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00Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:50 AM

Cardinals spar over 'merits'
of Vatican-China deal

By Courtney Grogan

BEIJING, March 8, 2019 (CNA) - After Cardinal Fernando Filoni and a Chinese-appointed bishop both spoke out this week separately in support of the Vatican-China deal for fostering unity, Cardinal Joseph Zen responded strongly.

During a weeklong trip to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, Cardinal Filoni told Macau News Agency March 4 that the provisional agreement between Beijing and the Holy See signed Sept. 22, 2018 “will be a very good thing for the Church in the future, and also for China.”

“One wonders: from which planet did our leaders in Rome descend?” Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, responded on his blog March 5.

In a lengthy interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, called for greater trust between the ecclesial and civil authorities who manage religion in China.

“There is above-all the need to rebuild trust, perhaps the most difficult aspect, toward ecclesiastical and civil authorities entrusted with religious matters, as well as between the so-called official and unofficial ecclesial currents,” Filoni said. “It is not about establishing who wins or who loses, who is right or wrong.

[There's moral relativism for you! It does matter who is right or wrong - on any issue. And there is no 'trust' to rebuild 'towards ecclesiastical and civil authorities entrusted with religious matters" if Filoni means here the underground Church. There was never any trust to begin with, so what's to rebuild?

The Chinese government and its agencies in charge of 'religious matters' have had nothing but hostility towards the clandestine Catholics who have refused to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) set up in 1957 to 'supervise' Catholics living on the Communist mainland. The CPCA has since then functioned as China's 'national Catholic Church', in effect, acting autonomously of the Vatican, naming its own bishops while persecuting underground bishops legitimately appointed by Rome.

Things will not be better with the Bergoglio deal. The CPCA still gets to nominate the bishops it wants, over which the pope reportedly has veto power, then what? It is still the Chinese naming these prospective bishops - the Vatican has no say over these candidates - and they certainly won't nominate anyone who is not completely under their thumb.

The most ominous sign so far of this extremely one-sided deal (whoe details remain secret) to the detriment of the Church is that in order to get the Chinese to agree to a deal, Bergoglio and his agents agreed to recognize seven illegitimately named bishops (2 of whom have families) and worse, to ask a couple of legitimate underground bishops to step down to make way for the 'official' bishops and to serve as subordinates to the latter.

There is no way the Vatican can justify that blatant injustice to the underground bishops and its contemptible kowtowing to Beijing that these moves meant. How can such a situation "do a very good thing for the Church in the future" as Filoni claims so earnestly? He and all of Bergoglio's emissaries to Beijing (including one Theodore McCarrick) to get him a deal by hook or by crook, must have hda their brains thoroughly cooked in Chinese opium dens to capitulate to such abject humiliation.]

Zen responded, “The incredible thing is the invitation to trust the government! Is information on recent oppression measures missing from our superiors in the Vatican?”

Filoni said that he realized that it may appear that the Holy See is asking for “a unilateral sacrifice” from members underground Chinese Catholic community, “while nothing is requested of the ‘official’ members.”

“The issue should not be put in these terms; in fact, it is not about the ‘underground’ surrendering to the ‘official’ or to the civil authorities, regardless of the appearance, nor of a victory over the non-official community,” he continued.

The underground status will fade away, but not the people involved. Their faith, their traditions, and their spirituality remain, which are enjoyed by the entire diocesan community,” Filoni said.

[Shall we cut the crap? How and why will the 'underground' status fade away, for as long as the clandestine Catholics choose not to surface? Persistence in the faith in the face of open persecution has made martyrs for the Church through the millennia. Catholics old enough to have resisted Beijing back in 1957 have since produced at least two more generations in the past 60 years, which is not inconsiderable even with China's strictly enforced one-child policy and even if not all of the younger generations choose to remain Catholic and/or underground. More than enough there to provide the seeds for martyrdom. Any sincere prayers from 'official' or underground Catholics in behalf of upholding and defending the faith in China can only redound to the spiritual wellbeing of all Chinese Catholics.]

He pointed to September’s provisional agreement as a continuation of the dialogue between the Holy See and China under St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Zen objected to this claim, writing, “The Holy See intends to present the dialogue with China as a homogeneous process from John Paul II through Benedict until Pope Francis. Not so, John Paul II and Benedict, having lived under totalitarian regimes, never believed the Ostpolitik theory.”

“With the choice of Parolin as his Secretary of State, Pope Francis gave the curia’s group of powerful men the opportunity to resume their project of Ostpolitik,” Zen said.

“Now following Pope Francis in his optimism, they dangerously push him towards an easy surrender, hiding the horrible face of Chinese communism of which they are well aware,” Zen continued.

Filoni criticized those who “run the risk of rowing out of sync within the ship of Peter” and of leading the Chinese faithful into misunderstanding the agreement.

“Only with a superficial spirit or in bad faith could one imagine that Pope Francis and the Holy See would abandon the flock of Christ, wherever or in whatever condition it finds itself in the world,” Filoni said.

“Therefore, we must continue to work to improve the perception of the faithful, who are often influenced by media messages that are not altogether correct or balanced and find it difficult to understand the due discretion that surrounded the dialogue between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China,” he continued.

“The Pope, together with his coworkers, has done, is doing, and will do all that is possible to be close to the Church in China. Our methods are not infallible, but we truly love the Church and the Chinese people,” Filoni said.

Filoni said that he hopes “not to hear or read about local situations in which the Agreement is exploited to compel people to do what is not even required by Chinese law, such as joining the Patriotic Association.”

“In the sixty years since the creation of the Patriotic Association, everyone, in perhaps an unequal and dramatic way, has suffered, both in a physical and moral sense,” he said.

“It is the Lord who guides history. Therefore, I would hope that, first of all, in dealing with any possible dilemmas, they would know always how to see the other with trust, even if some aspects of the current situation are perceived as injustices and with difficulty,” Filoni said.

Zen responded, “His Eminence loves to have legitimate reservations about what the Holy See does, but in the meantime he accuses me of not rowing in harmony with the barque of Peter.”

Several Chinese bishops participating in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) also spoke out about the Vatican-China agreement this month.

The theme of this year’s CPPCC assembly meeting is “the study and application of Xi Jinping's thinking on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”

Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong (Ningde), a member of the CPPCC, told Chinese press at the meeting, “There will be no official or unofficial Church when the Church is united,” reported UCA News.

Mindong is one of two dioceses in China in which an underground bishop was asked to step down to be replaced by a formerly excommunicated bishop.

Pope Francis reportedly asked the former bishop of Mindong to step down in obedience and “in sacrifice” so that Chinese government-appointed Bishop Zhan could take his place through a letter signed by Cardinal Filoni and Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

In response to a question about what this would mean for the underground church, Zhan responded, "Don't you want the Church to be united? A Church schism is not the fundamental aspiration of Catholics."

Cardinal Zen questioned, “Can the gentlemen at the Vatican tell us what we have gained with that agreement? Is it true that the Chinese communists have finally recognized the authority of the pope? Has the spokesperson of the Patriotic Association and the bishops’ conference not publicly declared that they will maintain the principle of the independent Church and that they will follow the leadership of the Party?”

On the same day as the story above...

US religious freedom ambassador
dismisses pope’s China accord,
blasts communist assault on Catholics

HONG KONG, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. ambassador Sam Brownback said on Friday that China’s persecution of Catholic citizens continues despite a deal Pope Francis reached with the communist government.

“Since this provisional deal was announced last year the Chinese government’s abuse of members of the Catholic community has continued. We see no signs that will change in the near future,” he said, speaking in Hong Kong as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom. [First such appointment ever made. Another surprising initiative from Donald Trump who, in terms of concrete actions and specific statements upholding some of the most basic tenets of Catholic doctrine on social issues, seems more Catholic than most if not all US Catholic politicians so far going back to the first Catholic President, JFK.] ]

In China, there has long been an underground persecuted Church loyal to the papacy and an ecclesial organization that is officially recognized by the Chinese government.

In September, Pope Francis responded to concerns over the agreement. He gave assurances to persecuted Catholics and asked them to trust his decision to overlap the government-approved organization with the Catholic Church. He said China represents a “land of great opportunities” for the Church. He said the secret deal will “heal wounds of the past.”

In his speech on Friday, Brownback called on China to recognize the free exerciss of religion. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cries of its own people for religious freedom and act to correct its wrongs,” he said. Saying the communist government is waging a “war with faith,” Brownback said it is a “war they will not win.”

At the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, Brownback referred to negotiations engaged by Vatican diplomats with China over the status of the invalidly consecrated bishops of the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is approved by the communist government but does not recognize the authority of the Vatican. The language of the provisional agreement between the two parties remains confidential.

However, one effect was that the Holy See recognized seven illicitly consecrated Chinese bishops and gave them authority over Chinese dioceses.

Currently, all Catholic bishops of China are recognized by China’s government and the Holy See. However, since the deal was concluded, no new bishops have been appointed to China. Brownback, a Catholic, said the Vatican deal has not led to increased freedom for Catholics in China.

The 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong has been vocally critical of Pope Francis and the deal with China.
- In November, Zen said priests of the underground Church have “cried” to him since the deal was inked.
- In late 2018, he went to Rome to deliver a lengthy letter to Pope Francis, asking him to pay closer attention to the crisis within the underground Catholic Church in China.

He said, “They said officials have forced them to become open, to join the (schismatic) Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and to obtain a priest’s certificate with the reason that the pope has signed the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement.”

In a strongly worded opinion piece for the New York Times, Cardinal Zen suggested that the pope’s deal with China “invited the annihilation of the real Church in China.”

On Tuesday, Cardinal Zen responded to statements made by Cardinal Fernando Filoni. During a tour of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, Cardinal Filoni told a local news agency in Macau that the agreement signed by the Holy See and China “will be a very good thing for the Church in the future, and also for China.”

“One wonders: from which planet did our leaders in Rome descend?” said Cardinal Zen on his blog.

China protests US criticism
of its policies on religion

March 11, 2019

China has lodged a protest over remarks by the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom criticizing Beijing’s restrictive religion policies.

China is “at war with faith,” said Sam Brownback in a speech in Hong Kong last Friday. “It’s a war they will not win. The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom.”

The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong reacted strongly to Brownback’s words. “We ask the U.S. to respect the facts, stop the arrogance and prejudice and cease using religious issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” it said in a statement.

The ministry went on to insist that China’s constitution protects freedom of religion, urging critics to “cease their slander of China’s policies on religion and the situation with freedom of faith and cease using religious issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

In his speech, Mr. Brownback targeted China’s recent actions toward Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China, many of whom China has reportedly rounded up into political education camps in Xinjiang.

The Trump administration is “deeply concerned and considered it a deliberate attempt by Beijing to redefine and control these Muslim minority groups, (their) identity, culture, and faith,” Brownback said.

Brownback, the former governor of Kansas, also called on China to liberate Wang Yi and John Cao Sanqiang, “underground” Christian pastors who are being held for illegal religious activities.

After China complained about his remarks, Brownback told reporters in Taiwan Monday that his office has a list of hundreds of names of individuals in China who have purportedly been detained for their faith.

“Where are they? What is happening to them? Why can’t their family members hear from them?” Brownback asked. “The United States has designated (China) in its most problematic category of countries that persecute people of faith … since 1999. And the situation has gotten notably worse in the last two years,” he said.

“We are calling on alliances of countries and individuals to step up and to oppose these things when they take place,” he said.

This is not the first time the Chinese government has protested U.S. criticisms of its religion policies.

In 2016, China’s Communist party filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the U.S. government for what it called a biased and distorted “attack” on China’s religious policies, following the release of a damning report by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In its annual report, the Commission employed some of its harshest language to describe the situation of religious freedom in China, noting that over the past year, “the Chinese government has stepped up its persecution of religious groups deemed a threat to the state’s supremacy and maintenance of a ‘socialist society.’”

“Christian communities have borne a significant brunt of the oppression, with numerous churches bulldozed and crosses torn down,” the report declared.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, the nation formally complained to the United States after the USCIRF listed China as a “country of particular concern” in its annual report for its for its “systematic, egregious, and ongoing abuses,” a designation China has enjoyed each year since 1999.

“The Chinese government fully respects and protects its citizens’ freedom of religion in line with the law, and Chinese citizens enjoy the rights to full religious freedom in accordance with the law,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press briefing.

“The U.S. ignores this fact and releases reports repeatedly to distort and attack China’s religious policies and status. China firmly opposes the U.S. move and has lodged solemn representation to the U.S. side,” Mr. Hong said.

According to a Congressional report at the time, conditions for religious believers in China have been on a “downward trend” ever since President Xi Jinping took office.

The price of Catholic unity
Lectures from a cardinal in contemporary Communist China


March 10, 2019

For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent: On the Situation of the Church in China, published in English this year, is a series of eight lectures by Joseph Cardinal Zen, who delivered the lectures in Hong Kong in 2017. The lectures are an account of the state of the relationship between the Church within and the Church outside China from 2000 to 2017, focusing on a letter written by Pope Benedict to Chinese Catholics in 2007 and on diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Church in China.

