name of the Lord, especially when the Eucharist is celebrated, you manifest also sacramentally that He is the love of your heart.” (Discourse, April 1, 2017).

In the light of this Bergoglian teaching, the working paper by the Congregation for the Clergy, repeats that “the concelebrated Mass is preferable to individual celebration” (the bold is in the original and also in the following citations).

“Therefore, Superiors are heartily recommended to encourage Concelebration, even several times a day, in the large priestly communities. Hence, several concelebrations can be anticipated in the various Colleges, so that the resident priests can participate according to their personal needs, carefully establishing [Masses] two or three times a day.”...

“In effect, everyday relations, shared on a daily basis for years in the same Roman College are an important experience in every priest’s vocational trajectory. By way of this mediation, in fact, fraternal bonds and communion are established among priests of different dioceses and nations which find a sacramental expression in Eucharistic concelebration.”...

“Certainly, leaving one’s own diocese and pastoral mission for quite a long time guarantees not only intellectual preparation, but above all, offers the opportunity, at the same time, to experience an intense period of enduring, integral formation. With this in mind, the community life in the priestly Colleges offers this modality of presbyterial fraternity, probably new in respect to that of the past.

“The College experience is an opportunity for fruitful celebration of the Eucharist on the part of the priests. Thus, the practice of daily Eucharistic Concelebration in Colleges can become an occasion for deepening the spiritual life of priests, with important fruits such as: the expression of communion among priests from different particular Churches, which is manifest especially when Bishops of different dioceses preside over the concelebration on their visits to Rome; the chance to listen to the homilies of other confreres; the carefully prepared celebration, even solemn, of the daily Eucharist, the deepening of Eucharistic devotion which every priest needs to cultivate, outside the celebration itself.”...

Among the practical norms indicated, we can read:
“It is to be recommended that priests can participate ordinarily in the Eucharistic Concelebration in the hours established by the College, always preferring community celebration to the individual one. In this sense, the Colleges with a large group of priests could establish the Eucharistic Concelebration in 2 or 3 different hours of the day, so that everyone may be allowed to participate according to their personal, academic or pastoral needs.”...

“If the resident priests in the College for particular circumstances cannot participate in the Concelebration during the hours established, they must always prefer to celebrate together in another more convenient hour.”

The violation of Canon 902, according to which priests “may concelebrate the Eucharist; they are however, fully entitled to celebrate the Eucharist individually”, is obvious and repeated in two passages of the text, with the result that The colleges that apply the working paper to the letter, will violate the current universal law. But beyond the juridical considerations, there are others of a theological and spiritual nature.

On March 5th 2012, on occasion of the presentation of Monsignor Guillaume Derville’s book, Eucharistic Concelebration. From Symbol to Reality (Wilson & Lafleur, Montréal 2012), Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, the then Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, underlined the need for “moderating” concelebration, making the words of Benedict XVI his own:

“I join... in recommending the daily celebration of Mass, even when the faithful are not present. This recommendation is consistent with the objectively infinite value of every celebration of the Eucharist, and is motivated by the Mass's unique spiritual fruitfulness. If celebrated in a faith-filled and attentive way, Mass is formative in the deepest sense of the word, since it fosters the priest's configuration to Christ and strengthens him in his vocation.” (Apostolic Exhortation,Sacramentum caritatis, n. 80).

Catholic doctrine in fact, sees in Holy Mass the unbloody reenactment of the Sacrifice of the Cross. The multiplication of Masses renders greater glory to God and is an immense good for souls. Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie [1931–1985, a professor and specialist in Carmelite spirituality at the Pontifical Theological Faculty ‘Teresianum’ in Rome, who published a 600-page volume entitled "The Holy Eucharist - The World's Salvation" in 1982, with the English edition translated from the French only in 2015] wrote:

“If every Mass has in itself the same infinite value, the dispositions of men to receive its fruits are always imperfect and, in this sense, limited. From here [comes] the importance of the number of celebrations of Masses in order to multiply the fruits of salvation.

Sustained by this elementary but sufficient theological reasoning, the redeeming fecundity of the multiplication of Masses is moreover proved by the liturgical practice of the Church and of the stance of the Magisterium. Of this fecundity, the Church – history teaches – has become progressively more aware over the course of the centuries, has promoted the practice of the multiplication of Masses and subsequently has encouraged it officially more and more.” (L’Eucharistie, salut du monde, Dominique Martin Morin, Paris 1982, pp. 457-458)).

For the neo-modernists, the Mass is reduced to an assembly: the more priests and faithful present, the more significant it is. Concelebration is a means for the Priest to lose slowly the awareness of who he is and what his mission is, which is exclusively the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the salvation of souls. The diminution of Masses, however -- as well as the right conception of the Mass -- is one of the main causes for today’s religious crisis.

Now even the Congregation for the Clergy, at the request of Pope Francis, is making its contribution to the demolition of the Catholic Faith.

Here are Father Hunwicke's reflections on this matter published on his blog between July 17-24.

On concelebration in the Roman colleges

17 July 2017
Readers will be familiar with the document described recently by Professor Roberto de Mattei on the Rorate Blog, designed to intimidate those who work in the Roman Colleges into concelebrating, rather than celebrating 'private' Masses.

Many, including of course the admirable and indefatigable Archibloggopoios Fr Zed, have pointed out that this represents a direct and shameless attack on a right embodied in the direct enactment of an Ecumenical Council, in Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II. This is a particularly unscrupulous example of the practice of citing Vatican II, or its Spirit, when it suits a writer; and of ignoring or misrepresenting its explicit mandates when they are inconvenient. But more about this in a later section of this series.

However, I do urge readers to take courage from this offensive, intolerant, and thoroughly nasty draft Working Paper, because it proves that They are worried. Indeed, They have every reason to be anxious. Young priests, and Seminarians, are overwhelmingly either in favour of Tradition, or are at least tolerant of it. Increasingly, one hears those cheerful gusts of laughter as the younger clergy reflect on the certainty that Age and our Beloved Sister Death will solve the problem of the bigotted generation currently in the ascendancy.

As our Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict enigmatically pointed out to Bergoglio's new cardinals, God wins in the end. Indeed he does. We may have another decade or two to work and suffer through, until the Cupich generation is itself called to its reward, but it can prudently be predicted that the End is now in sight, that the light can finally be discerned, even if only dimly, at the end of the tunnel.

We should also take heart from the sense of panic manifested in that other recent repressive proposal, that Transitional Deacons, having worked in a parish, should need a positive votum from "the laity" before they proceed to the priesthood. This actually constitutes an attack upon the Sacrament of Holy Orders, because it implies that men who felt a call to priestood might be marooned in a diaconate to which they had never felt permanently called. Would their oath of Celibacy be dispensed?

Whoever dreamed up this piece of discrimination evidently believes that the Grace of the Holy Spirit for the Order of Deacon in the Church of God is a piece of rubbish that can easily and conveniently be dumped. Of course, saying this does not mean that one mistrusts the Laity. It means that one has the sense to realise that, under the current ascendancy, a faction of the Laity will be used ... abused ... as a manipulative tool for keeping out of the priesthood many young men who believe in priesthood.

"My dear boy, I'm terribly sorry ... if it were just left to me ... but the Laity have spoken ... What did you say? How many of them? What percentage? Now really! Be reasonable! You can't expect us to conduct an actual vote, can you ...". Remember what happened at Maynooth [Ireland] last year when the 'formators' tried to chuck out almost an entire year because they didn't like their attitudes.

The last occasion on which I concelebrated a Novus Ordo Mass was a couple of years ago. A keen and hardworking young priest - not an Extraordinary Form type but what I think of as 'Wojtyla loyalist' - was hounded out of his parish by a lay faction. Blame me if you will, but I felt compelled, out of priestly solidarity, to go along and concelebrate with him his last Mass in his parish.

It does not take much imagination to guess what such factions would do if given the power currently being discussed. Remember the Irish diocese in which, four or five years ago, even the diocesan Bishop was himself bullied by such people into abandoning his proposal to introduce Permanent Deacons. It was felt that this would reinforce the Patriarchy of the clerical state. The ultimate ambition, of course, is to introduce women priests or, failing that, to ensure that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is replaced by lay-led communion services ... or worse ...

18 July
I do not know whence this proposal ultimately arises, but it seems to me to bear all the hallmarks of the current regime. We have come to recognise the methodology of Bergoglian realpolitik: "Doctrine is not changed", and so a document like Amoris laetitia may even contain an explicit assertion of the indissolubilty of Marriage - several hundred pages apart from the deft little footnote, or the crafty ambiguity, by which this doctrine may in practice be set aside. Episcopal Conferences may not have been formally given the right to attack the Sacrament of Marriage, but nods, winks, and private letters single out those Conferences which Have Got the Message.

This is a culture in which Cardinal Sarah has not been sacked, but he is publicly humiliated and neutered by having his colleagues and staff sacked and replaced by Bergoglians ](I except from this generalisation Bishop Alan Hopes who, being a former Anglican, has sound and orthodox liturgical instincts).

So it is with the proposal that priests in the Roman Colleges should be bullied into forgoing their canonical right to celebrate individually the Holy Eucharist. Summorum Pontificum is not set aside, but it is circumvented. Not that this document explicitly mentions Summorum Pontificum, or indeed the Extraordinary Form. It is far too cunning to do that. But this is what it is all about.

- Since Concelebration is permitted in the Novus Ordo, but (except at Ordinations) forbidden in the Classical Roman Mass, and since the readers are repeatedly told that the young men must be intimidated into prefering Concelebration, what we have in this draft document is, in practical, political terms, a major initiative to prevent the use of the Extraordinary Form by "student priests".

Doubtless it is hoped that the provisions of this illiberal document will spread, particularly in places under the watchful eye of rigidly Bergoglianist bishops.

20 July 2017
Today: a couple of dogs that failed to bark in the night.
(1) Dog A is the CDW, still nominally under the direction of the disgraced not-sufficiently-Bergoglian Cardinal Sarah. There is no evidence in the Working Paper which we are considering that the CDW was consulted. Yet the Working Paper is exclusively about a liturgical matter! Here we have another example of Bergoglian method: the dodge of not entrusting something to an actually relevant dicastery.

There would, you see, be the terrible risk that they might not come up with the right answer. After all, the Holy Father told Sarah to change the rules concerning the Maundy Thursday pedilavium and Sarah did nothing until, a year later, Bergoglio kicked him. Sarah then did as he was told but made it public that he was acting under duress. Just so, Amoris laetitia was presented to the Press by the Graf von Schoenborn and not by the (then) Cardinal Prefect of the CDF. Far, far safer! Gerhard is so, so off message!

(2) Dog B is the Divine Office. True, the Working Paper we are currently considering is, according to its explicit heading, concerned with Concelebration. But the closely connected question of the common recitation of the Divine Office cannot be irrelevant here. The Institutio Generalis de Liturgia Horarum makes clear (paragraphs 9 and 20) the great desirability of the common recitation of the Office. And it draws upon the same advice of Sacrosanctum Concilium which the Working Paper on Concelebration mentions. Why does the Congregatio pro clericis not allude to this?

I think the reasons for this deafening silence are practical and obvious. [n]Any attempt to force student clergy in Roman Colleges to celebrate (ex. gr.) Lauds, Vespers, and the Office of Readings and Compline in common would probably lead to a general insurrection. The Offices in the Liturgy of the Hours are short and the daily pensum could probably be got through by an individual, moving his lips silently, in less than a total of twenty minutes.

The Office need cause very little interruption to the working life of a priest or student. But if one had to stop what one was doing, go to chapel, and sing the texts, they would take up very much more time. I'm not denying that this might be a good thing ... I haven't forgotten the view of S Benedict that the the opus Dei should take priority over everything... I'm simply saying that the students, being only human, might not all embrace it with equal enthusiasm ... I mean, they would cut up rough.

So ... the drafters of the Working Paper decided to let that potentially irritable Sleeping Dog lie. After all, Who Cares? Our priority, they mused, is to put a stop to this pernicious practice of all these disgraceful young priests getting out of bed early and slipping off before breakfast to access an altar on which to celebrate that Extraordinary Form which the current pope so dislikes; which encapsulates an entire attitude to Priesthood and to life which he fears and loaths.

21 July 2017
You will have been asking: does this Working Paper forget to mention the explicit words of Sacrosanctum Concilium, of the liturgical books, and of the Code of Canon Law, which secure to a presbyter his right (facultas) of celebrating a private (singularis) Mass?

Not a bit of it. To be fair, it grasps that problem very firmly and with both hands. It quotes it, gives the references, and then this is what it says (the highlighting is in the original draft):

Il criterio fondamentale che giustifica la celebrazione individuale nello stesso giorno nel quale la Chiesa o la comunita propone la concelebrazione e quando il beneficio dei fedeli lo richieda o lo consigli. ((The fundamental criterion which justifies individual celebration on the same day on which the Church or the community proposes concelebration is when the benefit of the faithful requests or advises it.)

` Yes. I thought that would take your breath away. I really do not think it necessary for me to labour the nastiness of this ... and its cleverness in seeking to prevent young priests from saying their daily Mass. It completely perverts the plain and contextual meaning of the Council, the rubrics, and Canon Law.

Another anxiety: papal and curial documents like to build up a 'position' by citing previous documents, regarded as precedents. If the Congregation for Clergy gets away with this cheap dodge, there is every risk that their enactment will be littered around in the footnotes of future repressive documents until we are told that it has become the Church's settled position.

I will merely add that the Working Paper does not deal with another right canonically secured to every presbyter of the Roman Rite: that of celebrating a private mass daily in the Extraordinary Form (vide the opening sections of Summorum Pontificum). If the Working Paper had taken up this question, doubtless its conclusion would have been just as clever and equally nasty.

I have one more piece about this a nasty document put together by a nasty group in pursuance of a nasty plot. After that, my final piece on this subject will throw the windows wide open to the clean fresh air of the wholesome paradosis of our wonderful Western and Latin Christendom. It will contain extensive quotations from somebody whom I consider one of the great theologians of the last century, whom I knew and whose teachings greatly influenced my own vocation to the Sacred Priesthood. So hang on there: something good is on the way

23 July
A little more about Paragraph 57 (2) of Sacrosanctum Concilium. "Salva tamen sit semper sit cuique sacerdoti facultas Missam singularem celebrandi ..." [ "Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually ..."]

I dealt last time with the Hermeneutical Miracle, the Circaean Touch in the iniquitousdraft Working Paper, whereby this Conciliar mandate is metamorphosed into meaning "A priest may only withdraw from concelebrating in order to serve the needs of the Laity". I want to emphasise this morning that the suppressio veri and suggestio falsi involved here are so shameless as, in effect, to constitute barefaced lies.

Vatican II is clearly preserving here a right which the clergy had before the Council. While permitting Concelebration, with the limitations made clear in Paragraph 57 (Maundy Thursday, Councils, Ordinations and abbatial Blessings, other occasions to which the Ordinary has explicitly consented), it is also preserving an existing right. As Canon 902 in turn puts it, " ... integra tamen pro singulis libertate manente Eucharistiam individuali modo celebrandi ..." (... for each and every priest, the freedom remains intact of celebrating the Eucharist in the individual way ...")

Notice manente. The liberty remains. Notice integra. It remains intact. In other words, the pre-Conciliar freedom is not abrogated. It is preserved, it is set in stone.

Not even the dodgy group which put together this disgraceful Working Paper could go so far as to rewrite History and to claim that, before the Council, 'private Masses' were forbidden or discouraged. They were an integral part of universal priestly culture in the Latin Church. They were vigorously defended by Pius XII (Mediator Dei) in 1947, who explicitly condemned the very errors now resurrected by the draft Working Paper (I will quote him in my final piece).

And, less than two decades after the teaching of Pius XII, the Council, followed by the Novus Ordo Missal, and, a few years after that, the Conciliar Code of Canon Law, all carefully and unambiguously preserved his right to every priest of the Latin Churches. How decisive and repeated does the Magisterium of the Church have to be before the wayward and the heterodox take notice of it? Why are curial departments so cluttered up with the wayward and the heterodox?

But what the H**l:If one is part of a Vatican culture engaged on the exciting and far-reaching project of subverting the Sacrament (and Natural Institution) of Holy Matrimony, one is hardly going to draw the line at telling a few lies in order to put a stop to private masses and the Extraordinary Form.

24 July 2017
The great Catholic Anglican theologian, Dr Eric Mascall, writing at the time when Concelebration was the new sexy –ation among trendy Western liturgists, put in a spirited defence of the practice of the Private Mass. I particularly commend to you its Catholic understanding of "Corporate", so very much more Pauline than the naively infantile understanding of the term which we find in the Roman draft Working Paper we have been considering.

Mascall, in truth, is simply unfolding the teaching of Pius XII in Mediator Dei " ... this Sacrifice , always and everywhere, necessarily and of its very nature, has a public and social character. For he who offers it acts in the name both of Christ and of the faithful, of whom the divine Redeemer is the Head ...".

Macall wrote that "if you want to make anybody understand wherein the corporateness of the mass really consists", the best thing you can do is to take him into a church with lots of simultaneous private masses going on, and tell him that

"..the different priests saying their different masses at their different altars are doing not different things but the same thing, that they are all taking part in the one eternal Liturgy whose celebrant is Christ and that their priesthood is only a participation in his ...

The multiplication of masses emphasises the real unity of the mass and the true nature of the Church's corporate character as nothing else can ... what makes the mass one and corporate is not the fact that a lot of people are together at the same service, but the fact that it is the act of Christ in his body (corpus) the Church ...

Look at those men at their various altars all around the church, each of them apparently muttering away on his own and having nothing to do with the others. In fact, they are all of them doing the same thing - the same essentially, the same numerically - not just a lot of different things of the same kind, but the very same identical thing; each of them is taking his part as a priest in the one redemptive act which Christ, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, perpetuates in the Church which is his Body through the sacrament of his body and blood'.

Professor Mascall's description fits the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Oxford, then a busy Anglican Catholic center but now sadly lapsed. It was there that, except when he was on the rota to celebrate in Christ Church Cathedral, he said his daily Mass, old style, Introibo ad Altare Dei through to Et Verbum caro factum est. Not infrequently, every altar in that church was occupied by a priest offering that same eternal sacrifice.

One thinks also of the Anglican Shrine Church at Walsingham, its twenty or so altars all abuzz with Sacrifice at the height of the pilgrimage season.

Come to think of it, that's probably why the lower basilica at Lourdes has an altar to each of the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. One can imagine palmy days when priests were queuing up on rotas to say their masses and (if there were a shortage of trained servers) making, each of them, the then customary arrangement with the priest just before him or the one just after, to serve his Mass in return for him serving yours.

This was the time of my adolescence before the Council when churches which are now empty or even closed or demolished were full of busy-ness - alive and electric with sacramental and devotional life.

And, after the contempt into which the Private Mass fell in the decades after Vatican II, we should welcome with unconfined joy its increasing return to the main-stream repertoire of every-day Western Catholicism.

When there are laypeople needing a Mass, it is obviously the first duty of a priest to serve that need (and a desire to say an additional Mass solo would not be a sufficient reason for binating).

But we should remember that Vatican II did preserve inviolate the right of every priest to celebrate a Private Mass, with a couple of caveats (not during a concelebration within the same church; not on Maundy Thursday). And subsequent magisterial documents, including the Code of Canon Law, have repeated this right. And successive editions even of the Novus Ordo Missal have provided (and, most recently, substantially revised) the rite for celebrating the 'New Mass' privately.

According to one prominent Vaticanologist, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy [Beniamino Stella], from which emerged the draft Working Paper we have been considering, is the current pope's closest friend in the Curia. It seems strange that such an important and well-connected man, apparently, knows (or wishes to know) so little about the teaching and praxis of the Catholic Church.

God will, in Pope Benedict's words, win in the end, even if the boat, full of water, seems about to capsise!

2 August
It was because of rumours that the current papal regime might reverse Summorum pontificum that I wrote my recent series on Concelebration in the Roman Colleges. I suppose I must learn that people don't read all one writes and commonly fail to grasp what one is really getting at.

I will put my opinions as simply as I can.

I do not think it is the Holy Father's style to do things in an unnecessarily and publicly confrontational way.

There are certainly gruesome individuals around like Andrea Grillo who do hope for SP to be eviscerated. This, they hope, would be achieved by eliminating the Subsidiarity according to which all presbyters can celebrate the EF without needing permissions.

But I do not think that the HF would just reverse SP, certainly not during the lifetime of his predecessor.

I think the current pope prefers to achieve his ends by more subtle and round-about means.

I suspect the draft Working Paper which I discussed at such length, of being an attempt by Pope Bergoglio or, more likely, his intimates such as the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, to destroy the priestly culture that SP fed into. That's much more his style.

Anyway, Benedict XVI, not the stupidest of men, got in first by making clear that it would be ultra vires [beyond the authority] for any pope to attempt to extinguish the classical Roman Rite.

Remember also that it is historically the position of the SSPX that they did not ask for permission to celebrate the older Rite themselves in a private ghetto, but insisted, absolutely rightly, on this fundamental liberty, never lawfully abrogated, being confirmed to every presbyter of the Latin Churches. Pace Bishop Williamson's mistrust of his former colleagues, I do not think the Society would renege upon such a highly important principle.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/4/2017 5:11 PM]
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Joseph de Sainte-Marie, OCD.
The Holy Eucharist—The World’s Salvation. Studies on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, its Celebration, and its Concelebration.
With a Foreword by Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB.
Leominster: Gracewing, 2015. xxxix + 557 pp

Here is more about the book by Joseph de Sainte-Marie referred to by Prof. De Mattei above, from a review of the 1992 book when it first came out
in its English edition in 2015.

