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00Monday, February 18, 2019 8:02 PM

The last thing I wish to do is to publicize this book which will undoubtedly become an international bestseller on its own, whether one writes
about it or not, given its subject and the massive propaganda blitz preceding its publication (eight language editions to be launched
simultaneously in 20 countries).

Many Catholics would dismiss it out of hand - not because of its subject, which must be confronted and somehow dealt with, not just in the
Vatican but Church-wide - but because, from all accounts, it is basically dishonest in its presentation, if not in much of what it alleges
to be 'fact'. More importantly, one must object to its vicious double agenda: to further discredit the Church on an issue where she is
right now most vulnerable in the public opinion, while at the same time, using the book to 'pressure' the Bergoglio Vatican to 'change' Church
teaching about homosexuality.

But since the Bergoglio Vatican appears to have cooperated fully in the author's four-year work on the book, one could easily suspect that
the cooperation was given for precisely that reason (primarily, for there are other corollary reasons we could think of) - to lay down
the justification for such a proposed change in the foreseeable future.
Not far-fetched at all when one considers how overnight
this pope unilaterally amended the Catechism to impose his personal objection to the death penalty as the 'new teaching' of the Church.
'Normalizing' homosexuality would appear minor next to that!

The following book review is significant because it is written by CNN's religion editor - therefore, not one who can be thought of automatically
as having any sympathy towards the Catholic Church - yet he is not taken in by the author's 576 pages of verbiage, describes it as 'salacious'
and flatly says "The book is light on verifiable accounts and heavy on innuendo."

Salacious new book says
homosexuality is rampant at the Vatican
but provides little hard proof

by Daniel Burke

February 14, 2019

Early in his salacious new book about homosexuality in the Vatican, the French journalist Frederic Martel asks a source to estimate the number of Vatican clergy who are "part of this community, all tendencies included."

"I think the percentage is very high," says the source, identified as an Italian journalist who left the Vatican and the priesthood after he was discovered viewing gay sex websites on his Vatican computer. "I'd put it around 80%."

That estimate from Martel's book, which is scheduled to be published on February 21 in eight languages and 20 countries, has already made international headlines.

CNN received an early copy of the book, whose English title is "In the Closet of the Vatican," through a source. Neither CNN nor the source agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement with Bloomsbury, the book's publisher in English, nor any other publisher.

While there has been no shortage of sexual scandals in the Catholic Church, mostly concerning the abuse of children, there are no reliable studies on the number of gay Catholics in the priesthood, mostly because church leaders won't allow them.

In that sense, Martel's book could have provided valuable insights. He says he talked to 1,500 sources, including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and 45 current and former Vatican ambassadors, or nuncios, during his four years of reporting the book.

But is that 80% figure really true? And what, exactly, does "all tendencies included" mean? Remarkably, in a 576-page book, Martel, who has written widely on LGBT culture, never returns to that estimate, nor does he try to ascertain its veracity.

Instead Martel dedicates more ink to ruminating on the presence of a rainbow colored umbrella in Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican apartments where Pope Francis and other high-level Catholic officials live, than trying to determine whether his source's estimate is true.

"I imagine the scene: its lucky owner, perhaps a cardinal or a monsignore, takes his stroll in the gardens of the Vatican with his rainbow flag in his hand! Who is he? How dare he?"

Like that passage, the book is light on verifiable accounts and heavy on innuendo. At times, it reads like French social theory translated by Page Six gossip mongers. One prominent cardinal is described as looking like a "Viking bride." Another is accused of having a "flowery conversation" over the phone in a "perfumed voice."

Martel calls the Vatican "one of the biggest gay communities in the world" where "50 shades of gay" lurk beneath the pious surface. This secret underworld communicates in coded messages: In Vatican parlance, he writes, to be gay is "to be part of the parish," an entendre that blends the sexual and sacred.

But it is unclear how Martel, who says he is sympathetic to gay clergy, supports many of his more sweeping and damning assessments. At times, he relies less on traditional journalistic methods like on-the-record conversations and documents than on his self-described "gaydar" and coy insinuations made by secret sources. Many of those sources, he says, "came on to me decorously - it's an occupational hazard!" [Well, well,what have we here - a preening peahen!]

That's not to say Martel hasn't touched on an important topic at a crucial time for the church. In fact, either he or his publishers seem to have planned the book's release for maximum impact.

February 21 is not only the book's publication date, but it's also the opening day for a summit the Pope has convened of top bishops from around the world to deal with the church's massive and morally damaging sexual abuse crisis.

While the Pope has tried to downplay expectations for the meeting, many Catholics around the world are expecting some sort of action or plan before it concludes on February 24.

But already Catholics have expressed concern that Martel's book, which contains some shocking but unverified allegations, will not only overshadow the church's attempts to protect children, but also essentially link gay scandals with the clergy abuse crisis. [But that is the whole point, which the coming Vatican summit apparently intends to ignore completely. Or maybe not. They are simply calling it 'clericalism', a euphemism first employed by Pope Francis that betrays the extreme state of denial he feigns about homosexuality - and the double game he seems to be playing on the question of homosexuality. "Some of my closest friends and associates are homosexual", he could rightly say with pride.]

"The timing of the book is tremendously problematic," said the Rev. James Martin, an American Jesuit priest who has written about LGBT Catholics and the church. [It is surprising Martel apparently didn't use Martin as a resource person.]

"It will distract from the summit and raise in people's minds the idea that all gay priests are breaking their vows and are linked to abuse," said Martin, who said he has read excerpts of the book.

In fact, Martel does link homosexuality to the Catholic Church's clergy abuse crisis. "The 'culture of secrecy,' which was necessary to maintain silence about the huge presence of homosexuality in the church, has made it possible to hide sexual abuse, and for predators to benefit from this system of protection within the institution," he writes.

Ironically, Martel's argument finds common cause with American conservatives, who have argued for years that the real roots of the clergy abuse crisis lie not in pedophilia but in homosexuality.

That charge was made most famously by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's former US ambassador, who accused the Pope in a letter last year of turning a blind eye to the "homosexual networks" responsible for destroying the church from the inside. Confusingly, Martel calls Vigano's letter both "irrefutable" and a blend of "probable facts with pure slander."

But ultimately the book provides little for either conservative or liberal Catholics to cheer about. Prominent figures in the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI are portrayed as hypocrites, liars or sexual deviants. Some stories appear to be well-sourced, like the tale of a late Colombian cardinal who allegedly beat male prostitutes. Others are mere rumors.

And while the author has some genuinely sharp insights about the distance between the Catholic Church's public and private stances on homosexuality, they are too often buried beneath catty quotes and unverifiable anecdotes.

"From what I've read," Martin said, "it's hard to determine what is fact and what is fiction."

At one point in the book, Martel asks himself why one cardinal agreed to talk to him, despite his reputation as a journalist interested in gay culture.

"Is it the attraction of the forbidden, a kind of paradoxical dandyism, that led him to see me? Or was it the sense that he was untouchable (the source of so many lapses)?"

As Martel's book hits the market next week, those are questions many of his sources may be asking themselves.

To sample Martel's swishily catty, gossipy and insupportable lavender/purple prose, see an excerpt published by National Catholic Reporter from what appears to be the Introduction or an early chapter of Martel's book:

00Monday, February 18, 2019 9:32 PM

While he was president of the Vatican's IOR, banker-economist Ettore Gotti Tedeschi regularly contributed essays on economics and finance
to L'Osservatore Romano, displaying practical and technical insight, vast erudition and an unfailingly Catholic perspective. There was enough
to constitute a book published in 2011 (the year before he was unceremoniously - and unjustly, by most accounts - dismissed from the IOR)
entitled Reasons of Economy. (He was, of course, Benedict XVI's major technical consultant for the social encyclical, Caritas in veritate
(2010). Before that, he had written two books about Denaro e Paradiso (Money and Paradise), about the global economy and the Catholic
world, in 2004 and again in 2010. Since 2012, he has published five more books, all reflecting his Catholic and professional perspective on
global issues. In the following blogpost, Aldo Maria Valli tells us about a new book from EGT...

A polemical 'counter-history'
from Ettore Gotti Tedeschi

Translated from

February 14, 2019

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi’s new book is entitled Colloqui minimi (Small conversations) (published by Fede e Cultura). It is a series of brief chats between the author and various personages from the Bible and from history such as, to cite just a few, St. Michael the Archangel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, the prophet Isaiah, Pythagoras, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Pontius Pilate, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Boniface VIII, Thomas More, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Shakespeare, Galileo, Rousseau, Kant…

I’ll stop because the list is truly long and goes through the entire history of ideas and of religions. I will only add, to name people closer to us in time, that EGT also ‘chats’ with Hitler, Mao, Khrushchev, Paul VI, Marcel Lefebvre and the Dalai Lama. [One would think, with the author’s erudition and his familiarity with the thought of the persons he ‘chats with’, that he framed their answers in a way consistent with what is known of what they thought, which is the only way he could have done it plausibly.]

Presented this way, the reader may well think this is a daunting head-spinning book to read. But the author is quite capable and pithy. The chats are quick and never boring, and touch all the themes dear to the author’s heart. Indeed, he does not mask his own views but on the contrary, does his best to bring them to light (there’s a reason the book’s subtitle is ‘The maieutic art of polemics’ [‘maieutic’ meaning the Socratic way of inquiry that aims to bring a person’s ideas into clear consciousness], and therefore, he revisits the entire history of western civilization which he describes as “falling endlessly into a pneumatic void through relativism, the collapse of authority, the triumph of the ugly, insignificance and heresy in and of the Church, the triumph of gnosis, an amoral economy that aims to make money on money (this coming from a banker!), the attempt to give ideological solutions to the problems of poverty and of the economic crisis which both derive from a moral collapse consequent to the rejection of Christianity”.

But why write such a book? The author explains that he had originally meant his text “for the exclusive use of my children and grandchildren, in order to help them have a rapid synthesized view – mine naturally – of what truth is, and how the concept has been modified in the course of history thanks to the thoughts and actions of specific persons. So they can better understand what is happening today”. But with pressure from his publisher, it has turned into a manual for a far wider public. For which we are thankful.

Out of the dozens of chats in the book, I have chosen that with St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Q: I am sure you know that it was thanks to your Spiritual Exercises that I was converted at age 25. The Exercises made me confront the supernatural, and made me decide it was time to seek to make sense out of my life. Another Spanish saint, this one from the 20th century, San Josemaria Escriva later taught me to see the supernatural in daily life. I would like to ask you now: If you lived today and became pope, what would you do to strengthen the Catholic faith?
R. I do not like your tendentious question, and so I will reply only indirectly, for the good of the church of Christ, by enunciating eternal principles that had always inspired me. To serve the Church as her leader, one must first of all study, seeking to become, as I did, a doctor in philosophy (and master of arts) and then to consecrate oneself to an apostolate.
- The Society of Jesus which I founded had two hinges: in the spiritual life, union with the Crucified Christ; and in apostolic life, service to Jesus.
- My spirituality was ‘trinitarian’, ‘Christ-centered’ and eucharistic.
- My ‘strategic program’ was simple: evangelize the nations that did not know Christ (Brazil and India, for example), and defend the true Catholic faith in Europe, where it had been attacked by the Lutheran and Calvinist reformations. And to do this by teaching the truth to everyone even to children and ignorant adults – without false human or cultural respect.

Thank you. You have been very clear. My next question. Why was the Society of Jesus formally suppressed in 1773?
A: I believe it was because the Jesuits represented the enemy to be beaten back in order to make room for the anti-Catholic, Masonic and Jansenist spirit of the Enlightenment. What’s really amazing is that Pope Clement XIV went along with this, under the pressure of the Bourbons and other royal families who are supposedly Catholic.

As you know, after the order was suppressed, many Jesuits found refuge – and were welcomed - in Protestant and orthodox countries,the enemies we had been fighting till then. And so the ruling classes in Europe, without the spiritual and cultural assistance of the Jesuits, underwent that process of corruption that the French Revolution facilitated - the affirmation of secularism in large parts of Europe, and the persecution of Catholics everywhere.

As you know, in 1814, after the fall of Napoleon, Pope Pius VII who had been held prisoner in France by the Emperor, reconstituted the society shortly after he was liberated, and the Jesuits could continue their fundamental work of defending the theological, philosophical, historical and cultural truth against Masonic liberalism and its secular nationalist ideals.

But what torments me now is that, I am told, much later a new generation of Jesuit theologians calling themselves progressivists (like Teilhard de Chardin and Karl Rahner) have introduced principles of theological modernism – precisely those anathematized by St. Pius X – and have progressively disseminated within the Church a doctrine that has been increasingly modernist, in some cases even close to so-called liberation theology).

I am concerned because if such deviation is a fact, it contradicts my expressed desire that Jesuits be obedient to the universal and immutable Magisterium of the Church. I had to reckon with Martin Luther – and I combatted his separation of faith and reason and of faith and works that would result in secularism and sectarianism.

Who are my disciples combatting in the 21st century? They certainly cannot be called orthodox Ignatians if they allow themselves to be influenced by Jesuit theologians like De Lubac (who was one of the major influences in Vatican-II, the father of nouvelle theologie) or De Chardin who called Jesus an ‘evolutor’ (the Word Incarnate who unites in himself the God of tradition and the god of evolution) who promotes the humanization of the earth itself towards the end of producing a more socialized supermankind; or Karl Rahner (the true theologian of church ‘renewal’ who has been called by some the ‘heresiarch’ of the 20th century)… I have been shown a photograph of a Jesuit superior-general in your time where he is shown praying with Buddhists – was that real or photofaked?

End of sample. What do you say?
- That the answers seem to be very tendentious? Just as well – otherwise, how boring it would be!
- That Gotti Tedeschi is most ‘politically incorrect’? Of course. That is why his book ought to be read.

Antonio Socci - who has been focusing lately more on defending and upholding Italian identity and sovereignty rather than in Church affairs - calls attention to a book that should perhaps be better known and read than it now is...

Here’s what positive things have taken place
in the world in the past twenty years and
what has gone wrong in Europe at the same time

Translated from

February 10, 2019

It’s getting worse for mankind, one always hears from the ‘one-thought’ Left. That the poor are getting poorer, the rich richer, on top of which we have violence, pollution, climate catastrophe, exhaustion of natural resources, hunger and disease, under-development, and inevitable mass migration.

“This is the picture that all Westerners see depicted in the media and that consequently, they have imprinted in their minds. I call it a hyper-tragic view of the world, one that is deceptive and stressful,” Hans Rosling wrote in the book Factfulness (Italian edition published by Rizzoli).

[Rosling (1948-2017) was a Swedish physician, academician, statistician and public speaker who co-founded the Gapminder Foundation which developed the Trendalyzer software system that converts statistics from the UN and the World Bank into interactive graphics that help explain development issues.] He was a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences and founder of the Swedish division of Doctors without Frontiers. Published posthumously in 2018, Factfulness says the vast majority of human beings are wrong about the state of the world. He shows that his test subjects think the world is poorer, less healthy, and more dangerous than it is. Bill Gates recommended the book with these words in 2018:

I’ve been recommending this book since the day it came out. Hans, the brilliant global-health lecturer who died last year, gives you a breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world—how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve. It’s a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and one of the best books I’ve ever read.

His book lists an impressive list of data which demonstrate the exact opposite. Namely, that the world is getting better in many ways, mankind has made some spectacular progress in many areas, including a state of wellbeing that is achievable for everyone but unimaginable before.

So, have the media been giving us a completely upside down representation of reality? The answer is YES. But there is another upside down representation of reality – on the subject of Europe and Italy – in which it is more difficult to find out genuine data which will make us see the truth.

When they write or speak about the European Union, the media go into ecstasy. Since it was launched 25 years ago, they predicted that this political experiment (which included a single monetary system) would lead all Europeans into the Promised Land of milk and honey, would make us all rich and protect us from all financial and political storms.

The exact opposite has happened, and things are getting worse, but the media continue to perpetrate the fable from the initial propaganda for the EU.

Is there a connection between the two phenomena – the positive global picture and the negative European-Italian one? Of course, there is. But first, let us look at the numbers taken from the major international institutions. Here are some examples:

In 1800, 85% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Twenty years ago, that percentage was down to 29%, and today it stands at 9%. A remarkable success (with an exceptional leap in the past 20 years alone), but no one has taken note.

Rosling wrote: “In 1800, when Swedes were dying of hunger and British children worked in the coal mines, life expectancy around the world was 30. Almost half of babies born died in infancy. Those who survived lived to between 50 and 70. That is why the average life expectancy was 30.” Today, life expectancy around the world is 72 (in Italy, it is above 80).

Let us consider next “all the victims of floods, earthquakes, storms, droughts, fires and temperature extremes, as well as those who died during the evacuations and pandemics consequent to such episodes”. Rosling says that today, such deaths are only 25% of what they were a century ago, but inasmuch as the world population has grown by 5 billion since them, the adjusted death rate is even more remarkable: just 6% of what it was a century ago. Thanks to enormous progress which allows us to defend ourselves better from such vicissitudes.

One fact that exemplifies the improvement of quality of life everywhere: today, 80% of the world’s population has access to electricity.

One other insistent theme n the media: that Africa is a time bomb which with its demographic boom, with widespread hunger, disease and underdevelopment, will bring millions of migrants to Europe.

Which ignores the fact that the European countries have found it difficult to achieve a 1% growth in GDP (gross domestic product) annually, whereas GDP in African countries is increasing much better than that, and countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia (even Bangladesh in Asia) have annual GDP growth above 5%. And that there are African countries today – Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Egypt (i.e., North Africa) where life expectancy is better than the average world life expectancy of 72.

Rosling also lists many horrendous things that have disappeared or are disappearing from the world, from legal slavery to the incidence of smallpox, and even deaths from airplane accidents.

Great reduction has also been seen in the percentage of undernourished persons (from 28% in 1970 to 11% in 2015), the number of nuclear arms (from 64,000 in 1986 to 9,000 in 2017), the presence of ozone-destructive agents (from 1,663,000 tons in 1970 down to 22,000 tons in 2016), child labor, and lead pollution from gasoline, as well as incidents of massive oil spillage.

Meanwhile, cereal yield is growing around the world (from 1400 kilos per hectare in 1961 to 4,000 kilos in 2014), as is the acreage of protected parklands, literacy (from 10% in 1800 to 86% in 2016), not to mention the growth in scientific research, in the practice of democracy and women suffrage.

One can go on litsing other indicators of progress reported by Rosling – predominantly economic indexes of wellbeing which nonetheless do not exclude other human problems and very negative facts about human existence today.

But what about Europe and Italy? Why have things gone backward unlike in the rest of the world?

Just two pieces of data suffice to tell the story:
- In 1999, the Eurozone represented 22% of the world’s GDP. In 2016, it was down to 16%.
- In 2000, the US economy (in terms of GDP) was better than the Eurozone by 13%, but in 2016, the US advantage had doubled to 26%.

So even if the media continue with their fable of a happy EU, the people of Europe are now aware of the deception and are paying with their own skins the worsening quality of life on the continent – now they are starting to protest at the ballot boxes (Italy and the UK) or in the public square (France).

And what is the link between the two opposing phenomena (worldwide and in Europe)? It is called globalization. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, global progress had been orderly and regulated, under the leadership of the United States and Western Europe. But since the 1990s, a ‘wild’ globalization has been imposed via an unregulated international market and the entry into the world economic scene of a giant like China which has provided unfair competition to everyone else.

The folly of the European Union was to tie its own hands with the Treaty of Maastricht (focused on the market and inflation, rather than on work and economic growth) and with a single monetary system which, beyond preventing national monetary policies, has gifted Germany with a highly undervalued mark and Italy with a hypervalued lira. In this way, Germany has sucked the blood out of other European economies, especially that of Italy.

In 18 years of the euro, Italian manufacture has been reduced by 16% while Germany’s has grown by 30%. In 1999, when the euro was instituted, the Italian per capita income was 96% of the German, while in 2015, after 16 years of the euro, Italy’s per capita income had fallen to only 76% of the German. In the 1980s, Italians saved about one-fourth of their income – today it’s virtually zero.

Italy which, between 1960-1979, had an annual GDP growth of 4.8% (and was still at 2% annual growth between 1980-1999), stalled between 2000-2018, so that now the annual growth is 0.2%.

This translates into more unemployment and poverty, less investment in infrastructure, education and health. It means a blockage of upward social mobility. It means having young people without a future, without even the possibility of planning for a future, as well as serious denatalization. This is irreversible decline.
00Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:49 AM
What is going on with the pope's men?
I use 'men' here as part of the idiomatic phrase 'the pope's men', each of whom may self-identify
with the 'gender' they think fits them best. The saying "whom the gods would destroy they
first make mad"
came to me when I read Marco Tosatti's late blogpost yesterday about
Bergoglio hagiographer Austin Ivereigh's blasphemous response to a Venezuelan man's tweet.

Apparently, Carlos Sanz who tweets as arimatea73 reacted to a comment from Ivereigh
about the NY Times article quoting a gay priest as saying homosexual clerics feel
'caged' in the Church:

To which Sanz made this comment:

A perfectly straightforward opinion from a Catholic who obviously still holds orthodox beliefs.

But why on earth would Ivereigh have responded like this?

What was he thinking (!), what did he think he was doing, and why did he even have to react to a
statement that by its very nature cannot - and should not - be refuted!

Maybe he thought he would one-up Frederic Martel and his 560-page sodomite indulgence with a one-
liner questioning the sexuality of Jesus himself? What Christian in his right mind would even think,
much less articulate, the challenge Ivereigh so gratuitously made?

An earnest reader answered Ivereigh's challenge this way:

Marco Tosatti's comment:

Austen Ivereigh is certainly Papa Bergoglio's most active and ubiquitous hagiographer in the English-speaking world. Let us say he is an English-speaking Andrea Tornielli, even if he may not have the trust the latter enjoys at Casa Santa Marta. So a tweet like this from him is certainly significant. Especially if we out it together with other elements.
- A summit meeting is about to open at the Vatican on clerical sex abuses, 80% of which were committed against men and boys.
- Meawnhile, the word 'homosexual' and its various lexical forms have been carefully avoided by the Vatican.
- The reigning pontiff has managed never to say the word in all of 2018, despite the explosion last year of scandals traceable to homosexual priests in Chile, Honduras, the USA (McCarrick and other stories), Belgium, Germany and elsewhere.
- Clericalism. Power. Human nature. All used to keep from having to say the taboo word.
- To which we may add the starring presence of Jesuit Fr. James Mretin at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin [at the special invitation, one should add, of Cardinal Kevin Farrell, now also the Papal Chamberlain, who ran the Dublin show and had Martin address a session for homosexual couples at a Catholic World Meeting of Families! The same Martin for whose book in advocacy of LGBTQ Catholics Farrell, already in his current position as Prefect of the SuperDicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, wrote the Preface. How indicative is that! All with the beaming approval of the laissez-faire Pope.]
- The lightning career rise of Farrell himself and the similar ascent of Cardinal Cupich in papal favor and ecclesiastical privilege. The same Cupich who drove one of his parish priests to escape and hide for his life after being rebuked for having burned an LGBT banner found in a closet of his predecessor who had died attached to a sex machine. [You can't invent these bizarreries!]

With all this, we could easily suspect that an operation is under way to legitimize sexual behaviors that the Church has always condemned. But if now one of the pope's men insinuates that even Jesus had homosexual tendencies, then everything would become that much easier for the slaves of Sodom, wouldn't you say?

Sorry I was unable to finish this post earlier. I was going on, as I do now, to the next Bergogliac who is more than touched by hubristic
madness - Fr.Thomas Rosica, who infamously proclaimed that his lord and master could say and do as he pleases because he is above
and Tradition, and was recently demonstrated by LifeSite News and Matthew Schmitz to be a habitual and seriously pathologic plagiarist.
If a man could be as brazen in his obviously unhinged papolatry - whom the gods would destroy they first make mad - then habitual plagiarism
demonstrates a serious pathology of inherent dishonesty. Here are LifeSite's articles on Rosica's shamelessly shameful plagiarisms

In heavily-plagiarized speech,
Vatican spokesman accuses
Archbishop Viganò of ‘lies’

by Dorothy Cummings McLean

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Vatican consultant and frequent English-language spokesman for the Vatican accused Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò of “lies” in a lecture in which he passed off other writers’ words as his own.

At a February 8 lecture at Cambridge University, Fr. Thomas Rosica, executive director of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, suggested Archbishop Viganò was a liar. Rosica described the Vatican whistle-blowers' witness as a “diabolical masterpiece.”

Authors whom Fr. Rosica plagiarized in that speech - often word-for-word and at significant length - include Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Gregory K. Hillis, Fr. Thomas Reese, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and Fr. James Martin.

View a comparison of Fr. Rosica's original speech with the plagiarized passages
[The side-by-side comparisons are stunning in the almost verbatim lifting that Rosica practises! The comparisons run to four PDF pages.]

Fr. Rosica's biography on the Salt and Light website says he holds "advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology [1985], the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome [1991] and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem [1994]." From 2011-2015, he served as President of Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario.

He holds honorary doctorates from Gannon University, Niagara University, St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Toronto's Regis College.

In his 2018 testimony, Archbishop Viganò revealed that disgraced Archbishop Theodore McCarrick had been protected by high-ranking Church authorities, including Pope Francis himself.

Describing the current events in the Church as a “perfect storm”, Rosica said:

Some of you in the room may be too young to remember a book and related movie entitled The Perfect Storm –an expression … which describes when several weather patterns meet at the same time, clash and produce violent and horrible damage. The Catholic Church that we love and strive to serve is in the midst ... of a perfect, diabolical storm. Not just the Church in Great Britain, the USA, but also around the globe: Chile, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and God alone knows how many more countries to come!

The appalling, shameful life of a Cardinal of the Church, the shocking 900-page plus report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury that related unspeakable depravities of priests against young and vulnerable persons; a former Vatican Nuncio’s vicious accusations against the Church’s highest authorities that is nothing but a full-frontal attack of half-truths and lies against the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter.

“A series that has been rightfully called a ‘diabolical masterpiece’ of Archbishop Viganò,” he added to the prepared speech in his recorded presentation.

Bishop Robert Barron had originally used the phrase “diabolical masterpiece” last summer to describe the clerical sexual abuse scandal, not Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. The phrase was subsequently picked up by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien. In his speech, Rosica reproduced - with some adjustments - a section of the Cardinal’s September 8, 2018 letter to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher about “the perfect storm” without attribution.

Cardinal O’Brien’s original passage read:

Many of you recall the book and movie The Perfect Storm – when several weather patterns meet at once – they clash and create terrible damage.

Our Catholic Church is in the midst of a perfect storm – a perfect demonic storm: Chile, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States – and how many more to come?! The revolting, profoundly shameful double life of a Cardinal of the Church. The almost pornographic 900-page report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury –unspeakable depravities of priests against the young and vulnerable. A former Vatican Nuncio’s accusations against the Church’s highest authorities.

It has been called ‘A DIABOLICAL MASTERPIECE’!

Cardinal O’Brien was mentioned in Archbishop Viganó’s testimony as a member of a “homosexual current” in the Roman Catholic Church. The harsh language in Rosica's speech about he “former Vatican Nuncio,” however, seems to be Rosica’s own addition.

Near the beginning of his lecture, Father Rosica reproduced a passage - word for word - from an essay by Gregory K. Hillis, a professor of Theology at Bellarmine University, without attribution. The passage, originally published by Hillis on 16 March 2016, read: [uote]While the Church can offer a broad theological vision that focuses on the interconnectedness of all things, it cannot pretend to have all the answers to specific concrete questions. In these circumstances, ‘honest debate’ must be encouraged that respects divergent views. This means that the church itself should be included in the dialogue, but it also means that voices currently not in the debate need to be included.

Rosica also borrowed extensively, without attribution and usually word-for-word, from an essay by Fr Thomas Reese published in the National Catholic Register in 2017. He also mined Cardinal Walter Kasper’s work, again without attribution, and slightly adapted paragraphs from an article by Fr. James Martin, S.J. titled “The Witch Hunt for Gay Priests.” Once again, Rosica failed to give credit to the author.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Fr. Rosica via Salt+Light TV for comment but did not receive a response.

Professor John Rist, who was present at the talk, told LifeSiteNews via email that Rosica’s lecture was “a very rhetorical affair” and that he challenged the priest’s ecclesiology in the subsequent question session.

“You have spoken much of unity and dialogue within the Church while also directing slanderous comments at Archbishop Viganò,” Rist recalled saying to Rosica.

Rist then quoted Father Rosica’s notorious remark regarding his belief that, with Pope Francis as its earthly head, the Catholic Church is now “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

Rosica defended himself by saying that the passage was taken out of context, the scholar recalled.

The professor then asked Rosica if Pope Francis himself were not responsible for the “now near total rift” among Catholics.

“If your description of the state of the Church is accurate, must one not conclude that the present pope, so far from carrying out his primary duty of unifying believers, has more than any other single individual contributed to the now near total rift between liberal and traditional Catholics which is putting the faith of thousands of Catholics at risk?” Rist said he asked.

In response, Rosica said only that the distinction between “liberal” and “traditional” did not go back to the time of Jesus, Rist told LifeSiteNews.

Rosica was the guest of the Von Hügel Institute at St Edmund’s College in Cambridge University. His gave his lecture, “Catholicity: Crises and Opportunities,” to an audience of about 30 people.

Father Rosica is known for speaking harshly of orthodox Catholics, whom he accused years ago of forming a “Catholic Taliban.” He roughly admonished Catholic pro-lifers in print when they objected to the ostentatious funeral given for pro-abortion Senator Ted Kennedy by Boston's Catholic hierarchy.

Rosica is also known for his pro-homosexual sympathies. He has defended LGBT activist Fr. James Martin, rejected the Catechism’s description of the homosexual inclination as “objectively disordered,” and said the phrase “intrinsically disordered” is “harsh.” Rosica was a longtime admirer of the late Gregory Baum, a homosexual dissident former priest whom he interviewed on Salt and Light in 2012.

The advertisement for the Von Hügel lecture described Rosica as a “renown[ed] author, speaker, commentator and lecturer in Sacred Scripture at Canadian Universities” as well as “the Vatican’s English language media attaché at the last five Synods of Bishops as well as assistant to the Director of the Holy See Press Office during the Papal Transition of 2013.”

McLean had a follow-up article on Feb. 18:

Vatican media expert Fr. Rosica
under fire after he’s caught
plagiarizing repeatedly

by Dorothy Cummings McLean

TORONTO, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Over the weekend, Catholic academics and media figures responded to revelations that Vatican spokesman Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. plagiarized parts of a speech he gave at Cambridge University this month.

In the February 8 speech, in which Fr. Rosica described Archbishop Viganò as a liar and his testimonies as a “diabolical masterpiece,” the famous priest took passages nearly word-for-word from Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, theologian Gregory K. Hillis, Fr. Thomas Reese, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and Fr. James Martin.

Further investigations by both LifeSiteNews and other journalists, notably Matthew Schmitz of First Things magazine, have revealed that the Basilian Father has passed off as his own the work of other writers on numerous occasions.

Responding to the original LifeSiteNews story on Twitter, Schmitz reported that Rosica had copied notes, without attribution, from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABR) in his February 11 blogpost for Salt + Light Television. Rosica is the longtime CEO of the Canadian Catholic media organization.

Schmitz also noted that Rosica’s keynote address to the National Workshop for Christian Unity in Silver Spring, Maryland on April 18, 2018 was “heavily plagiarized” from Cardinal Walter Kasper.

The First Things editor then tweeted that Rosica’s “widely discussed article ‘The Ignatian Qualities of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis’” plagiarizes both Wikipedia and an interview by Sean Salai SJ with author Chris Lowney published on August 4, 2016 in America magazine.

[Again, both Lifesite News and Schmitz provide stunning proofs of Rosica's shameless dishonesty. But this seems to be a hallmark of Jorge Bergoglio and his most maniacal followers.]

Schmitz also discovered that in an August 20, 2018 post for Salt and Light, Fr. Rosica took twelve paragraphs from a 2013 article in the National Catholic Register by Fr. Roger Landry. Fr. Rosica tweeted out his article yesterday.

To date Rosica’s earliest known use of work without attribution was his famous declaration, delivered at a 2014 lecture, about doctrine. Instantly notorious, the passage was later discovered to be the work of Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, in a September 25, 2013 article for the National Catholic Reporter.

On February 16, Villanova Theology professor Gregory Hillis responded to Rosica’s use of his own work by tweeting, “Rosica appears to have stolen an entire paragraph from me and stolen a bunch from others as well. Bad form.”

Schmitz's detailed tweets on Rosica with more illustrations of his plagiarism side-by-side with his sources may be found here:

Damian Thompson, editor of the UK’s Catholic Herald, tweeted: “Rosica faces credible accusations of plagiarism ― and also caught defaming Vigano in the most wicked way.”

Journalist and recent Catholic convert Sohrab Ahmari underscored how serious plagiarism is.“Will @Father Rosica give some answer to these charges?” he asked over Twitter. “In secular settings plagiarism on this scale is taken very seriously, and I would hope the fact that he works in Catholic media doesn’t shield him from scrutiny and accountability.”

Rosica, a 1980 graduate of St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, is also on its board. The academic integrity policy of the College begins as follows:

All students, regardless of level or school, are responsible for following the St. John Fisher College Academic Integrity Policy in addition to any other individual school’s or program’s academic expectations and/or professional standards. Every student is expected to demonstrate academic integrity in all academic pursuits at all times. If a student suspects that another student has violated the Academic Integrity Policy, he or she should contact the instructor for that course and provide support for that suspicion. Any finding of responsibility and associated sanctions for a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy is retained per the College records policy.

Repeated violations of the “Academic Integrity Policy” can lead to the expulsion of the student from St. John Fisher College. One form of violation is plagiarism.

The College defines as plagiarism as “Representing another person’s work as one’s own, or attempting ‘to blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source’” or “the use of an idea, phrase, or other materials from a written or spoken source without acknowledgment” or “submitting work that was procured through sale or trade”.

What would John Paul II say of the man who first gained prominence by being the spokesman for his last World Youth Day attendance n Toronto? Besides owing a public apology to the persons he plagiarized and to the general public for his repeated actions to con them, Rosica ought to resign - and/or the Vatican ought to fire him - from any position he now holds at the Vatican. There is absolutely no excuse or justification for his public dishonesty. How can the Vatican continue to have a spokesman who is so tarred by his own pen, so to speak?/B]

I do not recall that the Bergoglio Vatican ever issued any demurral at all after Rosica published his remarks about Bergoglio being above Scripture and Tradition. That's even more shameless than Rosica's offenses.

00Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:01 PM

The interview may be watched on

Vatican is keeping secret the text
of its deal with Beijing on naming bishops

And no one in the Vatican will answer questions about it

By Terence P. Jeffrey

February 18, 2019

Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, said in a video interview on January 28, 2019 with that the Vatican has kept secret the text of the agreement it made in September with the government of the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of Catholic bishops.

According to the U.S. State Department, the government of China is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, whose members are required to be atheists.

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the paramount authority,” says the State Department’s latest report on human rights in China, which was published on April 20, 2018.

“CCP members and members of the armed forces are required to be atheists and are forbidden from engaging in religious practice,” says the State Department’s latest report on religious freedom in China, which was published on May 29, 2018.

That report described the “Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) as “the state-sanctioned organization for all officially recognized Catholic churches” in the PRC.

“The CPA does not recognize the authority of the Holy See to appoint Catholic bishops,” said that report, which was published four months before the Vatican made its agreement with China. “The Regulation on the Election and Consecration of Bishops,” it said, “requires candidate bishops to pledge publicly support for the CCP.” asked Zen about the September deal that the Vatican made with the Chinese government on the appointment of Catholic bishops: “What do you know that it actually entails? What does that deal mean?”

“We know nothing precise because it is a secret,” Zen responded. “And I have no more communication with the Vatican. I am marginalized. So, I don’t know the content of the agreement.”

Zen says what is allegedly known about the deal are “conjectures” based on leaks.

“Now, we make our conjectures, we try to guess, because some details leaked out,” he said.

The Press Office of the Holy See did not answer three specific questions put to it after interviewing Zen.These questions were:

“1) Has the Vatican publicly released the text of the ‘Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the Appointment of Bishops in China’ that was signed by the Holy See in September so that faithful Catholics in China and around the world can see what the Holy See and the People’s Republic have agreed to do about appointing Catholic bishops?

“2) If the Holy See is not going to publicly release the text of the ‘Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the Appointment of Bishops in China’ why will it not do so?

“3) Can you describe in detail how the appointment of Catholic bishops in the People’s Republic of China will work under the terms agreed to in the “Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the Appointment of Bishops in China?” originally sent these three questions to the Papal Nunciature in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 31. The Papal Nunciature responded by email on Feb. 4, stating: “Please direct your inquiry to the Press Office of the Holy See.” It provided a phone number, fax number and email address by which to do so. then emailed and faxed its inquiry with the three questions to the Press Office of the Holy See and tried to place phone calls to the press office that were cut off after being automatically put on hold.

On February 7, the Press Office of the Holy See responded with an email. It said: “Good morning, yes, we received you[r] request by fax and only today by mail. Just below we send the link of the interview of Cardinal Filoni published in the newspaper--L’Osservatore Romano.”

Cardinal Fernando Filoni is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In his interview with L’Osservatore Romano that was published Feb. 2, 2019, Cardinal Filoni defended and discussed the Vatican’s agreement with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops, but he did not release the text of the agreement. He also did not explain in detail how Catholic bishops will be appointed in China under the terms of the deal that the Vatican made with the Chinese government.

After reviewing Cardinal Filoni’s interview with L’Osservatore Romano, sent a follow-up inquiry to the Press Office of the Holy See noting that Cardinal Filoni’s interview did not answer the three specific questions had asked — and asking, once again, if the press office could answer those questions. The press office did not respond. also sent a similar inquiry to the email address for the spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. The embassy did not respond.

Notably, America [the organ of the Jesuits in the USA] - published an article about the agreement between the Holy See and the government of China on Sept. 18, 2018. That was four days before the deal was actually signed.

This report was headlined: “Source: China and the Vatican to sign historic agreement by end of September.”

In a sentence that cited no source, America said: America has learned that the text of the agreement will not be made public, even after the signing.”

Attributing its understanding of this deal to unnamed “informed sources,” America published a detailed description of how bishops in China would allegedly be appointed under it. America reported:

“According to informed sources, the Holy See and Beijing have agreed on a process for the nomination of bishops. Candidates will be chosen at the diocesan level through the ‘democratic election’ system that the Chinese authorities introduced in 1957, whereby the priests of the diocese, together with representatives of women religious and laypeople, vote from among the candidates presented by the authorities that supervise church affairs.

The results of these elections will be sent to the Beijing authorities that oversee the church in China, including the bishops’ conference, which will examine them and then submit a name to the Holy See through diplomatic channels.

The Holy See will have some months to carry out its own investigation of the candidate and, based on this work, the pope will either approve or exercise his veto. The Holy See will then communicate his decision to Beijing.

“If the pope approves of the candidate, the process will continue. But if he exercises his veto, both sides will engage in a dialogue, and Beijing would eventually be expected to submit the name of another candidate.”

The article in America did attribute the following to the Holy See:

“The Holy See, in response to the demands of Beijing, confirmed that Pope Francis would recognize the seven ‘illegitimate’ Chinese bishops — that is, those who were ordained without the pope’s approval over the past decade or more, three of whom had been excommunicated. All seven had previously asked for reconciliation with the pope. This means that for the first time since 1957 (when Beijing began ordaining bishops without papal approval), all the Catholic bishops in mainland China will be in communion with the pope.”

On Sept. 22, 2018, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, announced that the Holy See had signed the deal with the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops. But he did not release the text of that deal or describe in detail how Catholic bishops in China would be appointed under the terms of the deal.

After Cardinal Parolin announced that the deal has signed a number of news organizations reported that the text of the agreement had not been released.

“Neither the Vatican nor Beijing released the full text of the agreement,” USA Today reported on Sept. 22.

“The Vatican did not release the text of the agreement nor provide details about what it entailed,” the Catholic News Service reported on Sept. 22.

“Neither side has made public the full text of the agreement,” the South China Morning Post reported on Sept. 23.

“Speaking to reporters Tuesday, [Pope] Francis acknowledged that both sides lost something in the talks, and said members of the underground Chinese church ‘will suffer’ as a result of the deal[/COLORE, the text of which has not been released,” the Associated Press reported on Sept. 26.

Cardinal Zen has just published a book titled, For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent--On the Situation of the Church in China.”It is a series of eight lectures on Pope Benedict’s 2007 Letter to the Church in the People’s Republic of China. In this letter, Pope Benedict said that “indeed almost always” Catholics seeking recognition by the civil authorities in China would be obliged to do things “that are contrary to the dictates of their conscience as Catholics.”

“There would not be any particular difficulties with acceptance of the recognition granted by civil authorities on condition that this does not entail the denial of unrenounceable principles of faith and of ecclesiastical communion,” Pope Benedict wrote.

“In not a few particular instances, however, indeed almost always, in the process of recognition the intervention of certain bodies obliges the people involved to adopt attitudes, make gestures and undertake commitments that are contrary to the dictates of their conscience as Catholics.”

The final lecture by Cardinal Zen published in “For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent” was delivered on June 28, 2017. The cardinal worried that a “sellout of our Church” was then unfolding.

“Now I ask, what does the near future have in store for the church in China?” Zen wrote. “Once in a while, a chorus of elated voices tells us that a positive outcome can be expected from the long and arduous dialogue between China and the Vatican.

“They admit that it won’t be perfect, but it will give the church some ‘essential’ freedom,” Zen wrote. “They say the cage will still be there, but we shall be able to have more room in it. They even say that a bad deal is better than no deal. This is absolutely incomprehensible!

“To us,” Cardinal Zen wrote, “a terrifying scenario is unfolding, the selling out of our Church! There is no essential freedom but a semblance of freedom. Not reconstituted unity, but a forced cohabitation in the cage. From the point of view of the faith, we cannot see any gain.”

In his interview with, Cardinal Zen said that from what can be conjectured about the deal the Vatican made with the PRC, the atheist Chinese government would have ultimate control over who becomes a Catholic bishop in China.

Question: “So, is your understanding, under the deal, this Catholic conference, the bishops’ conference, which is controlled by the government, names the bishops, not the pope?”
Cardinal Zen: “Nope, they say the pope has the last word. He can approve. He can veto.”

Question: “But he can’t take someone who isn’t put up by this group controlled by the China government and put his own bishop up without their---.”
Cardinal Zen: “No. No. No.”

Question: “He has to take who they offer?”

Cardinal Zen: “He is passive. He waits [for] them to make names. He has last word to say yea or no. That is all he can do.”

Question: “So, ultimately, control over who gets to become a bishop is now in the hands of the Chinese government?”

Cardinal Zen: “Exactly. According to our conjecture. We cannot 100 percent conclude. We haven’t seen the text.”

Question: “Because the Vatican won’t release the actual deal. So, but the understanding of it is that’s the way it works?”
Cardinal Zen: “Sorry.
Question: The understanding of it is that’s the way it works--
Cardinal Zen: “Yeah.”

Thomas Farr, who served as the first director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and is now president of the Religious Freedom Institute, also believes the Vatican’s unreleased agreement with the People’s Republic of China, if it is as reported, is “a very bad deal for the Church in China.”

“If I rightly understand what Cardinal Zen is saying, i.e., that we do not have the official text of the agreement, but are operating from press reports that carry some credibility because the Vatican has neither denied nor corrected them, then I agree with him,” Farr told “Those reports suggest a procedure that permits the Pope to veto bishop nominees provided by the Communist government, but not to provide candidates of his own.

“My own fear,” Farr said, “is that if the Vatican has indeed agreed to such a procedure, the passive role of the Holy Father in choosing new bishops is dangerous for the Church in China. The Communist government has no incentive whatever to provide nominees that do not protect its interests, which are manifestly not those of the Catholic Church. If the Pope vetoes government nominees, even if he vetoes them over and over again, the see will simply remain vacant. The Chinese government can certainly live with this. Chinese Catholics cannot.

“I earnestly hope that these reports are incorrect,” said Farr. “If they are correct, this is a very bad deal for the Church in China.”
00Tuesday, February 19, 2019 11:39 PM

As the world demands answers on sex abuse,
Vatican demurs, deflects, ducks, and dodges

by Doug Mainwaring

ROME, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican press conference this morning displayed the pent up frustration of journalists — and millions of Catholics worldwide — over the Holy See’s insistence on addressing only the sexual abuse of minors while ignoring the elephant in the room: the preponderance of homosexual clergy in the Church.

A two-hour-long press conference consisting of a panel of Church luminaries took an abrupt turn once journalists were free to ask questions, revealing a stark divergence between the preferred narrative of the hierarchy and the universal concern of multitudes of Catholics in the pews.

Stunningly, the panelists ducked, dodged and deflected every question raised about homosexuality in the priesthood.

As it turns out, the questions asked were more significant and more informative than the answers proffered.

The National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin noted that during the Synod on Youth, it was said that the abuse of seminarians and vulnerable adults would be addressed at the Vatican Summit.

“When this meeting was initially announced, it was to be about the protection of minors and vulnerable adults but now it seems to be only about the protection of minors,” said Pentin. “Will this meeting include the abuse of vulnerable adults and seminarians in particular?”

In responding, Cardinal Cupich, nervously fiddling with a pen, couldn’t bring himself to utter the word “seminarians,” and suggested only that bishops around the world could take what is learned during the summit and apply it to ‘other situations.’

Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews addressed the panel: “Recently, Cardinal Muller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — which gives him a unique perspective on these problems — said, as others have … that more than 80% of the victims of these sexual offenders are teenagers of the male sex.”

“Will the problem of homosexuality among the clergy be addressed as part of this problem? It’s obvious from the data that many of these acts committed against minors are homosexual acts. In fact, the majority [are]. So will this be part of the Church’s ‘transparency’ over the course of the coming days?”

Cupich acknowledged the high percentage of “male on male” sex abuse but then quickly deflected, saying that “homosexuality itself is not a cause.” Instead, “It is a matter of opportunity, and also a matter of poor training on the part of people.”

The Cardinal made reference to two famous studies about clergy sexual abuse, but the scope of both were limited to pedophilia, and didn’t take into consideration sexual misconduct with seminarians, other young men subject to exploitative sex abuse by clergy, and consensual romantic and sexualized relationships between clergy and other adult males.

Montagna’s question opened the floodgates. Other journalists picked up where she left off after the panel ducked her question.

“In some circles, for some time now, there’s been the hypothesis that, not with regards to the abuse itself, but with regards to cover up, part of the problem is that priests, bishops, and cardinals are themselves engaged in illicit sexual behavior and therefore are unwilling to denounce each other,” noted CNN’s Delia Gallagher.

“That is a hypothesis both in conservative circles and now being raised in a book coming out by a French gay author who claims that there are these gay relationships in the hierarchy which enable coverup,” continued Gallagher. “In your investigation … is that true?” she asked.

Cupich offered a wry response, dismissing the question. “You are right in saying that it’s a hypothesis,” said Cupich. “Hypotheses have to be proven, and this is something that has to remain at the level of hypothesis.”

When it was the turn of the Catholic Herald’s Christopher Altieri, his questions — and body language — displayed the embarrassment and awkwardness that Catholics experience when challenging high-ranking prelates — men thought to be holy — with simple, honest, obvious questions shared by millions of faithful Catholics:

I don’t know how to do this without just saying it so let me not even try to put a fine point on it.

On the systemic, the structural, and the cultural level of this issue, how do men who don’t understand how bad the abuse of minors is, ever make it past a preliminary screening in a vocational discernment program, let alone rise through the ranks to become bishops?

When Cardinal Cupich responded by speaking only about the screening process for seminary candidates, avoiding the heart of the reporter’s question, Altieri respectfully tried again.

Your Eminence, I’m not sure you’ve answered the question. … I’m not talking about how to screen out abusers …
- How does someone who doesn’t understand, when he gets to the point of becoming a bishop, that this is bad?
- Going back to the beginning of that process, how does someone who doesn’t understand how bad this is ever get into orders at all in the first place?

Archbishop Scicluna [bails out Cupich] offered an unsatisfying, bureaucratic response, while agreeing that pedophilia is a terrible thing. [Even Scicluna, who should know better having investigated Maciel and his abuse of seminarians, along with having mistresses and children, appears to think the sex abuse problem is limited to pedophilia. One ought to curse the journalist who first applied that word to the sex abuse crisis, because it has since been misused by the Church hierarchy and the media as the blanket term to describe clerical sex abuses.]

As journalists in Rome challenge the Holy See’s spokespersons, faithful Catholics in the United States are asking the same questions, rightfully concerned after months of
- revelations about clergy homosexual abuse of seminarians, young men and boys and the associated cover ups by bishops;
- the promotion of the normalization of homosexuality by high profile priests such as Fr. James Martin, SJ; and
- the increasing numbers of priests who have felt compelled to ‘come out of the closet.’

Catholics fear that after this week’s two very grand [very grandstanding, you mean], very public gestures by the Vatican — the defrocking of disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick and the much publicized global Summit on the Sexual Abuse of Minors — that the Holy See will claim the matter is closed and no further investigation or action is necessary.

At a weekend rally in front of the Papal Ambassador’s residence in Washington DC, folks were afraid that after this week, folks at the Vatican will “wash their hands” of the homosexual issue.

“We can’t allow them to just stop there,” Louis Carvallo told LifeSiteNews.

“McCarrick is the tip of the iceberg,” added Bob Foss. “There are so many problems with homosexuality in the Church and the lack of leadership on the part of our bishops.”

Jeffrey Bedia, also at the rally, said that he sees the laicization of McCarrick only as a first step: “I hope this will not be just an example. There’s a lot of people both in the hierarchy and the laity that sheltered this man.”

[Is anyone betting that the Vatican will ever do anything about McCarrick's enablers?
- Why don't they at least release documents, if any such exist, that will refute Mons. Vigano's document citations regarding the McCarrick affair?
- Because if they can't produce documents saying otherwise, why not just release the documents Vigano has cited? Obviously, because they do not have contrary documents, and the existing documents would prove Vigano's claims.

No, the GREAT COVER-UP continues, and transparency is just a fancy word that Vatican spinmeisters bandy about without meaning any of it at all.

In their first and only statements so far about the McCarrick files last October, the Vatican promised disclosure ASAP. It's been four months and counting since then, and noe appears forthcoming. That statement implied that disclosure could lead to implicating the two pontificates before this one. Who believes that there is any interest at all in the Bergoglio Vatican of shielding John Paul II and Benedict XVI from the McCarrick fallout?

Let's say documentation will show that John Paul II named McCarrick Archbishop of Washington and then cardinal despite protests sent to the Vatican citing his sexual misconduct.
- So John Paul II made a terrible' if not horrid, mistake. Surely not his first and only mistake in naming bishops.
Every pope has his share of such mistakes (a 100 percent error record, perhaps, for Bergoglio's appointments).

Let's say there is documentation to show that McCarrick's appointment was facilitated by those around the pope for financial considerations. Recent reports have mentioned that McCarrick made or facilitated substantial contributions to the Solidarity movement in Poland and could have funnelled these through now Cardinal Dsiwisz, then the pope's personal secretary.
- So let Cardinal Dsiwisz or whoever else answer the charge.

And why did Benedict XVI not move earlier against McCarrick, assuming he was aware of McCarrick's record?
- Benedict became pope in April 2005.
- McCarrick retired as Archbishop of Washington in July 2006 at the statutory age of 75 - which was not extended by Benedict as is customary for high-profile bishops against whom there appear to be no serious accusations. Might this prompt acceptance of McCarrick's retirement not have reflected Benedict's awareness of the problem and his way of dealing with it? Not the best way, obviously, because in effect, he was letting him off lightly.
- It is claimed that accusatory letters about McCarrick were sent to Benedict through various channels in 2006-2008.
- Benedict apparently reacted eventually - perhaps he should have done so earlier- by ordering McCarrick, some time in 2008, to restrict his public appearances and live a life of prayer and penance some time in 2008, as confirmed by Cardinal Marc Ouellet in his capacity as Prefect of Bishops, and as relayed by two nuncios to McCarrick himself and to his successor as Archbishop of Washington.
- Again, Benedict can be faulted for doing all this in private, off the public and media radar. Probably for the same reason he spared Maciel, who was 86 at the time, a canonical trial but simply ordered the sanctions he did. But does'charitable' treatment of older people trump the bigger issue of flagrant sexual misconduct by ranking prelates held in high esteem by previous pontificates?

So, Benedict has a number of shortcomings to explain and atone for in how he dealt with the McCarrick affair. But they are minor compared to his successor's apparent total disregard of McCarrick's record - about which he must have known something even before Vigano spelled it out for him in their one-on-one conversation in June 2013.

A total disregard for and dismissal of McCarrick's misconduct that not only made Bergoglio lift whatever restrictions Benedict XVI had ordered but led him to restore McCarrick to his previous 'prestige' by making him his chief adviser on affairs involving the US Church and his personal envoy to the Obama White House, to China, Cuba, Iran and Armenia on matters in which Bergoglio placed urgent priority.

Obviously, it is not John Paul II or Benedict XVI that Bergoglio wishes to 'protect' in all this, but himself as the biggest McCarrick enabler of all. Being pope, and having heaped favors and privileges on McCarrick for five years despite knowledge of his double life, is he not guiltier than everybody else who had anything to do with enabling, protecting and covering up for McCarrick? - because, in effect, Bergoglio did all that and more.

Yet McCarrick is only one (though certainly the most egregious by virtue of who he was until a year ago, the man who by virtue of the poep's trust in him was the most influential man about the direction of the Church in the USA) of not a few cases of enabling, protecting, covering up and rewarding pervert priests an bishops in Bergoglio's church career.

Bergoglio's sordid record of dealing with clerical sex abuse and sins against chastity - which are quite well-documented but deliberately downplayed if not ignored in the media - is the second monstrous elephant rampaging through this coming 'summit' - which everyone will feign not to see
as those most concerned have managed not to see so far - the first elephant being the pink elephant of homosexuality in the clergy and episcopacy, the word that no one dares to say and the reality that no one dares to acknowledge in this Pontificate.

Would it be an act of disrespect for one of the 'summit' participants to rise and ask this pope directly if he should be exempted from the reckoning everyone is demanding of complicit bishops when he had his own McCarricks in Argentina and even now, one in a 'spiritual son' whom he rescued from local disgrace over financial and sexual misdeeds to install in a specially created and sensitive post at the Vatican?

Not that this summit is expected to move against any bishop at all, but it simply is not fair and most definitely wrong for everyone to make a big deal out of crying for the resignation and punishment of 'all those in the Curia and the US episcopate who chose to do nothing about McCarrick since 2001', while ignoring the man who chose to lionize McCarrick for five years and use him for his purposes because he didn't think his dalliances with non-minors was important at all! If other guilty parties are to be punished, what about the guiltiest of them all?

In short, if anyone naively expects the Vatican to take further action on cleaning up the McCarrick mess, forget it! Can't be done without necessarily highlighting the fact that the biggest mess in that shithouse was made by no less than the pooper pope. Which was, I think, the main point of Mons. Viganò's testimonies.

In case you have not seen them before,do not fail to bookmark two priceless McCarrick videos that Steve Skojec re-presents (presents again) to his readers in 1Peter5:

For months I have noticed the ad for 'The Mike Church Show' at the top of the homepage without taking the initiative to check out what the show is all about. I figured the host must be an orthodox Catholic, for which I am thankful. But that was it.

Today, however, a headline - which for once is not far out - did lead me to check out Mr. Church on the following:


And this is what it led me to:

Francis via Martel:
Hey Catholic Faithful, Go Homo Or Go Home!

February 19, 2019

The much anticipated book on the homosexual invasion and occupation of The Vatican by Frederic Martel is out and the National Catholic Register has a lengthy preview that consists of excerpts from the book. and boy howdy! is this thing a rainbow firecracker but NOT like most think.

Martel’s preview basically tells the story of the heroic Pope Francis, trying to call out the morally “rigid” conservatives that he personally knows to be homosexuals! That’s right, when the Holy Father rails against “rigidity”, he, according to Martel, is not railing against home-schooling Latin Mass attendees, oh no sir, he is railing against the “conservatives” who outwardly appear to be defenders of dogmatic Catholic Church teaching on morals, but are closeted homosexuals and therefore hypocrites.

In this brief excerpt Martel uses the terms “homophobia, homophobic” 6 times yet he clearly doesn’t know what a homophobe is. The shockingly clear message in reading this excerpt is this: Pope Francis is going to normalize homosexuality and gay culture in The Catholic Church and if you don’t like it, find another “religion”. Don’t believe me? Sample this:

Have the pope and his liberal theologians realized that priestly celibacy was a failure?
Did they guess that the battle launched against gays by the Vatican of John Paul II and Benedict XVI was a war that was lost in advance?

One that would be turned against the Church as soon as everyone became aware of its real motivations: a war waged between closeted homosexuals and gays who had come out! War between gays, in short….