Though the plight of faithful in China may currently be overshadowed by the many high-profile sexual-abuse scandals within the Church, the persecution faced by Catholics in the avowedly atheist country should not be disregarded. But it is not the Chinese government’s oppression of religious minorities that Zen focuses on.

In his lectures he details the incompetence and corruption of Church officials in their handling of the complex and tense relationship between Vatican officials and diplomats, the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), and the underground Catholic Church in China.

The CPCA has historically operated under the auspices of the ruling Communist party, appointing its own bishops without Vatican approval and thereby rendering those bishops latae sententiae excommunicants. Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 formally excommunicated two CPCA-appointed bishops and the two bishops who had ordained them.

The underground Catholic Church in China is in good standing and full communion with Rome but lacks the approval of the Chinese government and therefore suffers persecution.

Some Chinese Catholics loathe the state-run Church as an empty apparatus intended for control rather than sincere devotion, some believers trust only the state-sanctioned Church, and some do not bother to distinguish between the two, since the difference is not in rite or theology but in ecclesiological administration.

Zen, who is still outspoken in his disapproval of the provisional agreement signed on September 22 of last year, criticizes the prevarications of the Vatican in its dealings with the Church in China in For Love of My People. He condemns the strategy of “compromise and surrender” and says that the “Curia has always tried to please the Chinese government.”

In 1988, the Vatican issued eight points on Catholicism in China. The provisional agreement signed last year is in discord with them.
- In the eight points, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples decreed that CPCA ordinations were valid but not licit.
- But under the agreement, in what Pope Francis has claimed is an attempt to foster healing and unity among Chinese Catholics, the distinction between CPCA and Catholic bishops has been erased. Francis has recognized eight bishops (one deceased) appointed by the CPCA in Beijing as in full ecclesial communion with Rome, even though they were appointed with flagrant disregard for the Vatican and, in some cases, had been previously excommunicated.

While the agreement is a step toward repairing the rift within the Chinese Church, it has left Catholics who have long fought for the underground Church in China feeling subverted and betrayed.
- Pope Francis has admitted that the agreement will not necessarily end the suffering of Chinese Catholics.
- The pope has also lamented “the suffering for those who don’t understand, or who have so many years behind them of living clandestinely.”
- Catholics such as Cardinal Zen who have long encouraged opposition to the PCA suddenly find the Vatican itself seeking common ground with the organization.

Unity of believers is a worthy and principal goal, but proper form and the authority of the Church should not be sacrificed in achieving it.
-Zen decried the agreement before and after it was signed, seeing it as an attempt by the Church to ingratiate itself with China’s ruling party rather than defend true believers.
- Zen rightly notes of Vatican officials that “if today they go along with the regime, tomorrow our Church will not be welcome for the rebuilding of the new China.”

Zen discusses myriad examples of the incompetence that plagues the Church. One is that Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state appointed by Francis, has allowed the Catholic commission for the Church in China to lapse, no longer facilitating its meetings.

Zen also mentions that Father Federico Lombardi, the former director of the Press Office of the Holy See, allowed himself to be interviewed by Phoenix Television, one of the few private television networks officially permitted by Hong Kong’s government.

Zen suggests that Phoenix is not a neutral outlet. The channel has come under criticism in recent years for the government influence in its programming. In 2016, the channel suspended airing of several popular political-commentary shows because of “ideological mistakes” by the hosts.

Zen also tells of Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who at a Vatican symposium on organ transplants, invited as a guest of honor Dr. Huang Jiefu, China’s former deputy health minister. Huang has publicly taken credit for a decade-long reform effort in the Chinese medical community.

In 2005, as vice health minister, he admitted that over 90 percent of the transplant organs in China were harvested from executed prisoners, but he promised reform of the medical system.

His high rhetoric notwithstanding, Huang did not seem to effect much change. In June 2016, the U.S. Congress unanimously condemned China’s “state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting,” in a resolution alleging that the Chinese Communist Party was continuing the practice in secret and that it was killing “non-consenting prisoners of conscience,” including religious and ethnic minorities.

Zen is a dedicated, orthodox Catholic and he indicates no disobedience to the pope by his criticisms. In his last lecture, Zen says, “I will never lead a rebellion against the Pope” if he signs an agreement with the Chinese government. “I will quietly withdraw to the monastic life of prayer and penance.”

But a weak and feckless Church that is not willing to fight brazenly for the truth will not inspire many future witnesses like Zen. A Church that does not devote itself to its own teachings is an empty institution.

Zen does not leave us without hope for the Church, or for the Church in China. He is our hope. He is the voice crying out in the desert, refusing to be satisfied with half-truths or cowardly deference. Like Christians in other countries hostile to Christianity, Zen in his unwavering dedication to God is an example and testament to all Christians.

Zen concedes that there is true belief in both the underground and the official state Church in China. “We came to realize that our categories were too sharply divisive,” he says, “when in reality there were so many healthy forces.”

He does not hesitate to point out the failure of the Church to communicate adequately with Chinese Catholics. In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote a letter intended to provide clarity to the Church in China. The letter was meant to be ready by Easter, Zen says, but the final copy was not published until the end of June. Moreover, the final Chinese copy had mistakes and sentences mistranslated. “What a shame that a letter addressed precisely to the people of China had so many errors in the Chinese translation,” Zen laments.

In the last of his eight lectures, given on June 28, 2017, Zen, compares being a Catholic in China to living in a cage. He says that the provisional agreement between China and the pope, which was not yet signed at the time of his writing, will further stifle Chinese Catholics in their ability to worship: [DIM=1p2t]“To us, a terrifying scenario is unfolding, the sellout of the Church! Not reconstituted unity, but a forced cohabitation in the cage. From the point of view of the faith, we cannot see any gain.”

If Catholics have learned anything from the recent crimes propagated in the Church, it should be that there is no mercy without justice. Passivity and capitulation among clerics in the face of injustice or persecution should not be tolerated; and no government or institution, including the tangled bureaucracy of the Catholic hierarchy, is above reproach.

These criticisms of the Church’s entreaties to China come not from an aggrieved anti-cleric but from a cardinal in good standing. Zen’s lectures are not a condemnation of authority but rather a call for the Church to act as a strong authority and an uncompromising garrison of virtue. Clerics should not shy away from their commitment to Christian teaching. They should be fortified by it.

Hope for Catholicism in China lies in the hands of Cardinal Zen and those who, like him, are willing to defend the faith even without strong support from the Vatican. The Church on Earth will be preserved not by equivocations and incompetent bureaucracy but by the Church Militant.

Zen reminds us that it is the Catholics who are steadfast in their devotion to the sacraments and doctrine who will preserve the Church, and that nothing less than martyrdom, be it red or white, is the seed of the Church.

A late breaking addendum:

China's President Xi visiting Italy this month:
An opportunity to clarify the fate of underground Catholics
and whether they must join the Patriotic Association?

by Fr. Bernardo Cervellera

March 11, 2019

o Since the signing of the Vatican-China agreement, underground Catholics are being forced to join the CPCA and its "independent" Church project.
o It is said that the underground Church "must disappear". But Pope Francis’s message speaks only of "reconciliation".
o Cardinal Filoni says CPCA membership is not mandatory under Chinese law.
o But there are bishops and priests who say unity will come through "erasing" the underground community.
oThe time has come for clarity, perhaps in a meeting between Pope Francis and the Chinese president.

ROME (AsiaNews) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Italy on March 20-23. Rumors are already circulating in China of a possible meeting with Pope Francis. Should this be the case, it would be important to clarify the fate of the underground Church and the Patriotic Association.

The Sino-Vatican agreement and the lifting of the excommunication of seven illegitimate bishops seem endorse the idea that by now the only way to live one’s faith in China is in the official Church and that the underground community must disappear.

This position is also strengthened by the push towards reconciliation and unity requested by Pope Francis with his Message to Chinese Catholics and to the Universal Church, published a few days after the signing of the agreement.

In it, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Francis affirms that the phenomenon of clandestinity "is not a normal part of the life of the Church", but also says – again citing Benedict - that "pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith".

In the Message, Pope rancis asks all the faithful to "work towards reconciliation" and " restore full communion among all Chinese Catholics". He urges them to “now offer gestures of reconciliation and communion " to "overcome the divisions of the past" .

He also asked the pastors to establish "ever more fruitful relations between the leaders of ecclesial communities and the civil authorities become more productive through frank dialogue and impartial listening, so as to overcome antagonism on both sides".

The papal Message, therefore, speaks of a process of reconciliation, but does not say that it must be achieved by eliminating the underground community. Moreover, it does not say that unofficial bishops and priests should be forced to join the Patriotic Association (PA).

It is probable that the Sino-Vatican agreement - which unfortunately has not yet been published - says membership of the PA is optional and not mandatory. This aspect is deduced from a note by Prof. Wang Meixiu, from the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who, commenting on the agreement for AsiaNews, says that the PA is "a popular organization" and not an ecclesial association; and that "participation is voluntary and not imposed".

Also Card. Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano of 3 February 2019, at one point says: "I hope, therefore, not to hear or read about local situations in which the Agreement is exploited to compel people to do what is not even required by Chinese law, such as joining the Patriotic Association ".

Unfortunately, however, this is precisely what is happening. In Xinjian, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Zhejiang, Hubei, the Religious Affairs Office continues to demand and encourage priests and bishops to join the PA and its project of "independence" from the Holy See. Even the incident in Xuanhua (Hebei), where a priest - supported by the local government - accuses his bishop, Msgr. Augustus Cui Tai of "resistance" to the Sino-Vatican agreement and urges the police to arrest him, showing how the falsely "patriotic" and "independent" mentality is also being imposed on the clergy.

Hebei is not new to this attempt to force members of the unofficial community to become official by joining the PA. For several months, four priests of the underground community (unofficial) of Zhangjiakou (Hebei) have been kept in an unknown location, subjected to indoctrination and brainwashing to make them join the Patriotic Association (PA).

Yet, these unofficial bishops and priests are "good citizens" and support the development of the nation, as is the wish of Pope Francis. The only point of resistance is membership of the PA, and its project of "independence of the Church" which for Benedict XVI is "incompatible with Catholic doctrine".

The amazing fact is that even some bishops – precisely among those from whom Pope Francis lifted excommunication - proclaim that it is time to erase the underground community and join the PA. In recent days, Magr. Vincent Zhan Silu, of Mindong - who took the place of ordinary bishop Msgr. Guo Xijin - was in Beijing as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Responding March 3 to a Sintao Daily journalist who asked him if he did not mind that the faithful are being forced to enter the official community, meaning the unofficial one would disappear, he declared that this is the only way for "the Church to be united". He claimed that underground Catholics have refused to turn 'official' for "reasons of personal interest". Msgr. Zhan is vice-president of the PA and benefits greatly from this position.

Another of the reconciled bishops, Msgr. She Shiyin of Leshan (Sichuan), also a vice-president of the PA, has even declared that the application of the new religious regulations (in which young people under 18 are forbidden to take part in the functions and receive a religious education, in addition to the demolition of crosses and statues that are not "sinicized") does not create any problems for religious freedom.

Fortunately, there are also official bishops full of dignity. At the same meeting of the CPCPC, Msgr. Fang Jianping, vice president of the Council of Chinese Bishops, in an interview with the radio station in Hong Kong, said that the official Church should adhere to the spirit of Pope Francis without "forcing the believers of the underground community to move to the officially recognized Church ".

When President Xi Jinping is in Italy, in the possibility of a meeting with Pope Francis, both could clarify some of these directives. [To do that, they probably would have to cite specific provisions from the still-undisclosed text of the agreement. Though why the text has to be kept secret is highly suspicious because there has been no explanation for why this is so. So much for the transparency so touted by the Bergoglio Vatican!]

Church suspends a pro-Beijing priest
Had urged party to arrest his underground bishop
for refusing to join Patriotic Association;
bishop suspends him, with Vatican approval

by Massimo Introvigne

March 11, 2019

he confusion about how to interpret the Vatican-China deal of 2018 reigns sovereign. Bitter Winter has repeatedly reported that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] interprets it in the sense that priests and bishops in the Underground Catholic Church should simply join the Patriotic Catholic Church, which is controlled by the government. As we reported, the Vatican has denounced this interpretation as unacceptable.

A former underground priest in the diocese of Xuanhua (Hebei), Francis Zhang Li, went one step further. As reported by AsiaNews, not only did he join the Patriotic Church himself. Unhappy with the fact that his underground bishop, Mgr Augustine Cu Tai, still refused to join the Patriotic Association and allegedly criticized the government, he denounced Cu Tai to the CCP and called for his arrest. He also organized a group of some 100 laypersons and priests critical of Cu Tai.