The definitive study of concelebration

June 25, 2015

Let me begin with the bottom line. This is the most important book ever to appear in English on the subject of concelebration. It ought to be read by every bishop, priest, religious, teacher of liturgy, and seminary formator, and absolutely anyone with a desire to learn about this complex and sometimes contentious issue.

Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie (1931–1985), a professor and specialist in Carmelite spirituality at the Pontifical Theological Faculty ‘Teresianum’ in Rome, published this substantial collection of his writings in 1982, only a few years before his death.

One may regret that it has taken over 30 years for an English translation to appear — or better, one may rejoice that it has finally come out for the benefit of those who do not read French. Lest a nearly 600-page tome prompt any dismay, I hasten to repeat that this is a gathering together of a dozen finely-chiseled essays on the Mass and the Holy Eucharist, with special attention to concelebration. Most of the essays could be read in one sitting; the lovely style of writing and the vigorous argumentation make the book hard to put down once begun!

While this book contains eloquent essays on the Mass as a true and proper sacrifice, the sacramental system, and the relationship of sacrifice and banquet, by far the greater part of its bulk is given over to a careful, systematic, and exhaustive study of concelebration under every aspect — historical, liturgical, theological, pastoral, magisterial.

For example, Fr. de Sainte-Marie
- Provides a detailed synopsis of the elements of the question as they make their appearance in the ancient and medieval periods down through the twentieth century Liturgical Movement and into the Second Vatican Council;
- Sifts all the pertinent texts of and interventions at the Council to establish just what was being proposed, debated, changed, agreed to, and subsequently applied or misapplied;
- Compares and contrasts Eastern and Western practices; he patiently gathers evidence to show the ways in which agenda-driven reasoning and sleight-of-hand were employed to put across a novel reinterpretation of concelebration and to ensure its enforcement.

The author reaches many important conclusions in this work of highly readable scholarship. Among the more immediately practical conclusions are:
(1) although concelebration is licit and occasionally opportune, particularly when the presbyterate is led in worship by the bishop, it was never historically, and should not now be, the normal or default mode of offering the Mass;
(2) much of our contemporary theory and praxis are based on a fundamentally flawed concept of what concelebration historically was —a flaw that found its way into the Council debates and subsequent implementation;
(3) in either sacramental or ceremonial concelebration, no differently than in a ‘private’ Mass, one sole Mass is offered to God;
(4) because “each Mass pours the redemptive Blood of Christ upon the Church and the whole world,” the Church and the world benefit from a multiplication of Masses and suffer loss from their reduction;
(5) it can be demonstrated from documents of Tradition and of the Magisterium that the Church herself greatly desires that Masses be thus multiplied;
(6) habitual reliance on or presumed choice of concelebration constitutes a genuine liturgical abuse.

These statements are, of course, conclusions, and therefore they must emerge from valid argumentation based on thoroughly evaluated evidence. Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie takes nothing for granted and establishes each of these conclusions with rigorous research and argumentation that goes far beyond anything I have seen when reading on this question.[1]

It is an exhilarating, sometimes distressing, and always enlightening work, one that is written by a priest who is deeply in love with our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Indeed, he makes it clear that his motivation for the painstaking work that went into his studies is a desire to give glory to God and sanctify souls through the sacrifice of the Mass, coupled with an anxiety(quite legitimate, as anyone who takes up the book will discover) that leaders in the Church had been both deceiving and deceived as they walked down a path of innovation, inversion, and incoherence.

Let me sum up my enthusiasm for The Holy Eucharist—The World’s Salvation: if you have any interest at all in the question of concelebration or in the manner of its current practice in the Latin Rite, you would do yourself an immense favor to get this book and read, for starters, the Foreword by Dom Alcuin Reid (pp. xvii–xxxix) and chapter 1 by the author (pp. 3–27). As you find yourself brought to a greater depth of awareness of the issues, an appropriate subtlety of discernment, and a new strength of practical judgment, you will wonder how we managed to get anywhere before this book was in our hands.

[1] Having given much thought to this matter (see "The Loss of Graces: Private Masses and Concelebration" in Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis, and the NLM article "Celebration versus Concelebration: Theological Considerations"), I was overjoyed to find in Fr. Joseph de Sainte-Marie an author who pursues the inquiry with an unprecedented breadth and depth.

Related to the authentic study of the Roman rite and the centuries of traditional practice behind it is this piece from Fr. Hunwicke yesterday.

'Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum'

August 3, 2017

There appears to be a consensus that there is no evidence for the 'Our Father' being in the Mass anywhere in Christendom before about 350. Before that, it was a non-liturgical prayer used, perhaps several times a day, either privately or among groups of the Faithful.

And the evidence is that during this period, when Christians shared the 'Our Father', they concluded it with a kiss of peace. The earliest evidence I know for this is in Tertullian (c160-225; see de Oratione PL 1 1176-9). A custom had grown up of people omitting the Peace after the Our Father when they had been fasting.

Tertullian disapproves of it because it includes an inclination to boast publicly about fasting, contrary to Mt 6:16. He calls the kiss the signaculum orationis(the sealing - as a document might be sealed - or finishing-off of the prayer).

Rhetorically, he asks: "What prayer is complete when the holy kiss has been torn from it? Whom does the Peace impede as he is doing his duty towards the Lord? What sort of sacrifice is it, from which people go away without the Peace?" And a couple of paragraphs earlier, speaking about the ending of the prayer, he uses the phrase assignata oratione (when the prayer has been sealed)'.

Similarly, Origen (c185-254 , commenting on the Kiss of Peace referred to by St Paul in Romans 16 and elsewhere, describes it as happening 'after the prayers' (PG 14 1282). Since St Paul never specifies where the kiss is to be given, Origen's 'after the prayers' presumably reflects the usage of his own time.

It seems highly likely that what happened is this. When the 'Our Father' was introduced into the Mass, it brought with it its concluding signaculum, the Kiss of Peace. Thus the Pax in the Liturgy is not, in itself, a reconciliatory preparation for Communion, but a 'signing off' from the Our Father and the Eucharistic Prayer. ''We find this situation reflected in the Letter of Pope S Innocent I to the Bishop of Gubbio in 416 (PL 56 515). Troublemakers in Gubbio had been saying that it was better to follow the custom of another Church as to the position of the Peace rather than that of Rome; the Pope responds "the Pax has to be done... to show that the people have given their consent to everything which is done in the mysteries and celebrated in Church, and to demonstrate that they are finished by the signaculum of the concluding Pax".

The fact that he employs the very term signaculum which had been used by Tertullian suggests that we are dealing with conventional usage widespread enough to be common to Rome and North Africa and over a period of at least two centuries.

Thus the Roman position of the Peace [Pax Domini] appears to have a meaning and logic which go even beyond the introduction of the 'Our Father' into the Mass, back to those early days when Christians met in little groups to say the Lord's Prayer together. That logic was the communal and corporate assent of God's People to the Lord's own Prayer.

Of course, this does not exclude the notion of the Peace as a gesture of reconciliation among those who, as one Body, are just about to receive in the Eucharist the one Body and the one Cup of the Blood of the Redeemer. That theme is itself suggested by the last few clauses of the prayer, concerning mutual forgiveness.

But I wonder if there is a slightly different alternative narrative which might be valid here. Might the passage I have quoted from Tertullian relate not to the extraliturgical use of the Lord's Prayer among Christians, but to its use within the Mass? He does seem to be talking about something more corporate than merely a semiprivate praye rgroup.

And note the phrase 'What sort of sacrifice ...?' And there is a paragraph nearby where he criticises the habit of sitting down after the Peace; if the Peace simply concludes a little prayer meeting, why should the participants not be allowed to sit down once it was over?

And "... Having criticised his fellow Christians for witholding the Kiss so as publicly to flaunt the fact that they had been fasting... on the day of the Pasch, on which there is a rule of fasting which is common to all and as it were public, we rightly drop the kiss, because we don't care about hiding the thing [i.e. fasting] which we are doing with everybody else".

Those familiar with the traditional Roman Rite will recall that, to this day, we do not exchange the Sign of Peace at the Good Friday Mass of the Pre-sanctified, nor at the Mass of the Easter Vigil (even though the celebrant has said the words). This is because we are all deemed to have been fasting.

Questions arise: if the 'Our Father' was within the Mass as early as the time of Tertullian,
- What does this do to our understanding of the early history of the Liturgy?
- How are we to fit in the apparently second century evidence for the Peace coming at an earlier point in the Mass?
- Why should those fasting consider it appropriate to withhold the Kiss?
- What is the relevance of all this to the Eucharistic Fast, first witnessed in North Africa at the end of the fourth century?
- And does the evidence we have considered derive support from Dom Gregory Dix's compelling theory about the Mass of the Presanctified (i.e., that the third century practice of Christians communicating themselves privately on weekdays from the Host which they had reserved at the Sunday Mass, and blessing by the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and then drinking a cup of wine as an 'antitype' of the Blood of Christ, is found as the Communion Rite of the traditional Roman Good Friday liturgy, simply transferred from the private to the communal context)?

I never cease to be surprised at what I find whenever I delve back into the history of the venerable and wonderful Roman Rite.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/4/2017 6:34 PM]
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'Populus Summorum Pontificum' - may our numbers grow!

I apologize that I have not done enough on this Forum to mark the 10th anniversary year of Summorum Pontificum, and I had to be reminded of my failure by the following commentary by the director of the Office for Sacred Worship in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin,the editor of the Adoremus Bulletin, and visiting faculty member at the Liturgical Institute in Mundelein, Illinois.

And I post it in order to disagree with the writer's basic premise – that 'Summorum Pontificum' is basically seen as 'merely an analysis of rites and rubrics',. It certainly never was that for those who believe and abide by it (because those who dismiss it as anachronistic and irrelevant would never have bothered to read it anyway).

It is very clear from the first line of the motu proprio that Benedict XVI meant to showcase the importance of liturgy – 'worthy worship of the Divine Majesty' - in the life of the Church:

The Supreme Pontiffs have to this day shown constant concern that the Church of Christ should offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty, “for the praise and glory of his name” and “the good of all his holy Church.”

In fact, the motu proprio does not at all get into 'the analysis of rites and rubrics' but simply lays down the rules by which the Church 'restores' to the traditional Mass a continuing legitimacy which the creators and proponents of the Novus Ordo simply assumed to have been abrogated.

What was ‘Summorum Pontificum’ really about?
By Chris Carstens

July 29, 2017

Ten years ago, Pope Benedict XVI issued his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum(SP), which liberalized the use of the traditional Latin Mass and addressed a number of concerns about its use.

Nonetheless, many still have questions about SP and its implications. A helpful yet often under-emphasized read of this document sees it not as an analysis of rites and rubrics, but as a call to deepen our understanding and appreciation of the liturgy’s power and efficacy.[But this second part of the statement was always the immediate understanding of SP by those who are serious about liturgy – in which rubrics describe the external form in which a rite must be celebrated, because in liturgy, as in anything serious, form expresses content.]

Following Pope Benedict’s 2007 letter, the two missals, that of Paul VI (1970) and that of John XXIII (1962), were named the “Ordinary Form” and “Extraordinary Form,” respectively. Further, between these “two usages of the one Roman rite,” Pope Benedict saw an opportunity for a “mutual enrichment.” Since the Missal of St. John XXIII was “never juridically abrogated,” the Pope wrote, any “qualified priest” of the “Latin rite” may celebrate it without special permission.

As crucial as these points from SP are for our understanding of the document and the liturgical life of the Church, they all have one thing in common: Each of them addresses missals, ministers, rites and rubrics. But these elements of the Mass celebration, while the most obvious to see, are not the only ones to consider from the 2007 motu proprio. [Again, my point about 'form'. The very juxtaposition of the two forms of the Roman rite now existing side by side with co-equal legitimacy underscores a difference in 'form' which expresses the great chasm that separates the liturgical content expressed in each of the two forms.]

In fact, they may not even be the most important for the faithful who live out their faith in the pews, the family dinner table and around the water cooler.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, easily the most prominent supporter of SP among the Church’s hierarchy, offers another insight into SP, one especially salient for the “Catholic in the pew.” In remarks to the March 29 colloquium “The Source of the Future,” the cardinal explains Pope Benedict’s letter within the context of the liturgical movement that began before the Second Vatican Council and culminated in the Council’s work on the liturgy.

This 20th-century liturgical movement, Cardinal Sarah recalled, was initiated officially by Pope St. Pius X. Desiring to “Restore all things in Christ” (his papal motto), Pius X encouraged the laity to “assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this [true Christian] spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church” (1903 letter, Tra le Sollecitudini).

Sixty years later, the fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which invokes Pius X’s notion of “active participation” in the sacramental work of Jesus as the “aim to be considered before all others” in the reform and restoration of the sacred liturgy.

As Cardinal Sarah put it, the Council’s constitution was “one of the finest fruits” of the liturgical movement begun by Pope Pius X. This same liturgical movement “continues in our days following the new impetus given to it by Pope Benedict XVI,” Cardinal Sarah explains in his SP address.

But what is this “liturgical movement,” and why does Cardinal Sarah see it as essential to understanding SP? And how can the liturgical movement give Catholics greater insight into both the ordinary form and extraordinary form of the Mass?

These answers are found in the early figures of the liturgical movement. Dom Virgil Michel, a Benedictine monk of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and a “founding father” of the American liturgical movement, said succinctly in 1929 that “the true significance of the liturgical movement lies just in this: that it tries to lead men back to the ‘primary and indispensable source of the true Christian spirit.’”

The liturgical movement championed by Pope Pius X and Dom Virgil Michel, and experienced by the young Joseph Ratzinger, thus sought to inspire the faithful to enter into the depths of the liturgy. In other words — and here is where SP becomes more legible — what moves and changes in a liturgical celebration of any form is the heart of the participant.

It is tempting and even reasonable to let discussions of Summorum Pontificum center exclusively on rituals and missals. [But no serious discussant of SP and devout follower of the traditional Mass has done that! Mr Carstens is fighting inexistent strawmen.]

By reading SP in the context of the liturgical movement, Cardinal Sarah lets us see Pope Benedict’s letter in a larger framework, one that reminds us that the liturgy’s primary change, restoration and enrichment is of participants. [In order for them to worship God worthily and appropriately. i.e., for the greater glory of God, not theirs. I do not think Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI was ever remiss in underscoring all this in everything he wrote and said about the liturgy, and in the very way he celebrated it himself.]

Whether or not the language is changed from Latin to English, for example, the people of God are changed by either missal. In the letter to the Church’s bishops that accompanied SP, Pope Benedict suggested this same dynamic of change, restoration and enrichment.

Explaining why some of the faithful were still attached to the old missal, he credits “the liturgical movement [that]had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration”. In other words, the early 20th-century movement formed the people; it did not reform the rites. The grace of Christ has always flowed from the liturgical spring, and the liturgically minded pastor of the 1930s taught his people how to drink from it. [And in many ways, the unabashedly Protestantized Novus Ordo rite is really a poisoned spring to drink from – although the immediate antidote one must self-administer at the same time is a proper and reverent celebration of it, which includes the congregation's conscious participation in such properness and reverence, not ad hoc 'creative' touches meant to make the Mass more 'interesting'!

I think a simple test of whether Mass accomplishes this is to ask whether the person, emerging from Sunday Mass, is suffused with gratitude that he has been able to participate in a communal worship of God and allows this experience to shape his thoughts and actions for the week, or whether he simply thinks 'Well, thank God I've done my Sunday duty and won't have to do it again for another week!']

Even at the Second Vatican Council, during which the rites themselves became the subject of reform, any future changes were to move hearts. “The liturgy,” the constitution says, “moves the faithful, filled with ‘the paschal sacraments,’ to be ‘one in holiness’” (10).

While the ink was still drying on the document, a pioneer of the pre-conciliar liturgical reform, Father Romano Guardini, would write in 1964 that if the faithful were not equipped and receptive to liturgical transformation, “reforms of rites and texts will not help much.” In other words, as the Council affirmed and Father Guardini confirmed, it’s the faithful, not the rubrics, which determine the fruitfulness of a liturgy, extraordinary or otherwise. [Carstens seems to insist in keeping the horse before the ;liturgical cart, which in this case, is wrong. Lex orandi, lex vivendi, as Benedict reiterates in SP. And this is even truer in a perverse sense about the Novus Ordo – in which the 'new order' was not specifically taught to the people at all because it was imposed on them overnight, then they were were left to their own devices, which is always the path of least resistance - in which 'lex orandi,lex vivendi ' simply meant 'laissez faire' (Do as you please). Moreover, Guardini's comment was made years before the liturgical reform referred to in Sacrosanctum concilium went into effect. I doubt that he imagined the reform would mean protestantization of the Mass.]

Today, 10 years after Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Sarah claims that “the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium is the context in which we ought to consider the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.” Put differently, Summorum Pontificum isn’t ultimately about ritual usage and the potential enrichment between missals. [Of course, it was never about just that – but about the ultimate meaning of liturgy in the life of the Church], although this element is, as Pope Benedict notes, vital.

Rather, the document seeks primarily to facilitate the change of the Catholic faithful. Thus, to read Summorum Pontificum with an eye not only on ritual books, but also on the participants they are meant to perfect, is to read this document according to the depth it invites. [Mr Carstens is preaching to a devout choir who have long known this!]

To be sure, Cardinal Sarah’s own remarks on Summorum Pontificum hit upon ritual change.“The liturgy,” he says, “must therefore always be reformed so as to be more faithful to its mystical essence.” Indeed, the two forms should peacefully coexist to allow for “the possibility of perfecting them by emphasizing the best features that characterize [each of] them.”

Still, Cardinal Sarah’s last word on the subject is a road map for all Catholics to move deeper into the liturgical source through silence, adoration and solid formation, while he says little about how rites — old or new — should adapt themselves to those in the pew. Whether the priest faces east or not, participants must orient their hearts toward the Rising Son.

It is undeniably true that a praying soul’s path to holiness is easier to follow when the corresponding ritual allows for moments of silence, directs it toward God’s adoration, and prayerfully expresses the Church’s belief in the Risen One. Yet the cardinal’s road to liturgical renewal falls in large part to each of us.

Our own “enrichment” unto God’s glory is the goal of both the ordinary form and extraordinary form of the Mass, however these forms may mutually enrich each other. We are each called to adapt ourselves to the eternal Mystery the Mass contains, regardless of how the missals adapt to the needs of the present time.

The true perfection sought by Summorum Pontificum is that of each and every Catholic soul, even as the peaceful coexistence of the two missals affirmed by Summorum Pontificum may lead to the perfection of both books.

The results of this kind of liturgical movement, as Pope Benedict, Cardinal Sarah and Father Virgil Michel would all concur, will be nothing less than extraordinary.

Then there was this most poisonous and insulting article by the ever-repellent 'Maximum Beans' for La Croix International… I cannot understand that he calls SP ''one of Pope Benedict’s acts destined to have a deep and long-term impact on the life of the Church', and then follow it up with the insulting "Never has so much been owed by so few to one pope".

Ten years of 'Summorum Pontificum':
Tradition vs. traditionalism

by Massimo Faggioli

June 26, 2017

This coming July 7th will mark the tenth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s “motu proprio” Summorum Pontificum, a document that liberalized the use of the Roman liturgy as it celebrated prior to the reforms following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). [SP did not just liberalize the use of the traditional liturgy - it restored it to full and co-equal legitimacy in the life of the Church.]

This is one of Pope Benedict’s acts that is destined to have a deep and long-term impact on the life of the Church.

The 2007 “motu proprio” addressed the concerns of certain groups of traditionalist Catholics that were very small, marginal and barely visible. SP and Joseph Ratzinger changed their situation considerably. To paraphrase one of Winston Churchill’s wartime speeches, “Never was so much owed by so few to one pope”.

Paul VI and John Paul II had already sought to accommodate liturgical traditionalists by issuing special indults for celebrating the pre-Vatican II liturgy, most particularly in 1984 and 1988. But they never cast any doubt on the legitimacy and the good fruits of the Vatican II liturgical reform, the theological and ecclesiological framework of which is found in the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. [Neither does Benedict XVI. What he actively opposed was the distortion and widespread abuse of what that constitution provided.]

Those earlier popes saw a fundamental coherence between the tradition of the Church, the theology of Vatican II and the council’s liturgical reform.

There is little doubt that Benedict expressed and embodied a clear shift from a magisterium that saw Vatican II as part of the tradition of the Church to a magisterium that saw tradition and Vatican II in much more complicated terms. Certain issues, such as the liturgical reform, were seen in tension and opposition. [What? Vatican II as 'part of the tradition of the Church'? Is that not exactly what Faggioli and his fellow progressivists object to, insisting that Vatican-II marked the birth of a new church? Whereas John Paul II and Benedict XVI both advocated that Vatican II had to be interpreted in continuity with tradition. If it is, then it becomes part of Church tradition; if it is seen as a rupture with Tradition, then time will tell if Tradition will triumph, as it has always done.]

While it is certainly too early to assess the long-term effects of SP, it is necessary to begin the effort. For example, ten years on it is striking to re-read Benedict’s hasty, and failed, attempt to stop the tendency to interpret the “motu proprio” as a denunciation of Vatican II, which – in fact – is widespread in Catholic traditionalist circles. [It was not at all hasty, because it came in the letter that he sent to all the bishops of the world to accompany the motu proprio, and it is not 'failed' just because some bloggers may have used it to denounce Vatican II. But these same bloggers maintain at the same time that Benedict XVI himself is a traitor to the Church because he has supported Vatican II and they refuse to see that much of it can – and should – in fact be interpreted in continuity with Tradition.]

