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8/10/2017 3:48 AM
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See preceding page for earlier entries today,8/9/17.

BTW, he is not 'former Benedict XVI' - he will always be Benedict XVI

I have been 'indulgent' about the many violations of Journalism 101 perpetrated by the editors and writers of the English newsbits we get from Gloria.TV, mostly because I only occasionally use their material, and only when the item appears properly sourced or at least traceable to its primary source. Unfortunately, like the two major Catholic news aggregators in English, the outlet seems to be more interested in 'catchy' headlines that are not always supported by the associated news report. But in this case, my objection rises to the level of outrage.

The news item above is clearly wrong - as it seems to be based only on a photograph taken recently in which the Emeritus Pope's ring is more or less 'clearly' seen. To deduce from the few pixels the ring occupies in the context of the entire photograph that he is still wearing the Fisherman's Ring is just wrong!

He surrendered that ring upon stepping down from the Papacy for the Papal Camerlengo to do what he is supposed to do with the ring of someone who is no longer pope - by death, usually, but obviously, not in the case of Benedict XVI - which is to smash it or do whatever is necessary to forever stop it from being the symbol of a sitting pope's authority.

It was reported after February 28, 2013, that Benedict had chosen to henceforth wear a ring that he had commissioned as a gift to his new cardinals in 2010. He no longer has his own personal cardinal's ring to wear because he had offered it to the Madonna of Altoetting on his pilgrimage to her shrine during his apostolic visit to Bavaria in 2006. So the generic cardinal's ring he commissioned is the ring we see in the photo below where he is shown greeting Pope Francis at Mater Ecclesiae:

I have cropped the images to show the ring better (though I am sorry I do not have the tools to optimize the images) - it has a clearly rectangular outline compared to the elliptical design of Benedict XVI's 'Fisherman's Ring', which I have shown inset (its surface is more bas-relief unlike the cardinal's ring he now wears which has a raised surface).

For Gloria.TV to say outright that the emeritus pope is still wearing the Ring of the Fisherman is just one of the most audacious accusations ever laid against him. And to what purpose?

It is bad enough that the hydra-headed myth about his renunciation continues to rear one of its many heads from time to time, even if the two largest 'heads' are contradictory - one maintaining that Benedict XVI believes he is still pope, or at least, shares the papacy with the reigning pope, thus he 'affects' papal airs and outward simulacra of being pope; and the other that he has been so coopted by this pope that he is subserviently approving everything he says and does, no matter how opposite it is to what Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has stood for all his life.

This horrid and totally gratuitous 'fake news' (I hate the term but this time, it does apply] only serves to feed the greedy maw of the first hydra-head. And watch how all the 'traddies' will run with it - they now love to portray Benedict XVI as the Big Bad Wolf who betrayed the Church because he supports Vatican II, which for them means supporting everything negative about it including its false 'Spirit' and all its distortions of Catholic doctrine and practice. But did we hear this from them before he decided to leave the Papacy?

Besides, it is not for him - much less for any of them - to simply decide to ignore Vatican II as if it has not been a legitimate ecumenical council, which is just as infallible as a pope in matters that define faith and morals.

These 'traddies' fault Bergoglio for choosing to ditch the key provision in Familiaris consortio - shouldn't they fault themselves more for insisting that Vatican II should be completely ignored and simply dumped?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/10/2017 4:55 AM]
8/10/2017 4:18 AM
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August 9, 2017


Of course, as in the Charlie Gard case, Pope Francis had to be coerced in a sense to speak out for the baby who has since passed away a few days from
his first birthday. But he spoke after two courts had already decided the hospital was right not to want to continue life support nor to allow the baby's
parents first, to seek any possible experimental treatment elsewhere and then, when medical experts said it was too late to try available therapy, from
taking their baby home to die. Too little too late.... As he was again last week on Venezuela, when the Vatican in a press statement - no words said
by the pope at any of his public events at all - finally called on Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro (publicly blessed by this pope last October)to return
to the rule of law, as the bishops of the country had long been doing but without the Vatican's support... I am glad I finally was able to get this story
in full, courtesy of Real Clear Politics, because the Wall Street Journal has a paywall...

Speak for Venezuela, Pope Francis
by William McGurn
August 9, 2017

When Pope Francis wants to make the objects of his disfavor feel his sting, he’s never lacked for words — especially when it involves the U.S.

But when it comes to the brutality of Venezuela’s government against its own people, Pope Francis and the Vatican have mostly avoided calling out Nicolás Maduro by name. Until Friday, that is.

That’s when a popular uprising in Venezuela finally pushed the Vatican to oppose the regime’s bid to tighten its grip by imposing an illegitimate super-assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Even this late in the day, the Vatican’s expression of “profound concern” is better than nothing. Particularly welcome is Rome’s call for Mr. Maduro to “suspend” the new assembly.

Still, it’s hard not to notice that in sharp contrast to Venezuela’s bishops — who recently tweeted a prayer to “free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism” — even the toughest Vatican statement on Venezuela has all the zing of a World Bank communiqué calling for more resources for a clean-water project in Moldova.

How different the tone is when the subject is Donald Trump or Uncle Sam! Whether suggesting that Mr. Trump is not Christian, warning on Mr. Trump’s inaugural day that populism can lead to Hitler, or implying that ours is an economy that “kills,” Pope Francis has an argot of displeasure all his own.

Absence of that displeasure here is particularly striking. Because for an example of a populism that leads to totalitarianism or an economy that kills, it’s hard to beat oil- and mineral-rich Venezuela, whose citizens have now been reduced to picking through garbage cans while their leaders ratchet up the repression. Not to mention Cuba’s military-socialist colonialism.

As for the bishops, good ones are not given to criticizing their pope publicly, and Venezuela’s are no exception. But they may be speaking more frankly in private. In a June 11 article headlined “Stop being soft on our despot, Venezuela’s bishops tell Francis,” the Economist reported on a meeting six bishops forced onto Francis’s schedule when they flew to Rome in June — uninvited.

Two months earlier, the bishops put it this way: “We have to defend our rights and the rights of others. It’s time to very seriously, and responsibly, ask if civil disobedience, peaceful demonstrations, appeals to the national and international public power, and civic protest, are valid and opportune measures.”

Defenders of the Francis approach have been assuring everyone the pope’s reluctance to speak forthrightly against the regime, and his preference for talking about “both sides” as if they are morally equal, is part of a larger plan.

In particular they claim that those criticizing the pope for his silence were playing into Mr. Maduro’s hands, given how the Venezuelan strongman likes to chide his country’s bishops for impeding the “dialogue” he and Francis have called for. [Dear Lord, as early as two years ago, it was already clear 'dialog' would never work, because with Maduro, it's 'my way, or nothing, take it or leave it". It's like Bergoglio fantasizing about any 'fruitful' dialog between Israel and the Palestinians!]

The events of the past week have shattered any silly pretense about some master Vatican plan. But the roots of Pope Francis’s misreadings run deeper than Venezuela. In some ways, it is but the latest reflection of a historic misunderstanding that has often led a poor and Catholic Latin America to blame its wealthy and Protestant neighbor to the north for all its woes.

Just last month, for example, Pope Francis fed this trope by accusing the United States of having a “distorted view of the world.” At nearly the same time, a semiofficial Jesuit-run Vatican journal carried an article decrying an alliance between American Catholics and evangelical Protestants as an “ecumenism of hate.” On top of it all rests the old idea, still popular on the religious left, that socialism represents the Gospel ideal.
The Acton Institute’s Samuel Gregg was probably closer to the mark when he recently put it this way:

“Venezuela’s crisis doesn’t fit into Pope Francis’s standard way of explaining contemporary political and economic problems. It’s very hard for the pope to blame Venezuela’s problems on the tyranny of Mammon, financial speculation, free trade agreements, arms-dealers, nefarious ‘neoliberals,’ or any of his usual list of suspects.”

The ironies here are legion. In the latter half of the 20th century, Latin American liberation theologians posited a “people’s church” pitted against a “formal church” whose hierarchy was aligned to the military dictatorships that prevailed in much of the continent.

Before he was elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced precisely this claim in the accusation that he did not adequately criticize the military regime that ruled his native Argentina during his time as the head of its Jesuit community.

Today Catholic priests and bishops are courageously defying a Venezuelan regime that has hijacked what was once the richest nation in Latin America and driven it to poverty and despotism. At this dark hour, don’t the struggling people of Venezuela deserve some public inspiration from the first Latin American pope?
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/10/2017 7:09 AM]
8/11/2017 12:23 AM
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It didn't take long for no less than the Vatican's Deputy Secretary of State (that all-important and pivotal Sostituto, when even in the heyday of
Cardinal Sodano, his Sostituto, Cardinal Re, was quite a power player) to react to Antonio Socci's exposition of what the latter sees as steps taken
by Cardinal Parolin to correct or even expunge some recent diplomatic outrages on the part of the pope...

Which only proves that when the Bergoglio Vatican wishes to deny anything, it does so promptly, even if it carefully chooses what it can deny,
and chooses to ignore those that it cannot plausibly deny. (This is the case with all the outrageous statements attributed to to Bergoglio by Eugenio
Scalfari)... But let's look at the denial letter sent to Socci...

The Vatican writes me that Bergoglio and Parolin agree
about everything – though the facts say the contrary

Translated from


Dear Mr. Socci,
Yet again, trusting in your sensibility as a believer, I invite you to be more objective in giving certain news, perhaps by looking for more reliable informants.

Your column of Sunday, August 6, I regret to say, is offensive towards the Pope and Cardinal Parolin himself.

Setting aside the canard about Enzo Bianchi as a putative cardinal, you should know that the policy of the Holy See about Maduro has proceeded through agreement between the Secretariat of State and the Holy Father, without any divergence whatsoever.

The same thing about the baby Charlie case, in which the Holy Father, once he had received a letter from his parents, agreed with the Secretariat of State on the initiatives to undertake in favor of the baby.

Cardinal Parolin did not inspire, nor did he correct, the pope, but expressed and approved of the availability of the Bambino Gesu hospital for the boy and his parents as needed.

I owe you this for the sake of objectivity of facts and respect for the role of the Holy Father.

With cordial greetings,
+ Angelo Becciu

Last Sunday, when my article was published about how Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has lately tried to remedy or dispel recent colossal political damages caused by Papa Bergoglio, two kinds of response came to me from people in the Vatican: "You hit the mark" and "There will be hell to pay".

Indeed, this letter from Becciu – not at all customary - reached me promptly which means that I did touch on a very delicate sore that has explosive implications.

It must be understood that Archbishop Angelo Becciu is the Deputy Secretary of State (Sostituto) for general affairs, who, in the Vatican hierarchy, is the working arm of the pope and the secretary of state. So it was his task to tell me that the Pope and Cardinal Parolin have a perfect identity of vision, contrary to what perfidious Socci has written.

I had the occasion to personally meet Mons. Becciu in an analogous situation, as he refers to in the opening of his letter. It happened when he called me in autumn of 2012, which was followed by a face-to-face meeting. He had wanted to deny an article in which I sought to prove the enormous distance between the wise pastoral fatherliness of Benedict XVI and the command style of Cardinal Bertone (who was then Secretary of State) [And Becciu's boss at the time. In fact, it is very likely that Bertone recommended Becciu's promotion from Nuncio to Cuba to become his #2 man at State after Becciu had successful organized two visits by Bertone to Cuba (one private and informal in 2005, and a formal weeklong visit in 2010 when Bertone had a schedule worthy of no less than a pope's visit), as well as the eventual visit by Benedict XVI in 2012.]

Time has shown that I was right, even if at that time, I was the only one rash enough to attack a strong man like Bertone (who has since fallen into disgrace). [That's Socci ego-tripping! He forgets, or ignores, that many Vaticanistas, especially Sandro Magister, had been relentless since Bertone's appointment about how his management style and many of his actions as Secretary of State were a disservice to Benedict XVI. Early enough, as soon as Bertone tried to take over the Italian bishops' conference upon the election of Cardinal Bagnasco as its president, Magister criticized his ill-advised 'power grab' in an article which, if I recall, was entitled something like "The man who should be serving the pope but isn't". It is unfortunate that]

Time has also shown the strange spectacle of so many who, in the previous pontificate, praised and supported Bertone 100 percent, and then overnight, in March 2013, became paladins of the Bergoglian 'revolution' while decrying the time of Bertone. [Becciu would be among those, except that one must remember Bertone continued to head the Secretariat of State for about seven months until Bergoglio named Parolin to the position. So the paladins could not well have openly turned their coats overnight!]

Now, let me look at the merits of the letter.

I note right away that Becciu totally passes over the immigrant issue. I had recalled that Cardinal Parolin had come to be seen in the media, after a statement he made last month, to be on a collision course with Mons. Nunzio Galantino [secretary-general of the CEI and a Bergoglio surrogate, appointed precisely to ride herd over the Italian bishops] on this issue, and therefore, with the pope himself. But Becciu chose not to address the question, much less belie it. It is obviously a significant embarrassment to the Vatican.

Indeed, I had pointed out that Bergoglio's obsessive ideological hammering on the theme of welcoming all migrants – which is contrary to the Church's own social doctrine and Catechism [the Church in its Magisterium being always reasonable and realistic, unlike Bergoglio and his delusional utopian detachment from reality] – had had a deleterious influence on Italian governments since March 2013, and the Italian state has practically given in to a literal invasion of the country by illegal immigrants [whom it is forced to welcome, shelter and provide with the basic necessities].

But Becciu also - and especially - avoided replying to my point about the pope's stated 'fears' over alliances between Trump and Putin or Putin and Assad. The pope said that to Eugenio Scalfari ]in their latest conversation around the time of the G20 summit in Hamburg last month].

And since the implications of his words are very serious, I praised Cardinal Parolin for having clearly 'overturned' that judgment by Bergoglio, by reiterating that the traditional position of the Holy See as always been to promote dialog among the great powers as well as against the wall erected by Obama against Putin's Russia.

So let me underscore that Becciu had no comment at all about this.

But he did deny what I wrote about Venezuela, even if he has the misfortune that even as he was writing me, Maduro himself belied Becciu. In fact, the dictator, after the August 4 communique from the Vatican Secretariat of State, which was like a [minor] torpedo to his agenda, said this to Radio Argentina:

"One must distinguish between the actions of the pope as the defender of Christian peoples with his humility, and the other very different one from the Vatican Secretariat of State which is a bureaucrat. Unfortunately, Cardinal Parolin has fallen into the hends of the most extremist sectors of the Cahtolic Church hierarchy in Venezuela".

Exactly what I wrote on August 6. [Well, no. He did not write that Parolin has fallen into the hands of Venezuela's extremist bishops – and even Socci would not give such a false description - but that Parolin has come to share the position that the Venezuelan bishops have held all along of direct opposition to Maduro, even as Bergoglio had himself photographed blessing Maduro by making a sign of the Cross on his forehead!]

The fact is that Maduro has become an object of worldwide criticism for the deaths that his regime has caused among his opponents, for having reduced the Venezuelan people to hunger ]and one of the world's richest nations to destitution], and for trampling down on their human rights – and neither the Venezuelan people nor the Church in Venezuela can continue to accept that Maduro can capitalize on his closeness to Bergoglio (of which that October 2016 photograph provides visual evidence) to defy all his critics.

Therefore, Bergoglio had to yield in to the pressure from Parolin and the Venezuelan bishops, and he had to 'step back' from Maduro rather than have the dictator's international disgrace rebound on him – if only by agreeing that the Secretariat of State release the August 4 communique that was critical of Maduro.

Because there has not been the merest hint of Bergoglio directly censuring Maduro. [In fact, as far as I can tell, Bergoglio has not once spoken in public about the Venezuelan catastrophe in the past four years, not even a word of compassion and comfort for the suffering people of Venezuela. How unbelievable is that for a pope????]

Bergoglio appears to reserve his public condemnations only for Donald Trump, never for socialist/communist tyrants.

I would like to ask Becciu: Why has this pope – instead of unleashing his Spadaro-Figueroa attack dogs against 'pro-life' American presidents from Reagan to Trump - why does he not use them against Maduro, or against Raul Castro, or against the Communist Chinese tyrants? [This is a most glaring reality to which Bergoglio's incense-bearers appear to be completely blind!]

Becciu knows very well the friendly words and gestures that the 'populist pope' has had for the Cuban and Chinese dictators whose regimes continue to cause blood and tears to their people. [It is obvious that Bergoglio has been bending over backwards for the Chinese to the point of sacrificing the underground Church in China because he desperately wants to be the first pope ever to visit China. But what benefit does he expect to get at all from his sponsorship of Maduro and Raul Castro???]

And that is why I find it unacceptable that Becciu considers it 'offensive to the pope' that I wrote an article where I merely presented political facts and actions which are evident for all to see.

Is the pope offended by the truth? And is it not rather his indulgence for regimes that persecute Christians which is 'offensive to the Church'?

Bergoglio, acting like a political leader (and I think a very bad one), has been following the playbook of politicians – and that is why the left offer incense to him and why he is criticized by those who condemn all regimes that kill freedom.

Moreover, Mons. Becciu knows very well that one must always distinguish the office from the person. The greatest Catholic poet of all time, Dante, was devoted to Peter's Chair (i.e., the Petrine ministry), but he was ferocious with the persons who were popes in his time and whom he consigned to hell – and did so primarily because of their political actions.

On the unfortunate political decisions of Bergoglio, not only is dissent legitimate but also dutiful. Beyond my professional duty as a journalist to criticize him for these, it is also Christian charity. Unlike Dante, I do not consign anyone to hell – as a journalist, I limit myself to criticial analysis.

The abandonment of the Church's traditional social and political teaching by Papa Bergoglio seems evident to me. Which brings us to the case of baby Charlie Gard.

It is evident [if only because he has said so himself] that Bergoglio has shelved the traditional 'non-negotiable principles' of the Church, instead embracing the Obama-UN agenda on ecology, immigration, accommodating Islam, and 'building bridges' to the ideology of the sexual revolution.

The latest sad confirmation of this is the total reorientation of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the statements of the pope's surrogates there – even and especially regarding Charlie Gard.

Initially, Bergoglio had maintained an obstinate silence on the tragedy of baby Charlie. In order to wrest a reaction from him, Italian faithful had to jam the Vatican telephone lines to register their protest against that silence, even after the courts had ruled that life support for the child should be stopped. But even his first reaction was rather vague and indirect - made through the Vatican press spokesman. [Afterwards, of course, he was more directly involved and said all 'the right things', but still too little too late.]

Finally, about the pope's plan to make non-Catholic layman Enzo Bianchi a cardinal, the news was reported on Il Giornale on July 12, with the byline of a Bergoglian journalist, and thereupon picked up by other media and never denied by the Vatican. So I find it incredible that the Deputy Secretary of State would now deny this to my face.

Especially considering that for four years, despite insistent requests from many concerned Catholics, the Vatican has refused to deny the major heterodoxies that Eugenio Scalfari has been attributing to Bergoglio during their so-called 'interviews' or friendly conversations – which the pope continues to give him, on the pope's own initiative, thereby confirming implicitly what Scalfari attributes to him (and has published Scalfari's accounts in the compilation of papal interviews published serially by the Vatican publishing house).

And yet it is such statements – like 'There is no Catholic God' or 'Hell does not exist' or 'Don't worry about priestly celibacy, I have a solution for that' – that cast discredit on Peter's Chair and scandalize the faithful. [Quite an understatement for the unprecedented enormity of the implications and consequences of having an anti-Catholic pope!]

8/11/2017 5:09 AM
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The mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Left: At the time this photo was made, smoke billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshima while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the rising column. Six planes of the 509th Composite Group participated in this mission: one to carry the bomb ('Enola Gay'), one to take scientific measurements of the blast ('The Great Artiste'), the third to take photographs ('Necessary Evil'), while the others flew approximately an hour ahead to act as weather scouts (08/06/1945). Bad weather would disqualify a target as the scientists insisted on a visual delivery. The primary target was Hiroshima, the secondary was Kokura, and the tertiary was Nagasaki. Right: Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, taken by Charles Levy.

The Atomic Age literally blasted its way into human history over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan on August 6 and August 9, 1945, with the use for the first and only time so far of the most powerful single weapon of mass destruction that had yet been devised by man. A few weeks ago, I posted a brief item about the miraculous survival of a group of Jesuit priests who had been inside a church in Hiroshima not far from the epicenter of the beyond-epic explosion. Now here is yet another miraculous tale of survival, this time of someone who was not even Christian at the time, who also attributes coming through the holocaust unscathed thanks to Our Lady of Fatima...