The background of the story may go beyond politics: It seems that the bishop had criticized the priest for “inventing miracles” and preaching in a controversial Pentecostal-like style. however, as a result of the priest’s maneuvers, the bishop was arrested in December 2018 and kept in custody for 15 days.

Priest Zhang Li claimed that, by refusing to join the Patriotic Church, the bishop was disobedient both to the CCP and to the Pope, since the latter had blessed the 2018 agreement. If he expected to be approved and rewarded by the Vatican, he was, however, wrong. Bishop Cu Tai suspended him on December 23 and reiterated the suspension on March 3. The bishop claimed to have acted with the approval of the Holy See.

Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews, noted in a separate article that the confusion about the 2018 agreement has now become intolerable. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to visit Italy at the end of March; final confirmation is expected in the next few days. There are rumors he will also meet the Pope. If this happens, Cervellera concludes, it should be an opportunity to clarify once and for all how the agreement should be interpreted.
00Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:34 AM

The tweet is from January 2019, and the infographic Gates shares is from the site OUR WORLD IN DATA, comparing basic indicators of material and physical wellbeing among the world's inhabitants.
Two centuries may seem like going back too far but it must be remembered that the world did not begin to experience the spread of wellbeing [along with a well-known set of social ills) till
the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) when Europe and the USA mechanized manufacturing with the advent of water power and steam power. So the effective time frame of reference shrinks to the
last 250 years.

Bill Gates triggers leftist reaction
by citing facts about would poverty

by Tyler Durden

March 9, 2019

Bill Gates tells the truth about the eradication of poverty...and the left hates it.

During the heyday of Windows in the 1990s, Bill Gates was vilified as an evil capitalist. Then he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at helping the poor and making a better world, and slowly his name was transformed on the left into something akin to a decent human being.

However, he recently tweeted a highly controversial fact: Extreme poverty is rapidly being eradicated.

His tweet shows an infographic by Our World in Data with the development of key factors, such as education, child mortality, and extreme poverty in the last 200 years. He has the audacity to celebrate when poverty is overcome.

Apparently, Gates isn’t just virtue signaling to the cultural elites. He truly seems to care about the poor, and is genuinely happy when poverty is alleviated. Also, he isn’t afraid to give credit where credit is due.

This is the second time in less than a month that I have come upon this sort of story about Gates. On February 18, on page 47 of this thread, I posted an article by Antonio Socci in praise of a 2018 book called FACTFULNESS by Hans Rosling (1948-2017).

Rosling 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.

Socci says Rosling's book lists an impressive list of data which demonstrate 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.

Which is not to make light of the very real problemsthe world continues to face everyday, but to show that mankind, for all its collective mistakes, is not completely hopeless about dealing with its main social problems.

If only Gates and the people who put together these helpful infographics using data from the UN and its agencies, and other international organizations, could present us next with a more or less reliable picture of what the world has done about pollution control of the environment and about avoiding climate catastrophe, we might soon get rid as well of the leftist myths about these two issues which have become impregnable components of the leftist ideological worldview.

00Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:11 PM

The Appearance of Christ to the Apostles Eating Dinner, Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1308-10, [Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena].

On the divine 'plan'
By James V. Schall, S.J.

March 12, 2019

Scripture and Mass Canon No. 4 speak of a divine plan for Creation, Redemption, and bringing all things to an End Time. Then any pending issues between God, man, and the world will be settled.

The gist of this “plan” is already in Genesis. In the “beginning,” we see manifested a definite order. Genesis is about God’s putting order into an initial abyss. Things are created. They do not just “happen.” A considerable amount of chance is found within the existing plan. Chance results from the crossing of two or more things, each with its own purpose. Chance presupposes purpose. Chance events fall within the overall order of things.

In the Prologue to John’s Gospel, even before Creation itself, the plan had an earlier “beginning” in a Word that was with God; that was God. Within this plan, the race of men was given “dominion” over other existing things. That precise word, “dominion,” did not mean some fancy ecological enterprise to save the planet for as long as possible from the activities of men themselves.

The world was not made complete from the beginning. The world was not complete without man in it. It could only be what it was intended to be with the addition of man’s use of the earth, water, and sky. Abundant riches were stored on the planet from the eons before man appeared on this planet.

Man did not exist solely in order to use the earth’s resources for his good. He existed in order to see how he stood with God, who had created him, male and female, with a destiny that elevated him beyond his natural capacities.

The classic end of all man’s strivings, his happiness, is not found in any existing thing that he knows or encounters in this world. Yet the good things that he does come across and use are not illusions. Things less than God are not evil. We are not Gnostics.

Still, we find that no finite thing makes us finally happy. We become aware that something more is offered to us within or through the good things that we do come across in our passing lives.

From the beginning, God’s plan included what alone would make happy the rational creature that God did create in His image. God, in fact, created no man who had a merely natural destiny, one properly due to the level of its being, “a little less than the angels,” as the Psalmist put it.

To understand what goes on here, we need to recall what a final cause is. It is the first cause, the one that initially identifies the “what” we are intending to do. God did not “need” the world or anyone in it. Creation carries the mark of freedom, not of necessity. Many possible purposes can be given as logical reasons why God might create something from nothing.

The main reason, however, that God created a vast cosmos with a race of finite rational beings in it was two-fold. The first reason was that the universe would not be complete unless, within it, someone could understand it. The universe as such bears signs of order, but of an order that the universe itself did not put there. It was a given order, a natural order.

This rational being within the universe, not outside of it like God, can return honor and glory to God in the conscious form of praise and thanksgiving. In this sense, the universe has a liturgical function. The universe, through man’s knowledge, now returns to God in the form of a wakeful awe over its beauty and over how things harmoniously fit together.

The second, and ultimately more important, reason for God’s creation was God’s invitation to each existing person, not to a collectivity, to live within His own Trinitarian eternal life.
- Each human person is invited into the divine friendship as an adopted son or daughter.
- The universe exists in order that this invitation might be freely reciprocated by man.
- His existence in time is essentially concerned with how he will respond to this divine invitation.

In 1989, Joseph Ratzinger wrote:

“Concern for the salvation of others must not lead us to ignore . . . the particularism of God; salvation history and world history must not be regarded as identical entitles just because God’s concern for them must be extended to all. Such direct universalism would destroy the true totality of God’s action which becomes whole precisely through the process of selection and election.” (Co-Workers of the Truth, 75)

The nature of friendship, divine or human, means that it cannot be forced.

The last drama of the universe is seen in the Last Judgment. Our brief lives in time and space constitute the stage on which we decide whether we accept or reject God’s final cause in creating us, that of welcoming us into the friendship we call the Trinity.
00Wednesday, March 13, 2019 3:23 AM
Italian scholars unveil 'Virgin and Laughing Child'
as Leonardo da Vinci’s only surviving sculpture

Experts say crucial details prove
the sculpture is Leonardo's work

by Jonathan Jones

March 9, 2019

The curators of an exhibition in Florence have this week unveiled what they claim is the only surviving sculpture by Leonardo da Vinci.

It’s always been part of Leonardo’s legend that he made sculptures, including a giant horse, but not a single extant three-dimensional work by him had been identified.

'The Virgin with the Laughing Child' is the miraculous exception, according to the curators of the exhibition 'Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo', at Palazzo Strozzi, where it has just gone on display. It has an unambiguous label: Leonardo da Vinci. He is said to have created it around 1472, when he was 19 or 20 and a pupil of the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio.

The UK has a special interest in the find, which has belonged to the Victoria & AlbertMMuseum since 1858 but had long been credited to another artist, Antonio Rossellino. That is because scholars had been bamboozled by the posthumous authority of the late art historian and British Museum director John Pope-Hennessy, according to Francesco Caglioti, the Italian academic who is leading the new attribution.

Caglioti, who teaches at Naples University, is well known among Renaissance experts for his unrivalled knowledge of 15th-century sculpture: an art history prodigy who made a catalogue of the Louvre when he was eight.

Victorians had no difficulty seeing the Leonardo-esque look of the V&A treasure, he said. The Virgin Mary looks down at the ChristCchild on her lap with what may be the prototype of all the enigmatic smiles in Leonardo’s art, the most famous of which is the Mona Lisa’s.

Experts say details such as the drapery and Christ’s smile show it to be Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.

Pope-Hennessy, a hugely powerful 20th-century expert, pronounced that the sculpture was by Rossellino, and that was that. But he had no real evidence for his ruling, claimed Caglioti, and heavily promoted Rossellino, to whom he attributed works “at his whim”.

Awestruck journalists at the press viewing of 'Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo gathered around the 50cm-tall red clay (terra cotta) sculpture in its protective vitrine while Caglioti expounded why he thought it was 100% Leonardo.

Revered Leonardo scholar Carmen C Bambach, from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, was also there to support the claim.

They focus on two crucial details. First, the voluminous, complicated draperies that flow over the Madonna’s legs are similar to drawings of draperies Leonardo was making at the time. These drawings, exhibited in the Strozzi show, are almost obsessive studies of abstract folds and shadowy recesses. Caglioti and Bambach believe they can see the same qualities in the sculpture.

Second, there’s the face of the baby Christ and his realistic, well-observed pose. He looks alive. That same attention to young children’s actual behaviour can be seen in Leonardo’s drawings. Yet portraying a laughing Christ in the 15th century was not only radical, but practically blasphemous.

In a passage in Leonardo’s notebooks, he remembers getting into trouble when younger for portraying the infant Christ. Could this be the work that got him in hot water?

The V&A is cautious, saying only: “A potential attribution to Leonardo da Vinci was first proposed in 1899, so Professor Caglioti’s study opens up the discussion of its authorship afresh.”

Yet if this sensational new attribution wins acceptance, it will ironically mean that just as Britain leaves the EU, its public art collections are once again proved to be among the finest depositories of Europe’s cultural heritage.

How unbelievably exciting! Even without seeing the sculpture first hand, the sensation I have is similar to that of my first sight of Leonardo's so-called Madonna Litta (after the Milanese patron who commissioned it), which was also my first sight of a breastfeeding Madonna - I didn't think they even existed. I had never even heard of the Madonna Litta before, although I saw both versions of Leonardo's 'Virgin of the Rocks' in the Louvre and at London's National Gallery.

The Madonna Litta is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and I saw it on my first trip to the USSR in 1974 - when not incidentally, Leonardo's Mona Lisa was on display at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow (one of the few times it has ever left the Louvre) and since I was in a five-man group from the Philippines invited to the USSR by their Union of Friendship Societies, we did not have to buy tickets (the painting was only there for two months, so you can imagine the demand for tickets) but were taken to see it after hours, so I had far greater leisure to study it than the two times I had seen it at the Louvre as a common tourist.

Anyway, any official trip to the USSR at the time meant visiting both Moscow and Leningrad (remember this was still the USSR, so the city had not yet reverted to its historic name of St. Petersburg), and our guides gave us a full day just to visit the Hermitage Museums. It's the second largest in the world in terms of exhibition space (720,000 sq ft) after the Louvre (783,000 sq ft) - by comparison, the Vatican Museums have 460,000, for which I needed a full week to see all I wanted to see, which I was only able to do when I lived in Rome.

The Madonna Litta, painted in 1452, is one of two Leonardos in a room of the Old Hermitage that is dedicated to him. The other is the Benois Madonna, ca. 1478, in which the Child holds a small cruciform flower that seems to occupy his gaze. Both are smaller than the Mona Lisa. I have just checked the size of the Madonna Litta (17x13 inches, compared to the Mona Lisa's 30x21). Not just because of the bolder colors did the Madonna Litta compel my fascination but the fact that it depicted Mary nursing the Christ Child, Baby Jesus suckling on her breast!

I would find out later from Encyclopedia Brittanica - no Internet then - that there is a whole genre of European painting called Madonna lactans (nursing madonna), but of course, it was only with the Internet that I finally saw the amazing number and array of these paintings (just try to google 'nursing Madonna'!). Leonardo's is among the boldest and most 'naturalistic' of these depictions.

As wonderful and unforgettable as that first sight of the Madonna Litta was (I would see it again during a visit in 1981), the revelation of this sculpture is even more thrilling for me. Even if it had never been attributed to Leonardo, it is so preciously and ineffably beautiful in itself, as sublime in its own way as the Pieta, for which it could be a companion piece though it is so much smaller (20 inches high compared to the 5'9"-high Pieta). The happy prefiguration, if you will, to Mary cradling her Son's 'lifeless' body.

3 Madonnas by Leonardo: From left, the Madonna Litta (1452), the Benois Madonna (ca. 1478), and the Madonna of the Carnation (1480).

And yet, such are the conventions of Christian art that even the Madonnas with the Child Jesus contain a prefiguration of the Crucifixion - in the Madonna Litta, it is the tiny goldfinch in the Christ Child's left hand.
In the Benois Madonna, He is holding that cruciform flower, and in Leonardo's Madonna of the Carnation, she is holding out to Him a carnation. The goldfinch is associated with the Passion and Christ's Crown of thorns
because the bird feeds among thorns. While a deep red carnation symbolizes deep love and affection, there is also a legend that carnations grew from where Mary’s tears fell as she watched Jesus carry the cross,
so it is associated with both motherly love and Christ's Passion.

00Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:32 AM

Say a prayer for Cardinal Pell- and for all unjustly accused priests and bishops. Even as we should not stop praying for all the victims of actual abuse that beyond getting justice and redress,
they may find healing and solace; and for all their abusers, that they may do proper penance for their sins and truly convert their lives.

Cardinal Pell sentenced to 6 years in prison
by NBC Nightly News
March 12, 2019

The most senior Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex abuse was sentenced to six years in prison in Australia on Wednesday morning.

Cardinal George Pell, 77, faced as many as 50 years in prison after being convicted in December for the molestation of two choir boys while he was the archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Pell must serve a minimum of three years and eight months before he is eligible for parole.

He will spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.

Pell was convicted for the assault of the 13-year-old boys after he caught them swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in late 1996.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd of Victoria's County Court said in his sentencing remarks that Pell's age and history of cardiac issues were a "significant" factor in his sentencing decision. For the same reasons, Kidd also said did not consider there to be a high risk of Pell reoffending.

During the nearly hour-long sentencing remarks, Kidd called Pell's attack "brazen" and suggested that the cleric was "breathtakingly arrogant" in his attack on the young boys. "There is no evidence of your remorse or contrition," Kidd said Wednesday in court. [Why would an innocent man show remorse or contrition???? The sentencing was televised nationally. Kidd obviously made the most of his opportunity.]

Pell and his lawyers have maintained that the cardinal is innocent, and they plan to appeal his conviction at the Victoria Court of Appeal on June 5.

Details of the trial had been suppressed until late February because Pell had faced a second trial in April on charges that he indecently assaulted two other boys as a young priest in the late 1970s in a public pool in his hometown of Ballarat.

Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told the court at the time that the Ballarat charges had been dropped and asked for the suppression order to be lifted. The move came days after a judge ruled out two key prosecution witnesses in the Ballarat case.

Cardinal Pell sentenced to six years
imprisonment for sexual abuse

The prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy has maintained his innocence,
and will apply to appeal his conviction in June, focusing on three points.

Melbourne, Australia, Mar 12, 2019 (CNA) - Cardinal George Pell was sentenced Wednesday to six years imprisonment, after being convicted in December of sexual abuse of two choirboys in 1996. He will be eligible for parole after serving three years and eight months of his sentence.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd handed down the sentence March 13 from the Victoria County Court. Kidd’s remarks of more than 70 minutes were broadcast live.

The prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy has maintained his innocence, and will apply to appeal his conviction in June.

Pell, 77, had been incarcerated at the Melbourne Assessment Prison while he awaited the results of the sentencing hearing.

The cardinal was convicted on five counts of sex abuse based on charges he sexually assaulted two choirboys while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne.

It was the cardinal’s second trial, as a jury in an earlier trial had failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The first jury were deadlocked 10-2 in Pell’s favor.

His appeal will be made on three points:
- the jury’s reliance on the evidence of a single victim,
- an irregularity that kept Pell from entering his not guilty plea in front of the jury, and
- the defense not being allowed to show a visual representation supporting his claim of innocence.

The appeal document says that “the verdicts are unreasonable and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence, because on the whole of the evidence, including unchallenged exculpatory evidence from more than 20 Crown witnesses, it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the complainant alone.”

Another Australian prelate, Archbishop Philip Wilson, was convicted in May of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s. But in December a district judge overturned that conviction, saying there was reasonable doubt a crime had been committed. Before his conviction was overturned, Wilson served about five months of a 12-month home detention sentence.

Pell’s conviction has met with varied reactions. While many figures in Australian media have lauded Pell’s conviction, some Australians have called it into question, prompting considerable debate across the country.

Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, suggested that the justice process was tainted by media and police forces that had worked “to blacken the name” of Pell “before he went to trial.”

“This is not a story about whether a jury got it right or wrong, or about whether justice is seen to prevail,” Craven said in a Feb. 27 opinion piece in The Australian. “It’s a story about whether a jury was ever given a fair chance to make a decision, and whether our justice system can be heard above a media mob.” [Thank God for Australians like Craven! May there be more of him!]

Pell was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Ballarat in 1966. He was consecrated a bishop in 1987, and appointed auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, becoming ordinary of the see in 1996. Pell was then Archbishop of Sydney from 2001 to 2014, when he was made prefect of the newly-created Secretariat for the Economy. He served on Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals from 2013 to 2018. Pell ceased to be prefect of the economy secretariat Feb. 24.

Read the AP story here:
I cannot stand the gloating tone the story has, whereas there was a second AP story that was rather forbearing....

Pope anniversary marked by
Pell sentencing, scandal fallout

VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2019 (AP) – Pope Francis is marking his sixth anniversary as pontiff with prayer, attending a weeklong spiritual retreat while elsewhere in the world one of his cardinals is sentenced for sex abuse and a new poll finds American Catholics are increasingly questioning their faith because of the scandal.

In his time as pope, Francis has made it a tradition to bring Vatican leaders with him on retreat at the start of Lent, the period of fasting and prayer leading to Easter. [What crap! The Lenten retreat for the Pope and the Roman Curia began long before Bergoglio - all he did was to ostentatiously take it out of the Vatican's Redemptoris Mater chapel to bring him and some 60 other prelates to a retreat house in the Alban Hills, for which, as far as I know, the media has never questioned the unnecessary expense of doing so - seven days of board and lodging for 64 people.]

While the retreat was underway Wednesday outside Rome, Cardinal George Pell was sentenced in Australia to six years in prison for sexually abusing two youths in the 1990s. He plans to appeal.

And in the U.S., a Gallup poll found 37 percent of U.S. Catholics question remaining in the church.

On the eve of this Bergoglio anniversary, Church Militant had a couple of stories to remind everyone of this pope's personal involvement in shady and sordid matters -
proven and documented unlike the kangaroo-court charges rigged against Cardinal Pell...

Bergoglio, McCarrick and a corrupt Argentine seminary
The pope's friendship with the predator goes back decades

By Chris Caldwell

March 12, 2019

Theodore McCarrick has had longtime ties to Pope Francis stretching back decades, with both involved in a controversial seminary in Argentina.

Evidence reveals McCarrick took multiple trips to Argentina, and a reliable source confirms that on at least one of those trips McCarrick personally visited Bergoglio in the apostolic nunciature.

Public reports reveal that decades ago, McCarrick became heavily involved with the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE, for Instituto del Verbo Encarnado), founded in Argentina by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, a now known homosexual predator who, like McCarrick, sexually assaulted seminarians under his authority.

The Vatican confirmed in 2016 that Buela had been credibly accused of homosexual predation of adult seminarians, and was banned from making public appearances or having any contact with members of his community.

McCarrick took many trips to Argentina to visit IVE seminarians and would ordain a number of them. In McCarrick's own words spoken at a 2015 speech at Villanova University, it was McCarrick's deep involvement with the IVE that began his long and good friendship with Jorge Bergoglio.

On these trips to Argentina, McCarrick would first fly to Buenos Aires, where he would meet with Bergoglio, before taking a flight to rural San Rafael, IVE headquarters, where Fr. Buela was located.

McCarrick became so closely involved with the conservative and traditional religious order that he chose to live with the IVE at their seminary in Washington, D.C. when he retired.

In spite of Buela's homosexual activity, IVE had the reputation of being a deeply traditional and conservative community. It encountered great opposition from the bishops of Argentina. As reported by the Buenos Aires newspaper Pagina 12 and others, all but one of the Argentine bishops were opposed to the IVE, with Bergoglio spearheading the investigation of the community, taking the matter to Rome and eventually succeeding in having it shut down in Argentina.

As none of the Argentine bishops would ordain priests for the IVE, McCarrick flew in often to do so.

In spite of Bergoglio's success in having the IVE closed down in Argentina, McCarrick — with the help of Cdl. Angelo Sodano at the Vatican — was able to have the IVE re-opened, helping to found more seminaries and communities in the United States.

McCarrick never let the IVE forget this, as the Daily Caller reported: "Those who witnessed McCarrick at the seminary during that time said he used his help to the institute as leverage, and summed up his attitude as 'If you're grateful, you'll shut up.'"

Archbishop Viganò wrote in his testimony of McCarrick's longtime friendship with the pope: "At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election, as McCarrick himself would later reveal in a lecture at Villanova University and in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter."

Viganò said he had personally informed the pope of McCarrick's homosexual predation on June 23, 2013, but the pope "continued to cover for him."

"He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church!" the former papal nuncio wrote.

Viganò also claims at least one other Argentine bishop, Cdl. Leonardo Sandri, knew about the allegations against McCarrick as early as 2000.

Pope Francis' friendship and his promotion of McCarrick as a close papal advisor continued even when in 2016, the Vatican affirmed the veracity of the accusations that the founder of the IVE, Fr. Buela, was guilty of sexually abusing seminarians. The Vatican sanctioned Buela, ordering him to have no contact with the community — even while McCarrick was living at the IVE seminary in Washington, D.C.

Deep questions remain as to Bergoglio's relationship with McCarrick, particularly in light of the fact that, in spite of Bergoglio'sb vigorous opposition to McCarrick's project with IVE in Argentina, he was still heavily supported by McCarrick, who admitted in his Villanova talk that he had lobbied for Bergoglio's election to the papacy in 2013.

McCarrick associate barred from ministry
in West Vrginia over abuse allegations

by David Nussman

March 12, 2019

BALTIMORE ( - A bishop with close ties to laicized Theodore McCarrick has been barred from priestly ministry over abuse allegations.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield resigned from his post in the Wheeling-Charleston diocese in West Virginia in September 2018. He submitted his resignation when he turned 75, as is policy for Catholic bishops. Just a few days after, the Vatican appointed Abp. William Lori of Baltimore to oversee the Wheeling-Charleston diocese temporarily and to investigate the allegations that have been made about Bp. Bransfield accusing him of abuse, abuse cover-up and financial mismanagement.

Following an investigation, Abp. Lori announced Monday that Bp. Bransfield is banned from public ministry in the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which encompasses the entire state of West Virginia, as well as in the archdiocese of Baltimore.

Archbishop Lori said in Monday's statement, "Pending the assessment of the findings of the Holy See, as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, I have directed that Bp. Bransfield is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry either within the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston or within the archdiocese of Baltimore."

Archbishop Lori also announced similar restrictions for retired Bp. Gordon Bennett, a former auxiliary bishop in the Baltimore archdiocese who has been accused of sexual abuse. Bishop Bennett was auxiliary in Baltimore 1998–2004, then he was appointed to the diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica. A Jesuit, Bp. Bennett resigned in 2006 after the Baltimore archdiocese received an allegation that he sexually abused a minor, and the archdiocese reported the allegation to the Holy See.

The Baltimore archbishop says he is imposing these restrictions with approval from the Holy See. The findings from the investigation into Bp. Bransfield have been sent to Rome, where a final decision will be made.

These new restrictions on Bp. Bransfield come after a five-month investigation. The archdiocese stated, "The preliminary investigation, which took place over five months, was conducted by Abp. Lori with the assistance of a team of five lay experts. The investigative team examined multiple allegations of sexual harassment of adults and financial improprieties. It involved interviews with more than 40 individuals, including Bp. Bransfield."

Bishop Bransfield has close ties to McCarrick. He was formerly president of the Papal Foundation's board of trustees.

In 2012, Bransfield was accused of enabling a priest to rape underage boys in the 1980s. He was also accused of having sexually abused minors himself as well as financial impropriety.

The accusation against Bp. Bransfield was brought up by a witness in the trial of Msgr. William Lynn, an official of the Philadelphia archdiocese accused of covering up clerical sex abuse. In 2012 court proceedings, that witness claimed he was sexually abused as a minor by Fr. Stanley Gana, a Philadelphia priest, in the 1980s.

He testified that Fr. Gana abused minors at a beach house in New Jersey owned by Bransfield, a priest of the Philadelphia archdiocese at the time. He further claimed that Bransfield knew about Fr. Gana's abuse and committed similar crimes himself.

Bishop Bransfield firmly denied the allegations, writing in an April 2012 statement, "I have never sexually abused anyone."

He went on to state, "I understand that I am a public figure and therefore subject to public criticism. The nature of these statements and the manner in which they were released, however, go way beyond any sense of fairness and propriety."

Bransfield said it was possible that Fr. Gana had used his beach house as a place to groom and abuse minors but maintained that he had no knowledge of the abusive activity.

The bishop argued:

The statement that a former seminarian of mine, Stanley Gana, abused a minor at a home which I owned on the shore and at which I permitted numerous friends and priests to use is misleading. What did not get released was additional information available to the Prosecutor that I was not aware of the incident and was not present at the house at the time./dim]

A few days ago, Fox News obtained information about McCarrick from the new bishop of the rural Kansas diocese where has lived since he left Washington DC last month.