“In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question,” the former pope wrote in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum. However, he then declared: “This fear is unfounded.” [Precisely. He made that clear from the start. He cannot be blamed if people like Faggioli insist on claiming that the fear is real – but what's to fear when perhaps 99% of the Catholic world follow the Novus Ordo? Even if it was not legislated directly by Vatican-II, and in fact, distorts and violates some of the key provisions of Sancrosanctum concilium (with respect to ad orientem, the use of Latin and the vernacular, and the kind of Church music that is permissible)! The real question is why are people like Faggioli (and Bergoglio) so threatened by the EF when no one is asking them to even think about it and they can safely ignore it to the end of their days?] Moreover, Benedict expressed the wish that “the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching”. [So what's wrong with that? Oh, I see - Faggioli does not think that the OF needs enriching at all, much less fro, the EF!]

But on both accounts, the reality of these last ten years has produced something very different from the former pope’s stated intentions. In fact, the backlash against Vatican II has been a key component of the enthusiasm (and nostalgia) for his pontificate, while the coexistence of the two forms of the Roman rite within particular communities remains a chimera. [Excuse me! How can 'backlash against Vatican II' be a key component of enthusiasm for the pontificate of someone who has been denounced by unregenerate anti-Vatican-II traditionalists as a traitor to the Church, precisely because he has stood by Vatican II, correctly interpreted?

And to mock the coexistence of the two rites as a chimera (I think he means a mirage, because a chimera would refer to the eventual hybrid that might result from mutual enrichment if it does happen) ignores the fact that it is far from a mirage or illusion in communities where both forms of the Mass are available – not even in New York City, where I live – and in communities where the EF is not available, then the question of coexistence does not even come up until the EF becomes available.]

Yet there are two phenomena that are part of the post-SP ecclesial and theological landscape of Roman Catholicism, which are difficult to separate from the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

The first phenomenon is that SP boosted the pre-existing, sociologically limited world of liturgical traditionalism and projected it onto the wider world of the Catholic Church, especially among English-speakers. It is has given theological legitimacy to traditionalist views of the Vatican II liturgical reforms. [Really? In the world of Faggioli and his ilk, opinions can provide theological legitimacy???] And it has raised the visibility of traditionalist liturgy in the virtual spaces of the Catholic Church.

Over the past decade, social media has increasingly become a forum where the people of God can make their voices heard. Images of elaborate vestments used for pre-Vatican II liturgical celebrations have become part of the daily diet of those who follow the life of local churches and even prominent Church leaders. [Those 'elaborate vestments' constitute one of the many strawmen erected by enemies of Tradition against the traditional Mass. Throughout the two millennia of Church history before Vatican II, the use of such vestments, as well as of precious Mass vessels, and indeed, priceless monumental altars and altarpieces, were never an issue. When St. Francis of Assisi, who was not a priest, said, " “My people, it is your duty to give all you can, to buy beautiful chalices and beautiful vessels for the altar", he was referring to the general principle that nothing is too good for the worship of God, which is at the origin of the very expression 'Sunday best' which we use to describe how we ourselves ought to dress for Mass.]

This has had a significant impact on important parts of contemporary Roman Catholicism and its future – especially on committed Catholic youth and recent converts, as well as on seminarians and young priests. [So, Faggioli finally articulates the origin of 'their' fear! Quite an admission!]

The second phenomenon has been the reduction of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology to that of traditionalism. In fact, Summorum Pontificum has helped to greatly distort the overall theological legacy of one of the most important theologians in the 20th century.

If Joseph Ratzinger’s emphasis was on the tradition of the Church (“continuity and reform”), Benedict XVI’s pontificate has been reduced, especially in these last few years, to an icon of traditionalism (against any kind of theological development, seen as “discontinuity”).

[This is yet another facile generalization that Faggioli makes, even if there are quite a few 'traditionalist' bloggers who seem to do this, and I submit that they belong to the few who choose to use the liturgy as a perpetual issue to be fought over with those who dismiss the traditional Mass altogether. But surely, one of Benedict XVI's motivations for SP was to do away with any such 'ideological' wars over liturgy. As much as I personally do not 'like' the Ordinary Form, I do not – and cannot – dismiss it because it has become a fact of Church life. And when it is offered correctly and properly, as Benedict XVI did (and I am sure, as thousands of priests around the world do), then Deo gratias!]

This liturgical traditionalism has contributed to an overall traditionalist understanding of Catholicism to the point that it has become a problem and challenge for Pope Francis. Last year (July 11, 2016) the pope finally felt the need to intervene. In a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, he disavowed the so-called “reform of the liturgical reform”, which Cardinal Robert Sarah – prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship – had promoted a few days earlier during a public lecture to priests in London.

The Vatican statement warned that the notions of a reform of the reform “may at times give rise to error”, but it also made clear that Francis did not intend to eradicate Catholic liturgical traditionalism. Rather, he wanted it to remain in the limited and specific place that his predecessor had assigned to it. [Well, that seems to be in line with the supposed intention to circumscribe permission for the Extraordinary Form only to the FSSPX! Benedict XVI certainly never 'assigned' the traditional Mass 'a limited and specific place', in legislating that priests no longer have to get their bishop's permission to say it – as they had to do most anomalously from 1970-2007 – for any group of faithful wanting to avail of the Extraordinary Form.]

“The ‘extraordinary’ form, which was permitted by Pope Benedict XVI for the purposes and in the ways explained in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, must not take the place of the ‘ordinary’ one,” the statement said. [But Cardinal Sarah never said that! His use of the term 'reform of the liturgical reform' harks back to Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI himself, for whom certainly SP with its 're-legitimization' of the traditional Mass was the most important first step.]

So what are the lessons we’ve learned in the tens years since the publication of Summorum Pontificum?

First, there is a gap between the intended/declared and the unintended/undeclared goals of a papal act.

Second, there is sometimes a disconnect between the mind of Benedict XVI and how latter-day Ratzingerians have distorted his thinking (though not without the help of Ratzinger himself).

Third, there appears to be a link between liturgical traditionalism and the crisis of globalization and universalism within Catholicism. [Faggioli is reversing Cardinal Ratzinger's famous dictum that the present crisis of the Church had to do with the crisis in the liturgy.]

Fourth, the resurgence of traditionalism is typical of all religions in the post-secular age.

And, fifth, liturgical traditionalism among Catholics has had a negative effect on the acceptance of other documents from Vatican II, such as those on ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and missionary activity of the Church.

However, this is only a preliminary and very short list of the consequences of Summorum Pontificum.

Let me leave the sulfurous sphere of Maximum Beans and look at the manifestations to mark the 10th anniversary of SP that I could find rapidly online - some choose July 7 when SP was promulgated as a celebration date, others September 14, when it went into effect. But like most, I choose to look at all of 2017 as anniversary year, the same way as it is the Fatima centenary year.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/5/2017 5:24 AM]
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August 4, 2017


Vatican to host another
population control conference with
its stable of pro-abortion speakers

by Doug Mainwaring

ROME, August 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pontifical Academy of Science (PAS) has announced another population control conference.
“Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility: Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health” will be held November 2-4 at the Vatican.

The conference’s title obscures the questionable personal ideologies and professional objectives of a number of its slated participants.

Participants include:
John Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). He is considered one of the world’s leading climate scientists and one of the strongest advocates of the theory that the earth is undergoing catastrophic global warming.

Schellnhuber is also known for his advocacy of a one-world government. In order to avoid his catastrophic predictions for unchecked climate change, Schellnhuber proposes the need for indispensable forms of world governance – or in his own words, a “global democratic society” – to be organized within the framework of the United Nations.

Schellnhuber says in his 2013 article “Expanding the Democracy Universe” that “global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court.”

Schellnhuber has little patience for those who do not accept his scientific theories and conclusions. In a May 2014 interview with musician Pierre Baigorry, Schellnhuber claimed that sometimes politicians have to take citizens to task “with coercion” to overcome their own resistance to change.

Sir Partha Dasgupta, a proponent of population control, lauding China’s Human Development Index despite that country’s brutal 'family planning' policy [one child per family]. He is also a patron of Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust, that lobbies for a “sustainable population size,” including the “reversing of population growth” in many countries.

Dasgupta said, “We need to unravel the processes that led to the ills we are now facing. That is why the Vatican symposia involve natural and social scientists, as well as scholars from the humanities. That the symposia are being held at the Papal Academy is also symbolic. It shows that the ancient hostility between science and the church, at least on the issue of preserving Earth’s services, has been quelled.” [For a scientist, Dasgupta dishonestly insists on a 'medieval' worldview which, even in teh Middle Ages,was already false. the first institutional hospitals in the West began after the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, which ordered the construction of a hospital in every cathedral town. And the first university (Bologna) in Europe was established in 1088. And Dasgupta simplty has to look into the Wikipedia entry - duly footnoted for sources - about 'Science and the Catholic Church', which opens with:

"...Historically, the Church has often been a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme, and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science. Duhem found "the mechanics and physics, of which modern times are justifiably proud, to proceed by an uninterrupted series of scarcely perceptible improvements from doctrines professed in the heart of the medieval schools."

Yet, the conflict thesis and other critiques emphasize historical or contemporary conflict between the Catholic Church and science, citing in particular the trial of Galileo as evidence. For its part, the Catholic Church teaches that science and the Christian faith are complementary, as can be seen from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states in regards to faith and science:

Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth...

Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.
(CCC, Art 159)

Peter Raven, a biologist who specializes in plants, butterflies, and evolution. At the last PAS symposium, Raven said, "We need at some point to have a limited number of people, which is why Pope Francis and his three most recent predecessors have always argued that you should not have more children than you can bring up properly."

Raven was incorrect to claim that the three popes before Pope Francis agree with him on the "need at some point to have a limited number of people" so they can be raised "properly".

Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University, co-hosted the Vatican’s 2015 conference on climate change. He believes that abortion is a legitimate way to reduce the population. Sachs made a plea for legalizing abortion as a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

He describes abortion as a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than bringing a new human life to the world. He also wrote that the “legalization of abortion reduces a country’s total fertility rate significantly, by as much as half a child on average,” and criticized former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush for denying groups that provide and promote abortion any U.S. funding through the Mexico City Policy.

Sachs is listed as an author of the background note to a declaration adopted by scientists and religious leaders at the 2015 Vatican conference that validated the theory that human activity is changing the Earth’s climate. Unlike the declaration, the background note with a Vatican emblem at the head speaks of the world’s population as a problem.

U.S. politicians participating at the upcoming Vatican conference
A few political figures from the United States will also participate. All hail from California: U.S. Congressman Scott Peters; state Senator Kevin de León, president pro Tempore of the California State Senate; and California Gov. Jerry Brown, who will deliver a keynote address on the closing day of the event. All three are strong supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo
Presiding over the event will be the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Science [and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences].
Sorondo, an Argentinian, has an anti-capitalist worldview and is opposed to traditional Church doctrine.

Sorondo’s connection to population control elites is clear, not only from his bringing them to the Vatican but also their feting him and having him sit on the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an organization launched by then-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. [I cannot emphasize often enough the impossible hubristic goal of those UN Sustainable Development Goals to end world poverty and hunger in 2030 - an arrant arrogation that presumes man can do away with the material and physical consequences of the Fall, an act of divine justice that God did not see fit to 'rescind' when he sent down his Son to earth to redeem his creatures from the spiritual consequences of that Fall. Secondarily, of course, one must object to the idea of population control that underlies those goals, expressed in the UN's endorsement of 'reproductive rights' as something to be mandated universally.]

On the leadership council, alongside Sorondo, are Sachs and Ted Turner, two of the best-known promoters of coercive population control in the world. Turner held an event at the posh Harvard Club in New York City to celebrate Sorondo’s work on Sept. 25, 2015.

At the Biological Extinction Symposium, the Archbishop’s confounding statements regarding procreation were disconnected from Church principles. He said, "Many times, we don’t know exactly what is the doctrine of the Church.” [How stupid and dishonest a statement is that!]

Past performance indicative of future behavior?
The last few PAS conferences have caused pro-life critics to point out that no strong orthodox Catholic voices have been present, and so views antithetical to church doctrine have been categorically asserted without anyone presenting Catholic corrections to their statements.

At one, Archbishop Sorondo himself promoted reducing family sizes, saying that “when you have education” women will only have one or two children instead of seven.

One of the conference experts replied that “without having access to birth control, she will have more children than she wants... And that’s why it is not just education alone, it is a combination of education and birth control that brings fertility down.”

Nobody present at the conference contradicted him.

Would anyone still insist, despite all this, that Jorge Bergoglio really opposes abortion? Or that he is not proactively anti-Catholic? (Which is really to ask, 'Is he even a Catholic?", never mind that he happens to be pope!) Never forget he personally endorsed - unconditionally - those anti-God UN SDGs at the General Assembly in September 2015.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/5/2017 5:38 PM]
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Vatican document suggests excommunication
for some Catholic politicians

By Phil Lawler
Aug 04, 2017

This week the Vatican launched an international campaign against corruption and organized crime. Well, that’s not quite right. This week the Vatican announced the campaign; it will actually be launched in September. So we don’t know exactly what it will be.

If you read the full announcement, released on August 2 by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, you’ll notice that the statement is short on specifics. There will be an “international consultation group,” which will promote education and public awareness of the damage done by corruption. So far, so good. But who will be the members of this group, and what will they actually do?

“The consultation group will not just come up with virtuous exhortations, because concrete gestures are needed,” we are told. Excellent. And what might those “concrete gestures” be? The announcement offers just one suggestion: a discussion of excommunication as a penalty for corruption or for involvement in the Mafia.

Is the excommunication of prominent individuals a realistic possibility in the age of Pope Francis? Could the canonical penalty actually deter corruption?

Let’s stipulate that corruption is a very serious problem. The problem is typically most acute in impoverished societies, for three reasons. - First, because kleptocratic rulers steal from their people and even siphon off a portion of the humanitarian aid their countries receive. - Second, because endemic corruption impedes economic development; investors shy away from countries where the rules can change abruptly at the whim of a greedy government official.
- Third, because poor people lack the resources they would need to fight against public corruption. Corruption in government is a form of oppression; it’s no coincidence that corruption is most evident in authoritarian regimes.
So it is not illogical to suggest that the Church should treat public corruption as a serious offense: a grave sin and scandal.

However, in order to punish corruption, Church leaders would first need to prove corruption. Therein lies a difficulty. We might all feel sure that a particular government leader is corrupt, and we might all be right. But canon law, like secular law, requires proof before a penalty can be imposed. How would an ecclesiastical court acquire that sort of proof?

It would be simple enough, I suppose, if a venal politician called a press conference to boast about his acceptance of bribes and kickbacks. But that isn’t likely. (The same is true for Mafia dons, who typically identify themselves to the public as legitimate businessmen. Don Corleone wouldn’t be excommunicated for importing olive oil.)

And yet…Wait a minute!
- Haven’t more than a few prominent Catholic politicians held press conferences to announce their support for unrestricted legal abortion on demand?
- Haven’t they been amply warned that support for legal abortion is gravely wrong, and separates them from the Church to which they protest their fidelity?
If there’s any argument to be made for the excommunication of corrupt politicians, there’s a stronger argument for excommunication of Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Somehow I doubt that the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, under its present leadership, will pursue that argument. Just as, frankly, I doubt that the dicastery will produce anything more than a pro forma denunciation of corrupt politicians.

[Does anyone really expect such excommunications to happen? First, the dicastery that says so has no competence to deci'de who may be excommunicated or not. Also, pro-abortion 'Catholic' politicians in the USA have been piously receiving Communion all this almost near-century since the Second World War - believing like unrepentant Bergoglian remarried divorcees (aka adulterers by Jesus's own definition), that they are really in a state of grace

But the bishops of Colombia, with full hue and cry, recently did excommunicate, on the grounds of 'heresy and schism', 88-year-old Professor Jose Galat who had the temerity to declare publicly he does not believe Bergoglio is a legitimate pope. He is, of course, objectively wrong, but it is his opinion, which does not constitute a crime. (A circumstance that the Colombian bishops probably considered aggravating is that Galat owns an influential media empire and has been broadcasting his anti-Bergoglio opinions on his own TV program.)

By the same token, should Benedict XVI have re-excommunicated FSSPX Bishop Williamson after his statements denying, or at the very least, minimizing the Holocaust became known to him? Like Professor Galat, Williamson is objectively wrong, but no one gets excommunicated for historical ignorance, feigned or real.

And while we are at it, by the same criterion as that applied to Prof. Galat, though to a worst degree, the Church (never under Bergoglio, though) could have excommunicated all the Vatican-II progressivists who insisted repeatedly, orally and in writing, that Vatican-II gave birth to a new church!

But no US bishop has even dared excommunicate the likes of Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy in his time, and I can think of only a couple of bishops who, in recent times, upheld their right to withhold communion from a known pro-abortion Catholic politician.

And what would the Dicastery for Integral Human Development think of Bergoglio's staunch defense and fulsome praise for Italy's Grande Dame of Abortion, Emma Bonino - saying textually he is aware of her record "but you must look at what she does!" (What she does in this case, being to advocate mass acceptance of all immigrants, which, in Bergoglio's mind, cancels out the fact that she performed 10,000 abortions herself and midwifed the law that legalized abortion in Italy! You might want to add this to the mini-encyclopedia of Bergoglian statements and gestures that prove he does not sincerely oppose abortion.

Besides, if Bergoglio's Vatican makes such noises - usually it's all bark and no bite - about corrupt politicians, why can it not start by simply dismissing all the Curial personnel Bergoglio accuses every so often of ineptitude, incompetence and spiritual Alzheimer's? It's been more than four years, but the only Curial dismissals we have been told about are of people Bergoglio does not like for one reason or another. Was he not supposed to clean out the Augean stables of the Vatican? On the contrary, he seems to have contributed to the filth by bringing in as close associates persons who would not pass the test for Caesar's wife (i.e., to be above suspicion of anything untoward). Do Mons. Ricca and Fr James Martin, for example, pass the test?]

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August 5, 2017

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2017 7:23 PM]
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THE TRANSFIGURATION; left, 6th-century Greek Orthodox icon; right, painting by Raphael, 1516-1520. Oil on panel, approx 13 ft x 9 feet, Pinacoteca Vaticana.

[Fr Z tells us today: "After the Muslims took Constantinople in 1453 after a 53-day siege, Sultan Mehmed II went next for Hungary, first attacking Belgrade. It didn’t go well for Mehmed. The siege turned into a counterattack which overran the Muslim camp. The Islamic invaders were forced to retreat. In 1456 Pope Callixtus III made the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord a feast of the universal Church in honor of the defeat of Islam at Belgrade."

Fr H today also tells us that this was a feast "brought into the Roman Calendar by Calixtus III in 1457 to commemorate the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Belgrade in 1457 (rather as the Feast of the Holy Rosary commemorates the Battle of Lepanto ... whatever would we do without all those defeats of the Turks?)". He has further reflections on this day, which is also the feast day of little-known Pope Xystus, a martyr-pope whose martyrdom preceded by a few days that of one of his deacons, Lawrence, who was destined to be far better known than his pope… Our parish priest at Holy Innocents also emphasized how the Feast of the Transfiguration was a feast that the Western Church took on from the Eastern Church.]

In any case, the following caption to the 6th century Greek Orthodox icon posted above is very instructive:

On this day, however, my thoughts also go to Benedict XVI. Since the night he came out for the first time as Pope, I have always instinctively linked him to the event of the Transfiguration, one of my favorite feasts in the Roman calendar, and consequently, everytime I pray the fourth luminous mystery, it also becomes a prayer for him.

On the most literal level, the association that came to my mind was how, on a most earthly level, Joseph Ratzinger had been transfigured by becoming Benedict XVI, not so much in who he is because he remains who he is, but in how he would be universally perceived – not as God's Rottweiler but his Vicar on earth.

Benedict XVI on
'The Transfiguration'

Today, I wish to reprint two 'Transfiguration' mini-homilies by Benedict XVI, as well as the chapter on THE TRANSFIGURATION in JESUS OF NAZARETH, Vol. 1.

On the Feast of the Transfiguration in 2006, Benedict XVI made this remarks before the Angelus prayer in Castel Gandolfo:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Mark the Evangelist recounts that Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up a high mountain and was transfigured before them, becoming so dazzlingly bright that they were "whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them" (Mk 9: 2-10).

Today, the liturgy invites us to focus our gaze on this mystery of light. On the transfigured face of Jesus a ray of light which he held within shines forth. This same light was to shine on Christ's face on the day of the Resurrection. In this sense, the Transfiguration appears as a foretaste of the Paschal Mystery.

The Transfiguration invites us to open the eyes of our hearts to the mystery of God's light, present throughout salvation history. At the beginning of creation, the Almighty had already said: "Fiat lux - let there be light!" (Gn 1:2), and the light was separated from the darkness.

Like the other created things, light is a sign that reveals something of God: it is, as it were, a reflection of his glory which accompanies its manifestations. When God appears, "his brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand" (Heb 3: 3ff.).

Light, it is said in the Psalms, is the mantle with which God covers himself (cf. Ps 104[103]: 2). In the Book of Wisdom, the symbolism of light is used to describe the very essence of God: wisdom, an outpouring of his glory, is "a reflection of eternal light" superior to any created light (cf. Wis 7: 27, 29ff.).
In the New Testament, it is Christ who constitutes the full manifestation of God's light. His Resurrection defeated the power of the darkness of evil forever. With the Risen Christ, truth and love triumph over deceit and sin. In him, God's light henceforth illumines definitively human life and the course of history: "I am the light of the world", he says in the Gospel, "he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12).