A message of hope from Hiroshima:
Testimony from a survivor

Chiesa e Post Concilio
August 7, 2017
Translated by Francesca Romana for

Hikoka Vanamuri, former Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tokyo, was interviewed while on a recent pilgrimage in Fatima. This is what he had to say:

“I’ll never return to Japan. After years of study, after years of meditation, I have understood that life under the tainted atmosphere of Buddha is an embittered historical testimony of blatant paganism. I converted to Catholicism.

I made this decision after the explosion of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I was in Hiroshima for historical research. I was in the library when the bomb exploded. I was busy consulting a Portuguese book and my eye happened to catch an image of Our Lady of Fatima. I had the impression that this image moved, as if to say something.

All of a sudden there was a blinding light, hurting my eyes intensely. I was terrified. The cataclysm had come about. The sky had darkened and a cloud of brown dust had covered the city. The library was burning. Men were burning. Children were burning. The air itself was burning. I didn’t even have the slightest scratch on me. The sign of the miracle was evident. Yet I wasn’t able to explain what had happened.

Can a miracle be explained? I wasn’t even able to think. Only the image of Our Lady of Fatima shone for me above all the flames, above all the fires, above all man’s acts of barbarism. There is no question that I was saved to bring the Virgin’s testimony to the entire world.

Doctor Keia Mujnuri, a friend I went to visit fifteen days later, verified through X-rays that my body had not been subjected to any burns. The barrier of mystery was shattered. I began to believe in the beauty of love. I learned the Catechism but in my heart I kept Her image, the sweet song of Fatima. I wanted to confess to the Lord, but I wanted this through His Most Holy Mother.

Meanwhile, I have found the site that originally published the site that originally published the account of the Jesuit survivors of Hiroshima... The amazing thing is that it seems four of the priests were photographed outside the ruined church in one of the first photos taken after the holocaust...


The following is taken from the booklet "The Rosary of Hiroshima": written by Father HUBERT P. SCHIFFER. S.J., published by Blue Army Washington, N. J.

At 2:45 A.M. on August 6th, 1945, a B-29 took off from the island of Tinian to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. Over Iwo Jima it met with an instrument plane and a photography ship. Three weather planes had taken off an hour ahead to scout the sky over three Japanese cities chosen as possible targets: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kokura. The big flight was on.

Soon the first A-bomb would explode only eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady's Assumption where I was stationed in Hiroshima. The bomb exploded over the city at 8:15 in the morning. It came as a complete surprise, out of a blue and sunny sky.

Suddenly, between one breath and another, in the twinkling of an eye, an unearthly, unbearable brightness was all around me; a light unimaginably brilliant, blinding, intense. I could not see, or think. For one short moment everything was at a standstill. I was left alone swimming in this ocean of light, helpless and frightened. The room seemed to catch its breath in deadly silence.

Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me 'round and 'round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.

(Up in the air, the B-29's co-pilot scribbled in his log:

"The flash was terrific. About 25 seconds after the flash we felt two very distinct slaps on the ship. We then turned the ship so that we could observe the results, and there in front of our eyes was without a doubt the greatest explosion man has ever witnessed: the city was nine-tenths covered with smoke of a boiling nature, which seemed to indicate buildings blowing up, and a large column of white cloud which in less than three minutes reached 30,000 and then went to at least 50 - 60,000 feet.

I am certain the entire crew felt that this experience was more terrifying than any human being had ever thought possible. It seemed impossible to comprehend. Just how many Japanese did we kill ? I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this, or I might say 'My God! What have we done?' If I live a hundred years, I'll never quite get these few minutes out of my mind."

The light was suddenly gone. All was darkness, silence, nothingness. I was not unconscious, because I was trying to think what was happening. I felt with my fingers in the total blackness enveloping me. I was lying with my face down on broken and splintered pieces of wood, some heavy load pressed on my back, blood was running down my face. I could see nothing, hear no sound. I must be dead I thought.

Then I heard my own voice. That was the most frightening experience of all, because it showed me I was still alive, and convinced me that some horrible Catastrophe had occurred. An explosion? — Heavens, that was a BOMB! A direct hit!

It took only a second: a flash — fearfully frightening — and Hiroshima, home of half a million people, was wiped off the earth. What was left was only darkness, blood, burns, moans, fire and spreading terror.

Four Jesuit priests were stationed at the church of Our Lady's Assumption: Father Hugo Lassalle, Superior of the whole Jesuit Mission in Japan, and Fathers Kleinsorge, Cieslik, and Schiffer. We spent the whole day in an inferno of flames and smoke before a rescue party was able to reach us. All four were wounded but through the grace of God we survived. Nine days later peace came. It was August 15, the feast of our Blessed Mother's Assumption.

Another view of the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/12/2017 2:53 AM]
8/11/2017 11:58 PM
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The recovery in priestly vocations seems to be over. Between 1978 and 2012, after the great crisis of the 1970s following Vatican II, seminaries around the world enjoyed a season of growth. The growth was not constant, nor was it uniform across countries and continents. But the trend was clear.

Numbers revealed recently by the Central Office of Statistics of the Holy See show that in the past five years, the vocations crisis has returned.

The greatest gains came under John Paul II. In 1978, the year Karol Wojtyla was elected pope, vocations worldwide totaled 63,882. In 2005, the year he died, they totaled 114,439. The numbers continued to rise during the reign of Benedict XVI: Vocations reached their modern peak in 2011, with 120,616 — an increase of 6,177 since the papal transition year.

After 2011, they drifted downward: to 120,051 in 2012, and 118,251 in 2013, the year of Benedict’s resignation. Thus, vocations in 2013 were down 2,365 from their height under Benedict, and up 3,812 from their height under John Paul.

In March 2013, Pope Francis emerged from the conclave as the new ruler of the Church. Data suggest that his pontificate has not accelerated the decline in vocations from their height in 2011, but has not reversed or arrested it, either.

In 2015 there were 116,843 seminarians — a drop of 1,408 from 2013. If this rate of decline continues, then in a year or two vocations will be roughly where they were when John Paul died. Yet we will actually be in worse shape than we were then. As Catholics grow more numerous worldwide, the Catholics-per-priest ratio worsens. For instance, there were 2,900 Catholics per priest worldwide in 2010, and 3,091 in 2015.

The vocations downturn is particularly evident in the West, especially in European countries where secularization and religious liberalism are strongest: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland. In countries such as Poland and continents such as Africa, where Catholicism remains more traditional, the situation is different. Vocations hold steady, and sometimes flourish.

A few examples will serve to illustrate. In the diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, a liberal atmosphere prevailed until 2003 — a year when it only had six seminarians. Robert Morlino became bishop that year, and his efforts brought the number of seminarians to 36 in 2015.
Following the advice of Robert Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Morlino recently suggested that the faithful should receive the Eucharist on the tongue and while kneeling.

A similar situation may be found in the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Bishop James D. Conley has explained to the Catholic World Report that, in his opinion, the growth of vocations in his diocese has its root in fidelity to the traditional teachings of the Church.

In western Europe, the landscape is totally different.
- In Germany, vocations have become practically nonexistent. In 2016, there was just one new seminarian in Munich, the historic capital city of German Catholicism.
- In Belgium, the situation is perhaps still worse. In 2016, there was not a single new Francophone seminarian in the country.

The heroic André-Joseph Léonard, archbishop of Brussels from 2010 to 2015, had given life to a new association, the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles. In a period of three years, the Fraternity had assembled twenty-one seminarians and six priests. The current archbishop of Brussels, Jozef De Kesel, was appointed a cardinal immediately upon his installation — an honor denied to Léonard. De Kesel quickly dissolved the Fraternity. The official reason was formal and flimsy; the real one was substantial. The Fraternity was not liberal enough; it respected tradition.

Brussels is not an isolated case. A few years ago, the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, was removed without a clear explanation. Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano belonged to Opus Dei, and he was not popular among his brother bishops in the region, who were mainly progressives. His seminary was full of young people, while neighboring dioceses lacked vocations. Livieres Plano happened to be in Rome when news of his dismissal reached him. He tried to gain an audience with the pope. He never got it. He went away, and less than two years later he died of cancer.

It seems that Rome keeps a particularly piercing eye on religious orders that revere tradition, and that happen to enjoy many priestly vocations. The eye belongs to two persons: João Cardinal Braz de Aviz, a Brazilian sympathizer of Liberation Theology; and Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, a Spanish Franciscan. The former is the prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; the latter is its secretary.

There is the case of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI). A relatively new order, rich in vocations both in Europe and in Africa, the FFI was inspired by St. Maximilian Kolbe and approved by John Paul II. Four years ago, it was put under the authority of a Vatican commissioner, and nobody knows when this arrangement will end.

The founder of FFI, Fr. Stefano Manelli, has been segregated from his order, in order to limit his influence. The only known accusation against him and his followers is that of “Lefebvrist drift.” One of the problems seems to be FFI’s love for Church tradition, and for the old form of the Mass. Vocations to both male and female communities of the FFI dropped after this intervention by the Vatican.

There is the similar case of the Family of the Incarnate Word. This religious order, begun in Argentina in the 1980s, has more than one thousand members in twenty-six countries on five continents, including in regions where nobody else is willing to go. The Family has roughly 800 seminarians.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then archbishop of Buenos Aires and president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, did not care for the Family. He made reference to it, while addressing the bishops: “In Latin America we happen to find in small groups, and in some of the new religious orders, an exaggerated drift to doctrinal or disciplinary security.” At one time, he blocked the ordination of the Family’s priests for three years. The founder, again, is more or less segregated from his order. [Surely there must be a Hispanophone journalist somewhere who should be working on a compilation of all the apostate anti-Catholic statements and actions by Jorge Bergoglio before he became pope. We already have a hefty harvest from just the four years he has been pope. If he has failed to be prudent and circumspect as pope, surely, he would not have been less prudent and circumspect before then!]

There is also the impending apostolic visitation of the Heralds of the Gospel. (The visitation will be undertaken by a three-person commission: a bishop, a canon lawyer, and a nun.) The Heralds are an association of pontifical right, begun in Brazil in the last years of the twentieth century, born from a highly traditionalist association known as Tradition, Family, and Property. The Heralds have many priests, many seminarians, and great vitality. The reasons for the apostolic visitation are far from clear.

In June, Vatican Insider, a media platform closely associated with Pope Francis’s Vatican, published a report on the Heralds. The author, Andrea Tornielli, claims that the Heralds believe in an “occult doctrine supported by the devil,” involving worship of their founder and unconventional exorcism rituals.

According to Tornielli, this revelation proves that the upcoming visitation is not part of a “witch hunt against those more traditional and conservative associations" — that, on the contrary, the Vatican has “more than solid reasons” for the visitation. It seems likely that the Vatican anticipated criticism of this investigation and sought to silence it.

The prefect of the Congregation for Religious is Brazilian, like the Heralds, and he has said that the new Church movements must be kept under surveillance, since the founders sometimes seem unable to handle so many vocations — and so much money.

What does the pope think? One episode may shed some light. The pope received 140 superiors of religious orders in the Vatican last September. He said to them: When they tell me that there is a congregation that enjoys so many vocations, I am worried, I admit. The Holy Spirit does not work with the success method. He has other ways. … Some of [the seminarians] are Pelagians. They want to come back to the ascesis, they make penance, they seem soldiers, ready to fight for the faith and the good morals. … Then some scandal of the founder or foundress comes to light.” [Have you ever heard such biased unfounded drivel??? From the mouth of a pope, no less! And as usual, Bergoglio makes as if he were speaking for the Holy Spirit - as if the Holy Spirit would ever inspire the anti-Catholic things he says and does? 'The Holy Spirit does not work with the success method'??? What, God does not care if he succeeds or not when he calls or men to be holy? One often has to think it is the infernal Prince of the World himself spewing forth blasphemies from the mouth of the current Vicar of Christ on earth]

No one can doubt the need to root out aberrations in new, growing orders, which today tend to be traditional. But one wonders why similar attention is not brought to the great established orders, which are now shrinking.

Compare the Vatican's light treatment of the progressive nuns in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious with the heavy discipline imposed on the traditional priests in the FFI, and it is hard not to notice a double standard. Meanwhile, a weakened Church finds its vocations once again in decline.
8/12/2017 12:28 AM
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That dreadful Bergoglian apologist nonpareil Austin Ivereigh has struck again! Let me start out with Ed Peters's reaction to Ivereigh's latest quintessentially perverted tirade against Catholics who don't think like he and Bergoglio do...

Come over here and say that

August 11, 2017

Austen Ivereigh, in one of the most embarrassing essays Crux has ever run, recently smeared seven talented Catholic commentators as suffering from ‘convert neurosis’. Not once in passing, but repeatedly, Ivereigh uses ‘neurosis’ and ‘neurotic’ in regard to some seven writers, Ross Douthat, Daniel Hitchens, Carl Olson, Edward Pentin, Rusty Reno, Matthew Schmitz, and John-Henry Westen.

Ivereigh even offers a primer on what “neurosis” means, suggesting a war-scarred woman’s throwing herself to the ground when later stopped by a policeman as, one supposes, an example of how ‘convert neurotics’, supposedly being persons given to extreme reactions to un-realities in the Church, might behave.

While an expert in psychology can tell us whether any of these men are, in fact, “neurotic”, and an expert in morals can tell us whether Ivereigh’s employing and Crux’s circulating of such labels against brothers in the Lord meets any standard of decency in Christian discourse, Ivereigh’s constant referral to these Catholics as “converts” draws my attention.

Ivereigh’s description of several figures (Douthat and Reno as former Episcopalians, Olson as a former Protestant fundamentalist, and Hitchens and Pentin as former Anglicans) plus what I gather about Westen (a once fallen-away Catholic who went through an atheistic period) and Schmitz (who talks respectfully about his days as a Protestant), suggests that not one of them - not one - would, under American catechetical criteria, qualify as “converts” at all — let alone as neurotic ones.

According to the (US) National Statutes for the Catechumenate (November, 1986) no. 2, “the term ‘convert’ should be reserved strictly for those converted from unbelief to Christian belief and never used of those baptized Christians who are received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.”

Number 3 reiterates that this “holds true even … [for] baptized Catholic Christians … whose Christian initiation has not been completed by confirmation and Eucharist” (Westen) and [for] “baptized Christians who have been members of another Church or ecclesial community and seek to be received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church” (the other six authors).

Now perhaps the circles Ivereigh runs in ‘over there’ do not bother with this important distinction among persons entering into full communion, and I grant that some Catholics ‘over here’ might still show ecclesial insensitivity by referring to separated Christians coming into full communion as “converts”, i.e., as if they had not been baptized.

But, as most of the men Ivereigh chastises are Americans, and as the American bishops are trying to get American Catholics to think more accurately about these things, I thought Ivereigh’s outdated and inaccurate use of the word “convert” — to say nothing of his abuse of the tragedy that is “neurosis” — worth noting.

So, Father Z notes the above, after he himself (who had been a Lutheran) took apart Ivereigh's latest Bergoglio-manic outrage published by the equally Bergoglio-manic Crux (whose editor John Allen recently warned us gleefully that since the average length of pontificates is 14 years, Bergoglio may well be around at least another 10 years)[God forbid!]... I shall follow with Fr Z's fisking of the Ivereigh article and his comments...

Austen Ivereigh, like a papolatrous gnostic,
calls converts who disagree with him 'neurotic'

aUGUST 10, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left, Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap sniggered with fellow lib Massimo “Beans” Faggioli about converts. To quote Winters: "I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic."

Typical. Converts don’t have the right to say anything because they’re converts.

Now Austen Ivereigh has a piece at CRUX (why the KCs pay for this rubbish is beyond me) against converts who disagree with him. He tries to be soooo nuanced, soooo sophisticated in his condescension.

My emphases and comments(in red):

Pope Francis and the convert problem

[In which Ivereigh's very title says volumes about the church of Francis that arrogantly and quite unbelievably ignores Christ's Great Mandate to "Go forth to all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit", because, Bergoglio dixit, 'God loves us as we are' and preaches religious indifferentism, which is a denial that Jesus founded the one true Church, which certainly ain't the church of Bergoglio!]

The dog days of August are a time to smuggle in the kind of article you’ve been meaning to write but putting off because of all the trouble it’s going to bring you. But still, I hesitate even now to write about convert neurosis, and how it conditions critiques of Pope Francis. [He hesitates, but he’ll do it anyway, because people might not notice. It’s August, after all, and the internet is on vacation. Actually, he’s just being smarmy.]

For one, I don’t want to be seen to be sniffy and condescending towards people who become Catholic, which is how Dr. Stephen Bullivant, writing in First Things, said he felt about a comment in Michael Sean Winters’s blogpost. “I am so tired of converts telling us that the pope is not Catholic,” complained the sage of the National Catholic Reporter. [Oh no… he’s not going to be condescending. No, not at all.] [And the Wile E. Coyote of Fishwrap is a sage by Ivereigh's standards!]

Winters was reacting to a debate on Al Jazeera between Matthew Schmitz, youthful literary editor of First Things, and me, on the perennial topic of the Francis pontificate.

Schmitz, a young convert, had undergone a second conversion since 2013. At first he welcomed Francis’s election. But then came a series of realizations.

He had now come to see that Francis was building his program of reform “at the expense of children orphaned by the culture of divorce left by the 1960s,” attempting to restore a “discredited version of Catholicism,” and who “builds his popularity by shucking off traditions and formulas of the office” of pope.
Oh, and introducing the antinomian, Protestant notion that truth and mercy are counter to the law.

(Incidentally, ‘antinomian’ is not a word to bandy about on Al-Jazeera, but then, I accused Schmitz of wanting to bring back the seda gestatoria, which must have furrowed brows in Qatar.) [Isn’t Austen just a hoot?]

Now, Schmitz never actually said the pope wasn’t Catholic, [do you hear the “but” coming?] but his narrative and that of many of Francis’s angry, vociferous critics adds up to something rather like it, namely, that he is, in Ross Douthat’s phrase, the “chief plotter” in a conspiracy to change the Catholic faith. [Ross is a “angry, vociferous critic”? Has he ever met Ross Douthat or heard him speak?]

For the record: The Church is missionary, and exists to spread the Gospel, [From Bergoglio's record as pope so far, it doesn't look like the Church - at least not 'his church' - is missionary at all in the sense of 'existing to spread the Gospel'. How can a church do that if its leader continually says that it doesn't matter what your faith is - it's just another way to be a good man (never mind if your faith tells you to kill anyone you think is an enemy of your faith, as Islamists do)??? and some of those it touches will want to become Catholic, and that’s wonderful. People who have thought and prayed their way to faith are special, and bring great gifts with which they have been showered. We love converts. [Sure you do, Austen. Perhaps when they bow to your wisdom as you impart your secret teachings about what the Holy Spirit does in the Church.]

Winters wasn’t being sniffy about converts either, but simply pointing out the – let’s just call it, for the time being, incongruity – of those who join the Catholic Church in a blaze of Damascene fervor later announcing noisily, after a new pope is elected, that the pope is not doing what they believe popes should do. [Never mind that one of the things that converts have to figure out when they enter the Church is precise “what Popes should do”.]

And if the many retweets of my retweet of Winters’s complaint is anything to go by, many share his view not just that this stance is not just incongruous, but annoying, because rather than consider the possibility that there may be something deficient in their own view of the Church and its tradition, they prefer to assume that it is the successor of St. Peter – chosen by the Holy Spirit in a conclave free from outside interference – who is lacking. [I wish Ivereigh had neater syntax!] [So, the Pope is “chosen by the Holy Spirit”. Non-convert Joseph Ratzinger has a healthier view. Ratzinger, who has more experience of conclaves than Ivereigh, was interviewed by a Bavarian TV network. He was asked:

Your Eminence, you are very familiar with church history and know well what has happened in papal elections…. Do you really believe that the Holy Spirit plays a role in the election of the pope?
RATZINGER:I would not say so in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope, because there are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked. I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.”

Now it is quite possible that elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat and Matthew’s boss Rusty Reno (both former Episcopalians), or, at the rougher end, writers such as Carl Orlson (ex-Protestant fundamentalist) [OLSON – NB: Olson took Ivereigh apart in 2016 for the false claims he made. Ivereigh had said that: ‘Dissenters’ from Amoris laetitia are predominantly wealthy lay people fixated on ‘reason”. Now he is expanding his pool to “neurotic converts”. Read on.] and John Henry Westen (ex-atheist), or indeed ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald and Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register in Rome, are all correct in their readings.

