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00Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:56 AM

Some fallout generated from the pope's 'word of the year' for 2019, even if only a handful of commentators appear to have been provoked at all by the weight that the pope gives the concept. Like me, Christopher Ferrara's first associated the word with Freemasonry...

The deistic Christ?
by Christopher Ferrara

January 17, 2019

In the Fatima Perspective I posted the day after Christmas, I commented on Pope Francis’s “Urbi et Orbi” Message for Christmas, wherein he refers to “the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us” - by which he meant not the members of His Mystical Body united in one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism, but rather all of humanity, “among persons of different religions”, the existence of which he declared to be “not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness.”

There must be, said Francis, not the unity of mankind in the one true Church, to which all men are called, but rather simply “fraternity among persons of diverse religions.”

On January 16, the One Peter Five website ran an important piece on how the Masons of the Grand Orient Lodge of Spain hailed Francis’s address precisely for its religious indifferentism, declaring: “All the Masons of the world unite themselves to the petition of the Pope for ‘fraternity between persons of diverse religions’.”

As the Masons of Spain exulted: “The words of the Pope show how far the Church has come from the content of Humanum Genus (1884), the last great Catholic condemnation of Masonry.” A reference to the landmark encyclical of Leo XIII, summing up the Church’s entire teaching against the errors of Freemasonry.

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has condemned Freemasonry as a threat to true religion and the good order of civil society almost from the moment it emerged as an anti-religion with the unification of the four lodges of England into the Grand Lodge of London in 1717. That anti-religion is preached as a lowest-common-denominator “religion in which all men agree” as followed in Masonic “temples”. Nothing has since come in for a greater number of Magisterial condemnations than “the sect of the Freemasons,” as Pope Leo called it in Humanum Genus.

The capital error of the Freemasons, Leo warned, is “the great error of this age — that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike. This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be placed in a bundle with the others.” (In the Italian: in un fascio con le altre, which has been altered in the English translation at to “merely equal to other religions.” The Italian corresponds better to the original Latin text: “quae cum una ex omnibus vera sit…”]

The deity of the Masonic religion is not Christ, but the Great Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.), which can be any sort of deity a Mason imagines to exist, or no God at all but simply Nature, as Spinoza (excommunicated even by the synagogues of Holland) declared in his infamous equation of the two.

It would be facile to say merely that Francis has adopted the Freemasonic anti-religion. But it would be dishonest to say that he is here defending the one true religion merely because he opines that the fraternity between men of all religions is “bestowed” by Christ.

What he has done, rather, is to suggest that Christ is the head of a Masonic-style pan-religious brotherhood in the sense that it is He who bestows “fraternity” upon the members of all religions. This the Masons would not do, as many of them are not even colorably Christian and even the most virulently anti-Christian atheists are welcome in the “temples” of Freemasonry.

But, by merely tacking Christ onto the Masonic idea of pan-religion, Francis effectively reduces Him to G.A.O.T.U., the distant God who does not command that anyone join any particular church, much less the Church that Christ, God Incarnate, founded as the sole ark of salvation and “purchased with His blood” (Acts 20:28).

The Christ who merely bestows fraternity from afar, making no specific religious demands on men, is a kind of deistic Christ whose bare existence does not interfere in the practice of any religion whatsoever, or no religion at all.

Thus the Spanish Masons are quite right to declare that Francis confirms “how far the Church has come from the content of Humanum Genus (1884)…” Which is to say, how far the Church’s human element has wandered from the path of the Gospel, to which it seems only the most dramatic intervention of Heaven, under the mantle of Our Lady, can restore it.

With good reason did Leo conclude his resounding condemnation of Freemasonry with this invocation of the intercessory power of the Virgin Mother of God: “Let us take as our helper and intercessor the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so that she, who from the moment of her conception overcame Satan may show her power over these evil sects, in which is revived the contumacious spirit of the demon, together with his unsubdued perfidy and deceit.”

The Popes no longer speak this way. And that is why the Church is now in the midst of the worst crisis in her history, whose inevitable resolution will, however, constitute one of her greatest triumphs: the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In her analysis, Marco Tosatti's contributor RVC does not bring up the Freemasons but yes, the French Revolution and Bergoglio's use of the brotherhood concept to push his and the UN's idea of global solidarity with migrants - epitomized by the Global Compact signed late last year, equality for the latter vis-a-vis citizens of the countries they are demanding to enter, and their freedom to do as they please.

On the pope's 'word of the year'
and what is being done in its name

Translated from

January 20, 2019

RVC has sent us a very interesting reflexion on the over-use of the word ‘brotherhood’ (fraternity) by the Vatican in recent days. Not that there is anything wrong with brotherhood per se – even if well-known examples (Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, the prodigal son and his older brother) underscore howit is not always easy even for blood brothers to coexist without knifing each other. Here’s RVC:

“I read Sandro Magister’s post in Settimo Cielo, and I find it most intriguing to attempt to interpret the position of the new editor of L’Osservatore Romano on the word-concept of brotherhood as the ‘Word of the Year’, as per Pope Francis himself. Which the OR even defines as ‘the new frontier of Christianity'.

The word was spoken by the pope at least 12 times in his last Christmas Day urbi et orbi message.

But the word is closely linked to ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ in the motto of the French Revolution. My own interpretation of the pope’s fraternity messasge is this: Brotherhood today signifies the universal solidarity of the UN’s Global Compact recently signed by the Vatican, which was made necessary by the equality that all migrants deserve, against which no one has the freedom to dissent.

Magister tells us the OR’s new editor announced that the first thing this pope wants to do is to ‘awaken from sleep’ that brotherhood which was so exalted by the French Revolution and which is now, for Bergoglio ‘the new frontier of Christianity’. But brotherhood, in the revolutionary sense, and according to the UN’s Charter of Human Rights inspired by Enlightenment principles, really reaffirms the Golden Rule which Jesus articulated as “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” (Mt 7,12).

Since we have become accustomed to having to interpret what this pope says, let us note that this evangelical definition of brotherhood is necessarily acceptable and indisputable. However, the OR editor appears to overlook the words equality and freedom which go hand in hand with brotherhood. In the pope’s thinking, equality, which in the Human Rights charter, means equal dignity among those who need help, doubtless means the equality of migrants to citizens of the countries they demand to enter. At this point, we see the sense of the papal urbi et orbi message.

But we should also interpret what he means by freedom in this context. The word was closely associated with the Reign of Terror under Robespierre who used it in the contrary sense, transforming it with his chilling addendum “but no freedom at all for the enemies of the revolution”. It allowed him to imprison some 300,000 dissidents or counter-revolutionaries, of which at least 30,000 were executed, sending to the guillotine even moderates like Danton, Lavoisier, Desmoulins.

Moreover, Robespierre, in order to pacify the moderates and the religious world, invented the ‘Supreme Being’ [a deism like that of the Freemasons’ Great Architect of the Universe] which proposed unity around an abstract social value – in this case, brotherhood.

But what has become of that brotherhood advocated by the French Revolution? Today it is universal brotherhood expressed as global solidarity with all migrants, namely, the Global Compact imposed by the UN and all its satellite agencies. It is not difficult to see how such brotherhood could well end up like that of Cain and Abel…

Fr Kirk has a different take altogether...

Fraternal advice

January 20, 2019

So now we know – for L’Osservatore Romano has told us: the papal buzz word for 2019 is ‘fraternity’. We can expect it to appear with predictable ubiquity in every allocution, every official document, every spontaneous intervention. ‘Fraternity’ will litter the homilies at the Santa Marta, and pepper every public audience.

But what – beyond banal generalities – does it mean? Liberte, egalite, fraternite. Since the catchphrase was coined in 1789, it has had a chequered history. Liberty has subsided into license, equality into envy, and fraternity into cliquishness (Francis’s word for that is ‘clericalism’).

In order to help us discern true fraternity, Andrea Monda, the new editor of L’Osservatore Romano, has given us a geometrical analogy:

‘From this vision springs the image of the polyhedron, an image so dear to Pope Francis, which explains human complexity better than the flat and ideological image of the sphere.’ In truth, the Pope more frequently uses the analogy of the human family: ‘The experience of families teaches us this: as brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another’.

Both analogies are wide of the mark. The polyhedron is static and unchanging. The family can equally well be a source of enmity rather than unity. 69% of all crimes of violence are committed by one member of a family against another.

What Francis surely means is not ‘fraternity’ – the brotherhood of man – but agape, the self-giving love of God. ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.' (I John 4:10)

It is common redemption, not mere biological propinquity, which makes of us radical moral demands to support, cherish and sustain each other.

00Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:17 PM

I was going to post the following translation in the same box as the article by Aldo Maria Valli two posts above ("Is religion dead"?) to which it is a reaction. But Sandro Magister's new post about Pope Francis's latest aberration has prompted me to put this in a new post because in his reaction to Valli's article, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi actually objects to the proclivities of the reigning pope to whom he refers as 'the moral authority'.
And one of those proclivities by a pope who spouts 'scientific' nonsense as if it were Absolute Truth is, as Gotti Tedeschi puts it, to 'maintain that truth is the consequence of scientific freedom', with the logical implication that it is not absolute because it is bound to change depending on what 'scientific freedom' says.

If moral authority confuses cause and effect
Translated from

January 19, 2019

After reading my article on Sergio Quinzio’s book, Ettore Gotti Tesdeschi wrote me. The economist-banker author raises questions – which many of us will recognize as ours too – on the dominant ambiguity and confusion today, and on the difficulty of giving a sense to our existence when ‘the end of the sacred’ means that men now attribute ‘sacredness’ only to science and technology, and in the name of ‘reality’, have stripped the human being of any supernatural dimension.

But we know that the idea of ‘reality’ is often used to keep man from knowing himself but rather to justify the choice of renouncing to indicate any way for salvation. Here is Mr Gotti Tedeschi:

I read your commentary taking off from Sergo Quinzio’s book. I was struck by it and have decided to write you, especially about Quinzio’s point that “man today lives without religion and he does not realize a neeed for it” nd that “there has been a terrible collapse of man’s capacity to believe and to hope”. I wish to add, he has also lost the capacity to think and function.

How can we think to give a meaning to our professional, moral, social and inteleectual actions is we have lost the capacity to believe and to hope, and therefore, along with losing the sense of the sacred, we have also lost the very meaning of life?

It is not accidental that even the small sense of the sacred that still survives is considered the greatest enemy of secularism, which considers it an evil that must be struck down.
- Today it is the culture of progress which is sacred – science, technology, artificial intelligence have replaced the sacred once reserved only for the divine, which is now considered a synonym for ignorance and obscurantism.
- Today, the secular world asks the individual to learn to understand the world before even trying to distinguish good from evil, just from unjust. Which is the exact opposite of what the Cahtolic faith teaches.

This secular capacity for understanding is supposedly assured by science, whose victory is considered so complete and absolute, as Quinzio noted, that it has changed the very idea of religion and the contribution that religion - if it is not to disappear - can bring to the great questions of the 21st century.

It does seem like the new theology is following that line: transforming religion to something scientifically credible and thereby useful. It is therefore seeking to make the Credo credible so it may be believed.

This revolutionary phenomenon, one senses, can supposedly take place now that priests are ‘no longer ignorant’ as they were in the past (they mean as in the time of the Holy Cure of Ars), but priests are now educated and no longer imbibe the obsolete and unproposable medieval theology of Thomas Aquinas, but have rather assimilated the evolved, modern and currently applied theology of Karl Rahner who based his thinking on Heidegger, Kant and Hegel.

Of course, the new theologians are no longer able to recognize heresy (if only because they say that heresies are good for the faith), but are steely believers in, for example, evolutionism.

[In the following series of questions, it is obvious Gotti Tedeschi means the reigning pope when he refers to the ‘moral authority’ today]:

That being so, how does a man of the 21st century (whether he is a vituperated banker, an equally vituperated capitalist, a doctor, a teacher a priest…) seek to give sense to his life and actions if faith, in order to be made ‘believable’, is denatured, stripped of its supernatural mysteries, and most especially, well separated from works?
- How can a man seek to be holy in this world, if the moral authority makes it clear that there are no longer any absolute and non-negotiable values?
- How can man seek to sanctify himself and his neighbor if the moral authority teaches that the word of God is a ‘dynamic’ reality and morality itself can be subjective and totally devoid of absolute imperatives?
- And what do we do if that moral authority itself implies that there are no longer any moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts, but that individual conscience must justify exceptions to moral norms because there are temptations far superior to our strength?
- And what to do if at a certain point, that moral authority lets it be known that the worst social evil is inequality (or the evil distribution of wealth), and it is not sin from which all evils derive?
- While at the same time, such authority exalts a heretic as reformer and calls him ‘medicine’ for the Church?

I know very well that these considerations have been elaborated much better by people who are wiser than me and who have a greater and more profound faith than mine. But I feel the need to accompany you in a reflection that I could best do with an appeal to that moral authority so that he may be more prudent in his obsession to support everything he claims with presumed scientific or economic truths.
- He must understand that following this line, without possessing even the necessary scientific competence, only results in confusing, scientifically and theologically, the faithful Catholic who simply listens and obeys.
- And if he, confusing causes and effects, concentrates on effects, in the name of mercy, while ignoring moral causes, he contributes to making man’s life worse, instead of improving it.

I think, for instance, of his attention to themes like poverty, inequality, environmental problems, migrations – all of which he confronts always and exclusively in terms of their consequences, never seeking to find out their root causes, on the pretext that they have true ‘scientific’ explanations which are nothing of the sort (to the point that genuine scientists reject them) or that there are economic explanations that are frankly insupportable.

As if the time had come for Catholics to confront the relationship between faith and science but this time to defend ‘science’. Contrary to what we are told happened to Galileo, a scientist who was opposed to rigid and short-sighted theology, today are there any Catholics who will defend scientific truths in order to defend theological truths, which have been confused and betrayed by the institutional church in its drive to ‘reconcile’ with the world?

Have we reached the point when the Church can maintain that Truth is the consequence of scientific freedom? In which case, like Galileo, we should dare to say, ‘And yet it moves!”

- Ettore Gotti-Tedeschi

Ithink this last point made by Gotti Tedeschi applies to the mindset of the reigning pope, once more exposed in all its appalling anti-Catholicism in Magister's presentation.

Let me start off with this:

What the Catechism says about sin

In what might seem to be a preemptive statement of his position regarding the sexual offenses of priests - and sexual offenses in general - Pope Francis seeks to distinguish between sins of the flesh (what he calls sins 'below the belt') and sins of the spirit, saying sins of the flesh are 'the lightest'. Which is appalling for a pope to do. Sin is an offense to God, choosing evil over good, therefore every sin is a sin of the spirit. What is Bergoglio babbling about?

Memo for the summit on sexual abuse:
This pope considers sins of the flesh
'the lightest' compared to sins of the spirit

[But aren't all sins 'sins of the spirit' to begin with?]

January 21, 2019

The most surprising news, in the journey that Pope Francis is preparing to go on to Panama for World Youth Day, is that he has selected for his entourage, among his official companions, the Frenchman Dominique Wolton, who is not an ecclesiastic or even a Catholic, but a theoretician of communication, director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the legendary CNRS, and founder of the international magazine Hermès. [Wolton, in other words, is a scientist - whom Bergoglio chose to regale with his pseudo-scientific blabber which he obviously considers 'the truth' about sin, denigrating the theological standpoint on morality.]

Above all, however, Wolton is the author of the book-length interview in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio spoke on the spur of the moment, without restraint, to the point of saying for the first time in public that he had entrusted himself for six months, when he was 42, to the care of an agnostic psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires. [Who probably diagnosed him with narcissistic personality disorder, to begin with, which would have meant the end of the psychoanalytic sessions.]

The book, translated into multiple languages, was released in 2017, collecting in eight chapters eight conversations that the pope had with the author in 2016. Since then, Bergoglio has apparently developed a sentiment of closeness with Wolton which led him to want to bring him along on his next journey.

A sentiment akin to the one Bergoglio has for Eugenio Scalfari, another champion of the godless, whom the pope has often called in for confidential talks that Scalfari 'transcribes' as he wishes to publish ,as a way to 'build up' Bergoglio among his secular readers.

It is all part of the communicative model that Bergoglio loves. Because in an interview with a suitable interlocutor he can disseminate to a vast audience far more than what he can say in his official texts. In effect, he lifts the veil on his real thoughts.

For example, in the book-length interview with Wolton, he explains that he sees sexual abuse committed by churchmen not so much a problem of morality and sex, but of power, and of clerical power in particular, which he condenses in the word “clericalism.”

When Wolton asks him why in the world so little attention is paid to the “most radical” message of the Gospel, which is the “condemnation of money madness,” [???? And Bergoglio agreed with that???] Bergoglio responds:

It is because some prefer to talk about morality, in their homilies or from the chairs of theology. There is a great danger for preachers, and it is that of condemning only the morality that is - pardon me - ‘below the belt.’ But other sins that are more serious, hatred, envy, pride, vanity, killing another, taking a life… these are rarely mentioned. Get into the mafia, make clandestine deals… ‘Are you a good Catholic? Well then, pay me the bribe.’”...

“Sins of the flesh are the lightest sins. Because the flesh is weak. The most dangerous sins are those of the spirit. I am talking about angelism: pride, vanity are sins of angelism. Priests have the temptation - not all, but many - of focusing on the sins of sexuality, what I call morality below the belt. But the more serious sins are elsewhere.”

[As usual, Bergoglio plucks hypothetical examples out of thin air. I dare anyone to recall when was the last time he or she heard his priest preach on morality in this 'I'm OK, you're OK-feel good' church. Least of all against 'sins of the flesh'.]

Wolton objects: “But what you are saying is not understood.”
The pope responds:

“No, but there are good priests… I know a cardinal who is a good example. He confided to me, speaking of these things, that as soon as someone goes to him to talk about those sins below the belt, he immediately says: ‘I understand, let’s move on.’ He stops him, as if to say: ‘I understand, but let’s see if you have something more important. Do you pray? Are you seeking the Lord? Do you read the Gospel?

He makes him understand that there are mistakes that are much more important than that. Yes, it is a sin, but… He says to him: ‘I understand’: And he moves on. [And Bergoglio obviously approves! But sin is sin. Mortal sin is mortal sin. No priest can say, 'Forget about your sin 'below the belt' - let's move on, there are more important things!" Not to mention that the 'sin of the sodomites' is one of those four 'sins that cry to heaven' cited in Par 1867 of the Catechism. Which is of course one thing that Bergoglio and Fr. Martin and all homosexualists prefer to forget. Naaah, Sodom-and- Gomorrah was just a myth!]

On the opposite end there are some who when they receive the confession of a sin of this kind, ask: ‘How did you do it, and when did you do it, and how many times?’ And they make a ‘film’ in their head. But these are in need of a psychiatrist.”

[Is Bergoglio projecting? There are probably priests who do that and are obviously sick and sinning themselves. But this pope is even sicker than they are! Besides, how much time do priests have to hear confessions these days - and how many Catholics still bother to go to confession?]

Pope Francis’s journey to Panama is taking place less than a month before the summit at the Vatican of the presidents of the episcopal conferences of the whole world, to agree on shared guidelines in addressing sexual abuse, scheduled for February 21 to 24.

It will be interesting to see, at that summit, how Francis will reconcile his minimization of the seriousness of sins that he calls “below the belt” with the emphasis, on the other hand, of the abuse of power by the clerical caste, which he has repeatedly stigmatized as the main cause of the disaster.

Not only that. Perhaps it will become clear to what extent his minimization of sins of sex - and of the homosexual practices widespread among the clergy - may explain his silences and his tolerance toward concrete cases of abuse, even by high-level churchmen he has esteemed and favored:
> Francis and Sexual Abuse. The Pope Who Knew Too Much

Exemplary in this regard is the case of Argentine bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, for whom Bergoglio even acted as confessor, whom he promoted in 2013 as bishop of Orán and then, in December of 2017, called to Rome for a leading role at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, in spite of the fact that on two occasions - as documented on January 20 by Associated Press - the Vatican had received accusations from his diocese of his bad behavior "below the belt," with young seminarians, and twice the pope had asked him to respond to the accusations, deciding afterward to remove him from the diocese but also to promote him to an even more prominent position, evidently seeing Zanchetta's sexual behavior as irrelevant and "light".
> Ex-deputy to Argentine bishop says Vatican knew of misdeeds

One hopes, everyday, to find in the news something unconditionally good reported about Bergoglio, anything to mitigate the relentless record of his apostasy and anti-Catholicism. Instead, one is continuously shocked by new aggravations of his offenses. You can't forever be giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who daily amplifies those doubts.

About that abuse summit, let's hear from someone one would have thought very unlikely to predict that it will be a failure...

Five reasons the pope's meeting
on clerical sex abuse will fail

by Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.

January 18, 2019

Next month's meeting in Rome, called by Pope Francis to deal with the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, may well be a failure before it even starts.

The stakes for the meeting have been ratcheted up, at least for the American church, as the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse has summoned up new scrutiny of the church's response, from the pews and from government officials; then, in November, the Vatican squelched a vote at the U.S. bishops' fall meeting on measures designed to hold the hierarchy accountable for not dealing with abuse.

Now, more than 100 presidents of episcopal conferences from all over the world, plus a dozen or so other participants, are headed to Rome for a four-day conference beginning Feb. 21. According to the Vatican, the meeting will focus on three main themes: responsibility, accountability and transparency.

There are five reasons this meeting will fail.
First, four days is much too short a time to deal with such an important and complicated issue. The Vatican says the meeting will include "plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer and listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy and a final Eucharistic celebration."

If each participant speaks only once for five minutes during the plenary sessions, that would consume over 12 hours — almost half the time for the meeting. Add to that speeches from the pope, victims and experts, as well as time for small group discussions and prayer, and the time is gone.

Most major meetings of bishops in Rome, such as last October's synod of bishops on young people, last a month. Even at that, synods have always felt rushed, with little time at the end to prepare and approve a report. To think that the February meeting can accomplish anything in such a short time is not supported by experience.

Second, the expectations for this meeting are so high that it will be impossible to measure up.
Any meeting called by the pope raises expectations, but this one addresses a high-profile issue that has dogged the church for decades. It's the first meeting of its kind at the Vatican, and the media have been anticipating it in numerous stories.

In addition, having sidelined the efforts of U.S. bishops in November, the meeting must come up with a way to hold bishops accountable, or it will make the excuse look unwarranted and phony.

Third, a strength of this meeting is that it will include presidents of episcopal conferences from all over the world. These are some of the most important bishops from their countries. But the cultures and legal systems of the participants vary tremendously, which will make agreement on policies and procedures difficult.

Many bishops in the Global South do not believe that sex abuse of minors is a problem in their countries. They see it as a First World problem. This is in part because many Global South bishops have no idea how bad the problem is. In their traditional cultures, victims of abuse are very reluctant to come forward to report the abuse to the church or civil authorities.

As a result, too many bishops around the world are making the same mistakes that the U.S. bishops made before 2002, when coverage of abuse in Boston encouraged thousands of victims to come forward. The bishops deny the problem; they treat it as a sin, not a crime; they don't listen to the victims; they believe the priest when he says he will never do it again; they keep him in ministry; they cover up.

It is most important that these bishops be convinced that the problem is real, and they should avoid repeating the mistakes of the American bishops.

Fourth, as far as can be seen at present, the meeting is not well-prepared.
When the pope calls a synod of bishops, there is a long and complicated process of preparation that can last a couple of years. Bishops' conferences are consulted; discussion questions are distributed; and the input from these consultations is summarized in a preparatory document that is circulated among the participants. There is also an office in Rome that is responsible for organizing the synod.

This meeting, on the other hand, was only announced by the pope in September, and the committee created to organize it was not appointed until the end of November. The committee's first communication with the meeting's participants was in the middle of December, which gave the bishops until Jan. 15 to send in their response to a questionnaire enclosed with the letter.

On the positive side, the letter urged participants to meet with abuse survivors before coming to Rome. The committee realizes how important it is to hear directly from victims, both for their healing and for a better understanding of abuse by those who listen.

The preparatory committee does have a stellar cast: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, and Jesuit priest Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Gregorian University. Scicluna and Zollner are recognized experts on the abuse crisis who have credibility with both the media and survivors.

Nonetheless, the meeting will also fail because, in order to succeed, Francis will have to lay down the law and simply tell the bishops what to do, rather than consulting with them. He'll have to present a solution to the crisis and tell them to go home and implement it.

Francis will not do that. He does not see himself as the CEO of the Catholic Church. He has a great respect for collegiality, the belief that the pope should not act like an absolute monarch. At his first synod of bishops, he encouraged the bishops to speak boldly and not be afraid to disagree with him. [Reese unfortunately undercuts all of his previous arguments with this false and totally unrealistic view of this pope.]

I support the pope's commitment to collegiality, but discussion and consensus-building take a lot of time. People, especially survivors and the media, are rightly impatient. They are not looking for another discussion and pious talk, but concrete policies and procedures that will protect children and hold bishops accountable.

In addition, Pope Francis thinks more like a pastor than a lawyer. He calls people to conversion rather than creating new policies and structures. [Open your eyes, Fr. Reese! He thinks more like an out-for-blood prosecutor of 'dissenting' Catholics than like a pastor.]

According to Alessandro Gisotti, the interim director of the Vatican press office, "It is fundamental for the Holy Father that when the Bishops who will come to Rome have returned to their countries and their dioceses that they understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims, and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried."

Francis appears to believe that the current laws are sufficient but need to be enforced. His goal, then, will be to get the bishops on board, not come up with new solutions. This is important, but it will not satisfy those wanting accountability structures to punish bishops who do not do their jobs.

I hope I am wrong in being such a pessimist — as a social scientist, I am always a pessimist when looking at the church and the world. As a Christian, I have to be hopeful. After all, my faith is based on someone who rose from the dead. Francis may pull it off, but I fear that when the meeting is over, it will only be seen as a small step forward in an effort that is going to take years. [If it does not turn out to be a step backward, or at the most, just treading water to stay afloat.]

The following item is really 'no big deal' except it is one of those small signs that show popular objections to this pope.
I don't recall any such manifestations when Benedict XVI was pope, but then, what did the 'people' have to object to about him?

Rome police arrest 3 men
who put up these 'banners'
on the outer wall of St. Peter's Basilica

by Mario Cifelli
Translated from
Roma Today
January 21, 2019

The banners read- VATICAN: DEVIL'S DUNG! and POPE: FILTHY MASON!, with the attribution 'RIVOLTA NAZIONALE'.Below the banners, a little upside down wooden cross.
A native sense of rhyme and analogy there with sterco (dung) and sporco (filthy).

Two posters affixed to an external wall of St. Peter's Basilica saying 'Vatican: The devil's dung!" and 'Pope: Filthy Mason!' 'signed' by Rivolta Nazionale with a fascist symbol. And below them, a wooden cross turned upside down, with the label [too small to be read in the photo] "This is your symbol. Pedophiles, lobbyists, immigrationists".

Three men aged 29, 31 and 57 were arrested by the Rome police around 11:30 Sunday night, January 20, as they were putting up one of their banners along the Viale dei Bastioni di Michelangelo by Rome's Piazza Risorgimento.

A night patrol stopped them and brought charges against them but they were released, pending further investigation by the Rome magistrate.

Mayor Virginia Raggi praised the policemen on Twitter: "I thank the agents of the Rome local police for the arrest and charges placed against three men who tonight placed vulgar posters on the external wall of St. Peter's [Basilica]".


The following has nothing to do with Bergoglio except it is about something just as bizarre as he is, straight out of Bizarroworld. It's Oakes Spalding's well-documented follow-up and inquiry into the case of Stephen Lewis, the English prof at Franciscan U in Steubenville, which metastasizes into an expose of the feminist-Wiccan mindset of Lewis's wife and her friends who are well established on social network platforms and Patheos Catholic.

00Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:19 PM
Now, if only Fr Hunwicke would straighten this out for our benefit! What possessed Ordinariate Bishop Lopes in the USA to demote a parish priest for advocating a return to Catholic Tradition?
This comes from's Frank Walker on his personal blogsite which supplements his news aggregation portal.

Ordinariate pastor removed for
criticizing Vatican-II

January 21, 2019

I received a note this morning explaining yet another case of faithful clerics suppressed and silence for their Faith in this miserable era of Francis.

Good morning.

I am writing to report something that hasn’t yet made its way to any publication, but hopefully someone will bring this to light.

In addition to my wife and I being parishioners at the FSSP apostolate here in Minneapolis, we also from time to time attend St. Bede the Venerable, which is a mission parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

While neither my wife nor myself were ever associated with Anglicans or Episcopalians, the Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite is much more palpable than Novus Ordo masses. We started attending there about 1.5 years ago.

It is a very small parish; it doesn’t even have its own building and must rent time/space from another Catholic parish. I’ve been trying to get my Episcopalian friends to attend there in the hope that they will eventually convert. More particularly, St. Bede’s pastor, Fr. Vaughn Treco, speaks plainly and to the point; much better than most other priests I’ve heard or met.

Last night, my wife and I attended St. Bede’s for mass, but Fr. Treco was not presiding, nor anywhere to be seen. Instead, a diocesan priest was presiding. At the end of the mass, the priest made an announcement, indicating that as of yesterday, Fr. Treco had been relieved of his duties as pastor of St. Bede’s, with the diocesan priest being appointed the interim pastor.

We were told that Fr. Treco had been removed because of the sermon he made on The Feast of Christ the King (ordinary time) on November 25 of last year. This sermon was published by The Remnant Video on YouTube, in VATICAN REVOLUTION: Diocesan Priest’s Had Enough:

We were told that Fr. Treco was visited by Bp. Lopes, who essentially provided Fr Treco with the option of renouncing what he had said in the sermon (which Fr. Treco declined), or that he be removed as pastor, wherein he would have to take… wait for it…. further education classes so that he could better understand the post-conciliar church.

We were also told, though, that Fr. Treco is free to continue as priest for St. Bede, even presiding over mass, just as long as he (a) does not deliver sermons or (b) has his sermons reviewed and signed off by the local diocesan priest prior to any such delievery.

To say the least, the entire parish is shocked. Suffice it to say, each and every one of them sides with Fr. Treco, and think that this treatment is very underhanded. Especially considering that this comes the same week that this story broke in Lifesitenews, about a parish not ten minutes away from St. Bedes’s, but one that preaches and shows just the opposite of what Fr. Treco preached about, which is clearly anti-Catholic, but the priest’s job at St. Joan of Arc is very safe indeed.

Thought I’d pass this on to you. Thanks for all of your work.

Pax Christi,

s/Dustin R. DuFault/

00Wednesday, January 23, 2019 8:12 AM
How the media - and all those wanting to be
on the politically correct side of the fence -
hyped a fake 'racist' episode to eclipse
the 46th March for Life success in DC

Shame on our Catholic and conservative leaders. Many of them joined the cyber-lynching of their own young followers. It’s a sad sign of our times. Overwrought with anxiety about their roles in elite society, they’ll sing any anti-racist tune taken up by the mainstream press, even at the expense of those who look to them for leadership.

Some high school boys took a long bus ride to Washington, D.C., to the March for Life, demonstrating their commitment to the sanctity of life. They were from Covington, Kentucky, a town on the Ohio River that’s seen its share of de-industrialization — Trump country. Some wore MAGA hats, proudly signaling their support for the president.

The March ends. They’re on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, waiting for their bus to return home. A group known as the Black Israelites is nearby, insulting bystanders in a generalized fashion. Their attention falls on the schoolboys.
- “Get your racist Make America Great Again hats out of here.”
- “You crackers are traitors.”
- “All of you have school shooter haircuts.”
The boys start chanting school cheers in response. A Native American, Nathan Phillips, approaches them, beating his drum. The kids respond with cheers that make them sound like Florida State football fans.

After this episode, the Black Israelites continue their rant and the boys begin to banter with them. Taunts are exchanged. The leader of the Black Israelites gives them a parting shot: “Your president is a homosexual.” Laughter ensues. Evening falls. The boys depart.

I urge folks to view the long video of the encounter.
The scenes are heartening, a testimony to the ways in which our crazy-quilt country gets along reasonably well.
- The Black Israelite street preacher is a well-known American type, haranguing the passersby.
- A skateboarder with headphones makes an appearance — a more recent figure in our urban landscape.
And the schoolboys from Covington are in good spirits, obviously enjoying the opportunity to play their role in the street Kabuki that unfolds.

But as we all know, that’s not what the press reported.

An unknown person posted a short clip of the moment when the Native American activist Nathan Phillips goes face-to-face with the students. The media picked it up, saying that the white teenagers had “mobbed” him. A hate crime! The media seized on this account, promoting a cascade of denunciations.

I can understand why a liberal commentator might jump on this false story.
- It’s politically useful to depict Trump as a racist who is “dividing” the country.
- The people who support him are not worthy fellow citizens with concerns about the common good. They, too, are racists and “haters” of one sort or another.
- The kids from Covington are therefore useful pawns in the ongoing battle to show that the Trump administration is illegitimate, besmirching everything true, good, and beautiful about America.

But I was shocked by how rapidly Catholic and conservative leaders jumped into the denunciation competition, which soon reached Olympic proportions.

Here is the statement from Covington Catholic High School and the diocese of Covington under the leadership of Bishop Roger Foys:

We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students toward Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teaching on the dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.

It’s a shocking statement from people who know the young men involved and who are responsible for their flourishing.
- Before hearing the whole story and determining how events actually unfolded, they too are willing to join the social media stampede.
- They identify their own young people as potential racists and moral criminals unworthy of membership in their community.

Joseph Kurtz, archbishop of nearby Louisville, added his voice to the chorus of condemnation.

“I join with Bishop Foys in condemning the actions of the Covington High School students toward Mr. Nathan Phillips and the Native American Community yesterday in Washington.”

We’re a long way from the spirit of John Hughes, New York’s first archbishop. He was a fierce advocate of the immigrant Catholics under his care, defending them against the condemnations of the Protestant elite. - Now we seem to have a Church in which kids who go to parochial schools aren’t protected.
- Their school principals and bishops prefer to condemn them rather than defend them.
- If there’s the slightest risk of getting sideways with establishment opinion, they’re thrown under the bus.

And of course there were the conservative pundits and leaders who rushed to add their names to the list of righteous prosecutors. This has been going on since 2016. They are often at the side of liberal elites. White teenage boys with MAGA hats? They’re racists — “deplorables.” That’s how the mainstream narrative trains them to tell the story, which they seem happy to do.

The Covington Catholic affair was small but telling. We are at a difficult juncture.
- The people who present themselves as mentors and leaders of the kids who were on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial listening to the crazy and fascinating rants of Black Israelites are anxious —too often about themselves and their reputations, not those under their care.
- They’re beholden to fears that they, too, will be accused of racism.
- So the rush to defend themselves and their institutions — at the cost of the reputations and wellbeing of the very people they claim to serve.

Of course we should be against racism and other forms of discrimination. But we need to wake up and face reality.
- In 2019, the rhetoric of anti-racism is used to discredit, destroy, and gain political advantage.
- It is not a societal norm we can uphold together. Catholic and conservative leaders who think otherwise are kidding themselves.

It’s time to put an end to our complicity in the bigot-baiting racket.
- It leverages the denunciation of hate crimes, real and imagined, into moral prestige and social standing among the “respectable” and “responsible.”
- We need to support those whom we mentor, guide, and lead.
- At the very least we need to remain silent and do no harm when the “respectable” are unleashing their ritual denunciations.
- We should presume the innocence of ordinary people, not assume their guilt, actively defending them when the facts show they are deliberately targeted and falsely accused.

Analysis of a debacle
Shame on the diocese and the school for rushing to judgment, especially in this Pope Francis era of 'Who am I to judge?'

by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas

January 22, 2019

For the past several days, my phone and email have been hyperactive as I have been asked by dozens of people for my “take” on the firestorm surrounding a group of students from Covington Catholic High School following the March for Life in Washington, D.C., last Friday.

I have been contacted because most know that I have spent my entire priestly ministry in Catholic education, actually beginning to teach high school while still a college seminarian. Not without reason, then, am I often introduced at Catholic school events as “Father Catholic Education.”

So, what did/do we know? It is somewhat like A Tale of Two Cities.

Scenario A: A group of high school boys disrespected a Native American man with a drum.

Scenario B: Act One: The boys, fresh from the March for Life, go to the Lincoln Memorial and wait for their bus to take them home. While there, they are confronted by a hostile, vile group of black supremacists who hurl at them anti-Catholic, anti-white, anti-gay and anti-American slogans – even calling the two black boys from the school “niggers”. This activity goes on for nearly two hours.

Act Two: A Native American man interposes himself between the hostile black agitators and the “CovCath” kids, getting directly into the face of one of the boys – who “smirks.”
- Within nano-seconds, the media is all over the story, reporting Scenario A: Catholic high school boys, in D.C. to work against women’s reproductive rights, are also racists.
- In short order, the administration of the school and the Diocese of Covington get on board and condemn the boys, even threatening expulsion.
- As real “facts”and video emerge, the story moves in the direction of Scenario B, causing some media outlets to apologize, including Jake Tapper of CNN.
- Even the peripatetic Father James Martin expressed a willingness to apologize; perhaps when he heard the anti-gay slurs from the black supremacists, he changed his mind!

Five observations:
1. Shame on the Diocese and the school for rushing to judgment, especially in this Pope Francis era of “Who am I to judge?”
- In this terrible time of instantaneous “news,” have we not learned to keep our counsel until a full picture develops?
- How many police officers have been unjustly condemned by rash evaluations, only to be vindicated when full, unedited videos become available?
- More to the point: As a former high school teacher and administrator, I have no delusions about the sanctity of teenagers. However, I always made a presumption of innocence (isn’t that a basic tenet of American jurisprudence?), but was likewise confident in the human and Christian formation to which my students had been exposed. I was able to troop them around the country and even Europe with nary a care about their conduct.

If “CovCath” felt compelled to believe the worst about their kids, what does it say about their level of confidence in what they have taught those young men and what those students have or have not absorbed? I would be happy to offer their faculty and administration one of my popular workshops on Catholic identity!

When the media contacted the school and the Diocese, an appropriate and fair response would have been: “We have no comment at present, pending a full investigation of the episode.” Period. And no fair-minded reporter could have balked at that.

2. Why were some of the boys wearing MAGA hats? To be sure, there is nothing immoral about the hats, but they are unnecessarily provocative, skewing the pro-life cause in the minds of an already-negative culture.
- If the boys were in the nation’s capital to learn, first-hand, about American civics, it would have behooved adults to tell them that we don’t need to be “in your face” to win a cause; truth be told, the pro-life movement has gotten as far as it has (and it has gotten very far, largely due to now two generations of Catholic school students), precisely because we have always taken the high road, which has always infuriated the proponents of the Culture of Death.

I am a Trump supporter (albeit at times a reluctant one) but would not have worn a MAGA cap to the March and, as a principal, would not have allowed my students to do so, either.

[It probably would have been more prudent for the boys to have worn their Covington high school caps instead of the MAGA caps, but who knew they would run into any flak and be ambushed while waiting for the bus to take them home after the march? They travelled to Washington to meet up with tens of thousands like them who oppose the culture of death, and though there may have been many among the pro-life marchers who oppose Trump or do not like him, the great majority of them at least appreciate that he has consistently talked the talk and walked the walk on pro-life issues. So who among them could possibly be offended by a MAGA cap? MAGA cap or not, those Covington boys would have been heckled anyway and deliberately provoked by 'enemy forces' just because they were pro-life to begin with, Catholic to boot, and even worse, white boys in the era of the stupid mindset 'Black lives matter' - as if white lives or brown lives or yellow lives don't.]

3. Where were the chaperones? Some adults were clearly present since the boys asked their permission to chant the school fight song – and got it from someone. The very minute that the black racists started in on the boys, I would have said, “Guys, let’s go. We’re out of here!” Instead, they allowed the situation to escalate for nearly two hours! They did not teach the boys how to handle a bad situation and actually endangered their welfare. [It seems that the chaperones included parents of these children. Easy to say 'Let's get out of here', but how and where to? The situation developed because the Covington contingent had to wait for the buses that would take them home. They obviously were where they were supposed to wait for the buses. Without their means of transportation, it would have been a logistical nightmare for any adult to try to improvise an escape from the hecklers, who would surely have found a way to pursue and hound their victims if the latter had tried to 'flee'.]

If those chaperones were faculty or staff, they should be terminated. If they were parents, they should never again be given a position of trust.

4. The Native American activist certainly did not enter the fray to de-escalate the impending crisis; he went to agitate (as his unfolding history now demonstrates).
- He has the temerity to say that he felt threatened by the boys, when it was he who marched into their midst, coming within inches of Nick Sandmann’s face.
- Had a white supremacist done that to a Native American or African American boy, all hell would have broken loose in the mainstream media. [But because the 'victim' was Whitey, and the attackers were privileged politically correct minorities, the media were obviously cheering for the attackers. Hey, world, you see how protective we are of our minorities? If there is any confrontation at all, it would be because Whitey started it. Who do these white people think they are, anyway? In the America of 'black lives matter', they are even less than crap!]

5. The “Statement of Nicholas Sandmann” is a powerful account of the unfolding of events, with every detail corroborated by subsequent audio and video; indeed, none of it shows any wrong behavior by the kids: not a hint of malice or prejudice, even under fire.

I must say that as impressed as I am by the “Statement,” my long years in high school work cause me to question that the document was written by a sixteen-year-old! It would have been better to call it a “Statement on Behalf of Nicholas Sandmann.” [But Father, it says at the end of the statement that it comes from the Sandmann family. Who must be commended for having the poise and presence of mind to think of issuing such a statement, and for the masterful simplicity of its narrative. Perhaps someone in the family is a professional writer or even PR man, or the family knows someone who is, and wisely asked their help.] [COLORE=#0026FF][P.S. The Sandmanns did use a professional PR service for the statement. Good for them.]

Where do we go from here?
The school sent the boys to Washington to advocate for justice for the unborn, and it should be praised for that.
- Unfortunately, the kids themselves didn’t get justice from the anti-life media and, even more sadly, from many in their own Church.

In this professional educator’s opinion, how should this be resolved?
- The Diocese and school ought to apologize to the boys.
- I think the adults present should get the axe. But I’m not holding my breath.

It is worth reading Nicholas Sandmann's account:

I attended the March for Life last week but saw nothing of the episode that seems to have come to define it in the public mind: the alleged altercation between the students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American war veteran.

Those who heard only the first draft of the story — concocted on the basis of a slickly edited video on Twitter — are left with the impression that the students wearing MAGA caps assailed this sexagenarian hero and subjected him to abuse. Those few who viewed the full video know that something close to the opposite occurred.

Most of the media outlets who ran with the initial version appear to have been too busy to catch up with the correction, so the Twitter mob that sought to destroy those boys and all belonging to them — and forced an apology from the boys’ teachers and diocese before the truth emerged — got to decide the tone and meaning of the March for Life in the minds of most of those who took in anything at all about it.

The problem indicates an absence of adulthood:
- Nobody is capable of summoning up the courage and authority to clap his hands and shout “Stop!” as evils are perpetrated in plain sight.
- Of course, the episode also confirms something we ought to have absorbed years ago: that Twitter is a vile, decivilizing instrument.
In the not too distant future, should there be any sane and sentient adults capable of sifting through the ashes of the one-time Christian West, they will almost certainly conclude that it was Twitter, the generator of vile and hateful mobs, wot dunnit. Yet we watch with no more than a shrug as each new low finds its place at the bottom.

Coming from Ireland (where abortion was declared legal just days beforehand, following last year’s voting down of the unborn child's right-to-life), I was especially attentive to the march. It was an overwhelmingly positive occasion. Along with reports of the continuing decline of abortion in the United States, it gave me enormous hope that perhaps my country may one day be diverted from its present disastrous path. I went home greatly buoyed up, but with a couple of reservations.

One reservation I expressed the first time I attended the march, a decade ago: The overwhelming presence of religious slogans and iconography prevents the meaning of the march from deeply penetrating a secular society that rejects this language. The eyes of the momentarily curious glance off such symbols: nothing to see there.

We know the meanings of these symbols, and the connection they have to the meaning of everything. People do not simple-mindedly oppose abortion because they are “religious” — they see the killing of unborn children as self-evidently barbarous. Our lives derive from (let us put it in vaguely secular terms) the force that generates reality, and the integrity of this process is central to understanding why abortion is a great evil.

To speak thinly — and derivatively — of that process as purely a matter of “human rights” is evasive and inadequate by comparison, and yet different words are needed to address the world beyond Capitol Hill.

The argument I made a decade ago is a tactical one, a plea for pragmatism in the face of the great evil that is destroying a civilization rendered insensate by secular ineloquence and mendacity. It would be profoundly wrong — and counterproductive —to propose a solution centered on removing all those Christian slogans and icons, but we need to translate their messages into secular language, however narrow and unresponsive that language may be.

My second hesitation goes to the roots of the incident involving the Covington students. In no sense do I blame those boys for what happened.
- They were set up and earmarked for evisceration on Twitter and in the so-called American media, an entity exceeded in malevolence only by the media of my own country.
- The aim, of course, was to create a Cultural Marxist trope —originalist omnipotent victim v. pimpled patriarchs-in-waiting — to discredit the March for Life, which remains a drum beaten under the nose of the death culture of modern media because the operators of these scrofulous entities cannot bear to notice the genocide under their noses.