I've been too outraged by the 70-minute nationally televised grandstanding of the judge who sentenced Cardinal Pell - even if I have not watched it or listened to it, since that will not change the fact that he convicted an innocent man (of that I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt) - to register all my initial reactions.
1. All pre-sentencing stories had been trumpeting that Pell could get a 50-year prison sentence since each count for which he was found 'guilty' (meaning alleged number of times he 'molested' his complainant) carries a maximum of 10 years jail time, but this judge ended up giving him 6 years only. Which all the anti-Pell, anti-Catholic elements have predictably and indignantly denounced -and will go on denouncing - as nothing but a slap on the wrist.
2. It tells me that the judge himself - for all his sanctimonious bluster - had 'reasonable doubt' about his jury's verdict, because surely he could not be unaware how such a 'light' sentence would received by everyone who has been gunning for Pell. Why six years, and not ten, for example, which is supposed to be the maximum sentence for each count, and which also would amount to 2 years for each of the counts?
3. I think the AP story reports the judge told Pell that he was not convicting the Catholic Church but only him, Pell, as an individual. Should we be thankful for that, at least?
4. Did it have to take the judge 70 minutes to hand down his sentence? Much of it could have been about 'explaining the law', which would have been unnecessary, but it probably was more gratuitous lecturing of the 'sentencee' along the lines of his denouncing Pell for brazen conduct and arrogance, and for not even having shown any sign of contrition or remorse.
Let us all pray he gets reversed in appeal, as Bishop Wilson's judge was.

George Weigel wrote the following in behalf of justice and truth in principle, and as they apply to his longtimme friend, Cardinal Pell, before the sentencing today. But the sentence itself - which was an expected formality, but which still caught everyone by surprise by how 'light' it was, considering all the Sturm und Drang around Pell, including by the sentencing judge himself - has no bearing on the principle Weigel argues here about the Bergoglio Vatican playing nice to the Australians, unnecessarily, which only underscores the hypocrisy of diplomatic niceties. To me, the Vatican's very calculated words and actions about Pell are simply duplicitous.

The Holy See and Cardinal Pell
Why did the Vatican, the day after the conviction was announced publicly,
reiterate the mantra that has become habitual in Vatican commentary on the Pell case?

by George Weigel

March 13, 2019

Cardinal George Pell’s Decembe 2r018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse” was a travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism — a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial.

How else does one explain how 12 jurors, presented with uncorroborated charges refuted by overwhelming evidence that the alleged crimes could not have happened, completely reversed the overwhelming pro-acquittal vote delivered by a hung jury in the cardinal’s first trial last year?

Cardinal Pell knew from hard personal experience how virulent the anti-Catholic atmosphere in Australia had become. As a member of the College of Cardinals and a senior Vatican official, Pell enjoyed Vatican citizenship and held a Vatican diplomatic passport; he could have stayed put, untouchable by the Australian authorities. [The entirely legitimate reason why, for instance, CDF Prefect Luis Ladaria could refuse a subpoena from a French court to testify in Cardinal Barbarin's trial.]

Yet he freely decided to submit himself to his country’s criminal justice system. He knew he was innocent; he was determined to defend his honor and that of the Church; and he believed in the rectitude of the Australian courts. So he went home.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the Australian justice system has thus far failed one of Australia’s most distinguished sons, who had put his trust in it. The police went on a tawdry fishing expedition for something-on-Pell. (Who, one wonders, set that in motion? And why?) A preliminary hearing sent the subsequent charges to trial, although the hearing magistrate said that, were she a juror, she wouldn’t vote for conviction on several of alleged crimes. The first trial proved the cardinal innocent, and the re-trial re

turned an irrational verdict unsupported by any evidence, corroborating or otherwise. The media gag order placed on both trials, although likely intended to dampen the circus atmosphere surrounding the case, in fact relieved the prosecution of having to defend its weird and salacious charges in public.

So as of early March, the cardinal is in jail, in solitary confinement, allowed a few visitors a week, as well as a half-dozen books and magazines at a time. But he is not permitted to say Mass in his cell, on the bizarre grounds that prisoners are not allowed to lead religious services in prisons in the State of Victoria and wine is not permitted in cells.

Given all this, it is not easy to understand why, the day after the conviction was announced publicly, the interim Vatican press spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, reiterated the mantra that has become habitual in Vatican commentary on the Pell case: the Holy See, Gisotti said, has “maximum respect for the Australian judicial authorities.”

Why say this? It is precisely the Australian judiciary (and the lynch-mob atmospherics in Melbourne and elsewhere) that is on trial today in the global court of public opinion.
- There was no need for such gratuitous puffery.
- Mr. Gisotti could have, and should have, said that the Holy See awaits with interest and concern the results of the appeal process, and hopes that justice will be done. Period. Full stop.
- No flattery. Above all, no hint of a suggestion that the Holy See believes that the Australian police and judicial authorities have done their job fairly, impartially, and respectably thus far.

Shortly after Mr. Gisotti’s comment, it was announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was beginning its own canonical inquiry into the Pell case. In theory, and one hopes in practice, the CDF investigation can be helpful: properly conducted, it will exonerate Cardinal Pell of the preposterous charges on which he was convicted, because there is zero evidence that the cardinal abused two choirboys, and ample evidence that the abuse could not have occurred in the circumstances in which it allegedly happened. So justice can be done by the Holy See, whatever the ultimate outcome in Australia.

For the sake of an old friend, but also for the sake of Australia’s reputation in the world, I hope that the appeal process, which begins in early June, will vindicate Cardinal Pell — and the faith he has put in his countrymen and the Australian judicial system.

The latter is and should be under the closest scrutiny by fair-minded people, however. The Holy See should take note of that, and should therefore resist any further temptations to render a gauzy, and certainly premature, verdict on “the Australian judicial authorities.”

00Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:03 PM

Survey shows more than a third of US Catholics
question their own loyalty in wake of scandals

by Jack Jenkins

March 13, 2019

A new survey reveals that more U.S. Catholics are questioning whether they should remain in the church today than when news of the “Spotlight” child sex abuse scandal broke in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002.

According to a poll released Wednesday (March 13) by Gallup, more than a third of U.S. Catholics — 37 percent — surveyed in January and February said they have questioned whether they should remain in the church. That’s up from 22 percent in 2002, when The Boston Globe published its report detailing widespread child sex abuse by priests in the city.

Frequent churchgoers were less likely than other Catholics to say they are rethinking their affiliation with the faith this year. Only 22 percent of Catholics who attend church weekly today said they have considered leaving the faith, compared with 37 percent of those who attend nearly weekly or monthly and 46 percent of those who seldom or never attend.

However, all groups showed an increase of 10 percentage points or more compared with the 2002 polling. Back then, 12 percent of those who attended church weekly, 24 percent of those who attended nearly weekly or monthly and 29 percent of those who seldom or never attended had considered leaving the church.

The shift comes in the wake of the 1,300-page grand jury report released by Pennsylvania’s attorney general in August 2018, which included accounts of alleged sexual abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests against more than 1,000 children in that state over a 70-year span. At least 14 attorneys general in other states have since said they would launch their own investigations or reviews of clergy abuse, and federal authorities have initiated reviews as well.

In November 2018, police searched the offices of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese — the see of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — as part of an investigation into a priest accused of abuse in Texas.

The flurry of renewed coverage of the scandal was compounded by
-allegations of an abuse cover-up in Chile that led to the resignation of several bishops there last year;
- the conviction of Australian Cardinal George Pell in February on charges of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990s; and
- the defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after allegations that the onetime archbishop of Washington, D.C., sexually abused seminarians and a minor earlier in his career.
[Not surprisingly, no mention at all of the current pope's own multiple and worsening list of accusations regarding cover-up and/or active protection of offending bishops and priests. I bet if the survey had an extra question to ask whether the respondent was aware of this at all, probably 99% would answer NO - that's how much the media have covered up for Bergoglio even on this potentially hottest button on the crisis board today.]

Pope Francis attempted to address the scandal in February by hosting a four-day conference at the Vatican on the subject, where prominent bishops heard from multiple abuse survivors and the pontiff called for an “all-out battle” against abuse in the church. However, many advocates for survivors left the gathering disappointed by what they saw as a lack of concrete action. [As if anyone expected anything 'concrete'to come out of a grandstanding exercise intended to be a PR sop and what is now called virtue-signalling ("Yeah, we're listening, you know, just don't say we are not doing anything!")]

Even so, Gallup reports that most American Catholics still largely support Pope Francis, with 58 percent saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in him. [See, they have no clue at all about his faults and offenses in this regard, even overlooking that the rule of McCarrick and his proteges in the US Church is largely his doing.]

Roughly the same amount — 59 percent — said they had the same level of confidence in the priest at their church, but only 30 percent said the same about U.S. bishops and other Catholic leaders in the country.

Remember all that raving hooplah about a supposed positive 'Francis effect' on the Church and the faithful? And yet in 2015 when it peaked,
look at what a US survey showed:

Not much 'Francis effect', was there? And have we heard any such talk in the past four years, say? If you google 'Francis effect' today and look
for images about it, much of what you will get is a rehashing of two items - a Salt+Light documentary released to all TV stations in North America
in February 2015, and an eponymous book by one John Gehring, a Democrat operative working for the Soros-funded Center for Public Life which
was the front for John Podesta's 'Arab spring' operation against the Catholic Church before the 2016 presidential elections, when Podesta
was Hilary Clinton's campaign manager.

So consider the two main propagandists of the mythical 'Francis effect' - Salt+Light headed by serial plagiarist and supreme Bergogliac
Fr. Rosica; and Ghering, a saboteur operative of the Democratic Party in its war to the bitter end against the Catholic Church. In which
they are not touting the Catholic Church at all but rather Jorge Bergoglio's (mis)appropriation of the institution and its infra-
structure in order to build the 'church' that all ultraliberals and progressivists like him want - an ideological machine disguised
as a religion' but totally in the world, of the world and for the world.

One would look in vain for God or Christ to figure anywhere except to 'legitimize' Bergoglio's active agency in their behalf by claiming him to be
the Vicar of Christ on earth, which, having been elected pope, he is, theoretically. And, regardless of what Steve Skojec's critics may say,
Bergoglio is pope, de jure and de facto, alas and alack!, and there is no actionable argument - as everyone has concluded by now - nor Bergoglio
odium so extreme that can change that.

A rather strange participant in this campaign was an organization called Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia, which mobilized
a number of 'catholic' writers Down Under to tout the 'Francis effect' in a three-volume series whose Vol. 1 was published in December
2013, and the last one in 2017 after Amoris laetitia was published. I suppose the endless polemics over that one - and the ensuing stories
on sex abuse and cover-ups, etc., has dampened the urge to publish more. And obviously, there has been no positive 'Francis effect' if one goes
by the worsening anti-Catholic animus gripping Australia and its media.

00Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:31 PM
It falls to the erudite and always apposite Fr. Rutler to call attention to a little-known episode in the life of soon-to-be-saint John Henry Newmanand its amazing relevance to Cardinal Pell's current ordeal.

What Newman can tell us
about the Pell verdict

by Fr.George W. Rutler

March 14, 2019

The scene in the London courtroom in 1852 might have been out of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with the defendant in simple clerical black standing in the dock before the bewigged representatives of ancient justice. But one of the judges, John Coleridge, a great-nephew of the poet, saw behind the stooped figure of John Henry Newman the shade of Armada and the ghosts of spies from Douai.

So the trial of Newman was about more than the slander of which he was accused. As a scion of Oxford himself, Coleridge, whose own wife Jane Fortescue Seymour had painted a portrait of Newman, resented that the Oxford Movement had been chipping away at the claim of the Established Church to apostolic validity and, worse, that it had become a halfway house to Rome.

Lord Campbell, who was the presiding judge, had authored the Libel Act of 1843: “If any person shall consciously publish any defamatory libel, knowing the same to be false, every such person, being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned in the common gaol or house of correction for any term not exceeding two years, and to pay such fine as the court shall award.”

Newman had been arraigned under these provisions, for in a series of lectures on “The Present Position of Catholics in England” he had attracted large audiences, many of literary and political note, in an entertaining display of unfamiliar logic and eloquence during which he had delicately exposed the indelicacies of a defrocked Dominican friar of Naples: “…a profligate under a cowl … ravening after sin.”

One court reporter described the plaintiff: “He is a plain-featured, middle-sized man, about fifty years of age, and his face is strongly Italian. His forehead is low and receding, his nose prominent, the mouth and the muscles around it full of resolution and courage. He wears a black wig, the hair of which is perfectly straight, and being close shaved, this wig gives to his appearance a certain air of the conventicle. Yet he retains many traces of the Roman Catholic priest, especially in his bearing, enunciation, and features, which have a sort of stealthy grace about them. His eyes are deep-set and lustrous, and with his black hair, dark complexion, and somber, demure aspect, leaves an impression on the mind of the observer by no means agreeable, and not readily to be forgotten.”

