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00Monday, October 30, 2017 4:10 AM


What an unusual photo!

Thanks to Beatrice, who found it in an item promoting
this new book published in France

It is a collection of some 300 photographs from the Vatican archives that portray the contemporary popes in informal circumstances, most of which have never been published before. The anthology is annotated by an unlikely pair - Osservatore Romano editor Giovanni and Caroline Pigozzi, longtime Vaticanista for Paris Match. (The only reason I can think of for their collaboration is that Pigozzi found a French publisher for the project. BTW, Pigozzi wrote particularly venomous articles on Benedict XVI in his time).

Anyway, this particular photo of Benedict XVI is as Pope Emeritus, and Beatrice was able to date it because back in 2014, she used a couple of stills from a TV-Sette videoclip, which obviously yielded the bigger photo.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Mons. Oster of Passau had a couple more pictures of his Oct. 26 meeting with Benedict XVI – in which he sports a red bruise under his right eye (on his upper right cheek, really, so I don’t understand why it was called a ‘black eye’). Here is his Facebook entry on Oct. 26 (I translated his ‘report’ in my original post on this occasion.

And yes, the third man is Peter Seewald, though I did not recognize him with eyeglasses on.
00Monday, October 30, 2017 4:23 AM
October 29, 2017 headlines

PewSitter is still not functioning.
00Monday, October 30, 2017 5:21 AM

by Andrew Brown
Oct. 27, 2017

Because I do not have the desire to go into an interminable but inevitably obligatory fisking chore, I originally did not want to post this puff piece on Bergoglio published by an ultra-liberal British newspaper - it takes off from the supposed 'war against Bergoglio' by his critics and pours on its profuse praises for the reigning pope by defending him with hyperbolic and often inevitably false positive 'reversals' of the criticisms... But I have decided to post the first few paragraphs which gives an idea of what writer Andrew Brown is attempting - his default position is that Bergoglio can do no wrong, and everything he does and stands for is good for the Church - but I will make not make remarks on the provocations therein (media boilerplate hype of what they find most 'admirable' in Bergoglio)...

Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility.

From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees.

But within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal.” Of course, after 10 minutes of fluent complaint, he added: “You mustn’t print any of this, or I’ll be sacked.”

This mixture of hatred and fear is common among the pope’s adversaries. Francis, the first non-European pope in modern times, and the first ever Jesuit pope, was elected as an outsider to the Vatican establishment, and expected to make enemies. But no one foresaw just how many he would make.

From his swift renunciation of the pomp of the Vatican, which served notice to the church’s 3,000-strong civil service that he meant to be its master, to his support for migrants, his attacks on global capitalism and, most of all, his moves to re-examine the church’s teachings about sex, he has scandalised reactionaries and conservatives.

To judge by the voting figures at the last worldwide meeting of bishops, almost a quarter of the college of Cardinals – the most senior clergy in the church – believe that the pope is flirting with heresy.

The crunch point has come in a fight over his views on divorce. Breaking with centuries, if not millennia, of Catholic theory, Pope Francis has tried to encourage Catholic priests to give communion to some divorced and remarried couples, or to families where unmarried parents are cohabiting. His enemies are trying to force him to abandon and renounce this effort.

Since he won’t, and has quietly persevered in the face of mounting discontent, they are now preparing for battle. Last year, one cardinal, backed by a few retired colleagues, raised the possibility of a formal declaration of heresy – the wilful rejection of an established doctrine of the church, a sin punishable by excommunication. Last month, 62 disaffected Catholics, including one retired bishop and a former head of the Vatican bank, published an open letter that accused Francis of seven specific counts of heretical teaching...

Read the whole thing here:

Meanwhile, four months since this pope dismissed Cardinal Mueller from the Curia, Marco Tosatti updates the tab on those Curial heads who have clearly 'overstayed' on two counts - exceeding their five-year term limit (some are already on their second or third quinquennials without re-appointment under Bergoglio) and being past 75.)

In their famous final meeting, Pope Francis told Cardinal Gerhard Müller that he wanted to limit the time in office for heads of dicasteries in the Curia to five years, and that Müller was “the first to whom the rule would have applied.” And so Müller was dismissed despite his young age, which normally would have guaranteed him another five-year term.

In the Church, the rule is that at seventy-five years of age the bishops — and in theory also the heads of curial departments — must submit their resignation to the pope, who can decide whether to accept it. So now there are supposed to be two restrictions in place for people working in the Curia: a single five-year term, and an age-limit of seventy-five years.

Müller reported the pope’s new policy in July, but it does not seem that Francis has been eager to implement it since then.

Let’s look at a few cases. The latest concerns Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He was born on October 18, 1942, so he has just reached seventy-five years, yet the pope has not accepted his resignation. Since 2007 he has been president of the Pontifical Council of Culture. So he has had not one five-year term, but two.

In August, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, turned seventy-six. He was appointed more than four years ago, but he has already exceeded the canonical limit by one year. [He is also supposed to be the pope's #1 'trustee' in the Curia.]

A few days ago, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo was reconfirmed as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Sorondo turned seventy-five on September 2017, and he has held his job at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences since 2001, when he was first appointed by St. John Paul II. Sixteen years, more than three terms!

These are not isolated cases. At the head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts we have Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. He has been there since 2007 (two terms, then) and was born in 1938, seventy-nine years ago.

At the Congregation for Religious Life we find the Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the Grand Inquisitor of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. In 2011 he began his job — so though he is just seventy years old, his mandate should have ended in 2016. Yet he was never formally re-appointed to a second term, and there is no mention of a replacement.

The prefect of the Congregation for Saints, the Salesian Angelo Amato, is nearly eighty years old, and has held his position since July 2008—so he should be out on two counts. [Yet he was the one Ratzinger holdover whom the pope singled out in April 2013 (at the time he confirmed all the Curial heads in position who were considered resigned with Benedict XVI's rinuncia) as being confirmed 'donec aliter provideatur' (until further notice).]

Same goes for Leonardo Sandri, who was born in 1943 and has been prefect of Oriental Churches since 2007.

There is an element that unites all these people (except perhaps Sandri): They are all closely connected to the pope and have no doubts or dubia of any kind about Amoris Laetitia. [I did not realize Amato is one of them. Et tu???]

By contrast, there is the auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, Andreas Laun, who on October 13 turned seventy-five years old. That very same day, the pontiff accepted his dutiful offer of resignation. Last February, Laun had published on a letter received a German priest in Latin America. The letter reads:

While questions about the divorced and remarried remain vague and unanswered, as often happens with the Holy Father, then it may happen that the following absurd situation occurs: A penitent [in confession] says he wants to continue living as husband and wife with his partner, and then he asks for absolution, referring to various bishops’ conferences and finally to the pope himself. As a priest I tell myself: “My conscience tells me I cannot give absolution, though the pope keeps the question open; so I cannot give you absolution.”

But the man, referring to the pope, insists he wants to be acquitted, and receive communion. Do I then have to change the formula of absolution and say, “The pope absolves you from your sins in the name of the father, and so on. . . ”? For me this is absolutely absurd! But it is not the consequence of this?

Bishop Laun responded:

I’m afraid that this question contains a logic from which you can’t escape. . . . There is no such thing as a double truth, and to certain questions there is only one true answer — even when bishops, and entire conferences, give contradictory answers. Some answers are true, others are certainly false.

Here we may see the key to this apparently inconsistent application of the pope’s two rules. If the limit to a single five-year term and retirement at seventy-five seems to apply only to some, it is because a third rule is operating in the background. Those who question Amoris Laetitia must go; those who support it may stay.

Pope Francis has spoken against an overly rigid or consistent application of law. So, here we see him breaking his own 'rule' many times over. [i.e., He made up the five-year 'rule' simply to account for firing Mueller, and/or he is Bergoglio so he can break any rule or law - including Jesus's condemnation of adultery, for example.]

Trying to contain the items critical of the pope together in one post...

Once more, doctrinal development

Oct. 26, 2017

A phrase of St Paul, in one of the earliest documents of the Church's Magisterium, was, we have seen, taken up by S Vincent of Lerins in his insistence that development in Doctrine must be eodem sensu eademque sententia.

In the last couple of centuries it has been transformed, by repetition, into a central plank of the Magisterium. Two Ecumenical Councils and a succession of Roman Pontiffs have done this.
- You will find it in Ineffabilis Deus, by which in 1854 St Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
- It appears in the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican I Dei filius (at the end, just before the anathemas).
- St Pius X's Pascendi Dominici gregis repeats (para 28) these words of Dei filius in its treatment of Modernism, and
-The phrase was incorporated into the Anti-Modernist Oath taken by all clergy until 1967.
- After, St John XXIII used it in his highly significant and programmatic Address at the start of Vatican II,
- it was repeated in Gaudium et spes (para 62), and
- St John Paul II, interestingly, extended its use from Dogmatic to Moral Theology in Veritatis splendor (para 53).

And, if the Rule of Believing really is established by the Rule of Praying, then eodem sensu eademque sententia is right at the heart, not only of Vatican II, but also of the 'Spirit of Vatican II' as enunciated by the post-Conciliar liturgical changes: the crucial passage from the Commonitorium of S Vincent of Lerins is ordered to be read each year in the Liturgia Horarum (Week 27 of the Year, Friday). It is not surprising that Pope Benedict cited these words in his programmatic Address to the Roman Curia in 2005.

Fifteen hundred years ago ... and, if the world endures, fifteen hundred year from now, when Pope Francis XVI during some crisis or other is busily writing a Post-Synodal Exhortation ... it was and will be as true as it is today that the Deposit of Faith, the Tradition handed on through the Apostles, can only ever exist, can only ever be expressed, so that it comes to Christ's People with the same sense and with the same meaning.

Is the Magisterium in crisis?
Item: Capital punishment

Oct. 26, 2017

Here is an old post, from which I have chopped off a section on Humanae Vitae.

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to Capital Punishment, if that is the only possible effective way of defending human lives against an unjust aggressor.

Doctrine develops, evolves, is nuanced. But it must always be eodem sensu eademque sententia.

So, under S John Paul II, the Magisterium, after reiterating the traditional teaching, went on to teach us (CCC 2267 citing Evangelium vitae 56) that in our time, given the resources at the State's disposal, such occasions are rare, even very probably non-existent.

How can anyone find fault with that prudential judgement? Most certainly not I. All power to that Great and Holy Pontiff's elbow.

Recently, however, we have been told that Capital punishment is "inadmissable, no matter how serious the crime committed", and "an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person"; that "Thou shalt not kill has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty"; and that "even a criminal has the inviolable right to life". "Absolute", mark you. And "Inviolable".

I do not see how all this is eodem sensu as the Traditional teaching. I do not see how it is a development eadem sententia from CCC 2267. It is a novel theologoumenon which in fact contradicts the Tradition.

I view Capital Punishment with quite as much personal revulsion as the Holy Father does. When I read about the Death Rows and the botched executions in a handful of North American states; about the gentle delicacy with which the Chinese shoot their convicts so as not to damage organs which can be profitably 'harvested'; I feel both very angry and uncomfortably sick. But his and my revulsion is not the point.

Perhaps one should make allowances for the fact that Jorge Bergoglio spent his middle years in a barbarous land in which thousands were 'disappeared' and many more tortured under a murderous and corrupt military dictatorship (to the downfall of which my own country may have made some small contribution).

But when every allowance is made, the Magisterium is not an arena in which the Sovereign Pontiff is entitled to attach the prestige of his office to some personal enthusiasm.

Let me conclude by sharing with you my very own daring view about all this stuff.

I do not, I am afraid, believe that the Holy Spirit was given to Pope Francis, or to any other pope, so that by His revelation they can put out some new doctrine, but so that (with the Holy Spirit's help) they can guard and set forth the Tradition handed down through the Apostles ... what we call the Deposit of Faith.

P.S. Here is Mundabor's reaction to Andrew Brown's Guardian article...

Pope Francis: Even outsiders
now get it about his 'heresies'

About which, of course, they rejoice

October 28, 2017

The long article from the UK-based, proto-communist Guardian is extremely instructive (insofar as people who don’t understand anything of Catholicism can be instructive) for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

The author obviously does not understand anything of Catholicism:
- The insistent emphasis on the difference between how the world is and how the world should be according to the Church, as if this were a problem for the Church, is obvious demonstration.
- The one about it being necessary that Catholics give communion to adulterers to avoid the risk of extinction is so stupid that it must be a bad pun and has no theological depth at all (it is not true that divorced and “remarried” people already receive communion all over the world; but this is utterly irrelevant: the question is whether anyone who does so, which is very easy to do, commits a very grave sacrilege.)

However, even people who have done nothing more than a shallow research of the facts, and can’t write an article without giving us countless examples of ignorance and incompetence [seem to] understand this: Francis is a heretic by every Catholic standard of the last two thousand years.

In his confused way (fake news abound all over the article, see the already mentioned example), the author sees it evident that what Francis does is the contrary of what Popes for two thousand years before him have done. That this is supposed to be good does insult the intelligence of the writer (even an atheist should be able to understand that this is not acceptable for Catholicism, and therefore Francis is simply an unacceptable Pope), but it does not change the facts.

This article, like many other secular interventions in favour of the Evil Clown, indicts Pope Francis even as it supports him. If a magazine called Satanism Today praised Francis in high tones, what would that demonstrate about him?

Look and be stunned, Catholic world. A Pope is praised by the Guardian for his battle against Catholicism. [Well, they would never praise any pope for speaking up and defending Catholicism, would they? Look how they always thrashed Benedict XVI!]

I have tried to find out more about Andrew Brown but the only information I can find is that 'he writes about religion', according to the Guardian, that he is 'a fierce critic' of the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but is he even a Christian, when he describes himself as someone for whom "Christianity is only true backwards" [whatever he means by that - never ever make a quip that is not instantly understandable to most listeners!].

He has written five books so far -allof them apparently well-reviewed - only one of which is about religion (Anglicanism), the others being Watching the Detectives (1989), a well-reviewed account of four months he spent with the London police; The Darwin Wars (2000), about the widespread impact of Darwinism on contemporary life and thought; In The Beginning was the Worm (2004), subtitled 'Finding the secrets of life in a tiny hermaphrodite' (one wonders if he is pitching a political agenda in a book on popular science); Fishing in Utopia (2008), a travel book about Sweden; and That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England lost its people (with Professor Linda Woodhead)(2016). I hope he knew enough about the CofE to write the book. His seemingly blissful unawareness of his ignorance of the Catholic Church makes it questionable.

Anyway, for someone who has such catholic (small c) interests, judging from his book titles, and who has apparently won a prize as Best Religious Writer in the UK in the 1990s, one expects a minimum level of knowledge about Catholicism that one does not see in his Guardian article.

00Monday, October 30, 2017 1:18 PM

In its headline below, DIE WELT expresses more explicitly what I mean by the label 'Jorge Martin Bergluther' - in which the thesis would be 'Martin Luther', the antithesis 'Jorge Mario
Bergoglio', pope and therefore presumed Catholic, synthesized into 'Jorge Martin Bergluther', the anti-Catholic apostate who continues to bestride the world stage.

It's forbidden to say anything
negative about Luther - so
even Bergoglio's anti-Luther statements
30 years ago are being censored out

Oct. 30, 2017

October 31 marks precisely five hundred years since the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. And on the part of the highest officials of the Catholic Church, the celebrations so far have been practically a one-way street: a chorus of praise for Martin Luther. “A medicine for the Church,” Pope Francis said of him in taking stock of his ecumenical journey in Sweden exactly one year ago.

Meanwhile, L'Osservatore Romano, however, and La Civiltà Cattolica have been cautious not to republish what Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote about Luther and Calvin before he was elected pope.

Only one of his texts on the Protestant Reformation has been preserved, from about thirty years ago. But it was republished in 2014 with a preface by the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, editor of [Civilta... and one of Pope Francis’s closest confidants/advisers, without the slightest disclaimer of the crushing anti-Protestant invectives contained in it.

When the text came back to light, in fact, the eminent Protestant theologian Paolo Ricca, a Waldensian, expressed his consternation in an editorial for the magazine Riforma:

“I ask myself how it is possible to still have today, or even thirty years ago, such a deformed, distorted, mistaken, and substantially false view of the Protestant Reformation. It is a view with which it is impossible to begin a dialogue, or even an argument, it is so far and divergent from reality...”

One thing is certain: on the basis of such a view, an ecumenical celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, in 2017, appears to be literally impossible.”

However, as we all know, Pope Francis has since succeeded - and then some - in retying the threads of dialogue and in establishing in public opinion the image of a Catholic Church friendlier than ever with Luther and grateful for what he did.

Naturally, setting aside entirely that text of his. Which it could be useful to read and is linked here:
> Luther At the Stake. No, At the Altars. The Double Vision of the Jesuit Pope

But this censorship of the anti-Lutheran Bergoglio is not the only one in this season of Bergoglian ecumenism. To it can be added another: on an author who is among the most prominent writers for "L'Osservatore Romano,” Marco Vannini, a renowned expert on theology and mysticism, especially that of Germany, and a scholar of Luther.

Vannini published a book this year that says right from the title what side he takes: “Against Luther and the false Gospel.”

Vannini calls himself “perhaps heretical but Roman Catholic,” although in an article in 2004, under the reign of pope Karol Wojtyla, La Civiltà Cattolica adjudged that he “excludes transcendence, suppresses the essential truths of Christianity, and by way of Neoplatonism inexorably arrives at a modern Gnosticism.”

But under Pope Francis, he has become a regular contributor to the pope's own newspaper.

But the OR has not devoted even one line to his erudite book against Luther. Curiously, it was noted in Italy only by the magazine Il Regno, an authoritative voice of progressive Catholicism, with an interview of the author, with passages like the ff:

“My familiarity with the texts of Luther dates back to my youth; then I moved on to my predominant interest, German mysticism before and after the Reformation. The controversy over Luther is certainly ‘outdated’, because in my view the Catholic or ex-Catholic world has incorporated ideas, tendencies, and ways of being from the Lutheran Protestant world. Lutheranism and the Reformation in general are responsible for one of the gravest evils of our world: individualism, the primacy of the subject who centers himself on self-love, which is ‘radix omnis mali et peccati’, the root of all evil and sin, as Saint Augustine said and Meister Eckhart often repeated. This is the reason for my hostility toward Lutheranism. It is no coincidence that Luther is so beloved by self-proclaimed secularists who have no affection for Christ or Christianity.”

Further on in the interview Vannini doubles down on his criticism against the use that Luther makes of Sacred Scripture:
“I really do not forgive the use that Luther makes, at his pleasure, of Scripture, for example when he defines one text as absolutely the word of God, separating it from all the rest, or when he takes what he needs from Scripture and throws away what doesn’t work. [Criticisms that apply very well to Bergoglio as well.] Years ago, when I edited the prefaces for Luther’s Bible, his manipulations against the pope seemed intolerable to me.”

And against his rejection of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle:
“The authentic Gospel consists in the fact that the light of God, the eternal light, is always,d no matter what, on every man. In Luther I find instead something diabolical, there is a spirit of deceit that contrasts with the nobility of the spirit, with the truth and with the profound honesty that one experiences in reading the great philosophers. When Luther lays into philosophy, calling it a ‘prostitute of dialogue’, I perceive a radical hostility: here his false Gospel is going strong. It is false because it does not arise from the universality of reason, which is the most precious thing we possess, but is the fruit of his particular decisions.

But Vannini also goes so far as to sweep away, together with Luther, even the apostle Paul:
“The Christian faith without the lesson of ancient philosophy would be defunct. Today perhaps it could be a form of gnosticism or one sect among the many if it had not met on its way those great and honest philosophers who were also Christians, and whom Luther insults and despises.

Christianity would not have survived with Paul alone, whom Luther however loves so much. On this it would be necessary to read Nietzsche, a powerful psychologist who unmasks the profound self-affirmation of Paul, who begins the letter to the Romans by shamelessly insulting the classical world: something that is absolutely dishonest.

In fact, Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, the ousted prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has no platform left but a “foreign” outlet to repeat the elementary and enduring differences that divide the Catholic Church from Protestantism:
> Quella di Lutero? Non fu riforma, ma rivoluzione

00Monday, October 30, 2017 1:28 PM

Sermon for Christ the King Sunday:
Catholic paralysis following Vatican II
threatens the very foundation of the Church

by Fr. Richard Cipolla
St. Mary's Church
Norwalk, Connecticut
Oct. 29, 2017

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37-38)

The Feast of Christ the King was added to the Roman Calendar in Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical Quas Primas on December 11, 1925. This was the time of a most troubling interlude between the two World Wars that devastated two generations. It was also a troubled time for the Catholic Church. This time was the beginning of the rise of the understanding of an ideal government as purely secular.

This was also the time when the so called Roman question had not been resolved, the question being the dispute regarding the temporal power of the popes as rulers of a civil territory in the context of the Italian Risorgimento. It ended with the Lateran Pacts between King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI in 1929.

The Pope was quite explicit in why he thought it necessary and salutary to institute this feast for the whole Church. The date, the last Sunday in October, was chosen because it was the Sunday before All Saints Day, when the manifestation of the kingdom of Christ is seen in the glorious holiness of the saints in heaven; also because it was near the end of the liturgical year, and finally, because that Sunday had been traditionally observed as Reformation Sunday by Protestants.

I want to read to you the Pope’s own words that enable us to understand his conception of this feast from his Encyclical that promulgated the feast of Christ the King. He quotes St. Cyril of Alexandria. “Christ has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence or usurped, but his essence and nature”. Then the Pope goes on:

“His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this: that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer.”

He then goes on to explain how Christ’s kingdom is spiritual and not at all concerned with worldly power. But it is at this point he adds:

“It would be a grave error, however, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since by virtue of absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power….Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor Pope Leo XIII: “ ‘His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.’”

How do we react to those words, to this insistence that the kingship of Christ extends to all men and women living on this earth and that as a conclusion every government must understand their obligation to govern in a way that is consonant with the teaching of Christ the King?

To those of us who have grown up with the dictum of separation of Church and State, to those of us who have grown up since World War II and the secularization of society, to those who are young who have grown up with the assumption that Catholicism and Christianity are just one religion among many, for those who have grown up with pluralism as the ultimate gift of the gods, what can the kingship of Christ mean?

We could take refuge in trying to spiritualize the whole thing, but that would be dishonest with respect to what Pope Pius XI was saying. Or we can transfer the feast to another day and thereby change its meaning. That is what the reformers of the calendar did in 1970. In the Novus Ordo calendar this feast was transferred to the last Sunday of the Year, immediately before the First Sunday in Advent.

The readings for that Sunday are always about the end times: stars falling out of the sky, earthquakes, terrible tribulations. There is a validity in associating this feast with the end time when the Kingship of Christ will be made totally manifest. But to associate this feast with only the future — even the ultimate future — makes it much easier to dismiss the reality of the Kingship of Christ as just part of the End Times, which for many Catholics and for most people in general has no meaning right now in their lives in this world. It is much easier to deal with Christ the King who will come again in some vague way in the future than to deal with Christ the King right now.

Imagine someone — lay man or woman, deacon, priest, bishop or Pope - going to the UN and speaking about the kingship of Christ and the implications of his kingship for every member of the United Nations using the words of Pius XI. The representatives of the UN would be polite and not say out loud what they are thinking — this guy is crazy. And there would be polite applause after the speech, and then they would go to a fancy dinner in New York and talk about the crazy Catholic who spoke of the kingship of Christ in practical terms for each of their countries. They would laugh and order cocktails before dinner. At least Pilate had the sardonic intelligence to ask the King: what is truth?

The paralysis that has beset the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council threatens the very foundation of the Church, for it makes evangelization as defined by Christ himself before the Ascension impossible. [I disagree that 'paralysis' in the Church has been operative after Vatican-II, certainly not in the Church leadership under John Paul II and Benedict XVI.]
- Playing footsie with the world is not the same as being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.
- Denying the objectivity of sin in the name of mercy is not consonant with Jesus's words at the beginning of his ministry: “Repent and believe the Gospel!”
- Making mercy a principle that trumps the justice of God is worse than phariseeism.

But the current situation in the Church would be impossible without the rise of a hyper-papalism, that reduces the Church and her teaching to the person of the Pope. This irrational reduction of the teaching of the Church and the authentic development of doctrine to the preferential musings of a Pope is destructive to the Church of Jesus Christ.

“You are Peter”. The Pope is the Successor of Peter. And his job, and it is a job, a job that has certain perks handed down by Tradition, his job is to pass on the Catholic faith totally and unalloyed and to give his assent to those developments of doctrine that are the fruit of centuries of thought and prayer and then to define them as credenda, those things that are to be believed by Catholics because they are true.

What is missing? Why are we Catholics in the situation in which we find ourselves, emasculated and irrelevant with respect to the world? Because we no longer hear those words that are the antidote to the poison of secular contemporary secularism, the world of tweets and texts. Catholics no longer hear and understand those words: Hoc est enim corpus meum - those words that are the antidote to the frivolous and empty culture in which we live. Not “This is my body” or “Este es mi cuerpo”, or “Questo é il mio corpo, or “To jest moje ciałot”.

But Hoc est enim corpus meum. Those words that transcend the particularity of the cacophony of language and that are uttered in a language that is no longer a spoken language and therefore transcends particularity: they are the words that make real the presence of Christ the King in a world that despises him or does not know him or is bored with him or cannot turn off their text messages to pay attention to him or cannot stop tweeting to express their own banality — there it is. The words of Christ the King. The Truth. What is truth? Hoc est enim corpus meum.

My comment above to Fr. Cipolla's sweeping description of "the paralysis that has beset the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council" is, in fact, addressed in an earlier article which uses the more appropriate term 'soft discipline' instead of 'paralysis'...

The fruits of soft discipline
by Fr. Mark A. Pilon

October 26, 2017

When I was in the seminary in the early 1960s, we were indoctrinated in the notion that the harsh discipline of the Church over the centuries would be a thing of the past following Vatican II. Supposedly, none of this harshness had ever really worked to safeguard the teaching of the Church, so a new softer approach was needed.

A half-century later, the results are in – and it’s indisputable that the softer approach didn’t work. In addition to the exodus of priests, nuns, and religious, there’s been a massive loss of knowledge among ordinary lay people about what the Church teaches. And no wonder, since there’s been little effort to make Church teachings clear in the flight from the bad old days of “harsh discipline.”

The bad example most often cited back then was the effort by Pope St. Pius X to root out modernism by removing dissident professors and then, in 1910, instituting the Anti-modernist Oath “to be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.”

This oath began by embracing and accepting “each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.”

Those errors were then briefly explicated, followed by this submission: “I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.”

Now the “enlightened” critics of this oath were many and prominent during the Second Vatican Council, and they won just two years after it closed. In 1967, the CDF under Paul VI issued a much-shortened Profession of Faith in “substitution of the Tridentine formula and the oath against modernism.”

It is a brief restatement of the Creed with a closing qualifier: “I also firmly accept and retain each and every truth regarding the doctrine of faith and morals, whether solemnly defined by the Church or asserted and declared with the ordinary Magisterium, as well as those doctrines proposed by the same Magisterium.”

Fine, so far as it goes, but it names no specific errors, even when they contradict the Church’s “ordinary Magisterium.” By that point, the errors may have become so numerous that it was necessary to abbreviate the oath or profession.

But I’m not sure that’s the only reason. The change also reflected a desire on the part of powerful elements at the Council to present a new, softer face of the Church to the world.

Pius X was too smart to think that an oath was going to cleanse the Church of heretical dissidents. But it did set down markers for bishops who were obliged by their own office to discipline and remove not only those who refused to take the oath but also those who supported heretical doctrines.

Vatican II had affirmed the authority and responsibility of individual bishops as true successors of the apostles. So, you could argue, if the bishops fulfill their grave obligation to safeguard the faith, no such oath – or at least no such detailed oath – would be necessary.