But it is a lot more likely that their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic, and they are suffering from convert neurosis. [His argument boils down to: If you disagree with what I hold, then you are a neurotic who doesn’t understand the Holy Spirit – like I do.]

A neurosis is a pathological or extreme reaction to something that simply doesn’t correspond to reality. A war-scarred victim, for example, might react to a friendly cop’s question by throwing herself on the ground and covering her ears. You understand why she does it, but it’s neurotic. [How unbelievably condescending and insensitive.] [I could give a more immediate example of neurosis - almost all of Jorge Bergoglio's pet theories about poverty and war and terrorism, none of which corresponds to reality!]

I began to notice this reaction among former Anglicans during the synods of 2014-15. A friend, a Catholic priest, told me he had seen these kinds of arguments before in the Church of England, and they always ended badly; and that he hadn’t joined the Catholic Church to go through it all again. He was deeply disturbed by what he imagined was happening, fueled by Douthat’s predictions of a schism and his dark warning that the pope “may be preserved from error only if the Church itself resists him.” [Remember what happened during the Synods of 2014-15? The sorts of things that Ivereigh wants to happen, probably including “rigging” so that the process marginalizes those who hold fast and serves a predetermined outcome.

And there has indeed been a time when the resisting Church helped a Pope to avoid heresy. The Avignon Pope John XXII (+1334) publicly taught in sermons that the souls of the just, even after Purgatory, would not enjoy the Beatific Vision until after the resurrection of the flesh following the General Judgment. Many (read: “the Church”) resisted this false teaching to the point that John XXII corrected himself. And it was a hard fought process, too, that did not involve papolatry or toadies.

No less than the historian and late Archbp. of Milan, Bl. Idelfonso Schuster, wrote of the conflict between Pope and faithful that John XXII, “offered the entire Church, the humiliating spectacle of the princes, clergy and universities steering the Pontiff onto the right path of Catholic theological tradition, and placing him in the very difficult situation of having to contradict himself.”

But – remember – according to Ivereigh, John XXII was directly chosen by the Holy Spirit. He would, no doubt, have both been entirely with John before he corrected himself, writing that John’s neurotic opponents didn’t understand the Holy Spirit, and also with John after he corrected himself, saying “See! I told you so!”]

What in fact happened, as was obvious it would to those free of neurosis, was a vigorous good-faith disagreement that resolved in a two-thirds majority vote that laid the basis for an apostolic exhortation. [BIG FAT LIE that even Bergoglio indulges in!] [WHOA! Hang on! Ivereigh has tried this caper before. In 2016 Fr. Murray called him on it. HIvereigh had written: “…everything in Amoris Laetitia – including the controversial Chapter 8 – received a two-thirds majority in a synod that was notoriously frank, open, and drawn out.” Not so.
- First, exquisitely “notorious” was the theft of mail by the Synod’s organizers who illegally removed books delivered through the postal service to members of the Synod.
- Next, and more to the point, when the members of the Synod voted on what should go into the final report to the Holy Father, Paragraph 52 received 104 “yes” (“placet”) votes, and 74 “no” (“non placet) votes. Paragraph 53 received 112 “yes” and 64 “no” votes. They did not receive the required two-thirds approval and thus ought to have been excluded from the final report according to the rules of the synod.
[But the pope, of course, ignored the rules and put them on the agenda for the next synod!]

What Ivereigh said is not only inaccurate, it is a falsehood. After all, the truth has been pointed out to him, but he sticks to his story. Isn’t there a dictum about repeating falsehoods?] [And isn't it the duty of an editor - John Allen, in this case, to interpose a note to indicate that the writer has stated a provable falsehood, and to make the necessary correction??? But Allen, of course, is the quintessential advocacy journalist who believes in allowing demonstrable falsehoods within a news report or a news commentary if it reflects the writer's opinion!]

Amoris Laetitia did not settle forever those disagreements – when do they ever go away? – but provided a basis for the Church to move forward, still one body, while staying faithful to doctrine. [There are those who have asked whether or not Amoris is consistent with the Church’s doctrine.] That’s the difference between disagreeing under a papal magisterium, and disagreeing in the absence of one. [HUH? Does anyone understand that last bit?] [Told you, Ivereigh has a problem - and not just with syntax - but with what he thinks he believes, because if you are confused about what you think you believe, then your language is bound to come out confused!]

Then there is the neurosis of the convert escaping the shifting sands of relativism, who projects onto the Church the idea of something fixed and distant and unchangeable, frozen at some point prior to the Council. This makes them susceptible to the traditionalist Catholic horror not just of the Council’s reforms, but of the very idea of change, as if this could be avoided. [I know a lot of traditionalists. Only a few think that “nothing can change”, and they don’t write anything serious for public consumption. The trads I know do think that things can change. Doctrine, for example, changes in the sense that it deepens and evolves while remain consistent and true with its roots in the Deposit of Faith. However, I suspect that that is not the case for Ivereigh.] [Because the 'deposit of faith' is just a worthless dustbin of history, as far as Bergoglio and his followers are concerned!]

Yet the Church’s tradition has always been made up of the new things brought by the Holy Spirit revealing “new aspects of Revelation,” as Evangelii Gaudium puts it. Francis approaches the past as all popes must do, with discernment, preserving what must be protected, and removing what has become an obstacle to evangelization.[Bullcrap! What evangelization is he doing? It is more like counter-evangelization, but then, what else would an anti-Catholic do???] [Which rings the gong of obsequious flattery. Sorry.]

The Church has always required perpetual conversion in order to recover what has been lost – the centrality of Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and closeness to the concrete lives of ordinary people. Catholics trust the pope to discern what needs to change.

Of course, you don’t need to be a convert to be critical of Francis, and plenty of converts are delighted with him (which is why Bullivant was wrong to think that Winters was getting at converts per se.) But this isn’t about liking or disliking Pope Francis. It’s about an attitude to the papacy on the part of some.
[It is, isn’t it. And, frankly, what he is peddling smacks of unhealthy papolatry.]

A friend in Ireland writes: “I keep seeing people who seem to have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their ideological outlook, whereas when I came back it was a case of doing so because I thought the Church had historical authority to teach things even if they sounded mad or were inconvenient.”

Conversion is an act of humility. It involves a renunciation of sovereignty, the idea that I know best.
[Listen to yourself!] It involves trust – in Jesus Christ, and in His Church, and in the successor of St. Peter – even when they challenge my preconceptions.

This doesn’t mean agreeing with everything a pope says or does: Complaining about popes is nothing new, and anyway, Francis welcomes it.
[Does he?]

But it does mean respecting the office founded by Jesus Christ, and trusting that the Holy Spirit guides its current occupant. That, surely, is a big part of why people become Catholic in the first place. [Again and again, he plays the Holy Spirit card to the point that he comes off as a papolatrous gnostic.[And that's Bergoglian apostasy right there!]

I thought the readers' reactions were just as worthwhile reading:

Ariseyedead says:
To the lukewarm, authentic zeal is always considered a neurosis. As is courage to the cowardly.
scholastica says:
I converted when I saw that the Catholic Church holds the full deposit of Faith as given her by Our Lord Jesus Christ. I do get a bit neurotic when I see her cradle children squander and diminish their inheritance and now mine!
thomistking says:
I know people that don’t like converts; it’s clearly because these converts prick their conscience. They remind these people of their own lukewarm (at best) fidelity to the faith, and that the Catholic faith is the only true religion.
Oxonian95 says:
I’m a convert. I know quite a few converts. And I think I’ve noticed precisely the same thing as Mr Ivereigh: Non-Catholics attracted to the Catholic Church are attracted to it by qualities that Mr Ivereigh finds repellent, and repelled by those qualities that Mr Ivereigh finds attractive. Does Mr Ivereigh find the Holy Spirit at work in conversion? Or did I come to the Church all on my own?
donato2 says:
Maybe this explains why some left-leaning Catholics (including Pope Francis) inveigh (“ivereigh”?) so heavily against proselytizing — it might bring more converts into the Church.
oldconvert says:
The point is that we adult converts chose the Catholic Church. That is why it’s special to us.
KT127 says:
Wow, that’s pretty nasty...I know some people might think these things. Some people might even say them aloud in the heat of the moment. But what kind of neurosis causes someone to write it down and publish it for all the world to see?
rayrondini says:
I suppose the obvious question to ask is: What did Mr. Ivereigh have to say at the publication of Summorum Pontificum or Universae Ecclesiae?
[Fr Z: I have no doubt but that he said, “Pope Benedict – the Pope – did it, therefore it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. We have to live up behind behind his Holy Spirit guided decision.]
Giuseppe says:
“[Ross is a “angry, vociferous critic”? Has he ever met Ross Douthat or heard him speak?] I DoubtThat.
JustaSinner says:
Count me as a convert then… Many of my fellow cradle Catholics haven’t darkened the door to a Church this millennium! And don’t most of them work for such’publications’ as the fishwrap and other heretical rags?
Charles E Flynn says:
From Musings on the gift and grace of conversion, by Carl E. Olson, for the Catholic World Report: All of us are converts, for all of us are being converted. Or should be. So stop using the term “converts” as an ideological stick."
Back pew sitter says:
I thank God for the converts we have who love God and the Church.
Andrew1054 says:
His assertion that converts shouldn’t have a voice is akin to saying immigrants shouldn’t have a say about their newly adopted countries. There are no second class citizens in democracies and there are no second class members in the Body of Christ. I converted 26 years ago. Does my opinion not matter as much as a cradle Catholic? Poppycock!

St. John the Baptist deals with this attitude quite clearly in Matthew 3:9. What he says there applies well to smug cradle Catholics. God does not care about whether you were born into the Faith. He cares whether you practice the Faith. Birth claims mean very little.

And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”

Papabile says:
You miss the ball on why Ivereigh wouldn’t care about John XXII...
You see, it’s an entirely different Church after 1965. The previous Church of the sullied accretions is dead. It wasn’t the Church anyway. We have finally re-found the Church.

Rich says:
Ivereigh holds a rather rigid view of how exactly the Holy Spirit would lead one to think and express his or her faith as a Catholic. It is so restrictive as to be, dare I say, quite neurotic.
Kostadinov says:
'Chosen by the Holy Spirit in a conclave free from outside interference'? Mr Ivereigh himself boasted in a book about Team Bergoglio campaigning in the last conclave… How to reconcile these two statements? Spirit of surprises? Of VII?

[Fr Z: Caught in his own special pleading.]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/12/2017 1:41 AM]
8/12/2017 2:12 AM
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'Conversion of St Paul', Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1682; 'Baptism of St. Augustine', Louis de Boullogne (Le jeune),1700.

Considering that two of the greatest converts in the history of the Church are St Paul and St Augustine, I really do not understand why any Catholic would harbor any biases about converts - who did not have the convenience and privilege of being born Catholic - but chose to become Catholic, with all the weight of reason, responsibility and true conviction that it meant for them. Yet here we have Bergoglians attacking converts in general - even if both Ivereigh and Massimo Faggioli (who wrote a similar article) make it clear they refer to contemporary converts who don't happen to agree with Bergoglio's anti-Catholic positions!

I was going to credit John Allen for running an article replying to Austen Ivereigh's poisonous philippic (pardon the oxymoron) about converts but I see that this post by Fr. Longenecker was not a reply to Ivereigh but to the jeremiad on the same subject by the equally insufferable 'Maximum Beans' in yet another progressivist frankly 'spirit of Vaitcna II' outlet, Commonweal:

Stop bashing converts, and
accept us as we are — warts and all

The English convert Ronald Knox observed that converts are rather like a bird that has got into a cocktail party.
All the guests are delighted that it is there, but they haven’t a clue what to do about it.

by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
August 10, 2017

A few weeks ago, Father Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit priest, co-wrote an article commenting on American Catholicism. The gist of it was that conservative Catholics were in league with Protestant preachers to push theocracy.

The article was much criticized for its ignorance of the culture, history and politics of the American church. In a withering comment, one critic said Spadaro’s piece “failed to rise to the level of mediocrity.”

This week in Commonweal, another Italian, Massimo Faggioli, who is a professor at Villanova University, weighs in on American conservatives, but this time in an extended analysis and critique of “conservative converts.” As a convert with conservative instincts, it seems fair to comment on Faggioli’s observations and opinions.

First, there is much that is interesting in Faggioli’s article. He acknowledges that the wave of Protestant conversions to
Catholicism is a unique phenomenon, and he compares it to other movements in the church: sects like the Waldensians, the rise of religious orders, and the post Vatican II ecclesial movements.

He thinks the tide of converts is a unique kind of movement - one which is real, but which defies any sort of classification or official recognition. He then goes on to chide those conservative converts who criticize the very church they’ve joined. He thinks they are nostalgic for a medieval church or a pre-Vatican II church.

Like Spadaro, Faggioli is writing from the observation tower, not the trenches. As a result, he may see the big picture while missing the detail. The movement of conservative Protestants to the Catholic Church is in some ways simpler than Faggioli’s observations, and in some ways more complex.

I was brought up in a conservative Evangelical home in the 1960s. At college, I became an Anglican and went to study theology at Oxford. After fifteen years in the Church of England we converted to Catholicism. I then worked for eight years with the St. Barnabas Society - an English apostolate that assists convert clergy materially and pastorally.

I wrote some books on apologetics and Benedictine spirituality, and eventually returned to the United States to be ordained as a Catholic priest. I now serve in South Carolina, and know many fellow conservative Catholic converts. I take the phone calls of ministers on the far bank of the Tiber ready to take the plunge. I meet even more laypeople who are joyful converts, and every year as a pastor, I welcome more into our church.

What should not be overlooked is the immense price, especially the clergy converts pay to become Catholic. Most of them sacrifice their vocation and livelihood, taking their wives and families into the wilderness. Most will not be re-ordained as Catholic priests. There are few employment opportunities in the Catholic church and many of them have no other skills or training.

These are men and women with advanced degrees in every imaginable subject, who take whatever job they can get to feed their family. They take a step of faith to follow Christ’s call to join his church through amazing sacrifices that very few cradle Catholics would ever begin to contemplate. Their courage and commitment should not be ignored.

It must be admitted that a few converts have not only become traditionalists, but strident and vocal traditionalists. Their influence should not be judged by their volume. Their fanaticism has more to do with their temperament than the fact that they are converts. This is clear from the fact that there are many strident traditionalists who are cradle Catholics.

In my work with converts, I have, of course, come across those who want to become Catholics because they don’t like women priests or gay marriage, or the secular modernism that has swamped their Protestant denomination. But those who are simply reacting against elements they dislike in their own denomination usually do not manage to swim the Tiber.

Others, finding that there are feminist nuns, gay activists and modernists in the Catholic church are dismayed. When the aesthetes among them experience the brutal architecture, saccharine music and poor preaching of contemporary American Catholicism they often quietly return to their 'church of good taste'.

When the zealous Evangelical Christians discover that the contemporary American Catholic church is full of lukewarm members who are more Italian or Irish than they are Catholic, they are disturbed. They were used to Christians being sold out for Jesus, and being members of a fired-up fellowship of Christian disciples.

What Faggioli misses is the core reason why we converted. There is a bottom line. We did not convert because we were miserable in our former church. Soon after I became a Catholic, someone asked, “Well, now that you’re Catholic do you like the Catholic Church?” I replied, “No. If I were joining a church I liked, I’d still be an Anglican. I didn’t join the Catholic Church because I liked it. I joined it because it is the true Church.”

While the cradle Catholic of a sophisticated disposition may be amused by such triumphalism, it remains true that we converted because we were convinced of the claims of the Catholic Church to be the foundation rock for Christian belief and practice. This doesn’t mean that we are all hard-line dogmatists, but it does mean that we believe there is a place to stand in the midst of the quicksand.

Some converts turn tail, but the vast majority who come into the Catholic Church stay put. They roll up their sleeves and get involved in their parish. Despite being marginalized, they have persevered and joined religious orders, been ordained, become theologians, Bible scholars, apologists, writers and journalists.
- They have founded apostolates for evangelization and apologetics, worked to establish the Anglican ordinariate and formed organizations for the care of fellow converts.
- They have started schools, established ecumenical conversations on culture and politics, and formed apostolates to further peace, justice and defend human life.

It is discouraging therefore, to find how many members of the hierarchy and the Catholic academic establishment are quietly dismissive of converts. It is also discouraging to hear stories about members of the clergy and episcopate who first of all can’t imagine why anyone would want to become a Catholic, who seem almost totally ignorant of Protestantism and uncertain what to do with us once we’ve arrived.

Worse, there have been too many cases of converts being intentionally marginalized and excluded by the powers that be.

The English convert Ronald Knox observed that converts are rather like a bird that has got into a cocktail party. All the guests are delighted that it is there, but they haven’t a clue what to do about it.

While Faggioli makes interesting comments on the conversion of Protestants as a movement in the church, the one movement he fails to mention is the ecumenical movement. What this wave of conversions really points to, is the success of the Second Vatican Council’s push towards church unity.

I can speak for myself and many others in affirming that if it had not been for the liturgical changes and the positive words about Protestants in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, it would have been far more difficult for me to enter the Church.

Put simply, as an Anglican minister, I asked myself what I could do to further church unity, and I decided that I would become a Catholic.
It would seem most accurate therefore, to see the conversion movement as part of the ecumenical movement. This will also help Catholics understand what gifts the converts bring to the Church. There are great treasures in the Protestant churches, and we bring those gifts with us to enrich the Catholic Church.

We also bring experience. Most of us have seen our former Protestant denominations destroyed from within by secular modernism. If we are sometimes critical of our fellow Catholics it is not because we are unaccepting of the Second Vatican Council. Instead we are critical of those who use “the spirit of Vatican 2” to embrace all the same agenda items that have destroyed the life and witness of our former Protestant churches.

Therefore, those who think the ecumenical movement is a good thing should take some time not only to engage in theological dialogue with friendly Protestants, but should also study the continued disintegration of mainstream Protestantism, ask why this is happening, and take it as a cautionary tale.

What to do about Protestant converts? My advice is to accept us as we are - warts and all. It is true that we sometimes display the gaucherie of the novice. Try to excuse our enthusiasm if it embarrasses you. If we are guilty of bad manners out of ignorance, be a good host and look the other way. If we have not yet attained your level of intellectual sophistication or European savoir faire, be patient as you would with a dull, but charming child.

We want to learn from our new Church, but we humbly suggest that there may be something you can learn from us too.

The fact is, we converts love our Church. Do we grumble about the contemporary Catholic Church sometimes. Sure. Don’t you? Isn’t that what family members do?

One of the most popular catchphrases of the contemporary Church is “All are welcome.” Surely that includes the wave of conservative converts from Protestantism.

Fr. Finigan on his blog had this to say:

Cradle Catholic snobbery
as ridiculous as any other kind

by Fr. Tim Finigan
August 10, 2017

It was not until my first year at University that I became aware that some converts were unhappy about making a qualitative distinction between converts and cradle Catholics. I was told that the comparison was usually to the disadvantage of the converts.

Until then, I had just admired converts because they had found their way to the faith and taken the trouble to go through whatever steps were deemed necessary in their local parish before being received into the Church.

Newman, Chesterton, Knox: Converts whose extraordinary writings constitute a treasure for the Church.

My youthful reading included John Henry Newman, GK Chesterton and Ronald Knox, all of whom I enjoyed immensely; they helped me to have a certain reverence for the category of people “converts” and it simply would not have occurred to me to think of someone as a second class citizen in the Church as a result of their having made a conscious adult decision to join it.

Later, I came to understand how much of a price some converts had paid in their family and social lives for becoming Catholic. As a priest, I have had the privilege of knowing many former Anglican clergy and the difficulties that they experienced. It made me warmly welcome the establishment of the Ordinariate.

As a young student, I first thought that complaints about the distinction between cradle Catholics and converts were over-sensitive, but my earlier life had sheltered me from snobbery which I only ever knew from caricatures of it in television. Coming up against it occasionally in young adult life was a shock, whether it was me or someone else who was the target.

I suppose that some cradle Catholics do actually regard converts with disdain, in the ridiculous way that some of those who have inherited large amounts of money look down on those who have worked hard and made their own fortune.

Like all analogies, the comparison with new and inherited money is limited. Nobody who makes their way into the household of the faith has lacked the help of God’s grace. Converts will tell their often fascinating stories of how both providence and actual graces have surprised, challenged, and delighted them at different times.