In our time too, we urgently need to emerge from the darkness of evil, to experience the joy of the children of light! May Mary, whom we commemorated yesterday with special devotion on the annual Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major, obtain this gift for us.

May the Blessed Virgin also obtain peace for the peoples of the Middle East, overwhelmed by fratricidal fighting! We know well that peace is first and foremost God's gift to be implored insistently in prayer, but at this time let us also remember that it is a commitment for all people of good will. May no one shirk this duty!

Thus, in the face of the bitter observation that so far the voices asking for an immediate ceasefire in that tormented region have gone unheard, I feel the urgent need to renew my pressing appeal in this regard, asking everyone to make an effective contribution to build a just and lasting peace. I entrust this renewed appeal to the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin.

And in the last Angelus prayer he led as Pope at St. Peter's Square on February 24, 2017, he spoke of the Transfiguration because it was the Gospel reading of the day, relating it at the end to his retirement to a life of prayer.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for your affection! Today, the Second Sunday of Lent, we have a particularly beautiful Gospel, that of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Luke the Evangelist highlights in particular the fact that Jesus was transfigured while he was praying. Jesus experienced a profound relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat which he made on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John, the three disciples ever present at the moments of the Teacher's divine manifestation (Lk 5:10; 8:51; 9:28).

The Lord, who had just foretold his death and Resurrection (9:22), granted the disciples a foretaste of his glory. And the heavenly Father’s voice rang out in the Transfiguration, as in the baptism: “this is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (9:35).

Moreover the presence of Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, is particularly significant: the whole history of the Covenant is oriented to him, Christ, who makes a new “exodus” (9:31), not toward the promised land, as in the time of Moses, but toward Heaven.

Peter’s words “Master, it is well that we are here” represent the impossible attempt to put this mystical experience on hold. St Augustine commented: “[Peter]... on the mountain... had Christ as the food of his soul. Why should he have to go down to return to his hard work and sorrows while up there he was filled with sentiments of holy love for God and which thus inspired in him a holy conduct? (Sermon 78,3: pl 38, 491).

In meditating on this passage of the Gospel, we can learn a very important lesson from it: first of all, the primacy of prayer, without which the entire commitment to the apostolate and to charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give the right time to prayer, both personal and of the community, which gives rest to our spiritual life.

Moreover, prayer does not mean isolating oneself from the world and from its contradictions, as Peter wanted to do on Mount Tabor; rather, prayer leads back to the journey and to action. “The Christian life”, I wrote in my Message for this Lent, “consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love” (n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I hear this word of God as addressed to me in particular at this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me “to scale the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church; indeed, if God asks me this it is precisely so that I may continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.

Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she help everyone always to follow the Lord Jesus, in prayer and in active charity.

Finally, I would like to reprint the final chapter of Benedict XVI's JESUS OF NAZARETH, Vol. I, which ends with the Transfiguration…


All three Synoptic Gospels create a link between Peter's confession and the account of Jesus's Transfiguration by means of a reference to time. Matthew and Mark say: "And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother" (Mt 17:r; Mk 9:2). Luke writes: "Now about eight days after these sayings" (Lk 9:28). Clearly, this means that the two events, in each of which Peter plays a prominent role, are inter-related.

We could say that in both cases the issue is the divinity of Jesus as the Son; another point, though, is that in both cases the appearance of his glory is connected with the Passion motif. Jesus's divinity belongs with the Cross - only when we put the two together do we recognize Jesus correctly.

John expressed this intrinsic interconnectedness of Cross and glory when he said that the Cross is Jesus's 'exaltation', and that his exaltation is accomplished in no other way than in the Cross. But now we must try to delve somewhat more deeply into this remarkable time reference. There are two different interpretations, though they do not have to be considered mutually exclusive.

J.-M. van Cangh and M. van Esbroeck have explored the connection with the calendar of Jewish festivals. They point out that only five days separate two major Jewish feasts that occur in the fall.

First there is the feast of Yom ha-Kippurim, the great feast of atonement; the celebration of the weeklong Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) follows six days afterward. This would mean that Peter's confession fell on the great Day of Atonement and should be interpreted theologically against the backdrop of this feast, on which, for the one time in the year, the high priest solemnly pronounced the name YHWH in the Temple's Holy of Holies. This context would give added depth to Peter's confession of Jesus as the Son of the living God.

Jean Danielou, by contrast, sees the Evangelists' references to the timing of the Transfiguration exclusively in relation to the Feast of Tabernacles, which - as we have seen - lasted an entire week. On this reading, Matthew, Mark, and Luke would all be in agreement about the chronology of the event. The six or eight days would then designate the weeklong Feast of Tabernacles itself; Jesus's Transfiguration would accordingly have taken place on the last day of the feast, which was both its high point and the synthesis of its inner meaning.

Both interpretations have in common the idea that Jesus's Transfiguration is linked with the Feast of Tabernacles. We will see that this connection actually comes to light in the text itself and that it makes possible a deeper understanding of the whole event. In addition to the specific elements of these accounts, we may observe here a fundamental trait of Jesus's life, which receives particularly thorough treatment in John's Gospel.

As we saw in chapter 8, the great events of Jesuss's life are inwardly connected with the Jewish festival calendar. They are, as it were, liturgical events in which the liturgy, with its remembrance and expectation, becomes reality, becomes life. This life then leads back to the liturgy and from the liturgy seeks to become life again.

Our analysis of the connections between the Transfiguration story and the Feast of Tabernacles illustrates once again the fact that all Jewish feasts contain three dimensions.
- They originate from celebrations of nature religion and thus tell of Creator and creation;
- they then become remembrances of God's actions in history;
- finally, they go on from there to become feasts of hope, which strain forward to meet the Lord who is coming, the Lord in whom God's saving action in history is fulftlled, thereby reconciling the whole of creation.

We will see how these three dimensions of Jewish feasts are further deepened and refashioned as they become actually present in Jesus's life and suffering.

Contrasting with this liturgical interpretation of the timing of the Transfiguration is an alternative account that is insistently maintained by H. Gese (Zur biblischen Theologie). This interpretation holds that there is insufficient evidence for the claim that the text alludes to the Feast of Tabernacles. Instead, it reads the whole text against the background of Exodus 24 - Moses's ascent of Mount Sinai.

Now, this chapter of Exodus, which recounts how God seals the Covenant with Israel, is indeed an essential key to interpreting the story of the Transfiguration. There we read: "The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud" (Ex 24:16).

The Exodus text, unlike the Gospels, mentions the seventh day. This is not necessarily an argument against connecting it with the story of the Transfiguration. Nevertheless, I do consider the first idea - that the timing is derived from the Jewish festival calendar - to be more convincing. It should be pointed out, though, that it is not at all unusual for different typological connections to converge in the events occurring along Jesus's way. This makes it plain that Moses and the Prophets all speak of Jesus.

Let us turn now to the text of the Transfiguration narrative itself . There we are told that Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up onto a high mountain by themselves (Mk 9:2). We will come across these three again on the Mount of Olives (Mk 14:33) during Jesus's agony in the garden, which is the counter-image of the Transfiguration, although the two scenes are inextricably linked.

Nor should we overlook the connection with Exodus 24, where Moses takes Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu with him as he climbs the mountain-though seventy of the elders of Israel are also included.

Once again the mountain serves - as it did in the Sermon on the Mount and in the nights spent by Jesus in prayer - as the locus of God's particular closeness.

Once again we need to keep together in our minds the various mountains of Jesus's life: the mountain of the temptation; the mountain of his great preaching; the mountain of his prayer; the mountain of the Transfiguration; the mountain of his agony; the mountain of the Cross; and finally, the mountain of the Risen Lord, where he declares – in total antithesis to the offer of world dominion through the devil's power: "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me" (Mt 28:r8).

But in the background we also catch sight of Sinai, Horeb, Moriah - the mountains of Old Testament revelation. They are all at one and the same time mountains of passion and of Revelation, and they also refer in turn to the Temple Mount, where Revelation becomes liturgy.

When we inquire into the meaning of the mountain, the first point is of course the general background of mountain symbolism. The mountain is the place of ascent – not only outward, but also inward ascent; it is a liberation from the burden of everyday life, a breathing in of the pure air of creation; it offers a view of the broad expanse of creation and its beauty; it gives one an inner peak to stand on and an intuitive sense of the Creator.

History then adds to all this the experience of the God who speaks, and the experience of the Passion, culminating in the sacrifice of Isaac, in the sacrifice of the lamb that points ahead to the definitive Lamb sacrificed on Mount Calvary. Moses and Elijah were privileged to receive God's Revelation on the mountain, and now they are conversing with the One who is God's Revelation in person.

"And he was transfigured before them," Mark says quite simply, going on to add somewhat awkwardly, as if stammering before the Mystery: "And his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them" (Mk 9:2-3). Matthew has rather more elevated words at his command: "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light" (Mt 17:2).

Luke is the only one of the Evangelists who begins his account by indicating the purpose of Jesus's ascent: He "went up on the mountain to pray" (Lk 9:28). It is in the context of Jesus's prayer that he now explains the event that the three disciples are to witness: "And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white" (Lk 9:29).

The Transfiguration is a prayer event; it displays visibly what happens when Jesus talks with his Father: the profound interpenetration of his being with God. which then becomes pure light. In his oneness with the Father. Jesus is himself "light from light." The reality that he is in the deepest core of his being, which Peter tried to express in his confession - that reality becomes perceptible to the senses at this moment: Jesus's being in the light of God, his own being-light as Son.

At this point Jesus's relation to the figure of Moses as well as the differences between the two become apparent: "As he came down from the mountain. Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God" (Ex 34:29-35). Because Moses has been talking with God. God's light streams upon him and makes him radiant. But the light that causes him to shine comes upon him from the outside, so to speak. Jesus, however,shines from within; he does not simply receive light, but he himself is light from light.

Yet Jesus's garment of white light at the Transfiguration speaks of our future as well. In apocalyptic literature, white garments are an expression of heavenly beings - the garments of angels and of the elect. In this vein the Apocalypse of John - the Book of Revelation -speaks of the white garments that are worn by those who have been saved (cf. especially 7:9, 13; 19:14).

But it also tells us something new: The garments of the elect are white because they have washed them in the blood of the Lamb (cf. Rev 7:14); this means that through Baptism they have been united with Jesus' Passion, and his Passion is the purification that restores to us the original garment lost through our sin (cf. Lk 15:22).
Through Baptism we are clothed with Jesus in light and we ourselves become light.

At this point Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus. What the Risen Lord will later explain to the disciples on the road to Emmaus is seen here in visible form. The Law and the Prophets speak with Jesus; they speak of Jesus. Only Luke tells us - at least in a brief allusion - what God's two great witnesses were talking about with Jesus: They "appeared in glory and spoke of his departure [his exodus], which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" (Lk 9:31).

Their topic of conversation is the Cross, but understood in an inclusive sense as Jesus's Exodus. which had to take place in Jerusalem. Jesus's Cross is an Exodus: a departure from this life, a passage through the "Red Sea" of the Passion, and a transition into glory - a glory. however, that forever bears the mark of Jesus's wounds.

This is a clear statement that the Law and the Prophets are fundamentally about the "hope of Israel," the Exodus that brings definitive liberation; but the content of this hope is the suffering Son of Man and Servant of God, who by his suffering opens the door into freedom and renewal. Moses and Elijah are themselves figures of the Passion and witnesses of the Passion.

They speak with the transfigured Jesus about what they said while on earth, about the Passion of Jesus. But by speaking of these things with Jesus during his Transfiguration they make it apparent that this Passion brings salvation; that it is filled with the glory of God; that the Passion is transformed into light, into freedom and joy.

At this point, we need to jump ahead to the conversation that the three disciples have with Jesus as they come down from the "high mountain", Jesus is talking with them about his coming Resurrection from the dead, which of course pre¬supposes the Cross. The disciples ask instead about the return of Elijah, which is foretold by the scribes.

This is Jesus s reply: "Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him" (Mk 9:13).

Jesus's words confirm the expectation of Elijah's return. At the same time, however, he completes and corrects the common picture of it. He tacitly identifies the Elijah who will return as John the Baptist: the return of Elijah has already happened in the work of the Baptist.

John had come to reassemble Israel in preparation for the advent of the Messiah. But if the Messiah himself is the suffering Son of Man, and if it is only as such that he opens the way to salvation, then the work of Elijah that prepares his way must also somehow bear the mark of the Passion. And it does: "They did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him" (Mk 9:13).

Jesus recalls the destiny that actually befell the Baptist, but his reference to Scripture is probably also an allusion to the traditions of the day foretelling the martyrdom of Elijah. Elijah was considered "the only one who, though persecuted, escaped martyrdom; but when he returns ... he too has to undergo death" (Pesch, Markusevangelium, II, p. 80)

The hoped-for salvation and the Passion are thus joined together intimately and then developed into a picture of the redemption that accords with Scripture's deepest intention, although in terms of the prevailing expectations of the day, it constitutes a startling novelty.

Scripture had to be read anew with the suffering Christ, and so it must ever be. We constantly have to let the Lord draw us into his conversation with Moses and Elijah; we constantly have to learn from him, the Risen Lord, to understand Scripture afresh.

Let us return to the Transfiguration story itself. The three disciples are shaken by the enormousness of what they have seen. They are overcome by "fear of God," as we have seen them be on other occasions when they have experienced God's closeness in Jesus, when they have sensed their own wretchedness and have been practically paralyzed by fear. "They were terrified" (Mk 9:6), says Mark. And yet Peter begins to speak, although he is so dazed that "he did not know what to say" (Mk 9:6): "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" (Mk 9:5).

These words, which Peter speaks in a sort of ecstasy, in the midst of fear yet also in the joy of God's closeness, have been the object of much discussion. Do they have something to do with the Feast of Tabernacles, on the final day of which the Transfiguration took place?

H. Gese contests this and argues that the real point of reference in the Old Testament is Exodus 3pff, which describes the "ritualization of the Sinai event: "According to this text, Moses goes "outside the camp" to pitch the Tent of Meeting, on which the pillar of cloud then descends. There the Lord and Moses spoke "face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Ex 3pr). On this interpretation, then, Peter's intention is to give permanence to the event of Revelation and erect tents of meeting; the account of the cloud overshadowing the disciples could confirm this reading.

It is perfectly possible that the Transfiguration account does contain a reminiscence of the Exodus text; both Jewish and early Christian exegesis customarily interweave different scriptural references so that they converge and complement each other. Nevertheless, the proposal to set up three tents of meeting argues against such a connection, or at least makes it appear secondary.

The connection with the Feast of Tabernacles becomes convincing if we take account of the messianic interpretation of the feast in the Judaism of Jesus's day. Jean Danielou (in 'The Bible and the Liturgy') has made a convincing study of this aspect and linked it with the testimony of the Fathers, who were still quite familiar with the traditions of Judaism and reread them in a Christian context.

The Feast of Tabernacles exhibits the same three-dimensional structure that we have seen to be typical of major Jewish feasts generally: a celebration originally borrowed from nature religion becomes at the same time a feast in remembrance of God's saving deeds in history, and remembrance in turn becomes hope for definitive redemption. Creation, history, and hope become interlinked.

If at one time, during the Feast of Tabernacles with its water libation, there had been a prayer for the rain needed in a drought-stricken land, the feast very quickly developed into the remembrance of Israel's wandering through the desert, when the Jews lived in tents (tabernacles, sukkoth) (cf. Lev 2H3).

Danielou cites Harald Riesenfeld: "The huts were thought of, not only as a remembrance of the protection of God in the desert, but also as a prefiguration of the sukkoth in which the just are to dwell in the age to come. Thus, it seems that a very exact eschatological symbolism was attached to the most characteristic rite of the Feast of Tabernacles, as this was celebrated in Jewish times" (Bible and Liturgy, pp. 334f.).

In the New Testament, a mention of the eternal tabernacles of the righteous in the life to come occurs in Luke (Lk 16:9). "The manifestation of the glory of Jesus," to quote Danielou, "appears to Peter to be the sign that the times of the Messiah have arrived. And one of the qualities of these messianic times was to be the dwelling of the just in the tents signified by the huts of the Feast of Tabernacles" (Bible and Liturgy), p. 340)'

By experiencing the Transfiguration during the Feast of Tabernacles, Peter, in his ecstasy, was able to recognize "that the realities prefigured by the Feast were accomplished ... the scene of the Transfiguration marks the fact that the messianic times have come" (pp. 340f.).

It is only as they go down from the mountain that Peter has to learn once again that the messianic age is first and foremost the age of the Cross, and that the Transfiguration - the experience of becoming light from and with the Lord - requires us to be burned by the light of the Passion and so transformed.

These connections also shed new light on the meaning of the fundamental claim of the prologue to John's Gospel, where the Evangelist sums up the mystery of Jesus: "And the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us" (Jn 1:14). Indeed, the Lord has pitched the tent of his body among us and has thus inaugurated the messianic age.

Following this line of thought, Gregory of Nyssa reflected on the connection between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Incarnation in a magnificent text. He says that the Feast of Tabernacles, though constantly celebrated, remained unfulfilled. "For the true Feast of Tabernacles had not yet come. According to the words of the Prophet, however [an allusion to Psalm II8:27], God, the Lord of all things, has revealed himself to us in order to complete the construction of the tabernacle of our ruined habitation, human nature" (De anima, PC 46, 132B, cf. Danielou, Bible and Liturgy, pp. 344f.)

Let us return from these broad vistas to the story of the Transfiguration. "And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, 'This is my beloved Son; listen to him" (Mk 9:7). The holy cloud, the shekinah, is the sign of the presence of God himself. The cloud hovering over the Tent of Meeting indicated that God was present.

Jesus is the holy tent above whom the cloud of God's presence now stands and spreads out to "overshadow" the others as well. The scene repeats that of Jesus' Baptism, in which the Father himself, speaking out of the cloud, had proclaimed Jesus as Son: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased" (Mk 1:11).

The solemn proclamation of Sonship, however, is now followed by the command "Listen to him." At this point, we are reminded of the link with Moses's ascent of Mount Sinai, which we saw at the beginning to be the background of the Transfiguration story. On the mountain, Moses received the Torah, God's teaching word. Now we are told in reference to Jesus: "Listen to him."

H. Gese has provided a perceptive commentary on this scene: "Jesus himself has become the divine Word of revelation. The Gospels could not illustrate it any more clearly or powerfully: Jesus himself is the Torah" (Zur biblischen Theologie, P: 81) This one command brings the theophany to its conclusion and sums up its deepest meaning. The disciples must accompany Jesus back down the mountain and learn ever anew to "listen to him."

If we learn to understand the content of the Transfiguration story in these terms – as the irruption and inauguration of the messianic age –then we are also able to grasp the obscure statement that Mark's Gospel inserts between Peter's confession and the teaching on discipleship, on one hand, and the account of the Transfiguration, on the other: "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the dominion of God [the Kingdom of God] come with power" (Mk 9:1).

What does this mean? Is Jesus predicting that some of the bystanders will still be alive at the time of his Parousia, at the definitive inbreaking of the Kingdom of God? If not, then what?

Rudolf Pesch (Markusevangelium, II, 2, pp. 66f.) has convincingly argued that the placing of this saying immediately before the Transfiguration clearly relates it to this event.

Some - that is to say, the three disciples who accompany Jesus up the mountain -are promised that they will personally witness the coming of the Kingdom of God "in power." On the mountain the three of them see the glory of God's Kingdom shining out of Jesus. On the mountain they are overshadowed by God's holy cloud. On the mountain - in the conversation of the transfigured Jesus with the Law and the Prophets –t hey realize that the true Feast of Tabernacles has come. On the mountain they learn that Jesus himself is the living Torah, the complete Word of God. On the mountain they see the "power" (dynamis) of the Kingdom that is coming in Christ.

Yet equally, through the awe-inspiring encounter with God's glory in Jesus, they must learn what Paul says to the disciples of all ages in the First Letter to the Corinthians: "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power [dynamis] of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:23f.).

This "power" (dynamis) of the coming Kingdom appears to them in the transfigured Jesus, who speaks with the witnesses of the Old Covenant about the necessity of his Passion as the way to glory (cf. Lk 24:26f.). They personally experience the anticipation of the Parousia, and that is how they are slowly initiated into the full depth of the mystery of Jesus.

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Last week, Aldo Maria Valli reflected on Blessed John Henry Newman and called attention to one of the English cardinal's most famous texts that I must confess I had not read before...

At Mass with Newman
Translated from

August 3, 2017

Last Sunday, during the Ambrosian Rite Mass at the shrine of my natal city (what feelings it aroused to hear again the organ and the sacred songs in the Marian shrine erected at the wish of the future San Carlo Borromeo). [Valli refers to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows (Maria Addolorata) in Rho, a municipality of the Milan metropolitan region. In 1583, two males from the town observed that the image of the Pieta venerated in a small chapel built in 1522 by a local aristocrat to thank Our Lady for a favor, was shedding tears of blood. Detailed investigation of the occurrence was ordered by the then Archbshop of Milan, Carlo Borromeo, and after reviewing all the reports, said, "This is the finger of God". He ordered the construction of a shrine and laid the cornerstone in 1584.]

In the face of the objectivity and truth of such beauty, I thanked the Lord for having welcomed me into the Catholic faith, and then, through one of those interior coincidences which astonish above all whoever happens to experience it, I was reminded of Cardinal John Henry Newman and his conversion from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church because of acknowledging the truth of the Catholic faith.