Unfortunately, after the Council, discipline mostly collapsed, at least when it came to safeguarding the faith. Witness the open and massive dissent from Humanae Vitae – certainly an exercise of the pope’s ordinary Magisterium, but also a formal reaffirmation of a constant teaching of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium, which was defined as infallible by both Vatican I and Vatican II.

Yet it’s hard to think of anyone among the “clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” openly disciplined by his bishop for dissenting from this teaching.

Indeed, it took twenty-five years to remove one of the ringleaders of dissent, Charles Curran, from a Pontifical University (The Catholic University of America). Many others continued at Catholic institutions until they retired.

St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to change things, but with modest success.

Part of the problem was that several bishops were, themselves, dissenters, though secretly out of fear for repercussions. I had a certain respect for the honesty, at least, of one or two bishops who openly opposed Humanae Vitae. But you would have to be very naïve to think that there were only one or two bishop-dissenters. That’s become abundantly clearer in recent years.

Inevitably, the soft church became even softer when it came to the growing problem of Catholic laity and Catholic politicians openly supporting crimes against humanity such as abortion. How could the bishops discipline them when they failed to discipline even their own clergy and teachers in Catholic universities?

The double standard would have been obvious. So today we have a Church leadership that talks endlessly, but does virtually nothing to protect the faith of the little ones who were always the object of our Lord’s special love – and of the great popes of history. Often this soft discipline is justified in terms of charity. But what about charity toward the little ones who are easily – and gravely – misled?

Ordinary Catholics know well that words are cheap unless they are backed up by action. They know that no successful institution could operate the way the Catholic Church exercises discipline. If a person in authority contradicts the mission or disputes the principles that guide that mission, he will soon find himself out.

When bishops fail to discipline those who are in positions of grave responsibility, the ordinary person will no longer take a bishop’s words seriously. Perhaps that is why so many ordinary Catholics have come to side with the secular world on abortion, divorce, homosexual “marriage,” you name it.

But the ultimate victim of a failure to maintain discipline is truth. If you are not willing to defend the truth, then truth itself becomes a matter of opinion. That is, sadly, where we stand today.

Meanwhile, one of Marco Tosatti's Vatican sources comes out with a cri du coeur over what he sees as an acceleration of Bergoglio-initiated and/or -induced events that makes him think as though we were in the 'end times'. The Latin expression ‘motus in fine velocior’ refers to how time appears to speed up in the midst of a crisis, or in the case of the post-conciliar age, towards the end of an epoch.

‘Motus in fine velocior’?
My correspondent ‘Pezzo Grosso’ is terrorized
by what he is seeing in the Church…

Translated from

Oct. 30, 2017

Dear friends and even enemies who nonetheless read me,
I thought that I would have a day off today, but I got a message from ‘Pezzo Grosso’ [‘Big cheese’, one of Tosatti’s well-placed correspondents], which I must confess struck me hard: because of the tone of the message, and because I know he is someone who has seen quite a lot and is not an easily impressionable fellow. But read what he says:

Dear Tosatti, what I am writing you today is not intended to make you laugh. Not only am I quite dumbstruck since I am no longer surprised by anything in this pontificate – this time I am frightened. The acceleration of events in these past several days is surprising, as if we were facing an urgent deadline and no one wants to waste time by resorting to diplomatic ‘glycerin suppositories’ [makes the terrible medicine glide in easily directly to your gut, instead of having to take it by mouth!]

After preliminary sallies with ambiguous interpretation, we have passed on to something which no longer needs interpretation because they are declarations of war against the Catholic faith, Jesus Christ and the Immacolata.

First, the statements of esteem and praise for Martin Luther (the most recent was a lecture by Mons. Brune Forte on October 30), then those by a theologian very much in favor with this pope (Andrea Grillo) who has said on Facebook and other media (without any denial from the Vatican) that ‘Trans-substantiation is not a dogma’. And then again, the surprising and disquieting public ‘correction’ of Cardinal Sarah by this pope.

The formal title of the conference is "The Church and feemasonry: So close and yet so far apart".

And now, there is this conference on the rapprochement between the Church and Freemasonry which will take place on November 12 in Syracuse, with interventions by Grand Masters of the Grand Orient of Italy* (the sponsoring organization), the Bishop of Noto and another Catholic prelate from the Archdiocese of Syracuse. The flyer for the conference features Christ with the masonic compass in hand.

Of course, after his enthusiastic advocacy last year of rapprochement with the Freemasons by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, we should not be surprised. But Ravasi is Ravasi, and even when he is not speaking Aramaic or ancient Greek, one can hear him without understanding a word.

But now I am frightened above all by all these events following each other closely – as if we were fast approaching a deadline or an ultimatum. (Could it have to do with the visions of Leo XIII? The prophesies of La Sallette? Of St. Bridget? Of Our Lady of Akita? Of St. Vincent Ferrer?...)

What could we possibly expect to be the next move? Will the next rapprochement be with the tempter-serpent of Genesis who sought to justify his ‘good intentions’ to bring knowledge to Adam and Eve? Shall we then reproach St Michael Archangel for kicking him out? Perhaps we should even ask the Virgin Mary to apologize for having crushed his head beneath her foot! And even Jesus himself for not allowing himself to be tempted in the desert! Thus we would open up a multi-cultural pluralistic dialog with Satan.

Dear Tosatti, you will not believe me, but I am starting to be truly afraid. I have started to take up the prayer-exorcism to St. Michael the Archangel written by Leo XIII (which had always been said after Mass till 1964 when it was ‘inexplicably’ dropped) [That would have been under the pontificate of the Papa Buono, St. John XXIII. Why indeed was it dropped? I must remember to ask my parish priest at Holy Innocents if he would like to restore it after the traditional Mass.]

I ask myself if I shall have the strength to act against all this without the assistance of my Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church whose leadership I feel to be working against the Gospels and the Truth in which I was raised. The cardinals and bishops who still believe in the Truth of Christ must do something now! I fear as if we are in the ‘end times’, dear Tosatti.

From a terrorized Pezzo Grosso

*From Wikipedia: The Grand Orient of Italy is an Italian masonic grand lodge founded in 1805 by the stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte. As of March 2012 the grand lodge had 21,400 adherents divided in 757 lodges. Although once a significant player within international freemasonry, since 1993 it has not been recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England (due to accusations of corruption and Mafia involvement), and it is not recognised by the Grand Orient of France, the oldest Masonic lodge in Europe (most American Grand Lodges continue to recognise it, however).

In 1925, Freemasonry was suppressed in Italy by Mussolini, but the Masons resumed activities after the Second World War. Propaganda-2, the lodge that investigative journalists identified as being implicated in the 1982 murder of banker Roberto Calvi [chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, whose major stockholder was the Vatican, and which was used by the Mafia for money-laundering; the bank crashed in 1982 and the Vatican had to pay out about $250 million to clients victimized by the crash], was originally chartered by the Grand Orient which revoked its charter in 1974. The Grand Orient revoked its charter in 1974.

00Monday, October 30, 2017 4:23 PM

On the 500th anniversary of Luther's schism and
the first years of his virtual canonization
by an anti-Catholic Pope

Extreme right, the most widely circulated 'death portrait' of Luther (1483-1546) apparently taken from the larger deathbed scene.

500 years of Protestant Revolution:
A must-read account of the life and errors of Martin Luther

October 30, 2017

Fifty years ago, on the 450th anniversary of the Protestant revolt, The Wanderer published Bp. William Adrian's detailed account of the life of German heresiarch Martin Luther. In a few words: Luther was a pervert obsessed with his own sins and temptations, who thought it impossible to try to be a better person: from there arise all his issues.

We have received special permission from The Wanderer to reprint this piece, which should be read by everyone interested in the history of the past five centuries.

The 450th anniversary
of the Lutheran schism

by Bishop William Adrian (Nashville, Tennessee)
September 21, 1967

In presenting the picture of Martin Luther I want to be completely objective, and rely on the authority of some of the most reputable scholars available, many of whom are non-Catholics.

During the last century, especially since 1883, the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Luther, there have been two Luthers – one of panegyric, romance and fiction, and the other the Luther of fact. Since the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation is being commemorated this year, these TWO Luthers are still being presented.

Only recently an ardent clerical Catholic ecumenist wrote that the Catholic Church now admits that it has been wrong all along about Martin Luther, and that he really deserves to be canonized as a saint. On the other hand, most historians presenting facts give quite a different account. These facts about Luther I will briefly present, and let you be the judge.

Dr. Guilday, former history professor at the Catholic University, summed up the work of Luther’s life this way:

“The cleavage of Luther from the Catholic Church was not caused by opposition to the Papacy, but by the false idea, which seems to have haunted him unto obsession – his total impotency under temptation. It was this negation of the moral value of human action – this denial of man’s ability to overcome sin – which led to his famous doctrine of the worthlessness of good works. The only hope he had was a blind reliance on God, whose Son, Jesus Christ, had thrown around him the cloak of his own merits. From this starting point it was facilis descensus Averni(an easy descent to hell). Opposition to all good works, and particularly to Monastic regulations and to Indulgences, led to opposition to authority – Episcopal and Papal.”

The facts of Luther’s life bear out the truth of this statement.

Martin Luther was born in 1483; he was the second oldest of eight children. The discipline in the home appears to have been strict by modern standards, but this could hardly have affected his later life, as some contend. He was a good student, and his father decided that his son should study law, and thus bring some prominence to the family which was very poor. The first four years of Luther’s studies were devoted to liberal arts, principally to the study of Latin, Greek, philosophy and ethics.

At the age of twenty-two he began his study of law, but discontinued after a few weeks, and decided, against his father’s will, to enter the monastic life. Luther gave as the reason for the change the fear for his salvation – caused by a bolt of lightning which killed a companion at his side. He said it was a sign from heaven, and he made a vow to enter a monastery, if his life were spared. Most scholars express doubt about this being the reason, and are of the opinion that Luther had long been pondering this move, and the episode about the vow provided him the occasion for carrying it out. He did not like the study of law anyway.

After one year in the novitiate Luther made his solemn profession at Erfurt, the Augustinian monastery. Some historians insist that “this was the rashest act of his whole life and certainly the most serious,” that Luther had not given any indication of having a vocation to the priesthood or to the religious life (Msgr. Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, Vol. III, p. 505). Nine months later he was ordained a priest, and then began his study of theology. After two years he was sent to Wittenberg to lecture on philosophy and theology.

What kind of man had Luther been up to this time? All agree that he was a tireless worker, but moody, fear-ridden, impulsive. He tried hard to be a good religious, but he did not find that peace for which he had come to the monastery; the anguish of former years, the fear of losing his soul, still remained. Luther frequently spoke of his temptations – the worst of which he says, were not carnal; “evil thoughts, hatred of God, blasphemy, despair, unbelief – THESE were the main temptations. I did penance, but despair did not leave me.”

It is quite clear that a large part of this mental and spiritual state of Luther, was the result of the errors in philosophy and religion being taught at the monastery at that time. A “new religion” was proclaimed, which was mostly a revival of the false teachings of men like Ockham and Wyclif of two centuries before. These heretics had taught that the Bible is the only source of faith – that Christ was the only head of the Church to the exclusion of the Papacy. Some taught a sort of predestination; that priest and laity are all equal – all of which theories Luther later adopted. But always back of Luther’s search was to find a way to overcome his fear of damnation.

In 1512 Luther’s Augustinian superior gave him complete charge of the school of divinity at Wittenberg. From that time on began a complete change in Luther’s life. He began to be lax in his spiritual life. “I seldom have time,” he wrote to a friend, “for reciting the Divine Office and celebrating Mass, and then, too, I have my peculiar temptation from the flesh, the world and the devil.” He gave the excuse of being too busy with preaching, studying, answering letters, administrative affairs, etc. – the incipient cause of the spiritual ruin of many a priest – “too busy” with many things to take care of the needs of his soul.

Although Luther was later to coin such phrases as, “invincible concupiscence,” and “sin boldly but believe more boldly,” and to 'marry' a nun despite his monastic and priestly vows; although he was to speak with the most revolting coarseness of sex-life in general, and his own relations with his wife in particular – it was not his body that was the seat of his real trouble and at times almost drove him insane.

Rather, it was his intensely active imagination, which pictured the anger of God and His punishment of sin so vividly that he could scarcely look on the crucifix. Thus, the one obsession of his life was to find a way for believing that his soul was predestined to be saved beyond all doubt.

About 1514 he thought he found the solution to his problem in the writings of Ockham. Peter Ockham was an English Franciscan friar, whose writings were condemned by the Church in 1347. His errors pertained principally to his ideas about the nature of God and of the constitution of the Church. He taught that what God willed was all-important – man’s will did not count. God could as well command a man to hate Him, as to love Him; HE could choose to damn the innocent and to save the guilty. Sin could co-exist in the soul along with grace. Briefly, salvation depends entirely on God’s will, no matter what man is or does. [Very much as Benedict XVI described the nature of the Allah professed by the Muslims as God, in his Regensburg lecture - someone whose will is entirely arbitrary and devoid of Logos.]

Luther meditating on these ideas, concluded that if what Ockham said was POSSIBLE with God, and were the actual way God operated, then his problem was solved; and he proceeded to formulate his doctrines accordingly.

Luther, after much study of Ockham’s teaching and his own problem, formulated these propositions:
(1) Man, because of original sin, is wholly and forever corrupted; therefore, he is incapable of ever doing any good, meritorious work.
(2) Man’s own sinfulness can have no effect upon his eternal destiny; once he is clad in the robes of Christ’s merits, he is accepted by God as justified, and no sin committed by such a man, can ever give the devil any hold on him.

From these propositions Luther deduced that the necessity of good works for salvation is a sham; penances, indulgences are not only useless, but blasphemous; prayers of petition and the whole sacramental system must be discarded. And so the need of a Church and priesthood disappears.

It was to defend these doctrines that Luther, in 1517, nailed to the door of the Wittenberg church the 95 theses – the question of indulgences included. Thus, Luther made the matter of indulgences, which was at the time a very live issue, the occasion for publicizing his new doctrines.

This episode was NOT the beginning of the revolution against the Church; for 200 years this had been brooding. Luther only brought before the Christian world his new version of the Christian dispensation.

Long before Rome’s solemn condemnation of Luther’s doctrines in 1521, his doctrines had been discussed and fought over in every university in Christendom. Nor had Luther at this time any intention of breaking away from the Church. When, in 1520, Luther was cited by Pope Leo X to answer the charges of teaching heresy, he replied: “Before God and man, I have never wished to attack either the Roman Church or the Pope, and today I have even less intention to do so.”

But in 1517 Luther’s doctrine was not yet complete. He had to find some BASIS for it – some AUTHORITY. Since the philosophy of Aristotle and the theological teaching of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas did not fit into his ideas of Christianity, he discarded them as “out of date,” and adopted the teaching of the Mystics.

This proved very dangerous to Luther with his wild imagination, as it has been to everyone who has not based his religion on the solid doctrines of the Church. Luther himself expresses his ideas thus: “Christianity is nothing but a perpetual exercise in FEELING that you have no sin, although you committed sin, but that your sins are attached to Christ,” meaning “covered by CHRIST’S merits, not your own, you have none.” Then he coined that famous phrase from St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans (3:28): “Salvation is obtained by FAITH ALONE.”

In this there were two fundamental errors.
(1) the word “ALONE” is not in the original text of Scripture.
(2) HE took this sentence out of context, as so many sects since have done, and ignored dozens of texts stating clearly that, NOT FAITH ALONE, but also GOOD WORKS are necessary for salvation.

For example, Christ declared in Matthew 19:17: “If thou wilt have life (salvation), keep the Commandments.” When someone asked Luther about the epistle of St. James declaring that “faith without works is dead,” Luther replied, “it is straw – not authentic.”

So, too, the legend that Luther was the first to translate the Bible into the German language and gave it to the people, is contrary to all the evidence. Luther DID make a copy of the Bible during the ten months that he lived incognito in Wartberg castle for fear of being killed by his enemies, but he probably copied it from an old German Bible. It was not a translation from the original text of Greek or Hebrew, since Luther was not familiar enough with these languages – nor could he get any help. Besides, there were literally thousands of Bibles in Latin and German existing at this time. It would seem that Luther wanted a Bible to suit his new doctrine, changing and omitting parts of it to conform – hence he wrote one.

As time went on, Luther became more bold, more proud, more vulgar. He thought himself inspired – that only HE spoke the truth. [J. MartinBergluther certainly emulates him very well at that.] When he was excommunicated by Leo X in 1521, he became very bitter toward the Papacy, and called it the agent of the devil – the anti-Christ – and he burned the document in the public square.

For Luther the Church was an invisible entity – purely spiritual, comprised only of the souls DESTINED to be saved and subject to God alone; the Papacy and the Hierarchy were founded by Satan; they have neither authority to make laws nor to enforce them. But since the power to direct and govern the faithful in faith and morals must come from SOME source, Luther placed this prerogative in the ruling prince – the State. By what authority? LUTHER’S AUTHORITY.

The State is God’s sole agent, he said; it is supreme; it can make laws governing the Church and rescind them; it can punish any infringement, even with death. King Henry VIII acted on this teaching of Luther.

Since man is all evil, he can gain no merit for salvation by good works; therefore, there is no need of the Sacraments nor of priests. “The Mass is simply devilish wickedness,” stated Luther. Likewise, since man has no free will in deciding his eternal destiny, the Commandments have no meaning; God decides whether a man is destined to be saved.

Faith alone saves; but how to acquire this saving faith Luther never made clear beyond saying that one must keep on believing until he is inwardly convinced that he is saved – all depending on feeling – nothing definite.

But it was in his moral conduct and teaching that Luther was foul-mouthed, scurrilous – even obscene. Most historians declined to print his vile talk. His slogan “Sin bravely, but believe more bravely,” gives the clue to his thinking. He advised priests and nuns to marry as he had done; he urged the State to abolish all monasteries and convents, and many States did. He preached that chastity outside of marriage is an abomination – that the vow of chastity is worse than adultery. He counselled concubinage and immorality for husbands – also divorce and remarriage at the husband’s will.

In his “Table Talks” he speaks jokingly of his sex relations with the mother of his six children. “I confess, he writes, “that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it is not contradicted in Scripture. – I myself could not and would not abstain from impurity.”

Nearly all historians agree that Luther was the instigator of the horrible peasants’ insurrection, and Luther admits it. Over 100,000 peasants were killed, but Luther was not disturbed. One historian remarks that he celebrated the event by marrying the nun, Catherine Bora.

Some insist that Luther reformed the Church; he did NOT reform it – he tried to DESTROY it as far as he could, and left a worse spiritual and moral order. Unquestionably, the Church needed reforming, and Luther did a good turn for the Church insofar as his preaching and writing aroused the Pope and Bishops from their complacency, and the Council of Trent resulted.

Nor is the fact is it any credit to Luther that Protestantism itself has broken up into some 40,000 sects, all contending that theirs is the one true Church Christ founded.

Luther toward the end of his life suffered much from disease; he was filled with remorse and often yielded to fits of anger, sparing neither his wife nor his friends. One of his regrets was that he had said Mass for 15 years. In his last sermon he sharply criticized the monks for refusing to discard their habits. On his deathbed he answered to the question put to him by a disciple that he persevered in his doctrines. On the wall, near his bed, the doctor found this inscription in Latin: “I was your plague while I lived; when I die I shall be your death, O Pope.”

“The least saintly of men,” an English Protestant Bishop said of Luther – hardly a worthy candidate for canonization! Who could disagree?

I will not say that Jorge Bergoglio's knowledge about Martin Luther is spotty or deficient, nor that he has failed to read the papal bull that excommunicated him on heresies regarding dozens of Catholic teachings he renounced, nor the dozens of histories and biographies about Luther that, alongside his positive qualities, also describe his piggish persona and the habitually vulgar and false statements he made about the Church and the popes - but that, as this pope habitually does even with the words of Jesus in the Gospels, he has chosen not to read or acknowledge any negatives about Luther and the poisonous statements he said which are historically documented,choosing instead to attribute nothing but noble and saintly qualities to him.

So for him to present to the faithful and to the world his selectively biased ideas about Luther is outright offensive - to the truth and to God whose Eighth Commandment is 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor", or more generally, 'Thou shalt not (knowingly) lie about anyone or anything' - especially if the lies seek to cover up evil words and deeds. Being pope does not exempt him from the Commandments.

00Monday, October 30, 2017 9:06 PM

I was going to add this article to the post that had the above photos, but that post is too far back, so I am opening a new post. Once again, my thanks to Aldo Maria Valli for not missing any opportunity to bring up Benedict XVI's teachings which, as he says below, represent a counter-trend to the currently dominant thinking.

The travails of Benedict XVI
Translated from

The photo of Benedict XVI with a bruise under his right eye inspires infinite affection. Published on Facebook by ons. Stefan Oster, Bishop of Passau, who visited the Emeritus Pope Thursday, shows Joseph Ratzinger in all the frailty of his present condition.

Benedict XVI, who will be 91 in April, appears thin, but what struck me most was his expression. Perhaps I am wrong, but in that particular photo, he looks a little lost and betrays a kind of mortification typically of aged persons under certain circumstances.

We know that for years, Papa Ratzinger virtually sees nothing with his left eye because of a maculopathy, and also that he now has to use a hearing aid. All this certainly does not make it easy for him to entertain visitors. Nonetheless, in the former Vatican monastery that has become his residence, he gladly receives visits from friends, and with the simplicity characteristic of him, he did not mind being photographed with his injury, thus providing an image that has instantly become dear to all who think of him and pray for him.

There is so much truth in these recent photographs of Benedict XVI. And to see Papa Ratzinger this way, weakened and helpless, robed in a cassock that has become too large for him, reminds me of the words he wrote about suffering in his encyclical Spe salvi on Christian hope: “We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it” (No. 37).

He explains:

It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater.

It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.
(No. 37)

Farther on, Benedict XVI, with his characteristic lucidity, draws attention to the social implications of suffering and the close connection between the acceptance of suffering, and truth.

The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society.

Yet society cannot accept its suffering members and support them in their trials unless individuals are capable of doing so themselves; moreover, the individual cannot accept another's suffering unless he personally is able to find meaning in suffering, a path of purification and growth in maturity, a journey of hope.

Indeed, to accept the “other” who suffers, means that I take up his suffering in such a way that it becomes mine also. Because it has now become a shared suffering, though, in which another person is present, this suffering is penetrated by the light of love.

The Latin word con-solatio, “consolation”, expresses this beautifully. It suggests [ubeing with the other in his solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.

Furthermore, the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme.

Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie. In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I”, in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love
. (No. 39)

The entire encyclical should be re-read, such is it profundity and such are the reflections therein that are able to ‘hook’ in the reader, as a counter-trend to the dominant thinking today.

I will limit myself to one point which helps us to understand even better how the nonagenarian Ratzinger would be living his condition of advanced age day to day:

There used to be a form of devotion — perhaps less practised today but quite widespread not long ago — that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it.

What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.

And listen to what Benedict XVI said in May 2010 during his visit to the chapel of the Piccola Casa della Divina Provvidenza (Little House of Divine Providence) in Turin, better known as the Cottolengo [an Italian term for hospitals and hospices for the sick, derived from the Turin institution founded by San Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo, a pioneer among Turin’s great ‘social saints’ of the 19th century, and who also founded a religious order with priests, sisters and brothers]. Meeting with the wards in the institution, he said:

“Dear people who are suffering ailments: You are carrying out an important task: by living your sufferings in union with Christ who was crucified and rose, you are taking part in the mystery of his suffering for the salvation of the world. By offering our pain to God through Christ, we can collaborate in the triumph of good over evil, because God renders our offering, our act of love, fruitful.

Dear brothers and sisters, all of you who are here – do not feel that you are estranged from the destiny of the world, but know instead that you are precious pieces of the beautiful mosaic that God, as a great artist, is putting together day after day, with your contribution. Christ, who died on the Cross to save us, allowed himself to be nailed on it, because from that wooden cross, that sign of death, life would flourish in all its splendor.”

There! Wecan be sure that Pope Benedict is offering his own sufferings for the good of mankind and of the Church. And in that way, he is collaborating in the triumph of good over evil.

Let us unite ourselves with him.

I am struck by the name of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo - it is the second such combination in a saint's given names that I am aware of. The other is St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the beggar saint of Rome (1748-1783), one of the saints along with Bernadette of Lourdes, whose birthday on April 16 is shared by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Very auspicious portents!
00Monday, October 30, 2017 11:31 PM

3,000 refers to the number that indicated they would like to be kept informed about the youth synod, out of some 150,000 visits.

Thanks to the blog 'Deus ex machina' by S. Armaticus for calling my attention to the La Croix International item about the response - or lack thereof -
to the Vatican online questionnaire intended for Catholic youths around the world, preparatory to the planned Bergoglian synod that is supposed
to focus on them...

Disappointing response to Vatican's
unprecedented youth survey

by Gauthier Vaillant
October 26, 2017

More than 4 months ago the Vatican posted an online international poll for people 16-29 years of age. It was part of preparations for the Synod of Bishops' ordinary assembly on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment" to take place in Rome in October 2018.

The direct consultation was unprecedented for the Vatican. It was meant to take place in parallel with the contributions from bishops' conferences from each country around the world. The survey was posted online on June 14 and was designed to be open to all young people irrespective of religion or geographic origin.

But a month after the survey closed, the Synod's secretary-general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, has revealed some interesting statistics. While a total of 148,247 people visited the survey site, less than half of this number -- a little more than 65,000 -- actually answered all the questions. However, some 3,000 respondents left their email addresses and said they wished to be kept informed of the survey's outcome.

The Vatican's daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported the figures in its October 25th edition. Cardinal Baldisseri had already unveiled them last week at a conference for Italian religious publishers in the Northern Italy city of Pordenone.

The figures are quite low for a worldwide survey [DUH!], particularly if compared to the 2.5 million people who participated in the most recent World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland during the summer of 2016.

Observers who have closely followed the preparations for next year's synodal assembly have noted that communications were not very effective in some countries.
- The language barrier was a problem. For instance, the survey was not translated into German. As a result, the German bishops made their own translation and distributed it locally. But the Gereman responses are not included in the figures given by Cardinal Baldisseri's office.
- During his address in Pordenone the cardinal also presented a summary of comments young people made on the survey itself. He cited several testimonies from French respondents who expressed satisfaction with the way the survey was carried out.

- On the other hand, he also noted various criticisms of the survey. For example, some respondents felt the questionnaire was too long,
- while others felt a number of important issues were hardly addressed or not tackled at all.These include problems linked to alcohol, drug and medicine consumption; sexuality and relationship issues; or even links with other religions.

Young people who attended a September seminar the Vatican held in preparation for the synod had already expressed some of these same concerns. Cardinal Baldisseri insisted last week that the contribution of young people “is essential for the conclusions to correspond to the reality of the Church and society".

He warned that without this “there is a risk of building ‘castles in the air', which will remain uninhabited because young people do not identify with them”.

It has now been decided that the questionnaire will remain online until November 30. Responses will be used to help draft the Synod's Instrumentum Laboris (or the working document for the assembly on youth), which is expected to be published in the summer of 2018.

HO-HUM! This pitiful response seems to tell us that an insignificant number of web-surfing addicts as most young people are these days showed any interest at all in the 'youth synod'. Perhaps the response would have been greater to a poll on who was interested in the traditional Mass.

BTW, the 'Deus ex machina' blog has a most interesting analysis comparing the troubled National Football League in the USA (where an increasing number of players are choosing to disrespect the flag when the national anthem is sung) and the declining attendance at NFL games, with the church of Bergoglio and its declining Mass attendance, as well as attendance at his public Vatican events...