Gaetano Achilli, having fled the outraged fathers of various Italian maidens, justified his exploits by what he asserted was a correction of the Petrine claims, and hired himself to an English No-Popery society called the Evangelical Alliance.

The slowly emerging Catholic populace in England was inured to attacks by the crude and sophisticated alike, but it was intolerable that audiences were listening to the charmingly accented English of a Neapolitan friar who, having left a long line of defilements in his wake, including the rape of a 15-year-old girl in his church’s sacristy on Good Friday, should melodramatically describe Rome as the Whore of Babylon.
- He was forced to flee Malta, after at least eighteen sexual offenses.
- His seductiveness took other forms, to the point of flattering the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Palmerston, for his stilted Italian, which was fashionable in the age of the poetical Brownings, though inferior to the Italian of Newman’s mercurial friend Gladstone.

Cultural attitudes were stirred even more by the hysteria following the restoration of the Catholic episcopate to the United Kingdom in 1850, and Cardinal Wiseman did not help things with his florid letter celebrating the fact “From Out the Flaminian Gate.” In the mind of the Anglican Archbishop of York, Thomas Musgrave, this was “Rome’s ever wakeful ambition plotting for our captivity and ruin.”

The Achilli Trial, as it came to be known, was one of the judicial dramas of the age. It would have had prime time on today’s television. It began on June 21 in 1852 and lasted five days.

One thinks of what the sensitive personality of Newman, whose whole life was consecrated to the “Kindly Light” of truth and whose youthful and aged boast was that he had never sinned against it, endured during the trial. Yet, he was more than Stoic because he was not a pagan Greek bowing to the cruel fate, but was more luminously a son of serene truth.

On the night of his conviction for libel against Achilli, secured after a neglectful Cardinal Wiseman had mislaid corroborative letters, he wrote unperturbed to a correspondent: “I could not help being amused at poor Coleridge’s prose…. I think he wished to impress me, I trust I behaved respectfully, but he must have seen that I was as perfectly unconcerned as if I had been in my own room. I have not been the butt of slander for 20 years for nothing.”

Newman’s legal team were some of the finest barristers in the land, headed by the colorful Sir Alexander Cockburn. He would serve as Lord Chief Justice from 1875 to 1880, though Queen Victoria refused him a peerage because of his louche private life.

Newman had been subjected to the condescension of Coleridge who lamented Newman’s “deterioration” from the heights of Protestantism. In his personal diary, Coleridge wrote: “Perhaps I have been so much accustomed to hear Newman’s excellence talked of that I have received an exaggerated opinion of him. But I have a feeling that there was something almost out of place in my not merely pronouncing sentence on him, but in a way lecturing him.… Besides, in truth Newman is an over-praised man, he is made an idol of.”

Newman was found guilty by the Queen’s Bench and even The Times observed in the shocked aftermath:

“We consider … that a great blow has been given to the administration of justice in this country, and Roman Catholics will have henceforth only too good reason for asserting, that there is no justice for them in cases tending to arouse the Protestant feelings of judges and juries.”

In the annals of jurisprudence, the Achilli Trial helped to establish the bounds of the statutory defense of truth under the 1843 Libel Act.

It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Queen’s Court, and a moral victory for Newman, as he had to pay nominal fine of £100, while not having to be kept in custody. Court costs nonetheless, were nearly the equivalent of two million dollars today, and donations from home and abroad were a proclamation of universal Catholic solidarity. Newman would save letters from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, towns in the Midwest, and San Francisco. The year after the trial, Newman published his immortal “Lectures on the Idea of a University” and inscribed the volume:
"In grateful never-dying remembrance
of his many friends and benefactors,
Living and dead,
At home and abroad,
In Great Britain, Ireland, France,
In Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Malta,
In North America, and other countries,
Who, by their resolute prayers and penances,
And by their generous stubborn efforts
And by their munificent alms,
Have broken for him the stress
Of a great anxiety."

On November 26, Newman wrote reflectively to his sister Jemima: “I consider that the Judges did me a far greater injury than the Jury, for they made me incur the expense, and the long proceeding. I believe they are now much annoyed at the Verdict—but I cannot help saying that educated men and judges have more to answer for when they do wrong, than a vulgar, prejudiced jury.

It is hard to read those lines without consciousness of those many who now support the attestations of George Cardinal Pell as he stands in the vortex of a cultural tempest malignant in motive and design, preparing to appeal his conviction and sentence of six years in custody, handed down on March 13.

Theirs is the assurance from the apostolic fathers familiar with indictments and assaults, that those who endure will by their humiliations produce an abundant harvest.

Anti-Catholic hysteria, not unlike that which preceded Newman’s trial, animated charges against Cardinal Pell, indicting him for alleged profane acts witnessed by no one, and which would have seemed impossible under the circumstances.

Etymologists have traced the term “kangaroo court” to makeshift jurisprudence in the United States at the hands of an Australian immigrant at the time of the 1849 gold rush, but Australia is the homeland of the marsupial.

Cardinal Pell stood against politically correct policies such as contraception, abortion, the Gnostic revision of sexuality, and attempts to teach anthropogenic climate change theories as dogma. These are not welcome opinions in the courts of secular correctness. He also began with unprecedented vigor, not typical in Rome, the task of cleaning the Augean stable of Vatican finances.

The situation now is different from 1852 because George Pell was accused, and back then John Henry Newman was at first the accuser. But both subjects have claim to impeccable integrity, as victims of justice miscarried.

In the nineteenth century, Gaetano Achilli fled with his ruined reputation to the United States, having abandoned an acknowledged wife and son, and threatening suicide after some time in a utopian “free love” community in Oneida, New York. His grave has no mark for his end is unknown; This year, by divine grace and mortal assent, Newman will be raised to the altars.

From a higher bar of consummate justice, Newman has the last word:

What is good, endures; what is evil, comes to naught. As time goes on, the memory will simply pass away from me of whatever has been done in the course of these proceedings, in hostility to me or in insult, whether on the part of those who invoked, or those who administered the law; but the intimate sense will never fade away, will possess me more and more, of the true and tender Providence which has always watched over me for good, and of the power of that religion which is not degenerate from its ancient glory, of zeal or God, and of compassion towards the oppressed.

00Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:48 PM

San Francisco's Church of the Assumption, a typical contemporary 'worship space'.

Of 'worship spaces' and
other post-Vatican-II newspeak

by Fr. John A. Perricone

March 14, 2019

Euphemisms are de rigeur for revolutionaries.
- Communist states call themselves “people’s republics.”
- When they instigate conflicts, they are “wars of liberation.”
- Abortionists call their abattoirs “pregnancy centers,” and their executions, “terminations.”
- Most currently, surgeons call sexual mutilation, “gender reassignment.”
All of this a clever strategy to stave off natural human revulsion so that after a sufficient passage of time the moral sense is deadened. And it works.

George Orwell dramatized it in his dystopian novel 1984 when he minted the word “newspeak” to name the manipulative devices of the Ubiquitous State, and that very brutalizing State itself by the anodyne “big brother.” Orwell was only dramatizing a parlous trend in Western culture plying junk sentimentality masquerading as Progress. It served to clog human language, prompting Graham Greene to quip: “When I hear about the brotherhood of man, I think of Cain and Abel.” [One should send this to Casa Santa Marta, so it can be plastered across PF's door.]

A deeper intellectual rot goes beyond euphemism to neologisms. Such novel constructions are yanked from the ether of a dreamy Gnostic redesign. These odd sounding constructions are the bricks of a kind of Magic Kingdom far removed from the world of ordinary men. It is Gnostic because it leaps from the inventive imaginations of intellectuals frustrated by the humdrum landscape of reality.

T.S. Eliot wrote well in Burnt Norton: “Human kind/cannot bear very much reality.” The twentieth century boasted of many intellectual tribes who excelled in the manufacture of neologisms, not least in the Catholic Church. Hers were called the New Theologians (of the Nouvelle Theologie).

[Fr Perricone hereby indiscriminately and wrongly vilifies all who followed the Nouvelle Theologie, whose most prominent proponents in our time were Henri de Lubac, Yves Congar, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Louis Bouyer, Jean Daniélou, and yes, even Joseph Ratzinger, just to mention the anti-'spirit of Vatican II' theological consultants to that council (along with Hans Urs von Balthasar, who was not in Vatican-II), and their progressivist colleagues Karl Rahner, Hans Küng, and Edward Schillebeeckx, from whom they broke off after the Council to become respectively the Communio and Concilio theologians (after the theological journals that they published).

The Nouvelle Theologie that Joseph Ratzinger adhered to was the theology that arose to counteract neo-Scholasticism which had dominated Catholic theology since the late 19th century and which advocated a return to the sources of Christian faith, i.e, Scripture and Patristic thought. They preferred to call their movement by the French word ressourcement, to describe their methodology which was a counterbalance to the prevailing aggiornamento (updating) mentality at Vatican-II.

This meant a new emphasis on Biblical exegesis in accordance with the Church Fathers (from Ignatius of Antioch in the Apostolic era to John of Damascus in 747, passing through Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Basil and the Cappadocian Fathers, Jerome, Augustine and Vincent of Lerins), and the admirable and ongoing enterprise of compiling Patristic thought in Sources Chretiennes, which has published 600 texts so far, offering the original Latin or Greek texts alongside their French translation (there is now a German edition) to make the writings of the Church Fathers accessible to modern theologians.

As Joseph Ratzinger practised it, 'theology must take place in a context of prayer and charity, and be closely linked to the liturgy', according to a study placing him among the second generation of ressourcement theologians...

From all the above, it is clear that Fr. Perricone's blanket attribution in this article of post-Vatican II liturgical changes to 'Nouvelle Theologie' in general is wrong, and a great injustice. Most of those responsible for the worst post-Vatican-II liturgical abuses probably never even heard of Nouvelle Theologie.]

Spawned in the ferment of early twentieth-century Modernism, they devotedly went about the business of refashioning the Catholic Church. Once they finished their labors of “re-imagining” the doctrinal pillars of Catholicism, they turned their attention to the principal engine used to propagate the Church’s dogmatic teaching: The Sacred Liturgy.

These Imaginers of New Things left no stone unturned. One ironclad rule controlled their thinking: all that existed before 1970 must be held in the highest suspicion. In that regard, they were absolutists of the highest order. To these theological pioneers the Sacred Liturgy was to be their private tabula rasa. Untethered from ancient liturgical tradition, their creativity knew no limits.

For each jarring novelty, an even more jarring neologism appeared. One of them was the idiosyncratic “worship space”. It suggested a protean world of insertions and subtractions wide enough to accommodate the most fanciful ideas of man and God. It was sufficiently ambiguous, amorphous, and malleable, like a soft clay, into which a New Theologian could knead any theological whim.

Simple Catholics treated such open ended argot like nails scratching on a blackboard — or should have. All of it poured out from that bottomless cornucopia: “the spirit of Vatican II.” As G.K. Chesterton warned: “Beware of those who speak of the ‘spirit of Christianity’; they mean the ‘ghost of Christianity.’” Apply the same logic to those who utilize the capacious “spirit of Vatican II”; it means in translation: “be anything you want to be.” In other words, Gnosticism.

Theologians anchored in the normative tradition of the Church speak of “sanctuary,” “nave,” “clerestory,” “narthex,” transept,” and “altar.” Unmoored from this criterion, whimsical interpretations such as “worship space” suddenly materialize. Under this unforgiving regime, Catholics have suffered architectural and artistic anomalies that strain credulity.

Without wasting a moment, the New Theologians rolled out edict after edict, all treated as solemnly as the Nicene Creed. One of their diktats: every church in Christendom required retooling. Never has such a fashionable lie taken such firm hold of the global population of Roman Catholics.

Truth be told, there has never existed a duty to renovate any Church. Similarly, no mandate has ever been issued by the Holy See commanding the appalling designs of not a few newly constructed Churches. Just as the Supreme Court discovered a right to privacy in the Constitution and called it a penumbra, a shadow, so The New Theological Knowledge class did the same.

To them, the penumbrae were the parts of text that might remotely suggest a meaning compatible with a highly specific (usually anti-traditional) agenda. No one can divine these penumbrae except the elite group that display the proper academic credentials.

Philosophers call this “privileged meaning.” Sound strange? It is. Stranger still are the vast numbers of people who eagerly swallowed this fantasy whole. Since these liturgists obsessively invoke the Second Vatican Council, intelligent Catholics should know what that 1962-1965 ecumenical council taught.

Vatican II devoted exactly eight paragraphs to the topic of Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings (Sacrosanctum Concilium, December 4, 1963 # 122-130). From the universal sacking of churches accomplished in its name, it might be assumed that it was volumes.