They even suggest, when questioned, that by forbidding priests to marry, the Church has become sociologically homosexual; and that by imposing a continence that is against nature, and a secretive culture, it is partly responsible for the tens of thousands of instances of sexual abuse that are undermining it from within.

They also know that sexual desire, and homosexual desire first and foremost, is one of the main engines and wellsprings of Vatican life. Francis knows that he has to move on the Church’s stance, and that he will only be able to do this at the cost of a ruthless battle against all those who use sexual morality and homophobia to conceal their own hypocrisies and double lives.

But there we have it: these secret homosexuals are in the majority, powerful and influential and, in terms of the most ‘rigid’ among them, very noisy in their homophobic utterances. Here is the pope: threatened and attacked on all sides and generally criticized, Francis is said to be ‘among the wolves’. It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens.

Got that? Cardinal’s Burke, and the other 3 that signed the Dubia are basically being called out as sodomites who have duped the brain-dead masses of “rigid-traditionalists” into thinking that, going forward, Catholicism can remain Catholic and stand against the world of sexual, moral sins.

Put another way, now that Cardinals are getting the rainbow hits in secret, its ok for the laity to practice them in public - i.e. go homo or go home.

[Well, it's still quite a way to connect the dots leading to eventual 'normalization' of homosexuality (and all its many variants of sexual deviancy) by the church of Bergoglio. But remember that overnight, he unilaterally changed the Catechism to declare the death penalty unacceptable under any circumstances. How much easier it would be to change what the Catechism says about homosexuality and its practice!]

So, Uncle Ted has been defrocked:
Will the Big Tent abuse summit turn out
to be yet another Bergoglio circus?

by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla

February 19, 2019

So Uncle Ted has been defrocked. One wonders how many times he wore the clerical frock as a symbol of his priesthood. Pray for him.
The questions we must ask now:
- Is McCarrick to be the sacrificial lamb of the upcoming meeting in Rome called by the Pope to discuss the crisis in sexual abuse by clergy, including bishops, which meeting will be led by mostly bishops?
- Will burning McCarrick at an imaginary stake be enough to slake the thirst of the liberal press?
- Will it be enough to placate the minority of bishops who take the sexual abuse seriously?
- Will it be enough to stifle discussion about the factual data that the majority of this abuse was with young boys and young men?
- Will it be enough for those who have suffered at the hands of these men for so many years, not in that terrible physical way, but in being suppressed and kept down because of refusing to deny that one of the greatest problems in the Catholic Church since the end of the Second Vatican Council has been not only the terrible predatory behavior of priests and bishops with respect to boys and seminarians and prostitutes, but also the silent complicity of those in the hierarchy who have deliberately turned a blind eye to the egregious destruction of Catholic faith, worship and morality of the past fifty years.

That these people have no shame and are tone-deaf to reality is recently proven by the naming of Cardinal Kevin Farrell as the Camerlengo of the Papal Household, a most important position indeed. - That this man, who lived with McCarrick while the latter was Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Farrell was an Auxiliary Bishop, and who claims that he did not know anything about the then Cardinal’s history on the Jersey Shore and beyond, would be named by the Pope to this sensitive and central office shows either the total insensitivity of this Pontiff to reality, or a terrible blindness, possibly deliberate, to the cause of the deep corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, beginning with its center in Rome.

The sexual corruption of the Curial clergy is a major cause of the parlous situation of the Church today. But this does not get at the heart of the matter. The heart of the matter is the deliberate attack on the doctrinal and liturgical Tradition (the two go hand in hand) of the Catholic Church.
- There is no end to the silly statements of the German bishops who want to out-Zwingli Zwingli but without his moral fiber.
- The fact is that without the church tax in Germany these poseurs would be figuring out how to pay for their next meal.
- One wishes that the Lutherans in Germany would chastise the Catholic bishops for their deep misunderstanding of the Christian faith and their deep silliness in their statements about the faith.
- But classical Protestantism is moribund, and how could it not be, for it is the source of the grey secularism that has destroyed the Christian heart of Europe.

The irony of ironies is that Pope Francis just approved the canonization of John Henry Newman. [Did he have a choice? If the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood declare to him that all the steps and conditions required for canonization have been met, what excuse would he have not to approve it? Make no mistake: He sees the 'protective' camouflage it could give him in repelling the criticisms of orthodox Catholics to whom Newman is a great hero as well as a saint, and no doubt, he is already planning how to make the most - i.e., misrepresent for his purposes - everything Newman wrote about the 'development of doctrine', forone ].

We should take care that Pope Francis does not read any of Newman’s important writings, especially those on the Development of Doctrine. [There you go! I bet his brain trust has already pre-digested for him what he should take from Newman's writings that he could exploit in any way for his purposes.] Newman would not be a support for the footnotes in Amoris Laetitia nor of the Pope’s attempt to change the Church’s clear teaching on the authority of the State to inflict capital punishment.

But one must keep the Pope above all from reading Newman’s Biglietto Speech that he gave upon the receiving of his Cardinal’s biretta in Rome. [But why should he not read the Biglietto Speech???] For it is there, in clear terms, that Newman predicts the terrible debacle of the post-Vatican II Church. I have quoted this before and will continue to do so, because its prescience is clear and relates directly to what has happened in the Catholic Church this past half century. [So Fr Cipolla does not want Bergoglio to know about Newman's prescient words? Why not? Does he fear it will make Bergoglio withdraw his approval for Newman's canonization? On what ground???]

And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion.

Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often….

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

The deep worm that eats away at the Tradition of the Church and that has brought us to this situation is the destruction of the Liturgy, the way one worships God.
- The quagmire in which we find ourselves is the product of the imposition on the Church of a liturgy that is deeply anti-Traditional and therefore Faith dissolving.
- This has nothing to do with being conservative, nothing to do with where one stands on secular issues.
- It has everything to do with understanding what it means to be in the realm, the being, the essence of Catholic Tradition, a Tradition that has little to do with traditionalism and everything to do with what has been handed down for two thousand years from the Apostles.

Most bishops, who are positivists, cannot admit this, for if they did they would dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West. They are mostly a combination of positivism and super-Ultra-Montanism. They live in the absurd world of Alice in Wonderland and in the world of the Church as the Big Tent, which from the outside can look like a circus.

For at least half a century, astronomers have been sending out into outer space the number pi, for the assumption is that any civilization would recognize this deeply fundamental number/relation, the mutual recognition of shared objective reality.
- Much of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church today does not care about deep objectivity in any sense, and instead wallows in an odoriferous swamp of subjectivity, anti-Traditional worship of God, and morality that has its basis in their adulation of a secularism that allows them to do their own thing while still using the cover of their priesthood, and that allows them to deny the very essence of the Christian faith in the person of Jesus Christ — all the while claiming that they are organs of Catholic orthodoxy.

Enough already! Basta!
[BUT] There seems to be not enough Traditional (which has nothing to do with being conservative in a political sense) Catholics right now who will challenge the ridiculous, illogical and un[anti]-Traditional state of those entrusted by God with leading the Church.

Is it an exaggeration to compare our situation to that of Athanasius in his battle against the lie of Arianism? Perhaps. But who will rise to be the champion, or more likely, the champions, against the shallow and secular distortion of Christianity that is the plague that afflicts us all today?

00Wednesday, February 20, 2019 1:07 AM

Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller:
‘End the Conspiracy of Silence’

February 19, 2019

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller have written an open letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences attending this week’s Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse, calling on them to end their silence and return to upholding the divine and natural law.

In the letter released Feb. 19, they argue that the abuse crisis is only part of a wider and much deeper problem that owes itself to a society that openly calls into question an absolute moral law, and Church leaders who have “gone away from the truth of the Gospel.”

“A decisive act now is urgent and necessary,” the cardinals say, and call for an end to the “plague of the homosexual agenda” in the Church, organized networks of protection, and a “climate of complicity and a conspiracy of silence.”

In comments to the media on the open letter, Cardinal Burke said: “Given the incontrovertible state of confusion and error in the Church regarding the most fundamental moral questions, pastors of souls must raise their voices to defend the teaching of Christ and His Church. “Silence is cooperation with the ever-spreading confusion and division which is bringing serious harm to many souls,” he added.

[The rest of the blog quotes from the Open Letter so I am omitting it as we have the full text.]

Two Cardinals raise their ‘dubia’
on the coming abuse summit

Translated from

As late as a month ago, the double objective of the summit which the pope has called on February 21-24 with the heads of the Catholic hierarchy worldwide was ‘the protection of minors and vulnerable adults’, as the pope himself wrote in his ‘Letter to the People of God’ [I cringe at that tile given by the pope to a perfunctory document of unutterably pompous emptiness!] dated August 20, 2018.

A Page One editorial in L’Ossevratore Romano on January 11, 2019 by Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of all Vatican media and spokesman of the pope, also said so in it very title: “An encounter among pastors aimed at concreteness: Towards the meeting on the subject of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults”.

But since then, ‘vulnerable adults’ have disappeared from the official agenda of the summit. And with them, the question
of homosexual abuses on non-minors, even if statistically these make up the majority of clerical sex abuses.

In the well-attended news conference on February 18 to present toe summit, Cardinal Blasé Cupich, who heads its organizing committee, explicitly denied that homosexuality if a cause of clerical sex abuses, even after he boasted that the reduction of these abuses in the USA in recent years was also the result of better screening of candidates applying for seminaries, by excluding all those who appeared to be ‘risks’. [At least Cupich was forced to say the H word, which is supposed to be taboo at the Vatican and certainly at this summit.]

It is a fact that not only the question of homosexuality in the clergy but the very word homosexuality itself is ‘banned’ from use, even in the abundant mass of information that the Vatican has made available to the world media.

The reduction of the summit’s objective to simply ‘the protection of minors’ is evident in the home page (left), of the late-appearing website for the summit, strangely labelled, for which I have not been able to figure out what pbc stands for, not even by googling; as well as the official program (right). One might add to the evidence that the
Vatican meant this summit to be nothing but a sanctimonious exercise proclaiming the Bergoglio pontificate's concern over protecting minors - and letting evil priests
and bishops be
- is the following headline in the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica in December 2018 for an article by Fr. feerico Lombardi, SJ: "Towards the bishops' meeting
on the protection of minors"

[By the way, Lombardi, who is not even a bishop, was inexplicably named by Bergoglio to be the moderator of the bishops'
summit; he has not even been particularly involved in the fight against clerical sex abuse. Maybe the fact that he is
president of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger/Benedetto XVI? In order to somehow associate this summit with
the Emeritus Pope? Who knows?]

Taking out the question of homosexuality from the summit agenda was clearly the decision of Pope Francis, who has never hidden the fact that he is more than convinced that the entire clerical sex abuse problem is not about sex abuse but about the abuse of power, and that it does not have to do with individuals but with caste, the priestly caste. [And there we have the pope's own declaration of the state of denial that he and his followers blithely live in, and if you are looking for shameless hypocrisy, there it is - articulated by the supposed Vicar of Christ, no less.]

Everything, he says, boils down to ‘clericalism’ – which few Catholics buy.

Yet it is not the first time that this pope gives rise to ‘dubia’ over the doctrine, morality and pastoral praxis that he teaches. Who can forget the DUBIA raised by Four Cardinals after the publication of Amoris Laetitia, to which the pope never responded? [He never responds to questions which, if he answered honestly, would amount to self-incrimination. And obviously, he does not wish to lie more than he already is doing.]

Now, the two surviving cardinals of the original four, Walter Brandmueller of Germany and Raymond Leo Burke of the USA, have decided to send an open letter to all the bishops who will be taking part in the pope’s summit.

It is a heartfelt call asking their fellow bishops not to remain silent on 'the plague of the homosexual agenda' that pervades the Church, which they consider an abandonment of the truth of the Gospel and therefore also at the root of the present crisis of faith.

We shall see if their appeal will be heard at all in the summit.

As Father Z and other Catholic commentators noted when the pope announced the dates for his sex abuse (er, protection of minors) summit last October, it will end on the reast of St. Peter Damian. Were Bergoglio and his advisers even aware of that? Is it not providential???

During the Rome 'summit', we shall celebrate
the Feast of St Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church

[and scourge of clergy committing sex offenses]

February 19, 2019
Speaking of homosexuality, during the Rome “summit”, on 23 February, we will celebrate the feast of St Peter Damian (d 1072), Doctor of the Church.

St. Peter was a spectacular theologian and reformer. One of his hardest hitting works is the Liber Gomorrhianus (The Book of Gomorrah), which blasts, among other sins, pederasty and homosexuality in the clergy.

Let’s just say that St Peter addresses the problem through language that is atypical these days. He conveys his, and God’s, thoughts on the matter without the cowering equivocations in which we are lately so mired.

That is the real topic that the “summit” in Rome ought to be tackling head on. And everyone knows it.
00Wednesday, February 20, 2019 7:41 AM

Washington Post sued by family
of Covington Catholic teenager

By Paul Farhi

February 1, 2019

The family of the Kentucky teen who was involved in an encounter with a Native American advocate at the Lincoln Memorial last month filed a defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post on Tuesday, seeking $250 million in damages for its coverage of the incident.

The suit alleges that The Post “targeted and bullied” 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann in order to embarrass President Trump. Sandmann was one of a number of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats during a trip to the Mall when they encountered Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist.

News accounts, including in The Post, and videos of their encounter sparked a heated national debate over the behavior of the participants.

“In a span of three days in January of this year commencing on January 19, the Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child,” reads the complaint.

It added, “The Post ignored basic journalist standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President.”

The suit was filed by Sandmann’s parents, Ted and Julie, on Nicholas’s behalf in U.S. District Court in Covington. It seeks $250 million because Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos paid that amount for the newspaper when he bought it in 2013.

The lengthy complaint, which carried the names of five attorneys from two law firms, alleged seven “false and defamatory” articles published online or in print by The Post. It also cited tweets sent by The Post to promote its stories.
[There had to be an agenda and 'malice aforethought' if the Post persisted in its wrong reporting in seven articles over three dates in addition to promotional tweets. Because anyone with an objective eye realized within hours, upon seeing full video coverage of the incident, that the first reports constituted fake news based on a calculatedly edited video clip meant to inflame public opinion against Catholic pro-life Trump-supporting white boys - every single one of those adjectives representing politically incorrect anathema to 'liberal' minds.

So for the Post to persist in its biased reporting and commentary for 3 days was nothing but sheer exploitation of an 'ideological story' in which their readers could wallow indulgently. I bet there never was an apology or an appropriate correction to their mis-reporting. So we should all want this lawsuit to prosper - even if it is hard to imagine a Washington DC jury finding the Post guilty, and if it did, granting anything more than a rap on the knuckcle and no damages at all - because in this land of free expression, or the First Amendment, or whatever, it is time the media became answerable for their overweening and arrogant irresponsibility. Freedom of expression is not a license to tell defamatory lies, especially with evidencethat objectively refutes those lies.]

The Sandmanns’ lead attorney is L. Lin Wood, who represented Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused in the bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996. He also represented John and Patsy Ramsey in pursuing defamation claims against media outlets in connection with reports on the death of their young daughter, JonBenet.

A Post spokeswoman, Kristine Coratti Kelly, said in response to the suit, “We are reviewing a copy of the lawsuit, and we plan to mount a vigorous defense.”

According to the allegations made in the complaint, Nicholas Sandmann and his classmates were waiting for a bus at the Lincoln Memorial after attending the March for Life rally on the Mall when a group of African American men who call themselves Hebrew Israelites began yelling racial epithets at them. The high school group began a series of school sports chants in response, the complaint said.

Phillips, a self-described Native American activist who was on the Mall that day for the Indigenous Peoples March, has said he was walking toward the Lincoln Memorial when he encountered the Covington group. He was chanting and beating a small drum when he came face to face with Sandmann.

The Sandmanns’ suit asserts that the newspaper “bullied” Sandmann in its reporting “because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap.”

It calls Phillips “a phony war hero [who] was too intimidated by the unruly Hebrew Israelites to approach them, the true troublemakers, and instead chose to focus on a group of innocent children.”

It added that The Post “did not conduct a proper investigation before publishing its false and defamatory statements of and concerning Nicholas.”

It also accused The Post of ignoring online videos that showed a fuller picture of the incident and of using “unreliable and biased sources,” thus acting with “knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth.”

A plaintiff must show that a defendant acted with “reckless disregard” to sustain a defamation action. [Does three days of accusatory articles and commentary despite evidence to the contrary not constitute 'reckless disregard'?]
00Wednesday, February 20, 2019 11:33 PM

When Frederic Martel’s opus crassa SODOMA was first announced earlier this month, James Martin, SJ – who obviously was not among
the 1500 prelates Martel claims to have interviewed for the book - sent out a 12-part tweet to comment on it before he had read it,
of which I am only reproducing the last 8.

I looked that up not because I am particularly interested in what Martin has to say on anything,
but because at least two commentaries I read referred to his gushing tweet on the recent New York
Times article that exults about the gay subculture thriving among many Catholic priests and
bishops and which will do as much harm to the Church, if not more, than Martin fears the Martel
book will.

Now for the commentaries on the NYT fairy-fingers job:

Priests trapped in closets:
Updated talking points from Hell's Bible
for the 'Catholic' left and other Catholic haters

By Terry Mattingly

February 18, 2019

At this point, there is no reason to expect a New York Times story about sexuality and the Catholic Church to be anything other than a set of talking points released by the press office at Fordham University or some other official camp of experts on the Catholic doctrinal left.

This is, of course, especially true when the topic is linked to LGBTQ issues.

New York City is a very complex place, when it comes to Catholic insiders and experts. However, it appears that there are no pro-Catechism voices anywhere to be found in the city that St. Pope John Paul II once called the “capital of the world.”

We had a perfect example this weekend of the Gray Lady’s role in defining the journalistic norms for covering Catholic debates (as journalists prepare for the Vatican’s global assembly to discuss sexual abuse by clergy). Here’s the epic double-decker headline:

- Looking for a news story that offers viewpoints from both sides of this issue? Forget about it.
- Looking for complex, candid thoughts from gay Catholics who actually support the teachings of their church? Forget about it (even though they exist and are easy to find online.)
- Looking for any point of view other than the Times gospel stated in that headline? Forget about it.

So what is the purpose of this story?
Simply stated, the goal here is to define this debate for legions of other journalists. Here is how Rod “Benedict Option” Dreher describes this role in the journalism environment of the Theodore McCarrick era:

When it comes to covering LGBT issues, The New York Times is a propaganda sheet worth reading only for the same reason that, during the Cold War, one read Pravda: to get the ruling class’s party line. …

I wonder if this intrinsic journalistic disorder at the Times has anything to do with the fact that a freelance writer on assignment for the New York Times Magazine had the McCarrick story nailed (the preying-on-seminarians part) back in 2012, but the story never appeared.

I know this because I was interviewed for the piece by the reporter, who had court documents, and at least one on-the-record interview with a McCarrick victim. The reporter told me a couple of months later that he couldn’t understand why his story was being spiked. The new male editor on the piece — the woman who had commissioned it had since moved on — kept putting roadblocks in front of him, and none of it made sense.

“Is your new editor a gay man?” I asked.
“Yes,” said the journalist. “What does that have to do with anything?”
Maybe nothing, I said.

Before we go on, let me stress my own stance on the current Catholic crisis. I know that I have run this information before, but I want readers to know that I am not stating that “gay priests” are the most powerful factor in Catholicism’s three-decade sexual-abuse crisis.
I: The key to the scandal is secrecy, violated celibacy vows and potential blackmail. Lots of Catholic leaders – left and right, gay and straight – have sexual skeletons in their closets, often involving sex with consenting adults. These weaknesses, past and/or present, create a climate of secrecy in which it is hard to crack down on crimes linked to child abuse.
II. Classic pedophiles tend to strike children of both genders. However, in terms of raw statistics, most child-abuse cases linked to Catholic clergy are not true cases of pedophilia, but are examples of ephebophilia – intense sexual interest in post-pubescent teens or those on the doorstep of the teen years. The overwhelming majority of these clergy cases are adult males with young males.
III. One of the biggest secrets hiding in the bitter fog from all of these facts is the existence of powerful networks of sexually active gay priests, with many powerful predators – McCarrick is a classic example – based at seminaries and ecclesiastical offices. Thus, these men have extraordinary power in shaping the lives of future priests.

With that in mind — especially that second point — read this crucial “fact” passage that appears in the Times story, without attributions of any kind.

Studies repeatedly find there to be no connection between being gay and abusing children. And yet prominent bishops have singled out gay priests as the root of the problem, and right-wing media organizations attack what they have called the church’s “homosexual subculture,” “lavender mafia,” or “gay cabal.”

Now, what is the meaning of the world “children”? Does that term adequately describe the fact that the overwhelming majority of victims in this crisis are teen-aged males?

Anyone who has studied the clergy-abuse crisis among PROTESTANTS knows that adult males who prey on teen-aged girls are not the same as the criminals who prey on children younger than 12 years of age (approximately). It’s true that there is no connection between male homosexuality and pedophilia. However, is that the key issue in this case? Is that what informed conservative Catholics are claiming?

Let’s see, what else do we need to see in this set of Times talking points? How about another out-of-context statement of those famous words from Pope Francis? Here’s the Times update:

Just a few years ago, this shift was almost unimaginable. When Pope Francis uttered his revolutionary question, “Who am I to judge?” in 2013, he tempted the closet door to swing open. A cautious few priests stepped through.

But if the closet door cracked, the sex abuse crisis now threatens to slam it shut. Widespread scapegoating has driven many priests deeper into the closet.

“The vast majority of gay priests are not safe,” said Father Bob Bussen, a priest in Park City, Utah, who was outed about 12 years ago after he held Mass for the L.G.B.T.Q. community. “Life in the closet is worse than scapegoating,” he said. “It is not a closet. It is a cage.”

Let’s see, it would also help to include a shot at the church’s teaching that sex outside of marriage is sin. Let’s click that off the list, since healthy sexuality has to include, well, you know:

Today, training for the priesthood in the United States usually starts in or after college. But until about 1980, the church often recruited boys to start in ninth grade — teenagers still in the throes of puberty. For many of today’s priests and bishops over 50, this environment limited healthy sexual development. Priests cannot marry, so sexuality from the start was about abstinence, and obedience.

But not all Catholics are bad! There are Catholics who agree with the Times editorial (and news) pages. Here is a paragraph informing readers (and journalists elsewhere) how to know that you are dealing with Catholics who are not stupid, ancient, uninformed fundamentalists:

So they find ways to encourage one another. They share books like Father James Martin’s groundbreaking “Building a Bridge,” on the relationship between the Catholic and L.G.B.T. communities. Some have signed petitions against church-sponsored conversion therapy programs, or have met on private retreats, after figuring out how to conceal them on their church calendars. Occasionally, a priest may even take off his collar and offer to unofficially bless a gay couple’s marriage.

The key to this story, once again, is that
- it contains zero information from Catholics — gay Catholics even — on the other side of this crucial debate.
- There is zero attempt to actually engage the contents of centuries of Catholic doctrine on human sexuality.

There is no need for any of that.
- Because no one involved in editing this story was interested in journalism.
- No one was interested in readers being exposed to accurate, informed quotes from people on both sides.
- No one was interested in showing respect for Catholics — gay and straight — who are stupid enough to believe the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
What would be the point of that?

Here is Rod Dreher's commentary in full:

NYT advocates the 'gay Catholic' party line
By Rod Dreher

February 17, 2019

When it comes to covering LGBT issues, The New York Times is a propaganda sheet worth reading only for the same reason that, during the Cold War, one read Pravda: to get the ruling class’s party line.
Today’s big piece on the agony of closeted gay priests is a classic of the genre. Note these passages:

Studies repeatedly find there to be no connection between being gay and abusing children. And yet prominent bishops have singled out gay priests as the root of the problem, and right-wing media organizations attack what they have called the church’s “homosexual subculture,” “lavender mafia,” or “gay cabal.”

Nope, nothing to see there. How did McCarrick rise and rise, even though the Church knew about him? Magic, I guess. The real problem, you see, is the horrible right-wing people who take the trouble to notice what’s right in front of everybody’s nose.

Study after study shows that homosexuality is not a predictor of child molestation. This is also true for priests, according to a famous study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the wake of revelations in 2002 about child sex abuse in the church. The John Jay research, which church leaders commissioned, found that same-sex experience did not make priests more likely to abuse minors, and that four out of five people who said they were victims were male. Researchers found no single cause for this abuse, but identified that abusive priests’ extensive access to boys had been critical to their choice of victims.

Eighty percent of the victims of male priests were boys — most of them post-pubescent minors. And yet, we really can’t say that the homosexuality of the victimizing priests has anything to do with it. Only right-wing bigots would make that point.

The New York Times really does believe this. If they didn’t, their worldview would crumble. It is possible to believe that chaste gay priests really do have a heavy cross to bear within the Church, and that their story should be told — I happen to believe that myself — while also reporting the truth about the way unchaste gay priests carry on secret lives, and cover up for each other.

I wonder if this intrinsic journalistic disorder at the Times has anything to do with the fact that a freelance writer on assignment for the New York Times Magazine had the McCarrick story nailed (the preying-on-seminarians part) back in 2012, but the story never appeared.

I know this because I was interviewed for the piece by the reporter, who had court documents, and at least one on-the-record interview with a McCarrick victim. The reporter told me a couple of months later that he couldn’t understand why his story was being spiked. The new male editor on the piece — the woman who had commissioned it had since moved on — kept putting roadblocks in front of him, and none of it made sense.

“Is your new editor a gay man?” I asked.
“Yes,” said the journalist. “What does that have to do with anything?”
Maybe nothing, I said.

But then I told him about the prominent closeted gay conservative engaged by then-Cardinal McCarrick in 2002 to pressure my boss to spike a story I was working on about McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians. The pressure did not work with my boss, but in the end, I couldn’t publish a story, because none of my sources would talk about it on the record, or provide documentation.

The point, I told the reporter, is that some powerful gay men don’t want this story known, presumably because it confirms a negative stereotype about predatory gay men. Besides, squeamish editors, gay or straight, convince themselves that this story is too dangerous to tell because hey, everybody involved is an adult, and how are we to know whether or not these seminarians consented to sex with the archbishop?

It took #MeToo to awaken journalistic sensibilities to the plain fact that a priest or seminarian who faces pressure to submit to sex with a bishop or archbishop cannot meaningfully consent. To its great credit, the Times finally exposed McCarrick’s scam last year, thanks to reporters Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman, who published some of the same information that the freelancer working for the Times Magazine (which has a different editorial hierarchy from the newspaper, note well) told me back in 2012 that he had.

The Washington Post later published an account of an anonymous seminarian who vomited in McCarrick’s apartment after an unwanted sexual encounter with the then-Archbishop of Newark. I knew about that encounter in 2012 because the freelancer whose story was spiked by the Times Magazine editor had it on the record, and told me that.

This morning’s Times story decries the injustices right-wing bullies and an uncomprehending institution visit upon gay priests, but it does not talk about seminarians and adult priests being preyed on by powerful gay prelates, as well as other priests who may not outrank them, but who have de facto power within a diocese.

Take, for example, the current case in the Diocese of Gaylord (MI), involving a young priest named Father Matthew Cowan. Cowan complained to his bishop that he had been repeatedly sexually harassed by Father Dennis Stilwell, the vicar general (No. 2) of the diocese. When it appeared to Cowan that the diocese was dragging its feet on his complaint, and maybe even preparing to sweep it under the rug, he put evidence and a list of his concerns into this e-mail. Please read it.

Bishop Steven Raica suspended Father Cowan for sending that e-mail to some people within the diocese, but outside the clerical circle, saying that the letter violated the “unity” of the priesthood. Meanwhile, a group of laity in the diocese who are sick of lies and the cover-ups have started a group called Gaylord Diocese Watch, in part to defend Father Cowan.

Last week, GDW alleged that Father Jim Holtz, a priest who had been removed from ministry by the previous bishop after credible accusations of sexual abuse of a minor, had quietly been allowed to serve under Father Stilwell in his parish. Excerpts from their allegation post:

Holtz’s name was on a list of 10 priests made public on Nov. 14, 2018 “who are known to have had credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor made against them in the Diocese of Gaylord.”

“Until that list became public in November, virtually nobody at St Francis was aware Fr. Dennis Stilwell allowed a known child molester to work at the altar, with altar servers and in religious education for many years,” said Dr. Richard Brenz, spokesman for Gaylord Diocesan Watch, an activist group formed last month.

“Holtz never could have passed the Gaylord Diocese basic background check that every employee in a parish and school is required to undergo,” Brenz said. “It is bad enough that Holtz was selected by Fr. Stillwell to work with and be around children on parish grounds, but the secrecy surrounding his involvement is even more outrageous.
As faithful Catholics who have once again been betrayed by our local bishops who shroud everything they do in secrecy yet preach about transparency, we once again call on the media to investigate this scandal,” Brenz added.

“Bishop Steven Raica wrote in response to the Pennsyvania scandal, ‘…we must not let down our guard. We must remain vigilant.’ Yet his own vicar general ignores the basic rules in place to protect children. We are sorry to say that we have little confidence in Church officials to protect our children. At the very least, parents of children attending the St. Francis Elementary School and who are altar servers should have been notified of Holtz’s background.

Gaylord Diocese Watch offers further information about Father Holtz:

Holtz’s Facebook page, which is easily accessed by the public, shows he has given favorable ratings to books in the last two and three years with explicitly homo-erotic themes.

In the section of his Facebook profile titled “Reviews” several of the books have covers with an image of handsome young men in provocative poses. One book, “Leap of Faith,” which Holtz gave a 5-star rating (on a scale of 1-5) shows two men kissing.

The description on the Amazon web site to purchase “Leap of Faith” indicates: “This is a full length romance novella which has multiple gay sex scenes. Mature readers only. Set in the onset to WWII.”

Another book which received a 5-star rating from Holtz is “My Dream Boy.” Clicking the image of book takes the reader to a web site titled “Romance Week,” which carries this summary of the book:
“Jake and a couple of his college friends learn about a cruising spot near campus and decide to try it out. They soon find that they can get a blowjob there and in no time they’re doing it to each other… and more. Then the school year ends and Jake moves home. He misses his pals and the hot sex they had and is looking forward to a boring summer. But things look up when new people move in next door. Their son is a gorgeous young guy and Jake makes it his mission to get to know him. What he doesn’t know is that Evan also likes guys.”

Another book that received a 5-star rating from Holtz is “Wizards Moon,” which is summarized on the Romance Week web site thusly: “I wish to buy a boy. A warrior from the Northlands purchases a young man for purposes both secret and perhaps sinister.”

- Did Father Stilwell violate the Dallas Charter by allowing Father Holtz to serve?
- Did Bishop Raica know this was happening?
- Why is Father Cowan, the whistleblower, the one being punished in this matter?
- Is it because Father Cowan could see that the network was going to protect one of its own?

Remember the lesson of McCarrick (a lesson that has been made clear over and over since 2002): if you want to see the Catholic Church clean up its act, then the laity has to speak up, speak often, and speak loudly. A priest who does it on his own may well be run over by the hierarchy, as Father Cowan apparently has been.

And on the question of the networks of gay priests protecting each other’s secrets — including the secrets of abusers — understand that the mainstream media is more often than not part of the conspiracy. It has a narrative to uphold.

You will hear about priests like Father Gregory Greiten, a gay priest who came out to his parish, and who is featured in the NYT story today.But priests like Father Matthew Cowan — whose friends have set up a Go Fund Me page to help him pay his legal bills in this matter — are harder for our mainstream media to see.

Now, In The Closet Of The Vatican, the scandalous Frederic Martel book that will be released on Thursday sounds like it will need to be read with a strongly critical eye, one capable of sorting out juicy gossip from fact.

Martel sounds like the kind of gay activist who believes as a matter of principle that the more opposed a cleric is to normalizing gay sex, the deeper inside the closet that cleric must be.

Nevertheless, early reports from those who have read the book - European title: Sodom — indicate that the book explodes the quaint New York Times myth that the gay clerical network is a malicious right-wing invention. Take this passage from a report on the Martel book appearing in Crux, a non-partisan Catholic outlet:

Perhaps the most salient reason for the timing of the book’s release is the rule that “behind the majority of cases of sexual abuse, there are priests and bishops who have protected the aggressors because of their own homosexuality and out of fear that it might be revealed in the event of a scandal.”

“The culture of secrecy that was needed to maintain silence about the high prevalence of homosexuality in the Church has allowed sexual abuse to be hidden and prelates to act,” he continues.

While Martel steers clear of the argument that homosexuality within the priesthood is a driving force for sexual abuse, he argues that the culture of secrecy is what allows it to flourish, along with its cover-up, even within the highest ranks of power.

Exactly. Propagandists ignore this fact. But a fact it is. The Martel book is going to make this impossible to ignore, though I expect the Times and others to do their best.

A Catholic priest e-mails:

It might be hard to determine how people will react to more gay priests speaking out, but I think it is ultimately a good thing for a couple of reasons.

First, as the author notes, there is a tremendous disconnect between what the Church teaches and who it allows to become its official teachers. Technically homosexual priests are not supposed to be able to become priests, and yet, there is a huge proliferation of them in the priesthood; a far higher percentage than the general public. Astronomically higher.

Second, the John Jay study did say there was no connection between homosexuality and abuse, however, it couldn’t say that officially because no psychologist is allowed to draw that connection. The discipline no longer allows any connection between homosexuality and illicit behavior. This is the consequence of removing homosexuality as a personality disorder from the DSM.

Third, any clear thinking individual will look at the astronomical numbers of homosexuals in the priesthood and compare that to the 80% of abuse victims being boys (78% being teenage) and will draw the obvious conclusion.

Remember in the general population the vast majority of men abuse girls. But in the priesthood it is flipped. The reported answer for this is access, but that’s ridiculous. Priests have had access to girls just as easily as boys for decades. Girls have been altar servers since the early 80’s and they have certainly been in schools.

Further, when we are talking about post-pubescent teens (78% of victims who were male) we are talking about sexual differentiation having taken place. A gay priest preying on a teenager is much different than a kindergartener. Psychologists will tell you it’s a completely different issue.

Fourth, this is really good for the Church to face what so many of us have been saying for so long; that the over-represented number of homosexual priests is a problem. When you have that many men with disordered sexuality there are going to be severe consequences.

Fifth, the reality is that many of the bishops are themselves gay or, as one of the priests in the article says, don’t know what they are. Thus, the question remains how will they react to the continuing public revelation of what they already know to be true.

The bishops have largely been silent on the issue of homosexuality in our culture. They haven’t pushed back against it at all. Likely because they couldn’t push back against their own disordered nature.

Conclusion? Hard to say, but I think in the end it’s better that all of this come out and be exposed.

February 21, 2019
P.S. In his blogpost today, Aldo Maria Valli summarizes Dreher's article for his Italian readers an article entitled "The gay-friendly narrative an the next big step in this great hoax", in which he adds this conclusion:

"But...with the publication of SODOMA by Frederic Martel, who claims that the Church has become 'structurally homosexual' and that the McCarrick saga had long been known at the Vatican [nothing new there, but I am surprised Valli does not refer to Martel's newsmaking claim his sources at the Vatican confirmed to him that Pope Francis had in fact been informed by Mons Viganò about McCarrick - as Viganò had claimed - but that he dismissed this as 'not important' and therefore lifted restrictions imposed by Benedict XVI and went on to make McCarrick oen of his most influential associates for the next five years].

Therefore? How will the mainstream media reorganize their narrative in the light of these statements made this time by a 'renowned' paladin of LGBTQ causes and not by an evil traditionalist motivated by obscurantist obsessions?

Quite simply. Martel's arguments (as someone who was received with open arms at the Vatican [and resided within the Vatican one week a month during the four years he worked on his book] and who said simply that his work was facilitated by the 'gay network' in the Vatican) will now be utilized to advocate - as Martel already does - that "celibacy and chastity have failed" and that 'someone sooner or later has to take action".

That will be the next step in this great hoax.

What Valli does not say is what other commentators have plainly said - that this is all setting the stage for the Bergoglio Vatican to 'normalize' homosexuality and its infinite LGBTQ-XYZ variants. Easy as declaring the death penalty unacceptable under any circumstances and changing the Catechism accordingly.
00Thursday, February 21, 2019 7:47 AM

Despite Pope Francis’s lecture on the subject at Synod-2015, and notwithstanding the passages on it in Synod-2018’s final report, there is little agreement in twenty-first-century Catholicism on what “synodality” means.

The theology of synodality can be left for another day. In practical terms, however, perhaps synodality ought to mean something roughly analogous to what our British cousins mean by “horses for courses.” There, the phrase is a homely caution against one-size-fits-all remedies to problems.

In the world Church today, and with an eye to the “abuse summit” that will meet in Rome from February 21–24, a “horses for courses” understanding of synodality would mean that different local Churches should be empowered to implement specific local remedies, tailored to their specific problems and capacities, in addressing clerical sexual misconduct.

The plague of sexually abusive clergy manifests itself in different ways in different ecclesiastical contexts. In the so-called developed world, the plague seems to have largely involved the sexual abuse or exploitation of young men; but there are many other ways in which a subset of Catholic clergy, both priests and bishops, lead duplicitous lives in violation of the promise of celibate chastity they made to God and the Church.
- Latin American Catholicism has a culturally-influenced and destructive habit of denial about clerical sexual misconduct, whether abusive or consensual, heterosexual or homosexual.
- The Church in Africa faces serious challenges with the sexual exploitation of women by clergy. Each of these situations has its own epidemiology, as infectious disease doctors would say.

While more than a few German theologians and bishops (and bishop-theologians) deny it, the Catholic Church has a settled ethic of human love, drawn from the Scriptures and developed over centuries by moral reason. The ethic is the same, but the challenges to living it are not uniform among 1.2 billion Catholics.

Because of considerable cultural and historical differences across the world Church, particular solutions to the plague of clerical sexual impropriety (and worse) are going to have to be developed to meet particular circumstances.

So while the bottom of the bottom line for the “abuse summit” must be an unambiguous, clarion call to the entire Church to live chastity as the integrity of love, there is no single reform template that will address different forms of clerical sexual misconduct in quite diverse circumstances.

Catholics in the U.S. must also recognize that the kinds of solutions that are feasible in our country and that have worked in addressing historical clerical sexual abuse and driving down its incidence — may not be applicable in other parts of the world Church, where the financial and personnel resources the U.S. Church can deploy are not available.

To take one example: Diocesan review boards that function quite well in America in handling allegations of clerical sexual abuse may be infeasible in other local churches. On the other hand, what the American Church has learned, often the hard way, about rigorous screening of seminary applicants and about effective priestly formation (both in seminary and after ordination) might well be “transferable” to other ecclesiastical situations.

Misimpressions and prejudices notwithstanding, the Catholic Church in the United States has been more forthright in addressing clerical sexual abuse and other forms of clerical sexual misconduct than any other local church. Others can learn from this experience.

In the abuse summit’s official meetings and in the “Off Broadway” venues where Catholic leaders will conduct more informal conversations, American churchmen in Rome this month should
- explain the reforms the U.S. Church has implemented, including
the extensive use of lay expertise to address clerical sexual abuse and other forms of clerical misconduct;
- describe the positive effects of those reforms, especially on seminaries;
- offer to share ideas (and personnel) with other local churches that wish to explore adopting and adapting certain U.S. reforms; and
- make clear why the U.S. bishops believe it imperative for them to apply to themselves — and to be seen to apply to themselves —the code of conduct they have applied to priests since 2002.

How episcopal accountability is managed may well be another case of “horses for courses,” given vastly different situations throughout the world Church. Lay involvement in that accountability is imperative in the U.S.; it may be impracticable elsewhere.

But those serious about Catholicism’s capacity to embody and preach the gospel will understand that credible episcopal accountability is essential in carrying out the Church’s mission.

But will the summit participants ever get to hear, for example, why the reigning pope's much-touted announcement three years ago to constitute a church tribunal to deal with bishops who mishandle or totally ignore clerical sex abuse problems in their dioceses was never implemented? Perhaps Cardinal Sean O'Malley who was supposed to be the point man for this project can explain it to the assembled bishops.

I missed this earlier commentary by George Weigel on the now Mr McCarrick - it accompanied the first Letter from the Vatican by the Catholic Herald's 'Xavier Rynne II' who covered the first three Bergoglio synods with a daily letter, complemented by a guest essay and is doing the same thing for this summit. His first essay came out yesterday, 2/19. Apparently,by some arrangement, Rynne's rubric is also publiished on FIST THINGS... Weigel's post on McCarrick is distinct in many ways, even if only because his is the first commentary I have read from someone who actually knew McCarrick and had dealings with him, though Weigel makes it clear it was a relationship of mutual antipathy...

McCarrick's laicization
does 'make a difference'

by George Weigel
February 19, 2019

On Saturday, February 16, the Holy See announced that the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore Edgar McCarrick, had been “dismissed from the clerical state” — laicized — for the grave ecclesiastical crimes of sexual solicitation in the confessional and the sexual abuse of minors, compounded by the abuse of authority.

Within a few hours, the Washington Post had a story up on its Web site, asking, in effect, so what? Or as a former Church employee put it to Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein, “The reality is that, leaving aside the issue of embarrassment, and I’d be cautious on that, what difference does it make to McCarrick?....Realistically, when we think of justice, what will he experience? And he will know in his heart of hearts that he’s still a priest.”

The last, of course, is true enough, in that neither the wickedness in which Theodore McCarrick engaged, nor the penal action of the Church, has destroyed the sacramental character he received on the day of his ordination. But what difference did his laicization make? Let me suggest an answer. The difference it made is that, two days ago, Theodore McCarrick did not celebrate Sunday Mass for what was likely the first time in sixty years, eight months, and two weeks.

I have no idea what Mr. McCarrick’s present mental condition is, although he is said to be suffering from dementia [he's 88 now and will be 89 in July] and is not fully aware of what has happened to him since last June, when his crimes were first publicly revealed. [People with dementia who have not yet completely flipped over do have lucid intervals, and just imagine McCarrick's torment over his merciless if rightful reversal of fortune during such intervals! But he could better use his lucid intervals for prayer and sincere repentance, if not to issue a mea culpa and apologies [there must be a stronger word] to all his victims and their families, to the Church and to the faithful, since there is nothing more he can do in reparation for his misdeeds at this time and under the circumstances.]

But if this man who exercised the ministry of priest for more than six decades has any awareness of his situation, no more damning sentence —no more crushing penalty — could be imagined than the prohibition of celebrating Mass. Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand the priesthood of the Catholic Church.

As my friend Robert Louis Wilken (who was a Missouri Synod Lutheran before entering into full communion with the Catholic Church in his seventh decade) has frequently observed, Lutheran pastors think of themselves primarily as teachers and Catholic priests don’t (which is one reason, Dr. Wilken ruefully suggests, why Lutheran pastors are generally much better preachers than Catholic priests).

Catholic priests think of themselves primarily as celebrants and ministers of the sacraments. That is why a priest’s “first Mass” is such a tremendous occasion in his life: for to be the celebrant of Holy Mass is the very center of his vocational identity.

The priesthood is many things, but the celebration of Mass is that for which virtually every seminarian longs during his years of preparation for Holy Orders. To be forbidden to celebrate Mass licitly, which is one facet of the sentence of laicization imposed by the Holy See on Theodore McCarrick and confirmed by the pope, is thus the ultimate penalty.

That’s one huge difference the penalty of laicization makes. And if there is anything of conscience left in Theodore McCarrick, he felt the sting of that sentence in an unimaginable way on Sunday, February 17.

McCarrick was not my friend; quite the opposite, in fact. But I can only hope that if, in whatever diminished way, he feels the pain of being forbidden to function as a priest at the altar, that pain is purifying and cleansing. For at some point in the not too distant future, Theodore McCarrick will answer at the ultimate tribunal and before the final Judge for the many ways in which he betrayed and defaced the priesthood that was bestowed on him on May 31, 1958.

If the question, “What difference does it make?” has an answer, what about a further question: How did “McCarrick” happen? And by “McCarrick,” I mean the phenomenon and the career as well as the human personality.

The latter is, of course, finally impenetrable, but some obvious characteristics of the man should be reckoned with.
- Many (although I exclude myself from their company) found him engaging: a gregarious, nickname-confecting knock-off of the Irish Catholic hail-fellow-well-met priest of Hollywood lore.
- He had talent, including a capacity for hard work and a gift for languages.
- He was a prodigious fundraiser.
- His politics were generally indistinguishable from the Democratic Party orthodoxies of the moment, but
- he cared about religious freedom, serving on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
- His approach to international conflict was too often reminiscent of Rodney (“Why can’t we all just get along?”) King.
But I choose to believe that, beyond the narcissism that led him to insert himself as an (often self-appointed) envoy of the Church in difficult situations, he really did care about peaceful conflict resolution, especially among religious groups.

But he was also a psychopath. And a Church more alert to red flags about pathological personalities would have caught at least some of the signals.
- He was a shameless self-promoter, sending letters of blatant sycophancy to popes and other superiors and spreading money (raised from others) around projects he thought would win him favor in Rome and elsewhere.
- He was also brazen, carefully redacting a letter sent by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the U.S. bishops’ conference in 2004 so that the sharp edges of Ratzinger’s comments on pro-choice Catholics and the reception of holy communion were blunted to the point of invisibility.

It now seems reasonable to conclude that he defied the orders of Pope Benedict XVI to retire to a private life after financial settlements were reached with some of his abuse victims in the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark.

Yet even after that, his brazenness extended to his attempts to influence both the work of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (where he tried to prevent the election of then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president in 2010) and the conclave of 2013 (although his cringe-inducing lecture on that conclave at Villanova University, still available on YouTube, was more self-promotion than accurate history).

I have no doubt that he tried to give Pope Francis a warped view of the American Church as a reactionary throwback to pre-Vatican II days, led by right-wing bishops in cahoots with the Republican Party.

No one who knew Pope St. John Paul II - nor anyone who has studied his life, thought, and ministry — can imagine for a nanosecond that he would knowingly appoint a serial sexual predator as archbishop of Washington and a cardinal of the Church.

That those appointments took place, however, points to deep flaws in the process of selecting bishops and cardinals that must be addressed by any serious Catholic reform in response to the current crisis: that process must be refined so that it becomes much less likely that pathological personalities can mislead men who reposed trust in them.

There must also be a reckoning with the question of why, after McCarrick had been quickly retired as archbishop of Washington and told to lay low, he continued to “operate,” as he was wont to put it, in the Church and the world; for that was not a failure of perception, but of discipline.

Psychopaths can fool even astute and experienced leaders; that is one lesson that the Church must learn from its tawdry experiences with Marcial Maciel and Theodore McCarrick. And there is another: Never underestimate the power of the Evil One in these matters.

I once had a conversation about Maciel with the late Father Benedict Groeschel, a true Church reformer and a professional psychologist. After telling Father Benedict how I usually disliked reaching for the explanation, “He was demonically possessed,” because it seemed something of a dodge, I then said that the extraordinary character of the Maciel case did seem to point in that direction. So, admittedly from a distance and with no firsthand knowledge of the man, did Groeschel think Maciel might have been demonically possessed? Father Benedict thought a moment and said, “I would say, ‘demonically oppressed.’

It was a fine distinction, the specifics of which I am happy to leave to competent theologians and mental health professionals. But I cannot exclude, and no one else should exclude, the work of the Evil One in pondering the terrible story of Theodore McCarrick. Was he demonically oppressed? What McCarrick did over a period of years to the young son of a family he had befriended arguably bespeaks wickedness of a more-than-natural sort.

And so here is another lesson of the McCarrick case: Do not dismiss satanic interference in the world and the Church as cinematic fantasy. Be alert to it. The Evil One is real; he hates Christ and Christ’s Church, and his hateful works have real effects in and on the Church.

Having said that Theodore McCarrick and I were not friends (which is to put the matter mildly), I must also say that, however much I disliked him, he was and remains, by virtue of baptism, my brother in Christ. I cannot deny that without denying the faith.

And while I do not regret the penalty imposed on him, which was entirely warranted in itself and an essential act of purification for the Church, I can, and do, pray that his laicization brings him to whatever repentance of which he is now capable.

And I also pray that this awful episode is a reminder to everyone, but especially to those with real power in the Church, that catching red flags and confronting wickedness, however painful, is far better for the Church and its mission than ignoring signals —or worse, avoiding confrontation for the sake of putatively avoiding scandal.

Here 's Mr Rynne's first Letter on this 'summit':

The whole course of Christianity from the first ... is but one series of troubles and disorders. Every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it. The Church is ever ailing ... Religion seems ever expiring, schisms dominant, the light of truth dim, its adherents scattered. The cause of Christ is ever in its last agony.
-Blessed John Henry Newman, Via Media (1834)

John Henry Newman’s tart view of the ongoing mess that is the history of the Church was written when he was still an Anglican, but it seems unlikely that his sense of things changed materially after he entered the Catholic Church - indeed, it probably intensified.

Nonetheless, Newman’s panoramic, if mordant, overview of Christian history can be consoling whenever Catholicism finds itself in crisis, as it surely does now. Things have undoubtedly been worse than they are today. And for all the muck, pain, and anger of today’s Catholic crisis of sexually abusive clergy and failed ecclesiastical leadership, the Church has not been abandoned by its Lord or by the Holy Spirit.

Many good and life-giving things happen throughout the world Church every day: the sacraments are celebrated and grace is bestowed; sins are forgiven and wounded souls healed; those with nowhere to go find a home. And in its social doctrine the Church continues to bear a message that an increasingly incoherent postmodern world badly needs to hear.

But let’s not have too much consolation, please, on the eve of the eve of the meeting of Church leaders called by Pope Francis to look at the abuse crisis in global perspective.
- Catholicism needs to confront the full reality of this crisis “with the bark off,” as Lyndon Baines Johnson used to say.
- And it has to confront the crisis in a distinctively biblical and Catholic context, not according to story lines already being hawked by various interest groups, on social media, and in the world press.

The Body of Christ in the world is sick. And in addressing an illness that is making the Church’s primary missions of evangelization and sanctification ever more difficult, the caution observed by all serious physicians, “First, do no harm,” is worth keeping in mind. For that adage reminds us that accurate diagnosis is the beginning of real cure.

What will four days of deliberations by the presidents of over one hundred national and regional bishops’ conferences, meeting with the leadership of an often-dysfunctional Roman Curia, produce by way of specific reforms? No one knows, and the safer bet would be “not much.”

Such a diverse group, examining a complex set of problems that presents itself in different ways in different ecclesial contexts, is not going to come up with a comprehensive menu of reforms that satisfactorily addresses the crisis in full. The prudent hope would be that the “Meeting for the Protection of Minors” will at least get the problem right.

The more hopeful expectation is that by February 25, it will be understood, here in Rome and throughout the world Church, that different local churches are going to have to deal with the abuse crisis in distinctive ways, given their different situations and the widely divergent capacities of local churches.

An even more hopeful expectation would be that those parts of the world Church that have barely begun to recognize the crisis of clerical sexual abuse (e.g., Latin America) will begin to understand that there are things to be learned from local churches that have gotten to grips with the crisis, however imperfectly (e.g., the United States).

With that range of possible outcomes in mind, what might reasonably be expected from this week’s four-day meeting, both in terms of getting the problem right and in identifying important pieces of the solution to it? If this papally-summoned meeting facilitates agreement on the following ten points, it ought to be reckoned a considerable success.

1) Sexual abuse, whether of minors or vulnerable adults, is a global plague. No society is immune from it: The plague takes a variety of forms, including the 21st-century slavery of sex-trafficking, and the plague’s metastases touch virtually every institution in the world, not just (or even primarily) the Catholic Church. The sexual free-fire zone created over the past sixty years by the sexual revolution, which has been empowered by a contraceptive culture that reduces sex to a mere contact sport, has wrought havoc in individual lives and has warped entire societies.

2) Institutionally speaking, the Church may once have thought that the discipline on which it long prided itself rendered the Catholic clergy relatively invulnerable to the sexual revolution; that fantasy can no longer be indulged. The corruptions and perversions of the sexual revolution have seeped into the Church, not unlike the “smoke of Satan” to which Pope St . Paul VI referred in a homily on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1972.

The Church must not, however, blame this vulnerability, and the evil that has come into Catholicism because of it, on “the world.” That is too easy. A truly Catholic understanding of what we now face will recognize that the fundamental issue in today’s crisis is fidelity —fidelity to the truths inscribed in the embodied human person by the Creator; fidelity to the gospel, which demands respect for the dignity of everyone; and fidelity to the Catholic ethic of human love, which is rooted in biblical revelation and has been refined by moral reason for almost two millennia.

Sexually abusive behavior by clergy preying on minors is one gut-wrenching expression of this crisis of fidelity. The Church’s crisis of fidelity is not limited to “minors,” however, and while the protection of vulnerable children and young people is essential in addressing the crisis, it is insufficient.
- The crisis of fidelity also involves consensual adult sexual relations, either heterosexual or homosexual, by clerics who have promised God and the Church to live lives of celibate chastity.
- The crisis involves the failures of all the people of the Church, in whatever station of life, married or single, to live chastity in what Pope St. John Paul II called “the integrity of love.”
- And the crisis involves the failure of the Church’s chief teachers, its bishops, to teach the Catholic ethic of human love effectively, to enforce discipline among the clergy, and to call the laity to be exemplars of chaste love in a world that has increasingly succumbed to a false promise of sexual liberation.

In this biblical and theological perspective, the “solution” to today’s crisis is not going to be found in “best practices” alone, as important as pastoral and structural reform and competent management are in the Church.

The “solution” is a deeper conversion to Christ by every Catholic. And that deeper conversion includes a more radical, thoroughgoing embrace of the Church’s ethic of human love. That, in turn, means that those who dissent from the Catholic sexual ethic, whether their dissent involves heterosexual or homosexual relations, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. For intellectual dissembling in the Church has indisputably facilitated behavioral dysfunction (to put it gently).

3) The causes of sexually dysfunctional, abusive, and predatory personalities are as various as the personalities involved in abuse. Clericalism - the wicked exploitation of the authority Catholics recognize in their ordained ministers and leaders as one effect of the sacrament of Holy Orders — is a facilitator of clerical sexual abuse, not its cause.
- Clericalism makes it easier for sexually dysfunctional clergy to become sexual predators;
- that is why clericalism has no place in a Church that teaches that the sacrament of Holy Orders is “ordered” to service, not power.
- To blame sexual abuse on “clericalism,” though, is to confuse facilitation with causality.

4) The celibacy to which Latin-rite Catholic priests and bishops pledge themselves is not the problem, and the ordination of viri probati (mature married men) to the priesthood is not the solution to the abuse crisis. Clerical sexual abuse is at least as much a problem in Protestant denominations with a married clergy as it is in the Catholic Church; it may be more of a problem, in that empirical studies suggest that the ultimate horror of the sexual abuse of the young is that most of it takes place within families. Moreover, [B]marriage, as the Catholic Church understands it, is not a crime-prevention program; a Church struggling to proclaim the beauty and dignity of marriage should not suggest that it is.

5) In Latin-rite Catholicism, living celibacy well is the solution — and it must be recognized that that challenging way of life is becoming ever more difficult throughout the world.
- The Western sexual free-fire zone places heavy demands on those living celibate chastity (as it does on those living marital chastity). - Celibate love is also a challenge in traditional societies where the exploitation of women by men is a deeply ingrained cultural habit.
- The LGBT revolution poses its own challenges, and not only in the West.
All of this underscores the imperative of the most careful scrutiny of potential candidates for the priesthood, the further and deeper reform of seminary formation for celibate love, and the necessity of ongoing personal and professional development programs for those who have been ordained.

6) Bishops must be held accountable to the standards of behavior to which they hold their priests and to which they call the laity entrusted to their care.
- This requires the recovery of the ancient practice of fraternal correction of bishops by brother-bishops, and the development of mechanisms by which incompete

nt, malfeasant, or corrupt bishops can be readily removed from office. The Catholic Church spent the better part of two hundred years wresting control of the appointment of bishops from various state authorities, so that the Church could choose its principal leaders by its own evangelical and pastoral criteria.
- Having claimed the right to choose its own leadership, the Church must now own the responsibility for disciplining that leadership—and changing it when the evangelical and pastoral good of the Church requires change.

7) Effective episcopal leadership of the priests of a diocese demands that the local bishop treat his brother-priests as sons and friends, not as chattels or employees. A bishop who knows his priests well, who thinks of his priests as a presbyteral college sharing responsibility for the evangelization and sanctification of the diocese, and who participates with his priests in programs of ongoing formation is far more likely to spot issues before they become problems
— and far more likely to have the cooperation of his priests in dealing with problems when they occur.