At the same time, cradle Catholics cannot simply rest on what they have been given: of course they give thanks for their parents who baptised them and brought them up in the faith, but they have also had to remain true to that faith despite obstacles, and not become part of the vast company of the lapsed.

Some converts are indeed zealous and enthusiastic about the faith, but that should not be surprising to cradle Catholics: it should be a call to examine one’s conscience. And the last time I looked, Canon 212.3 does not have any clause excluding those who came into the Church in adult life.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/12/2017 2:48 AM]
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Who is really guilty of an infelicitous 'ecumenism of hate' as Spadaro-Figueroa put it? Classic failure on the part of Bergoglians to see the massive beam obstructing their mind's eye while spotting the faintest mote in other's eyes!

EWTN and the Register part
of 'the ecumenism of hate'?

Politics is what motivates these intemperate accusations

by Father Raymond J. de Souza, SJ

August 11, 2017

Is the work of the National Catholic Register, and its parent apostolate, EWTN, advancing an “ecumenism of hate” in which “Catholic integralists” and “evangelical fundamentalists” seek to subordinate the Gospel to a right-wing political agenda?

That’s the remarkable charge made by some thinkers close to Pope Francis and their most enthusiastic supporters. Such people, in Christian charity, should be ignored; and, if the quality of their analysis alone were the only relevant criterion, its manifest mediocrity would mandate just that. But when such figures are such prominent interpreters of the current pontificate, they cannot be ignored.

Last month, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, confidant of the Holy Father, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Protestant pastor personally chosen by Pope Francis to be the editor-in-chief of the new Argentinean edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, authored an essay arguing that what they consider to be the hate-filled politics of the Trump administration has its roots in an unholy alliance between “Evangelical Fundamentalism” and “Catholic Integralism.”

The essay appeared in La Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuit journal published in Rome that warrants attention because its pages are reviewed in advance by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Father Spadaro is the journal’s editor.

The essay has produced a great number of critical responses, including from R.R. Reno of First Things, writing in these pages. I had my say twice at Crux, both on substance and style. Other commentators also weighed in, including George Weigel and Robert Royal.

Those responses have argued that the analysis provided by Father Spadaro and Pastor Figueroa is not an accurate reading of America’s religious history over the past century. The essay was particularly weak in selecting as the Catholic example of this “ecumenism of hate” the website “Church Militant,” which by any account represents a tiny minority in the United States.

Father Spadaro and Figueroa, having made an outrageous claim using an incendiary and inaccurate example, were then supported by liberal American commentators claiming that the “ecumenism of hate” problem had actually infected this newspaper.

Michael Sean Winters, writing at the National Catholic Reporter, began with Church Militant and ended up with us:

That kind of militaristic, and profane, language is not uncommon at right-wing Catholic websites, all of which feed into the mainstream through less outrageous, but decidedly conservative, media outlets like EWTN and the National Catholic Register.

EWTN is a kind of gateway drug for conservative Catholics: You may start by watching Raymond Arroyo interview Sebastian Gorka for the umpteenth time or reading Father de Souza explain how Trump’s speech in Poland was “faith-filled” and go no further, just as some people smoke weed and that is enough. But for others, EWTN or the Register lead you into the snake pit of truly whacky conservative Catholic media

Writing at Crux, another commentator, Steven Krueger — president of Catholic Democrats, a partisan organization that grew out of the “Catholics for Obama” project in the 2008 and 2012 elections — claimed that the unholy alliance began under the auspices of the late Father Richard John Neuhaus and the late Charles Colson:

There’s an evangelical/Catholic alliance that has evolved over time and was first codified in 1994 with the signing of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.” In 2004, The New York Times reported that “Catholic and evangelical leaders who forged relationships in the anti-abortion movement … are now working side by side in campaigns on other culture-war issues, and for Republican candidates.”

George Weigel responded to the nonsense that Evangelicals and Catholics Together, one of the most serious theological dialogues on the ecumenical front anywhere, was somehow a partisan political initiative.

What is to be made of such intemperate accusations, portraying the late Father Neuhaus or Mother Angelica as providers of a “gateway drug” that intoxicates conservative Catholics with hate-filled attitudes and lamentable politics?

It is politics. [I think, more appropriately, ideology, which really underlies most politics across the spectrum.]

Father Spadaro, Figueroa, Winters, Krueger and others are preoccupied with politics. The very term “integralism” in the original essay is used to characterize an approach to religion and politics that sees, historically, the state subject to the control of the church, or at least in active cooperation with it. The claim now made is that new Catholic “integralists” in the United States have made their faith subordinate to Republican Party politics.

One can understand why Catholics of a left-leaning political bent would be frustrated. For several generations, the intersection of religion and politics in America has been around a set of issues — the right to life, marriage and family and religious liberty — that have aligned religious voters with more conservative politics.

A key priority of Pope Francis has been to highlight issues that would shift religious voters toward the political left — increased immigration, climate change and redistributive economics.

That project should bring Spadaro et al confidence, but, instead, we see a lashing out and a flailing about in the face of supposedly shady enemies engaged in nefarious coalitions.

It brings to mind the unhinged nature of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens, who devoted his considerable intelligence to spewing forth vicious attacks on Mother Teresa. While the substance of the attacks was easily dismissed, it was the fever of the attacker that remained notable.

And one might simply ask: Whose fault is it that religious voters find liberal political options so unwelcoming?

There is a long tradition, not only in the United States, of what has been called the “social gospel,” the application of Christian principles to politics in a progressive vein. It has a venerable history and could claim the abolition of slavery, the anti-poverty programs of the welfare state, the civil-rights movement and universal health care as part of that history.

How did liberal politics move — above all, with its embrace of abortion — toward the place where an American president sought to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptives in their health plans? Is that not an example, for Catholics who prefer liberal politics, of precisely the subordination of faith to politics that Father Spadaro and Figueroa lament?

The Spadaro/Figueroa essay and its aftermath is most curious. At precisely the moment when those on the Catholic left have the enthusiastic encouragement of the Holy Father, there is a desperate name-calling of those with whom they disagree.

When they should be confident in the persuasiveness of their arguments, they have resorted instead to (falsely) discrediting others. Indeed, as they analyze the dark motivations of others, one might ask why they are so insecure.
[Why indeed! They ought to be manifesting the smug confidence and triumphalism that goes with hubris.]

I thought I had posted this second reaction from George Weigel to the Bergoglio attack dogs Spadaro and Figueroa... Turns out I never got to transfer it from the WORD document where I try to do all the preliminary work before posting.

Ecumenism, influence-envy,
and the real Manichaean division

The honest engagement of differences in service to evangelical vigor
is not advanced by the systematic misrepresentation of others’ views,
by the puerile bullying of bishops, or by indulging in spasms of influence-envy.

By George Weigel

August 9, 2017

Defending the indefensible is never pretty. Or so we’re reminded by recent attempts from the portside of the Catholic commentariat to defend the madcap analysis of America’s alleged “ecumenism of hate” that appeared last month in the Italian Catholic journal, La Civiltà Cattolica(edited by the Jesuits of Rome and published after vetting by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See).

The more sober-minded defenders admit that the article, jointly authored by Fr. Anthony Spadaro, SJ, and Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, contains errors of fact and tendentious interpretations of recent history – but then go on to suggest that it raises important questions. How, though, are serious questions raised, much less clarified or answered, by falsifications of both history and contemporary reality?

Other defenders of the Spadaro/Figueroa article, less chastened by the self-evident fact that the article would receive a thumping “F” in a freshman religious studies course at any reputable college, have taken the occasion of the article to scrape their various boils and indulge in the very Manichean division of the ecclesial world into children of light and children of darkness that the article condemns.

One of these boils involves a project I helped launch and in which I’ve been engaged for over two decades: the study group known as “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.”

A post Spadaro-Figueroa editorial in the National Catholic Reporter charged that
- ECT, as it’s widely known, is a prominent example of “Catholic complicity in the politicization of faith;”
- the participants in the original ECT statement, from which the study group takes its name, were on the “outer conservative edges” of their communities “before the landscape fades to irrational extremes;” and t
- the original statement “ill-served” Catholics, evangelical Protestants, the cause of the Gospel, and the health of American public life.

Moreover, the NCR grimly warns “bishops and those who staff their offices” against conceding to “the visions of ideologues in think-tanks and institutes with an absolutist and narrow agenda.” For in doing so (by, presumably, embracing the ECT agenda) these bishops and staff “have squandered their standing and credibility in the wider culture.”

Oh, dear. Where to begin?

ECT is an ongoing project, which has now produced nine joint statements, with a tenth, an explanation of Christianity to its contemporary cultured despisers, coming soon.
- Five of the first nine — on justification, Scripture, the communion of saints, the universal call to holiness, and the Blessed Virgin Mary — were entirely theological in character and had nothing to do with political controversies.
- Those that touched on contested issues – the statements on the sanctity of life, on religious freedom, and on marriage—set the discussion of public policy in an explicitly biblical and theological context (as, indeed, did the initial ECT statement the Reporter editorial deplores).

The five theological statements measure up well against similar documents from other ecumenical dialogues of the past half-century; an honest Catholic liberal, Notre Dame’s Lawrence Cunningham, recommended all the ECT statements for “the pertinence of their concerns and the sophistication of their theological argument.”

From the very outset of our joint work, ECT participants have made it clear that we speak from and to our various Churches and ecclesial communities, not for them. We have also scrupulously described our differences, with a concern for expressing the “other’s” views accurately.

But don’t just take my word for it. Get the book that collects the first nine ECT documents and explains both the genesis of the project and of each statement: Evangelicals and Catholics Together at Twenty: Vital Statements on Contested Issues, edited by Timothy George and Thomas G. Guarino (Brazos Press). Read it. Then compare what you read with the NCRep editorial.

In his June address to the U.S. bishops, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, appealed for a Church that listens more, “even to those with whom we disagree,” because the honest engagement of differences helps us all “propose the…Gospel in a more persuasive, life-changing way.” True enough.

The honest engagement of differences in service to evangelical vigor is not advanced, however, by the systematic misrepresentation of others’ views, by the puerile bullying of bishops, or by indulging in spasms of influence-envy.

Moreover, the Nuncio’s welcome appeal to become a Church of missionary disciples — Pope Francis’s “Church permanently in mission” [What does he mean by 'mission' though, since he – and his fellow progressivists and ecumenicalists, appear to have replaced Christ's mandate to "Go forth and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" with inter-religious dialog, i.e., "Go forth and talk to each other but take care not to profess the Catholic faith, much less insist on it as the one true way to salvation!"]— will only be answered if we see today’s challenging, but evangelically exciting, situation clearly; and such clarity of vision requires something other than lenses ground in the 1970s.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/12/2017 4:22 AM]
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August 11, 2017


For now, I shall merely post the link to the story behind C212's banner headline today
but would like instead to highlight Fr. Stravinskas's essay on what it will take to really resist the global imperialist vision of Islam.

Without Christian witness and culture,
the West cannot resist Islam

Decades ago, Hilaire Belloc prognosticated that Europe would become easy prey
to Islamization because 'it has forgotten its nature in forgetting its religion'

By Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas

August 10, 2017

Back in 1991, while visiting a Roman museum, I got into a conversation with an employee, who expressed dismay that Pope John Paul II had called for support for the massive migration into Italy of disaffected Albanians. The woman exclaimed: “Pretty soon Italy will be a Muslim country.”

Having noticed a wedding ring, I asked if she had any children, to which she replied: “We have a French poodle!” “Ah, Madam,” said I, “there’s your problem: Muslims have ten children, while Italians have French poodles.”

I proceeded to predict that there would be no future version of the Battle of Lepanto or Battle of Vienna; the real war for Europe will be demographic – and the hand-writing has been on the wall for decades. God is always ready to forgive; Mother Nature never forgives.

In 2010, The Catholic Response [magazine of which Fr. Stravinskas is the editor] sponsored a pilgrimage to England for the beatification of Cardinal Newman. We arrived in Birmingham the night before the event. As I assisted the concierge with room assignments for our group, I remarked that I was stunned at how visible was the Muslim presence in the city, at the time already more than 40% of the population.

The young man (a Prince William look-alike, with the bulk of the genetic code going to the face and not much penetrating to the intellect) responded: “Well, I suppose we shall just have to be tolerant!”

I pressed on: “I don’t know how much history you have read, but ‘tolerance’ does not appear often in the Islamic lexicon. In point of fact, from the seventh century forward, there is a consistent trail of death and destruction.”

“Heavy talk for check-in, wouldn’t you say?” came the reply. Ignorance of history and denial of reality.

Just a few months ago, a Catholic school teacher in the Diocese of Orlando was accused of “hate speech” because he assigned his students a reading from St. John Bosco on the nature of Islam. A very ill-informed, politically correct but theologically ignorant low-level diocesan bureaucrat called for his removal. She went so far as to suggest that the teacher was actually promoting heresy by sharing the insights of Don Bosco who, quite obviously, had not taken the same course in inter-religious dialogue as she! Fortunately, due to a nationwide public outcry and the direct intervention of the Bishop, the teacher has had his contract renewed.

What do these three scenarios have in common? A lack of understanding of the theology and history of Islam and an equal lack of appreciation for the truth and power of the Catholic Faith, when properly lived. Let’s try to unravel some of this.

Seventy-nine years ago, the indomitable Hilaire Belloc wrote The Great Heresies. Within that category, to the amazement of many a reader, he named Islam. Most commentators tend to regard Islam as a new religion appearing in the seventh century. Belloc thought otherwise.

He maintained – and demonstrated very convincingly – that Islam is a heretical spin-off of Christianity. In actuality, the principal doctrines of Islam are appropriations of Old Testament teachings assumed into Christianity: the unicity of God, His transcendence, human immortality, divine justice and mercy. It denies, with a passion, all the “distinctives” of Christianity because, it seems, the Christians Mohammed encountered were Nestorians – themselves Christian heretics.

Islamic theology is very simple: easy to understand and easy to practice. That said, having traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa, I must say that the level of theological ignorance of the average Muslim is even greater than that of the average Catholic!

How did Islam expand so rapidly, especially in Christian strongholds like North Africa? Belloc puts it succinctly: “It won battles.” Further, he prognosticated that Europe would become easy prey to Islamicization because “it has forgotten its nature in forgetting its religion.”

As the European Union was being finalized, Pope John Paul II pleaded with the leaders to acknowledge – even in a sentence or two – the Christian roots of Europe. He was roundly ignored. Belloc saw in this attitude (already in place in his time) a European death wish which would result in “the return of Islam.”

Belloc wasn’t Madame Zelda on the boardwalk gazing into tea leaves or crystal ball; he was merely an astute student of history and human nature. I don’t think he would take delight in saying to his European descendants, “I told you so!”

How else does Islam gain adherents, even suicide bombers? By highlighting the immorality of the secularized (pagan) West. Abortion, artificial contraception, same-sex “marriage”, pornography and gender theory are all abhorrent to “People of the Book” – or should be. Yet are those not the sacred cows of all liberal western democracies – constituting “the Great Satan”?

As horrifying and despicable as the various ISIS-inspired attacks are, can we admit that much of what presents itself as “modern” culture is repugnant to the God of Revelation?
- Long before Charlie Hebdo in Paris made the fatal mistake of caricaturing Mohammed, it had been spewing blasphemies against Christ and His Church.
- Just before the massacre in the Paris concert hall, a Satanic song had been sung.
- Ariana Grande informed the tween girls at her concert about her sexploits with her latest boyfriend.

What I am saying is just this: If the Christian witness were strong, coherent and consistent, Islam would not gain a foothold.

There is still another matter to address, namely, whether or not violence is promoted or countenanced in the Koran. To be sure, Pope John Paul and President George W. Bush – let alone Pope Francis – constantly asserted that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Do the Koran and the historical record support that assertion?

There are Koranic citations aplenty to encourage violence against “infidels,” and there are texts to counsel living at peace with Jews and Christians. In other words, there are contradictory teachings on a very critical topic. Now, a fair observer would note that there are also apparent contradictions in the Bible. But Catholicism has a magisterium to deal with such situations; Islam does not.

Even more importantly, the Judaeo-Christian Tradition holds up a God of Reason, indeed a God bound to Reason. The God of Islam is totally sovereign, which means that He can declare something good today and evil tomorrow. Not to understand that theological fact of life is to misunderstand in the most profound manner why Christian-Muslim dialogue is so fraught with difficulties. [Benedict XVI, of course, expressed this best and most memorably in the Regensburg lecture:

"...Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature... But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality... Ibn Hazm* went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

*[Ibn Hazm, 992-1064, was one of the great intellects of the Muslim 'Golden Age' in Spain and considered the father of modern religious studies.]

Nothing short of a “reformation” of Islam can confront the problem of violence “in the name of God.” Islamic scholar, Wael Farouq, has made this very appeal. Someone may point to the recent (and welcome) condemnation of the jihadi attacks in the United Kingdom by nearly 200 imams, calling for the denial of religious burial rites for the jihadists. That is all well and good, however, 200 other imams can contradict them.

Where does all this leave us?

Eastern European countries like Hungary and Poland, castigated by the EU for supposed insensitivity to immigrants, have shown the way firstly by strengthening their Christian identity.Interestingly, one does not find jihadist assaults there. [So far, and God forbid!] Poland’s bishops – and national leaders! – even re-dedicated their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

First, Catholics cannot afford to be deluded about the nature of a religion that almost equals Catholicism in number of worldwide adherents. While the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate identifies points of commonality between Islam and Christianity (as it does likewise for Judaism and other religions), that irenic presentation does not pretend to be the full story.

Indeed, contrary to the theologically naive diocesan employee in Florida, there has never been any “official” teaching of the Church on Islam (or on any other religion, for that matter). Pick up Belloc’s book for a solid analysis of Islam, so that you can make an intelligent, informed contribution to much-needed inter-religious conversations; such conversations cannot be conducted in any worthwhile way when we deal with fantasy, instead of reality. Another fine work is 111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil Samir S.J. on Islam and the West.

Second, and most importantly, we must do everything possible to return the secularized West to its Christian roots. That will happen one believer at a time. Our commitment to a biblical way of life will be the best response to Islamic extremism. After all, didn’t Our Lord tell us: “When a strong man, fully arms, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace” (Lk 11:21)?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/13/2017 3:44 PM]
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This is the latest rehash of a hypothesis first made explicit in a recent article that identified the Obama administration as having been responsible for Benedict XVI's resignation, and as neatly as these proponents may have tried to line up their ducks, all it proves is that the pressures they mention may have been applied - and they could well have been - but not that they caused Benedict XVI to give up the papacy.

He did not do that in 2009-2010 despite the overt relentless campaign by the media giants AP, The New York Times and Der Spiegel to get him to resign with their continuing attempts to show his direct or indirect personal involvement in sex abuse scandals, which they failed to do. Then why would the threats to IOR - when there have been so many more grave and real scandals that had faced the IOR before Benedict's time - force him to resign?

Why is it so difficult for grown men to accept that an 85-year-old man - who already had many of the infirmities associated with advanced age - chose to resign the most exacting position a man could occupy, once he realized he could no longer serve his ministry with the unstinted excellence that he had always brought to his service to the Church? Why insist on a sinister ulterior motive if they can present nothing plausible to prove it? Would they insist on such an ulterior motive if their own father chose to retire any regular job because of advanced age???? This is all unmitigated silliness and a waste of time.

Democrat fingers in the Vatican pie:
Did Obama force Benedict’s abdication?

[Which is retrospectively giving Obama more clout than he really had!]

by Alessandro Rico

August 11, 2017

On May 17, I published an article in the Italian newspaper La Verità about pope Benedict’s abdication. A few days before, in a renowned Italian geopolitical magazine called Limes, Professor Germano Dottori had argued that Joseph Ratzinger’s 2013 abdication, and the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation in 2011, after a financial storm sold to public opinion as a “public debt” crisis, were the result of pressures on the part of Obama administration in the United States.

According to Dottori, Obama was eager to dethrone Benedict XVI for two reasons. On the one hand, his presidency was close to fundamentalist Islam (de facto fostered by regime change in Libya and Egypt and civil war in Syria, provoked by U.S. former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy design), whereas Ratzinger, ever since his famous Regensburg lecture, had been identified internationally as a strong opponent of Islamism.