In particular, I thought of his so-called 'biglietto speech' which he gave in Rome on May 12, 1879 – it is so-called because he delivered it after receiving the letter from a Vatican messenger whereby Pope Leo XIII informed him that he had just awarded him a caridnal's hat in a just concluded secret consistory.

Addressing an audience of English and American Catholics at the Palazzo della Pigna in Rome, Newman did not hide his emotion. His first words of gratitude were in Italian, but he chose to proceed in his own English, coming forth with a reflection of extraordinary actuality today, especially when the new cardinal tackled the issue of liberalism in the religious field – specifically, that current of theological and secular thought according to which there is no objective religious truth, but that each faith is good and valid as any other, that no religion can claim to be acknowledged and lived as the true religion, and that every individual can tailor a religious message to his own needs.
- What is the Church?
- How is Tradition to be considered?
- What good are dogmas for?
- And Church authority?

It was while interrogating himself on these questions, in the light of the teachings of the Fathers of the Church, and also thanks to his friends in Oxford, that Newman had come to the great decision to become a Catholic. His professio fidei is a hymn to the truth of faith in the Catholic Church: "I believe in all revealed dogmas as they were taught by the Apostles, as they were entrusted by the Apostles to the Church, and as they have been taught to me by the Church".

If the Church does not have dogmatic foundations, it ends up being prey to the spirit of the time. If her doctrinal scaffolding – in the name of aggiornamento, dialog and openness to the world – renounces her patrimony that is rooted in Tradition, then the entire structure will fall down, or will take on connotations conforming to the world in which over and above everything is man, not God – indeed in which man himself becomes god. [The very consequences of the Satanic 'spirit of Vatican II'.]

In Victorian England, in which positivism and scientism heavily conditioned dominant thought, and man had begun not just to think it was possible to reject God but that it was a duty to do so, Newman saw the Catholic Church as the only ship that could ride through the waves of modernity without ending up in shipwreck. And that it was a solid ship because it was dogmatic.

So at the moment when he expressed his gratitude to the pope for naming him a cardinal, he affirmed these conclusions with great clarity – and they concern us now directly especially when he speaks about the question of truth in religion and about religious tolerance.

Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.

Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them"

It has been almost a century and a half since he said those words, but Newman truly seems to be describing our current reality. Commenting on the above words, Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute recently noted that if Newman were alive today and said those words in public, he would immediately be denied any position in any Catholic theological faculty [Any? Maybe most,but not all,d because surely there are still faculties like, say, the Benedict XVI Institute at Heiligenkreuz, where orthodoxy is not just uniformly professed but also required of its teachers.] Indeed, he would quickly be declared persona non grata.

On September 19, 2010, Benedict VXI beatified John Henry Newman, and at the prayer vigil in London the night before, he paid tribute to the cardinal, underscoring that his conversion was "an immediate experience of the truth of God’s word, of the objective reality of Christian revelation as handed down in the Church". He said:

At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life’s work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion.

Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: In our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6)

Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched…

Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity.

He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor.

Passion for truth is costly. It is a price we must be ready to pay. The prophetic office of the Christian laity. I promise that I will reflect further on these expressions of Benedict XVI.

But now let us return to Newman's Biglietto Speech, in which Newman makes another observation on the 'modern' way of regarding faith:

Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society".

Valli goes on to quote more from the Italian translation of 'biglietto speech', so I thought it would be best to simply post the entire text as it was written and delivered in English. It is most striking that everything he says appears to describe the situation in the Church today and of Christianity in general:

by John Henry Cardinal Newman

May 12, 1879

Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la participazione che m'avete fatto dell' alto onore che il Santo Padre si è degnato conferire sulla mia umile persona — [I thank you, Monsignor, for the information you have given me on the high honor that the Holy Father has deigned to confer on my humble person.]

And, if I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue, it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me.

First of all then, I am led to speak of the wonder and profound gratitude which came upon me, and which is upon me still, at the condescension and love towards me of the Holy Father in singling me out for so immense an honour. It was a great surprise. Such an elevation had never come into my thoughts, and seemed to be out of keeping with all my antecedents. I had passed through many trials, but they were over; and now the end of all things had almost come to me, and I was at peace. And was it possible that after all I had lived through so many years for this?

Nor is it easy to see how I could have borne so great a shock, had not the Holy Father resolved on a second act of condescension towards me, which tempered it, and was to all who heard of it a touching evidence of his kindly and generous nature. He felt for me, and he told me the reasons why he raised me to this high position.

Besides other words of encouragement, he said his act was a recognition of my zeal and good service for so many years in the Catholic cause; moreover, he judged it would give pleasure to English Catholics, and even to Protestant England, if I received some mark of his favour. After such gracious words from his Holiness, I should have been insensible and heartless if I had had scruples any longer.

This is what he had the kindness to say to me, and what could I want more? In a long course of years I have made many mistakes. I have nothing of that high perfection which belongs to the writings of Saints, viz., that error cannot be found in them; but what I trust that I may claim all through what I have written, is this — an honest intention, an absence of private ends, a temper of obedience, a willingness to be corrected, a dread of error, a desire to serve Holy Church, and, through Divine mercy, a fair measure of success.

And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.

Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.

Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them.

Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.

Hitherto the civil Power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force, when I was young, that: "Christianity was the law of the land". Now, everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity.

The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone, or is going everywhere; and, by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto, it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure submission of the masses of our population to law and order; now the Philosophers and Politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity.

Instead of the Church's authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober, is his personal interest.

Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion, for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, it provides — the broad fundamental ethical truths, of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like; proved experience; and those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society, and in social matters, whether physical or psychological; for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, and the intercourse of nations. As to Religion, it is a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.

The general character of this great apostasia* is one and the same everywhere; but in detail, and in character, it varies in different countries. For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think it threatens to have a formidable success; though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue.

At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which, on the Continent, seems to be founded on infidelity; but the misfortune with us is, that, though it ends in infidelity as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity.

It must be recollected that the religious sects, which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the Union of Church and State, and would advocate the un-Christianising of the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful.

Next the liberal principle is forced on us from the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population; and, recollect, our mode of government is popular.

Every dozen men taken at random whom you meet in the streets has a share in political power — when you inquire into their forms of belief, perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions; how can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters, if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion was ignored. We cannot help ourselves.

And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind, that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles, and the natural laws of society.

It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the Enemy so cleverly framed and with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men, elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them.

Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth.

Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain; on the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise, when it is witnessed, is the particular mode by which, in the event, Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance.

Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial, and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties, in confidence and peace; to stand still and to see the salvation of God.

"Mansueti hereditabunt terram, Et delectabuntur in multitudine pacis" (But the poor will inherit the earth, and will delight in great prosperity) (Psalm 37, 11).

[This Reply was telegraphed to London by the correspondent of The Times and appeared in full in that paper the next morning. Moreover, through the kindness of Fr. Armellini, S.J., who during the night translated it into Italian, it was also given in full in the Osservatore Romano of the following day.]

*I am gratified to see that Blessed Newman used the term 'great apostasy' to describe liberalism in religion, because it validates my opinion that Bergoglio and his followers are really de facto apostates rather than heretics - because the faith they proclaim, with all its half-truths and omissions relative to what Jesus really taught, is no longer the Catholic faith but Bergoglianism, a separate faith for all intents and purposes, even if for now, it has made itself into incubus on the Catholic Church. [Canon law defines apostasy as total rejection of the Christian faith. Yet, I think that to cherrypick only what one wants to accept of Christ's teaching is just as much of a rejection of Christianity as a total rejection of it.]

To speak of the Bergoglians as heretics is to consider them still part of the Church, but they have set themselves apart, and though everything this pope and his minions say and do is ostensibly in the name of the Roman Catholic Church, they are really lying and thereby blaspheming the Church. Bergoglianism is not the Catholicism that has survived two millennia but a wannabe faith that right now wishes to make it appear that it represents Catholicism. And the one true Church of Christ can certainly never be the church of Bergoglio.

Valli also quoted from another Newman text which is even more apropos to our situation today. In particular, much of what he says seems to describe one Jorge Mario Bergoglio, servant of Satan (excuse me for saying so).

Sermon 24. The Religion of the Day
by John Henry Cardinal Newman
August 26, 1832

"Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." Heb. xii. 28, 29.

In every age of Christianity, since it was first preached, there has been what may be called a religion of the world, which so far imitates the one true religion, as to deceive the unstable and unwary.

The world does not oppose religion as such. I may say, it never has opposed it. In particular, it has, in all ages, acknowledged in one sense or other the Gospel of Christ, fastened on one or other of its characteristics, and professed to embody this in its practice; while by neglecting the other parts of the holy doctrine, it has, in fact, distorted and corrupted even that portion of it which it has exclusively put forward, and so has contrived to explain away the whole - for he who cultivates only one precept of the Gospel to the exclusion of the rest, in reality attends to no part at all.

Our duties balance each other; and though we are too sinful to perform them all perfectly, yet we may in some measure be performing them all, and preserving the balance on the whole; whereas, to give ourselves only to this or that commandment, is to incline our minds in a wrong direction, and at length to pull them down to the earth, which is the aim of our adversary, the Devil.

It is his aim to break our strength; to force us down to the earth - to bind us there. The world is his instrument for this purpose; but he is too wise to set it in open opposition to the Word of God. No! he affects to be a prophet like the prophets of God. He calls his servants also prophets; and they mix with the scattered remnant of the true Church, with the solitary Micaiahs who are left upon the earth, and speak in the name of the Lord. And in one sense they speak the truth; but it is not the whole truth; and we know, even from the common experience of life, that half the truth is often the most gross and mischievous of falsehoods.

Even in the first age of the Church, while persecution still raged, he set up a counter religion among the philosophers of the day [Gnosticism, Arianism], partly like Christianity, but in truth a bitter foe to it; and it deceived and made shipwreck of the faith of those who had not the love of God in their hearts.

Time went on, and he devised a second idol of the true Christ, and it remained in the temple of God for many a year. The age was rude and fierce. Satan took the darker side of the Gospel: its awful mysteriousness, its fearful glory, its sovereign inflexible justice; and here his picture of the truth ended, "God is a consuming fire;" so declares the text, and we know it.

But we know more, viz. that God is love also; but Satan did not add this to his religion, which became one of fear. The religion of the world was then a fearful religion. Superstitions abounded, and cruelties. The noble firmness, the graceful austerity of the true Christian were superseded by forbidding spectres, harsh of eye, and haughty of brow; and these were the patterns or the tyrants of a beguiled people.

What is Satan's device in this day? A far different one; but perhaps a more pernicious. I will attempt to expose it, or rather to suggest some remarks towards its exposure, by those who think it worth while to attempt it; for the subject is too great and too difficult for an occasion such as the present, and, after all, no one can detect falsehood for another —every man must do it for himself; we can but help each other.

What is the world's religion now? It has taken the brighter side of the Gospel — its tidings of comfort, its precepts of love; all darker, deeper views of man's condition and prospects being comparatively forgotten. This is the religion natural to a civilized age, and well has Satan dressed and completed it into an idol of the Truth.

As the reason is cultivated, the taste formed, the affections and sentiments refined, a general decency and grace will of course spread over the face of society, quite independently of the influence of Revelation.

That beauty and delicacy of thought, which is so attractive in books, then extends to the conduct of life, to all we have, all we do, all we are. Our manners are courteous; we avoid giving pain or offence; our words become correct; our relative duties are carefully performed.

Our sense of propriety shows itself even in our domestic arrangements, in the embellishments of our houses, in our amusements, and so also in our religions profession. Vice now becomes unseemly and hideous to the imagination, or, as it is sometimes familiarly said, "out of taste."

Thus elegance is gradually made the test and standard of virtue, which is no longer thought to possess an intrinsic claim on our hearts, or to exist, further than it leads to the quiet and comfort of others.

Conscience is no longer recognized as an independent arbiter of actions, its authority is explained away; partly it is superseded in the minds of men by the so-called moral sense, which is regarded merely as the love of the beautiful; partly by the rule of expediency, which is forthwith substituted for it in the details of conduct.

Now conscience is a stern, gloomy principle; it tells us of guilt and of prospective punishment. Accordingly, when its terrors disappear, then disappear also, in the creed of the day, those fearful images of Divine wrath with which the Scriptures abound. They are explained away. Everything is bright and cheerful. Religion is pleasant and easy; benevolence is the chief virtue; intolerance, bigotry, excess of zeal, are the first of sins. Austerity is an absurdity — even firmness is looked on with an unfriendly, suspicious eye.

On the other hand, all open profligacy is discountenanced; drunkenness is accounted a disgrace; cursing and swearing are vulgarities. Moreover, to a cultivated mind, which recreates itself in the varieties of literature and knowledge, and is interested in the ever-accumulating discoveries of science, and the ever-fresh accessions of information, political or otherwise, from foreign countries, religion will commonly seem to be dull, from want of novelty.

Hence excitements are eagerly sought out and rewarded. New objects in religion, new systems and plans, new doctrines, new preachers, are necessary to satisfy that craving which the so-called spread of knowledge has created. The mind becomes morbidly sensitive and fastidious; dissatisfied with things as they are, desirous of a change as such, as if alteration must of itself be a relief.

Now I would have you put Christianity for an instant out of your thoughts; and consider whether such a state of refinement as I have attempted to describe, is not that to which men might be brought, quite independent of religion, by the mere influence of education and civilization; and then again, whether, nevertheless, this mere refinement of mind is not more or less all that is called religion at this day.

In other words, is it not the case, that Satan has so composed and dressed out what is the mere natural produce of the human heart under certain circumstances, as to serve his purposes as the counterfeit of the Truth?

I do not at all deny that this spirit of the world uses words, and makes professions, which it would not adopt except for the suggestions of Scripture; nor do I deny that it takes a general colouring from Christianity, so as really to be modified by it, nay, in a measure enlightened and exalted by it.

Again, I fully grant that many persons in whom this bad spirit shows itself, are but partially infected by it, and at bottom, good Christians, though imperfect. Still, after all, here is an existing teaching, only partially evangelical, built upon worldly principle, yet pretending to be the Gospel, dropping one whole side of the Gospel, its austere character, and considering it enough to be benevolent, courteous, candid, correct in conduct, delicate — though it includes no true fear of God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion at the blasphemies of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth, no especial sensitiveness about the particular means of gaining ends, provided the ends be good, no loyalty to the Holy Apostolic Church, of which the Creed speaks, no sense of the authority of religion as external to the mind: in a word, no seriousness — and therefore is neither hot nor cold, but (in Scripture language) lukewarm.

Thus the present age is the very contrary to what are commonly called the dark ages; and together with the faults of those ages we have lost their virtues. I say their virtues; for even the errors then prevalent, a persecuting spirit, for instance, fear of religious inquiry, bigotry, these were, after all, but perversions and excesses of real virtues, such as zeal and reverence; and we, instead of limiting and purifying them, have taken them away root and branch.

Why? because we have not acted from a love of the Truth, but from the influence of the Age. The old generation has passed, and its character with it; a new order of things has arisen. Human society has a new framework, and fosters and developes a new character of mind; and this new character is made by the enemy of our souls, to resemble the Christian's obedience as near as it may, its likeness all the time being but accidental.

Meanwhile, the Holy Church of God, as from the beginning, continues her course heavenward; despised by the world, yet influencing it, partly correcting it, partly restraining it, and in some happy cases reclaiming its victims, and fixing them firmly and for ever within the lines of the faithful host militant here on earth, which journeys towards the City of the Great King.

God give us grace to search our hearts, lest we be blinded by the deceitfulness of sin! lest we serve Satan transformed into an Angel of light, while we think we are pursuing true knowledge; lest, over-looking and ill-treating the elect of Christ here, we have to ask that awful question at the last day, while the truth is bursting upon us, "Lord, when saw we Thee a stranger and a prisoner?" when saw we Thy sacred Word and Servants despised and oppressed, "and did not minister unto Thee?" [Matt. xxv. 44.]

Nothing shows more strikingly the power of the world's religion, as now described, than to consider the very different classes of men whom it influences. It will be found to extend its sway and its teaching both over the professedly religious and the irreligious.

1. Many religious men, rightly or not, have long been expecting a millennium of purity and peace for the Church. I will not say, whether or not with reason, for good men may well differ on such a subject. But, any how, in the case of those who have expected it, it has become a temptation to take up and recognize the world's religion as I have already delineated it.

They have more or less identified their vision of Christ's kingdom with the elegance and refinement of mere human civilization; and have hailed every evidence of improved decency, every wholesome civil regulation, every beneficent and enlightened act of state policy, as signs of their coming Lord.

Bent upon achieving their object, an extensive and glorious diffusion and profession of the Gospel, they have been little solicitous about the means employed. They have countenanced and acted with men who openly professed unchristian principles.

They have accepted and defended what they considered to be reformations and ameliorations of the existing state of things, though injustice must be perpetrated in order to effect them, or long cherished rules of conduct, indifferent perhaps in their origin but consecrated by long usage, must be violated. They have sacrificed Truth to expedience.

They have strangely imagined that bad men are to be the immediate instruments of the approaching advent of Christ; and (like the deluded Jews not many years since in a foreign country) they have taken, if not for their Messiah (as the Jews did), at least for their Elijah, their reforming Baptist, the Herald of the Christ, children of this world, and sons of Belial, on whom the anathema of the Apostle lies from the beginning, declaring, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha." [1 Cor. xvi. 22.]

2. On the other hand, the form of doctrine, which I have called the religion of the day, is especially adapted to please men of sceptical minds, the opposite extreme to those just mentioned, who have never been careful to obey their conscience, who cultivate the intellect without disciplining the heart, and who allow themselves to speculate freely about what religion ought to be, without going to Scripture to discover what it really is.

Some persons of this character almost consider religion itself to be an obstacle in the advance of our social and political well-being. But they know human nature requires it; therefore they select the most rational form of religion (so they call it) which they can find.

Others are far more seriously disposed, but are corrupted by bad example or other cause. But they all discard (what they call) gloomy views of religion; they all trust themselves more than God's word, and thus may be classed together; and are ready to embrace the pleasant consoling religion natural to a polished age.

They lay much stress on works on Natural Theology, and think that all religion is contained in these; whereas, in truth, there is no greater fallacy than to suppose such works to be in themselves in any true sense religious at all.

Religion, it has been well observed, is something relative to us; a system of commands and promises from God towards us. But how are we concerned with the sun, moon, and stars? or with the laws of the universe? how will they teach us our duty? how will they speak to sinners? They do not speak to sinners at all. They were created before Adam fell. They "declare the glory of God," but not His will. They are all perfect, all harmonious; but that brightness and excellence which they exhibit in their own creation, and the Divine benevolence therein seen, are of little moment to fallen man. We see nothing there of God's wrath, of which the conscience of a sinner loudly speaks.

So that there cannot be a more dangerous (though a common) device of Satan, than to carry us off from our own secret thoughts, to make us forget our own hearts, which tell us of a God of justice and holiness, and to fix our attention merely on the God who made the heavens; who is our God indeed, but not God as manifested to us sinners, but as He shines forth to His Angels, and to His elect hereafter.

When a man has so far deceived himself as to trust his destiny to what the heavens tell him of it, instead of consulting and obeying his conscience, what is the consequence? That at once he misinterprets and perverts the whole tenor of Scripture.

It cannot be denied that, pleasant as religious observances are declared in Scripture to be to the holy, yet to men in general they are said to be difficult and distasteful; to all men naturally impossible, and by few fulfilled even with the assistances of grace, on account of their wilful corruption.

Religion is pronounced to be against nature, to be against our original will, to require God's aid to make us love and obey it, and to be commonly refused and opposed in spite of that aid.

We are expressly told, that "strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it;" that we must "strive" or struggle "to enter in at the strait gate," for that "many shall seek to enter in," but that is not enough, they merely seek and therefore do not find; and further, that they who do not obtain everlasting life, "shall go into everlasting punishment" [Matt. vii. 14. Luke xiii. 24. Matt. xxv. 46.]

This is the dark side of religion; and the men I have been describing cannot bear to think of it. They shrink from it as too terrible. They easily get themselves to believe that those strong declarations of Scripture do not belong to the present day, or that they are figurative. They have no language within their heart responding to them. Conscience has been silenced.

The only information they have received concerning God has been from Natural Theology, and that speaks only of benevolence and harmony; so they will not credit the plain word of Scripture. They seize on such parts of Scripture as seem to countenance their own opinions; they insist on its being commanded us to "rejoice evermore;" and they argue - that it is our duty to solace ourselves here (in moderation, of course) with the goods of this life
— that we have only to be thankful while we use them,
that we need not alarm ourselves, that God is a merciful God,
— that amendment is quite sufficient to atone for our offences,
— that though we have been irregular in our youth, yet that is a thing gone by,
—that we forget it, and therefore God forgets it,
—that the world is, on the whole, very well disposed towards religion, —that we should avoid enthusiasm,
—that we should not be over-serious,
—that we should have large views on the subject of human nature,
—and that we should love all men.
This indeed is the creed of shallow men, in every age, who reason a little, and feel not at all, and who think themselves enlightened and philosophical. Part of what they say is false, part is true, but misapplied; but why I have noticed it here, is to show how exactly it fits in with what I have already described as the peculiar religion of a civilized age; it fits in with it equally well as does that of the (so called) religious world, which is the opposite extreme.

One further remark I will make about these professedly rational Christians; who, be it observed, often go on to deny the mysteries of the Gospel. Let us take the text: "Our God is a consuming fire."