8) Episcopal credibility in the Church (at least throughout the West) is at a low watermark — in part because of political grandstanding and media hostility, which have skewed Catholics’ perceptions of their leaders - but also and more fundamentally because of too many episcopal failures in governance.
- When episcopal credibility wanes, so does episcopal authority.
- Lay collaboration in the governance of the Church — collaboration that respects the bishop’s ultimate authority in the local Church but brings lay expertise to bear on the exercise of that authority — enhances episcopal credibility and thus strengthens the bishop’s authority.
- This lay collaboration will necessarily take different forms in different local churches.
- But the current Roman habit of dismissing as “Protestantizing” any proposals for lay collaboration in the local bishop’s exercise of authority with priests, and in the bishops’ exercise of correction among themselves, must end.

9) Being a bishop in the Catholic Church today is a very tough job. Choosing the right men for that job is not easy. Those choices will be better made when the pool of those consulted about a priest’s fitness for the episcopate is broadened to include knowledgeable lay people—a rare occurrence today.

Lay people, and especially lay women, see both capacities and deficiencies in their pastors that priests and bishops often miss. There is no way out of the current Catholic crisis without credible and effective episcopal leadership; finding that leadership will be facilitated by involving knowledgeable, orthodox lay men and women in the process.

10) Resolving today’s Catholic crisis — which is a crisis of chastity and a crisis of leadership [both arising from a crisis of faith]is thus everyone’s responsibility, because the renewal of holiness in the Church and the effective proclamation of the gospel are everyone’s responsibility.

00Thursday, February 21, 2019 4:36 PM

Xavier Rynne II's February 21 letter from the Vatican has to do with St Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church and scourge of clerical sex offenses, whose feast we celebrate today, the day providentially - but perhaps unknowingly - chosen by Pope Francis to begin his summit on clerical sex abuse...

Remembering St. Peter Damian
by Xavier Rynne II
Letter from the Vatican #3
February 21,2019

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may so follow the teaching and example of the Bishop Saint Peter Damian, that, putting nothing before Christ, and always ardent in the service of your Church, we may be led to the joys of eternal light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Whether accidental or deliberate, the fact that a world meeting of Catholic leaders to address the scourge of clerical sexual abuse is opening on today’s liturgical memorial of St. Peter Damian is certainly appropriate. That coincidence could also prove providential, if those participating in the discussions of the next four days take the example of this Doctor of the Church seriously and apply his candor, tenacity, and courage to our own times.

Born in Ravenna in 1007, Peter Damian was well-educated in the humanities and pursued a career as a teacher before taking Holy Orders and then entering the monastery at Fonte Avellana in 1035. Elected prior in 1043, he led a reformed monastic community that lived from the insights of both St. Benedict and St. Romuald, combining traditional aspects of monasticism with the more rigorous disciplines of hermits.

After reforming the life of his own community, he devoted himself to reforming the clergy as a whole, working with several popes but especially Leo IX. Created cardinal against his will by Pope Stephen IX, he also undertook direct pastoral duties as archbishop of Ostia, one of the “suburbicarian” dioceses held by the senior members of the College of Cardinals.

In 1067, Pope Alexander II allowed him to return to his preferred life at Fonte Avellana, although he continued to undertake diplomatic missions for the Holy See. He died in 1072 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828 by Pope Leo XII. As Pope Benedict XVI said of Damian, “He spent himself with lucid consistency and great severity for the reform of the Church of his time.”

And the Church of the eleventh century was in desperate need of reform. Much of it was an ungodly mess, not unlike Western Europe itself, which had suffered under decades of depredations by various invaders, including Vikings, Muslims, and Magyars.

Intellectual and cultural life had eroded, to the point where, as one author puts it, “the literary patrimony of Latin antiquity maintained a tenuous presence in the care of monasteries and diocesan libraries,” which had themselves been assaulted by invading marauders with no regard for learning. Commercial life was similarly broken and poverty was as widespread as ignorance.

The papacy had been in crisis for well over a hundred years, sometimes a pawn and sometimes a player in the power struggles that convulsed Italy. Corrupt laity deposed popes and installed their preferred candidates, some of whose parentage was, to put it discreetly, dubious. One pope of the early tenth century, John XII, was said to live in a “pigsty of lust” and died at age 26.

This turmoil had a deeply corrosive effect on clerical discipline. As Matthew Cullinan Hoffman [who published an English translation of Liber Gomorrhianus last year] writes, “The ranks of the monasteries and secular priesthood had been adulterated with lax and uneducated men, unworthy of their office. Corruption was rife, and the offices of the clergy, including bishoprics, were often sold. Many priests violated the Church’s strictures against sacerdotal marriage by entering into illicit unions with wives or concubines, with the consent and even approval of their flocks. Large numbers had succumbed to unnatural sexual practices, all of which fell under the dread name of ‘sodomy,’ in reference to the city of Sodom destroyed by God in the book of Genesis.”

Peter Damian, a true ascetic, was not just appalled by “sodomy,” which in those days was a term covering a range of sins against chastity; he decided to do something about it.
- His campaign for the reform of the clergy was carried on by a variety of means, including preaching, teaching, and confronting ecclesiastical authorities — including the highest.
- He also wrote The Book of Gomorrah, a series of brief essays which was based on his appeals to Pope Stephen IX to undertake a massive reform of the clergy. The Book of Gomorrah remains in print, and while it constitutes some very chilling reading, its brutal candor about clerical sexual corruption and its insistence on the imperative of clerical sexual discipline for the Church’s well-being have considerable resonance today, almost a millennium after Damian wrote.

And while twenty-first-century Church leaders may think (with some reason) that we have a more thorough understanding of the often-roiling dynamics of human sexuality than was available to the cardinal archbishop of Ostia in the mid-eleventh century, everyone participating in this week’s Vatican abuse summit can learn from St. Peter Damian’s unflinching honesty about the crisis of the Church in his time, and from his conviction that the truths embedded in the Sixth Commandment are not negotiable —in his time or any other time.

It is not easy to imagine, for example, that Damian would have been pleased with the “statement” released a few days ago, in anticipation of the abuse summit, by the Unions of Superiors General (of religious men and women in consecrated life). No one could quibble with what was obviously intended to be the money quote from this document: “The abuse of children is wrong anywhere and anytime: this point is not negotiable.” That is the ultimate no-brainer. The Unions’ statement also made unexceptionable pledges about outreach to victims, improvement of religious formation, and the importance of a deeper conversion of hearts, minds, and souls.
- But nowhere in the statement was there any acknowledgement of the violations of chastity that are still rife in various congregations of consecrated life, some of which have decimated those communities (not least through the scourge of AIDS).[/B
- Nor did the Unions reckon with the fact that more than a few consecrated religious men and women have been major contributors to the culture of theological dissent that has, at the very least, been one factor in religious superiors’ blindness to sexual dysfunction within their communities, and one facilitator of sexual abuse by those who once formally promised poverty, chastity, and obedience of God and the Church.
- Nor did the Unions’ statement get beyond the “protection of minors” issue to the larger crisis of chastity throughout the world Church. Peter Damian believed that the truths that Catholic moral reason had learned from the Sixth Commandment, however difficult to live, were true “anywhere and anytime”; there is no affirmation of that non-negotiability in the Unions’ statement.

St. Peter Damian’s is not the only voice to be heard as the Catholic Church wrestles with the challenge of chastity, especially for its ordained leaders, in the hyper-sexualized twenty-first century.

But it is precisely the cleansing harshness of his critique — the prophetic harshness of a John the Baptist — that makes his one voice to be reckoned with. And whatever the limits of his method of argument, his bracing if jarring example of clear-eyed honesty about the facts is one that must be followed, if this abuse summit is going to be a step toward authentic and deep Catholic reform.

February 21, Feast of St Peter Damian -
a prophet for today's Church

February 21, 2019

Incredible but true. This very day, February 21, the day on which Pope Francis is inaugurating the summit on sexual abuse with the leaders of the Catholic hierarchy worldwide, the Church celebrates the liturgical memory of Saint Peter Damian, a great reformer of the 11th century, later proclaimed a Ddoctor of the Church, the author of a book with an emblematic title:, Liber Gomorrhianus [Book of Gomorrah].

The coincidence, as unintentional as it may be, could not have been more appropriate. Because in that book, composed in the form of a letter, Saint Peter Damian launched a dramatic appeal to the pope and bishops of his time, that they free the Church from the “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order, or rather like a bloodthirsty beast rampaging through the flock of Christ.” Sodom and Gomorrah, in the book of Genesis, are the two cities that God destroyed with fire on account of their sins of sex against nature.

But there’s more. Because the German Church historian Walter Brandmüller, who recently has done the most to bring to light the extraordinary similarities between the crisis of the Church in the 11th century and the contemporary crisis, is also the cardinal who in the run-up to this summit signed, along with fellow cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, a letter-appeal to the bishops of the whole world that they break the silence and finally face head-on the plague of homosexual activity among sacred ministers.

Last November 5, in conjunction with the release of the essay by Cardinal Brandmüller on the relevance of Saint Peter Damian’s life and times, Settimo Cielo published an ample summary of it, with references to the complete text in German and Italian.

What follows is that very post, which more than ever is worth rereading today, on the day of the liturgical feast of that great saint and reformer.

Gomorrah in the 21st Century:
The appeal of a cardinal and Church historian

Appeal of a Cardinal and Church Historian

“The situation is comparable to that of the Church in the 11th and 12th century.” As an authoritative Church historian and as president of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences from 1998 to 2009, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 89, has no doubt when he sees the present-day Church “shaken to its foundations” on account of the spread of sexual abuse and homosexuality “in an almost epidemic manner among the clergy and even in the hierarchy.”

“How could it have come to this point?” the cardinal wonders. And his answer is found in an extensive and detailed article published in recent days in the German monthly Vatikan Magazin edited by Guido Horst:
> Homosexualität und Missbrauch - Der Krise begegnen: Lehren aus der Geschichte
(Homosexuality and abuses: Confront the crisis - learn from history)

Brandmüller refers to the centuries in which the bishoprics and the papacy itself had become such a source of wealth that there was “fighting and haggling over them,” with temporal rulers claiming that they themselves could apportion these offices in the Church.

The effect was that the place of pastors was taken by morally dissolute persons who were attached to material endowment rather than to the care of souls, by no means inclined to lead a chaste and virtuous life.

Not only concubinage, but homosexuality too was increasingly widespread among the clergy, to such an extent that Saint Peter Damian in 1049 delivered to the newly elected pope Leo IX, known as a zealous reformer, his Liber Gomorrhianus, composed in the form of a letter, which in essence was an appeal to save the Church from the “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order, or rather like a bloodthirsty beast rampaging through the flock of Christ.” Sodom and Gomorrah, in the book of Genesis, are the two cities that God destroyed with fire on account of their sins.

But the thing more worthy of note, Brandmüller writes, was that “almost simultaneously a lay movement arose that was aimed not only against the immorality of the clergy but also against the appropriation of ecclesiastical offices by secular powers.”

“What rose up was the vast popular movement called pataria, led by members of the Milanese nobility and by some members of the clergy, but supported by the people. In close collaboration with the reformers associated with Saint Peter Damian, and then with Gregory VII, with the bishop Anselm of Lucca, an important canonist who later became Pope Alexander II, and with others still, the patarini demanded, even resorting to violence, the implementation of the reform that after Gregory VII took the name ‘Gregorian’: for a celibacy of the clergy lived out faithfully and against the occupation of dioceses by secular powers.

Subsequently, of course, it dispersed into pauperist and anti-hierarchical movements, on the verge of heresy, and was only partially reintegrated with the Church “thanks to the farseeing pastoral action of Innocence III.” But the “interesting aspect” on which Brandmüller insists is that “the reforming movement broke out almost simultaneously in the uppermost hierarchical circles in Rome and among the vast lay population of Lombardy, in response to a situation considered unbearable.”

So then, what is similar and different in the Church today, with respect to back then?

What is similar, Brandmüller notes, is that then as now the ones expressing the protest and demanding a purification of the Church are above all segments of the Catholic laity, especially in North America, in the footsteps of the “marvelous homage to the important role of the witness of the faithful in matters of doctrine” brought to light in the 19th century by Blessed John Henry Newman.

Then as now, these faithful find beside them a few zealous pastors. But it must be recognized - Brandmüller writes - that the impassioned appeal to the upper hierarchy of the Church and ultimately to the pope to join them in combating the scourge of homosexuality among the clergy and the bishops is not meeting with correspondingly adequate responses, unlike in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Also in the Christological battles of the 4th century - Brandmüller points out - “the episcopacy remained inactive for long stretches.” And if it remains so today, with respect to the spread of homosexuality among sacred ministers, “this could be based on the fact that personal initiative and the awareness of their responsibility as pastors on the part of the individual bishops are made more difficult by the structures and apparatus of the episcopal conferences, with the pretext of collegiality or synodality.”

As for the pope, Brandmüller attributes not only to the current one but also to his predecessors the weakness of not opposing the currents of moral theology according to which “what was forbidden yesterday can be allowed today,” homosexual acts included.

It is true - Brandmüller acknowledges - that the 1993 encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of John Paul II - “in which the contribution of Joseph Ratzinger has not yet been duly recognized” - reconfirmed “with great clarity the foundations of the Church’s moral teaching.” But this “ran up against widespread rejection from theologians, perhaps because it had been published only when the theological-moral decay was already too far advanced.”

It is also true that “some books on sexual morality were condemned” and “two professors had their teaching licenses revoked, in 1972 and 1986.”

“But,” Brandmüller continues, “the truly important heretics, like the Jesuit Josef Fuchs, who from 1954 to 1982 was a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Bernhard Häring, who taught at the Redemptorist Institute in Rome, as well as the highly influential moral theologian from Bonn, Franz Böckle, or from Tübingen, Alfons Auer, were able to spread without interference, right in front of Rome and the bishops, the seed of error. The attitude of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in these cases is, in retrospect, simply incomprehensible. It saw the wolf come and stood looking on while it ravaged the fold.

[This is a most disturbing accusation. Did the cardinal look into the records of the CDF to see what measures were taken about the theologians he mentions, whether investigations were made and what these were, and the possibility that the investigations showed their writings, however 'heterodox', did not merit formal sanctions? Or perhaps lesser sanctions were issued through the theologians' local bishops? I am more than surprised - and disappointed - that Sandro Magister did not take the initiative to look into this, considering the enormity of the accusation Brandmueller made against the CDF,about which he did not even comment.

Brandmueller, a friend and near contemporary of Benedict XVI, who made him a cardinal in 2010, owes us an explanation. At the time he wrote this article on Peter Damian, he had had six years during which to ask Benedict XVI directly why the theologians he mentions were not disciplined by the CDF, assuming he never asked him before (and if he did not, then why not?)

If he did not, then he is doing what he did when in 2017, he publicly criticised Benedict XVI for his renunciation and for the provisions he made as to how he would carry on as emeritus pope - when it would have been more proper for him to discuss this with his friend first and then also state his side of the issue in the denunciation he published.
Obviously he did not, which is why the usually gentle and forbearing Benedict XVI wrote to reproach him privately.]

The risk is that on account of this lack of initiative on the accusation of the upper hierarchy even the most committed Catholic laity, left on its own, might “no longer recognize the nature of the Church founded on the sacred order and slip, in protesting against the ineptitude of the hierarchy, into an Evangelical-style communitarian Christianity.”

And instead, the more the hierarchy, from the pope down, feel supported by the effective resolve of the faithful to renew and revive the Church, the more a true housecleaning can be performed.

Brandmüller concludes: “It is in the collaboration of the bishops, priests, and faithful, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the current crisis can and must become the point of departure for the spiritual renewal - and therefore also for the new evangelization - of a post-Christian society.”

Brandmüller is one of the four cardinals who in 2016 submitted to Pope Francis their “dubia” on the changes being made in the doctrine of the Church, without ever receiving a response.

This time will the pope listen and take him seriously into consideration, as Leo IX did with Saint Peter Damian?
00Thursday, February 21, 2019 6:09 PM


Please see preceding page for earlier posts today, 2/21/19.

This is not a new story - but one of those that tend to be forgotten by MSM and most of Catholic media once a new update is reported. The Washington Post has such an update - and summary of the entire sordid story - just in time for Pope Francis's grandstand summit on clerical sexual abuse. In which the shortcomings of all other bishops in this respect will no doubt be brought up, but no one will even dare mention Jorge Bergoglio's past and present offenses. Which, I reiterate, is unfair to all the other bishops, and just sheer dishonesty and hypocrisy on the part of all those who choose not to address it.

LUJAN DE CUYO, Argentina, February 19, 2019 - When investigators swept in and raided the religious Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, they uncovered one of the worst cases yet among the global abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church: a place of silent torment where prosecutors say pedophiles preyed on the most isolated and submissive children.

The scope of the alleged abuse was vast. Charges are pending against 13 suspects; a 14th person pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, including rape, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The case of the accused ringleader - an octogenarian Italian priest named Nicola Corradi - is set to go before a judge next month.

Corradi was spiritual director of the school and had a decades-long career spanning two continents. And so his arrest in late 2016 raised an immediate question: Did the Catholic Church have any sense that he could be a danger to children?

The answer, according to a Washington Post investigation that included a review of court and church documents, private letters, and dozens of interviews in Argentina and Italy, is that church officials up to and including Pope Francis were warned repeatedly and directly about a group of alleged predators that included Corradi. Yet they took no apparent action against him.

"I want Pope Francis to come here, I want him to explain how this happened, how they knew this and did nothing," a 24-year-old alumna of the Provolo Institute said, using sign language as her hands shook in rage. She and her 22-year-old brother, who requested anonymity to share their experiences as minors, are among at least 14 former students who say they were victims of abuse at the now-shuttered boarding school in the shadow of the Andes.

Vulnerable to the extreme, the deaf students tended to come from poor families that fervently believed in the sanctity of the church. Prosecutors say the children were fondled, raped, sometimes tied up and, in one instance, forced to wear a diaper to hide the bleeding. All the while, their limited ability to communicate complicated their ability to tell others what was happening to them. Students at the school were smacked if they used sign language. One of the few hand gestures used by the priests, victims say, was an index figure to lips - a demand for silence.

"They were the perfect victims," said Gustavo Stroppiana, the chief prosecutor in the case.

And yet they may not have been the first. Corradi, now 83 and under house arrest, is also under investigation for sexual crimes at a sister school in Argentina where he worked from 1970 to 1994. And alumni of a related school in Italy, where Corradi served earlier, identified him as being among a number of priests who carried out systematic abuse over five decades. The schools were all founded and staffed by priests from the Company of Mary for the Education of the Deaf, a small Catholic congregation that answers to the Vatican.

The Italian victims' efforts to sound the alarm to church authorities began in 2008 and included mailing a list of accused priests to Francis in 2014 and physically handing him the list in 2015.

It was not the church, however, but Argentine law enforcement that cut off Corradi's access to children when it shut down the Provolo school in Lujan. Argentine prosecutors say the church has not fully cooperated with their investigation.

As Francis prepares to host a historic bishops' summit this week to address clerical sexual abuse, the lapses in the case - affecting the pope's home country of Argentina and the home country of the Roman Catholic Church - illustrate the still-present failures of the church to fix a system that has allowed priests to continue to abuse children long after they were first accused.

Corradi's lawyer declined multiple interview requests for this article and did not respond to emails seeking to speak with the priest. Attempts to reach Corradi through his family were unsuccessful. The Vatican declined to comment on a detailed list of questions.

But Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the abuse-tracking site, said the Provolo case "is truly emblematic."

"The church failed them abysmally. The pope ignored them, the police responded," she said. "It's a clear example of the tragedy that keeps playing out."

As in Argentina, deaf students from the Provolo schools in Verona, Italy, kept their experiences of sexual abuse to themselves for years. But after they started opening up, they worked from bottom to top to inform the Catholic church, according to letters and other documents. They wrote to the local bishop in 2008. Soon after, they provided a list of accused priests and religious figures to the local diocese. By 2011, a list of names was with the Vatican. By 2015, a list was in the hands of the pope.

The rumblings started with Dario Laiti, a former student who came forward in 2006 after noticing a new children's facility in the town and worrying that abuse might be happening there, as well.

"I was the first," said Laiti, who for years had made excuses when his wife asked why he hadn't wanted children.

Soon, more than a dozen other former students were telling their stories, using an improvised mix of sign language and limited speech. Their accounts ranged in time between the 1950s and 1980s. As adults, they had become woodcutters, delivery men, factory workers. Some were unemployed. Few had sustained relationships. One of their schoolmates had committed suicide.

One student, Alda Franchetto, said she had tried to confide in her parents years earlier - running away from the school as a 13-year-old in a burst of euphoria and explaining to them what was happening to her there. Her parents, she said, didn't believe her and returned her to the institute.

"They said, 'You need this to learn how to speak and write,' " Franchetto said.

By the time the adult former students started reporting their abuse, it was too late to press criminal charges. But it was not too late for accountability through the church. They wrote to the local bishop in 2008, informing him of their claims.

Soon after, at the request of a journalist from the Italian news magazine L'Espresso, 15 former students took another step: writing sworn statements describing sodomization, forced masturbation and other forms of abuse. The statements named 24 priests and other faculty members, including Corradi. The student association said dozens of others had experienced abuse but did not want to come forward publicly.

The bishop, Giuseppe Zenti, was dismissive. In a news conference, he called the allegations "a hoax, a lie, and nothing more," and he noted the association for former students was involved in a property dispute with the Provolo Institute. The former students filed defamation charges against Zenti and included their statements as part of the lawsuit - essentially handing the names of the accused priests to the diocese.

The case caught the notice of the Vatican, which in 2010 asked Zenti to look more deeply into the claims, according to church letters. The local diocese brought in a retired judge, Mario Sannite, to investigate.

"That's how I found myself in the middle of this story," Sannite said.

Sannite became the on-the-ground representative of the Holy See, asked to relay his findings - and his analysis - to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In December 2010 and January 2011, Sannite interviewed 17 former students from Provolo, with the help of a sign-language interpreter. He said the accounts were harrowing, and he later wrote that there was no reason to doubt the "majority" of the accusations.

In the report sent to the Vatican, though, Sannite wrote that he had doubts about one former student, the only one who happened to name Corradi as an abuser - even though some of the others interviewed had overlapped with Corradi's time at the school.

Gianni Bisoli, a then-62-year-old ski instructor, accused 30 religious figures and other Provolo faculty members of abusing him - a number far beyond the others. And his allegations were particularly explosive; one of those he accused was Giuseppe Carraro, the bishop of Verona in the 1960s and 1970s, who after his death was on the path to canonization.

"Bisoli's statements were likely deemed quite dangerous," said Paolo Tacchi Venturi, a lawyer who at the time was representing the victims.

With the help of a sign-language interpreter and Tacchi Venturi, Bisoli spoke with Sannite for 12 hours, over the course of three days, according to records. Others who were in the room told The Post that Bisoli described the abuse in detail.

In interviews with The Post, Bisoli recounted that he was abused by Corradi several times, including once when he had been corralled along with two other children into a bathroom reserved for priests. In that instance, Bisoli said, he was ordered against a wall by Corradi and two other religious figures. Bisoli remembered Corradi sodomizing him with his finger.

Sannite assessed that Bisoli was certainly a victim of abuse. But in the report he wrote, which was sent through Verona's diocese to the Vatican, the former judge said it was implausible that Bisoli could have been abused by so many - that the institute he described was akin to an "infernal circle."

Sannite noted that some of Bisoli's dates did not match, and some of the accused did not appear to be at the institute in the years Bisoli described. Sannite also offered another theory: that Bisoli "repackaged his overflowing allegations by drawing from the collection of his own experiences as a homosexual" adult.

In an interview at his home last month, Sannite read from the report, though he did not share a copy with The Post. When asked why a gay man might be less likely to accurately describe abuse, Sannite said, "It's not as if I can say there are differences." Then he asked why he was being asked such a question. Later, Sannite wrote in an email that he did not mean to draw a connection between Bisoli's credibility and his sexuality.

Bisoli, in an interview, said it was "offensive" and a "provocation" that anybody's sexuality in adulthood might figure into an assessment.

Following church guidelines, Zenti wrote a letter to accompany the report to the Vatican, according to the Diocese of Verona, which declined to share it with The Post. But Zenti remained skeptical about the claims and said in 2017 testimony - conducted as part of a separate lawsuit - that even a word like sodomization would be "hard to convey for a deaf-mute." The bishop also reported hearing a theory that the Veronese victims were behind the claims in Argentina, as well, perhaps as a way to "gain possession of the nice properties of the institute in those places."

Based on the investigation in Verona, the Vatican punished only one priest, Eligio Piccoli, who was ordered to a life of prayer and penance away from minors. Three other priests were given admonitions - essentially warnings that the Vatican was watching future behavior.

A church official in Verona said the allegations against Corradi were not looked at closely in large part because of the assessment about Bisoli. "We acted on the broad premise that Bisoli wasn't deemed reliable," Monsignor Giampietro Mazzoni said. "In this case, perhaps, making a mistake - since we didn't know then what would later happen in Argentina."

One of the other former students who Bisoli said was in the priests-only bathroom, Maurizio Grotto, has offered conflicting accounts of what happened. He told Sannite he was not abused by Corradi and said in an interview with The Post that he was. Another former Provolo student, Franchetto, said in an interview that she was molested by Corradi but had tried for years, "as a measure of self-defense," to forget his face. She did not tell the Vatican investigator about her experiences. The president of the association representing the Italian victims, Giorgio Dalla Bernardina, said he knows of other Corradi victims who have been unwilling to speak publicly.

Lawyers involved in the case and experts on clerical abuse say the church failed to examine whether the pattern of abuse in Italy was playing out at the overseas Provolo locations where Italian priests had been sent. Some dioceses in the United States report abuse accusations to law enforcement no matter what - even if the accused priest is deceased or if the statute of limitations has expired - and suspend priests from ministry as accusations are being investigated. The Diocese of Verona said it did not contact law enforcement.

Tacchi Venturi, the lawyer who had represented the victims during the hearing, said the Vatican made one other error - a "logic contradiction" - by acknowledging that Bisoli was abused but not looking into who might have abused him.

"If you say he suffered abuses, and you believe he was a victim, and he says he was abused by people, then you hear them all," Tacchi Venturi said, noting that the task was easier because only some of the accused were still alive. "You go on and interrogate all of them."

[Since the Vatican ordered an investigation of the Provolo-Verona case in 2010, and this report points out its shortcomings, should the CDF not issue a statement about those 2010 investigations now? That's the easy part.

The more difficult part is for any Vatican spokesman, not even Andrea Tornielli - assuming, that is, that the Vatican would even want to address this at all - is to explain Jorge Bergoglio's seeming indifference to the Provolo-Argentina case, despite the victims mailing him a list of priests they complained about in 2014 and handing the list to him in person in 2015. Given that these lists were about the abuses committed in Provolo-Argentina, should the pope not have been pro-active about pursuing the investigation? So much for transparency and zero tolerance and all that lip service.]

Not surprisingly, Mundabor is the only commentator I have seen so far who has reacted to the WaPo story. Here is the take of someone who definitely holds out no hope for Jorge Bergoglio and has probably stopped praying or him at all. So keep that in mind when you consider his intemperate language. I can be as intemperate, obviously, but I have not reached the point of failing to pray daily that the Lord may reclaim his 'vicar on earth' to the faith - many times a day, in fact, as often as I recite the rosary, an Our Father or a string of Hail Mary's when I find myself doing nothing but walking down the street or riding the subway... Also, I do not yet have the sense that this pope is headed for a downfall at all in the eyes of the media and the secular world whose opinion the media shapes.

Francis’s downfall and
God’s sense of humour

February 20, 2019

As the latest charade of the Evil Clown on the crimes of his protegees is about to begin, the Washington Post publishes the story of the Provolo Institute.

I have already written in detail the shocking story of this institution, and I invite you to use a search engine – or the search function of this blog – to locate it. The story in itself is not new, neither is the fact that it appears clear that Francis knew, or refused to know, about what was happening and did nothing.

What is new is the fact that even a symphatising publication like WaPo breaks ranks with the leftist establishment and publishes the most abrasive – albeit very softly worded – indictment of the hypocritical behaviour of the Evil Clown even as his fake exercise is about to begin. This is a blow straight to the sternum of the Pope.

The brutal truth is that Francis is not only a heretic who hates Catholics (WaPo is very fine with this), but one who has clearly protected paedos in his function as Pope. This, the world cannot, and will not, forgive, “humble Pope” or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Francis’s protection of the criminal behaviour of perverted priests is as bad in my book as it is in the world’s. But in my book, heresy is even worse - something which the secular minds of the Washington Post would very possibly be unable to grasp even after several hours of great effort.

The bottom line? Francis is going down, fast and hard. The more he lives, the more he will be compromised - it is clear by now that his collection of skeletons must be quite remarkable. However, he will not go down for raping the Church, about which the world, the Cardinals and the Bishops, almost to a man, do not care. He will go down for displeasing the world instead.

Everyone who thinks God does not have the most divinely refined sense of humour is simply not paying attention.
00Thursday, February 21, 2019 6:42 PM

The abuse summit:
It's only the beginning

by Robert Royal

February 20, 2019

Robert Royal is in Rome this week and will be posting regular reports and commentary on the abuse summit over the coming days.

February is not high tourist season in Rome. Skies are gray and temperatures low. St. Peter’s Square is relatively empty. But journalists filled the nearby Press Office earlier this week – more, according to one veteran, than since the death of St. John Paul II – because of the summit on the sex abuse crisis, which begins this evening with meetings between abuse survivors and participants, and continues Thursday through Saturday with formal sessions, parts of which will be streamed on the Vatican website.
A video of the opening press briefing with remarks by Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop Scicluna, and other key figures is available.

To be frank, it’s hard to say why so many journalists are here since no one, including Church spokesmen, expects that anything very dramatic will happen over the next few days – at least not in the formal sessions. What happens outside and around them, however, may be a different matter.

When the summit was announced last September, partly because of papal missteps in handling abuse cases in Chile, it seemed that the Church was going to take some large steps forward. There have been many smaller steps for years in many places around the world, everything from easier reporting mechanisms to better human formation in seminaries to the unprecedented laicization last weekend of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Expectations ran high, not least because the Holy Father asked the American bishops, during their annual November meeting, not to vote on ways to hold bishops accountable – whether they are abusers themselves, like McCarrick, or covered up abuse by people under their authority. They were told to wait until a uniform approach could be developed in February when many of the presidents of bishops’ conferences and heads of religious orders would gather together in Rome.

But Vatican spokesmen have more recently been encouraging people to lower expectations; and the focus this week is quite different: “The Protection of Minors in the Church.” That, of course, is a worthy goal. In many parts of the Catholic world, rules are in place, but there hasn’t been serious follow-through. If the next few days bring proven practices to new places, that will be all to the good.

But it’s also much less than we were hoping for. And in America, we’ve already come a long way towards responding to the part of the abuse crisis that involves priests. We have been expecting – and had been told – that the next phase would be figuring out how to hold bishops accountable. That’s been a continuing problem, not only in America, but in Chile, Honduras, Australia, Europe, the pope’s own Argentina, and the Vatican itself.

People are happy that McCarrick has been expelled from the priesthood, for example, but they want to know how it was possible for a man widely rumored to be an abuser to have moved up in the hierarchy and eventually become cardinal-archbishop of the capital of the most powerful nation on earth. Three popes and dozens of Vatican officials are now part of the story. Pope Francis has promised an investigation into the files. It’s almost a year later and we’ve heard nothing of that, not even whether there’s an active inquiry underway.

Meanwhile, a new book, which will be officially released Thursday, the first day of the summit here in Rome, claims that 80 percent of the upper echelons of the Vatican are gay. Some remain celibate, others act out in various ways, but they form what, in local parlance, is called “the Parish,” a network of people who either cover for one another or, given their own inclinations, look the other way.

Or at least that’s what Frederic Martel, the author, says. Martel is a gay activist in France and his motives in publishing this book at this particular moment are suspect – as are some of his wilder claims. But he seems to have conducted thousands of interviews with various figures from high-placed Cardinals to Swiss Guards, and quotes some by name.

The excerpts that have appeared so far raise as many questions as they answer. But the whole matter of the gay presence in the Church and its role as an enabler – which the summit organizers are avoiding, indeed are denying is a factor – will not go away.

Martel says (and there’s no reason to doubt it since there have been no denials forthcoming) that his access to the Vatican was facilitated by Msgr. Battista Ricca, who is Director of the Papal Residence (i.e., Casa Santa Marta) and an official with the Vatican Bank. Ricca was widely known to have had a boyfriend or two when he was a Vatican diplomat in Uruguay. And he was caught in an elevator with a boy prostitute.

It was in response to a reporter’s question about his past on the plane returning from World Youth Day in 2013 that Pope Francis famously remarked, ““If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

But it’s partly the pope’s judgment in such matters that has raised further questions. Not only the bishop he wrongly defended in Chile, but even recent appointments like that of Gustavo Zanchetta – a bishop accused of abusing seminarians in Argentina and a friend of the pope’s – to a specially created post at one of the Vatican financial institutions. He had to be removed while investigations are going on.

And then there’s the recent naming of Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Farrell to the position of camerlengo, the official who declares the pope officially dead and then runs the Vatican, with limited powers, during the interregnum, the period between the death of one pope and the election of another.

Farrell lived for six years in the same residence with then-Cardinal McCarrick and claimed – to widespread skepticism – that he had no knowledge of, had never even heard rumors about, McCarrick’s outrages. It’s curious that the pope would pick a potentially questionable figure for such a sensitive post. [Nothing illustrates better the imperviousness of this pope - which goes beyond mere tone deafness, because it appears deliberate and intentional - to simple common sense. In many ways, he is far more unhinged than some of his paladins like Austin Ivereigh who dares question Jesus's sexuality - which hardly anyone has picked up on - and habitual plagiarizer Fr Rosica who considers Bergoglio above Scripture and Tradition, in a deranged conviction that is all his own and not plagiarized from anyone (and about which the Vatican has never even shown the slightest demurral!]

All of this suggests that what goes on in the synod hall this week is the merest beginning [and a very token one, at that - more of a papal PR exercise than something serious] to what will continue to be a large and troubling process. More on all that in coming days.

Not surprisingly, Mons Carlo Maria Vigano has published another open letter on the occasion of the 'abuse summit' opening - in which after recalling St Peter Damian, he proposes a Benedict XVI homily on the various 'conversions' of St Peter as a meditation on this occasion:

Viganò's message to Pope and bishops
on opening day of Vatican sex abuse summit

by Diane Montagna


ROME, February 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open message to Pope Francis and presidents of episcopal conferences around the world, who are gathered in Rome for the opening of a Vatican summit on clerical sex abuse.

Here below is the full text of Archbishop Viganò’s message, issued on the liturgical memorial of St. Peter Damian.

We cannot avoid seeing as a sign of Providence that you, Pope Francis, and brother Bishops representing the entire Church have come together on the very day on which we celebrate the memory of St. Peter Damian.

This great monk in the 11th century put all his strength and apostolic zeal into renewing the Church in his time, so deeply corrupted by sins of sodomy and simony. He did that with the help of faithful Bishops and lay people, especially with the support of Abbot Hildebrand of the Abbey of St Paul extra muros, the future Pope St. Gregory the Great.

Allow me to propose for our meditation the words of our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addressed to the people of God in the General Audience of Wednesday, May 17, 2006, commenting on the very passage of the Gospel of Mark 8:27-33 that we proclaimed on today’s Mass.

Peter was to live another important moment of his spiritual journey near Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asked the disciples a precise question: “Who do men say that I am?” (Mk 8: 27). But for Jesus hearsay did not suffice. He wanted from those who had agreed to be personally involved with him a personal statement of their position. Consequently, he insisted: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8: 29).

It was Peter who answered on behalf of the others: “You are the Christ” (ibid.), that is, the Messiah. Peter’s answer, which was not revealed to him by “flesh and blood” but was given to him by the Father who is in heaven (cf. Mt 16:17), contains as in a seed the future confession of faith of the Church. However, Peter had not yet understood the profound content of Jesus’s Messianic mission, the new meaning of this word: Messiah.

He demonstrates this a little later, inferring that the Messiah whom he is following in his dreams is very different from God’s true plan. He was shocked by the Lord's announcement of the Passion and protested, prompting a lively reaction from Jesus (cf. Mk 8: 32-33).

Peter wanted as Messiah a “divine man” who would fulfil the expectations of the people by imposing his power upon them all: we would also like the Lord to impose his power and transform the world instantly. Jesus presented himself as a “human God,” the Servant of God, who turned the crowd’s expectations upside-down by taking a path of humility and suffering.

This is the great alternative that we must learn over and over again: to give priority to our own expectations, rejecting Jesus, or to accept Jesus in the truth of his mission and set aside all too human expectations.

Peter, impulsive as he was, did not hesitate to take Jesus aside and rebuke him. Jesus’s answer demolished all his false expectations, calling him to conversion and to follow him: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mk 8: 33). It is not for you to show me the way; I take my own way and you should follow me.

Peter thus learned what following Jesus truly means. It was his second call, similar to Abraham's in Genesis 22, after that in Genesis 12: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel's will save it” (Mk 8: 34-35).

This is the demanding rule of the following of Christ: one must be able, if necessary, to give up the whole world to save the true values, to save the soul, to save the presence of God in the world (cf. Mk 8: 36-37). And though with difficulty, Peter accepted the invitation and continued his life in the Master’s footsteps.

And it seems to me that these conversions of St Peter on different occasions, and his whole figure, are a great consolation and a great lesson for us. We too have a desire for God, we too want to be generous, but we too expect God to be strong in the world and to transform the world on the spot, according to our ideas and the needs that we perceive.

God chooses a different way. God chooses the way of the transformation of hearts in suffering and in humility. And we, like Peter, must convert, over and over again. We must follow Jesus and not go before him: it is he who shows us the way.

So it is that Peter tells us: You think you have the recipe and that it is up to you to transform Christianity, but it is the Lord who knows the way. It is the Lord who says to me, who says to you: follow me! And we must have the courage and humility to follow Jesus, because he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Maria, Mater Ecclesiae, Ora pro nobis,
Maria, Regina Apostolorum, Ora pro nobis.
Maria, Mater Gratiae, Mater Misericordiae, Tu nos ab hoste protege et mortis hora suscipe.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Tit. Archbishop of Ulpiana
Apostolic Nuncio
February 21, 2019
Memorial of St. Peter Damian

Robert Royal's post today:

The coming global storm
by Robert Royal

February 21, 2019

Many people – even many Catholics – who only follow Church matters vaguely, have been puzzled by the Vatican’s conspicuous lack of a sense of urgency about the sexual abuse crisis. Yes, there’s a “summit” on abuse that starts today, but only after months and with a program that looks very carefully stage-managed to keep the most troubling questions at a distance from the Vatican itself.

And it is strange, given that – as many in Rome are certainly aware – instantaneous communications in our digital world make the slow response look less like the Vatican’s usual leisurely procedures and much more like a desire not to know too much – or how high the problem may reach.

But it’s rapidly becoming impossible to keep the lid on. Just two days ago, for example, The Washington Post carried a story about a case in Argentina involving the abuse of minors at an institute for deaf children. An Italian priest, Nicola Corradi, was spiritual director there and later at a similar school in Italy, and along with others abused dozens of underage children for decades.

This story is not entirely new – there had been reports about abuse at the Argentinean school for several months. In many ways, it seemed to be just one more case of sexual exploitation of the vulnerable and a lack of Church oversight.

What is new, however, is quite shocking: “The Italian victims’ efforts to sound the alarm to church authorities began in 2008 and included mailing a list of accused priests to Francis in 2014 and physically handing him the list in 2015.” If the accusations are to be believed – and they seem quite credible on the basis of the Post’s investigative reporting – this means that the pope knew of the abuse of minors, at an Italian school under the supervision of the Vatican. And either he or those who, under his direction, should have acted, did essentially nothing.

That story has been widely circulated in America and victims in Argentina and Italy are now demanding justice – one has even begun a hunger strike. But if you think that it has caused much of a reaction in Italy or in Rome, you would be wrong. And that may be one reason why officials in the Vatican seem to continue to believe that they can manage the revelations that have come out and, no doubt, the others that we will see in the next few days. But they can’t.

It may be difficult for most American Catholics to believe, but there’s little interest about the abuse summit in Italy, or most of Europe, at the moment. The New York Times, in its bigoted anti-Catholicism, may run “news” stories intended to discredit the Church almost every day. But in a way, that’s a backhanded tribute to the fact that even the Times believes that the Church means something and is worth the trouble of attacking.

By contrast, you’d have to work hard to find news about the summit or the abuse crisis in Europe’s mainstream media. There’s been a little interest in a related story that just appeared about the Vatican’s rules about how to handle the children of wayward priests – 50,000 of them according to the Vatican itself. But about the global abuse crisis and the lack of response by figures from the pope on down, all but nothing.

[Late addition: Owing to time changes, this couldn’t be included in the original article, but the BBC, which takes an interest in Britain’s former colonies, is reporting that Mumbai’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias also failed to act on allegations about abuse that were brought to him. Furthermore, Gracias is one of the four main organizers of the summit. And as is the case with Pope Francis, this did not happen in some distant past when policies were different but as recently as 2015.]

An Italian journalist who, though a serious Catholic, has worked at the very highest levels of the secular media here, told me the other day that most Italians are virtual “nihilists” (his term) when it comes to corruption in the Church. They believe that it’s always been that way and always will be. They don’t show anything like the anger and outrage – or simple surprise – that is common in places like America and, increasingly, Latin America.

Italian friends who know the Roman landscape well say that the gay lobby in the Vatican – and the Vatican more generally – continue to exercise a very effective, old-school-style control over Church-related news. And not only locally, but in some of the most prestigious news outlets in Italy.

Vatican officials have for some time made it clear that they believe that, by contrast, the American bishops mishandled the abuse crisis and let things get out of hand in the American press. They even occasionally give the impression that they – and perhaps the pope – think the American bishops are their enemies.

Neither charge is true. In fact, it would be truer to say that the bishops in America have a better – not perfect, but better – grip on the priestly abuse problem now than do bishops in any other country. (Holding bishops accountable, of course, is still unfinished business – and Rome hasn’t much helped with that.)

Their conflicts, such as they are, with Pope Francis mostly stem from the fact that – given constant media exposure, criminal investigations by civil authorities, and demands of justice for victims – they can’t count on media to ignore problems or a largely cynical laity to just go along, as in Europe. They need to act – and be seen to act.

And it’s not only in America that a storm is brewing. Abuse survivors from several continents met yesterday with the organizers of the summit – though not with the pope, a sore point among them. It’s hard to say whether their collective efforts will bring enough pressure to bear on the Vatican that it will break through the logjam. On the whole, you’d have to say: it appears not. But the victims are playing a prominent role now and are not going away.

To really address the problem would mean some painful moments of truth, such as we have experienced in the United States. Corruption this serious would, of course, require that some heads roll (not only McCarrick’s), in the Vatican and elsewhere, and that there be public acts of repentance. But the very general and broad program the organizers have published seems designed to make sure no one in the Vatican will need to lose much sleep.

I’ve been expecting for the last several weeks that there’s going to be some surprise announcement near the end of the summit, some striking move that will dominate news coverage creating the impression that some radical breakthrough has been achieved.

I don’t know exactly what that would be or whether it would be some real step forward or mere window dressing. But just as “synodality” materialized out of nowhere at the end of Synod on Youth, there is probably some plan in place to do something newsworthy to make it appear that the Vatican has turned a corner in dealing with abuse.

It’s hard to believe that that will be really so or that it will convince the victims who have now assumed a public role in holding Church officials accountable at the very highest levels. But keep an eye on those victims. They will provide us with the best insights into what, if anything, has changed.

Not surprisingly, Bergoglio skeptic Donald McClarey is most skeptical...

The Vatican 'dog and pony show'

February 21, 2019

The Vatican Summit on Abuse has released how it is going to proceed:

The summit will operate within a framework of the dominant themes established by Pope Francis. The official program, released Monday, has Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, speaking on the “smell of the sheep” and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta addressing “the field hospital.” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, will speak on “collegiality” in a Church that is “sent out,” while Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago will address “synodality.”

The program puts an emphasis not on policies or procedures, let alone changes to canon law, but on a change in mentality by bishops. The favored themes of the Holy Father are to provide the new directions necessary for tackling sex abuse on a universal level.

The sex-abuse summit thus follows in the same line as the synods on the family and youth, where the emphasis shifted from specific questions of doctrine or moral teaching to the call for a new pastoral approach. The summit takes the view that bishops who think as Pope Francis wishes them to think about their role as shepherds will then do the right thing in tackling sex abuse...

PopeWatch was struck by that last sentence...
Well, if Bishops simply emulate Pope Francis they will do their best to ignore well founded accusations of abuse. Here's a typical example:

I guess the Pope is right about one thing. When he wishes that his Bishops will have the smell of the sheep among them, that seems to be coming true. Many Bishops seem to assume the laity are to be fed off of, abused and given to wolves when expedient. And we are paying for this privilege.

What this joke of a summit actually demonstrates is that the gangsters currently at the helm of Mother Church have absolutely no desire to engage in any meaningful reform that will inconvenience them one iota. As far as they are concerned, the only problem with the status quo is uppity sheep.

What caused fresh alarm to this skeptic - me! - was this headline from today:
....CruxMag: The Opus Dei, Fr. Rosica Comms team for pope’s anti-abuse summit gives reason for hope?
Fr Rosica is on the 'Comms team'? That's your best confirmation that the Bergoglio Vatican found absolutely no problem with his sweeping declaration that this pope is above Scripture and Tradition! That's really shameless unforgivable hubris - for any pope to think he is above Scripture and Tradition. ButRosica merely articulated explicitly what I've been thinking and remarking for along time now- that this pope really thinks he is better than Jesus,and so he corrects, edits or misrepresents his teachings,and does everything in his power to 'demonstrate' that he knows better what the church ought to be than the Lord who instituted her!

I am not exaggerating, because anyone who can google can cite chapter-and-verse of every statement and action whereby Bergoglio has sought to show the world that Christ was nowhere near as wise (or merciful) as his present 'vicar on earth'.

Check out what One Mad Mom from California has to say about the summit program:

Program for disaster!

February 21, 2019

Can we just look at the program for this increasingly obvious waste of time in Rome this week?

The Protection of Minors in the Church


9.30 1st PRESENTATION by Sig. Card. Luis Antonio Tagle:
Smell of the sheep. Knowing their pain and healing their wounds is at the heart of the shepherd’s task
Thirty minutes of a talk we’ve heard before ad nauseum. Stop trying to smell like sheep and maybe listen to them for a change. And I don’t mean your handpicked ones.

10.15 2nd PRESENTATION S.E. Mons. Charles Jude Scicluna:
Church as field hospital. Taking responsibility
Thirty minutes of another talk we’ve heard before. I am intrigued by “taking responsibility” and cannot wait to hear who they are referring to here. I’m afraid of what I might hear, though, because I think I’ve heard multiple times this week the laity is supposed to apologize for clericalism.

11.20 Working Groups
Seventy minutes of working groups.

12.30 Conclusion
Followed by a three and a half hour break! It’s probably needed to help them get over the confusion of why they’re there in the first place.

16.00 3rd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Rubén Salazar Gómez:
The Church in a moment of crisis – Facing conflicts and tensions and acting decisively
Umm, I’m sure this isn’t THE biggest crisis the Church has faced, but “a moment of crisis?” We’ve been talking about this for seventeen years by my count. When is somebody going to to the “acting decisively” thing already?!? I mean, we can’t even agree on what’s caused this, but that’s DEFINITELY not on the agenda for this meeting.

16.45 Coffee break
Twenty minutes to get them through a bunch more themes they’ve heard before.

17.05 Working Groups
Fifty-five whole minutes this time!

Try to control your laughter.

9.15 1st PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Oswald Gracias:
Collegiality: sent together
Thirty minutes because nobody’s ever heard a thing about collegiality. Oh, wait…

10.00 2nd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Blase Joseph Cupich:
Synodality: jointly responsible
Thirty minutes on synodality, which now apparently means everyone is responsible for the mess some have created.

10.45 Coffee break
Twenty minutes to once again try to endure until the end of the charade.

11.05 Working Groups
This one looks like a whopping eighty-five minutes to regurgitate the endlessly repeated themes.

16.00 3rd PRESENTATION Dott.ssa Linda Ghisoni:
Communio: to work together
Thirty minutes to wonder what in the hell the last seventeen years was about.

17.05 Working Groups
Another fifty-five minutes to figure out how to explain this to their flock followed by presentation of it.

It’s going to take me awhile to stop laughing at this title. Seriously, the Vatican has failed so miserably in this area and they’re now going to lead the charge? Okay. One word: Vigano.

9.15 1st PRESENTATION Sup. Gen. Sr. Veronica Openibo, SHCJ:
Openess [sic]: sent out into the world
Thirty minutes on heaven-knows-what, but I can tell there might be problems when you don’t even know how to spell it. And, yes, I’m going there because how much money are we spending on the messaging? Homeschool moms say spelling counts!

10.00 2nd PRESENTATION Sig. Card. Reinhard Marx:
Transparency in a community of believers
Seriously?????? Somebody should have pointed him in the direction of cleaning up the mess in Germany before he attempted to tell the rest of the Church how to do it.

11.05 Working Groups
Eighty-five minutes to talk about how they got stuck with Cardinal Marx.

16.00 3rd PRESENTATION Dott.ssa Valentina Alazraki:
Communication: to all people
I hope it goes something like “Actions speak louder than words,” but I’m reasonably sure this isn’t going to be the message. Talk is cheap and “communication” is even cheaper. It’ll probably have something to do with lists of accused which, apparently, they think is going to make us all feel better about the situation.
[NB: Alazraki is a veteran Vaticanista who has been covering the Vatican for a Mexican TV channel since 1974.]

17.30 Penitential liturgy (Sala Regia)
Can you say photo-op?

So let’s review.
- The heads of the bishops’ conferences got on a plane to Rome to hear four and a half hours of presentations followed by not even six hours of “working groups.”
- People! Some of those bishops took longer to travel there than that!
- For heaven’s sake. Synod on this, that, or the other thing goes on for weeks, and THE biggest crisis in modern Church history gets about eleven hours of work time??? Un-be-lieve-able! And there’s nothing new we haven’t heard to death. If the laity isn’t upset about this crud, there’s NO moving them.

So, sheep, field hospital, crisis, collegiality, synodality, openness (they can’t even spell that one in the program!), transparency, and communication. Holy Father, I think we heard you the first bazillion times you’ve used these themes. Did we really need to waste everyone’s time flying them to Rome for more of the same led by the same old do-nothing people who believe in the status quo?

I am, however, totally happy that the USCCB proposal, which was quashed in October, was on the program. Just kidding. That’s been suspended without a word indefinitely.

I realize that this whole meeting is supposed to be some giant bone but it’s not going to do and we won’t let this die.
- We want the faithful protected.
- We don’t want just a defrocked cardinal and a pat on the head.
- Fix the morality problem in the Church, bolster it with authentic Church teaching, and you just might get somewhere.

We know that’s the problem. It’s always been the problem when the Church has gone through crisis.
- Listen to the doctors of the Church and maybe just try what they said for a change. What a novel thought!
- Drop the politically correct hooey and get back to TRUTH!
- #CupichResignNow

00Thursday, February 21, 2019 11:14 PM
Illinois doctor says Newman miracle
depositions were ‘spiritual experiences’

by Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO, February 19, 2019 (CNS) — When the Vatican announced Feb. 15 that Pope Francis had signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, clearing the way for his canonization, there was rejoicing in Chicago.

The proposed miracle that God worked through the intercession of Newman in 2013 involved a local mother who faced life-threatening complications during her pregnancy but suddenly recovered when she prayed to the English cardinal for help. [The words are poorly chosen as we shall see later. It wasn't that she 'suddenly recovered' - it was that a miscarriage-threatening miscarriage 'immediately stopped' after she prayed for Cardinal Newman's intercession,and then went on to a normalpregnancy and delivery.]

The woman, who declined to comment at this time but said she will share her story with the Chicago Catholic, archdiocesan newspaper, at a later date, lives in the Diocese of Joliet, but, given the resources available in the Archdiocese of Chicago, her case was transferred to the tribunal here for investigation.

Dr. Gerald Casey, the lead medical expert in the local process, said he has been forever changed by the experience.

“It was the most enriching experience of my spiritual life,” said Casey, who lives in Wilmette and attends Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity Parish in Winnetka.

Church law has a process, much like a trial, that it follows when investigating miracles. The woman, her husband, her physician and her spiritual director all were interviewed, or deposed, during the process.

“The true spiritual experience was in the stages of the depositions. I literally cried when we were deposing her. It struck to my very heart, because I could feel a presence that I had never felt before in my life,” Casey said. “It was one thing to read the materials, but it was quite another thing to hear her recitation of what had occurred, not just during that time but in the prior pregnancies and her miscarriages.”

The stay-at-home mother’s pregnancy was considered high risk because she was over 40 and had suffered previous miscarriages. As a result, her doctor ordered blood tests on the baby early on and monitored the pregnancy closely.

She started to bleed during the pregnancy and was diagnosed in spring 2013 with a subchorionic hematoma, a blood clot in the fetal membrane [actually in the placenta, which connects the fetus to the mother's system and through which it is dependent for nutrition until it is born]. The only thing doctors can do for that condition is prescribe bed rest. If the blood clot ruptures, it can result in a spontaneous miscarriage.

Bed rest for a mom with three small children is not so easy, Casey said.

“Then the morning that the event [miracle] occurred, she had gone downstairs, had made her children breakfast and started to bleed more,” he said, reading from notes he took during the mother’s deposition.

She started to hemorrhage and locked herself in the bathroom. She felt she was losing her baby. At that moment she called out, “Cardinal Newman, please stop the bleeding!”

“The bleeding immediately stopped. Immediately,” Casey said.

Afterward, the woman climbed into bed and called her doctor. He told her to come in that afternoon to see him.

“She came in the afternoon and fetal heart tones were normal and she went home. She was able to continue all normal activities for the entire rest of her pregnancy,” Casey said.

She has since gone on to have two more children through normal pregnancies. By all indications, she should have lost the baby.

As part of the process, Casey had two maternal fetal specialists also review the medical records and depositions.

“None of us had ever heard of anything like this occurring,” Casey said.

At no point were Casey or the other doctors asked if a miracle occurred. They only had to answer if there was any known medical explanation for what happened.

Oblate Father William Woestman serves as the promoter of justice in the archdiocese’s tribunal and participated in the canonical investigation of the miracle. He is also author of “Canonization: Theology, History, Process.”

“You could see it was painful for her to talk about what she went through,” Woestman said of the woman. “She was a very impressive person.”

After the local process for the miracle concluded, it was sent to Rome for another series of investigations, he explained. That outcome was revealed Feb. 13.

Saints and miracles are still relevant today, Woestman said, adding that he often thinks of the saints who prayed in Holy Name Cathedral, like Sts. John Paul II, Teresa of Kolkata and Mother Cabrini. He hopes one day Father Augustus Tolton will be added to that list.

“We all want saints we knew,” he said. “We want saints that walked on the same sidewalks we walk on or who breathed the same air we do.”

I can't even begin to express my disgust - and sorrow - over the following articleby's Frank Walker on his blog Stumbling Block, entitled THE CARDINAL NEWMAN PREGANCY MIRACLE ISN'T.
which I will not reproduce here.

Walker has seemed to disparage every miracle attributed to those he calls 'FrancisSaints' because they happen to have been canonized by him. In doing so, he ignores the multiple layers of precautions built into the process of determining whether a miracle has in fact occurred.
- That first, a panel of independent medical experts in the diocese where the supposed miracle took place investigates the case thoroughly to find any medical explanation at all for the 'miracle' and if they can't, they don't say it is a miracle.
- The diocese sends on their findings to the Vatican for the medical experts commissioned by the Congregation for Saints (a different panel for each miracle, depending on its medical nature) to study the case further.
- Even after the Vatican medical panel concurs that there is no medical explanation to be found, they do not declare it to be a miracle because that is not their task. They send on their findings to the Congregation's theologians for that.

Of course, if you were a theologian on that panel, and you have studied the case records as well as the medical opinions, pro and con, based on those case records, what would you call a healing event that is otherwise unexplainable?

What Walker misses - even as he smugly displays a Google set of articles about subchorionic hematomas during pregnancy - is that the miracle was not about the subchorionic hematoma (as someone who has worked more than 15 years in a woman's health practice, I have come to be familiar with such findings and that in general, they resolve spontaneously if the patient follows doctor's instructions) which statistically account for only 17.6% of spontaneous miscarriages.

The miracle in this case began with that 'immediate stop' to an episode of hemorrhage that could have led to another miscarriage for the mother, and that subsequently, everything was normal with her and the baby when her doctor examined her later that day.

But the miracle continued in that she went through the rest of her pregnancy resuming her normal activities - not bed rest as had previously been prescribed - and not only
1) delivered a healthy baby but
2) went on to have two normal pregnancies
- after having had previous miscarriages before the 'miracle' baby, and
- after age 40 (when the chances of getting pregnant are not only down to about 5%, but the risk of miscarriage from age alone at age 40-44 is 50% and at greater than 45, >95%.
In a woman with a history of previous miscarriages,the risk factor increases by 20 percent if she had 2 previous miscarriages and by 40% if she had 3).