00Tuesday, October 31, 2017 12:44 PM

Left, Our Lady of the Rosary with Sts Dominic and Catherine of Siena (miraculous icon of Our Lady of Pompeii); center, procession banner of Our Lady of the Rosary, miraculous image commemorating the Battle of Lepanto in Manila's La Naval annual celebration of her feast and that battle; right, the Schutzmantelmadonna (Our Lady of the Sheltering Cloak), German term for Our Lady of Mercy or Mother of Mercy.

Some smartypants Bergoglians who are not Vatican insiders are discovering a way to instant global 'celebrity' - at least in the eyes of those who follow Church news on the Web. Which is, to say something even more Bergoglian than anything Bergoglio himself has explicitly articulated. Which means, in turn, the 'something' is bound to be truly outrageous, but voila! you will get yourself talked about online and in conventional media for weeks if not months on end - and get yourself invited to lecture and spread your word!

James Martin, SJ, first hit upon the strategy - by design or by chance - with his book that is a virtual manifesto for sexual deviants and their sinful practices, with the open endorsement of changing Church teaching to conform to his 'openmindedness' which is as anti-Catholic as most of the outrageous things his lord and master Bergoglio has been preaching.

Comes now one Massimo Faggioli (born 1970), an Italian who has lived in the USA since 2008 and is currently Professor of Theology and Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences of Villanova University in Philadelphia, who has made a niche for himself by commenting on Church events in as many publications (English and Italian) as he can. He is now a contributing editor for Commonweal, for which he has been blogging regularly, as well as a columnist for La Croix International and the Huffington Post. You can't have better Bergoglian credentials than that.

Except Mr. Faggioli (whom Fr. Z and others have dubbed 'Maximum Beans' from a literal translation of his name - almost anyway, because the word for bean in Italian is spelled with only one 'g') has lately been over-reaching his ultra-Bergoglian polemical tone and anti-Catholic content. To the point where he is fast approaching James Martin's global 'celebrity' status (i.e., mission accomplished for him!)... Fr Z takes him on, in his weird statements about the Rosary and Our Lady...

Yes, the Rosary is a spiritual weapon.
I perceive a cry for help from @massimofaggioli
who objects that the Rosary is a weapon and that
we should invoke Our Lady as our protective shield

October 20, 2017

I can only interpret Massimo “Beans” Faggioli’s confused statements about the Rosary as a cry for help. Otherwise, what he has repeated is truly dreadful. I had earlier posted a request to you readers to say the Rosary for him.

Now I see that he is at it again.

In Brussels there was an ecumenical service held - in the cathedral of all places -for “Reformation” Sunday. Some young Catholics had the audacity to pray the Rosary. The powers that be had them removed by the police.

Beans tooted on Twitter:

The Most Holy Rosary certainly IS a weapon. It is entirely proper to speak of the Rosary as a weapon.

Faggioli’s statement against thinking about the Rosary as spiritual weapon is a diabolical insinuation which, if taken seriously, could undermine how people pray and enervate our will to resist the attacks of the Enemy of the Soul with one of our most powerful spiritual tools. It is, quite simply, wicked in its implications. I hope and pray that he is merely confused.

Faggioli’s statement against thinking about Mary as a “human shield” is preposterous. It flies directly in the face of centuries of tradition, prayer and Catholic identity. One of the earliest Christian prayers which we possess is

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We take refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our needs, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Pope Francis has spoken of this prayer and the protection that Mary provides.

What on earth is Faggioli up to? Is it a cry for help in the shape of self-promotion? “Hey! Look at me! See how edgy I can be?”
Remember that he is one of the New catholic Red Guards.

Another writer of the New catholic Red Guards, Michael Sean Winters of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) has also tried to undermine our use of the Rosary by objecting to referring to it as a “weapon”. Coincidence?

Just do a search of the webs for “Schutzmantelmadonna“ (Our Lady of the Protective Cloak).

It is hard to understand how Faggioli can be so obtuse when it comes to this odd notion of his. But he has now repeated it.

Please place Massimo beneath Mary’s shielding mantle and say some or all of a Rosary for him. Pray for him and against his influence on the unsuspecting.

Perhaps also ask Blessed Bartolo Longo [1841-1926, the ex-Satanist 'priest' who found the true faith at age 30 and became a Dominican tertiary who would devote the rest of his life to propagating the Rosary devotion; he became instrumental for establishing in 1875 what is now the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii] to intercede for him with Our Lady and before the throne of God.

Let me help Massimo in a concrete way: At the Assumption Sunday Mass he celebrated in Castel Gandolfo in 2013 (the one and only time he has done so), Pope Francis told the crowds:

“Mary joins us, she fights at our side. She supports Christians in the fight against the forces of evil. Especially through prayer, through the rosary. Hear me out, the rosary… Do you pray the Rosary each day? I don’t know, are you sure? There we go!”...

"But this does not mean that [Mary] is distant or detached from us; rather Mary accompanies us, fights along with us, sustains Christians in their combat against the forces of evil. Pray with Mary, especially the Rosary – but listen carefully: the Rosary. Do you pray the Rosary every day? But I’m not sure you do [the people shout “Yes!”]… Really? So, prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this “combative” dimension, that is of struggle, a prayer that sustains us in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.

[How wonderful to be able to cite this pope positively,for a change!]

A propos Mr. Faggioli's 'celebrity-climbing' stunts, note the banner headline in this line-up (PewSitter is still not functional).

Read Faggioli's latest lunacy here:
00Tuesday, October 31, 2017 1:53 PM
Cardinal Mueller, however, outdoes Maximum Beans in headline-baiting. He continues to straddle the fence one fears for the discomfort if not damage to his 'posterior' (to be euphemistic about a five-letter word that starts with 'b') by doing it so much and so long. Here's his latest stunt - which is like acrobatic fence-straddling (sounds like a rodeo trick, doesn't it?).

Cardinal Mueller writes foreword for
AL defender's book on the exhortation from hell

Oct. 30, 2017

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has criticized both those who question the faith of Pope Francis due to the controversies over Amoris Laetitia, and those who say that, through the document, the Pope is presenting a “radical paradigm shift” in moral theology.

Such polarization, “schismatic temptations” and “dogmatic confusion” are “very dangerous for the unity of the Church,” he added, and insisted that chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia — its most controversial chapter dealing with the pastoral care of those in irregular unions including divorced and civilly remarried Catholics — “can and must be understood in the orthodox sense.”

[Of course, this has been Mueller's sanctimonious and consistent rationale for his fence-straddling on AL, but while it is true that like all ambiguous magisterial documents, an orthodox interpretation is advised as the default position, 1) in the case of AL, the heterodoxies are so patent, if casuistic and supposedly surreptitious (via footnotes), that an orthodox reading of them is bending over backwards and mental acrobatics - but Mueller has proven to be quite a master of all that - in order to see them in any charitable light; and 2) he does not at all address Buttiglione's defense of AL's questionable propositions (an insubstantial defense that Ed Peters and other canonists had a grand time tearing down).]

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the comments in the preface of a new book Risposte amichevoli ai critici di Amoris laetitia (Friendly Responses to Critics of Amoris Laetitia) by Rocco Buttiglione.

An Italian philosopher, politician and former friend of Pope St. John Paul II, Buttiglione has sought to defend Amoris Laetitia from its critics, insisting it is in continuity with previous magisterial teaching.

In the preface, Cardinal Müller agrees with Buttiglione that Amoris Laetitia can be read in an orthodox way and “does not imply any magisterial shift towards situation ethics,” and therefore the cardinal asserts it does not contradict Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, although the encyclical is not cited in Amoris Laetitia.

He further argues that Amoris Laetitia does not teach or propose “in a binding way” that a person in mortal sin can receive the sacraments if they have not repented with a firm purpose of amendment.

Cardinal Müller also says AL does not support the thesis that “an objectively bad act can become subjectively good” but adds there may be “mitigating circumstances” in an irregular union.

“An accurate analysis” of Amoris Laetitia, he says, “has not proposed any doctrine to be believed in a binding way that is in open or implicit contradiction to the clear doctrine of the Sacred Scripture and to the dogmas defined by the Church on the sacraments of marriage, penance and Eucharist.”
[You know what, Your Eminence? The faithful out there do not have time - nor is it their task - for any 'accurate analysis' of a deliberately ambiguous document whose main propositions are couched in classic doublespeak. Forget the analyses! Just look at how AL's multiple permissiveness comes across to the average Catholic!("The pope says it's OK!")]

He adds that “nowhere” in the document does it say that a baptized Catholic, in a condition of mortal sin, is allowed to receive Holy Communion. [DUH! As if Bergoglio and his gang of cunning casuists would ever expose themselves so directly and unequivocally to an accusation of material heresy!]

Furthermore, he says that the document’s statement “that no one can be condemned forever” must be understood “from the point of view of care, that never surrenders, for the eternal salvation of sinner rather than as a categorical denial of the possibility of an eternal condemnation which, however, presupposes voluntary obstinacy in sin.”

Later in the preface, the cardinal reinforces the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage [Of course, he would, pro forma, though I do not doubt he abides by it] while recognizing that “existential situations” can be “very different and complex.” [There we are, with an excuse for situational ethics which he denies is the case with AL!].

But he also criticizes parts of Amoris Laetitia, saying the controversial footnote 351 which opens the door for some remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion, “suffers from a lack of clarity” [Yeah, right! As CDF Prefect at the time, he ought to have been leading the line demanding clarity on this and AL's other questionable propositions. Oh wait, would that not have constituted the principal comments/objections he submitted to the pope when given the draft AL for the CDF to review (obviously pro forma only) - but which comments, said to number about 200, were simply ignored, with no further protest from him? Why were the objections valid when presented in good faith, but suddenly, do not mean a thing at all to their proponent once they were ignored by the pope?] - majority of which, he says, could have been resolved by referring to the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council on the “appropriate way of receiving the Eucharist.” ['Majority' of what objections - considering that the antecedent in the sentence only cited one (the footnote)???]

Nevertheless, he insists that the footnote “contains nothing that contradicts” the need to confess one’s own grave sins through the sacrament of penance.

Cardinal Müller writes that an important point in Amoris Laetitia, one that is “often not correctly understood in all its pastoral meaning,” is the “law of gradualness,” which, he stresses, is a “process of clarification, discernment and maturation” based on the recognition of one’s own personal relationship with God.

For someone who wishes to change, to turn the Lord saying “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,” pastoral accompaniment “has a special importance,” the cardinal comments, adding it is, as the Pope says, “a way of love.”

He goes on to again emphasise that Holy Communion can only be received by those who have repented of their sins with the intent of no longer committing them again.

And he adds that a priest “cannot publicly humiliate the sinner by publicly rejection Holy Communion and damaging his good name in front of the community.” Instead, he must “warn everyone in general” of not approaching the table of the Lord before repenting.

The cardinal said the “bitter controversy” over chapter 8 is “regrettable” and that he accepted Buttiglione’s invitation to write the preface in the hope it would contribute to “restoring peace in the Church.” [Yeah, right! As if this foreword - and all of Mueller's very public fence-straddling since he was fired - could appease Bergoglio at all, much less deter him one iota from pushing Bergoglianism aggressively while nominally leading the one true Church of Christ!]

He praises Rocco Buttiglione as “an authentic Catholic of proven competence in the field of moral theology.” He also says Buttiglione's analyses “open doors and build bridges” to the critics of Amoris Laetitia, and calls on those who “superficially” read the document in order to relativize the indissolubility of marriage and “shake the foundations of morals” to seriously rethink their position. [So Mueller implicitly and explicitly rejects a priori and a posteriori all the arguments of the serious critics of AL, many of whom are perhaps fr better thinkers and far better Catholics than he is. QED, that is, Mueller's mental acrobatics and fundamentally dishonesty in his entire flipflopping, hemming-hawing fence-straddling positions on AL.]
00Tuesday, October 31, 2017 6:06 PM

Dan Hitchens is deputy editor of the UK Catholic Herald.

A crisis of doctrine, such as the one through which the Catholic Church is now passing, has several sad effects. Most obviously, the truth is obscured, with unthinkable consequences for the salvation of souls.

[That is why it infuriates me all the more that Cardinal Mueller behaves as if there were no crisis of faith at all - that provided Catholics say to themselves, "Whatever this pope says, I will interpret it in the orthodox way", it's all right for Catholics to inhabit a doctrinally-confused world in which it is the pope himself who unleashes the confusion intemperately and immoderately and relentlessly, when he is dutybound to 'confirm his brethren' in their faith.]

Heretical movements often unleash immoderate rage against orthodox believers (look at the ongoing clampdown on theological debate, and the well-grounded fears of the clergy). But the most obvious result is the very evident grief among faithful Catholics.

I keep hearing or reading things like, “It’s so tempting to just give up,” or “I don’t know how to explain this to my kids.” It may be only a small minority who are aware of the crisis, so far, but that minority is growing. The other day I bumped into an acquaintance who I can’t remember previously saying a thing about Vatican politics. Almost the first words out of his mouth were: “It’s terrible, isn’t it?”

St. Vincent of Lerins referred to such a situation as a “great trial” for Catholics: to keep one’s faith when it is coming under attack — hardest of all, when it is being attacked by distinguished teachers. [Let's not tiptoe around it and say it simply and honestly: hardest of all when the faith is being attacked by an anti-Catholic pope whom few are brave and realistic enough to recognize as such!]

How agonizing, for instance, for Origen’s followers, when he began to teach error. No one was more learned, more virtuous, more courageous, more inspirational, than Origen — and then he started to teach heresy! St. Vincent writes of him:

Truly, thus of a sudden to seduce the Church which was devoted to him, and hung upon him through admiration of his genius, his learning, his eloquence, his manner of life and influence, while she had no fear, no suspicion for herself — thus, I say, to seduce the Church, slowly and little by little, from the old religion to a new profaneness, was not only a trial, but a great trial.

[However, Bergoglio has certainly not 'seduced' by "his genius, his learning, his eloquence, his manner of life and influence"(none of which can be attributed to him, because even his 'manner of life' is a grand put-on), but by cunning and guile, and most of all, by shamelessly availing of his unparalleled position as elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church with his supreme and sovereign power over the entire Church. A power that is not absolute but that he wields as if it is!]

Our situation today is, in many ways, better than what St. Vincent describes. It is better because the explicit teachers of error, in our own time, are not very impressive figures, whereas those renowned for their learning and wisdom — people such as Cardinal Caffarra, Bishop Schneider, Fr. Aidan Nichols, and John Finnis — have lined up on the side of the Church’s traditional teaching.

What is distressing, for many Catholics, is to find themselves out of harmony with the pope. To be clear: Pope Francis is not the one directly proclaiming strange novelties. [Oh please, if he quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc - he's the one and only Donald-Dude ultimately responsible for the universal dominance today of extreme Catholic-Liteism in its new brand as Bergoglianism.]

The ambiguities of Amoris Laetitia are probably open to orthodox interpretation. Nowhere does the text say that the remarried may now receive Communion if they are still sleeping with their new partner. Nowhere does it unambiguously teach any of the false theories which, as far as I can tell, would be needed to justify such a change.

[BS! The only ones who care that AL does not, after all, overtly, directly and unequivocally articulate its dubious and anti-Catholic propositions are those who would bend over backwards - like Cardinal Mueller, and now, Dan Hitchens here - to absolve Bergoglio of any doctrinal wrongdoing.

For everyone else, it is public perception that matters (what average man-in-the-pew would really bother to read a 200-page document of verbose ballast to dissimulate and dilute out the poison of AL Chapter 8?) - and surely Bergoglio and his minions have been counting on the habitual unquestioning obedience of Catholics on hearing 'the pope says...' without scrutinizing its source!

Yet for a pope to teach anything partially (e.g., omitting 'Go and sin no more' from the narrative of Jesus and the adulterous woman) or falsely (such as the erroneous and out-of-context citations in AL of St Thomas Aquinas) is a misuse of his magisterial authority and an offense against TRUTH, i.e., against Christ himself. How can Mueller and Hitchens justify such offenses in any way? Especially since they are habitual, and not just limited to AL but pervade the rest of this pope's dubious magisterium?

Let's not even mention the 2-3 years now that Bergoglio himself and his surrogates and sycophants have been conditioning the public mind about all their 'merciful' intentions towards adulterers and other sinners. from whom they will not even require sincere repentance and 'amendment of life' to correct their chronic state of mortal sin.

In view of all that, it is simply STUPID to keep saying 'AL should be read properly', especially since any Catholic in his right mind and aware of the essentials of faith would quickly see through all the elaborate ruses of AL to circumvent any charge of material heresy for heretical or near-heretical statements.]

But other figures, in the aftermath of that document, most certainly do.
- One prominent commentator argues that though Jesus forbade divorce, His words needn’t be taken literally, any more than “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” -
Another commentator, a very close associate of the pope, thinks that adultery should be considered as like killing — generally inadvisable, but not always wrong (what about self-defense?).
- The Maltese bishops’ conference is under the impression that having extramarital sex can actually be unavoidable, like one’s annual bout of the flu.
- An American bishop teaches that going to Communion is less a matter of whether one is in a state of grace, and more of deciding whether “God is calling” one to do so.
- A bishop in Argentina has — according to still-undenied reports —given Communion to thirty of the divorced and remarried in one big ceremony, without any mention of a resolution to live continently.

To be clear again: this is quite a time for opportunistic misrepresentation. After all — the Pope has not publicly taught any of this. And yet it is glaringly obvious that none of the teachings or actions above have been condemned by Rome [QED QED QED - WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO SHED THOSE FALSELY CHARITABLE BLINKERS?]

Whereas those who have upheld the teaching of the Church — the dubia cardinals, the signatories of the filial correction, Cardinal Müller — are ignored or sidelined. [Mueller has certainly made good use of being 'sidelined' to establish ever more firmly his intellectual dishonesty about AL and about this pope.]

It is also glaringly obvious that — to put it mildly — there is a tension between the pope’s words on subjects such as the death penalty and the doctrine of the Church. Every Catholic wants to sit at the feet of the Roman pontiff and accept what he says. [I always took this for granted and never thought that in my lifetime, I should have to live with an anti-Catholic pope taking over the Church of Christ to make of it what he pleases. But here we are, and there he is, the utterly effable (as opposed to ineffable) Argentine monster by the Tiber.]

But it is the teaching of the saints, of Scripture itself, that at times this may be impossible. And the thought that we may be living in such a time tears at the heart.

Some think it is their duty to correct the pope, in the most deferential and respectful words they can find; some address the errors head-on, but feel it is only cardinals who have the right to correct the Holy Father directly. Some limit themselves to saying that a clarification would be helpful. Still others attempt to convince themselves that the whole thing is a misunderstanding, that the pope wouldn’t dream of approving Communion for the remarried.

I do not know what the correct response is. But in this time of anxiety, the words of St. Vincent of Lerins may offer some comfort. If a heresy spreads and acquires strength, St. Vincent says, it is “because the Lord your God does make trial of you, whether you love Him or not.” St. Paul said that “there must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you.”

So each doctrinal crisis, St. Vincent tells us, is a chance to renew our love for Our Lord: “If the authors of heresies are not immediately rooted up by God … [it is] that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.”

00Thursday, November 2, 2017 5:23 AM
Sorry... I had a 'Reformation Day' post all ready for Oct. 31 but my laptop's 'on' switch retracted and locked into its 'off' position and I haven't been
able to turn it back on and all my new stuff is locked up with it. Must bring it to a repair shop. I can 'show off' a couple of banners I used in the post,
since I can recover my Cube-Upload images.

First, my new Jorge Martin Bergluther banner:

The Luther portrait, one of several by Lucas Cranach the Elder and possibly the most widely reproduced, dates to 1532, and features
a favorite motto of Luther "In silentio et in spe erit fortitudo vestra" (In quietness and in trust shall be your strength)(Is 30,15).
A strange choice for one who was as intemperately voluble as his 21st century heir, who, BTW, would do well to pick up the 'quietness'
part of the verselet.

Then there's this from the German newspaper DIE WELT:

which expresses in words what my Bergluther banner does: the 'thesis' being the supposedly Catholic Bergoglio, who was, after all,
elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church; Martin Luther as the 'anti-thesis'; and Bergluther and Bergoglianism (aiming to be the
21st century version of Lutheranism) as the 'synthesis'.

And from another German newspaper:

The very title, of course, illustrates that we have now progressed from the no-longer-rhetorical question "Is the (this) pope Catholic?"
to "How Protestant is the (this) pope?" As you can see, the evangelical theologian interviewed about Bergoglio considers him the
'true heir of Luther'. Marco Tosatti featured the interview in a double-post to mark the fifth centenary of the so-called Protestant
Reformation, and which made up the body of my lost post (which means I have to re-translate).

Finally, as a curio of sorts, Luther in death:

Left, death mask and hands-cast of Luther; center, a portrait depicting the death of Luther; and right, a version of the most widely
disseminated 'death portrait' of Luther, which seems to have been lifted from the deathbed scene.

And, lest you forget, my first 'banner' way back to protest the concelebration of the fifth centenary of Luther's schism...

00Thursday, November 2, 2017 5:46 AM
November 1, 2017 headlines

It turns out that PewSitter's absence in the past few days was not a technical problem as announced but rather an end to the site,
at least in the form we have known it, with the possibility it may re-open eventually under new management.

I'd like to express my thanks to PewSitter and its staff for making it faster and more convenient for us Churchnews junkies (I became
one only when Benedict XVI became pope, and am compelled to retain a minimum of that junkie-ism even now, for as long as I
continue to post on the Forum) to get a quick overview of the news and commentary one must or would like to look up. Now, we are
left with the other Catholic news aggregator in English, Frank Walker's, which is, of course, an offshoot of PewSitter
after Walker left them over some internal wrangle.

I certainly hope that now Walker has been left alone in the roost, he will not take it as license to persist in his questionable manipulation of headlines. He can express his biases properly and much more effectively by providing responsible and mature headlines which can be eye-catching without being misleading or hyperbolic or juvenile. He could begin by cutting out the 'FrancisChurch', 'Franciscardinal', 'Francisbishop', Francis-this-or-that tags. Readers will know them by their name and the views they express!


00Thursday, November 2, 2017 8:56 AM

Is the dam breaking that has kept most priests and bishops from spilling forth what they really think of this pontificate and the
actions of the pope? One must applaud Fr. Weinandy for going beyond the necessary courtesies of his opening and closing paragraphs
to express himself in direct, honest no-nonsense language that is far from 'filial' nor even 'fraternal', but rather 'paternal', in the
manner of a father who only has his wayward son's best interests at heart, by laying down the facts of his ill-considered actions and
their inevitable consequences, in order to straighten him out. Others may say that in short, Fr. Weinandy is really berating or
reproaching or denouncing Bergoglio. Anyway you see it, the good father is, in fact, seeking in his own way to correct the pope as
others have done before him (since he explicitly disapproves of the earlier corrections) - and why not?

US Capuchin theologian dismissed as consultant to the USCCB
after making public a critical letter he sent to the pope

Like the DUBIA cardinals, Fr. Thomas Weinandy decided to go public
after failing to get any response to his letter sent on July 31, 2017

by Carl Olson

November 1, 2017

Editor’s note: Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., is a highly regarded and accomplished American theologian who is former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His fields of academic specialty include Christology, Trinitarian theology, soteriology, and philosophical notions of God. He has taught at several American universities and for twelve years at the University of Oxford.

The author of several books and numerous articles for both academic and popular publications, he is the current President of the Academy of Catholic Theology, and a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Catholic Theological Society of Great Britain, the North American Patristics Society, and the Association Internationale D’Etudes Patristiques.

Fr. Weinandy recently made public a three-page letter he had sent to Pope Francis on July 31, 2017. The letter, posted in full below, expresses Fr. Weinandy’s concerns about several aspects of the current pontificate, including the much-debated Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father’s apparent low regard for Church doctrine, and the clear sense that many bishops “fear that if they speak their mind” about their concerns, “they will be marginalized or worse.”

I spoke for a few minutes this morning with Fr. Weinandy, and he told me that since the letter’s publication, he has received many positive and encouraging notes from theologians, priests, and lay people. However, the USCCB asked him to resign from his current position as consultant to the bishops, and he has submitted his resignation. In making such a request, the USCCB, it would appear, reinforces Fr. Weinandy’s very point about fearfulness and lack of transparency.

Fr. Weinandy has graciously allowed CWR to publish both his letter and an explanation of how he came to write his letter; both are reprinted in full below.

Fr.Weinandy’s note of explanation:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member. I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel. I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.

I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.

I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety. On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner. That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me. It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.

At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time. When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign. This is what the sign must be. Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran. After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine. During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time. That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain. Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind. However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside). I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop. We recognized one another immediately.

What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances, I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese. (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.) We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing. I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.

He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation. He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book. Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.
- First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised. Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received. This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.
- Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner. He accomplished it through an archbishop. By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’s fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.

Fr.Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First, there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.” I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.

The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.

As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.

Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.

Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine. Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.

But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.

Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.

What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice. This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being. As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.

Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern. You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church. You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this?

Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’s Church. [A GREAT AMEN TO THAT!]

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Here are the USCCB statements released yesterday on Fr. Weinandy (Fr. Z's comments are in red in the statement from the USCCB president) -
the title is what the USCCB gives to the letter on its website. Which is a big joke, of course, because how does one dialog with someone -
the pope, in this case - who refuses to answer legitimate questions raised to him, first in private, and after a reasonable interval,
shared with the public because of the lack of response. Note that Cardinal Di Nardo's statement was released the same day
Fr. Weinandy made his letter to the pope public.
... Just as importantly, it was immediately preceded by the ff news release
to properly set the stage for Weinandy's 'departure'...

USCCB president on
'dialog within the Church'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialogue within the Church today.

The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church. Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues. [However, personal opinions can be shown to be in keeping or out of keeping with the Church’s teachings. Pastoral issues are another matter, since they often deal with contingent situations that allow more than one solution.]

In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good. However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II. These distinctions are not always very helpful. [Look. This statement clearly concerns what Fr. Weinandy wrote. However, I read the letter Fr. Weinandy wrote. HERE. There is nothing “political” in Weinandy’s letter. Why bring in “pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II?” That is irresponsible. Are we to conclude that the statement is also a kind “declaration”… of something?]

Christian charity needs to be exercised by all involved. [Yes… all involved… which means the writers of statements.] In saying this, we all must acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work of the Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growing understanding of God’s truth.

As Bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “presupposition” to his Spiritual Exercises: “…that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.” This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father. [And… what about to Fr. Weinandy?] [Moreover, how does one put a 'good' interpretation on patently heterodox if not near-heretical statements reiterated in a variety of ways by the pope himself and his supporters???]

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who is "the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG, no. 23).” [[Obviously, not Francis/Bergoglio in himself - the Vatican-II statement refers to any pope, not anticipating or even remotely considering the possibility that within 50 years of Vatican-II, a pope would be elected who seems bent on being 'the perpetual and visible source and foundation of DISUNITY" among the bishops and the faithful.]

Fr Z's comment: Puzzling. [To me, it is not. Quite obviously, the USCCB wished to be on record - for the annals of the Bergoglio pontificate - that the US bishops are collectively distancing themselves from Fr. Weinandy and his criticisms of the pope - "Look, he's not one of us at all!" - openly implying that those criticisms are 'not charitable' to say the least, and therefore, wrongful to be addressed to the 'Holy Father' at all.]

Steve Skojec commented thus on the USCCB statement (I will omit his introduction referring to having published Fr. Weinandy's letter
earlier in the day)

Dialog? Priest who wrote a letter to the pope
has been asked to resign his USCCB position

by Steve Skojec

November 1, 2017

...One diocesan priest who spoke with 1P5 on condition of anonymity said that he was certain Fr. Weinandy’s letter “drew consternation from several US Cardinals and Bishops”, particularly where the letter addressed how “faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted” by the pope’s choice of some bishops, “men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them,” causing scandal to the faithful and weakening the sensus fidei.