Now supposing these persons fell upon these words, or heard them urged as an argument against their own doctrine of the unmixed satisfactory character of our prospects in the world to come, and supposing they did not know what part of the Bible they occurred in, what would they say? Doubtless they would confidently say
- that they applied only to the Jews and not to Christians;
- that they only described the Divine Author of the Mosaic Law;
- that God formerly spoke in terrors to the Jews, because they were a gross and brutish people, but that civilization has made us quite other men;
- that our reason, not our fears, is appealed to, and that the Gospel is love. And yet, in spite of all this argument, the text occurs in the Epistle to the Hebrews, written by an Apostle of Christ.

I shall conclude with stating more fully what I mean by the dark side of religion; and what judgment ought to be passed on the superstitious and gloomy.

Here I will not shrink from uttering my firm conviction, that it would be a gain to this country, were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in its religion, than at present it shows itself to be. Not, of course, that I think the tempers of mind herein implied desirable, which would be an evident absurdity; but I think them infinitely more desirable and more promising than a heathen obduracy, and a cold, self-sufficient, self-wise tranquillity.

Doubtless, peace of mind, a quiet conscience, and a cheerful countenance are the gift of the Gospel, and the sign of a Christian; but the same effects (or, rather, what appear to be the same) may arise from very different causes. Jonah slept in the storm — so did our Blessed Lord. The one slept in an evil security: the Other in the "peace of God which passeth all understanding."

The two states cannot be confounded together, they are perfectly distinct; and as distinct is the calm of the man of the world from that of the Christian. Now take the case of the sailors on board the vessel; they cried to Jonah, "What meanest thou, O sleeper?" — so the Apostles said to Christ; "Lord, we perish."

This is the case of the superstitious; they stand between the false peace of Jonah and the true peace of Christ; they are better than the one, though far below the Other.

Applying this to the present religion of the educated world, full as it is of security and cheerfulness, and decorum, and benevolence, I observe that these appearances may arise either from a great deal of religion, or from the absence of it; they may be the fruits of shallowness of mind and a blinded conscience, or of that faith which has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And if this alternative be proposed, I might leave it to the common sense of men to decide (if they could get themselves to think seriously) to which of the two the temper of the age is to be referred.

For myself I cannot doubt, seeing what I see of the world, that it arises from the sleep of Jonah; and it is therefore but a dream of religion, far inferior in worth to the well-grounded alarm of the superstitious, who are awakened and see their danger, though they do not attain so far in faith as to embrace the remedy of it.

Think of this, I beseech you, my brethren, and lay it to heart, as far as you go with me, as you will answer for having heard it at the last day. I would not willingly be harsh; but knowing "that the world lieth in wickedness," I think it highly probable that you, so far as you are in it (as you must be, and we all must be in our degree), are, most of you, partially infected with its existing error, that shallowness of religion, which is the result of a blinded conscience; and, therefore, I speak earnestly to you.

Believing in the existence of a general plague in the land, I judge that you probably have your share in the sufferings, the voluntary sufferings, which it is spreading among us.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; till you see Him to be a consuming fire, and approach Him with reverence and godly fear, as being sinners, you are not even in sight of the strait gate.

I do not wish you to be able to point to any particular time when you renounced the world (as it is called), and were converted; this is a deceit.

Fear and love must go together; always fear, always love, to your dying day. Doubtless, still you must know what it is to sow in tears here, if you would reap in joy hereafter. Till you know the weight of your sins, and that not in mere imagination, but in practice, not so as merely to confess it in a formal phrase of lamentation, but daily and in your heart in secret, you cannot embrace the offer of mercy held out to you in the Gospel, through the death of Christ.

Till you know what it is to fear with the terrified sailors or the Apostles, you cannot sleep with Christ at your Heavenly Father's feet. Miserable as were the superstitions of the dark ages, revolting as are the tortures now in use among the heathen of the East, better, far better is it, to torture the body all one's days, and to make this life a hell upon earth, than to remain in a brief tranquillity here, till the pit at length opens under us, and awakens us to an eternal fruitless consciousness and remorse.

Think of Christ's own words: "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Again, He says, "Fear Him, who after He hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear Him."

Dare not to think you have got to the bottom of your hearts; you do not know what evil lies there. How long and earnestly must you pray, how many years must you pass in careful obedience, before you have any right to lay aside sorrow, and to rejoice in the Lord?

In one sense, indeed, you may take comfort from the first; for, though you dare not yet anticipate you are in the number of Christ's true elect, yet from the first you know He desires your salvation, has died for you, has washed away your sins by baptism, and will ever help you; and this thought must cheer you while you go on to examine and review your lives, and to turn to God in self-denial.

But, at the same time, you never can be sure of salvation, while you are here; and therefore you must always fear while you hope. Your knowledge of your sins increases with your view of God's mercy in Christ.

And this is the true Christian state, and the nearest approach to Christ's calm and placid sleep in the tempest — not perfect joy and certainty in heaven, but a deep resignation to God's will, a surrender of ourselves, soul and body, to Him; hoping indeed, that we shall be saved, but fixing our eyes more earnestly on Him than on ourselves; that is, acting for His glory, seeking to please Him, devoting ourselves to Him in all manly obedience and strenuous good works; and, when we do look within, thinking of ourselves with a certain abhorrence and contempt as being sinners, mortifying our flesh, scourging our appetites, and composedly awaiting that time when, if we be worthy, we shall be stripped of our present selves, and new made in the kingdom of Christ.

P.S. I would be remiss not to post here Samuel Gregg's recent article on Newman and liberalism that Valli used as a take-off point...

John Henry Newman’s long war on liberalism
His devastating critique of liberal religion
remains even more relevant in our own time

by Samuel Gregg
July 30, 2017

There is truly nothing new under the sun. That’s the pedestrian conclusion at which I arrived after recently re-reading the address given by one of the nineteenth century’s greatest theologians, Blessed John Henry Newman, when Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal on May 12, 1879.

Known as the Biglietto Speech (after the formal letter given to cardinals on such occasions), its 1720 words constitute a systematic indictment of what Newman called that “one great mischief” against which he had set his face “from the first.”

Today, I suspect, the sheer force of Newman’s critique of what he called “liberalism in religion” would make him persona non grata in most Northern European theology faculties.

When reflecting upon Newman’s remarks, it’s hard not to notice how much of the Christian world in the West has drifted in the directions against which he warned. Under the banner of “liberalism in religion,” Newman listed several propositions. These included
(1) “the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion,”
(2) “that one creed is as good as another,”
(3) that no religion can be recognized as true for “all are matter of opinion,”
(4) that “revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective faith, not miraculous,” and
(5) “it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.”

Can anyone doubt that such ideas are widespread today among some Christians?
- Exhibit A are the rapidly-collapsing liberal Protestant confessions. - Another instance is that fair number of Catholic clergy and laity of a certain age who shy away from the word “truth” and who regard any doctrine that conflicts with the post-1960s Western world’s expectations as far from settled.

Yet Newman’s description of liberal religion also accurately summarizes the essentially secular I’m-spiritual-not-religious mindset.

At the time, the directness of Newman’s assault on liberal religion surprised people. It wasn’t for idle reasons that the speech was reprinted in full in The London Times on 13 May, and then translated into Italian so that it could appear in the Holy See’s own newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on 14 May. Everyone recognized that Newman’s words were of immense significance.

The newly-minted cardinal had hitherto been seen as someone ill-at-ease with the Church’s direction during Pius IX’s pontificate. Newman’s apprehensions about the opportuneness of the First Vatican Council formally defining papal infallibility were well-known. Not well-understood was that concerns about Catholics being misled into thinking they must assent to a pope’s firm belief that, for example, the optimal upper-tax rate is 25.63 percent, didn’t mean that you regarded religious belief as a type of theological smorgasbord.

Those who had followed the trajectory of Newman’s thought over the previous fifty years would have recognized that the Biglietto Speech harkened back to a younger Newman and a consistent record of fierce opposition to liberal religion.

In 1848, for instance, Newman had lampooned liberal religion in his novel Loss and Gain (1848). One character in the book, the Dean of Nottingham, is portrayed as someone who believes that “there was no truth or falsehood in received dogmas of theology; that they were modes, neither good nor bad in themselves, but personal, national, or periodic.”

Such opinions mirror the views of those today who primarily regard Scripture, the Church and Christian faith as essentially human historical constructs: a notion that invariably goes hand-in-hand with a barely-disguised insistence that the Church always requires wholesale adaptation to whatever happens to be the zeitgeist.

The end-result is chronic doctrinal instability (and thus incoherence) and the degeneration of churches into mere NGO-ism: precisely the situation which characterizes contemporary Catholicism in the German-speaking world.
[Even more true and pernicious, however, of the Bergoglianism that the current pope is seeking to propagate as Catholicism!]

Another of the novel’s characters is Mr. Batts, the director of the Truth Society. This organization is founded on two principles.
- First, it is uncertain whether truth exists.
- Second, it is certain that it cannot be found.
Welcome to the world of philosophical skepticism which, Newman understood, is based on the contradiction of holding that we know the truth that humans really cannot know truth.

Newman’s antagonism towards liberal religion, however, also reflected another side of his thought that, I suspect, some today would also prefer to ignore. This concerns Newman’s critical view of liberalism as a social philosophy.

Newman was fully aware of the ambiguity surrounding terms like “conservatism” and “liberalism.” In his Apologia Pro Sua Vita (1864), Newman specified that his criticism of liberalism shouldn’t be interpreted as slighting French Catholics such as Charles de Montalembert and the Dominican priest Henri-Dominique Lacordaire — “two men whom I so highly admire” — who embraced the liberal label but in the context of post-Revolutionary France: a world which differed greatly from the Oxford and England of Newman’s time.

We get closer to the “liberalism” against which Newman protested when we consider a letter to his mother dated 13 March 1829. Here Newman condemns, among others, “the Utilitarians” and “useful knowledge men” whose ideas were propagated by philosophical Radical periodicals such as the Westminster Review.

These beliefs and publications were clearly associated with utilitarian thinkers and political radicals such as Jeremy Bentham (the Westminster Review’s founder), James Mill and, later, John Stuart Mill. In this sense, liberalism was Newman’s way of describing what we today call doctrinaire secularism.

This is borne out by the Biglietto Speech’s portrayal of a society’s fate as it gradually abandons its Christian character, invariably at the behest of those Newman calls “Philosophers and Politicians.” Newman begins by referencing their imposition of “a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober, is his personal interest.”

Recognizing, however, that utility, pragmatism and self-interest aren’t enough to glue society together, liberals promote, according to Newman, an alternative to revealed religion. This, he says, is made up of an amalgam of “broad fundamental ethical truths, of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like; proved experience; and those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society, and in social matters, whether physical or psychological; for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, and the intercourse of nations.”

But while liberals uphold this mixture of particular moral principles, matter-of-factness and science, Newman points out that they simultaneously insist that religion is “a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.”

It’s not, Newman says, that things like “the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence” etc. are bad in themselves. In fact, Newman adds, “there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true.”

Nor did Newman adopt an “anti-science” view at a time when some Christians worried about how to reconcile the Scriptures with the tremendous expansion in knowledge of the natural world which marked the nineteenth century. Newman wasn’t, for example, especially troubled by Darwin’s Origin of the Species. As he wrote to the biologist and Catholic convert St George Jackson Mivart in 1871, “you must not suppose I have personally any great dislike or dread of his theory.”

What Newman opposed was a problem with which we are all too familiar today. This consists of
(1) absolutizing the natural sciences as the only objective form of knowledge and
(2) using the empirical method to answer theological and moral questions that the natural sciences cannot answer.

In such cases, Newman wrote in his Idea of a University (1852), “they exceed their proper bounds, and intrude where they have no right.”

It also fosters a mentality which has seeped into the minds of those Christians who prioritize sociology, psychology, opinion-polls, and what they imagine to be the “established scientific position” when discussing what the Catholic position on any subject should be.

More generally, Newman argued that it’s precisely because these principles are un-objectionable in themselves that they become dangerous when liberals include them in the “array of principles” they use “to supersede, to block out, religion.”

In these circumstances, those who maintain that religion, in the sense of divinely-revealed truths about God and man, cannot be relegated to the status of football teams competing in a private league are dismissed as unreasonable, intolerant, lacking benevolence, unscientific, and reflective of (to use the curious words employed in a recent L’Osservatore Romano opinion piece) a “modest cultural level.” In a word—illiberal.

Newman well-understood the ultimate stakes involved in the advance of liberal religion and the nihilism it concealed under a veneer of progressive Western European bourgeois morality. It was nothing less, he said, than “the ruin of many souls.” For Newman, there was always the serious possibility that error at the level of belief can contribute to people making the type of free choices which lead to the eternal separation from God we call hell.

The good news is that Newman had “no fear at all that [liberal religion] can really do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church.” For Newman, the Church was essentially indestructible. That didn’t mean it would be free of disputation or disruption.

Newman himself spent his life immersed in theological controversies. But Newman’s deep knowledge of the Church Fathers made him conscious that orthodoxy had been under assault since Christianity’s earliest centuries.

Newman believed, however, in Christ’s promises to his Church. Moreover, Newman ended his Biglietto Speech by stating that “what is commonly a great surprise” is “the particular mode by which . . . Providence rescues and saves his elect inheritance.” Even in times where serious theological and moral error seems rampant, God raises up courageous bishops and priests, clear-thinking popes, new religious orders and movements, lay people who reject liberal Christianity’s mediocrity and soft-nihilism, and, above all, great saints and martyrs.

Against such things, Newman knew — and we should have confidence —liberal religion doesn’t have a chance.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/8/2017 7:49 PM]
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August 6, 2017


C212's Frank Walker made a banner headline of the ff item from a blog called Dymphna's Road, whose writer does make a very good point:

José Galat Noumer is 88 years old and apparently he's been excommunicated. How can it be that criticizing the pope gets someone excommunicated?
- Fr. James Martin is a Catholic in good standing.
- Cardinal Marx is a Catholic in good standing.
- Mons. Vincenzo Paglia is a Catholic in good standing.
- The founder of the Legionaries of Christ [Marcial Maciel] was officially a Catholic in good standing for most of his life. Although the truth about his wicked life became too hard to hide by the time he took to his deathbed, he was never excommunicated.
- Fr. Hans Kung is a Catholic in good standing.

You can be an open sinner and be petted and praised at the Vatican with no fear of any remote possibility of excommunication. You can be a politician and vote for abortion and be a Catholic in good standing.

Ted Kennedy got the funeral of a saint and when Joe Biden rings his life's curtain down his bishop will give the family the cathedral for his funeral if they should so desire.

So how is it that out of all the famous sinners in the world this particular very old man who is obviously closer to the end of his life than the start of it and who founded one of the biggest Catholic TV channels in the world get excommunicated?

This doesn't seem like a sad judgment on an obstinate sinner. It seems like malice. It seems like vengeance. It seems like a mafioso warning to the rest of the "neighborhood" to shut up or else.

I ought to have done this days ago when the Galat excommunication first made the news. The Colombian bishops said they were excommunicating him for heresy and schism because he questions the legitimacy of Bergoglio as pope. But so have quite a few Catholics more prominent than Galat – to mention one, Antonio Socci, who got a handwritten note from this pope thanking him for his criticism! Of course, the Colombian bishops are just brown-nosing (excuse the term) Bergoglio on the eve of his visit to Columbia by being more Bergoglian than he is.

The pope could have nipped all this in the bud if he had simply called the Colombian bishops to tell them, "Stop your nonsense – how exactly do you intend to prove heresy and schism? The one excommunicable offense against a pope is physical violence against him, and Galat has been nowhere near me, nor has anyone assaulted me physically at all". After which, he should have called Prof. Galat himself – they both speak Spanish, after all - thanking him for his criticism, as he did with Socci , and assuring him of his prayers.

He can't have been too busy to pay attention! After all, Galat runs one of the most watched Catholic TV channels in Latin America. Maybe he finds the Colombian bishops' summary deed commendable, no matter how irregular.

As we all know from the ongoing debates of the past four years, heresy is very difficult to prove - the technical niceties involved are too easy to circumvent for careful wannabe heretics, as Bergoglio himself has been most careful. (And Prof. Galat, who is far from being a dunce, probably never even thought that voicing his opinion about Bergoglio's legitimacy as pope could constitute heresy.)

And the Colombian bishops use the canon law definition of schism in accusing Galat of this offense, namely, "rejecting the authority and jurisdiction of the pope as head of the Church", not as we commonly think of it, as a breaking away from the Church by a group deciding to be on their own, as all the schismatics in history have done. The FSSPX avoided being formally in schism because although they disobeyed John Paul II on the specific matter of consecrating their own bishops over his objection, they have continued to recognize the authority of the popes.

As for me, I feel that the worst part about being anti-Bergoglio is that he is the legitimate pope and therefore one cannot question his authority and jurisdiction as pope, though we can condemn what he says and does that the Vicar of Christ would not and should not say and do, things that are really and truly anti-Catholic.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/8/2017 12:24 AM]
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On how the First Tenant of Casa Santa Marta would fail three rules for a Barnabite Superior-General...

An old wisdom
Applying the centuries-old rule
of a religious congregation

Translated from

August 4, 2017

After having published the Italian edition of the Constitutions of the Barnabites from 1579 (Barnabiti Stidi, N. 31/2014), I am now engaged in the translation of the Regulae officiorum, namely, the practical norms that regulate the daily life of a community of the Barnabites, or Clerics Regular of St. Paul. These, too, were formulated between the 16th and 17th centuries, and later reviewed and adapted many times afterwards (the last edition was in 1950).

If my work on the Constitutions was extremely interesting, because it revealed to me the riches of what had been the fundamental code for the Barnabites for 400 years (1579-1976), my work on the Regulae officiorum promises to be even more fascinating because, other than finding in them the spirit of our Congregation, I also find myself confronting the concrete life of day to day, with its positive and negative injunctions and its precise intstructions on how one must behave.

I stand, mouth agape, at so much wisdom which was certainly not improvised but the result of long and suffered experience. It is this that strikes me most: Our elders did not claim to 'invent' or re-invent their lives every day, as we are led to – and often invited by our superiors – these days. Our elders treasured the lessons from earlier tradition (for the Barnabites, the magisterium of the 'Fathers of the desert'), to which over the decades, they added their own lived experiences, transforming everything into valuable directives for themselves and those who would come after them.

It is something we have completely lost in the world today. We are convinced that everyday we must start from zero. That whatever is from the past is ipso facto, old, superseded, and therefore, has nothing to say to us. We must decide day to day how to behave. Based on what? On whatever seems to be most useful at the moment. Not realizing that this is the best way of heading to certain failure.

Just to make one example, look at what is happening in the legislative field: The laws that are approved are generally the product of compromises among divergent ideological views, usually remote from reality, and often the result of 'low culture' and of improvisation. And are therefore already obsolete even before they have been approved, and after a few years, must be replaced with other laws that have the same defects.

I wish to ask you take part in the spirit that animated the life of a religious order until up to a few years ago (unfortunately, for some time now, the dominant mentality in the world has been introduced into the Church and into religious life). To give you an idea, I need to cite just three of the almost one hundred norms that regulated the office of the order's Superior-General.

The first is taken from the Constitutions (Book IV, chap. 12, sec.14): "Quemadmodum in ea cura diligens esse debet, ut quae constituta vel decreta sunt, observentur; ita ipse in ordinationibus faciendis parcus sit, et a rebus novis alienus (n. 48). (As he must be scrupulous in his commitment to enforce observance of the Constitutions and the Decrees [of the Chapter-General], so must he be moderate in issuing new dispositions and alien from novelty)".

This invitation to be moderate in laying down laws is striking: Because laws exist, and are usually sufficient and adequate – but they must be observed. It is useless to add new laws, even knowing in advance that they would be most likely ignored as the laws that already exist.

But that which leaves most people today rather astonished is that last exhortation to be 'alien from novelty'. Really? When today, it seems that the value of a person lies in his ability to provide a novelty everyday, why would a Superior-General be called on to be 'alien from novelty'? It is true that times change.

The second norm I wish to use as an example is one that is inspired by Scripture:

"Neque item facile, aut sine admodum gravi necessitate, quae Praedecessor eius legitime fecerit, ipse immutet, aut immutare pertentet; quod et ab aliis Praepositis omnino servari curet. Ex eiusmodi namque mutationibus graves animorum perturbationes oriri possunt, et sancta illa cordium unanimitas non leviter offendi, quam in tota Congregatione ipse in primis fovere, conservare atque augere tenetur, ut unanimes uno ore honorificemus Deum, et non sint in nobis schismata (n. 51). (Nor should you change or try to change easily, or without any very serious necessity, whatever your predecessor has legitimately done. And make sure that this rule is observed in general even by other superiors. Because such changes can give rise to a great turmoil of spirit, and can considerably offend that sacred unanimity of hearts that the Superior is especially bound to nourish, conserve and augment throughout the whole Congregation, because only with one spirit and one voice can we give glory to God (Rom 16:6) and that there be no divisions among us) (1Cor 1:10).]

Does it seem to you that today anyone feels obliged at all by decisions made by their predecessors? Rather, it often seems that it is felt to be a duty to place everything under discussion all over, as if the predecessor had made his decisions without good reason.

Is anyone today concerned about the turmoil caused in people by constant changes? "That's their problem," we are told when we raise this difficulty. "It is they who must open their minds and open up to new things, and if they can't do that, they better learn to".