Moreover, Walker also disparages Dr Casey for saying he felt he underwent 'the most enriching experience of his spiritual life' while listening to the patient's depositions. No one says lightly,
"I could feel a presence that I had never felt before in my life” if he hadn't truly experienced it. Walker should apologize to Dr Casey for publicly ridiculing him.

00Thursday, February 21, 2019 11:41 PM

During the press conference for the Vatican Summit on Sex Abuse, early Monday, Cardinal Blase Cupich was asked by CNN’s
Delia Gallagher to address whether “part of the problem is that priests, bishops and Cardinals are, themselves, engaged
in illicit sexual behavior and therefore unwilling to denounce each other.”

Cardinal Cupich, who was hand-picked by Pope Francis to lead the organizing committee for the summit, responded. “You are right in saying this is a hypothesis — and a hypothesis has to be proven … and I think that is something that has to remain at that level — as a hypothesis.”

The pope, in turn, went off script and off the cuff yesterday — once more intimating that those who are critical of him or of his bishops are critical “of the Church,” and were “the friends, cousins and relatives of the Great Accuser — the devil.”

This follows the trend of the pope speaking “off the cuff,” especially when high-ranking prelates — such as Archbishop Viganò — openly oppose or correct him on error or the negligence and cover-up of the latest sex abuse scandals.

This time, however, it seems to have been a response to the many members of the public, along with Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller, reacting in disbelief and outrage to what appears to be continued trends of apathy by members of the Catholic hierarchy, including Pope Francis.

Only a few weeks earlier, during an in-flight press conference, Pope Francis was asked to comment on the crisis rocking the Catholic Church. The pope first expressed annoyance at the question before downplaying expectations of the summit’s applicable resolutions. “I permit myself to say that I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation. We need to deflate the expectations to these points that I’m saying, because the problem of abuse will continue. It’s a human problem, but human everywhere.”

Responding to these, and other comments made by the pope during his press conference, I sat down with Ms. Siobhan O’Connor, known for her role as whistleblower in the ongoing investigations in the diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. Her reactions, as one personally and professionally impacted by the ongoing scandals, were grave and filled with pain.

“Certainly we need to have realistic expectations for what a three-day meeting can accomplish with regard to a longstanding, far-reaching crisis,” she said. “But the fact that people — especially Catholics — have such high expectations means that they are invested in the Church and desperately want her to begin climbing out of this well of scandal. We need to have high expectations because the stakes are so high.”

In response to the notion that sexual deviancy will continue, as it is a common “human problem,” Ms. O’Connor said, “It sounds like [the pope has] given up before he even begins in earnest. It’s as though he were saying, ‘We’ll do what we can, but this is always going to be an issue.’ No. This cannot be the Catholic response.”

She continued,

“The ‘problem of abuse’ became chronic in the Church because it was not properly addressed and rooted out.
- Think of all the credibly accused priests who are still receiving diocesan funding and have never been held accountable for their crimes either civilly or canonically.
- Think of all the bishops and chancery officials who knew of these abuses and were or are complicit in the cover-up.

These are ‘problems of abuse’ that the Church absolutely must address and alleviate now and avoid in the future. By casting this as a “human problem,” Pope Francis appears to be lessening the Church’s responsibility to handle it.

This is not simply a matter of concupiscence. We are dealing with crimes, complicit clergy, and cover-ups. The Church must address these ‘problems of abuse’ directly and definitively. Nothing else will suffice. “

Expressing “disbelief” that some bishops remain unaware of the abuse crisis, as seemed to be emphasized by the pope during his three-part answer to the press, Ms. O’Connor continued, “The pope says that ‘some bishops did not understand well’ and need to ‘become aware of what is an abused boy, abused girl.’ This is both confusing and disheartening. What don’t some bishops understand? The nature of the abuse? Its symptoms?”

When asked if “establishing protocols” would have stopped Theodore McCarrick (whose laicization was confirmed by the Vatican last Friday)’s alleged homosexual grooming and abuse of young men and seminarians, O’Connor answered, “No, I do not believe that any number of protocols would have stopped McCarrick’s alleged crimes. We know now that he was a predator capable of incredible deceit and diabolical manipulation. Almost certainly he would not have let protocols stop him.” Continuing, Ms. O’Connor noted, “The Church is not suffering from a dearth of protocols. It is suffering from a lack of supernatural faith, personal holiness and faith-filled courage. By all accounts, McCarrick is a sick man — a sexual predator — and yet he continued to minister publicly and powerfully for decades! We’ve learned that many within the Church were aware of the allegations and rumors against him. How could they permit his behavior to continue? How could they let this abuse perpetuate and destroy lives and vocations? What kind of protocols would have helped?...

“In fact, I can’t imagine this topic being addressed at all, this week — if this summit seems more focused on establishing basic ‘awareness’ than addressing uncomfortable realities. We know that there are many disordered actions for which certain members of the clergy must be held accountable.

Given the tenor of the pope’s airborne remarks, I don’t imagine these disordered actions will be under discussion. It’s much easier to talk about ‘clericalism’ as though the Church has the flu. But the Church has cancer.”

Appealing once again to the pope and members of the hierarchy involved in this week’s summit, Ms. O’Connor pleaded,

“You have spoken of deflated expectations, but it is our hearts and souls that are most deflated. Please do not allow this summit to be one of awareness, protocols, and P.R. sound bites. It must be a time of action, accountability and atonement. Nothing else is acceptable.”

The text of the full interview may be found on:


Little by little, we are getting snippets of what Frederic Martel writes in his nearly 600-page opus crassa (gross work) as I call it. Here is Andrea Gagliarducci:

'In the Closet of the Vatican':
Not much substance

by Andrea Gagliarducci

Vatican City, Feb 21, 2019 (CNA)- “In the closet of the Vatican,” a newly released book by the French author and LGBT activist Frederic Martel, is generating global media attention and discussion among Vatican figures in Rome.

Published Feb. 21, the same day a Vatican summit on sexual abuse and the protection of minors begins, the book is simultaneously launched in 8 languages. Martel says he had 3 years to draft the text, with funds provided to travel and conduct his interviews, and, he says, with the help of about 80 collaborators.

The general thesis of the book is that the Vatican is among the most active hotbeds of homosexuality in the world. Martel has said in interviews that his goal is to shed light on the hypocrisy of those officials in the Vatican who, he says, practice homosexuality and then condemn it.

Martel’s book constructs a dividing line between the good and the bad, those he says are in the closet but working to come out, and those who stay in the closet, often while protesting LGBT social movements.

His is an ideological investigation; his anecdotes are used to advance a thesis that many have called predetermined. His text does not seem to strive for objective analysis, or to make use of sociological research or statistical data.

The book seems to have two additional goals, which, embedded in the presuppositions of the text, might not have been even willfully intended by the author.

The first is to question the nature of the priesthood itself. - At issue is not merely celibacy, Martel seems to argue, but the broader virtue of chastity, since, his perspective seems to hold that sexual impulses among the clergy cannot really be mastered.

The second seems to be advocacy for a transition in the Vatican, one that would excise the old establishment, to establish a new one built according to the spirit of the world. That is, according to a pansexual vision, beyond Catholic moral categories and concerns.

The book must be read as it is. It presents innuendos, but not evidence or documents. It is a gossip-filled, romanticized book, but does not present itself as a scholarly or objective account.

The Vatican has a long history of books like Martel’s, though their quality and utility has varied dramatically over the years.

The first of the genre was “Gone with the Wind in the Vatican,” published under a pseudonym in 1999. The author, later revealed to be long-time curial official Mons. Luigi Marinelli, wrote gossip and innuendo elegantly, without naming names. References were precise, though, and it was easy to discern the targets of his stories. In the end, Marinelli’s book, for what it was, was well-documented.

More recently, books by Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi were filled with Vatican documents, and were at the origins of the second Vatileaks trial. Though the books were filled with imprecision and a sometimes biased reading of the documents, they too were based on documents.

“In the closet of the Vatican” begins with gossip Martel collected in several interviews. The author says he recorded them all, and it would be interesting to listen to the full audio files, in order to contextualize some excerpts.

Martel maintains he was able to enter in the “Vatican’s closet” thanks to codes he understood that helped him to be introduced to this hidden gay world. However, it seems he never got into the Vatican proper, and, when looking at the Vatican from a key-hole, he did so with a negative prejudice.

Some examples:
Martel had a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, in his apartment in the Ethiopian College, a building at the top of the Vatican gardens that is also home to Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, and was the home of the late U.S. Cardinal Edmund Szoka.

Sodano, Martel writes, “is locked up in his African ivory tower, with all his secrets. If the Garden of Eden ever existed, it must be like this little earthly paradise: when I go there, crossing a bridge, I find myself among impeccably tended lawns and fragrant magnolias. It’s a Mediterranean garden, with pines and cypresses and, of course, olive trees. In the surrounding cedars I see purple-headed and mustachioed parrots, elegant and multi-coloured, whose mellifluous voices doubtless wake Cardinal Sodano from his slumbers”. [The more I read samples of Martel's writing, the more my hackles rise at the sheer lavender-scented swishiness of it.]

The description might suggest that all of this “Eden” is part of the Ethiopian College. In fact, these are the Vatican’s gardens, which occupy almost all of the Vatican City State’s territory. The Vatican is the greenest state in the world, and the Ethiopian College is one of the buildings in its gardens.

One of Martel’s guides into the closet of the Vatican is Francesco Lepore, a laicized priest and a Vatican employee at the office of Latin language at the Vatican Secretariat of State. Lepore left the priesthood after discovering his homosexuality.

Telling the story of Lepore, Martel underscored that “on 30 November 2003, the Neapolitan priest joined Domus Sanctae Marthae, the official residence of the cardinals at the Vatican – and the current home of Pope Francis.”

Domus Sanctae Marthae is not the cardinals’ official residence. It is a hotel that also hosts guests who have business with the Holy See. It becomes the cardinals’ residence during the conclave, as determined by St. John Paul II in 1996. Though Pope Francis has also resided there since being elected, Domus Sanctae Marthae still functions as a hotel, and not as a cardinals’ residence.

Martel’s description of the episcopal ordination of Georg Gaenswein is also revealing of the lens through which the author reads the Vatican.

Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, now prefect of the Pontifical Household, Gaenswein was ordained a bishop by Benedict XVI on Jan. 6, 2013. Together with him, Benedict XVI ordained Bishops Vincenzo Zani, Fortunatus Nwachukwu and Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin.

In Martel’s view, that solemn celebration was merely Benedict XVI’s homage to Gaenswein, described in a text filled with innuendos about the relationship between the two.

Martel writes: “Benedict XVI insisted on giving the pastoral ring to His Bavarian Excellency Georg Gänswein in person, in a Fellini-esque ceremony engraved forever on the memory of the 450 statues, 500 columns and 50 altars of the basilica.”

Then, Martel describes the celebration as if all other papal liturgical celebrations are not the same.

“First comes the procession, slow, superb, and choreographed to perfection; the pope with his huge topaz-yellow mitre, standing in a little indoor popemobile, a throne on wheels, travels like a giant the full 200-metre length of the nave to the sound of triumphant brass, beautiful organ sounds and the children’s choir of St Peter’s, straight as unlit candles.”

The little indoor Popemobile was in fact the small wheeled device that Benedict XVI used since 2011 to “alleviate fatigue.”

Martel goes on, saying that “the chalices are encrusted with precious stones; the censers smoke. In the front rows of this new style of episcopal organization, dozens of cardinals and hundreds of bishops and priests in their finest robes provide a palette of red, white and oxblood. There are flowers everywhere, as if at a wedding.”

And yes, Vatican decorations are always like this, as are the ornamental stones on chalices.

Everything is thus seen through a dystopic lens to purvey an ideology.

The book is also filled with stories of cardinals and bishops described as well known homosexuals, sometimes targeted by name but always without reliable sources.

Cardinal Burke is presented as a cardinal who “likes to be spoken of in the feminine: ‘Votre Éminence peut être fière’; ‘Votre Éminence est grande’; ‘Votre Éminence est trop bonne’ (‘Your Eminence can be proud’; ‘Your Eminence is great’; ‘Your Eminence is too kind’).”

The feminine is in fact the “lei,” the Italian formal “you.” It coincides with the third singular feminine person, but has an entirely different meaning, which Martel seems not to understand.

Speaking about the Karadima case – the Chilean abuser priest that Pope Francis dismissed from the clerical state in 2018 – Martel also involves Cardinal Sodano, who was Vatican Secretary of State from 1990 through 2006.

Martel writes: “The reasons that led Sodano (as well as Cardinal Errázuriz, who replaced Sodano as secretary of state in 2006) to protect this paedophile priest remain mysterious.” [Hard to understand how, in four years of producing this book, and with all the Vatican insiders to help him, Martel could perpetrate such elementary errors as what Casa Santa Marta is, or claiming someone was a [fairly recent] Secretary ofState who has never been one at all. Who knows how many such bloopers are contained in his book? And what does this say about him as a journalist at all - let alone an investigative journalist - if he cannot even get simple facts right? Didn'this publishers even give him an editor to fact-check easily checkable facts?

Notably, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa has never been Secretary of State, though he held the position of Secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from 1990 to 1996.

These inaccuracies are mixed with many information taken from press reports and gossip, sometimes presented with the sentence “other sources confirm,” but without in fact giving any real evidence.

Looking at it carefully, the biggest attacks are made against those who cannot defend themselves. It is the case for Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who died in 2008, and was president of the Pontifical Council for the Family from 1990 to his death. Martel targets him because, he says, he was an anti-gay lobbyist though he was a practicing homosexual. He offers neither proof, nor the possibility of defense.

The book presents a Vatican where everyone is gay, and those who are not would like to be.

There are certainly sins and human miseries in the Vatican, and many claim that homosexuality is part of the abuse crisis, and must be discussed.

But the Vatican is not demonstrably a gay state. Alleged homosexuality is often a weapon used in order to stamp out careers. When Pope Francis speaks about the terrorism of gossip, he is speaking about that.

It is striking that Martel initially got in touch with the Vatican’s world through Krysztof Charamsa. Charamsa is the official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who outed himself on the eve of the 2015 Synod on the family, announcing his homosexual relation with a Spanish man.

Martel writes: “The first time I heard the name of Krzysztof Charamsa was in an email, from him. The prelate contacted me when he was still working for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Polish priest had enjoyed, he told me, my book Global Gay, and he asked for my help in communicating through the media his imminent coming out, though he swore me to secrecy on the subject.”

Once Martel verified that account, he did help Charamsa. It was 2015. Shortly after, he began to draft “In the closet of the Vatican.”

And here is James Martin's first review - far from an endorsement, and one of several commentaries in an online symposium about the book on the website syndicate,which announces it will present essays by a variety of persons commenting on Martel's book:

Facts and fictions about gay
priests, bishops and cardinals

[You forget homophile popes', whatever that means]

by James Martin, S.J.

Over the past 20 years, I have reported on the phenomenon of gay priests in the Catholic church, but mainly in the United States.

In the Closet of the Vatican is a reminder that the experience of gay priests may differ from place to place. For I have limited experience with the Vatican, never having lived in Rome and having visited only a handful of times in my Jesuit life.

Frédéric Martel’s book purports to reveal a dark side to the church, specifically that many priests, bishops and cardinals living and working in the Vatican who (according to his research) are not only gay, but also sexually active. His thesis, which he states in the introduction, goes deeper: “The more homophobic a priest is, the greater chance that he will be homosexual” (xiv).

The rest of his 600-page book attempts to support that conclusion. He strives to do so with an impressive amount of research: interviews with 1,500 people – including 41 cardinals, 52 bishops, 45 apostolic nuncios and 200 Catholic priests and seminarians, mainly in the Vatican.

His book attempts to paint a picture of a louche, licentious and libertine culture populated by sexually active priests, bishops who frequent male prostitutes and cardinals who attempt to cover up their unchastity in ruthless ways.

At the top of this ecclesiastical pyramid are the various popes from Paul VI to Francis, who are, according to the book, either clueless or unwitting participants in this culture. The organizing principle of this wide-ranging but often maddeningly diffuse book is to investigate the cultures under each pope from Paul VI to Francis (though, oddly, not in order).

Early on Martel says that his book is not about what he calls “the American practice of ‘naming and shaming’” (xii). Nor is he interested, he asserts, in what he attributes to one group of clerics: “Old cardinals live only on tittle-tattle and denigration” (6).

Yet what prevents his book from presenting a convincing portrait of a decadent culture, despite four years of research, is precisely that. Essentially, it is a book largely about naming and shaming, tittle-tattle and denigration, both of groups and, especially, individuals. To wit:

The Order of Malta? “A mad den of gaiety” (24). The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre? “An army of horse-riding queens” (40). Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is the subject of the author’s special ire: “A Viking bride!” (27). Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is a “drama queen” (50). Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo is a “tacky apostle” (288). St. John Paul II? A man “of great vanity and misogyny” (247).

Much of what he says about the gay subculture in the Vatican may be true. Even if a tenth of the book is accurate, it would be awful: the worst perhaps being his description of a cardinal who enjoyed beating male prostitutes. (Martel’s long chapter on prostitution in Rome, with interviews with not only prostitutes but police officers, is compelling).

Yet one’s ability to rely on the narrator is fatally compromised by the style in which he writes: hard-won research buried under an ocean of gossip, innuendo and what he would call bitchiness. Martel also uses that worst of reporting techniques: imagining, guessing, hypothesizing:

“I guess that Burke is a hero to his young assistant, who must lionize him” (259). “I have a sense that the Jesuit father wants…” (57). Cardinal Gerhard Mueller places a phone call in the author’s presence and though Martel apparently does not speak German, he insinuates that the cardinal is speaking to a lover. When Martel peers into a priest’s bedroom, even his bed is suspect: “A place for a secret rendezvous?” (305). About Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “Did he discover a wound cauterised by chastity?” (427). But Benedict is suspect for other reasons. He likes Mozart, “the most ‘gender theory’ of all operatic composers” (430).

Another technique is his reliance on a skill not available to all reporters. “My gaydar works quite well” (42), he says often. This convinces him that Cardinal Francis Stafford is “probably not homosexual himself” (42).

Likewise, few things escape the author’s predilection for innuendo. Even the most common sign offs and salutations in letters and emails (the kind I use regularly), as when a cleric writes, “Please accept my very best wishes in Christ” are “gushing endearments” and “obsequious” (171). Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwicz, the former secretary to St. John Paul II, invites the author not into his office but into his “lair” (200). (Also, Dziwicz has, we are told, a “greedy and idolatrous eye” 204) Cardinal Zenon Grochelewski is suspect because he “shares the first name of the bisexual hero of The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar” (400).

Added to the innuendo are lines that are outright cruel, out of place in book purporting to be a serious work: “Laughing at Burke is almost too easy!” (26) “Is Bertone an idiot?” (455) About Pope Benedict. “But let’s not misunderstand our queenie” (432). Another man is quoted as being, simply, a “nasty old queen” (506).

Ironically, Martel, a gay man, traffics in gay stereotypes and even slurs. Pope Francis is not among detractors, he’s “among the queens” (xv). As an aside, the book has seemingly been translated by Google Translate. We read of “seminarists” rather than seminarians (35). And my favorite poorly translated (I hope) line: “To say that this document ‘was like a bomb going off’ would be a euphemism crossed with litotes!” (45).

An old trick of reviewers is to point out small flaws to distract from a conclusion with which they don’t agree. So to be fair, his book includes some important information and insights. Martel’s commentary on the Viganò “testimony” is astute: “it mixes up abusers, those who failed to intervene and those who were simply homosexual or homophile [his term for someone sympathetic to LGBT people]” (51). Likewise, his insight that when Pope Francis speaks about duplicity in the Curia, he is referring to homophobic and sexually active gay clerics may explain the force and regularity with which Francis attacks these themes.

But it is nearly impossible to separate the fact from the fiction: the gossipy tone overwhelms the reader, or at least this one. In the end, even after 1,500 interviews, someone is absent: the faithful gay priest. But that is an oxymoron, according to Martel, because the gay priest either opts for the “closet” (which, in his view, means being repressed and/or sexually active) or “the door.” So there are only two options for the gay priest: secretly break his vows or leave the priesthood.

The idea that priests could live their vows of chastity and promises of celibacy with any peace or fidelity is absent from the book, save a few throwaway lines. Even being in favor of chastity (by which he means celibacy, since everyone is called to chastity in their own lives, married or single) is dismissed: “The most fervent advocates of chastity are therefore, of course, the most suspicious” (177). That would include, by way of a partial list, Francis of Assisi, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Mother Teresa.

According to witnesses, he says, faithful gay priests are in the “minority” (417). With this book, however, not only would you not be able to tell, for so relentless is his focus on the evils of the gay priest; but because of his book’s predilection for guesswork and innuendo, you would never be able to know.

Gerald O'Connell reports on the news conference Martel gave in Rome at the presentation of the Italian edition of his book:

Martel book produces
a toxic cloud of suspicion
through gossip and innuendo
but offers little proof

by Gerard O’Connell

February 20, 2019

Frederic Martel, a French sociologist and author of the book In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, boldly told reporters at a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Feb. 20 that “the great majority” of the more than 200 members of the College of Cardinals are homosexual and suggested that many are leading double lives.

While it has been widely reported that, according to the book, 80 percent of the priests working in the Vatican are gay, at the press conference Mr. Martel sought to distance himself from this dramatic allegation. He said the figure was told to him by a priest whom he interviewed for the book. “I do not validate or non-validate this. How can one say?” he told reporters.

Asked by America for proof to justify his assertion that “the great majority” of cardinals in the church today are homophiles, Mr. Martel offered no pertinent reply.

A central thesis of his book is that cardinals and bishops who make the strongest condemnations of homosexuality are more likely to be gay themselves; he describes this as part of their attempt to cover up who they really are.

Writing in a tabloid manner, Mr. Martel reports what his various sources told him about this or that Vatican prelate or cardinal. Having told these stories over many pages, he sometimes adds: “Of course one cannot be certain that this is exactly the case.” Such awkward qualifications raise a question of basic journalistic ethics: Why does he write something that casts suspicion or calls into question the integrity of so many persons without providing solid proof?

Nobody can doubt that there are gay priests working in the Vatican, just as there are gay people in almost any international organization of a comparable size. But to report — as Mr. Martel does, based on what others have told him and or what he believes he has himself observed or deduced during his investigation — that roughly 80 percent of Vatican staff are gay and to imply, as he does, that many are leading double lives certainly raises questions of credibility and verification.

Mr. Martel said a 300-page document that includes sources, notes and unpublished chapters would be made available online on the book's publication day.

The toying with the figure of 80 percent reveals one of the fundamental weaknesses of this book of 550-plus pages. It will be released in eight languages (including English) in 20 countries on Feb. 21, the day Pope Francis opens the Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the church.

Questioned about this timing, Mr. Martel sought to downplay the financial benefits gained from launching the book on a day when the international media will be focused on the Vatican.

Instead he argued that there is a connection between the book and the summit, which is to be found in the Vatican’s culture of secrecy. He claimed that, especially since the time of Pope Paul VI, Vatican culture has not only covered up the homosexuality of cardinals and bishops but also led many of them to protect abusers of minors because they did not want their own sexual histories to be revealed.

Mr. Martel presented the Italian edition of the book, called Sodoma, at today’s press conference. He claimed that during his research for the book, he conducted some 1,500 interviews over four years with a variety of persons connected to the Vatican in 30 countries, including the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and the Vatican City State. He said those interviewed included 42 cardinals, 52 bishops or prelates, 27 gay priests, no less than 45 Holy See diplomats and foreign ambassadors and 11 Swiss Guards, as well as male prostitutes and former Vatican employees who no longer work in the ministry and are living openly gay lives. He recorded the interviews and was assisted by some 80 researchers, translators, local journalists or “fixers” and — perhaps most significantly, given that he often walks a fine line that risks sliding into defamation —some 15 lawyers in different countries.

He told the press that “only a gay person” could have written this book, as only he could “understand the codes and the system” of gay life in Rome; a heterosexual “could not.” He denies the existence of “a gay lobby” in the Vatican but affirmed that there is “a great silent majority of homosexuals” living in isolation like “monads” there.

He asserts that there is “a lie” at the heart of the Vatican system, where the great majority of priests are gay, and said that “by imposing celibacy and chastity [on priests], the church has become sociologically homo-sexualized.” He claims his investigation “uncovered” a gay subculture in the Vatican and in the world’s episcopates.

Mr. Martel’s book raises many questions, but it also produces a toxic cloud of suspicion over many cardinals, bishops and priests that will be difficult to dissipate or neutralize. He told the press that he is not targeting individuals but is only aiming at a fraudulent system, and yet he admits that he does “out” the late Colombian Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, citing evidence that he was a practicing homosexual, as well as the nuncio in Paris, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, and some others.

Mr. Martel said that the real “villain” of his book is the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, who served as nuncio in Chile for 10 years during the Pinochet dictatorship and later as secretary of state to John Paul II. He charges that the cardinal “knew all about the abuse cases” in Chile, regarding Fernando Karadima; in Mexico, regarding Marcial Maciel; in Peru, about the Sodalicio; and in the United States, regarding the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He argues that Cardinal Sodano “should be investigated by the Vatican judicial authorities.”

He alleges that Pope John Paul II was homophobic and surrounded by closeted gay men who issued many anti-gay statements.

Mr. Martel also takes aim at the Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II’s private secretary, who he says was deeply involved in those cases.
- He alleges that Pope John Paul II was homophobic and surrounded by closeted gay men who issued many anti-gay statements.
- He describes Pope Benedict XVI as “a repressed homophile.”
- But he defends Pope Francis, whom he sees as surrounded “by queens” and caught in a trap, attacked by right-wing forces that seek to link homosexuality to pedophilia.
Mr. Martel strongly denies this link, pointing to the fact that so many girls have also been abused.

Pope Francis has recently been accused of covering up Mr. McCarrick’s abuses. But Mr. Martel charges that, like Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of state under Pope Benedict XVI, also knew of Mr. McCarrick’s abuses. He noted that Pope John Paul II promoted Mr. McCarrick and gave him the red hat. He charges that, along with Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul knew about the abusive behavior of Mr. McCarrick, as did Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has “a homophile psychology and belongs to that pro- gay current that he denies.”

In this book, Mr. Martel, who says he was a Catholic up to the age of 12 and has since been attracted to left-wing Catholicism in France, calls into question the integrity not only of many people, including cardinals, bishops, other prelates and popes, but also of the church.

If you like gossip, anecdotes, salacious stories and innuendo about people in high places in the church, then you will probably like this book. But if you are looking for hard evidence, documentation, separation of fact from assumption or other forms of proof to sustain the allegations or claims being made in this text, then you will be disappointed.

It will be worse than wasting your money on those tabloids at the supermarket checkout.
Surely, Dante identified a place in hell for tawdry cheapo scandalmongers like Martel who live to titillate-
themselves first of all, as well as others.

An 'exposé' of high-ranking gays in the Church
bears the fingerprints of the Pope’s closest advisors

Team Francis are playing a nasty game in encouraging
this attack on their conservative enemies

by Damian Thompson

February 23, 2019

The publication of In the Closet of the Vatican by the French gay polemicist Frédéric Martel has been meticulously timed to coincide with Pope Francis’s ‘global summit’ of bishops to discuss the sexual abuse of minors. The book appeared in eight languages on Thursday morning, just as the gathering began. It is being hyped as a ‘bombshell’ that will ‘blow apart’ the summit.

We shall see. Certainly many Catholic priests are more interested in Martel’s exposé than in Francis’s initiative. The author spent four years researching the subject of high-ranking gays in the Catholic church. Forty-one cardinals spoke to him. That seems brave, given that Martel is an LGBT campaigner and some of those cardinals are thunderous opponents of the gay lobby. They must have been worried that they’d be stitched up if they refused. Also, some of them presumably wanted to find out what dirt he had on them.

Meanwhile, the book bears the fingerprints of Francis’s closest advisors, presumably acting without his knowledge. [But doesn't this pope always boast that he knows everything that happens in the Vatican? Martel says that in the four years it took him to gather material for his book, he lived in the Vatican one week every month at a residence or residences facilitated by no less than Bergoglio's owm landlord, in effect (papal pet Mons Ricca, who manages Casa Santa Marta and two other Vatican hotels in Rome). For Bergoglio not to have heard about the Martel project at all is like Kevin Farrell claiming he did not even hear the slightest rumor about his ex-roommate Ted McCarrick's proclivities!] I don’t know why they allowed Martel to publish his book now, when it can only embarrass the Pope. I do know that they are playing a nasty game. [Perhaps because they knew Martel was predisposed to make Bergoglio the 'hero' of the book because of his gay-friendly but most un-Popelike 'Who am I to judge'???]

More of that in a minute. You must be wondering, like all those priests who’ve pre-ordered the book on Amazon, precisely what Martel reveals. That’s difficult to answer, because he’s not into providing proof. He prefers insinuation — not just a soupçon but great dollops of it, with a side dish of cod psychology.

So Benedict XVI is a repressed homosexual, he theorises, because his ‘emotional tendencies’ point in that direction and he likes operas featuring ‘androgynous figures’. Martel also has suspicions about Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Gerhard Müller and just about any prelate who has challenged Francis.

We’re given a taste of his methodological rigour when he visits Müller, the German theologian whom Francis sacked as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for voicing concerns at the pontiff’s DIY theology. The conversation is interrupted by a phone call. Müller takes it ‘without apologising’, and starts speaking,

...assuming an affected pose: now he has manners. He starts talking in German, in a perfumed voice… If I didn’t have a man in front of me — a man who had taken a vow of chastity — and if I didn’t hear echoing down the line a baritone voice, I would have understood it to be an intimate call.

There are many passages like this. They suggest that Martel is, to put it charitably, an odd fish. He is besotted with Rimbaud, sleeping beside a volume of his poetry, and the generation of tortured French gay artists and intellectuals who followed him. He presses a ‘white volume’ (he won’t say what it is) into the hands of his interviewees. On almost every page he outs himself as a raging bore.

He’s more than an odd fish, though. He’s a menace, because he hasn’t bothered to equip himself with basic theological knowledge. [Nor simple facts a good journalist should have at his fingertips, from what other reviewers have said.] He assures us that Cardinal Burke regards homosexuality as ‘a grave sin’. No, he doesn’t, because the church teaches that it is homosexual acts that are sinful, not the disposition. Martel then spends pages ridiculing Burke’s (admittedly lavish) clerical attire. [Is Thompson now against 'lavish clerical attire'? The garments Burke wears for the traditional Mass are no more lavish than centuries of priests have worn as a way to honor the Lord. Maybe he means the cappa magna, which only a few traditional cardinals have worn in our time - the other one I can think of is Cardinal Pell. But surely the cassocks and clergyman attire Burke wears normally cannot be considered lavish.] He won’t let go of the idea that traditionalist clergy dress like women.[And all their acolytes with them. Anyone who wears choir dress with lace trim and embroidery? More fool he!][/DIM] He even consults a drag queen, who diagnoses a ‘fluid and queer’ gender identity.

I know why the Pope’s hardline allies, known as Team Francis, indulged Martel.They wanted a hit job on their conservative enemies; he was writing this book and they saw their chance. But, since the would-be assassin knew so little about the church — he seems to think that only bishops are addressed as ‘monsignor’ — they had to guide his hand, not just towards Burke et al but away from the Pope.

Thus Martel goes to Argentina to write about Francis’s background, but not all of it: the allegation that he covered up child abuse there ‘lies outside the scope of this book’, he has claimed. Likewise, conveniently, the alleged wrongdoings of the Pope’s close ally Cardinal Maradiaga.

Unfortunately for Team Francis, they have landed themselves in The Pink Panther rather than The Day of the Jackal. Edward Fox’s assassin may have narrowly failed in his mission, but at least he didn’t hit the wrong target. Martel’s Inspector Clouseau accidentally wounds the Supreme Pontiff — by revealing that, according to the Pope’s own entourage, Francis knew about the sins of ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick years ago and chose to do nothing.

That is really the only story in this book. [Which only Marco Tosatti picked up, among all the early readers that included Roberto De Mattei.] It’s true that Martel confirms that the Vatican is full of gossipy queens, most of whom stare at waiters’ bottoms and some of whom have sex with young men. But I ty'hink we knew that already.

Book on Vatican ‘Sodom’:
Take it with 'a pillar of salt'

It's a distraction from the real problems
the Church needs to deal with

By the Editors

February 21, 2019

On the very eve of the Feb. 21-24 summit convened by Pope Francis to discuss the global sex-abuse crisis, media attention was diverted to the release of a new book with the provocative title, "In the Closet of the Vatican. Subtitled “Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy” and written by French author and homosexual activist Frédéric Martel, the book purports to be a bombshell exposé on the massive homosexual subculture at the Vatican. “The Vatican,” Martel claims, “has one of the biggest gay communities in the world.”

Every page is filled with vicious innuendo, lurid details conjured up about the supposed sex lives of Vatican officials — including prominent cardinals and archbishops — and wild claims of hypocrisy and dark secrets. Virtually no one connected with the Holy See is spared, including modern popes.

Martel tries very hard to accuse Pope Benedict XVI of being a homosexual on the basis of externals — his red shoes and chubby cheeks — and he warns that Pope Francis knows about the massive homosexual colony behind the walls of the Vatican.

While the claim of the immense investigative operation, which the author says took him up to four years, led him to 30 countries and was facilitated by 80 “researchers” (most of whom also identify as homosexual), begs the immediate question of who funded it, the even more pressing problem with the book is the shoddy and nasty quality of the research that was produced. Most of his claims are not backed by any verifiable evidence.

Does Martel reveal some likely true details about a “gay mafia” in the Vatican? Yes, he does. But that is hardly a shocking discovery, as the presence of active homosexual priests in the Vatican is nothing new.

What makes this book, published in eight languages no less, so problematic, however, are its agenda and its timing.

Make no mistake, Martel’s sensationalist exploration into depravity and hypocrisy has an agenda.

At the very moment calls abound from the faithful for greater clarity in Church teaching on the moral life as an antidote to the rampant confusion within the Church and also to the clergy sex-abuse crisis, Martel — an atheist whose professional work focuses on the promotion of the “LGBT” agenda — asserts that any Church leader who speaks out against homosexuality is a self-loathing homosexual hypocrite. It is a toxic and factually unfounded assertion intended primarily to overturn the Church’s divinely inspired teachings on sexuality, but it is also a diabolically timed distraction.

Rampant infidelity to the teachings of the Church and a deformed understanding of the priesthood helped lead us into the abyss we are facing now, and Martel’s prurient exercise disguised as “journalism” points to a horrifying symptom of a bigger sickness.

Unleashed at the very start of the summit on sex abuse, and in the midst of the Church’s struggle with credibility and charges of secrets, cover-ups and hypocrisy in the clergy sexual-abuse crisis, the book is a distraction built upon gossip and insinuation that steers us away from the real road of reform and renewal for the Church.

That real path includes learning the expansive truth about the Theodore McCarrick scandal, holding the complicit bishops accountable and dealing fully with the crisis of predatory homosexuality and other types of sexual exploitation and the secrecy that have surrounded this sexual abuse and misconduct.

Even after the laicization of former cardinal McCarrick by Pope Francis became public Feb. 16, many questions still remain about that entire sordid scandal.

The Holy See pledged to release its findings, but it has obdurately opposed the release of all documents that might reveal at last who knew what about him, how he wielded so much power and for so long, and how he was apparently rehabilitated in the early years of Pope Francis’ pontificate. Until those questions are answered, this scandal will never truly be brought to a close.

Likewise, the Martel book is already being used to shut down conversations about the problem of predatory homosexuality among the root causes of the current crisis. For example, Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, wrote, “Whatever Martel’s intent, In the Closet of the Vatican may be less a constructive reckoning than a stockpile of ammunition for militant right-wing Catholics who already itch to conduct a witch hunt for gay priests, many of whom are exemplary — and chaste — servants of the Church.” Similar sentiments have been pushed by activists such as journalist Andrew Sullivan and Jesuit Father James Martin.

To deal with the crisis fully, every root cause must be looked at by the leaders of the Church, and the numbers are overwhelming that homosexuality is a component. In a Feb. 18 interview in El Pais, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and a key figure in the summit, noted, “There has been a constant since 2001 regarding the sexual abuse of minors committed by Catholic clergy: 80% of the victims are male and over 14 years old. It is a fact; interpretation is something else.”

There is no call for a purge or pogrom against same-sex-attracted priests. There must be, however, a call for solutions to the crisis that deal with the stark and painful reality facing the Church — a reality that prominently includes homosexual predation and double lives. Obfuscation, distraction, denial and refusing to look at every cause will only prolong the suffering and delay a full resolution to the darkest scandal in the modern history of the Church. Among the distractions is In the Closet of the Vatican.

Martel’s work is a modern equivalent of the horrid scene of the triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony, a painting by the early-16th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch — a tableau of the grotesque, the alluring and the distracting. The sins the painting depicts are all too real, but the great Desert Father understood that gazing at the images for too long would draw his eyes from Christ. Anthony held firm in prayer, in the determination to root out the darkness and sin in his own life.

We, too, need to be conscious of sin and depravity, but also to turn away from the allure of the Tempter. Like Anthony, we also need to pray — for victims and sinners, including ourselves — and to be fearless in our trust in the Lord.

St. Anthony once said, “I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get through from such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility.’”

The way forward is before us.

00Friday, February 22, 2019 7:51 PM
So, as the Church observes the Feast of Peter's Chair today, here is some news that ought to make its present occupant uneasy, to say the least, but it probably won't because he has weathered similar things before - and come out relatively unscathed, at least as far as his fanatic followers and much of the worldwide media are concerned...

As pope’s abuse summit rolls on,
two cases make waves in Argentina

by Inés San Martín
Rome Bureau Chief

February 22, 2019

ROME - As a Vatican summit on the protection of children from clerical sexual abuse rolls on, in Pope Francis’s native Argentina two cases of priestly sexual misconduct close to him continue to develop.

In one of those cases, a criminal court has ruled that the DNA profile of Father Julio Cesar Grassi, sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse and corruption of minors, will be incorporated into the National Registry of Genetic Data linked to crimes of a sexual nature. [Grassi is the priest in whose behalf Bergoglio commissioned four books of 'defense' which was presented - in vain - to an appeals court to oppose Grassi's sentencing by a lower court for sex abuses. I have not had a chance to look into what could have made Bergoglio do that but he obviously had enough faith in Grassi's 'innocence' as to have gone to that that unprecedented extreme! But this was the case highlighted by Der Spiegel last year and illlustrated by a video clip from a German documentary made on 2017 which showed a TV crew asking now-pope Bergoglio about his 'defense' of Grassi and he denied it bluntly.]

Another involves Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, with newly leaked internal Church documents raising questions about when the Vatican knew of allegations against the former prelate of the northern diocese of Oran wIo was given a position in the Vatican by Francis in 2017, two years after charges of sexual misconduct were reportedly raised.

Zanchetta is accused of sending intimate photos from his phone, harassing seminarians by entering their rooms at all hours of the night, and also of financial mismanagement.

Documents published [yesterday, 2/21/19] by El Tribuno of Buenos Aires indicate that the pictures show him fully naked and touching himself. They made their way to Rome, where Zanchetta reportedly managed to convince the pontiff that they were fake.

Zanchetta has been removed from his Vatican post pending a Church investigation, and he also faces a criminal case in Argentina for sexual abuse as a result of a judicial complaint filed a few days ago, after reports about the photographs found in his phone were made public.

The first internal allegations against the bishop were made in 2015, after his secretary found the pictures on the bishop’s phone while he was downloading the images. A year later, three of his vicars and two monsignors made a formal complaint to the papal representative in the country, Swiss Archbishop Paul Emile Tscherrig, due to Zanchetta’s “improper behavior with seminarians.”

According to those reports, Zanchetta would “watch seminarians in their rooms at night with a flashlight, ask for massages, go into their rooms and sit on their beds, encourage them to drink alcoholic beverages, and had certain preferences for those who were more attractive.”

According to one report, the compromising images were given on a pen drive to Cardinal Mario Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, while a second report, from 2016, was given to the papal representative. However, according to both, the Vatican had the pictures in 2015 and showed them to Zanchetta.

The second document also claims that Zanchetta didn’t report the sale of two properties worth a million dollars because, “according to the bishop, His Holiness personally suggested that he withhold the information to prevent the diocese from being considered as 'less needy.”

Zanchetta was brought to Rome to work in APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which among other things, administers the Vatican’s real estate properties.

Upon his return from Rome in 2015, Zanchetta reportedly told his secretary, the layman who found the pictures, that they were a “photomontage,” but the layman didn’t believe him. The prelate allegedly said it was good that the pictures had made their way to Rome because he had “strong shoulders to stand on” for support, presumably meaning Francis. [The El Tribuno story says the rest of the statement was "...and I can get away with it".]

The two have known each other a long time, and then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was once Zanchetta’s spiritual director.

Grassi was convicted in 2009 on two charges of aggravated sexual abuse and corruption of minors of a boy from the Felices los Niños Foundation [Happy Children], through which he run homes for foster children and soup kitchens.

The Supreme Court of Buenos Aires confirmed the sentence in 2016.

The registry, which depends on the National Ministry of Justice, was created in July 2013 and incorporates all personal data of people convicted of sexual crimes.

In 2010, when he was president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, Bergoglio commissioned a four-volume, 2,000-page study that concluded Grassi was innocent, his victims were lying, and the case never should have gone to trial.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio wasn’t Grassi’s bishop and bore no direct responsibility for him, since Grassi came from another diocese. But in 2006, the future pope was quoted by the now-defunct Argentine magazine Veintitres as saying the accusations against Grassi were “viciousness against him, a condemnation by the media.” [DIM=pt][Bergoglio's reflexive manner of denial, apparently, because this was his same reaction to the charges against Barros, from 2015-2018.]

Despite the civil court ruling, Grassi has not been defrocked.

I had thought Marco Tosatti was the only one who picked up on the El Tribuno story - which was opportunely [perhaps even opportunistically] published the day Bergoglio's abuse summit opened. But I see that AP which reported on the Zanchetta case when it broke open last January hasn't picked up yet. In any case, I am posting here Marco Tosatti's account which contains images of the internal document referred to.

The headline and subtitle are rather blah, and misleading in the end: "New documents in the Zanchetta case implicate the Church: They idnciate that the Vatican knew about the charges against the ex-bishop before giving him a new position. He is accused of sexual abuses and economic mismanagement with the 'support' of the pope" [The documents indicate the pope's support was given explicitly to Zanchetta's unreported sale of diocesan properties, not to his sexual misconduct, obviously, except implicitly.]

The first paragraph of the Tribuno story says:

Internal Church documents show that Church authorities, including Pope Francis, knew about the denunciations for sexual abuse and ecomomic mismanagement against the now ex-Bishop of Oran, Gustavo Zanchetta, before he was given a high post at the Vatican created especially for him by the pope so he could live in Rome [away, presumably, from his denouncers and accusers in Argentina].

The pope knew about Zanchetta's
problems but promoted him anyway

by Marco Tosatti
Translated from

February 22, 2019

From Argentina, we have a report about five priests who claim that the Vatcan and the pope had known since 2015 about Mons. Zanchetta - through the bishop's own selfies showing him nude and 'masturbating' - and who has now been judicially charged with sex offenses.

Despite which, one month after his surprise resignation in 2017 as Bishop of Oran in northern Argentina [apparently on the heels of more accusations, including financial misdeed], the pope named him to an important position in the Vatican [one he created especially for him].

But even as recently as a few days ago, the Vatican continued to insist that the pope first heard of the accusations only last autumn.

Zanchetta sent intimate photos of himself from his cellphone, seduced seminarians, did not register his sale of two important diocesan properties, and managed diocesan funds improperly at his discretion, it s claimed in the first formal denunciation to Church authorities by five prominent priests of Oran, in a document which El Tribuno obtained.

The Argentine newspaper - which had been the first to break the news on the Zanchetta case - published a ocument that shows how some bishops including the Cardinal Primate of Argentina, the Vatican nuncio to Argentina, and Pope fFrancis himself had known since 2015 of the case of the ex Bishop of ran against whom a case of sexual abuse has been formally filed b his victims in his former diocese.

From photographs of a narrative from 2016, signed by five priests, three of whom were former diocesan vicarns, it is clear that Gustavo Zanchetta was accused not oly of having had on his cellphone obscene photographs of homosexual sex, but also of molesting seminarians, failing to register the sale of an important diocesan property and mismanagement of both the finances and the personel of the diocese of Oran.

El Tribuno obtained a copy of the account and published photographs of the document yesterday. It shows how Zanchetta’s sexual activity was discovered accidentally through nude photographs of Zanchetta and other men in very explicit sexual situations.

One of Zanchetta's lay secretaries in the archdioesan office came across them while he was downloading photos of church activities from Zanchetta’s cellphone at the latter’s own request. [We have here a prelate more ‘forgetful’ even than Kevin Farrell who does not even realize he handed over compromising evidence when he asked his assistant to download the photographs into the diocesan computer.]

The assistant then informed other authorities, first of all, the diocesan vicar general, who shortly afterwards, brought this to the attention of Mons. Marcelo Colombo, emeritus bishop of Oran; the Archbishop of Salta Mario Cagnello; the Primate of Argentina, Mario Poli (Archbishop of Buenos Aires, former vicar of Bergoglio, who named him his successor shortly after he became pope); the Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina, and through him, to Pope Francis himself,.

In Octoer 2015, Zanchetta was urgently called to Rome - and everyone in the diocese thought it had to do with the family synod that year, because of the strong ties between the pope and Zanchetta since Bergoglio had been president of the Argentine bishops conference and Zanchetta was its secretary.

Zanchetta then returned to Oran without anything made public about what he did in Rome. But it was later inferred that he had been confronted by the pope about the photographs and he had claimed that they were ‘faked’.

In 2016, three of Zanchetta’s vicars and two monsignors presented the internal denunciation published by El Tribuno to the Nunciature. Thed ocument also testifies to ‘strange’ behavior by Zanchetta with diocesan seminarians whom he met with without the knowledge or presence of the seminary rector, who visited their rooms at night using a flashlight, asked them to give him massages, sat with them on their beds, encouraged them to drink alcohol, and showed a preference for those who were more ‘attractive’.

But this account apparently had no visible effects for Zanchetta. Nor did another account in 2017, when presumed cases of sexual abuse of seminarians started to emerge.

It was then that Zanchetta suddenly ‘abandoned’ his diocese [it was found out later, he left for Spain] but no church investigation was initiated nor any charges formally made. Instead, it turned out in December 2017 that he had ended up in the Vatican, where the pope had created for him a previously non-existent position at the APSA (Administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See) where he effectively became the #2 man. He also took up residence at Casa Santa Marta [which is a residential the hotel for prelates and priests who work in the Vatican or are visiting the Vatican on official business].

The account begins: [uote]“On April 20, 2016, at 12 noon, in the city of San Ramon de Nueva Oran, there was a meeting among the vicars general, Monsignors Gabriel Acevedo and Juan José Manzano,; the rector of the John XXIII seminary, Mons. Diego Pietro Calvisi.. in compliance with a request from His Excellency Mons. Paul Emile Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio of His Holiness in Argentina..."

The document, written at the request of Tscherrig, is proof that the Vatican knew of the accusations against Zanchetta since 2015, which therefore gives the lie to Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti’s statements that the Vatican has only known about ‘the Zanchetta case’ in the last few months. [One would assume Tscherig did not keep the account to himself but passed it on to the Vatican – but who in the Vatican? The pope’s men can always claim it was never passed on to the pope himself.]

The account states that on September 22, 2015, Luis Diaz, an administrative secretary of the diocese of Oran, said that by accident, he found ‘selfies’ of Zanchetta ‘nude and masturbating’ on the bishop’s own cellphone, when the bishop asked him to download some photographs of church activities into the diocesan computer.

It appeared to him that the photographs had been sent on from the phone by the bishop. He also said he found pornographic material which appeared to have been sent to the bishop but which the latter had not erased.

Diaz having notified other authorities in the diocese, they reached out to the emeritus bishop of Oran, Marcelo Colombo, who sent them to the Archbishop of Salta, Mario Cagnello.

“Realizing the seriousness of the situation, with Mons. Zanchetta being a personal friend of the pope, Mons Cagnello decided to communicate this to the Cardinal primate of Argentina, Mons.Mario Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, ans asked one of his aides to call the Nunciature to inform them that Cagnello had possession of very serious private information about the Bishop OF Oran”.

In October 2015, Zanchetta was called to Rome, where he presumably met with the pope [who asked him about the photographs and to whom he claimed that the photographs were faked.” The witnesses write, “It is quite clear that the images were not ‘photoshopped’ as Zanchetta claimed when he came back fom Rome, because everything seen on the images – the sheets, the bed, the wardrobe - are those that are in his bedroom”

Diaz, who had ofund the selfies, also made a signed statement that the photographs were not faked, and that Zanchetta thought after his visit to Rome that he had the support of the pope. He told Diaz that he was shown the selfies by the pope but that “it was not important because he had strong shoulders to ear the weight for him and get away with it”.

Diaz says Zanchetta also said that “Fortunately, the photogrpaphs did not pass through the Nunciature but were sent directly to Rome” where he said he had the personal support of the pope, as well as that of the Cardinal Primate, Poli.

The second denunciation made in 2017 was supplemented by letters from some seminarians. El Tribuno says that once again, Zanchetta went to Rome to see his ‘spiritual father’ but this time to tell him, in effect: “Yes, I have a disease and I need treatment, so I am resigning as bishop". And the pope reportedly told him: “We will get you cured, but I think you are unable to govern anything. So resign”.

One month later, he created the position in APSA for Zanchetta, who, a few days ago, had a private audience with the pope who suspended him from his APSA position. But now the criminal charge presented against him in Argentina presents new problematic scenarios, even in the diplomatic sense.

The document published by El Tribuno:

I had translated Tosatti's article before I saw the entire Tribuno article which I would like to translate in full.. later.

For now, suffice it to say that the protective armor automatically mobilized by the media panzer brigade in defense of Bergoglio will probably keep out these embarrassing news from stealing the spotlight from his dog-and-pony show of an abuse summit.

Which is the ultimate paradox because one of the guiltiest - if not the guiltiest - at least prima facie - of bishops who have abused their power in protecting and covering up for abusive priests is the current Bishop of Rome himself, who is being exempted from public scrutiny by the media.

Because, of course, Bergoglio as miscreant, as anything but holy and wise and good and merciful, as well as being the victim of 'conservative' Catholics . is not at all part of the narrative they have purveyed for the past six years.

Fr H on Bergoglio-style cronyism... Why, one might ask, do the cronies Jorge Bergoglio appears to have leant backwards for - at the risk of is own reputation - all happen to be 'same-sex' offenders? I am sure the Bergogliacs have an 'evangelical' answer to that: 'Because, like Jesus, this is a man who chooses to sit down with sinners".[/B] Fine, sitting down with them, yes, even dining with them. But to condone their sins and even shelter them from answering for their sins? That's sinful i itself and not even Christian,aint'it?

A man is known by
the company he keeps

February 22, 2019

...We don't really need Aesop any more, now that we have PF. With resolute consistency, he proves Aesop's maxim up to the hilt. And he does it with crony after crony. Just one example. Courtesy of Mr Henry Sire, Knight of Malta, author of the ground-breaking The Dictator Pope, hear now the Fable of Bishop Juan Carlos Maccarone [Bergoglio's Argentine McCarrickone, long before McCarrick was exposed for what he is/was[:

"Bergoglio made [Maccarone] an auxiliary bishop at the beginning of his tenure [as Archbishop of Buenos Aires] in 1995. In 2005, Maccarone was dismissed from the episcopate by Pope Benedict after he was filmed having sexual relations with a homosexual prostitute in the sacristy of the cathedral. Yet Cardinal Bergoglio publicly defended him, asserting that the filming was a set-up to bring the bishop down because of his left-wing political commitment. Maccarone, it is worth noting, declared that everyone was aware of his homosexual activities and he had been appointed bishop regardless of them."

[Quite the Bergoglian m.o. when dismissing sex-offense accusations against his cronies and/or pets: "It's a set-up, it's rigged, it's calumny in order to bring him down"...BTW, McCarrickone was his auxiliary bishop in BA and was dismissed by B16 from the episcopate, yet Bergoglio has been bragging that he never had an cases of clerical sex abuse in BA - not clerical perhaps, but episcopal which is worse. ]

A biographer might assemble into a stable pattern various recurrent features of PF's relationships:
- his appalling selection of cronies;
- his tendency to keep them in his service even when their failings have attracted public notoriety; and,
- when this is not possible, how he either gives them a different sinecure or
- rewards them with hyperbolic marks of his favour and esteem.

The other side of the Bergoglian coin is that when the favour of cronydom is offered to someone, as it was to Cardinal O'Malley, and he fails to measure up, the world suddenly becomes a much colder place.

Thank goodness Cronyism and Corruption are not identical.

On the first two days of his abuse summit, so far it's been 2 for 2 - these public topical rehashings, with new details, of sex abuse scandals involving Jorge Bergoglio.
On Day 1 - the complaints about abusive priests at the Provolo-Argentina home for deaf children, complaints which, by all accounts, Bergoglio simply ignored.
On Day 2- two scandals actually, that of Julio Grassi, and that of Gustavo Zanchetta. I wonder if anything is coming on Day 3 or Day 4...

And still he stands there in the Vatican synod hall, purporting to lead a meeting that will help clean up the image of the church after the genuine skandolon that clerical and episcopal sex-related have generated...

All of a sudden, I am seeing a symbolism in the weird 'fashion' statement of a pope who insists on wearing black pants which, when seen as they usually are through the white papal cassock, is rather unsightly. It's like manifesting an unconscious impulse to display the blackness behind his "Holiness' facade. Even if Esquire magazine, abandoning all its usual standards in a fit of me-too papolatry, and without the slightest irony, named him Most Elegant Man of the Year in 2013! Of course, I am extremely biased... But what do you think?

P.S. I find it remarkable that none of Bergoglio's biographers - certainly not Austin Ivereigh nor Paul Vallely, the two Englishmen who wrote well-reviewed biographies in praise of the Argentine pope - have come up to offer some refutation or explanation of the many sex-abuse cover-ups so far attributed to Bergoglio during his Argentina episcopate.

Obviously, none of those cases found any place in their books, and if by chance, any of it had, they would surely have looked into it in order to be able to refute it credibly? And if they had done that, we would have heard from them already - because whether they printed it or not, they would have had an answer ready to all these standing charges. One might say the same for Bergoglio's Spanish-language biographers.

Yet not one of them - not even in the past two years when Bergoglio's record has been repeatedly dredged up of how he dealt or failed to deal with the sex-abuses cases he was involved in or were brought to his attention - has come forth with any defense of him at all on these counts.

Maybe Andrea Tornielli is coming out with a book soon to deal with this matter? Not, I hope, in the same hamhanded manner he sought to 'refute' Mons. Viganò. As far as I can tell - from the lack of published reactions to it - that book failed to cause any ripple at all.

00Friday, February 22, 2019 8:36 PM
Besides the virtually ignored single throwaway line in his book where Frederic Martel says the pope's close associates told him he knew about McCarrick but chose to ignore the facts, there were two other newsmaking articles by journalists who drew more from the Martel book than just its broad muckraking on presumed and real sexual proclivities in the men of the Vatican. Here is the first of them:

Author presents evidence Pope Francis
used his 'family synods' to try steer
the Church to accept homosexuality

[i.e., To set the stage for him to 'normalize' it sooner or later]

by Maike Hickson

ROME, February 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Frédéric Martel, the homosexual French author of the new book In the Closet of the Vatican, claimed in his chapter titled “The Synod” how Pope Francis launched his "secret plan" to steer the Church toward accepting adultery and homosexuality during the two Synods on the Family.

Martel highlighted the crucial role in the synods of Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom he numbers among the “most open and gay-friendly cardinals.” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri is being quoted as saying about the driving force behind the synods that “our line was essentially Kasper's.”

Martel also claimed in this chapter that Pope Francis – with the help of Cardinal Kasper – invited an author to write a book using St. Thomas Aquinas in an attempt to approve of homosexual relationships, and then had his book distributed to the participants of the second Synod on the Family in 2015. [Which was this, and why are we hearing about it only now?]

Cardinal Baldisseri told Martel that the “method” for the 2014 and 2015 synods on the family was “important.” The pope wanted to open doors and windows,” the prelate explained, according to Martel. According to this method, “the debate had to take place everywhere,” also in the dioceses and among the faithful. “The People of God had to choose,” the Cardinal is quoted as saying. Baldisseri is the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops and was placed into this position by Pope Francis in September of 2013.

This chapter from Martel's book is especially significant because Martel himself, due to his own homosexual and left-leaning background, likely had more access than most other journalists to some of the organizers of the synods and to some of the close collaborators of the Pope – such as Baldisseri, Spadaro, and Kasper. He often quotes the main actors in what he claims are verbatim statements.