The exuberance and good humor of the boys seems to have been what attracted the attentions of the various malcontents the Covington boys ran foul of. Though I have no criticism to make of those boys, I respectfully submit that the episode supports a feeling I had about the march in general: Its tone has become unmoored from the gravity of its subject matter.

Like anyone else, my wife and I were in a happy mood when we set out for the march. The buzz when we arrived at the Mall was extraordinary and there appeared to be considerably more people present than the last time I attended — upwards of half-a-million. People were standing around chatting and laughing, sipping coffee, telling stories, making each other laugh. Many of them were young and exuberant despite having traveled for hours on cramped coaches. Their numbers brought great joy to the clouded souls of these two Irish pilgrims.

But as the march edged its way toward Constitution Avenue, and the gaiety continued, I began to think that maybe this was not the best way to mark the gravity of this Holocaust of our time. I could see that the celebratory mood — celebratory of undoubted achievements of the American pro-life movement — was in a sense justified and essential to the continuing success of the event. But I also realized that the march has become more a celebration of pro-life energies than a commemoration of abortion victims. The unbroken atmosphere of joyousness begins to wear thin after a while.

I have a proposal to make that I believe could alter the tone and mood of the march — in a way that might arrest a media and public mindset that simply glazes over as the march goes by.
- It may be time the march was transformed into a more somber confrontation of America's doublethink in the face of the abortion apocalypse.

The march requires an injection of solemnity, and the idea I tumbled upon comes from one of the most striking styles of protest I have observed: that of the Sentinelle in Piedi (the Standing Sentinels) a movement that erupted in Italy during the public controversy that attended the introduction of gay civil unions not long ago.
This informal movement — comprising men and women, young and old, students and grandparents, families and individuals — took to Italian streets in 2016 to defend the ecology of family life, assembling in piazzas across the country, each protestor simply standing there reading silently from a book he or she had brought along. Participants were arranged in the form of a checkerboard, one meter away from each other.

Something akin to this might work well at some juncture of the March for Life. The question is what book to read — the Bible is in one sense the right book, but in another not. The U.S. Constitution is out for different reasons.

My proposal is this: Very soon, the pro-life movement should organize a nationwide — maybe even worldwide — competition for a children’s short story that somehow expresses the gravity of the abortion issue and that is appropriate for young children, a story of death-before-life.

The winning entry would then be printed in book form, to be distributed to attendees at next year’s March for Life. At a certain juncture, the attendance would lapse into silence, each person holding the book up for the world to see. Then, after a suitable prearranged pause, the crowd would begin to read the story aloud as one person — a bedtime story for the millions of children whose lives have been stolen by abortionists and their apologists all over the world.

John Waters is an Irish writer and commentator, the author of nine books, and a playwright.

From Bishop Barron, a reflection on the evil mob mentality that the Internet too often generates these days, but IMHO, he errs hugely if he thinks that the social media adepts who unleash their satanic passions could curb the groupthink reflex that drives them - not that they would want to at all!

The Internet and Satan’s game
by Bishop Robert Barron

January 22, 2019

By now the entire country has seen a video of a supposedly racist confrontation, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, between a grinning young high school student and a Native American elder, chanting and beating a drum. The immediate and ferocious judgment of the internet community was that the boy was effectively taunting and belittling the elder, but subsequent videos from wider angles as well as the young man’s own testimony have cast considerable doubt on this original assessment.

My purpose in this article is not to adjudicate the situation, which remains, at best, ambiguous, even in regard to the basic facts. ['At best ambiguous'? That's a cop-out, Your Excellency!] It is to comment, rather, on the morally outrageous and deeply troubling nature of the response to this occurrence, one that I would characterize as, quite literally, Satanic.

When the video in question first came to my attention, it already had millions of views on Facebook and had been commented upon over 50,000 times. Eager to find out what this was all about, I began to scroll through the comments.
- They were practically one hundred percent against the young man, and they were marked, as is customary on social media, by stinging cruelty. - As I continued to survey the reactions, I began to come across dozens urging retribution against the boy, and then dozens more that provided the addresses and email contacts of his parents, his school, and his diocese.
- I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness, do they realize what they’re doing? They’re effectively destroying, even threatening, this kid’s life.”

At this point, my mind turned, as it often does today, to René Girard. The great Franco-American philosopher and social commentator is best known for his speculations on what he called the scapegoating mechanism. Sadly, Girard maintained, most human communities, from the coffee klatch to the nation state, are predicated upon this dysfunctional and deeply destructive instinct.

Roughly speaking, it unfolds as follows.
- When tensions arise in a group (as they inevitably do), people commence to cast about for a scapegoat, for someone or some group to blame.
- Deeply attractive, even addictive, the scapegoating move rapidly attracts a crowd, which in short order becomes a mob.
- In their common hatred of the victim, the blamers feel an ersatz sense of togetherness.
- Filled with the excitement born of self-righteousness, the mob then endeavors to isolate and finally eliminate the scapegoat, convinced that this will restore order to their roiled society.

At the risk of succumbing to the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy, nowhere is the Girardian more evident than in the Germany of the 1930s. Hitler ingeniously exploited the scapegoating mechanism to bring his country together — obviously in a profoundly wicked way.

Girard’s theory was grounded in his studies of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and other literary figures, but his profoundest influence was the Bible, which not only identified the problem, but showed the way forward.

Take a good, long look at the story of the Woman Caught in Adultery in the eighth chapter of John’s Gospel to see what Girard saw regarding both the sin and the solution. It is surely telling that one of the principal names for the devil in the New Testament is ho Satanas, which carries the sense of the accuser.

And how significant, thought Girard, that it is precisely ho Satanas who offers all of the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, implying that all forms of human community are tainted, at least to a large degree, by the characteristically Satanic game of accusation, blaming, scapegoating.

All of which brings me back to the incident in Washington and the nasty reaction to it on the internet. I have used the internet to great positive effect in my evangelical work for many years; so I certainly don’t agree with those who denounce it in an unnuanced way.

However, there is something about social media comboxes that make them a particularly pernicious breeding-ground for Girardian victimizing. Perhaps it’s the anonymity, or the ease with which comments can be made and published, or the prospect of finding a large audience with little effort — but these forums are, increasingly, fever swamps in which hatred and accusation breed.

When looking for evidence of the Satanic in our culture, don’t waste your time on special effects made popular by all of the exorcism movies. Look no further than your computer and the twisted “communities” that it makes possible and the victims that it regularly casts out.

A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published a piece on me and my work. The author referred to me as “the Bishop of the Internet,” a title which I find more than a little strange. But for the moment, I’m going to claim it, only so I can make a pastoral pronouncement to all those who use social media.
- When you’re about to make a comment, ask yourself a very simple question: “Am I doing this out of love, out of a sincere wish for the good of the person or persons I’m addressing?”
- If not, shut up.
- If it becomes clear that your comment is simply spleen-venting, scapegoating, or virtue-signalling, shut up.

[Very unrealistic proposals to make! Groupthink - the mob mentality favored by the Internet in this case - has never been characterized by prudence. Because groupthink is a reflex that is conditioned into the mindset of those who follow it, and they do so blindly, believing that being part of a huge consensus automatically makes that consensus right. No one 'thinks' when carrying out a reflex reaction!]

The internet can be a marvelous tool, and it can be a weapon used for Satanic purposes. Applying the test of love can very effectively undermine the scapegoating mechanism and drive the devil out.
00Wednesday, January 23, 2019 3:48 PM

Squandering moral capital
Where is the moral challenge to tyranny?
Where is the summons to heroic resistance?

by George Weigel

January 23, 2019

The morality of tyrannicide is not much discussed in today’s kinder, gentler Catholic Church. Yet that difficult subject once engaged some of Catholicism’s finest minds, including Thomas Aquinas and Francisco Suárez, and it was passionately debated during the Second World War by German officers — many of them devout Christians — who were pondering the assassination of Adolf Hitler. (Their efforts were known and tacitly approved by Pius XII, but that’s another story.)

What about today? Were I back in the classroom, I’d ask my students to construct a morally defensible argument for killing a tyrant. If the student followed Aquinas’s reasoning, the case for tyrannicide would involve a leader who was doing grave evil, who could not be removed from power except by being killed, and whose assassination would not make matters worse. Were those conditions met, Aquinas argued in his Commentary on Peter Lombard, a citizen might even be “praised and rewarded” for being the “one who liberates his country by killing a tyrant.”

With the 30th anniversary of the Revolution of 1989 [the bloodless one that led to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and of the entire Communist system in Europe] coming this fall, we’ll all be reminded that there are alternatives to killing tyrants or surrendering to evil: awakened consciences can discover nonviolent tools of resistance to tyranny, tools preferable to assassination.

And consciences are awakened when men and women hear a summons to moral heroism — to living in the truth, which is the greatest of liberators. That is why the current stance of the Holy See toward Latin American tyrannies is so disconcerting.

For rather than calling the people of hard-pressed countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to effective, nonviolent resistance against tyrants on the model of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, the Vatican is constantly bleating about “dialogue” with murderous thugs who’ve demonstrated for decades that they’re only interested in maintaining their power, masking their gross personal ambition and greed with a fog cloud of gibberish about “the revolution.”

Now, however, 20 former Latin American heads of state and government have said, politely but firmly, that enough is enough. In a January 6 letter to their fellow-Latin American, Pope Francis, the signatories, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, acknowledged the “good faith” and “pastoral spirit” of Francis’s Christmas blessing Urbi et Orbi [to the city and the world].

But they also reminded the pope that Venezuelans “are victims of oppression by a militarized narco-dictatorship which has no qualms about systematically violating the rights to life, liberty, and personal integrity,” a corrupt regime that has also “subjected [Venezuelans] to widespread famine and lack of medicine.”

As for Nicaragua, President Arias and his colleagues noted that the Ortega regime has recently killed 300 Nicaraguans and wounded 2,500 others in a “wave of repression” against nonviolent protesters.

In these contexts, the former leaders concluded, the papal “call for harmony….can be understood by the victimized nations [as an instruction] that they should come to agreement with their victimizers.” Which is why the majority in Nicaragua and Venezuela received the Pope’s Christmas message “in a very negative way.”

In 2013, the Church’s moral influence in world affairs was at its modern apogee.
- John Paul II was widely recognized as a pivotal figure in the nonviolent collapse of European communism and a significant player in the democratization of Latin America and East Asia.
- Drawing on John Paul’s social doctrine and his own penetrating insights into political modernity, Benedict XVI had made powerful statements about the moral foundations of the 21st-century free society in lectures at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, London’s Westminster Hall, and the Bundestag in Berlin.

What has the world seen since then?

- It has seen a papal initiative in Syria that, however well-intended, provided cover for the Obama administration to back off its “red line” about Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. ]
- It has seen a Vatican that refuses to use the words “invasion,” “war,” and “occupation” to describe Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss in Crimea and his war in eastern Ukraine, which has killed more than 10,000 and displaced more than a million Ukrainians, many of them Ukrainian Greek Catholics.
- It has seen a Vatican deal with China that is widely regarded as a kow-tow to ruthless, aggressive authoritarians.

Where is the moral challenge to tyranny? Where is the summons to heroic resistance? Great moral capital is being squandered, in a world that desperately needs a moral compass.

So George Weigel escalates his denunciations of 'the Vatican' but still without naming the principal culprit, although he does that indirectly here by using the letter of the Latin American leaders to this pope. Still, he is the only commentator I have seen so far to have reacted to that letter - which says something of the inexplicable apathy that seems to operate even among the most serious Catholic commentators when a Bergoglio offense is not as 'concrete' or 'automatically denounceable' as, say, coddling a sex-offender protege. As if Bergoglian laissez-faire for tyrants were not a sin of moral indifferentism on a parallel order of magnitude.

And Weigel does well to highlight the modern apogee of Church influence in world affairs as late as the end of Benedict XVI's Pontificate.

Why do I mind so much that he still fails to indict Bergoglio by name in his many rightful denunciations of 'Vatican' shortcomings in the past year? Because for the first few years of this Pontificate, he was an unabashed acolyte of Bergoglio - something I found hard to explain for the biographer nonpareil of John Paul II. Though he made it clear after Bergoglio was elected that he believed this was the man who could realize his, Weigel's, projection of an evangelical Catholicism that would revive the faith! Hah! Look where we are today from having an openly anti-Catholic apostate at the helm of the institutional Church.

00Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:28 AM
Infamous scribblers:
Virtue signalers on the warpath


January 23, 2019

From October 22 to November 30, in 1878, a large fair was held in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York City before its dedication. It took advantage of the magnificent open space before pews were installed to the distress of the architect, James Renwick, who objected that Protestant furniture had no place in a Catholic shrine. Renwick was a Protestant himself, but also an aesthetic purist and an Anglican, and no Puritan; however, Archbishop McCloskey needed money and, as with having a fundraising fair, renting pews out was a way to get it.

Six months earlier, and exactly one block north in her huge mansion on the same side of Fifth Avenue, Madame Restell had reclined in her bathtub and slit her throat. She left a fortune of over twelve million dollars in today’s money, after a career as the nation’s most notorious abortionist. Not unfamiliar with prison, her dismal career had been haunted by what we would now call investigative journalists in the employ of The New York Times. Founded in 1851, the “Gray Lady” became the journal of the new Republican Party and helped with the demolition of the corrupt Tweed Ring.

Times change, even for The New York Times, which over more recent years has abandoned its foundational moral rectitude. Although not proud of its whitewashing of the Ukraine famine and Stalin’s show trials by the complicit reporter Walter Duranty, the newspaper has not yet renounced his Pulitzer Prize, nor has it demurred from the praise heaped on it by Fidel Castro when he visited their editorial office in a gesture of thanks for their support.

There was also that problem with Jayson Blair’s plagiarism, and the misrepresentation of the young men falsely accused of sexual violence at Duke University. The latter bears some resemblance to the recent incident in our nation’s capital when youths from Covington Catholic High School were accused of racist bullying. But The New York Times has had the decency, along with some others, to regret the haste with which it moved to condemn the innocent.

Unlike Mark Twain who noted that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated, those who now say that journalism is dead may have a good case. Thus one should not expect much from those who report the activities of others and by so doing arrogate to themselves the importance of the actors. Despite the fact that he was a journalist himself, G.K. Chesterton said that writing badly is the definition of journalism.
- When hieroglyphics were the best, if static, medium of telling the news in the thirteenth century BC, Rameses the Great advertised himself as the victor of the Battle of Kadesh, although truth-tellers knew that he had lost.
- The city of Trent spread a “blood libel” against Jews in 1475 that led to a massacre, and not even Pope Sixtus IV could stop it, though he tried.
- In 1765, Samuel Adams, whose only worthy legacy is beer, falsely claimed in print that Thomas Hutchinson, a Loyalist, supported the Stamp Tax, with the result that the helpless man’s house was burned to the ground.
- In 1782, five months after Yorktown, Benjamin Franklin produced a hoax news release during his sojourn in Paris, claiming that King George had induced American Indians to commit atrocities, and he also forged the name of John Paul Jones to another libel.
- And, of course, Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake” (actually it was “brioche”), but those who wanted to believe it did so.
- George Washington had enough of journalists, and told Hamilton that he was quitting public life because of “a disinclination to be longer buffitted [sic] in the public prints [sic] by a set of infamous scribblers.”

There is no need to recount the details of the latest incident in our nation’s capital, when the high school boys were defamed by journalists with the accusation that they mocked an elderly Native American who was trying to calm a confrontation with a radical group of anti-white, anti-Semitic racists.

Videos proved that there was no truth to this, but a flurry of demagogic “virtue signaling” berated the boys without giving them a chance to testify.
- In the eyes of the secular media, the lads were at a portentous disadvantage, being white Catholic males, some of whom were wearing MAGA hats.
- The “Native American” was described as an elderly Vietnam War veteran. But few 64-year-olds today would qualify as geriatric. And in the last year that any US combat units were stationed in Vietnam — 1973 — he would have been 18 years old.
- Mr. Phillips, a professional “activist” for the Indigenous Peoples March, also claims to be a marine veteran, which may be the case, but to have been a Marine veteran in Vietnam when the last Marine combat divisions left in 1971, he would have been 16 years old. This information has been ignored in some quarters.

Journalists were supposed to expose hoaxes pretending to be facts, but now they prefer to call facts hoaxes. I speak without prejudice; having been born in New Jersey, I can also claim to be an Indigenous Person. Besides that, as a teenager, I was schooled in a college originally established for the education of what used to be called Indians.

This brings up a contiguous complaint. As soon as this incident was reported, The Washington Post, in its role as the intemperate sibling of The New York Times, ran an essay decrying “the shameful exploitation of Native Americans by the Catholic Church.”

For secularists, any missionary venture must have been exploitative and destructive of native culture, even though Christian evangelists have thwarted infanticide, human sacrifice, the cremation of widows, polygamy, caste systems and, yes, slavery.

The article in the Post made no mention of
- The Jesuit Martyrs of North America who endured torture and death to bring the Gospel to dejected tribes and peace to internecine tribal slaughterers.
- Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, who was exiled by her own tribe, the Mohawks, for her love of Christ.
- Saint Junipero Serra who transformed the fortunes of the indigenous “gatherer” culture.
- Saint Katherine Drexel who donated her vast inheritance to establish fifty missions among the native peoples.
- The heroic Bishop Martin Marty who brought science and literacy to the Dakota territory, or
- Father Jean-Pierre DeSmet who fashioned the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, and so befriended Chief Tatanta Iytake (“Sitting Bull”) that the venerable chief, impeded from his own reception into the Church by having two wives, wore a crucifix to his dying day and saw to it that Buffalo Bill Cody was baptized the day before he died.
Defamation by journalists is unethical in the professional sphere and sinful in the economy of God, but to submit saints to detraction is blasphemous.

The scene of Pope Leo XIII applauding the Wild West Show of Buffalo Bill and Chief Sitting Bull on tour in Rome would probably confound journalists at The Washington Post. Buffalo Bill and his entourage were wined and dined at the North American College there, an event that might have been inaccurately reported by CNN. But these are facts, and Catholics who do not know their history are accountable for letting it be maligned.

The incident with the Covington boys may be more significant than some transient scandal.

One remembers Senator Joseph McCarthy using the media to his advantage, and to this day his foes will not admit that he did indeed expose some real threats to the nation. The young Robert Kennedy was his assistant attorney and McCarthy was godfather to Robert’s first daughter, Kathleen, although he died four years later and obviously had no catechetical influence.

But when his actions became extravagant, the Army attorney Joseph Welch asked, “Have you no sense of decency?” Therewith the whole deck of cards collapsed.

Perhaps the media are beyond a sense of shame now, wallowing as they are in destructive polemics, but fair-minded people may be moved by this Covington incident to recognize the indecency of political correctness. Such correctness is most demeaning when it cloaks itself in an affected moralism which agnostic subjectivism has otherwise displaced from social discourse.

Our Lord condemned “virtue signaling” in his parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the Temple. “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like this sinner.”

There are Pharisees in every corridor of society, but they find a most comfortable berth in the Church. So it was that the very diocese of the Covington students, without interviewing them or asking for evidence outside the media, promptly threatened to punish them.
- There was no reference to the hateful racism and obscene references to priests chanted by the cultic Hebrew Israelites as they threatened those Catholic youths.
- Instead, bishops issued anodyne jargon about the “dignity of the human person” without respecting the dignity of their own spiritual sons.

The latest advertisement of the Gillette razor company portraying examples of “toxic masculinity” did not accuse any bishop, but only ecclesiastical bureaucrats would consider that a compliment.

Pope Francis, off-the-cuff and at a high altitude in an airplane, once asked, “Who am I to judge?” There might at last be some application of that malapropism to shepherds who jump to judgment and throw their lambs to the wolves of the morally bankrupt media in a display of virtue signaling and in fear of being politically incorrect.

Our tribal warfare
By Robert Royal

JANUARY 23, 2019

We have already all heard enough – and more than enough – about the Covington Catholic boys involved in one of the morality plays that social media these days conjure up instantly, out of thin air. White Catholic boys wearing MAGA hats, marching in Washington to end abortion, from a “prep” school in the South? They just had to be racists and smugly affirming “white privilege.” And don’t forget: denying women their 'reproductive rights'.

So what, in reality, began near the Lincoln Memorial as an attack on the boys by Black Hebrew activists calling them “faggots” and worse (it’s on the tape); followed by the encounter with an Indian activist that (again to judge by the full tape) shows no more than some confused interaction, pointing to absolutely nothing; we have, once again, full-blown tribal warfare in America.

Social media are largely now a sewer of outrage – your virtue signaling is greater the more it’s sensitive and offended, outraged and violent towards the other side.
- Worse, the mainstream media now also get into this shameful act. Outlets like the New York Times and CNN repeated the slurs about the boys – and then were forced to admit that further video “changed the context.”
- Serious media are supposed to get context and balance right before they enflame the kind of social divisions already only too evident now. None that I’ve seen has issued a retraction and apology.

The Times did run a very good column by David Brooks about the shameful way the “incident” has been publicized. He concludes that the Covington boys displayed the least objectionable behavior among the actors.

The result: Commenters on his column have basically said, yeah, but it doesn’t matter because the basic point, white privilege vs. disrespect for an elderly Native American, is the Truth. Justice – the concrete guilt or innocence of specific individuals – is thus unimportant compared to “Truth.”

Our tribal warfare would be less distressing if Christians themselves refrained from this sort of stereotyping, but they don’t. I see it quite often when moderate liberals, whom I know personally, are accused of connections to radical groups and views, which I know they don’t share.

I myself, for example, have strongly criticized things that Pope Francis has done and said over the past five years. But it’s appalling to see how some people then go on to speak about him. A Christian has to be scrupulous about the truth, which is one of the names of God. One consequence of launching wild attacks is that, when there’s really something that calls for loud denunciation, critics are dismissed as cranks.

In this context, it’s worth saying something about another incident - at Notre Dame this week - that’s distressing because the university is America’s most prestigious Catholic institution of higher learning and ought to know – and act – better when it gets involved with questions of truth and injustice.

The university recently decided to cover up murals on campus depicting Christopher Columbus, the Cross, and Native Americans. President Fr. John Jenkins offered a confusing rationale for the move.
- He clearly wanted to respond to Native American protests while at the same time “to preserve artistic works originally intended to celebrate immigrant Catholics who were marginalized at the time in society.
- But do so in a way that avoids unintentionally marginalizing others.” Especially since Columbus represents “exploitation, expropriation of land, repression of vibrant cultures, enslavement, and new diseases causing epidemics that killed millions.”

He doesn’t. I actually wrote a book on the controversies surrounding Columbus in 1992, the 500th anniversary of his first voyage. There are things to criticize, though nothing like these broadbrush charges. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Bartolomè de Las Casas, O.P., the famed “Defender of the Indians”: “Truly, I would not blame the admiral’s intentions, for I knew him well, and knew his intentions were good.” The Admiral, says Las Casas, simply did not know what to do in the unprecedented circumstances of the encounter of two worlds previously unknown to one another.

And there’s another side to this story, because slavery and human sacrifice were common in the areas the Spaniards first explored. As Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican novelist and no great friend to Christianity, put it: “One can only imagine the astonishment of the hundreds and thousands of Indians who asked for baptism as they came to realize that they were being asked to adore a god who sacrificed himself for men instead of asking men to sacrifice themselves to gods.”

Still, I would not much defend those murals. They’re mediocre portrayals of a fantasy version of Columbus bringing the Faith to the New World. In purely historical terms, the cringing and humiliated Native Americans correspond to nothing.

My worry is that something larger is afoot.
- Because if Notre Dame is going down this path, it might just as well also cover up all the crucifixes and depictions of Christ on campus:
- Some might feel excluded and marginalized by them, in our current dispensation. [Just like the reigning pope arbitrarily deciding when and if to grant an apostolic blessing - as all popes are expected to do - because he suddenly gets a bee in his zucchetta that tells him, "Don't - you will offend non-believers and non-Christians!"]

Jesus, after all, was a “homophobe” who warned, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law.” (Matthew 5:17) The Mosaic Law calls homosexual acts an “abomination.” It also says “male and female he created them,” clearly the source of that widespread mental illness “transphobia.”

A certain type of progressive, including Catholic progressives, would even regard thinking it is intolerant to “preach the Gospel to all nations” as Jesus mandated. [Today, it is Christ's supposed Vicar on earth who openly flouts Jesus's Great Mandate and tells the world: "You are good as you are, where you are, whatever faith you profess, or don't profess. I have no desire to convert you at all!" - effectively abolishing the Church's primary mission.]

A Catholic – anyone committed to truth – needs to come at such questions from a very different perspective, with the courage to stand up – in public and all our culture-shaping institutions – to stereotypes of all kinds, but especially in conflicts less concerned with seeking justice about wrongs in the past than marginalizing Christianity in the present.

It turns out it wasn't just the media - social and conventional - that ganged up unfairly and on the basis of fake news against the Covington boys. Phil Lawler berates some of the pro-life leaders who were in Washington last Friday for their unseemly rush to judgment...

A black eye for pro-life leadership
by Phil Lawler

January 21, 2019

It's time for the pro-life movement to grow up.

The disgraceful treatment of students from Covington Catholic – and by that I mean the pell-mell rush of pro-life "leaders" to condemn innocent young men – illustrates a potentially fatal flaw in the movement.
- For much too long, some of the most visible spokesmen for the pro-life movement have sought desperately to be seen as respectable, to be treated fairly by the mainstream media.
- It's never happened. It's never going to happen.
- And it's not a worthy goal.

The media pounced on an opportunity to treat a few teenagers from Kentucky as symbols of bigotry, on the slimmest of evidence. That was unjust, but not unpredictable. Now that the truth about the confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial has come out, the newspapers and network that vilified the Covington Catholic students are issuing perfunctory apologies. But the damage is done, and that damage is considerable.

Still worse, in my view, is the inexcusable haste with which many pro-life spokesmen leapt for the bait, joining the chorus of condemnation.
- Even before the fuller story came out, with videotape conclusively proving that the Covington Catholic students were victims rather than aggressors, the original footage provided no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.
- Sensible reporters, and sensible commentators, should have said: "Let's look into this; let's get the whole story."

Why did so many people rush to judgment?
As it turns out, the behavior of the Covington Catholic students was blameless. They were intentionally provoked, and reacted with restraint and even courtesy.

Nick Sandmann, the teenager who suddenly became the focus of a nationwide hate campaign, has released an extraordinarily charitable statement about the incident. Their school, their diocese, and the March for Life should be proud of these young men.

Instead, the adults who should have protected and even applauded these students turned on them. Now some (and by no means all) of these adults are explaining that when they issued their first statements, they didn't have all the facts. Of course they didn't! That's precisely the point.
- They were ready to condemn without waiting for the facts.
- And now they ask us to accept their mistakes as innocent – to give them the benefit of the doubt, which they weren't willing to give to those teenage boys.

It was, again, a disgrace. But it's a disgrace that begs for an explanation.
- Why were pro-life leaders so anxious to join in the general condemnation?
- Did they really think that they could gain respectability by denouncing (what was described as) intolerance?
- Did they think the media would treat the matter fairly?
If so, then their naivete too is, at this late date, disgraceful.

"Sure, politics ain't bean-bag," said the memorable Mr. Dooley. The battle over abortion has been the roughest political fight of our era, and it would be almost criminally foolish to expect that our most militant adversaries, in this life-or-death battle, are motivated by goodwill.
- Seasoned veterans of this political battle, seeing the first short video clips of the confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial, should have wondered whether the event had been staged.
- Seasoned reporters, too, should have asked a few pointed questioned before running with the story.
But if it is foolish for pro-lifers to expect fair play, it is equally foolish to expect fair treatment from the mainstream media.

Any notion that America's largest media outlets are impartial on the abortion issue should have been dismissed after David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times – not a pro-life partisan – issued his definitive study in 1990.
- The mainstream outlets ignore pro-life claims, while acting as megaphones for the claims of the abortion industry.
- The March for Life provides an annual demonstration of the problem. Each year, without fail, mainstream outlets that routinely provide front-page coverage for leftist demonstrations fail to notice the hundreds of thousands of pro-life marchers.
- If they do give a brief mention to the March, the media grotesquely understate the scope of the event. This year, for example, we were informed by one major outlet that there were "over 1,000" participants. (Which is true, I suppose; and by the same token there will be "dozens" of people in the stands at the Super Bowl.)

Also, if they do offer a few column-inches to the pro-life marchers, major newspapers regularly gave equal coverage to a handful of pro-abortion counter-demonstrators.
- As the tenor of our nation's political debate has become increasingly toxic, the counter-demonstrators have become more aggressive, more ambitious – and now, this year, more successful in conning the "useful idiots" in the media.

What happened at the Lincoln Memorial was a classic demonstration of Alinsky tactics: a staged confrontation, an emotional appeal to the media, and then a scorched-earth campaign to demonize the opposition.
- For a few days it worked.
- And to their shame, many prominent pro-lifers succumbed to the propaganda and joined in the group-hate.

So a group of teenage boys who had done nothing wrong, who had been chosen as an opportunistic target, were subjected to public denunciation.
- Powerful adults said that they should be expelled from school, jailed, barred from future employment.
- They and their families received death threats.
- Ideologues did their best to ruin the lives of young men who had, at worst, shown a bit too much school spirit.

And you did get the message, didn't you? At the March for Life next January, some leftist agitator could choose someone you know, stage another confrontation, and try to ruin another life. Next year it could be you, or your son or your daughter.

Let's just hope – no, let's do more; let's demand – that next year the prominent people who claim to be leaders of the pro-life movement won't join in the lynching.

So-called conservatives
betray Catholic students

by Timothy Gordon

January 23, 2019

Yes, secular media, you failed the "Covington Catholic test," especially at outfits like The Atlantic (whose expression I lifted) and The Washington Post.

Moronic, pseudo-literate situational analogies by such outfits to "Rorschach tests" and "morality plays" have belied the extent to which all of you on the Left wanted to "confirm your biases," as Tucker Carlson said this weekend. That is, you wanted it quite a bit.

The easily impressed and the easily fooled together consumed these wayward (and maudlin) analogies. They did so with the unconcealed hunger of the overfed lapdog, whose gustatory sensibilities are no more refined than its moral ones.

Mainstream strongholds and purveyors of fake news will advance their deuced assault on Catholic Christian American morality at every opportunity.

By itself, none of this concerns me.
- It is written in the stars that the mainstream strongholds and purveyors of fake news will advance their deuced assault on Catholic Christian American morality at every opportunity. These are simply the stakes of the game.
- News reporting from progressive journalists is not news at all, just as "dog bites man" is not news.
- It's all part of the dim phantasmagoria of American life in 2019. None of it is peachy.

Conversely, only "man bites dog" counts as veritable news; the equivalent to this in terms of the Covington Catholic debacle played out on Saturday and early Sunday, as so-called conservatives sounded off to the tune that Nick Sandmann — who was accosted by Nathan Phillips — had done something wrong. This is what concerns me.

Even at first blush, he did nothing wrong.

Gullible conservatives and even pliant orthodox Catholics jumped onto the lynch mob's bandwagon, condemning Sandmann's behavior in what is now known as "the first video."
- Then, more footage came out. The narrative seems to be that the second clip gives a different — even an opposite — aspect to the story.
- This is nonsense. Sandmann has been and always was the forbearing victim (and pro-life champion, I'll add).

It is now the duty of all people of good will promptly to expel these scourges and to defend their victims from invidious hatemongers who have infiltrated our country and our Church.

Nonetheless, on this errant basis, many "fairminded" conservatives have issued impotent, useless, guarded apologies to Mr. Sandmann — ones which neither explain what he's now supposed to do with a continent's worth of threats and hate mail, nor whatever supposedly he did wrong in that first video. The mob never bothers to ask.

An impotent apology is the best that can be made, one supposes, because just how does one apologize for having such pitifully impoverished instincts as not to furnish the benefit of the doubt to a pro-life youth who attends the March for Life on his weekend? We conservatives — and especially we conservative Catholics — eat our own; no shelter for the moderately heroic.

I'll say it. Flatly, only dupes think smirking calmly in the face of a belligerent old liar with a drum is some breach of decency — soft, cowardly dupes, I mean. Thus, the mantra about the "shameful" first video fails to exculpate conservatives who threw Sandmann and his friends under the bus: shamefulness requires a measure of shame, it would seem.

A measure of shame is now required in American life.
- At this juncture, racism has returned to our shores (just watch the new videos of the African Israelite scumbags who utter pure vileness — without public outcry);
- sexism has burned with effeminate fire and now, it scorches all it touches;
- hateful anti-Catholicism never left these shores.

It is now the duty of all people of good will promptly to expel these scourges and to defend their victims from invidious hatemongers who have infiltrated our country and our Church.

Thought crimes, media abuse and
those Catholic boys from Covington

by John Kass

January 23, 2019

What exactly triggered that hateful leftist social media mob — shamefully egged on by prominent American journalists — to unjustly attack the students at Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School and denounce them as racists?

The school has been closed. Death threats and bullying continue. Students and family complain they’ve been doxed — their identities revealed so that the hateful mob can harass them some more.

So, what happened? Why were the students vilified?
- Was it simply for the sin of being white, Roman Catholic supporters of President Donald Trump, the boys having the gall to wear their “MAGA” hats at the March for Life?
- Or was it something else?

“This is a bad day for the news media,” said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they’re willing to lie to do it.”

Toobin is clearly a prophet. He doesn’t think it’s true that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars.

But he clearly understands the meat and bones of the thing: Americans think the media lies for political reasons and journalistic credibility flies away, cawing idiotically, like a murder of crows.

Unfortunately, the great prophet Toobin wasn’t talking about the Covington story.

Rather, he was talking about another story that came before the Covington story. And it, too, blew up in the media’s face: that BuzzFeed story alleging that Trump had directed his smarmy fixer to lie to Congress.

Many in the Democratic Media Complex bought that BuzzFeed story, jumped on it, reported it breathlessly, used it as a platform to pump up their ratings and tease, deliciously, what they’ve been teasing for so long now: Trump’s imminent demise.

Democrats were ecstatic. If true, they said, Trump would be impeached. If true, they said, Trump was finished. If true, if true, if true.

Then something happened. It wasn’t true, according to special counsel Robert Mueller. His office office issued a statement refuting the BuzzFeed story. Mueller knocked it down. And so, sheepishly, with egg on their faces, many in that Democratic Media Complex were upset and chastened.

But nature and politics and cable news abhor a vacuum. And on the day of Mueller’s statement came the March for Life, with huge crowds of people, most of them religious, many of them Christian, marching in protest against abortion. The boys from the Covington school, in their “MAGA” hats, were among them.

Usually, media isn’t all that interested in the March for Life. Media mostly leans to the left and employs social justice warriors to protect abortion rights. But this year, with the anti-Trumpers deflated after the collapse of the BuzzFeed story, something happened to lift their spirits.

Those Covington High School students were waiting for their bus after the march, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with their “MAGA” hats.

The boys were wrongfully and publicly accused of confronting Native American activist Nathan Phillips, because that was what was highlighted on a short video of the event that went viral.

But it turned out the aggressors were Phillips himself, pounding his drum and singing loudly within inches of a Covington boy’s face, and several Black Hebrew Israelite protesters shouting horrible racist insults at the boys.

Phillips’s credibility is becoming shakier by the day. I don’t want to call an old man a liar when he’s playing the hero, but he’s all over the map on his facts.

“There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey," Phillips told reporters, rather dramatically. "These young men were beastly, and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that."

Prey? That’s ridiculous. I won’t repeat what the Black Hebrew Israelites said, but what they said was racist and cheap and stupid and ugly.

One of the students, Nick Sandmann, was unlucky enough to be confronted by Phillips. Sandmann was provoked, clearly, but he didn’t attack, he just smiled nervously.

But the way many reacted — including media — suggests they’ve never raised a child. If you’re a parent, think of your child in that situation, not being angry, not over-reacting, just standing, calmly, with a nervous smile that was derided as a hateful smirk of privilege.

CNN legal analyst Bakari Sellers wanted the boys to be punched. “He is deplorable,” Sellers tweeted. “Some ppl can also be punched in the face.” [What's 'ppl'? Forgive me, I cannot keep up with jargon and new acronyms - even if 'ppl' may be as old as the hills, for all I know!]

He deleted that tweet, but does that erase the fact? CNN’s Ana Navarro also deleted a tweet that likened Covington parents to paper towels in a toilet.

“Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” asked former CNN personality Reza Aslan.

But it wasn’t just CNN and those on the left that peeled the skin of the boys from Covington.

The most depressing part of it all is that the center-right also jumped on them hard, lest they, too, be accused of supporting thought crimes.

The National Review put out a short piece online suggesting the boys had defiled their faith, as if they’d spat on the cross. To its credit, the National Review removed the article when it became clear that the boys had been the victims, rather than the aggressors. [Before giving NR credit, did it at least issue an apology to the boys and to their readers for the article they removed and say very clearly that they are therefore 'unpublishing' the article???]

This is the new debilitating fear in America: being accused of thought crime and attacked by cyberbarbarians. You may be shamed and lose your career and have everything taken away.

Depending, of course, upon your politics.

There ought to be a mechanism that can prevent people from deleting erroneous, stupid or reckless material once they have posted it online.

In the conventional media, subsequent editions of newspapers or magazines may suppress any material that comes under the heading of 'Ooops, that was stupid, and I better not keep it on my record", but your stupidity stands on record in what was already printed. Likewise, in radio or television. You can't really unsay what has been recorded to have been said - and believe me, there will always be a record somewhere - but you can sort of redeem yourself, whether in print, radio or TV, by subsequently owning up to your error in the most gracious way you can without further violating the truth!

Some may say that there will always be a 'cache' of the original of any online material that is deleted after it is posted, but not being familiar with these niceties, do these 'caches' last forever, theoretically, or do they lapse after a certain time?

Something that has worked so far to expose nasty people who get second thoughts and are able to expunge their posted stupidities is for alert watchers to make a screen capture of the nasty or erroneous or reckless post and launch it by mass e-mail to as wide an interested audience as you can reach - the better to make a case, if need be, against whoever launched something into cyberspace that an come back at them like a boomerang... But then, who can really keep an eye on the hordes of social media adepts who are most likely to be guilty of heat-of-the-moment posts that they may later feel ashamed of, or sorry for, and in any case, would not want them to live on in cyberspace?

And this - in which Ross Douthat gets to debate his conscience...

The Covington Scissor
Welcome to another controversy algorithmically
designed to tear America apart

Jan. 22, 2019

In a short story published last October, “Sort by Controversial,” Scott Alexander imagines a Silicon Valley company that accidentally comes up with an algorithm to generate what it calls a “Scissor.”

The scissor is a statement, an idea or a scenario that’s somehow perfectly calibrated to tear people apart — not just by generating disagreement, but by generating total incredulity that somebody could possibly disagree with your interpretation of the controversy, followed by escalating fury and paranoia and polarization, until the debate seems like a completely existential, win-or-perish fight.

When you start arguing with someone over a Scissor statement, Alexander’s narrator explains,

“At first you just think they’re an imbecile.
- Then they call you an imbecile, and you want to defend yourself. - You notice all the little ways they’re lying to you and themselves and their audience every time they open their mouth to defend their imbecilic opinion.
- Then you notice how all the lies are connected, that in order to keep getting the little things like the Scissor statement wrong, they have to drag in everything else.
- Eventually even that doesn’t work; they’ve just got to make everybody hate you so that nobody will even listen to your argument no matter how obviously true it is.”

The twist in the short story comes with the narrator’s realization that several Scissors on the algorithm-generated list have happened already — the “ground zero mosque,” the N.F.L. and the national anthem, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

So maybe somebody (Putin? the C.I.A.?) made this breakthrough first, and weaponized it against American society. “Of the Scissor’s predicted top hundred most controversial statements, Kavanaugh was No. 58 and Kaepernick was No. 42. No. 86 was the ground zero mosque. No. 89 was that baker who wouldn’t make a cake for a gay wedding.” [WHAT WAS #1???]

And now we have — well, let’s call it No. 40 on the Scissor list (meaning there’s worse, oh so much worse, to come), in the form of the videos of Catholic high school boys from Kentucky, in Washington to attend the March for Life, some of them wearing Make America Great Again hats, in some sort of confrontation with a chanting, drumming Native American activist who was intervening in another confrontation between the teenagers and a group of black nationalists.

To understand what makes this incident so brilliant in its divisiveness, you need to see the tapestry in full, how each constituent element (abortion, race, MAGA, white boys, Catholicism, Native American ritual) automatically confirms priors on both sides of our divide.

And you also need to see how the video itself, far from being a means to achieving consensus, is an amazing accelerant of controversy, because everyone who watches can pick up on a different detail and convince themselves that they’re seeing the whole tru —

Are you really doing this, Ross?
Excuse me?

Are you really trying to write one of your pretend-evenhanded, both-sides-do-it, “let’s all get together and learn something” columns about this incident?
Well, I’m — wait, who are you?

Who am I? I’m your conscience, the angel on your shoulder, the real thinking mind you’ve buried under layers of performative, let-me-flatter-liberal-readers piety.
You sound a little more devilish. Or like my raging id, to be honest.

You can call me that if it makes you feel better, Dr. Freud. But you and I both know that what happened on the mall and afterward doesn’t fit that cute little Scissor framework. We both know that any rational, unbiased human being who watched all the videos would see that the initial interpretation of the encounter, the one that inspired celebrities to fantasize about punching a teenager and respectable writers to churn out think pieces on the heavy, fraught-with-white-supremacy significance of a teenage smirk, was totally, completely wrong.
I agree that it was wrong, but the point of the Scissor concept …

No, let me finish. The kids didn’t mob the drumming activist, the kid with the “smirk” wasn’t really blocking the drummer’s path and seemed more nervous than anything, the people clearly flinging racist — and homophobic! — epithets were the black nationalists, not the teenagers, and the drummer told a bunch of different stories to national media about what happened. At best he misinterpreted what was going on, at worst he deliberately lied to make the kids sound like racist goons.
O.K., since you’re my … whatever you are, you know that I’m inclined to agree. But the whole point of the Scissor thing is that to escape it, you need to imagine how other people interpret the story. I can see that the kids were rowdy, too: A couple of them made tomahawk chops, and I’m sure some of them were being offensive in other ways. Also, it’s dumb to wear MAGA caps to a march against abortion; to lots of people they’re a symbol of white-identity politics and a justifiably unpopular president, and the adults from their Catholic school should …

Oh, O.K., so if a teenager wears a cap associated with the president of the United States he’s asking to have media figures fantasize about punching him, to be doxxed and harassed, to have adults from his school temporarily stampeded into talking about expelling him, even to have half of Catholic Twitter, priests included, briefly damning him as a racist? Blame the victim much, do we?
I’m not blaming the victim, I’m explaining why the path to media misinterpretation was greased by the kids’ own rowdy behavior and culture-war signaling …

Are you listening to yourself? The path is always greased when it’s our tribe. The “nonpartisan” media took what felt like years to discover that some of the Women’s March organizers had an anti-Semitism problem, but some teenagers get rowdy at the March for Life — while they’re being yelled at by black nationalists, for God’s sake — and it gets covered like Kristallnacht. Pro-life activists get video of Planned Parenthood suits talking about chopping up unborn babies for their parts, and we have to hear claims about how they’re “selectively edited” repeated in the press forever — but a clip of an anonymous teenager smiling while someone drums in his face is a five-alarm “fascism in America” fire!
You know I think the press has a serious problem with bias on anything related to religion and social issues. But a lot of the cultural right has spent the Trump era wallowing in conspiracy theories and race-baiting — it’s not entirely surprising that liberals are conditioned to expect that kind of stuff when MAGA hats show up. Have you watched any “Hannity” lately, or gone down other #MAGA rabbit holes?

I’m in your head, so you know I have. So fine — keep being NeverTrump, be anti-Hannity, be a scold against your own side sometimes, whatever. Just don’t give me the both-sides piety when something like this happens — and what, just a week after the freakout over Karen Pence teaching art at an evangelical school with a traditional-Christian code of sexual behavior? Can’t you see that our opponents won’t be happy till every conservative religious school gets shamed or shuttered? Can’t you see that the supposed gatekeepers at “mainstream” institutions are happy to play along?
Unlike some media figures on the right, and unlike our president, those gatekeepers also correct the record and walk things back when they get things wrong. And I like writing for people who disagree with me, which requires a little more charity than you seem capable of offering.

Except that they always get things wrong the same way. They’re always looking for some white preppy scapegoat. The Rolling Stone article about frat-boy rapists that turned out to be a hoax …

You know plenty of white preppies are bad people deserving media scrutiny, you’ve lived the same life I have.

… the Kavanaugh witch hunt …
I still don’t know what really happened with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, and neither do you.

O.K., I think we’re done here.

Done? We’re just getting started. This was only the 40th worst Scissor, you said it yourself. Wait till we get to No. 20, or No. 5. You don’t agree with me yet, but you’ll get there. You’ll get there.
I don’t think so. I’m not as vulnerable as you think.