“There is no way” the priest told me, “that this remark didn’t directly sting Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Ferrell, and Bishop McElroy in particular, as they have been busy supporting Father James Martin, S.J., and others like him. I would be very surprised if they were not directly behind Fr. Thomas Weinandy’s forced resignation.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the USCCB, released a statement today about Fr. Weinandy — never once mentioning that he was asked to resign, but only speaking of his unexplained “departure” — under the pretext that the situation is an opportunity to reflect on “dialogue within the Church.” [Here, Skojec inserts the text of Di Nardo's statement.]

The reader is left to wonder how “dialogue” has become a euphemism for “suppression of any views different than our own”.
- How is it that those who speak most forcefully in favor of “tolerance” are always the last to practice tolerance toward those with ideas they find inconvenient?
- How is it that the President of the USCCB lacks the courage to simply state that Fr. Weinandy was asked to resign for speaking an unpopular opinion, regardless of its merit, and without consideration given to the fact that it was voiced respectfully and in the exercise of his conscience on a matter of grave importance — and about which he has the requisite theological competency to comment?

For some time now, we have been using terms in our coverage like “The Dictatorship of Mercy” and “The Persecution of Orthodoxy” to help explain the reality orthodox Catholics face in the Church of 2017 [nominally and for all intents and purposes [mis]led by Bergoglio]: if you stand up for the truths of the faith, you will suffer the consequences at the hands of those charged with defending those same truths. And as we have told you, there is no reason to expect we won’t see this reaction continue to escalate.

Our Church has become Orwellian indeed. One is reminded of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s recent remarks, based on his experience growing up in the Soviet Union:

For decades it became within the Church politically correct and “good manners” to proclaim and to promote practically the freedom of theological speech, debate and research, so that freedom in thinking and speaking became a slogan.

At the same time, one can now observe the paradox that this very freedom is denied to those in the Church who in our days raise their voices with respect and politeness in defense of the truth.

This bizarre situation reminds me of a famous song which I had to sing in the Communist school in my childhood, and whose wording was, as follows: “The Soviet Union is my beloved homeland, and I do not know another country in the world where man can breathe so freely.”
[Ah, mintiendi gaudium!(the joy of lying).

Weirdly - wittingly, or unwittingly - the CRUX headline for the Weinandy story was this: Ex-bishops’ doctrine chief says darkness coming to light under Francis - which seems to say exactly the opposite of what Fr. Weinandy meant in the line "truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul".

P.S. Fr H adds some biographical information about Fr. Weinandy which none of what I have read so far even hinted at:

Fr Weinandy and his fine career at Oxford

Npv. 2, 2017

I very much regret that I have never met Fr Thomas Weinandy, whose letter to PF has just been published. He is a distinguished American theologian; he was in Oxford for a decade or two and his reputation was high when I came back here later than his return to America. He was Warden of Greyfriars, a Permanent Private Hall of the University, and for a time Chairman of the Theology Faculty.

The fact that the American Episcopal Conference, within minutes, sacked him from being a Consultor of their Doctrine Committee must indicate that America is awash with brilliant theologians. If that Conference really can so easily do without someone of his standing ...

It must also indicate that the USA Episcopal Conference is dominated by very little men. God bless the dear little fellows.

This cheap and vulgar ritual humiliation exemplifies the extent to which PF is presiding over a bully-boy Church in which midget bishops and minicardinals compete to defeat each other in the sycophancy stakes. Just as Tom Weinandy has, in effect, just said.

The young Weinandy was taught at Kings, London, by the great Anglican Thomist Canon Professor Eric Mascall, which gives him a link with our great Anglican Patrimony. I like to think that his action redeems the honour of the American Church, just as the courageous lecture given in August by Fr Aidan Nichols redeemed that of the English Church.

Nichols is an Oxford man (Cardinal College) and Weinandy is Oxonian by adoption, so I feel that dear St Frideswide Universitatis specialis adiutrix (the university's special 'helper') must be quietly satisfied that, despite the demonic spirit of secularisation at work in modern Oxford, some of her lads have turned out good during this unparalleled crisis in the Church Militant. Floreat Oxonia (Oxford flourishes)!.

00Friday, November 3, 2017 3:20 AM

In view of all the reactions to Fr. Weinandy's critique of the pope, one wonders at the perverseness of the writer from CRUX who derides the CORRECTIO FILIALIS as having 'died down' to a whimper because, he claims, 'very few' have added their signatures to it in the six weeks since it was initially published.

Yet Fr. Weinandy has just shown quite dramatically that even an individual 'rebuke' to the pope is no less effective than a collective Correctio if the position expressed is factually and doctrinally sound. The most important thing about the CORRECTIO was not how many initially signed it and how many have added their signatures, but that it was even issued at all! Because how many such correctio addressed to a pope have ever occurred? But especially because its framers and original signatories took it into their hands to do what Cardinal Burke has been announcing for months as the logical next step to the unanswered DUBIA, but has not gotten around to doing anything about it. Nor has any ranking Church hierarch even indicated he is willing to do it. 'Let's not rock the boat" is no excuse as that boat (at least it current helmsman) has long set sail towards the reefs of apostasy!

I am sure many of the signatories would have been happy to publish their own individual position papers, but they also realize that such a historic move with little precedent was best done – at least initially – by a cohesive group of like-minded theologically competent orthodox Catholics who could agree on a statement they could all subscribe to, namely, that this pope has been the primary agent for propagating certain heresies.

Fr. Brian Harrison, OS (Oblates of Wisdom), is an Australian-born (1845) Roman Catholic priest and theologian often cited in conservative Catholic circles. He is is a prolific writer on religious issues and was professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico from 1989–2007. He

Theologian Fr. Brian Harrison says ‘it’s not dissent’
to criticize ‘confusing cascade of papal novelties’

Not a signatory if the Filial Correction, he responds to its critics nonetheless
and provides guidelines to help Catholics navigate this challenge-fraught papacy

ROME, October 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, a group of over 60 scholars issued an almost unprecedented ‘filial correction’ to Pope Francis, charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies. This measure, unseen since the fourteenth century, has generated controversy around the world, while the number of signatories has risen to 250 professors and priests since it was made public on September 24.

Some writers, however, have accused the signatories of the Filial Correction of transgressing the requirement of a 1990 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — Donum Veritatis (Gift of truth) — which lays down the circumstances in which scholars might legitimately draw the attention of the Holy See to “deficiencies” in an official teaching document. On this basis, these critics accuse the authors and signatories of the Filial Correction of being ‘dissenters.’

We spoke to renowned theologian Father Brian Harrison, who himself declined to sign the Filial Correction, about the merits of this accusation. In this interview, Fr. Harrison says he is far from convinced such accusations are legitimate. He says they betray a conception of the doctrine of papal infallibility that “exaggerates to the point of absurdity the authority of papal pronouncements,” and maintains that contemporary theologians are faced with an almost unprecedented “nightmare” situation (wholly unforeseen in 1990) in which “an energetic and authoritarian innovator” has taken possession of the throne of St. Peter.

Here below is our interview with Fr. Harrison.
Fr. Harrison, can you please explain to our readers the nature and purpose of ‘Donum Veritatis’ (DV? Can you offer an example of a prominent case of theologians dissenting from Magisterial teaching that DV would address? Would it have applied to the dissenting response to Humanae Vitae (HV), for instance?
Yes, it certainly did apply to that, and to other widespread dissent from Catholic doctrines. DV was published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1990 with the general purpose of explaining the relationship between the theologian’s vocation and the role of the Magisterium; but the particular historical context in which it was issued is very important in understanding and applying its more specific norms.

The two decades following HV (1968) witnessed an outburst of sustained dissent against the Church’s perennial teaching about human life and sexuality from very prominent theologians such as Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, Bernard Haering, Joseph Fuchs, and many others. They wanted the Church’s perennial teaching to change substantially so as to admit not only unnatural birth control, but also, at least in some cases, direct sterilization, masturbation, homosexual acts, pre-marital sex, women’s ordination, and Communion for divorced and invalidly remarried Catholics.

At a more basic level, these dissident theologians were denying the very existence of intrinsically evil acts — acts that can never be justified under any circumstances — and pushing for the replacement of this fundamental doctrine by the pernicious alternatives known as consequentialism and proportionalism.
These challenges led to a series of strong responses from the CDF under Paul VI and John Paul II, and then the latter’s encyclicals Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae in the 1990s.

Does a Catholic have to give religious submission of mind and will to the teachings of his diocesan bishop?
Vatican Council II answers this question affirmatively in Lumen Gentium #25, but the preceding sentence makes it clear that this presupposes that the diocesan bishop is “teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff.”

But a diocesan bishop can err?
Certainly, and in the event that his teaching is at variance with the papal magisterium, then according to Vatican II, it does not require this religious submission of mind and will. In earlier times when there was mass illiteracy, few or no newspapers, and no radio, television or internet, this norm of submission to the local bishop’s teaching probably had greater practical relevance than it does today, because he was the only representative of the magisterium to whose teaching most Catholics had access — usually via their parish priest. But today, except in very poor countries, Catholics can readily find out with their smart-phones or lap-tops, and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, what the Roman Pontiff himself teaches about almost any given doctrinal issue. [Not if the pontiff happens to be J Martin Bergluther!]

So religious submission of mind and will does not in itself presuppose the soundness of the teaching in question?
It does presuppose that the teaching is sound — or at least, very probably sound. But as I’ve said, the duty of submission simply doesn’t apply in regard to a particular doctrinal issue on which one’s diocesan bishop is himself not “teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff.”

Actually, very few bishops openly and explicitly teach heterodox doctrine. If they are dissenters they are much more likely to undermine orthodoxy indirectly, by failing to teach it clearly, failing to correct abuses, promoting dissenters to key positions, firing or marginalizing those who are outspokenly orthodox, and screening out orthodox candidates for the priesthood on the pretext of their alleged “rigidity”. [But there are some like the Americans Farrell, Cupich and McElroy who do not at all hesitate to proclaim their heterodoxies viva voce to all and sundry.]

But what should a Catholic do if the Roman Pontiff himself teaches something contrary to sound doctrine? Is that even possible?
It is possible, but throughout most of church history it has been rare. The famous examples of Pope Honorius’s letter supporting the Monothelite heresy and John XXII’s homilies teaching an error about the beatific vision were often quoted as evidence that not everything popes say about faith and morals is infallible. But unfortunately, Pope Francis has already in his first four years made many statements that do not sit well with the doctrine of his predecessors — for instance, his recent speeches and letters asserting that capital punishment is as such always “a mortal sin,” and is “in itself contrary to the Gospel.”

This confusing cascade of papal novelties is of course the context of the Filial Correction we’re discussing in this interview. Fortunately, the magisterium itself gives us some helpful guidelines in evaluating the greater or lesser degree of authority of different papal statements on faith and morals (which sometimes are basically just expressions of opinion).

Vatican II says that in order to understand the mind and intention of the Pope, we have to take into account “the character of the documents in question, the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, and the manner in which the doctrine is formulated” (Lumen Gentium, 25).

11So, for instance, when Pope Francis said in an airplane interview that a husband may use a condom to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus to his wife, that kind of spontaneous, informal comment cannot override our duty to assent to the much more authoritative contrary teaching of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, wherein Paul VI teaches that each and every marriage act “must per se be open to the transmission of life” (no. 11).

What do you think of the claim made in the recent article by Emmett O’Regan that DV “illegitimatizes” the Filial Correction?
First, I should mention that although I was invited to sign the Correctio addressed to Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia, I declined to do so. For while I agree for the most part with FC’s content, and am happy that its authors’ cri-de-coeur has rapidly gained worldwide attention, I think some of their complaints about the Holy Father’s words, deeds and omissions are overstated and not entirely fair. If Mr. O’Regan, in the October 3 Vatican Insider posting you refer to, had limited himself to pointing out such defects in FC, I would have no quarrel with him. However, he goes much further, and brings charges against the authors that I think are not well-founded.

For instance, he exaggerates to the point of absurdity the authority of papal pronouncements which, like Amoris Laetitia, do not contain any ex cathedra (infallible) definition. He accuses the FC authors of denying “one of the essential truths behind the teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, who is granted Divine assistance which prevents him from erring in matters of faith and morals, even when teaching non-infallibly.” The words I have italicized in that sentence are not found in the relevant magisterial documents (cf. Donum Veritatis, #17, Catechism of the Catholic Church, #892).

By adding them, Mr. O’Regan in effect makes the nonsensical, self-contradictory claim that when popes speak about faith and morals, they teach infallibly even when they teach non-infallibly.In fact, the limited “Divine assistance” given to the pope in his non-infallible ordinary magisterium does not necessarily “prevent” him from erring; it only makes it very unlikely that he will err. That’s precisely why such teaching requires only a “religious assent of mind and will,” and not the absolute, irrevocable assent due to infallible teaching.

In the same article, Mr. Emmett argues that: “Since the authors of the Filial Correction have turned directly to the mass media in order to present their dissent to Amoris Laetitia (which is part of the Ordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis), this action was made in direct contravention of the guidelines for dissenting theologians outlaid inDonum Veritatis (DV), and should therefore be considered illicit.”] However, the authors did not turn directly to the Mass media, but delivered the Filial Correction to the Pope’s residence at Santa Marta on August 11, 2017. Did their act contravene the guidelines for dissenting theologians laid out in DV?
You’re right that the FC authors didn’t “directly,” in the sense of “immediately,” post their submission on the Internet. But they eventually took that step, thereby opening the FC up for mass media publicity. And I think that’s the main thing that Mr. O’Regan thinks “illegitimizes” their action. Dr. Robert Fastiggi, an old friend of mine, and Dawn Eden Goldstein (whom I have also met, and admire) have co-authored another critique of the FC that makes much the same claim. But whether these and other like-minded critics are substantially right will, I think, depend on further considerations, notably, whether the FC authors can be fairly called “dissenters,” and just how relevant and applicable DV is to the kind of submission they have made now, in 2017, in a very different historical and ecclesial context to the one in which DV was promulgated more than a quarter-century ago.

Can you say a little more, then, about that original purpose of Donum Veritatis?
This CDF document reaffirms some well-known doctrinal teachings about faith and reason, and the authority of the magisterium; but I understand its primary purpose to be that of providing pastoral, prudential norms as to how Catholic theologians, in carrying out their scholarly role, should – and should not – interact with the Church’s pastors, who are her official teachers. DV neither enacts new legislation nor hands down new doctrinal decisions on points of faith and morals.

As regards its historical context, you’ve raised the question as to how much its disciplinary norms are applicable to the Filial Correction in a new situation that has arisen twenty-five years later. Can you elaborate on this?
Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, DV came out in response to the post-Vatican II epidemic of dissent against many authentic or even infallible Catholic doctrines, especially moral teachings. And that context has influenced the content of the document and the assumptions that underlie it.

Again and again, DV makes clear the CDF’s fundamental, ‘goes-without-saying’ premise that the teachings of the popes and bishops at that time (1990) are, as always, in continuity with what has been handed down from the past, while divergent theological opinions opposing them are not. On the contrary, the latter are avowedly innovative in nature – they’re prodding the Church to “correct” her “outdated” doctrine in line with supposed modern ‘insights’ and public opinion.

Can you quote some examples of that from DV?
Sure, there are plenty of them. I’ll use boldface on the words that bring out the way in which the CDF takes for granted that those teaching with magisterial authority are upholding Catholic tradition, while the theologians causing concern are advocates of novelty and change:
• In article 11 we read that theologians must offer the People of God “a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith. . . . Thus, while the theologian might often feel the urge to be daring in his work, this will not bear fruit or ‘edify’ unless it is accompanied by that patience which permits maturation to occur.”
• Theology is “a rational discipline whose object is given by Revelation, handed on and interpreted in the Church under the authority of the Magisterium” (art. 12).
• (The following opening sentence in DV’s section on the role of the Magisterium cites Vatican II’s Constitution on Divine Revelation): “God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations” (art. 13, citing Dei Verbum, 7).
• “By its nature, the [Magisterium has the] task of religiously guarding and loyally expounding the deposit of divine Revelation (in all its integrity and purity)” (art. 16).
• “The pastoral task of the Magisterium is one of vigilance. It seeks to ensure that the People of God remain in the truth which sets free” (art. 20).
• “The living Magisterium of the Church and theology, while having different gifts and functions, ultimately have the same goal: preserving the People of God in the truth which sets free” (art. 20).
• In rebuking “public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church, also called ‘dissent’,” DV identifies as one of its major contributing factors “the ideology of philosophical liberalism, which permeates the thinking of our age…. [and according to which] freedom of thought comes to oppose the authority of tradition which is considered a cause of servitude. A teaching handed on and generally received is a priori suspect and its truth contested” (art. 32).
• “[Among dissenters] the view is particularly promoted that the Church should only express her judgment on those issues which public opinion considers important and then only by way of agreeing with it. The Magisterium, for example, could intervene in economic or social questions but ought to leave matters of conjugal and family morality to individual judgment” (art. 32).

Isn’t it true, however, that at the time DV was issued there also existed ‘anti-liberal’ dissent from certain magisterial teachings? For instance, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X were claiming that some teachings of Vatican Council II contradicted traditional doctrine.
That is certainly true, but such anti-Vatican II traditionalists are not mentioned at all in Donum Veritatis. After all, they were (and still are) a tiny minority – maybe 1% of all Catholics – while the tsunami of liberal, novelty-pushing dissent the CDF is tackling in DV had deeply permeated our theological faculties, seminaries, chanceries and catechetical programs throughout the world, and was corrupting sound faith and morals among hundreds of millions of Catholics. In any case, the CDF has always rejected accusations that some Vatican II documents and the post-conciliar liturgy are in conflict with the Church’s traditional doctrine.

So why is that historical context of DV and its overwhelmingly anti-liberal emphasis relevant for evaluating the recent Filial Correction?
I’d say it’s very relevant because, frankly, a ‘palace revolution’ occurred in Rome in 2013 that has sent earthquake tremors throughout the worldwide Church and has seriously altered the way in which the Magisterium is functioning in practice.

To put it simply, the Vatican scenario in 1990 was the time-honored one in which the chief exponents of the Church’s teaching office, the Pope and the CDF, were the conservatives, and those resisting their strictures were the innovators. Now, the tables have been turned so dramatically that the supreme teaching office itself is in the hands of an energetic and authoritarian innovator! There’s no time or space here to begin citing the long and ever-growing list of Pope Francis’s anti-traditional statements, gestures and decisions that have deeply shocked so many faithful Catholics. For starters, readers can take a look here at your recent LifeSiteNews piece, the “A to Z” of concerns about the present Holy Father.

When they promulgated Donum Veritatis in 1990, St. John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger would never in their worst nightmares have dreamed that a man would soon ascend the throne of Peter who, as an archbishop, had already shown his colors by actively promoting dissent and disobedience to their magisterial insistence that Catholics living publicly in illicit sexual relationships may never be given Holy Communion. (Buenos Aires priests have testified that then-Cardinal Bergoglio authorized them to do this when celebrating Mass out in the poor ‘peripheries’ of the archdiocese.)

Now, it seems to me that this radically new situation casts doubt on the present-day applicability of DV’s norm that those disagreeing with papal teaching should not make their concerns known to the mass media, as the authors of the Filial Correction have done. The time-honored principle of epikeia in Catholic moral theology allows that a norm of human law does not necessarily have to be obeyed in exceptional circumstances that were not envisaged by the legislator. Obedience to a higher law can then take precedence; and it seems to me that would include the right and duty of priests and theologians to openly defend the perennial magisterial teaching that Pope Francis has effectively called into question via Amoris Laetitia and its aftermath.

The FC authors themselves rightly appeal to St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching in the Summa that subjects can and should correct their superiors even publicly when the faith itself is in danger. And c. 212 §3 of the Code of Canon Law allows competent members of the faithful to respectfully make known their views regarding the good of the Church not only to “the sacred Pastors” but also “to others of Christ’s faithful” – which would include the public diffusion of those views.

So if, as you say, the FC authors are actually striving to defend traditional, orthodox doctrine, is it accurate to depict them, as Emmett O’Regan does, as being “dissenters”?
No, I think such criticism is inaccurate and unfair. After all, the very idea of doctrinal dissent presupposes, first, a clear teaching of the Magisterium, and secondly, an equally clear disagreement with it. But that clarity seems to me lacking, both in Pope Francis’ language in Amoris Laetitia and in one of the propositions the FC authors accuse him of “upholding” and “propagating” (they don’t say “teaching”).

I agree that those seven propositions contradict infallible Catholic doctrines (assuming that in no. 2 the word “nature” is taken to mean “grave sinfulness”) so that if Pope Francis did clearly teach them, he would be the one guilty of public dissent, not his FC critics. In any case, theirs is a sort of ‘umbrella’ complaint: they make no claim that he formally and unambiguously enunciates any of these heterodox propositions; rather, he “propagates” them “directly or indirectly” and “by words, deeds and omissions”. (My parenthetical comment in answering Q. 4 above seems relevant here.) I think for the most part this complaint is justified, though not entirely. But while I can therefore give only give a qualified support to the FC authors’ initiative, I do think Mr. O’Regan is quite unjustified in labelling them as the kind of “dissenters” who are rebuked by Donum Veritatis.

Oh, and BTW, why are the Bergoglians now protesting, though incorrectly as usual, about violations of DV - which is, after all, 'merely' an Instruction from the CDF - when they have been perfectly fine with their lord and master selectively preaching the Word of God himself, and trampling roughshod over an encyclical like Veritatis splendor and an Apostolic Exhortation like Familiaris consortio? Because they will use anything at this point to assail 'dissenters' of Bergoglianism instead of trying to answer their criticisms on merit - which they clearly cannot.

But as much as they can try to kill the messengers with words, they will never be able to kill the message they bring, which is what Jesus brought to mankind - a message of eternal salvation for those who follow his words fully and well, not just pick and choose what is convenient.

00Friday, November 3, 2017 5:14 PM

Hagiographic Vatican stamp to mark
the 5th centenary of Luther's schism

So finally we know what it looks like. It's the best thing JMBergluther could possibly do right now to honor his principal spiritual forefather, short of formally canonizing him. Remember, a German Lutheran theologian recently said Bergoglio was 'the true heir of Luther'.

An explanation for the stamp image:

“The postage stamp issued by the (Vatican) Philatelic Office for the occasion depicts in the foreground Jesus crucified and in the background a golden and timeless view of the city of Wittenberg. With a penitential disposition, kneeling respectively on the left and right of the cross, Martin Luther holds the Bible, source and destination of his doctrine, while Philip Melanchthon, theologian and friend of Martin Luther, one of the main protagonists of the reform, holds in hand the Augsburg Confession (Confessio Augustana), the first official public presentation of the principles of Protestantism written by him.”

The blogger at CALL ME JORGE comments:

Symbolically, this stamp is stating that Martin Luther’s condemned 95 theses are correct, as well as the Augsburg Confession — that Our Lord is in agreement with the two heresiarchs, Luther and Melanchton.

To have the nerve to replace the Blessed Mother and St. John at the foot of the Cross with the two heresiarchs takes chutzpah! [Not exactly 'replacing' them but perhaps suggesting or implying the association. However, aren't we all Christians supposed to be always symbolically at the foot of the Cross?]

These are people who denied the presence of Our Lord’s Body and Blood [in the Eucharist] for Melanchthon said, “Christ instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of His Passion. To adore It is therefore idolatry and Luther said, “It is, therefore, clearly erroneous and impious to offer or apply the merits of the Mass for sins, or the reparation of sins, or for the deceased. Mass is offered by God to man, and not by man to God.”...

About the city of Wittemberg as the background for the Crucifion on the stamp, one could call it an obvious unintended consequence of the stamp designer's fancy, since it could be interpreted to mean that Christ was cruficied all over in Wittemberg and thereafter by the heresies of Luther, Melancthon and their followers.

And at Rorate caeli, New Catholic put it well:

What truly happened on October 31, 1517?

On All Hallows' Eve, a perverted monk in Upper Saxony, possessed by the prince of darkness, divided Christendom forever [??? We certainly do not hope so, nor even think so!], and deprived billions of souls of Sacramental life.

Another reflection here...

Luther and Melancthon
at the foot of the Cross

By Lorenzo Bertocchi
Translated from

November 1, 2017

25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
26 When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (Jn 19, 25-27)]

It is one of the most fundamental moments in the life of Christ, at the apex of his redemptive mission. Mary was there, and next to her, John the Apostle. From that moment, Mary became the mother of all who would be in the Church: Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church), as Paul VI called her when he closed the Second Vatican Council.

But now 'Holy Mother Church' [nominally and formally led by Jorge Mario Bergoglio aka Pope Francis] has decided to 'commemorate' the day Martin Luther posted his heretical theses on the door of the Church in Wittemberg, with a stamp issued by the Vatican, which describes it this way in the official presentation:

It depicts in the foreground Jesus crucified ,against the golden and a-temporal background of the city of Wittemberg. In an attitude of penance, kneeling to the left and right, respectively, of the Cross, Martin Luther holds a bible – source and goal of his doctrine – while Phillip Melancthon, theologian and friend of Luther, one of the major protagonists of the Reformation , holds the 'Confessio Augustana', the first official exposition of the principles of Protestantism that he edited.

It is true that we are in an atmposphere of 'relaxation' between Catholics and Lutherans ['relaxed' deliberately and unconscionably by this pope], and it is true that a bishop [Mons. Galantino, Bergoglio-appointed #2 man at the I talian bishops' conference] has said that "The Reformation begun by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit", but this new stamp is truly unusual:

That 'Holy Mother Church', Of which the Virgin Mary is Mother and model, reproduces on a stamp a mosaic executed in 1851 by August von Kloeber is a sign of the times – our time today when the Vatican itself would go back to when the two men shown at the foot of the Cross originated Protestantism which had defined Mariology as 'the sum of all heresies'.

So it turns out the artwork is a reproduction of an 1851 painting! Could the stamp designers not have chosen some neutral artwork, or why didn't they design their own graphic instead of choosing an extremely inappropriate illustration?

Apropos heresies and heresiarchs - which in this pontificate, we are bumping up against at every turn - consider the ff brief reflection on Hillaire Belloc(1870-1953). An Anglo-French writer and historian, he was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was also known as an orator, poet, sailor, satirist, man of letters, soldier and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works.

What would Hilaire Belloc think
of the Reformation ‘celebrations’?

by Francis Phillips
friday, 3 Nov 2017

Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Great Heresies, has an uncompromising title. First published in 1938 and now republished by Ignatius Press, the very word “heresy” is a reminder that the Church used to guard and defend the Faith in a robust fashion:A “heretic” was someone who left out or altered a dogmatic belief taught by the Church and who thus promulgated “heresy.”

Even by 1938, as Belloc writes in his Introduction, the word had come to connote “something odd and old-fashioned.” If you called someone a heretic today, they would be completely mystified.

The heresies in the Church’s history that Belloc has selected are Arianism, Islam, the Albigensians, Protestantism and the “Modern Phase.” Of these, the two that are of particular interest just now are Islam (Belloc calls it Mohammedanism) because it is enjoying a renewed impetus, and Protestantism as we have just passed the 500th anniversary of Luther’s historic challenge.

In his article in the Herald for 11 August, Richard Ingrams is right in remarking that Belloc is little read today. He was hardly a disciplined and scholarly historian, more a restless man of letters, whose intellectual interests were eclectic and whose opinions were argued with passion and pugnacity. An anti-Semite, he also believed in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Yet as Ingrams notes, he remained a “devoted and belligerent Catholic all his life”. It is from this stance that he wrote The Great Heresies.