Under the umbrella of “worship space,” they stretched terms used by the Church beyond comprehension. Take “simplicity,” for instance. Of all the terms that have served the liturgists best, “simplicity” holds pride of place.
- They splashed thousands of gallons of white paint over sacred images and precious ornamentation under the banner of “simplicity.” - Many a trash dumpster was stuffed with magnificent vestments while modernist vandals intoned ‘simplicity.’ A former age called it Iconoclasm.
- Tabernacles, ciboria, chalices and candelabra found their way into display windows of antique shops, and other odd places, for not conforming to the new sacred norm “simplicity.”

And where is the justification for this term and its scorched-earth policy? Paragraph 124 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, “Ordinaries are to take care that in encouraging and favoring truly sacred art, they should seek for noble beauty rather than sumptuous display. This same principle applies also to sacred vestments and ornaments.”

Not even the most fevered imagination could find in that paragraph a justification for “simplicity” and its trail of unrelieved chaos. “Noble beauty” is what every Church has striven after these 2,000 years. The Council changed nothing. It called for more of what former centuries have shown will elevate the faithful.

What it did caution the bishops against is precisely what has befallen our churches today: “Bishops should be careful to ensure that works of art which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety and which offend true religious sense … be removed.” How many penumbrae can survive those words?

There is a bible of liturgical penumbrae issued by the USCCB in 1978 entitled Environment and Art in Catholic Worship (its successor 2000 document, Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture and Worship). Read it and stare down the circles of liturgical hell.

Every conceivable distortion that has appeared in churches is given “theological” justification there and is chock full of Gnostic neologisms. Chancery offices quoted it as reverently and (probably) more frequently than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But they are hiding a dirty little secret—though never admitted: Environment and Art in Catholic Worship enjoys absolutely no binding force. Never underestimate the legerdemain of a liturgist. Whatever logic these Imaginers followed, it is not a logic flowing from the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church.

Catholics irked by the din of theological “newspeak” ought not feel disenfranchised. While many a Catholic has come to feel right at home with the nouveau jargon, Catholics of the Old Faith must endure in the world of Catholic reality. Boycott all such newspeak. Again, Orwell writes: “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Let Catholics be about the task of restating obvious things. In God’s good time, the claws of the Gnostic netherworld will loosen.

Fr. John A. Perricone, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of philosophy at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

00Thursday, March 14, 2019 8:16 PM

Cardinal Danneels, second from right, joined his winning candidate on the Grand Loggia of St. Peter's on March 13,2013.

Another one of Bergoglio's Grand Electors dies:
Belgium's Cardinal Danneels, 85

by David Nussman

MECHELEN, Belgium ( - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 85, former head of the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese in Belgium, has died.

The 85-year-old retired cardinal died Thursday morning. The current archbishop of Mechelen and Brussels, Cdl. Jozef De Kesel, announced Cdl. Danneels' passing, saying, "We continue to thank him gratefully. May he rest in God's peace."

Danneels was part of a coalition of left-leaning Church leaders known as the St. Gallen Mafia — so named after their meeting place in St. Gallen, Switzerland. [It was Danneels himself who dubbed his group a 'Mafia', in his authorized biography published in 2014.]

Although the cardinal's exact cause of death is unknown to the public, a statement from the Belgian bishops mentions, "His physical health gradually deteriorated."

Pope Francis expressed his condolences, saying in a message to Cdl. De Kesel on Thursday, "I send my deepest condolences to you and to his family, the bishops of Belgium, the clergy, the consecrated persons and all the faithful affected by this mourning.

"This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication," the Pope added.

Known as a liberal in the Church, Cdl. Danneels spoke favorably in 2013 of the legalization of gay marriage in Belgium, telling a Dutch newspaper, "I think it's a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want."

Another member of the St. Gallen Mafia, German Cdl. Karl Lehmann, died in March of last year at the age of 81.

The St. Gallen Mafia was instrumental in getting Pope Francis elected in 2013. The semi-secretive group conspired for years to get a progressive-minded prelate elected to the papacy. Although the group disbanded in 2005 when it failed to elect Jorge Bergoglio Pope, it was resurrected in 2013 after the sudden abdication of Pope Benedict.

In August 2015, papal advisor Austen Ivereigh mentioned the St. Gallen Mafia in his biography The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope. Ivereigh [who had been press officer for UK Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, ringleader of the Bergoglio organizers in the 2013 Conclave, who provided Ivereigh with much of the information about the Conclave that he used in his book] claimed the St. Gallen Mafia was instrumental in Pope Francis's election to the papacy by the College of Cardinals during the 2013 conclave.

Along with Cdl. Danneels and Cdl. Lehmann, members of the St. Gallen Mafia include Dutch Bp. Adriaan van Luyn, Cdl. Walter Kasper from Germany, Cdl. Achille Silvestrini of Italy and now-deceased British Cdl. Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (he died in 2017).

In September 2015, now-deceased Cdl. Danneels confirmed the existence of the cabal. He said in an interview on video, "'The Saint Gallen Group' is a sort of posh name. But in reality we said of ourselves, and of that group, 'The Mafia.'"

It appears the St. Gallen Group formed in the late 1990s to counter Pope St. John Paul II and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was the Polish Pope's closest aide.. The St. Gallen group [initially led by the late Cardinal Carlo Maria 'ante-Pope' Martini, chose Bergoglio as their candidate in the 2005 Conclave because Martini himself was already ailing with Parkinson's) were high-ranking Catholic clergy with radical views who were afraid that Ratzinger would become the next pope.

The secretive coalition supposedly threw its weight behind then-Cdl. Jorge Bergoglio in the 2005 conclave. They unsuccessfully opposed the election of Cdl. Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI. The St. Gallen Mafia backed Cdl. Bergoglio again at the 2013 conclave after Pope Benedict XVI resigned. Their 2013 campaign was successful, and then-Cdl. Bergoglio became Pope Francis.

This type of organized campaigning for papal election during a conclave is technically forbidden. In chapter six of the 1996 apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. John Paul II issued a series of condemnations against various forms of politicking among the cardinal-electors at conclaves.

The Supreme Pontiff warned, "The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons."

Such behavior, according to the document, merits a latae sententiae excommunication.

00Friday, March 15, 2019 12:42 PM

The two Italian Vaticanistas whom Mons. Carlo Maria Viganò consulted on his own last year - to their surprise - about the Testimony he planned to publish on the sad record
of Theodore McCarrick which he claimed he had brought to Pope Francis's attention back in June 2013, have now both written about their involvement in this historic episode.
Aldo Maria Valli's book came out first, in October 2018, followed by Marco Tosatti's more recently. Valli, as director of Chora Books' publishing line on books about the
Vatican, writes about Tosatti's book...

’Viganò e il papa' -
That great silence which wounds the Church

Translated from

March 14, 2019

It was a strange experience for me to read Viganò e il Papa. Un testimone racconta (Vigano and the pope: A witness speaks) (Chorabooks). Because Marco Tosatti, its author, tells a story which is also mine, and I find myself mirrored in these pages.
- Tosatti, like me, was one day sought out by Mons Carlo Maria Viganò..
- He asked Tosatti, like he asked me, to read his memorandum on the McCarrick case.
- Tosatti, like me, decided to publish the document and to contribute to its disseminaton.
- And I, like Tosatti, was attacked for that decision and accused of being part of some dark machination thought up in the most reactionary circles.

Perhaps the only aspect that differentiates me from Tosatti in this case is that I was spared the accusation of having been the real author of the ex-nuncio’s testimony. But let it be.

The key question remains that which Viganò denounced in his testimony, and which Tosatti, on his blog site Stilum curiae, as I, on this site, brought to the attention of our readers: Papa Bergoglio, since 2013 shortly after his election, knew all about the misdeeds of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Yet not only did he decide not to to do anything about it, but instead, used McCarrick as a privileged adviser [and personal envoy] on international politics and the appointments of bishops and cardinals in the US Church.

In simple words, the reigning pope covered up, for five years, for the cardinal, who had sexually abused dozens of seminarians and young priests. And as we all know, the pope has not replied to the charge.

These are the facts, alongside which we must consider the reason why a faithful servant of the Holy See decided to make that public denunciation. Let us allow Viganò himself to explain it, as reported by Tosatti:

“The principal reason why I am revealing these facts today is because of the tragic situation of the Church, which can be repaired only by the whole truth about the way she has been gravely wounded by abuses and interceptions. I am doing it to protect the Church – only the truth will set her free.

The second reason is to unload my conscience before God about my responsibilities as a bishop of the universal Church. I am old and I wish to present myself to God with a clear conscience. The secrets of the Church, even so-called pontifical secrets, are not taboo. They are instruments to protect her and her children from her enemies. They should not be used for conspiracies.

The people of God have a right to know the whole truth even about their pastors. They have the right to be led by good pastors. In order for them to trust in their pastors and love them, they should be able to know them openly in transparency and truth, to know who they really are. A priest ought to be a light on a candlestick always, everywhere, and for everyone”.

In this respect, Super Ex (ex-Movement for Life, ex-Avvenire,but fortunately not ex-Catholic), a well-informed undercover contributor to Stilum curiae, has some incisive observations:

“Could Viganò, knowing all he does, tolerate that the Vatican continues to blame the abominations in the USA on some vague clericalism, to the Church in general, and on subjects who cannot be identified? No.

That is why, for love of justice and of the Church, he spoke up: those who are culpable, abusers like McCarrick, have names and surnames, and so do those who have covered up for them (from Bertone to Bergoglio). To disclose those names would mean insults, slander, but at least one bishop was needed, just one, who could, with his courage and sacrifice, wash away the disgusting abominations witnessed by the faithful. And that is what Vigano chose to do.

The true Church thanks him and will thank him even more after she has overcome this terrible and long tragedy that has been going on for over 40 years, but which has reached its peak today, in this grotesque climate where, while the whole the world is asking for an accounting of the abuses committed by a homosexual cardinal and assorted priests on seminarians and minors, an American Jesuit named James Martin, protected in the highest circles, seeks to legitimize, even doctrinally, the obscene behavior of his protectors, American or not.”

Of course, the denigratory campaign against Viganò got underway soon, and Tosatti also addresses this in his book. The technique has been tried and tested. Since Viganò’s attackers could not respond to the facts – and did not know how – they stooped to muckraking. That is why Tosatti’s book (and in its small way, my book Il caso Viganò), is also a text on the theory and technique of information/disinformation.

Tosatti shows that Viganò is not some miserable curial creature eaten away by envy and rancor for failing his career goals. That indeed, Viganò had turned down the post of Prefect of the Congregation for Economic Affairs that Benedict XVI had offered him in 2011. He turned it down because he said he wished to finish the clean-up he had begun as Secretary of the Vatican Governatorate, and he was afraid that if he left, the team he had assembled there would be liquidated. Which did in fact happen when Viganò was assigned to be Nuncio in Washington.

Many other items of new information enrich Tosatti's book. Meanwhile, there is lingering sorrow over the failure of the pope to reply – ‘a wound to his credibility as a person and as a spiritual leader, and ultimately, even to his mission”. These are not Tosatti’s words. They have been written, each in their own way, by newspapers like the New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Der Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, the Catholic Herald, and many others.

To the faithful who had awaited a response, the pope sent the message: “I will not say a word”. And when, on his return from his visit to the Baltic countries, at his customary post-visit inflight news conference, when someone asked him about Viganò, he replied: “I am told dinner is ready, and the flight is short”. Period.

It is the familiar strategy of silence. But those who may want to return to the subject can turn to Frederic Martel, the French activist for LGBT causes – who has access to high places in the Vatican – and who, in his book SODOMA, confirms that the pope was indeed informed by Mons Viganò about McCarrick’s record, but that he did not consider the information important enough and therefore went ahead and utilized McCarrick as a trusted adviser and personal diplomatic envoy for the next five years.

These are the facts. Which Tosatti evokes with precision. Not surprisingly, one would say, since Tosatti is doing his job as a journalist. But today, in this topsy-turvy world, it is exceptional that a newsman gives the news, and does not censor himself nor allow himself to be intimidated.

In this Chora Books presentation video, both Tosatti and Valli speak about the book:

00Friday, March 15, 2019 5:59 PM


Please see preceding page for earlier posts today, 3/14/19.


Pope Francis with LGBT+ activists from the UK.

'The pope cannot legitimize sodomy',
says onetime Bergoglio defender Fr. Cavalcoli

[He may not be doing that yet but he's certainly
welcoming everyone aboard his gay-friendly bandwagon,
legitimizing the LGBTQXYZ cause far better than words]

Translated from

March 14, 2019

Dear friends, I have the pleasure to publish a brief comment from Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli, OP, on the photo opportunity' that the reigning pope granted to a Catholic LGBT activist group accompanied to Rome by the Archbishop of Westminster (London), Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
[The group is actually the Pastoral Council for LGBT Catholics in the Diocese of Westminster. Nichols gave them a letter to facilitate meeting the pope but was not there himself. The group was accompanied by a Jesuit priest from London.]