On the other hand, Obama was worried about the Church’s reconciliatory efforts toward Moscow’s Orthodox patriarch, within the scope – Dottori wrote – “of a geopolitical project aimed at European-Russian integration, actively supported by Germany and Italy.”

The Obama administration may have resorted to two instruments: fostering scandals within the Church and the Italian government and threatening to drain away Italian and Vatican financial resources.

Italy was at risk of being excluded from international financial markets. The menace against the Vatican was to bar the IOR (Istituto per le Opere di Religione, the Vatican bank) from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network. [And on what grounds could they do that - when the Vatican since 2012, under Benedict XVI, was officially given White List status by the European Council's Moneyval for meeting the financial transparency requirements imposed on national banks????]

Taking as an excuse the fact that the IOR did not abide by international rules of transparency, Deutsche Bank (which runs point-of-sale payment systems in the Vatican and was suspected by Bankitalia of hosting an IOR account where all money earned within the Vatican converged) had been induced to block all ATMs in Vatican City, a service curiously reactivated, Dottori noticed, right after Pope Benedict’s abdication. [NOT TRUE! – And Rico ought to have pointed this out because it is a matter of objective fact. Anyone can go back and check. The ATM hassle was resolved a few days after it had 'developed' on or around New Year's Day 2013, and Benedict did not step down until February 28.]

With regard to this story, it is useful to spend a few more words on an important figure: former president of the IOR Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Chosen by Pope Benedict in 2009 to reform the IOR and bring it back to international standards of transparency, in 2010, Tedeschi was the subject of a money-laundering investigation.

Notice how suspicious the events look: two years after the beginning of the inquiry, in 2012, Tedeschi was fired from his office; in 2014, after Pope Benedict’s resignation, Rome’s judge dismissed the inquiry and all allegations against Tedeschi; in 2015, in an interview with The Catholic Herald, Tedeschi declared that he had been kicked out by the IOR’s board of directors because of his intention to make radical reforms

And in a 2012 interview released to the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, Tedeschi had already revealed that in those months, he was so scared of being assassinated that he had written down a secret report on the IOR. (According to my sources, he had written his will as well.) The secret report had been entrusted to two of Tedeschi’s close friends as a sort of insurance policy on his own life. Tedeschi stated that he had discovered “something scary” [NOT TRUE, either. At the time, I was following Tedeschi's travails closely, and took care to post all the relevant reports for the record. I do not recall he ever used those words] and had engaged a struggle against the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was resolutely opposing any disclosure of the IOR’s secret archives to Italian authorities. [Tedeschi's differences with Bertone started way before that. Although it was Bertone who had hired him to be the president of the IOR, Tedeschi fell out of his graces when he became Benedict XVI's principal consultant on the financial transparency reforms he legislated in December 2010 – some features of which curtailed the authority of the Secretariat of State on the financial activities of the various Vatican agencies. Indeed, one year later, Bertone managed to regain some of that authority by getting amendments thatTedeschi insisted weakened the intended reform. And how Bertone managed that is another lamentable example of how, in so many ways, Benedict XVI indulged his persistent blind spot about Bertone, a spot that resisted even the good counsel of friends like Cardinal Meisner who saw Bertone's weaknesses.]

If you connect Tedeschi’s story to Dottori’s claim regarding financial blackmail enacted against the Vatican Bank in order to pressure Pope Benedict, you might suspect that Tedeschi was well aware that obscure forces, from within and without the Vatican, were swarming, and that his opposition to those influences was probably the cause of his misfortunes. [This whole chain of conjectures presented here may well be plausible or even true, but surely, Dottori and Rico cannot be making the preposterous claim that Tedeschi's problems also 'pushed' Benedict into renouncing the papacy!]

Dottori’s considerations should be taken with a grain of salt. For instance, his interpretation of Berlusconi’s government crisis in 2011 is slightly in contrast with the prevailing reading, which assigns responsibility to German chancellor Angela Merkel and French former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Moreover, it has to be noticed that the Obama administration’s main concern was unlikely to be Ratzinger’s ideological opposition to radical Islam. It is probably more useful to focus on the Russian question.

[And more CONJECTURE, CONJECTURE, CONJECTURE! Assuming most or even all of these conjectures cited above and to be cied below are valid, []b]all they try to show is why the Obama-Clinton clique considered Benedict XVI persona non grata, but not how they could conceivably and plausibly have 'pressured' him other than the generic financial 'threats' hypothesized above. Except for one wishful-thinking-from-Mars statement below by Rico, I shall not bother to comment on the rest of this item.]

On the one hand, the perspective of a tighter political integration between Europe and Russia, supported by the Catholic Church for the sake of the construction of a sort of religious “conservative front,” was a cause of anxiety for Obama and Clinton. The role of the pope could be that of a trait d’union (literally, a hyphen) between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin – as a German, and as a moral leader, Benedict XVI could mediate to ease friction between two politicians joined by a love-hate relationship, but whose intentions, beyond all, were to deepen the ties between their countries.

That the United States backed Ukraine’s revolt against the pro-Russian government there and supported civil war in Donbas region (the Obama administration’s involvement was denounced by Foreign Affairs in 2014), and that they sabotaged the project for the South Stream pipeline (with the help of Senator John McCain, who literally threatened Bulgaria’s prime minister and obtained his withdrawal from the project), is proof that Democrats were willing to do anything they could to prevent a closer political and economic partnership between Europe and Russia. In this sense, Berlusconi, Putin’s (and Libyan dictator Gaddafi’s) personal friend, was a troublesome individual.

On the other hand, the Obama administration was likely to be frightened by Pope Benedict’s conservative stance on the liturgy, morals, and politics. A conservative pope, in a moment when the Church’s aid was no more required to fight communism in the Soviet Union – and Russia was becoming a conservative nation – could mean an undesired, and politically dangerous, rightist breakthrough for American Catholics and an unseen convergence between religious conservatives in the U.S. and Russia.

That Obama’s fear was well informed is apparent, since Donald Trump won the Catholic vote in the 2016 election in spite of a progressive pope who almost openly endorsed Hillary Clinton, and despite Catholics’ leftward turn in the two previous elections of 2008 and 2012.

In this light, one may also interpret the recent article in La Civiltà Cattolica (a journal whose content has to be supervised by the papacy for publication) that attacked the allegiance between Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States. The message from the Vatican is clear: according to Pope Francis, good American Catholics should vote for Democrats again. Why is the new papacy so worried that conservative Catholics and Protestants might join forces in politics when it favors “inter-religious dialogue” whenever it amounts to unconditional veneration of Lutheranism?

That the Catholic vote was at stake in the Obama administration’s conspiracy against Benedict XVI is also proved by WikiLeaks’ revelations on Hillary Clinton’s right-hand man, John Podesta. His leaked emails showed that he was planning to foster a “Catholic spring,” a revolution intended to supplant conservative sections of the Church and make progressives take over.

Now, try to read against this background the new papacy’s stances on moral and political issues. The Church is almost silent on abortion, the redefinition of marriage, and euthanasia. And it is astonishing that on the question of migrants, Pope Francis is embracing George Soros’s agenda. Do not forget that Soros is one of Clinton’s most generous financiers, with a $11-million donation for her electoral campaign and a $6-million donation from the Soros Foundation to the Clinton Foundation. Soros came up nearly 60 times in John Podesta’s leaked emails. One may admit that such a triangulation among a leftist presidential candidate, a liberal billionaire accused of several political conspiracies in different nations, undesired by the government of his country, and by Israel as well in spite of his Jewish birth, and the Catholic Church’s pope is, to put it lightly, bizarre.

Now, even if Italian journalist Sandro Magister, on August 3, published for L’Espresso an article where he declares that in fact, Pope Francis is still pursuing friendly relations with Russian Orthodoxy – thereby upsetting Catholics in Poland and Ukraine, who would rather look to NATO countries, especially now that the U.S. is governed by Trump – there seems to be a substantial difference between the Russian policies of Popes Benedict and Francis.

The former could at least have been a moral mediator between Europe and Russia for political and economic integration, and he was keen to converge with Russian conservatives as regards religion in society and other moral priorities. Francis, for his part, seems to be moved by concerns for the condition of Christians in Syria, where only Russia has a clear long-term strategy. But apart from formal appreciation from liberal anti-Trump leaders like Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau, or complete outsiders like Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, Pope Francis is internationally isolated [Oh, Mr Rico, wake up! He's very much in bed with the UN and its presumptuous leadership, and you call that 'internationally isolated'???], especially after his ill advised support of Hillary Clinton.

Other commentators have thrown shadows over the Church’s ambiguous connections with American Democrats. On July 4, Piero Laporta published in La Verità an article about Libero Milone, a 67-year-old manager who had been appointed by pope Francis as supervisor of the Vatican’s finances in 2015. His mandate was supposed to last for five years, but in June 2017, he decided to resign after complaining of having his office violated and his computer hacked. However, the true story behind this unexpected resignation might be different.

According to Laporta, Milone was nosing around in the ambiguous maneuvers alleged to have brought about an approximately $1-million donation to Hillary Clinton’s electoral campaign, taken from Peter’s Pence. Rumors about it were already circulating in February 2016, when Laporta gathered leaks by a secret source, ironically called “Pretino” (“Little Priest”), who declared that the Vatican was providing Clinton with financial aid but that Trump would win the election thanks to an FBI investigation against Clinton.

According to Laporta, it is not by chance that at the same time as Milone resigned, Cardinal George Pell was being investigated on allegations of sexual abuse for events that had occurred forty years ago. Someone was trying to divert attention from the Peter’s Pence story, and at the same time was indirectly reassuring all subjects potentially involved in the scandal that silence would be maintained.

Now, while Laporta claims to be “90% sure” of this report, it is much harder to ascertain whether, or to what degree, Pope Francis was aware of a financial and political operation that, nonetheless, was likely to have been buttressed by the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, and to have required the American Apostolic Nunciature’s mediation.

Laporta hypothesizes that during his visit to Rome, in June 2017, President Donald Trump might have had an animated discussion with Pope Francis, as he asked for elucidations on the Church’s aid to Clinton. According to him, the pope’s waxen and scrawny expression in the photographs taken next to the American president was due precisely to their quarrel and to Francis’s embarrassment.

Elucidations are precisely what we need. In the spirit of the letter addressed by The Remnant to Donald Trump, American Catholics should ask their new president to investigate the Obama administration’s involvement in the events that led to Pope Benedict’s abdication. Clarifications would be welcome also on the ambiguous maneuvers between the Holy See and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. These seem to be much more urgent questions than Russophobic hysteria over Trump’s alleged plot with Vladimir Putin.

Anyway, in this troubled time, we should also be confident that the Church has a certain strength its enemies lack: it is bound to survive in spite of herself.
8/12/2017 6:36 PM
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I had thought before reading it that this essay would not pose any problem for me, but it turns out that many parts of it - Mosebach's lamentable view of Benedict's renunciation and his outrageous dismissal of his 'hermeneutic of continuity' - came as a great shock, as Mosebach seems to be damning of Benedict XVI on the whole while offering only faint praise insofar as Summorum Pontificum alone... The entire anti-Benedict 'traddie' bloggers brigade must be raising incense to Mosebach for this.

One shouldn’t speak of a “cult of personality” when describing the papal devotional items that are offered to the hordes of pilgrims and tourists round about Saint Peter’s in Rome: postcards and calendars, coffee cups and silk cloths, plates and plastic gadgets of every kind, always with the picture of the current happily reigning Holy Father—and next to them also those of Popes John Paul II, John XXIII, and even Paul VI.

There is only one pope you will not find in any of the souvenir shops—and I mean none, as if there were a conspiracy here. To dig up a postcard with the picture of Benedict XVI requires the tenacity of a private detective. Imperial Rome knew the institution of damnatio memoriae: the extinction of the memory of condemned enemies of the state. Thus, Emperor Caracalla had the name of his brother Geta — after he had killed him — chiseled out of the inscription on the triumphal arch of Septimius Severus.

It seems as if the dealers in devotional goods and probably also their customers (for the trade in rosaries also obeys the market laws of supply and demand) had jointly imposed such an ancient Roman damnatio memoriae on the predecessor of the current pope. [This is, of course, most disturbing news, and I am surprised no one seems to have reported this at all. Is it possible none of the Vaticanistas have ever bothered to check what the souvenir stores and kiosks around St. Peter's Square are selling? Or if they had been aware of this apparent blackout of Benedict XVI from the memorabilia market, why has no one tried to find out why from the store owners. If they can still sell memorabilia about John XXIII and Paul VI, they surely cannot claim they are not stocking any Benedict XVI items because no one would buy them! Or maybe it's worse – and they will claim no one is making any Benedict XVI items any more!]

It is as if, on this trivial level, should be accomplished that which Benedict himself could not resolve to do after his resignation (disturbing to so many people, profoundly inexplicable and still unexplained) [Et tu, Mosebach??? ... And oh yes, as it turns out, maxime te, Mosebach, especially you!] — namely, to become invisible, to enter into an unbroken silence.

Those especially who accompanied the pontificate of Benedict XVI with love and hope could not get over the fact that it was this very pope who, with this dramatic step, called into question his great work of reform for the Church. [This is preposterous, coming from someone like Mosebach! How can Benedict's retirement 'call into question' any of his achievements in any way? It is almost like saying that the death of a great man 'calls into question' his achievements, even granted that retirement is voluntary and not inevitable like death.]

Future generations may be able without anger and enthusiasm to speak about this presumably last chapter in the life of Benedict XVI. [I take it Mosebach places himself among those who consider Benedict's renunciation with anger!] The distance in time will place these events in a greater, not yet foreseeable order. For the participating contemporary, however, this distance is not available because he remains defenseless in the face of the immediate consequences of this decision.

[If Mosebach means that Benedict's renunciation made it possible for someone like Bergoglio to become pope, surely no Catholic, even the most pessimistic in February 2013 – least of all Benedict XVI himself - ever imagined that his successor would be the anti-Catholic apostate that he is! The fact is none of us ever thought – other than perhaps the Sankt-Gallen mafia and their candidate - that a veritable sea change would be imposed on the Church by whoever was to succeed Benedict XVI.

If Benedict XVI had decided he would carry on as pope until he died, his increasing infirmities – which have been evident to everyone in the past four years – would have become a major weapon for his opponents to bludgeon him with, and through him, the church, using those increasing infirmities as a symbol for the Church he leads.

Let's forget about the symbolism and consider just one scenario, the most immediate imaginable: Think how much Schadenfreude there would be among the enemies of the Church to see a man who can no longer walk without a cane or a walker struggle to preside at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica – before the eyes of the world – when at any moment he could stumble at the altar or fumble with the sacred vessels and the delicate rubrics that come with celebrating the Eucharist.

Would even Mr. Mosebach be comfortable attending a Mass at which at any moment, some misstep or downright 'inelegance' – all involuntary – could detract from its solemnity? I personally have always thought that Benedict XVI who, all his life, was inherently elegant and disciplined, had such practical considerations in mind when he made his decision to renounce his office because of his increasing infirmity.][/dim

To speak about Benedict XVI today means first of all trying to overcome these feelings of pain and disappointment. [GET. OVER. IT.]

All the more so, because during his reign this pope undertook to heal the great wounds that had been inflicted on the visible body of the Church in the time after the Council. [But farther down, Mosebach then pooh-poohs whatever it was Benedict tried to do in this respect!]

The party that had assembled against tradition at the Council viewed the compromise formulas that had settled the conflict in many conciliar documents only as stages in the grand war for the future shape of the Church. The “spirit of the Council” began to be played off against the literal text of the conciliar decisions. Disastrously, the implementation of the conciliar decrees was caught up in the cultural revolution of 1968, which had broken out all over the world. That was certainly the work of a spirit— if only of a very impure one.

The political subversion of every kind of authority, the aesthetic vulgarity, the philosophical demolition of tradition not only laid waste universities and schools and poisoned the public atmosphere, but at the same time took possession of broad circles within the Church. Distrust of tradition, elimination of tradition began to spread in, of all places, an entity whose essence consists totally of tradition—so much so that one has to say the Church is nothing without tradition.

So the postconciliar battle that had broken out in so many places against tradition was nothing else but the attempted suicide of the Church — a literally absurd, nihilistic process. [With all due respect for Mr. Mosebach who has won the most prestigious literary prizes in Germany, I find a most inappropriate metaphor here. How could it have been a 'suicide' by the Church if the process was not at all participated in by the entire Body????]

We all can recall how bishops and theology professors, pastors and the functionaries of Catholic organizations proclaimed with a confident, victorious tone that with the Second Vatican Council a new Pentecost had come upon the Church—which none of those famous Councils of history which had so decisively shaped the development of the Faith had ever claimed.

A “new Pentecost” means nothing less than a new illumination, possibly one that would surpass that received two thousand years ago; why not advance immediately to the “Third Testament” from the Education of the Human Race of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing? In the view of these people, Vatican II meant a break with the Tradition as it existed up till then, and this breach was salutary. Whoever listened to this could have believed that the Catholic religion had found itself really only after Vatican II. All previous generations — to which we who sit here owe our faith — are supposed to have remained in an outer courtyard of immaturity.

To be fair, we should remember that the popes attempted to counter this — with a weak voice and above all without the will to intervene in these aberrations with an organizing hand as the ruler of the Church.

[That is a sweeping generalization that tars the popes Mosebach refers to with the same broad brush:
– Paul VI who lived to immediately regret that he had allowed the smoke of Satan to seep into the Church but who could not then put that infernal genie back into the bottle;
- John Paul II who, for all his larger-than-life personality and 27 years as pope, who had great conviction in the good work of Vatican II, pushed global evangelization through his personal proclamation of the Gospel to 109 countries, but succeeded best (and only) where the spirit of Vatican-II had taken least hold (Africa) and not at all in Latin America where not just that pernicious spirit but liberation theology took root; and whose best pushback against the defective liturgical reform represented by the Novus Ordo was to have priests wishing to say the traditional Mass ask permission of their bishop to do so; and
- Benedict XVI, becoming pope 40 years after the 'spirit of Vatican II' had been left o propagate more or less unfettered throughout the Catholic world except in Africa; who tried his best to reverse that process by insisting on the hermeneutic of continuity, by appointing bishops and cardinals who were in the large majority as orthodox as he is, and by his courageous correction of the great anomaly against the traditional Mass that had been perpetrated for almost forty years until Summorum Pontificum – he at least began a process of turning back to what is right and what has always been right for the Church, but what more could he have done in eight years to overcome the pernicious cumulative effects of the preceding 40 years?

Leo the Great or Gregory the Great might perhaps have done it way back in the days when the world of the Church was mostly southwestern Europe and the Mediterranean, whose Catholics were not instantly and constantly propagandized by 'the world' and wayward Catholic leaders as they are today!

If John Paul II, who will one day probably be formally called 'the Great' as well, failed to contain the smoke of Satan within the Church and dispel it – and he failed not because 'he had a weak voice or lacked the will to intervene in aberrations' as Mosebach accuses these popes, but because historical circumstances no longer allow any kind of immediate course correction with the necessary wide-ranging and lasting effectBenedict XVI, even if he had been given another 20 years as pope at the peak of his capacities (always an impossibility since he was 78 when he was elected), would never have completed the correction either.

And then God willed that someone like Bergoglio became pope, who in four years has managed to stop that work of correction, and is now institutionalizing all the diabolical designs of the 'spirit of Vatican-II', welcoming 'the world' into the Church that is still called the Roman Catholic Church even if daily it becomes more and more subsumed under the church of Bergoglio!

Tell me, Mr. Mosebach – and all you 'traditionalists' who think the last Catholic pope was Pius XII - if you had been pope in place of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, could you have done better than they? Could anyone possibly have done better than they?]

Only a very few individual heresiarchs were disciplined — those who with their arrogant insolence practically forced their own reprimand. But the great mass of the “new-Pentecostals,” unrestrained and protected by widespread networks, could continue to exercise a tremendous influence on the day-to-day life of the Church.

So, for outside observers, the claim that with Vatican II the Church had broken with her past became ever more probable. Anyone accustomed to trusting his eyes and ears could no longer convince himself that this was still the Church that had remained faithful for thousands of years, through all the changes of the ages.

One is reminded of Carl Schmitt's scornful rhyme: Alles fließt, lehrt Heraklit. / Der Felsen Petri, derfliesst mit (“Heraclitus taught that all things flow; the rock of Peter —it is flowing too”).