On Islam, Belloc argued that
- it began as a Christian heresy and only later evolved into a quite distinct religion.
- He pointed out the “numerous affinities” between Islam and the Protestant Reformers, such as their joint aversion to images, the sacrifice of the Mass and the celibacy of the priesthood.
- He remarked on how hard it was to convert Muslims and, with an extraordinary prescience, he reminded readers that,
- far from falling into permanent decline in the 20th century as had seemed likely, Islam “is the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past.” Indeed, he predicted that “our sons and grandsons would see a renewal of that tremendous struggle…”

Belloc is famous for stating that “the Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith.” Historically this was essentially true. Nonetheless, by 1938 he could read the signs of the times, lamenting presciently, that Europe, “the very civilization which [the Church] created…is now generally abandoning her.”

As for the Reformation, Belloc would have had little time for ecumenical gestures towards Lutherans or joint statements on the theology of justification. Accepting that the Church needed deep-rooted reform, he described the Reformers’ trajectory: from the genuine demand for change to rebellion against the Church’s spiritual authority. The result, as he saw it, was that “the old moral unity which came of our universal Catholicism was ruined.” Who would argue with that today?

Yet rather than conclude with Belloc’s pessimism I prefer to draw attention to an article by George Weigel in the autumn edition of the Plough, a Bruderhof publication. Entitled “Re-forming the Church”, it suggests that what is needed at this “quincentenary of Wittenberg is a re-formed Church of saints… men and women on fire with missionary zeal, because they have been embraced by the love of Christ and are passionate to share that love with others.”

Unless he formally re-defines 'saint' soon for his church, the church of Bergoglio can never be a church of saints, because it has conceded a priori that even the most basic rules of conduct, e.g, the Ten Commandments, are much too difficult for 'Catholics' to put into practice, which is Step 1 to simply decreeing that nobody sins who simply follows what his conscience tells him is 'good' - Bergoglio and his minions have articulated this concept enough in various ways, but never directly so far. Scalfari called it 'Bergoglio's abolition of sin'. (God was soooo wrong, Bergoglio seems to think, to have expelled Adam and Eve from Eden when he could have been merciful to them and to their tempter, Satan!)]

00Friday, November 3, 2017 7:57 PM

Fr. Weinandy was clear and direct. The USCCB was not.
The Bishops had the right – perhaps the duty – to require Fr. Weinandy’s resignation.
Nevertheless, the Catholic faithful have a right to know the Bishops’ mind in this regard, and
Fr. Weinandy deserves at least a straightforward reproach

by Christopher Altieri

November 2, 2017

When the former chief-of-staff of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine (and now former consultant to the same), Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., sent a private missive to Pope Francis on July 31st, he was taking a bold step: it is not a small thing to criticize the Vicar of Christ on Earth – to rebuke him, essentially, even if only in writing, and not “to his face” as St. Paul the Apostle did Peter.

Fr. Weinandy is a distinguished theologian and a member of the International Theological Commission [named to the ITC by this pope himself], and as such, he certainly meets the standard set by Canon 212, which states:

According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Even so, the exercise of a right, or the discharge of a duty upon which that right rests, is not without its perils, and Fr. Weinandy knew what he was doing when he wrote Pope Francis to tell him, among other things:

You seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.

While Fr. Weinandy’s missive to Pope Francis on July 31st was not ostensibly conceived as a letter of resignation, its appearance before the public on November 1 meant that it might as well have been. [Rather non sequitur. Does Altieri mean that upon sending his letter to the pope last July, Weinandy should have resigned his current function at the USCCB but did not (and hence had to be asked to resign by the USCCB secretary who called him on the day his letter to the pope was made public).]

The Holy Father may yet prove tolerant of Fr. Weinandy’s temerity, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) swiftly moved to see that his official association with them be ended. Within hours of the letter’s appearance before the public, the Conference had required, and received, Fr. Weinandy’s resignation.

One may not fault the USCCB for requiring his resignation. For one thing, consultants have no responsibility, and serve at the pleasure. The Bishops were under no strict obligation to give a reason, nor would they have been, should they have determined to dismiss Fr. Weinandy (which, formally, they did not).

For another, the USCCB does work “in support of, and in affective collegiality with the Holy Father,” as the statement from the USCCB’s chief communications officer, James Rogers, announcing Fr. Weinandy’s resignation says. It is more than merely understandable that the Bishops should be less than perfectly confident in the counsel of a man who has so publicly declared what is certainly disappointment with the Holy Father’s record of leadership, and published what may be fairly characterized as criticism that dances on the edge of intemperance.

Had the Bishops said nothing, but only required and accepted Fr. Weinandy’s resignation, it is a fair bet the story of it would not have come to more than, “Dog bites man.”

We would have seen hotheads vent, and the lunatic fringe take up his “cause” for a day, but those heads were going to blow in any case, and the lunatic fringe these days will work itself into a frenzy over just about anything.

Fr. Weinandy, however, is neither a hothead, nor a member of the lunatic fringe. For a man of his character, accomplishment, and reputation to entertain such truculent language is, if nothing else, an indication of the depth and breadth of frustration within the Church.

Also, the Bishops were not silent. The Bishops’ communications chief issued the aforementioned statement regarding Fr. Weinandy’s decision to step down – one that offered no detailed information about the conversation that preceded his tendering of his resignation, nor any direct explanation of the reason it was required.

Within minutes (they were tweeted 14 minutes apart) of that statement’s release, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, issued his own “reflection on dialogue within the Church” – one that began by noting Fr. Weinandy’s departure:

The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives [sic] us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.

Cardinal DiNardo goes on to decry the tribalism and spirit of faction that have infected the public counsels in the Church and in society more broadly – and he is quite right to do so. Neat reductions, such as those one will find of this specific contretemps, e.g., “How dare you say the Pope doesn’t tolerate criticism? – You’re fired!” are just that: neat reductions, which do no party true justice, and tend to diminish our capacity for empathy – however genuine and even justified the sentiment that gives rise to the temptation to such reductions is.

Then, he lists a series of requisites for the proper conduct of public controversy within the Church, including – in primis – charity: then honesty and humility; presumption of good faith; finally, a spirit of collegiality, which it must be the particular care of the bishops and their organs to foster and in which the bishops and those who serve them must abide.

While wholly unexceptionable and even entirely praiseworthy in its substance, the context in which Cardinal DiNardo places the meat of his reflection makes the whole thing read rather as a list of standards against which Fr. Weinandy may or may not have been measured, and found wanting.

Since Cardinal DiNardo quoted from St. Ignatius Loyola’s famous presupposition to the Spiritual Exercises, it is worthwhile to visit the ample quote, of which Cardinal DiNardo gave only a part [Oooohhh, lesson well-learned by the cardinal from our habitually truncation-happy pope!]:

In order that both he who is giving the Spiritual Exercises, and he who is receiving them, may more help and benefit themselves, let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself.

[DiNardo omitted the statements in boldface.]

If some of Fr. Weinandy’s remarks were strident, they were also candid, offered with the free spirit of parrhesia (for which Pope Francis has repeatedly called), and frankly, trenchant. It is difficult, therefore, to see how the manner in which the Bishops went about their business meets the exacting standards of charity and candidacy in dialogue, which the President of the USCCB so admirably rehearsed in his reflection, especially if we consider the portion of St. Ignatius’s presupposition, which Cardinal DiNardo omitted.

Invocation of the omitted portion, however, cuts both ways: we owe the Bishops the fairest possible construction of their actions and their statements regarding them, as well as the presumption of good faith and sound motives in the absence of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. We owe each other the same, and the Pope as well, above and before all. [Well, no! Altieri here omits the other two steps in the three-step process spelled out by St. Ignatius - harking back to Jesus's own admonition about how we ought to proceed when disagreeing with someone - 1) if we cannot 'save' something we find objectionable in another's words (i.e., give the most charitable interpretation to it),"let him inquire how me means it" (which the DUBIA cardinals did directly about AL); 2)"If he means it badly, correct him with charity" (which is what the CORRECTION FILIALIS was); and 3) "If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself." (The whole point in why so many Catholics are being so outspoken about this pope's 'shortcomings'!]

The Bishops had the right – perhaps the duty – to require Fr. Weinandy’s resignation. Nevertheless, the Catholic faithful in every state of life in the Church have a right to know the Bishops’ mind in this regard, and Fr. Weinandy deserves at least a straightforward reproach.

In short: If the USCCB believes that Fr. Weinandy failed to act according to their standards of propriety and civility, they ought to say so plainly, in words. Then, we would know – and be in a position to judge on the merits – what the mind of the Bishops is with regard to Fr. Weinandy’s foray into public criticism of the Holy Father.

More important for the broader and urgently pressing issue of recovering and repairing ecclesial discourse, Cardinal DiNardo’s reflection could have served the purpose for which charitable reading and candid reception would have disposed a reader to receive it. Was such a declaration impossible? If so, why? [And we are back at the fact that Bergoglians have no fallback but ad-hominem and/or procedural attacks when they have nothing to argue with on merits! "I can't answer your arguments, but I can certainly insult you and attack you in every other way!" ]

The ff is a well-considered reflection on the more general 'degeneracy' suggested by the USCCB's treatment of the Weinandy letter. IMHO, it should also stir up fresh outrage at the all-purpose use of the word 'dialog' as the 'solution' to all problems. The way it is conceived by its proponents, starting with the current pope, dialog is an a endless Hegelian cycle of thesis-antithesis-synthesis,in which every synthesis becomes a new thesis to be faced with a new anti-thesis, etc, etc ad nauseam, i.e., dialog for the sake of dialog, just to say 'something' is being done, never mind how pointless. The ultimate excuse for inaction out of cowardice and indecisiveness....But Bergoglio's ideal 'dialogue' would be brief and definitive: "I speak, you say Amen! Niente di piu!"

The USCCB and the weaponization of 'dialogue”
by Steve Skojec

November 3, 2017

In the wake of the latest instance of a faithful son of the Church pointing out that the papal emperor has no clothes, we have been treated to yet another flurry of loud and aggressive assertions that there is nothing to see here, no confusion really exists, and can everyone please stop acting childish and just move along?

Meanwhile, that faithful son — Fr. Thomas Weinandy — has been forced out of his position as a doctrinal consultant to the USCCB, while their president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, had the audacity to talk about his “departure” under the auspices of “an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.”

Dialogue? Really? Since when does dialogue include the immediate dismissal of a man who posed his concerns — rooted in his conscience, which we are constantly informed by our betters in the Church can serve as the arbiter of all critical moral truths — with such deference and respect to the pope that people have criticized him for being too obsequious?

Of course DiNardo wasn’t man enough to come out and admit that Fr. Weinandy had been told to resign; instead, he referred to his “departure” as though his former chief of staff on doctrinal matters had merely drifted away inexplicably on a gentle breeze like Mary Poppins.

Let’s make something clear: the USCCB is a disgrace to Catholics everywhere — a predominately progressive organization that has enriched itself through hundreds of millions of dollars of government money for refugee resettlement while opposing any sensible laws to restrict immigration — a fact that looks very much, as Catholic writer and author John Zmirak pointed out on yesterday, like political simony. “How much would we have to pay the bishops to teach what the Catechism says on #immigration?” he asked. To put it more bluntly, I’d be interested in knowing how much we’d have to pay them to just be Catholic.

The USCCB’s concern for disassociating itself with an uncouth thinker only goes so far, however. For example, they still haven’t asked Ralph McCloud to resign. McCloud is the head of the USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development, who split his first year working for the US bishops by moonlighting as treasurer for the political campaign of Wendy Davis, a Planned Parenthood-endorsed candidate for the Texas state senate who was at that time was in the process of unseating a pro-life incumbent. Davis would go on to be known for her 11-hour long filibuster in the Texas legislature to block more restrictive abortion regulations.

Under McCloud’s leadership the CCHD has been linked to funding from Planned Parenthood affiliates and an organization performing same sex marriages. No “departure” for Mr. McCloud while wistful reflections on dialogue were issued.

Or what about the USCCB subsidiary, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which was recently exposed as being involved in developing an African sex-education program “aimed at children as young as 10, encourages condom use, promotes abortifacient contraception, normalizes homosexuality and masturbation and lists Planned Parenthood as a resource.” Was action taken? Nope.

For that matter, how about Jessica Garrels, a “program quality coordinator” for CRS, who, as Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute reminded us yesterday, “had strongly supported and promoted Planned Parenthood on her Facebook page.” Among other examples Hichborn cited — including a profile picture with a Planned Parenthood graphical overlay on her account — on January 9, 2016, Garrels “wrote “Well said!” cheering on the statement of US Representative Gwen S. Moore in her defense of maintaining funding to Planned Parenthood.” Hichborn continues: "Shortly after the the article on Garrels was published and sent to the bishops of the United States, Garrels’ Facebook page was locked up tight to hide her posts from public view. CRS never issued a response to the report, and when LifeSiteNews contacted CRS for a comment on the matter, “CRS did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ inquiry into the information about its employees’ public support for Planned Parenthood.” As it turns out, Garrels is still employed at CRS over a year later.

Just this summer, Garrels gave an interview to the Huffington Post on behalf of Catholic Relief Services. Clearly, they think she’s a perfectly acceptable ambassador for the brand.

Support abortion? Not to worry! You can stay at the USCCB.

Respectfully ask the pope to consider the damage he is doing to the Church by citing specific examples raised through pastoral work via the concerns of the faithful? Get. Out.

Knowing just how impossible it is to do what I’d really love to see happen — defund the USCCB — makes fighting back challenging. After all, with a tidal wave of cash coming from the federal government, we can only do so much damage by starving them of income from the faithful. And we should starve them in any way we can.

Not a single penny should be transferred from the faithful to a single USCCB program. In fact, we should probably begin putting the pressure on our own bishops through their annual appeals.

Perhaps we should all put letters in those envelopes in lieu of checks, telling our bishops that if they don’t rein in the conference, they’ll get no more money from us.

But to be honest, it’s hard for me to come up with a specific action item in this regard because the whole thing should simply be gutted and set on fire and dumped into the nearest ocean. (And nuked from orbit, just to be sure.)

Feeling this frustration yesterday and looking for any opportunity to make our voices heard, I began encouraging people on social media to go to the Facebook page of the USCCB and leave one-star reviews after I saw others encouraging the same. Within no time, their page was flooded with people complaining about their treatment of Fr. Weinandy along with other issues. Clearly, there’s a lot of pent-up frustration out there amongst the faithful.

But the USCCB wasn’t having it. They began banning anyone who left a negative review from interacting with their page, making it impossible to comment on other reviews or posts or even to so much as hit the “like” button. Today, since Facebook won’t allow a page owner to edit or delete negative reviews, they’ve instead found a way to remove the reviews feature entirely. (That’s okay, though. I saved a whole bunch of them in a nice long screenshot. You can download the PDF here. For posterity!)

So. Much. Dialogue!

You can still go to their contact page and give them a piece of your mind. Mostly, though, this will be a minor irritation that low-level staffers will have to deal with.

After all, important members of the USCCB — like Cardinal Blase Cupich, who is in the running for the USCCB’s pro-life committee despite repeated collusion with pro-abortion politicians and an outrageous statement about the undercover Planned Parenthood videos — have to give critical talks like this week’s “Dialogue [there’s that word again!] in the Key of Pope Francis”, in which he is seen defending Fr. James Martin, SJ, and telling us that if we want to “take up discernment” in the mode of Pope Francis, we must “be prepared to let go of cherished beliefs and long-held biases”.

Cupich, of course, makes an important point here about the evolution of decentralized ecclesiastical structures. Many people simply discount the role of the USCCB because it has “no power” and “no official authority” within the Church. But remember, Francis wants to change that too. From his exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (32):

The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.

Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.

The pope took a big step, in fact, toward granting significant autonomy to bishops conferences in his motu proprio Magnium Principium, which, as he clarified in his very public rebuke to Cardinal Sarah, grants them the authority to perform their own regional Mass translations without Rome’s pre-approval. (Already, the excitement in parts of Europe is bubbling over with the new possibilities!)

Meanwhile, the faithful are left with no recourse to this style of “dialogue,” which effectively amounts to being shouted down and told to know our place, under the iron fist of the Dictatorship of Mercy.

In addition to continuing to speak out, prayer and penance is most likely the course of action the saints would recommend. Admittedly, however, such a response feels incredibly meager in the face of the continued implosion of all we hold sacred.

00Friday, November 3, 2017 10:45 PM
Married priests are the wrong answer
to the Amazon’s problems

The practical obstacles are insurmountable.
What's needed is a renewed call for missionary work

by Ed Condon
Friday, 3 Nov 2017

Yesterday, those of us foolish enough to trust headlines were given a brief spasm of panic when the Daily Telegraph ran an article headlined “Pope requests Roman Catholic priests be given right to marry.” Of course, he said nothing of the kind.

Supposedly, Cardinal Hummes has made repeated requests that the Church in Brazil be allowed to consider ordaining some married men in answer to a severe shortage of priests in remote areas of the Amazon. The pope is alleged to have told Cardinal Hummes to “speak to the bishops [of the region] and make valid proposals.” These would then be discussed, so it seems, at the forthcoming Synod for the Amazon region in 2019.

Let us be clear: no one, not the pope nor Cardinal Hummes, nor anyone else in any position of authority in the Church, is suggesting that “priests be given the right to marry.” There is a world of difference between discussing the ordination of some married men in specific circumstances, for which there is precedent, and marriage as an option for already ordained priests, which exists nowhere in the Church. The Telegraph’s new toned-down headline is more accurate: “Pope raises prospect of married men becoming priests”.

Of course, there are some people who would like clerical celibacy to become optional everywhere. These tend, especially in the United States, to be the remnant of a 1970s generation of liberals who expected the post-Vatican II Church to reform itself into a socially progressive, and sexually permissive, form of Catholicism which was in tune with the wider trends of their time. They were left disappointed, and many of their number left the priesthood to marry and become social workers or psychotherapists.

Those who remained still consider clerical celibacy as the icon of their frustrations, and the pointy end of a disciplined Church which drove their old friends away. Their arguments for a total end to celibacy often creep in to discussions, like the request by some of the Brazilian Church, which treat specific situations and muddy the waters terribly.

Behind their argument is usually a lazy logic which runs something like this: Because clerical celibacy is disciplinary not doctrinal, it can be discussed (correct); because it can be discussed, it is open to potential change (true); if it can change and hasn’t yet, this is proof of lack of “progress” in the Church (false); opposing such change is inflexible and doctrinaire (also false).

It takes little or no account of the prophetic witness and dignity of celibacy and virginity in the Catholic Church, something which is fundamental to the Church’s teaching. It also presupposes that there is a long queue of men who would be priests, are desperate to be priests, but are not because they would rather married.

Leaving aside the lack of any proof that such a body of men exists, it raises the question: why is it a good thing to ordain people for whom anything, even the unquestionably praiseworthy vocation of marriage, obviously took or takes precedence over a priestly vocation?

It also ignores very real practical issues which would accompany a substantial number of married priests. Such men would, I’d assume, be living their marriages as a praiseworthy example to their flock, and would be generously open to life. But no priest I know could support a family on a clerical stipend, nor could any diocese I know afford to pay priests a living wage, or house numerous families in parish accommodation.

[Condon overlooks one supposed prerequisite for viri probati to be ordained as deacons or priests: That their families are already well-established, for whom they no longer have any financial obligations to maintain (because their children are all grown up and have families and jobs of their own, or they are independently wealthy) - which is why they would have to be men in their 50s or older. Which, of course, thins out the already sparse population of potential viri probati. The 'solution' is, at best, an insignificant stopgap that would probably create more problems than it's worth.

No substitute for the Church attracting vocations in substantial numbers because she provides young people with the right incentives to nurture any internal call they may already have. And study after study has shown that in all these decades of a priestly drought, the only ones that have consistently drawn more vocations are the religious orders and the dioceses who offer Catholicism with an intact deposit of faith, not the liberal, Catholic-lite orders and dioceses.]

This is without considering the potential problems which could arise. What if, God forbid, a married priest divorces? Or what if his teenage children openly dissent from Church teaching while living in the presbytery? The current examples of married priests don’t settle the issue: in the Eastern Churches, they have existed for two millennia and institutions have organically developed to support them. As for former Anglicans, they were admitted on a case by case basis following considerable scrutiny. These small exceptions cannot make a case for the kind of disruption to the very fabric of the Latin Church which an end to clerical celibacy would bring.

As for the Amazon, is undeniable that there are far too few priests to meet the needs of some communities. (Some estimates have put it at the ratio of one priest for every ten thousand Catholics in the more remote areas.) But I am totally unconvinced that ordaining married men is the answer.

Supposing that married candidates for the priesthood of proven quality could be found, there is no reason to think that they would be many in number – were there that many sincere vocations to the priesthood, it is unlikely they would all have forgone the chance of ordination for marriage. This being the case, they would be a drop in the bucket next to a ratio of one priest to ten thousand faithful. [Which shows you just how hallucinatory are Hummes and company who think viri probati would make any difference at all to the priest shortage, in the Amazon or anywhere else.]

Making any real difference in the numbers would require ordinations on a mass scale, with concurrent lowering of standards and expectations for candidates – which would be a huge disservice to both the priesthood and the faithful.

Moreover, how many married men, presumably with families, would be willing to serve in these remote communities, in harsh conditions, and requiring significant travel between villages? It is hardly a life suited to raising children.

Perhaps a better answer, though not a simple one, would be a renewed appreciation for the vocation and work of missionary priests and orders, whose excellent work and proud history could and should celebrated much more loudly.

The call to the missionary priesthood is a real and distinct vocation, and one we hear little about in the modern Church, where the essential work of evangelisation is often only spoken of as the post-modern need to re-Christianize the lapsed nations of Europe*. We forget that many parts of the world are still mission territory proper.

The needs of places like the Amazon would be far better served by a serious rediscovery of the Church’s missionary history, and by assisting religious orders in nurturing vocations, than by upending centuries of tradition and discipline in the hope of a quick fix.

*There is, of course, one serious and unprecedented factor militating against evangelization in the age of the supposedly 'joy-of-the-gospel' pope: For all the 'joy' he professes, he really does not care to spread the Gospel at all beyond paying occasional lip service to doing so. His idea of missionary work is for priests to leave their churches and go to the 'peripheries' (ignoring that the center cannot hold if it is left a vacuum).

On the other hand, how many times has he said he has no desire to convert anyone to Catholicism, that everyone is good as they are and God accepts them as they are, that trying to convert anyone to Catholicism would be proselytism which is bad-bad-bad, etc etc, and the rest of his anti-Catholic biases.

00Friday, November 3, 2017 11:32 PM
On the future of ISIS
CRISIS magazine
November 2, 2017

What exactly has been defeated in the recent battles against ISIS? The relative success of ISIS in recent years has been made possible largely by the failure of its opponents to understand what it is.

Its military successes in the Near East and in the worldwide turmoil caused by frequent suicide bombings, shootings, and truck crashings (as we saw in New York this week) can hardly be unknown anyplace in the world. ISIS is often said to be a “terrorist” organization unrelated to or not identified with Islam. Once it is isolated and neutralized, the theory goes, everything can return to normal.

The current military defeats of ISIS will test this thesis. One school of thought maintains that the threat will now largely disappear. Peaceful Muslims will be in charge in what are called their own lands.

The other school thinks that ISIS is now free to pursue a more lethal and worldwide expansion in the vast new areas in which the Muslim presence is now being rapidly established. A morally decadent West, in its own areas, will find itself unable to cope with the zeal of this, to it, strange new religion now encamped in its midst.

The Trump administration has been more systematic than that of Obama.
- It has paid careful military attention to the once-thought triumphant ISIS arms, with its trucks, tommy guns, and black uniforms.
- Most of its strongholds, now largely in ruins, have been retaken. - Millions of locals have fled the area, usually for Europe.
- A concentrated persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim groups has decimated many of the most famous cities and areas in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.
- The White House has just recognized the bias against persecuted Christians when refugee services relied solely on United Nations agencies.

Under this more centered military attack, ISIS leaders were killed or placed under constant threat. Recruits have begun to surrender. These men have been responsible for some of the worst crimes against innocent civilian populations in human history. Their practice of beheading their enemies on TV has left a deep, sickening impression, as it was intended to do. In their own minds, no doubt, ISIS members carried out these atrocities under a religious motivation. Sufficient justification exists in Islamic texts and its military traditions for their zeal and methods.

It has been a major failure of intelligence in dealing with ISIS and its affiliates to classify them as members of a group that enjoys killing for the sake of killing. ISIS fighters, however, conceive themselves as loyal troops doing a work that Allah willed. This mission to convert the world to Allah fires the soul of anyone who takes the Qur’an seriously.

A modern man finds it difficult to believe that a project that began some twelve centuries ago in far-off Arabia could still be reinvigorated and remain a constant threat in century after century since then. But many Muslims have no trouble in understanding this abiding mission, which, if it is defeated or fails in one era, will reappear in another, inspired by the same sources.

But the defeat of self-proclaimed Muslim arms is not worthless. Islam is a religion that sees itself under the will of Allah. If their religiously inspired jihad is set back or stopped by superior military force at a given time or place, a Tours or a Vienna, it is looked upon as a defeat for Allah. Hence, they begin to doubt their mission.

But the thinkers who inspire the expansion of Islam are also hard realists.
- They know that the refugee/immigration of millions of Muslims into Europe and America represents an opportunity for them unparalleled in their recent history.
- They are already on the ground of the nations that they want next to conquer, nations that once blunted their thrusts into Europe. -
- They are often welcomed there and given the privileges of citizenship.

Their new hosts often think that they will be able to change this violent Islam into peaceful ways through association with the so-called modern secular world. All Islam needs to do is rid itself of any aspiration to reestablish its own law and customs.

What is happening, however, is the realization that Islam does not assimilate. It re-creates its own enclaves, laws, mosques, dress, dietary, and familial customs wherever a sufficient number of new peoples are present. In addition, its birth rate is considerably higher so that often the most frequent numbers of children seen in a European city today are Muslim children.

As a result of the ISIS experience, two things became clear to many Muslim thinkers.
- One is that terror, at least in the short run, works. Even the crashing of a truck into a mob of citizens at a market or along a bike path becomes an international incident. Modern armies, while effective against ISIS in an open field, are not so useful when it comes to this random city chaos that such bombings and shootings can cause. The defeat of ISIS in the Near East may well result in an increase elsewhere of this sort of arbitrary chaos.
- The other alternative is the Islamization of new cities and countries by taking advantage of the laws and protections of the societies in which they find themselves. Once this tactic is embraced — it need not presuppose the cessation of random violence —gradually, step by step, Muslim laws will come to rule in larger areas as a result of what are called democratic processes.

In the end, we can expect 1) that few non-Muslims will remain in traditional Muslim lands and 2) that more and more areas will be subject to the laws and customs of Islam, now updated through the recent ISIS lessons.

But the Western world, obviously oblivious to its consuming death wish, and with it, the death of Western civilization, continues to bury its collective head in the sand, even as Islam is already gobbling up its rear end.
00Friday, November 3, 2017 11:57 PM
November 2-3 headlines

Now that C212 no longer has competition, it seems to be stepping up the pace on its updates. Here's its third 'above-the-fold' headline summary for today.
00Saturday, November 4, 2017 5:24 PM


Belatedly, here is that Tosatti post on Luther that was 'locked up' when my computer switch malfunctioned... It carries
a 10/31/17 headline round-up which I used as the take-off for the article on Luther.

10/31/2017 headlines

On Luther (1):
What is there to celebrate?

Translated from

October 31, 2017

Today marks 500 years since the official start of what would go down in history as the Protestant ‘Reformation’ – which caused some of the major wounds in the body of Christianity. And this blog would like to ‘remember’ this moment in two ways.