LifeSiteNews checked with several Vatican sources who were involved in the synods, some of whom considered this part of Martel's book to be reliable. The book in its entirety seems to be more reliable where Martel quotes those who are largely in line with his own homophilic views than when “he deals with his 'homophobic opponents,'” explained one well-placed source in Rome.

Claiming that “Baldisseri's gang are fast workers,” Martel pointed out that “even foolhardy Walter Kasper announced publicly, even before the Synod, that ‘homosexual unions, if they are lived in a stable and responsible manner, are respectable.’” The French author claimed that one of the secretaries commissioned to write a draft of what later turned out to be Amoris Laetitia, was a “homosexual activist.”

Martel claimed that Baldisseri revealed to him the heavy involvement of Pope Francis in the whole process of the two family synods: “Francis came here every ay,” he quoted Baldisseri saying, adding that “he personally presided over the sessions where we debated the propositions.” [DUH! Everyone was aware of that - his finger in every pie, his spit in every broth.]

Martel claimed that the controversial paragraph in the draft document on the question of homosexuality – which spoke about the positive aspects of homosexual relationships – but never received sufficient support from the group of synod fathers, was “deliberately added” by Francis' team.

At another place in this chapter, Martel stressed Kasper's role during the two synods and called him “the 'brains' of the Synod.” He also states: “The fact remains that the preparatory text [of the synod] followed the Kasper line and suggested a loosening of the Church's position on sacraments for divorcees and on homosexuality.”

“The Vatican was now willing,” Martel continued, “to acknowledge the 'qualities' of young people living together, remarried divorcees and homosexual civil partnerships.” These were the three main aspects of the reform agenda and the “Francis revolution.”

But Pope Francis faced opposition within the Catholic Church's hierarchy – among them being Cardinals Raymond Burke, Gerhard Müller, Carlo Caffrao who had earlier written, together with other experts, a book called Remaining in the Truth of Christ.

Interestingly, Martel claimed that Baldisseri “had the pamphlet seized!” before it could be delivered to the participants of the 2014 first Synod on the Family. [Why 'interestingly'? This matter was well-known at the time, and the book could hardly be called a pamphlet.]

The first synod on the family in 2014 was a “battle,” wrote Martel. He quotes Baldisseri as saying: “There was a consensus on everything. Except on the three sensitive issues.” Three paragraphs had been rejected by the synod fathers in the end and “the pope didn't get his quorum.” [But he still circumvented the synodal fathers by restoring the rejected paragraphs to the agenda of the follow-up synod. Does Martel not take note of that?]

Added Martel: “Francis's revolutionary project on the family and homosexuality was defeated.” [Not quite! Amoris laetitia, which represents his ultimate bureaucratic, pastoral and practical triumph over his opponents, was just around the corner.]

The Pope was “annoyed to have been blocked by the conservative cardinals of the Curia.” Francis – who was being described by sources as “hard-headed,” “vindictive,” and “authoritarian” – told his collaborators “he would fight and launch a counter-initiative,” claims Martel. The Pope thus needed to develop a plan, and that “war would be largely secret,” Martel wrote.

After speaking with Cardinal Baldisseri, with some of his collaborators, as well as with many cardinals, bishops, and nuncios, Martel claimed to be able to “retrace” Pope Francis's “secret plan” for the second Synod on the Family in 2015. There were three main “mechanisms” then at the Pope's disposal, according to Martel:
- First, the Pope could “encourage a more modern debate around the world by means of a move on the episcopates and Catholic public opinion – that was entrusted to Baldisseri and his team.”
- Second, he could “sanction the cardinals who had humiliated him”; and
- Third, the Pope could change the “composition of the College of Cardinals” over the long term.

“Sly and cunning,” wrote Martel, “Francis would go on the offensive using these three techniques simultaneously, with extraordinary speed and, his opponents would say, extraordinary vehemence.”

As the author further described it, a real “war machine” was set in motion, using “nuncios, the allies, the friendly cardinals, everyone was mobilized.”
]Traveling to many countries, the French author was able to “follow this offensive in many countries.”
- For example, there was the papal confidant Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández from Argentina, who had publicly announced that Pope Francis was aiming at “irreversible reforms” and he then publicly rebuked Cardinal Müller.
- In Uruguay, Archbishop Daniel Stula “stuck his neck out just as suddenly, expressing his opinion on the question of homosexuals. He would even go on to make public a contribution to the gay question in the Synod.”
- Yet another ally of the Pope, Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga, “travelled around the capitals of Latin America,” distilling “Francis's thought in public,” recruiting supporters, and informing “the pope about his opponents.” He “prepared the plans for battle.”
- Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil also was recruited to help in this ideological “war plan.”

With regard to the U.S., Martel claims that Francis then had “few allies in the country.” Thus, he “chose to rely on three little-known gay-friendly bishops”: Blase Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and Robert McElroy. These three supported the Pope, and “two of them were rewarded by being appointed cardinals in 2016, while McElroy would be made [a full] bishop during the [synod] debates.”

Speaking about Europe, the author claimed that Pope Francis “sought allies and allied himself with the most liberal cardinals,” such as Reinhard Marx and Christoph Schönborn.

“In launching a series of grass-roots debates on the ground,” Martel wrote, “the pope put conservatives on the defensive. He 'cornered' them, to use the word of a priest who worked for the synod, and showed them that they were a minority in their own country.”

Francis continued his “little-by-little policy.” The Pope's team was “interested in intellectuals,” in “opinion-formers,” and therefore, there was to be needed a “large and secret plan of communication.”

Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. was named by Martel as one of these masters of communication. Spadaro is the editor of the Vatican-approved journal La Civiltà Cattolica. About this Martel wrote: “Under Francis, the Jesuit journal has become a space for experimentation in which ideas are tested and debates launched.”

In 2013, Spadaro published an interview with the Pope which “sets out the road map for the coming synod,” already discussing the matter of sexual morality and the question of Communion for “remarried” divorcees. Homosexuality was then also being publicly discussed by these two men, and in words that Martel called a “genuine Galilean revolution!”

In the context of the preparation of the contested second family synod, Martel claimed yet another plan that seemed to have been successful: [Ah so, here is the information about the book.] Pope Francis commissioned an Italian Dominican theologian – Fr. Adriano Oliva – to write “a risky book in favor of the remarriage of divorcees and the blessing of homosexual unions.” The book titled Amours quotes St. Thomas Aquinas while speaking about “a desirable change on the part of the Magisterium concerning homosexuality.” Oliva goes so far as to claim that “homosexuality does not bear within it any illicitness.”

As to the history of this book, Martel claims that Cardinal Baldisseri told him that the Cardinal’s team had sent “analysis requests” to experts, including Brother Oliva, and even Oliva's own publisher indicated the active role of Rome in this book project. Thus, Adriano Oliva “has been welcomed at the Vatican” by Baldisseri, Bruno Forte, and Fabio Fabene.

But Martel also claims that Cardinal Walter Kasper described to him his own and Pope Francis's direct involvement in this project.
“Adriano Oliva came to see me here,” wrote Martel quoting Kasper. “We talked. He had sent me a letter that I showed to the pope: Francis was impressed. And he asked Baldisseri to order him a text to send to the bishops.” “I think,” continued Kasper according to Martel, “that was the text that became 'Amours'.”

Martel added that Amours would be distributed during the synod, on the pope's suggestion.” The book was “a weapon in an overall plan favoured by the pontiff himself.”

[Apparently, Lifesite News covered the book extensively, so I missed it all!] This book provoked a response from five Dominicans who rejected Oliva's claims. Oliva had set up an Italian blog with the explicit purpose of accompanying the second family synod in 2015.

Noteworthy, too, is that Oliva quoted in his book Cardinal Kasper's own 2014 book The Gospel of the Family several times. This book is the address that the German cardinal had given in February of 2014 to the College of Cardinals, thus commencing the discussion of the now-famous “Kasper proposal” concerning Communion for “remarried” divorcees.

Fr. Oliva, in a video presentation of his book, stated that he had studied the 2014 synod discussions and that the two topics of “remarried” divorcees and of homosexual couples prominently stood out for him.

Martel stated that Oliva’s book had an effect in the Church. He described how several cardinals and bishops told him that this book changed “their vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas” and that it gave the impression that “the prohibition on homosexuality had definitely been lifted.” [This makes my total unawareness about the book even more unforgivable. as I not paying full attention to the synods???]

According to Martel, Cardinal Kasper stated that he had not yet succeeded in the Church with his own promotion of the homosexual agenda, not even at the second family synod in 2015. Martel quotes Kasper as saying:

The path set out by Francis, and the small-step strategy, is the right one. If you advance too quickly, as in the ordination of women or the celibacy of the priesthood, there will be a schism among Catholics, and I don't want that for my Church.

On divorcees, on the other hand, you can go further. I've defended that idea for a long time. When it comes to recognizing homosexual couples, that's a more difficult subject: I tried to move the debate forward at the synod, but we weren't listened to. Francis found a middle way by talking about people, about individuals. And then, very gradually, he moved the lines. [….] He is moving in his own rhythm, in his own way, but he has a goal.

[Thank you, Your Eminence, for a great description of Bergoglio, the wolf-shepherd who preys repeatedly on his own flock with the slyness and cunning of a fox!]

It remains to be seen whether or not Pope Francis will now use the Sex Abuse Summit that is starting today in Rome as an occasion to “move the lines” a little bit further toward the acceptance of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Martel quotes Cardinal Kasper saying about this: “We will win.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to different participants of the second family synod for comment on Martel’s claims. One source answered and, while not concretely remembering Fr. Oliva’s book as being distributed (the 2015 synod fathers received so many materials), he did state: “but it is very probable and fits well into the whole picture.” The source said he considers this chapter of Martel to be a generally “trustworthy” account of what happened at the family synods.

LifeSiteNews also reached out to Cardinal Walter Kasper for comment, but so far has not heard back from him.

Of course, Martel being the homosexual activist that he is, purveyed all the above to illustrate just how 'homophile' Bergoglio is to the point of being ready to change Church teaching about homosexuality as he did on the death penalty. For Martel, all the actions, real and implied, he ascribes to Bergoglio above are supremely laudatory, i.e., exactly what anti-Catholics expect their fellow-traeller pope to be.

At the rate Bergoglio is going in trying to catch up with the Anglicans on secularizing the church, look where we are going, down the road!

Nothing no longer seems unthinkable or undoable for the de-Christianized 'Christian' leaders of the world like Bergoglio and Welby.

The second 'big item' Ms Hickson deduced from Martel's book concerns his speculation/hypothesis on why Benedict XVI resigned. This is farther fetched than his hypothesis on Bergoglio's drive to 'normalize' homosexuality, but he offers new 'information' about the church in Cuba which have not been heretofore publicly made known...

New book suggests Benedict’s trip to Cuba
was 'last straw' that led him to resign

by Maike Hickson

PARIS, February 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Frédéric Martel, in his upcoming book In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, dedicates a whole chapter to Pope Benedict XVI's 2012 visit to Cuba and what he learned about the moral corruption in the Catholic Church of that country.

Martel, citing several sources, claims that Benedict was so overwhelmed by the moral “filth” (his word as spoken earlier, in 2005) that he wept. Martel claims that it was this discovery that led Pope Benedict to start considering his abdication.

Martel, who shared chapter 23 (“The abdication”) of his book with LifeSiteNews – said that he “traveled five times to Havana for this investigation,” interviewing numerous Catholic laymen, dissidents, journalists, and clergy.

His finding is that, due to the dictatorship and lack of a free press (“censorship on the island is total”), there developed over decades in Cuba – and especially the Archdiocese of Havana, its capital city – an indulgent culture of sexual debauchery among the clergy.

Since the Cuban government is interested in keeping control over the Catholic Church, it contents itself with keeping photographs and other recordings in their files – in part for the purposes of blackmail – but otherwise does not react against this immoral subculture, Martel suggests.

Speaking about Pope Benedict XVI, Martel says that, when this Pope went to Cuba in 2012, he “was aware of sex abuse in Latin America, but he still underestimated the extent of it. This pope, who wasn't very familiar with the Hispanic world, “didn't know that paedophilia had become epidemic there,” and, for some reason, he thought that “Cuba had been spared.”

Martel does not know when exactly the Pope was informed about the moral corruption on the island, but he did learn about it. “What I have been assured of by two different Vatican diplomatic sources is that Benedict XVI swiftly started to discover the extent of sexual corruption in the local Church.”

The state of the moral corruption in the Catholic Church of Cuba has been confirmed at large by a Vatican specialist in Rome, also confirming Martel's claim that there are even members of the Vatican curia who go to Cuba in order to participate in the moral debauchery there. This well-informed source also said that Pope Benedict had little experience with Latin America and that, next to his trip to Cuba, his trip to Mexico (which was part of his 2012 trip) also contained its own discouraging challenges.

Martel furthermore describes, based on the reports from several sources, the moral situation in more detail. Roberto Veiga, former director of a Catholic journal in Cuba, is quoted as saying: “In the Church here in Cuba, exactly the same thing is happening in terms of sexual abuse as is going on in the United States, Mexico and the Vatican,” and he then adds: “Black masses on Sundays, orgies, cases of paedophilia and prostitution: the Cuban Church is very compromised.”

While Martel points out that there are many rumors – including a published testimony by a former colonel of the Cuban Army – about Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino's own purported homosexuality, Martel leaves this question open.

But since Ortega was the archbishop of Havana from 1981 until April of 2016 when he was just about to turn 80 years of age – Pope Francis left him to remain in his office until late in his age – the Cuban prelate’s reputation comes into question based on the credible reports of moral corruption in his archdiocese.

Martel says Ortega's former vicar general, Mgr. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes – who is now a parish priest in the parish of San Agustin – is “close to Ortega” and that he was never appointed bishop “perhaps because of his double life: his homosexuality and sexual adventurism are well documented.”

Veiga, tells Martel that “here in Cuba there have been lots of paedophilia scandals, a lot of sexual corruption, a real moral failure of the Church. But obviously the press has never mentioned it.” He adds that the government uses the information it has on these compromised clergymen as “blackmail.”

Martel continues:

“Rumors of the homosexuality of numerous priests and bishops in the Cuban episcopate are so common in Havana that they have been passed on to me with many details and names by almost all the people I have interviewed on the island – more than a hundred witnesses.

Martel also claims that Vatican diplomats – among them Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Cardinal Beniamino Stella, as well as now-Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu and Monsignor Fabrice Rivet – are well informed about this moral corruption in Cuba. As is Archbishop Nicolas Thévenin who held office in Cuba. Martel adds that “Georg Gänswein, whose assistant Thévenin had been, is also aware of the contents of the file.”

[Looked up Tevenin on Wikipedia. He was appointed to some position in the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household in 2010. Benedict XVI named GG Prefect in December 2012, while he named Thevenin Apostolic Nuncio to Guatemala. B16 consecrated GG and Thevenin as bishops on the same day, Jan 5, 2013, along with two other bishops. So he only worked with GG for a few weeks. In any case, why would the Pontifical Household prefecture have a dossier on Cuba at all? But Thevenin's background may explain why he knows about the Cuba dossier. After a series of assignments with various nunciatures including Cuba in 2002, Thevenin was recalled to the Secretariat of State from 2005-2010, serving in Cardinal Bertone's own office. That may explain why Martel says he was familiar with the Cuba dossier.]

LifeSiteNews reached out to Archbishop Georg Gänswein, summing up for him the main argument of this chapter of the Martel book and asking him for confirmation of this story and if he had ever spoken with Dr. Martel. Archbishop Gänswein responded, saying “I do not know Frederic Martel” and that he has had “no contact” with him. The German prelate added: “More I cannot say about it.” [After all the insinuations Martel apparently made in his book about an improper relationship between Benedict XVI and his private secretary, one can understand Gaenswein's refusal to talk about the book or Martel at all.]

Pope Francis relied on Cardinal Ortega in dealing with Cuba. Several Reports have it that Ortega hand-delivered letters from Pope Francis to both Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro. [One must recall that right after the 2013 Conclave, Ortega came out as a very enthusiastic follower of Bergoglio - and claimed the new pope had given him his notes for his 'famous' address to the pre-Conclave General Congregation where he outlined what the new pope ought to do for the Church.]

Further describing the moral decay in the Church on the Cuban island that Pope Benedict XVI learned about in 2012 during his visit, the French author speaks about the “impressive number of homosexuals among the priests and bishops of Cuba,” adding: “Protected at the level of the episcopate, this genuine Freemasonry has become very visible, spilling out of the closet. They are also very 'practising'. So I am given lengthy descriptions of the famous Sunday evening mass in Havana Cathedral which, in the 1990s, became a very popular hook-up spot in the capital.”

“I am also told about instances of 'internal' sexual abuse,” Martel explains, “perpetrated by prelates on seminarians or young priests. A certain number of monsignori are also reputed to use escorts, abusing these young men while paying them desultory sums.”

A dissident living in Cuba told Martel that Archbishop Ortega “is aware of everything” but that he “closed his eyes,” also in order not to damage his own career.
- Ortega is also said to be too close to the Communist government and to effectively allow the Communist government to influence the Catholic Church in Cuba.
- Ortega is described by dissidents on the island as a compromiser and as someone who is “defending the regime,” in the words of the activist Antonio Rodiles. “He never criticizes their human rights record or the political situation.”

In the face of such a scope and depth of corruption, Pope Benedict XVI is said to have “wept” when he more fully learned about it. “According to one witness,” says Martel, “the pope, listening to this story, wept once again.”

During his trip to Cuba, Pope Benedict is said to have been “saddened and deeply overwhelmed by what he had just learned about the extent of sexual abuse in the Cuban Church.” The Pope is said to have been exhausted and in physical and moral pain, “a genuine Calvary,” as those who witnessed him then say. Martel claims that it was then that Pope Benedict started to consider his resignation.

Father Federico Lombardi – who had accompanied Benedict to Cuba as his press speaker – reportedly told Martel: “Yes, it was at the time of his trip to Mexico and Cuba that Pope Benedict XVI began to consider the idea of stepping down.” Martel says he spoke with Lombardi five times during his research.

“A few days later, the pope decided to resign (but he would only announce his decision publicly six months later),” says Martel, adding that “Cuba would prove to be one of the last stops along the stations of the cross of Benedict XVI's pontificate.”

Martel adds that Benedict himself, in his own book Last Testament, identifies “the trip to Cuba as the crucial moment,” but then mainly pointed to his physical fatigue.

Martel himself, however, thinks that it was not only the health that led the Pope to make his decision, and he himself makes a list of 14 possible reasons for this papal resignation. He also states that “Nowadays, few journalists, theologians or even members of the Roman Curia whom I have met consider Benedict's resignation to have been linked to his health.” Even some cardinals told Martel that there were “other factors.”
00Saturday, February 23, 2019 12:48 AM

Xavier Rynne II's Letter from the Vatican today is a reflection on the Feast of Peter's Chair...

Today's feast should remind
the summit fathers that
there are intrinsically evil acts,
wrong anywhere and anytime

by Xavier Rynne II

February 22, 2019

“Grant, we pray, almighty God, that no tempests may disturb us, for you have set us fast on the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, is a special day to be in Rome, for to mark the feast, the Altar of the Chair, Gianlorenzo Bernini’s sculptural masterpiece in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica, is lit with over one hundred tapers, some of them six feet tall.

Impressive at any time, the Altar of the Chair, ablaze with candlelight, is simply extraordinary. (It’s even more striking very early in the morning, given the acrobatics of the Sanpietrini, the basilica’s workmen, whose installation and lighting of the tapers is reminiscent of the Flying Wallendas.)

The Collect for the day, quoted above, may strike some as plaintive, with overtones of a lament. For there are manifestly tempests disturbing the Church, whose leaders are in Rome precisely because of that undeniable fact.

The Altar of the Chair reminds us that the Collect’s link between the peace of the Church and its adherence to “the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith” must be taken seriously in this week’s meeting on sexual abuse. To understand why means pondering the huge bronze sculpture carefully, reflecting on its meaning as well as admiring its beauty.

The centerpiece of Bernini’s composition is a bronze cathedra, or episcopal chair, which pious tradition claims to contain wooden relics of St. Peter’s “chair,” the sign of his apostolic authority.

Be that as it may, what is especially noteworthy about the Altar of the Chair is its theological density. As Bernini designed it, the bronze cathedra is supported by four Doctors of the Church: St. Ambrose and St. Augustine from the West, St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom from the East. Their figures are, like the rest of the composition, quite enormous – and fair enough, for these were giants in the history of Christian orthodoxy.

But it’s Bernini’s arrangement of them that makes the crucial theological point: for each of the Doctors “supports” the great cathedra, representing Christ’s promise to maintain and preserve the Church in truth through the Office of Peter and the College of Bishops, by a single finger.

The great sculptor’s point? Truth is not burdensome, but liberating. For as the Lord himself said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” [Matthew 11.29-30].

This is a deeply counter-cultural claim today. Just as the Altar of the Chair poses a sharp stylistic challenge to a strange, modernist confection like Oliviero Rainaldi’s sculpture of St. John Paul II outside Rome’s Stazione Termini, Bernini’s message of liberating truth is a profound challenge to the post-modern culture of autonomy that is one factor in today’s Catholic abuse crisis.

Yet on this Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, that is what the Church is reminding its leaders and its people: that the truth, freely embraced, is light. And truth’s illumination of the often-dark pathways of life liberates us to be the sons and daughters of God as we were born to be.

Some of those charged with addressing this week’s abuse summit are, it must be said, in need of that reminder. Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, for example, will address the summit on “Transparency in a community of believers.”
- Does that “transparency” include, one wonders, an openness to asking just what Cardinal Marx thought he was doing recently when he said that the Church had to re-think its entire sexual ethic in light of 21st-century culture and contemporary mores?
- Does the cardinal not understand that doctrinal dissent and the confusions resulting from it were factors in the breakdown of clerical discipline that helped facilitate clerical sexual abuse?

The liberating power of doctrine, including moral doctrine, has not been one of the leitmotifs of Pope Francis’s pontificate, as it was of his two predecessors.

Proponents of the Pope’s approach defend his skepticism about scholars and his oft-repeated critiques of “doctors of the law” and “Pharisees” by suggesting that the Holy Father is reminding the Church that behind everything to which Catholicism says “No” there is a “Yes” that the Church has not always been successful in communicating. True enough, and a good reminder:
- But not when that reminder helps facilitate a return to the moral-theological civil wars of the 1970s.
- And not when it is taken to underwrite or legitimate attempts by prominent theologians, in venues ranging from Boston College to the Pontifical Gregorian University, to deconstruct John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis SplendoR by denying the reality of intrinsically evil acts – things that are wrong in and of themselves, and that no combination of putative intentions and anticipated consequences can make right.

Yet if, as the otherwise inadequate, pre-abuse summit “statement” by the Unions of Superiors General managed to affirm that “the abuse of children is wrong anywhere and anytime,” then there are intrinsically evil acts – and the denial of their reality is an obstacle to the deep Catholic reform necessary to alleviate the enormous suffering caused by sexually abusive clergy.

There seems to be an iron law built into the interaction of Christianity and modernity:
- Christian communities that have a clear sense of their doctrinal and moral boundaries can live and even flourish under the challenging social and cultural conditions of modern life; - Christian communities that fudge those boundaries wither, and some die.

That iron law applies within Catholicism today. The living parts of the Church are those that have embraced the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Veritatis Splendor; the dying parts of the Church are those that have surrendered to the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.

That is true of dioceses, parishes, religious communities, seminaries, and virtually every other institutional expression of Catholicism. And it is a truth – like the truth of doctrine’s liberating power expressed in Bernini’s Altar of the Chair – that this abuse summit must reaffirm, without hesitation or compromise.

The second day of the summit –
And new accusations against Bergoglio from Argentina

Translated from

February 22,2019

Here are five notes I made on the second day of the summit between Pope Francis and the head bishops of the world’s episcopal conferences on ‘the protection of minors’.

1. On the question of homosexuality which underlies the majority of sexual abuses committed by priests – with young men and teenagers past puberty - an unbreachable wall of silence persists.

Asked at the noontime news conference about it, ArchbishopCharles Scicluna, a key man in the organizing committee for the summit, said as he did the day before, that “homosexuality has nothing to do with sexualabuses against minors”.

2. The news conference also marked the reappearance of Cardinal Sean O’Malley who, until a year ago – and for valid reasons – had been the pope’s lead confidante and associate in this area, but had apparently fallen out of the pope’s graces because he was excluded from the preparations for this summit, even if he continues to nominally head the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors. He appeared with the two men whom the pope now uses to execute his intentions in this matter – Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Scicluna.

But it does not mean O’Malley is being rehabilitated. It was announced that on Monday, Feb. 25, the day after the summit ends, the pope will be meeting with the organizing committee, principally Cupich and Sciculna, and with the heads of Curial dicasteries involved in the matter as well as some experts. But to which the president of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors has not been invited. So the pope continues to sideline him.
[This all apparently dates back to last February when O’Malley publicly criticized the pope for dismissing complaints about Chilean Bishop Juan Barros as nothing but ‘calumny’. Only to eat crow later, of course. But O’Malley, one of Bergoglio’s earliest pre-Conclave supporters, obviously still remains in the doghouse.]

3. The clash between the Vatican and the USCCB which erupted last November when the pope forbade the US bishops from voting for two measures they had devised to combat the mismanagement by individual bishops of clerical sex abuse cases, came to its expected conclusion at the summit.

Cardinal Cupich of Chicago – ironclad Bergoglian and protégé of now laicized 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick – officially presented to the summit the proposal with which he, with the Vatican’s accord, had opposed the measures that the USCCB wanted to vote upon. In short, Cupich's – and Pope Francis’s - solution is to initially entrust the inquiries into alleged mismanagement of abuse cases by a bishop not to an independent lay panel, as the US bishops preferred, but to the metropolitan (lead bishop) of the ecclesiastical province to which the bishop belongs, who would later send on his findings to the Vatican which will decide on the accused bishop’s fate.

4. Preceding Cupich’s address to the summit was that by Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, member of the pope’s now 6-man Council of Cardinals. But a few hours before his address, the BBC broadcast a denunciation of his alleged negligence in dealing with two cases of clerical sex abuse in his diocese of Mumbai (one in 2009,the other in 2015).

Regarding the 2015 charge, the Archdiocese of Mumbai immediately issued a very detailed and convincing response to justify how Gracias dealt with the case, complete with the names of all involved. But not a word about the 2009 case which, according to the BBC, followed the classic script of a priest who was not sanctioned after his alleged misdeeds were denounced but was allowed to continue carrying out functions in which he could continue committing such misdeeds.

5. But worse than Gracias’s case was that of the pope himself who, on the day his abuse summit opened, was once again denounced for his protection of Mons. Gustavo Zanchetta, his friend and ‘spiritual son’ from the days when the latter was his secretary at the Argentine bishops’conference, and whom he promoted to Bishop of Oran in 2013. Zanchetta resigned his office suddenly in the summer of 2017, but was named by the pop ein December 2017 to a Vatican position he created especially for him at the APSA.

Last Christmas Day, the Argentine newspaper El Tribuno disclosed that Zanchetta, while Bishop of Oran, had been denounced to the Apostolic Nuncio in Argentina for abuses committed against about a dozen seminarians. On January 4, the new Vatican spokesman said that the Vatican only became aware of the accusations in the autumn of 2018 and that the current Bishop of Oran was investigating the reliability of the reports.

But on February 21, yesterday, the newspaper showed photocopies of the document signed by five senior prelates of Oran that described the various accusations against Zanchetta that had been provided to the Vatican in 2015 and again in 2017. With the implication that the pope knew about these accusations against his protégé before he accepted his resignation as Bishop of Oran and promoted him to his current position. In which Zanchetta remains, while the pope keeps mum and presides over a summit that is precisely intended to deal with such problems as those caused by Zanchetta. [Magister is apparently not aware of what Marco Tosatti noted, in his own report about the El Tribuno expose, that Zanchetta was suspended from his position at APSA after a private audience with the pope a few days ago].

Belated historical note for February 21 - this is uncanny and spinechilling:

This day in history—
a windfall for the Saint Gallen Mafia

By Phil Lawler

February 21, 2019

On this date — February 21, the feast of St. Peter Damian — 18 years ago, at a Vatican consistory, Pope John Paul II raised 38 prelates to the College of Cardinals. Among the men who received red hats that day are the following, who are very much in the news this week, amid the discussion of the sex-abuse scandal:

Walter Kasper
Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga
Francisco Errazuriz Ossa
and, lest we forget,
Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Oh, and one other:
Theodore McCarrick.

Lawler missed one of the St Gallen gang: Karl Lehmann
Perhaps we should include one other who, like McCarrick, was not in that gang but was a Grand Elector of Bergoglio, nonetheless:
Claudio Hummes of Brazil

Just for curiosity, here's the full list of that 'class of 2/21/2001':

Created Cardinal:
Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Age: 67.0
François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuán †, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Age: 72.8
Agostino Cacciavillan, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See; Age: 74.5
Sergio Sebastiani, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Age: 69.8
Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study); Age: 61.3
José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Age: 69.1
Crescenzio Sepe, Titular Archbishop of Gradum; Age: 57.7
Jorge María Mejía †, Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives; Age: 78.0
Ignace Moussa I (Basile) Daoud †, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Age: 70.4
Mario Francesco Pompedda †, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; Age: 71.8
Walter Kasper, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Age: 67.9
Johannes Joachim Degenhardt †, Archbishop of Paderborn, Germany; Age: 75.0
Antonio José González Zumárraga †, Archbishop of Quito, Ecuador; Age: 75.9
Ivan Cornelius Dias †, Archbishop of Bombay, India; Age: 64.8
Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Age: 67.3
Pedro Rubiano Sàenz, Archbishop of Bogotá, Colombia; Age: 68.4
Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Age: 70.6
Desmond Connell †, Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland; Age: 74.9
Audrys Juozas Bačkis, Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania; Age: 64.0
Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, P. Schönstatt, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile; Age: 67.4
Julio Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R. †, Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia; Age: 64.9
Wilfrid Fox Napier, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban, South Africa; Age: 59.9
Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Age: 58.1
Bernard Agré †, Archbishop of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; Age: 74.9
Louis-Marie Billé †, Archbishop of Lyon (-Vienne), France; Age: 63.0
Antonio Ignacio Velasco Garcia, S.D.B. †, Archbishop of Caracas, Santiago de Venezuela; Age: 72.0
Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, Peru; Age: 57.1
Francisco Alvarez Martínez, Archbishop of Toledo, Spain; Age: 75.6
Cláudio Aury Affonso Hummes, O.F.M., Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil; Age: 66.5
Varkey Vithayathil, C.SS.R. †, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar), India; Age: 73.7
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Age: 64.1
José da Cruz Policarpo †, Patriarch of Lisboa {Lisbon}, Portugal; Age: 64.9
Severino Poletto, Archbishop of Torino {Turin}, Italy; Age: 67.9
Cormac Murphy-O’Connor †, Archbishop of Westminster, England, Great Britain; Age: 68.4
Edward Michael Egan †, Archbishop of New York, New York, USA; Age: 68.8
Lubomyr Husar, M.S.U. †, Major Archbishop of Lviv (Ukrainian), Ukraine; Age: 67.9
Karl Lehmann †, Bishop of Mainz, Germany; Age: 64.7
Roberto Tucci, S.J. †, Priest of Society of Jesus; Age: 79.8
Count: 38; Average Age: 68.4
Published (Previously a Cardinal In Pectore):
Marian Jaworski, Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine; Age: 74.5
Jānis Pujats, Archbishop of Riga, Latvia; Age: 70.2
Count: 2; Average Age: 72.3
Created Cardinal (Non-Voting):
Stéphanos II (Andraos) Ghattas, C.M. †, Patriarch of Alexandria {Alessandria} (Coptic), Egypt; Age: 81.0
Jean Marcel Honoré †, Archbishop Emeritus of Tours, France; Age: 80.5
Leo Scheffczyk †, Priest of München und Freising {Munich}, Germany; Age: 81.0
Avery Robert Dulles, S.J. †, Priest of Society of Jesus; Age: 82.4

More impressions of the summit so far:

Continuing controversies
and unanswered questions

by Robert Royal

February 23, 2019

Synods and other Vatican gabfests used to be quite placid – even boring – affairs. St. John Paul II, before becoming pope, is reported to have worked on one of his books during some such event – and slept at another during his pontificate.

One cannot help but yearn wistfully, at times, for the days of such dusty and distant events, when every Vatican meeting now seems to bring up the deep tensions within the Church.

Friday’s sessions did so yet again, though you had to find your way into all that by reading between the lines. The two morning speakers, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, are both close confidants of the pope’s. Both were appointed by Francis to the group of four organizers of the summit on the Protection of Minors. So it was no surprise that they both stuck closely to themes that have long been a central part of the Bergoglio papacy.

Gracias spoke first under the general subject of collegiality among bishops. There was nothing wrong – technically – and a good deal right with what he said, which began with reflections involving spiritual renewal and translation of that spirit into new attitudes among clergy and laity alike.

But like many Catholic prelates, including the Holy Father, he also leaned too heavily, in my judgment, on inequities of power – the clericalism gambit – which I believe betrays a wish to make the abuse crisis into more about social justice than personal sin. In fact, some here have asked whether power disparities in violence against children is going to be the next big push – after the environment and immigration – of Vatican social doctrine.

As I grew frustrated myself listening to Cardinal Gracias, I tried to imagine how I would react if I were a victim, or a relative of a victim, hearing this parade of big words: accountability, responsibility, collegiality, synodality, clericalism, discernment, universality, particularity – even humility.

I think I’d want to stand up and shout: “Fine, but please: save all that for some other day, on your own time. Since we’re here, too, and the whole world is watching, tell us, in simple words, if you please, what are you – you ‘collegial’ brothers – specifically now, going to DO. Where’s the ‘concreteness’ everyone was talking about yesterday?”

There’s really little need at this point for anyone to argue that we need a new attitude towards clerical sex abuse – including the malfeasance or nonfeasance of bishops themselves. Church figures only show themselves to be terminally self-involved every time that, expressions of concern for victims notwithstanding, they speak as if denial of the problem is rampant and they are the voice of awakening.

We’ve had a number of stories lately about the Vatican’s own unwillingness to hold malefactors truly accountable out of what seems a false sense of mercy. And given the recent reports that Cardinal Gracias ignored cases of abuse in his own diocese just a few years ago, his calls for humility and openness about admitting mistakes were welcome. (Though you have to wonder whether victims and their families might have viewed them in a more jaundiced – not to say cynical – way.)

Cardinal Cupich’s session – under the aegis of “synodality,” a concept hastily introduced last year at the end of the Synod on Youth – was peppered with similarly high-flying rhetoric about “orienting all proposed reforms in synodality,” “penetrating discernment,” “rejecting a clerical worldview” that caused abuse, a “reciprocal exchange of collegial knowledge,” and other Bergoglianisms.

On the one hand, Cupich tried to frame proper responses to the abuse crisis in the emotional terms of the Pietà, the holy image of a loving mother holding her wounded child – a striking image of what the Church could be for the abused. On the other, there were lists of three of this, four of that, and a repeated caution that merely “changing structures” is not enough.

True enough, but even changing structures, for many of us, would be a good – a real – start. Let it be noted, in fairness, even if it does not lead to any effective action, that Cupich ended with no fewer than twelve suggestions about how to hold a bishop accountable. These included structural and procedural changes that he elsewhere played down.
- A quick, first impression is that he was repeating and spelling out the “metropolitan” model that he offered at the U.S. bishops’ meeting last November. That model had clearly been worked out in advance in collaboration with the Vatican and prepared to be delivered as an alternative, as soon as Cardinal Daniel DiNardo announced that Pope Francis had essentially frozen the model the American bishops intended to vote on.
- Nevertheless, a large part of this speech was crafted to address the problem of wayward bishops– the very subject that Cupich and others said would be a distraction from the main focus of the summit, which is the protection of minors. Indeed, he claimed (in the language of pop psychology) he was giving them “a voice.”

It will take time to parse out the specific implications of these dozen suggestions; we’ll need to hear from the canonists and lay experts with actual experience of trying to hold bishops accountable. And there remains the problem of what to do when the failures and corruption reach into high offices of the Vatican itself.

But at a very superficial level, it at least affirms that individual bishops’ conferences – respecting both the universality of Church norms but also applying them in their specific cultures and circumstances – are being told they can hold their members accountable. No doubt that will be done well in some places, badly in others. But the present writer never believed that we could hope for anything much more than opening up such spaces for action.

The bishops now seem to have approval from Rome to act as they see fit in their circumstances; it will be interesting to see – when push comes to shove – whether they will be allowed to really do it.

Meanwhile, Catholic and secular journalists here have been doing yeoman’s work that deserves attention. At yesterday’s press briefing, they put Cardinals and others on the spot:
- One asked Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley when we’d see the real meat – the actual rules by which bishops would be held accountable. He replied that he’d been “assured” by the pope that it will be “soon.”
- Another asked a basic question: how many bishops have been removed globally? Answer: no one currently knows.
- A third pointed out that she had been in the press room in 2002 when then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick assured everyone that the Americans would practice zero tolerance and had the situation well in hand. After that hypocritical act, are we supposed to believe everything being said now?
- Still another added – in a question to Cardinal Cupich – that Cardinals McCarrick and Bernard Law were “metropolitans” back in the day. So what happens when the metropolitan in Cupich’s system is himself a problem? Cupich stated that there are notes on that in his longer text and several possible solutions.
- Finally, a woman, conceding that homosexuality per se does not necessarily lead to abuse, asked how can we continue to ignore the gay networks in various countries that have enabled or protected abusers?
- And how about McCarrick – did anyone in the hierarchy have a talk with him about his actions? And are there investigations happening into how he was able to do what he did? (Cupich and O’Malley said they’ve “been told” yes.)

Good questions all. We now await good answers, and not only in words.

Tying together the summit and 'the book':

The Roman farce
The Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse scandals,
its inadequate response, and a salacious book -
all reveal a deep moral rot


February 22, 2019

Pope Francis is conducting his extraordinary summit with cardinals on the problem of sexual abuse in the Church. And we can expect it will go nowhere.

The summit is happening in light of two events outside of it. The first was Pope Francis’s recent laicization of the former cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, a man who was notorious for his sexual abuse of seminarians and other priests, while at the same time he was the public-relations face of the Church’s response to sexual abuse and cover-up in the early 2000s. McCarrick was finally publicly exposed when an investigation into his abuse of a minor became public last year.

The second is the publication of a sensationalist book by sociologist Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, which claims to document the sexual hypocrisy at the top of the Roman Catholic Church. The book is fascinating because it relies on scores of interviews with cardinals and is written in a loose, gossipy style. Some of the pope’s trusted confidantes were sources for the book. We’ll come back to that in a minute.

These two events also reveal the problems inherent to Pope Francis’s summit.

The laicization of McCarrick is held up as a victory of accountability, even justice, but actually amounts to a public-relations move. McCarrick was not afforded the normal forms of defense given to men in his position.

And far from solving the McCarrick issue, his laicization avoids the main question:
- How did McCarrick rise to his position while “everyone knew” of his sordid reputation?
- Why was he able to maneuver around the restrictions put on him by Benedict XVI?
- Why did Francis make him an informal adviser in his anxious desire to reshape the American episcopate?
- And how is it that his associates (co-conspirators?) continue to rise in the Church?
Kevin Farrell, who lived and worked with McCarrick for years (and claims to have noticed nothing unusual), was recently appointed cardinal camerlengo, who will govern the Vatican during the next interregnum.

Francis’s preferred bishops have also been promoting their own line on the abuse crisis at the summit. In their eyes, the problem is not rampant immorality, a network of moral blackmail, and moral conspiracy but what they call “clericalism.” The term is used in two senses.
- The first, the one that makes it plausible to some as a problem, is the idea that bishops and priests protect each other. That’s true.
- But what Francis’s men mean by clericalism is the idea of a Church where a hierarchical priesthood plays a role in safeguarding the Church’s traditional doctrine. They do not believe this conception of the priesthood, as having real moral responsibility for handing on the faith as they received it.
- It is in this way that they transmute the failure of bishops to exercise authority to remove abusive priests into a problem of “excessive authority.”
And thus sexual immorality is blamed, not just on moral and doctrinal conservatives, but on moral and doctrinal conservatism itself.

Then there is the matter of the book, which replicates the same error.
- Martel’s methodology for determining whether certain churchmen are gay is to stereotype them.
- Churchmen whom he deems to oppose homosexuality too much are deemed homosexual themselves.
- This logic does not apply, however, to Pope Francis, who has occasionally urged gay men to leave the priesthood or not enter it at all. Francis is held up as a hero by Martel.

But the influence of Francis’s inner circle is evident in the choice of targets.
- Martel meets with the German conservative cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller and insinuates that the cardinal’s “perfumed voice” gives him away as a homosexual.
- Pope Benedict XVI is deemed a homosexual because he likes opera.
- The traditionalist cardinal Raymond Leo Burke is deemed homosexual or even transsexual because he prefers the Church’s most elaborate vestments.

Just as the Vatican summit limits its scope to avoid addressing the culture of abuse in seminaries, so Martel avoids discussing the documented abuse at the seminary of the so-called “vice pope,” Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga.

Martel’s preferred story is one of moral hypocrisy. That may be a real moral problem for some churchmen. But because this is Martel’s bias, he is incapable of looking at the crisis through the lens of moral indifference, moral lassitude, and moral cronyism, which are the major factors in the crisis of sexual abuse and predation in the Church.

That Martel was helped in this sordid endeavor of cover-up and baseless accusation by the pope’s closest advisers should be a source of immense scandal to those in the Church and outside it.
- He likes opera. He must be gay. He likes vestments. Must be gay. He has a pleasant voice. Gay.
- This is the kind of moral enlightenment that Pope Francis’s allies have brought to the Church?
The only stereotype that Martel doesn’t use is the one about men who engage in constant salacious sexual gossip and speculation, as it would indict all his sources.

To sum up:
- The book is trash.
- The supposed justice meted to McCarrick amounts to a cover-up.
- The pope’s summit is trash and a coverup.

These men do not fear the justice of God or men. All their training in theology, and their great insight about man’s depravity, is the schoolyard taunt “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.” To hell with them all.

The first and only time so far in the history of post-Vatican II synods - and this summit is a synod because its participants are the literally leading bishops around the world - that a book figured in the synod annals was in 1985 when John Paul II convened an extraordinary synod to review Vatican II 20 years after it ended.

Of course, the book then was a much different kind, as was its author. It was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's 1984 book-length interview with Vittorio Messori, published in English as THE RATZINGER REPORT. It was the no-holds-barred assessment of the then fairly new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the state of the Church 20 years after Vatican II.

It was frank and perceptive and far from pretty, and therefore offended all the 'spirit of Vatican II' progressivists who had already managed to make niches for themselves - impregnable, they thought - in the structure of the Church. It caused so much polarization in Italy that both the cardinal and his interviewer were so seriously at risk for their lives that Messori had to live in hiding with bodyguards for several months after its publication.

Meanwhile, the cardinal had to live with the crushing opprobrium of the progressivists. Perhaps his eventual reputation as a Panzerkardinal and 'rottweiler of the faith' built up from then. The book did not lead to the pope's convocation of the synod - the 20-year anniversary made it necessary, especially as John Paul II considered, and rightly so, that the Church had failed to 'receive' Vatican II properly (the very burden of THE RATZINGER REPORT), and that a course correction was long overdue.

But the Ratzinger book caused such a furor that at the start of the synod, one Cardinal Danneels of Belgium, famously erupted at a news conference to say, "This is not a synod about a book". Eventually, and in a way, it did become a synod about a book because it gave birth to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a monumental project most participating cardinals doubted would ever be realized, but which did come out in 1992, seven years after the synod instead of the ten that had been expected.

The Catechism compiled the Magisterium of the Church in its first 2000 years up to and including Vatican II, in what Benedict XVI would later call a hermeneutic of continuity with the Church's uninterrupted Tradition.

Surely, no one ever thought, that in 2017, a pope would impose his own personal opinion to change what the Catechism - and therefore 2000 years of uninterrupted Tradition supported by Revelation - taught about the death penalty. In a way, this action by Jorge Bergoglio symbolizes best the current triumph of the 'spirit of Vatican II' which he has brought to almost full realization and institutionalized within 'the Church' in just six years.

That this has happened at all is the greatest tragedy the Church has known since Luther's schism half a millennium ago. The errors and equivocations having to do with institutional mismanagement of the sex abuse crisis and its root causes are simply one aspect, and surely not the most troubling, of this ongoing tragedy for the faith.

Sermon for the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter 2019:
"The person of the Pope apart from the Chair
of St Peter becomes just another CEO"

Father Richard G. Cipolla

February 23, 2019

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

To say that the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is monumental and deeply impressive is an understatement. I have described several times the role this church had in my own conversion to the Catholic Church. But so many people who visit St Peter’s miss one of the greatest of the gems in this church: the Chair of St Peter as encased in a most remarkable Baroque confection by the genius architect and sculptor, Gianlorenzo Bernini.

The remarkable sculpture is at the liturgical East of the massive church. Gold is the fundamental color, a gold that contrasts with the bronze of the covering of the chair and the figures of Four Doctors of the Church. Above there is a stained glass window, the center of which is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove, that is surrounded by a super Baroque sunburst that seems to connect to heaven itself. All this from a time when the Church and those artists who worked for the Church understood the power of beauty and symbolism in the Catholic faith.

What is the chair that is the center of this triumphant artistic confection? It is known as the Chair of St. Peter. The wooden chair, with ivory arms, that is enclosed by Bernini’s splendid chair in bronze and gold, was venerated as a relic for centuries. Whether this was the actual chair on which St Peter sat as Bishop of Rome, or whether it is dated from the third or sixth century is not ultimately important.

The chair that is venerated at St. Peter’s today is the symbol of the Christ-given role of St Peter and his successors within the Catholic Church. “You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

And yet how odd of Peter’s being chosen for this literally fundamental role in the Church: Peter who constantly misunderstands Jesus in the Gospels, Peter who impetuously slices off the ear of the centurion when Jesus is arrested, Peter who denies Christ in the most cowardly way three times. Not a good basis for a leader of any sort, much less the leader of the Church of Christ that is the Catholic Church. Why not John, whom Jesus loved in a special way and to whom he entrusted his Mother after the Crucifixion? There is no definitive answer to this question.

But I think we can say this: Jesus chose the deeply flawed Peter to be the Rock on which his Church on earth is founded, to remind us that the God-given role of the Papacy depends not on the personal qualities of the man who is elected Pope but rather on the grace that God bestows on the Successor of Peter to fulfill his singular ministry in the Church and the acceptance of that grace by the Pope.

There have been good Popes and bad Popes, and Popes who fall somewhere between. Now we must say this: to judge a Pope as good or bad does not necessarily refer to his life as a man in his time and place.

One expects that a Pope be a moral man and be an example to the flock and to the clergy of the Church. That some Popes have failed in this respect is obvious from the history of the papacy. But much more deeply, the judgment of history on a Pope, at least history as understood in a Catholic sense, a sense that sees all human history as related to the dynamism of the Holy Spirit in this time and space, the judgement of history is based primarily on whether the particular Pope fulfilled faithfully his role as the successor of Peter.

And what this specifically means is whether he was faithful to his special vocation as the Vicar of Peter, the successor of Peter in answering positively to Jesus’s pointed questions to Peter at the end of the Gospel of John.

14 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
15 “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep"]

It is this passage that it is the explanation, so to speak, of Jesus’ words in Matthew: You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church," giving Peter the power of the forgiveness of sins and the withholding of this forgiveness on earth and ratified in heaven by God. Jesus also gives this power to the other Apostles in Matthew 18. But it is to Peter first and most fundamentally that the power of the keys is given.

And the Catholic faith teaches that it is also given to the successor of Peter as the Bishop of Rome to preserve the faith handed down from the Apostles and to strengthen his brethren.

The feast of the Chair of Peter is a joyful thanksgiving for the gift of the special ministry of the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is our guarantee that the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faithfully handed down through the centuries.

Pope Benedict XVI described the Chair, the Cathedra, as "a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his Successors to tend Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and in charity." But we must remember that this Truth is not merely what is in Scripture, as fundamental as Scripture is.

This Truth unfolds through the history of the Church as the authentic implications of the fundamentals of the Gospel become apparent and then become part of the authentic teaching of the Church. It is especially, but not exclusively, through those Councils we call Ecumenical, which means pertaining to universality, that the development of doctrine ordinarily occurs.

But we must say that this is not a merely juridical process. It is not a matter of a bunch of definitions like laws. But rather it is through real conflict and attempts to understand the implications of what God has done in the person of Jesus Christ that the Truth is ever more deeply revealed.

The storminess of the first Seven Ecumenical Councils is a testament that the doctrine of the Church unfolds not in a dreamlike way nor in a rationalistic way but rather through argument and conflict. But in the end the Truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit becomes obvious to all, even if that Truth has always taken at least a hundred years after an Ecumenical Council to be accepted by the whole Church.

Those who make a fetish out of the Second Vatican Council, as if that Council were somehow more important than any Council before it, fail to understand how what is of value as the Truth in a particular Council is often not apparent for many years.

Those who succumb to the fetish of 'Councilolatry' would seem to have an agenda that has nothing to do with the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit leading the Church into a deeper understanding of the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but rather with a panting and embarrassing desire to be relevant to the world, the world that harbors the darkness that hates the true Light of Christ.

The unfolding of the Church’s understanding of the role of the Bishop of Rome, who is called the Pope, has been a process whose manifestation can be seen clearly in Church history from Peter, to the early Martyr Popes, to Leo the Great, to Gregory the Great, to Gregory VII called Hildebrand, through the period of the Protestant Reformation that forced the Church to hammer out more cogently the role of the Papacy in the Church in the Council Trent, to the First Vatican Council, in which the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Pope was solemnly declared — and all this, we believe as Catholics, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The years after Vatican I began another chapter in the continuing unfolding of the Catholic understanding of the papacy. That chapter is still in the process of maturing and working itself out. One of the dangers after Vatican I and the definition of Papal Infallibility was the development of what we could call hyper-papalism, which made the person and role of the Pope go far beyond what was defined in Vatican I, whereby the Pope and his utterances, even if outside the severe conditions for an infallible teaching, are deemed in some sense infallible, as if the Pope has power to change doctrine itself, or, even worse, has the power to impose a new order of the Liturgy that is discontinuous with the liturgy that developed within the womb of Tradition.

This combined with the late twentieth century cult of superstars and this century’s rapid de-Christianization of the West has brought us to a crisis in the Church, a crisis centered on the very role of the papacy in the Church amidst moral corruption in the very heart of the Church.

In these difficult times we must remember this: the Papacy is a gift from God to the Church, it is a gift of service to the Church, it is a gift that enables the proper governance of the Church, it is a gift that guarantees the unfolding of the Truth of the person of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The person of the Pope can never be separated from that Chair that is the symbol of the governing, teaching and sanctifying office of the Bishop of Rome.
- The person of the Pope apart from the Chair of St Peter becomes just one more chairman of the board of a multinational corporation that is trying to figure out how to survive in a world that does not care about the product that corporation is selling.
- And one of the great temptations in this situation is to make the product more acceptable to the world by watering it down and even changing it significantly.

We must pray every day for the Pope, that he may understand his role ever more deeply within the Tradition of the Church as the teacher who models himself on the Great Teacher who is Jesus Christ, whose greatest lesson to the world and to the Church is his crucifixion and death at the hands of both his own people and the power of the world.

St. Peter, pray for us.

00Saturday, February 23, 2019 4:46 PM
Adam DeVille, an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Theology-Philosophy, University of Saint Francis (Fort Wayne, IN) and author of Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy (2011), offers an interesting take on the nature of the crisis in the Church today, but I think he is wide off the mark in blaming the crisis on what he calls crypto-monophysitism, which has little to do with the crisis. The responsibility for the crisis is borne by those who insist they are working mostly for institutional reform of the Church, even as their best energies are spent trying to right the world's material ills instead of upholding the doctrine of the faith in attending to the salvation of souls.

Crypto-monophysitism and the crisis in the Church today
Why not look at practical reforms to ecclesial structures?
Why not honestly discuss power?

by Adam A.J. DeVille

February 22, 2019

Expectations for the ongoing Summit in Rome on sex abuse in the Church are rather low, not without good reason. Personally, I am not expecting much of the pope and bishops, and will not be surprised when, as Christopher Altieri has recently put it, this meeting with no clear statement and no clear vision wraps up with no clear agenda for moving forward.

But part of this, I now think, may come from an old theological mistake that lives among us, if in deformed and largely unconscious fashion. As G.K. Chesterton once observed, old heresies never truly die. They periodically show up again, sometimes masquerading as something else and sometimes playing themselves.

I regularly assess at least half of my incoming students (the ones who identify as Christian — and the Catholics are rarely different in any statistically significant manner) as being (quite unintentionally mind you) at least semi-Arian in their Christology and full-blown modalists in their view of the Trinity.

When pressed for details, what usually emerges is that they do not flatly deny the divinity of Christ, which is why I call them semi-Arians, but they are entirely unaware of Chalcedonian orthodoxy about the two natures of Christ (that is, until they take my class).

In addition, they see nothing wrong with the idea that the one true God sometimes plays dress-up: some days as Father, some days as Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit — the latter being the Trinitarian person about whom they are the most ambivalent. That God the Father is not the Son who is not the Spirit, but that all three are nonetheless one in nature while distinct in persons, is a bridge too far for them.

But these are undergraduate freshmen with no background in dogmatics or heresiology. What about churchmen in the highest hierarchical echelons today, with years of seminary study and advanced degrees? What excuse have they — and certain theologians for that matter — for what one might call their crypto-monophysitism?

Monophysitism in its original form was something of an overreaction to, and over-correction of, the Arianism which preceded it. If Arians were dodgy on the divinity of Christ, monophysites overreacted in the other direction, stressing the divinity of Christ at the expense of his humanity, which sometimes seemed to be an afterthought to them.

The Church, of course, anathematized the idea and its successor, monotheletism. But it haunts us still, and even appears in the ideas some people put forward for solving the current sex abuse crisis.

Crypto-monophysites insist the solutions are purely spiritual and have nothing to do with the humanly designed and maintained structures of the Church. They say we must pray and fast more while awaiting more pious bishops and perhaps popes to enforce this encyclical’s dictates or firm up that apostolic exhortation’s apparently woolly bits. But discussions of structures of power and their reform are nowhere to be found.

[With all due respect, I find that last statement - and the general indictment of crypto-monophysites a misrepresentation. No one would call Bergoglio and his followers crypto-monophysites, considering all their professed zeal for institutional reforms of the Church (to the neglect of the spiritual), and right now, they rule the roost. In fact, the problem is the erroneous Bergoglian over-emphasis on all things material and social as seemingly the primary mission of the Church, at the expense of its genuine mission which is to save souls, individually and collectively, through the Gospel of Christ the Savior and Redeemer.

And certainly, those impatient at the delaying, stopgap and ill-directed grandstanding measures of the present institutional Church to 'deal with the sex abuse crisis' are no crypto-monophysists but orthodox Catholics who just want their Church to be true to the teachings of Jesus, true God and true man.]

Last month in Iasi, Romania, at the inaugural conference of the International Orthodox Theological Association, I gave a paper on the problems of power and obedience in the Church. There I recounted the numerous times I have been told that discussions of power, and discussions of practical structural reforms in the Church, are little more than crude exercises in “ecclesiastical engineering,” as one monsignor sneered in my presence several years ago.

When pressed, these nay-sayers proffer no rational arguments, but emerge as what the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre would call emotivists: they feel uncomfortable with discussions of power and reform. They feel the very notions are out of place in the Church as the divinely constituted Body of Christ.

This is what I call crypto-monophysitism. It focuses only on the “spiritual” or “divine” nature of the Church, ignoring the human in all its messy and often unsavory details. These are the people who, if they had been present at the Last Supper, likely would have recoiled in horror from an actual foot-washing, piously insisting instead that Jesus simply pray for their feet magically to be made clean.
- But why not look at practical reforms to ecclesial structures?
- Why not honestly discuss power?
- Why not candidly admit that the current centralized papacy is an historical aberration and, I would argue, a theological disaster?
- What is to be lost by examining the monopoly on power that bishops have in their dioceses, and priests in their parishes, neither needing to have any formal input from the people of God in councils and synods, until and unless these clerical overlords deign to “consult” the people from time to time?

[Bergoglio and his fellow reformers will say that they are precisely addressing the first question. But it is questionable if in doing so, they are also addressing the next three - because this pope thinks he needs all the power and authority that inheres in his office in order to impose, as he now does, whatever he wills on the Church he was elected to lead. And in the process, he will continue to enable, as he now does, maximum autonomy for the lesser structures beneath the papacy - Roman Curia, bishops' conferences, diocese and parishes - to do as they please provided it is within the parameters of what he considers allowable and acceptable. Which certainly excludes almost everything that the traditional Church stands for.]