An iconoclastic attack like the worst years of the Reformation swept through the churches; in the seminaries the “demythologizing of Christianity” à la Bultmann was propagated; the end of priestly celibacy was celebrated as something imminent; religious instruction was largely abandoned, even in Germany, which had been highly favored in this regard; priests gave up clerical attire; the sacred language —which the liturgical constitution of the Council had just solemnly confirmed — was abandoned. All this happened, so it was said [by the local churches who were the agents of the diabolical VII spirit,] to prepare for the future, otherwise the faithful couldn’t be kept in the Church.

The hierarchy argued like the proprietors of a department store, who didn’t want to sit on their wares and so tossed them out to the people at throwaway prices. Regrettably the comparison isn’t exact, for the people had no interest in the discounted products. [One must note that Mosebach is speaking here concretely of what has happened in Germany but seems to be projecting it to the whole Church, where even in the worst cases outside Germany, the apostasy has not been as drastic. This applies to the following paragraphs especially... Certainly, the 'Church' in Germany appears to have pre-figured the church of Bergoglio, but it was certainly not representative of the universal Church then nor of the un-Bergoglianized Church today. ]

After the “new Pentecost” there began an exodus out of the Church, the monasteries, and the seminaries. The Church, unrestrainedly pushing ahead with her revolution, continued to lose any ability to attract or retain. She resembled that baffled tailor who, looking at a badly cut pair of trousers while shaking his head, muttered: “I’ve cut you off three times and you’re still too short!” It is claimed that this exodus from the Church would also have happened without the revolution.

Let’s accept for the moment this claim. If that had really been the case, however, the great revolution would not have been necessary at all. On the contrary, the flock remaining in the Church would have been able to persevere in faith under the “sign that will be contradicted”. There’s not one argument in favor of the post-conciliar revolution; I certainly haven’t encountered one yet.
[If you absolutely reject the notion that Vatican II gave birth to a new church, then arguing for or against a 'post-conciliar revolution' is not necessary!

Pope Benedict could not and would never allow himself to think in that way, even if in lonely hours it may have been difficult for him to defend himself against an assault of such thoughts. In no way did he want to abandon the image of the Church as a harmoniously growing organism under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

With his historical consciousness it was also clear to him that history can never be turned back, that it is impossible as well as reckless to try to make what has happened “unhappen.” Even the God who forgives sins does not make them “undone,” but in the best case lets them become a felix culpa.

From this perspective, Benedict could not accept what the progressives and traditionalists expressed equally and with the best reasons: that in the post-conciliar era a decisive break with Tradition had indeed occurred; that the Church before and after the Council was not the same institution. That would have meant that the Church was no longer under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; consequently, she had ceased to be the Church. One cannot imagine the theologian Joseph Ratzinger as laboring under a naive, formalistic faith. The twists and turns of ecclesiastical history were very familiar to him. That in the past, too, there had been in the Church bad popes, misguided theologians, and questionable circumstances was never hidden from him.

But, while contemplating ecclesiastical history, he felt borne up by the indisputable impression that the Church, in constant development, had again and again overcome her crises not simply by cutting off mistaken developments but by making them, if possible, even fruitful in the succeeding generations.

It thus appeared to him imperative to combat the idea that this rupture had really occurred — even if all the appearances seemed to argue for it.
[ Mosebach once again means the state of the Church in Germany that he is projecting onto the universal Church. Benedict, on the other hand, never considered the entire universal Church lost for good just because the Church in Germany appeared to be! What pope could think like that?]

His efforts aimed at attempting to remove from men’s minds the assertion of such a rupture. This attempt has an air of legal positivism about it, a disregarding of the facts.
[And what a putdown that is of Benedict XVI! NO, he was not disregarding the facts - it must be the first time anyone has seriously accused Benedict XVI of doing that - but YES, it was a resolve to lay down the premise for a course correction. Because, after all, one has to begin somewhere! What was he to do? Say, "Let's just give up! They claim Vatican II was a rupture and gave birth to a new church? So be it!"]

Please do not understand it as irony when I quote in this context the famous lines of the great absurdist poet Christian Morgenstern: “What may not be, cannot be!” [Does Mosebach really think that was Benedict's frame of mind for insisting on the hermeneutic of continuity? Is it not the same hermeneutic that runs through all of Church history, that is invoked now by all who protest against the heterodoxies and near-heresies of Amoris laetitia? Why is it right for the DUBIA advocates to invoke the Church's bimillennial hermeneuutic of continuity (that literally began with the apostolic succession) but wrong for Benedict XVI???]

[I will stop here for now, because the rest of the essay is a disquisition on liturgy, which has been Mosebach's battlehorse, and I need more time to frame my comments. Mosebach circles back to defending why Benedict XVI was right in promulgating Summorum Pontificum, not seeing that his, Mosebach's, own persistent argument for respecting Tradition is his way of insisting on the hermeneutic of continuity that has ruled the life of the Church and that no one should give up on!
The entire essay can be read on
I will post the second half with my remarks ASAP.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/13/2017 3:12 AM]
8/13/2017 3:09 AM
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I've sat down on this item a few days - after all, it is not a stop- the-presses kind of news report. LIFESITE NEWS ran this story under two different titles –
changing the lead paragraphs of the story to fit each title. The other title for this was 'Cardinal Burke warns against idolatry of the papacy',
which is the 'secondary' subject of the ff story. In both cases, the title and the chosen excerpts were meant to be attention-grabbing. The full text
of his address is also available, and it is, of course, the better read…

Cardinal Burke says 'confusion
‘confusion and error’ from Catholic leaders
may be sign of end times

by Pete Baklinski

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, August 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- “Confusion, division, and error” within the Catholic Church coming from “shepherds” even at the highest levels indicate that we “may be in the end times", said U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke in an address in Kentucky.

The Cardinal, who spoke at the July 22 “Church Teaches Forum” in Louisville, said that, in his opinion, the times “realistically seem to be apocalyptic.”

“We are living in most troubled times in the world and also in the Church,” he said.

Burke, one of the Church’s leading canon law experts, outlined how evils now commonly accepted in the West’s “ravaged” culture have now managed to infiltrate the Church, passing from the shepherds to the sheep.

“In a diabolical way, the confusion and error which has led human culture in the way of death and destruction has also entered into the Church, so that she draws near to the culture without seeming to know her own identity and mission, without seeming to have the clarity and the courage to announce the Gospel of Life and Divine Love to the radically secularized culture,” he said.

He cited as one example the recent remark from the president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, that the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in Germany was not a major concern for the Church. Instead, Marx said that the Church should be more concerned about what he called intolerance towards persons suffering from same-sex attraction.

Burke, who is one of the four Cardinals who signed the dubia asking Pope Francis to clarify ambiguities in his teaching, said there are “many shepherds” who are no longer truly shepherding the faithful entrusted to them.

“For whatever reason, many shepherds are silent about the situation in which the Church finds herself or have abandoned the clarity of the Church’s teaching for the confusion and error which is wrongly thought to address more effectively the total collapse of Christian culture,” he said.

Burke said that one clear sign to him that the Church is “failing badly” in her mission is that she is no longer facing hostile attacks from secular media.
“Some time ago, a Cardinal in Rome commented on how good it is that the secular media are no longer attacking the Church, as they did so fiercely during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI,” he said. “My response was that the approval of the secular media is, on the contrary, for me a sign that the Church is failing badly in her clear and courageous witness to the world for the salvation of the world,” he added.

He specifically noted how secular media has pitted those who are being faithful to perennial Catholic teaching against Pope Francis and his “pastoral” agenda for the Church.

Cardinal Burke accused “secular voices” of promoting Pope Francis as a “reformer who is a revolutionary, that is, as one who undertakes the reform of the Church by breaking from the Tradition, the rule of the faith (regula fidei) and the corresponding rule of law (regula iuris).”

“Regarding the frequent statements of Pope Francis, there has developed a popular understanding that every statement of the Holy Father must be accepted as papal teaching or magisterium. The mass media has certainly wanted to pick and choose among the declarations of Pope Francis, in order to demonstrate that the Catholic Church is undergoing a revolution and is changing radically its teaching on certain key questions of faith and especially of morals,” he said.

The Cardinal noted how the Pope does not help the situation by regularly choosing to “speak in a colloquial manner, whether during interviews given on airplanes or to news outlets, or in spontaneous remarks to various groups.”

He said that Catholics seeking to remain true to Christ and the Church he founded must learn to discern between the “words of the man who is Pope and the words of the Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth.”

“Pope Francis has chosen to speak often in his first body, the body of the man who is Pope. In fact, even in documents which, in the past, have represented more solemn teaching, he states clearly that he is not offering magisterial teaching but his own thinking,” the Cardinal said.

“But those who are accustomed to a different manner of Papal speaking want to make his every statement somehow part of the Magisterium. To do so is contrary to reason and to what the Church has always understood. It is simply wrong and harmful to the Church to receive every declaration of the Holy Father as an expression of papal teaching or magisterium,” he added.

Burke has previously called the Pope’s controversial 2016 Amoris Laetitia “not an act of the magisterium” but a “personal reflection of the Pope.” The Apostolic Exhortation has been interpreted by various bishops and cardinals as allowing civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. Such an interpretation contradicts previous Catholic teaching.

The Cardinal said that making the distinction between “words of the man who is Pope and the words of the Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth” is crucial for showing “ultimate respect” for the Petrine Office while staying true to the perennial teachings of the Catholic faith.

“Without the distinction, we would easily lose respect for the Papacy or be led to think that, if we do not agree with the personal opinions of the man who is Roman Pontiff, then we must break communion with the Church,” he said.

He warned Catholics about falling into an “idolatry of the papacy” where every word spoken by the Pope is treated as if it were doctrine, “even if it is construed to be contrary to the very word of Christ, for example, regarding the indissolubility of marriage.”

Any declaration of the Pope, said Burke, must be understood “within the context of the constant teaching and practice of the Church, lest confusion and division about the teaching and practice of the Church enter into her body to the great harm of souls and to the great harm of the evangelization of the world.”

“The faithful are not free to follow theological opinions which contradict the doctrine contained in the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, and confirmed by the ordinary Magisterium, even if these opinions are finding a wide hearing in the Church and are not being corrected by the Church’s pastors as the pastors are obliged to do,” he added.

The Cardinal warned Catholics in anguish over the current situation within the Church against even thinking about schism, that is, separating themselves from the Catholic Church headed by the Pope in the hope of creating a better Church. [The supreme irony being that it is the pope, in this case, who is willfully and deliberating 'separating' himself doctrinally from the Church even as he exploits the legitimate authority he holds as the duly elected Supreme Pontiff to push his own agenda, not the 'agenda' – i.e., the deposit of faith – that the one true Church of Christ has upheld, guarded and followed religiously for over two millennia.]

“There can be no place in our thinking or acting for schism which is always and everywhere wrong,” he said.
“Schism is the fruit of a worldly way of thinking, of thinking that the Church is in our hands, instead of in the hands of Christ. The Church in our time has great need of the purification of any kind of worldly thinking,” he added.

Burke laid out a number of practical ways Catholics striving to be faithful can respond to the current crisis within the Church. They must:
• Pray for an increase of faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ “Who is alive for us in the Church and Who never fails to teach sanctify and guide us in the Church” and whose “teaching does not change.”
• “Study more attentively the teachings of the faith contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and be prepared to defend those teachings against any falsehood which would erode the faith and thus the unity of the Church.”
• Gather together to “deepen their faith and to encourage one another.”
• Go to the Blessed Virgin Mary…in order to seek her maternal intercession.
• Invoke frequently throughout the day the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel
• Pray daily to St. Joseph, especially under the title of “Terror of Demons” for the “peace of the Church, for her protection against all forms of confusion and division which are always the work of Satan.”
• Pray for the Pope, especially through the intercession of St. Peter.
• Pray for the Cardinals of the Church that they be of “true assistance to the Holy Father in exercising his office.”
• “Remain serene because of our faith in Christ who will not permit the ‘gates of hell’ to prevail against his Church.”
• “Safeguard especially our faith in the Petrine Office and our love for the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis.”

[Let me be uncharitable but honest, and choose not to profess love for Pope Francis specifically, much less to 'safeguard' it! Faith in the Petrine office, yes, I will always have that, but how can I love someone whom I cannot even like - who does not live up to what we expect of the Vicar of Christ and is, objectively, overtly anti-Catholic in so many fundamental ways? It would be like having me say, if I had lived in the time of Alexander VI Borgia and was aware of his gross offenses to morality, that I love Alexander VI despite all that! Yet I think that Bergoglio's misappropriation and abuse of the office to which he was elected in order to push his idea of church is infinitely worse than all the sexual offenses of Alexander Borgia put together because he is saying he can and will improve on Christ whose one true Church and her teachings are not quite what Bergoglians think a church ought to be.]

Cardinal Burke urged Catholics to not “worry whether these times are apocalyptic or not, but to remain faithful, generous and courageous in serving Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church.”

“For we know that the final chapter of the story of these times is already written. It is the story of the victory of Christ over sin and its most deadly fruit, eternal death,” he said.

“It remains for us to write, with Christ, the intervening chapters by our fidelity, courage, and generosity as His true co-workers, as true soldiers of Christ. It remains for us to be the good and faithful servants who await to open the door for the Master at His Coming,” he added.

P.S. August 14, 2017
I refer you to
in which Louie Verrecchio makes an observation that is very apropos to Cardinal Burke's recent address... in which the cardinal mentions nothing of the 'act of formal correction' he had indicated earlier this year would be proposed after Easter - presumably by him and the other DUBIA cardinals (now minus one with the death of Cardinal Meisner).

The point is well-taken but there may be plausible explanations for that, chief among them being that there seems to be no precedent in modern times (or ever?) for such a formal act of correction, how it would be done, and whether it means anything at all, let alone have any formal validity, other than as a stronger expression of the DUBIA as objective statements borne out by Amoris laetitia which the pope refuses to refute.

However, read Verrecchio's objections to Cardinal Burke's seemingly contradictory statements about what constitutes magisterium and whether a pope's personal opinion expressed in a formal document should not be regarded as his teaching, nonetheless, whether you consider it 'magisterial' or not.

It underscores the dilemma of cardinals who do take a vow of loyalty to the pope when they are conferred the dignity - but is that loyalty supposed to be blind and unconditional, or does it allow for honest dissent against what a cardinal may believe to be wrong teaching on faith and morals by the pope, whoever he is!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/14/2017 7:26 PM]
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The Hispanophone media has not let Jorge Bergoglio get away with his obdurate personal silence on Venezuela. Left, under a headline that reads "Bergoglio refuses to criticise the dictator Maduro" shows
a protest march in St. Peter's Square by family and friends of Venezuelans who have been killed by the Maduro regime in its suppression of anti-government demonstrations. Too bad, of course, that there is no one
in the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square to have taken note of the marchers. Right, a newspaper 'immortalizes' Bergoglio's blessing of Maduro last October.

Everyone who has eyes to read and ears to listen should know by now that for Jorge Bergoglio, there are no 'musts' other than those he imposes on himself. Setting aside for now that he ignores whatever he wishes to ignore of Jesus's words in the Gospel, he obviously ignores, as far as his duties as pope go, that the Pope must be the visible symbol of unity of the Church, and that he must confirm his brothers in the faith – because on both counts, he chooses to do the opposite.

To take just the DUBIA as an example, he fosters disunity by refusing to even discuss them with four cardinals of the Church (and by extension to all those who harbor the very same DUBIA and more about his teaching). And he confuses his brothers in the faith, rather than confirming them in their faith, by even refusing to answer a Yes or a No to the five DUBIA.

Any Catholic of common sense will simply and rightly conclude that when a Pope does not want to give a Yes or a No answer – without ifs and buts – to five simple questions that touch on the very essentials of the Catholic faith, then he does so because he cannot give a simple Yes or No answer. Yet Christ said very clearly in his Sermon on the Mount: "Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one"(Mt 5:37) – and he meant that for everyone who listens to his Word, so how could it be less for the man who is supposed to be his Vicar on earth?

(A correspondent of Marco Tosatti today used an interesting term to describe Bergoglian relativism, 'NI,NI, SO,SO' – instead of a NO,NO or a SI,SI. In other words, anything is permissible, and Bergoglio would say Jesus should have learned that in real life, one has to be NINI-SOSO on most things!) (The English equivalent would be YOYO-NESNES, which doesn't sound as euphonic as NINI-SOSO.)

Of course, Bergoglio chooses to gloss over much of the Sermon of the Mount – the verses before 5:37 contain the Beatitudes, the passages on salt an light, his teaching about the law, about about anger, about adultery and about divorce – but apparently, that seminal catechesis by Jesus himself, in the gospel according to Bergoglio, does not go beyond Verse 3 ("Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven) which he also grossly misinterprets to mean Jesus was referring to the materially poor.

Verses 27-32, in which Jesus is very explicit about divorce and adultery, would never be found in the gospel according to Bergoglio ("Hey, JC, just take a look at Amoris laetitia, Chapter 8, would you? You will see there how I, Jorge Bergoglio, am more merciful than you are! I'm improving your word wherever I see fit – after all, I'm your Vicar on earth, aren't I?")

This is all by way of a prelude for yet another rightful and well-meaning "The Pope must speak out on…" No amount of 'MUST, MUST' prodding or provoking will get Bergoglio to do anything he does not want to do. Why can't he see it is his duty to address Maduro directly as the main if not singular culprit for the present catastrophe in Venezuela? Obviously, his very public blessing of Maduro on the forehead last October halted nothing in the tyrant's totalitarian agenda. And still Bergoglio stands by him.

To those who follow US news, it is much like Donald Trump condemning a despicable white-supremacist anti-Jewish rally-turned-riot in Charlottesville yesterday simply as an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" - without saying it was white supremacists and neo-Nazis brandishing anti-Semitic placards, Confederate battle flags, torches and a few Trump campaign signs who started it all. The same Trump who repeatedly criticized Barack Obama for never identifying Islamic terrorists when condemning any terrorist attacks.

What would it have cost Obama to single out Islamic extremists, or Trump to single out white supremacists, or Bergoglio to denounce Maduro by name? It is incredible how personal biases can so prevent presumably intelligent adult men – elected to be national leaders (and leader of the Catholic Church) – from openly stating any truth that offends their biases!

Pope Francis must speak out on Venezuela
By Phil Lawler
August 9, 2017

Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro is forcing the question: Will Pope Francis take a clear public stand in opposition to a leftist leader who styles himself as a populist?

For years Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, have used the Catholic bishops of Venezuela as their whipping-boys, charging that the Church is aligned with the traditional power structure. The rhetoric of Maduro’s latest statement is typical:The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the country has traditionally been allied to the sectors that held onto powers and privileges, and destroyed the country for almost a century."

The Venezuelan bishops have been firm and consistent in their opposition to Maduro’s campaign to consolidate his power. In recent months, with the country in the grips of a crippling economic and political crisis, the bishops have issued a series of urgent statements, warning against the drive toward authoritarian rule. In advance of a government-sponsored referendum (which was seen by most international observers as a rigged process), the bishops prayed that the Virgin Mary’s intercession might “free our country from the clutches of Communism and socialism.”

From the Vatican, however, there has been silence. And Maduro, a skillful demagogue, has not hesitated to call attention to that silence, claiming that while the Venezuelan bishops oppose him, the Pope does not. Until just this week, there has been no clear statement from the Vatican to prove Maduro wrong.[Not to prove Maduro wrong, since the statement does not even mention him by name, and is worded impersonally - deliberately so - as if the recent election farce to elect a constituent assembly that would give Maduro everything he wants happened all by itself, and that some nameless authority would suspend the convening of that rubberstamp assembly!]

And now? To appreciate the current challenge to the Pope, it is necessary to appreciate the background.

A year ago, Maduro asked the Vatican to mediate a dispute between his regime and the opposition, which controls the country’s Parliament. The Vatican agreed, the terms of the negotiations were hammered out, and sessions were scheduled.

But then the Maduro government failed to fulfill the conditions set for the talks (which included release of political prisoners and permission for humanitarian agencies to deliver food and medicine to Venezuela’s suffering poor), and government representatives failed to show up for the talks. Eventually the Vatican representative, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, pulled out of the process, indicating that he would be available if and when real talks took place.

In effect the Maduro regime had scuttled the talks. The Venezuelan bishops placed the blame for failed negotiations squarely on the government. But the Vatican, while issuing repeated calls for new talks, avoided taking sides in the dispute. So Maduro was able to issue his own propaganda, claiming that the opposition was balking at negotiations.