The first is the review of a new book that examines the political, historical and religious universe of Martin Luder (it appears Luther was a pseudonym, the vulgar form of Eleutherius, meaning ‘free’). The book makes it evident to a dispassionate reader that it is not for us, as Catholics and as Christians, to celebrate this event.

The second is an interview with the newspaper Die Zeit of a leading Lutheran pastor from Germany who claims to know Pope Francis well enough for him to get early morning telephone calls from Casa Santa Marta from time to time. [The article title is in itself a story, so I will anticipate Tosatti a bit here, if only graphically:]

Now for the book review:

Martin Lutero: Il canto del gallo della Modernità
[Martin Luther: The cock’s crow (dawn) of modernity]

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses against indulgences. His gesture began a global movement that has passed into history as the ‘Reformation’. Stilum Curiae wants to mark this date briefly with a review of a small but very lucid and important book by Danilo Castellano, emeritus president of the Faculty of Jurisprudence at the University of Udine (northeastern Italy), a corresponding member of the Academia Real de Sciencias Morales y Politicas of Spain, and an honorary member of the same country’s Academia Real de Jurisprudencia y Legislacion.

His book considers Martin Luther to have heralded the dawn of the modern era. He deliberately ignores the major religious questions pondered by the former Augustinian monk, although some religious aspects are necessarily treated more or less in depth. But the focus of his study is the nature of the Reformationas primarily philosophical and political, since it cannot be ignored that the Reformation – which as Cardinal Mueller recently said, a view Castellano takes, was not mere reform but a true and proper revolution – was, from the very beginning, closely tied to the politics of the era (especially in the German states).

Castellano says that, for example, “Kierkegaard, who was Lutheran, faulted Luther for his strong embroilment in worldiness which led him to degeneracy.” [Hmm, we could apply that, too, to ‘Luther’s true heir’, couldn’t we?]

Castellano reiterates that the Reformation was not a reform “but a revolt against the Church: It was the creation of a ‘new’ church on the basis of a ‘new’ doctrine that remained open to ‘new’ perspectives”. [Is this how future historians might describe Bergoglio’s pontificate?] I find this a very important emphasis, now that part of the Catholic Church - those elements which are hardly lucid or rational - is living through the inebriation of an emotional ‘global group hug’.

And he calls Luther’s revolution ‘a virtually integral gnostic revolution’. But on the basis of this revolution, Castellano asks, is it at all possible to ‘rehabilitate’ Luther who would then conceivably become the inspiration for eventual reforms to the spiritual life as well as to the governance of the Catholic Church?

Some cardinals – Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, for example – have actually said so. And even in the Church in Italy, there are those who say that the Holy Spirit had inspired Luther! Castellano’s answer is NO, as well as to other circumstances that appear propelled more by eager and ill-considered bonhomie rathr than mature reflection.

In the course of her long history, the Church has lived through numerous reforms, from within. And the so-called Counter-Reformation “was not a mere sterile opposition to the Protestant Reformation, but rather a program and an ongoing work of intense Church renewal in doctrinal faithfulness to the deposit of faith received from Christ, safeguarded and transmitted onwards by the Church, even on the educational level”.

Castellano drastically affirms that “To confuse the Lutheran reforms with the always necessary continuing self-reform of the Church is an error - the fruit of ignorance and/or bad faith”. Which is a consequence of being blind to ‘the gnostic character of the Reformation’.

Another important point he makes is on freedom and the law, in which it would seem that laws are seen as an obstacle to freedom [How Bergoglian! Or perhaps since Bergoglio is a Jorge-come-lately half a century after Luther, I should learn to remark henceforth when the pope comes up with one of his trademark heterodoxies/near-heresies, ‘How Lutheran!’]: “Evangelical freedom would destroy all laws, including human laws”.

But this reading of Lutheran thinking seems to be balanced on the other hand by the fact that “the question of law is central in Lutheran doctrine… Luther assignes to the law an omnipotent power which centuries later would be proclaimed unequivocally during the Enlightenment.” [How conditioned we are to names that were given self-importantly by the dominant thinkers of the day to the ‘Reformation’ and to the ‘Enlightenment’ when they were anything but!]

According to Castellano, Luther and his new doctrine represented the cock’s crow (dawn) of modernity because in his theoretical elaboration of Lutheranism, he sows the seeds for the social and political development on the centuries to come, culminating in Marxism and Nazism.

And among these seeds, there is the pluri-significant use of the word ‘people’. [Aha! Bergoglio’s idea of ‘pueblo’ as a mythical reality, as self-contradictory as that term might be – but by which he wants to elevate the idea of ‘the masses’ as a powerful force in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.] “It is a profoundly revolutionary concept of ‘people’ because its roots are gnostic. But which ‘people’ is meant? Principally, that which found a formal elaboration at the time of the French Revolution, which in itself was one of the consequences - and perhaps the principal one – of the Reformation on the political level”.

In religion, the population of believers make up a church – but “for Luther, they are an association, not a foundation. And as in any association, its nature and its purpose, even its very constitution, depend on what the members decide, on their values. It is obvious how remote this idea is from the Catholic concept of the Church as the mystical Body of Christ. And yet, for Luther, ‘the universal church’ “would be nothing more than an association of associations [a federation] along with their base communities”. [And the church of Bergoglio is precisely aiming for this with its ‘decentralization’ of papal powers (including those that are not decentralizable) and the autonomy it is giving to bishops’ conferences. Which would make his church obviously no longer ‘catholic’, but a federation of autonomous ecclesial fiefdoms, each determining their own doctrine, pastoral practices and diocesan or national laws. How could any rational Catholic even think of doing this? I suppose the answer is that Bergoglio is not necessarily rational nor Catholic.]

Also interesting is how Castellano underscores Luther’s principle that “whatever is common to everyone cannot be usurped by any individual until he takes responsibility for the community”, which is fraught with consequences, especially political ones. This principle gave rise to Hegel’s statement that ‘What is real is rational’ – which is a way of saying that “Whoever is stronger is right”, because it is the strong and powerful who can most affect ‘reality’.

Luther himself in his writings affirmed that all of history ought to be sacred because “it is God himself who hangs or punishes, he beheads, strangles and makes war”. Indeed, in the Peasants' War [a widespread popular revolt in the German-speaking areas of Central Europe from 1524 to 1525. It failed because of the intense opposition by the aristocracy, who slaughtered up to 100,000 of the 300,000 poorly armed peasants and farmers], Luther was on the side of the winners, even while acknowledging that the peasants’ demands were right. How much this predominance of the community’s motivations influenced the history that followed is evident.

I will stop here, but I fervently advice you to read this agile history in order to consciously confront the avalanche of rhetoric that being dumped on us on the 500th anniversary of the start of Luther’s revolution.
00Saturday, November 4, 2017 9:14 PM

Quite a few groups have been advocating married priests for sometime, but one gets no idea of their membership numbers from their websites.
Wikipedia tells us that a so-called International Federation of Married Catholic Priests, date of founding not stated, was dissolved in 2008 and
changed to a more common reform-based group with a new name and with members other than priests. An organisation with that name currently
exists [under CORPUS, one of the groups featured in the banner whose goals include women's ordination, allowing priests to marry, and
increased lay participation in church affairs].

Note the banner component in German - I got to it inadvertently through a link provided by a New York Times article about how women can find
priests to marry (as unlikely as the subject may be), and the link was Clicking on it brought me to what is shown above.
The banner reads 'Priests for a bigger penis -', and features an article entitled, 'Get a bigger cock with pills'. Can anyone
really take the site seriously?

Today, Marco Tosatti writes about the seemingly imminent prospect of married priests, with 'viri probati' as quite probably, the wedge whereby
the church of Bergoglio can then move on to making priestly celibacy optional rather than mandatory.

Married priests?
No longer just a hypothesis

By Marco Tosatti
Translated from

November 4, 2017

Is the long march of [Brazilian] Cardinal Hummes to arrive at the ordination of viri probati [married men of proven Christian virtue] finally about to end? In recent days there has been an intensification of news, signals, rumors and calculated ‘indiscretions’ to indicate that the question will be on the agenda of a Special Synodal Assembly on the Amazon region to take place in Rome in 2019.

This synodal assembly has been spoken about in recent months – the impression given all this time, however, is that the viri probati idea in itself would be realized this year [at least ‘experimentally’] in some part of Brazil’s vast Amazonia province.

Since there has never been an official statement, we cannot tell if having it on the agenda of the 2019 synodal assembly is a form of postponement, just as it is not possible to say whether the choice of Rome as a venue for the assembly is out of a desire for more control of the synod, or give a more ‘noble’ setting to what is after all, a ‘regional’ assembly. [But aren’t all synodal assemblies held in Rome, if only because the pope, whoever he is, is the ex officio presiding officer of each such assembly? The previous regional assemblies - on the Netherlands (1980), on Europe (1991), on Africa (1994), on Lebanon (1995), on the Americas (1996), on Asia (1998) [all under John Paul II], on Africa (2009) and on the Middle East (2010), under Benedict XVI – were all held in Rome. I expected better from Tosatti.]

For many years, Cardinal Hummes, who was Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy from 2006-2010 under Benedict XVI, and a Grand Elector in the Conclave that elected Bergoglio pope, has been pushing for the ordination of 'mature married men of solid faith' in the zones and communities which, due to their farflung locations and the shortage of priests, have virtually no access to sacramental life. He has been visiting many of the dioceses in Brazil’s Amazon region to convince the bishops to write the pope in order to consider the employment of viri probati. But some health problems have made him unable to do this except for about 10 dioceses.

Recently, however, sources at the Brazilian bishops’ conference made it known that they were ‘sure’ a permission would be arriving from the Vatican by Christmas to ordain such viri probati experimentally to help relieve the priest shortage in the Amazonia.

[I’ve raised these practical questions before. Surely, it’s not as simple as drawing up a list of candidates who are willing to leave their families and become priests in the jungle, and then ordaining them on the spot, as it were. Don’t they have to undergo the requisite seminary training of at least four years before they can be ordained priests? Or does the Hummes project simply envision a brief cursillo, say 6 months, and an apprenticeship of another 6 months in an actual parish – to ‘train’ the candidates simply to say Mass and preside at the sacraments, without having to undergo the theological, ecclesial and philosophical training that seminarians get?

In which case, why not do that for younger men everywhere who feel the calling to become priests, or those of them anyway who think that a one-year cursillo-cum-apprenticeship such as one might do for vocations like plumbing, tailoring, what-have-you, is all they will need to become priests! Because short of an abbreviated training-apprenticeship period, Cardinal Hummes and the Amazonia would have to wait four years (i.e., till 2022 if the ad experimentum phase is approved this year, or till 2025, if it takes the 2019 regional assembly to propose the viri probati so the pope can decree it) to get their first viri probati priests in place! Assuming they can attract enough candidates, that is.]

A Spanish-language site published a very interesting article a few days ago reporting on the work of the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy. As you know,its prefect – who was named by Bergoglio soon after his election, having dismissed Cardinal Mauro Piacenza from that office without cause – is Cardinal Beniamino Stella, a career diplomat and said to be one of the grey eminences beind Bergoglio.

The blogger “Germinans Germinabit” wrote:

The Congregation for the Clergy has made a report on the questions discussed at its ordinary reuninon-assembly On May 30-June 1, 2017. Among the many questions, the principal ones appear to have been that about deacons who have been widowed and could then be admitted to the priesthood, as well as that about viri probati who could similarly be admitted to the priesthood “but keeping their right to go on living more uxorio [i.e., conjugally] with their own wives”.

[Now that’s a new twist which has never before been discussed about viri probati: the expectation was they would be willing to leave behind their old lives in order to become priests because they no longer had any family responsibilities to provide for. If this is the thrust of the viri probati move now being pushed by this pontificate, that certainly would be another indication that it is preparing the way for making priestly celibacy, in general, optional rather than mandatory.]


“As a complement to the various aspects of [priest] formation discussed with regard to the Ratio [priestspeak for the document 'Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis', entitled in the English version as 'Spiritual Formation in Seminaries', prescribed in 1980 by the Congregation for Catholic Education], one must also underscore the situation of ‘traditionalist’ seminarians who create not a few problems – first for their ‘formators’, and then after ordination, for the diocesan bishops.

One issue that must be the object of careful discernment is that ‘rigidity’ which the Holy Father often speaks about, indicated by attachment to an image of the Church in the past, their appearance and external presentation [how they are seen in public] but especially visible in the liturgy. Not rarely, such indications can reveal narcissistic and vain personalities who would tend to escape from the implications of pastoral realities and find refuge in the forms of the past which they themselves have never experienced and which does not pertain to their life”.

[How can you describe just how scornful and dismissive the Congregation for the Clergy is of aspiring seminarians who do not fit the Bergoglian mold???]

This passage, if it is authentic as I think it is, seems to be a photograph of the actual situation which hass been confirmed by many to be the [anti-tradition] perception in many places. It seems that authorities in the ‘Church’ today, do not welcome vocations from persons who show no sign of progressivism or of lack of interest in Church tradition. Obviously, they find themselves with declining vocations, and are seeking to fill in the growing void by proposing other solutions. [And do they think that proposals like enlisting viri probati and the implied brief training-apprenticeship to become a priest are any solution at all?]

Not by chance, a few days ago, the Movimento Internazionale dei Sacerdoti Lavoratori Sposati (international movement of married working priests) criticized a statement by the Archbishop of Milan, Mons. Delpini, as reported by Il Giornale.

"[We must] encourage men who consider themselves qualified to become permanent deacons," he wrote in a letter to his diocese, “which means adults who have already defined their state of life in matrimony or in the choice of a celibate life, but who in their manner of being husbands or celibates, show the signs of vocation for a specific service to the Church if they become part of the clergy”. [They would still require formation to be deacons, won't they? I can see the celibates-by-choice probably open to that, but how many married men who have to support a family and have no independent means will take three years off to train to be a permanent deacon? The Church or some sponsoring organization would have to grant them scholarships to cover not just the cost of seminary training but also to support their families!]

In fact, however, that movement seems to already be counting its chickens early in how it reports on its website about the 2019 synodal assembly.

“That’s a classic proposal that will not resolve the priest shortage crisis which is global,” the movement commented. “The remedy? Welcome back married priests into the church.

[Tens of thousands of priests left the Church in the late 1990s-early 2000s in order to get married. It's not as if all of them, or even a significant number of them, would choose to go back to being a priest and hope to raise a family on what a priest earns!]

It is well known that many bishops – especially in Germany, and probably in Belgium and the Netherlands, too – are in favor of the viri probati ‘solution’ and certainly do not welcome vocations form those who would be ‘attached’ to Church tradition in any way.

We do not know what this pontiff will decide. According to Bishop Krautler – a German bishop who has served in the Amazon region for decades and one of the leading exponents of the Hummes proposal – the pope told him a year ago that he did not want to decide on this question by himself. [Yeah, right! So he made a big show of calling two synodal assemblies back to back no less which he thought would support him in his bid to overturn John Paul II’s reaffirmation of the sanctity of the Eucharist in Familiaris consortio, and when they did not, he went ahead anyway and promulgated that exhortation from hell called Amoris Laetitia.] So the synodal assembly on the Amazon region would be the ideal venue to deal with it. 2019 however is two years away [synodal assemblies are generally held in October] – not soon enough for those who want the viri probati proposal implemented now.

Certainly, we cannot rule out an ‘unexpected’ acceleration of the process via an imperial act of the pope.

On the priest shortage (from Wikipedia, duly sourced):

Worldwide, the number of priests in 1970 was 419,728.[2] In 2012, there were a total of 414,313 priests.

While the total number of priests worldwide has therefore remained about the same since 1970, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.229 billion in 2012. In 2012 the global number of candidates for the priesthood also showed its first decline in recent years.

The number of parishes with no resident priest pastor has grown from 39,431 in 1970 to 49,153 in 2012. The number of parishes without a priest does not include the thousands of parishes that have closed or merged for lack of priests.

00Saturday, November 4, 2017 11:58 PM

Cardinal Biffi, along with Cardinals Meisner and Caffarra, are among the recently deceased cardinals who were most ‘in tune’ with Joseph
Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, theologically, intellectually and pastorally, and and I am very glad that Aldo Maria Valli shares with us this preview
of a new book from him…

Not surprisingly, Valli mines a most relevant and precious reflection that he focuses on – Biffi’s denunciation of ambiguity in the Church and of
the widespread misuse of the word ‘pastoral’, even if Biffi wrote this in 1975… Trust Valli to get in his digs at Bergoglianism, even if indirectly…

When Giacomo Biffi, in his parish assignments after
years of teaching theology, fought for the Truth

Translated from

October 31, 2017

“I had never been to Legnano, not even incidentally”. Thus wrote don Giacomo Biffi, 32, in 1960, at the start of a new experience that would change his life. No longer professor of theology at the seminary of Venegono, but a parish priest in Legnano, at the parish of Santi Martiri (Holy Martyrs), where he would serve till 1969. [Legnano is a small town at the northwestern extreme of the metropolitan area of Milan.]

Just looking at the dates makes clear the times we are referring to: Vatican-II, the youth protests everywhere, 1968 and its overnight cultural revolution, tensions within the Church herself, the birth of a strategy for just such tension, and the massacre in Piazza Fontana. [Terrorist attack on Dec. 12, 1969, when a bomb exploded at the headquarters of Italy’s national farmers’ bank in Milan, killing 17 people and wounding 88. The same afternoon, three more bombs were detonated in Rome and Milan, and another was found unexploded. An Italian neo-fascist group was eventually found responsible for these incidents, which took place the year before the leftwing paramilitary Red Brigades began a string of numerous violent incidents in Italy, including assassinations, kidnapping and robberies that would last through the 1970s.]

For a priest, who had not before thought of himself as a pastor of souls but as a teacher, it meant getting into the eye of the tempest. But he never lost his spirit, and, along with other undeniable problems, he managed to see the positive aspects of the situation, from the viewpoint of the simple faith embodied by the people he served.

In 1969, he was transferred to central Milan itself, to the parish of Sant’Andrea, where he would serve till 1975. From a little town to the heart of the metropolis, from a peripheral parish to a historic Ambrosian parish whose church had been consecrated by the great Cardinal Ferrari [Archbishop of Milan from 1894 to 1921].

Even in this case, look at the dates to understand the context in which don Giacomo had to lead his flock. He referred to that time as ‘the uneasy years’. And they were, far beyond what was expected. As he describes it:

"The ideological, moral, ecclesiastical, and social upheaval of those years - unprecedented in the history of Milan and Italy - came unexpected, at least for me. I think it was also unexpected for those who belonged to the ‘reassuring’ school of John XXIII, and were of the same mind even after the Council, who had become ‘specialized’ in reading with nonchalance the so-called ‘signs of the times’.”

Yes, everything seemed to be changing in those years, and the disorientation was great, even in the Church. The dominant word was ‘protest’. Protest against the priest, against the bishop, against the pope (Paul VI, who was Archbishop of Milan when he was elected pope). Protest too against traditional theology.

The other dominant word was ‘crisis’. It was a time when there were no longer any certainties, when there no longer seemed to be any secure foundations.

Don Giacomo, who never lost his indulgence for irony, fought to fight all that without coarseness. When a young man, “who was particularly inflamced and intemperate”, ferociously attacked Archbishop Giovanni Colombo, Biffi said to him: “Instead of deploring and getting indignant over the fact that there are bishops who you think are asses, why don’t you praise the Lord and rejoice that there are no asses who are bishops? God is great and involves all of us in his plan for salvation”.

But don Giacomo was deeply concerned, and using wit in the face of the devastation in the Church, does little. He himself acknowledged that pungent expressions and ironic phrases served nothing while everything seemed to be collapsing around you.

It meant one had to go out into the open in defense of the bishop, of the pope, of the unity of the Church. And he did so every day, as a combatant who does not accept the dominant demagogy nor acritical adherence to the dominant thinking.

With Jacques Maritain, he recognized that the modernism that was a threat to the Church at the start of the 20th century was nothing but the common cold compared to the contagious fever that became widespread in the Church of the 1970s and 1980s.

Then, another turning-point for Biffi. In 1975, Paul VI named him auxiliary bishop of Milan. A new experience began, a new life that lasted nine years until in 1984, John Paul II made him Archbishop of Bologna, and in 1985, a cardinal.

The don Giacomo I have been describing is, of course, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, who died in Bologna in 2015, at the age of 87, and the bits and pieces I have described come from a beautiful new book, Cose nuove e cose antiche. Scritti 1967-1975 (New things and old things: Writings from 1967-1975) on the less-known years of his human experience, spiritual and pastoral, those that he lived in Legnano and Milan as a parish priest.

The book, published by Cantagalli, and edited by Samuele Pinna and Davide Riserbato, carries an introduction by Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò (prefect of the new Dicastery for Communications) and is in every way a historical text. History seen from below, from the perspective of daily life. And it is valuable for understanding how the Church was before Vatican-II, how it was 'changed' by Vatican-II, and the upheavals it went through.

Biffi, who wrote best-sellers like «Contro Maestro Ciliegia», «Peppone, Pinocchio, l’Anticristo e altre divagazioni», «Il quinto evangelo» and «Memorie e digressioni di un italiano cardinale», writes very well, with unfailing clarity.

There are so many points for reflection offered by his memoirs as a parish priest, but I will concentrate on a word to which the cardinal dedicates particular attention. It is a word that at present is a major adjective in Church language: ‘pastoral’.

In a chapter entitled «Meditazione sull’aggettivo ‘pastorale’», Biffi starts out from a premise whose actuality struck me very much. He wrote: “We live in an ecclesial era profoundly marked by ambiguity. The terms ‘church’, ‘faith’, ‘love’, ’prayer’, ‘priesthood’, ‘the world’, ‘dialog’, etc are not used by all Christians in the same sense”.

He wrote this in 1974, towards the end of his experience as a parish priest in Milan. Shaken violently by the diverse inerpretations of Vatican-II and by the social and political tensions that inevitably involved her, the Church was more than ever divided, and the future bishop and cardinal calls attention rightly to the language in use, which was both the instrument and the outcome of that division.

Always inclined to see what is good even in situations that appear most desperate, Biffi asks whether ambiguity is the price one must pay – a form of evangelical charity – in order to continue saying we are all members of the same Church, without coming to any dramatic separations.

Nonetheless, noting that ambiguity can be found not just within the ecclesial organism that is the Church but “in a person’s very behavior, his writings, his discourse”, he denounces what he calls “a widespread horror of certainties” to the point that it has now become obligatory to present oneself to the world not with answers, but rather ‘shrouded in problems and accompanied by more questions”.

More than 40 years have passed, during which ambiguity has now penetrated into the highest circles of Church leadership - facilely cultivated every time persons in authority, acting according to political and not evangelical criteria, seek to please the world, detaching mercy and charity from their essential and necessary link with truth.

“I believe,” Biffi wrote, “ambiguity is not a value, that charity should always arise from the truth and be constantly fed by it”.

And one of the words most prone to ambiguous use is, precisely, ‘pastoral’ [the apparent be-all and end-all justification for anything in the church of Bergoglio, so over-used at every turn that it has lost meaning, or rather, it can mean anything the user wants it to mean], and Biffi is surgically sharp in his critical look at the image of a pastor.

It is an image, he says, that in Scriptures and in the life of the Church, undergoes progressive slippage. The pastor, or shepherd, is certainly God, and then Jesus, and then the Twelve Apostles, and later, priests. The pastoral task therefore widens according to co-responsibility, which means that no one can consider himself pastor by himself, but that all those who are called pastors simpy reflect the pastorality of Christ and the Father.

The point is that pastoral ministry “absolutely does not come from the flock, but that it constitutionally comes from above. Its legitimacy does not originate from below [i.e., those for whom a pastor is responsible] but from authority, and therefore from the truth of which such an authority is a repository and guardian. It follows that whoever exercises pastoral authority should verify daily his conformity not with his base, not with the people, but with the Chief Pastor.

Here, Biffi introduces another reflection that overturns all dominant stereotypes. It is often said that the Church lacks pastors, but “among the serious problems of Christianity today, there is not just a shortage of pastors, but ther is also – and this, more dramatically - a lack of persons who recognize themselves as sheep in the evangelical sense”.

Pastoral action has one goal only: not consolation, not giving comfort, but eternal salvation. Pastoral action is pastoral only when its point of reference is Jesus. And Jesus proposes a decisive move that no one can bypass to obtain salvation: that is metanoia, or conversion. If it is true that no human problem can be alien to pastoral attention, it is just as true that the answer to human problems is conversion to the way of life preached by Christ.

There are so many passages that need to be cited. I will limit myself now to Biffi’s conclusion in his chapter on what is ‘pastoral’: “This reflection of ours has led us to identify some principles which seem to me irrenuncible. Of course, the difficulty starts when one truly wishes to incarnate these principles on an operative level. But in these times, it would be a great thing already if we could all agree with each other about these principles”.

How true! The times being what they are.
00Sunday, November 5, 2017 2:41 AM

Correctio Filialis: It's not going away

November 4, 2017
Dr. Shaw is also the official spokesman of

The traddies on the march: the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage in Rome marking the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. This is just the vanguard. (Photo and caption by Joseph Shaw)

Hard on the heels of the distinguished theologian Fr Thomas Weinandy publishing a letter to Pope Francis strongly criticising his government of the Church, Dr. Gregory Popcak published a remarkable article on the Patheos site, calling for critics of those who say they are 'confused' by Amoris laetitia Ch 8 need to 'repent' of grossly patronising clericalism.

Not all readers may understand the significance of this, so allow me to fill in the background. Dr Popcak, as he explains in the article, is not only a 'pastoral counsellor', but is head of a major centre of pastoral counselling, and trains pastoral counsellors. The Church in the United States has the resources (and of course the needs) to maintain an entire industry of pastoral counselling. Maybe I'm too English, or too traditional (I'd rather talk to a priest), but this kind of thing isn't really my kind of thing. But that's just the point.

This industry of pastoral counselling going on over the pond has got absolutely nothing to do with an interest in the Traditional Mass, which some people are now trying to suggest is the common factor in opposition to liberal interpretations of Amoris laetitia. Well, they couldn't be more wrong. This guy is from the centre of the 'conservative', Pope St John Paul II-focused, mainstream, establishment Catholic world, and the Patheos platform, which has hosted a good many attacks on traditional Catholics over the years, is this world's in-house magazine.

Charles Collins, writing in Crux, wanted to play down the significance of the Filial Correction, observing (with some justice) that its language and signatories lean towards the traditionalist end of the spectrum of opinion. He continues: “Instead of presenting a unified front to the pope, the filial correction has highlighted the differences among conservatives in the Church under Francis. Not just between the Weinandys and the Shaws, but also the numerous conservative Catholics who are confident Amoris Laetitia should be read in a way that doesn’t change the Church’s practice on sexual ethics and position on communion for the divorce-and-remarried.”

But this is where he is wrong. The purpose of the Filial Correction wasn't to garner support for the Filial Correction. The purpose was to raise the level of debate about Amoris laetitia and to encourage those with misgivings about the liberal interpretation of Amoris to come forward. In this it has been staggeringly successful.

Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the 'Overton Window' [the window of discourse, i.e., the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse] of criticisms of the policies and (apparent) personal attitudes of a reigning Pope seems to me to have shifted more in a couple of months than it had in the previous century and a half. Whereas on the eve of the publication of the Correctio I was wondering if the signatories would be able to show their faces in public afterwards, I now find myself in the company of a roll-call of distinguished figures. Something important has changed.

The number of academic theologians (and philosophers etc.) who'll sign up to any 25-page theological commentary on any subject is limited, because academics spend their lives using their own words to express their own nuanced positions and teasing open differences of opinion. But the differences between those who signed the Correction and those who've put their reputations on the line to criticise the liberal interpretation of Amoris, using their own words, is hardly a source of comfort for the proponents of that interpretation, because it demonstrates precisely the breadth of the coalition ranged against them.