If the present crisis has done anything, it is to force Catholics to realize that few, if any, should be entrusted with the kind of power clergy have in the Church today.
- The present system whereby bishops are in practice accountable to nobody is not traditional (or Traditional) in any sense of the word; nor is it a part of the “divine constitution” of the Church.
- It can and must change, and no degree of discomfort with this fact can be allowed to hold back the necessary changes — from the parish to the papacy — that the Church should now undergo.

Angelico Press will soon be releasing my book Everything Hidden Shall be Revealed: Ridding the Church of Abuses of Sex and Power. Whatever readers may come to think about its proposed reforms, at the very least it cannot be said that my proposals shy away from discussions about the material matters of the Church in her human nature, including the recovery of necessary structures of accountability to prevent abuses of power and sex in the Church.

Writing the book, the famous words of St. John Damascus were regularly rattling through my mind; in his Apologia Against Those Who Decry Holy Images, this great doctor of the Church stoutly insisted:

I do not worship matter, I worship the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. I will not cease from honouring that matter which works my salvation. I venerate it, though not as God.

I, too, venerate the Church in her material and spiritual natures. But this veneration does not blind me to the need for profound material-structural changes that are supported (but not supplanted) by the secondary spiritual works of fasting, prayer, and penance.

The changes I propose were all mined from earlier Catholic and wider Christian traditions to show that there are other ways — deeply grounded in history and theology — to structure the Church and to break up the monopolies enjoyed by popes, bishops, and priests.

The need for such discussion has never been more urgent, and the deeply corrupted human structures of the Church must now be openly examined and subjected to radical reconfiguration – not least because the psychodynamics of power in the Church have for too long been used to give cover to the many sexual pathologies that lurk under the label of “obedience” and are supported by demands for silence from the victims.

Ultimately, the reforms I propose — to parish councils, diocesan synods, regional episcopal conferences, and to the priesthood and episcopate themselves — are to be found in earlier Catholic history, and still found even today in many parts of the Christian East.

The Church has forgotten many of them, and my book will have achieved its purpose as an aide-mémoire if the Church remembers and re-institutes these practices so that the human nature and structures of the Church, purged of sinful abuses of power and sex, no longer prevent the world from seeing the divine splendor and dignity which comes from the Church also being the spotless bride of Christ.

Another review of Day 2 of the sex-abuse summit:

Focus turns to accountability, bishops, and footnotes
Cardinals Cupich and O’Malley offered thoughts on
how bishops might hold each other accountable

by Christopher R. Altieri

February 22, 2019

ROME – The participants in the Vatican’s meeting on child protection are serious and determined. Just what it is about which they are serious and determined is a different question, with objects sometimes more difficult to identify and not always entirely encouraging when one is able to pin them down.

On Friday — the second of three days of working sessions — the focus was on accountability: primarily — not to say, almost exclusively — on bishops’ accountability to each other.

“As we take up our collegial and collective sense of accountability and responsibility,” the Archbishop of Mumbai, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, said in the Friday morning address that introduced the theme for the day, “we will inevitably encounter a certain dialectic. For our collegiality does indeed express the variety and universality of the People of God, but also the unity of the flock of Christ.”

“It cannot be disregarded that dealing with the topic of abuse in the right way has been difficult for us in the Church,” said Cardinal Gracias, “for various reasons,” though he left largely unexplored the differences in the ways in which the abuse crisis has been difficult for bishops, whose failures enable abusers, and for victims, who are gravely and irreparably harmed and injured by the abuse the bishops have enabled by their failures of governance.

“We as bishops also bear responsibility for this,” Cardinal Gracias went on to say. “For me, this raises the question: do we really engage in an open conversation and point out honestly to our brother bishops or priests when we notice problematic behavior in them?” he asked. “We should cultivate a culture of correctio fraterna, which enables this without offending each other, and at the same time recognize criticism from a brother as an opportunity to better fulfill our tasks.”

A bishop offend another bishop? Heaven forfend.

“Closely related to this point is willingness to personally admit mistakes to each other, and to ask for help, without feeling the need to maintain the pretense of our own perfection,” Cardinal Gracias continued. “Do we really have the kind of fraternal relationship, where in such cases we don’t have to worry about damaging ourselves, simply because we show weakness?”

In an anecdotal parenthesis to his main speech, Cardinal Gracias shared a couple of encounters with victims he has had during the course of his own ministry, beginning with his recollection of one man he had met some years ago.

“He was very bitter, [he] could not forgive,” Cardinal Gracias said. “Thinking he required counseling for healing, I spent quite some time discussing the matter with him rationally.” I made no headway. Only much later, I realized — as I do now — the very long-lasting, sometimes lifelong damage this abuse does to the person — to the psyche of the person.”

If Cardinal Gracias ever made any attempt to secure a measure or semblance of justice for that man, whose inability to forgive his abuser was apparently so perplexing and consternating to him, he made no mention of it during his remarks.

Cardinal Gracias also spoke of some young victims he has met, noting, “It shocked me, how this changed the personality of the person.” That’s what shocked him.

“I realize we can hardly ever get it right,” Cardinal Gracias went on to say. “We must have the humility to admit we make mistakes. “We learn, from our mistakes, how to do better the next time,” he continued, raising the question — unanswered and unaddressed — of how many mistakes a bishop can or ought to be allowed to make before he is faced with real consequences.

Cardinal Gracias is himself accused of seriously mishandling an abuse case in 2015, and other cases.

When this gathering of the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences opened on Thursday here in Rome, Pope Francis surprised participants and journalists, alike: first, with a call for “effective, concrete measures” to combat the scourge and scandal — in the technical, theological sense of the term — of the sexual abuse of minors in the Church; then, he issued a list of twenty-one “reflection points” that Archbishop Charles Scicluna — adjunct secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with a special portfolio for combatting sexual abuse and one of the meeting’s chief architects — described as a “roadmap for our discussion” and “very, very concrete.”

“It’s an understatement to say they have to be taken seriously,” Archbishop Scicluna said. “That’s an utter understatement — and even if there are things that haven’t been discussed enough, they are going to be part of the follow-up to the meeting,” Archbishop Scicluna continued on Thursday.

On Friday morning, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago offered one model of reform: the so-called “Metropolitan” model, which would put metropolitan archbishops in charge of investigating and disciplining wayward bishops within their ecclesiastical provinces. Reminded during the Friday briefing that both Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Bernard Law were metropolitan archbishops, Cardinal Cupich responded, “You have to read the footnotes.”

Cardinal Bernard Law was the Archbishop of Boston, who resigned in disgrace in 2002 in the wake of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigations revealed systemic coverup and enabling of abuse in his archdiocese. Theodore McCarrick was once the Archbishop of Washington, DC. He was punitively dismissed from the clerical state a week ago, after being found guilty of sexually abusing both minors and adults.

Also during the briefing on Friday, Cardinal O’Malley expressed hope that the Vatican would soon release its report on how McCarrick was able to rise through the ranks and remain for so long in a position of great power and prominence within the Church’s leadership structure. The report is to detail findings from New York, Metuchen, Newark, and Washington, DC. McCarrick’s influence in both the US Church and in the Vatican, however, is widely believed to be much broader than those four jurisdictions — where he served — and very deep.

Asked how the bishops propose to hold each other accountable, and why the faithful ought to believe their promises such episodes will not repeat themselves, Cardinals Cupich and O’Malley responded in turn.

“This is a matter of — first of all — accountability on my part: that I am going to live my life this way,” that is, as a moral and upright person and a disciple of Christ, “and then, to make sure that we are supportive of each other to live the Gospel.” Cardinal O’Malley broadly agreed, and then offered, “We are talking today about collegiality — about our obligation to each other — I would hope that any bishop, who is aware of this kind of misbehavior, would certainly make that known to the Holy See, and not feel that in any way we should try to cover it up or turn a blind eye to it.”

Their failures in those regards are chiefly responsible for the disastrous circumstances in which we find ourselves. The Vatican had word of McCarrick’s reputation no later than the year 2000 — eighteen years before taking any meaningful action against him. In 1994, the papal representative at the time, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Agostino Cacciavillan got a tip and asked then-Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, to make discreet inquiries.

In an October 2018 interview, Cacciavillan told the Catholic News Service, “It was not a formal complaint, but the expression of a concern,” and that he enlisted O’Connor, because he was closest to McCarrick geographically. “No one better than the archbishop of New York would know what was happening in the Archdiocese of Newark.” Cacciavillan also told CNS he neither confronted McCarrick directly, nor reported the matter to the Vatican.

On the subject of investigating and disciplining high-ranking bishops accused of malfeasance — of holding metropolitans, supposed to be the chief overseers according to his proposal, when they are themselves accused of wrongdoing — Cardinal Cupich also explained that he had carefully considered the matter and offered numerous alternatives, which he did not present in his spoken remarks. “I didn’t want to get into the alternates, but there’s a whole, long paragraph about what you do if the metropolitan is accused.” Cardinal Cupich briefly rehearsed some of the alternatives, which can be found in footnote 6 of his text, available — along with all the other speeches delivered during the working sessions — at

During the Friday briefing, Cardinal Cupich also spoke to the need for the involvement of the laity. “What is important however is to make sure that, whoever the bishop is, who handles it, that there is lay involvement as well, for transparency — because, I think, that makes it not only transparent, but it makes it ‘Church’ — where, we’re all in this together.”

Whatever the future of Cardinal Cupich’s specific proposal, the need to involve the laity, not only in consultation, but in governance of the Church, is not a consideration that can be postponed.[ [I[Altieri goes on to quote from Adam DeVille's article prdiscussing power honestly,etc. so I won't reprint it. ]

“Although the meeting, we know, is a short one,” said the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Alessandro Gisotti, at the start of the briefing for journalists covering the meeting on the protection of minors in the Church on Friday, Day 2 of the gathering, “there is the conviction that the fruit will be long-lasting.”

Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, moderator of the working sessions, told journalists at the Friday briefing he has found the atmosphere “very serene, positive.” He went on to say, “I do not sense tensions in the assembly.” If the impression Fr. Lombardi conveyed an accurate reflection of the temper and temperature of the New Synod Hall where the meeting’s sessions are being held, there is cause for some concern. If there isn’t tension in the room, there ought to be.

Disgruntled papal nuncios meet in secret in Rome

by Michael Voris

February 23, 2019

Church Militant has learned exclusively of a secret meeting that occurred with a good number of papal nuncios last night.

The point of the meeting was to air their grievances among each other at how the Vatican simply ignores whatever bad behavior of priests or bishops they report — meaning bad sexual behavior.

The nuncios, we were told — a somewhat sizable group of them who are here because of the sex summit — are extremely upset and angry and didn't really discover the scope of how the Vatican was ignoring their reports until they just started talking with each other informally.

That is quite a development. It's not exactly sure what recourse the various nuncios have, but that they are feeling dismissed, ignored and their reports trivialized is absolutely certain.

They are ticked off, frankly, and so are quite a few other people.

We've been told by various folks who work in and around the Vatican that things have never been this bad.
- Priests are afraid to wear cassocks, afraid that if they look "too traditional" they will be reported to the Vatican.
- Various individuals are being followed and their movements monitored.
- Rooms are bugged, phone lines are tapped and the Vatican more and more resembles North Korea, as one cleric termed it to us.

Sources tell us that the level of homosexual activity here is off the charts. The Swiss Guard, for example, is a regular target. One source told us that grooming attempts and sexual advances by various archbishops are so off the charts that each year's new recruits should be given a week-long class on how to handle it.

And don't forget, this is the new Rome, the "Rome of Mercy" — mercy apparently for lying, covering up, homosexualist prelates who hate the Church, but no mercy for anyone else, especially those who uphold Tradition.

One of the more interesting developments to come out this week — speaking of homosexualist clergy who hate the Church — Fr. Thomas Rosica was busted plagiarizing multiple sources.

Yep, the Vatican's English-speaking liaison to the media simply ripped off lines from various sources in a speech he gave at Cambridge earlier this month.

But he didn't stop at just plagiarizing. He actually plagiarized out of context, using the moment to charge that the testimony of whistleblower Abp. Viganò was lies, which is rich considering he was passing off as his own words many other people's words in his speech.

In just one example, quoting out of context, he called Viganò's testimony a "diabolical masterpiece," a term first credited to a bishop and repeated by a cardinal referring to the crisis, not Viganò's testimony.

When caught red-handed, in typical unaccountable fashion, he apologized, accepted full responsibility and then turned around and blamed his interns.

And the tidbit about Abp. Viganò brings us back to the secret meeting of nuncios last night.

They are the keepers of many secrets, and if a group of them suddenly decided to do what former nuncio to the United States Viganò did last August, the Vatican could be in quite a mess.

As media scrutiny intensifies, it came up a couple of days ago that another papal inner circle member, Indian Cdl. Oswald Gracias, on two occasions himself left victims unprotected and did not go to the police, perhaps even breaking Indian law which mandates such action.

In one case, a family reported to him in 2015 that their son had come home. They contacted him, and then Gracias simply left for Rome that same night and did not inform police. He found out sometime later from one of his auxiliaries that the family had ended up reporting it themselves.

Gracias also looked the other way when he was informed that one of his priests offering retreats for women had molested one woman, and Gracias just left him in service and did not report anything to the police.

It is example after example of this constant drip, drip, drip of offense and cover-up and ignoring that the laity, good priests and now apparently the nuncios are simply not going to stand for any longer.

To add insult to injury, Gracias is present here at the summit in so-called "listening sessions," hearing accounts of victims' suffering.

Which begs the question: If one of the Pope's inner circle can't listen and pay attention in his own diocese back home to these horrible things and follow the proper course of action, why is his sitting here in Rome going to make a difference?

The evil, the hypocrisy, the cover-up and the lies, the police state, the fear, the indignant attitude, the lack of good will — all of it is being laid bare case by horrible case.

Unfortunately, until real action is taken, Catholics are going to have to endure this sordid filth being exposed day by day.

The crowning moment of the last working day of the abuse summit was a penitential liturgy held Saturday afternoon, for some reason, in the
Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, and not in the Synod Hall. Might the Pauline Chapel not have been more appropriate than the Throne Room
of the Apostolic Palace? And why in the Apostolic Palace?? Why not in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, the pope's home shrine? Apparently,
the concluding Mass tomorrow will also be held in the Sala Regia and not in St. Peter's Basilica? The presidents of the world's episcopal conferences
do not deserve a papal Mass at St.Peter's Basilica after all the trouble they took to come to Rome?

Strangely, neither the penitential liturgy nor the summit's concluding Mass tomorrow appear on the calendar of pontifical liturgical celebrations
(I had wanted to see how Mons. Marini presented its libretto). As it is, I have to rely on the CNA story by Hannah Brockhaus who describes
how it went.

Forgive me for not posting the story itself because a penitential liturgy makes me queasy - especially how this one went. I know that a public performance of penitence is necessary to underscore the good intentions of the penitents, but since penitence must be individual first of all, even if it is part of a community exercise as in this case, it's hard for me not to find its public performance an act of exhibitionism, or at the very least, of necessary PR, that detracts from what it is supposed to be.

Before that penitential liturgy, the last speaker at the abuse summit was Valentina Alazraki, who has reported from the Vatican for a Mexican TV channel for 45 years, from the final years of Paul VI's pontificate to the present.

She was one of three speakers on the last day of the meeting on the theme of transparency (the first two days had been about responsibility and accountability). The other two speakers on transparency were Cardinal Marx of Munich, who gave a surprisingly good account of what the institutional Church must do in order to guarantee transparency in how it deals with cases of clerical sex abuse, and Nigerian nun Veronica Openibo, representing the women's Internal Union of Superiors-General, who said some necessary things about transparency - or the lack thereof in the Church - but spoiled her piece somehow by her effusive praise of the reigning pope's efforts in this matter, especially his about-face on Chilean bishop Barros. [Considering his obstinate silence on Grassi, McCarrick and Zanchetta, to name his most egregious involvements, wasn't the sister simply fawning here?

Alazraki's contribution, given from her point of view as a woman, a mother and a journalist, was remarkable for 1) not using any of the by-the-book cant that touted the Bergoglio line in all the other speeches at this summit and 2) for its clarity and simple linear presentation which makes it quickly and easily readable.

For which reasons, three pithy statements stood out for me - all of them having to do with the role of Benedict XVI in dealing with the clerical sex abuse crisis, for which I thank her. \I have not read all the other eight presentations made to the summit, but I am almost sure Ms Alazraki has been the only one who has mentioned him at all. I don't think even Mons. Scicluna, who first distinguished himself as Cardinal Ratzinger's chief prosecutor, in effect, at the CDF, did so.

Here are those statements:

Abuses against minors are neither rumours nor gossip: they are crimes. I remember Pope Benedict XVI's words during the flight to Lisbon, when he told us that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from external enemies but arises from sins within her.


I am Mexican and cannot fail to mention perhaps the most terrible case that happened in the Church, that of Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legion of Christ. I witnessed this grim case from beginning to end. Aside from the moral justice over the crimes committed by that man, who according to some was mentally ill and to others an evil genius, I assure you that at the basis of that scandal, which did so much harm to thousands of people, to the point of tarnishing the memory of one who is now a saint, there was unhealthy communication.

One need not forget that in the Legion there was a fourth vow according to which if a Legionaries saw something he was uncertain of regarding a superior, he could neither criticize much less comment about it.

Without this censure, without this total concealment, had there been transparency, Marcial Maciel would not have been able, for decades, to abuse seminarians and to have three or four lives, wives and children, who came to accuse him of having abused his own children. For me this is the most emblematic case of unhealthy, corrupt communication, from which various lessons can and must be learned.


It was also thanks to some courageous victims, several courageous journalists and, I think I must say it, to a courageous Pope like Benedict XVI, that this scandal was made public and the tumour eradicated.

It is extremely important to learn the lesson and not to repeat the same mistake. Transparency will help you to be coherent with the Gospel message and to put into practice the principle according to which in the Church no one is above the law: we are all accountable to God and to others.

Not incidentally, Christopher Altieri wrote about Ms Alazraki's presentation with this title, "If you read just one speech from the abuse summit, make it this one". I might add that if Cupich and his organizing committee did one thing right, it was to assign a journalist to address the issue of transparency. If they had left it to Bergogliacs alone, it would have been like a joke. As it is,the Nigerian nun wasn't bad but spoiled it all by her open genuflection and praise of Jorge Bergoglio, for whom transparency is just a convenient buzzword he has never gotten around to practice.

And Munich's Cardinal Marx who confessed at the start that he would have preferred not to have been asked to talk about transparency did manage to bring up two common anti-transparency practices in the institutional church - that of destroying all incriminating documents, and the so-called 'pontifical secrecy' which is best described perhaps by the tenth category of matters covered by this jealously guarded privilege:
"Any matter that the Pope, a Cardinal in charge of a department of the Roman Curia, or a papal legate considers to be of such importance that it requires the protection of papal secrecy" - in other words, whatever they say ought to be protected by pontifical secrecy becomes a pontifical secret punishable by excommunication if violated. So don't even bother to check out what the first nine categories are.

Which is why Mons. Vigano's declarations were called by the Vatican 'violations of pontifical secrecy' - not that anyone has dared haul him to the Apostolic Signatura and try him for such violation. It's not necessary - Bergoglio simply can declare him excommunicated.

More importantly, though, do not expect to ever see any of the McCarrick documents brought to light. Uh-uh! They are now all protected by the repellent and repulsive armor of arbitrary 'pontifical secrecy'.

00Monday, February 25, 2019 3:23 PM

Who would have thought that Pope Francis's sex abuse summit would turn out to be an even more empty show of 'doing something' than the
worst expectations most skeptics had about it, to begin with? But so it has, to the point that even the most skeptical of those critics
have been left too dumbstruck to break their Sunday rest by commenting on it, and even an unabashed Bergoglio apologist like Rocco Palmo
could introduce his post about it with words like these:

In Summit's Last Word, Pope's "Concrete" Pledge Put To Test

Facing what'll irrevocably be seen as a defining moment of his six-year reign, the Pope's closing speech to the abuse summit he designed stacked out at nearly 3,200 words (not including the all-important footnotes) – 31 minutes, even with a delivery that was conspicuously rushed at several points.

The sole authority able to promulgate norms in the wake of the four-day gathering, at its outset Francis urged the attendees to emerge from the talks with "concrete and effective" results. Still, as he's the only person who could implement any outcomes as such, whether the following is sufficient toward that end might make for some interesting reactions on the road ahead...

The few known Bergoglio skeptics who reacted early appeared too deflated to do justice to their outrage. Not Michael Voris, though, who had this commentary just a few hours after Jorge Bergoglio closed his summit with his 3200-word harangue that read and sounded like one of those statistics-laden UN reports no one bothers to read. (All the more remarkable because until the first Vigano testimony, Voris had been advocating inexplicably that protesting Catholics could say all they want about every other cleric and bishop but not the pope - oh no, he must be kept apart and sacrosanct from such criticism, so Voris thought!)

The sunset of the Francis papacy?
by Michael Voris

February 24, 2019

A relatively well-organized propaganda summit was brought to a successful corporate close today just a few hours ago as Pope Francis made an important statement.

He said, "Indeed, in people's justified anger, the Church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons."

At this point, a line from the Book of Job comes to mind: "Your own mouth condemns you."

The Church under Pope Francis is really the McCarrickist Church in which all this evil has been allowed to fester and grow.

True, McCarrick did not begin the evil, but during his 50 years as a priest, bishop, archbishop, cardinal and resurrected advisor under Francis, it escalated to unimaginable heights.

Some of the very men either advanced by McCarrick and/or who knew about him are now essentially running the show — men like Cupich and Farrell.

Cupich immediately shut down any discussion of the real cause of the crisis — homosexuality among the ranks of the clergy — even communicating to bishops that they were not to talk to the press and especially not to raise the question of homosexuality during the summit.

So much for transparency. There is no transparency.

What has been set up under Cupich and the rest of the homosexualist inner circle of Pope Francis is not transparency, but a hall of mirrors where things look a certain way, ynothing can ever be clearly ascertained or figured out.

So the Pope listed eight points — best practices — that weren't really even the fruit of this summit but came instead largely from the World Health Organization that he just sort of "baptized."

Those are: protection of children; impeccable seriousness; genuine purification; formation; strengthening and reviewing guidelines by episcopal conferences; accompaniment of those who have been abused; [problems caused by] the digital world, and sexual tourism.

But again, nothing specific; and in some cases, so ridiculously broad that each could be the topic of its own pointless four-day summit.

Speaking of the "wrath of God," one would presume that it would extend to those who create the environment for this evil to be incubated and then set loose.
- But on that score, not much was on the agenda.
- Cover-up bishops: not really an agenda item.
- Homosexuality within the clergy: not on the agenda.
- Anything specific, anything about accountability for bishops: also hard to find on the agenda.
- The financial crimes that are usually part and parcel of this evil: also not really on the agenda.
- The crimes and sins against seminarians: hard to find on the agenda.
- A complete opening up of the extensive McCarrick file to discover not just how the man advanced, but more importantly, who his protectors and enablers were — in other words: the network. You guessed it, not on the agenda.

In short, we were told that those who sexually abuse children — the actual abusers themselves — are tools of the devil and do the devil's work. And that's where it pretty much stopped.

Well, thanks for that show stopper. No one out here in faithful Catholic land had ever really considered that before this colossal waste of time!

Even headlines from the secular media giants are also saying not much happened — lots of words, little action or meaning.

In other words: a lot by way of the dog and pony show, but that was about it.

If this summit accomplished anything good, however, it was that a concentration of forces, an alignment of the stars, began here with clerics and laity alike completely fed up with the lies and distortions and deflections from those within the Vatican.
- Eyes are starting to open wide that almost to a man, anyone considered an insider of this pontificate simply cannot be trusted.
- Bishops we have talked to privately admit that some of these leaders are lying. Others say it's very clear that huge numbers of men ordained to the priesthood should never have been.
- Many were hoping, probably against reasonable hope, that Francis might finally wake up and take the horse by the reins and set about fixing this.

But with news coming out of Argentina and Chile getting more and more attention — pointing at what looks like the Pope's own personal involvement in assorted cover-ups — a massive clampdown on the network and its cover-up was never really in the cards.

The Pope is growing older. The men around him, while still in authority, are essentially being disregarded more and more. This phony summit might well turn out to be the sunset on the papacy of Francis.

With his own cases now coming to the forefront, with federal and state investigations intensifying all over the United States, it looks more and more likely that this papacy is simply going to be buried by the avalanche of sin and immorality that so many of its defenders have had their hands stained by, symbolized by [the pope's] resurrection of Theodore McCarrick [in the first five years of the pontificate], who was the entire reason this summit had to be called to begin with.

It's not too early — given all this — to begin turning attention to the next conclave; a conclave no doubt that, despite its top-heavy Francis appointed cardinals, may very well want to never have to deal with this sinful, embarrassing situation again.

Pope Francis now appears to be the pope who will go down in history as not the great reformer, but the man who could not extricate himself from his own past and alliances and was eventually buried under a mountain of homosexual filth, homopredator priests and the hierarchy that tried unsuccessfully to keep it all covered up.

If that is what this summit turns out to be, then perhaps it wasn't a total loss after all.

This last point by Voris is likely to be the greatest lacuna there will be in any of the commentaries we shall be seeing this week, even as few of the commentaries during the summit appeared to have considered Bergoglio's own dirty hands in whitewashing abuse cases in Argentina significant enough to tie to the summit story. (There's a paradoxical metaphor - dirty hands doing the whitewashing.) When obviously, Bergoglio's blatant evasions and dodgery on the clerical sex abuse issue are part of his own instinct against self-incrimination, a denial that he is himself as guilty if not more than all the bishops who have been roundly condemned for their work in covering up and protecting their sex-offender proteges and cronies.

It appears that shying away from connecting a pope to any such base and unworthy actions is a reflex still maintained by most commentators despite decades now of unbridled media assaults on anyone considered to be a public offender up to and including US presidents.

Sandro Magister is one of the few veteran Vaticanistas - along with Marco Tosatti and Aldo Maria Valli - who have not been loath to hold Bergoglio's feet to the fire when called for. And although his immediate post-summit critique below is rather 'deflated', he has not lost sight of this pope's flagrant self-exemption from the accountability he would demand of other bishops and priests...

Pope continues to claim that clerical sex abuse
results from 'too much power', even as he himself
is losing power and fails to be accountable

February 24 2019

After the summit of February 21-24 between Pope Francis and the leaders of the whole world’s bishops on protecting minors from sexual abuse had just ended, the moderator of the meeting, Fr. Federico Lombardi, announced that “concrete initiatives will soon follow.”

In particular, the following four:
1. “A new Motu Proprio from the Pope ‘on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons,’ to strengthen prevention and the fight against abuse on the part of the Roman Curia and Vatican City State. This document will accompany a new law of Vatican City State and Guidelines for the Vicariate of Vatican City on the same subject.”

2. “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will publish a Vademecum that will help bishops around the world clearly understand their duties and tasks.”

3. “In addition, in a spirit of communion with the universal Church, the Pope has expressed the intention of creating task forces of competent persons to help episcopal conferences and dioceses that find it difficult to confront the problems and produce initiatives for the protection of minors.”

4. “On Monday, 25 February, the Organizing Committee will meet with the heads of the Roman Curiawho participated in this Meeting in order to ascertain as of now the follow-up work necessary to the proposals and the ideas decided upon during these days, as desired by the Holy Father.”

So says Fr. Lombardi. But naturally, for an overall evaluation of the summit, one must consider the speech that Pope Francis gave at the end of the work.

It is an unusual speech in terms of the hefty dose of statistics that takes up the first part and the footnotes, aimed at highlighting the universal dimensions of sexual abuse against minors, in all its forms and in all its contexts.

What happens in the Catholic Church - the pope emphasizes - is part of this phenomenon of vast and multiform dimensions, with it own particular gravity because it is committed by consecrated ministers in doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do.

But in getting to the root of the phenomenon once again Francis generalizes in his own way. Sexual abuse against minors, both inside and outside of the Church, “is always the result of an abuse of power.” And this holds true “in the other forms of abuse affecting almost 85,000,000 children, forgotten by everyone: child soldiers, child prostitutes, starving children, children kidnapped and often victimized by the horrid commerce of human organs or enslaved, child victims of war, refugee children, aborted children and so many others.” [In his own immediate reaction, Aldo Maria Valli goes beyond the power abuse narrative and bluntly says that, let's face it, lust is at the root of all sexual abuse.]

An abuse of power that for Francis - as he also reiterates in this speech - is in the Church synonymous with “clericalism.”

The unfolding of the summit has been evaluated in two of my previous posts, the gist of which is expressed in their titles:
> At the Summit, Homosexuality Is Taboo. But There Is Caution Over “Zero Tolerance”
> Second Day of the Summit. With New Accusations Against Bergoglio, From His Argentina

The case of the Argentine bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, always protected by him and finally promoted to be a ranking “assessor” of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See - in spite of the pending accusations of sexual misconduct that were brought against him with the competent ecclesiastical authorities in Argentina and Rome starting in 2015 - was brought up in a question at the summit’s concluding press conference, to which the reply was that “investigations are under way.”

It must be noted however that the Zanchetta case, on a par with the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, weighs directly against the person of Pope Francis, who has never replied to the allegations that he supported and promoted both of them in spite of the fact that he knew about their reprehensible behavior.

And this inevitably tarnishes Francis’s credibility in opposing the plague of sexual abuse and in demanding from the bishops that “accountability” - that readiness in rendering an account for one’s actions - from which he exempts himself.

In the United States, a “lame duck” is a president who is still in office but whose power has dwindled away. This is the risk that now seems to be looming over Pope Francis.

[His credibility may have taken a big blow, but by no means can he be considered a lame duck.
- He still has the near-absolute power and authority that any pope has by virtue of his office, and which panoply and weight Bergoglio has not hesitated - and will not hesitate - to employ to the maximum in order to get his ends.
- And unlike US presidents, he cannot be impeached in any way.
- Nothing and no one can deprive him of the power he has - he either dies or he resigns. Tertium non datum.
- Nor can you even mock him in any way by chanting "lock him up, lock him up", because for as long as he is pope, nothing but Satan and sin can lock him up, which is obviously, to no one's benefit.

Here's how AP has reported on the summit close. It's not ignoring the Zanchetta case - as the world's leading news agency, it can't afford to because it is legitimate documented news - but still fails to point out the obvious - that Bergoglio himself is guilty of some of the things that prompted this summit to begin with:

Argentine bishop's case overshadows
pope's sex abuse summit

He may have ended his clergy sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican,
but a scandal over an Argentine bishop close to him is only gaining steam.


VATICAN CITY, February 24, 2019 (AP) — Pope Francis may have wrapped up his clergy sex abuse prevention summit at the Vatican, but a scandal over an Argentine bishop close to him is only gaining steam.

The Associated Press has reported that the Vatican knew as early as 2015 about Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta's inappropriate behavior with seminarians. Yet he was allowed to stay on as bishop of the northern Argentine diocese of Oran on until 2017, when he resigned suddenly, only to be given a top job at the Vatican by Francis, his confessor.

New documents published by the Tribune of Salta newspaper show that the original 2015 complaint reported that Zanchetta had gay porn on his cellphone involving "young people" having sex, as well as naked images of Zanchetta masturbating that he sent to others.

The age of the "young people" isn't clear. But Francis told his summit Sunday that Vatican legislation criminalizing possession of child porn involving children under age 14 should change to include older victims.

"We now consider that this age limit should be raised in order to expand the protections of minors and to bring out the gravity of these deeds," Francis said.

It wasn't clear if Francis was referring to the Zanchetta case, which is now under investigation by both the Vatican and Argentine judicial authorities after alleged victims came forward accusing Zanchetta of sexual abuse.

The Vatican has insisted that Zanchetta was only facing "governance" problems at the time of his 2017 resignation and appointment at the Vatican, and that the first sexual abuse allegation was made in late 2018.

The documents, however, make clear that the Vatican was aware of inappropriate sexual behavior by Zanchetta two years before he resigned.

They show that Oran's seminary rector was so concerned that he told the Vatican ambassador in a formal complaint in 2016 that "urgent measures" were needed to protect his first-year students, since their introductory classes were held in Zanchetta's residence.

The 2016 complaint, signed by the rector and two former vicar generals, listed Zanchetta's problematic behavior with seminarians, including walking by their rooms at night, asking them for massages, going into their rooms to wake them up in the morning and sitting on their beds, inviting them to drink alcohol and having an "obsessive omnipresence" in the seminary that made the young men feel "asphyxiated."

The Vatican's longtime sex crimes prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, on Sunday noted Francis's comments about wanting to raise the age to 18 for victims of child pornography. [[???? What about victims of actual sex abuse, not just child porn which is a 'passive' offense??? See what absurdities splitting hairs can lead to???] He said the Vatican to date only considers it a "grave delict" — and therefore handled by the Vatican office that handles sex abuse — if the porn involves a child under 14.

Asked if Francis had the Zanchetta case in mind in proposing the change,
[What does being a victim of child pornography have to do with Zanchetta's alleged misdeeds? Like McCarrick, he preyed on seminarians under his jurisdiction and supposed protection. Unless Zanchetta also turns out to have been - or to still be - a child porn addict, the question asked wasn't even relevant to him], Scicluna said he didn't know any specifics about the case. But he said "if someone is investigating a case, that's not covering it up."

Winfield's earlier story:

Pope vows to end abuse cover-ups
but victims disappointed


VATICAN CITY, February 24, 2019 (AP) — Pope Francis closed out his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with “the wrath of God” felt by the faithful, end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this “brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”

But his failure to offer a concrete action plan to hold bishops accountable when they failed to protect their flocks from predators disappointed survivors, who had expected more from the first-ever global Catholic summit of its kind.

Francis delivered his remarks at the end of Mass before 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors who were summoned to Rome after more abuse scandals sparked a credibility crisis in the Catholic hierarchy and in Francis’ own leadership.

“Brothers and sisters, today we find ourselves before a manifestation of brazen, aggressive and destructive evil,” the pope said.

In a sign of new measures being taken, the Vatican announced that it would soon issue a new law creating a child protection policy for Vatican City State that covers the Holy See bureaucracy.

The Associated Press reported last year that the headquarters of the Catholic Church had no such policy, even though it insisted in 2011 that local churches have one and told the United Nations five years ago that a policy for Vatican City was in the works.

“It’s not like there is an enormous diffusion of these crimes inside Vatican City State or the Curia, summit moderator the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. [How ironic to make that statement after a much-ballyhooed Vatican-approved supposed expose of homosexual domination of power structures in the Church claimed at least 80 percent of the clergy and prelates working in the Vatican are homosexuals, practising or not!]

“But since we insist that we need laws and rigorous procedure (elsewhere), they should also exist where we are and in our institutions, starting with the Vatican City State.”

In his final remarks to the summit, Francis noted that the vast majority of sexual abuse happens in the family. And he offered a global review of the broader societal problem of sexual tourism and online pornography, in a bid to contextualize what he said was once a taboo subject. [To 'contextualize'? More like seeking to displace attention from homosexuality in the clergy to all of society that the whole world knows is already dominated by an aggressively active LGBTQXYZ-ism that seeks to show it is the sexual deviants who are normal and 'straight' men and women who are not!]

But he said the sexual abuse of children becomes even more scandalous when it occurs in the Catholic Church, “for it is utterly incompatible with her moral authority and ethical credibility.”

Francis summoned the bishops from around the world to the four-day meeting to impress upon them that clergy sex abuse and cover-ups aren’t just a problem in some countries but a global problem that threatens the very mission of the Catholic Church. [And if these bishops didn't already know that coming in, after the nth redux of a crisis that first exploded into global consciousness in 2001, they have no business being bishops at all. And BTW, why didn't the summit organizers provide at all for at least one bishop-president of an episcopal conference to address the assembly and present his perceptions of the crisis and what his region has done about it? Surely they could have made room for one such bishop-president representing Asia-Oceania, Africa, and Latin America, respectively, to do that - since the whole world is quite familiar by now with what is happening on this issue in North America and Europe?]

He offered an eight-point pledge of priorities going forward, calling for a change in the church’s defensive mentality and a vow to never again cover-up cases. [He could very well start with his defensive - and often offensive - mentality on this issue. And what about the cover-up on major cases still outstanding like McCarrick's and those involving Bergoglio personally in Argentina? Exempted because they have already happened and the vow is 'never again to cover up'??? Why doesn't Winfield point out Bergoglio's blatant hypocrisy on this matter? Let him show the way to all the other bishops by coming clean about McCarrick and Zanchetta, to begin with.]

Victims, he said, must take center stage while priests must undergo a continuing path of purity with the “holy fear of God” guiding the examination of their own failures.

If in the Church there should emerge even a single case of abuse - which already in itself represents an atrocity - that case will be faced with the utmost seriousness,” he said. ['Will be faced'. How about those he ought to have faced earlier??? Fuggedabout it, as the Mafia might say?] “Indeed, in people’s justified anger, the church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons.” [And what if all accounts - not belied by the Vatican - show he is himself one of those 'deceitful consecrated persons'???]

But survivors who came to Rome expecting solid, concrete action were disappointed.

“I have been waiting for seven years for all of this to change,” Italian survivor Alessandro Battaglia said. “There are people who have been waiting for 30 years that all this will change. Why don’t they start with something concrete like removing the bishops who cover up?” [Tough call. The Bishop of Rome may have to begin by removing himself!]

U.S. survivor Peter Isely, of the victim advocacy group Ending Clergy Abuse, said the pope didn’t go far enough.

“There is nothing in his remarks about releasing documents that demonstrate the truth of how they are and have been covering up child sex crimes,” he said. “So what that is, is secrecy. So, if he is against secrecy about cover-ups, on Monday morning, we would be seeing those archives and criminal evidence released.” [Well said. Let's see the evidence, to begin with, on which the CDF decided to laicize McCarrick, and stop all the speculation, if the Vatican won't show us the documents Mons. Vigano cites in support of his claims.]

[The rest of the story is about the Zanchetta case on which Winfield wrote the separate story posted above this one].

Bergoglio cheerleader John Allen, who hasn't been quite so upbeat lately on his pope, wasn't thrilled about the outcome of the summit either.

Four take-aways from the pope’s
summit on clerical sexual abuse

by John L. Allen Jr.

February 25, 2019

ROME - Pope Francis’s keenly-anticipated Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse wrapped up Sunday, and it ended much the way it began: Offering reasons for hope, for those inclined in that direction, but also ample basis for skepticism for anyone disposed to distrust assurances from ecclesiastical officialdom.
- The summit provided an amplifier for the rhetoric of reform, but relatively little in terms of concrete new policies or law.
- If anything, there’s actually some basis to suspect division and ambiguity about certain key accountability measures, such as defrocking as the more-or-less standard punishment for abuser priests and releasing the names of clergy facing credible accusations of abuse.

On Sunday, the Vatican vowed new anti-abuse guidelines for the Vatican City State, a handbook outlining the procedures to follow in abuse cases, and new task forces to help bishops’ conferences and dioceses that lack the resources to implement anti-abuse protocols on their own. It also announced that on Monday, summit organizers will meet with Vatican officials to discuss next steps.

In the immediate wake of the summit, here are a few take-aways that seem supported by the experience of the last four days.

1. Global perspective is key
Approaching this event as an American or a Western European was, from the very beginning, arguably destined to be an exercise in frustration. What’s become conventional wisdom in those parts of the world, where the abuse scandals have been a fact of Catholic life for decades, remains novel and sometimes almost incomprehensible elsewhere.

For Americans and most Western Europeans (with the glaring exception, perhaps, of the pope’s backyard in Italy), to hear senior Church officials acknowledge openly that clerical abuse exists and must be addressed can sound like defusing the bomb long after it’s gone off.

For Africans, Asians, Eastern Europeans, many Latin Americans and most Catholics from the Middle East, however, such explicit references aren’t standard fare, and arguably may have the effect of galvanizing action in places which to date have been mired in denial and neglect.

Whether this summit was a “success,” in other words, depends to some extent on your GPS coordinates. Above all else, Francis probably called this meeting to establish a uniform global baseline in terms of the Church’s understanding of clerical abuse, and measured by that admittedly limited standard, it may well have produced the desired result.

2. Ending with a whimper, not a bang
Francis opened the summit on Thursday with a stirring talk [In what way 'stirring' when it was merely a reiteration of fundamentally meaningless platitudes on the subject, and a preview of further reiteration of the same in his closing speech??? But obviously Allen found it stirring. To each his own.] - declaring that the People of God were expecting “concrete, effective measures” to combat clerical abuse, not the repetition of “simple and predictable condemnations.” That language evoked a sense of resolve and purpose that was broadly welcomed.

The pope’s verbiage at the end of the meeting, on the other hand, met with a far more mixed reaction.

On the one hand, the pope exuded understanding, saying that “in people’s justified anger, the Church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons,” and that “it is our duty to pay close heed to this silent, choked cry.”

Yet Francis also rolled out the by-now familiar argument that child sexual abuse is not restricted to the Catholic Church, that most abuse occurs in the family, and that the broader society also needs to get its own house in order.

All those points are perfectly valid, but in context they couldn’t help but strike many observers as a form of deflection. After all, a pope can’t directly shape what happens in families or secular society, but he certainly can exercise control over the vicissitudes of the Church he leads.

Overall, reform forces inside and outside the Church weren’t exactly thrilled.

“If the powerful testimonies of the past week moved the needle in the right direction,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the watchdog group Bishop Accountability, on Sunday, “the pope today moved it back.”

“Pope Francis’s talk today was a stunning letdown, a catastrophic misreading of the grief and outrage of the faithful,” she said.

3. Survivors as protagonists
Over the last four days, survivors of clerical abuse and their advocacy organizations played a significant role in shaping the narrative of the summit. In part that’s because they ran a fairly sophisticated media operation, but in part, too, it’s because they had something that’s almost irresistible to curious reporters: Insider access.

Before and during the summit, several were moving in and out of Vatican offices, meeting senior personnel and acquiring important information about where things stand. By now, there’s an informal but widely observed policy of giving virtually all survivors who want one a hearing.

As recently as a decade ago, abuse survivors struggled to get meetings with Vatican potentates, and they acquired most of their information about the goings-on in Rome from reporters. Now, they’re often the ones briefing reporters about what’s happening in various Vatican departments.

For sure, getting in the door isn’t the whole ballgame. Part of what transpired in these meetings, in fact, is that survivors were turned down when they asked for material such as the case files of convicted priests, or the texts of policies benignly described as “internal” (read: “[pontifical] secret”).

Yet by Vatican standards, the mere fact that survivors can even get a hearing is a striking novelty, the significance of which probably shouldn’t be played down. [Well, after all, didn't Benedict XVI set the precedent by meeting with abuse victims in most of the places he visited? A practice emulated by his successor, obviously. What Allen does not mention is that the large group of survivors who came to Rome for the meeting had expected to meet with the pope himself but were disappointed. Fr. Lombardi said they were never promised a meeting with the pope, only with 'Vatican officials' - but it is surprising this PR-savvy pope failed to take advantage of the occasion to add something genuinely 'dramatic' - even if only in the theatrical sense - to his dog-and-pony show.]

4. Activist groups unhappy
Whatever access survivors may have enjoyed, however, didn’t mean their most prominent activists were prepared to choke back criticism. On the contrary, as the summit ended the declarations of dissatisfaction were loud and clear.

The Italian group Rete L’abuso, the country’s lone network for abuse survivors, pulled no punches, dispatching a statement on Sunday with the headline, “Credibility zero.”

“The summit called by Pope Francis ended with a hole in the water,” it said, using an Italian expression to mean “useless” and ” futile.”

“It responded to the world with a banality and intellectual misery that humiliates victims and offends Catholics,” it said.

Moreover, the statement bluntly called Francis a “liar”.

“Pope Francis has transformed his media campaign of ‘zero tolerance’,” with the clarity offered today, into a Church with ‘zero credibility’ and ‘zero will.’ Thanks for that clarity, for which we’re grateful,” that statement said.

Bishop Accountability was not quite as fiery in its verbiage, but equally negative in its judgment.

“The bishops of the world will scrutinize the papal talk, trying to discern if they must change or risk losing their jobs. They’ll be reassured,” their statement said.

“Nothing in either the pope’s remarks or [a Vatican] list of ‘concrete initiatives’ suggests that complicit church managers will be laicized, fired or demoted,” Bishop Accountability said. “Nothing we heard today suggests that a universal ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy for either abusers or enablers is even being considered.”

“The hope for change shifts back to the secular sphere,” the statement said. “Alarmed by the summit’s failure to produce reform, survivors, activists and civil authorities will be galvanized.

00Monday, February 25, 2019 7:46 PM
When are we ever going to get the full story of how the St Gallen gang organized the election of Jorge Bergoglio at the 2013 Conclave? We've been getting snippets all along, including Uncle Ted McCarrick's 2014 account of how he was drawn into the Bergoglio net by an Italian cardinal who approached him before the Conclave. Now a new article in Crisis magazine gives us a few more snippets in which it seems much of the earlier snippets came from Austin Ivereigh - the British Bergogliac who recently and most gratuitously cast doubt on Jesus's sexuality - in his own hagiography of Bergoglio, and in what he has written so far about his departed former boss, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor (died Sept 2017), who proudly claimed to have been the principal organizer of the coup contre l'Eglise (coup against the Church), as I like to think of it now, at the last Conclave. Ivereigh was the cardinal's longtime press aide.

The writer of this article is a young lady who seems to have been the only Catholic commentator so far who has bothered to read the memoirs of the cardinal (published in 2015) which one might have expected of the least Vaticanista. For example, I am reading for the first time here that the cardinal had met with his soon-to-be-victorious candidate on the very eve of the pre-Conclave general congregations (of all cardinals present in Rome) in March 2013 - although there have been accounts from the Argentine media that right after Benedict XVI announced his renunciation on February 11, 2013, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires was caught up in a flurry of telephone calls to and from Rome involving the machinations for his election.

This pope's allies boast how
his strategy of 'smallstep' changes has
succeeded in carrying his revolution forward

by Julia Meloni

February 25, 2019

On March 3, 2013, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor — an alumnus of the St. Gallen mafia — met with then-Cardinal Bergoglio over risotto and wine. It was the evening before the pre-conclave general congregations — as Murphy-O’Connor recalls in his memoirs — and the old friends were discussing “the sort of person we felt the cardinals should elect.”

A day earlier, an anonymous cardinal had been quoted saying, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” Later, Murphy-O’Connor would utter that same phrase, adding: “But pray to God we have him for much longer than that.”

Murphy-O’Connor was, as his memoirs detail, arrested by the careening post-conciliar “runaway Church” — cracking open the “rather rigid and self-righteous” Church of the past. But Murphy-O’Connor understood that “incremental change is usually best” — that the “trick” to keeping peace was to “let the leash out gently, so that you could allow things to develop while staying in control.”

And Cardinal Bergoglio was the mafia’s chosen leader for “gentle” revolution on a leash. In 2001, Bergoglio had been introduced to the mafia by its leader, the radical “ante-pope” Cardinal Carlo Martini. In the days before the 2005 conclave, Murphy-O’Connor sat with a gin and tonic giving his then-press secretary, Austen Ivereigh, hints about Bergoglio, the eventual runner-up. Now, in 2013, Murphy-O’Connor gave Ivereigh another tip-off that Bergoglio could well be the next pope.

For Murphy-O’Connor and other mafia alumni, including Cardinals Kasper and Danneels, had expertly toured pre-conclave gatherings promoting Bergoglio. And according to Marco Politi, on the evening of March 9, Murphy-O’Connor had met with Cardinals Kasper, Coccopalmerio, Bertello, Nicola, and Tauran to strategize seeking the backing of others. It is unclear whether one of the Italians in the group was the “influential Italian gentleman” who asked then-Cardinal McCarrick to “talk up” Bergoglio, but both McCarrick and Coccopalmerio gave early interviews pushing for a “Latin American” pope.

On March 12, before the conclave’s start that evening, Murphy-O’Connor fell into walking beside Bergoglio.

“Watch out, now it’s your turn,” Murphy-O’Connor said.

“I understand,” Bergoglio replied. He was calm, said Murphy-O’Connor, and “was aware that he was going to be a candidate going in.”

The next day, Pope Francis emerged at St. Peter’s Loggia flanked by Danneels — the mafia popemaker who had told a king to legalize abortion and a sexual abuse victim to seek forgiveness [from his abuser,a bishop-uncle].

A year later, Murphy-O’Connor boasted that a “Pandora’s box” had been opened — that the cardinals “did not know what a steely character [Bergoglio] was, they did not know that he was a Jesuit in very deep ways, they did not know who they were electing.” [In other words, they had sold - after previously buying him happily - a pig in a poke.]

For the new pope shared Martini’s “dream” of “permanent” synodality — permanent revolution, via synods, on “knots” such as marriage and sexuality. Murphy-O’Connor said Pope Francis told him how crucial synods were for enstructuring “collegiality” — mafia code for decentralized Church authority.

Eugenio Scalfari, too, said Francis told him how “long and difficult” Martini’s synodal road would be — how “gently, but firmly and tenaciously” he would need to proceed.

All this talk about long, inexorable marches sounded ominously Gramscian, ominously like cultural Marxist “revolution by stealth.” When Humanae Vitae was released in 1965, Murphy-O’Connor himself let the leash out artfully, paying lip service to the “Vatican position” on contraception while dispensing “pastoral compassion” on dissenters. Later, amidst the family synods, he would let the leash extend again, saying that doctrine changes indirectly and could “develop” on adultery.

Long ago, Murphy-O’Connor and his mafia predecessor, Cardinal Basil Hume, had received letters from Rome after saying “vaguely provocative things” about ordaining married men to the priesthood. Later, Hume would write a document on homosexuality softening the “harsh” term “objectively disordered” and Murphy-O’Connor would crusade for “gay Masses” — which he called a “route back to the sacraments,” with “rather better” music to boot. [Their open callousness to Catholic teaching is truly appalling - they were open about their views but tolerated by the Vatican nonetheless.]

Now, Murphy-O’Connor was saying how brilliant it was that Pope Francis had quipped, “Who am I to judge?” — a response to a question about Francis’s promotion of a cleric with a history of homosexual scandals. Historian Henry Sire argues that such patronage fits a “pattern” — “well established” during Bergoglio’s time in Argentina — “whereby he surrounds himself with morally weak people so as to have them under his thumb.”

Asked, before the conclave, if he’d advise that the new pope be “free from any kind of taint of cover-up,” Murphy-O’Connor at one point said: “You’re not going to get a saint straight away, you know; we’re all sort of, we’re all sinners” (31:31).

Murphy-O’Connor had himself covered up for a notorious abuser who went on to molest other young victims, some disabled. One of the priest’s confirmed victims claimed that when he abused her, Murphy-O’Connor and others were present and involved — yet the CDF’s 2013 investigation into Murphy-O’Connor was stopped because it lacked Pope Francis’s approval. Sources for a respected Vaticanist claim that an angry Francis interrupted Cardinal Müller while he was saying Mass, ordering the investigation’s shutdown.

Murphy-O’Connor died in 2017, too soon to witness what lay beyond “four years of Bergoglio.”
- After five years, the pro-“LGBT” Fr. James Martin and alumni of the “gay Masses” were speaking officially at the World Meeting of Families
— While Archbishop Viganò was claiming that Pope Francis had knowingly rehabilitated McCarrick, and that Coccopalmerio was part of a “homosexual current” trying to subvert doctrine on homosexuality.
- Coccopalmerio, who helped elect Francis after serving as Martini’s longtime personal secretary, has openly praised the “positive elements” of same-sex unions — and is allegedly connected to a drug-fueled homosexual orgy at a CDF apartment.
- He reportedly pushed for leniency for sex abusers as a Francis-appointed member of an appellate review board — even swaying Francis to overrule CDF sanctions against a notorious molester of boys.
- In 2014, Ivereigh pointed out that Coccopalmerio, then the Vatican’s top canon law advisor, was “working out the details” on giving synods real decision-making power.
- In 2018, a new papal document said a synod’s final document could be declared part of the pope’s “ordinary magisterium”
— And then a youth synod final document largely authored by the Vice President of the Martini Foundation smuggled in rigged agendas on “LGBT” causes, the autonomy of individual conscience, and mafia-style “synodality.”
- Pope Francis, who helped draft the contentious final text, will release a full post-synodal exhortation soon.
- Meanwhile, the synodal machine prepares to churn out revolution on the mafia’s other “knots,” including the “shortage of ordained ministers,” the “role of woman” in the Church, and the “need to revive ecumenical hopes.”
- Shortly before the 2013 conclave, Murphy-O’Connor said the issue of ordaining married men to the priesthood “very well might come up,” though it wouldn’t be “first on the agenda” (21:38). Now, Pope Francis has said he’s “open” to the practice — presaging the agenda of this year’s Amazon synod.

The larger goal, as Kasper’s book on Martin Luther makes clear, is to fully overcome “confessionally constricted Catholicism” in the name of ecumenical unity.
- Hence, as others explain, the revolution’s attempts to weaken Catholic markers such as the papacy, celibacy, auricular confession, indissoluble marriage, and the Holy Eucharist.
- The plan is to refashion the Church into a sort of federation of local churches — a postmodern “polyhedron” with diversity on doctrine and more (cf. Evangelii Gaudium 236, 32).

Pope Francis’s “small-step strategy is the right one,” explains Kasper to the homosexual activist Frédéric Martel.“If you advance too quickly, as in the ordination of women or the celibacy of the priesthood, there will be a schism… I tried to move the debate [on recognizing homosexual couples] forward at the [2015] synod, but we weren’t listened to. Francis found a middle way by talking about people, about individuals. And then, very gradually, he moved the lines.” Except, of course,that the changes Bergoglio has wrought so far - transforming the Church of Christ he was elected to lead into a church in his, Bergoglio's, very image and likeness - have hardly been small at all. Yes, he made them after feigning moves towards some innocuous and generally unexceptionable 'aims', as the family and youth synods purported, and as will the coming synod on the Amazonia, but then subverting those aims in the process, to replace them with the radical changes he was always intended. That's the current wolf-shepherd of 1.2 billion Catholics - a wolf with the cunning of a fox, the venom of a cobra, and the deadly sting of a scorpion.]

Kasper was gesturing towards the mafia’s ominous last “knot”: the relationship between “civil laws and the moral law.” Both Kasper and Danneels hailed homosexual “marriage” laws—while Martini and Danneels defended or even promoted legal abortion.

For the “gently” leashed revolution leads, finally, to “anti-creation” doctrine — pillared on the legal “rights” to abortion and the homosexual subversion of marriage.

“We will win,” insists Kasper to Martel, smiling.

The writer links to an article Ivereigh wrote for THE TABLET in 2017 on the occasion of Murphy O'Connor's which, however, he wilefully seeks to exonerate his former boss and his St. Gallen mafia comrades of any 'wrongdoing' in organizing Bergoglio'selection because, he claims, the supporters of Joseph Ratzinger had done exactly the same thing in 2005 and they were doing for Bergoglio in 2013 what was done for Ratzinger earlier.
what Ivereigh does not point out is that any 'organizing' done by Ratzingerian cardinals in 2005 was a response to the openly anti=-Ratzinger threat posed by the Martini/progressivist wing of the College of Cardinals..

Cormac the kingmaker:
The lesson that proved decisive
in the election of Pope Francis

by Austin Ivereigh

September 6, 2017

At the conclusion of the 2005 conclave, Joseph Ratzinger emerged as Pope Benedict XVI; in 2013, the cardinals elected Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. The one English cardinal present at the first of the two conclaves learned a lesson that was to prove decisive at the second.

The hint dropped by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor over drinks at the English College in the days prior to the 2005 conclave takes on a new significance, looking back. It was the first papal election in which all but two of the world’s 115 cardinals had ever taken part, and Murphy-O’Connor was at the heart of the buzz. Westminster was a kind of hub for the world’s English-speaking cardinals, and its tall, jovial archbishop was a point of reference for Africans and Asians as well as Americans. In conclave argot, Cormac was seen as a “kingmaker”.

At the time, I was his conduit to the world’s media, pressing at the window, so he was careful about giving away too much about which papabili were up and which were down. But, at the end of each day of the general congregations – the pre-conclave gatherings where, in sede vacante, the cardinals act as a kind of ruling council – if he wasn’t off to one of those college dinners where they took the measure of each other, he would sit with a gin and tonic and give me little steers. I’d mention a name and he would shake his head, or give an encouraging nod, but then make a movement of his hands as if to say: “Hmmm, not sure about him.”

“What do you know about the Latin Americans?” Cormac asked me one evening. Excited by the prospect of the papacy passing to that continent, I riffed on the two forerunners, the Brazilian social-justice Franciscan, Cláudio Hummes, and the Honduran firecracker, Oscar Rodríguez de Maradiaga, outlining for the Boss what I thought their strong points were. He cut me off.

“What about Buenos Aires?” he asked. “What do you know about him?” Not much, as it happened, beyond what I had picked up in the Argentinian capital three years earlier, when, as the economy was collapsing, the Jesuit archbishop had begun to emerge as a national figure. “Why?” I asked. “Is he being talked about?” Cormac nodded gravely, and gave me one of his wise-elder, “you-mark-my-words” looks.