Oh, are you planning to delete your Twitter account?
What? No. I mean, I need it for my job …

[dark laughter, echoing away into an abyss]
00Thursday, January 24, 2019 10:32 AM
How the anti-dogmatic church
has yielded to the dogma of relativism

Translated from

January 22, 2019

Dear friends, I was recently interviewed by the website The Post Internazionale (TPI). A wide-ranging interview –
on this pontificate, the situation in the church, relationship with Islam… Have a good read!

RAI's Vaticanista Aldo Maria Valli:
‘Europe will soon be Eurabia… and the Pope
is overturning what his predecessors taught’

An interview by
by Vincenzo Fiore

January 22, 2019

“What else are these churches if not the sepulchers of God?” the Nietzschean madman screamed as he intoned the Requiem aeternam for the God he had proclaimed dead.

If at the end of the 19th century, that ‘greatest announcement’ was greeted with incredulity by believers and with ilarity by atheists, today the situation appears completely reversed. The church herself – or at least part of her – seems to be taking note of her own agony. [Not that the 'death' of 'the church' means the death of God!]

Aldo Maria Valli, Vaticanista of RAI and a leading intellectual in the Catholic world, tries to imagine a future in which cathedrals would be completely empty and paradise, rightly or wrongly, will simply be a fable for children.

The Emeritus Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, wrote in 1969 that the Church had started her journey towards her own end, with priests increasingly transformed to social workers and the faith reduced to a political vision. Where are we today?
That process has progressed very much. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has become increasingly involved in social issues and has paid increasingly less attention to the Last Things – death, judgment, hell and heaven. In her attempt to dialog with the world, the Church has stopped concerning herself with souls and their eternal salvation.

And under this pontificate, this tendency has been accentuated as never before. Francis has shown that he has a totally horizontal view of faith. The overwhelming majority of his interventions has been dedicated to social and economic problems. I am not saying that the Church should not concern herself with these, but we have now reached an extreme point: On the part of the Church, there is a deafening silence about the supernatural. We now have a mundanized (worldly) church which no longer speaks of original sin and does not announce redemption. A degenerate church that has lost its nature.

In your pamphlet, Come la Chiesa finì (How the church ended) (Liberilibri, 2017), you wrote about the conversion of te Catholic Church into the New Anti-Dogmatic Church. What did you mean by that?
I am saying that the Church, in order to please the world and be sympathetic, friendly, attractive to the world, has embraced the ideal of ‘renewal’ and renounced the idea of truth.

Because the world says that truth, in the absolute sense, does not exist and cannot be known, but that at the most, many truths exist which must co-exist, the Church to conform to this thinking, must renounce her dogmas and thus, again, denatures herself and flattens herself to the level of the world.

Dogma is a truth of faith that is taught by the Church. As such, it cannot be relativized.But since the world is dominated by relativism and subjectivism – eternal and absolute laws do not exist, and only what the individual experiences is true – the mundanized Church follows the same line. With devastating results, because by no longer announcing the truth of Christ, she fails in every aspect: she is no longer concerned with the salvation of souls and no longer has anything original to say to mankind.

In my book, set in a not too imaginary fuure,I describe an ex- Catholic Church which, ashamed of dogmas, has been reduced to an ugly copy of the Protestant churches. She has adopted relativism and made it her own, preaches situational ethics (laws are adaptable to individual cases and there are no longer any absolute principles). She no longer even possesses the vocabulary to announce eternal truths, and at a certain point, to finish off the operation, decides to change even her ‘social reason’ for being and declaresherself new and anti-dogmatic.

Would the disintegration of dogma not make way for better critical thinking and therefore, for better freedoms?
No. Today, it is fashionable to say that the Church should go ‘outwards’, meaning she should be less dogmatic, less doctrinal and more pastoral. But a Church without dogmas and doctrine, or with diluted doctrine, is not a more pastoral church – one that is more attentive to man and his needs, but rather a leaderless church, prey to arbitrariness, and a succubus of the world and her dominant tendencies at any given historical moment.

The heart of doctrine is the revelation of God’s plan to each of is creatures, and this doctrine is immutable. The mission of the Church is to root herself in that doctrine and to announce it to man in every age. If she does not do this then she betrays herself, and instead of confirming the faithful in their faith, she confuses them and leads them to perdition.

When the church surrenders to the anti-dogmatic principle, then she is really adopting the central dogma of relativism, which is that "whatever I think about God and man makes no difference because God is everywhere and I can depict him as I please". So she also falls into the trap of historicism, whereby the key to understand the meaning of human reality is not faith with her dogmas, but history itself.

Thus, the Christian proposal is reduced to a vague moral exhortation without reference to divine eternal truths, and nothing is said about the justice of God. We see it very well in this pontificate, whose central teaching is that God is obliged to pardon everything even as his creatures have the right to be pardoned.

Your narrative fiction in the book seems to hide a great malaise. One senses the unease of a believer who no longer recognizes the voice of his church. Can one consider this a veiled criticism of Francis’s pontificate?
Certainly. I use paradox, sarcasm, pungent humor (a reader notes that one laughs in order not to cry), but my criticism of this pontificate is open. I think that Francis, especially after Amoris Letitia, the 2016 apostolic exhortation published after two ‘family synods’, threw the doors of the Church wide open to relativism and situational ethics. He has overturned the teachings of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Ambiguity reigns supreme.

What do you think of Cardinal Kasper’s recent words on German TV that “At the Vatican, many are hoping for a new Conclave”?
I think that Cardinal Kasper, one of the great inspirers of the Bergoglian line, has shown that in this pope’s ‘magic circle’, there is a great deal of nervousness.
- Those famous reforms have not come to pass.
- There is total confusion.
- The principle of mercy, which it keeps announcing to the world, is not applied within the Vatican itself, and
- Many testimonials coming from the VAtican speak of a dictatorial regime and a climate of terror.

This pontificate is going through a very critical time. It is not surprising that the pope is programming more and more trips abroad which he thinks will assure him of consensus among the faithful, while at the same time, it allows him to get out of the quicksands in the Vatican.

You have maintained that the church speaks too much about mercy and has expunged the word justice from her language. Can you tell us more?
As I said earlier, since the Church no longer concerns herself with the question of sin - the word itself is no longer used, since the preference is to speak of ‘frailty’ or 'weakness'
- the Church no longer advises necessary contrition (the sense of remorse and repentance that comes from one’s consciousness of sin),
- she ignores the problem of conversion [changing one’s heart towards goodness from evil], and
- transforms divine mercy in a sort of divine duty to forgive, as if God's creatures had the right to be forgiven whatever choices they make.

The silence about divine justice is most serious because it distorts the idea of divine mercy.
- God is, indeed, a good and merciful father ,but he is not accommodating and relativistic.
- Like any true father, he takes every child seriously and the freedom he has endowed him with.
- Precisely because of this, he shows him the way of truth and goodness.
- God judges man. To dislodge this fact from man’s conscience is not a work of mercy – it is something diabolical because it delivers man to perdition. Which is exactly what the devil wants.

Benedict XVI has come to be seen as the last bulwark of a Catholicism which resists with the purity of doctrine. But was he not perhaps, among the most revolutionary, in choosing to abdicate the Chair of Peter?
He certainly showed himself as someone who is very free. I wouldn’t say revolutionary, but free, yes - independent. Certainly he must have thought that his renunciation would help the church out of a difficult situation, but in my humble opinion, he predicted wrongly. What he did was to give free rein to the ranks of the modernists with all the consequences we are now seeing, in which today, and very much to the point, the Church has embraced relativism.

Can Islam be a concrete menace to Christian Europe?
It is not just that it can be – it already is. Islam does not recognize the idea of dialog and compromise. It only knows the logic of conquest. The word jihad has the connotations of an internal battle, an effort to be better, but also that of a war in the name of Allah.

And so the Christian West will be conquered and converted.
- When we speak of a moderate Islam, we are really just projecting a category we have but which they don’t.
- For the true Muslim, to be moderate is to betray Islam.
- The God of the Koran has little to do with the God of the Bible. He is not a God who relates to man but one who imposes.
- Totally absent in Islam is the message of love which is at the center of Christianity.
- If we add to all this the demographic question, then the picture becomes even more tragic, and the so-called Eurabia no longer seems too far away.

To paraphrase the title of one of your earlier publications, Il diavolo in piazza San Pietro e altri racconti (The devil in St. Peter’s Square, and other stories) ( Àncora, 2015), is the devil loitering through St. Peter’s?
Of course. It is not accidental that the text of an exorcism is inscribed at the base of the obelisk that is found there.


The indefatigable Valli has just written another book on yet another aspect of Bergoglio's destruction of the Catholic Church...

Claustrofobia: Contemplative life and its destruction. [The Italian title plays on the word 'instructions' (istruzioni) referring to the pope's new decrees radically changing the nature of the cloistered orders, which the
insertion of the letter 'd' before istruzioni,changes the word to distruzioni (destruction).

The publisher's blurb reads:

A life of prayer, contemplating the divine mysteries and in reparation for the sins of the world, is a great treasure which has been conserved in convents and monasteries that have lasted centuries. But today it is in great danger. Not from an exterenal attack but by the initiative of the Catholic hierarchy at its summit.

The attack comes from Pope Francis's Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere and the instructions for its application, Cor orans, a normative mechanism that threatens the autonomy of monasteries, weakens their independence, and with the pretext of aggiornamento (updating) and 'correct formation', questions the very idea of isolation and the cloistered life.

Why this sudden 'claustrophobia' on the part of the Vatican? Why must it dilute the choice of those who decide to consecrate their lives to prayer behind cloisters? One finds behind this decision an idea of spirituality which is totally horizontal - everything played out in a that is incapable of seeing the beauty and grandeur of a relationship that is exclusively with God

It is a most serious situation which Aldo Maria Valli describes in his new book, highlighting the provisions of the Bergoglian decrees that are most lethal for the faith and for the Church.

Amazing what industry this pontificate and its multiple and endless offenses to the Catholic faith have inspired in Valli - once a Bergoglio supporter until Amoris laetitia. Since that time, he has written six books to expose the failings of this pontificate. Here are the five before CLAUSTROPHOBIA:

Although I posted about each of the first 4 books, I failed to post anything about SRADICATI (Uprooted) which was published in November 2018.

SRADICATI: Dialoghi sulla Chiesa liquida (UPROOTED: Dialogs on the liquid Church)

Here is the publisher's blurb:

It is a time of great divisions in the Catholic Church, divisions on important issues of great impact on the faithful but even for non-Catholics.

This book presents a dialog on some of the most important issues underlying these divisions. It is a passionate and tormented book recounting conversations between Aldo Maria Valli, a prominent Vaticanista, ad Aurleio Porfiri, a Church musisian, author and commentator.

Both involved in intense journalistic activity, they have condensed in thee pages hours of discussion, meditation and reflection, much of it against the mainstream.

Theologian Mons. Antonio Livi says in his Foreword:
"I have known Porfiri and Valli for years for different reasons. I am happy to say a few words about this book in which the two authors seek to tackle some problems of pressing relevance in the Church today, a Church that is in great crisis - 'liquid' as the subtitle of the book says.

"The authors speak as Catholics, as sincere and profound believers, and they do not fear that wat they say could brinf them enemies. Truth has rights that are superior to one's personal convenience. As the Gospel says, the truth will set us free - not the conveniences dictated by the demands of one's career...

"I wish to tell my two colleagues: do not be silenced or intimidated by those who will oppose you in public or underhandedly. Rather, in the certain awareness of defending the truth of the Gospel from heresies or from political instrumentalization, rejoice and exult if you should be persecuted!

"To suffer for the truth of Christ on this earth is a badge of merit in order to enjoy peace and joy in Paradise when our Lord Jesus Christ will say to us: "Come forward, good and faithful servant - you have been faithful even in the small things, and I shall now give you the great reward".

This book is very readable though it is dense in content and of great importance for the debate among the various kinds of Catholicism in our time.

00Thursday, January 24, 2019 11:49 AM
The logo for the pope's
visit to Morocco implies
submission to Islam

Pan-religious sentimentality flourishes in the current pope’s apparent
embrace of Islam as morally equivalent to Judeo-Christian ethos and culture

By Maureen Mullarkey

January 22, 2019

St. Francis of Assisi traveled to Egypt in 1219 with the Fifth Crusade, determined to proclaim the truth of the gospel to Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil.

Celebratory anticipation of the 800th anniversary of that meeting between saint and sultan began two years ago with Pope Francis’s trip to Egypt. Initiated by the Franciscans, the extended jubilee culminates this March with a papal visit to Morocco.

Vatican media foregoes the traditional papal insignia in promotion of this trip. [Not that the papal insignia has figured in any of the event logos for this Pontificate, as far as I can recall.] Apropos of our age of slogans and Instagram politicking, it has chosen a logo created specifically for the event.

Vatican News explained the choice: “A cross and a crescent . . . are symbols of Christianity and Islam which highlight the inter-religious relation between Christians and Muslims.”

Inter-religious relation is an airy trope drawn from the optimism of Pope John Paul II. During a memorable 1986 inter-faith convention in Assisi, John Paul hailed “the seeds of truth found in all religions.” He sealed the words with a respectful kiss on a Koran.

A balmy ménage of many-colored pieties and alternative practitioners, the event buoyed enthusiasm for religious relativism. Its pan-religious sentimentality survives in the current pope’s apparent embrace of Islam as morally equivalent to Judeo-Christian ethos and culture.

Since 1986, Islam’s character and purposes have become clearer. Evidence of the scale of its distance from Assisi’s cross-cultural smorgasbord of religious impulses has sharpened. If this Vatican logo tells us anything, it is that Pope Francis is comfortable with Islam’s ascendancy. The “relation” made visual here is one of domination.

This crescent does not appear alongside the cross, as if a companion to it. Rather, the Islamic symbol encircles the Christian one. What passes for a cross is feeble, barely recognizable. A watery post and cross beam curved like the blade of a scimitar, more evocative of the sword of Allah than the rood on which Christ hung. It is a logo for dhimmis.

Emphasizing Pope Francis’s personal comity with Islam, the design reflects the amour propre of a 21st-century ecumenist who mistakenly sees himself in the footprint of his namesake. Our self-styled “Servant of Hope” acts and speaks in disregard of Islam’s lethal rejection of Christianity and its doctrinal premises — a fatal blunder that the friar of Assisi did not make.

Nothing could be further from the sensibility of the historic St. Francis than concession of his faith’s truth claims in order to coexist with Islam. His aim was conversion, not reciprocal understanding.

However pacific his proselytizing manner, he held fast to the stern substance of St. Paul’s words: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers… What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor 6)

Despite commemorative hype — a soothing blend of anachronism and myth — the difference between the travels of these two Francises is vast. Il Poverello was not “reaching out” to the sultan in a gesture of interfaith dialogue. He was seeking the conversion of Islam via baptism of the sultan; Pope Francis seeks only rapprochement.

A former soldier himself, St. Francis was militant in his intentions, if peaceful in his methods. Present depictions of the saint as a proto-ecumenist are ahistorical distortions. Yet it is that distortion that fuels Pope Francis’s “outreach” style.

Driven by love of the Triune God — even, perhaps, by ambition for a martyr’s crown - Francis left the protection of the crusader camp and crossed battle lines to sway the Egyptian sultan to accept the tenets of Christian belief.

The sultan, for his part, had pressing diplomatic reasons to receive this preacher with courtesy. Anything less would have been impolitic. Under siege at the time, and certain that surrender of Jerusalem was inevitable, the sultan hoped for a settlement with the Europeans.

Despite his admiration for this gutsy, charismatic friar, the sultan was unpersuaded by Christianity. Once Francis recognized the futility of his mission, he returned home. He did not stay for conversation over — to quote John Paul II — the “role of the great monotheistic religions in the service of the human family.”

Omer Englebert’s classic St. Francis of Assisi: A Biography tells of Francis, on his arrival in Italy, reacting to news of five ardent friars who had been martyred in Morocco. The men had entered a mosque, denouncing Mohammed (“that wicked slave of the devil)” from inside. They paid with their heads. Did Francis apologize for their insensitivity? No. The saint was jubilant: “Now I can truly say that I have five brothers!”

St. Francis’s open, unabashed fidelity to his belief in the supremacy of Christian mystery is obscured by substituting a modern logo for the ancient papal insignia. The papal crest, like any heraldic device, represents the larger corporate body to which an individual belongs. The papal emblem is a badge of office; it indicates the bearer’s rank within a greater entity. The papacy, after all, is an office, not a brand.

A logo, by contrast, is a marketing device. Addressed to consumers of a brand, the Vatican’s logo markets Pope Francis himself as the avatar of a beloved saint — a commodity for pious consumption. Tragically, the medieval Francis is better known in caricature and legend than in fact. That the Vatican has chosen a trademark suitable to the caricature bodes ill for the Judeo-Christian West.

23 Gennaio 2019 Pubblicato da
Without Christianity,
Europe will perish -
at the hands of Islam

Translated from

January 23, 2018

Dear friends, Agostino Nobile has sent us his reflections on the creation of a new crime in Europe, Islamophobia. He underscores the paradox of a world where the Islamic countries are the worst persecutors of Christians, yet in Europe it is now forbidden to even civilly underscore the real characteristics of Islam’s sacred texts and traditions. Read on…

Europe without Christianity will perish
by Agostino Nobile

Are millions of Christians being persecuted by Islam? The West comes to the rescue by creating the ideological neologism ‘Islamophobia’ to criminalize freedom of thought, opinion and expression regarding Islam.

As we know, the law on Islamophobia has been imposed by the United Nations and the secular powers-that-be to protect Muslims in the West and muzzle Westerners. Even just reading passages of the Koran – hardly edifying – can now subject Europeans to legal persecution and to guillotine by media.

The paradox worsens when we read the annual data on anti-Christian persecutions in the world. After North Korea, the countries listed are all Muslim. According to the annual report of the World Watch List for 2018, more than 215 million Christians are persecuted around the world. [The Porte Aperte – Open Doors – project places the number at 245 million.]

The top ten persecuting countries are Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libia, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. Saudi Arabia is not on the list because as far as that country is concerned, Christians and Christian churches simply do not exist.

The WWL report says, “Muslim oppression continues to be the principal cause of Christian persecution, not just being confirmed but even extending its morsa in various regions”. Therefore, it is rising. But even India with its religious nationalism (Hinduism), and in Nepal which is Hindu, Buddhist and communist, Christian persecution is also rising.

According to WWL, between November 2016 and October 2017,
- 3,066 Christians were killed because of their faith, and
- 15,540 buildings belonging to Christians (churches, homes and businesses) were attacked or destroyed.
- 1,922 Christians are detained without due process,
- 1,252 have been abducted, 1000 raped, 1,240 forced into marriage, and
- 33,255 ‘physically or mentally abused’.

Cristian Nani, director of Porte Aperte, points out that “these figures are to be considered merely as starting points because the submerged reality of crimes against Christians that are not denounced or reported in many countries is potentially enormous”.

Christians persecuted in Africa number 81.14 million (38% of the total persecuted); in Asia and the Middle East, 13.31 million (53%); by the communist regimes in Latin America, 20.05 million (9%), while the rest of the world accounts for 11,800 (0.01%).

Looking at the list, one thinks of all those ‘stars’ of the media in our country who denounce Italians who oppose illegal immigration which mainly has to do with persons from the Christian-persecuting countries.

And whereas in the West, racism and Islamophobia (even if only in words) are legally persecuted, there is no law against racism nor Christianophobia in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Western radical chic circles who spout poison against anyone who opposes illegal immigration, should ask themselves if this lack of ‘reciprocity’ is casual or planned.

Regardless, anyone with a modicum of common sense who reads the figures reported here would agree that something is completely wrong.

If the European democracies in the first half of the 20th century had opened their frontiers to millions of declared Nazis and Soviet Communists, probably, democracy would now be extinct. But it seems that this obviousness is not applied to Islam which, like Nazism and Communism, is genetically anti-democratic. Moreover, it is clearly written in the Koran that Islam should dominate all the peoples of the world. So who in their right mind would let in people who intend to subjugate them by divine right?

In this paradoxical situation, how can we not look at the pope, who has been the most dogged supporter of Muslim immigration into Italy and Europe? A pope so much subject to Islam that the logo of his coming trip to Morocco is a Cross contrived out of two scimitar blades, and engulfed by the Islamic crescent; the logo also describes the pope as the Servant of Hope. Not the Servant of Christ, but the Servant of Hope, whatever that means.

- His irrepressible desire – I would dare to call it obsession – of this pope to open the frontiers wide to Muslims;
- his continuous arrow slings against Catholics he demeans as ‘funeral faced’, ‘rosary counters’ and ‘coprophagic [shit-eating] addicts’;
- his silence on the daily persecution of millions of Christians mostly in Muslim countries;
- his comments absolving all Muslim crimes against Christians by saying that “it is foolish to equate Islam with terrorism” –
From all this, it would seem that Bergoglio does not consider himself the head of the Catholic Church. [Oh yes, he does - even if the church he leads is increasingly unrecognizable as Catholic - because otherwise, he would have absolutely no power or authority to impose his will!]

Why then must Catholics think he is? [Because, like it or not, he was elected validly.] Putting together the enormous rate of anti-Christian persecution in the world, the number of Muslim immigrants to Europe, a pope who is the ‘servant of hope’ rather than the servant of Christ, and one who is clearly ‘submissive’ to Islam, we have what Hillaire Belloc had predicted: “Europe shall return to the faith or it will perish. Because the faith is Europe and Europe is the faith”.

Shall we think then that the Bergoglians are not aware of that?

Because he is a prominent name in US journalism today, it is not surprising that Sohrab Ahmari's account of his conversion to Catholicism has been the basis for a number of interviews with him in high-profile media outlets. The latest from CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT is notable for me in that he specifically identifies Benedict XVI as the one who was most helpful in his conversion. And you will excuse me if I quote it ahead:

CWR: Were there any people who were particularly helpful to you along the way?
Ahmari: Pope Benedict XVI. I read his book JESUS OF NAZARETH. I didn’t understand all of it, but it did demonstrate that you can be intelligent and use reason and still accept the claims of faith and Biblical religion.

In Benedict’s telling, the story of Christ is really just one narrative spanning the Old and the New Testaments, with God drawing ever nearer to His creation.

He also makes a persuasive case that the witness of the four Evangelists is very credible, even though they didn’t use tape recorders or journalist’s notes.

From atheism and Marxism to Catholicism:
The conversion of Sohrab Ahmari

Becoming a Catholic, says Ahmari, 'has brought tremendous order and
metaphysical direction to my life. Life was harder before I had faith'

Interview by Jim Graves

January 23, 2019

Sohrab Ahmari, 33, is a New York City journalist and Catholic convert. He grew up in a nominally Muslim home in Iran under an oppressive Islamic regime and had renounced all religion by his teen years. In 1998, at age 13, he immigrated with his mother to the United States and lived with an uncle in rural Utah.

He taught special education and later attended law school as a young adult, but decided on a career in journalism. He began as an intern for The Wall Street Journal and subsequently worked five years for the Journal as a writer and editor. He is now the op-ed editor of the New York Post.

On July 26, 2016, after the killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel, 85, in his church in France by Muslim terrorists, Ahmari announced on social media that he was converting to Roman Catholicism. Some mistakenly thought his conversion was due to the priest’s murder, so he wrote a memoir, From Fire, by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith (Ignatius Press, 2019), to give a full account of his conversion.

He spoke recently with CWR about his book and his journey into the Catholic Church.

What was it like growing up in Iran?
My father was an architect, and my mother an abstract expressionist painter. So, I grew up in an artistic milieu in post-revolutionary Iran. There was a clash between my worldview and lifestyle at home and what occurred outside the home, where Islamic justice was enforced by flogging and prison. This tension had a profound impact on my faith journey.

What was life like as a Muslim there?
I wouldn’t describe myself as growing up Muslim. I was thoroughly secular. The only exposure I had to Islam was in school, where instruction in Islam was mandatory. My maternal grandparents practiced Islam somewhat, but even they broke the rules sometimes; they were okay with an occasional glass of wine [forbidden in the Koran].

So, ours was a humanistic, liberal Islam, which clashed with the spirit of the 1979 revolution. I was, however, moved by some aspects of Shiite Islam, which has many stories of martyrdom. The idea of sacrifice was seared into my mind powerfully. It stayed with me. But by 13, I decided that I was an atheist and renounced all faith.

Were your friends at school serious about the practice of Islam?
It varied. We tend to self-select the groups we want to be with, so when I invited friends over to my house to play, they tended to be those with secular liberal backgrounds. We would only pretend to be observant Muslims in public.

Why did you leave Iran?
The environment in Iran was miserable. It is an oppressive theocracy, with messianic ideas about its place in the world. Iran had unwisely gone to war with Iraq, and the economy was in a shambles. We were paranoid about the secret police. My parents drank, and we watched Western movies, which are against the rules. You always have a fear about the morality police, or morality committee, coming after you.

So since age 7, I had always had this idea that one day we’d immigrate to the U.S. Anyone who has the means to get out will get out.

I had an uncle who settled in the U.S. in the late 1970s. He arrived as a student, the revolution came, and he stayed. So, about a month before my 14th birthday, my mother and I received green cards and we left to live with him in rural Utah. My parents had divorced, so my father stayed behind.

Do you want to return to Iran to visit?
No. There are many problems with me going. I converted to Christianity. Apostasy is punishable by death in Iran. Now converts aren’t usually charged with apostasy, as the regime is sensitive to PR. However, they would likely be charged on trumped up national security charges and wind up in jail.

Keep in mind that evangelism is illegal in Iran. Possessing a Persian-language Bible — Persian is the language of the majority — is illegal.

I’ve also worked in the Western media, including at the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. I’ve criticized the Iranian regime. That could put me in jail. I an American citizen, but if I were to go to Iran, that wouldn’t matter. I wouldn’t be treated as an American.

Robert George has said that you “made a series of bad choices” in Utah. What were those?
I rebelled against the society into which I was born, and then I came to the U.S., and I shifted my oppositional posture to my new society. I had idealized America from afar, but I was shocked to discover when I arrived that parts of it are deeply religious. People talked about God, and the political order was underpinned by ideas about God.

I took up intellectual arms against it. I embraced the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, who proclaimed the death of God. I became a nihilist. I later became a Marxist, and joined a Trotskyite group in college. I explain this in detail in From Fire, by Water.
The worldview I’d adopted conveniently provided me with an alibi for my personal failings. I believed that there was no such thing as human nature or objective morality, and that good and evil are social constructs. I was intellectually and morally confused.

How did you come to Catholicism?
I was dismissive of all faiths, as I recount in my book. In the memoir, I recount how, starting from the atheism I adopted at age 13, I came to believe in God, and then a personal God, and then the God of the Bible. The hardest part was believing in a personal God. Once I believed this, my journey to Catholicism became much easier.

Were there any people who were particularly helpful to you along the way?
Pope Benedict XVI. I read his book Jesus of Nazareth. I didn’t understand all of it, but it did demonstrate that you can be intelligent and use reason and still accept the claims of faith and Biblical religion. In Benedict’s telling, the story of Christ is really just one narrative spanning the Old and the New Testaments, with God drawing ever nearer to His creation.

He also makes a persuasive case that the witness of the four Evangelists is very credible, even though they didn’t use tape recorders or journalist’s notes.

What would you like Americans to understand about Islam?
My ideas about Islam are now linked to my Roman Catholicism, so I can’t relate as a neutral observer. But I would say that I care about it as a political issue: how do Western societies come to terms with Islam, both as a world religion, and for Muslims living within the boundaries of Western countries?

The relationship between the West and Islam would be easier and make more sense if the West was clear about its own identity and Judeo-Christian roots. As French philosopher Pierre Manent has said, the West bears the mark of the Cross.

The Muslim who looks to the West sees the Cross. Our two cultures could encounter one another on clearer terms if the West were not secular, standing for nothing. That imbalance causes a lot of friction. Having the West return to Christendom sounds like a restaging of the Crusades, but in reality it would make everyone more comfortable.

Why did you want to write From Fire, by Water?
When I was first studying to convert to the Catholic faith, I didn’t plan to announce my conversion to anyone until I was baptized. On July 26, 2016, two months into my instruction, Fr. Jacques Hamel was killed by two Islamist militants.

I felt like I had to react, so I took to my Twitter account. I denounced this atrocity and mentioned that, by the way, I’m converting to Roman Catholicism. The tweet went viral. Many people contacted me with mostly positive comments.

However, there was some misunderstanding. Headlines appeared in Christian publications that I was converting because of Fr. Hamel’s murder, even though I was already receiving instruction when that happened. I was overwhelmed by the reaction.

So, when Fr. Fessio contacted me and asked me to write a book about my conversion, I thought it was a good opportunity to set the record straight. My conversion was not an emotional reaction to the murder but a well-considered decision. I think I have an interesting life story, exotic because of my background, but it’s ultimately reflective of the universal search for truth.

Who should read it?
It is for everyone. However, I would especially love to see it in the hands of some version of me, age 22 or 23, when I was drunk on Marx and Nietzsche. Had I had such a book, it would have saved me a lot of trouble, heartache, and pain. It would be ideal for the young reader curious about ideas, and I hope it will inspire him to first give the Bible and the catechism a chance before ruling them out.

Has it been hard to adjust to life as a Christian?
No. It has brought tremendous order and metaphysical direction to my life. Life was harder before I had faith.

What have your friends and co-workers said about your conversion?
Some were surprised, especially since for such a long time I publicly proclaimed I was an atheist. But some Catholic friends are now recommending good spiritual books, and I’ve been introduced to a new scene of young Catholic writers and intellectuals. We share the same foundation, and react to the world together.
00Saturday, January 26, 2019 6:50 AM
The following selection of articles says all that needs to be said about the State of New York signing into law one of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere on the anniversary day of Roe v Wade - even if none of them is expressed in the intemperate language of rightful outrage.

Catholic abortion supporters
like Governor Cuomo
must face penalties

It must be made clear to all that
no Catholic can support such legislation.

January 23, 2019

There comes a time when something is so egregious and boldly sinful that it must be met with strong ecclesial and canonical penalties and remedies.

We have certainly seen this in the Church with the McCarrick case and other matters and scandals of a similar nature. And, as we have seen, too often these matters were not dealt with forthrightly and promptly — or, in some cases, at all.

A similar situation has set up in New York, where one of the most permissive and callous state abortion laws was not only passed, but was also greeted with applause by the New York state senators as it passed.
- The bill allows abortion up to the final day of pregnancy.
- Under the 'Reproductive Health Act', non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions.
- The procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s “health” is endangered. (The previous law allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if a woman’s life was at risk.)
- This “limit” is no limit at all. New York State now allows, without limit, all abortions until birth itself.

Of course, allowing non-doctors to perform abortions endangers abortive mothers, but never mind that:
- When it comes to abortion, the right to abortion is all that matters, all former concerns about “coat hangers” and “back-alley” abortions notwithstanding
- Further, the “health” of the mother is undefined and can mean anything at all.

To add further to the ignominy of this terrible bill, the Freedom Tower was lit up pink (to symbolize women’s “rights”) in celebration of this abortion bill.
- Recall that more than 1,000 people died at the World Trade Center site now occupied by the Freedom Tower. They were murdered by terrorists on 9/11.
- How callous and bold to use this very site to celebrate the unjust killing of infants in the womb.

Even worse, the “Catholic” governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, not only signed the bill on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but decreed a celebration.

He said, “I am directing that New York’s landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”

To date, the Catholic bishops of New York have issued a statement expressing dismay and “profound sadness” and rang a church bell in protest. Respectfully, that is not enough.

Canonical penalties are due to the governor and other Catholics who voted for this legislation. This is necessary both for the common good, to avoid the scandal of tolerance of evil, and as a strong summons to the governor and others to repent before the Day of Judgment.

From Mons. Pope's lips
to the bishops ears!

January 24, 2019

Msgr. Charles Pope, on no one’s Top Ten List of Catholic Hot-Heads, captures the sense of faithful Catholics everywhere when he writes, regarding the major role that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo played in pushing, signing, and celebrating that state’s new, gruesome abortion law, that Cuomo-qua-Catholic must now face ecclesiastical consequences for his egregious actions.

Pope acknowledges, though, that he is not a canon lawyer and seems implicitly to ask for input from those who are regarding possible consequences. My thoughts follow.
1. Cuomo is already barred from the reception of holy Communion per Canon 915 (a sacramental disciplinary norm, not a penalty) in light of his openly living with a woman to whom he is not married. This matter was widely discussed back in 2011. My understanding is that Cuomo, to his credit, has not approached for holy Communion since that matter was aired.

2. Regardless of Cuomo’s ineligibility for holy Communion on other grounds, his conduct in regard to New York’s new abortion law also suffices, in my view, to bar him from holy Communion per Canon 915. If information should reach ecclesiastical authority that Cuomo is, despite the foregoing, being given holy Communion by ministers under their authority, Church leaders should act immediately to prevent such administration. Canons 375, 381, and especially 392, among others.

3. Cuomo is not liable for excommunication for abortion under penal Canon 1398. I have made this argument many, many times and won’t repeat it here. Neither is he, in my view, liable for prosecution as an accomplice to abortion per Canon 1329.

4. Cuomo has, however, committed acts that, in my view, suffice to invoke penal Canon 1369 against him. That possibility occasions some observations for Catholics forming their expectations about exactly who in the Church could be doing exactly what in a case like this.
a) Penal jurisdiction in this matter rests with the bishop of Albany (as the place where some or all of the canonically criminal conduct was committed, per Canon 1412) and/or with the archbishop of New York (as the place where Cuomo apparently has canonical domicile, per Canon 1408).
- They are authorized to initiate canonical penal procedures under Canons 1341 and 1717, among other norms. Neither the state nor national episcopal conference has jurisdiction here.
b) The 1983 Code prefers that penal matters be tried judicially, but an administrative penal process is not precluded (Canon 1342). Either way various rights of canonical defense are owed to Cuomo and would doubtless be honored. Canon 221, among others.
c) Canon 1369, as a penal law, must be strictly (i.e., narrowly) interpreted and applied. This means, among other things, prosecuting Cuomo only for acts that fall within the terms of the canon and not using a Canon 1369 prosecution as a pretext for punishing Cuomo for other acts, that, while offensive to the faith and to the faith community, are simply not embraced by its terms.
d) Canon 1369 authorizes a “just penalty” against those who violate its terms. That broad (but not unlimited) phrase “just penalty” allows for tailoring the canonical consequences in specific cases to the wide variety of fact patterns that could be addressed in its light - here, everything from Cuomo’s speeches and comments in support of this abortion law to his ordering a ghoulish light show in celebration of its enactment.

That said, while the notion of a “just penalty” is broad, there is some question as to whether it extends, at least immediately, to excommunication. Here is not the place to air that technical issue, but neither should its presence derail consideration of using Canon 1369 against Cuomo.
- Some justice is better than no justice and even if (I say, if) excommunication could not be imposed immediately on Cuomo, the Church could still impose some canonical sanctions for his conduct.
- If, moreover, such sanctions as could be imposed per Canon 1369 were ignored by Cuomo, Canon 1393 would allow for their augmentation, making the possibility of a “just penalty” reaching to excommunication stronger.

5. Canon 1399, known as the general penal norm, is also available for canonical use against seriously bad acts but only, in my view, if those acts are not otherwise addressed in penal law. Thus, for example, using Canon 1399 as a backdoor way to prosecute Cuomo for abortion (notwithstanding that Canon 1398 does not reach him) would not be correct.

Identifying adequately what divine or canon law was supposed to have been violated by Cuomo in acting as he did, and identifying that law in such a way that nearly every other sinner would not be liable to criminal prosecution for violating it, is a difficult task. Not an impossible one, perhaps, but difficult.

I say this, by the way, as a canonist who thinks Canon 1399 to be applicable against Uncle Ted.

6. Canon 1339 authorizes “rebuke” against one “whose behavior causes scandal”. That Cuomo’s conduct here causes classical scandal (CCC 2284) seems to me beyond question. Whether canonical rebuke adequately serves, however, the needs of the faith community for good order or Cuomo’s need for personal correction, I leave to others to consider.

7. Much of the above analysis would apply to Catholic legislators supporting abortion laws, but the canonical case against Cuomo is, in my view, so much the stronger that, if ecclesiastical action were not feasible, or taken, against him, it would be harder to see it being taken or succeeding against lesser figures.

8. Two final notes for other prelates concerned about similar actions and actors in their territories.
a) Canon 915 is a sacramental disciplinary norm, not a penal canon, and its application requires no penal process. It is, and has long been, applicable to many prominent pro-abortion/euthanasia Catholic politicos and it has been correctly invoked by a few clear-thinking bishops.

It at least cauterizes the wound inflicted on the Body of Christ by prominent Catholics acting in open disregard of fundamental Church teaching. It is not a cure-all, but it is a serious step toward healing.

b) In terms of penal canon law, the best time to move against a Cuomo-type crisis is, of course, before it happens, i.e., pro-actively instead of re-actively. Because this post deals with what can still be done now, and not what should have been done before, I will simply observe that a penal precept could have, in my view, been issued against Cuomo on these facts (specifically against, say, his promoting or signing this death-dealing legislation) and in turn, that precept could have been enforceable by canonical penalties up to and including excommunication (Canon 1319).
- The canonical prerequisites to such a penal precept could have been satisfied in this case, facilitating the Church in acting justly and in being seen to act justly.
- Cuomo’s conscience would have been confronted and the values of the Catholic community would have been protected.

Again, this observation does not detract from assessing what can be done canonically, even now, in regard to Cuomo, but it does suggest that other bishops looking at similar problems arising in their Churches would do well to consider acting sooner than later.

Msgr. Pope ends his essay thus: “It is time to end the charade, even the lie, that Andrew Cuomo and others like him are Catholics in good standing. They are not, and this must be made plain to them and to others. Join me in praying that Bishop Scharfenberger and other bishops in New York with jurisdiction will do what is right and necessary.”

I join him in so praying.

Canon 915’s moment has arrived
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s blatant promotion of New York’s
horrid abortion law seems to have been a tipping point

January 24, 2019

Demands, demands, that Catholic leaders do something serious to confront unbridled abortionism in the ranks of Catholic politicos are being published like I’ve never seen them urged in four decades of watching such things. To that authentic Catholic sense, right at so many levels, I give nothing but an Amen.

Here’s my only concern: Catholics at various stations in the Church, most largely untrained in canon law (no shame in that, that’s what five decades of pervasive ecclesial antinomianism will get you), are making, whether they know it or not, demands for canonical actions in Cuomo’s regard, which actions might or (more likely) might not be possible under current canon law and, having missed their mark, will wrongly conclude that canon law offers no remedies in the face of Cuomo-like conduct.

I refer specifically to calls for the formal excommunication of Andrew Cuomo, but the issues in this case are applicable to other cases on the near horizon.

So, first and foremost, and setting aside Richard Burton’s Abp. Becket stentoriously excommunicating enemies of the Church from the cathedral high altar, excommunication is today what it has always essentially been, a canonical penalty that can be meted out only in accord with canon law.

Canon 915 is, in fact, the canon cited by Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the CDF, in his 2004 election-year letter addressed to the US bishops through then Archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick

As a canonical sanction, the application of excommunication requires, at a minimum,
(1) a law in place that prohibits, under pain of excommunication, a given action,
(2) accessibility to facts sufficient to demonstrate the guilt of an individual accused of doing such an act, and
(3) an independent process to interpret the law and apply it correctly to the facts at hand. [See Canons 18 and 221, and most of Books VI and VII of the 1983 Code.]

Those who think that Andrew Cuomo should be excommunicated for signing New York’s appalling abortion law need no invitation to make their case for that canonical sanction in accord with the canon law. Thomas Becket could make his case for excommunication (the curious and Latin-literate can verify that claim by checking, say, Gasparri’s footnotes to 1917 CIC 2343 § 4, provisions that took a dim view of murdering priests).

But, if moderns cannot make the case for Cuomo’s excommunication (and I, among many others trained in canon law, do not think they can), they should cease calling for the (presently) impossible and focus instead on what can (and I, along with some notable others, think should) be done in the face of a Cuomo-like affront to Church teaching and basic human dignity.

Fine, but what?

Consider: the single most publicly-observable aspect of excommunication (hardly surprising, given the very name of this sanction) is, of course, exclusion from holy Communion.
- Whatever other sacramental and disciplinary consequences are visited upon an excommunicate (and those consequences are several and significant, per Canon 1331), what is most obvious to the individual, to the faith community, and to the general public, is that an excommunicate is barred from participating in the Church’s greatest sacrament, holy Communion (Canons 915 and 1331).
- This public barring prevents sacrilege from being committed against the Sacrament, mitigates the scandal inflicted on the faith community when patently unworthy Catholics pretend to a communion in faith belied by their deeply contrarian actions, and alerts the world that the Church is serious about securing upright witness in her own ranks.

Now, here’s the point: All of the personal, community, and even secular values served by barring an excommunicate from holy Communion as part of the sanction of excommunication are immediately available simply by applying Canon 915, a sacramental disciplinary norm in Book IV of the Code (and not a penal norm from Book VI).
- Canon 915 requires ministers of holy Communion to withhold the Sacrament, not just from those under formal sanction, of course, but also from those who ‘obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin’. Let that phrasing sink in.

Applying Canon 915, moreover,
- is not constrained by narrowly-drawn definitions of crimes and/or cooperation therein,
- does not rely on loophole-ridden latae sententiae procedures (a canonical relic that today is mostly useful for letting bishops avoid making hard decisions), and
- does not continue the rampant disregard for the rule of law in the Church seen over the last 50 years (mostly by figures, I grant, themselves none too concerned about human conduct and the rightful role of the Church in shaping it, and so, in that respect, distinguishable from those lately calling for Cuomo’s excommunication).

Instead, Canon 915 enables, indeed requires, prompt (not precipitous, but prompt) action by ministers
- to protect the Most August Sacrament from abuse,
- to alert an individual about his or her morally gravely dangerous public conduct,
- to protect the faith community from scandal, and
- to give serious witness to the world about the importance of Church teaching to Church members.

Are these not the key goals sought by those calling for Cuomo’s (and some others’) excommunication? If so, why try to purse those goals with a cumbersome penal institute such as excommunication when Canon 915 is sitting right in front of us?

In short, has not Canon 915’s moment, at last, arrived?

Its timing, I grant, could hardly be worse:
- the Church’s prestige (in the good sense of prestige) is battered;
- ignorance of how basic canon law works (seasoned with antinomian attitudes among Church leadership) are common; and
- Catholics in the public sphere have grown thoroughly accustomed to doing Catholicism as they see fit and show little inclination to be told otherwise.
Pretty much any cleric who attempts to apply Canon 915 in any noticeable way should expect to be called a pedophile and ignored.

But all of these are precisely reasons why I think Canon 915’s moment has arrived. The Church’s profane power is unlikely to bring about internal reform in this area today; but the divine witness of laity and clergy faithful to her teachings, can.

As I and others have treated Canon 915 many, many times I will not repeat those points here. But a few matters bear emphasizing:
1. Canon 915 is relevant to a wide variety of crises in the Church today, including public involvement by Catholics in:
- abortion and euthanasia (contrary to Canons 1397 and 1398);
- civil divorce and remarriage outside the Church (contrary to Canons 1059, 1085, and 1141);
- ‘same-sex marriage’ (contrary to Canon 1055); and
- female ‘ordinations’ (contrary to Canon 1024).
Indeed the widespread disregard of Canon 915 is itself a grave scandal. Such disregard is not likely to be corrected overnight, of course, but the scale of reform required is not a reason to shirk it.

b. A few Catholic politicians have been notified of their exclusion from holy Communion by bishops ably applying Canon 915. While many other Catholic politicos should, in my view, be barred from holy Communion based on facts already known, determining what suffices for, say, one’s being “pro-abortion” to the point that Canon 915 needs to be invoked is not always easy.
- In most cases, ministers should seek direction from their bishops, i.e., those primarily charged with maintaining ecclesiastical discipline (Canon 392), rather than making such decisions on their own.
- Bishops, in turn, should set about looking at the most likely cases in their territories and start thinking things through canonically and pastorally — keeping in mind that Canon 915 is obligatory, not suggestive.

c. Andrew Cuomo is already barred from holy Communion and seems to be refraining from approaching for it.

d. Persons interested in proposing reforms of canon law itself whereby actions such as Cuomo’s would be treated as excommunicable canonical crimes, and bishops interested in using penal precepts to address pro-actively specific, Cuomo-like actions threatened in their local Church, should consult with canonists lest errors made in the pursuit of these goals distract from addressing the underlying problems.

Canon 915 is cited by Cardinal Ratzinger, at the time Prefect of the CDF, in his 2004 election-year letter to the bishops of the United States, sent through Cardinal McCarrik, then Archbishop of Washington, DC.

Entitled "Worthiness to Receive Communion", it was intended to provide guidelines to the US bishops on when to refuse to give communion to politicians who openly promote abortion and euthanasia. It said, in part:

4. Apart from an individuals’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915)
6. 5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2002], nos. 3-4).