And 'unanimity of hearts'? What's that? Today, it would be confused easily with the never sufficiently detested 'uniformity'. Make way instead for diversity and pluralism! And if such pluralism then leads to conflict, someone is always ready to defend it. Conflict as a value!

So we come to the third rule which I wished to cite:

Cum autem aliquid semel atque iterum de Assistentium consensu legitime decisum est, caveat, ne deinceps alio quovis quaesito colore idem denuo in deliberationem vocet; ut non tam quod factum est emendare, quam aliorum consensum ad proprium sensum extorquere velle videatur (n. 85). (When something has been legitimately decided more than once with the consensus of those present, avoid going back to raise the same question on whatever pretext – because that way, you give the impression that you wish not so much to amend what has been done but rather to extort the consensus of others to your own opinion.)

When a decision has been made, it has been made. It is useless to return to it again as if the decision was made without any awareness of what was decided. Above all, because to do so would be an insult to those who had made the decision (in the case of the Congregation, the assistants who are the advisers to the Superior General).

I confess that while I was translating these rules, I do not know why I was reminded of the last two 'family synods'... [Of course, Fr . S is ironizing (there is such a word, I checked), but the three rules he chose as examples don't really apply directly to the 'family synods' as they do to the man – the 'Superior General', in effect – who called those synods precisely to overturn/'update' what had been decided by his predecessor, and the consensus of a duly constituted and convened synodal assembly in 1980, all for the sake of introducing a novelty to the Church, as anti-Catholic as that novelty is - in one fell swoop, violating all three rules cited by Father S.... I know, I know. He's the pope and is supposed to be the supreme authority in the Church. And he thinks that means he can legislate better than Christ's Word... ]

Father S had a post in late July reacting to an OR article accusing the world's clergy of hostility to the Bergoglian revolution (So that's the perception they have at the Vatican? Oooohhh, 'Bergoglio backlash', is it?...

'Pasdaran' and refractory clergy
Translated from

July 25, 2016

Every self-respecting revolution has its 'pasdaran' [Iranian term for its 'Revolutionary Guards'] and its refractory clergy. The 'revolution' that has been going in the Church for a few years now cannot be an exception. So it is not surprising that the Bergoglian pasdaran on duty, one Giulio Cirignano, in L'Osservatore Romano, has taken on a 'refractory clergy' which, he claims, is not just guilty of lack of enthusiasm for the 'extraordinary moment' that the Church is living, but have even taken on 'an attitude that is often one of closedness if not of hostility".

There are those of us who would be offended by hearing ourselves called "disciples who are sleeping" or "unenlightened pastors" who keep their faithful hemmed in "within an old horizon, the horizon of habitual practices, of outmoded language, of thought that is repetitive and without vitality",and as "Sanhedrin rich with devout obsequies to the past… (but) poor in prophesy".

But we have become used to this, our shoulders are broad, and we carry out our work certainly not in search of praise but only to serve the Lord who has chosen us with all our limitations and imperfections, and who has sent us like sheep among wolves.

And surely, after having taken so many beatings along the way in many parts of the world, it would be nice when returning home to hear a word of encouragement and comfort. But for the past few years, the preferred sport in the Church seems to be skeet shooting, where the targets are priests who are thought not to be doing anything right. But that's all right. It's another reason for not getting a big head, and to play a part, however, tiny, in the passion of our Lord.

It's also a bit funny to hear someone who appears to be perfectly integrated with the Church establishment call us the Sanhedrin [Jewish council that acted as a court and had full authority over the people of Israel]. And the accusation that the cultural level of the refractory clergy is 'modest', their theological culture sparse, and their Biblical preparation even more deficient, is generic (though circumscribed to priests), gratuitous, and something that has to be proven.

We might ask whether it is intelligent – for the triumph of the 'revolution' – to attack the clergy who, after all, along with the faithful, constitute the 'base' of the Church. If this 'revolution' is to make a breach among the faithful, it should at least be friendly. But I don't think it does anything for its cause to to accuse the clergy of all the worst vilenesses at every turn.

But what really leaves me thunderstruck is the total inability, on the part of some minds mired in ideology, to read the situation. It would seem that revolutionaries, once they gain power, lose their perception of reality. How can they say, for example, that "most of the faithful are celebrating" [this pontificate and its revolution]? Even if one concedes that the statement is not absolutized, still, some statements must be documented. One cannot go by what the mainstream media say. Because they do not really report facts. We know very well that much of what they write or transmit is pure propaganda.

Where is the data that shows "most of the faithful are celebrating"? And yet unfortunately, those who, during the preceding pontificate, were so diligent in providing us with all the information about attendance at papal events in the Vatican seem to have gone into lethargy. [Perhaps because the numbers have been in precipitous decline!]

Still and all, some data emerge occasionally. Even if they are accompanied by rather improbable explanations. The Italian bishops' conference has released the data from 2015 on how many Italian Catholics paid the Church tax (that eventually goes back to the Church from the Italian government). Yet even before the tabulation was released, explanations wree already being given. If there's a decline, it's because of the sex abuses committed by priests.

Well, if we were to identify the annus horribilis from this viewpoint, it would be 2010, the Year for Priests designated by Benedict XVI – during which an unprecedented campaign peaked to discredit the Church [and to force Benedict to resign] because of such abuses.

But just look at the tabulation for how many paid the Church tax that year – it was the largest in the last decade. [One might think it was their way of showing support for the Church and the Pope at a time when both were truly beleaguered.] So how can the sex abuses explain the decline in Italians declaring themselves Catholic by paying the Church tax?

If the clergy is accused of being refractory to 'new things', if the Italian faithful are showing their disaffection for the Church by not paying the Church tax (they simply don't declare themselves Catholic so they do not have to), I would say the Church in Italy ought to ask hard questions of themselves. (It would be interesting to find out a similar tabulation regarding Peter's Pence.) [That's the annual contributions made by individual faithful for the fund that the pope uses to finance certain charities and projects of his choice.]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/7/2017 7:03 AM]
8/8/2017 12:23 AM
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Antonio Socci writes in praise of Cardinal Pietro Parolin as a seeming voice of common sense in the Bergoglio Vatican. In an earlier post, I had blamed Parolin along with the pope for the Vatican's fiasco on Venezuela, having assumed that Bergoglio sought and followed his advice on everything Venezuela, since his last posting before becoming Secretary of State was as Nuncio to Venezuela in the final years of Hugo Chavez's socialist dictatorship and the start of Maduro's continuation of that dictatorship. If I was totally or even partially wrong about Parolin's role in shaping Bergoglio's policy towards Maduro, then I apologize most sincerely to the cardinal and to those who follow this Forum.

New political disasters for Comrade Bergoglio
as the Vatican goes into self-defense mode

Cardinal Parolin rides to the rescue of the pope from his own recklessness?

Translated from

August 6, 2017

For Bergoglio, it was a great defeat that he suffered over Venezuela. He lost his bet on Maduro and he had to give in to Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the bishops of Venezuela who demanded a denunciation of the Red Despot. Which resulted in the following communique from the Vatican on August 4:

The Argentine pope was in fact quite 'close' to Maduro (because Bergoglio is always 'tender and loving' with all Red tyrants, from
the Castro brothers in Cuba to the Chinese, while he demonizes Donald Trump and other democratic leaders not to his liking).

In October last year, Bergoglio even took part in a propaganda photo showing him marking a blessing on Maduro's forehead.

[At that time, Reuters was reporting that

Venezuela's increasingly militant opposition stepped up its push to oust leftist leader Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday with protests that drew hundreds of thousands but also saw unrest leading to dozens of injuries and arrests… Enraged by last week's suspension of their push for a referendum to remove Maduro and determined to end 17 years of socialism in the South American OPEC nation, Venezuela's opposition has sharply ramped up its tactics in recent days. After launching a political trial against Maduro in the National Assembly, the opposition coalition held nationwide marches dubbed "Takeover of Venezuela" with crowds chanting "This government is going to fall!"…

Yet Bergoglio had the chutzpah to publicly bless the despot when he visited him at the Vatican! What was that all about?]

Now that the despot has reduced Venezuela to mass hunger (although the country is one of the world's richest in natural resources, leading the world in exploitable petroleum reserves) and he has taken to employing bloody violence to suppress public protests against him, the people and the Church in Venezuela can no longer take the Argentine pope's tacit support for Maduro. And the Secretary of State has prevailed in finally having the Vatican adopt the Venezuelan bishops' position protesting Maduro's regime.

This is happening too often – in which within the Church, the rule of the Argentine pope is described in terms like 'calamity', 'disaster' and 'scourge'.

And the muffled tones characteristic of ecclesiastical circles do not hide the protective self-defense mechanisms in the Church to reverse blows or to limit and/or patch up the incalculable damages provoked by Bergoglio and his court.

Ever more often, it is Cardinal Parolin who has stepped in with actions to contain and/or correct such damages, as he has done on the Venezuela fiasco. Let's just look at the past few weeks.

On July 13, Parolin released a statement about the migrant waves assailing Europe today, a statement that was considered a Vatican correction, if not disavowal, of Mons. Nunzio Galantino[secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference appointed by Bergoglio originally to be his eyes and ears when the CEI president was Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, since replaced by a man of Bergoglio's choice], and therefore, implicitly a correction of the pope himself who has made of unconditional mass migration a dogma of faith for Bergoglianism, and whose obsessive hammering insistence, after his much-publicized trip to Lampedusa in July 2013, that all nations must welcome all migrants, the Italian government then under the Partita Democrata to virtually do away with the country's defenses against unconditional acceptance of migrants, to the point that Italy has been reeling under an unstoppable flow of undocumented aliens in such numbers as to be described as an invasion.

But above all, Parolin had to come up with a colossal diplomatic 'cork' to cover up a recent international gaffe by Bergoglio, little noted by the media, that startled the world of international diplomacy. On July 8, in the pope's latest surreal interview with Eugenio Scalfari, published in La Repubblica, among his many usual whoppers, Bergoglio made a disconcerting statement about Trump and Putin.

As Scalfari reported it: "Pope Francis told me he was very concerned about the G20 summit [held in Hamburg, Germany July 7-8], saying 'I fear there are quite dangerous alliances among powers who have a distorted view of the world, like America and Russia, or Putin and Assad over the Syrian war'."

Indeed, at that G20 summit, Trump and Putin met for the first time and had a conversation that could be seen as the start of a dialog between the two leaders, with the potential of facilitating peace efforts in Syria. There is no one with common sense who could possibly disapprove a peaceful dialog between the two powers (USA and Russia). Especially not in the Catholic Church, where the constant line of the Vatican and the popes before Bergoglio was always to favor dialog as the means to reach an agreement that could safeguard world peace. [But Bergoglio himself has been a loud advocate of 'dialog' as the solution for everything, though in his Hegelian notion of dialog, it would be endless because nothing would ever be resolved!]

On the other hand, some very powerful warmongering circles in the USA have been seeking to foment tensions, if not military confrontation, between the USA and Russia. Circles that are best represented by Barack Obama and especially Hillary Clinton, and who have been seeking to provoke Trump into a collision course with Russia. [For reasons, obviously, that have little to do with warmongering, but everything with setting up a gigantic strawman demonizing Trump as having won the election over Clinton because of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.]

And these are very powerful circles who are aiming at a military encounter with Russia (perhaps using Ukraine or Syria as a pretext) which would have unforeseeable and incalculable consequences. It is therefore disconcerting that a pope would line up – and say so publicly – with the faction in favor of war and international tension. Which is not surprising because Bergoglio's adherence to the Obama-Clinton faction in American politics has always been obvious. [This analysis is naïve, unfounded and unworthy of someone like Socci to propose. Trump's opponents do not want war with any nation – only with Trump whom they are trying to remove from the presidency by hook or by crook, mostly by crook. And of course, Bergoglio is on the Obama-Clinton side because they represent all the major items on his pet ultra-liberal secular agenda.]

Bergoglip's statement to Scalfari obviously provoked a lot of head-scratching at the Vatican Secretariat of State. And so on July 27, Parolin – who will be visiting Moscow at month's end – rushed to the rescue and issued a statement saying the West and Russia should dialog in order to understand each other. He went even further:

It is not just being within Europe with makes Eastern Europe important, but also its role in the history of civilization and culture, and in the Christian faith. There are those who point out that when St. John Paul II spoke of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, he was not thinking of Western expansionism but of a more united co-participatory unity among all the nations of the continent".

Regarding the international role of Russia (to which the Democratic politicians of the USA are adversarial): "Everyday it seems that the differences between the countries of the West and Russia are underscored, as if there were two different worlds, each with its own values, interests, national or transnational pride, and even its own idea of international law that must be asserted against the other world. In such a context, the challenge is to contribute a better reciprocal understanding between those presented as two opposing poles.

The effort to understand each other does not mean acquiescence of one to the position of the other, but rather a patient, constructive, and frank dialog that is mutually respectful. This is even more important on the questions that are at the origin of present conflicts and those that could provoke a further increase in tensions. In this sense, the question of peace and the search for solutions to the various crises in progress must be placed over and above any national or partisan interest. Because there can be no winners nor losers in this matter."

But Parolin also said: "The possibility of a catastrophe is not thereby excluded", referring to a war between the powers, but he concluded, "I am convinced that it is part of the mission of the Holy See to insist on this [dialog]".

Which is the very opposite of Bergoglio's rash statement to Scalfari.

Parolin has also intervened, it seems, to prevent another Bergoglian misadventure: the supposed intention to name Enzo Bianchi a cardinal. He is the Prior of the Bose open community whom Bergoglio esteems because he represents the distillation of the most extreme Catho-progressivism.

Parolin apparently had to intervene because Bianchi is not even a priest. He is a layman (and who knows, maybe Bergoglio is planning to make Scalfari a cardinal, too!) [Bianchi is not even Catholic. But while checking this out on Google, I found a January 2016 post on The Eponymous Flower which already reported this rumor about Bianchi, shortly before Bergoglio named him a consultant to one of the dicasteries. Maybe, now that the church of Bergoglio can make martyr-saints of just about anybody, it will not require anyone to be Catholic to qualify for sainthood. Which is, of course, the logical consequence of having a pope who is fundamentally anti-Catholic, to begin with! And it would not be far-fetched to think he might name some infamous 'Sisters on the Bus' cardinals and pack the College further with certified anti-Catholic know-it-alls, one of whom might even aspire to be the first female pope!]

Probably, Parolin also had a hand in the final phase of the Vatican's involvement in the case of Charlei Gard in order to save the reputation of the Holy See that had been heavily compromised by the obstinate silence of Bergoglio on the case [even after his hand-picked surrogate on family, marriage and life matters, Mons. Paglia, categorically sided with the English and European courts which had ruled against any effort to keep the baby alive since his affliction was hopelessly terminal].

Although thanks to the flood of telephone calls to the Vatican demanding the pope's intervention in behalf of the baby and his parents, Bergoglio on July 1 finally sent a timid message of moral support through the Vatican Press Center (after the courts and Britain's National Health Service had already ruled against continuing life support for the baby). But it was Parolin who issued a statement on July 4 saying "we will do what is possible" to help the Gards, and to activate the Vatican's Bambino Gesu pediatric center because "we are in favor of defending life..s and will offer every possibility so that care may continue for this baby".

And of course, the Secretariat of State under Parolin has taken over the reins again for those sectors of the Curia whose supervision Bergoglio had earlier taken away and transferred to the new Secretariat for the Economy, now that Cardinal Pell is hors de combat[in a war for power and turf easily won by State without a fight.]

Finally, it is also being said that the Secretariat of State is seeking to rein in the 'revolutionary' plans on the liturgy by some in the Bergoglian court (manipulation of the liturgy is a minefield which may well provoke a schism).

Meanwhile, Parolin's seeming anti-Bergoglio activism has been increasingly reaping approval among many in the Vatican who are upset by Bergoglio's Church-wrecking efforts. But how long can the situation continue? [i.e., How long will the pope continue to allow him the latitude he appears to have exercised in the past few weeks? Or is Bergoglio not the ironhanded Maximo Caudillo we have been led to believe he is?

On the one hand, it seems naïve to think that a Secretary of State could be so pro-active in countering or neutralizing egregious ill-advised moves or statements by his own pope, unless he had that pope's tacit of explicit approval for his activism (if only out of prudence and an acknowledgement that he, the pope, had made statements and gestures that are counter-productive for his purposes and are therefore best corrected). Because surely we would have heard some expressions of papal disapproval for Parolin by now!

On the other hand, in a papal court where everyone is trying to outdo everyone else in kowtowing to the pope, is Parolin now an exception as the one who can speak truth to power?
- If he is, whence has he suddenly gained that clout, unless from the pope himself?
- Is that at all likely with someone like Bergoglio, who seems to have reverted without hesitation to the rash authoritarianism of which he was accused when he was Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina back in the 1980s?
- And if Parolin has demonstrated moral courage against Bergoglio on so many issues in just three weeks, does it reflect his progress in positioning himself as the pope-in-waiting as Hilary White suggested in a recent article?
- Could there be enough true believers in Parolin at the Vatican to back him against Bergoglio while Bergoglio is very much in command?

Too bad Socci does not get into these questions which are a logical consequence of what amounts to an apologia pro Parolin.]
8/8/2017 8:25 PM
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August 7, 2017


August 8, 2017

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/9/2017 1:20 AM]
8/9/2017 1:09 AM
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Territorially, the Orthodox countries of Europe clearly outweigh the smaller nominally Christian (and Roman Catholic) countries of Western Europe, and certainly, the numbers of practising Orthodox also do.

The Eastern Churches (Catholic and Orthodox)-
A thorn in Pope's Francis's side

August 3 , 2012

Eastern Europe is a thorn in the side of Francis’s pontificate, and there are many varied elements that prove it.

In the 'family synods' of 2014 and 2015, the bishops of Eastern Europe were among the most resolute defenders of tradition, starting with the relator general of the first session, Hungarian cardinal Péter Erdõ, author among other things of a sensational public condemnation of the violations committed by the reformist faction, which clearly had the support of the pope.

After the synod, eastern Europe was once again the source of the most restrictive interpretations of the papal document “Amoris Laetitia.”

The bishops of Poland were particularly unanimous in calling for an application of the document in perfect continuity with the age-old teaching of the Church from its origin until John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The bishops of Ukraine - where 10 percent of the population is Catholic – are also among the most dedicated in opposing ruptures with respect to tradition in the areas of marriage, penance, the Eucharist.

But in addition they have not failed to criticize strongly the pro-Russian positions of Pope Francis and of the Holy See concerning the war underway in their country, a war that they experience as aggression on the part of none other than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The embrace between the pope and Moscow Patriarch Kirill at the Havana airport on February 12, 2016, with the associated document signed by both, then became a powerful element of friction between this pope and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which sees itself as being unjustly sacrificed on the altar of this reconciliation between Rome and Moscow.

The death last May 31 of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the previous major archbishop of the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine, called back attention briefly to one of the major figures of the Eastern Church, one who was capable of spiritually rebuilding a Church that emerged from decades of persecution without any sort of concession to the diplomatic calculations (regarding the Patriarchate of Moscow)- that however have come back to the forefront during the pontificate of Francis

Husar’s successor, the young Sviatoslav Shevchuck, is well known to Bergoglio from his previous pastoral activity in Argentina. But he too is one of the most straightforward critics of the tendencies of the current pontificate, both on political terrain and on doctrinal and pastoral.

And “it was certainly not a coincidence,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote three weeks ago at the death of his friend Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the indomitable archbishop of Berlin during the Communist era, “that the last visit of his lifetime should have been made to a confessor of the faith,” a bishop of Lithuania whose beatification was being celebrated, one of the countless martyrs of communism in eastern Europe who today are in danger of falling into oblivion.

Against this backdrop the question naturally arises: in this region of Europe what is the state of health of Catholicism, which is known to be in serious decline in other areas of the world and particularly in neighboring western Europe?

This question has received an exhaustive reply - albeit in purely sociological terms - in a comprehensive survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington, which is perhaps the world’s most reliable barometer of the presence of religion on the public stage:
> Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe

In the survey of the Eastern European countries which had been under atheistic Communist regimes for decades, the first striking fact is the rebirth, almost everywhere, of a strong and widespread sense of religious belonging, which for the Orthodox - a distinct majority over the whole area - does not translate into regular attendance at Sunday liturgies, while for Catholics it is accompanied by fairly substantial weekly participation at Mass. In Poland, for example, 45 percent of the baptized go to Sunday Mass, and 43 percent in Ukraine, while in Russia attendance at the Orthodox Sunday liturgy is only 6 percent.

The Czech Republic bore the brunt of state atheism, which added to an older anti-Catholic hostility going back to Hussite Protestantism and to the subsequent re-Catholicizing imposed by the Habsburgs, and now fully 72 percent of the population declare to have no religious affiliation. But among the Catholics, who still make up a fifth of the population, Sunday Mass attendance is 22 percent, more or less like in Italy and considerably more than in Germany, France, or Spain, not to mention Belgium and Holland.

The same holds true for Bosnia [where Medjugorje is located], where there are very few Catholics, just 8 percent in a population that is either Orthodox or Muslim, but Sunday attendance among them is a hefty 54 percent.

The whole survey from the Pew Research Center is worth reading, for the richness of the information it provides. Among other things, it also shows that the Catholics of eastern Europe are distinguished from the Orthodox not only by their much higher levels of religious practice but also by a contrasting geopolitical vision.

While the Orthodox consider Russia to be the natural bastion against the West and look on Russia with approval, eastern Catholics show coolness, especially in Ukraine and Poland, countries which lean much more toward an alliance with the United States and the West.