Looking back, I realise that this was the only time in our chats in those days when he ever really lit up while mentioning a candidate. But he did so in such a reserved way that it didn’t quite register.

What had made a bigger impact were his observations about the way Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Dean of the College of Cardinals, was running the general congregations, skilfully melding the most heterogeneous, global and disparate bunch of red hats in the Church’s history. Although he never quite said as much, I twigged that this quality, in those circumstances, with the cardinals still in shock after the extraordinary drama of the death of Pope John Paul II, made the German cardinal – in the absence of any obvious challenger – a shoo-in for the fisherman’s shoes. So it proved.

Yet there had been a challenger. Later that year, an Italian cardinal published his conclave diary, revealing that the “progressives” around the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, whose Parkinson’s disease had ruled him out as papabile, had promoted and voted for Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Cormac, it turned out, was part of this group.

Months before, when I had learned that the cardinal was going off to meet other church leaders in St Gallen, Switzerland, I had assumed that this was for the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE). Cormac had explained that it wasn’t quite that, but an informal group, which got together each year to discuss issues of mutual concern. It all sounded quite mysterious.

The “St Gallen group” had originally come together in the mid-1990s in response to Rome’s de-fanging of the CCEE. After the Vatican failed to bring it and the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM, under direct control of the synod secretariat, local meetings were steered in an attempt to turn these bodies into mechanisms for implementation rather than discernment. CELAM, which was far older and bigger than the CCEE, could resist this rather better than the Europeans.

[But shouldn't bishops' continental councils be mechanisms for implementation rather than just 'discernment'? Ivereigh, of course, won't say that CELAM in the course of decades failed to rein in the Marxist practices of liberation theology nor to stop the continuing abandonment of Catholicism by Latin Americans for evangelical Protestantism.

As Cardinal Godfried Danneels, emeritus of Brussels, has described in his authorised biography, the reformists, or pastoralists, in the CCEE decided to hold their own, off-the-radar meetings to do informally what they no longer could formally: discuss the state of the Church.

The group of seven or eight cardinals – de facto led by Cardinal Martini, whom Cormac deeply admired – had included Basil Hume, and after 2001, Cormac. When he wrote in his memoirs, An English Spring, that “among some of the European cardinals in particular, there was a hankering for a more pastoral style, a longing for a shift of the focus of attention from the centre of the Church to the peripheries”, Cormac was summarising the essence of the St Gallen agenda.

It was a vision that had begun to emerge around the time of the consistory of 2001, when the Latin American red hats in the college suddenly swelled and made common cause with the European pastoralists, urging reform. This shift in the college in many ways was the origin of the Francis papacy. Cormac and Bergoglio, both made cardinals that year, would meet and talk at Vatican meetings, where they were usually seated together. The more Cormac knew Bergoglio, especially after 2005, the more he became convinced that he was the one to take the helm.

At the end of the Wojtyla pontificate, Cormac detected a division between the cardinals. With his pastor’s gift for scriptural metaphor, he described it as those who wanted a “leaven-in-the-mass” Church, on the one hand, and those who wanted a “city-on-the-hill” Church, on the other. It wasn’t so much about doctrine, he would insist, as about style and emphasis.

Cormac was loyal to a fault. He believed the era of St John Paul II had been a necessary repackaging of the Catholic tradition in the light of the Second Vatican Council, one that avoided either rupture or resistance. But he felt strongly that a city-on-a-hill Church lacked credibility in a pluralist society in which the grammar of faith was slipping away. [Forgive my skepticism, but that thing about a 'necessary repackaging' sounds more like Ivereigh trying to give his former boss a posthumous semblance of orthodoxy than the actual truth - judging from his boss's own ecclesiastical record.]

The Church’s credibility had to come from its closeness to people, the vicinanza embodied by Gaudium et Spes and by the popes he most admired, St John XXIII and Blessed Paul VI. A papacy of condemnation more than dialogue, of endless proclamations rather than careful discernment, needed to give way to a pastoral papacy where the focus was on people, rather than ideas. None of this could happen without reforming the Curia, and the Polish pope’s lack of interest in doing so was a disappointment to Cormac. When the dysfunctions exploded on Benedict XVI’s watch, he was sad but not surprised.

[What 'dysfunctions' exploded, exactly? Name one major genuine scandal, Ivereigh - not one manufactured and engineered by the media, from Regensburg to Vatileaks passing through the Williamson affair - that would be evidence of such 'dysfunctions'. This is the Vatileaks syndrome writ large - in which a relatively minor scandal about leaked documents that do not discredit the pope in any way is made into a major scandal attributed to the pope who is not the villain of the leaks in any way but its major victim in terms of the flagrant violation of his privacy. Vatileaks was a crime committed against Benedict XVI - yet it was made to look as if it were the scandal of the century for which he was responsible, neither of which element is in the least bit true. But a criminally false narrative swallowed hook, line and sinker by the men who are supposed to be 'the best and the brightest' in the Catholic world, those cardinals who met in 2013 to elect Bergoglio.]

In March 2013, Cormac was beyond the age at which he could take part in the conclave. However, he was very active in the meetings that led up to it. The St Gallen group had faded in 2006 but not its dream, and its members, many of them now emeriti, made their voices heard at the general congregations.

Cormac had learned some lessons from 2005. He observed how the pro-Ratzinger team had gone about before the conclave promoting their man, so that by the time the conclave opened he had become the one to beat.

Cormac believed that the next pope should have a heart for the poor, implement collegiality, reform the Curia, and, above all, be a pastor. Convinced that this man was Bergoglio, Cormac toured the red-hat dinners and, as Catherine Pepinster reveals in her forthcoming book, The Keys and the Kingdom: the British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis, even co-hosted one of his own, for Commonwealth cardinals, at the British embassy, to ensure he was talked about, as Ratzinger’s partisans had done in 2005.

[Who talked about Ratzinger in 2005 before the Conclave? He was not mentioned among the papabili for the simple reason that the media counted him out from the start just because he was Joseph Ratzinger, a man none of them could imagine being pope. When even John Allen - and this is documented fact - did not even bring him up as a papabile until two days before the Conclave, you get an idea how little he was 'talked about', at least not in the media, not as Murphy O'Connor via Ivereigh claims.

But he was talked about by the cardinal electors - and they're the only ones who count in a conclave - because he ran the pre-Conclave general congregations and ran them very admirably, as even Murphy O'Connor conceded. Yet in the same way, the media largely ignored Jorge Bergoglio as a contender in 2013 - because he had been defeated in 2005. When, knowing his backing by the progressivist wing of the Church, they should have known better and considered him a prime, if not the prime, papabile.]

The idea was to give the Argentinian a strong head start out of the starting block, with at least 25 votes on the first ballot. This was because conclaves essentially are an exercise in discerning between a few front-runners. Cormac was the chief organiser of this effort, assisted by the ancient emeritus of Florence, Silvano Piovanelli, who kept a tally of the cardinals likely to back Bergoglio. (Piovanelli died in 2016.)

All this was quite within the rules, which prohibit only secret agreements between candidates and their backers. [And there was no 'secret agreement', even if only tacit and implicit, between Bergoglio and his backers? Gimme a break!] “Team Bergoglio” was simply doing in 2013 what “Team Ratzinger” had done in 2005.

If Bergoglio knew what they were up to, he gave no indication. [Have your pants stopped burning, Ivereigh???] Anyway, as Cormac once described it, while the human process that precedes a papal election is important, what happens after the doors close on the conclave itself is the work of the Holy Spirit. More than one Latin American cardinal has told me how the election was the result of a prayerful convergence in the Sistine Chapel. [Yeah, right!]

All were aware of the crisis in the Church and of the special need for the next Peter to be God’s choice. Because there was little doubt who that was, it took just four ballots. [If it was so obvious, it should have taken only one, no?] But Bergoglio did have, by all accounts, at least 25 votes at first scrutiny. [So 'God's choice' only had 25 votes going in?] Cormac was proud to have opened that channel for the Holy Spirit to get to work. [What must God think of all this people continually taking the name of his Spirit in vain, all these past six years, to justify and sanctify their actions???] He was ever the patient, moderate, cautious reformer, as he describes himself in An English Spring. But, when the time was right, he knew when and how to act boldly, deploying his energy and charm to smooth the path of providence.

At the moment of Francis's election, he was in St Peter’s Square, weeping tears of joy. The whirlwind that followed was what he had dreamed of as a young priest. It was a film-script conclusion to a life of loving service. [YECCHHHHH!]

Austen Ivereigh was press secretary and later advisor for public affairs to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor between 2004 and 2006. He is the author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
00Tuesday, February 26, 2019 2:23 AM

You can't make this up! Watch the videoclip:
Hats off to Ines San Martin of Crux who asked the question.

Another telltale vignette from the abuse summit:
00Tuesday, February 26, 2019 10:13 AM
It took the FSSPX three weeks to come out with it but they did it, and albeit indirectly, called out the reigning pope for heresy, saying the word Cardinal Mueller could not say in his Manifesto of Faith. Perhaps the delay was caused by an internal dispute within the society - which calls itself a fraternity, BTW - with some members questioning the move in view of ongoing doctrinal talks with the Vatican over returning to full communion with Rome. Those doctrinal talks are about Vatican II issues whose orthodoxy the FSSPX questions - ecumenism and inter-religious dialog, synodality and the Novus Ordo - all of them pastoral practices presupposing heterodox doctrine that was not previously part of Church teaching. The issue with the Abu Dhabi document is far more fundamental and basically doctrinal. This argument may have won the day for the Superior-General and his two assistants to publish the document.


On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis together with the Grand Imam of the Mosque in Cairo signed a Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

An ecumenical Christ would not be the true Christ. For more than fifty years, modern ecumenism and inte-rreligious dialogue have ceaselessly presented to the world a diminished, unrecognizable, and disfigured Christ.

The Word of God, the only Son of the Father, uncreated Eternal Wisdom took flesh and became man; faced with this historical fact no one can remain indifferent: “He that is not with Me is against Me: and He that gathereth not with Me scattereth” (Mt 12:30).

By the fact of the Incarnation, Christ became the High Priest of the unique New Covenant and the Teacher who proclaims the truth to us; He became the King of hearts and of societies and “the firstborn amongst many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Thus true fraternity exists only in Jesus Christ and in Him alone: “For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

It is a truth of the faith that Christ is King of all men and that He wants to unite them in His Church, His unique Bride, His only Mystical Body. The kingdom that He establishes is a reign of truth and grace, of holiness, justice, and charity, and consequently peaceful.

There can be no true peace apart from Our Lord. It is therefore impossible to find peace outside the reign of Christ and of the religion that He founded. To forget this truth is to build on sand, and Christ Himself warns us that such an undertaking is doomed to fail (cf.Mt 7:26-27).

The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar is nothing but a house built on sand. It is furthermore an impious gesture that scorns the First Commandment of God and attributes to the Divine Wisdom, incarnate in Jesus Christ who died for us on the Cross, the statement that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions” is “willed by God in His wisdom”.

Such talk is opposed to the dogma that declares that the Catholic religion is the one true religion (cf.Syllabus of Errors, proposition 21). When something is a dogma, anything opposed to it is called heresy. God cannot contradict Himself.

Following Saint Paul and our revered founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, under the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, we will continue to hand on the Catholic faith that we have received (cf.1 Cor 11:23), working with all our might for the salvation of souls and of nations, by preaching the true faith and the true religion.

“Go therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Mt 28:19-20). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:16).

February 24, 2019

Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General
Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta, First Assistant
Father Christian Bouchacourt, Second Assistant[DIM]

Mundabor's reaction:

The FSSPX and the 'new normality'

February 25, 2019

The SSPX has reacted to Pope Francis’ “False religions are willed by God” “interfaith” statement. A tad slow, our friends, you might say. However, no-one doubted on which side they were, and I do not think that the FSSPX should feel obliged to react to current events within the news cycle. Still, one notices Cardinal Mueller did pretty much the same job in a fraction of the time.

This statement should reassure all those who had felt abandoned by the FSSPX because they were being a tad slow. However, people of such little faith and such precipitous pessimism will always be ready to announce the end of the world every time something does not go according to their very fearful taste; therefore, I will leave them to their own fears.

The statement in itself is not really news, because entirely predictable and anticipated in its content. What is, however, rapidly becoming news is that Francis is being condemned from both the right (read: those who are right) and the left. Quite an accomplishment for a man extremely known for his propensity to the easy gestures and the cheap slogans: the wheelchairs, the acts of “humility”, the hotel bill and the Renault 4, all that kind of easy, approval-seeking kindergarten exercises. With all that dumb stuff going on, and the white tunic to boot, how can a Pope become the object of worldwide criticism?

With all this, and with all the immense goodwill a Pope is entitled to, Francis has still managed to be shot at from all sides. His toxic combination of heresy, arrogance, incompetence, communism, and even downplaying of clerical sex abuse is probably unique on the planet, it is a satanic cocktail so evidently poisonous that even the BBC slowly notices it.

This man is quite the circus attraction. It will be entertaining to see him digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself as he keeps insulting everybody and condemning everything that is not just as dumb as he is. It is, at the same time, a great grace given to us: so that, once realised that this disgraceful Pontificate is but the explosion of the bubo of Vatican II, we can at least be glad that we have been given an enemy so easy to spot, unable to deceive even those dullest and dumbest of people: mainstream journalists.

The real news today is not that the FSSPX has reacted to the February 4 statement.

It is that it has now become the new normality that nobody, nobody but a bunch of homo prelates, can stand this guy. [All right, that's Mundabor. He has a gift for unfailing hyperbole about Bergoglio, but his hyperbole always builds on a nugget of truth.]
00Tuesday, February 26, 2019 5:54 PM

Cardinal Pell leaving County Court in Melbourne on 2/26/19.

Please offer a prayer for Cardinal Pell to survive his ordeal with God's grace and that he may ultimately get true justice.

I am very loath to have to post this truly distressing news, even if it is not totally unexpected because we were already told last December that
after a first hung jury, a second jury had found Cardinal George Pell 'guilty' of sex offenses on an unnamed complainant who gave rather implausible
accounts of molestation by Pell 22 years ago.

One has to suspect the timing that the virulently anti-Catholic justice system in the Australian state of Victoria chose to release a report
they have withheld since December 2018, and that is, just the day after a globally reported 'summit' on clerical sex abuse convened by the pope in
Rome. Here is AP's report, which is almost a model of fairness and sobriety compared to CNN's Schadenfreude-laden report (which also totally omits
to state Pell's defense).

Cardinal Pell is now the most senior Catholic prelate
charged with child sex abuse and convicted

by Rod McGuirk

MELBOURNE, Australia, February 26, 2019 (AP) — The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass, dealing a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy's credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and cover-up.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser and the Vatican's economy minister, bowed his head but then regained his composure as the 12-member jury delivered unanimous verdicts in the Victoria state County Court on Dec. 11 after more than two days of deliberation.

The court had until Tuesday forbidden publication of any details about the trial.

Pell faces a potential maximum 50-year prison term after a sentencing hearing that begins on Wednesday. He has foreshadowed an appeal.

The revelations came in the same month that the Vatican announced Francis approved the expulsion from the priesthood for a former high-ranking American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for sexual abuse of minors and adults.

The convictions were also confirmed the day after Francis concluded his extraordinary summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy sexual abuse and protecting children from predator priests.

The jury convicted Pell of abusing two 13-year-old boys whom he had caught swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in late 1996, as hundreds of worshippers were streaming out of Sunday services.

Pell, now 77 but 55 at the time, had just been named the most senior Catholic in Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne.

The jury also found Pell guilty of indecently assaulting one of the boys in a corridor more than a month later.

Pell had maintained his innocence throughout, describing the accusations as "vile and disgusting conduct" that went against everything he believed in.

His lawyer had told the jury that only a "mad man" would take the risk of abusing boys in such a public place. He said it was "laughable" that Pell would have been able to expose his penis and force the victim to take it in his mouth, given the cumbersome robes he was wearing.

Both he and Chief Judge Peter Kidd urged the jury of eight men and four women not to punish Pell for all the failings of the Catholic Church, which in Australia have been staggering.

"You must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell," Kidd told the jury.

Along with Ireland and the U.S., Australia has been devastated by the impact of the clerical abuse scandal, with a Royal Commission inquiry finding that 4,444 people reported they had been abused at more than 1,000 Catholic institutions across Australia between 1980 and 2015.

Pell's own hometown of Ballarat had such a high incidence of abuse — and, survivors say, a correlated higher-than-average incidence of suicide — that the city warranted its own case study in the Royal Commission report.

As a result, Pell's trial amounted to something of a reckoning for survivors, with the brash and towering cardinal becoming the poster child for all that went wrong with the way the Catholic Church handled the scandal.

The conviction capped a year that had been so dominated by revelations of high-ranking sex abuse and cover-up that analysts openly speak of a crisis unparalleled since the Reformation. In addition to Pell, the allegations against McCarrick of groping a minor in the 1970s and of sleeping with adult seminarians became public.

As a result of the scandal, Francis's approval ratings have tanked in the United States, and his standing with conservative Catholics around the world — already on shaky ground over his outreach to divorcees — has plunged.

Up until the verdict, Pell's lawyers had appeared confident that they had established a reasonable doubt and had expected quick verdicts of not guilty.

When the jury chairman delivered the first guilty verdict, Pell's hands slipped from the arm rests of the chair where he sat in the dock at the back of the courtroom. His head bowed after the second verdict, but he restored his composure for the final verdicts.

Pell, who walked to and from court throughout his monthlong trial with a crutch under his right arm, was released on bail to undergo surgical knee replacements in Sydney on Dec. 14. Prosecutor Mark Gibson did not oppose bail, saying the surgery would be more easily managed outside the prison system.

The first four offenses occurred at the first or second Solemn Mass that Archbishop Pell celebrated as leader of the magnificent blue-stone century-old cathedral in the center of Melbourne. Pell was wearing his full robes — though not his staff or pointed bishops' hat — at the time.

The now 34-year-old survivor told the court that Pell orally raped him, then crouched and fondled the complainant's genitals while masturbating.

"I was young and I didn't really know what had happened to me. I didn't really know what it was, if it was normal," the complainant told the court.

The other victim died of a heroin overdose in 2014 without ever complaining of the abuse, and even denying to his suspicious mother that he had been molested while he was part of the choir. Neither boy can now be identified.

Pell was initially charged with orally raping the second boy. But that charge was downgraded to indecent assault when the complainant testified that from his vantage point he couldn't see Pell's penis enter the second boy's mouth.

More than a month later, the complainant testified that Pell pushed him against a cathedral corridor wall after a Mass and squeezed the boy's genitals painfully before walking away in silence.

"Pell was in robes and I was in robes. He squeezed and kept walking," the complainant told the jurors. "I didn't tell anyone at the time because I didn't want to jeopardize anything. I didn't want to rock the boat with my family, my schooling, my life."

The complainant testified that he feared that making such accusations against a powerful church man would cost him his place in the choir and with it his scholarship to prestigious St. Kevin's College.

Pell pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of willfully committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under 16 in late 1996 and early 1997.

He did not testify at his trial. But the jury saw a video recording of an interview he gave Australian detectives in Rome in 2016 in which he stridently denied the allegations.

Pell grimaced, appearing incredulous and distressed, waved his arms over his head and muttered to himself as the detectives detailed the accusations that his victim had leveled against him a year earlier.

"The allegations involve vile and disgusting conduct contrary to everything I hold dear and contrary to the explicit teachings of the church which I have spent my life representing," Pell told police.

Richter, Pell's lawyer, told the jury that the prosecution case compounded a series of improbabilities and impossibilities.

He told the jury that Pell could not have "parted" his robes as the complainant had described.

The jury was handed the actual cumbersome robes Pell wore as archbishop. Over his regular clothes, Pell would wear a full-length white robe called an alb that was tied around his waist with a rope-like cincture. Over that, he would drape a 3-meter (10-foot) band of cloth called a stole around his neck. The outermost garment was the long poncho-like chasuble.

More than 20 witnesses, including clerics, choristers and altar servers, testified during the trial. None recalled ever seeing the complainant and the other victim break from a procession of choristers, altar servers and clerics to go to the back room.

The complainant testified that he and his friend had run from the procession and back into the cathedral through a side door to, as Gibson, the prosecutor, said, "have some fun."

Monsignor Charles Portelli, who was the cathedral's master of ceremonies in the 1990s, testified that he was always with Pell after Mass to help him disrobe in the sacristy.

The defense argued that Pell's usual practice was to linger at the cathedral front steps talking to members of the congregation after Mass. But Gibson said there was evidence that Pell didn't always chat outside and had the opportunity to commit the crimes.

The lifting of the gag order comes after Francis charted a new course for the Catholic Church to confront clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, a scandal that has consumed his papacy and threatens the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy at large.

Opening a first-ever Vatican summit on preventing abuse, Francis warned 190 bishops and religious superiors last week that their flocks were demanding concrete action, not just words, to punish predator priests and keep children safe. He offered them 21 proposals to consider going forward, some of them obvious and easy to adopt, others requiring new laws.

But Francis went into the meeting even more weakened and discredited after one of his top advisers was convicted of the very crime he has now decided is worth fighting on a universal scale.

Pell's downfall will invariably tarnish the pope, since Francis appointed Pell economy minister in 2014 even though some of the allegations against him were known at the time.

In October, Francis finally cut Pell loose, removing him as a member of his informal cabinet. Pell technically remains prefect of the Vatican's economy ministry, but his five-year term expires this year and is not expected to be renewed.

When the Australian justice system first indicated it wanted to bring Pell to trial as a lesson for the Church, in effect, the pope basically left him out to dry all by himself, on the grounds that the Church wants civilian justice to take its due course. And when Pell asked for a leave of absence in order to attend to his legal problems in Australia, it was promptly granted, of course, almost like the pope thought it was 'good riddance' of Pell.

It appears, he had upset so many senior Curial officials who felt that Pell was interfering badly with their vested financial interests and whose complaints to the pope made the latter take away from Pell the wide powers he had given him at the start to clean up Vatican finances, and has restored those powers to the Secretariat of State which is back to being the kingpin of the Curia.

Of course, because of all those noble-sounding platitudes from the summit, this pope cannot now - even if he wanted to, which I doubt he does - say anything that would sound sympathetic in any way to a 'convicted sex offender', for heaven's sake! (even McCarrick never got near a criminal court, Bergoglio might say).

Let us pray the appeals court judge or judges will be as fair as Judge Kidd in the earlier trial, and that the appellate process will be prompt and fast, so that the most painful Lent perhaps in George Pell's life will end in his vindication.

Pell to appeal verdict

February 26, 2019

Cardinal Pell has lodged an appeal against his conviction for sexual offences, his lawyers have said.

In a statement issued after a court lifted reporting restrictions, the cardinal’s legal team said he has “always maintained his innocence and continues to do so.”

“An appeal has been lodged against his conviction and he will await the outcome of the appeal process,” they added.

“Although originally the Cardinal faced allegations from a number of complainants, all charges except for those the subject of the appeal have now been either withdrawn, discharged or discontinued. He will not be commenting in the meantime.”

Australian newspaper The Age reports that judge Peter Kidd has ordered Pell to be remanded in custody after a plea hearing on Wednesday. He will likely be sentenced within the next couple of weeks, and faces a sentence of up to 50 years.

Pell’s accuser, who cannot be named, released a statement thanking his family for their support.

“Like many survivors I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life,” the man said. “At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust.”

The Vatican said it would await the outcome of the appeal process, saying that Cardinal Pell “has reaffirmed his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree”. [Thank God for this statement. It is more than I expected from the Vatican.]

Upon re-entering Australia to stand trial, the local bishop imposed sanctions on the cardinal forbidding him from exercising public ministry and having any voluntary contact with minors. Pope Francis confirmed that these will remain in place during the appeal process.

“While we are awaiting a definitive judgement, we unite ourselves with the Australian bishops in praying for all victims of abuse, and reaffirming our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church might be safe home for all, especially for children and the most vulnerable,” the statement said.

The Tablet has republished an article orignally written for The Australian by a Jesuit priest who attended some of the Pell proceedings in Melbourne...

Comments on the Pell verdict
by Frank Brennan, SJ

February 26, 2019

The suppression order in relation to Cardinal George Pell has been lifted. In December, a jury of 12 of his fellow citizens found him guilty of five offences of child sexual abuse. No other charges are to proceed. Cardinal Pell has appealed the convictions. The verdict was unanimous.

The jury took three days to deliberate after a four-week trial. The trial was in fact a re-run. At the first trial, the jury could not agree. The trial related to two alleged victims, one of whom had died.

Members of the public could attend those proceedings if they knew where to go in the Melbourne County Court. Members of the public could hear all the evidence except a recording of the complainant's evidence from the first trial. The complainant, who cannot be identified, did not give evidence at the retrial; the recording from the first trial was admitted as the complainant's evidence.

The recording was available to the public only insofar as it was quoted by the barristers in their examination of other witnesses or in their final addresses to the jury, and by the judge in his charge to the jury. So, no member of the public has a complete picture of the evidence and no member of the public is able to make an assessment of the complainant's demeanour.

The complainant's evidence at the first trial lasted two and a half days. He had been cross-examined for more than a day by Pell's defence barrister, Robert Richter QC, who has a reputation for being one of the best and one of the toughest cross-examiners in the legal profession. Pell did not give evidence, but a record of his police interview, denying the allegations, was in evidence.

The complainant's evidence related to events that occurred back in 1996 or 1997 when he was a 13-year-old choir boy at St Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne. Most other witnesses had been choir boys, altar servers or Cathedral officials in 1996 when Pell first became archbishop of Melbourne. The complainant claimed that the first event, involving four charges, occurred after a solemn Sunday Mass celebrated by Pell in the second half of 1996.

It was common ground between the prosecution and the defence that the dates to which these four charges must be attributed were 15 December 1996 or 22 December 1996. These were the dates on which the first and second solemn Sunday Masses were celebrated by Pell in the Cathedral after he had become archbishop in August 1996.

The Cathedral had been undergoing renovations and thus was not used for Sunday Masses during earlier months of 1996.

The complainant said that he and another choir boy left the liturgical procession at the end of one Sunday Mass and went fossicking in the off-limits sacristy where they started swilling altar wine.

The archbishop arrived unaccompanied, castigated them, and then, while fully robed in his copious liturgical vestments, proceeded to commit three vile sexual acts including oral penetration of the complainant.

The complainant said that the sacristy door was wide open and altar servers were passing along the corridor. The complainant said that he and the other boy then returned to choir practice. The choir was making a Christmas recording at that time.

These two choir boys stayed in the choir another year but, the complainant said, they never spoke about the matter to each other, even though they sometimes had sleepovers at each other's homes.

The second boy was once asked by his mother if he had ever been abused by anybody and he said he had not. The complainant claimed that a month or so later, after a Sunday Mass when the archbishop was presiding (but not celebrating the Mass), Pell came along the corridor outside the sacristy where many choristers and others were milling about.

He claimed that Pell grabbed him briefly, put him against the wall, and firmly grasped his genitalia. This was the subject of the fifth charge.

Pell knew neither boy and had no contact with either of them thereafter.

The prosecution case was that Pell at his first or second solemn Sunday Mass as archbishop decided for some unknown reason to abandon the procession and his liturgical assistants and hasten from the Cathedral entrance to the sacristy unaccompanied by his Master of Ceremonies Monsignor Charles Portelli while the liturgical procession was still concluding.

Portelli and the long time sacristan Max Potter described how the archbishop would be invariably accompanied after a solemn Mass with procession until one of them had assisted the archbishop to divest in the sacristy.

There was ample evidence that the Archbishop was a stickler for liturgical form and that he developed strict protocols in his time as archbishop, stopping at the entrance to the Cathedral after Mass to greet parishioners usually for 10 to 20 minutes, before returning to the sacristy to disrobe in company with his Master of Ceremonies.

The prosecution suggested that these procedures might not have been in place when Pell first became archbishop. The suggestion was that other liturgical arrangements might have been under consideration. In his final address, Richter criticised inherent contradictions and improbabilities of many of the details of this narrative.

I heard some of the publicly available evidence and have read most of the transcript. I found many of Richter's criticisms of the narrative very compelling. Anyone familiar with the conduct of a solemn Cathedral Mass with full choir would find it most unlikely that a bishop would, without grave reason, leave a recessional procession and retreat to the sacristy unaccompanied.

Witnesses familiar with liturgical vestments had been called who gave compelling evidence that it was impossible to produce an erect penis through a seamless alb.

An alb is a long robe, worn under a heavier chasuble. It is secured and set in place by a cincture which is like a tightly drawn belt. An alb cannot be unbuttoned or unzipped, the only openings being small slits on the side to allow access to trouser pockets underneath.

The complainant's initial claim to police was that Pell had parted his vestments, but an alb cannot be parted; it is like a seamless dress. Later the complainant said that Pell moved the vestments to the side. An alb secured with a cincture cannot be moved to the side.

The police never inspected the vestments during their investigations, nor did the prosecution show that the vestments could be parted or moved to the side as the complainant had alleged.

The proposition that the offences charged were committed immediately after Mass by a fully robed archbishop in the sacristy with an open door and in full view from the corridor seemed incredible to my mind.

I was very surprised by the verdict. In fact, I was devastated. My only conclusion is that the jury must have disregarded many of the criticisms so tellingly made by Richter of the complainant's evidence and that, despite the complainant being confused about all manner of things, the jury must nevertheless have thought — as the recent royal commission discussed — that children who are sexually violated do not always remember details of time, place, dress and posture.

Although the complainant got all sorts of facts wrong, the jury must have believed that Pell did something dreadful to him. The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.

Pell has been in the public spotlight for a very long time. There are some who would convict him of all manner of things in the court of public opinion no matter what the evidence.

There are others who would never convict him of anything, holding him in the highest regard. The criminal justice system is intended to withstand these preconceptions. The system is under serious strain, however, when it comes to Cardinal Pell.

The events of the Victorian parliamentary inquiry, the federal royal commission, the publication of Louise Milligan's book Cardinal and Tim Minchin's song Come Home (Cardinal Pell) were followed, just two weeks before the trial commenced, by the parliamentary apology to the victims of child sexual abuse. [Fr.Brennan forgets to mention the all-important prejudicial fact that the Victoria police had opened their investigation of Cardinal Pell before any complaints were lodged against him. It appears the first complaint(s) were presented at least a year after the investigation opened.]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, "Not just as a father, but as a prime minister, I am angry too at the calculating destruction of lives and the abuse of trust, including those who have abused the shield of faith and religion to hide their crimes, a shield that is supposed to protect the innocent, not the guilty. They stand condemned ... on behalf of the Australian people, this Parliament and our government ... I simply say I believe you, we believe you, your country believes you."

Such things tend to shift not the legal, but the reputational, burden upon an accused person to prove innocence rather than the prosecution to prove guilt. Would the verdict have been different if Pell had given evidence? Who can tell?

All one can say is that, although the defence seemed to be on strong ground in submitting that the circumstances made the narrative advanced by the prosecution manifestly improbable, that failed to secure the acquittal. Was the verdict unreasonable? Can it be supported having regard to the evidence? Those are questions for the appeal court.

I can only hope and pray that the complainant can find some peace, able to get on with his life, whichever way the appeal goes. Should the appeal fail, I hope and pray that Cardinal Pell, heading for prison, is not the unwitting victim of a wounded nation in search of a scapegoat.

Should the appeal succeed, the Victoria Police should review the adequacy of the police investigation of these serious criminal charges.

When the committal proceedings against Pell first commenced in July 2017, Fran Kelly asked me on ABC Radio National Breakfast: "Do you have concerns about this case, regardless of the outcome, and how it's going to affect the Church?"

I answered: "Fran, I think this case will be a test of all individuals and all institutions involved. And all we can do is hope that the outcome will be marked by truth, justice, healing, reconciliation and transparency. A huge challenge for my church, and yes a lot will ride on this case. But what is absolutely essential is that the law be allowed to do its work. And let's wait and see the evidence, and let's wait and see how it plays out. And let's hope there can be truth and justice for all individuals involved in these proceedings." And that is still my hope.

Is there no end or limit to the improprieties perpetrated by the Bergoglio Vatican? After what I had thought a rather fair statement about Cardinal Pell's right to defend himself, etc - a statement I frankly did not think the Vatican would make - and even if the statement ended with the now-obligatory thing about standing with all the abused, etc (an almost identical ending to the statement from the current Archbishop of Sydney about the Pell verdict), came this stinger:

Why, in the name of elementary decency and courtesy, did they not work it into the earlier statement to say, "Meanwhile, we wish to announce that Cardinal Pell is no longer the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy"; or, more honestly, "By the way, Cardinal Pell is no longer Prefect of the Economy since ..... , the same day Pope Francis dismissed him from the Council of Cardinals". Instead of doing it through the Twitter account of the Vatican spokesman? [Greg Burke, aren't you ecstatic you didn't have to be in Gisotti's shoes today?]

How cheap and nasty and merciless the Bergoglio Vatican can be! They not only kick the man on the butt when he is down on the mat but would stomp on him too like the meanest most sadistic wrestler on WWW live!

Another thoughtful commentary on the Pell verdict:

Cardinal felled by abuse claims –
but are they credible?

More than enough reason to believe
he did not receive a fair trial

by Michael Cook

February 26, 2019

Cardinal George Pell, formerly the Pope’s right-hand man for Vatican finances and the face of the Catholic Church in Australia, has been convicted of abusing two choir boys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. He will almost certainly serve time in jail.

Pell has vehemently denied the allegations. His lawyers say that he is going to appeal the verdict.

This is a terrible blow to the prestige of the Catholic Church around the world. It strikes at the authority of Pope Francis, for whom Pell was a close adviser and prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariat for the Economy. It is bound to erode the confidence of ordinary Catholics in the holiness of their Faith and the integrity of their pastors. [To Pell's abiding misfortune, most people, Catholics or not, who follow the news about Church affairs would by now have lumped Pell with Theodore McCarrick and' consider him perhaps even worse because he has actually been tried and convicted in a civilian court.]
But there are sound reasons to doubt the verdict. True, the forms of due process were observed. But this time they did not deliver justice.

First, are the allegations credible?
It is alleged that the Archbishop of Melbourne molested two boys inside the Cathedral sacristy in the second half of December 1996. After a Sunday solemn Mass Pell surprised two 13-year-old choirboys who had been swigging some of the altar wine and sexually assaulted them in a most brutal fashion.

The prosecution’s case is based on the testimony of only one of the boys, now aged 35. The other died of a heroin overdose in 2014. He had previously denied being abused by a priest. Neither of them mentioned anything about the incident at the time. The complainant also accused Pell of molesting him on another occasion.

Pell has been accused of many things, but never stupidity. He was actively involved in creating a response to the sexual abuse crisis in 1996 despite criticism from some Australian bishops that he should wait -- precisely because he thought the issue was so important. He was also being targeted by gay protesters around this time.

It defies belief that a man as self-controlled as Pell would be so impetuous as to do his dirty work where he could be so easily discovered. As his lawyer told the court, “Only a madman would attempt to rape two boys in the priests’ sacristy immediately after Sunday solemn mass.”

Nor is abuse this vile consistent with Pell’s character. It is easier to believe that this tall, burly, blunt man clobbered a recalcitrant priest than that he was so sly and sacrilegious as to molest boys inside a church.

Bear in mind that this was the second time that Pell has been tried for the same crime. The first trial ended with a hung jury, which was reportedly split 10 to 2 in favour of acquitting him. Anything is possible, including Pell’s alleged crime, but the previous jury wasn’t persuaded .his guilt. [Moreover, he was supposed to be put on trial for more crimes this month - which is why the verdict on the trial last December was kept under wraps, ostensibly so as not to prejudice the new trial. But the prosecution dropped the case, obviously because it did not think it would meet with the same 'success'. Can't and won't trust their luck a second time, it appears.]

Second, was Pell’s trial fair?
Pell’s profile in Australia is probably unmatched by any cleric, of any faith, other than the Pope himself. Apart from serving in the Vatican and as Archbishop of Melbourne and Archbishop of Sydney, the two largest cities in Australia, he was a prolific newspaper columnist, a frequent guest on radio and TV, a delegate to the Australian Constitutional Convention, at which he was an ardent republican (ie, not a monarchist); a climate change sceptic, and a staunch defender of traditional Christian values.

Within the Church he unswervingly backed the Pope and orthodoxy. This made him many enemies amongst progressive Catholics. At the same time, he was an impressively effective and far-sighted manager who stepped on many toes.

In short, he is one of the most controversial Australians of his generation. Everyone, but everyone, has an opinion on George Pell. Putting him on trial in Melbourne, Pell-phobia Central, is like putting Hillary Clinton on trial in Texas where three-quarters of the population would be baying to lock her up.

For reasons which cannot be fathomed, the Victorian Police have pursued Pell with extraordinary – and disgraceful -- vigour. In 2013 they set up a task force to search for complaints against Pell -- before they had received any. No one came forward for a whole year. [There, someone finally brought that up! What a travesty of justice and a waste of public funds to start any investigation before there has even been a complaint! Who knows what pressure the Victoria police could have used behind the scenes to get anyone to complain - and it still took a year before anyone did. Would it happen to have been the now-successful plaintiff?] In 2016 a sexual abuse taskforce interviewed Pell in Rome. The police force leaked like a sieve.

The Victorian Police have been plagued with corruption scandals. In the latest, it was revealed that they had persuaded a criminal barrister to inform on her clients and as a result, the convictions of hundreds of criminals could be overturned.

The High Court of Australia said in December that “Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct ... in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer to discharge all duties imposed on them faithfully and according to law without favour or affection, malice or ill-will.”

This is not to say that all of them are corrupt. But more faith is required to believe in the incorruptibility of Victorian police than in the incorrupt body of Padre Pio.

On top of all this, early last year an implacable enemy of Pell, journalist Louise Milligan, published Cardinal: the Rise and Fall of George Pell. Widely read and publicised, it was the source of some of the lurid allegations in his trial.

So, for two years, at least, the air of Melbourne has been full of mischievous sniggering and venomous commentary about Pell and the Catholic Church. Empanelling an impartial jury must have been like finding twelve good men and true who had not breathed for the past two years. In the end the case set the word of the complainant against the word of the Cardinal. Given the hostile atmosphere of Melbourne, it’s easy to see why the jury found the former more credible.

The legal system must be respected. If His Eminence George Cardinal Pell has committed crimes, especially sexual abuse, he deserves no less than any other criminal. But there is more than enough reason to believe that he has not received a fair trial and that he has a blameless conscience before his God.

Show trials over preposterous crimes used to be the lot of religious figures under Communism, like Hungary’s József Mindszenty and Croatia’s Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, both now on a path to being declared saints. Pell’s trial shows how easy it is to succeed in an era of aggressive secularism.

The late Cardinal Francis George, of Chicago, once said, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” His prediction seems to be coming true on the other side of the world.

The Vatican should not get spooked by the verdict. There will be calls for him to be stripped of his honours, even to be laicised. It should bat them aside, ignore the jeers and mockery, and wait for the outcome of appeals made by Pell’s legal team. Until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt after an appeal, Cardinal Pell must be considered an innocent man.

I am grateful that - which labels persons featured in its headlines as a Francis-this or a Perv-that - has so far played it fair and straight for Cardinal Pell. If Frank Walker thought in any way that Pell could commit the crimes he is accused of, he would have led the lynch mob comparing Pell to McCarrick. I would like to believe that out there in Kansas, in his lucid intervals Uncle Ted is also offering prayers and reparation not just for those he abused and all other victims of sex abuse, but also for priests and bishops to live up to their priestly vows and do their best to live in persona Christi, and for priests and bishops to be accountable, but also for Cardinal Pell and other priests and bishops who have been or are being wrongly pilloried in public for crimes they did not commit..

The case against Cardinal Pell
doesn't stand up

On appeal, a panel of judges can decide that the verdict could
not rationally have been reached on the basis of the evidence.


February 26, 2019

With the lifting of the trial judge’s order banning coverage of the conviction of Cardinal George Pell this past December on charges of “historical sexual abuse,” the facts can finally be laid out for those willing to consider them. (Disclosure: Cardinal Pell and I are longtime friends.)

Victoria police commenced an investigation one year before any complaints had been filed. During that investigation, the police took out newspaper ads seeking information about any untoward behavior with minors at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne —without any hint of such misbehavior having been received by the authorities.

Once charges had been laid and Cardinal Pell had returned to Australia from his post at the Vatican, a committal hearing (to determine whether the charges were capable of being tried) was held. The committal-hearing judge threw out several charges but allowed others to go forward — even though she observed that she would not vote to convict on several charges, she thought they should be tried anyway.

In Cardinal Pell’s first trial, held under the media-suppression order, the defense dismantled the prosecution’s case while shedding light on the inadequacy of the police investigative process; that trial resulted in a hung jury, which voted 10–2 for acquittal. The foreman and several other members of the jury were in tears when the verdict was read.

During the retrial, the defense demonstrated that, in order to sustain the charge that Pell had accosted and sexually abused two choirboys after Mass one Sunday, ten improbable things would have had to have happened and all within ten minutes:
• Archbishop Pell abandoned his decades-long practice of greeting congregants outside the cathedral after Mass.
• Pell, who was typically accompanied by a master of ceremonies or sacristan when he was vested for Mass, entered the carefully controlled space of the vesting sacristy alone.
• The master of ceremonies, charged with helping the archbishop disrobe while removing his own liturgical vestments, had disappeared.
• The sacristan, charged with the care of the locked sacristy, had also disappeared.
• The sacristan did not go back and forth between the sacristy and the cathedral sanctuary, removing missals and Mass vessels, as was his responsibility and consistent practice.
• The altar servers, like the sacristan, simply disappeared, rather than helping the sacristan clear the sanctuary by bringing liturgical vessels and books back to the sacristy.
• The priests who concelebrated the Mass with Pell were not in the sacristy disrobing after the ceremony.
• At least 40 people did not notice that two choirboys left the post-Mass procession.
• Two choirboys entered the sacristy, started gulping altar wine, and were accosted and abused by Archbishop Pell — while the sacristy door was open and the archbishop was in full liturgical vestments.
• The abused choirboys then entered the choir room, through two locked doors, without anyone noticing, and participated in a post-Mass rehearsal; no one asked why they had been missing for ten minutes.

Before the trial, one of the complainants died, having told his mother that h had never been assaulted. During the trial, there was no corroboration of the surviving complainant’s charges.

Other choirboys (now, of course, grown), as well as the choir director and his assistant, the adult members of the choir, the master of ceremonies, and the sacristan all testified, and from their testimony we learn the following: that no one recalled any choirboys bolting from the procession after Mass; that none of those in the immediate vicinity of the alleged abuse noticed anything; that indeed nothing could have happened in a secured space without someone noticing; and that there was neither gossip nor rumor about any such dramatic and vile incident afterward.

Notwithstanding this evidence of Cardinal Pell’s innocence (an innocence affirmed by ten of the twelve members of the first trial jury), the second trial jury returned a verdict of 12–0 for conviction.
- Observers at the trial told me that the trial judge seemed surprised on hearing the verdict.
- The verdict and the finding of the first, hung jury suggest that, in the media circus surrounding Pell, a fair jury trial was virtually impossible.
- That point was recently conceded by the attorney general of the State of Victoria, who suggested that the law might be amended to permit bench trials by a judge alone in such cases — an option not afforded George Pell. (Shortly before the media-suppression order was lifted on February 25, the Victoria prosecutors dropped two more charges against Cardinal Pell, of even greater dubiety and dating back some four decades.)

Cardinal Pell’s lawyers will of course appeal. The appeal will be heard by a panel of senior judges, who can decide that what is called in Australia an “unsafe verdict” — one that the jury could not rationally have reached on the basis of the evidence — was rendered and that therefore Pell’s conviction is null and void.

For Cardinal Pell’s sake, and for the reputation of the justice system in the state of Victoria, one must hope that the appellate judges will do the right thing. [If the Supreme Court of Pakistan could twice reverse a death penalty verdict against Christian Asia Bibi - something unthinkable before it happened - then maybe the same power of reason that led the Pakistani justices to make the only right call will also prevail with the Australian appellate judges. Let us pray.]

00Tuesday, February 26, 2019 11:47 PM
Gay author with Vatican connections
names those who are allegedly helping
the pope to 'homosexualize' the Church

By Jeanne Smits
Paris Correspondent

PARIS, February 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Amongst the most striking claims of French sociologist and openly homosexual Frédéric Martel in his new book on homosexuality in the Vatican is that Pope Francis and his inner circle are actively working to make homosexuality acceptable to the Catholic Church, even if they are not aiming to open the Church to homosexual “marriage”.

First, a caveat: many of Martel’s claims about conservative cardinals’ supposed homosexuality are so outrageous and ill-founded that all he writes is not necessarily true. But his statements regarding Pope Francis are so grave from a doctrinal point of view that they need to be known and, hopefully, officially denied.

Martel quotes — by name — sources who told him of Pope Francis’s personal involvement in the rigging of the two synods on the family, adding that these synods and the document that came from them, Amoris laetitia, did not. however, achieve their intended goal.

This article is based on the full French text of Sodoma (English title: In the Closet of the Vatican), in which the author accuses mainly conservative authorities in the Church — portrayed as Francis’s opponents — as being all the more probably homosexual, active or repressed, the more they are “rigid” and “homophobic” in their expression of Church doctrine. These include Pope Benedict XVI who is described by one source in the book as a (probably chaste) “liturgy queen” or an “opera queen,” who was always rigid stance against homosexuality in ministers of the Church.

Quotes in this article are not based on the official English edition of the book, although they do reflect the meaning of the original French text, and are presented in italics instead of quotation marks. [I have retained the italics but have placed quotation marks, too, for better clarity- i.e., these italicized passages or words indicate Smits’s translation from the French and not what appears in the official English edition of the book.]

Martel presents Pope Francis as “gay-friendly” and ("therefore") not gay himself, who surrounds himself by similar “gay-friendly” cardinals such as Blase Cupich, Walter Kasper, Kevin Farrell, Reinhard Marx, Christoph Schönborn, Oscar Maradiaga, and Lorenzo Baldisseri… who have a more relaxed approach to homosexuality.

Martel claims Cardinal Baldisseri, who organized both family Synods, told him that during the preparation of the first synod in 2014 every question was open, even burning hot! Everything was on the table: priestly celibacy, homosexuality, communion for the divorced and remarried, women priests… We opened all the debates at the same time.

A small group surrounding Baldisseri is supposed to have led the way: “a small team that was sensitive, joyful [the French text uses the feminine adjective gaie – deliberately?] ]i]and smiling , that included archbishops Bruno Forte, Peter Erdö and Fabio Fabene, all promoted since by the Pope. Martel calls them a true war machine serving Francis. [Erdo is now part of the Bergoglio machine??? Isn’t he supposed to be one of the most reliable orthodox Catholic bishops in Europe??? And wasn't he the one who apologized to a news conference that he had to read to them the controversial paragraph on homosexuality that was inserted into the midterm report???]

Working with Kasper, Schönborn and Maradiaga, they followed Kasper’s line ("stable and responsible homosexual unions are respectable”) but used a different method that involved getting feedback from dioceses the world over.

At the same time, several writers (including at least one homosexual I met with) were mobilized in order to put on paper the first drafts of a text that would become, a year later, the famous apostolic exhortation “Amoris laetitia”, writes Martel, who claims that according to his sources this sentence was deliberately included: Homosexuals have gifts and qualities that they can offer to the Christian community. [What a stupid and gratuitous assertion. Every Christian has his own gifts and qualities to offer the community if he wants to.]

"Francis came here every day," Baldisseri told me. "He personally presided over the sessions where we debated propositions," adds Martel, in a bombshell claim. [Not so bombshell - he was there for every plenary session.]

At this point the author lists a number of 'rigid cardinals and their conservative, misogynistic or homophobic texts' against (Francis’s) sexual liberalism: Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Walter Brandmüller, Mauro Piacenza, Velasio De Paolis, Tarcisio Bertone, George Pell, Angelo Bagnasco, Antonio Cañizares, Kurt Koch, Paul Josef Cordes, Willem Eijk, Joseph Levada, Marc Ouellet, Antonio Rouco Varela, Juan Luis Cipriani, Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, Norberto Rivera, Javier Errazuriz, Angelo Scola, Camillo Ruini, Robert Sarah and so many others. "Francis could only be astounded", Martel writes. "How dare they, thinks the holy father who is well-informed by those close to him about this fantastic parish."

“The parish” is the term, Martel uses to designate homosexuals in the Vatican, active or repressed.

Martel presents 'the parish' as the origin of Francis’s denunciation of the “diseases of the Curia” and his numerous homilies on “hypocrisy” and “double lies”. [Then why hasn’t he said so directly – and why make it sound as if he was simply insulting everyone who disagrees with him? No, Martel simply seems to be retrofitting facts fit to his homosexualist hypotheses. Bergoglio isn't necessarily slamming homosexuals - he slams everyone whodoes not agree with him.]

He also says the Pope at that point started to implement a “pedagogical work” aiming at making a distinction at Church level between the “crimes” of paedophilia – abuse of minors under 15 – and acts without consent or performed in within a framework of authority on the one hand, and legal homosexual activity between consulting adults, while also lifting the ban on condoms. [More Martel revisionism. Bergoglio has never done any of that. It was this new Vatican spokesman and his own most loyal paladins who only started making the distinction in seeming to justify McCarrick’s sexual misdeeds on the ground that his seminarian victims were not minors and would qualify as’consenting adults’.]

Kasper was happy with the situation, Baldisseri is quoted as having told Martel, but “a reaction” took place that hampered the desired reforms. Martel adds that Baldisseri personally ordered the “pamphlet” titled Remaining in the Truth of Christ written by the “usual suspects” (Burke, Müller, Caffarra, Brandmüller and De Paolis) to be “seized” before it could be distributed to all the participants at the first Synod on the family.

Martel describes the Pope’s anger at the situation and his work to counter his opponents: steadily naming new cardinals in order to ensure the election of a similar-minded Pope at the next conclave and ‘putting in motion ‘[mobilizing?]his friends to further his agenda.
- These include theologian Archbishop Victor Manuel “Tucho” Fernandez of La Plata who in April 2015 spoke of Pope Francis’s “irreversible reforms.”
- Across the river Plata, in Montevideo, Uruguay, “Bergoglian” Cardinal Daniel Sturla (who told Martel that at that point he did not know Francis personally) also deliberately sent up trial balloons in favor of recognizing homosexuals in the Church, according to the author.
- Martel credits Oscar Maradiaga with numerous trips to large numbers of dioceses across the world in order to ‘distill Francis’s way of thinking ‘and to ‘obtain support for it.’ [So that's why Maradiaga is hardly ever in Honduras, leaving his archdiocese to be run by his now disgraced vicar who has been accused of various sexual and financial misdeeds! His ongoing mission from the pope gives new meaning to the term 'vice pope' often applied to him.]
- Baldisseri’s team also used intellectual ‘influencers’ such as Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro with whom Martel claims to have lunched or dined six times. He is described as Francis’s ‘pilot fish.’
- Spadaro is credited with having set in motion like-minded intellectuals on the issue of homosexuality: Maurizio Gronchi and Paolo Gamberini in Italy, Dominican father Jean-Michel Garrigues (a close friend of Cardinal Schönborn) and Antoine Guggenheim in France.
- Guggenheim, a diocesan priest in Paris, at this point started advocating the recognition of same-sex unions in the unofficial daily of the French episcopate, La Croix. He wrote: “The recognition of faithful and lasting love between two homosexual persons, whatever their degree of chastity, seems to me a hypothesis that deserves to be discussed. It could take the form that the Church habitually gives to its prayer: a benediction.”
- Even more shockingly, a Dominican friar, Adriano Oliva – an Italian based in Paris credited with being one of the best living specialists of Saint Thomas Aquinas – is credited with having joined the mobilization at the behest of Pope Francis himself. [“Father, you are one of the best living specialists on Aquinas. Why don’t you put together what he says about homosexuality and see if you can show he did not oppose it at all?” Bergoglio's all-around dishonesty surfaces in everything he says and does.]

In Amours (Loves), Oliva purported in 2015 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Dominican order by demonstrating that Thomas Aquinas recognized the “natural” character of homosexuality, pleading for a new welcoming of homosexual couples in the Church and recognition of their civil unions.
- His involved reasoning leads Oliva to say that for true homosexuals, moral virtue consists for them in living out their inclination according to the demands of their humanity: in unique, gratuitous, faithful and “chaste” love. And the Church must accompany them in their love for a person of the same sex in which they “accomplish” themselves. Sexual acts, in this context, are rendered morally legitimate by the criterion of “love” between homosexual persons, in the same way as happens between heterosexuals. (French philosopher Thibaud Collin demolished this sophistic reasoning in a response quoted by LifeSite at the time.)
- According to Frédéric Martel, cardinals, bishops and large numbers of priests told him their vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas changed thanks to Oliva’s work and that the ban on homosexuality had been lifted for once and for all.
- Oliva’s editor, the Orthodox Christian theologian Jean-François Colosimo, as well as Baldisseri’s team, are quoted by Martel as saying that they commissioned experts including Oliva to work on the issue.

I obtained confirmation that Adriano Oliva was indeed received in the Vatican by Baldisseri, Bruno Forte and Fabio Fabene, who were the main persons responsible for the Synod,” Martel writes.

Martel then quotes Kasper: “Adriano Oliva came to see me here. We talked. He had sent me a letter that I showed to the Pope: Francis was very impressed. And he asked Baldisseri to commission him to write a text to be disseminated among the bishops. I think it is that text that became “Amours.” Adriano did a service to the Church, without being an activist.”

According to Martel, Amours was distributed during the 2015 Synod at the Pope’s suggestion: “one more weapon in a comprehensive plan willed by the sovereign pontiff himself.”

For all that, the whole plan did not work out, Martel writes: Amoris laetitia would only include three coded references to the acceptance of homosexuality. He says Francis himself decided to backpedal according to Kasper, quoted by the author: “He had no choice. But he has always been very clear. He accepted a compromise while trying to stick to his course.”
In later parts of Sodoma, Martel writes that Pope Francis had three secret nightly meetings with the then Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in order to negotiate the Church’s silence on proposed same-sex civil unions in Italy [which eventually became law].

In the absence of any denials or other comments from the Vatican and from the persons named and quoted extensively by Martel in his speculations, deductions and conclusions on the pope’s intentions about eventually normalizing homosexuality, from the pope’s own words and actions, shall we conclude that Martel is substantially right about this – no matter how questionable his less ‘documented’ claims are on everything else?

Martel has really boxed in the persons he names and quotes in his book, who now find themselves in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation. As does the Vatican itself, with regards to statements made about the pope or attributed to him. The very same dilemma plaguing Bergoglio on the DUBIA and on Mons.Vigano’s testimonies.]

I translated the following yesterday as a companion piece to Ms. Smits's article above, with all my usual reservations about Andrea Gagliarducci's analysis of Vatican affairs, accompanied by the dreadful certainty I would feel called upon to fisk him when needed. But I have not changed his title which I find incomprehensible, and I have serious factual and practical doubts about his claims of a 'new Vatican generation'.

Pope Francis, on background [sic]
Adapted from

February 25, 2019

At the end of the Vatican summit on the protection of minors, while a follow-up restricted meeting of Vatican dicasteries is taking place today, the issue of small lobbies of power and Vatican careerism still lies in the background. This issue affects every pontificate [and every bureaucracy for that matter. Careerism is a global occupational hazard]. Pope Francis’s pontificate is no exception.

The way the issue developed during this pontificate is somehow different, though, and it is hardly explicable. There are no evidences, but only deductions. Only speculations can help to understand how things are moving, and to draw a line and put things in order.

The book, In the closet of the Vatican, written by LGBT activist Frederic Martel, was released worldwide on Feb.21, when the summit on the protection of minors was beginning, preceded and accompanied by a huge marketing operation. Translated into eight languages, drafted in four years with the help of 80 collaborators, the book should not even be mentioned, filled as it is with imprecisions, prejudices, innuendos and strong attacks mostly against people who have passed away or who simply cannot defend themselves.

Martel’s book is in fact a signal. The people he targets are always old and part of the old Vatican world. They are pilloried for their ‘hypocrisy’, being described as practicing homosexuals in private while being strong anti-LGBT activists in public.

But the author spares ‘the new Vatican world’ from his ‘gay’ tarbrush, and even somehow praises it, because not targeting that world and/or showing appreciation for its moves is indirect, but actual, praise. This new world is more “homophilic,” more eager to come to terms with the spirit of the world, and even eager to accept some openings regarding what constitutes ‘family’, i.e., even homosexual couples can be considered families, which in many countries, they already are, juridically. In effect, this new Vatican world thinks that the Church should not oppose civil laws on civil unions.