This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

A bit of a digression here, but when checking back my facts on the 2004 letter by Cardinal Ratzinger, I, of course, came across the stories of how McCarrick at the time did not pass on the letter to his fellow bishops, and one gets a taste of Uncle Ted's duplicity - and lack of Catholic seriousness - in that respect from a 2006 report on LifeSite News. Worth refreshing your memory, if you have forgotten:

Cardinal McCarrick continues to conceal
Rome’s insistence that pro-abort
politicians be denied Communion

By John-Henry Westen

CORNWALL, October 23, 2006 ( - Last week, recently-retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick delivered an address to the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

McCarrick, who headed up the US Bishops Conference task force on Catholics in Political Life, spoke mainly of his experiences on the task force and of the central debate it explored - namely that of whether or not to deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who reject Church teachings on central issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

During the 2004 deliberation among US Bishops, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to the US Bishops to use as a guide. The letter pointed out that obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion.

In his 12-page address, however, McCarrick did not even provide the gist of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter which outlined in six successive points why communion "must" be denied in the specified cases. He did however speak about a bracketed afterthought at the bottom of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter which spoke of reception of communion for Catholics who vote for pro-abortion politicians.

The failure to mention the central contents of that Ratzinger letter entitled "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles" is seemingly habitual for Cardinal McCarrick.

Although it was sent to the US Bishops via Cardinal McCarrick by Cardinal Ratzinger, the document was not revealed to the US Bishops. Rather McCarrick gave the impression that Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter indicated Rome was ambiguous about the matter. Speaking of Ratzinger’s letter in a June 15, 2004 statement to the US Bishops, Cardinal McCarrick said, "the Cardinal (Ratzinger) recognizes that there are circumstances in which Holy Communion may be denied."

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s speech, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the document in full. In a surprising move, Cardinal Ratzinger’s office confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

In the days after the Ratzinger letter was leaked and confirmed as authentic, noted US theologian Michael Novak told the Washington Times that sources in Rome were perturbed by Cardinal McCarrick’s soft-pedalling of the Ratzinger letter. "Some people in the Vatican were upset that McCarrick was putting on too kind a face on it," Novak told reporter Julia Duin.

Rather than a permissibility to deny communion, Ratzinger’s letter spoke of cases where "the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone." It went on to explain that an obstinately pro-abortion Catholic politician who has been warned and instructed, if "the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."

In interviews with Catholic writer Barbara Kralis, two US bishops said publicly that they were disappointed in not receiving the letter from McCarrick . Asked, "Were the contents of the memo made known to you and the other bishops at the Denver meeting?" Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis replied, "It certainly was not made known to me and I do not believe it was given to the other bishops. Cardinal McCarrick referred to the memorandum. We were told that, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, the application of the Canon 915 was up to the prudent judgment of each bishop. The text of the memorandum would have been very helpful at the meeting in Denver. Knowing now about the memo, I am disappointed it was not given to us at the meeting of the Bishops’ Conference."

Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Baker, Oregon also told Kralis the memo was not revealed, even to bishops on the task force. "As I recall, Cardinal McCarrick made reference to some letter, but I did not see a copy of the letter at the meeting. I don’t know if the committee writing the ‘Statement,’ entitled ‘Catholics in Political Life,’ was given a copy of the letter," he said.

Reacting to the controversy, Cardinal McCarrick tried to downplay the significance of the Ratzinger letter. McCarrick said that the leaked Ratzinger letter "may represent an incomplete and partial leak of a private communication from Cardinal Ratzinger and it may not accurately reflect the full message I received."

Some months earlier, Cardinal McCarrick was downplaying or even denying the statements of another Vatican Cardinal on the same topic.

In April 2004, the Vatican’s leading prelate - second only to the Pope - on the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, declared unequivocally that unambiguously pro-abortion politicians should be denied Holy Communion. Cardinal Arinze said such a politician "is not fit" to receive Communion. "If they should not receive, then they should not be given," he added.

Cardinal McCarrick reacted to Cardinal Arinze’s statements by suggesting that Arinze did not really mean what he said. Speaking with the National Catholic Reporter, after Cardinal Arinze’s statements were publicized, McCarrick said of Cardinal Arinze, "I don’t think it was his eminence’s official opinion . . . The cardinal’s position . . . was that . . . the United States should figure out what they ought to do."

Since that time, Cardinal Arinze has so frequently been asked the question he has begun to joke about it. In a live interview on EWTN Cardinal Arinze was asked if pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion. He replied: "The answer is clear. If a person says I am in favour of killing unborn babies whether they be four thousand or five thousand, I have been in favour of killing them. I will be in favour of killing them tomorrow and next week and next year. So, unborn babies, too bad for you. I am in favour that you should be killed, then the person turn around and say I want to receive Holy Communion. Do you need any Cardinal from the Vatican to answer that? . . . "Simple, ask the children for First Communion, they’ll give you the answer."

00Saturday, January 26, 2019 1:03 PM
Bergoglio's numbers on the world's rich and poor
ignore the dramatic decline in poverty in the past few decades

January 25, 2019

The day Pope Francis left for Panama for World Youth Day, the who’s who of world finance were meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the “Magic Mountain” of the novel by Thomas Mann, a grandiose fresco of the twentieth-century bourgeoisie.

A glaring contrast, one would say - because this pope thinks himself to be quintessentially the pope of the poor, of the revolt of the excluded against the powerful.

In fact, however, the richest men on the planet and the powers of finance clamor to be received by him at the Vatican and to offer their farthing. And he receives them with open arms, heaping them with praises: from the magnates of Google or Apple to the president of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde whom he described as “an intelligent woman who maintains that money must be at the service of humanity.”

But that does not at all affect the dominant narrative, which sees this pope always and only on the side of the poor and the excluded. With a special preference for what he calls the “popular movements,” that are anti-capitalism and anti-globalization, especially in South America. He has convened and met with them repeatedly, regaling them with interminable speeches, thirty pages or so each, that constitute the true political manifesto of his pontificate.

For some time, this pope has been addressing the same message to young people. He calls them the “discarded of society,” the victims of a gradual impoverishment of the world, in which “the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer,” harping insistently on the concentration of wealth into the hands of the very few, while deliberately attributing poverty to ever-wider swaths of the world's population.

Of course, the Vatican media are acting as a megaphone for this narrative, especially now that L’Osservatore Romano has also been brought back into line, and is now in everything and for everything with the pope.

The new editor of the pope's newspaper, Andrea Monda, gave ready proof of this alignment with Francis’s economic-political vision, in an interview with the famous American Protestant theologian Harvey Cox, in which Monda expresses full harmony with the pope's vision. The interview was headlined “Popular religion, the only hope against the dominion of the god Market.”

The interview, published in the leadup to Francis’s Panama journey, is interesting for the replies, but even more so for the questions, all of them devised to support the thesis that “the Market [always in uppercase] is a genuine empire against which men, or rather the people, must rebel and resist.”

But is that really the case? How do things stand in the cold light of numbers, those numbers which never appear in the discourses of the pope and of his communications personnel?

Because as it turns out, in reality there has never been, in the history of humanity, such a stunning decline in poverty as in the past few decades. [And the figures come from the international agencies with which Bergoglio has been in lockstep on vision and policy. One would think he ought to be, at least, consistent - but he always tinkers around with the truth )even Jesus's own words - to suit his purposes.]

Setting the threshold of extreme poverty at a daily income of $1.90, the World Bank has calculated that the number of those who are below this threshold plunged from 1.895 billion in 1990 to 736 million in 2015, in spite of the fact that in the meantime world population grew from 5.3 to 7.3 billion. Or in percentage terms, those extreme poor who in 1990 were 36 percent of world population, have dropped to 10% twenty-five years.

Even raising the threshold of poverty to $5.20 per day, the drop is extraordinary. Especially in Asia, where those below this threshold in 1990 were 95.2 percent, while by 2015 they had fallen to 35 percent.

No need to mention that “the god Market” so stigmatized by the pope's newspaper and its editor has played a very noteworthy part in the reduction of poverty.

Of course, the inequality remains dramatic between that one percent who “keep getting richer” and the leftover 99 percent of the population.

But here as well things are not how they are said to be, at least in the United States, held to be one of the Western countries with the strongest inequality.

In America, the Congressional Budget Office has ascertained that if taxes and public subsidies are taken out of the equation, even the poorest quintile - the 20 percent of the population lowest down on the social scale - saw a 79 percent improvement in its income between 1979 and 2015. Just as much as the wealthiest quintile, if one does not include that one percent of the super rich which in effect saw its income rise by 242 percent.

If one then looks at the years closer to us, between 2000 and 2015, the figures belie the current rhetoric even more. In the USA, the income of the poorest quintile grew in these fifteen years by 32 percent, while that of the wealthiest quintile, including the one percent of the super rich, grew by 15 percent, more or less like the other quintiles of the population in between.

But the real figures are one thing, and the widespread perceptions another. The Ipsos Mori research center has conducted a survey in 28 countries from which it emerges that the widespread opinion is much more pessimistic than what the real figures say.

Just one out of five interviewees, in fact, is convinced that poverty has diminished.

This on average. But in Italy only 9 percent think that the poor are on the decline, a figure like that in Argentina. Where vice-versa, in both countries, fully 64 percent are convinced that the numbers of the poor are on the rise.

In developing countries, widespread perceptions get closer to the real figures. In China, for example, 49 percent are convinced that poverty is decreasing, only 21 percent think that it is growing.

As a result the expectations for future living conditions worldwide are better in developing countries, with respect to those in wealthier Western countries.

In Kenya the optimists are 68 percent, in Nigeria 67, in India 65, in Senegal 64, in China 58. In Italy the optimists are 18 percent, in Belgium 14, in France 13, in Japan 10.

Corriere della Sera's statistics editor Danilo Taino comments on this “crosseyed pessimism on the past and the future”: “We have before us a serious cultural problem. For the West and the countries of old wealth.”

He forgot to mention the Vatican and this pope.

00Saturday, January 26, 2019 1:32 PM


See previous page for earlier entries today, January 26, 2019.

Six days late, but an apology nonetheless
Though bishop claims he was 'bullied' by the media
into his rush to judgment against the boys on Jan. 19

Bishop Roger Foys apologizes to Nick Sandmann
and Covington Catholic families

by Cristina Laila
January 25, 2019

After initially condemning them on January 19, Roger Foys, the Bishop of Covington, finally apologized to Nick Sandmann and other Covington students who were smeared with an edited video [accusing them of racism and bigotry against a native American who tried to provoke them but failed] after the March for Life in Washington, DC.

The Diocese fell for fake news and immediately condemned the Covington Catholic boys.

On Friday, nearly a week after the media onslaught and a myriad of death threats, the Diocese finally withdrew its condemnation of the boys and apologized.

The Bishop said in a letter to Covington Catholic parents that since that condemnation, “other video clips” have surfaced showing the teens did nothing wrong, and that the same people who put pressure on the Diocese to condemn the students are now putting pressure on them to retract. [????]

“We are sorry that this situation has caused such disruption in the lives of so many. We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either or our statements which were made with good will based on the information we had. We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it,” the letter read.

“I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal,” the Bishop said. “Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips. This is not fair. It is not just.”

The Covington Catholic teens have lawyered up and they are preparing to bring massive amounts of lawsuits against media outlets and celebrities who defamed and libeled them over an edited video.

As reported by TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks, a team of very high profile lawyers are joining together to fight for justice for the Covington Catholic High School students who were ruthlessly attacked by the media following a school trip to DC for the March for Life.

Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders is also aggressively pursuing the terroristic threats posted to Twitter to the Covington Catholic teens. Mr. Sanders said in an interview with Fox News Laura Ingraham that subpoenas and search warrants have already been issued and justice will be served.

The greater sins in the
mass hysteria over the Covington boys

by Anthony Esolen

JANUARY 26, 2019

I dislike writing about failure and sin, and dearly wish that the leaders of my Church would give me less occasion to do so.

Everyone by now has heard about what happened to boys from Covington Catholic High School. They were at the Lincoln Memorial, waiting for the bus home to Kentucky. They were in Washington, of course, to protest the murder of unborn children. In other words, unlike almost everybody else who goes to Washington to protest, they were there not to campaign, not to condemn a political party, and not to demand something for themselves, but to protect human lives that are now vulnerable to destruction. Some of them were wearing a Make America Great Again cap.

Then they were harassed, in the vilest terms, by members of what appears to be a lunatic group, the “African Israelites.” They did not respond in kind. They began to chant school chants, to drown out the insults. At that point another protest group came into the picture. They yelled at the boys too, telling them to go back to Europe. This one was led by an American Indian (I too am native; I was born in the United States), beating a drum, within inches of the face of a boy he had apparently targeted. The boy, nonplussed, held his ground and smiled a frozen smile.

Let us enumerate the sins that followed. The Diocese of Covington, along with many another organization and person, leapt to condemn the boy in harsh terms. They did so without knowing what happened. After all, they were not there.

This is called PREJUDICE, or RASH JUDGMENT. You have the tree and the noose ready, and you say so publicly, before you know a thing. What prompts the sin of PREJUDICE? A variety of things, in this case.
- One was race hatred: many people leapt to judgment because the accused were white.
- One was our endemic contempt for boys.
- One was political faction: people who do not believe as I believe about X – fill in the blank – are not simply mistaken, short-sighted, ignorant, or simply possessed of a different judgment about what is possible or advisable for the common good. They are wicked.

That was shortly followed by VINDICTIVENESS. People called for the boy to be expelled, and they were glad to subject him, his family, and his school to national disgrace. The glee of vengeance causes people to lose all sense of proportion, and to forget their sins.

Unless I am much mistaken, this is not a land of saints. To be rude to an old man is bad, even when the old man is behaving in a disgraceful way. Place the worst construction upon the boy’s action. [The worst construction has been to describe his fixed smile as a SMIRK. Whatever you choose to call it, he did not say a word to the nasty old man, he did not wag a finger or spit in his face. And by all accounts, he signalled his friends not to do anything that might seem like provocation.]*

Each of us has done plenty of things that are a hundred times more wicked, vile, and destructive than is that sin in question. If the boy deserved expulsion for that, we should all deserve, for our worst sins, protracted torments followed by slow hanging. The very call for a wildly disproportionate and ruthless punishment was such a sin.

A lot of people began to have second thoughts. Others roamed over the Internet to find something, anything, that would cast the school in a bad light. Some said that the boy did not himself write his sometimes ungrammatical apologia, explaining what happened. They had, of course, no evidence for their accusation.

This was the sin of CALUMNY. By this time, people knew quite well that the boys had not sought out any confrontation, and that they had been already abused by grown men aplenty.

To abuse the weak – children, women, youths – is at least a sin of COWARDICE, and to call them “faggots” and “incest kids” compounded the abuse with the sin of OBSCENITY. To withhold the truth about the context of the incident, truth that would mitigate any guilt, or exonerate entirely, is to commit the sin of DETRACTION.

The Indian with the drum and his group showed up at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the next evening, attempting to disrupt the Mass. This was a sin of SACRILEGE, against the holy place and the worship of innocent people; in the context of what they had already done, it was the sin of CONTUMACY, and of SOWING DISCORD.

The school had to remain closed the following Monday, and the boy and his family have received plenty of threats of violence and death. I have seen some of these. Incitement to a felony crime is nothing for police to take lightly. These are, at the least, sins of MALICE, not of intemperance; sins committed not in the heat of a situation that has come upon you suddenly, but in the cold; deliberate, calculated, intentional.

At the worst, they are sins of VIOLENCE, and of vicarious participation in the evil that is wished, if someone should be so mad or so wicked as to burn or kill.

I am not calling for the prejudicial, the contumacious, the cowardly, the deceitful, the vindictive, the factious, the malicious, and the violent to be strung up. The point is that, surrounding these boys and taking their words and actions in the worst way they can reasonably be taken, are crowds of people committing the sins I have named, sins that are many orders of magnitude more miserable.

That people can commit them and not be aware of the trap they have set for their own feet is simply astonishing to me. I do not understand it. I’m not a saint. I daresay they are not saints, either. But they think they are.

They must think they are, because nobody, knowing that he is steeped in moral sewage from head to toe, would rave and rage at the filth on his neighbor’s shoe. It would be worse than nonsensical. It would be like begging for the vengeance of God to come down upon you.

*It has surprised me very much that in the flood of positive commentary in favor of the aggrieved Covington boys, no one has pointed out they did something that is most unusual in this day and age: They had to stay there for 2 hours listening to the vilest insults, and did not succumb in the least to lashing back with any violent word or deed.

Yet even 5 minutes of that kind of insult would have unleashed reactions worthy of the worst episodes of disproportionate violent rage from the insultees.

But did anyone even lay a hand on anyone in that confrontation? If anyone had, violence would have erupted - and between the black Israelites and the native Americans staging a demo for their own cause, there was no lack of anti-Catholic anti-life elements who would have used any pretext to get physical against the Covington boys.

Their apparent amusement at the elderly Indian's in-your-face challenge to Nick Sandmann was, I submit, their version of 'turning the other cheek'. The very fact that they decided to drown out the insults against them by chanting their school songs was very much grace under pressure. For all that they may be typical teenagers of their generation, somehow their Catholic upbringing kicked in when it was necessary. It doesn't necessarily make them saints, but at least it made them behave decently when targeted for insult.

If Pope Francis were to give a real-life lesson to the young people he is meeting in Panama, he could do no better than setting up the Covington boys as worthy Catholic youth who defied provocation and who have ended up as white martyrs bearing up with the world's scorn in a most Catholic way.

But of course, none of the pope's high-powered communications counselors would have called his attention to the incident. Like Bergoglio himself, they snootily think 'Has anything good ever come out of the USA?" Which would be well for them to think when considering the likes of Jeffrey Sachs and the procession of the rich and the powerful who have come to the Vatican to be photographed with the pope.

On the other hand, I gave a silent cheer for the Polish lawmaker who reacted to the story promptly by saying the boys should be invited to address the Polish Parliament - now that's someone who quickly saw something exemplary in the boys' conduct that adults in a similar situation may well have botched.

Fr. Sirico at the Acton Institute had one of the most insightful commentaries on the Covington Catholic boys 'saga' in choosing to discuss the instant fake news-based, media-powered fury against them as the result of GOSSIP. He cites an anecdote about St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) that I never heard before - and that obviously Jorge Bergoglio had never read about either, because what better precedent could he cite for his periodic pontifications against gossip than that genial Doctor of the Church who was one of the great figures of the Counter-Reformation, and was so popular in Rome he came to be called the third apostle of Rome after Peter and Paul...

The sinister and irreparable nature of gossip is memorably illustrated in the penance St. Philip Neri once gave to a woman who had confessed it to him. He told her to walk through the streets of Rome plucking a chicken. Humbled, the woman accepted the penance. When she returned to him and reported she had completed the penance the saint told her to now go and collect all the feathers she had plucked.

“But Father Philip,” the woman is reported to have replied, “That would be impossible. I have no idea where they have blown to.”

“Now you see, my daughter, the effects of gossip,” he said.

Today we see gossip spread by journalists as recently demonstrated in much of the coverage of the Covington Catholic High School students attending the March for Life. Surely you know the whole story by now:

On Saturday, a story went viral that the previous day the Covington kids, wearing MAGA hats, while waiting for the bus that would take them back to Kentucky after they took part in the Marh for Life, found themselves boxed between racially charged groups of activists - the Indigenous People’s March and a black version of the Westboro Baptists known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Both groups of adults hurled vile and provocative words of contempt at the boys. The image that emerged was that of an American Indian activist Nathan Phillips (who, the next day attempted to disrupt Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception), beating a drum in the face of one of the boys while chanting a war cry into his face. The boy quietly listened and smiled.

The gossip dimension of this affair begins as usual with an edited video of the encounter which was picked up by the “news” media (including the New York Times). It reported this encounter as a group of white teenagers racially harassing a venerable tribal elder and Vietnam Veteran. And so the feathers blew across the nation, confirming Lord Acton’s observation that, “Common report and outward seeming are bad copies of the reality.” We can be thankful to Robby Soave over at Reason who went through the tedious task of gathering some of the feathers by examining the available video footage in its entirety, providing additional context,

…the rest of the video — nearly two hours of additional footage showing what happened before and after the encounter—adds important context that strongly contradicts the media’s narrative.

Most were not as careful with the truth. That lack of care extended to a lack of care for the persons at the center of the story, as Sara Aldworth helpfully pointed out,

What started for those students as a trip to the March for Life, ended in public shaming, death threats, and even calls for them to be forever condemned, with no mercy...

We fail to respect the reputation of persons when we make rash judgments and engage in detraction or calumny.

Many have made rash judgments about the persons involved in this story (including officials in the Diocese where the boys live and their own school). Some (not all) have apologized.

How many shared these stories about people they do not know with people who also do not know them, just like feathers down the alleyways of Rome? Much of what has been shared is calumny, stories contrary to the truth which harm reputations and cause others to make false judgments about the parties involved.

Gossip is a form of bearing false witness (a violation of one of the Ten Commandments), it is a grave sin, and one that demands more than an apology. It demands repentance. Let this tragic media frenzy be an occasion for all of us to lead more responsible and merciful lives.

For any of the boys from Covington Catholic High School who should chance upon this article: You will be called upon to explain and defend your beliefs in the moral foundations of Western Civilization. For any of you so inclined to come, you will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the Acton University in June here in Grand Rapids to help equip you in this regard.

For those who may not know about Acton University, it is the annual four-day intense and very Catholic super-seminar
that Fr. Zuhlsdorf always attends and recounts to his readers

00Sunday, January 27, 2019 8:05 AM
For lack of other news these days as compelling as the Covington Catholic boys' saga,let me post here
a couple of Italian-focused but no less interesting items from Marco Tosatti and Antonio Socci.

Are the Bergoglians out to challenge
Salvini in the next elections?

All about a neo-Catholic political party in the works

Translated from

January 24, 2019

Pezzo Grosso has written us – with amazement and indignation – to comment on the attempt to give life to a sort of new Catholic political party by ex-Prime Ministers Romano Prodi and Enrico Letta, with Bishop Massimo Camisasca of as the matchmaker. Anyone who knows the careers of these partners and the exceptional milestones through which they brought our unfortunate nation can well understand PG’s amazement, and even more, his indignation.

Dear Tosatti, things keep turning for the worse in the name of democracy. Democracy is an idea, not a fact. And it is a false idea when it lies and deviates from truth and natural law. Which becomes more intense and therefore dangerous when the filthiest transverse politics of power succeed to influence a democracy by the use of resources and means at their disposal.

I beg you to read about this new consortium which implies a new coalition between the Church and big business. The Church in this case being [a formerly good] Bishop Camisasca of Reggio Emilia, getting into an alliance with ex-Christian Democrat Prodi [who famously prided himself as being an ‘adult Catholic’], so adult as to be considered decrepit - representative of the American Democratic Party establishment, president of the advisory Baord of Goldman Sachs, consultant to the international rating agency on Italy’s credit standing.

As if that were not bad enough, the third member of the founding committee of this new party is Enrico Letta, who was coopted as Prime Minister (President of the Council of Ministers) by then President Giorgio Napolitano, who replaced him with Mario Monti, who was later sacked by the same Napolitano who replaced him with Matteo Renzi.

And what are these three milords supposed to do? To launch Bergoglio’s own political party in time for the next European elections. Of course, the party will be ‘catholic’, And of course, it will be anti-Lega [Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s party].

Of course the party will be ‘Europeanist, migrationist, environmentalist and pauperist”. It is exactly what Bergoglio wants, and with him, what the Italian bishops’ conference, George Soros and Emma Bonino and Emmanuel Macron want.

Dear Tosatti, don’t you feel like making a statement of protest? If the news about such a party is confirmed, then we have arrived at the unacceptable, something that is against nature. True Catholics should feel it is their resposnsibility to dissuade the vanguard from this initiative and to simply tell them: Just. Stop. There.

And from Socci, as always, a fascinating foray into Italian culture and history in his patriotic dedication to asserting everything that is good about the Italian identity...

How Galileo was a souvrainist and populist by deciding
to write his later books in Italian, not Latin

Translated from

Januaryv 21, 2018
Let us say a scientist decided to write his important and innovative scientic essays in Italian and not in English which he knows well. And let us say he does this because he wishes that his essays may be read and understood not just by adepts but above all, everyone in Italy, including those sons of the people who do not know English because they had to go to work instead of going to school.

If that happened today, the person concerned would probably be assailed by charges of provincialism, souveranism (or sovereigntism) and populism. Accusations which these days will spare no one – all it takes is some hint that contradicts the dominant one-thought and its fashionable alienophilic cosmopolitanism. But something of the sort happened in the 17th century in Italy, and its protagonist is one who today is rightly and universally considered a giant of thought who gave much to mankind.

He was no less than one whom many consider the founder of modern science, whom everyone considers a model of genius, of openmindedness and opposition to pseudo-scientific and pseudo-philosophical conformism – Galileo Galilei.

Of course, the international language in his time – even for science – was not English but Latin which functioned then as English does now.

Annalisa Andreoni in her splendid book “Ama l’italiano (segreti e meraviglie della lingua più bella)” (Love Italian: The secrets and wonders of a most beautiful language), notes that Gaileo is not only the inventor of the modern scientific method we all know, but he was also the first major scientist to abandon Latin and choose Italian as the language with which to communicate his discoveries to the world”.

Yes, he wrote his earlier books and even the Sidereus Nuncius of 1610 in Latin ['Sidereal Messenger' in which he first recounts his discoveries of the valleys and mountains of the moon, the four moons of Jupiter, the countless stars of the Milky Way, and earthshine, using the newly-invented telescope] but he intended to translate them to ‘Tuscan’, as he had already written ‘La bilancetta’ in his native tongue in 1586 when he was only 22. [The work, "The little balance", is a tribute to Archimedes, describing an accurate balance for weighing things in air and in water. ]

But Andreoni underscores that ‘after his return to Florence, “Galileo definitively chose his mother tongue to write about science". And so he wrote his subsequent books in Italian:
- Il saggiatore (1623) ('The Assayer', generally considered one of the pioneering works of the modern scientific method, first broaching the idea that the book of nature is to be read with mathematical tools rather than those of scholastic philosophy, as generally held at the time);
- Dialogo sopra i massimi sistemi del mondo (1632) ['Dialog concerning the two chief world systems,' in which he compares the Copernican worldview, in which the earth and other planets circle the sun (heliocentric view), with the Ptolemaic, where everything in the universe circles around the earth. In 1616 the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be formally heretical; heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to refrain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas. Responding to mounting controversy over theology, astronomy and philosophy, the Roman Inquisition tried Galileo in 1633 and found him "vehemently suspect of heresy", sentencing him to indefinite imprisonment. Galileo was kept under house arrest until his death in 1642]; and
- His last great work, I Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica e i movimenti locali (1638) ["Discourses and mathematical demonstrations relating to two new sciences on mechanics and motion", covers much of his work as a physicist in the past 30 years, in which the three dialo participants represent what Galileo thought in his younger years, in middle life and in the present].

Writing in Italian was a sensational choice that was completely analogous to that of another great Tuscan, Dante Alighieri, when he decided to write his great epic poen in the Tuscan ‘vulgate’ rather than in Latin which was the language of theology (in fact his decision to write it in Italian caused great scandal).

Of course, Galileo arranged to have his Italian books translated to Latin for the benefit of foreign scientists who did not know Italian at all. But, Andreoni notes, “Galileo made a conscious choice to use Italian, based on his conviction that our language already possesses all the expressive pontetialities needed for scientific argumentation”.

Likewise in terms of the readership for his books, “It was as if, choosing between being understood by his scientific peers throughout Europe or by the ‘illiterate’ Italians around him, Galileo chose the latter”.

He manifested this in three famous letters to Mark Welser, a German politician and intellectual in which Galileo discusses sun spots, but does so in Italian. He explains to Welser that it is because “I want it to be read by everyone, and that is why I have wrttten my most recent treatise , il Discorso intorno alle cose che stanno in su l’acqua o che in quella si muovono]”. In fact, Galileo observes that there are many young people who are sent to study in order to become doctors, philosophers and other analogpus professions even it they are ‘most inept”, whereas other young people, though intelligent – are not able to study and therefore have a chance to know Latin at all because it is more important that they earn a living.

So Galileo wanted to be read by those who have the eyes to see the works of creation and the intelligence to understand them like philosophers. What could be more populist and anti-elite?

Seventeenth-century Italy was not politically united but it was, culturally and spiritually. Language is the clearest face of an identity. And in fact, Italian literature soon adopted the “Tuscan’ of Dante and Petrarch as the national language, which was also one of the factors that eventually led to political unification (though badly done).

Galileo did not stop with launching Italian as a language of science but cultivated our language and our literature at a very high level. - Andreoni fecalls that he gave ‘two lectures at the Accademia Fiorentina on the architecture of Dante’s Inferno, and he commented on Orlando furioso [Ludovico Ariosto’s chivalric epic poem about the French knight Roland who had been among Charlemagne’s paladins who fought against invading Saracens to keep them out of Europe.]
- He also became an academist of the Crusca [an Italian society for scholars and Italian linguists and philologists established in Florence in 1583 to preserve the purity of the Italian language - it is the world’s oldest linguistic academy]. Galileo collaborated in drafting the first two editions in 1621 and 1623 of the Academy’s standard Dictionary - the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca – which became the model for the standard academic dictionaries in France, Spain, German and England.]

The very quality of Galileo’s ‘scientific Italian’ would earn him the admiration, 200 years later, of Giacomo Leopardi [the philosopher-philologist who is considered Italy’s greatest 19th-century poet]. To rediscover our identity as Italians is also to rediscover the brilliant Italian talents the world has envied us for.

00Sunday, January 27, 2019 8:02 PM
One important item I failed to post in a timely manner:

Chinese priests abandoning their ministry
out of opposition to the Patriotic Association

An 'official' Chinese priest who is a friend to underground priests says
many of them feel 'betrayed' by the Vatican's recent agreement with Beijing.

by 'Father Peter'

Beijing, January 25, 2019 (AsiaNews) – Several priests in the underground community are giving up on their mission because they are in conflict with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), this according to Father Peter, a priest in the official community, and a friend of underground priests, in a message to AsiaNews.

Fr Peter defends the choice of "conscience" of his friends, noting that they feel "betrayed" by the Vatican, especially after the interim agreement between Beijing and the Holy See on the appointment of bishops.

In fact, while the agreement supposedly amends the CPCA's wor,k at least with respect to episcopal appointments (Pope Francis has said that "the last word belongs to me"), it apparently does not clarify the relationship of the Vatican with this supervisory body of the Chinese Communist Party, whose goal is to build a "self-sufficient" Church, one that is "independent" from the Holy See.

In his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, Benedict XVI had said that the CPCA’s status was "incompatible with Catholic doctrine". On several occasions, Pope Francis reiterated that Pope Benedict’s Letter "is still valid". But he has accepted de facto that bishops and priests may belong to the CPCA as a sort of "lesser evil". Especially since CPCA membership is a precondition for government 'recognition' of hiterto clandestine Catholics.

In his letter, Benedict XVI said that recognition by the government can take place "on condition that this does not entail the denial of unrenounceable principles of faith and of ecclesiastical communion", citing precisely "certain bodies” that force “people involved to adopt attitudes, make gestures and undertake commitments that are contrary to the dictates of their conscience as Catholics” (n.7).

An example of the CPCA’s domination over bishops was the recent celebration of 60 years of the "independent" Church, in which 48 bishops participated and praised one of the most painful events in the history of the Church in China.

In light of the situation, some Vatican insiders believe that the role of the CPCA should be addressed in future talks between the Vatican and China. Meanwhile, the members of underground communities feel "abandoned".

I remember what Cardinal Joseph Zen said: "If the Holy See and the Chinese government really reach an agreement, allowing illegitimate bishops to lead their dioceses, the priests of the unofficial Church could freely follow their consciences. If unable to proclaim the Gospel, they could go home and work in the fields." I did not expect Card Zen’s prophecy to come true.

Not long ago, a priest from my town phoned me, asking me to go with him to visit another priest who had left his mission and gone home. During that meeting, after the initial joy of seeing each other again after a long time and sharing our stories, we could not fail to mention the many problems faced by the Chinese Church after the signing of the agreement.

During the conversation, our fellow priest said he decided to go home was because he could not accept to become the assistant of a parish priest from the Patriotic Association.

The priest went on to explain:"For more than 30 years I have fought against the Patriotic Association, and now they want me to become the assistant priest of a PA priest. I cannot accept it, I have no choice but to go home."

Hearing these words, I felt indescribable pain in my heart. In the face of this, what can we say about what the Vatican has done? I respect the conscience of this brother of mine. He has the right and the moral obligation to obey his faith and his conscience.

I recently heard from a friend that another priest, who was working in Henan, had gone back home. I know him well. He is a very enthusiastic and very humble young priest, but he too has become a victim of the Sino-Vatican agreement.

in addition to the two cases that I mentioned there are others. I fear that throughout China there are many priests living the same situation: they have been faithful and have defended their Catholic faith, but suddenly they have been betrayed by Rome. They cannot violate their conscience, but even more they cannot go against their faith. The important thing is that they don’t lose their missionary vocation.

If the secular power deprives them of their divine power, if they do not receive any support or comfort from the Church, then they truly are like the crucified, "suffering" Christ. Like Jesus on the Cross, the only thing they can do is cry out in utter powerlessness: "Father, why have you forsaken me?"
00Monday, January 28, 2019 4:48 AM

Claustrofobia: Contemplative life and its destruction.[The Italian title plays on the word 'instructions' (istruzioni) referring to the pope's new decrees radically changing the nature of the cloistered orders, whereby the insertion
of the letter 'd' before istruzioni, changes the word to distruzioni (destruction).

Cloistered convents:
A silent extermination underway
thanks to 2 new papal decrees

January 25, 2019

Dear friends, my new book has just been published. Entitled Claustrofobia. La vita contemplativa e le sue (d)istruzioni, (Claustrophobia: Contemplative life and its destruction), it is published by Chorabooks and dedicated to the dangers which cloistered orders are facing because of new Vatican dispositions.

[Valli goes on to quote from the publisher’s blurb, which he obviously wrote for them. Here is the translation of the blurb that I posted a couple of days ago, posted on the preceding page of this thread:]

A life of prayer, contemplating the divine mysteries and in reparation for the sins of the world, is a great treasure which has been conserved in convents and monasteries that have lasted centuries. But today it is in great danger. Not from an exterenal attack but by the initiative of the Catholic hierarchy at its summit.

The attack comes from Pope Frnacis's Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere and the instructions for its application, Cor orans, a normative mechanism that threatens the autonomy of monasteries, weakens their independence, and with the pretext of aggiornamento (updating) and 'correct formation', questions the very idea of isolation and the cloistered life.
- Why this sudden 'claustrophobia' on the part of the Vatican?
- Why must it dilute the choice of those who decide to consecrate their lives to prayer behind cloisters?

One finds behind this decision an idea of spirituality which is totally horizontal - everything played out in a way that is incapable of seeing the beauty and grandeur of a relationship that is exclusively with God. It is a most serious situation which is clearly denounced in the book.

Following is the Introduction to the book, written by a cloistered nun who prefers to remain anonymous.

The last battle
by ‘A cloistered nun’

I got to meet Aldo Maria Valli in Rome, thanks to a common friend, and the meeting confirmed the positive impression I got from reading his latest books and the articles published on his blog - in which he succeeds to give voice to the sentiments and disorientation that we nuns, as also many other Catholics, are seeking to focalize internally.

In Valli’s blog, we find a real love for the Church and for the truth, that ‘precious pearl’ spoken of in the Gospel, for which one is ready to sell everything. It is along this line and perspective that the author’s interest has turned to us, cloistered nuns, and the latest papal documents that mean to impose a new ‘discipline’ on contemplative life which has a millenary tradition in the Catholic Church.

The very specific way of life that is ours as cloistered nuns is not immediately understandable to contemporary sensibility: in a way, it brings us the spirituality of the desert, where God leads his beloved spouse to speak to her, heart to heart, far from every creature that could distract her from him. Up till now, the cloister has been the sign of an exclusive encounter with God, in isolation from the world, in order to affirm the indispensable importance of seeking God, of the primacy of God.

In this sense, Valli’s new book inspires reflection. Indeed, it is permeated by one question: WHY?
- Why tamper with such a precious treasure, and one that has worked for a thousand years?
- What is at stake in the game that I being played here?
- What are the true reasons for this pope’s moves against traditional contemplative life?

This topic is different from those usually treated by the author, but no one who reads him can miss the red thread that unites all the topics he writes about: love for the Church and love for the truth. On our part, suffering from the assaults that have been launched against the faith and the Church – which we all know about – becomes even more intense when facing the apparent intention to destroy the monasteries and convents as they have existed so far in the Church. It is the last fortress which the Enemy targets, the last bulwark in which prayer still constitutes an act of resistance, in which lives are consecrated (‘wasted’ in the view of some) for no other reason than to praise God.

With what dismay we cloistered nuns find ourselves in this battle, carried out against us with arrogance, threats and psychological coercion! The worse for being carried out in the silence and hiddenness of convents. It is a silent extermination of monasticism, not just spiritually and culturally, but even materially (through controlling the assets of all convents). This is the willful extermination of a millenary structure that has survived virtually intact to our day.

And that is the true purpose of these two documents concerning our complex and delicate reality: Under a slogan that obsessively calls on us to ‘avoid isolation’ [which is ridiculous when isolation is the necessary condition for the cloistered life], one sees the intention to create a new ‘monasticism’ in which all nuns are to be placed under identical forms of aggiornamento (updating) and indoctrination, up to and including changing the rules that until now have been specific to each order. [The papal decrees violate the basic right of each order to make its own rules based on its specific charism.]

It is a silent extermination, because even within the church herself – considering that the monastic vocations are always carried out hidden from the world – this epochal change in the structure of convents is taking place and is being imposed without public awareness and to the general disattention of public opinion.

We must proceed to carry out this epochal change, we are told from ‘on high’, in order to “update the millenary contemplative life” – and it must be done quickly, by May 2019!
- WHY? Why such haste? Why this obsession?
- How could it be possible to structurally ‘update’ monastic life with its millennial history in just a few months? [And in dozens of orders around the world!]
- And why impose such radical changes through an ‘instruction’, which is the lowest grade among all the document categories of the Roman curia?

Perhaps jurists will be able to cite exceptions on the basis of law, though the instructions forbid any form of recourse, which is an impediment characteristic of dictatorial regimes in which forced mass re-education is unconditionally imposed.

In this context, and Aldo Maria Valli knows it well, whoever seeks to say something out of tune with the choir is exposed to public ridicule and accused of working for blind conservatism against ‘rightful renewal’. This is the reaction met by those convents which, seeking to ask dispensation from the instruction, are now the targets of church institutions [leading the charge being the very Congregation in charge of religious life] and their indispensable progressivisits.

And yet we must do battle. It is far from the monastic temperament to be a protagonist, to be out in the open even if it is in a good cause. But nothing keeps us from supporting whoever gets down to the arena in defense of Truth.

So we welcome this small but precious new book by Valli, who is an expert connoisseur of the Catholic world and a tried and tested Vaticanista, who gives voice in this book to us who have no public voice by the nature of our vocation, and who is seeking to have our voice heard by a larger public, a public which must be sensitized to the fact that everyone who is baptized is challenged by this attempt to destroy not just Church history and traditions but the Church itself.

The world more than ever needs monasticism, as the Church received it from its holy founders and as so many cloistered nuns and monks have lived it till now, for the benefit of the entire Church. We need cloistered nuns and their convents. They are hidden but they are authentic bulwarks of faith and prayer. We need to keep breathing the air of freshness that is found in the ‘desert’ of these places close to God.

Valli’s book includes three articles previously published on his blog that raised ample discussion. But it also includes the dismaying account of a meeting called by the Congregation for religious orders with cloistered nuns from all over the world – an assembly that raised many disquieting questions which even the reader without any particular knowledge of cloistered life will stop to reflect upon.

The new documents affecting cloistered life attempt to treat all monasteries at the same level – those that have always proved vital, and those with problematic situations. And in order to enforce this, impositive tones are used, with expressions such as "demanding" and "deferring to the Holy See", used meticulously in a multiplication of provisions. Everything about this Vatican initiative had the atmosphere of control, not of respect.

It is clear that the final battle has opened up, a particularly insidious and decisive battle, because it is aimed at the conquest and destruction of a last fortress. It will require commitment and courage from us, but also increasingly strong and resolute prayer. With the aim of allowing those who have consecrated their lives in claustral isolation to God to continue doing what we have always done, the unum necessarium – to occupy ourselves only with God, the Supreme Beloved.

On to another kind of attempted extermination....

Silencing Catholic speech
by David Carlin

January 25, 2019

Ideological defenders of homosexuality argue that all disapproval of homosexual conduct arises from “homophobia” and that all speech against homosexuality is, therefore, “hate speech.” In the United States, in recent decades, this campaign against homophobic hate speech has been very effective. Almost never nowadays does anybody dare to utter a public word of disapproval against homosexuality.

What about the Catholic Church? Has the homosexualist campaign against “hate speech” had the effect of silencing the Church, of preventing it from communicating its ancient teaching that homosexual sodomy is sinful?

If my anecdotal information is reliable, it is a rare priest who gets into the pulpit at a weekend Mass and reminds his parishioners that homosexual conduct is seriously sinful. In some cases, probably not many, this silence on the part of priests is the result of their disagreement with Church teaching on the subject.

But in most cases, their silence is likely just a matter of discretion (the kind of “discretion” that is, as Falstaff says, the better part of valor). Why upset parishioners, many of whom disagree with the Church teaching on homosexuality, and not a few of whom have friends or family members who are gay or lesbian? Let sleeping dogs lie.

“Besides,” the priest can say to himself every time he decides not to preach on this touchy topic, “everybody knows what the Church teaching is. No need for me to remind them.” [Exactly what Jorge Bergoglio said, as pope, regarding what the Catechism teaches about homosexuality and its practie!]

This is true to a certain extent. The Catholic Church is famous for its super-strict sexual ethic, according to which the only morally legitimate sex is that which takes place between husband and wife without contraception and within the context of monogamous marriage.

If you know that, then you know that the Church condemns homosexual conduct. Leaving aside the fact that some people don’t actually know this (it’s amazing what perfectly obvious things some people don’t know), there is a distinction between believing something in the abstract and actually believing it.

Take, for example, another element of the Catholic sexual ethic: the teaching that marital contraception is a serious sin. “Everybody knows” in an abstract way that this is what the Church teaches, but not many American Catholics think this is what the Church actually believes. Why not? Because for a half-century, ever since Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the traditional Church teaching on this topic in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, parish priests have pretty much left the topic of contraception alone.

The priest knows that the younger married couples in his parish (if he’s lucky enough, in many places, to have any younger couples) are almost certainly practicing contraception, or are getting ready to practice it as soon as they achieve their desired quota of children; and he knows that many of his older parishioner couples used to practice it when the wife was still young enough to get pregnant.

So it is not a sin that is rare and almost unheard-of among his parishioners, like murder or bank robbery. To sermonize against murder or bank robbery would indeed be a waste of time. But to sermonize against contraception would be to call the attention of parishioners to a sin commonly committed in the parish. Yet for the priest to sermonize against contraception would be to antagonize parishioners and make himself unpopular. Better, then, to remain silent on the topic.

But this silence, when it persists year after year, decade after decade, pastor after pastor, gradually persuades the average person in the pews that the Church isn’t truly serious when it says that marital contraception is a serious sin. The Church must think that marital contraception is a minor sin or perhaps not a sin at all.

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), often called “the father of American Unitarianism,” once wrote that Calvinism went into decline in and around Boston, not because Congregational ministers sermonized against Calvinist doctrines, but because they no longer preached in support of these doctrines.

The anti-Calvinists didn’t preach against the doctrines of predestination, total depravity, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, etc. They just remained silent about these matters. And then one day the best people in Boston woke up and realized that they were no longer orthodox Christians and had become Unitarians.
Something not very different from this is happening in American Catholicism with regard to homosexual behavior (not to mention other elements of Catholic sexual ethics). Perhaps no priest is preaching against the traditional Catholic teaching. But not many are preaching in support of it either. As a consequence, the moral disapproval of homosexual conduct that should be found and used to be found in the hearts and minds of Catholics is withering away.

And so the answer to the question I asked above – “Has the homosexualist effort to silence all criticism of homosexual behavior been effective among American Catholic priests?” – is a definite: YES.

The success of this “let’s silence the Catholic Church” campaign imposes, it seems to me, a fourfold obligation upon Catholic bishops and priests to preach vigorously against homosexual conduct. This must be done:
(1) in order that the Catholic moral doctrine regarding homosexuality not fade away;
(2) in order to say in no uncertain terms to pro-gay ideologues and their anti-Christianity allies, “You will not silence us on this or any other Christian topic”;
(3) in order to give encouragement to faithful Catholics, many of whom sometimes fear that the Church is about to discard or water-down this element and other elements of the Catholic faith. And
(4) and to give encouragement to non-Catholic Christians who, whatever their disagreements with Rome, look to the Catholic Church as Christianity’s Rock of Gibraltar.