I have explained before on this blog that it is far easier to assemble a coalition against something than for something, and this explains why progressives often appear more united than conservatives. Well, in this case the boot is on the other foot. The progressives are trying to defend something, admittedly something rather unclear, and the criticisms of it are coming from a wider and wider range of places. Listen to Dr Popcak. He writes with a calm fury:

Deacon Bill, I have no doubt you are a good and faithful man. I am also quite sure you mean well, but I call you to repent of the incipient clericalism that infects your position that the only possible explanation for asking Pope Francis for clarification of chapter 8 of AL is childish obstinacy. I challenge you, and others like you, to repent of the idea that the voices of the thousands of people gracefully striving to live the gospel in their difficult marital circumstances should be discounted. I challenge you to respond with a more authentic approach to both pastoral ministry and evangelization; namely, one that listens to the lived experience of those who are faithfully striving to live the teachings of the Church instead of one that patronizes the laity with the soft clericalism of low expectations.

Why is this happening? People like Fr Weinandy and Dr Popcak have built careers, reputations, even livelihoods, on a positive relationship with the ecclesiastical establishment. For the past 150 years people in that position have not openly criticised the Pope. Now they are. What has brought about this change? [More correctly, who has brought about this change?]

The progressives have no idea what forces they have unleashed. What they have done is pushed good people into a corner towards their non-negotiable principles. To give up on the indissolubility of marriage, the consequences of mortal sin on the life of grace, and all the other things now being thrown into the air by progressives would be worse than losing their careers, reputations, and livelihoods.

This reality can be expressed either in terms of human psychology, or in terms of supernatural Faith, but whether you prefer to think of it as being about their entire self-understanding as Catholics, or what their Faith just will not allow them to do, they have reached the end of the rope.

And you know what? There are lots more people like that out there. Not as many as would be nice, to be sure: there are many time-servers in the Church, and it was ever thus. But there are lots of good people, whose intelligence and integrity will not allow them to - as they see it - acquiesce in apostasy. And this, my friends, may be what the indefectibility of the Church looks like in the 21st century.

This is going to run and run.

Here is the Popcak blog Dr. Shaw refers to. I don't generally look at Patheos unless someoe calls my attention to someting I find worth looking up..

‘Lay people suck!’ – Is this
the teaching of the ‘Church’ now?

By Greg Popcak
Executive Director
Pastoral Solutions Institute

November 2, 2017

I’ve grown more than a little weary of the progressive trope that any confusion caused by chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia is simply a matter of conflict between people who want an “adult church…a mature people of God” versus those who are childish, rigid, and “afraid of the unknown.”

Let me just lay my cards on the table. I’m sure there are at least a few people in the church who spend more time in the trenches actually thinking about what it means to actually “be pastoral” than I do, but I think it would be fair to say that it’s a fairly small club.

Since 1999, I have directed a pastoral counseling agency that conducts over 12,000 of pastoral counseling per year. That means that, over the last 18 years, I have either personally conducted, or been directly responsible for, over 216,000 hours of pastoral counseling, which is all about asking how one can apply the teachings of our Catholic faith to some of the most complex situations one could encounter in life. Our agency’s services are delivered in English and Spanish to Catholic couples, families, and individuals across North and South America, Europe, Asia (primarily Hong Kong and India), Australia, and Africa, which has given me a uniquely multi-cultural lens through which to view this question of pastoral practice.

I am a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and I serve as the Chair of the Education Committee for the Catholic Psychotherapy Association, which is responsible for the professional development of the next generation of pastoral psychotherapists. I also direct a graduate program in pastoral studies which is forming the next generation of pastoral ministers. I have written over 20 books and programs on a host of serious, practical, faith-based topics that have been translated into at least 7 languages.

I know. None of that means anything. It certainly doesn’t mean I’m right about anything. And it definitely doesn’t mean that anyone needs to agree with me…about anything. I mean that. But I don’t think I’m out of line for suggesting that my experience at least means that I have thought enough about the question of what “being pastoral” means that I ought to be considered an adult Christian who is not afraid of complexity of human suffering and – maybe, just maybe – has one or two valid things to contribute to the conversation.

That is, unless you are among the spiritually exalted ranks of good folks like, Deacon Bill Ditewig, PH.D., who is, “Professor of Theology, and former Executive Director, USCCB Secretariat for the Diaconate and Interim Executive Director, USCCB Secretariat for Evangelization.” No, apparently Deacon Bill thinks that lay people, like me, who are genuinely confused as to how some of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia squares with the previous teaching of the Church are not worth considering. We wouldn’t know pastoral practice if it hit us in the face because, apparently, we are just children who have never put out into the deep, who cower in our cave of rules and rigorism.

He argues that people who claim to be “confused” about what Pope Francis’s writings mean and how they square with the historical teaching of the Church are really pretending to be confused when they simply just disagree. Now, it is absolutely true that “I’m confused” is often a cover for “I disagree.” After all, progressives have practiced this dodge in all the years since Humanae Vitae and especially through all the years of St. John Paul’s pontificate.

Indeed, as we saw in the Synod for Families, progressives can barely be bothered to read the Theology of the Body much less claim to understand the practical significance of it. But when there is a specific question being asked and ignored – namely, how these recent teachings exhibit continuity with previous teaching (and no, simply ignoring the question or responding, ” ‘Cause he said so” isn’t an explanation) – it is harder to accept that this claim of confusion is just a conservative dodge.

For those like Deacon Bill who like to profess confusion about all this confusion, I propose four simple questions.
1) How, exactly, do the recommendations in chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia square with the historical teaching of the church, particularly that of St. John Paul in Veritatis Splendor? And if it is a development, how does this development square with Newman’s rules (so to speak) for the development of doctrine?
2) Who is right? Those bishops in Malta and Germany who are giving communion to those who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, or those bishops, almost everywhere else in the world who aren’t? Why?
3) What would you say about the client who, after AL was first published, came to me and asked, “Are you a JPII Catholic or a Pope Francis Catholic?” Was he confused? Why or why not?
4) And, finally, if you agree with Pope Francis’s approach to handling this crisis, where among the Spiritual Works of Mercy do we find that we can simply “Ignore the annoying?”

Oh, and one more bonus question of a slightly more personal nature. What do you call it – if not “confusion” or even “chaos” – when the USCCB’s Interim Director of the Secretariat for Evangelization turns to the internet to publicly take to task the former Chief of Staff (Fr. Weinandy) of the USCCB’s Bishop’s Committee on Doctrine?

While you’re chewing on that, let me suggest a different dichotomy than the “Grown Up Progressive” vs. “Infantile Rigorist Conservative” trope folks like Deacon Bill proclaim.

I would propose that this debate is really between those who believe in the Universal Call to Holiness and those who believe that “heroism is not for the average Christian” (as Cardinal Kasper proclaimed in an interview with Commonweal explaining his support for a new approach to communion for those who are remarried without the benefit of an annulment).

The idea that the laity are doomed to be spiritual also-rans strikes me as a particularly pernicious failure of pastoral practice. I am, frankly, appalled that what appears to be driving the progressive advocacy of an interpretation of Chapter 8 of AL that supports communion for Catholics who are remarried without the benefit of annulment, is that lay people are just too weak to live holy lives. It seems to me that some 50 years after Vatican II, lay people deserve a little better than “we think we have to lower the bar because, well, you suck.”

When it comes right down to it, progressives, like Deacon Bill, appear to have drunk the Kool-Aid of clericalism that says that lay people just can’t cut it. Moreover, he appears to believe that we don’t even deserve the benefit of an explanation as to why Pope John Paul II, whose entire pontificate was about defining the practical ramifications of the universal call to holiness, believed that lay people could be faithful intentional disciples and saints – even in the face of real hardship and sacrifice – but so many who support a liberal interpretation of AL chapter 8 seem to think that all lay people are good for is being patted on the head while their spiritual betters do the heavy lifting.

What progressives fail to acknowledge is that any proposed changes to the doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and how it relates to the marriage supper of the Lamb (i.e., Communion) is a de facto denial of the universal call to holiness and the dignity that marriage holds in the divine plan.

That is a question that deserves to be addressed, not for the sake of some ivory tower rigorist navel-gazing, but because I happen to work with an awful lot of people who have been heroically bearing the cross of living faithfully in their irregular marriages for years and who are a testament both to the fact that the current teaching bears real personal and relational fruit AND the fact that heroism is for the average Christian (thank you very much).

On their behalf, I can only say, “How dare you.” to anyone, who out of their misguided approach to pastoral practice would seek to demean the witness of such faithful, courageous, godly, and yes, heroic people.

Deacon Bill, I have no doubt you are a good and faithful man. I am also quite sure you mean well, but I call you to repent of the incipient clericalism that infects your position that the only possible explanation for asking Pope Francis for clarification of chapter 8 of AL is childish obstinacy.

I challenge you, and others like you, to repent of the idea that the voices of the thousands of people gracefully striving to live the gospel in their difficult marital circumstances should be discounted. I challenge you to respond with a more authentic approach to both pastoral ministry and evangelization; namely, one that listens to the lived experience of those who are faithfully striving to live the teachings of the Church instead of one that patronizes the laity with the soft clericalism of low expectations.

Finally, I respectfully challenge you, and others like you, to reject your advocacy of a Church that believes that heroism is not for the average Christian and instead, to proclaim the message of Christ, who invites all who are willing to both take up the cross and to experience the resurrection that attends the faithful embrace of the same.

00Sunday, November 5, 2017 3:23 AM

Hilary White weighs in on the Weinandy story, but it's the second part of her article that strikes me - in which I find a rare ally in my anti-Mueller protests!

Yet again, the pope of mercy and dialog ignores
a critic's initiative for dialog on AL

by Hilary White

November 3,, 2017

The Catholic Twitterverse is alive today with criticism of the USCCB’s decision to sack Fr. Thomas Weinandy, the former head of their doctrinal office. It took a matter of hours for the brave defenders of the status quo to leap into action against the mild Franciscan friar’s polite plea to Pope Francis to defend the Catholic Faith and faithful. Or at least to stop attacking them.

In a letter made public November 1st, Fr. Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission [appointed to the ITC in 2014 by this pope himself], warned Pope Francis that he has caused “chronic confusion” among the faithful and bishops.

He wrote to the pope, “To teach with such an intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.” He added that Catholics are “disconcerted” by the appointment of bishops “who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief, but who support and even defend them.”

In an interview yesterday with John Allen’s Crux, he added, more prophetically than he had perhaps intended, “I don’t think anyone can, or should, associate my letter with the USCCB or the American bishops. Neither was involved in my writing the letter, and its publication will be news to them.”

“Bishops are quick learners,” he wrote in his letter, “and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it,” claiming that many bishops don’t speak out publicly for fear they will be “marginalized or worse.”

And sure enough, within hours of making his letter public, we learned that Fr. Weinandy had been given the boot. Of course, the Twitterverse is busy commenting on the irony: how a man expressing grave concerns that there is an atmosphere of fear of being punished for expressing grave concerns, was immediately fired.

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of this little incident is just how completely blind the US bishops are – as is nearly all the episcopate – to what political analysts call the “optics”. Political consultants often ask: how does it look? And it looks extremely bad.

As though the fog of irony weren’t thick enough, in response to the outrage from Catholics, the USCCB has done what all the other members of Pope Francis’s cabal have done and started blocking critics from its Twitter account. Which, it must be said, only proves Fr. Weinandy’s point once again.

Some of the criticism has been unusually sharp. Fr. Hunwicke wrote this afternoon, “This cheap and vulgar ritual humiliation exemplifies the extent to which PF is presiding over a bully-boy Church in which midget bishops and minicardinals compete to defeat each other in the sycophancy stakes. Just as Tom Weinandy has, in effect, just said.”

As I write this, the outrage is doing the opposite of dying down, and is surely a sign of how fed up Catholics – even those who would never identify themselves as Traditionalists – have become with this pope and his cadre of episcopal bullies. In his letter, Fr. Weinandy made a point of stating that he is not signatory to the Filial Correction or any other public declaration against Pope Francis’ agenda.

In fact, a former student of his wrote to me today saying,

“I see that Fr. Thomas Weinandy has been squashed. He was one of my professors in Patristics at Oxford and he was one of the most mild-mannered, least confrontational, kindest academics one could have hoped to meet. To me, the fact that he has chosen to write to express his concern about the crisis in the church and the papacy is very significant.

"He is neither a traditionalist, nor a controversialist, but a humble and straightforward Friar who is clear-thinking and entirely loyal to the Church and Her teaching. I would be surprised now if we were not see more of this sort of letter/exercise of conscience. I imagine that it’s going to become harder and harder for men of conscience and position to sit on the fence.”

When I posted it, this assessment was backed up by Joseph Shaw, the head of the UK’s Latin Mass Society and the spokesman for the Filial Correction, who wrote, “This is absolutely right. Not a man to seek out confrontation.”

The Crux piece offered a succinct bullet point list of Fr. Weinandy’s concerns. He said the pope is…
• Fostering “chronic confusion.”
• “Demeaning” the importance of doctrine.
• Appointing bishops who “scandalize” believers with dubious “teaching and pastoral practice.”
• Giving prelates who object the impression they’ll be “marginalized or worse” if they speak out.
• Causing faithful Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

Our friend Edward Pentin has reproduced the full text of the letter at the National Catholic Register which is definitely worth a read. Fr. Weinandy sent the letter to the pope on July 31, the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Like the Dubia cardinals, he said he made it public only after the pope had ignored it for months.

Notable in his critique is its distinct pastoral flavour, his concern on the effect the situation is having on ordinary people. The pope, he said, seems “to censor and even mock” critics of Amoris Laetitia for their desire to interpret it in keeping with Catholic teaching, and in doing so is committing a “kind of calumny…alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.”

In an interview with Crux, Weinandy said he is not afraid of reprisals but “more concerned about the good that my letter might do.” The letter “expresses the concerns of many more people than just me, ordinary people who’ve come to me with their questions and apprehensions. I wanted them to know that I listened.”

“I have done what I believe God wanted me to do,” he said.

In fact, Fr. Weinandy has bolstered my own “Great Clarifier” theory, saying that this pontificate, and the lack of response to it from priests and bishops, is being allowed by God in order to reveal “just how weak is the faith of many within the Church.” He added that Francis has revealed that many in the Church “hold harmful theological and pastoral views.”

Which inevitably brings to mind other responses that have not been quite so clear, nor so pastoral.

When Cardinal Muller was removed abruptly from his position as head of the CDF, the conservative Catholic world wailed that it was another case of a “good” prelate being got rid of. And it seems clear from the way it was done, and the way Francis treated Muller in general, that he was indeed got rid of.

But his depiction by conservative writers as a beleaguered champion of Catholic orthodoxy persecuted by the regime for his faithfulness betrays a somewhat selective memory and short attention span. Ed Pentin has a long file of interviews and articles about Muller that clearly show his complete inability to make up his mind whose side he’s on.

A quick examination of Muller’s interviews and statements reveal the irresolute and ultimately calculating mind of a man who is – so I am told by sources close to him – motivated mainly by a puerile desire to be approved of by the “cool kids” in the Vatican, on the one hand, and an unshakeable conviction of his own theological brilliance on the other.

Most recently, on October 30th, Crux quoted him under the headline, “Cardinal Muller backs Pope Francis against critics of ‘Amoris Laetitia’” in which the former head of the CDF has at last climbed on board the Kasperian train on giving Communion to unrepentant adulterers.

Signaling furiously with the trendy FrancisChurch buzzwords and even trendier blithering incoherence, Muller writes that “mitigating factors in guilt,” can lead, couples in “an uncertain marital situation” through a “path of repentance” – always “accompanied” by an exquisitely sensitive confessor – to a point where the reception of Communion is no longer sinful. Presumably because adultery itself is no longer sinful. Or sacrilege either, I guess. Or something.

Somehow the “new evangelization” is involved in this, though it’s unclear how exactly it makes adultery and sacrilege OK. Also, it’s very important to fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation, and as everyone knows, one can’t possibly go to Mass on a Sunday without receiving Communion. [One of the worst and not-often-enough-denounced consequences of the New Mass is this mass sacrilege committed in churches around the world when the entire congregation goes to receive communion - at a time when fewer and fewer Catholics go to confession - as if receiving communion, whether one is in a state of grace or not, were nothing but an act of social conformity.]

We hear again, as we did incessantly from the Kasperians at the Synods, about the hard case of the poor, poor woman who has been abandoned by the first husband, and who “finds no other way out than to entrust oneself to a kind-hearted person,” … with whom, I guess, she has also no choice but to have sexual relations. Because of kind-heartedness.

Anyway, the result of this is a “marriage-like relationship” about which confessors have to be very careful not to say mean things. Or be too “extreme”. It’s very important for him to avoid a “cheap adaptation to the relativistic Zeitgeist,” on one side, and a “cold application of the dogmatic commandments and the canonical rules,” on the other. Because that could be too polarizing. And mean.

And anyway, sins of the flesh aren’t the worst things ever. There are, like, “different levels” of gravity, you know? And, like, it depends on the type of sin, right? “Spirit’s sins” like spiritual pride and avarice and stuff, are worse than “sins of the flesh,” you know? Which are, like, only a result of “human weakness,” right?

Apparently the real problem with this whole thing has been that the Kasperian kerfuffle has totally been blown way, way, WAY out of proportion, and the “polarization” it has caused has been “regrettable”. The question of Communion for divorced and civilly “remarried” Catholics, he said, has been “falsely elevated to the rank of a decisive question of Catholicism and a measure of ideological comparison in order to decide whether one is conservative or liberal, in favor or against the pope.”

For years under Pope Benedict, Muller was engaged in an open war with the German episcopate who insisted that they were going to allow Communion for the divorced and remarried, no matter what Rome said, even threatening to go into schism if they didn’t get their way.

Muller, with little backing from Pope Benedict – who appeared content to allow his CDF prefect and the Germans to shout out their differences – and with outright opposition from Francis, did indeed strive to hold the line. The fact that Francis orchestrated the Synods to undermine him was certainly not his fault. And it is difficult to imagine anyone being in a worse position than he was at the time.

But since then, Muller has demonstrated very little of his former grit, instead attempting from one day to the next to appease both sides. Reportedly removed from CDF – and of course lionized by “conservatives” – for his mild but equivocating opposition to Amoris Laetitia, Muller has gone back and forth in what can easily be seen as a desperate attempt to find friends in both camps. With this in mind one could be forgiven for not taking his October 30th essay too seriously. [Hilary is much too kind to Mueller, whom I always mistrusted from the start, never mind that Benedict XVI appeared to have so much faith in him (he also did in Bertone)! And now his true color (muddy, as opposed to black or white) is showing.]

Perhaps one of the good effects to come from Fr. Weinandy’s persecution will be to demonstrate how a pastor of the Catholic Church is supposed to act. As my friend said, maybe “it’s going to become harder and harder for men of conscience and position to sit on the fence,” assuming there are any left. [Not that it will ever knock off Mueller from his chosen vocation of fence-straddling, as damaging as that can be to his b...s.]
00Sunday, November 5, 2017 2:41 PM
November 4, 2012 headlines


This is the article from where the above 'headline' was lifted. Normally, I would not be posting it because I find quite a few sweepingly
rash statements in it that I would fisk, but since I am using it to illustrate the problem about false headlines, let me just point out one:
its original title is "Why Christianity is better than Islam", as if there were any question of it at all!

By its fruits you shall know Islam
By Alan Fimister

Nov. 2, 2017

One of the most important, really the only, consideration in whether a religion is any good or not is whether it’s true. After all, the first requirement of the moral law is to worship God in the manner He has appointed. Worshipping God in a manner unacceptable to Him is a pretty pointless, indeed seriously counter-productive, exercise.

There is, however, plenty of material out there on whether or not Islam is true. I recommend Book 1, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4 of St Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles. Nevertheless, Jesus advises us, vis-à-vis putative prophets that “by their fruits you shall know them”, so I reckon it’s a legitimate exercise to flick through the pages of history to see how Mohammedanism measures up. And, to tell the truth, it’s not a straightforward story.

Islam is the basis of a great world civilization with much to admire. But, just as Cortez and his conquistadors stared in wonder at Mexico City for the first time, admiration does not necessarily imply approval.

The followers of Mohammed had an advantage over Medieval Christendom when they descended upon the Roman Empire and swept half of it away in the space of a few decades. The Romans were utterly exhausted from almost thirty years of life-or-death struggle with the Persians. They collapsed so fast in the face of this unexpected eruption from Arabia that the damage the Muslims needed to inflict on southern and eastern Mediterranean culture to conquer it was not so extensive. They took over the ancient Near East with little trouble. The Germanic barbarians who conquered the West got the poorer bit of the Empire and then spent centuries fighting the Romans and each other to keep it. By the time the monks began to put the pieces back together there wasn’t much to work with.

But then that is what makes the achievement of medieval civilization so remarkable. When you show people a picture of some great Byzantine Church they often say “it looks like a mosque” but it’s really the other way around. The mosques are copied off the Byzantine churches and they are a metaphor for much of the rest of Islamic civilisation. By the end of the Middle Ages, the Muslims had spent their inherited cultural capital and were living on borrowed time. Show someone a Gothic Cathedral, on the other hand, and it looks like nothing else on earth.

The monks patiently put back together the inheritance of the ancient world and then went a lot further. The self-confidence and brilliance of the century that produced Notre Dame de Paris, the Summa Theologiae, the English Parliament and the Divine Comedy is breathtaking.

What was Christendom’s secret? It understood God, so far as this is given to human reason and faith. God is one, God is reasonable and God is free. God consequently doesn’t like people being forced to worship Him, He can’t and won’t make 2+2=5, He has bestowed a single set of laws upon nature, He doesn’t like tyranny and if you want to find out what those laws are you will just have to do some experiments.

God is also Three so plurality is not an unfortunate side-effect of being a creature that can be stamped out if we just have a big enough government. All the genius of Western philosophy, politics, science and art flows from the Trinity. The ancient world provided the elements but the synthesis is all the work of the Middle Ages. If you want to look at what the elements without the Triune God produce just look at Islam.

But again, one must be fair: the capricious monotheism of Mohammed may provide the religious basis for forced conversion, brutality, anti-intellectualism, dictatorship and technological stagnation. But it does represent a sustainable civilizational model compared to the cultural cringe of the ‘Renaissance’ and the cultural suicide of the ‘Enlightenment’ and its fascist, communist and liberal successors.

This is the West’s problem: in itself Christendom, armed with truth and right and freedom, has more than enough resources to resist and overcome any rival civilization. But the ‘Renaissance’ injected into western man an absurd inferiority complex in regard to pagan antiquity and then the ‘Enlightenment’ insisted on eliminating from public policy and public law the very Christian revelation which defined and ennobled western man.

The ‘Enlightenment’ is a parasite, it will not survive the death of its host [i.e., the West?]. But it is strong enough to weaken the West to the point where its traditional external enemy, the Islamic Ummah, can strike the killer blow. Deep down the liberals know this is the case, as they contracept and abort and legislate our civilisation into extinction, but in the end they don’t care. Their ultimate motive was always less the love of ‘liberty’ and more the hatred of Christ.

Dr. Alan Fimister is assistant professor at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary.
00Monday, November 6, 2017 1:42 AM

Of course, James Martin, S.J., is playing to ‘his’ orthodox Catholic crowd as fast and furiously as he can – on any topic, he knows
he can bait the orthodox Catholics to react to his statements immediately, thereby helping to disseminate them.
I am thankful
I was on my forced respite from the Forum during most of the hullaballoo that followed the publication of his book, a virtual manifesto
for sexual deviants to just be allowed to do their thing while the rest of the world should not only tolerate them (which the rest of the world
really does, for the most part) but also welcome them and accompany them, etc - you know, the full Bergoglian mercy shtick. Martin got
the ‘full treatment’ – and scads of it – from every orthodox Catholic able to express his opinions online or in the media. He probably
got more comment in the ‘conservative’ blogosphere’ than did the Correctio Filialis. And he’s not about to let his 15 minutes of worldwide
‘celebrity-hood’ as the world’s second most talked-about Jesuit stay at 15 minutes, so now we hear from him about Fr. Weinandy… And Carl
Olson,for one, immediately comes to the charge – most soldierly and most conscientiously. Except that one wonders how does one strike
a sensible balance between replying to the narcissistic sanctimony of an anti-Catholic like Martin, but at the same time, avoid giving him
a ‘forum’, as it were, on your own platform (in Olson’s case, the Catholic World Report)? Anyway, Mr. Olson does Martin – and probably most
of his readers – a favor by clarifying what ‘dissent’ really is… Oh, to answer Olson's question in the title: Probably because Martin thinks
as the pope does - that he really knows better than anyone, and so is unaware of his own ignorance where he is really ignorant.

Why does Fr. Martin persist in embarrassing, sleight-of-substance tactics?
The well-known Jesuit priest and author insists that Fr. Weinandy is a ‘dissenter’-
That would be funny if it weren’t so stupid.

By Carl E. Olson

November 3, 2017

When I posted my first article on Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis, along with the story behind the letter, I expected it would get attention. I didn’t expect, however, that it would go viral, with a constant stream of comments, tweets, and Facebook posts, many of them from sites and sources not usually associated with Catholic World Report. As Fr. Weinandy told me earlier today, he has received hundreds of positive e-mails, from many different countries and many of them from laity who welcomed his letter as giving voice to their own concerns.

But, of course, the response has not been positive in all corners. Fr. James Martin, S.J., who has openly admitted that he is not a theologian and has blithely argued that the Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality should be changed, decided to trot out the “d” word:
“Dissent, Now & Then: Thomas Weinandy and the meaning of Jesuit discernment”
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) November 3, 2017

Fr. Martin has obvious skills in promotion and marketing (and I speak as someone who spent several years in marketing). In reading his America article on the matter, I wondered if he was also considering a career as a comedian. For instance, he writes: “Father Weinandy made public a stinging letter to the Holy Father in which he dissented from Pope Francis’s teachings.” Oh? And what teachings, exactly, would those be? As Fr. Weinandy wrote in his letter to His Holiness:

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.” I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that. The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.

Now, in order to dissent — using that word in a general and non-technical, non-canonical way — one needs to know what he is dissenting from. Fr. Weinandy rightly notes that the ambiguity which has plagued this pontificate from the start, is notable in parts of Amoris Laetitia but hardly confined to it; such ambiguity makes actual dissent impossible.

After all, if Fr. Weinandy were to say that AL teaches that the divorced-and-civilly-remarried can now receive Holy Communion under certain situations, he would be agreeing with the bishops of Malta, Germany, and a few other countries; if he held that AL teaches that Holy Communion cannot, in fact, be received by the same except under guidelines already given by Pope John Paul II, he would be agreeing with any number of other bishops (Archbishops Chaput and Sample, among many others) as well as with perennial Church teaching.

Put another way, in the matter of AL, it’s impossible to dissent because it’s not clear what is being taught or not taught! Which, of course, is why Fr. Weinandy remarks on “the manner” of Pope Francis’s teaching. Now, can one dissent from the pope’s manner of teaching? I think even the most theologically naive among us might be able to figure that one out.

But Fr. Martin, with his loose and slippery style, isn’t altogether interested in clarity or details. Another example demonstrates this fact: It has to do with Fr. Weinandy’s criticism — when working for the USCCB as head of the Committee on Doctrine — of the theological method of Terrence Tilley as it applies to Christology. Fr. Martin states: “About Professor Tilley, he [Weinandy] had written, ‘Those who argue in a manner similar to Tilley with regard to what is to be the content of faith also often espouse contraception, abortion, fornication.” In other words, because Professor Tilley happens to argue in a particular way, he also supports abortion — a breathtaking leap of logic. .”