As conditions in Venezuela deteriorated, and Maduro’s heavy-handed methods prompted mass protest demonstrations, Pope Francis issued his own calls for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. But he too carefully avoided any language that would have indicated support for one side of the conflict.

By June, the gap between the statements of the Pope and those of the Venezuelan bishops had become impossible to ignore. A delegation of Venezuelan prelates visited the Vatican, conferred with the Pontiff, and returned home without any major public statement.
[In other words, Bergoglio said to them: "NINI, SOSO, get over it!"... This is infinitely worse - and of a different order of gravity - than Benedict XVI shutting up Cardinal Meisner about Bertone, with "He stays. BASTA!"]

As one perceptive analyst observed, there were two ways to interpret that silence: Either the Venezuelan bishops had failed to persuade the Holy Father to take a stronger stand, or they had actually asked him to maintain his silence, because they feared a clear papal intervention would be detrimental to their aims!

Bear in mind that Pope Francis has shown a special sympathy for “popular movements,” [read 'communist/socialist united fronts'] and that Maduro claims to be acting as a populist [read 'communist/socialist tyrant']. [Bergoglio is a master of newspeak, in which if you approve of something bad, you would never call it by what it really is!]

As William McGurn observes in a fine Wall Street Journal column, Pope Francis has been harsh in his judgment of the sort of “populism” practiced by Donald Trump, but seems loathe to denounce the “populism” of a Latin American leftist.

Still the Vatican did side with the Venezuelan bishops this week, with a statement from the Secretariat of State opposing Maduro’s plan to set up a new national assembly and write a new constitution expanding his powers. The Vatican statement was not nearly as strong as the language used by the Venezuelan bishops, but it was clear enough: the Secretariat of State was warning against Maduro’s plan to seize power.

So how did the Venezuelan leader respond? He fell back on his old reliable rhetoric, claiming that the Vatican Secretariat of State, like the Venezuelan hierarchy, was in the hands of the old power establishment. Maduro still insisted that Pope Francis was on his side: "One thing is us, Catholics, the people of Christ; another is the trajectory of Pope Francis as a defendant of the peoples with his humility, and another very different one is the structure of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the bureaucracy."

Maduro is playing a classic gambit of the would-be dictator: trying to sap the power of the Church while claiming that he represents the true spirit of Catholicism — that he, and only he, understands the future goals of the brave new Church led by Pope Francis. In a country that is still overwhelmingly Catholic, this rhetoric is helping Maduro to silence his Catholic opponents and expand his power.

The Venezuelan bishops have done their utmost; they need support. Another strong statement by the Secretariat of State won’t solve the problem; Maduro has already shown how he will explain it away. The word must come from the top; Pope Francis himself must speak out.

Good luck with that! Or maybe, we should ask ourselves what force majeure – it could be something as commonplace as Italian Catholics overwhelming the Vatican telephone system with their protests about the pope's obstinate silence on baby Charlie Gard - could possibly constrain Bergoglio to denounce Maduro, even if he kicks and screams that he has to do it at all?

Jose Luis Rodriguez, now 71, also known as El Puma, is Venezuela's Julio Iglesias, a singer whose albums are international best sellers and, doing
one better than Iglesias, also starred in a number of telenovelas seen across the Hispanic world.

The tweets say
: (Left) "All the priests and Christian pastors of Venezuela are against the dictatorship. And you Bergoglio, maximum
authority, remain silent. Why?"

(Right) "The silence of the pope amazes me - it makes him complicit in all the deaths that have happened and will happen in this
narco-regime. What's wrong with you, Bergoglio?"

Things have come to such a point that a pope is denounced for keeping silent about EVIL!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/14/2017 12:59 AM]
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A book about the Church
and the time we live in

Translated from

August 12, 2017

Today, I wish to talk about a book that is harsh and difficult as was – and is – the life of its author Danilo Quinto. Who lived much of his life in Italy's very anti-Catholic Partito Radicale and then underwent a profound conversion. Which led him to write his first book entitled “Da servo di Pannella a figlio libero di Dio – Dalla più formidabile the macchina mangiasoldi della partitocrazia italiana per arrivare a Cristo” (From being a servant of Pannella to a free son of God: Out of the most formidable cash-guzzling machine in Italy's party system to arrive at Christ), with a Preface by Mons. Luigi Negri, who was at the time Bishop of Ferrara. [Pannella was the longtime leader of the Radical Party, pro-actively espousing all the progressivist anti-Catholic social causes (abortion, contraception, euthanasia, same-sex 'marriage'), and whose death last year occasioned a fulsome unconditional and unapologetic eulogy from the verminous Mons. Paglia, president of Bergoglio's Pontifical Academy for Life.]

His new book is “Disorientamento pastorale. La fallacia umanistica al posto della verità rivelata?” (Pastoral disorientation: The humanistic fallacy in place of revealed truth?), with a theological introduction by Mons. Antonio Livi. [Born 1938, Livi is a philosopher-priest who has written some 35 books since 1969, an expert on St Thomas Aquinas, and a pupil of Etienne Gilson, 1884-1978, the French philosopher who, with Jacques Maritain and Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, was considered the leading exponents of neo-Thomism.]

Livi's introduction is entitled "What is happening with Pope Francis?"
Because, Livi notes, the freewheeling language of the Pope and his nonchalance in speaking about major issues to newsmen and foreigners have resulted in that many statements and initiative of this pope

"..are seen by public opinion as a radical reform, if not a true revolution, of the Catholic Church, with the apparent rejection of the Magisterium before Vatican II, the systematic adoption of the language of theological progressivism, and the definitive rejection of proclaiming the Gospel in dogmatic terms".

We know [or ought to know] that not everything said by this pope is necessarily authentic Magisterium, but the words of Bergoglio are interpreted [and reported] through generally anti-Catholic media (i.e., virtually all media) as expressions that radically re-formulate Christian doctrine".

Wherefore the discomfiture and disorientation, ever more palpable, among the 'faithful on the street' – and in this, Danilo Quinto's book is very well documented and rich in citations and references. Not only to the more or less surprising and spontaneous pronouncements of the reigning pope, but also, in counterpoint, to what Church scholars, previous popes, Doctors of the Church, and saints have said about each topic he speaks on.

Personally, I find the book very valuable but depressing. Depressing because what happens day to day usually erases recollection even of recent events, [and in a man who is relentless about making new pronouncements daily] this keeps most people from remembering earlier statements and actions that caused them to be puzzled or confused from a pope in whom prudence and considered judgment are not the most evident of virtues.

"In full conscience", Quinto writes, "I can say that every day – even in his daily homilettes – the pope uses language which lends itself to ambiguity and generates confusion about the doctrines of the Catholic Church".

The list is long. Episodes, statements of position, praises (including that for Emma Bonino, whom Quinto knows very well, having worked with her for years and years in the Partito Radicale, praise for the Grande Dame of Italian Abortionists being just one example of Bergoglio's, shall we say, 'ingenuity'), problematic interpretations of the Gospel – the list is so long that it's beyond enumerating in a column.

But Quinto's book is one that is well worth reading, even allowing for certain expressions that come ex abundantia cordis (out of the abundance of the heart), which, knowing the price Quinto had to pay for breaking out of the Partito Radicale and converting to Catholicism, we can certainly allow him.

Earlier, Maurizio Blondet called the attention of his blog followers to Quinto's book, seeking to describe the context of how the Church has come to where we are today in terms of dpctrine and pastoral practice:

For many years, Catholic theology, stunted by idealistic historicism, had been stripping the essential logical and metaphysical coordinates from Christian dogma, and with those, the very idea of revealed truth, replacing it with the dialectic of human progress and social reform.

The divine message of Redemption offered by Christ had been gradually replaced by the illusion of atheistic humanism which imagines that contemporary man no longer needs salvation because he has become capable of transcending himself and realizing Paradise on earth all on his own.

From Vatican-II onwards, this false theology has progressively penetrated even the language of the Church magisterium (which has become increasingly rhetorical and affective instead of remaining rational and doctrinal).

It has led many bishops and even the current pope to a pastoral praxis that seems aimed at a systematic "overcoming and rejection" of Tradition, especially where it concerns values that are genuinely supernatural ['Superhuman' is perhaps the better word, though Christian values, however, difficult to live by, are within the reach of every man with the help of God's grace.] And this rejection of traditional values is precisely characteristic of the secular humanism that is now dominant in Western culture.

Therefore, the inevitable consequence is the mass disorientation of the ordinary faithful who no longer see in their pastors – now openly divided on the reasons and objectives of doctrinal, disciplinary and liturgical reforms – spiritual guidance that is universal and consistent.

In Quinto's booklength essay, the situation in which the Catholic Church now finds itself with respect to the relationship between the Church's pastors and the faithful is illustrated with a careful documentation of the pontificate of Pope Francis, 'the pope of the people', as the mass media around the world call him (and the title of a film about him that was recently released).

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August 13-14 headlines


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/14/2017 7:12 PM]
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In which Fr. Schall continues his philosophical and commonsense rejection of the anti-Catholic tenets of Bergoglianism...

These are dark days for dogma
When we have defined and identified the evil thing, the colors come back into everything else.
When evil things become evil, good things, in a blazing apocalypse, become good.

By James V. Schall, S.J.

August 12, 2017

“Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human.”
— G.K. Chesterton, Heretics (1905)

Dogmas or doctrines are human endeavors to state as clearly as possible the truth about something, particularly truth that has been revealed. The human mind exists to formulate dogmas, to know and to articulate what is known about what exists.

Dogmas flow from careful distinctions — this thing is not that thing.
Reality is a well-nigh unlimited storehouse of different things, each of which has its own differences from and likenesses to other things. All beings have some analogous relation to other beings. We classify things according to these differences and similarities. In this way, we can carry them about within us as things we understand.

We find what things are by what they do or do not do. When we understand a dogma about something, we do not, by that human formulation of it, intend to imply we know absolutely everything about what we are dealing with. Human knowledge can be accurate and true without comprehending absolutely everything about a given thing.

This fact is what is meant when we say dogmas flow over into mystery. One end of what we seek to know is always its very existence, its standing outside of nothingness. The cause of any finite existence reaches into what is existence itself, what is uncaused but is.

By now, it seems clear enough that the present Holy Father does not like dogmas very much. He does tell us that he has a few principles learned back in his youth, such as “the whole is greater than its parts” or “time is greater than space.” These principles sound like dogmas. Pope Francis often appears to see the world in the light of exceptions. The old natural law philosophers always insisted that we take into every situation issues of time and place when dealing with any given reality or action. In some way each existing thing is different from any other existing things.

Doctrines and those who hold them are often seen by the Holy Father to be “rigid” or even “hypocritical”. In previous eras, most people thought that it was the nature of the Church to have an office whose function was to decide things, even though things were not usually decided finally until absolutely necessary.

At the beginning of the Roman Canon of the Mass, after recalling the name of the pope and the local bishop, we read: et omnibus orthodoxis atque /catholicae et apostolicae fidae cultoribus—all those who hold and teach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles.” [I am so glad Fr Schall brought up this line, because every Sunday at Mass, over the past four years, when I pray it – soon after praying for the pope and the local bishop – I find a most striking paradox about the prayer applied to our time, and I ask myself if that line includes this pope, and if it does, does it neutralize or cancel out the earlier line praying for him?...On second thought, no, of course it does not, because all the more reason he needs our prayers.]

We are not to make up new doctrines but the romance of Catholicism is to keep those doctrines intact that were handed down to us. They remain ever new in the light of whatever is popular or current. Not to preserve this mission in time or place would evidently be an abandonment of what the Church is.

Those few believers and non-believers who want to know what exactly is to be held and practiced according to Christian revelation, however, are seldom answered these days, almost as if it is an impertinent question to wonder precisely what is meant by theoretical or practical issues that involve actual human living. Yet, from the same source, we hear much advice and many solemn opinions about earth warming, immigration, war, economics, and ecology. Many of these are political opinions normally associated with what is called “the left”. And these are things that by no means rise to the level of dogma in their importance or certitude.

Indeed, an astonishing number of recently appointed papal advisors are known to advocate abortion, contraception, and the radical limits of growth, all of which views are deeply controverted by facts that never seem clearly to emerge in papal considerations of these issues. Moreover, these advisors never appear to change any of their opinions which have long been considered by previous popes to be contrary to the human good and the divine law. While nothing is wrong with knowing what one’s opponents maintain, following their advice would be another matter.

In light of this papal silence about the meaning of faith in particular circumstances that apparently involve revelation when clarity is needed, people are encouraged to go ahead and make their own decisions in difficult cases. After a while, the exceptions will become new rules and difficult cases may become norms.

We obtain our “theories”, if we have any, from seeing what others in our time do. Modern culture is not neutral. It already contains embedded ideas guiding its laws and customs, ideas that need to be examined for their philosophical and theological content. This examination in part is what the theological enterprise was about.

We maintain that we want to be modern; things are constantly changing. Logically, on the basis of this approach, the norms that flow from historical or geographical conditions also change. This latter approach is recently said to be what Christ did in His own time. Christ in practice did, however, set forth a considerable number of rigid, clear, and unchangeable statements intended to remain unchanged in other times and places.

However, we cannot have imposed on us today, so we are told, out-of-date criteria. We alienate ourselves from our modern society and culture if we insist on living according to certain universal principles that are said to be rooted in reason or revelation and abide over time. In this process, scriptural “thou shalt nots” seem to become “thou shalts”. Contrary to the old adage that those who forget their history are bound to repeat it, we now believe that history can teach us little or nothing. It certainly cannot bind us to universal truths valid over time and space and said to be sanctioned by God.

This year’s annual Chesterton Conference was held in Colorado Springs under the theme of “The Tyranny of the Learned”. The theme suggests we do not live under a democratic regime. Elites rule us. Whatever we do derives not from nature, revelation, or experience but from some obscure theories that, on examination, have their origins in someone such as Hegel or Rousseau, or even in Epicurus or Heraclitus. The ordinary man is looked on by our elites as a clueless fanatic or as a hopelessly biased person, locked in the prison of dogmatic religion that allows no exceptions to its unpopular rules.

Religion, it is said, should not bind us by any criterion of excellence in the light of which we seek to live.
- Rather it should promote a vast caretaking enterprise, with all sorts of connection to the State, which has now become the final authority.
- Religion should not be concerned with why people need information or guidance about their transcendent destiny.
- The eradication of poverty and control of the environment are the central issues.
- Indeed, poverty seems to be something that needs to be perpetuated to give both religious and governmental elites a moral sense that they are “doing” something noble.
- This caretaking is government’s chief concern and justifies its ever expanding power over the citizens.
- The question is not why people need help, but how to take care of them no matter how they arrived at the point of needing someone else’s help.
- Virtue ethics is replaced by a universalized compassion that does not much inquire into the question of why help of any kind might be needed or what really does work to remove actual poverty.

On the book tables at the Chesterton Conference, I noticed a very old book. It looked like a remnant that was found in some old attic or bookstore. The book’s faded yellowish-green cover looked like something from about 1910. The book was said to be an anthology of Chesterton’s writings entitled ABCs of the Christian Life.

I had never heard of such a book with this title. So I bought it. It turns out that that the book was published in 2017 by Ave Maria Press with an Introduction by Peter Kreeft. It is a selection of 26 topics arranged alphabetically and taken from various books and articles in the vast intellectual gold mine that proceeded from the mind of Chesterton.

Kreeft wrote that Chesterton “saw things that we don’t see; that is why we desperately need him here in the country of the blind. He seems crazy only because he is the sanest inhabitant in our global madhouse.”

If there is anything we remember about Chesterton, it is that he came into the Church because, being sorry for his sins, he saw, again and again, that its dogmas were true. The arguments of the heretics, on examination, were, in examining their errors, what led to the truth. Chesterton understood the need of a doctrinal authority consistent over time and place.

In the years since he began to write, only God knows how many people have found their way into the Church, or remained in it, because of his clarity of intellect. The number, I suspect, is enormous. When we see this intellectual aspect of the Church de-emphasized, we begin to worry, as Belloc once put it, about the “human side of the supernatural Church.” Revelation is directed to intelligence. Nothing distinguishes the Catholic Church as it has historically presented itself more than this realization.

Why do we need dogma and what kind of dogma do we need? Under the letter “D” in this collection is a passage from Chesterton’s famous book on Charles Dickens. Here we find some remarkable things about the dogma that most perplexes modern (and ancient) man, namely, hell.

Dickens, Chesterton tells us, could describe “miserable marriages, but not monotonous marriages.” Such a passage is not unrelated to recent controversies about marriage in the recent Synods of the Church.

Dickens held that “a desolate place is a place where anything can happen. This is a good thing for his soul, for the place where nothing can happen is hell.” Could it be put any better? We live in a place where anything can happen, even repentance or damnation. Once we have decided our lot by rejecting truth and living accordingly, nothing new can happen to us. This is the essence of the dogma of hell.

Dickens was not an optimist. Why not? “When I say optimist in this matter, I mean optimism in the modern sense of an attempt to whitewash evil.” Whitewashing evil is what most of the aberrations of our time are about. The world is not a more interesting or fascinating place if the possibility of evil is rejected. If we cannot choose evil, no drama is possible, no war or struggle over worthwhile things ensues.

Dickens called evil what it was: “evil”. This affirmation did not prevent him from seeing that in this life anything could happen, even forgiveness and repentance.

Dogma is what prevents us from the vice of whitewashing evil, of calling evil good. The unity of the human race demands calling what is good, good, and what is evil, evil, in all times and places. [[Not at all, of course, what is advocated and practised in Bergoglianism – a consummate exercise in whitewashing evil, in the relativistic permissiveness of 'NINI,SOSO'!]

Dickens wanted to keep alive “the idea of combat, which means, of necessity, a combat against something individual and alive.” Combat against “isms” and “ideologies” such as racism or genderism is rooted in impersonality, an abstraction from individual persons. They alone are involved in real issues of good and evil from which they are ultimately saved or damned.

“If he (modern man) manages to praise everything, his praise will develop an alarming resemblance to a polite boredom.” Neither praise nor blame will make any difference in a world in which what we do makes no ultimate difference. If all things are morally equal, then what is the “good of good”?

This optimism that nothing we do makes any difference is “the very heart of hell.” The “joyless approval” of everything can only be met by “a sudden and pugnacious belief in positive evil.” This belief in the reality of evil clarifies the distinction in things, the difference between good and bad things which is not accidental. It is a question of dogma.

The world can be made beautiful again by beholding it as a battlefield. When we have defined and identified the evil thing, the colors come back into everything else. When evil things become evil, good things, in a blazing apocalypse, become good.

There are some men who are dreary because they do not believe in God; but there are many others who are dreary because they do not believe in the devil.

We cannot be dreary if we are fighting on a battlefield. If we do not believe in the devil, we do not see the terrible realities that come from our refusal to distinguish dogmatically what is good from what is bad, what is true from what is false.

“For the full value of this life can only be got by fighting…. And if we have accepted everything, we have missed something — war.” It is no accident that the encounters in heaven between Michael and Lucifer were depicted as wars.

We cannot avoid the fact that false dogmas can be affirmed. We do not deal with abstractions here. “The evil may be inhuman, but it must not be impersonal, which is almost exactly the position occupied by Satan in the theological scheme.” Our struggles are not against flesh and blood but against Principalities and Powers.

“It is, perhaps, the strongest mark of the divinity of man that he talks of this world as ‘a strange world’, though he has seen no other.” That is a remarkable sentence, mindful of Augustine. This passage is mindful of Chesterton’s famous question about why we are “homesick even at home?”

The only answer is that we are not made for this world, even when this is where we begin our final journey. The refusal to accept this basic truth is the origin of most modern ideology that wants to give us a final end so much less than that which the dogmas of the Church promise us.

The world ”is not to be justified as the best of all possible worlds. Its merit is not that it is orderly and explicable; its merit is that it is wild and utterly unexplainable. Its merit is precisely that none of us could have conceived such a thing, that we should have rejected the bare idea as miracle and unreason. It is the best of all impossible worlds.”

Chesterton’s final paradox, that this is “the best of all impossible worlds”, brings us back to the dogmas of the faith, those whose stability over time assure us that it is in this world in which evil is possible where we are to work out our salvation, a salvation that sees beyond this world. Only dogmas can assure us that what we were promised “from the beginning” remains possible in this impossible world.

Why don't all the bravissimi paladins of Bergoglio and Bergoglianism - like the Austin Ivereighs and Michael Sean Winterses and John Allens - never ever take on the arguments contra presented by Catholics like Fr. Schall, Fr. Rutler, the blogging priests and many intelligent lay Catholics - who are always clear and precise as to what they are objecting to, and whose arguments are never less than on the mark?