Catholics and everybody else, both friend and foe, must be assured that the Catholic Church is not about to walk down the path that has been trod by liberal Protestant churches; that is, it is not about to discard one element after another of Christianity, thereby drawing closer and closer to atheism.
00Monday, January 28, 2019 12:38 PM
New archbishop of Lima
very much in the Bergoglio mold
of 'spirit of Vatican-II' bishops

News Analysis
by John L. Allen Jr.

January 27, 2019

ROME - Pity poor Peru. Last January Pope Francis visited the country, yet no one paid any attention because his earlier stop in neighboring Chile, with its massive clerical abuse scandals and the pope’s maladroit response that incensed survivors and critics worldwide, completely overshadowed it.

Now a year later, Francis has delivered one of his most important episcopal appointments anywhere in the world in Peru, and once again it’s like a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear. Just like last time, the pontiff is stealing the show in another Latin American nation, this time Panama for World Youth Day, and to the extent anyone has the attention span to absorb other Catholic news, it’s focused on the abuse scandals in the run-up to Francis’s summit for presidents of bishops’ conferences on the subject next month.

Peru, it would seem, just can’t catch a break in terms of public attention.

Yet what Francis did on Friday by replacing Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, who’d barely turned 75 (the normal retirement age for bishops), with Father Carlos Castillo Mattasoglio, a diocesan priest of Lima, ranks right up there with the nominations of Blase Cupich in Chicago, Carlos Aguiar Retes in Mexico City and Matteo Zuppi in Bologna as game-changing moves by a pope determined to impose a more progressive, “spirit of Vatican II” stamp on the world’s corps of bishops.

In each of those previous cases, Francis named a moderate-to-progressive to replace a leader of the Church’s conservative wing: the late Francis George in Chicago (who died in 2015) and Carlo Caffara in Bologna (2017), along with Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, who’s still going strong in retirement at 76.

All three men were perceived as solidly “John Paul II-Benedict” bishops, committed to a muscular evangelical reassertion of Catholic identity vis-à-vis secularism, and all three were leery to varying degrees of some of the new currents in the Church that had surfaced in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

By moving in a different direction, Francis sent signals that the Catholic Church is under new management, once again, in the eyes of the pope’s fans, taking up the path of aggiornamento (“updating”) marked out by St. John XXIII and the council.

Pari passu, the same thing can be said of the transition in Lima from Cipriani to Mattasoglio, only arguably in even more concentrated and crystal-clear form.

For decades, Cipriani, a member of Opus Dei, has been among Latin American Catholicism’s most stalwart critics of liberation theology, the post-Vatican II current that sought to place the Church on the side of the poor in struggles for social change. Opponents saw it, especially at the peak of the battles in the 1980s and 1990s, as a thinly veiled effort to sprinkle holy water on Marxist social analysis.

Cipriani played a leading role in attempts to rein in Father Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian often styled as the “father” of liberation theology because his 1971 book Teología de la liberación gave the movement its name. Despite various reviews of Gutierrez’s work both by the Peruvian bishops and by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - often instigated by Cipriani - he was never accused of doctrinal error, and especially under his personal friend, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the CDF under Francis, Gutierrez has enjoyed a more or less complete rehabilitation.

However, the tensions with Cipriani in Lima were sufficiently unpleasant to help induce Gutierrez to join the Dominicans instead, finding there a more congenial and receptive environment for the kinds of teaching, preaching and research he wanted to do.

Mattasoglio, it should be said, calls himself a “student” of Gutierrez and has referred to the “preferential option for the poor,” the signature phrase associated with liberation theology, as “irrevocable.” The new archbishop’s official biography notes that he first met Gutierrez when he entered Peru’s National Union of Catholic Students in the late 1960s, and that the two developed a “lasting friendship.”

Also strikingly, Mattasoglio’s background is as a professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University in Peru, where Cipriani has fought titanic battles over the years to attempt to exercise tighter ecclesiastical control and to enforce a more pervasive sense of Catholic identity.

Specific issues have included a gay student group being permitted to take part in campus events, and a university survey concluding that most Lima residents believe couples should live together before marrying and a woman need not remain a virgin until marriage.

Eventually the wrangling between Cipriani and the university became so intense that Francis was compelled to dispatch an apostolic visitor, Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő, to try to calm the waters, and even that mission produced only mixed results.

By selecting a theologian from the university faculty to take Cipriani’s job, Francis would appear to have made a fairly clear statement about which side in that dispute enjoys his sympathy.

In a sense, Cipriani is used to not getting his way - he was defeated at least four times as a candidate for president of the Peruvian bishops’ conference, in a country with the highest number of prelates linked to Opus Dei in the world. Yet it’s still fairly unusual to see a cardinal’s legacy disassembled in real time quite like this, especially one who has been in charge of his archdiocese for almost 20 years.

Given the staying power of bishops, Lima’s new management could exercise influence even well beyond the shelf life of the papacy in which it rose to power.

For Americans of a certain age, all this will feel eerily reminiscent of the era of Archbishop Jean Jadot, who served as the pope’s man in America from 1973 to 1980, mostly under St. Paul VI, and who shaped an entire generation of moderate-to-progressive bishops such as Raymond Hunthausen in Seattle, John Quinn in San Francisco and Rembert Weakland in Milwaukee.

The same kinds of prelates are being tapped today, suggesting that one way for Americans to grasp what’s happening is that “Jean Jadot is alive and well and living in Lima.”

If only, that is, Peru could get anyone to notice.
00Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:54 PM

The pope answers questions inflight. Next to him, the new 'interim' Vatican sokesman, Alessandro Gisotti.

I had reserved this space for any reports or commentaries of significance about the recent WYD 2019 in Panama City. As usual with Bergoglio events, the pope himself undercuts
the significance and appropriate evaluation of the main event by the not always positive headline-making statements in his post-event airplane news conferences. This last event
was no exception.

This pope’s calculatedly
contradictory statements

[Often made in the same breath]

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

January 29, 2019

The pope’s inflight news conference returning from Panama confirmed his tendency to use a language containing statements that contradict each other, so that in the end, his listeners may choose to hear that which they want to hear. But any careful examination of what he says always makes it clear which way he intends to go.

This one offered a number of interesting take-off points [as his extended extemporaneities usually do]. But remembering always that whatever he says on these occasions are not Magisterium but are his personal opinions and which Catholics should consider as nothing more than that.

[But no! Mr Cascioli, you forget he once said that “Everything I say is Magisterium” – yet another measure, of course, of his hubris, since the personal opinions of popes do not constitute Magisterium at all, and none of his predecessors ever claimed their personal opinions did. Yet that arrogant presumption by Bergoglio is only a step away from declaring “Everything I say is infallible” , even if he does not say so in formal papal documents, and even if what he says is not directly about faith and morals, the only two categories whereby a pope may be infallible – always on the condition that what he says does not contradict what the Church has taught for more than two millennia.]

Nonetheless, the mere fact that such opinions are emitted by the pope means they are destined to ‘orient’ the Catholic public and to create the perception among non-Catholics of how things really stand within the Church.

Moreover, it is worth discussing this if only because on the one hand, they furnish us with indications of the pope’s reasoning process, and on the other hand, they offer indications on the pastoral choices that he is already carrying out or intends to carry out.

The main fact that leaps to the eye is the self-ontradictory way this pope epresses himself – affirming one thing but also its opposite, such that his listeners can take away whatever part of the binomial they agree with.

An obvious example of this was his reply to a question on priestly celibacy. First, he defended with drawn sword the ‘gift’ of celibacy and its perennial validity which he says he does not even remotely intend to question.

But then he cites an exception: “Such a possibility remains only in the most remote places – like some of the Pacific slands, but it is something to think about [doing away with priestly celibacy] when the pastoral need arises”. Meaning, “if there are not enough priests and the Eucharist can be distributed only rarely, then…” It is clear therefore why some newspapers headlined that as far as this pope goes, priestly celibacy is untouchable along with any other opening about married priests.

In fact, if one looks deeper into his answer, it is clear that he is at his favorite methodology of ‘initiating processes’ so dear to him. [It is the tried-and-true technique of the camel sticking one foot into the tent until, unimpeded, he fully gets in.]

He starts with the exceptions: those remote places, which are visied by a priest only once a year (which is not a new problem, but previous popes have never considered this a reason to think of allowing married priests), and then the exceptions soon become the rule. Moreover, the German bishops have already started down this road, and the subject of viri probati will be on the table at the special synod on the Amazonia which takes place in Rome this October.

At the inflight news conference, the pope also threw in the hypotheses of one Fr. Fritz Lobinger on a ‘reduced’ form of the priesthood for married man – as if it had been an extemporaneous thing he just thought of, to point out that there are many hypotheses to consider. But no! – this is something he has been thinking about for some time.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, one of the pope’s closest collaborators, said in November 2017, referring to the idea of married priests, that in 2015, during the German bishops’ ad limina visit to Rome, the pope had urged them to read the works of Fr. Lobinger. It becomes clear here which way the pope wants to go.

Another example of this pope’s way of speaking every which way is on the subject of migrants. During this pontificate, he has hammered away on the themes of total welcome for migrants, of open frontiers towards everyone, to the point that his most wild-eyed followers have started to demand the excommunication of those who merely want to rein in uncontrolled and indiscriminate immigration into Italy.

But on the plane – and in fairness, not for the first time – the pope spoke in moderate and detailed terms about the issue, even getting to the subject of “let us help intending migrants first in their own countries” – words that would sound plausible if they were said by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. So once more, one could take from the pope’s statements what best matches his own opinions.

But even in this case, the real process the pope has initiated must be understood in the overall context of the interventions and mechanisms he has set in motion over the past six years: Every rule that every so often he articulates in favor of open welcome is accompanied by a massive dose of interventions and gestures to support those who advocate the abolition of national frontiers [to favor the entry of migrants]. Many of the Itaian bishops have become true and proper ‘ultra’-migrationists in this respect.

In any case, this calculated method of ‘putting forward’ his thoughts equivocally inevitably creates a lot of confusion, frustration and division, which one sees in the way observers and many of the faithful often come to verbal blows because of this pope’s self-contradictory statements.

Not having followed the Panama WYD in any way, I thought my only take-away message from it would be the following account which I could not miss because photos of
the monstrosity were ubiquitous on the Internet. I will just cite this account by an obviously biased site, whose major biases I happen to share... I should have known
better, of course, that the pope's subsequent inflight pontifications always amount to a barrage of new outrages, mostly anti-Catholic from the papal lip, a virtual
M16 aggressive weapon always set to automatic fire.

Top: The Panama 'monster-ance'; bottom left, the pope elevating the monstrance in Panama; bottom right, doing the same in Fatima in 2017. The Fatima monstrance was supposed to represent the Miracle of the Sun in the final
appearance of Our Lady to the three shepherd children. What is wrong with traditional monstrances that they must be replaced with something contemporary if this something represents a distraction?


January 26, 2019

Covering the horrid theological and liturgical junk the Vatican II Sect puts out on a daily basis, one gets used to a lot, but there are times when you just want to jump out of your chair and yell, “No way! They can’t be serious!”

Today was such a day.

“Pope” Francis is currently spreading his Masonic-Naturalist poison in Panama on the occasion of World Youth Day… Whereas yesterday evening saw a Novus Ordo version of the Stations of the Cross (with dancers, of course!), tonight’s big event was a vigil prayer service.

When the time came for “Eucharistic” adoration, Francis made himself comfortable in a chair while everyone else knelt. [Of course, there are no pictures to be seen online – at least, so far – of the pope seated for the Adoration, but I am sure the video must show it somehow (I must admit I have no desire to look at these videos)] There was no footwashing ceremony scheduled, his knees must have conked out once again, but that’s just business as usual.

The lowlight of the evening’s ceremony was the “monstrance” used for adoration. Screenshots taken from the video of the event show a hollow metal statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is a separate and removable receptable for the Novus Ordo version of the Blessed Sacrament, which gets placed into the hands of the statue. Not only is it ugly, it is also very disturbing when seen from the front… The immodest overtones are more than evident. [ALso, whoever designed the ensemble forgot to provide a base for the monstrance other than the 'hands' of the statue, so the pope has to hold it by the bottom part of the frame holding the Eucharist.]

The full video of the entire spectacle can be found here:

[Yes, the ensemble was not pretty, if not exactly downright ugly, and rather unflattering to Our Lady – the face looks old and distorted - but I do not see the immodest overtones that are supposed to be evident. The entire concept is bizarre, if not theologically wrong, because Mary’s womb was the original Tabernacle of tabernacles…

Somewhere, it is mentioned that the statue was fashioned out of melted bullet casings, and everyone can attribute whatever symbolisms he wants to that. But the whole point of Eucharistic Adoration is to focus the worshipper’s attention on the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, not to distract him or her – however transiently – with some unexpected and unjustified bizarrerie.

One recalls with pleasure WYD Madrid 2011 when the monstrance used for the Eucharistic Adoration and Rayer Vigil led by Benedict XVI was the 500-year-old Monstrance of Toledo - “popularly known for being used during the Corpus Christi procession each year in Toledo - almost 9 feet tall and made of gold and silver”, considered the ‘finest example of Spanish silverwork of all time”. That occasion in Madrid was, of course, made unforgettable and spectacularly awesome by a surprise torrent and hailstorm that ‘halted’ the event for about 20 minutes, and which the Pope and the almost 2 million young worshippers who were there endured while it lasted and then calmly went on with the Adoration.

Obviously, Bergoglio cannot be blamed for the bizarreries foisted on him. But isn’t Mons. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, supposed to make a site visit beforehand to any place the pope is visiting just to make sure that all liturgical preparations are comme il faut? Did he not visit Panama City beforehand and did he not know of the ‘monster-ance’ commissioned for the Eucharistic Adoration? And if he knew about it, did he approve of it? In the same way, one must then assume he approved of the commissioned monstrance used by Bergoglio in Fatima in 2017.]

00Tuesday, January 29, 2019 11:24 PM
Thank God! But let us continue praying until she gets out of Pakistan safely and with her family in Canada...

Left, Asia's husband with one of their daughters when they were in Rome to ask the pope, among others, to intercede for her - in vain, of course.

Asia Bibi allowed to leave Pakistan after
Supreme Court upholds her acquittal for blasphemy

The mother of five spent eight years in prison following
an argument with Muslim women about drinking from a bucket of water

By Neville Lazarus

January 29, 2019

Christian Asia Bibi is allowed to leave Pakistan after the country's top court upheld her acquittal on blasphemy charges.

Ms Bibi, who spent eight years on death row, will now be free to join her daughters who fled to Canada and were granted asylum there.

The 54-year-old was acquitted in October - eight years after she was convicted with the death penalty for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a dispute with her neighbours.

But she has remained under guard at a secret place since her acquittal two months ago by the Pakistani Supreme Court, as Prime Minister Imran Khan's government attempted to quell anger over her exoneration by radical Islamists, who staged nationwide protests and almost brought the capital Islamabad to a standstill.

More than 3,000 members of the radical Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) group were arrested on charges of terrorism after the protest, with its leader and high profile members still in prison.

This afternoon, three members of the Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed their appeal against Ms Bibi's acquittal. [I wish someone would write about the courageous justices who voted to acquit Ms Bibi in both two verdicts. That the Supreme Court of Pakistan even considered to hear the case at all was already quite a surprise - but that they have now acquitted her twice is extraordinary. One did not think - after reading all we have about the unquestioned supremacy of Islam in Pakistan - that the country's Supreme Court, not to mention its current president, would not take a hard line against this Christian woman, but it seems they do uphold the rule of law and abided by sheer common sense in deciding she had not committed blasphemy at all! May their tribe prosper and may there be many more Muslim public officials like tme.]

Heavy security surrounded the court as the verdict was due, with paramilitary troops and quick response units deployed in sensitive areas in the capital.

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin infamously said - after Asia's first acquittal - that her case was entirely an 'internal matter' for Pakistan, implying that, therefore, the Vatican could - and would - do nothing to help her and her family find asylum anywhere, least of all at the Vatican! Remember those Muslim refugees Pope Francis brought back to the Vatican with him in a spontaneous gesture (to set an example of 'welcome' for all migrants) after a trip to the 'migrant' camp in Lesbos??? Has he lifted a finger for any persecuted Christian anywere yet?

On the contrary, he has left all those faithful underground Catholics in China twisting in the winds of arbitrary official persecution by Beijing if they refuse to join the 'official church'. Which Bergoglio has honored and placed above the clandestine Catholics by rehabilitating formerly excommunicated official Chinese bishops (a couple of whom reportedly have families they openly live with) and, adding insult to injury, placing them in charge of dioceses formerly headed by underground bishops while reducing the latter to subordinates.

Where is there in the gospel, or in plain decency, that justifies all that? And simply because Bergoglio wants to be the first pope to visit China???


Not entirely unrelated to the above story is this commentary by Antonio Socci, which is not the first paradox-rich criticism of a pope everyone hailed at the beginning as not just 'the most popular pope ever' but also - and quite admiringly - as the most populist of popes.

Bergoglio versus 'the people'
Translated from

January 27, 2019

It is becoming increasingly clear that for the peoples of the East and of the West, Papa Bergoglio has become a ‘big problem’.
[Even critics as trenchant about Bergoglio as Socci is would probably not make such a sweeping statement - because while this pope may have become a ‘big problem’, to the Church and to the world at large, few among those peoples are even aware of it. To most of them, he is 'the pope' which means he could not possibly be a problem at all in general. But let's allow Socci to make his case.]

The ‘Venezuela case’ has made this obvious, as does the Vatican’s alliance with the Communist Chinese regime, and before that, the eplosion of the immigration emergency wich has destabilized Italy and most of western Europe.

On all three subjects, Bergoglio is in frontal conflict with the people most affected, and, of course, with the policy of the White House under Donald Trump. It was not by chance that the pope attacked Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Bergoglio’s ponitifate is, in fact, a product of the Obama/Clinton era of world politics, whose agenda he has been carrying forward though he no longer has the political support of many governments of the West (France’s Macron is already a very lame duck). [But there still remains Merkel’s Germany which is the de facto leader of the European Union and which just signed an agreement with France – once Germany’s most targeted historical enemy in Europe – to somehow strengthen the common bond with Macron of Europism versus nationalism.]

But the first Bergoglian destabilization obviously has targeted the Church which had represented, up till Benedict VXI, the oldest and most authoritative institution in the world. Which now, under Bergoglio, has been precipitated into what is arguably the greatest crisis in her history.

[As divisive as Arianism was – and even more substantially and institutionally, as the Great Schism of 1057 and Luther’s Schism in 1517 – the crisis today is not just of agreater magnitude but of a different order of weight, for two principal reasons:
1) The world today, unlike the world in the centuries of Arianism and of the two great schisms so far, is almost immeasurably vaster in its population but is also thoroughly blanketed and permeated by a communications network that simultaneously and instantaneously disseminates information across the planet, in a way that was unthinkable in its scope and power even just two decades ago; and
2) More importantly, because the main cause of the Present Crisis happens to be the man who is supposed to be pope – therefore. symbol of Church unity and defender and upholder of the faith, he who is supposed to confirm his brethren in the faith Instead, he is the opposite of all that, because he is basically anti-Catholic in the views he is most active at promoting, and anti-Christ for daring to edit Jesus’s words to suit his personal purposes, and for acting as if he knows better than Christ what the Church should be, namely one in his, Bergoglio’s, likeness and image.

Even Bergoglio’s most perceptive critics fail to hammer away at this anti-Christ hubris that drives everything Bergoglio says and does. Yet it must be pointed out again and again, every time he says and does something that harms the faith, He cannot be spared the most obvious criticisms just because he happens to be the legitimate pope. On the contrary, it becomes dutiful to point underscore the point insistently, repeatedly and relentlessly.]

Bergoglio has radically overturned the connotations of the papacy. It is no longer about a spiritual message, but a worldly one. No longer does it have any supernatural (divine) significance, but only and always, political. He has replaced the announcement of Christ as the only Savior with the announcements of the politically correct United Nations which bear the rabid anti-Catholic stamp of the radical left.

It is the ‘old’ Liberation Theology reborn. It is not by chance that Cardinal Cipriani, for 25 years Archbishop of Lima and Primate of the Peruvian Church, was promptly replaced when he reached 75 by a priest, Carlos Castillo, who was a leading disciple of Gustavo Gutierrez, founder of LT [as it came to be preached and practiced in Latin America in the 1980s onwards, after being born among the progressivist theologians of Belgium].

The Argentine pope is friendly and on terms of close dialog with illiberal regimes – be they Islamic, socialist or communist – while he is consistently harsh against the Western leaders who do not think like him (notably Trump and Italy’s Matteo Salvini).

In Latin America, he has had nothing but friendship [and even praise] for Cuba, the Venezuela of Maduro, and President Evo Morales of Bolivia [the only head of state enlisted in the frankly socialist and leftist ‘popular movements’ Bergoglio has encouraged, assembled and met with a number of times over the years], the one who gifted him with a crucifix fashioned out of the hammer-and-sickle.

In recent days, 20 former heads of state and/or government in Latin America protested in an open letter Bergoglio’s Christmas Day message urbi et orbi in which he spoke in positive terms of Venezuela and Nicaragua. They said:

“The [people pf Venezuela] are victims of oppression by a militarized narco-dictatorship, which has no qualms about systematically violating the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity and, as a result of deliberate public policies and unbridled corruption, has scandalized the world and that have subjected them to widespread famine and lack of medicine. In Nicaragua, in the middle of last year, 300 were killed and 2,500 wounded in a wave of repression”.

In that context, the signatories of the letter said, Bergoglio’s words “can be understood by the victimized nations that they should come to agreement with their victimizers. In particular, in the case of Venezuela, the government has caused the flight of 3 million refugees, which the United Nations predicts will reach 5.9 million in 2019”.

Yet for the refugees from Maduro’s regime, Bergoglio has shown none of the obsessive interest he continues to show for the migrants who have been seeking to enter Italy [at least 500,000 succeeded in the five years before the change of leadership in the Italian government last year].

Instead, the Vatican provoked a diplomatic scandal when it chose to send a representative to the recent swearing-in of Maduro for a new [and illegitimate] term as president, an event that was snubbed by most South American and European countries.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan people protest to no avail, the Venezuelan bshops denounce the oppressions by Maduro’s regime, and Venezuela itself is in an institutional crisis because the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidò (with the support of the free world, including that of the USA under Trump) has been recognized as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela as he seeks to liberate the Venezuelan people from the successor of Hugo Chavez.

Which was all very embarrassing for Bergoglio, who was in nearby Panama and but chose not to say a word about the Venezuelan situation.

[Asked about what words he had for Venezuela at his airplane news conference on Jan 28, this is what he said with his typical incoherence and refusal to take the right side:

I support in this moment all of the Venezuelan people – it is a people that is suffering – including those who are one side and the other. All of the people are suffering. If I entered to say, “listen to these countries,” or “listen to these others who say this,” I would be putting myself in a role I don’t know. It would be a pastoral imprudence on my side, and it would do damage. The words. I thought about them and thought about them again. And I think with this I expressed my closeness, what I feel. I suffer for what is happening in Venezuela right now. And for this I desire that they come to an agreement. I don’t know, not even saying to come to an agreement is okay...

It must be pointed out that even an exclusive interview given by this pope to a Chinese journalist in 2018 was shocking, in the words of Sandro Magister, “for the words with which the pope absolved in toto China’s past and present, saying the regime should ‘accept the way it took for what it was’ like ‘running water which purifies everything’, including the murder of those millions of victims of the Chinese Communist regime whom the pope was careful never to refer to, not even in veiled terms”.

[This is, of course, one of those stunning statements – made with absolute, calculated and self-serving moral relativism to advance a personal agenda - that, if said by any world leader, and worse if said by a pope, would have earned Bergoglio the widespread condemnation of the media – or at the very least, strong protest.

But the statement was simply ignored by almost everyone and was not even brought up by the media when the Vatican and China announced their ‘secret deal’ last year. A convenient deliberate glossing over which spared Bergogliacs from even having to defend their master for those incredible words, which even the most critical commentators appeared to have forgotten themselves in their denunciations of the Vatican’s deal with China.

If Bergoglio had been so quick to absolve the Communist Chinese for all the political massacres they carried out in the past, why are we now surprised that the Vatican is silent in the face of the escalating anti-Christian persecutions carred out by Beijing since signing the agreement with the Vatican? Those persecutions are ‘trifling’ compared to the scale of the political massacres that have defined the Communist Chinese regime, so how and why should the Vatican protest them?

And that is how the Vatican signed an agreement which has substantially turned over the Church in China to the Chinese Communist government.

It is the same indifference [to which one must attach the adjective ‘scandalous] which the Cardinal Seretayr ofta, Pietro Parolin, manifested when he said recently that the Vatican was doing nothing to help Asia Bibi and her family because the tragedy of that poor Christian woman “was an internal question for Pakistan”.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Bergoglio continues to think he has the right to dictate the country's immigration policy, which is a prerogative of the State alone. Yet Bergoglio has had a leading responsibility for the formidable wave of unwanted immigration that inundated Italy for five years until the change of government last year.

And not just with his continuous almost daily interventions to open up Italy’s frontiers to undocumented immigrants. It was learned recently that back in October 2013, after another mass drowning of would-be migrants off Lampedusa, he made a direct telephone call to then Premier Enrico Letta, who in response launched Operation Mare Nostrum [whereby the Italian Navy stationed ships off the northern African coast to rescue would-be migrants from their frail boats (provided them as transport by the human traffickers they paid to get them to Italy) and to bring them to Italy safely, in effect, opening wide Italy’s doors to illegal immigration.]

This is a pontificate that has been pernicious not just for the Church but for peoples en masse.

And what about this?

Pope slams Catholic media for ‘cruelty,
exaggerated self-praise, denouncing heresy’

by Jeanne Smits

January 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic media that identify and condemn statements and actions not in line with Catholic doctrine are opposing the “centrality of compassion” and hampering evangelization in substance, Pope Francis told the bishops of Central America during his meeting with them at World Youth Days in Panama.

His words triggered an editorial piece by Andrea Tornielli on VaticanNews in which the new editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication doubled down on Franciss’ attacks, comparing his words to a “photograph of a reality that unfortunately is plain for all to see” and adding his own criticisms of “media that proclaim to be Catholic.”

These are the Pope’s precise words:[ quote]I am worried about how the compassion of Christ has lost a central place in the Church, even among Catholic groups, or is being lost – not to be so pessimistic. Even in the Catholic media there is a lack of compassion. There is schism, condemnation, cruelty, exaggerated self-praise, the denouncing of heresy…

[So Bergoglio thinks that 'the denouncing of heresy' shows lack of compassion! Lack of compassion for him, obviously, and his fellow apostate/heresiacs. As if they deserve compassion. Charity, yes, by way of seeking to convert them from their apostasies and near-heresies. But certainly not by tolerating their grave sins against the faith.]

We have here a typical example of the dichotomy Pope Francis has established in many ways between pastoral care and the upholding of the Church’s teaching, where “doctrine” and the law are held to be obstacles to mercy and inclusion.

It isn’t difficult to imagine which “Catholic media” he was alluding to. Many Catholic mainstream journals, magazines, and websites in the Western world – often those with official links to local episcopates – are obviously liberal, unclear on very clearly established points of doctrine, following the flow of “new paradigms” and eager to keep up with the times.

Those that hang on to time-tested truths and traditional morality are easy to identify. It is they that voice concern about – say – the shifting standards of Amoris laetitia, openness to homosexual couples as such, the scrapping of perennial Church teaching on the death penalty, etc. This all would count as “a lack of compassion”: not welcoming sinners and at the same time pretending to be praiseworthy by contrast.

Interestingly, these Catholic media are presented as being guilty of “schism”. That surely constitutes a doctrinal condemnation – a case of the pot calling the kettle black, perhaps? “Cruelty”, within that logic, would reside in the designation of evil or error by its name – to which the ultimate modern answer would be: “Who am I to judge?”

Including the “denouncing of heresy” in a list of objectively negative actions or attitudes is quite remarkable. It rings as the condemnation of a pursuit that has been proper to the Catholic Church from the beginning, starting with unambiguous statements by Jesus Christ Himself (“Get thee behind me, Satan” is a good example, ) and going on throughout the centuries with the curse of the Councils on those who deliberately err, refusing the truths taught by the Church: “Let him be anathema.”

To be sure, that requires thought, reflection, analysis and judgment: Using the intellect to assess the veracity or the conformity of a point of view with regard to definite truths held by the Catholic Church. If heresy is wrong – and can cause souls to be lost – then denouncing heresy is of itself great charity, that aims to glorify God and, out of love, seeks to help others to know and to love Him as He is. Why would that be contrary to “compassion”?

Tornielli, a friend of Pope Francis and long his unofficial spokesman, went out of his way to expand on the aforementioned statement condemning a certain variety of Catholic media. In his role of editorial director, he adopted an editorial tone, paraphrasing the Pope’s comments:

“His words are like a ‘photograph’ of a reality which unfortunately is plain for all to see: the spread – even among media that proclaim to be Catholic – of the habit of wanting to judge everything and everyone by putting one’s self on a pedestal and raging against one’s brothers and sisters in the faith who have different opinions...

“We should not believe that such a profoundly anti-Christian attitude (even if conveyed under 'Catholic' auspices) is a transitory phenomenon, linked only to the daily criticism of the present pontificate. In fact, at the root of this attitude lies something deeper and less incidental: the belief that in order to exist and confirm my identity, I must always find an enemy against which to direct my rage. Someone attack, someone to condemn, someone to judge heretical."

So Catholic media and Catholic journalists who are anxious to uphold the entirety of the Catholic faith would in fact be insecure individuals who can only come alive when they are seeking errors in those they do not like. This is psychobabble pure and simple, and completely ignores the central question: When denouncing this or that “heresy,” are they right or wrong?

Tornielli illustrated his point with the description of Pope Francis’ visit to the Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Center to spend a few hours with young delinquents who could not participate in the World Youth Day events, showing the importance of compassion and mercy for sinners, in the same way that “Jesus, who was capable of looking at people not for the mistakes, sins or crimes they have committed, but for what their lives could become if touched by mercy, compassion, and the infinite love of God Who embraces you before judging you, as the Pope explained to the young people.

Between Tornielli’s lines lies the idea that certain “Catholic media” are incapable of understanding this – quite a hasty judgment. [And so superciliously self-righteous! Just like his lord and master.]
00Wednesday, January 30, 2019 10:21 PM
Fr. H's latest addition to his occasional feature of brief notes picked up from the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman...


January 30,2019

"The Pope is infallible in actu, not in habitu -- in his particular pronouncements ex cathedra, not in his state of illumination, as an Apostle might be."
- Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

Post Scriptum: I thank a friend for the information that Blessed John Henry's second miracle has been unanimously approved. [I've googled this just now and cannot see any such report. Let us pray Fr. H's friend has it right.]

I wonder if we shall hear more about plans for the Canonisation after the CBCEW post-Easter meetiing.

It would be jolly to get some fun this autumn.

Dottore subito ...

If Blessed Newman does get canonized soon - and under this pope - do you think he would have the wisdom and courage to also declare him forthright as a Doctor of the Church?

00Thursday, January 31, 2019 3:26 AM
Wikileaks publishes crucial letter
on the Vatican's effective takeover
of the Sovereign Order of Malta

The December 2016 letter shows Pope Francis supported Cardinal Burke's view
against the distribution of contraceptives by the order's humanitarian arm -
but then he promptly reinstated the responsible official, though he had no right to do so

January 30, 2019

Wikileaks today published a confidential letter confirming that Pope Francis strongly opposed the Order of Malta distributing contraceptives as part of its humanitarian work and that he wished the issue be “completely resolved.”

In the letter, dated Dec. 1, 2016, and addressed to Cardinal Raymond Burke, the patron of the Order of Malta, the Holy Father stressed that the Order “must ensure that the methods and means it uses in its initiatives and healthcare works are not contrary to the moral law.”

He added that if, “in the past, there has been a problem of this nature, I hope that it can be completely resolved.”

The Pope was referring to the findings of an investigation by the Order, published in January 2016, which documented that Malteser International, the Knights’ large humanitarian aid agency, had distributed thousands of condoms and oral contraceptives, mainly to help prevent prostitutes in the Far East and Africa from contracting HIV/AIDS, but also as a program for family planning.

This had taken place while Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager was grand hospitaller (1989—2014) and ultimately responsible for the work of Malteser International. Boeselager had been made aware of the issue at least since 2013, according to the Order, but was accused of taking inadequate action — an accusation he disputed.

In his Dec. 1 letter, the Pope told Cardinal Burke he would be “very disappointed if — as you told me — some of the high Officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraceptives and have not yet intervened to end such things.”

“I have no doubts,” the Pope continued, “that by following the principles of Paul and ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15), the matter can be discussed with these Officers and the necessary rectification obtained.”

The letter was written in response to an earlier, Nov. 10 private audience between the Pope and Cardinal Burke.

The Register learned at the time that Pope was “deeply disturbed” by what the cardinal told him about the contraceptive distribution. Francis had also made it clear during that meeting that he wanted Freemasonry “cleaned out” from the order, and demanded appropriate action.

Francis made an oblique reference to that in the Dec. 1 letter, writing that members of the Order “must avoid secular and frivolous behaviour, such as membership of associations, movements and organisations which are contrary to the Catholic faith or of a relativist nature.”

If any Knights are members of these groups, the Pope went on, they “should be asked to remove themselves from the Order, because their behaviour is incompatible” with the faith and membership of the Order.

Based on these strong words of the Pope, on Dec. 6, Cardinal Burke and then-Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing, confronted Boeselager and ordered him to step down — an order he twice resisted, leading to him being forcibly dismissed for insubordination (unlawfully, according to Boeselager) using a disciplinary procedure.

About a week later, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, then expressed his disapproval of the dismissal, saying the Pope had asked for “dialogue” to be used and had never called for the expulsion of anyone.

Some alleged Cardinal Burke had told Boeselager that the Pope had instructed him to tell him to resign, but the cardinal firmly denied this.

In a separate confidential letter to Fra’ Matthew, dated Dec. 6, 2016, and also revealed today by Wikileaks, Cardinal Burke wrote that the Pope requested “necessary vigilance” over the works of the Order, “especially the purification of a mundane spirit and of the use of methods and means contrary to the moral law.”

He asked for the Grand Master’s “fullest cooperation lest the Holy Father find it necessary to address directly his concerns through a visitation of the Order.”

Following his dismissal as Grand Chancellor, Boeselager appealed to Pope Francis, leading to Cardinal Parolin forming a five-member commission of inquiry. [To begin with, what right did Boeselager have to appeal an internal governing decision of the (then) Sovereign Order of Malta to the Vatican, and what right did the Vatican have to start its investigation? Up to that point, the Vatican and the Order of Malta had co-equal status as sovereign institutions recognized by the United Nations. The Church's supervision of the Order had to do only with whether the Order was upholding and carrying out the teachings of the faith - yet Boeselager, for all his initial denials, was in documented violation of the Church teaching against contraception; he later said he did authorize the distribution of contraceptions in his capacity as an 'adult Catholic', as if somehow that were separable from his persona as a high-ranking Knights of Malta official.]

Three of the members named by Parolin to his investigating committee were linked to a mysterious $118 million fund in Geneva (as was Boeselager), Fra’ Matthew said one of them was a known Freemason, according to a separate document published today by Wikileaks.

The leadership of the Order resisted the commission largely on the grounds that it interfered with the Order’s sovereignty, but on Jan. 23, 2016, the Pope summoned asked Fra’ Matthew to the Vatican and asked him to resign on the spot. All the earlier decrees dating back to Dec. 6 were annulled and Boeselager was reinstated as grand chancellor on Jan. 28. The Pope subsequently appointed Cardinal Angelo Becciu as special delegate to represent the Holy See to the Order, supplanting Cardinal Burke’s role.

Wikileaks’ publication of the Pope’s letter and other documents today has brought some clarity to the Pope’s approach at that time over the contraceptive issue — an approach that, on paper at least, was clearly allied to that of Cardinal Burke.

But many questions relating to this troubled chapter in the Order’s history remain unanswered, particularly why the Pope sided with Cardinal Parolin and Boeselager over Cardinal Burke and Fra’ Matthew, and the role the mysterious Swiss fund played in the affair.

If anything, all this illustrates for the nth time the blatant duplicity of which Bergoglio is capable and which he exercises as he pleases.

Like his blanket absolution of the Chinese Communist Party for all the millions they massacred to enforce Communism, Bergoglio's intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign power and his very public power grab that resulted in the emasculation of a once sovereign Order of Malta have not been sufficiently denounced and appear to have been quickly forgotten by even the most dedicated of Bergoglio's public critics.

Any single one of Bergoglio's lengthening string of hubristic acts would have long sunk any other pope or secular leader. But why and how does he continue to thrive - even if increasingly contested - despite all his acts of evil - because that is what they are???

More than ever, one recognizes the abiding truth of Edmund Burke's words: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

The dam has clearly broken wide open on any compunctions the reigning pope may have about asserting - nay, imposing - himself and his 'truths' on anyone willing to be imposed upon by an agent of Satan. Everyday, in some way, he manages to flood the media with the poisoned waters of his twisted but calculatedly apostate thinking. Just in assembling the few posts I have today, we find that he has
1) contradicted his pious declarations on paper telling Cardinal Burke in December 2016 that the Knights of Malta official responsible for authorizing the distribution of contraceptives in Asia ought to be removed and anyone with Masonic associations must be rooted out of that Order;
2) castigated Catholic media for various sins including 'the denouncing of 'heresy' as a lack of compassion;
3) implied a moral equivalence in the 'suffering' of Maduro and that of the Venezuelan people he has oppressed and victimized;
4) artfully dissimulated his intentions for eventually allowing married priests by saying there were only rare possibilities where that could be considered at all and going on to praise the book of a German priest who advocated a reduced priesthood for married men;
5) appeared to modulate his unconditional support for unrestricted mass migrations to Europe and the West by mouthing some pieties about 'first let's help these intending migrantx in their own homelands' (and of course, no one thought to ask him how exactly he proposed to do that to the Muslim nations of Africa which his beloved migrants are fleeing)

And here below, yet another assault on Catholic marriage, providing a new but fallacious ground for declaring matrimony invalid...

Can every dissatisfied spouse now get an annulment
because she doesn’t satisfactorily experience
'spiritual riches and communication' from her spouse?

by Bai McFarlane

January 29, 2019

Zenit published the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’s annual address to the Roman Rota today.

When the Pope gives this annual address, it is understood to be the legislator’s instruction about canon law. The Roman Rota is a Tribunal of appeal available to any aggrieved party in a judicial canon law case.

Pope Francis discussed the duty of the Church to assist couples, and the obligation of bishops and priests.

There is a need for a triple preparation for marriage: remote, near and permanent. It is advisable for this latter to include in a serious and structural way the various phases of married life, through an accurate formation, intended to nurture in spouses the awareness of the values and commitments proper to their vocation.

In my work upholding marriage, it would be most welcome if Bishops and priests would exercise the pastoral care of teaching the faithful and point out that
- no-fault divorce is often cruel marital abandonment which is a fracturing of the marriage contract to live in the same household.
- A dissatisfied spouse, alternatively, should commit oneself to cooperating with experts who have a good track-record of strengthening marriage. Fracturing the contract to live together – by divorce – is condemned by the Catechism.

CCC 2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death.

Of concern in the Pope’s address to the Roman Rota is his description of an essential element of marriage, unity.

So as to be validly contracted, marriage requires of each of the betrothed a full unity [italic in original] and harmony with the other, so that, through the mutual exchange of their respective human, moral and spiritual riches – almost by way of communicating vessels – the two spouses become a single entity.

If this is the language now used by judges of the Roman Rota to decide that a marriage is invalid, we are at a shocking turning point. According to the literal meaning of the text, if one spouse feels she is not experiencing harmony and spiritual riches from the other, to her satisfaction, then she can argue her marriage is invalid because she doesn’t have the requirement for validity enunciated by the pope.

In 1987, Saint Pope John Paul II corrected those who erroneously spread the error that valid marriage requires the parties to be successful communicating vessels who are a harmonious single entity.

For the canonist the principle must remain clear that only incapacity and not difficulty in giving consent and in realizing a true community of life and love invalidates a marriage. Moreover, the breakdown of a marriage union is never in itself proof of such incapacity on the part of the contracting parties.
- They may have neglected or used badly the means, both natural and supernatural, at their disposal; or
- They may have failed to accept the inevitable limitations and burdens of married life, either because of blocks of an unconscious nature or because of slight pathological disturbances which leave substantially intact human freedom, or finally because of failures of a moral order.

I’ve read many, many writings about grounds for annulment and most critical is a proper understanding of the vocabulary.

The most popular ground for invalidity used by U.S. tribunals is that the marriage consent is invalid because a party did not consent (with proper mental capacity c 1095.2) to the essential duties and properties of marriage, or one was not capable of fulfilling the essential duties/properties (c. 1095.3).
- If a party does not, in reality, consent to an essential property of marriage, or a party is incapable of upholding an essential property of marriage, then the party does not validly consent to marriage (c. 1095 & 1101). So, it is very important that we correctly understand the essential properties:

Canon 1056. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which in Christian marriage obtain a special firmness by reason of the sacrament.

If the Pope’s 2019 Address to the Roman Rota is attempting to require as an essential element of marriage the “harmony with the other, so that, through the exchange of their respective riches they become a single entity,” he is contradicting Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Roman Rota and Defender of the Bond at the Signatura; the late Cardinal Edward Egan, former Roman Rota judge, professor at Pontifical Gregorian University, and one of six editors of the 1893 Code of Canon law; and Saint Pope John Paul II himself.

The 2019 Address to the Roman Rota is mixing up poetic language about marriage with canonical vocabulary. For example, two spouses cannot become one entity; it is impossible. Though, we’d expect priests to use this poetic language in homilies or marriage preparation, it wreaks havoc when used to define requirements for validity.

In 2015, Ignatius Press published a book “When Is Marriage Null? Guide to the Grounds of Matrimonial Nullity for Pastors, Counselors, and Lay Faithful” by Paolo Bianchi, with a forward by Cardinal Burke. The word unity, as an essential property of marriage does not refer to harmony, spiritual riches, and becoming a single entity. It is really simple: If one excludes unity, one intends to engage in sexual intercourse with other persons besides one’s spouse (See page 125, When is the Marriage Null. by Bianchi).

Cardinal Egan warned about the problem of hinging validity on the spouses’ harmony. See his paper in the Scholarly Journal of the Roman Rota, “The Nullity of Marriage for Reason of Incapacity to Fulfill the Essential Obligations of Marriage”.

Over the past several years, a new genre of Canon Law essay has come into being. The format has been repeated so often as virtually to constitute an art form, something on the order of the sonnet or the sonata. The author opens by announcing with evident pleasure that a wondrous, new discovery has recently been made regarding the nature of marriage. The discovery is this: Whereas theologians and canonists had for centuries held that Titius and Titia consent to conjugal acts on their wedding day, in our more enlightened times we have come to know that to which they actually consent is rather marriage itself.

The opening theme or premise having been exposed and developed, the author then moves on to drawing a series of conclusions from his and our discovery. And the conclusions, in a variety of formulations, come more or less to these :
(1) The «merely physical» , «carnal» , even «animal» view of marriage which so long stalked the unhappy path of Catholic theological and canonical thinking has at last been abandoned;
(2) In its place we are now to admit a more «spiritual» , «human» , and «personal» understanding of marriage in which the central issue is the relationship between the partners, their mutual fulfillment, «completion» , integration, and enrichment;
(3) Hence, we are finally in a position to acknowledge that a marriage in which such a relationship has not been achieved or at least could not have been achieved in appropriate measure is invalid and susceptible of being declared such by tribunals of the Roman Catholic Church.

Faced with commenting on this kind of thing, one hardly knows where to begin. For not only is the premise false, there does not even seem to be any reason why the conclusions might flow from it were it other than false. (page 10)

If a poet pens, something of this sort, we may be charmed, just as if a pastor preaches something of this sort, we may be inspired. For the acts to which married people bestow upon each other a right are so intimate, human, and personal, that we can almost think of marriage as though it entailed a gift of the married couple themselves, one to the other. «Almost » , that is, poetically or rhetorically as opposed to philosophically, juridically, precisely.

… Still, what is permitted the poet and the pastor is rightly denied – among others – the jurist, except, of course, when the jurist be a canonist who occasionally has the good sense to set aside his toga and ascend either Parnassus or the pulpit. (page 22)
- Egan on 'Essential Obligations of Marriage'

00Thursday, January 31, 2019 3:42 AM
The inimitable Fr. Rutler, who draws at will from his vast grasp of history and literature in his commentaries, directs a particularly forceful denunciation at the governor of New York state...

The appalling acts of Andrew Cuomo
Pastor, St. Michael's Church
Hell's Kitchen, New York City

There was a literary symbiosis between G.K. Chesterton and Henri Ghéon somewhat like the musical one between Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky. Ghéon’s biography of Saint John Vianney, The Secret of the Curé d’Ars, is enhanced by the brief commentary that Chesterton added to it.

Chesterton mentions a mayor of some French town who not only commissioned a statue of the rationalist Emile Zola, but, intent on further provocation, ordered that the bronze for it be forged from the bells of a church.