But here is what Fr. Weinandy actually wrote:

However, his [Tilley’s] own criteria [which involves assessing doctrinal models and formulations on the basis of what is taken to be their “fruits”] undercut his whole theological proposal. Those who argue in a manner similar to Tilley with regard to what is to be the content of faith also often espouse contraception, abortion, fornication, adultery, divorce and remarriage, masturbation, homosexual activity, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, etc.

Tilley himself states in a footnote: “Laity seem to have been disaffected by the bishops’ preaching about sexual morality that is increasingly incredible.” While Tilley is not specific, one can presume that he would include at least some of the above list. However, the above enumeration is hardly the fruits of a holy life founded upon the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Note, contrary to what Fr. Martin asserts — that Fr. Weinandy claims Tilley actually supports abortion — Fr. Weinandy makes no such claim. He challenges the legitimacy of Tilley’s method by noting how others who argue in a similar way — that is, who employ a similar theological method to ascertain sound theological models — also espouse such things as contraception, abortion, and so forth. The closest Fr. Weinandy comes to doing what Fr. Martin claims is Fr. Weinandy’s quote from Tilley in which he refers to what he regards as the laity’s seeming disaffection from the bishops’ teaching about sexual morality, which Tilley characterizes as “increasingly incredible” and Weinandy says that “one can presume that he would include at least some of the above list.”

Thus, again, Fr. Martin concludes from this statement that “because Professor Tilley happens to argue in a particular way, he also supports abortion—a breathtaking leap of logic.” There is indeed a breathtaking leap of logic here — but it is on Fr. Martin’s part. But perhaps I am being unkind to logic, which probably has no interest in being associated with such obvious feats of mediocre, clumsy sophistry.

One more from Fr. Martin: “Father Weinandy’s letter reveals once again the double standard often employed by many of Pope Francis’s critics. Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, no dissent was tolerated. Now some of the same people who were charged with enforcing rules against dissent are themselves dissenting.”

If by “dissent” Fr. Martin means openly contesting, questioning, or denying Church teaching about, say, the ordination of women, sexual morality, contraception, the nature of the Eucharist, and so forth, then let’s queue the laugh track. In fact, the pontificate of John Paul II [and of Benedict XVI] witnessed countless theologians and professors dissenting — and rarely if ever getting called on the carpet. [The CDF disciplined a handful of theologians for writing stuff that was contrary to Catholic doctrine, but the worst punishment inflicted was to prohibit them from teaching Catholic theology in Catholic schools. But dissent, no matter how virulent, that did not get to the level of being published or taught as Catholic theology, however vicious and however widely disseminated, always had free rein.] Fr. Martin’s remark is not funny, but it is very misleading, even deceptive. Could it be that magic, not comedy, is Fr. Martin’s focus?

But, again, the big question here is: what is “dissent”? One can rightly question and criticize the way or timing of Fr. Weinandy — and I say that as someone who thinks his letter is entirely accurate and on point on every point. [And what exactly was wrong with his timing? I think he waited a full 3 months after he sent his letter to the pope before going public with it, as did the DUBIA cardinals with their letter back in September 2016.] But one cannot, with any sort of intellectual integrity, make the case that Fr. Weinandy has dissented from Church doctrine or dogma. (Those interested in a brief if rather technical piece on dissent should read “Authority and Dissent in the Catholic Church” by the late Dr. William E. May.)

On the contrary, as so many have already noted, Fr. Weinandy’s concern is that the authentic, clear, and consistent teaching of the Church is being obscured, undermined, or dismissed by the current pontiff, who certainly does have a low and even antagonistic view of theology and doctrine.

As I remarked in an editorial back in May, pondering some comments by Pope Francis:

… how does doctrine become an ideology? The problem, in part, is that Francis’s use of the term ideology is something like a shotgun blast: it sounds powerful and gets attention, but the exact target can be hard to locate. But it is clear, in keeping with the first point, that Francis sees ideology as being closed to the Holy Spirit. However, can true doctrine be ideological? It’s an interesting question.

On one hand, it’s true that claiming a doctrinal statement captures the entirety of the mystery of Faith is incorrect, even dangerous; it is true that saying a particular school of theology perfectly and completely expresses the Faith has an ideological character; it is unsound and unwise. But adherence to true doctrine, it seems to me, cannot be ideological simply by holding fast to true doctrine. (There is, after all, a reason the Creed is recited every Sunday, to give just one example.) On the contrary, to defend and hold to doctrine is not only not ideological, it is part and parcel of being a Christian. So, for instance, if someone claimed that holding to the Church’s teaching that God is One (in nature) and Triune (in Persons) needs to be open to other views, would it be ideological to hold fast to the Church’s basic doctrine? Of course not.

A dissenter does not seek to uphold Church teaching, does not protect doctrine from misrepresentation, does not stand up for the perennial teachings of the Church, does not suggest the Church hold fast in the face of fanciful fads and popular passions. No, a dissenter likely tends to talk constantly of “dialogue” without any clear or firm purpose for such dialogue, probably hurries to assure his disciples that the Church will soon “update” and “change”, possibly argues that the Catechism needs to be rewritten to mean something opposite of what it once said, and perhaps even encourages actions that are directly contrary to the Church’s teachings and practices.

Fr. Weinandy protests on behalf of Church teaching. Fr. Martin apparently protests out of frustration with Church teaching; he would do well to discern the log in his own eye before blindly seeking the non-existent splinter in someone else’s eye.
00Monday, November 6, 2017 2:32 AM
Two items related to the emerging liturgy of the church of Bergoglio appear positive. I must say the statements by Cardinal Woelki surprised me because 1) I cannot recall a single orthodox statement he has made during this pontificate, and b) he is thereby opposing the majority of his colleagues in the German episcopacy who cannot wait to protestantize Catholicism as thoroughly and as soon as they can..

An ‘ecumenical Mass’ is impossible,
says the cardinal-archbishop of Cologne

‘Catholics and Protestants do not agree on the central issues around the Eucharist”

by Nick Hallett

November 3, 2017

Catholics and Protestants do not have enough in common to celebrate a so-called ‘ecumenical Mass’, a German cardinal has said.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne said there is “no basis” for such a service because the denominations “do not agree on the central issues” around the Eucharist.

The cardinal explained in the Kölner Express that for Catholics, the Eucharist is not just a common meal; it is the true Body and Blood of Christ in the transubstantiated gifts of bread and wine. Protestants do not have this understanding.

The Real Presence is an “incontrovertible certainty” for Catholics, he said. As long as these differences exist, there can be no “common supper”.

[Not that this very fundamental difference seems to bother Jorge Bergoglio at all, who has spoken out in favor of interfaith communion, at least with Lutherans, and is thought to have commissioned an ecumenical mass (the way Paul VI commissioned the Novus Ordo) – though why anyone, let alone the pope himself, should push for an ‘ecumenical mass’ flies in the face of common sense.

Catholics have enough problems as it is keeping their Sunday Mass obligation, and if they do, are they going to Mass merely out of a sense of duty and to keep up appearances, or do they feel, like the 4th century Christian martyrs of Abitene (Tunisia) Christians did, that ‘sine domenico, non possumus’? i.e., “we cannot live without joining together in Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, for we would lack the strength to face our daily problems”, as Benedict XVI explained in his first pastoral visit as pope in May 2005 to the Eucharistic Congress in Bari, where the theme was that phrase “Without Sunday, we cannot live”. Sunday, he said then, is “the weekly Easter, an expression of the identity of the Christian community and the centre of its life and mission”.]

Cardinal Woelki’s comments come as rumours circulate in the media that Vatican officials are secretly preparing an ‘ecumenical Mass’ that Catholics and Protestants can jointly celebrate.

The Australian notes that the Vatican has failed to deny the story, although one unnamed source said they did not believe the rumours, and added that it would be impossible for Catholics to receive Communion at such a service.

The Mass would supposedly include prayers, readings from scripture and a common Communion, but the Catholic and Protestant clergy would pray the words of consecration silently, the paper said.

In an article for First Things, Marco Tosatti raised the prospect of such a Mass. “Though never officially announced, a committee reporting directly to Pope Francis has been working on this liturgy for some time,” he claimed.

“Certainly this topic is within the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Divine Worship, but Cardinal Sarah (the head of the Congregation) has not officially been informed of the committee’s existence.

“According to good sources, Sarah’s secretary, Arthur Roche — who holds positions opposite to those of Benedict XVI and Sarah — is involved, as is Piero Marini.”

The second story concerns Pope Francis himself, and initially, I thought it might be a rash misreading by the reporter of some words he said at a recent Mass for deceased cardinals. It isn’t until the last sentence of the story that the reporter tells us that back in 2007, Bergoglio did approve the ‘for many’ translation of the ‘pro multis’ in the words of the Consecration, in the Argentine version of the Missal. (Gosh, what a pleasant surprise!)

Pope Francis sides with Benedict
by saying Christ shed his blood ‘for many’

4 Nov 2017

Pope Francis has appeared to wade into one of the most contentious rows over liturgical translations, and agreed with Benedict XVI that Christ shed His blood “for many” rather than “for all”.

During a Mass for cardinals who have died in the past year, the Pope said: “The ‘many’ who will rise for eternal life are to be understood as the ‘many’ for whom the blood of Christ was shed.” Crux says that the Vatican used the quotation around “many” when distributing the text. [Why they used quote marks on ‘many’ instead of underscoring it is a stylistic ambiguity. Generally, quote marks, when not used for a direct quotation, indicate some doubt or skepticism about the word they enclose.]

Francis added that “for many” better expresses the idea that people have a choice to make in this life – whether to be for God or against Him.

“Awakening from death isn’t, in itself, a return to life,” Pope Francis added. “Some in fact will awake to eternal life, others to eternal shame.”

[Which confuses me all the more now about Bergoglio’s idea of the Four Last Things. Judging from what he has supposedly been telling Eugenio Scalfari, as reported by Scalfari and never denied by the Vatican, he does not believe there is a hell, and he thinks that the souls of those who die unrepentant in a state of mortal sin will simply be annihilated, i.e., not all souls are immortal. If unrepentant souls are not immortal, then what 'eternal shame' do they face?]

Since the Mass was translated into the vernacular, liturgists have debated how best to translate the words “pro multis” in the prayer of Consecration. The words literally translate as “for many”, but many liturgists translated it into their own languages as “for all”.

In 2006, the Holy See gave an instruction that all new vernacular editions of the Roman Missal from that point on should translate the words as “for many”, pointing out that it is also the most literal translation of the original Greek “περὶ πολλῶν” in Matthew 26:28.

The change met with opposition from some countries, most notably in Germany, prompting Pope Benedict XVI to write a personal letter in 2012 explaining why the bishops should adopt the new translation.

A new German version of the Mass [with the right translation] was published but never officially adopted.
When Pope Francis published Magnum Principium earlier this year, devolving greater powers over translations to local bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Reinhard Marx indicated the German bishops would abandon the newer version.

This may put him at odds with the Pope. In 2007, the Argentinian bishops’ conference approved a new translation while the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was its president. That translation had “for many” rather than “for all”. [Well, great, and Deo gratias! Let us hope he stands by it. Question: When he says his daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta, one assumes he uses the Italian translation of the Mass. I wonder if the current translation reads ‘per molti’ and not ‘per tutti’.]
00Monday, November 6, 2017 6:23 AM

Marco Tosatti uses the word bestiary here not in its literal sense as a compendium on beasts or animals, but in its literary sense as a collection
of moralizing tales…

New tales in the Clerical Bestiary
Translated from

November 5, 2017

Here is another installment of my Clerical Bestiary. So many things have happened in recent days, so here is a bouquet of news and opinions.

I cannot begin this Bestiary without first mentioning the group of courageous young people who went to pray the rosary in the cathedral of Brussels, while Cardinal De Kesel, the pupil of that 'image of the Church' which is Cardinal Danneels, friend, adviser and Grand Elector of Pope Francis, celebrated the 500th anniversary of Luther’s schism with the Protestants. Never mind that this event was one of the gravest and bloodiest of wounds ever inflicted on the Church.

As we know, the Rosary ‘annoys’ [as it did even the pope, it seems, who said not a word about the great ‘Rosary at the borders’ initiative carried out by hundreds of thousands of Poles to mark the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, commemorating the great Christian victory of Lepanto against the Turkish Muslims, resumably because one of the reasons was to pray against the Islamization of Europe. And you still think this pope is not anti-
… and in Brussels, they called in the police to take away the Rosary-praying group from the church.
If you have not yet seen it, here is the video:

A tale of two Jesuits. The first is probably one of the greatest Christian experts on Islam, the other is pope. When the latter said that the Koran and the Gospel both inherently contain the idea of conquest [in order to spread their respective faiths], the first one corrected him and said: “No. That is an inexact interpretation. The difference is this, in short: the Gospel proposes, Islam imposes with force – and that is not a small difference”.

He added: “To give false information is not Christian. Some statements are made by those who obviously have not understood the Gospel or do not know the Koran well, or do not have good advisers. To speak about Islam, one must be serious and have special competence. And an interview is not the place to speak about it”.

Well, now, the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome has told Fr. Samir that his services are no longer needed. He has returned to his native Cairo. In a few months, he will turn 80. His CV is impressive:
- In Beirut, he gave life to the research institute known as CEDRAC (Centre de Documentation et de Recherches Arabes Chrétiennes) (Center for Arab-Christian Documentation and Research) to assemble the Arab-Christian literary heritage of the Near East.
- He has taught at the Centre Sevres, a Jesuit faculty of theology and philosophy in Paris, and at the Maqasid Institute of Beirut.
- He taught for 12 years at the PISAI (Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies) in Rome, for 5 years at the Istituto Ecumenico of Bari, for 3 years at the Universita Cattolica of Milan, as well as the University of Turin,, and in various other Italian universities as visiting professor.

But when he proposed the course program for the coming academic year at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, he was told someone had already done it, making it clear that, for whatever reason, they no longer had any use for him. So he has decided to dedicate himself to projects he has been planning for some time but which he always had to postpone because of more urgent matters.

Perhaps his clarity and realism about Islam ‘annoyed’ some in the Church? Perhaps. Let us not forget that the Pontifical Oriental Institute is run by Jesuits, and that the new dispensation – among the Jesuits and in the Church – does not tolerate positions other than the official dominant one.

Fr Samir’s first great commitment, in his ‘retirement’, is to assemble the results of his decades of specialist work – 64 books and more than 2000 articles, written in various languages. [His primary languages are French, Arabic, Italian and English.] He wishes to put together and classify all this mass of material on Christianity in the Near East and on Islam in a series of volumes, as well as to translate them into what will be the common language of their publication.

Originally, Fr. Samir thought he would go back to Beirut, where CEDRAC has its seat in the University of St. Joseph. [The Center now possesses 35,000 volumes regarding its fields of interest.] But there have been problems in Beirut, and so, Fr. Samir, with the agreement of the Egyptian Jesuits, has chosen to make Cairo the center of his activity at this time as a scholar and a protagonist in the life of the Church.

The other area to which Fr. Samir wishes to dedicate his energies in his new life is ecumenism. Egypt has nine million Coptic Christians who have always borne witness with blood, if necessary, to their faith in Christ. Fr. Samir wishes to create a Center for Ecumenical Research, involving not just the Coptic Orthodox Church, but also the Evangelical Faculty in Cairo, and other Christian and Catholic presences in Egypt. A project which could certainly prove valuable in a new and difficult stage of inter-religious relations with an Islam that is often aggressive and intolerant.

On a lighter note, here is a reflection on love by Enzo Bianchi, the lay Prior of the Bose Community: “When you experience love, do not make mephitic distinctions between philia (affection), eros (love), and agape (preference, or dilection. True love is always a raging fire”. But why mephitic? Which means foul-smelling or poisonous???

In so many years of following Church affairs and that of other religions, this came as a surprise to me. The Bishop of Modena, Erio Castelluci, has published an invitation – in black and white - to his parishes, that sounds like a pre-emptive censure of ideas that do not conform to what is now politically correct in the Church. Truth will set you free, but perhaps not in Modena. In his weekly diocesan newspaper, he wrote an editorial calling on his priests not to invite to their parishes certain categories of persons: “Visionaries, charismatics, journalists and intellectuals who manifest dissent, subtle or open, to the official Church and above all, to Pope Francis”.

Now I understand that visionaries, because of their claims to supernatural contacts, could fall under a bishop’s oversight responsibility; and for the same reason, but stretching it, he could include charismatics in his ban.

But to ban journalists and intellectuals ‘dissenting’ from the Bergoglian line seems to me quite a fine advertisement for that much-touted dialog within the Church! If you wish to read more, here is a link to his editorial:

Many readers and friends have been asking me exactly what Cardinal Mueller thought he was doing by writing the Foreword to a book-length collection of articles by Rocco Buttiglione seeking to justify Amoris Laetitia on the points most protested by its critics. Obviously, I do not know for sure, but I can make some hypotheses and imagine some scenarios.

First, let us try to understand what kind of person the cardnal is. He is a scholar, and I think that he is very mild and accommodating in character. He tolerated repeated humiliations without protest, or without making decisive moves that others would have done - being interrupted at Mass by a peremptory telephone call from Pope Francis; that his role, and that of his congregation, was simply ignored or dissed in this pontificate; that his loyal and competent assistants would be fired by the pope without cause, and nonetheless, he himself did not feel called upon, as others might have, to protest such injustice by submitting his resignation. So finally, he endured the final affront of being dismissed by the pope, giving contradictory explanations for his dismissal (‘no cause’, and again, ‘because the pope wants to stick to the five-year tenure for Curial officials’) [that was the most stupid reason Mueller could have thought of since other Curial officials are on their second and even third 5-year terms even without benefit of formal reappointment – a reason so patently untrue that saves neither his face nor the pope’s.] In short, he’s no lion. Though he certainly has a very strong sense of hierarchical loyalty.

The hypotheses: It is quite evident that his Foreword for Buttiglione is contrary to the statements that Mueller had made before this on the specific issue of Communion for unqualified remarried divorcees. I was told by an authoritative source, long before the DUBIA were made public, that Mueller had been informed of the initiative, and that he was in favor of it, maybe more than that. But shortly after he was dismissed, he then proposed himself as a mediator between those who agree with the DUBIA cardinals and the defenders of AL. Nobody took him up on that. They say he may still be working at it, and that therefore, his foreword to Buttiglione is in the nature of a sop in the direction of the parties involved.

But there are those who say that he is not resigned to no longer having any role nor that he will gradually be completely shelved. And those who look a bit farther see his current stance as a move towards the center [you can’t be more central than straddling the fence as he has been doing – in his way, being as equivocal and ambiguous as Bergoglio habitually is] that some like Secretary of State Parolin, for example, have been doing to position themselves for the next Conclave.

On October 24, IL SISMOGRAFO, a para-Vatican site directed by Luis Badilla, who is ailing and whom he wish a fast recovery, (his site is currently ‘in suspension’) [What, it’s a one-man effort???] published an item entitled:
“Papa Francesco ‘superman’ in vendita (per opera di carità). Qualcosa di molto importante non quadra in quest’operazione” [Pope Francis ‘superman’ on sale (for charitable works). Something important does not fit in this operation]. The operation being the sale of T-shirts illustrated with the ‘SuperPope’ image created by a street artist who specializes in ‘murals’.

The item begins:

In practice, there is not a day when Pope Francis does not remind Christians, the people of God, of the pitfalls from ‘the god, money’, his snares and their consequences. More than once, he has referred to the hypocrisy of wishing to accumulate money using the pretext that it is for ’good works’.
But these days, authoritative sources have reported that a T-shirt illustrating Francis as ‘Pope Superman’ will be sold (or is already being sold) in order to generate funds for charitable works. We have been waiting some time for the report to be denied but in vain. Instead, more people are not just confirming but also supporting and justifying the operation, even if the pope himself, some time ago, had harshly criticized the ‘mythology’ of a superman. It must be recalled that besides the T-shirt sale, there has been news in the past few weeks, also corroborated by inside sources, that other artistic-cutural operations are in the works with the same questionable purpose.

Now, since it is almost for certain that the new Secretariat for Communications, with its Prefect, Mons. Dario Vigano, would be involved in this (these) operati0n(s), one must ask whether the Sismografo item was a form of protest against the new communications management in the Holy See. [I think we shall be seeing more rentals of the Sistine Chapel to rich multinationals (and even individuals) for vanity events, and has the Vatican now widened the jurisdiction of ‘Communications’ to include ‘Marketing’ as well? How secular, truly, has the Bergoglio Vatican become! But, of course, it only reflects the primarily and mainly secular focus of this pope and the faith (Bergoglianism) he is busy building and promoting on the back of Catholicism.]

“In the face of the great challenges of climate change, of the problems of eomployment and the migratory influxes, the perspective of the Church is not that of ‘populist currents turning backwards”, Cardinal Reinhard Marx said, in presenting to the Vatican ‘foreign minister’ Paul Richard Gallagher the program for “(Re)Thinking Europe”, a two-day meeting at the Vatican between politicians and bishops from all over the European Union to ‘re-think’ Europe at a time of crisis. So: climate change, unemployment problems, migratory influxes? An absolutely spiritual agenda for the succesors of the Apostles today!

There are those who could say, and who do say, that perhaps the problem of Europe is that it is merrily reverting to paganism, or becoming other things [becoming Muslim, surely!] – but are the bishops worried about this at all? We have seen that the secretary for Religious Affairs of Italy’s Partita Democrata (read CEI), Mons. Nunzio Galantino (a Bergoglio surrogate), launched another endorsement for ‘ius soli’ [Italians are considering to change their citizenship law from ius sanguinis (based on blood) to ius soli (based on where you are born) such that children born to foreign parents in Italy would automatically be Italian citizens, and extending the concept farther to ius culturae, in which foreign children can become citiens after five years of schooling in Italy. This is all, of course, for the benefit of the migrants who have been flooding Italy in recent years, and if this becomes law, native Italian citizens may soon find themselves outnumbered in their own land], and that the pontiff [who is in favor of ius soli] has returned to speaking about migrants. [Has he ever stopped? He mentions them far more than he ever mentions persecuted Christians!] But are any of them really thinking about Europe itself, Italy, and the faithful therein (though increasingly less)?

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster (London), said to the BBC: “There is no doubt there are tensions in the Catholic Church, but one of her great strengths is that we have a pope who can say Yes or No, and then, give you a hug”. Hug? Maybe he meant a bear’s hug!

00Monday, November 6, 2017 6:26 AM
November 5, 2017 headlines

New book says the 'mystery' has been solved
over Papa Luciani's death after only 33 days as Pope

On the night he died, he suffered a strong chest pain
but he did not want his doctor to be told

by Andrea Tornielli

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 4, 2017 - For the first time, thanks to a documented investigation, as compelling as a police investigation and as accurate as historical research, the circumstances of the death of John Paul I, whose pontificate lasted only 33 days in 1978, have been brought to light: Just before dining the night he died, the Pope had a sudden but fleeting chest pain that was under-estimated by all.

On Tuesday November 7th, a book based on unpublished documents and testimonies, will be out in stores which will hopefully put an end to the "mystery" on the death of the Pontiff from Veneto. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin wrote the preface of "Pope Luciani. Chronicle of a Death" (Piemme, pp. 252,17 euro).

Journalist Stefania Falasca, vice-postulator of Papa Luciani's beatification cause, and author of the booshas questioned witnesses never heard before, and had acces to the secret files of the Holy See as well as Luciani’s medical records.

In her account, Sister Margherita Marin, now 76 years old, but at the time, the youngest of the Venetian religious at the service of the Pope, says she entered the bedroom of John Paul I at dawn on 29 September 1978, immediately after Sister Vincenza Taffarel, the elderly religious who had been assisting Luciani for over twenty years.

But it was Marin who had witnessed what happened in the hours prior to the sudden death of the Pope. She denies that he was fatigued, much less 'crushed', by the burden of his new responsibilities: "I always saw him calm, serene, full of trust, confident".

She attests that he did not follow any particular diets and that he ate what everyone else ate in the papal apartment. She describes how John Paul I spent what would be his last afternoon alive: "I was ironing in the wardrobe with the door open and I saw him walking back and forth. He was walking in the apartment holding some papers he was reading.... I remember him seeing me ironing and saying, "Sister, I make you work a lot... don’t bother ironing the shirt so well because it's hot, I sweat and need to change them often... just iron the collar and wrists, that the rest is not seen, you know…".

From other testimonies, among which is that of papal valet Angelo Gugel, we learn of the on the sudden but apparently fleeting illness that afflicted Luciani that evening, just before dinner, while praying in the chapel with his Irish private secretary, John Magee. It is all described in a secret document drawn up in the days after his death written by Renato Buzzonetti, the first doctor to be called to the bedside of the dead Pope, wrote it.

In the detailed report addressed to the Secretariat of State on 9 October 1978, he described an "episode of pain localized at the third superior of the sternal region [i.e., chest pain] suffered by the Holy Father around 7:30 pm. on the day of death. The episode lasted for more than five minutes, occurred while the Pope was seated and reciting a prayer with Father Magee. But the pain regressed without any treatment."

The testimony is significant because this was learned soon after the death. Other details: Nobody saw the need to call the Vatican Pharmacy; nobody told Sister Vincenza, who was a nurse and spoke on the phone on that same evening to the Pope's doctor, Antonio Da Ros, resident in Vittorio Veneto, and of course, did not mention what she did not then know.

Luciani was not given any medication, nor was a doctor called to check him out make any checks, despite the fact that chest pain was severe and most likely, a symptom of the coronary artery problem that probably stopped his heart later when he was in bed. Father Magee in his testimony recounted that it was the Pope himself who did not want to warn his doctor. Buzzonetti was only told about it the next day, when he came to the dead pope's bedside.

Falasca‘s book brings out some contradictions in the stories of the two special secretaries of the Pontiff. Don Diego Lorenzi, the Orionian priest who had followed Luciani from Venice, was not present when the Pope had the chest pain. That night, Sept. 28, he immediately left the papal apartment after dinner.

On the morning of 29 September, it was not the secretaries who found the body of the Pope, but Sister Vincenza and Sister Margherita. The Pope had not touched the coffee that had been left for him in the sacristy at 5:15 a. m., and so Sister Vincenza after knocking several times, entered the room and said, "Holiness, you shouldn't joke with me!" The older nun, in fact, had a weak heart herself. religious woman in fact wa weak of heart. "Then she called me, coming out shocked," Sist er Margherita recounts, "I immediately went in and saw him too... I touched his hands, they were cold, I saw, and I was struck by my his slightly dark fingernails".

Among the unpublished documents in the appendix to the book are Papa Luciani's medical records which show that, already in 1975, during a hospitalisation, a minor cardiovascular pathology was reported, treated with anticoagulants and considered resolved.

There is also the note that the cardinals, before the conclave to elect Luciani's successor, addressed in complete secrecy to the doctors who had embalmed the body. Through the Secretariat of State, the Cardinals asked if "the examination of the body" allowed to "exclude traumatic lesions of any kind"; if the diagnosis of "sudden death" was ascertained; and if "Sudden death is always natural”. The the cardinals did not exclude a priori the hypothesis that the death could have been 'caused', which the doctors denied.

On Tuesday 7 November, on the same day as the release of Falasca's book, an ordinary session of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood will be held in the Vatican,during which they will be called to pronounce on Albino Luciani's "heroic virtues". That same day, or the day after, the Vatican will be announcing that the pope has signed the corresponding decree

In the meantime, two hearings are underway on two claimed miracles attributed to the intercession of the Venetian Pontiff. Confirmation of one miracle by panels of doctors and theologians would lead to his beatification.

To me, the real mystery is why the Vatican did not just release all this information as soon as it was seemly to do so. Why did it allow decades of speculation that he could have been murdered? Books were written to advance this hypothesis. I do not see anything in the information as reported by Tornielli from Falasca's book that could not have been officially announced then.

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