For the same reason, that even they, like their lord and master, do not dare answer the FIVE DUBIA directly with an unqualified YES or a NO, without thereby openly professing material heresy if they did answer the questions honestly! Nor, for that same reason, can then argue against the substance of the DUBIA, or that of any sensible objection to other anti-Catholic Bergoglian dogmas.

And so they resort instead to demonizing the cardinals who presented the DUBIA to the pope and to questioning the propriety (!) of their making the DUBIA public, or to insisting that Amoris laetitia is 'gospel truth' ignoring the very specific injunctions by Jesus himself against divorce and adultery.

Even Bergoglio the self-appointed Biblical exegete cannot possibly justify his open heterodoxy on those questions, and so he simply avoids referring to them
(Mt 5, 7-32; Mt 19,3-12;Mk 10,2-12), just as he never mentions Jesus's "Go and sin no more" proviso to his forgiveness of the adulterous woman.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/14/2017 6:37 PM]
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Mundabor's illustration of the Christian perseverance necessary in battling for what is right, for the truth of Jesus's Gospel.

On August 11, Steve Skojec who runs the very commendable site 1Peter5, published a column that I found surprising - nay, shocking!
because I was not expecting any such declarations from him – in which he sort of throws in the towel about reporting and reacting to all the objectionable
things taking place in the Church today, and saying he will take another tack. He begins the post this way.

You may have noticed that posting has been light this week. I’ve noticed too. What used to take me a few hours to write seems to be taking several days. My reserves are tapped out. Every day is starting to feel like deja vu all over again — the same stories, or some variation on the same stories, again and again and again until you’re not sure if you’ve seen this one before. I’m not sure how many more beatings this dead horse can take.

Is there any honest Catholic left on earth who doesn’t recognize the utter insanity of what is happening in the Church? When I started this gig, defenders of this papacy and the steps being taken in its “program of reform” were legion. The challenge back then was waking them up. Now, the challenge is keeping the people who have woken up from jumping ship… [The challenge continues nonetheless to wake up those who are still asleep or persist in feigning to be asleep.]

For my part, I don’t want to tell you the same bad stories day after day anymore. I don’t want this to be the place where you go to hear the latest outrage, to stoke the fires of discontent, to lose your peace of soul. I asked recently if you’re in this fight. But what I think I’ve been coming to understand is that the battle has actually shifted to a different front, and it’s time we did too.

Scandal is addictive. We do not manufacture it here, but we have put it on display. We believe that the faithful have the right — and even the duty — to be informed. But at some point, we have to draw a line. We have to make choices about where to place our focus. We have woken up about as many people as we can hope to wake.
[No, what an unrealistic view!] So what do we do now? Where are we going?...

Can you really flog a Pope's anti-Catholicism enough? It's like telling the pro-life movements "You've been flogging your cause for decades now – what's the point of carrying on with it?" Can one denounce evil too much and too long because 'your reserves are tapped out' and 'every day is starting to feel like déjà vu'?

I did not expect someone like Skojec, who can marshal Catholic apologetics arguments very well, to give up this way. And even if he decides to stop his 'flogging' of this pontificate, is he going to stop the other writers for his website from doing so?

He says he will concentrate instead on the stated mission of his website which is "Rebuilding Catholic Culture. Restoring Catholic Tradition", and says the site had let this slip behind in its priorities. But rebuilding Catholic culture and restoring Catholic tradition begins by pointing out constantly and as often as necessary whenever that culture and that tradition are betrayed and/or violated by statements and acts of the man who happens to be the elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church, not just anybody - and setting these anti-Catholic notions right. It is the duty of Catholics who have the mind and the means to disseminate and inform such consciousness.

On the other hand, Skojec tells two stories which point out what can be done by the rest of us 'conscientious objectors' to this anti-Catholic pope but who are in no position to make or shape the opinion of others on the scale that someone in media could:

[In the first story, a friend says he asked his confessor] “What would happen if we had a bad pope who was really damaging the Church? What would we do?”

The wise old confessor said to him, “What do you think people did in the middle ages when popes were accusing popes and fighting over the throne and there were antipopes rivaling real popes? They put their heads down, they prayed, they studied, they taught their children, they lived their faith, and they protected those who would become the next generation of priests, bishops, and cardinals.”
[Which is one way of expressing what I have always said I am doing in my own life about 'dealing with the Bergoglio problem" – simply to go on living my life in the way I was taught to live a Christian life by the Church and by the elders and teachers who raised me, because this is something I do regardless of who is pope.]

[In the second story, the same friend recalls the words of] a wise bishop who was faced with great challenges in his diocese. Loss of faith, disinterested people, parishes a mess…just a range of seemingly unsolvable problems. “What can you do?” My friend asked. “Focus on becoming a saint,” the bishop replied. “Taking action can only accomplish so much, but one saint can convert an entire country.” [Which is, of course, a more explicit, if more demanding way, of expressing God's call to each of us to be holy. Each of us can try our best to be holy, to emulate the saints, which a bad pope can in no way keep us from doing!]

Today, Mundabor responded to Skojec without mentioning him by name – and I think Mundabor speaks for all those who, like the pro-lifers who never tire of speaking out against abortion, will never tire of pointing out where this pope is wrong when he is wrong. Making allowances, of course, for Mundabor's characteristically intemperate expressions when referring to the reigning pope…

Mundabor is not turning

August 14, 2017

I have already written a couple of times about how tiring it is to have to write the same things about the same idiot again and again. However – I reflected every time – the idiot does not get tired to spread his idiocy; therefore, I will not get tired to fight it.

Nor can it be said that scandal is addictive. Scandal is scandal. No priest or layman worth his salt would tell you, after seeing a persistent scandal in his village, that at some point it is better not to denounce it anymore.

Blogging can be tiring or repetitive. So is life. What we do is soldier on with the lights that God have given us, asking him for the energy and resolve to never give up the fight.

Countless martyrs have died for the faith; shall I get tired of some blogging?

If an 80-year-old heretic can go on and on and on, I can do the same, too. God willing, I will see him in his grave. When the situation improves and we have a Catholic hierarchy doing their darn job, I will reconsider whether I want to spend the time blogging. But that time is, sadly, a very distant fantasy and now we clearly live an “all hands on deck” situation.

When the Clergy betrays their flock and Christ calls the laymen to the fight, I do not say “it's boring”, much less “Dear Lord, scandal is addictive. Shouldn't we rather pray?”.

No. I shout “presente!” loud and clear. Well I pray, too, but honestly I think blogging comes close as it helps others to live a life of Catholic sanity in an age of utter and complete insanity.

Of course, blogging is not only about that. I write a number of blog posts that are not about the scandal of the day, trusting that my readers will not forget that we live in horrible times if I don't remind them of the fact three times a week.

However, the fundamental point remain: When it is time to fight you don't get tired, or even say that fighting heresy is making the work of the devil. This would be one of the most extraordinary inversions of truth ever stated by anyone, Catholic or not.

Yes be prayerful. Yes be in good spirit. Yes pray for your enemies (as you pound on them with your keyboard). But for heaven's sake, never think that it be bad to defy heresy and heterodoxy, no matter for how long you have to do it.

In the end, you know what? You turn if you want to.
Mundabor is not for turning.

As Fr. Schall reminds us in the preceding essay:

Dickens wanted to keep alive 'the idea of combat, which means, of necessity, a combat against something individual and alive.'... The world can be made beautiful again by beholding it as a battlefield. When we have defined and identified the evil thing, the colors come back into everything else. When evil things become evil, good things, in a blazing apocalypse, become good.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/14/2017 8:46 PM]
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I post this belatedly - even if the only 'Star Wars' film I ever watched was the first one - not because of the disquisitions on the film series by two serious writers, Fr. De Souza and Aldo Maria Valli, but to demonstrate how Valli's reflections on the good-vs-evil conflict that underlies the entire galactic saga lead him to recall some of Benedict XVI's words about truth. Maybe because we get so little truth from Church leaders today who insist upon their own 'truth' over the Truth that Jesus Christ is. It seems that whatever topic he writes about now, Valli goes back to Benedict XVI as a literal touchstone - which I find a most refreshing attitude for one who was rather Bergoglian until just a year ago. Hence, his most unlikely title for the post:

'Star Wars', truth and Benedict XVI
Translated from

August 6, 2017

I have never been a fan of 'Star Wars'. But my daughters are. And so I read with interest an article dedicated to the cinematic intergalactic saga in the UK Catholic Herald by Fr. Raymond De Souza, SJ, who reflected on the religious content of the fantasy created by George Lucas 40 years ago.

Since Valli proceeds to paraphrase in Italian what Fr. de Souza wrote, I will simply post instead the original article:

Star Wars’ religious imagery is
more than just coincidence

The franchise is a tale of love, sacrifice and fatherhood
against hate, domination and tyranny

by Fr Raymond de Souza, SJ

Friday, 4 Aug 2017

In our look at prominent anniversaries in 2017, the 40th anniversary of 'Star Wars' bears noting as a significant cultural moment. The series is the most commercially successful movie franchise ever. Later this year, four decades after the first film was released in May 1977, the ninth major motion picture will be released. It’s called Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. In any case, it won’t be the last film, not by a long shot.

Why has it lasted so long, this series which for generations of children has provided the fantastical architecture of their imaginary play? Despite mediocre writing, it has hosted enduring stars – James Earl Jones, Sir Alec Guinness – and launched others, such as Harrison Ford.

From the beginning, many fans noted the religious imagery in 'Star Wars', far too abundant to be accidental. Sir Alec Guinness wore the garb of a monk in his turn as the elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi; Luke Skywalker, when he finally makes it as a Jedi, dresses like a young priest. Darth Vader’s helmet is a stylised mitre, all the better to evoke the corrupt bishop he has become. The wicked emperor carries a staff and is attended by a court that includes attendants decked head-to-toe in cardinalatial red. The Jedi “temple” is a mosque-and-minaret construction.

The Force itself is pantheism made palatable for a secular generation that likes to pretend that it is spiritual but not religious. Now, as the saga nears its (supposed) end, the physical setting is actually Skellig Michael, the redoubt of the Irish monks who saved civilisation.

'Star Wars' endures because it is an ancient story about the deepest human dramas – a tale of love, sacrifice and fatherhood on the one hand, and the tragedy of hate, domination and tyranny on the other. It tests which account is a more authentic description of the path to human flourishing.

The central character is Anakin Skywalker, a young boy of preternatural abilities who has no father. The mystery of fatherhood, natural and spiritual, therefore marks the entire saga. The Jedi present the boy with the ideals of honour and duty and sacrifice in which those who have been given much are required to serve the good of all.

As a young man, Anakin rejects his Jedi masters, and the evil Emperor Palpatine offers a different vision to Anakin: those who have been given much have the power to seize more – even the ultimate power to create life and cheat death. It is the way of domination, not sacrifice.
'Star Wars thus poses a Hegelian question: is the primordial reality the one of the master and the slave? Does man have to choose between being dominant or dominated, in which case the purpose of life and the engine of history is the struggle between those who would be masters and those who would be slaves?

That is the way of the Dark Side, in which the desire to avenge one’s own pain fuels the lust for power. Power is the only remedy for pain – to hurt others before they can hurt you. In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the Emperor attempts to seduce Luke Skywalker, Anakin’s secret son, to the Dark Side.

Luke is invited to kill Darth Vader [his father's 'new name] and take his place at the side of the all-powerful Emperor. It is the Hegelian dynamic of master and slave again. The slave either remains a slave to be destroyed at the master’s command, or he kills the master and takes his place. It is the way of the gun or, if you will, the lightsaber.

“Show no mercy” is the first lesson the Emperor teaches Anakin-Vader in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. There is no room for mercy in the Hegelian master-slave telling of the human story. Kill or be killed it is: the new Lord Vader massacres the innocent “younglings” in a slaughter that echoes the biblical figures of the Pharaoh and King Herod. Eventually the Emperor makes the same offer to Luke: kill Vader and take his place or be killed. But Vader is Luke’s father, so the master-slave dynamic meets the father-son relationship.

It is striking that for a saga saturated with violence, Luke Skywalker survives into this third trilogy because of mercy and the witness of suffering. It is the suffering of the son that inspires the conversion of the father, and Vader turns against the Emperor and destroys him, at the cost of his own life. The “show no mercy” domination of the tyrant is finally defeated only by the medicine of mercy and the power of filial suffering to move the paternal heart.

St John Paul II observed in Crossing the Threshold of Hope that the only alternative in human relations to the Hegelian master-slave dynamic is the father-son relationship. Either the powerful oppress the weak, as tyrants oppress slaves, or the powerful one sacrifices himself for the weaker, as a father will give his life for his son. This clash of archetypes is at the heart of the 'Star Wars' mythology.

The revelation of the Trinity teaches us that the father-son relationship is more powerful for it lies at the heart of reality. Thus the “radiation of fatherhood” in St John Paul’s words touches all creation, even a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Valli, however, goes on to supplement Fr. De Souza's exegesis of 'Star Wars'. I confess I find the plot and character descriptions tedious, and the pseudo-religious overtones pretentious, but then the whole series has a most confused genesis, with prequels and sequels seeking to supplement whatever had gone before, as producers sought to prolong the epic and cast around for writers to do whatever was needed to keep everything together with some consistency. It is really a huge contrived epic, not something that developed 'organically'.

Lord of the Rings had a far larger and more complicated cast of characters but it made no pretense of presenting some philosophy or theology – what Tolkien produced was fantasy that is the height of storytelling and far more epic than the Nibelungenlied, and although at bottom, it is also about good versus evil, and how good eventually tyriumphs over evil, you could read the fantasy as a child would, without thinking about anything deeper than the fascinating adventures being recounted.

Valli resumes:
Not being a 'Star Wars' aficionado, I accept what Fr. De Souza says about the costumes. For sure, the story of Anakin Skywalker is a story of conversion in reverse, from good to bad, because of Palpatine, a true and proper devil vowed to deception and manipulation in order to obtain power over everyone and everything.

If we then add the mystery of Luke Skywalker's paternity and his battle against the Black Death, not to mention the life and formation of Jedi, who have the characteristics of the members of a monastic order, then more elements of religious character enrich the framework.

The very concepts of the Force and its Dark Side have an obvious religious content [or it could simply be moral!]. In the world of 'Star Wars' [as in the world we live in], there is a permanent conflict between good and evil. Man is free to choose to be on the side of the Force which urges him to cultivate the good by being altruistic, or on the Dark Side which titillates his egoism and urges him to seek self-advantage and the power to subject others to himself.

The Force is some sort of vital energy which sustains the universe and guarantees good relations. It is the kingdom of light, of goodness, and of reason. The Dark Side is dominated by shadows, evil, arbitrariness.The Force is a spiritual energy, which as the master Yoda says, links all persons and things and makes us understand that we are all in relationship with others like us and with nature. [Something like the environmentalism of Laudato si!]

In itself, therefore, the Force is oriented towards goodness, and the Jedi masters are able to perceive this better than others. But if it is used badly, then it can cause you to fall into the Dark Side where, Yoda says, everything is anger, fear, violence. All it takes is to yield once to the Dark Side to become its victim. "If even once you take the dark path, it will forever dominate your destiny!" [Wow, that is absolutely and irrevocably fatalistic, where Christianity offers a chance at redemption!]

Obviously, the Dark Side of the Force has a tremendous fascination for man because it promises power, domination of others and of matter beyond every natural law, and Darth Sidious (aka Palpatine] shows he knows this well when he says that passage to the Dark Side emancipates man and allows him to acquire abilities that are unjustly considered unnatural.

So, here's the eternal temptation: to change the rules, to subvert them according to individual desire for power, to ignore the objective distinction between good and bad. Not by chance, Sidious considers goodness as merely a subjective point of view.

To live on the Dark Side, in short, means to reject the distinction between good and bad in an objective sense – in which it is hard not to find an echo of Nietzsche who proposed life beyond good and evil, elevating subjective will to be the supreme instrument for moral valuation. [Somehow, I hear echoes of Amoris laetitia, Chapter 8, in all that!]

The Dark counterpart of the Jedi, who serve goodness, are the Sith who serve conflict, division and hatred. They serve the devil, we could say, since the word for devil comes from the Greek diaballo, which means dividing by throwing something in between – the seed of discord, of cupidity, of the thirst for power.

But does the Sith philosophy lead to happiness? Of course not, says Yoda, pointing out that the Dark Side is falsehood and deception. And while a Sith would consider the very idea of personal sacrifice absurd, a Jedi would not hesitate to sacrifice himself for the good of others. [So, a Jedi is either a good Marine, or a Christlike figure.]

Many other factors could be examined, but ultimately, it comes down to a question of good and evil. It must be said that according to some acute observers, one cannot speak of a theology or even a philosophy for Star Wars, but not being an acute observer, I will limit myself to one observation: In the course of 40 years, practically everything has changed in the world, and yet cinemagoers' passion for this intergalactic saga has not lessened. Indeed, it seems as if the fathers and mothers of a generation ago have handed it down to their children. Why?

The most natural response is that the battle between good and evil is always fascinating. But if it is, then it means, it is part of us. If it is part of us, then it means that we are moral beings. And if we are moral beings, it means that we seek the truth and would be able to recognize it.

And that's the point. Nothwithstanding the massive dissemination of nihilistic ideas – according to which man canot experience truth because there is nothing truthful in which he can believe, then we find out that it seems that man's search for meaning, for the meaning of existence, remains alive.

I confess I have never discussed this with my daughters – being much too afraid that they would look at me as if I were mad. Nonetheless, seeing how fascinated they are by 'Star Wars', I cannot do less than think of Benedict XVI, whom I call the Pope of Truth, because he placed this decisive virtue at the center of his pontificate.

What is truth? On many occasions, Papa Ratzinger asked himself the same question Pilate had (Jn 18,38), and one of his answers which struck me most was in an address he gave in December 2012 to six new ambassadors to the Holy See.

In our day, speaking the truth has become suspect, wishing to live in truth seems outdated, and promoting it seems to be a useless effort. Yet, the future of humanity is also found in the relationship of children and young people with the truth: the truth about man, the truth about creation, the truth about institutions, etc.

As well as an education in rectitude of heart and mind, today more than ever, the young also need to be educated in the meaning of effort and perseverance in hardship. We must teach them that the human person's every action must be responsible and consistent with his yearning for the infinite. These actions must guide his development with a view to forming an ever more fraternal humanity, freed from individualistic and materialistic temptations.

They are words that parents must bear in mind.

Then I recall a reflection found in JESUS OF NAZARETH, Volume II, in which he says:

Let us say it plainly: The unredeemed state of the world consists precisely in the failure to understand the meaning of creation, in the failure to recognize truth; as a result, the rule of pragmatism is imposed, by which the strong arm of the powerful becomes the god of this world…

What is truth? Pilate was not alone in dismissing this question as unanswerable and irrelevant for his purposes. Today too, in political argument and in discussion of the foundations of law, it is generally experienced as disturbing. Yet if man lives without truth, life passes him by; ultimately he surrenders the field to whoever is the stronger.

"Redemption" in the fullest sense can only consist in the truth becoming recognizable. And it becomes recognizable when God becomes recognizable. He becomes recognizable in Jesus Christ. In Christ, God entered the world and set up the criterion of truth in the midst of history.

Truth is outwardly powerless in the world, just as Christ is powerless by the world's standards: he has no legions; he is crucified. Yet in his very powerlessness, he is powerful: only thus, again and again, does truth become power.

In the book, Benedict XVI says that today, all of us, like Pilate, have 'shelved' the question of the truth. Out of fear, out of convenience, out of superficiality. Unfortunately it is so! But with his words about truth as power, I can say even to my daughters who are passionate about 'Star Wars' that not everything is lost.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/15/2017 12:44 AM]
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Apologies from CRUX
Like Trump's second thoughts on Charlottesville,
better (days) late than never, but also
'why didn't they think about it the first time around'?

It took reactions - and Ivereigh's own apology - to make Allen realize this? Unbelievable!
The Ivereigh article was published August 9. Allen's apology comes 5 days later. Perhaps his problem is that
he continues to have the mindset of an advocacy journalist/attack dog instead of an objective editor.

He's not really sorry. He stands by everything he wrote - he's just saying he shouldn't
have named names.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/15/2017 12:48 AM]
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