This rings a bell, if you will, when reminded that an ecstatic Governor Andrew Cuomo chose to sign into law our nation’s most gruesome abortion bill on January 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, to raucous applause and cheering in the state capitol. In a fallen world, dancing on graves requires no instructors.

Then Cuomo ordered that One World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany be illuminated in pink lights. The ancient Caesars dressed in red as the token of victory. Cuomo chose pink.

Mark the ironies: the Freedom Tower is at the site of the memorial to the dead of 9/11, and listed on that somber shrine are eleven “unborn babies” killed with their mothers. As for Al Smith’s building, that chivalric Catholic personality would have resigned rather than endorse infanticide.

In Orwellian Newspeak, just as a concentration camp is called a “Joycamp,” the killing of innocent unborn infants is sanctioned by a “Reproductive Health Act.” This macabre euphemism declares that it is legal to destroy a fully formed baby seconds before birth and, should it survive a botched attempt to cut it up, attendants are allowed to let it die. The abortionist does not even need to be a medical doctor. Under certain conditions an ambiguously defined “authorized practitioner” might qualify.

The legislation was deferred over the years by politicians who, if not paragons of empathy, were appalled by its excess. It has only passed because the Democrats now control both houses of the New York state legislature. Politics aside, the governor teased a religious question.

Not only did he mention that he once was an altar boy, but he concluded the signing celebration by praying for the legislators: “God bless you.” It was an echo of the time that Barack Obama invoked God’s blessings over a national gathering of Planned Parenthood.

A popular singer, Charlie Daniels, was so taken aback by this that he tweeted: “The NY legislature has created a new Auschwitz dedicated to the execution of a whole segment of defenseless citizens. Satan is smiling.” Theologians may differ as to whether the Prince of Darkness can laugh, but he certainly can smile as a way of showing that, in a Miltonian sense, evil is his good.

Meanwhile, the bleak visage of Governor Cuomo should be shielded from children allowed to live, for it resembles with each declining day a grotesque icon of the Giver of Life in reverse.

From his rambling rhetoric, untutored diction, and scant intellectual formation, we may assume that Governor Cuomo has escaped the brush of Lord Acton’s aphorism that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Cuomo’s power may not be absolute, although it has now proven deadly, but even power that is not absolute enjoys a blithe courtship with vice. His official website now displays the cook with whom he shares a home in a relationship that would have exercised John the Baptist. This has barred him from Holy Communion as a disciplinary norm, if not a canonical penalty, and in recent times he has observed this.

But, as a pre-eminent canon lawyer, Dr. Edward Peters, has indicated, Cuomo’s communicant status is further impeded by Canon 915 because of his promotion of the “Reproductive Health Act.” Dr. Peters says: “Penal jurisdiction in this matter rests with the bishop of Albany (as the place where some or all of the canonically criminal conduct was committed, per Canon 1412), and/or with the archbishop of New York (as the place where Cuomo apparently has canonical domicile, per Canon 1408).”

Canonical discipline should not be caricatured as a “weapon” since it is properly punitive to promote justice and prevent scandal as well as medicinal to reform and safeguard the spiritual state of the offender.

These matters are beyond the ken or jurisdiction of a parish priest, but it is clear that it is not sufficient for churchmen blithely to suppose that an adequate response to the massacre of innocents by the inversion of reason merits nothing more than an expression of “profound sadness.” The faithful are entitled to the expectation that their bishops will qualify as vertebrates in more than a purely anthropological sense. Our Lord did not chase the moneychangers out of his Father’s House with a whimper of melancholy.

Although our Founding Fathers rejected anhereditary form of government, it roams like a ghost through various corridors of state. One is hard-pressed to convince people that Andrew Cuomo would be presiding in Albany had his father not formerly occupied his seat. Just as Andrew engages a reverie of his days as an altar boy, so Mario invoked his membership in the Legion of Mary.

However, Mario rightly resented any imputation of a family connection to the Mafia. He is to be credited for his familial piety. This writer was a good friend of Mario Cuomo’s predecessor, Governor Hugh Carey, and I can attest that Carey much regretted not having blocked an abortion bill during his tenure. But when Carey was out of office, and devoting himself to Pro-Life witness, he was hounded and threatened about this by his successor Mario in a way redolent of The Godfather.

Perhaps Andrew Cuomo is succumbing to the temptation that some of the senators of classical Rome detected as evidence of decadence: the apotheosis, or divinizing, of emperors in an Imperial Cult complimentary to the traditional deities. Ignoring the objections of more than 100,000 petitioners, Andrew named the Tappan Zee replacement bridge over the Hudson River in honor of his father.

The Romans also developed the custom of Damnatio Memoriae which erased the memory of disfavored predecessors. This fate was dealt out to 26 of the emperors before Constantine. The Egyptians did something similar when they erased the memorials of the pharaohs Hatshepsut and Akhenaten. In like fashion, Andrew Cuomo eliminated the name of former Governor Malcolm Wilson from the old bridge which was blown up last month.

In dark ages, there was a superstition that a bridge would only be safe if sacrificial victims, preferably children, were buried in its foundations.
- Peter Ackroyd mentions this in his history of London.
- It was more than a legend as a child’s body was found in the foundation of the Bridge Gate at Bremen.
- It was a ritualized practice in Japan, called Hitobashira.

If Andrew Cuomo persists in ignoring the petitions of the people of Rockland and Westchester counties, and keeps the name of his father for the duration of the construction, there will be enough sacrificed bodies to ensure the soundness of the Mario Cuomo Bridge and all of them innocents. Herod Antipas could not have been prouder of his father (who did not enjoy a good reputation in Bethlehem).

One theory is that some Church leaders have been reluctant to annoy Governor Andrew Cuomo in the midst of civil investigations of the Church, given the recriminatory personality of the man. But accommodation is a weak strategy.

After the Munich agreement, Winston Churchill said,

“And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

Corroborating that warning, just three days after his “Reproductive Health Act,” on January 28, Andrew Cuomo “celebrated” the passage through the state senate of the “Child Victims Act” aimed at Catholic Institutions.

While contemplating the Crucified Christ, Doctors of the Church have seen his flesh as paper, his blood as ink, and the nails as pens. So the Word of God is blotted out by the words of the morally illiterate.

After Governor Cuomo signed the “Health” act, he handed his pen —having driven the nail into Christ — to a grinning and grandmotherly woman whose ample lap could have held several children. Alas, she had none.

And Father Z introduces a news report at LIFE News with these words:

It had to happen. If it was successful in NY,
it would be attempted in other states..

Read at LifeSite about a bill in Virginia that would allow abortion even at the point of giving birth. Good heavens… is “abortion” even the right word at that point.

Virginia Democrat squirms defending bill
allowing abortion even while a woman is giving birth

by Doug Mainwaring

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, January 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Virginia House Delegate has proposed legislation that would allow abortions up until the moment of birth.

In a shocking exchange during a subcommittee hearing about the bill, the bill’s chief proponent hesitantly admitted that the measure would permit aborting children even as a mother has begun dilating in preparation to give birth.

Delegate Kathy Tran, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, was asked, “How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion?”

Tran replied, “through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to forty weeks...I don't think we have a limit in the bill.”

“Where it’s obvious a woman is about to give birth?” asked the chairman of the subcommittee, Delegate Todd Gilbert. "Even when she has physical signs that she is about to give birth? and she's

“My bill would allow that, yes,” responded Tran.

“I certainly could’ve said a week from her due date and that would’ve been the same answer, correct?” asked Gilbert.

“That is allowed in the bill,” answered Tran.

Known as the Repeal Act, Virginia House Bill 2491 would eliminate current restrictions on late-term abortions.

According to the bill’s summary, the proposed law:
o Eliminates the requirement that an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester be performed in a hospital.
o Eliminates all the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a woman's informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a woman's informed written consent be first obtained.
o Eliminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman's death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman's health would be substantial and irremediable.
o Removes language classifying facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals.

When Delegate Gilbert pressed both Tran and a spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia for an example of the mental health conditions which might necessitate the late-term abortion of a baby, neither were able to come up with a single example.

The gruesome legislation proposed for the Old Dominion comes close on the heels of New York’s recently enacted abortion law which also removes protections for the unborn, permitting abortion up until birth.

00Thursday, January 31, 2019 7:12 AM

Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy
by Yves Chiron
Foreword by Alcuin Reid
Angelico Press, 2018 (214 pp)

Lament for the liturgy
The book on Bugnini is indispensable both for its historical depth and breadth but also
to understand how we received the only liturgy that most Roman Catholics have ever experienced.

by Conor Dugan

January 27, 2019

Fifty years ago this April, Pope St. Paul VI issued the Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum, which promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae, the New Rite of the Roman Mass. The Novus Ordo went into effect the first Sunday of Advent, November 30, 1969.

This new missal was the culmination of efforts set into motion by the first of the four constitutions promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which called for the Latin Rite’s “liturgical books . . . to be revised as soon as possible”, to employ “experts . . . on the task”, and to consult the bishops of various parts of the world in the revisions.

To say that the faithful’s experience of worship changed in the period from 1963 through 1969 [Actually, the change took place in 1969, because until then, the traditional Mass was still used everywhere] is an understatement. The language, gestures, orientation, and much else in the Mass changed — sometimes overnight [All this did change literally overnight!]
- How did the Church go from the Sacrosanctum Concilium to the Novus Ordo?
- What was the process that led from that Constitution, promulgated on November 22, 1963, to the Novus Ordo that went into effect just six years later?
- It is to these questions that Yves Chiron, a noted-French historian and writer, directs himself in his newly-translated book Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy.

The late-Archbishop Bugnini, was the Italian Vincentian who served as the influential secretary of the Consilium ad exsequendam Constiutionem de Sacra Liturgia (the Committee for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy). Chiron’s work is both a biography of Bugnini and a succinct overview of the Consilium’s work in implementing and imposing the liturgical reform that gave us the Novus Ordo and the current Liturgy of the Hours.

Chiron’s work is inequal parts impressive and depressing.
- It is impressive because Chiron avoids both polarizing starting points and conclusions, shows a great command of the primary sources, and in under 200 pages gives a succinct overview of the Consilium’s work.
- Chiron’s biography is a sober, objective, and well-researched account. His Bugnini is no bogeyman.
- It is depressing because the book gives an unvarnished window into the political machinations, processes, and frequent failings behind the liturgical reform.

In reading Chiron’s book, one understands at a deep level Joseph Ratzinger’s trenchant but charitable critiques of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform. For instance, in his 1998 memoir Milestones, Ratzinger wrote:

It was reasonable and right of the Council to order a revision of the missal such as had often taken place . . . But more than this now happened: the old building was demolished, and another was built . . . Setting [the Novus Ordo] as a new construction over against what had grown historically, forbidding the results of this historical growth, thereby makes the liturgy appear to be no longer a living development but the product of erudite work and juridical authority; this has caused us enormous harm. For then the impression had to emerge that liturgy is something “made,” not something given in advance.

Indeed, this book helps one understand why Ratzinger has stated that “with respect to the Liturgy,” the Pope “has the task of a gardener, not that of a technician who builds new machines and throws the old ones on the junk-pile.”

Chiron’s book shows that the Consilium’s work too often was that of a technician rather than a gardener. In Chiron’s account we see the (self-inflicted) wound that continues to harm the Church to this day. Chiron’s book is indispensable both for its historical depth and breadth but also for understanding how we received the only liturgy that most Roman Catholics have ever experienced.

Bugnini’s early years
Bugnini was born to a pious Italian family in the Umbrian hills ,and like two of his siblings entered religious life, joining the Vincentians. As young priest, Bugnini was a liturgical innovator. He experimented with the dialogue Mass, something that had already become relatively common. The dialogue Mass consisted of “the faithful reciting the ‘responses and prayers’ that were otherwise said by the server(s).” But Bugnini went beyond this, having “the assembly say aloud a sort of paraphrase of the text of the Mass.”

Bugnini’s words concerning his achievement are revealing of a mindset that would come to dominate the liturgical reform: “The ‘inert and mute’ assembly had been transformed into a living and prayerful assembly.” Bugnini viewed active participation — what some would say is better described as actual participation — as equal to or at the very least primarily expressed through verbal actions — speaking and responding.

This view of participation sees it not primarily as an inner phenomenon, by which the faithful enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation, death, and Resurrection, made present in the liturgy, but rather something manifested by outward actions and demonstrations.

When Bugnini became editor of the Vincentian liturgical journal Ephemerides Liturgicae, he had a platform from which to “broadcast his ideas for a liturgical reform.” Like so many other tasks to which Bugnini put his energies, the journal, which had been moribund, began to flourish. Bugnini commissioned a survey of liturgical needs and desires. The survey was generated by Bugnini’s wish to “rejuvenate the liturgy, ‘ridding’ it of the superstructures that weighed it down over the centuries.”

Bugnini wanted to pursue a “streamlining of the liturgical apparatus and a more realistic adaptation to the concrete needs of the clergy and faithful in the changing conditions of our day.”

Again, the words Bugnini used to describe the liturgy - 'superstructures', 'apparatus', 'changing conditions of our day' - are revealing of a certain mindset. It was a mindset that Bugnini would use his significant organizing skills to put into effect as secretary of the Consilium.

The Second Vatican Council
After Pope St. John XXIII announced his intent to convoke the Second Vatican Council, Bugnini was appointed to serve as secretary to the preparatory commission for the liturgy for the Council. Perhaps the most significant of the preparatory commission’s suggestions was that “the “‘structure’ of the ‘so-called-Mass of Saint Pius V’ had to be ‘reformed’ in such a way that additions be suppressed and that other elements improved or embellished,” and that “elements genuine, fundamental, and suited to our times should be cultivated.”

With the inception of the Second Vatican Council, Bugnini suffered the first of two significant demotions in his ecclesiastical career. Bugnini, with good reason, had expected to be named the secretary of the Council’s Commission on the Liturgy. Instead, that position went to another priest. Bugnini would serve simply as a peritus, an expert. But Bugnini would not be out of favor for long. Sacrosanctum Concilium was the first constitution adopted by the Council Fathers on November 22, 1963. In early 1964, the Consilium was established with Bugnini as its secretary.

It is with the inception of the Consilium that Chiron’s book takes on the pace of a gripping novel. A key to understanding the Consilium was its autonomy from the Roman Curia. It could function in ways that normal curial congregations could not. And given that Bugnini had already established a strong relationship with Pope Paul VI and that Bugnini was the day-to-day administrator of the Consilium, he had considerable power. As Chiron writes, Bugnini “was truly the architect of the reforms that were about to begin.”

And the reforms began almost right away and in a piecemeal fashion. Chiron documents something we too often forget. While the Novus Ordo did not go into effect until Advent 1969, significant liturgical experimentation and changes were being undertaken in the six years between the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Novus Ordo’s implementation. The Holy See issued several documents, produced in large part by the Consilium that revised portions of the Mass and allowed for different options prior to the implementation of the Novus Ordo. [Since I lived in the Philippines at that time, none of these interim changes were reflected or even hinted at in the practices of the Church in the Philippines.]

For instance, Inter Oecumenici, issued in 1964, called for
- the recitation of the Our Father in the vernacular by priest and congregation together,
- introduced the prayer of the faithful,
- suppressed the Last Gospel and the Leonine Prayers, among other things, and
- introduced the possibility of Mass facing the people. As Chiron writes, this concession was soon to become the norm” with Paul VI “himself giving the example.”

In 1967, the Holy See issued another instruction on the liturgy, Tres Abhinc Annos. Chiron states that it introduced “significant modifications to the celebration of Mass” including
- reducing the number of the priest’s gestures — kissing the altar, signs of the cross, and genuflections, and
- “completing the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass by allowing the Canon to be said aloud and in the vernacular.”

The Consilium would continue to revise the new rite in the years to come, soliciting feedback from cardinals and bishops attending the 1967 meeting of the Synod of Bishops. The Mass was also tested in front of the synod fathers, though the reaction was decidedly mixed.

After further revisions, in January 1968, over the course of three days, the Consilium celebrated three versions of the new Mass in front of the Pope, using different Eucharistic prayers and different “modes of celebration.” This new version of the Mass added the “Sign of Peace,” which had not been used at the demonstration of the Mass to the Synod of Bishops.

What is striking about Chiron’s description of these experimental Masses is the way in which the new Mass was essentially Beta-tested. Reading Chiron’s description, one cannot help but think of engineers in a design studio designing a product, tweaking it, and then testing it out on a pilot group before introducing the product to market.

This new Mass was not the result of the slow organic growth of certain practices and the paring back of others. Rather, it was the product of experts and technicians working it out abstractly in a “laboratory.”

“Even before the final Novus Ordo was promulgated,
- the Holy See permitted the use of eight new prefaces and the three new Eucharistic Prayers in addition to the Roman Canon.
- The finalized Novus Ordo “synthesized and made official changes that had already been taking place.” These included the following: - “a more communal penitential part of the Mass;
- more numerous and diverse Sunday readings spread out over a three-year cycle;
- a restored ‘universal prayer’;
- new Prefaces; a changed Offertory;
- three new Eucharistic Prayers . . . ;
- modified words of consecration, identical in all four Eucharistic Prayers;
- the Pater noster said by the whole congregation, [and]
- suppressed many genuflections, signs of the cross, and bows.”
In short, the Mass we know today.

Bugnini’s final years
In Chiron’s final two chapters, he discusses Bugnini’s fall from grace and eventual service as Apostolic Nuncio to Iran. Bugnini seems to have served ably and nobly as the nuncio. And, as relations between the Vatican and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his Society of Saint Pius X worsened, Archbishop Bugnini urged restraint and mercy. He even “suggested that the celebration of the traditional Mass might be authorized,” subject to certain conditions. The Vatican rejected this advice. On a visit to Rome for medical care in 1982, Bugnini died of an embolism. He was buried with the epitaph: “Liturgiae amator et cultor”— Lover and Supporter or Cultivator of the Liturgy.

Chiron’s book provides a helpful vehicle by which to assess, at least partially, Bugnini and his efforts at liturgical reform. If one were to base this assessment simply on output and results, Archbishop Bugnini must be judged a resounding success.
- In the space of six years he took the general directives of the Second Vatican Council and engineered a new missal for the Latin Rite.
- The Mass, which had been celebrated for centuries in Latin, was now celebrated, almost exclusively, in the vernacular.
Within a half-decade, Mass went from being celebrated ad orientem in both the East and West, to being almost exclusively celebrated versus populum in the Latin Rite.
- The reforms directed and overseen by Bugnini have become deeply embedded in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

And, yet, reading this wonderful book in light of the 50 years since the Novus Ordo’s implementation, Bugnini’s legacy is decidedly more mixed, even negative. Bugnini and the other members and consultors who manned the Consilium were undoubtedly experts in the practice and history of the liturgy. Bugnini's legacy, however, raises the very important question whether they were, as Paul VI famously described the Church, “experts on humanity.”
- The buzzwords of their articles, talks, and titles of their books betray their biases and presuppositions and suggest that they were not experts on humanity.
- For instance, Dom Botte’s book describing his inside view of the liturgical reform is titled From Silence to Participation. Bugnini described the transformation of the “inert and mute assembly” into true participants. Such descriptions are a common theme.
- The liturgical reformers failed to see how silence could be a form of participation, indeed perhaps a deeper participation than the recitation of banal translations.
- The reformers also seemed unable to credit ordinary lay people with the ability to learn and penetrate the mysteries of the Mass as it was already being celebrated. If these people could not “understand” the words, they could not truly worship.
- Bugnini had to paraphrase the Mass to make it “accessible.” This both assumes that one can really comprehend phrases such as, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body,” and obscures the manner in which mystery and comprehension coincide and overlap. As we begin to grow in knowledge, we realize that God’s mystery is even greater than we ever imagined.

“The reformers’ zeal for relevance and for a liturgy fit for contemporary man was and is a fool’s errand. As soon as one “updates” a liturgy, it is suddenly out-of-date. The new new man succeeds the new man. And so on and so forth. Nor does this chasing after relevance take into account man’s eternal and universal thirst for transcendence.

Finally, Bugnini and his fellow reformers put a premium on rational comprehension and stark simplicity. But this was done at the expense of basic human anthropology and a proper understanding of God.
- We are not simply spirits, but embodied souls who need to touch, to feel, to taste, to see.
- When we no longer kneel, genuflect, kiss, adore, we often cease to believe.
- We may now “understand” the words of the liturgy but at the expense that we do not actually believe them.
- Further, God is superabundant. His language is superabundance. He expresses Himself in ways that seem excessive, even superfluous. Why should our worship of Him be any different?

Chiron’s book is a great gift to the Church. While we cannot change the past, Chiron gives us the ability to see it clearly, to assess it with honesty, and to ask the deep questions that will help us avoid making missteps in the future. Bugnini was clearly well-intentioned. He loved the liturgy. [His way, however. Not that which had organically developed over centuries, the liturgy that nurtured all of the Church's Fathers and saints. It's like saying 'Bergoglio loves the Church' - yeah, but his church, not the Church Christ instituted.] But so many of his actions undermined rather than cultivated the liturgy he loved. May we avoid repeating his mistakes.

Still on the subject of liturgy - would Bugnini have approved of the absurd but open license with which bishops and priests have since abused 'his' liturgy? 

The Eucharist as a snack
Translated from

January 29, 2019

The case I am concerned with here would have been perfect for my feature ‘Right men in the right places’. but I have chosen to treat it on its own because it demonstrates very well the point we have reached in liturgical degradation, an expression of theological and spiritual degradation before which one is left without words.

I refer to the Mass celebrated in Innsbruck by Austrian Bishop Hermann Glettler on January 29, during which the young people who took part gave communion to each other, and all of it seen live on ZDF television. Here is how the webite messainlatino,it. recounts it:

At the Offertory, the high school students took the microphone to explain that they were ‘preparing the table”. And the video shows the communion that they subsequently gave to each other.

But the young people apparently had to ‘swallow’ the irreverent novelty proposed and allowed by their bishop. On the video one sees the displeased expressions of some of the kids who, after receiving communion from one of their colleagues, walk away rapidly while making the sign of the Cross, while others approached the improvised ‘eucharistic ministers’ with classic adolescent sniggering.

This is a shame for which the Bishop of Innsbruck is responsible before God and the Church.

We already observed earlier the ‘artistic’ strangenesses introduced by this ‘creative’ bishop’, but we never imagined that he could allow the children themselves to give communion to each other during one of his masses.

The video also shows a boy holding for the bishop a ciborium with the consecrated hosts while in the background, an instrumental group is playing ‘New Age’ music.

This is the spiritual level to which Austria has been reduced – a nation that was once resplendent in its Catholic devotion and courageous testimonials in defense of the faith.

Not afraid of being branded as neo-pelagians or hypocrites (but better than bearing the guilt for disturbing the faith of children), can we say that this schismatic way of conceiving liturgy is also dangerously dis-educative for the young and ground for ‘scandal’ to the entire ecclesial community?

What are the faithful of Innsbruck waiting for in order to address this scandal to the competent Vatican dicasteries (the Congregationf or Divine Worship and the Congregation for Bshops) in order to safeguard their own faith and above all, t protect the faith of their children and grandchildren?

I have little to add to this account, including its final question. Only a prayer for reparation.

I conclude this post with an item I had been waiting to post for several days... And here it is - a fitting counterpoint to the Bugnini story and the radical changes he engineered to create the Novus Ordo...

Should a priest introduce the old Mass
to a congregation that does not request it?

by Peter Kwasniewski

January 21, 2019

Let’s begin with the most obvious point, which nevertheless still needs to be said. As per Summorum Pontificum, if the faithful themselves request the traditional Latin Mass, the pastor must provide it for them, or at least make arrangements for another priest to provide it.

He is not allowed simply to say no. He might say “yes, but first I have to learn it” (and then the laity, already prepared, will tell him that they will cover all his expenses); or “yes, but at this difficult juncture — with the new elementary school, the prison ministry, the nursing home, and the recent death of the vicar — I won’t be able to learn it, so I will ask around and try to get a Mass started for you next month.”

And of course, the pastor will always make such responses with a smile and gratitude for the devotion of his faithful to the rich traditions of the Catholic Church.

But what about a situation where the people are basically content with what they’ve got? They are accustomed to the “Ordinary Form” and know nothing else; they are not asking for anything else. Let’s even say, for the sake of argument, that the parish is on the upper end of the Ratzingerian scale and is already putting into practice the ideals of the ROTR, [reform of the reform] such as ad orientem, use of Latin and Gregorian chant, fine sacred music, beautiful vestments, kneeling for holy communion, and the like.
- Is there anything “wanting” to such a community?
- Is there any reason for the pastor himself to introduce the usus antiquior?

Yes. There are two basic reasons to do so.

First, for the priest’s own benefit. In an article published in Catholic World Report, “Finding What Should Never Have Been Lost: Priests and the Extraordinary Form” (one of many such articles now online), we find testimonies from priests about the effect that celebrating the usus antiquior has had on them, and why they find it so moving.

One priest says: “It has a mystical, contemplative, and mysterious quality, with its use of Latin, the gestures, the position of the altar, and the prayers, which are more ornate than we have today.”

Another priest remarks: “I was a lifelong Catholic, and I’d never experienced the Mass in that way. I didn’t imagine such a Mass existed. I was enthralled by it. When I celebrate the Mass, it has less to do with me, the priest, and is more about God.”

A third priest states: “The Tridentine Mass has changed me. I like its reverence, and it’s helped me see the Mass as a sacrifice, not just a memorial.”

Every priest I know who offers the traditional Latin Mass — and I have spoken with hundreds over the years — experiences in a powerful, almost visceral way the awesomeness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the mystery of the priesthood on account of many elements in the liturgy that were unfortunately removed in the reforms of the 1960s:
- the humble approach to the altar at the beginning, which is saturated with the humility and piety that befits “being about the Father’s business”;
- the many times the priest must bow or genuflect, the many kissings of the altar and signs of blessing;
- the exquisite attention to meaningful detail in one’s posture, attitude, and disposition;
- the profound prayers of the Offertory;
- the immersion into silence at the Canon, so piercingly focused on the mystery by which the immolation of Christ is renewed in our midst;
- the care that surrounds every aspect of the handling of the Body and Blood of the Lord, from canonical digits to thoroughgoing ablutions;
- the Placeat tibi and Last Gospel, which bring home the magnitude of what has taken place: nothing less than the redemptive Incarnation continuing in our midst.
How could this not hugely benefit a priest in his interior life, and lead him further along the path of his vocation and his sanctification?

The second reason for a priest to make the usus antiquior available even when his congregation has not requested it is for the spiritual benefit of the congregation itself.

One of the priests interviewed in the aforementioned article points out: “Ninety percent of Catholics today have had no experience of the Church before Vatican II. They don’t know about its traditional art, architecture, or liturgy.”

As Joseph Ratzinger lamented more than once, there was a rupture if not in theory, then certainly in fact. Catholics were separated from the traditions of the Church; indeed, adhering to traditions came to be seen as a sort of infidelity to Vatican II and to the new spirit it ushered in, which was supposed to newly engage modernity and bear the harvest of a new evangelization.
- This does not seem to have happened, or not with the fullness that had been desired and promised.
- If anything, it tended to encourage skepticism towards anything preconciliar and a promethean temptation to refashion the Church according to the latest fads and theories.

Although the worst of the “silly season” may be over (at least in most places), the People of God still suffer from the effects of this widespread deracination. What better way to root them again in the two millennia of Catholicism than by enriching them with the form of worship that nurtured the great saints of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the entire Tridentine period that stretched over four and a half centuries?

In the memorable words of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to bishops, Con grande fiducia: “It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

This can only be a “win” for the faithful in the parish, stretching them in good ways.
- It will develop new habits of meditative and contemplative prayer; - it will strongly confirm the dogma that the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice;
- it will intensify their adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist and their veneration of the ministerial priesthood (which is not a species of clericalism);
- it will open their minds to a wider world of Catholic culture and theology; and
- last but not least, it will support the effort to celebrate the Novus Ordo in a more traditional manner by showing where the ROTR paradigm came from in the first place — in other words, why we do certain things this way rather than that way.

We may conclude this part of our exposition with the striking words of the late Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos during his tenure as the president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei:

Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence. The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. (London, 14 June 2008)

When asked at a press conference on the same day “Would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?,” His Eminence replied:

All the parishes. Not many — all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful — the deepest theological way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, make up a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

One question I am often asked by laity and clergy is: “How should the Extraordinary Form be introduced where it has not yet existed?” I think what they mean is largely practical: when, how often, and with what preparation or accompaniments.

My advice has always been to do it gradually: to start quietly (I mean, without fanfare) by scheduling a monthly Mass; then, once this Mass is known to be celebrated and there is some congregation for it, to offer catechesis to the rest of the parish in homilies, and a kindly invitation. After this has gone over well and has become an accepted fact, the frequency can be increased to once a fortnight or once a week.

At this point, the priest reaches a crossroads: if he judges that the community will respond favorably and his head will not be handed to him on a platter at the chancery, he could celebrate the usus antiquior several times a week. I have seen regular parish schedules where it is offered as the daily Mass on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, or where there is a Sunday Mass and a weekday Mass.

To get even more particular, it has often worked well to introduce a traditional Latin Mass on Saturday morning, because this is a “low traffic” time of the week, and least likely to ruffle feathers. In some parishes there isn’t even a normal Saturday morning Mass, so nothing has to be swapped out. Another possibility is First Fridays and/or First Saturdays, because these are well-loved but traditional devotions, and the Latin Mass can be viewed as their natural complement: it sounds like a special thing being done for a special devotion. Another pastor I know introduced a monthly evening Mass just for men and boys, as part of a program of adoration, rosary, Mass, and fellowship; he will soon introduce a monthly evening Mass just for women and girls.

Introducing the usus antiquior on Sundays or Holy Days is at once the most important step and the most difficult.
- It is important to do so eventually, because only in this way can the treasure of the old liturgy reach the largest number of faithful.
- It is obviously difficult because of the need (in some places) for many Masses offered by a single priest, as well as by the challenge of an already-existing schedule that parishioners are loath to see modified.

Still, even here there can be a way forward. For example, if there is already a quiet early morning Mass, one might convert this into a quiet Low Mass, being careful to repeat the readings from the pulpit in the vernacular before the homily.

If there is a “contemporary youth Mass,” why not try the wild and crazy New Evangelization experiment of substituting a Gregorian Missa cantata for it instead? A lot of young Catholics are bored or turned off by the pseudo-pop music and the implicit dumbing-down that liturgical planners assume to be necessary for the smartphone generation. As always, some youths might stop coming, but others would find in it a radically new experience that appeals to them in mysterious ways. New people would come — and bring more people. It could end up being quite successful.

In all of this, I am painfully aware of the reality on the ground.
- There are many priests who feel that their hands are tied on account of the hostility, on the part of the bishop, the chancery, the presbytery, or the parish, towards anything traditional.
- This is a deplorable aspect of our decadent situation, but it is not a dead end.
- In such cases, a priest still profits from learning the usus antiquior, as he can offer it privately once a week on his day off. - This will be to his own spiritual benefit for all the reasons already given, and, by connecting him to a wealth of tradition, influence for the better his understanding of what liturgy is and how it should be celebrated in any rite or form.

00Friday, February 1, 2019 7:57 AM
Sexual abuse of nuns by priests:
The story we hardly hear about

January 30, 2019

To judge by what Pope Francis has written and said - most recently on the plane that brought him back from Panama to Rome - sexual abuse committed against minors by priests will be the main topic of the summit convened at the Vatican from February 21 to 24 between the pope and the presidents of some 130 Catholic episcopal conferences in the world.

The risk is that of bypassing, however, that plague which statistically turns out to be prevalent among the perpetrators of abuse in Europe and in North and South America, meaning homosexual activity with the young and very young.

[Hold it there! Didn't the John Jay Criminal College report on sexual abuses committed by priests in the USA make it very clear that the great majority of abuses were committed against adolescents rather than against children? And therefore that pedophilia - a specific pathologic sexual attraction to children - was not the major category of these sex abuse crimes but male homosexuality which satisfies its lusts with older boys? And that, unlike pedophiles, homosexual priests are like the garden variety of male homosexuals who rarely prey on male children because that's not their thing. In any case, sexual abuse is sexual abuse - and the summit ought not to limit themselves to just one kind.

One is curious about the methodology to be used at the February summit. The overwhelming majority of the participating bishops' conferences will not have the detailed reports commissioned by the US, German, Belgian and Dutch bishops.
- How have they been asked to give the summit a ballpark overview of the extent of clerical sex abuse in their respective countries?
- And would this include, as it should, not just male victims of abuse, but also girls and women?
- And more to the point of this item by Magister, what about nuns who have been the target for decades of McCarrick-like abuse of clerical power to subject them to the lusts of the priests and bishops they work for and work with?
- Have the summit organizers devised a systematic way whereby the participants could serially consider all the different categories of sexual abuse that may and can be committed by priests and bishops?

Just going through the list of possible questions facing the February summit - and very brief answers from all those bishop-presidents concerned - would take up all the four days which is all they have to work out something. You can see how much of a Hail Mary pass Bergoglio is attempting in trying to defuse the crisis - or feigning it, anyway - by calling a summit he knows very well is unlikely to come up with any action plan that will be applicable to everyone, because there simply can't be a one-size-fits-all plan.

Unless most of the bishops will decide to adopt Jorge Bergoglio's line (lie) that "Fortunately, sex abuse was never a problem in my diocese!". In which case, the summit will be left to consider the clerical sexual abuse crisis in those countries that do have statistics and data galore documenting their respective crises.]

But there is still another sexual abuse plague over which, so far, there hangs a pall of silence. And it is that of sexual abuse committed by clergy against nuns. It is a plague that is widespread above all in Africa, but also in Asia.

The most sensational scandal of this kind has been under way for months in India. Its protagonist is Bishop Franco Mulakkal, until recently head of the diocese of Jullundur, in Punjab, as well as a consultant at the Vatican for the Pontifical cCouncil for Inter-Religious Dialogue, who ended up in jail and is now on trial. He has been accused of sexually abusing a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus in Kerala a dozen times between 2014 and 2016. The bishop claims he is innocent.

It is above all in Africa and Asia that the episcopal conferences, eight years after the order received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have not yet developed guidelines for handling cases of clerical sex abuse of minors. And what has the CDF been doing all this time with the non-compliers?
- What does Cardinal Mueller have to say about that - after all he was there for five of the past six years.
- What about Cardinal O'Malley, Bergoglio's pointman on this matter? - All these past six years, did he ever follow up with the CDF how to deal with the laggards?
- And what did the CDF do with the plans that wer submitted by the compliant episopal conferences?
It all sounds like the hopeless bureaucratic mess one would expect from all the jawing and blathering going on at these Vatican meetings, synods, assemblies and summits!]

One of the reasons for this inertia - as Pope Francis himself has observed - is the scanty awareness, on these continents, of the gravity and universality of the question, imagined as pertaining only to the West. And this also applies to the plague of homosexual activity.

At the same time, however, there is also a lack of awareness of the gravity of that other plague, that of sexual abuse committed by clergy against nuns. And it is a form of blindness that primarily afflicts the Churches of Africa and Asia, where the phenomenon is most widespread, but of which the Churches of the West and even the mother Church of Rome are guilty.

One must go back to the nineties to find the first systematic accusations, forwarded by nuns to the Vatican authorities. But what is more grave is that since then very little has been done not only to counter the phenomenon, but at least to bring it to light.

It must be noted that the spotlights were focused on this reality by the Catholic media.

The first to break the silence, in March of 2001, was the National Catholic Reporter, which in an extensive article by John Allen and Pamela Schaeffer, made public the two accusations forwarded confidentially to the Vatican, the one signed in 1995 by physician and AIDS specialist Sister Maura O’Donohue, and the one signed in 1998 by Sister Marie McDonald, superior of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa:
> Reports of abuse. Sexual exploitation of nuns

The latest is the French newspaper La Croix, which in an article by Constance Vilanova oast January 17 expanded with new testimonies the two chief accusations of Sister O’Donohue, concerning 23 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and of Sister McDonald:
> En Afrique, les religieuses victimes de la loi du silence

As the La Croix headline says, the code of silence continues to reign supreme, both among abusers and victims, and among the respective hierarchical superiors, who tend to tolerate and cover up the misdeeds of the former, while blaming the latter for their misfortunes and even punishing them.

This code of silence that has its roots in a plurality of factors, at the origin of the abuse:
- the idea that celibacy and chastity for consecrated persons only socifically prohibit marriage but not sexual relations;
- the fear of contracting AIDS, which makes nuns a “safer” sexual object for abusive priests;
- the woman’s position of subordination to the male in society and in the Church;
- a lack of esteem for female consecrated life, on the part of bishops, priests, and laity;
- the financial dependence on the diocese of many small female religious congregations;
- the material and spiritual support given by clergy to nuns in exchange for sexual services.

It even happens that the priest or bishop may force into an abortion the nun he has gotten pregnant.

Last November 23, the International Union of Superiors General released a statement in which it asks “that any woman religious who has suffered abuse, report the abuse to the leader of her congregation, and to church and civic authorities as appropriate.” But it is not a given that the nun who reports will receive help. In fact, what often happens is the opposite.

Sister Mary Lembo, from Togo, is preparing a doctoral thesis on relations between priests and nuns in Africa, at the psychology institute of the Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome. She has thoroughly analyzed 12 cases of sexual abuse and told La Croix that the code of silence continues to reign in Africa because there the figure of the priest “is respected and at the same time feared. The victims tend to blame themselves. In cases of abuse, it is often the religious sister who ends up under accusation, it is she who has drawn the looks and the attention to herself, it is she who ends up being condemned.”

For Pope Francis, the number one cause of sexual abuse is “clericalism.”

In Europe and the Americas this is debatable theorem, especially if applied to homosexual activity, where both within the church as in nthe secular world, it has become accepted as a matter of fact and in many countries, legitimized.

Lucetta Scaraffia , a church historian and editor of the monthly supplement on women published by L'Osservatore Romano, wrote in a January 12 article for the Spanish newspaper El Pais, about "an undervalued phenomenon, that of abuses of members of the clergy towards religious women, classified by hierarchs as 'romantic relationships'.

But instead of being consensual romantic relationships, they represent the imposition of a man in a position of power over a vulnerable woman. Sometimes, nuns are forced to endure an unwanted relationship by their own superiors, fearing reprisals against their order if they do not submit".

Early this year, the case of the bishop and the Kerala nun led the Associated Press to research and run this article about nun abuse by priests in India.\..

A long history of nuns
abused by priests in India


KURAVILANGAD, India, January 3, 2019 – The nuns talk of Catholic priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex. Across India, they talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.

At its most grim, nuns speak of repeated rapes, and of a Catholic hierarchy that did little to protect them.

The Vatican has long been aware of nuns sexually abused by priests and bishops in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, but it has done very little to stop it, The Associated Press reported last year.

Now, the AP has investigated the situation in India and uncovered a decades-long history of nuns enduring sexual abuse from within the church. Nuns detailed the sexual pressure they endured from priests; nearly two dozen nuns, former nuns and priests, and others said they had direct knowledge of such incidents.

Still, the problem is cloaked by a powerful culture of silence. Many nuns believe abuse is commonplace, insisting most sisters can at least tell of fending off a priest's sexual advances. Some believe it is rare. Almost none talk about it readily, and most speak only on the condition that they not be identified.

But this summer, one nun forced the issue into the open.

When repeated complaints to church officials brought no response, the 44-year-old nun filed a police complaint against the bishop who oversees her order, accusing him of raping her 13 times over two years. A group of nuns launched a public protest to demand the bishop's arrest.

The protest divided India's Catholic community. The accuser and the nuns who support her are now pariahs, isolated from the other sisters, many of whom defend the bishop.

"Some people are accusing us of working against the church," said one supporter, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal. "They say, 'You are worshipping Satan.' But we need to stand up for the truth."

Some nuns' accounts date back decades.

Like the sister, barely out of her teens, teaching in a Catholic school in the early 1990s. It was exhausting work, and she was looking forward to time at a New Delhi retreat center.

The nun is a forceful woman who has spent years working with the poor. But when she talks about the retreat her voice grows quiet.

One night, a priest in his 60s who was supposed to be leading the nuns in reflection went to a neighborhood party. He came back late and knocked at her room. She could smell the alcohol.

"You're not stable. I'm not ready to meet you," she said.
But the priest forced his way in, tried to kiss her and grabbed at her body. Weeping, she pushed him back enough to slam the door.

Afterward she quietly told her mother superior, who let her avoid meeting the priest again. She also wrote anonymously to church officials. The priest was re-assigned. But there were no public reprimands, no warnings to other nuns.

She was too afraid to challenge him openly. "For me it was risking my own vocation," she said.

Caught at this intersection of sexual taboo, Catholic hierarchy and loneliness, sisters can be left at the mercy of predatory priests. It can be particularly hard for sisters from deeply conservative Kerala.

"Once you grow up, once you get your first menstruation, you are not encouraged to speak normally to a boy," said a nun from Kerala, a cheerful woman with sparkly glass earrings. That naivete, she said, can be costly.

Like the time she was a novice nun, still in her teens, and an older priest came to the Catholic center where she worked. He was from Goa, another coastal state. When she brought the priest his laundry, he grabbed her and began to kiss her.

"The kissing was all coming here," she said, gesturing at her chest.
"He was from Goa. I am from Kerala. In my mind I was trying to figure out: 'Is this the way that Goans kiss?'" She soon understood what was happening but couldn't escape his grip. Eventually, she slipped out the door.

She quietly told a senior nun to not send other novices to the priest's room. But she made no official complaint.

In the church, even some of those who doubt there is widespread abuse of nuns say the silence can be enveloping. Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara calls abuse "kind of sporadic. Once here, once there." But "many people don't want to talk," he continued.

The rapes, the nun says, happened in a small convent in rural Kerala, where the sisters at the St. Francis Mission Home spend their days in prayer or caring for the aged. The rapist, she says, was the most powerful man in this world: Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Mulakkal was the official patron of her community, the Missionaries of Jesus, wielding immense influence over its budgets and job assignments. Every few months, the nun says, Mulakkal would visit the convent. Then, according to a letter she wrote church officials, he raped her.

Mulakkal angrily denies the accusations, accusing the sister of trying to blackmail him to get a better job.

"I am going through painful agony," said Mulakkal, who was jailed for three weeks and released on bail in October. Many in Kerala see Mulakkal as a martyr, and a string of supporters visited him in jail.

The sisters who now cluster around the nun who leveled the accusations see things very differently. "Many times she was telling him to stop. But each time he was forcing himself on her," said Villoonnickal, the nun, who moved back to Kerala to support "our survivor sister."

Catholic authorities have said little about the case, with India's Catholic Bishops' Conference saying in a statement that it has no jurisdiction over individual bishops, and the investigation and court case must run their course.

"Silence," the conference said, "should in no way be construed as siding with either of the two parties."

And here's a report from 2002 referring to the initial expose about nun abuse cited by Magister...

Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse
and rape of nuns by priests
in 23 countries, mostly Africa

July 2002

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the AIDS virus.

Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

The reports, some of which are recent and some of which have been in circulation for at least seven years, said that such priests had demanded sex in exchange for favours, such as certification to work in a given diocese.

In extreme instances, the priests had made nuns pregnant and then encouraged them to have abortions.

The US article was based on five documents, which senior women from religious orders and priests have presented to the Vatican over the past decade. They describe a particularly bad situation in Africa. In a continent devastated by AIDS, nuns and early adolescent girls, are perceived by some as safe sexual targets. The reports said that the church authorities had done little to tackle the problem.

The Vatican reports cited countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests. Some were obliged to take the pill, others became pregnant and were encouraged to have abortions. In one case in which an African sister was forced to have an abortion, she died during the operation and her aggressor led the funeral mass. Another case involved 29 sisters from the same congregation who all became pregnant by priests in the diocese.

The reports said that the cultures in some African countries made it almost impossible for a young woman to disobey an older man, especially one seen as spiritually superior. There were cases of novices who applied to their local priest or bishop for certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation. In return they were made to have sex. Some incidents of sexual abuse allegedly took place almost within the Vatican walls.

Certain unscrupulous clerics took advantage of young nuns who were having trouble finding accommodation, writing their essays and funding their theological studies.

Forced to acknowledge the problem, the Vatican has tried to play down its gravity. In a statement issued yesterday the Pope’s official spokesman, Joaquin Navarro Valls, said: “The problem is known and involves a restricted geographical area. Certain negative situations must not overshadow the often heroic faith of the overwhelming majority of religious, nuns and priests”.

One of the most comprehensive documents was compiled by Sister Maura O’Donohue, an Aids co-ordinator for Cafod, the London-based Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.

She noted that religious sisters had been identified as “safe” targets for sexual activity. She quotes a case in 1991 of a community superior being approached by priests requesting that the nuns be made available to them for sexual favours.

“When the superior refused the priests explained they would otherwise be obliged to go to the village to find women and might thus get Aids.”Sister O’Donohue said her initial reaction to what she was told by her fellow religious “was one of shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the problem”.

While most of the abuse happened in African countries, Sister O’Donohue reported incidents in 23 countries including India, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines and the United States.