A further divergence can also be found in the Orthodox camp between the Russian Orthodox who recognize the Patriarch of Moscow as the highest hierarchical authority of Orthodoxy, and the rest of the Orthodox Churches who who consider the Patriarch of Constantinople as the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch. In the Ukraine, 46 percent of the Orthodox belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, while 17 percent belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.

On marriage, family, homosexuality, and related issues, at least half of Catholics side with the traditional positions of the Church. And a large majority of the whole population - with the sole exception of the Czech Republic - is opposed to the legal recognition of unions between persons of the same sex.

But in breaking down the data by age groups, it is clear that younger people are increasingly adopting the permissive mentality that is already rampant in western Europe even among Catholics.

A mentality that is certainly meeting no resistance from the pontificate of Francis.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/9/2017 1:14 AM]
8/9/2017 4:23 AM
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Spadaro-Figueroa's screed against US conservatives sure has generated a lot of fire for a 'straw man', but the strategy of the church of Bergoglio
appears to consist of the soft strawman approach that Bergoglians figure they can easily claim a 'victory' and Jorge Bergoglio's own relentless
wrecking ball... At CWR, Christopher Altieri devoted two articles to the strawmen of La Civilta Cattolica...

Ecumenism, religious liberty, and Spadaro’s straw man
The only thing that Christians – and not only Christians – in the United States ask,
is that their fellows in society and the government recognize that
the First Amendment to the Constitution says what it says, and means it.

by Christopher R. Altieri

August 4, 2017

Antonio Spadaro S.J. on Wednesday retweeted The New York Times‘ article on the recent essay under his and Marcelo Figueroa’s by-line in La Civiltà Cattolica, quoting this line: “The main point of the article was the pope’s argument that religion in the service of politics or power is ideology…”

Perhaps that was the main point of their piece. If it was, it is good to know: their essay was perplexing, to say the least, and that piece of clarification is most welcome.

That Spadaro did not merely retweet the NYT article, but also quoted that line, tells us that he did indeed purport to speak the Pope’s mind in his and Figueroa’s essay. This puzzle piece does move the story forward in significant ways, for whether – and if so, to what extent – Spadaro and Figueroa spoke for the Pope in their piece has been a question from the moment of their essay’s first appearance.

Does Pope Francis really believe that there is a powerful, nominally Christian but really Manichaean cabal calling the shots in the White House?

Does Pope Francis really believe that there is a large, organized, and powerful group of U.S. Catholic political conservatives committed to establishing theocratic government in the United States and spreading its sway by the sword over the whole world?

I find the notion that he does believe such nonsense a hard pill to swallow, but I do not have the Pope’s ear – and Spadaro does, to hear him tell it.

In any case, the cooperation between politically and socially conservative Catholics and evangelical fundamentalist Protestants in the public square is generally in defense of life, marriage and the family, and religious liberty – all causes in favor of which Pope Francis himself has called on Catholics to advocate tirelessly. Indeed, he has called on Christians to cross confessional lines in defense of them, precisely with a view to progress on the road to full, visible unity through effective public witness:

As we move towards full communion, we can already develop many forms of collaboration, to go together and collaborate in order to foster the spread of the Gospel. By walking and working together, we realize that we are already united in the name of the Lord. Unity is achieved on the journey. (Homily of Pope Francis at Vespers on the vigil of the Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul, 2016)

[Yes, well... The pope often makes such 'ecclesiastically expedient' pro forma statements, but either they are generic platitudes like the above, or a direct contradiction of his actions, as his statements on contraception and birth control are, in view of his unconditional endorsement of the UN's 'Sustainable Development Goals' of which population control is unabashedly a key element.]

Spadaro and Figueroa also decry American conservatives’ “condemn[ation of] traditional ecumenism…” Leave aside for the moment that the modern ecumenical movement began just over 100 years ago, and that the Catholic commitment to ecumenism is only a half-century old at best – a few minutes ago in ecclesiastical time – and consider what Pope Francis had to say about the ecumenical context in 2014:

In our day, ecumenism and relationships between Christians are changing significantly. This is due above all to the fact that we profess our faith within a society and a culture increasingly less concerned with God and all that involves the transcendental dimension of life. (Address to a Finnish ecumenical delegation on the Feast of St Henry, 2014)

Has the ecumenical landscape changed so radically in the past three and a half years, as to render his observations obsolete?

Spadaro and Figueroa acknowledge the threat to religious liberty, writing, “The erosion of religious liberty is clearly a grave threat within a spreading secularism.” Nevertheless, they declare, “we must avoid its defense coming in the fundamentalist terms of a ‘religion in total freedom,’ perceived as a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.”

Here, please ignore for a moment the literary infelicity of the phrase, “direct virtual challenge,” and consider that they mean, in essence, a direct challenge to the “secularity of the state” that disguises itself as something else, or couches itself in ostensibly reasonable terms. Sadly, their breathless warning reads more like a straw man.

Religious liberty in America has never been absolute and unqualified, nor has it ever been construed to exempt churches from basic rules of participation in civil society. Church buildings – including worship venues, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, orphanages, and hospices, inter alia, must be built to specific safety regulations such as occupancy ordinances, and fire codes apply to churches as much as they do to everyone else.

The only thing that Christians – and not only Christians – in the United States ask, is that their fellows in society and the government recognize that the First Amendment to the Constitution says what it says, and means it.

That Christians, together with other religiously committed fellows in citizenship and a not insignificant number of their fellow citizens of good faith but no religious conviction of which to speak, ask this - after the manner of people who are used to speaking in the language of truth, and divested of those expressions of servility which would persuade both their fellows and the guardians of their rights in government that they are asking favors, rather than rights - should not be surprising to anyone familiar with the American way of engaging in public controversy and addressing political leaders.
- Perhaps Spadaro and Figueroa are unaware of the nature and scope of the threat to religious liberty that comes from the radical secular left in the United States.
- Perhaps they missed the news that the Supreme Court of the United States truncated a vigorous national debate and imposed same-sex marriage on all fifty states in the union, and that two days did not pass from the time of their imposition before fresh calls for revocation of churches’ tax-exempt status began coming.
- Or that, as recently as last month – the same week in which their essay appeared – the fabulously wealthy, powerful, well-connected and motivated tech millionaire and LGBTQ activist, Tim Gill, enthusiastically proclaimed his intention, “[To go] into the hardest states in the country,” and, “punish the wicked” who dare to assert their right not to be forced to participate in same-sex marriages, or seek other reasonable protections of their rights to order their own affairs according to their religious convictions.


In any case, if Spadaro and Figueroa want a powerful, organized, motivated cabal, filled with all the zeal of perverted religion, and bent on imposing its worldview on the nation and using American power to spread its convictions throughout the globe, I know where they should look.

How Spadaro and Figueroa misunderstand
the motto “In God We Trust”

If the two writers were serious and in earnest, then they predicated their entire analysis
on a dichotomy that is not only inaccurate in the formulation of its parts, but false in its organic complex.

by Christopher R. Altieri

August 8, 2017

In my post last week, I focused on how Antonio Spadaro, S.J., and Marcelo Figueroa, in their much discussed essay “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism,” misread and even misrepresent the matter of religious liberty in the United States. Here I want to focus on another misreading, this one set forth in their exordium:

'In God We Trust'. This phrase is printed on the banknotes of the United States of America and is the current national motto. It appeared for the first time on a coin in 1864 but did not become official until Congress passed a motion in 1956. A motto is important for a nation whose foundation was rooted in religious motivations. For many it is a simple declaration of faith. For others, it is the synthesis of a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy.

Stylistically, this hodge-podge of facts reads like the incipit of a middle schooler’s social studies essay, but no matter.

That phrase, 'In God We Trust', is indeed printed (or stamped) on all US coinage, and has been, since 1956. The founding of the United States is indeed rooted in religious motivations, and the motto of any nation, but especially one so conceived and so dedicated as the United States, will be telling.

While it is true that the motto will convey different ideas to different people, or excite different sentiments in different citizens, the inclusion of the expression on US currency has a definite scope and purpose, to which a young Congressman from Florida, Charles Edward Bennett gave the expression preserved in the legislative history of the Act that ordered the words to appear:

In these days when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should continuously look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom. At the base of our freedom is our faith in God and the desire of Americans to live by His will and His guidance. As long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail. To serve as a constant reminder of this truth, it is highly desirable that our currency and coins should bear these inspiring words “In God We Trust.”

There is a powerful strain of thought, sometimes amounting to what the French call a fil rouge, running through the history of America’s self-understanding, which does view America as the New Jerusalem.

Exploration of how that strain is currently at work in the soul of the nation is a question worth exploring, and La Civiltà Cattolica is one of the venues eminently well placed to participate in such an exploration. This last consideration only adds to the bitterness of their failure to do so.

Whatever else one might say about the motto, Spadaro and Figueroa’s decision to use it as a foil for the exploration of a dichotomy of the type that begins with the construction, “For some…for others,” betrays not only the authors’ insufficient knowledge of their subject, but also, sadly, their lack of interest in really coming to understand it. Spadaro and Figueroa’s failure is not simply literary and journalistic.

It is genuinely a failure in the mission of La Civiltà Cattolica, which is in essence to help men and women in the world of intellect and culture to understand and to think with the mind of the Church. [Now that mission obviously has changed its last term, no longer 'to think with the mind of the Church', but rather with the mind of Bergoglio.] One further consideration will help bring this sad fact further and more clearly into view.

While it is doubtless true that the verb, “to prevail” is subject to equivocation, and could ring quite differently in different citizens’ ears - depending on how thoroughly the strain of thought that sees America as essentially an eschatological society has infected and progressed in the soul of a given citizen - the general sentiment Bennett expressed resonates deeply with the words Benedict XVI used to describe his understanding of and admiration for the American experiment in ordered liberty, when he visited the United States in 2008:

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator.

The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles.

In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations. (Address of His Holiness, Benedict XVI, South Lawn of the White House, Washington, D.C. Wednesday, 16 April 2008)

In other words, even if one rejects the second half of Spadaro and Figueroa’s dichotomy, which posits – not exactly wrongly, but with insufficient depth and precision – a group of people for whom the motto is an expression of “a problematic fusion between religion and state, faith and politics, religious values and economy,” the alternative is not that the motto should be read as, “a simple declaration of faith,” but that America – i.e. the conceptual space that informs and animates the national life of the American people – is a complicated experiment in free social order, which seeks to manage the tensions inherent in any society that recognizes the constitutive presence of spiritual and temporal spheres that are distinct, but not separate.

If Spadaro and Figueroa were serious and in earnest, then they predicated their entire analysis on a dichotomy that is not only inaccurate in the formulation of its parts, but false in its organic complex – and this fact so colors their subsequent analysis, as to render it useless for the purpose of critical discourse.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/9/2017 4:26 AM]
8/9/2017 7:25 PM
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And so, the game of deception and self-deception over AL continues... At some point after Amoris laetitia was published, South African Cardinal Wilfrid
Fox Napier - who had seemed to be among the staunchest orthodox opponents of even any 'dilution' of the bimillennial Church teaching on the
sacramental disciplines governing matrimony, penance and the Eucharist - appeared to have undergone a sea change to the point that a few days ago,
he tweeted a totally false statement about the critics of AL… Steve Skojec reacts.

Amoris Laetitia criticism, chapter and verse:
See July 2016 theological censure!

by Steve Skojec

August 8, 2017

In a recent exchange about Amoris Laetitia on Twitter, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, OFM, of Durban, South Africa, leveled the charge
that critics “misrepresent” and “vilify” Pope Francis by “ascribing errors to” AL “without actually identifying them” ,
and he continues with the 8/6 tweet below, left.

And while those who continued the Twitter conversation brought up the FIVE DUBIA, the really hard-hitting, chapter and verse analysis of AL happened in July of last year, when a list of theological censures against the exhortation was sent to the college of cardinals by a group of 45 theologians, pastors, and Catholic scholars from around the world.

And so I responded to the cardinal, along with those in the discussion (see Twitter image above, right)... At the time of this writing, Cardinal Napier has not replied to my inquiry.

But this particular dodge isn’t the reason for my post. Something curious happened after this exchange. Frank Walker of picked up my original article on the censures document from July of 2016 and ran a headline linking to it as though it were a new story. [Not a rare fault, unfortunately, in both news aggregators!] I was subsequently contacted by some people who had never seen or read about this document before.

All of which got me wondering: Was July 2016 too soon? [This was about three months after AL was published.] Had people missed the most in-depth analysis of AL to date because awareness of the exhortation as a “problem document” had not yet reached critical mass?

With this in mind, I wanted to bring this document again to the attention of our readers, for those interested in a much more robust look at the challenges AL presents to our faith than has been seen before or since.

The original document, along with its explanatory cover letter, was intended to be kept secret, and only to be read by the intended recipients in the curia. Unsurprisingly, both were leaked and began to appear online shortly after they were distributed, exposing not just the analysis, but the list of signatories who bravely put their name to them. Both, having been made public, can be read in full at the links below:
Cover letter
Full theological analysis and censures

Below the line break is a lengthy excerpt of my original article which gives more context and a fuller explanation of why the censures were written — and a word of warning for those who intend to read them:

The authors do not shy away from a strong statement about the effect of the exhortation, intentional or not:

"When it comes to the document itself, however, there is no doubt that it constitutes a grave danger to Catholic faith and morals.
- It contains many statements whose vagueness or ambiguity permit interpretations that are contrary to faith or morals, or that suggest a claim that is contrary to faith and morals without actually stating it.
- It also contains statements whose natural meaning would seem to be contrary to faith or morals….

The problem with Amoris laetitia is not that it has imposed legally binding rules that are intrinsically unjust or authoritatively taught binding teachings that are false.
- The document does not have the authority to promulgate unjust laws or to require assent to false teachings, because the Pope does not have the power to do these things.
The problem with the document is that it can mislead Catholics into believing what is false and doing what is forbidden by divine law."

In expressing their intent, the authors make clear what they are attempting to establish with this document, and it is here that we begin to see the technical nature of their work as theologians, and why it is critical that their analysis be understood properly, to avoid misinterpretation:
"For the sake of theological clarity and justice, this criticism of the harmful parts of Amoris laetitia will take the form of a theological censure of the individual passages that are deficient. These censures are to be understood in the sense traditionally held by the Church,2 and are applied to the passages prout iacent, as they lie.

The propositions censured are so damaging that a complete listing of the censures that apply to them is not attempted. Most if not all of them fall under the censures of aequivoca, ambigua, obscura, praesumptuosa, anxia, dubia, captiosa, male sonans, piarum aurium offensiva, as well as the ones listed.

The censures include
i) the censures that bear upon the content of the statements censured, and
ii) those that bear upon the damaging effects of the statements.

The censures are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the errors that Amoris laetitia on a plausible reading contains; they seek to identify the worst threats to Catholic faith and morals in the document. The propositions censured are divided into those that are heretical and those that fall under a lesser censure…

This is, in other words, a serious and scholarly undertaking. As Dr. Shaw has commented, “The censures are a detailed and technical theological document whose contents are not readily accessible to a non-specialist audience, and are easily misrepresented or misunderstood.”

We must be careful then, now that the contents have been made public, to defer to those specialists in theology (including the signatories themselves) in the proper interpretation of the appeal.

There is no reasonable way to summarize here the list of ostensibly heretical propositions in AL and their applicable theological censures without leaving out language vital to a proper understanding of the analysis.

The propositions include statements contained in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation about the death penalty, sexual submission, the nature of consecrated virginity, the supposed inability of the faithful to meet the demands of the divine law, the implied denial of the reality eternal damnation, certain questions of culpability for grave sin (and the possibility of obtaining sanctifying grace while in such sin), the notion that one can sin by obeying the divine law, and more.

A total of 19 propositions are analyzed, interpreted, and, given the context of an obvious reading that would be contrary to divine teaching, assigned appropriate theological censures.

Sort of apropos:
About he who may be the supreme deceiver/self-deceiver

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/9/2017 7:53 PM]
8/9/2017 10:38 PM
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Marco Tosatti is back from a brief vacation, and shares his thoughts on Robert Hugh Benson's classic novel of dystopia and a Catholic apocalypse…

Benson's 'Lord of the World' was prophetic
But he did not foresee that his hypothesis would be here and now -
and worse than he thought for the Church

Translated from

August 9, 2017

Dear stilumcuriali [followers of his blog], I spent a few days of rest away from computers and in the company of a book I had not read before and which certainly many of you are familiar with – Robert High Benson's Lord of the World, a work which some say served as a model of George Orwell's 1984. If you have not read it yet, take my advice and read it. It was written in 1907 and is a dystopic novel, meaning it describes an imaginary society that is the opposite of utopia, and therefore, ugly.

Benson had been an Anglican priest, son of the Anglican Archbishop of Westminster no less, but converted to Catholicism in 1903 at age 32 and was ordained a Catholic priest the following year. The novel was published in 1907. [Like his two brothers, the Cambridge-educated Benson was a prolific writer of fiction but his output also included historical works, apologetics and devotional writings.]

Since he died in 1914, just seven years after the novel that would 'immortalize' him, he did not live to see the horrors of the new century - the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, communism, Nazism, and eventually the subtle dictatorship of the politically correct which silently took its place alongside the earlier abominations.

But his novel already prophesied much of it, including euthanasia, though he lived at the apogee of Victorian England and wrote at a time when positivism, science and technological progress (which he deftly employs in his book in both its positive and negative aspects, including destructive aerial warfare) seemed to guarantee for mankind – also thanks to the loss of ground by 'superstitions' (read 'religion') – a radiant future that would finally be free of secular classes. Elements which render his acute prophetic vision even more interesting.

Reading it, for what it says about the persecution of the Church, and remaining faithful to what the Church has taught and transmitted, a statement by the late Cardinal George of Chicago came to my mind:

"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history."

[The quotation had been cited widely since around 2010 without proper attribution, until finally, in a column he wrote before he died in 2015 after a long bout with cancer, the cardinal himself set the record straight:

I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world.

I am correctly quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: 'His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.'

What I said is not 'prophetic' but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse."

[Ironically, the cardinal – who was perhaps the most Ratzingerian of all contemporary US bishops – could not have imagined that his actual successor would be the arch-Bergoglian Blasé Cupich who would never go to prison under this or any other dispensation for defending the received and transmitted Catholic faith!]

Neither George nor Benson – both persons of the most solid faith – had imagined the possibility of apostasy for convenience or fear, but never that of 'internal apostasy' nor the cleverness of the Catholic ministers who affirm such apostasy – though they can't change anything in the deposit of faith and all they do is sow confusion. [But because the internal apostates are who they are – from the summit of the Church down – this confusion is leading many souls astray!]

Most especially, they did not imagine that instead of frontally and openly fighting the Spirit of the World, the 'Church' in our day would willingly subordinate itself to it. Who needs martyrdom when one can have the applause and praises of the world?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/9/2017 11:37 PM]
8/9/2017 11:35 PM
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The pope of pop -
from street art to 'street theology'

August 9, 2017

For a few weeks now, the souvenir kiosks in and around Saint Peter’s Square have been selling T-shirts with Francis dressed as Superpope.

The image is not new. It appeared in 2014 on a wall on Via Plauto, a short walk from the Vatican, and was removed a few hours later. But it brought fame to its creator, Mauro Pallotta, 45, who goes by the name Maupal. And the image, of course, went viral on the Web.

Last October, Maupal once again depicted the pope on a new mural, on Vicolo del Campanile, this time playing tic-tac-toe and drawing peace symbols instead of O’s, with a Swiss Guard acting as his lookout. This new drawing was also erased in a matter of hours, but it too has gone down in history.

So when an apparel company got the idea to reproduce the first of the two drawings on a T-shirt, no one at the Vatican objected. On the contrary, Monsignor Dario Viganò, prefect of the newly created secretariat for communication and one of the pope’s closest confidants, expressed his full approval. Which, wonder of wonders, coincided with that of the artist, according to whom Pope Francis is “a man who with his simplicity and great openness toward the real needs of the people instills hope on a par with a Superhero.”

After getting the copyright from Maupal, the company successfully completed the steps for the necessary Vatican authorizations, with a formal contract undersigned by the Secretariat of State. In exchange for the license to commercialize the image of Francis as “Superpope,” the Holy See gets 9 percent of the T-shirt sales for Peter’s Pence, the fund coming from direct contributions from the faithful around the world [usually through special annual collections at Sunday Mass specifically for the fund].

None of which is a surprise so far with a pope like Jorge Mario Bergoglio who has perfect symbiosis with the mechanisms of media and publicity.

But a book published last year – whose cover design showing the pope on a skateboard is decidedly a take-off on street art – raises serious questions about the appropriateness of the reigning pope's happy-go-lucky adherence to the current canons of communication. The book is entitled 'Teologia di Strada. La scritianizzazione o Gran Fuga della realta della Chiesa post-moderna dal Concilio Vaticano II a Papa Francesco' (Theology of the street: The de-Christianization or Great Escape from reality of the post-modern Church from the Second Vatican Council to Pope Francis)

The author, Enrico Maria Radaelli, a disciple of the Swiss philosopher Romano Amerio, is one of the most sophisticated voices of
theological criticism of the tendencies of the Catholic Church in the decades that followed the Second Vatican Council.

For him, the “street theology” personified by Bergoglio and his magisterium is to classical theology as the destined-to-
disappear street art of a Kendridge or a Basquiat – or why not, of a Maupal – is to the immortal art of a Giotto or
a Michelangelo.
[The use of the word 'street' as an adjective is pejorative here as in 'streetwalker', to mean something cheap and vulgar.]

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