[Hold it there! Is 'this new Vatican world' an actual measurable entity or is this just Gagliarducci's anecdotal impression? It is estimated that some 2,500 persons, mostly bishops and clergy but also some laymen, work in the Vatican which is a bureaucracy in which 'civil service' usually has a lifetime tenure. Since the Bergoglio Pontificate has apparently not turned over very much of this bureaucracy - except its high officials every so often - one would assume that much of them are older than 50 but younger than 70 (those who were born right around the time of Vatican II). So who would make up Gagliarducci's 'new Vatican world'? And what percentage of that bureaucracy would they represent? Don't forget that in entrenched bureaucracies, it's the older middle management people who have been there 'forever' who usually get to push their agenda most efficiently by the very nature of the authority they exercise over the day-to-day affairs of their offices.]

The book seems to draw a line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people - the bad are those who oppose any LGBT claim to new rights like civil unions or the adoption of children by homosexual couples.

This new generation is longing to gain power. [Is it really this putative 'new generation', or is it all those bureaucrats whose ends were somehow repressed during Benedict XVI's pontificate and who are now reveling that under the new dispensation, they are achieving their agenda which the reigning pope has been hard at work to institutionalize within 'the church'?]

It is less attached to the Catholic identity, less Catholic in defending Catholic principles, and more open to entertain a dialogue with the world.
[What hogwash to attempt to diminish what they really are – basically anti-Catholic and as ‘protestant’ as Luther was. Which is why we have a pope who is Jorge Martin Bergluther.] It is an outcome of cultural mores that had developed since the end of Vatican-II and the 1968 cultural revolution. Imprecise as it is, Martel’s book is framed within this transition in the Catholic Church [‘transformations’ seems to be a more appropriate word].

The book also presents a revealing detail: In 2015, Krzystof Charamsa, official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, decided to come out and become an open gay activist. Before doing so, he asked Martel for suggestions how to go about doing it – he gave a news conference eventually - because he said he was impressed by Martel’s book Global Gay.

Martel says he did his homework, clarified Charamsa’s intentions, and then helped him. Charamsa and Martel met twice during the drafting of SODOMA. After his outing, Charamsa left the Vatican but was excommunicated latae sententiae. Charamsa claims he still feels he is a priest, and is asking the Church to change its teaching so that he may be able to do as he wants about his sexuality.

Charamsa is the specimen of a new mentality for whom the issue is not celibacy or chastity. The issue is about the sexual impulse that – according to this mentality – must always be followed and asserted, and that to opt for chastity is against human nature. This mentality is tied up to the ‘generational change’ manifested in those who grew up in and were born after the 1968 cultural revolution. Looking through the lenses of this generational change makes the current situation in the Church clearer.

Pope Francis’s election carried with it the idea of discontinuity – the cardinals elected him because they thought it was necessary to have a pope who was ’open’ while being ‘traditional’. [That’s baloney – none of those electors thought they were voting for a ‘traditional’ pope. Their very premise seems to have been to choose an anti-Benedict XVI, one who would be as unlike the resigned pope as they could imagine.]

But Jorge Bergoglio was also the candidate of the ‘old Curia’ [mostly ex-Secretariat of State officials who antedated Benedict XVI] because they thought he would restore the ‘pre-eminence’ of Vatican diplomats who felt marginalized by Benedict XVI.

After Bergoglio became pope, things rapidly moved forward. As if Benedict XVI’s era never took place, slogans of the post Second Vatican Council became fashion again. Immediately, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who had just turned 80 [and famously in the forefront of those German cardinals who had been trying since the 1970s to ‘liberalize’ the Church with radical reforms] became the new pope’s theological reference point.

The subsequent family synods in 2014 and 2015 were experiments to explore ‘openings’ such as the liberal German bishops had been advocating, presumably to do ‘new things’ with a cast of bishops and priests who were in position before Bergoglio became pope. The ‘experiments’ did not work out.

Fore xample, the mid-term report of the 2014 family synod attempted to open the way for the acceptance by the Church of irregular unions, not just of unqualified remarried divorcees but also of common-law spouses and homosexual couples. Most of the Synod’s fathers protested, but the pope ignored their protest to restore to the agenda of the follow-up synod the pertinent paragraphs voted down by the synod.

At that time, a new Vatican generation was already coming out that openly wants a Church in the world. Charamsa’s outing, on the eve of the 2015 family synod, was a signal. And they have taken advantage of the new outbreak of the abuse scandal to push their agenda.[colore] [OK, Charamsa, who is 46, I think, is in that 'new generation'. How many more are there of these younger Vatican employees, and do they all think like Charamsa?] The publication of Martel’s new book is the latest tool in the hands of what Martel calls “the parish.” [But all reviews of Martel's book so far indicate that those Martel implicates as being 'in the parish' are mostly from the older population of prelates who had or who continue to have power and influence in the Vatican, not some 'young' ones born in the 1980s.]

Power struggles in the Vatican are not new. Nor is a homosexual subculture, which was previously described and documented by Polish priest Fr. Dariuwsz Oko in a book about ‘homoheresy’ in the Church.

[I give up – I have tried, up to this point, to tidy up Gagliarducci’s often rambling lines and imprecise English prose as best as I can without betraying his meaning. But his final paragraphs, which follow, are simply unmanageable. Besides which, the last paragraph is, as usual with Gagliarducci, bending over backwards to still make Bergoglio the hero of his narrative.]

The struggle of power is now framed in a wider generation change. The Vatican world as a whole is changing, and it is doing it right now.

Pope Francis, in the end, knows that. For this reason, the discussions on reform are very long – consider that Curia reform will be submitted to a world consultation. There is the need to reassemble the Church’s lines. To find a way to manage the transition. And to stay within the Church tradition, sometimes showing some shy opening.

Perhaps, these are the lenses through which reading this pontificate. This pontificate is aimed at mission and people, because the Church needs prayer and mercy to overcome this situation, with a new generation pushing to take over the power and bring the Church outside of itself. How this route can be effective, and how Pope Francis can succeed simply with his charism and some twist, is yet to be seen.

00Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:07 AM
I loved this most unexpected post in 1P5 written by a young Canadian father of three who holds an MA in theology...

In defense of ignorance about the pope
by Dan Millette

February 26, 2019

I grew up with a deep affection for the pope. My childhood featured Pope John Paul II, and my siblings and I learned to love and appreciate him for being a bold defender of the Catholic faith.

Indeed, the pope’s portrait was hung prominently in our home. His Koran-kissing, or further, his appointments of kissing cardinals, was never mentioned. Nor was our inability to attend a licit Mass, much less a traditional Latin Mass, ever considered within his realm of power to amend. I grew up trained like most Catholics: to love the pope and never to question his actions and ordinances. He was erroneously bestowed a free pass on most, if not all, Church ailments.

Conversely, my children do not know our current pontiff. There are no pictures of Pope Francis on our wall, nor do my wife and I talk about him openly in their presence. We do teach our children about the pope and his role in the Church during catechism, and we pray for him during our daily rosary, but otherwise my wife and I avoid discussing him.

Currently, it is best this way, for as Shakespeare says in The Taming of the Shrew: “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart.” Instead, our children learn about men such as Pope St. Pius X and can eagerly explain to you Pius X’s entire childhood and subsequent journey toward being the bishop of Rome. Our children cannot tell you what country Pope Francis is from, nor a single story of his life.

I do not take it lightly that my children are ignorant of Pope Francis, yet I do not take the reasons for this ignorance lightly, either. What does this ignorance truly indicate?

Ignorance of the pope is ignorance of fallacious teachings.
- God does not actively will all religions, for God cannot contradict Himself.
- Reception of the Eucharist requires one to be in a state of sanctifying grace.
- Getting chummy with communists is deplorable.
- The death penalty has always been permitted by the Catholic Church. - Catholics should try to convert non-Catholics.
- There are souls in Hell.
- Contraception is intrinsically evil.
Yet each basic teaching listed above has been called into question, or directly contradicted, by Pope Francis.

Ignorance of the pope is ignorance of duplicity.
- One day, the pope is speaking out against the Devil. The next day, the Devil, or Great Accuser, is the man who shines light on corruption and calls sinners to repentance.
- In one moment, the pope likens abortion to hiring a hitman; in the next instance, he abandons to its self-inflicted desire to slaughter the innocent, with “not one word” of correction.
- Clericalism is named as the root cause of the abuse crisis; nevertheless, the usual favored clique of clerics are suspiciously promoted to the task of resolving the crisis. Duplicity abounds.

Ignorance of the pope is ignorance of verbal abuse.
- Indeed, how exactly does one explain to a child what a fomenter of coprophagia is, or a leprous courtier?
- Shall I teach my children, who no doubt came into being through quasi-rabbit-breeding, to be rigid and self-absorbed rosary-counters? - Perhaps I am acting like a sourpuss Mr. Whiner who is a slave to superficiality, and nothing but a pickled pepper-faced Christian. - Nevertheless, not to be a museum mummy, but is it too much to demand that the pope speak with an air of dignity and respect?

Ignorance of the pope is ignorance of supercilious authority. - When a pope is asked a pressing and demanding question and replies that not one word is necessary, it is deceptive and haughty.
- When a pope refuses to respond to official dubia concerning Christ’s teachings on marriage, the Eucharist, and mortal sin, it is scandalously smug.
- When Catholics in a country decry the appointment of a bishop because of his abuse cover-ups, and these pleas are disregarded, it is a cause of righteous anger among Christians, who expect their overseers to be “shepherds of the church of God” (Acts 20:28) and not arrogant hirelings.

- Ignorance of the Pope is ignorance of straw man arguments.
- It is ignorance of mercy without justice.
- It is ignorance of stalled Vatican Bank reforms, plummeting vocation numbers, rigged synods, Peronism, and plane flights with shocking interviews — and what I wouldn’t do never to hear another interview given from 40,000 feet in the air.
- Thus, ignorance of the pope is to be removed from a terrifying nightmarish state, and to return to living in reality. Lord have mercy on the Church, for we are suffering greatly.

Our oldest child is seven. He is intelligent for his age, but he is far too young to know the truth. This will come at a future time. Perhaps one day I will innocently sit him down and mimic the Jewel Akens tune: “Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the subtle heresies.”

For now, our children will remain ignorant. The walls of our home will be adorned only with icons of Jesus and Our Lady, and not with pictures of an Argentine dressed in white.

In an astute way, a line from G.K. Chesterton’s On Household Gods and Goblins applies here: “For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.”

Keep the children innocent, I say, at least for now. It is by ignorance of the pope that my children will continue to love truth and justice.

00Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:17 AM

Survey shows disparity of beliefs
between TLM and Novus Ordo Catholics

by Steve Skojec

February 25, 2019

A survey conducted by Fr. Donald Kloster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, in cooperation with a statistician and Brian Williams of, has highlighted some interesting data from an underrepresented group of Catholics: those who regularly attend the traditional Latin Mass.

The priest who initiated the survey has offered “both the Novus Ordo Mass (NOM) and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM)” for over twenty years and states in the introduction to his findings that he has “observed variations between the people attending the two different Masses within the Roman Rite.”

Noting that “American Catholics attending the NOM have been surveyed repeatedly in terms of their beliefs and practices (Pew Research and Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University [CARA]),” he also observes that “the body of research does not appear to include a description of Catholics who attend the TLM” who comprise “an estimated 100,000 Catholics” attending “at least 489 Sunday Masses nationwide.” Surveys were taken both in pew and online for a total of 1,773 respondents.

The findings on key questions were informative:
o 2% of TLM-attending Catholics approved of contraception vs. 89% of NOM Catholics.
o 1% of TLM Catholics approved of abortion compared to 51% of NOM attendees.
o 99% of TLM Catholics said they attend Mass weekly vs. 22% of NOM.
o 2% of TLM goers approved of “gay marriage” as opposed to 67% of NOM.
o Rate of giving 9Church contributions) among TLM Catholics was nearly six times the amount of giving (at 6% of income) as NOM parishioners (at 1.2%).
o TLM Catholics also had a fertility rate of 3.6 vs 2.3 for NOM — indicating “a nearly 60% larger family size”.

As the study authors state in their analysis, the differences between the two groups were “dramatic when comparing beliefs, church attendance, monetary generosity, and fertility rates.”

The initial survey, conducted over a number of months in 2018, was brief, but Fr. Kloster intends to engage in the study of additional topics in his next survey — such as propensity toward vocations — which he intends to launch this year.

The findings will likely come as little surprise to Catholics who regularly attend Mass at TLM chapels [and churches!] across the country. They indicate that these chapels are fertile ground for Catholic orthodoxy, large families, and an authentic practice of the faith and will continue to provide growth and nourishment to the Church for the foreseeable future.

A recent US poll shows a 17-point shift
towards pro-life in a single month

by Susan Berry

February 25, 2019

A Marist poll released Monday reveals recent legislation to make abortion a fundamental right and allow the procedure even moments before birth has led to a “sudden and dramatic shift” toward the pro-life position.

The poll finds a double-digit shift, with Americans now as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as pro-choice (47 percent) since a similar Marist poll conducted in January. In addition, pro-life Democrats alone have shifted from 20 to 34 percent, an outcome that shows more than one-third of Democrats now identify as pro-life.

“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho said in a press release, adding:

The recent legal changes to late-term abortion and the debate which followed have not gone unnoticed by the general public…there has been a significant increase in the proportion of Americans who see themselves as pro-life and an equally notable decline in those who describe themselves as pro-choice.

The Marist Poll joined with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, to conduct both last month’s poll and the current one.

Regarding the “dramatic shift” in Democrats’ stance on abortion, the Knights of Columbus said:

Among Democrats, the gap between pro-life and pro-choice identifiers was cut in half from 55 percent to 27 percent. The number of Democrats now identifying as pro-life is 34 percent, up from 20 percent last month, while the number identifying as pro-choice fell from 75 percent to 61 percent.

Younger Americans also moved dramatically, now dividing 47 percent pro-life to 48 percent pro-choice. One month ago, the gap was almost 40 percentage points with only 28 percent identifying as pro-life and 65 percent identifying as pro-choice.

The survey finds Americans largely oppose later-term abortions, with 71 percent saying abortion should be generally illegal during the third trimester and 25 percent saying it should be legal. The 71 percent outcome includes 60 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 85 percent of Republicans.

According to the poll, Americans strongly oppose abortion past 20 weeks of pregnancy by an even wider margin: 71 to 18 percent. The survey shows that only 18 percent of Americans support abortion at any time up until birth.

Additionally, the poll reveals that 80 percent of Americans would like abortion limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy, which is an increase of five points since the January poll. This outcome includes 65 percent of those who identify as pro-choice and strong majorities of Democrats (64 percent), Republicans (92 percent) and independents (83 percent).

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said Americans by and large have not accepted the arguments behind recent legislation to make abortion a fundamental right up until birth.

“Arguments in favor of late-term abortion are simply not convincing the American people,” he said. “If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear that these radical policies are being pursued despite the opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”

The survey of 1,008 adults was conducted February 12 through February 17, 2019. Live interviewers interviewed respondents in English or Spanish via landline or mobile numbers. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
00Wednesday, February 27, 2019 3:53 PM
McCarrick as the architect
of Bergoglio's deal with Beijing?

by Stephen Wynne

February 26, 2019

Over two decades, Theodore McCarrick helped lay the groundwork for the 2018 China-Vatican accord recognizing Communist-appointed bishops; now, with new data suggesting the disgraced ex-cleric may have been a Communist plant, his efforts to normalize relations between Beijing and Rome are attracting renewed interest.

Beginning in the 1990s, McCarrick, then-archbishop of Newark, began visiting China in an "unofficial" capacity to advocate for reconciliation. During the 2000s, he became the first Western cardinal to set foot on the Chinese mainland since 1951, when diplomatic ties were severed over Beijing's policy to end papal authority over the Catholic Church in China.

During eight trips to China, McCarrick met with the heads of the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China — a group not recognized by the Vatican.

On at least two visits, McCarrick stayed in a Communist-run seminary in Beijing. His host, Vice Rector Fr. Shu-Jie Chen, was clearly devoted to the Politburo, not the Magisterium. According to a report by Christopher Sandrolini, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy to the Holy See, Fr. Chen "downplayed persecution of the underground Church," calling the faithful Chinese Catholics "uneducated" and "elderly." Sandrolini noted Chen seemed "unconcerned" that "evangelization was not an option for official religious personnel."

McCarrick last visited China in 2016 — a trip he described as a meeting with "old friends."

Among McCarrick's old friends was Aloysius Jin Luxian, a "bishop" of the Communist-backed Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) — a false, Chinese Communist counter-Church.

Jin was a strong supporter of compromise with the Communists. In 1985, he accepted ordination as a bishop without Vatican approval — in other words, in violation of Canon Law — and played a major role in leading the CCPA. In 2005, he was recognized as Apostolic Administrator to faithful Shanghai bishop, Joseph Fan Zhongliang.

A Vatican push to normalize relations began in earnest under Pope Benedict XVI, who made diplomatic outreach to China and Vietnam a priority of the Holy See.

The Vatican enjoyed a breakthrough in relations with Hanoi with the establishment of the "Vietnamese model" for appointing bishops. Under this agreement, a list of candidates for the country's episcopate is compiled jointly by Vatican and Vietnamese authorities, with the new bishop approved by the Pope after officials in Hanoi sign off on the selected candidate.

But Beijing insisted on a "Chinese model," under which Communist authorities would have complete control over the selection of bishops.

Progress ground to a halt in 2010, when Beijing consecrated several "bishops" of the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) — a false, Communist counter-Church — without approval from Rome.

In the past few months, Chinese Communists have launched an all-out assault on the underground Church — arresting priests, burning Bibles, forcing churches to remove crosses and icons and bulldozing shrines and pilgrimage sites.

McCarrick was forced to stop travelling abroad when Pope Benedict saddled him with penalties for his serial sex abuse of seminarians and minors, but re-emerged as an unofficial Vatican ambassador in 2013 when, just months into his pontificate, Pope Francis lifted the penalties imposed by Benedict.

At that point, though Beijing displayed "no sense of urgency about solving or improving relations with the Vatican," McCarrick began trumpeting China's new president, Xi Jinping, as a man he could work with.

In a February 2016 exclusive with The Global Times, McCarrick suggested that under Chinese President Xi, Communist hostility toward the country's underground Catholic Church was a thing of the past.

"The Maoist attitude toward religions has changed," he declared. "Because of that, there may be more changes in the future to allow China to develop their own religious lives in a good and healthy way."

McCarrick expressed hope that Xi could be persuaded to launch "a great new moment in history" with the Vatican, and suggested that the similarities between Xi and Pope Francis could be "a special gift for the world."

"I see a lot of things happening that would really open many doors because President Xi and his government is concerned about things that Pope Francis is concerned about," said McCarrick, asserting the two leaders are of a similar mind on issues like "the care of poor, older people, children, our civilization and especially the ecology.

In applauding Xi's supposed care for children, McCarrick was noticeably silent on the country's nearly 350 million abortions since the introduction of the One-Child Policy in 1979.

Faithful Chinese Catholics scoffed at the notion President Xi represented a kindler, gentler Communist Party and begged the Holy See not to surrender control of the Church to authorities in Beijing.

Their pleas went unanswered; in September 2018, the Vatican signed an accord with Chinese officials recognizing Communist bishops, thereby allowing the government much greater influence over the Church. [Just months after McCarrick's record as a sex predator was exposed to the public, leading him to resign from the College of Cardinals.]

Chinese lawmakers have used the agreement as cover to dramatically intensify their persecution of underground Catholics faithful to Rome.

In the past few months, Chinese Communists have launched an all-out assault on the underground Church — arresting priests, burning Bibles, forcing churches to remove crosses and icons and bulldozing shrines and pilgrimage sites.

For the millions of underground Chinese Catholics suffering under Xi, McCarrick's defrocking comes as little solace.

The other context for this story is the plausible hypothesis that McCarrick could have been among the thousands of agents planted by the Communists in US seminaries in the early years of the Cold War. This was the subject of Michael Voris's report from the abuse summit on its first day last week.

The Communists were incredibly successful
in infiltrating the Church - it seems
McCarrick was one of their men

by Michael Voris

February 21, 2019

This summit has been assailed as a phony sideshow by homosexual clerics attempting to hide their own homosexual network, chief of which had been Theodore McCarrick, whom the network protected for decades and in many ways is the entire reason for this meeting.

But there now appears to be much more to this story than just the homosexual angle, as large as that still looms.

Beyond his horrendous evil of homosexual predation for decades, Church Militant has learned exclusively that McCarrick may also have been clandestinely trained by Soviet Communists here in Europe during his younger years, making him effectively a Communist plant in the heart of the Church.

Through a back channel, Church Militant has obtained information from former Communist personnel who were instrumental in setting up a secret network of indoctrination and training centers throughout Europe in the aftermath of World War II, and their information directly implicates the involvement of Theodore McCarrick.

A little history to set the stage first: When Stalin gained control of the former Soviet Union in the early 1920s, he set about plans to cripple the influence of the Catholic Church in the West, if not completely destroy the Church — all part of Communism's plan for world domination and warned about by Our Lady in Fatima in 1917.

A key component of the plans involved infiltrating seminaries with young men who would work to undermine the Church's teaching in the area of morality.

This was testified to on multiple occasions by Bella Dodd, a high-ranking member of the U.S. Communist Party. She herself claims to have orchestrated the placement of 1,100 men into U.S. seminaries.

These men, she said, following the dictates of Stalin, were immoral men, a large number homosexual. Dodd's testimony is important because not only is part of the infiltration plan revealed, but the nexus between Communism and homosexuality in the plan. The plan, however, was not contained to the United States.

As the Iron Curtain was collapsing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, press reports began circulating about how Polish seminaries had been infiltrated by hundreds of Communist agents with the information coming from KGB records.

The reality that the Church had been under siege from within for decades shook Polish Catholics to the core. And Poland was not alone. Catholic Lithuania as well saw its hierarchy penetrated by Soviet agents.

And liberation theology was sneaked into Latin America by KGB agents to undermine the Catholic Church through the Jesuit order.

Therefore, that covert Communist activity happened in the U.S. as well is no surprise. Particular to the operation was that young men native to their respective countries be recruited so there would be no suspicion about them. This is why various training centers were established in multiple countries.

According to Church Militant's sources, one of those European centers was St. Gallen, Switzerland, where Theodore McCarrick had resided right about 1950. McCarrick was a poor kid whose father had died when he was very young and whose mother slaved away doing menial work to make ends meet.

In a 2001 New York Times profile, McCarrick spoke briefly about his time in Europe immediately following high school in New York City, a hotbed of the Communist Party USA at that time.

Admitting he didn't have any plans for his life at the time, he says "a friend" invited him to Switzerland where he stayed for a year. He gave no details about how a poor kid from New York with no money happened to travel to Europe and remain here for a year with no visible means of support.

International travel in the day was essentially the domain of the well-to-do and was very expensive.

It is from McCarrick's longtime sex abuse victim James Grein that we know the exact location in Switzerland was St. Gallen, and it is from Church Militant's former Communist sources we know that St. Gallen was one of the Communist training centers to recruit young men to go into seminaries and begin eroding the Church.

McCarrick told the New York Times that it was during his year in Europe that he discovered his vocation, pointing to how the history of the Church in Europe to which he had been exposed had been a motivating factor.

McCarrick would have been the ideal candidate for Soviet recruiting: a fatherless young man with homosexual proclivities with no particular ambition in life. He fit the pattern perfectly, especially the homosexual dynamic whereby he could easily be controlled by blackmail.

McCarrick returned from Europe and enrolled in seminary for the New York archdiocese where he was ordained in 1958. If McCarrick was indeed recruited as a Soviet agent to undermine the Church, he fulfilled the wishes of his overlords perfectly.

Quickly ascending up the ranks, he sewed moral, doctrinal and spiritual confusion and harm on every level — not just his seminarian victims and other young men.

Interestingly, the high-profile book by the French gay activist which was just released today here in Rome and has caused quite a stir concentrates a good deal of attention on McCarrick. That's noteworthy because the author worked on the book for four years, most of which was long before McCarrick became the household name he has come to be since last summer. [But does Martel say anything about McCarrick being a Communist plant? Not incidentally, being an agent for the Communists would explain the ultra-liberal views and agenda promoted by McCarrick throughout his ecclesiastical career and which are subversive to the Church's missiom.

That means many of the author's contacts in the Roman Curia and the 40 cardinals he interviewed pointed to McCarrick in one way or another as being a key figure.

Presuming that McCarrick was a Communist agent, imbued with Marxist thinking and a socialist world view from his earliest days, it would explain a lot regarding the direction the Church in the U.S. took during his rise to power.

The so-called "social justice" wing of the Church in the United States became dominant under McCarrick, who was a key player in helping form and guide it.

Beyond the Church itself, McCarrick was able to use his influence to secure U.S. government work for three years on the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad in 1996 under Democrat Bill Clinton.

From 1999 to 2001, McCarrick was also on the U.S. Commission for International Freedom — both positions taking him on a dizzying array of foreign trips.

During an award ceremony, Clinton said that the "litany of countries" visited by McCarrick was more suited to a diplomat than an archbishop, a comment made in jest during a speech, but revealing nonetheless.

McCarrick secured the role of Vatican envoy to Communist China a couple of years before his fall from grace and was the man credited for hammering out the Vatican-China deal that many insist was a total sellout of the Church in China.

While the assertions about McCarrick as a Communist plant might never be able to be proven, for such is the nature of cover-ups and clandestine operations, they cannot be ignored. There are too many crossovers and points of convergence, the results of which are happening all over the Church and the culture at large to dismiss.

McCarrick routinely bribed and bought favor with multiple curial officials in Rome. He was a predatory homosexual and this was well-known going back years.

He strongly advanced the cause of the social justice propaganda which has dominated the life of the Church in the United States for decades — a movement cloaked in language of love of neighbor, but one which routinely is exposed for its left-leaning politics and association with socialist organizations many of which are spin-offs from Saul Alinsky.

A couple years after Pope Francis was elected, Cdl. Danneels of Belgium, a protector of homosexual predation himself, bragged in public about how a group of socialist-minded clerics had convened in St. Gallen over the years and plotted how to get a socialism-friendly pope elected.

As it turns out, St. Gallen appears to have much deeper roots in socialism than first thought and may have developed into the headquarters for the plot to destroy the Church by co-opting it through the use of active homosexual clergy trained to try and bring about a communist utopia on earth by means of the Church's far-flung influence.

If this is true, and it all rings true given the facts, the McCarrick case must be much explored much deeper than just the superficial treatment of him being reduced to the lay state.

He may very well have been the point man for a Communist infiltration into the Church in the United States and extending to control of even the Vatican itself.

00Wednesday, February 27, 2019 6:14 PM

The cartoon above accompanied the NYT editorial below. Both err grievously, however, by assuming that this pope is trying to rein in
the wolves at all. The Times, and most MSM, continue to ignore the glaring fact that Bergoglio himself is neck-deep in the cover-up
of clerical sex abuses (in his case, of episcopal abuses too - vide McCarric,k plus, in Argentina, Maccarone ad Zanchetta) -
in a way worse than other bishops accused of doing so.
In other words, MSM still refuses to acknowledge, despite various reports
they have done, that Jorge Bergoglio is one of those 'ravenous wolves'- the biggest of all, certainly - even if he may not be guilty of
any sexual misdeed himself.

The Catholic Church’s ‘ravenous wolves’
The pope promises action on clerical sexual abuse. Again.

By The Editorial Board

February 25, 2019

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

To many Roman Catholics worldwide, the very fact of senior bishops listening to victims of clerical sexual abuse and the pope condemning the evil in vivid language no doubt came as a shock. [Why a shock? It all happened before with Benedict XVI who set the example, even for this pope, by meeting with abuse victims in most of the countries he visited, and whose language for clerical sex abuse was vivid and terse: FILTH!]

The main body of the church has long shifted away from the United States and Western Europe, and the faithful in Africa, Asia and Latin America have not yet confronted the blight of predatory clergymen and institutional deafness to the extent of Americans or Europeans.

That is likely to be the explanation given by the Vatican for the lack of concrete measures to combat the crisis after a meeting heralded as a mighty counterattack by hierarchy and its activist pope against the evil ravaging their church: The global flock needs to see and hear first, and the change must arise from their own episcopate, they’ll say.

It doesn’t wash.

And not only because activists in the West are fed up with pledges of change in the 17 years since The Boston Globe revealed systematic abuse in the Boston diocese. The revelations have accelerated in recent years — the grand jury report from Pennsylvania of abuse by hundreds of priests over many years; a similar report from Illinois; nuns finally speaking out about what they’ve been subjected to.

As the revelations have escalated, so has the rhetoric. “Prepare for divine justice,” Pope Francis warned abusive priests at Christmas. “Ravenous wolves,” he called them in his speech to the Vatican gathering. But when it came to action, the talk was once again of changing hearts and minds, of changing a centuries-old culture.

It doesn’t wash because what is happening is not a personal moral lapse, to be treated as a sin to address through penitence and prayer, but a crime in which the church [the church hierarchy, not 'the Church'!] has been an accomplice.
- Priests who are credibly shown to abuse children should be thrown out of the pulpit and identified to civil authority.
- Bishops who cover up their actions should be laicized and exposed, and the order to do so must come from the top, from the pontiff. [Who would have to begin the purging with himself!]

The church has always been harsh on matters of sex, whether demanding celibacy of its priests, condemning birth control or prohibiting homosexual sex. Once the pope publicly acknowledges that priestly pedophilia is prevalent, the shock will not be softened by deferring action. [How can the Times continue to loosely use the term pedophilia after all these years and studies showing that 80% of clerical sex abuse is not pedophilia! And BTW, an occurrence of say, 4.5% among US priests in the past 40 years, according to the John Jay report - terrible as it is - does not qualify to be called 'prevalent' at all! In statistical usage, prevalence refers to the percentage of a given population that have a specific condition during a specific time, but to say something is 'prevalent' is to say it is 'widely accepted, practised or favored', and to say that of clerical sex abuse by Catholic ministers is a deliberate calumny of the Church.]

Of course, it is important that the church investigate what in its culture gives rise to such perversity. Pope Francis has demonstrated an admirable openness on many once-taboo issues, and his anguished remarks on the clerical abuse scandal no doubt come from the heart. [None can be more blind than those who refuse to see! In doing so, the Times is protecting its own protege by simply ignoring not just what has been reported from Argentina but also the prominent roles Bergoglio gave McCarrick after he rehabilitated him in 2013. If this is not editorial bias at its most blatant, shameless, and hyprocritical, what is?]

But a malignancy whose primary victims are trusting children must be treated by immediate and radical measures, not by appeals or hand-wringing. The time for that is past.

Appeals and handwringing coming from someone whose own irresponsibility towards 'trusting children' he dd not mind showing in ignoring all the complaints about the abusive priest(s) at the Provolo school for the deaf in Argentina - a case about which he has yet to say a word. A case reported again by the AP last week, and which, like the other abuse cases in Argentina involving Jorge Bergoglio, the New York Times with all its resources could have and ought to have investigated on its own but has chosen not to do so at all. Why not? Yet look back at all the huffing and puffing they did in 2009-2010 - along with the AP and Der Spiegel - to find any smidgen of dirt they could with which to 'tar' Benedict XVI and force him to resign, but nothing to show after all that.

Pope's speech on sex abuse
a litany of excuses for predators
in the church hierarchy

by Marc A. Thiessen
Washington Post Writers Group
February 26,2019

Pope Francis's closing address to the Vatican Summit on Child Protection was a disgraceful display of excuses and evasions.
- He began with extended meditation on how a "great number"of abuse cases are "committed within families."
- He urged the assembled bishops to focus on "other forms of abuse" experienced by "child soldiers," "starving children," "child victims of war" and "refugee children."
- He laid out an agenda that, bizarrely, focused on matters have nothing to do with clerical abuse (such as combating "digital sex' and "sexual tourism").
- And, most shamefully of all, he lashed out at those demanding that bishops who covered up abuse and silenced victims be held to account, declaring that the church must "rise above" those who "exploit, for various interests, the very tragedy experienced by the little ones."

Sorry, Holy Father, that's not good enough.

While Francis did declare that "no abuse should ever be covered up (as was often the case in the past)," he still refuses to tell us which bishops and cardinals did the covering up. It's true that, just days before the summit, he removed disgraced former archbishop Theodore McCarrick from the priesthood. But Francis still refuses to explain:
- What took so long?
- Who knew about McCarrick's alleged serial predations and did nothing?
- When did Francis know?
- And why did he not punish McCarrick until his crimes — which were repeatedly reported to the Vatican — were publicly exposed by the media?

Indeed, Francis's decision to focus the summit exclusively on "the protection of minors" was a cynical ploy to avoid addressing questions of accountability, or the rampant sexual abuse of vulnerable adults by their religious superiors.
- The accusations against McCarrick were not limited to his horrific abuse of children.
- He allegedly forced countless young priests and seminarians, whose careers he could make or break, to have sex with him.
- Last week, The Post reported on the Rev. Lauro Sedlmayer, who says he was sexually abused as a young priest by McCarrick during the 1990s. The priest says he told three bishops and that nothing was done. "To not be believed and to be ignored and demonized by the people to whom I reported the abuse victimized me a second time," he said.

How was McCarrick able to advance through the hierarchy, and even become a trusted adviser to Francis on international diplomacy and the selection of cardinals, when his predatory behavior was well known? Simple. A network of corrupt bishops and cardinals, many of whom owed their positions to McCarrick, protected him.

It is not enough for Pope Francis to remove McCarrick from the priesthood. The patronage network that enabled him must be rooted out as well. There are documents in the Vatican archives that would definitively show who knew what, and when they knew it. But Francis has refused to release them, much less hold McCarrick's many enablers to account.
- Quite the opposite, the pope has squelched efforts to expose and punish those responsible for covering up abuses by McCarrick and others.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2015, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley — whom Francis put in charge of handling the abuse crisis — recommended the creation of a special tribunal to try bishops who ignore or cover up abuse. The pope rejected his proposal. [Actually, no! Worse, however: much hoohah was raised announcing the creation of such a tribunal, but it was never created.]
- Last year, O'Malley met with Francis in Rome where, the Journal reports, the pope "made it clear he would not authorize a full-fledged investigation into the McCarrick affair."
- He then "stunned" the cardinal by recommending that the U.S. bishops cancel a meeting at which they were to vote on penalties for bishops who neglect or cover up abuse — suggesting they hold a spiritual retreat instead.
[I am learning about these last two points for the first time! Were they ever reported before? It makes Bergoglio's various evasive ploys even more ignoble.]
- When they held the meeting anyway last November, Francis forbade them from voting on the measures.
- And O'Malley — ostensibly the pope's point man on sex abuse for the past five years — was omitted from the speakers list at the pope's sex abuse summit.

Until Francis addresses the corruption of the episcopacy, he has zero credibility to lead a fight against sex tourism.
- No one wants to hear lectures on morality from bishops who refuse to rid their ranks of those who enable sex predators.
- They seem to be more concerned with preserving their worldly privilege and power than restoring the church's moral integrity.
How many souls have been lost, how many have left the sacraments, because of their scandalous inaction? We will never know in this world. But they will certainly learn the answer in the next.

Francis called the summit an "opportunity for purification." It was a missed opportunity. Purification requires two things: confession and penance. Until the bishops repent of their sins, and accept the temporal consequences of their actions, there will be no forgiveness from the laity.

Understanding and combating the 'Francis effect'

February 27,2019

Early in his pontificate the Catholic Left gushed about the 'Francis Effect', which mainly reflected their hopes and dreams that the new Holy See would advance their “progressive” agenda. Progressive is usually code for departing from the teachings of Scripture and Tradition. And they predicted this would attract new converts and reverts who had been kept away, in their view, by the retrograde policies of his immediate predecessors.
- Honest observers of his reign during the last five years would agree that the what of his agenda has been to pull the Church to the left in many ways, albeit with substantial ambiguity, as evidenced by Amoris Laetitia and many other public statements.
- Honesty would also dictate that the how of his pontificate, his modus operandi or leadership style, has been to use control, manipulation, and other dictatorial measures to accomplish his goals along with stonewalling, obfuscation, and subterfuge when needed.

A fine Machiavellian tool box has been assembled. This was all on display at the recent dog and pony show called the sex abuse summit in Rome where the root cause of the pestilence (homosexual activity and predation in the priesthood), its effects (the abuse of men who are not children) and the depraved legacy of Theodore McCarrick, and those who protected him, were all swept under the rug.

It wasn’t that the prelates failed to talk about the elephant in the room; they averted their eyes from an entire herd.

This makes perfect sense and is politically expedient, because if Francis facilitated an investigation into these matters in a just and effective matter, he himself would be exposed.
- Indeed, when you look at the careers of such prelates and priests as McCarrick, Battista Ricca, Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, and Mauro Inzoli, homosexual activity and predation seem to be a resume-enhancer for the pontiff that leads to promotion.

William Kirkpatrick writes: “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.” [The list notably leaves out Venezuelan prelate Edgar Pena Parra whom Bergoglio named to be the #2 man at the Secretariat of State despite a reported history as a sex offender, but who is a protege of Vice-Pope Oscar Maradiaga and reportedly close friend to Maradiaga's now resigned-in-disgrace longtime auxiliary bishop in Tegucigalpa, accused of openly living with a lover in the Archbishop's Palace and of sexually abusing diocesan seminarians or ignoring sexual abuses done to them.]

This is all part of Francis’s strategy of control. If you have men around you of weak character with skeletons in their closets, they’re easier to manipulate in accomplishing your goals.
- Character doesn’t seem to matter; what matters is acquiring, consolidating, and wielding power in accomplishing a progressive agenda and pursuing vainglory.
- You can have honor without power and power without honor, but, when the two come together in the fallen human heart, they make for a deadly ecclesial cocktail.

St. Ambrose hits the bull’s eye: “Ambition often makes criminals of those whom no vice would delight, whom no lust could move, whom no avarice could deceive.” He was undoubtedly echoing the words of the apostle James three centuries earlier: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).

Just as my parents’ generation can remember where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated, many orthodox Catholics can remember the same details when they got “red-pilled” on Pope Francis. Probably because my pre-Catholic background is one that is steeped in the study of Scripture, the release of Amoris Laetitia and the subsequent five DUBIA by the four cardinals was when I realized that we had a bad pope.

There was also a moral obtuseness evident in the Holy See that was (ironically) eye-opening for me. With his usual keen wit, the inimitable Fr. Rutler wrote about Pope Francis’s reluctance to talk about (“I will not say a word”) serious allegations of depravity in the Church, and, at the same time, being more than willing to talk about the issue of floating plastics in our oceans:

“We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic. Here, too, our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency.” The battle against plastic litter must be fought “as if everything depended on us.”

A dictatorial leadership style became obvious:

The Holy See told Cardinal Gerhard Müller to stop investigating the British cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who was alleged to have sexually abused a girl when she was 13 or 14 years old. Murphy-O’Connor, a member of the infamous “St. Gallen Mafia,” played a major role in getting Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio elected pope in 2013.

Raymond Arroyo on World Over on EWTN cited Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, who reported that Francis, through his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, quietly told American bishops not to invite Cardinal Raymond Burke to speak at their dioceses. Burke should be used to such maltreatment by now after the pontiff removed him from both the Vatican Supreme Court and the influential Congregation for Bishops.

It was also reported by Tosatti that Athanasius Schneider, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, has been ordered not to travel outside his native country without first talking to Francis. This entire episode has a 1985 East Germany meets the Vatican feeling.

Because the human heart is so complex, it is often unwise to get too specific in identifying the psychological roots of such authoritarianism, especially when we don’t have many details about Francis’s family and upbringing. We do know that Bergoglio was the son of a struggling accountant and has said very little publicly about his parents.

We do know that his mother temporarily became an invalid and that a woman named Concepcion became his primary care-giver. Jorge liked his surrogate but, as Henry Sire writes, “he admitted to treating her badly when, years later, she came to him to ask for his help as bishop of Buenos Aires and he sent her away, in his own words, ‘quickly and in a very bad way.’”

Such scant details still suggest unmet emotional needs (e.g., feeling loved, accepted, and not alone) in his family of origin. As someone who has rubbed shoulders with more than one dictatorial personality in my years in evangelical and evangelical-charismatic circles, I’d bet the house on it.

It’s more common than the laity realize for clergy who grow up with unmet emotional needs to look to their ministry, local parish, or episcopacy to meet those needs. Their ministry, rather than being a healthy resource that feeds their soul and spirit as they imitate Christ’s Passion of self-donation, becomes a Source often akin to a Deity.
- They are not there to serve the people; the people are there to serve them.
- They aren’t building the kingdom of God; they’re building their own little kingdom.

The true litmus test for priests and prelates is how they answer these questions: “Could you be happy if you knew that you would be laboring in complete obscurity for the rest of your life in a ministry completely devoid of honor and power? Would you be okay if your gifts and wisdom were only appreciated by an Audience of One?

Religious idols are often more difficult to recognize and criticize than the profligate lifestyle of a Hugh Hefner or the deceit and greed of a Bernie Madoff. After all, what’s being done is in the name of God and can hide behind religious vestments, language, and liturgy.

The [righteous] anger of the Church can be likened to Christ cleansing the temple or one of the Old Testament prophets. And, remember, Catholic ecclesiology is not democratic and sometimes measures that look autocratic are really just and must be pursued for the greater good.

The Idols of Power and Honor are difficult to placate, and, such an endeavor results in many of the works of the flesh that Paul identifies: enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, and envy (Gal. 5:20). Historian Henry Sire, who spent four years in residence in Rome researching The Dictator Pope, has many contacts inside the Vatican who lament the pontiff’s explosive temper and vulgar language.

This is in striking contrast to Mother Angelica, who, although she suffered great material and emotional privation in her childhood, eventually was able, by God’s grace, to get her emotional needs met through her relationship to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Mother of God, intimate friends, and in sacrificial service to the Church. Rather than having to control and manipulate the people around her to accomplish some selfish agenda, she was able to, as De Caussade exhorts, abandon her concerns to divine providence.

The laity has received much advice in recent months on what to do in our day of scandal and crisis. The three most important things are pray the Rosary, pray the Rosary, pray the Rosary.
- Petitions can be started that strongly urge certain prelates to resign, money can be denied their corrupt dioceses, articles can be written and investigative shows broadcast that to expose their malfeasance, protests can be held outside certain events like the recent sex summit. The reader can furnish many more examples.

One more thing can be added to the list that’s been mostly overlooked: manifest the opposite spirit of the Francis Effect. We see this general principle at work in the Gospel Reading for Sunday, February 24, 2019 (Luke 6: 27-38).

Jesus tells us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us. In applying this passage to our day, it means that when the Francis Effect is autocratic, controlling, manipulative, and seeks to instill fear, we need to manifest humility in its myriad dimensions to counteract it.

This is spiritual warfare; it’s in humility that powers, principalities, and wickedness in high places are brought to nothing. It’s in a humiliated Man being crucified on a tree that the works of the devil are destroyed.

In this we follow the Mother of God who rejoiced in her Savior “because he regarded the lowliness of his handmaid.” In this we follow her Son who washed the feet of his disciples.

When we are humble, we show the watching world the heart of Christ. In Day six of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy Novena, Christ asks us to pray for “the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children, and immerse them in my mercy. These souls most closely resemble my heart”.

This spirit of humility can neutralize its opposite spirit. We see this with the soldier at the cross: “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’”

Mother Teresa’s humility played a role in Malcolm Muggeridge’s conversion to the Catholic faith. He was a man of the world and her lowliness disarmed him: it wasn’t so much what was taught but what was caught.

In Les Miserables, the kind and generous Bishop Myriel gives the hardened and embittered Jean Valjean shelter and Valjean runs off with his silverware that night. The police capture Valjean but Myriel pretends to have given the goods to him and two silver candlesticks as well.

The police buy the story and leave. Myriel uses this episode as a teachable moment, telling him that because God has spared his life, he should seek to make an honest living. Valjean did just that and more.

The faithful Catholic laity becomes Mary’s Heel when it manifests this spirit of humility in the day of the Francis Effect. The temptation is to become a monster in order to slay the monster.

Sadly, you end up with one dead monster, one live one, and the kingdom has not come on earth as it is in heaven. May God give this generation the grace to rebuild the waste places
(Is. 58:12) and not kick the can down the road to our children.
00Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:23 AM
Cardinal Pell sent to maximum security prison
before sentencing; Vatican to open investigation

MELBOURNE, Australia, February 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has reversed its earlier position and opened an investigation into allegations against Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, who was taken to jail after a plea hearing Wednesday.

The decision was made by Pope Francis given Pell’s high standing, reported the Jesuit America magazine.
[Excuse me, but how is the Vatican going to decide on this?
- Use the material from the rigged kangaroo court in Melbourne to declare Pell guilty?
- Or send Scicluna to Melbourne to get the firsthand testimony of Pell's nemesis?
- And how is Pell supposed to defend himself to the CDF tribunal or whatever ad hoc body they will name to adjudicate his case?
- All this so that Bergoglio can have bragging rights to having defrocked two pre-eminent cardinals in the space of a few months???
- Taking advantage of Pell's victimhood at the hands of his own countrymen to make Pell his second scapegoat after McCarrick?]

The 77-year-old Pell will be held at maximum security prison until his March 13 sentencing on five convictions of sexually abusing minors [a minor – there was only one complainant], reported the Guardian.

Pell “will be kept in protective custody and remain alone for up to 23 hours a day,” it reported.

Pell was found guilty by a jury in December of sexual abusing two 13-year-old choir boys in 1996. [No, there was only one complainant. The other boy denied there ever was an assault and died before the case even went to trial.] The formal convictions are one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16 and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16. [All counts alleged by the same individual.] Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

A number of commentators, Catholic and otherwise, have condemned Pell’s prosecution as an anti-Catholic witch hunt instigated by police and media.

Pell’s first trial on the charges ended September with a hung jury, with 10 of 12 jurors supporting his acquittal.

Judge Peter Kidd granted Pell bail during the trials so he could have knee replacement surgery, but said he would revoke it Wednesday.

Pell’s lawyers withdrew a bail application scheduled at the Court of Appeal, stating in a release that Pell “believes it is appropriate from him to await sentencing,” [??? Is that supposed to read 'appropriate for him to await sentencing in jail'??? , reported the Australian newspaper The Age.

They have filed an appeal that will “be pursued following sentence,” the lawyers stated.

Pell is the most senior cleric to be convicted of sexual offenses, and as Vatican treasurer and a member of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals (C9), he was considered the third-most powerful man in the Vatican when he was charged with multiple counts of sexual offenses in July 2017. [DIM=pt][Only one of which ‘prospered’ and went to trial. The prosecution dropped plans for another trial this month, apparently because they did not have a case to pursue.]

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti initially said the Holy See would wait until Pell’s appeal ended before taking action, according to CruxNow. The pope “confirmed the precautionary measures which had been imposed by the local Ordinary” on Pell when he returned to Australia in 2017 to answer to the charges, Gisotti said Tuesday. That is, Pell is “prohibited from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors,” he said.

But Gisotti announced Wednesday that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) “will now handle the case following the procedure and within the time established by canonical norm, reported Reuters. He also confirmed Pell is no longer Vatican treasurer [He was never Vatican 'treasurer'. He was the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. How many elementary factual errors can one news story contain?] Pell’s term expired Sunday and the pope has to yet name a successor, Reuters reported.

The CDF will decide based on its investigations whether to proceed to a canonical trial or forgo a trial and simply ask the pope to defrock Pell [On what grounds? On a kangaroo court's spurious verdict???], an eventuality from which there is no appeal, reported CNN [no doubt with gloating Schadenfreude].

The Vatican announced in mid-December that Pope Francis had removed Pell and two other cardinals from the C9 in October, reported CruxNow.

Pell was convicted on the testimony of one complainant who alleged Pell discovered him and another choirboy in the sacristy of Melbourne’s Cathedral drinking sacramental wine after they snuck away from the procession following High Mass on Sunday, and that Pell then orally raped him and sexually molested him and the other chorister — who died in 2014 of a heroin overdose and who denied ever being sexualLY assaulted.

Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, argued that the complainant’s story was “fantasy;” the sacristy would have been a “beehive of activity” after High Mass, Pell would not have been alone at any time, nor would he to have been able to manipulate his robes to expose himself as the complainant alleges.

Richter attempted Wednesday to persuade Kidd to give Pell a lenient sentence. But his efforts were “disastrous” and have “thrown Pell’s supporters into despair,” according to the Catholic Herald.

Richter maintained he had to make arguments in the context of Pell’s guilty conviction, and so argued that the offense Pell was convicted of, but steadfastly denies committing, was “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” [What was he thinking? Even a non-lawyer would never think of using such an absurd argument! Since he did not commit the act, why even try to mitigate it in any way???]] That and Richter’s arguments brought gasps from spectators in the crowded courtroom, the Guardian reported.

“Whatever his reasons, his description of a horrific attack on a minor (which Richter was not conceding actually happened) will do nothing to persuade the Australian public of Pell’s innocence,” noted the Herald. “The situation is therefore a nightmare for the Catholic Church.”

Richter’s arguments also did not appear to convince Kidd, who described Pell’s behavior as “callous, brazen, offending” and “shocking conduct,” the Guardian reported. [And what happened to Kidd, after his remarkable pre-verdict admonitions to the jury??? To be so suddenly partisan and hostile???]

Pell has steadfastly maintained his innocence, describing the charges as “falsehood and garbage.” [I hope Pell has family and friends around him at this time. And that he is able to say his daily Mass in jail. May God be with him through this ordeal!]
00Thursday, February 28, 2019 6:15 PM

High-ranking Vatican prelate and Bergoglio pet Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, clutching at another semi-nude man, is depicted in an 'erotic' net that is in the giant mural he commissioned
for his cathedral in Terni. Peter Kwasniewski chose this to illustrate his article below.

The problem is not 'clericalism' -
it's lust, plain and simple

In all the verbiage that has emanated and continues to pour forth about Pope Francis's recent abuse summit, the major criticism has been its fundamental refusal to face the fact that' homosexuality in the clergy' has been responsible for 80 percent of the sexual abuses committed against minors, to whose protection against sexual abuse the summit chose to limit its scope.

What most commentators - even the most fervid critics - have failed to point out is that homosexuality in itself is not the problem (surely, there have been homosexual priests throughout the history of the Church - and the Church teaches that while homosexuality is a disorder, it is homosexual practice that constitutes sin) but the failure of priests, homo- or heterosexual, to curb their carnal lusts, choosing instead to act them out on their victims in blatant violation of the Sixth Commandment which basically enjoins chastity and of their own priestly vow on chastity.

Indeed, the two words never used in the summit nor in much of the commentary about it are lust and its opposite word, chastity.

While stressing the need for the Church to break up and punish the homosexual network that has done so much harm to the Church - best exemplified by the rise and fall of Theodore McCarrick - Aldo Maria Valli, in the conclusion of his commentary after the summit had ended, entitled, precisely, "It's not clericalism, it is lust" (one I failed to translate because there were so many English articles crying for attention, though I did refer to what he says here about lust), took off from a letter written by a priest:

[The priest wrote:] "...The analyses presented, as did the 'remedies' proposed, were limited to the juridical, canonical and administrative aspects of the problem, without touching the moral aspect at all. As if the Sixth Commandment had nothing to do with all this! It was a pagan way of facing the problem - not Christian, least of all Catholic".

I fully agree. I would also add that it was a sociological approach. In fact, during the sessions (and even reading the pope's final address), what has emerged is more the sociological dimension of the analysis than anything theological or spiritual.

But why Was it so?...Who wanted certain realities to remain clouded in fog? Looking back at the McCarrick episode (to mention just the most infamous), can help give an answer. In the Catholic Church today, there is a homosexualist class which is able to condition, deviate and cover up [the situation in the institutional Church]. This is the network that must be grappled with courageously, This is the pustulous boil that must be burst [and lanced].

True clericalism, if we must use this term at all, is that which does not wish to make things clear and call them by name. The tragedy of sex abuse arises from the vice and sin of lust. And it is this loss of the sense of sin, this loss of faith, among its clergy that the Church must seriously look into.

Because what does the sociological approach much loved by the world produce instead? Nothing but mediatic operations, which translate into generic condemnations of the miscreants and sterile compassion for the victims. Resulting in a substantial cover-up.[The Italian word for 'cover-up' is very graphic - insabbiamento, which literally means burying up something in sand, which also implies that anything covered up in this way eventually gets uncovered.]

Today, Peter Kwasniewski on his Lifesite blog, tackles the question of lust full on:

How the '8 daughters of lust' influenced
the Vatican’s sex abuse summit

by Peter Kwasniewski

February 26, 2019

Last week’s failed summit on sex abuse showed to the world the spectacle of high-ranking prelates denying obvious connections between clerical abuse and homosexuality and filling their air with lofty sentiments as cheap as the paper they were written on.

It is by now clear that Pope Francis has no intention whatsoever of disempowering the cronies who encircle him and eat out of his hand. Meanwhile he pours out his ire on any who dare to question his and others’ handling of the situation.

“A man is known by the company he keeps.” The list is long, and getting longer every day, of the criminal clergy whom Bergoglio has tolerated or promoted, from his time in Argentina all the way up to the present moment: cardinals (McCarrick, Murphy-O’Connor, Coccopalmerio), bishops (Zanchetta, Pineda, Maccarone, Marx, Maradiaga), and priests (Grassi, Inzoli, Corradi). As if this were not enough, he thwarts efforts at discipline. “McCarrickism” is still alive and well. All the dots have been well connected.

We have resources in our Catholic tradition to understand at least part of what is going on in the Church today.

St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604, gave us a major work of theology titled the Moralia in Job, a commentary on the Book of Job best appreciated for its profound insight into ethics and the spiritual life. In the 31st book of the Moralia, St. Gregory speaks of “the eight daughters of lust.” These are “blindness of mind, thoughtlessness, inconstancy, rashness, self-love, hatred of God, love of this world and abhorrence or despair of a future world.”

When St. Thomas Aquinas explains the meaning of these “daughters” (Summa theologiae II-II, q. 153, a. 5), he says that lust hinders the operation of the intellect in four ways.

First, it interferes with the grasping of a good end (this is “blindness of mind”).
- Lustful people do not see clearly the true good; they stumble around, chasing after shadows and illusions, taking what is evil as if it were good.
- Outsiders can see this loss of vision quite clearly, but those who are given to sensuality become unaware of the spiritual good. - If they think of it or discuss it at all, it is in an abstract and distant manner, because there is no feeling for it anymore.
The most shocking manifestation of this blindness is the support for abortion found among the unchaste, whose disordered attachment to sex has blinded them to the dignity of other persons. For such people, children are a nuisance or interruption.

Lust also hinders counsel or discernment of the proper course of action; this is why it propels its victims into foolish choices that ultimately tear them apart, as we are also seeing in the Church’s hierarchy (this is “rashness”).
- In a way similar to that of a wrathful person who destroys himself by carelessly rushing into the fray, a man in the grip of passion acts stupidly. He ultimately becomes his own worst enemy.

Lust hinders good judgment to such an extent that it obliterates the memory of justice (this is “thoughtlessness”). - We often catch sight of this thoughtlessness in the inadequate, tone-deaf, bureaucratic responses made by hierarchs to abuse victims, or even the lack of any response at all—indications that they themselves may be under the influence of sexual vice.

Lust hinders the ability of a man to resist his concupiscence even if his reason or someone else urges him to resist (this is “inconstancy”).
- The copious data we now have about pedophiles and homosexuals indicates that, left to their own devices, and without earnest efforts at reform and conversion, they will be incapable of not pursuing their lecherous inclinations.
- As Aristotle says, this does not make them guiltless, because they were responsible for allowing the vice to grow in the first place.

Lust affects the will in four ways as well.
- Desire for the end, which ought to take the form of charity for God above all, for neighbor, and for oneself, is twisted into disordered “self-love,” which places gratification of one’s lower self (the passions and senses) above any other object of love—even the good of one’s higher self (the mind).

There immediately flows from this disordered self-love a “hatred of God,” because God forbids the desired pleasure that is contrary to His law.
- This perfectly explains the contempt for the divine law that we see with alarming frequency on the part of Church hierarchs, who would rather modify or expunge the sixth and ninth commandments than submit to them out of love for God.
- The frequent abuse of the sacred liturgy, which is almost always connected with a hatred of spiritual and divine things, is also tied in with this effect of lust.

Desire for the right means to a good end is corrupted by lust in two ways.
- Lust plunges a man into “love of this world” because he clings to the means to worldly pleasure, such as filthy lucre, which he ought rather to resist and purge from his life.
- For the same reason, lust causes “despair of a future world,” because the unchaste man is, and at some level knows that he is, far from God.
- “Through being held back by carnal pleasures, he cares not to obtain spiritual pleasures, since they are distasteful to him,” writes St. Thomas.

Because of ingrained habits of lust on the part of large numbers of men and women in the Western world today —including, obviously and tragically, members of the clergy — we should hardly be surprised to see all eight daughters busily at work.

St. Peter Damian in his own day saw the very same corruption, and fought against it with all his might, regardless of the personal cost or the threats made against him.

We who are aware of what is going on must stop at nothing until the episcopacy and the Vatican are purified of this disease.

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