She heard cases of priests encouraging the nuns to take the pill telling them it would prevent HIV. Others “actually encouraged abortion for the sisters” and Catholic hospitals and medical staff reported pressure from priests to carry out terminations for nuns and other young women.

O’Donohue wrote in her report how a vicar in one African diocese had talked “quite openly” about sex, saying that “celibacy in the African context means a priest does not get married, but does not mean he does not have children.”

The head of the Vatican congregation for Religious Life, Cardinal Martinez Somalo, has set up a committee to look into the problem. But it seems to have done little beyond “awareness raising” among bishops.

More recently, in 1998, Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, put together a paper entitled The Problem of the Sexual Abuse of African Religious in Africa and Rome.

She tabled the document to the Council of 16, made up of delegates of the international association of women’s and men’s religious communities and the Vatican office responsible for religious life. She noted that a contributing cause was the “conspiracy of silence”.

When she addressed bishops on the problem, many of them felt it was disloyal of the sisters to send reports.

“However, the sisters claim they have done so time and time again. Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done” One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.

One of the few religious in Rome willing to talk about the report was Father Giulio Albanese, of MISNA, the missionary news agency. “Missionaries are human beings, who are often living under immense psychological pressure in situations of war and ongoing violence. On one hand it’s important to condemn this horror and it’s important tell the truth, but we must not emphasise this at the expense of the work done by the majority, many of whom have laid down lives for witness” said Fr Albanese “The press only talks about missionaries when they are killed, kidnapped or are involved in something scandalous” he added.

As the Vatican digests the unpalatable evidence of how their own priests are ruining the lives of their sisters, many Catholics hope a strong message may come from on high. With the American bishops, the Pope spoke in clear terms about paedophile priests, telling them this was a scourge that had to be faced. Some now hope that he may be equally courageous in denouncing an evil which has been covered by silence and shame for too long.

Meanwile, skepticism just keeps building about the upcoming Vatican 'summit' on... 'the protection of minors', as I think it now sanctimoniously but honestly called. When it was supposed to be to discuss the PRESENT CRISIS and its roots in a widespread, longstanding and in some cases, deep-seated homosexual culture that has been flourishing among sinful bishops and priests.

The Vatican and diocesan and parochial bureaucracies throughout the world already have a surfeit of charters and protocols aimed at the 'protection of minors' from sexual abuses by priests (and some bishops) - none of which will ever work if the measures do not confront the homosexual root of the problem. That the pope himself - and all his ideological fellow travellers - refuse to even say the 'H word' and any of its variants - shows the sinful hypocrisy and shameless state of denial they are wallowing in.

William Kilpatrick's essay should really be entitled 'Is the pope really serious about the abuse crisis?' - because he clearly is not, having been and being still the #1 protector of predator priests and bishops - which is plain and clear from any reading of his documented actions and words to this effect, as a cardinal and as pope. And as the pope goes, so goes the Church hierarchy which, under this pope, have been virtually reduced to dumb unprotesting sheep led to spiritual and moral slaughter by their 'shepherd'.

Is the hierarchy really serious
about the abuse crisis?


February 1, 2019

According to a June 2017 Gallup survey, nearly half of U.S. Catholics (49 percent) had a “high” or “very high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of clergy. By early December 2018, the number had fallen to 31 percent.

Most of the difference is likely attributable to the new reports of earlier cases of sex abuse (most, though not all, involving adults) that began to surface in the summer of 2018. Since new scandals are being revealed on a weekly basis, it’s probable that confidence in Church leaders will continue to drop. One can assume, moreover, that the credibility of Catholic leaders has dropped even further among non-Catholics.

In short, the Church’s public witness has been badly damaged and is likely to suffer further damage. The scandals will certainly affect the credibility of Catholic teachers and clergy when they teach about sexual ethics. But because the scandals also involve lying, cover-ups, cowardice, financial fraud, cronyism, abuse of power, and possible blackmail, they will result in a general loss of confidence in the Church’s authority to speak on any moral matter.

The damage is compounded by the fact that the abuse revelations come at a time when the Church is under fierce attack from the secular left. As the Church becomes more vulnerable, the attacks are likely to increase. The slandering of Covington Catholic pro-life students by the media, and the smearing of the Knights of Columbus by two U.S. senators is just a taste of what is to come.
- The abuse scandals are likely to result in more attempts by the left to push the Church out of the public square and to diminish its influence in other ways.
- At the same time, federal and state authorities will be tempted to exert more control over the affairs of a weakened Church.
- Meanwhile, more Catholics will leave the Church, more churches and schools will close, and more young men will be dissuaded from entering the priesthood.

According to Professor Scott Hahn, the current crisis in the Church is worse than the crisis precipitated by the Reformation. Others have described it in even more apocalyptic terms. Cardinal Raymond Burke has characterized it as “possibly the worst crisis that it’s [the Church] ever experienced.” “Our Lady warned us at Fatima about an apostasy from the faith,” said Burke. “I believe there’s been a practical apostasy from the faith with regard to all questions involving human sexuality…” [But Your Eminence, the pope's array of apostasies and his apostate tendencies go far beyond matters of sexuality, and always have!]

Expanding on Cardinal Burke’s remarks, Fr. Ladis Cizik [and countless other commentators before him, whoever he is!] likened the crisis to the “final trial” spoken of in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (675):

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.

Whether this is the “final trial” of the Church or only the worst crisis since the Reformation, it is difficult to see it as anything other than an extremely serious crisis — one that should evoke an equally serious response.

But Pope Francis and the men he has surrounded himself with don’t seem to see it that way. Although they may use words such as “serious” and “grave,” their actions indicate that they don’t plan to do anything serious about it.

Take the long-awaited summit on clerical sex abuse to be held at the Vatican from February 21-24. The fact that the meeting will only last four days suggests that it is only meant to reassure the public that something is being done. It’s highly unlikely that the kind of reforms that are now needed in the Church can be discussed and formulated in a few days.

And there are other reasons to be suspicious.
- For one thing the summit is being billed as “The Protection of Minors in the Church.”
- Yet the present crisis is not mainly about the abuse of minors. It’s about the abuse of seminarians by priest and bishops, consensual sex among priests, and the coverup of such sexual misconduct by bishops and cardinals.
- The February meeting has been engineered to avoid the root problems — one of which is the existence of a homosexual subculture within the Church.
- As one “well-informed” source told LifeSite News, the meeting is a “masterpiece of hypocrisy” in the making.

Another reason to doubt that the summit is meant to seriously address any of the above problems is that the man Pope Francis has appointed to organize it has a major conflict of interest. Cardinal Blase Cupich, let’s recall, is one of the prelates named in Archbishop Viganò’s indictment of corruption in the hierarchy. Cupich is mentioned in the Viganò statement as being “blinded by his pro-gay ideology,” which suggests that Cupich is not the man you would call on if you were really serious about uncovering a homosexual subculture in the Church. Moreover, Viganò suggests that Cupich was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Chicago precisely because of his ideology:

The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least a cover-up of abuses by the other two.

In light of these charges against Cupich, one would think that Pope Francis would want to keep him a good distance away from any supervisory position regarding the summit. Yet, in what can only be described as an in-your-face act of brazenness, Francis appointed Cupich to organize and shape the summit. In short, Francis is more interested in preserving a certain ideology than in preserving any semblance of impartiality.

And so, the man who dismissed Viganò’s allegations as a “rabbit hole” to avoid is now in charge of guarding the rabbit hole lest anyone be tempted to explore its labyrinth of warrens.

As I observed in a previous article, the gravity of the scandals needs to be met with an equally grave response. What might that be? - Archbishop Viganò who wrote of the “grave, disconcerting and sinful conduct of Pope Francis” called on the pope to resign.
- Phil Lawler has asked the guilty bishops to make a public confession of sin and public acts of repentance.
- Scott Hahn believes that Archbishop McCarrick and others like him should be excommunicated.
- An international online petition co-sponsored by Pro Ecclesia (based in Switzerland) and LifeSiteNews has asked, among other things, for "a declaration from the Holy Father stating that any bishop who has covered up for abuser priests will be removed from his office pursuant to the norm of canon 1389 CIC".

But that last request would put Francis in a rather awkward position. There is a good deal of evidence that Francis himself has covered up for or promoted abusers on several occasions both as pope and as archbishop of Buenos Aires.
- Although Archbishop McCarrick was a well-known abuser, Pope Francis lifted the sanctions against him and made him a trusted advisor and official envoy.
- Despite what the Telegraph [and many other sources] described as a “string of homosexual affairs,” Francis appointed Battista Ricca as prelate of the Vatican Bank.
- After the Vatican received evidence of sexual harassment of seminarians by Argentine bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, Francis promoted him to the position of assessor of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) which oversees the Vatican’s investments and its considerable real-estate holdings. And this, despite the fact that Zanchetta had also been accused of mishandling diocesan finances.
- An Italian priest, Mauro Inzoli, known as “Don Mercedes” for his lavish lifestyle, was found guilty of abusing boys by an ecclesiastical court and he was suspended from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI. Francis reinstalled Inzoli to the priesthood in 2014. Subsequently, an Italian civil court sentenced Inzoli to four years imprisonment for sexual crimes.
- When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio went to bat for Father Julio César Grassi, who was accused of sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. To prevent the conviction of Grassi, Bergoglio commissioned a series of books that cast doubt on the victim’s testimonies. Although Grassi was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, the pope reportedly declined to meet with his victims or to remove him from the priesthood.
- A recent article by journalist Marco Tosatti provides a list of prelates who have been favored, protected, promoted or rehabilitated by Pope Francis despite their record of covering up for abusers.

The list includes: Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa, Bishop Juan Barros, Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Archbishop Kevin Farrell.

Why does Pope Francis show so much favor to people who are morally compromised? According to Tosatti, Francis’s behavior “leads us to think that the pontiff chooses or prefers people who have a past, and at least one skeleton in their closet.” Tosatti speculates that such people are more easily manipulated. [Of course, Bergoglio is holding them lieterally by the short hairs!]

But it may simply be that the pope prefers the company of people who have flamboyant lifestyles. Judging by his frequent condemnation of rigid, puritanical, and fundamentalist Catholics, Francis may simply feel more comfortable in the presence of “liberated” Catholics —those who lead daring double lives, flout convention, and wink at middle-class morality. [And is that less morally objectionable than Tosatti's hypothesis? What does it say about Bergoglio that he'prefers' the company of such people????]

A clue that this might be the case can be found in a book-length interview with Francis by Dominique Wolton, the founder of Hermes magazine. In the interview the pontiff makes a point of emphasizing that sexual sins are the “lightest sins.” Priests, he says, should not focus on what he calls “below the belt” morality, because the more serious sins are elsewhere. As a model of a good confessor, he mentions a cardinal who told him “that as soon as somebody goes to him to talk about those sins below the belt, he immediately says; ‘I understand, let’s move on.’”

The author of the piece on Wolton’s book suggests that Francis’s “minimization of sins of sex — and of homosexual practices widespread among the clergy — may explain his silences and his tolerance toward concrete cases of abuse, even by high-level churchmen he has esteemed and favored.” [But all of that indicts Bergoglio even more for moral turpitude. Sin is sin, and mortal sin is mortal sin, and every sin originates in the mind and heart of the sinner, even and especially what Bergoglio so cavaLierly dismisses as 'sins below the belt'. But what objective morality, what Catholicism, is left in a pope who castigates Catholic media, as he did recently, for, among other things, 'denouncing heresy'?]

Other recent popes may have had a more sophisticated view of sexuality than the average Catholic, but when it came to basics, their beliefs were not that different from, say, faithful Catholic parents living on a farm in Kansas. But with Francis “we’re not in Kansas anymore.” That line, of course, is from The Wizard of Oz. And appropriately so. Because with Francis at the helm, the Church is sailing dangerously close to over-the-rainbow territory.

All of which suggests that nothing much will come of the sex-abuse summit.
- We can expect some tightening of the rules that are already in place for the protection of minors.
- And we can expect much talk about the Church’s commitment to protect children, but very little about widespread immorality among priests and bishops.
- There will likely be some acknowledgement of those pesky below-the-belt sins, but the general tenor will be “let’s move on”—
- meaning, now that we’ve held this perfunctory discussion of the sex-abuse crisis, let’s talk about the really important issues such as world peace, global warming, the plight of immigrants, and the needs of LGBTQ families.
- One can safely assume that there will be no calls for compromised bishops or the pope to resign, no public confession of sins, no defrocking, and no excommunications.

In other words, there will be no real acknowledgement of the disastrous and dangerous state into which the Church has fallen, no firm purpose of amendment, and no real attempt at reform.
- Instead, we will be encouraged to move on and to ignore the fact that the same compromised people remain at the helm and continue to set the course.
- In the meantime, the faith of countless Catholics will continue to erode, the Church will be seen as increasingly irrelevant, and the enemies of the Church will continue to grow in power and ferocity.

00Saturday, February 2, 2019 2:25 PM
Aldo Maria Valli is properly worked up about one of those statements that the reigning pope made so cavalierly during his last inflight news conference.
A statement that has largely passed unnoticed among so many other statements flagged with more headline-grabbing red alerts

Does the pope not realize that sex education
is already done in schools but does not work?

Translated from

February 1, 2019

“I think there ought to be sex education in schools,” Pope Francis said in answer to a journalist who asked him on the plane returning from Panamawhat could be done about the scourge of precocious pregnancies in Latin America.

Yet whoever has anything to do with education knows that so-called sex education provided in schools has been a failure, especially in places like South American where the problems resulting from rampant sex are the gravest. And this is not according to traditionalist Catholics whom seculars, progressivists and Catholics who are ‘in’ love to condemn as bigots and hypocrites. This is according to studies and investigations conducted by absolutely secular research institutions.

As, for instance, a major study by Cochrane, a global network of researchers in the health field, on more than 55,000 adolescents who underwent courses in “'exual and reproductive health' in various parts of the world- from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America. They concluded that those courses “had no effect whatsoever on the number of participating young people who were subsequently infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases”. Nor on reducing the number of precocious pregnancies.

The study curiously notes that only when schools provide incentives (such as free uniforms or small cash payments) for remaining in school for the extra course – beyond usual school hours – is there some improvement, in terms of less STDs and unwanted pregnancies among the course participants.

A few years ago, the British Medical Journal reported that “contrary to what one might think, sex education interventions, instead of improving sexual health, could merely worsen the situation”.

Serious and profound studies on this supject explain that the best results come not from having sex education classes, but rather, moral education in the wider sense – transmitting to the young people essential principles about the value of each person, of the body and of abstinence, and when they are taught to protect themselves – in all aspects, including the sexual, from being exploited as consumers.

That what truly makes the difference is not teaching sexuality from a technical point of view [which seems to be the burden of most ‘sex education’ classes] but rather to educate young people in the value of waiting for the right time, of giving oneself, of sharing. But none of this is done in sex education classes today, because schools are focused on the functional view of sex, which in the end, simply promotes the use of condoms.

That is why the Church has always maintained that because of the delicate nature of the subject matter, educating young people in affectivity [the ability to experience feelings, emotions, judgment, motivations] and sexuality should not be done in school, especially since such ‘teaching’ is often used to transmit a certain ideological view.

And that is why the pope’s words on sex education alarmed not a few Catholics. One reader wrote me:

"I am truly dismayed by Bergoglio’s initiative advocating sex education in schools. I am a doctor, now of advanced age, who never obscured sexual awareness and knowledge from my three children, and now as a grandfather, I have advised my children discreetly to do the same for their children.

I would never have accepted that a school gave my children sexual information superimposed on what I myself am capable of giving them. If only because only I as a parent understands the stage of maturation that my children and my grandchildren have reached.
Moreover, to teach all the children in a class in the same way can be more dangerous than it is educational. How can one think that children who grow up with parents who make an exhibition of their sexuality could be taught in the same way as children whose parents practice their sexuality in private as they should?

Also, it is not enough to teach them about using condoms [which are far from failproof] – all prostitutes use them, but they still end up being STD ‘samplers’. Obviously, because they continue to be infected by new customers. There must be a priority for educating young people in affectivity before sexuality."

From a female reader:

“As an elementary school teacher, I have had to accept the intervention in my classes of so-called experts in ‘affectivity training’ which is nothing but sexual education. Seeing the depressing results of their work, I am convinced that I would have done a much better job by myself: just providing honest scientific information would be enough."

With his usual language that says in effect, that A is true but also B, the pope in his inflight statement also stipulated, “One must offer objective sexual education as is, without ideological colonization”, but the problem is that in school today, even where there may not be a true and proper ‘ideological colonization’, nonetheless what prevails is a totally horizontal and profane vidw of life from which every supernatural dimension has been eliminated and which presume to resolve by ‘technical’ answers questions which deserve to be met through the teaching and application of moral virtues.

That the pope’s sally on sex education was at the very least ‘singular’ compared to the line that the Catholic Church has always held – namely, that sex education of their children is the responsibility first of all of parents in the context of a child’s overall formation – is shown by the enthusiasm with which his words were welcomed by those who most strongly oppose the Christian view of the individual and of sexuality.

Here, for example, was the immediately well-publicized comment from a representative of Italian Radicals:

“As a convinced anti-clerical, and precisely because of this, I cannot but highlight that the peremptory statement of Pope Francis, ‘sex is a gift of God”, is revolutionary, being the antithesis of 2000 years of sexophobic Catholic culture, according to which sexual practice is unutterable (one does it but never says so) if not diabolical, and always directed only towards the goal of procreation, which also barely hides a near-zero consideration of women.

Pope Francis did not just limit himselves to enunciating a new idea
[for the Church, the person means] but rightly indicates a new goal to be achieved as a consequence of those words: offering courses in sexual education – we prefer to call it sexual information, but let us not nitpick the pope’s words – in the schools. I wish to underscore here that Pope Francis has broken a taboo which has been followed by all his predeccessors from Peter onwards”.

It’s hard to say in a few lines everything that is wrong with such a series of false statements which demonstrate either an abysmal ignorance or total bad faith or both.
- Francis has certainly not been the first pope to say sex is a gift from God. What else was St. John Paul II’s theology of the body which was at the heart of his teachings on sexuality and matrimony?
- As for the idea that before this pope, the Church had near-zero consideration for women, has anyone read the same pope’s Mulieris dignitatem (On the dignity of women) which is a true and proper hymn to women?
[And, more importantly, what is the Church’s devotion to Mary but its apotheosis of womanhood?]

But why must we waste time with those who, instead of first informing themselves to know what they are talking about, prefer to wallow in their prejudices?

What is most disquieting – and saddening – is that the pope’s words, unfortunately, are such as to merit the enthusiastic support of those who have always advocated abortion and euthanasia, those who have always upheld the culture of death rather than the culture of life.

Edward Pentin blogged earlier on one of the pope's more striking
self-contradictory ambiguities on that inflight news conference:

Pope Francis says NO
then MAYBE to married priests

January 29, 2019

During his inflight press conference from Panama, Pope Francis gave conflicting signals about the ordination of married men in the Latin rite, on the one hand saying he was personally opposed to it while at the same time open to considering possible radical exceptions.

His comments come as an upcoming synod on the Amazon in October is expected to debate the possibility of ordaining married men in order to alleviate priest shortages — a move that some observers say is a means of allowing married priests universally through the back door.

Central to the Pope’s comments were his references to missionary Bishop Fritz Lobinger, emeritus of Aliwal, South Africa, known to be a pioneer of the idea of viri probati — the ordination of older married men of proven virtue.

Although the Pope reiterated several times during the press conference that he could not see himself ordaining married men, he made it clear that it was “something to study, think, rethink, and pray about.”

Referring to areas suffering shortages of priests, he said “some possibility” exists for married clergy in “very far places,” adding that when there is a “pastoral necessity, the pastor should think of the faithful.”

But it was his emphasis on Bishop Lobinger’s ideas, contained in his 1998 book Like his Brothers and Sisters — Ordaining Community Leaders, that drew most attention. The Pope described the book as “interesting” and warranting further study.

A native of Regensburg, Germany, 90-year-old Bishop Lobinger has long championed his proposal to ordain community elders, or a “team of elders,” who would carry out a special ministry. These men, selected from their communities, could be married and not have attended seminary. The theory, Bishop Lobinger says, is based on the early Church.

In a 2010 article in US Catholic, he outlined his proposal and firmly advocated the ordination of married men, saying if the Church “continues to admit only celibate, university-trained candidates to ordination, there will be no hope of ever overcoming the scarcity of the sacraments.”

He claimed hundreds of bishops agreed with his radical proposal while acknowledging that hundreds of others did not, fearing that it “might solve one problem” only to then create “bigger ones.” But in common with the Pope, he called for a greater discussion of the issue so that “it will become more apparent that certain proposals will not work while others will.”

He also predicted pressure to ordain women would increase if his proposal were accepted: “Because the majority of proven local leaders are women, it is unavoidable that the question of their inclusion among ordained elders will arise, though present Church law does not permit it,” he said.

The Pope’s reference to Bishop Lobinger comes as little surprise as Cardinal Reinhard Marx recommended he read the retired bishop’s works when the German bishops were on their ad limina visit in 2015.

It also comes after various statements in recent years advocating possible changes to allow married clergy, notably from Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella.

Bishop Lobinger’s theories are also backed by Bishop Erwin Kräutler, whom Francis appointed last March to a pre-synodal council which is preparing the Pan-Amazonian synod in October.

Bishop Kräutler, an Austrian missionary who ministered in the Brazilian rain forest from 1981-2015, has openly said finding ways to address the priest shortage will be one of the main topics of the upcoming synod. As a result, he believes the synod will lead to the ordination of married men to the priesthood and women to the permanent diaconate.

In an interview with the Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress soon after the announcement of the synod in December 2017, he said: “Perhaps even Bishop Fritz Lobinger's suggestion will be taken up.”

In his comments to reporters, the Pope said Bishop Lobinger’s book “could help to think about the problem” and that “the theology should be studied.”

00Saturday, February 2, 2019 3:35 PM

Fraternity - word of the year - as L'Osservatore Romano announced.

It took quite a while for Maureen Mullarkey to complete her essay reacting to the reigning pope's 'word of the year' - fraternity - as he bandied it about in his
Christmas Day urbi et orbi message. Part 1 was published Jan 8 and Part 2 only on Jan. 29. Because of the lag, I am posting both parts together here:

Francis and mirages of fraternity - Part 1

January 8, 2019

Pope Francis’s Christmas message, clotted with the word fraternity, was such a brew of pernicious banality that it is hard to know where to start. From the perspective of our 24-hour news cycle, a Moloch that feeds on contrived obsolescence, the papal dispatch asks to be addressed before the end of Christmastide.

However, what matters is not one passing item in the news but its substratum, something steady and abiding. In this case, that bedrock something is hostile to the very civilization — however flawed —which has sustained the Church that gave it life and breath.

This pontificate hungers for a kind of matricide. So, permit me, please, to work toward Francis’s baleful Christmas message by degrees.

Step back from the mess of it and begin, instead, with Daniel J. Mahoney’s The Idol of Our Age. The book’s subtitle How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity applies in spades to Francis and his doctrinaire maunderings.

Mahoney, a political philosopher, places discussion of “the perplexity that is Francis” in a larger historical context: that of the modern, “progressive” moral order derived from the convolutions and fallacies of what is termed “social justice.”

Writing as a Catholic layman, he summarizes his approach to Francis in the Introduction:

For the first time in the history of the Church, we have a pope who is half-humanitarian and thoroughly blind to the multiple ways in which humanitarian secular religion subverts authentic Christianity.

With winks and nods, he challenges the age-old Catholic teaching that there are intrinsic evils that cannot be countenanced by a faithful Christian or any person of good will. In a thousand ways, he sows confusion in the Church and the world. His views on politics are summary, to say the least, and partake of ... inordinate egalitarianism.

Pope Francis has displayed indulgence toward left-wing tyrannies that are viciously anti-Catholic to boot. His views on Islam are equally summary and partake of an unthinking political correctness (the Koran, he insists against all evidence, always demands non-violence). He has spoken respectfully about Communism, the murderous scourge of the twentieth century.

Mahoney wastes no sympathy on Francis’s open flirtation with pacifism. While Christianity is incompatible with terrorism and wars of aggression, charity requires legitimate authority to shield those in its care from tyranny and aggression. He quotes Roger Scruton: “...the right of defense stems from your obligation to others.”

Mahoney echoes Reinhold Niebuhr’s Moral Man in Immoral Society (1932). Niebuhr’s tragic view of history and human nature contrasts with Francis’s failure — or refusal — to face the world’s complexities by ducking behind a sentimental utopianism that paralyzes. As Niebuhr understood, morality does not imply passivity in the face of evil. Mahoney draws on that insight to remind us that few Christians know how to think politically. Jorge Bergoglio is not among those few.

The Sermon on the Mount is not a call for societal suicide or even a guide to public policy. As scholars have noted, Christ’s “effusive” praise for the Roman centurion on the road to Capernaum (Mt 8:5-13) is hardly compatible with pacifism.

Yet in a recent book of interviews with a French social scientist, Pope Francis declares that “no war is just” and that one “always wins with peace.” He has obviously not considered “the peace of the grave”. By seemingly siding with peace at any price, he prevents statesmen, Christian statesmen, from carrying out their responsibilities to justice and the common good.

Francis does not consider the potential existence of that moral monstrosity: an unjust peace. His thinking on such matters avoids engagement with the varied motives that animate human ambitions — from blind hatred and religious fanaticism to lust for power: "One expects more expertise in the soul from the Holy Roman Pontiff, and not the crude and reductive economism he regularly displays." (Mahoney)

Francis blesses the city of Rome, and all the wide world, with a wish for fraternity. Weightless, the word replays as if promoting a brand name.
- Shelves are stocked with the product line: “bonds of fraternity,” ” relations of fraternity,” ” wishes for fraternity,” “the foundation and strength of fraternity.”
- Cans are labelled: “Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas . . . . Fraternity among persons of different religions.”

Jesus of Nazareth said nothing about fraternity. Rather, he told us to love our enemies. That is not the simple, smiling precept it is too often taken to be. It is more clear-eyed than it sounds to us. We moderns are two thousand years past the precariousness of Jewish listeners chafing under Roman domination.

Implicit in Jesus’s injunction is recognition that enemies are real. They exist. Beyond the bounds of pity and remote from feelings of kinship, enemies marshal themselves against us and seek our ruin.

To love them is first to know them. And the knowing does not absolve them from their intentions nor exempt them from the consequences of their acts. Neither does it disburden us from protecting those in our care. In this context, to love is to wish ultimate good, not damnation, to the enemy. It is a love that has nothing sentimental or emotionally tender about it.

The Book of Genesis presents us with an elemental, cautionary story about man’s aptitude for brotherhood. Untethered from a biblical sensibility, Francis forgets that history began east of Eden, in that place where Cain slew his brother Abel. Cain’s act of fraternal enmity insures that, pace Baudelaire, there is no such thing as the race of Abel. Righteous Abel died childless. It is the race of Cain that fills the world. From within the dogma of Original Sin emerges realization that we are Cain’s progeny, not Abel’s.

No reference to fraternity appears in the gospels. It was the Enlightenment that bequeathed us the word. It is from Robespierre, not Jesus Christ, that the word fraternity acquired its laurels. In circulation during the French Revolution, the tripartite motto —fraternité, égalité, liberté — gained public currency from Robespierre’s 1790 speech celebrating the organization of the National Guard.

Every tricoteuse in Paris, knitting beside the guillotine, could mutter fraternité. It is a bloodstained locution. Unmindful of its historic resonance, Francis seizes the word, drenches it in treacle, and intones:

Our differences are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness. As when an artist is about to make a mosaic, it is better to have tiles of many colors available, rather than just a few!... As brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another. The same is true for the larger human family, but here, God is our “parent,” the foundation and strength of our fraternity.

Francis shrinks the complex realities of cultural difference —o f distinct patrimonies, of disparate aims and interests — to the accidents of skin color. “Tiles of many colors” falsifies the realities of the lived life in the trenches of geography and time.

Fidelity to truth — truth on the ground where we live — demands we ditch mawkish references to the “human family.” There is no such entity. We are all one species, but we are a family only in the taxonomic sense (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, et alia). To pretend otherwise is to denature the concept of family, dissipating the word, bloating it into a mystical fog drained of humane application.

Pope Francis & mirages of fraternity - Part 2

January 29, 2019

In his book The Idol of Our Age, Daniel J. Mahoney devotes a chapter to “Pope Francis's Humanitarian Version of Catholic Social Teaching.” Mahoney’s subtitle — How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity — sets the tone of his appraisal of Francis. A careful writer and a courteous man, he is concerned to give due weight to both the consistencies and inconsistencies of Francis’ relation to traditional Catholic teaching:

We need a “hermeneutic of continuity” that forthrightly confronts Francis’s ample continuities and equally ample discontinuities with the great tradition that preceded him. We owe the pope both respect and the full exercise of the arts of intelligence.

[Yes, of course, but the obvious problem with Bergoglio is that even just one of his 'ample discontinuities' far outweighs and nullifies his 'ample continuities' which are to be expected because, after all, he cannot simply reverse more than 2000 years of Catholic teaching wholesale - he's mad but there is method in his madness, a method that will not make him stab himself in the heart by professing total apostasy from the Church in one fell swoop and threby undercutting the very authority that now conveniently enables him to dismantle that teaching brick by brick, as it were!]

Assertions of respect for the papal office thread through the text, a careful hemstitch joining obeisance to critique:

“We owe this pope our respect and our judgment, but..." .

“Pope Francis is admirably critical of abortion and population control . . .but . . . .”

Evangelli Gaudi “draws on the work and insight of Franciss’ great predecessors . . . but . . . .”

“Pope Francis has important and interesting things to say about sin, relativism, and divine mercy . . . but . . . .”

“He is at his best when he thinks and writes in continuity with the full weight of Christian wisdom . . . but . . . .”

Dyads pile up. It is a courtly convention to assure us that Mahoney is no flame thrower: "Be advised, Reader, that the author is a judicious scholar mindful of manners due the dignity of the papal office." Nevertheless, the heap of buts signals severe discrepancy between soothing precedent and disquieting intent.

When “the arts of intelligence” are applied to the actions of an office holder who distorts his office, it is reasonable — even mandatory — to withhold respect from him.
- An office confers authority.
- How that authority is used determines the degree of respect held out to the officeholder.
- Respect is earned through right use of authority.
- It is forfeited by misuse.
- Deference toward a man who disfigures his office is a species of complicity in the disfigurement.
(Consider Yeats’ question. It applies here: “How do we know the dancer from the dance?”)

Mahoney’s politesse is the requisite stance of a distinguished faculty member in a Catholic institution (Assumption College, Worcester, MA). It is also a deflection from the fact that this pope’s “ample continuities,” all scrupulously observed, are carriers of rupture and contradiction. Protective coloration, they camouflage intent, disguise fracture, and conceal political ideology under stripes of synthetic piety.

It is a devious tactic — the old Fabian approach. Francis is waging, by degrees, a war of indirection and attrition against the very civilization that honors and sustains the papacy. Francis brings to the Chair of Peter a ruinous cunning that lulls the credulous to accept his reduction of the Great Commission to a left-wing policy mandate.

Put simply, Jorge Bergoglio knows how to boil a frog.

It is difficult to determine what else he knows that is of significance. Francis’s Christmas hymn to fraternity was an embarrassment of politicized porridge and theological incoherence. It goes from bad:

What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.
To worse:
I want to mention, too, all those peoples that experience ideological, cultural and economic forms of colonization and see their freedom and identity compromised, as well as those suffering from hunger and the lack of educational and health care services.

Reference to colonization is code for sins of the West, a hint that migrants flooding toward the West are simply claiming their due. These “pilgrims” herald a new dawn of fraternity between competing religions and national interests. The lion will lie down with the lamb on the Korean Peninsula, in Africa, the Ukraine, the Middle East. It’s easy. All you need is love.

Even the most besotted papalist should spot the rot in this:

May this blessed season allow Venezuela once more to recover social harmony and enable all the members of society to work fraternally for the country’s development...

Social harmony? Absence of it is the engine of Venezuela’s tragedy? Not hyperinflation and the starvation economy created by the same anti-market “social justice” nostrums that socialist dictators admire? Monica Showalter responded to the delusional tenor of the Christmas address:

Venezuela became a hellhole in no small part because of the heavy permeation of the social fabric by Liberation Theology... I recall that back in the Hugo Chávez heyday, when the country was beginning its road to servitude, the Maryknoll magazines were full of praise for the Chavista government, even when it was starting to get obvious that the social fabric was unraveling. . . Remember when Chávez announced on the radio that it was OK for the poor to steal, based on biblical doctrine?

That last refers to a 2000 “Hello, President” talk by Chávez in which he declared people were “allowed to steal if you’re hungry.” Venezuelans wasted no time accepting this unofficial invitation to crime.

Earlier this month, Venezuelan bishops issued a statement that Nicolás Maduro’s new, contested presidential term is “morally unacceptable” because “his government has caused a human and social deterioration in people and in the wealth of the nation.”

Mary Anastasia O’Grady reported that within hours of the swearing in of opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, he was recognized by the U.S. and some 20 other democracies, 11 of them in Latin America. [The European Union quickly followed suit.] Others advised Maduro to leave the country.

Rightly calling Maduro “an international symbol of human rights abuse,” O’Grady adds: “The tyrant isn’t entirely alone. Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Hezbollah stand with him.” S

Still, Francis refuses to censure Maduro. He prefers the role of mediator — as if it were possible to split the difference between despotism and freedom, economic collapse and solvency, cruelty and the common good. Or between good and evil.

Negating his own emphasis on fraternity, the pope stonewalls his brother bishops in Venezuela. He will not join his voice to theirs in calling tyranny to account. Calculated neutrality toward the source of Venezuela’s desperation suggests that Francis’s insistence on impartial mediation covers a preference for Maduro.

Francis’s Urbi et Orbi message appealed to the child Jesus to “bring relief to the beloved land of Ukraine “ and to . . “ the inhabitants of beloved Nicaragua.” “May the child Jesus allow the beloved and beleaguered country of Syria to . . . find fraternity.” “May the little child whom we contemplate today . . . watch over all the children of the world.”

These milksop pieties mimic charitable empathy but lack its substance — the spiritual dignity that resides in political intelligence and in truth-telling. Francis would have Catholics binge on syrup while he travels the world flattering global anti-market forces poised to create more Cubas, more Venezuelas, more poverty and desolation.

The child in the manger grew into a Man Who bled out on a Roman cross. Here in the shadow of that cross, it is to Him we send our prayers. Francis’s infantilizing sentimentality contributes nothing to the welfare of nations. It serves only to impair understanding — of the Incarnation no less than of governments.
00Sunday, February 3, 2019 7:01 AM

What better way to end the Christmas season after the Mass commemorating this beautiful feast day than this lovely and masterful poem by the kaleidoscopic intellectual and Catholic wonder that was John Henry Newman, written by him four years after he converted to Catholicism. From Prof. Barb Nyman on the Blessed CArdinal Newman site, we have this invaluable introduction:

With this ingenious poem, Blessed John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread. In Newman’s day (and still in the Traditional calendar), the Christmas season ended 40 days after Christmas on February 2nd with simultaneous feasts: the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. These feasts are an extension of Christ’s Nativity.

It was Simeon to whom Mary presented Jesus, and in his prophecy to her, found in the Gospel of St. Luke (2:34-35), he told Mary her heart would be pierced with a sword. Before Simeon gave this prophecy to Our Lady, he referred to her infant Son as the Light to be the revelation of the Gentiles, and because of this, light and candles play an important role in the Mass, when the candles for devotional use throughout the year are blessed, hence the name for this Feast – Candlemas.

Newman not only brings all of this into the poem in the first two stanzas, but manages in the third stanza to extend the light imagery up to and including the Paschal candle, lit on Holy Saturday.

Before the Paschal candle is lit, though, there will be the long “dim” season of Lent. In another masterful stroke, Newman, in the fifth stanza equates the sword which pierces Mary’s heart to the wounds we give Our Lord by our sins.

The regular rhythm and uniform lines of 4 iambic feet alternating with lines of 3 iambic feet, give this lovely poem the sound of a hymn, which indeed Newman intended for it to be.

In the last stanza, Newman brings light into all time, by reminding us that Jesus is and ever shall be the light of the world, and His Mother, our mother, music to us, rest for the weary soul.

The Virgin Mary presented Jesus in the Temple as a child, and at the foot of the Cross she stands next to her Son. Both in joy and in suffering, she reflects the light of Christ. Are we ready to stand with her, and to allow Christ’s light to shine in our hearts?

by John Henry Newman, 1849

THE Angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
Old Simeon’s tapers shine.

And then for eight long weeks and more,
We wait in twilight grey,
Till the high candle sheds a beam
On Holy Saturday.

We wait along the penance-tide
Of solemn fast and prayer;
While song is hush’d, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

And while the sword in Mary’s soul
Is driven home, we hide
In our own hearts, and count the wounds
Of passion and of pride.

And still, though Candlemas be spent
And Alleluias o’er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store.

Though this beautiful hymn is not found in hymnals, nevertheless, it is sung in many oratories to the grand tune: Old Winchester.

P.S. on Candlemas

Simeon's Song of Praise, Aert de Gelder, ca. 1700.

One of the most beautiful canticles from the New Testament, Simeon's Nunc dimittis - his song of praise when he beheld the infant Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise made to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah - is the traditional 'Gospel Canticle' of Night Prayer (Compline) in the Divine Office, just as Benedictus and Magnificat are the traditional Gospel Canticles of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer respectively.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel".
(Luke 2, 29-32 )

Witnesses to the light
Candlemas marks the goal or telos of the Nativity —
the coming into the world of the Light of the World and
recognition of that Light by those for whom God prepared it.

by David Paul Deavel

February 2, 2019

Happy Candlemas! Now, and only now, is the feast of Christmas complete.

While many on the standard secular/Protestant calendar think it was complete on December 26 or whenever the last relative has been celebrated with, and many Catholics who pay attention think it concludes with Epiphany, it really is only concluded now.

Today is the day on which the tree, whose needles are now mostly on the ground, must be taken down. Today the crèche must go.

But today is the end of the Christmas season in more than just a conclusory way. Today’s feast marks the goal or telos of the Nativity — the coming into the world of the Light of the World and the recognition of that Light by those for whom God has prepared it.

Clearly not everyone recognized this tremendous event for what it was worth. We read in John 1 that “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (1:10). Our Lord did not grow up surrounded by paparazzi — how on earth could any child grow “in stature and wisdom, and favor with God and men,” as Luke puts it, under such circumstances? He did not face being the subject of TMZ stories and People Magazine spreads. “TMZ reports: ‘Light of the World’ Gone for Three Days — Response to Mother Doesn’t Sound Very Perfect, Does It?”

No, the Revelation of the Light was given to select witnesses who represented the world who did not know Him. And who were those witnesses at the Nativity? Who is in that crèche that I must now box up?

I think one of the most profound analyses of the witnesses was given in G. K. Chesterton’s 1925 classic The Everlasting Man. And before I get to Chesterton’s understanding of those crèche-figures, I need to explain a little bit about what he was doing in that book as a whole.

In The Everlasting Man, Chesterton is setting about to respond to the universal history given by his friend H. G. Wells in The Outline of History. Wells’s vision was the modern evolutionary and progressive vision of things in which things start from a very simple accidental beginning and continue to get more complicated and, well, better, as time goes on.

Chesterton’s view is very different. He has no problems with the mechanics of evolution per se, nor that the world began in a less organized fashion and became more organized. After all, that is also the picture of Genesis 1 in which God creates a cosmos, an ordered thing, out of chaos. But Chesterton distinctly departs from Wells in thinking that man is simply a slightly more evolved form of other life — what the New Atheists today call a “jumped-up monkey.”

No, in Chesterton’s outline of history, there are three important turning points:
- First, when God creates out of nothing and makes the chaos which he will shape into order.
- Second, when man, who is not just quantitatively different with his big brain and more complex structure, is created.
- And third, when Christ comes into the world.

Particularly after the creation of man, Chesterton does not think of history as one smooth ride of progress from the less complicated to the more, from the worse to the better, but instead as a drama in which man is created with all the dignity and power with which he always had. Sure, he’d be willing to admit that evolution continues with the human species — thank God, after all, that most of the race developed the capacity to drink cow’s milk.

But he does not think of early humans as “cave men” and modern humans as sophisticated and morally developed creatures. Instead, he sees the history of the world as a history of man advancing technologically, politically, and intellectually, but always hindered by his own lack of moral power— by the effects of original sin — and consequently cut off from the God who made him.

In fact, the rise of technology and civilization is always, for Chesterton, a very dodgy thing, for the “lower” and “simpler” forms of human life are more human and the “higher” and “more complex” forms of life often end up being abhorrent. Barbarism is not always opposed to civilization. Barbarism is often what civilization is.

Think of those memes of the rise of man which depict man starting as a bent-over monkey, gradually growing taller and larger, and finally erect and looking out onto the world — and then in the final picture he is again bent over, looking at his smart phone. A very Chestertonian meme indeed.

The outline of history is not, for Chesterton, ultimately about technology, but about man finding moral and spiritual fulfillment — it’s about finding or, perhaps better, remembering the God who made us.

And in the history of the world, there have been essentially two kinds of approach to the truth about that God who, because of sin, is left behind.

The first is that of the mythologists, which is to say, the poets, which is to say, most ordinary people.[????]
- They see the beauty of the world — and its ugliness, too - and know that there is truth behind it.
- Not only do they know there is truth behind it, but they know that there is a true someone behind it.
- And they believe that the way to get to that truth is through the power of the imagination.
- They believe, says Chesterton, “that imagination is a sort of incantation that can call it up.”

The thing about poets is that their sensibility is very particular. They do not see beauty as an abstraction but as a vivid and particular quality of things themselves. It is not “the science of afforestation,” says Chesterton, but “this particular forest” in which they see the piercing light. Do they really believe, however, in the spirit of the trees? Or the goddess in the grove?

Chesterton observes that most people are like children: Do they really believe that to step on a crack will really break their mothers’ backs? No, mythology, poetry, paganism — and it’s all wrapped up together — is a kind of daydream of reality.

It is, as the theologian Paul Simon would have said, all about “hints and allegations” that are taken alternately sincerely or insincerely, depending on any number of factors. They are shadowy realities that ultimately, as Christians, we believe are foreshadowings.

And yet a word more about the grotesque and the ugly side of paganism. Those foreshadowings are indeed shadowy, the more humanity went on, especially when knowledge and technology were growing.

When children cease to believe in the leprechauns and fairies, they do not therefore cease to believe that there is something out there — they quite often seek out that truth of things on the grotesque side. The relatively innocent side of paganism is often left behind and something crueler approached. If they can no longer believe in or be attracted to good angels and fairies, humans will often seek out the demons.

This is what Chesterton sees as in the late antique world before the coming of Christ.
- The playful superstition of humanity is abandoned in favor of what he calls a “realistic superstition,” the “sort of superstition that does definitely look for results.”
- This is the world of Carthage and its sacrificing of children by parents in order to gain good results in this life.
- This is the kind of magic that is, in many ways, indistinguishable from modern science.
- Its goal is not to enjoy the gods’ company but to gain their power.

I think about Conan the Barbarian before he is about to get revenge, telling his god Krom that he doesn’t pray to him often, but that he wants Krom to help him get revenge on his enemies — and if he doesn’t, says Conan, “to Hell viss you.”
- It is Voldemort exploring dark magic.
- It is our billionaires who are trying to become “transhuman” and live forever.
- It is our politicians who please their base by legislating for abortion until pretty much after birth.

But there is a second way to the truth that doesn’t involve gods or demons — and that is the way of philosophy. It is truly Robert Frost’s “road less traveled” in the history of the world. For it is usually only a few who will pursue this path.
- They do not take the poets and the poems very seriously at all.
- At best, they will want to take the myths and abstract a theory about the nature of things or even the nature of God.
- At worst, they will want to perhaps ban the poets, as Plato suggested.
- But they rarely will acknowledge that they are on the same plane as the mythologists.
- They are content to work out their sometimes brilliant and sometimes idiosyncratic understandings of things.

Chesterton is content to acknowledge many of the great advances of the great philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Pharaoh Akenhaten (the one who worshiped a single sun god), Confucius, even the Buddha.

But there is one problem with all the philosophers. Let me quote Chesterton at length here for a minute:

...The point about them is that they all think that existence can be represented by a diagram instead of a drawing; and the rude drawings of the childish mythmakers are a sort of crude and spirited protest against that view.

They cannot believe that religion is really not a pattern but a picture.. None of them could understand a thing that began to draw the proportions just as if they were real proportions, disposed in the living fashion which the mathematical draughtsman would call disproportionate. Like the first artist in the cave, it revealed to incredulous eyes the suggestion of a new purpose in what looked like a wildly crooked pattern; he seemed only to be distorting his diagram, when he began for the first time in all the ages to trace the lines of a form and of a Face.

And thus do we come to the Incarnation in which the wild diagrams of the philosophers and the wild day dreams of the poets start to come together.

For Chesterton there are three sets of witnesses to the Incarnation —the poets, the philosophers, and finally the demons — or, more precisely, the demon worshippers. Who are they?

First, the poets. It was the shepherds out in their fields to whom the news is given first. And shepherds are, for Chesterton, the kind of men who had mythologies — who sensed most “that the soul of a landscape is a story and the soul of a story is a personality.”
- They were the ones for whom the message was seen as the confirmation of what they had dimly suspected: that “holy things could have a habitation and and that divinity need not disdain the limits of time and space.”
- Mythology was always a search for the truth under the guise of beauty and the limits of material reality.
- It was not wrong, the shepherds discovered, in being “as carnal as the Incarnation.”
- These witnesses to the light represent the people of the world who long for a shepherd — a true, 'populist' leader who will never let them down. Who will show them the face of God. And they have found him.

Who, then, are the philosophers? Chesterton again:

The truth that is tradition has wisely remembered them almost as unknown quantities, as mysterious as their mysterious and melodious names - Melchior, Caspar, Balthazar. But there came with them all that world of wisdom that had watched the stars in Chaldea and the sun in Persia; and we shall not be wrong if we see in them the same curiosity that moves all the sages. They would stand for the same human ideal if their names had really been Confucius or Pythagoras or Plato.

They were those who sought not tales but the truth of things; and since their thirst for truth was itself a thirst for God, they also have had their reward. But even in order to understand that reward, we must understand that for philosophy as much as mythology, that reward was the completion of the incomplete.

Philosophy was, is, Chesterton reminds us, no different than mythology is — search for the truth. And now in the Wise Men we see the searchers finding what they searched for — the truth, and it is found in a religion. And not only in a religion, but in a fairly narrow religion at that, one that, like their philosophy, had looked askance at the mythologies of the world. I often wonder if Melchior or Balthazar was one of those guys who wears a t-shirt that says, “It’s Not the Destination, It’s the Journey.” He would have had to take it off.

Who represents the demons? Who represents the dark side of paganism? It is Herod, who believes the reports of the philosopher-kings (and who knows? Perhaps he had heard of the shepherds, too?) and wants to use those reports to ensure he remains on the throne by killing this king of the Jews. This witness to the Light is a hostile witness, one who wishes to extinguish it as soon as possible — and he is willing to sacrifice all the baby boys of Bethlehem in order to accomplish it.

“The demons also, in that first festival of Christmas,” says Chesterton, “feasted after their own fashions.” And yet the Light was come and would enlighten the world — when it erupted into the world, there was a kind of undermining of our ordinary life going on.

What then do we celebrate on this Feast of the Presentation? Chesterton does not go on to discuss this ending of the Christmas story in The Everlasting Man. But I think we can extrapolate here.

If the witnesses to the light represented the world on the search for truth, either innocently or with malign intent, then Saints Simeon and Anna represent for us the completion of the tale.

Can we trust shepherds, foreigners, or even kings who believe some tale about a king who comes to right a world that has been wrong seemingly from the beginning?

No, what the Feast of the Presentation brings to us is the validation. Sure, you can diagnose yourself on Web MD and you can have all sorts of smart neighbors who have read all about the symptoms of what they think you’ve got in a number of articles and you can listen to your neighbor who either with sadness or ill-disguised glee tells you that you must have the disease because her cousin’s mother-in-law’s neighbor had it and she heard that it was just like what you have. But when you want to be certain, you go to the medical center and you hear from the crusty old doctors who know what they’re talking about.

Saints Anna and Simeon are the crusty old doctors who have been around forever. Anna the Prophetess, we know from the Scripture, had been widowed for many years. Instead of taking up Zumba or traveling to Europe or political advocacy, she had spent her time in the temple, “worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” (Lk 2:37). She had done the preparatory work to see the light and she was rewarded, for as Luke tells us, she came up just at that moment and saw the child Jesus and and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (v. 38).

Curiously, we get less biography of St. Simeon, but we do know that he was also righteous and devout — and he was “looking for the consolation of Israel, and was filled with the Holy Spirit.” He was rewarded according to the promise that he would not see death before the arrival of the promised anointed one of Israel.

Some of the traditions around him are, if not true, revelatory.
According to one, he was one of the translators of the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint — and had been corrected by divine providence when he wanted to translate Isaiah 7:14 as simply “a young woman shall conceive.” It would be a “virgin,” he was instructed. According to another, he was 360 years old.

I don’t think we have to take these literally to take them seriously. Like Anna, he had spent much time in prayer and study of the Scriptures that foretold the Messiah. He had literally studied the whole circle of divine truth — 360 degrees — and he was ready when called upon by God to identify the Light to the Gentiles.

If there’s a lesson for us in Anna and Simeon, it is that we stand in their place. Unlike the pagans who knew only shadows from their philosophical and poetic searches, we have the truth in front of us in our very midst.
- Do we study?
- Do we desire the coming of the Lord’s Christ in our own lives where we have left him out?
- Do we spend our time in the temple praying?

For it is our call as Catholics to be, not shepherds or wise men, but dwellers in the presence of the Light who take that Light into ourselves in order to pass it on and help others see it.

David Paul Deavel is Editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture and visiting assistant professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
00Sunday, February 3, 2019 7:01 AM

From my favorite Jesuit of all time, the indomitable Father Schall, who gave all his admirers and friends a brief scare during the recent holidays over a touch-and-go
post-surgical complication that he lived through in time to mark his 91st birthday on January 20. Ad multos annos!!!!

Life and death with a Jesuit:
Father Schall on the important things

Interview by
Kathryn Jean Lopez

Jan 29, 2019

Jesuit Father James V. Schall had a close call at the age of 91 earlier this month. A longtime professor of politics at Georgetown, he’s been living in retirement with his brother Jesuits in Los Gatos, California.

“At 91, one has little leeway. The old hide-and-seek cry, ‘Here I come, ready or not,’ is in place,” the priest said. “We do not know the day or hour. So, we abide in what is given to us in the now. We do not know if we are ready – we just try to be, to have faith and courage".

In an email exchange, Kathryn Jean Lopez spoke to the Jesuit about life and death.

What is best about life?
What is best about life? The first thing is having it, actually being in existence and knowing that we exist as this human being, that we do not cause ourselves to exist. We are given life. What is best about life is to know that it is a gift rather than some blind development with no internal meaning to itself as this, and not that, being.

Following on this realization of our own existence, what is best is knowing that we are not alone. We live among others and seek and rejoice in our friends. We discover in revelation that we are also to become friends of God. Our lives are often filled with sin and suffering, when we need others most, for forgiveness, for help, for understanding.

What is best about life is also the fact that we can walk this green earth, see things, and especially to get to know what not ourselves is. We exist also that what is not ourselves in all its variety and complexity can be known to us. We are not deprived of the world or others because we are not they. Instead in knowledge, the world and our friends return to us. We know a world that is not ourselves; we are blessed.

What is most challenging about life?
Finding its order. My book, The Order of Things, goes into this issue. At first sight, the world seems a chaos, a disorder. But the earth and all in it reveal an order that is not there because we put it there. We find it already there. This is what we discover when we discover anything.

Modern (and Muslim) voluntarism will claim that nothing is stable (an old Greek view also). Everything can be its opposite. Therefore, there are no evils. But there are evils, due precisely to a lack of order. Moral evil is a lack of order that we put in our own thoughts and deeds because we reject that order that is given to us that constitutes our own real good. The challenge of life is to deal with the reasons for evil without despair or without affirming that evil is good.

Even in the worst circumstances, we strive to see what is in order. But when it is our responsibility to affirm or allow that order, we can prefer our own ideas. In doing so, we implicitly reject the being that is. Thanks to the Redemption, this rejection can be repented and reordered, but even here, we are required to act in a way that confronts what is really wrong.

We are responsible for our own lives. In the end, the story of our personal existence will be told in terms of how we lived and understood the gift of life that we have been freely given.

What’s most unappreciated about life?
In a way, I suppose it has to do with what Aristotle said was the beginning of our knowledge, namely, our capacity to wonder. Samuel Johnson (whose life is simply one of amazing wonder) cautioned that we are not to go about just wondering. We are to learn and come to conclusions. We are to know the truth of things, we in our very own minds.

But we are provoked by what is not ourselves. What is out there beyond our ken? We are not content simply to say, “I do not know or want to know.” We come to full knowledge only gradually. And we never cease to wonder about what is out there even when we know something about it.

So, I would say that what is most unappreciated about life is the adventure of it, the sense that it is really going someplace, and this lovely world is not its ending but beginning.
- In addition, we do not appreciate how much we can damage ourselves and others when we do not know the truth of things and reject the order of things to impose our own order on our lives and world.
- We have been redeemed, but we have not been excused in our freedom. We are not able to be friends with one another or with God unless we choose, by the way we finally live, to do so.

What is the most important gift of your life, besides life itself? Your priesthood? The sacraments?
I have long said, and urged the point on anyone who will listen, that the best thing that our parents give us is brothers and sisters, and eventually along with their children. Even if my two good brothers are with the Lord, their welcome to me and our own hassles have been a context of life that has always been a consolation to me. My good sister and my two step-sisters are also here.

Of course, priesthood and sacraments, the life of the Church as I have been given in the Society of Jesus, loom large. The Order in my time has provided me with education and opportunity that I could not otherwise imagine for a young man from a small town in Iowa. I have lived for a time in some great cities — San Francisco, Rome, Washington.

But the great gift to me was the chance to live a life relatively free to read and write and wonder how it all fit together. I have never been a “specialist,” and it probably shows, but I have thought often about the whole. I think that leisure to wonder about what it is all about has been a great gift to me.

I have loved teaching and the students that somehow kept coming to my often meandering classes in which I was often but one step ahead of them, and not always then. Indeed, having young men and women there, to tell them just what there is to be read that will open their eyes to what is, has been part of this gift.

If I could entice but one student to read Joseph Pieper—an Anthology or E. F. Schumacher’s A Guide for the Perplexed, I would be happy with the chance of being there to see the delight the student saw on actually reading these good books, or Plato or Aristotle or Augustine or Aquinas or Johnson.

Are you ready? And how do you know that you are?
At 91, one has little leeway. The old hide-and-seek cry, “Here I come, ready or not,” is in place. We do not know the day or hour. So we abide in what is given to us in the now. We do not know if we are “ready” – we just try to be, to have faith and courage. If we had certitude about these things, we would already be dead.

Are there any last words that you might like to add in the unlikely event that this is your last interview?
What an amusing way to put it! The “unlikely event”! Yes, Schall can be long-winded. I noted the other day that the complete listing of what I have published according to date and source since my first essay in The Commonweal, in 1954, comes to about 150 pages. This includes books, book reviews, chapters in books, academic essays, columns, lighter and shorter essays, interviews, letters to editors, and newspaper essays. Indeed, St. Augustine’s Press is yet to publish one of these days a collection of my earlier JVS interviews.

I think that my last words remain those that I cited from Chesterton at the end of the “Last Lecture” — that all inns lead to that Great Tavern at the end of the world when we shall drink again with our friends in that eternal life that is offered to us by our very God when he called each of us out of nothing to exist and participate in His inner life.[

The Trinity has always fascinated me. A chapter in my first book, Redeeming the Time, was entitled: “The Trinity — God Is Not Alone.” Aristotle wondered if God was lonely and therefore lacked one of the highest of human values.

Since there is otherness, love, and inner-relationship in God, He does not need the world to explain his glory. The world as we know it reflects His glory, but His glory as it is awaits us. Our lives transcend the world, even while we remain in this world, with all its own tragedy, drama, and uncertainties. The last words remain —we are bound for glory, Deo Gratias!

How I wish that Fr. Schall had had a chance to meet with Joseph Ratzinger one on one, and vice-versa. The emeritus is nine months older than the Jesuit, but it would have been fascinating to see the interaction between two outstanding Catholic minds that sprung from their humble beginnings as a Bavarian village kid and an Iowa farm boy, respectively - who also share an uncommon passion for the vocation of teaching.

I hope Benedict XVI is aware of all the wonderful things Fr. Schall has written about him and his ideas, and that Ignatius Press will come out with an anthology of those writings. One of the major intellectual satisfactions possible during the Ratzinger Pontificate was that any major document or book by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI would soon be followed by a brilliant commentary from Fr. Schall, whom we can all remember fondly and gratefully for having been the first major voice to quickly grasp the seminal quality and significance of the Regensburg lecture and write about it promptly. (But I especially love him for his unflagging and oft-mentioned appreciation of Spe Salvi, perhaps the greatest short document ever written by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI - even if, for many, it was overshadowed by the unprecedented popular and intellectual success of Deus caritas est, his first and completely unexpected innovation of the papal encyclical genre. Both DCE and Spe salvi would, of course, go on to sell in the millions within weeks of their publication, unprecedented for any official papal document and unlikely to be matched again.)]

00Sunday, February 3, 2019 7:32 AM

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Orthodox Cathedral in Kiev.

The transformation of the 'Eastern Lung'
by Myroslav Marynovych

February 2, 2019

Though almost no one in the West has taken notice, there has been a recent development important for all of global Christianity. A new Autocephalous Church of Ukraine was created during the Kyiv Orthodox Church Synod on November 15, 2018 – a move that has been welcomed by the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
- Is this just another outbreak of “Ukrainian nationalism” at a time when Russia has become increasingly active?
- Or the result of rivalry between Constantinople and Moscow for influence over Ukraine?
- And what does this event mean for the Orthodox as well as the Catholic Church?

In reality, it is a continental shift in the Church. St. John Paul II often urged Europe to breathe with two “lungs” – Western and Eastern. The “Western lung” is generally well understood. But what is the “Eastern lung”?

From the 11th to the 14th centuries, the answer was unequivocal: the Christian East was organized around two centers: the Church of Constantinople (including Greece and Athens) and its “daughter” Church, the Church of Kyiv, from which Christianity spread to other eastern lands.

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, a spectacular “continental” drift occurred, and Moscow displaced Kyiv (or Kiev). From then on, the Christian East was centered in Constantinople and Moscow. Muscovy incorporated into itself both the territory of ancient Kyivan Rus’ and the ecclesiastic Kyiv Metropoly, to become the Russian Empire.

The distinctive features of ancient Kyiv spirituality were rigorously whittled down to conform to the interests of the Moscow model of caesaropapism. “Suspicious” church books were burned. Dissident church figures were repressed.

Kyiv was subjected to the “Third Rome” (Moscow) under both the Czarist and Communist dictatorships. It was only the collapse of the USSR that defrosted the Stalinist glacier. What Kremlin propaganda presented as local nationalisms, allegedly destroying Christian unity, was the liberation of peoples and their ecclesiastical communities from the monopolistic influence of the most powerful of nationalisms: Russian chauvinism.

In Ukraine, the idea of an autocephalous Orthodox Church was reborn. The Kremlin and its subservient Russian Orthodox Church countered in two ways.
- The first was a methodical discrimination against both ecclesiastical and political developments in Ukraine.

As one Ukrainian observer has remarked, Russian propaganda used terminology apparently taken, at first glance, from “the Western dictionary of ‘humanitarian values’, but in fact operated with werewolf-ideas, parasite-ideas, and phantom-ideas” (Andriy Baumeister). The Western world did not notice this manipulation and, at least until recently, accepted it at face value.

- The second method consists in propagating the concept of the “Russian world,” put forward by Kirill, the Moscow Patriarch, which is in fact a quasi-religious imperial doctrine proclaiming the “spiritual unity” of all Russian-speaking and Orthodox peoples.

This became a way to legitimize the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, allegedly for the sake of protecting the Russian-speaking population. Now Kremlin propaganda is preparing the world for a possible new attack against Ukraine to “protect” the Orthodox population.

So today we are witnessing a deep transformation of the “Eastern lung.”
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople sensed where things were headed and took the unusual move of intensifying its activities in the Orthodox world.
- Even though the Ecumenical Patriarch is only first among equals – not the sole leader of the church (like the pope in the West) – he took public responsibility for the fate of the daughter Church in Ukraine, which had been uncanonically severed from Constantinople.

There are many signs that the Eastern Slavic part of the “Eastern lung” is still largely dysfunctional. Communism was a deep trauma from which the peoples of the former Soviet republics have not yet totally recovered. In many places, people lost the Christian culture and true understanding of what Christian faith means. So, distressing news – on both the political and religious fronts – may still be forthcoming from Kyiv. But in spite of everything, serious reorganizing in underway, and future changes will affect the whole Christian world.

The influence of Constantinople may prove to be extremely important. This has already been manifested in the establishment of the Statute of the newly constituted Ukrainian Church, which substantially modified administrative procedures in the direction of democracy.

So far, Western Christians have been concerned primarily with preserving the recent status quo with Moscow, as if the Russian Orthodox are simply the whole of the Christian East. In Western eyes, this seemed crucial to Christian peace and ecumenical dialogue. The Vatican’s diplomacy has been careful not to intervene in the intra-Orthodox affairs. [How long can the reigning pope continue to 'ignore' the watershed Orthodox situation in the Ukraine? Of course, he complicated - and maybe compromised - the Church's position by taking the side of Russia in its invasion of the Ukraine, assiduously courting the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, with whom he hopes to seal a historic rapprochement by being the first pope to visit Moscow (the same kind of wooing he employed to get Beijing to come nearer to inviting him to 'China?. And how does his open wooing of Kirill affect his relation with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to whom he all but kowtowed literally when he visited Istanbul? The latter has absolutely no cards to deal with the Vatican. He cannot speak for all the Orthodox Churches, only for his much-reduced, almost token constituency in Istanbul.]

But the present situation creates a clear challenge for the Catholic Church. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna stated recently: “How is the Vatican to interact with the new autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine? If it recognizes it, that means conflict with the Moscow Patriarchate. If the Vatican does not recognize the new Church, that means conflict with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

The Western Churches must realize that the old status quo can no longer be maintained. The situation calls for a radical overhaul of current positions, including the reconsideration of the present models of ecumenism.
- Conscientious Christians cannot simply consider Russia’s language of ultimatums and exclusion as acceptable any longer.
- Ukrainian Orthodox believers are a legitimate part of the Christian oikumene and at present are under siege.
- They can become a catalyst for a civilized transformation of the entire post-Soviet space, starting with Russia.

Westerners would do well to understand the new realities in Eastern Europe, and that including Ukrainian Churches in broader contacts with the world can bring many more benefits than their continuing isolation.

After the fall of Communism, many Westerners expected that the Slavic world, long forced to remain silent, would finally be free to make its proper contribution to Christian culture and the entire globe. Today, with the establishment of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, it may well be that an important voice is finally beginning to be heard.

Myroslav Marynovych is Vice-Rector for mission at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine, and a President of the university’s Institute of Religion and Society. He was a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, a prisoner of conscience (1977–1987), head of the Amnesty International structures in Ukraine (1991–1996), and former President of the Ukrainian Center of PEN International.'

00Monday, February 4, 2019 5:49 AM

Jesuit scholar of Islam assesses
the pope's visit to the UAE

by Edward Pentin

Egyptian native Father Henri Boulad says the historic visit offers a ‘golden opportunity’ to address some ‘thorny issues,’ but urges Pope Francis to take a more realistic approach toward Islam.
Edward Pentin

Pope Francis arrives in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, becoming the first pope in history to set foot on the Arab Peninsula. The key event of the Feb. 3-5 visit is a “Human Fraternity Meeting” of inter-religious leaders aimed at prompting the values of brotherhood and peaceful dialogue.

For Melkite Jesuit Father Henri Boulad, the visit could mark a “step forward in Christian-Muslim relations” provided the Holy Father raises “clearly sensitive issues” affecting the region.

An expert of Islam and author of nearly 30 books in 15 languages, Father Boulad told Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin via email Jan. 19 that he expects the Pope to call on the Arab nations to face up to their responsibilities to welcome Muslim migrants from countries such as Iraq and Syria, but he also asked that the Holy Father change his position on Islam, calling his approach “much too naive and angelic.”

In an interview with the Register in 2017, Father Boulad said Islamist terrorists were applying what their religion teaches them, but that the Church had failed to address this because she had fallen prey to a leftist ideology that is destroying the West.

A native Egyptian, Father Boulad says that for dialogue to be fruitful, “we need a common basis of values and principles on which we all agree,” and that, given the UAE’s openness, the country “could — and should — play a key role to find such a basis in order to build together a permanent peace.”

Father Boulad, what is your opinion of the visit, the first by a pope to the Arab Peninsula? Is it a step forward or could it foster syncretism?
This first visit of a pope to the Arab Peninsula could mark a step forward in Christian-Muslim relations, provided that Pope Francis raises clearly certain sensitive issues, such as:
• the apostasy considered by Islam as a crime punishable by death; moreover, the UAE do not recognize or authorize the teaching of any religion except Islam.
• The status of second-class citizens and submission (dhimmi) for non-Muslims raises the issue of religious freedom.
• The status of women and the issue of citizen equality should be dealt with.
• If the Emirates disassociate themselves from Islamist terrorism, we expect them to firmly condemn the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [ISIS] and other extremist groups.
• Given the immense wealth available in the UAE, we expect them to give special care for Muslim migrants that have been coming over to Europe. Their support should be in concert with the oil monarchies of the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia.

Therefore, we are expecting the Pope to urge these Arab-Muslim countries to face up to their responsibilities vis-à-vis their Muslim brothers seeking to emigrate. [I'd be very surprised if he did that! Why wouldn't he have thought about that all these years, after nagging the European nations to take in all the Muslim migrants from AFrica and the Middle East? Besides, how many of those migrants seeking entry to Europe would even think of migrating to SAudi Arabia or the Emirates???] By welcoming them, they would spare them the cultural shock of their integration into Europe. COLORE=#B200FF]It is outrageous that these Gulf countries refuse to open their doors to Syrians and Iraqis welcomed by far-less-wealthy neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. [But those welcomed in these countries are genuine refugees from the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts, for whom the immediate priority is just to get out ASAP of whatever hellhole they find themselves in, and for whom the nearest quickest recourse is usually one of these neighboring countries. They are not the Bergoglio hordes - those Muslim migrants from African seeking a new and more prosperous life in Europe while reinforcing the already significant Muslim enclaves in the major European cities! None of the Middle Eastern countries would nor could welcome refugees in such numbers!]

Do you think such visits to Muslim-majority nations can be more damaging than helpful to the Church and the faith?
Such visits cannot be damaging. Rather, they offer a golden opportunity to frankly address some of the thorny issues raised above, which require concrete answers. This visit could encourage the UAE to open up to a more liberal Islam. The Pope should emphasize that the Emirates are already on the right track, by their openness to Christians, to modernity and to human rights. I would highlight several recent initiatives in the Emirates, which augur the best for a new era in Christian-Muslim relations:
• Qatar is financing the construction of a Maronite church in Keserwan (January 2019);
• A cathedral will be built in Bahrain;
• Abu Dhabi will see the inauguration of St. Elias Cathedral; [and]
• The only Kuwaiti priest, Father [Emmanuel] Gharib, is able to celebrate the Bible in Bedouin attire.
However, we should not lose sight of what The Observatory of Religious Freedom says about Bahrain [e.g. non-Muslim missionary activities among Muslims are not allowed; the country’s Shia majority continues to face oppression] and the UAE [e.g., Muslim citizens do not have the right to change religion. Apostasy in Islam is punishable by death]. [As if see'hear/speak-no-Muslim-evil Bergoglio would ever bring that up!]

Do you think Francis has in any way improved in his interaction with Islam?
Unfortunately, no. I feel that Pope Francis has hardly changed his approach to Islam in any way. His policy of the outstretched hand is always the same: that is to say, much too naive and angelic. Massive migration to Europe, mainly from Muslim countries, which he supports, shows that he loses sight of the serious societal problems that will arise: the non-integration/assimilation of Muslims in host countries, the incompatibilities of Islam with human rights, secularism, freedom and equality — not to mention the contradictions in the Pope’s statements.

On the one hand, he asks the host countries to respect the culture of immigrants, their Islamic worldview and traditions. And on the other hand, he asks Muslims to integrate and to respect the laws of the host country. It is quite difficult to reconcile these two opposite views, since Muslims consider the Sharia [law] to stand above the laws of the secular European host countries.

It is well known that Muslims have never integrated in countries invaded by them. Rather, they have forced the conquered countries to lose — often permanently — their ethnic and cultural identities, their religions, their languages and their traditions. This is a serious problem that arises more and more with political Islam in Europe. The Pope seems to ignore the history of Muslim conquests and the societal problems posed to Europe by political Islam. This endangers European identities, their traditions and their Judeo-Christian roots. [Thanks, Fr Boulad, for articulating that self-evident fact, even if you may just have struck apoplexy into Spadaro, Tornielli and the rest of the worst of the Bergogliacs.]

In conclusion, I would say that the Pope’s visit to the UAE could help Islam in getting out its present confrontation with the modern world. The only reasonable way is dialogue. For such a dialogue to be fruitful we need a common basis of values and principles on which we all agree. Given the openness of the UAE, they could — and should — play a key role to find such a basis in order to build together a permanent peace. [Yeah, right - the old standby panacea for all conflicts - dialog for the sake of dialog, just to seem like something is being done. As if anyone could dialog away the inherent Muslim objective of world conquest, in which anyone who does not become Muslim will be reduced to abject dhimmitude, as this pope already is (but in his case, gladly and voluntarily).]

I don't know about you, but if you had any reservations at all about Papa Wojtyla's first 'inter-religious' meeting in Assisi in the name of universal brotherhood, what do you think the inter-religious 'Human Fraternity Meeting 'in Abu Dhabi would be? Shall we not be hearing more blood-curdling Masonic affirmations of brotherhood - his word of the year - from Jorge Bergoglio of the Grand Lodge of the Vatican???

00Monday, February 4, 2019 6:33 AM
Oh, the reigning pope misses the mark on a great many things - which pile up by the day - but not because he's a poor marksman. He misses deliberately - because in the case of the clerical sex abuse crisis, he persists in a state of denial about its principal root cause. And in his assault on Catholic morals and tradition, it is because he's busy setting up his own marks - why waste time calling attention to all those old marks from the 2013 years that preceded his pontificate?

Pope Francis misses the mark
in focusing on clericalism and synodality

A recent essay by papal biographer Ivereigh about the pope's approach to the abuse
crisis fails to recognize the pressing need to start with institutional reform.

by Christopher R. Altieri

February 3, 2019

Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh has written a piece for Commonweal, on the meeting of the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences scheduled for February 21-24 to discuss “the protection of minors and vulnerable adults”.

Francis is right, Ivereigh contends, to urge us to deflate our expectations of the meeting — especially those of us who are expecting major reforms to come from the gathering.

The thing is, very few people are expecting major policy changes to come from the meeting, nor are there many people expecting the meeting to fail solely on the basis of their lack.

The main concern of skeptics — of those, at least, who do not see the whole thing as a mere publicity stunt — is that the meeting is fighting the wrong battle, i.e. “child protection” narrowly construed, rather than the rot in Church leadership and leadership culture.

Ivereigh’s framing of the business is therefore a strange hybrid: a cross between a straw man and a red herring.

Ivereigh’s central thesis regarding the crisis and Pope Francis’s approach to it is not unsound: the Holy Father sees the crisis as a particularly sickening manifestation of the libido dominandi, the only Christian response to which is and must be radical conversion to Christ. The word Francis uses to convey his sense of the specific evil at the root of this crisis is “clericalism”. Ivereigh is right on that and so is Pope Francis.

To say that clericalism is at the root of the crisis is true, but it doesn’t get us very far.

As long as there are clerics, there will be clericalism. We need clerics to do their work in the Church, with and against the forces of disorder in the soul that are themselves the cause of human brokenness and of its peculiar manifestation in men of the clerical state. Still, this crisis will not pass without soul-reform: in a word, conversion — and more particularly — the conversion of the Church’s hierarchical leadership.

Ivereigh is also correct when he says that institutional reform is insufficient. “New norms, guidelines, and mechanisms will be necessary,” Ivereigh says, “but they are by themselves powerless to bring about the metanoia to which the Holy Spirit is calling the Church.” That’s right.

One of Pope Francis’s major problems — and Ivereigh’s in his analysis — is that neither recognizes the pressing need to start with institutional reform. In fact, they both get it exactly backward. “Before talking about new protocols and procedures,” Ivereigh accurately paraphrases Pope Francis’s remarks to journalists traveling with him to Rome from Panama last Sunday before quoting Francis directly, “we [the bishops] must become aware.”

The hierarchical leadership of the Church has had decades to become aware of the wickedness plaguing the Church. The crisis has been on Rome’s radar for more than half a century.

Even if that were not so, any man who does not understand immediately and viscerally how awful the sexual abuse of minors is, has no business exercising Orders. That anyone with difficulty wrapping his head around the awful enormity of such abuse should have been admitted to a discernment program, let alone to formation, is itself a scandal in both the colloquial and the technical senses of the term. On the individual or micro level, the only responsible thing to do with a bishop who doesn’t get it, is to deprive him of his see.

When it comes to the macro level of institutional reform, pace Francis and Ivereigh, history both sacred and secular is replete with examples of culture following law. Whether one looks to St. Gregory the Great, or the Cluniac reforms, or Trent, or the II Vatican Council — or even further back, to King Josiah or David or Moses himself — one will find enlightened rulers using legal reform to drive the renewal of culture.

The US Supreme Court did not wait to strike down Plessy for fear the country just wasn’t ready for racial integration. Ten years later, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act over and against the protests of citizens who urged “moderation” and “prudence” and not forcing people to give up their racist ways until they saw the error of them.

In any case, the need to raise awareness in some quarters is no reason to truncate reform efforts in others.

Whether owing to a desire for everyone to be on the same page, or owing to specific concerns over the legalities of the reforms the US bishops prepared to adopt at their Fall Meeting, the Pope’s decision to impede the US bishops was frankly indefensible.
- For one thing, the US bishops were not looking to strengthen their child protection protocols, but to achieve a measure of accountability for themselves in the wake of revelations incontrovertibly manifesting their failures of oversight.
- For another, there would have been ample opportunity to fine tune the measures in concert with the Roman bureaucracy after the bishops passed the measures.

Then, Ivereigh’s treatment of the incident that sparked the current phase of this crisis ignores or elides certain pertinent details, which tend to vitiate his analysis.

Ivereigh says, “When Francis stubbornly defended his nomination of Bishop Juan Barros to the Chilean diocese of Osorno, he was caught up in a web of institutional desolation.” Again, Ivereigh is not wrong. What he ignores, or elides, is Francis’s own role in creating and perpetuating that institutional desolation. “I was part of the problem,” Francis reportedly told the victims he had repeatedly attacked in public as calumniators, before “new elements” came to light, which prompted his decision to send his crackerjack investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to look into things.

Ivereigh goes on to say, “[Francis] was presented by the local church with a false picture, one that concealed the truth not just about the abuser priest Fernando Karadima, but about the widespread corruption and cover-up in many dioceses.” That is a very incomplete summary of the matter, and inaccurate in two crucial particulars.

First, the “local Church” did not present Pope Francis with a false picture — the bishops did.
- The Chilean faithful had been crying foul over the ineptitude, irresponsibility, and downright corruption of their hierarchical leaders for at least a decade.
- The faithful of Osorno were vocal and organized in their opposition to Barros’s appointment.

Francis’s response to the suffering faithful of Osorno was to tell them their suffering owed itself to their own stupidity. [The Church in] Osorno suffers,” Pope Francis told pilgrims who had asked him about the situation in Osorno when they met him on the sidelines of a weekly General Audience in May of 2015, “because she is stupid, because she does not open her heart to what God says and she lets herself be carried away by the idiocies that all those people say.”

Second, the “incomplete picture” line is more than merely evasive.

Pope Francis reportedly received an 8-page letter from Juan Carlos Cruz no later than April 2015, detailing Barros’s role in enabling then-Fr. Fernando Karadima’s abusive behavior and in covering it up. If Francis did receive the letter, then he had evidence of Barros’s wrongdoing, perhaps a month before he spoke with the pilgrims and years before he publicly accused Karadima’s accusers of calumny.

The Chilean bishops also warned Pope Francis against the appointment of Barros to the See of Osorno. They likely knew which way the wind was blowing, and cannot be accused of having unalloyed motives. Nevertheless, Francis had fair warning from them, as well.

In fact, a letter obtained by the Associated Press, which Pope Francis sent to the Chilean bishops in early 2015, shows that Francis wanted Barros and two other “Karadima bishops” to resign and take a sabbatical year before receiving any new posting — in essence, to send the tainted men into quiet ecclesiastical retirement. In the letter to the Chilean bishops, Francs alludes to something that happened to derail that plan, though what it was remains unclear to this day.

Ivereigh praises the genius of Pope Francis’s approach to the crisis, and cites the Pope’s newfound reliance on the faithful as evidence of his turnaround:

New norms, guidelines, and mechanisms will be necessary, but they are by themselves powerless to bring about the metanoia to which the Holy Spirit is calling the church. Only God’s grace and mercy can do this; and these are found in His people. Hence the pope’s call in August to the whole people of God to pray and fast. The people of God is the “immune system” of the church, as he told Chile’s Catholics. If that immune system isn’t working, no amount of procedural reform will be sufficient. Clericalism is a problem that affects every member of the church in one way or another, and so we can expect its solution to involve every member.

That is textbook gaslighting. It might not be quite tantamount to saying that priests never would have abused the children and the bishops never would have covered it up if only the laity were better Christians, but it does share the blame for the crisis without even suggesting a real responsible role for the laity in the solution.

For centuries, the clergy have expected the lay faithful to pray, pay, and obey. For all his talk, the closest thing Francis has offered in the way of a concrete remedy to the awful, untenable state of affairs into which we have fallen as a result of clerical chauvinism, is more of the same.

Ivereigh goes on to say that Francis’s vision of a “synodal” Church is just what we need for these troubled times:

If clericalism is the disease, synodality is the cure. Only when the church embraces its identity as what the Second Vatican Council said it was, the people of God, can the clericalist mentality behind the crisis be expunged. This means clergy and the hierarchy serving Christ in the people rather than the people serving priests as if they were Christ. It means getting over the institutional self-involvement that has led to so much desolation and denial, and putting the poor, the hungry, and the abused back at the center of the church’s attention, where they belong.

Just as Francis himself could not resist a sop to his favorite talking points in the closing lines of his Letter to the Faithful of Chile, Ivereigh — riffing on Francis’s Chilean letter — cannot avoid trying to make the crisis about something else.

This is the heart of the problem with reducing the crisis to “clericalism”: in technical language, it is an inadequate heuristic. Said simply: it is a catch-all — a cartoon villain — a bogeyman.
[A spectrally tenuous and false stand-in for the insidious homosexual culture in the Church that has spawned the use and abuse of clericalism to promote and protect that culture.]
00Tuesday, February 5, 2019 8:59 AM

I didn't quite know how to go about posting this. It's the biggest news of the day on the ecclesial front but it has not yet been reported by the Vatican media - at least not as of
1:00 am Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019, Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

It does not appear on the Vatican Press Office bulletin for February 4, but because of refernces to it in's afternoon headline postings, I started looking it up online -
and was referred to the website of the 'Human Fraternity Meeting' which carried the photo above, as well as the full text of the document that was signed (of which I have
reproduced only the most alarming statement that the first Catholic commentators remarked upon). My own interest was piqued by why such a document was co-signed by
the pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, implacable foe of Benedict XVI but apparently now a Bergoglio BFF.

The item that pointed me to that website had the following headline:
Muslim Council of Elders' 'Global Conference of Human Fraternity' outlines a vision of global fraternity in Abu Dhabi
which startled me! The reigning pope actually went to Abu Dhabi to attend a 'human fraternity meeting' convoked by the world's Muslim Council of Elders!

Yet the Vatican in announcing the pope's trip to Abu Dhabi last December only said this:

Vatican City, Dec 6, 2018 (CNA/EWTN News)- Pope Francis will travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates Feb. 3-5 to participate in an international interfaith meeting, the Vatican announced Thursday.

“This visit, like the one to Egypt, shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father gives to inter-religious dialogue. Pope Francis visiting the Arab world is a perfect example of the culture of encounter,” papal spokesman Greg Burke said Dec. 6.

The papal trip is the second visit to a Muslim country scheduled for 2019; Pope Francis will also visit Morocco March 30-31.

The Abu Dhabi trip’s theme is “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” a line taken from a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, with a focus on “how all people of goodwill can work for peace,” according to the Holy See Press Office.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued an invitation to Pope Francis, along with the Catholic Church in United Arab Emirates.

“We look forward to the pope’s historic visit aimed to maximize opportunities for dialogue and coexistence among nations,” the crown prince said, according to Al Arabiya...

What the Vatican never disclosed was this about the 'human fraternity meeting' - which it never even mentioned in the December 6 announcement.

Taking place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the
UAE Armed Forces, the conference is convened by the Muslim Council of Elders, an Abu Dhabi-based independent international organisation
headed by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb,
to discuss the encouragement of fraternity as a core human value.

Dr Sultan Faisal Al Remeithi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders, said: “This distinguished forum in Abu Dhabi reflects the important cultural and
humanitarian role that the UAE plays in promoting a global culture of peace and reinforcing the key concept of citizenship while remaining respectful of diversity
and tolerance of different faiths.”

The conference is being held in conjunction with the inaugural visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City
State to the UAE. Under the theme “Make me a Channel of Your Peace”, Pope Francis’s visit – the first of its kind to the Arab Gulf region - represents a call for
global fraternal collaboration based on peaceful dialogue and cooperation, mutual tolerance, and a rejection of extremism and violence...

So now we know why Al-Tayyeb figured in the signing of the document - this was his project all along, into which he corralled the man who happens to be the world's most willing dhimmi. Which explains the otherwise puzzling words in the introductory paragraphs of the document, as follows:

This transcendental value [human fraternity] served as the starting point for several meetings characterized by a friendly and fraternal atmosphere where we shared the joys, sorrows and problems of our contemporary world. We did this by considering scientific and technical progress, therapeutic achievements, the digital era, the mass media and communications. We reflected also on the level of poverty, conflict and suffering of so many brothers and sisters in different parts of the world as a consequence of the arms race, social injustice, corruption, inequality, moral decline, terrorism, discrimination, extremism and many other causes.

From our fraternal and open discussions, and from the meeting that expressed profound hope in a bright future for all human beings, the idea of this Document on Human Fraternity was conceived. It is a text that has been given honest and serious thought so as to be a joint declaration of good and heartfelt aspirations. It is a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters..."

My first reaction on reading those two paragraphs was: "Wait, the pope has not even been in Abu Dhabi for 24 hours - how and when could these meetings have taken place?" I assumed the meetings meant he had met with most of the conferees - when it turns out the meetings referred to were the prior meetings he had had with Al-Tayyeb, resulting in a document that obviously was prepared way beforehand, and whose blathering platitudes, insincerities and hypocrisies I would not waste any time with. But others will, because there is so much to fisk in this document.

But obviously one cannot ignore the statement claiming that "The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings." It is, 'at best', Bergoglio's familiar religious indifferentism - unforgivable in a pope - now formally expressed in a document that he and Al-Tayyeb want to circulate to all the leaders of the world.

Yet a pope professing religious indifferentism is, in effect, apostasizing from the faith, as the first commentators on the document seemed to agree upon. An opinion expressed in the strongest terms, as follows:

Bergoglians are the party of apostasy...
by The Editor

February 4, 2019

Today, if not beforehand, Jorge Mario Bergoglio publicly and manifestly apostatized from the Catholic Faith, when he signed the “Human Fraternity Document” which professes all religions to be “willed by God in His wisdom.”

The Human Fraternity Meeting official website gives the text of the document: the outrageous affirmation is found under the second bullet point, which reads:

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.

Apostasy is apostasy, whether you apostasize in the bathtub or on the papal throne; whether you do so out of fear of being slain by a Jihadi or whether you do so for a mess of pottage, an invite form George Soros, or a photo op. The reason or cause or motive can be different, but the result is the same: you reject faith in the One True God.

While a man may apostasize by embracing a non-Christian Faith, such as Judaism or Islam, he can apostatize also by affirming that which destroys the entire faith. Thus, its apostasy to say such things as, “God does not exist” or “God is a devil”.

If you were to say God wills that religions be different and many, then you have also apostasized, because you are saying that God is indifferent to religion. But the god who is indifferent to religion is not the Christian God. So by saying such a thing, you have taken as your god, the Father of Lies.

Some of the most fundamental names of God, of which no Christian can feign ignorance, is that God is True, One, Good and exists. To deny any of these is apostasy.

In canon 1364 §1, the Pope levels excommunication latae sententiae against all apostates, even if they be the Pope. This is how the Pope in promulgating the Code of Canon Law protects Catholics from future popes who apostatize. Those who have not the faith will say, the Code of Canon law does not bind the pope (though canon 38 contradicts them), or that to deny God is the author of only one true religion is not apostasy (they will attempt to pretend that Judaism of old still exists, and that Talmudic Judaism is not another false religion). But Catholics know better.

Finally, they will call Catholics names for saying what I just said. Maybe they will even call me a “sedevacantist” — I am not, becauase I hold with Canon 332 §2 that Benedict is still the pope — but no Catholic, even those who still think that Benedict’s resignation is valid, are sedevacantists for holding such things, as it is simply common sense to say that Bergoglio is an apostate when he publicly signs a document which contains such a statement.

Please put your local priest on notice about what Bergoglio said, and INSIST that his name no longer be mentioned in the Canon. Catholics are right to disrupt the Mass, if need be, to shout down anyone who thinks otherwise. [That's in the same overwrought, hyperbolic and unrealistic tone as don Minutella's dictum that any Mass in which the priest mentions this pope in the Te igitur is thereby invalid because Bergoglio is not the legitimate pope.] We have this right, because God is a God of Truth, He is no condoner of falsehood of any kind. And our Baptism requires that we hold fast with God in this.

Please put your Favorite Cardinal on notice. Write or call or email him, however you can contact him. Remind him, that if he will not stand up and defend God as the author of One True Religion, he is an apostate too. [By that standard, all of the current crop of cardinals are apostates. If they didn't even have the backbone to join the Four Dubia cardinals in opposing Amoris laetitia, does anyone expect them to question an open apostasy by this pope?]

Remind the clergy, in particular, that if some sort of division arises among those who say that Bergoglio is by this an apostate and that he is not by this an apostate, that the division is not caused by those who say he is, but by Bergoglio for signing such a document, and by those who refuse to acknowledge the magnitude of that sin.

A commentary pointed out the following implication of Bergoglio's religious indifferentism:

This means that Francis considers Aztec human sacrifice rituals a God-willed religion like Islam or Judaism which explicitly contradict the Church regarding the Trinity and Christ's divinity.

The claim that "God" wills the existence of mutually exclusive religions implies that Francis's "God" equally wills the truth and the denial of it and therefore is, like the devil, a principle of contradictions.

But leaving aside the apostasies of Bergoglio for now - I have been saying all along that his sin is apostasy far more than just heresy - is it not revolting how duplicitous the Vatican was in presenting this trip to Abu Dhabi under false pretenses? This was obviously something concurred upon by Bergoglio and al-Tayyeb long before the Vatican's surprise annpuncement of the trip last December 6. A fait accompli they didn't even have the common sense to delay making public till the last day of the visit... Oh, Bergoglio's cabal with Al-Tayyeb also explains the inspiration for Bergoglio's word of the year - brotherhood, or fraternity. The inspiration was Muslim not Masonic, even if 'the brotherhood of man' happens to be one of the most famous of Masonic mantras. The Muslims expressly choose to use the word 'fraternity'.

P.S. L'Osservatore Romano does not come out on Mondays because the staff and press cannot work on Sundays, so I checked just now on today's issue of OR - and sure enough,
the Abu Dhabi document is duly 'immortalized' therein, with an editorial by Andrea Tornielli that leads off, not surprisingly but still outrageously, by evoking the meeting of
St. Francis of Assisi with an Egyptian sultan 800 years ago - as if there were any parallels at all between that episode and this pope's latest apostasy:

Does anyone really think that anything in the Abu Dhabi document will make the Muslim world give up their raison d'etre of world conquest,
or stop Islamist terrorist acts and random individual aggressions committed almost everyday by Muslims in 'Eurabia' against 'infidels'?
Is it not rather Bergoglio formalizing his dhimmitude and gladly handing to Islam what the Christian defenders at Tours, Vienna and Lepanto
had denied it?

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

'The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings'
- Document co-signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb

This mendacious piece of encumenospeak by two eminent religious leaders is astounding in its audacity. Neither party could possibly hold to such a statement, or sustain it with integrity, in concert with their co-religionists.

The challenges of the famous dubia (about aspects of Amoris Laetitia) are as nothing beside the defence which will be required of this unequivocal statement of divine indifferentism.

Not for the first time a pronouncement by Francis sounds more like Anglicanism than Catholicism. And more like empty virtue signalling than coherent theology.

Father Z has a very charitable take on the statement, giving Bergoglio every benefit of the doubt
- whereby Fr Z distinguishes between God's 'active and positive will' which can only be for the good, the true and the beautiful,
versus his 'permissive will' whereby he "allows evil and brings forth greater goods from the evil He permits"...

On the other hand, Aldo Maria Valli interviews a perplexed St. Francis of Assisi to whom Valli recounts what his namesake
has done in Abu Dhabi. I shall post the item as soon as I have translated it.

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