It's another obvious slap in the face to those Catholics who have been living their own unnatural sexual tendencies in faith and chastity as the Catechism enjoins, perhaps suffering because they choose not to follow a sinful lifestyle. Here is Fr. Cavalcoli:

Increasingly, the pope has been making clear the inconsistency between his magisterium and his pastoral practice. It is clear that as the teacher of faith, he cannot legitimize sodomy, otherwise he would be a heretic, which is unthinkable, in view of papal infallibility.

[Whoa, papal infallibility does not make papal heresy or apostasy - or simple papal error - unthinkable. I am no theologian as Cavalcoli is, but the dogma of papal infallibility seems fairly simple and straightforward: The pope's pronouncements on faith and morals - not on any other subject - are infallible provided they reflect what the Church has always taught about faith and morals. With that condition, the pope is infallible - he cannot be in error. But being infallible does not mean being inerrant - being free of error - if only because, primarily, he may pronounce something that does not reflect what the Church has always taught.]

Instead, he clearly demonstrates that he is gravely failing his pastoral function by allowing suspicion or belief - through his ambiguous and equivocal words, his disloyal and astute reticences ['silences' is the more appropriate word, and 'obdurate','adamantine' and 'evasive' are the better adjectives], his opportunistic negligences, and above all, his attitude towards sodomites - that he does not want to correct them at all. On the contrary, he gives the impression,though it may be false, that he approves of their conduct.

Aggravating his duplicity and dishonesty
[Congratulations, Father, you've finally come to what appears to be the core of his character, because these negative qualities, words I have often used to characterize Jorge Bergoglio, have distinguished all his questionable actions and statements as pope, and probably way before] he always avoids - after the fact and the inevitable polemics he provokes - to clarify his position frankly, without fear of displeasing 'the world', and to reaffirm the correct principles of doctrine and of pastoral ministry in order to dissipate doubts, suspicions and fears, and to avoid scandalizing and disconcerting the faithful and other honest people.

By not doing that, he lets the sodomites believe that he has 'abolished' the prohibition against sodomy [which is not given to him or any pope to do, because God himself demonstrated his capacity to bring down dreadful punishment on those who give in to unnatural lusts]. He thereby compromises his own credibility, elicits contempt, divides the Church and bringing a crisis of faith to many faithful Catholics.

Pretty strong words from someone who has long been an apologist for Bergoglio! Though I think Cavalcoli could have said all this much earlier, after Mons. Vigano's denunciation of McCarrick and what his testimony implied - since then, borne out independently by sources as disparate as Cardinal Ouellet and Frederic Martel - that the pope chose to cover up for McCarrick, as Aldo Maria Valli bluntly put it, in the first five years of his pontificate as he made him his adviser on appointments for the US Church and on his geopolitical priorities such as China and Cuba.

Far more than Bergoglio's words to Karadima victim Juan Carlos Cruz that he should be happy because God made him the way he is ('gay'), and all the other clerical sex abuse cases he has been linked to in Argentina, his protection of McCarrick stands out as the clearest signal the Church could possibly give about this pope's acceptance of sexual deviancy. Worse, because seeing McCarrick's record as 'not all that important' and therefore ignoring it to avail of McCarrick's ecclesial and geopolitical counsel (not to mention financial clout) is also the worst demonstration of clericalism by a pope.

No wonder Bergoglio cannot afford to say any word directly about Vigano's testimony. The McCarrick affair has blackened him so badly that I am increasingly appalled no one dared raise this directly to him during the grandstand summit he called to discuss 'clericalism'. Just because he happens to be pope, why shouldn't his bishops have sought to make him answer for a knowing breach of the 'zero tolerance' he loves to mouth, an open and knowing breach of morality that is far more serious than any of his bishops have committed with the possible exception of Roger Mahoney?

The day that the photos of Bergoglio's love-in with the LGBT group from the UK came out, Riccardo Cascioli wrote an editorial about it in
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana saying they were "pictures that say much more than an encyclical". Here is Cascioli's editorial:

LGBT activists meet the pope:
Another Church taboo gone

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

Macrh 13, 2019

There is no doubt that a picture or a gesture says more than a thousand words. And Pope Francis has been described as the ‘pope of gestures’. Indeed, Mimmo Muolo, a Vaticanista of the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, wrote a book about this in 2017 with the eloquent [grandiloquent] title, L’enciclica dei gesti di papa Francesco (The encyclical of Pope Francis’s gestures).

So there is little to interpret in the photograph where the pope warmly greets the members of the Pastoral Council for LGBT+ Catholics in the Archdiocese of Westminster (London), that diocese led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols,, just to be clear. [Of all the major metropolitan bishops in the world, Nichols has perhaps carried out the most number of self-generated initiatives – all of them attention-calling – to provide special services and privileges in his diocese for a minority group that he probably would never even dream of doing if the minority group were other than LGBT+.]

The communique on the meeting with the pope, which came from the Councill itself and was relaunched in Italy by the Catho-gay site,, stressed that the meeting with the pope took place on March 6 at the end of a pilgrimage to Rome led by their chaplain, Jesuit Fr. David Stewart [probably a disciple of his fellow Jesuit James Martin].

To begin with, they were “given privileged seats for the pope’s Wednesday General Audience in St Peter’s Square, at the end of which the group was invited to meet Pope Francis”. Therefore, this was not one of those lucky photo opportunities. It was a meeting pre-programmed by the pope’s entourage [facilitated no doubt by Cardinal Nichols’s letter to the Vatican. Would Georg Gaenswein have been involved in this scheduling, or was this done directly by the pope’s secretaries?]

The press release goes on to say that “The head of the delegation, Martin Prendergast, presented his members to a smiling pope, to whom they explained the activities of this special Pastoral council”. In short ,it was a beautiful demonstration of welcoming and of human kindness. [Cue the violins!]

So what’s wrong with that, you might ask. It is difficult not to be greatly bothered by a method that is the exact opposite of the Leopardian principle: Pretend that nothing has changed because everything has changed.

Hence, we are told, “the doctrine remains the same – we’re keeping hands off it”, but meanwhile actual practice contradicts doctrine to the point where it strips the doctrine of any significance, but without ever affirming this or giving reasons. One day, we find that everything has changed, and we do not know why.

Until yesterday, homosexual practice was a sin against nature, in fact one of the four sins which Catholics believe demand justice directly from God - ‘sins that cry to heaven for vengeance’ , in the formulation of St. Pius X, or ‘sins that cry out to heaven’, as the 1992 Catechism says. Not invented by any pope but defined as such by Sacred Scripture.

But today, it seems it has become a virtue. On what basis? No one knows, and no one has explained it. Very simply, the Bergoglio Vatican has decided it will now be treated differently. And whoever objects to this is someone rigid, a doctrinaire, one who throws stones at other sinners. Never mind those grand speeches on synodality and letters to ‘the People of God’.

Everything rides on ambiguity, which adds to the vexation, not to mention a lack of manliness [a failure to man up]: “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.9 Anything more is from the evil one” (Mt 5,37) [a verse from the Sermon on the Mount that this pope will never say has become a thing of the past. It must be one of those statements attributd to Jesus which, according to the Jesuit Superior-General, he may not have said at all, and we will never know because there were no tape recorders then.

Well, no one can lose if the Vatican says, “Look, the pope welcomes everyone. We are all sinners”. We can be sure he does it in a spirit of welcoming each individual he is presented to, but his entire gesture of meeting with the LGBT group also speaks objectively, and what it says goes far beyond his personal intentions. Objectively, this very public and very publicized meeting amounts to a legitimization of sin.

Why? Because those whom he welcomed so warmly are not persons with homosexual tendencies who live it out by following what the Church teaches – which is really the truth about man that Christ has revealed to us. No, this was an organized group advocating homosexuality, trans-sexuality and gender fluidity as a normal expression of human personality. Such persons belong to associations and movements that simply deny the true nature of man and are intent on changing the doctrine of the Church – Sacred Scripture itself, on which the doctrine is based, and which is very clear on God’s plan for mankind (“Man and woman he created them” – Genesis 1,27).

Consistency [and honesty] would demand that the Vatican explain this sea change:
- Did God err?
- Has the Church been wrong for 2000 years? There is no escaping the question:
- How can it be that an act was a sin against nature yesterday, but today it ss considered a natural condition. This is not development of doctrine – it is its denial.

One understands better now why the organizing committee for the recent summit on sexual abuse carefully avoided any discussion of homosexuality even if several bishops had raised the subject. It cannot be clearer that the gay lobby has taken control of church operations.

Two other observations that will also help further understand towards what point the promotion of the ‘gay’ agenda in the Church is pushing. The English LGBT+ group, during their stay in Rome, visited the church of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, where they recited Lauds ‘dedicated to the memory of the victims of homophobia and transphobia’ [COLORE=#0026FF][Whoa! What victims? Are there any reports anywhere of anyone killed or even attacked out of ‘homophobia’ or ‘transphobia’?]
This church, entrusted to the Sant’Egidio Community, specifically “commemorates the martyrs of our time” (all those who were killed and persecuted for the faith).

No one can avoid noting the group’s attempt to try to equiparate the presumed victims of an even more presumed homophobia [I would use the adjective ‘imagined’ instead of ‘presumed’] to those who lost their lives in the past century for love of Christ and out of loyalty to him and to the Church. No one can miss the ideological intention which could only profane a church dedicated by John Paul II to commemorate the millons of Catholics killed by totalitarianisms in Europe, the Soviet Union [with special mention of Spain and Mexico where the massacres specifically focused on priests, nuns and religious] and missionaries killed in Asia and Africa.

A second observation: We learn from the LGBT+ Council’s communique that indeed, the Archdiocese of Westminster formed this Pastoral Council for LGBT+ Catholics. One can imagine this is not an isolated case. And that therefore, in some dioceses, they have stopped using the language of the church for that of the world. Gender ideology has entered with full title into pastoral ministry.

In London, there is a special LGBT+ celebrated every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the church of the Immaculate Conception, run by the Jesuits and specially chosen for th eLGBT by Cardinal Nichols. [But why not every Sunday of the month? What do the congregants do on Sundays when there is no Mass for them? Miss Sunday Mass? Or go to a ’regular’ Mass? If they can attend ‘regular’ Mass, why can’t they just do it all the time? Do they go to confession at all? Or do they all just receive Communion since, as far as they – and Cardinal Nichols – are concerned, they are not in mortal sin?]

One must recall that at the ‘youth synod’ last October, there was much controversy because the Instrumentum laboris included the acronym LGBT, the first time it had ever been used in a Church document, which in itself, already indicated that the Synod Secretariat had given in to the pressures over gender ideology.

The term was left out of the final document at the insistence of many bishops, but as we see, reality has forged far ahead. There are already bishops and cardinals who, out of conviction or sheer convenience, have adapted to the new [sexuality-obsessed] dictatorship and are seeking to impose it on the whole church.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this self-explanatory 'snapshot' of the Bergoglio Pontificate from 2015:

Oops, more addenda. Chris Ferrara has a new criticism of the pope for the words of praise he issued yesterday for the late Cardinal Danneels who died at age 85. While I agree that this pope has often been tone-deaf, or 'oblivious'as Ferrara chooses to call it, to questions of delicadeza [that innate sense of rightness and propriety that one has especially about sensitive matters one expects Jorge Bergoglio to have, since he was raised by a loving grandmother in a bourgeois Argentine household where delicadeza would have been drilled into him], I also think it is unrealistic to expect him to avoid the usual formulas of praise for a dead prelate. Least of all for one of his Grand Electors and one he rewarded by personally naming him a delegate to both family synods, despite Danneels's questionable record of promoting abortion and gay 'marriage', and worse, covering up for one of his bishops who was accused by the latter's nephew of years of serial sex abuse. As it was, I found the Bergoglio obituary for Danneels quite muted...

The 'oblivious' Pope
by Chris Ferrara

March 14, 2019

As my learned colleague Ed Faust* has observed:

“As tiresome as it has become to react to the vagaries of Pope Francis, it remains a necessity, for without a corrective, some might believe what the Pope says is an accurate reflection of the Gospel and Church teaching. He is, after all, the Pope and the laity cannot be blamed for believing he is a faithful Catholic and credible teacher.”

That Francis has consistently, not just occasionally, shown himself to be neither presents a situation quite unlike any other in the annals of the papacy.

Perhaps Francis, in the inscrutable designs of Providence, has been permitted to occupy the Chair of Peter in order to impress upon the faithful once and for all the strict limits of the charism of papal infallibility, whose operation depends entirely upon the willingness of a given Pope to confine his personal teaching to what the Church has always believed and what she has always practiced in keeping with that belief. For example, her bimillennial refusal to admit the divorced and “remarried” to Holy Communion in obedience to Our Lord’s exceptionless teaching that divorce and “remarriage” constitute public adultery.

As Francis has said of himself: “On the other hand, I am by nature oblivious, and so I go ahead.” [“D’altra parte, per natura io sono incosciente, e cosi vado avanti.”]. My translation of incosciente as “oblivious” is kind, for the alternative meanings in Italian are these: reckless, thoughtless, irresponsible, imprudent and even (pejoratively) idiot. [All meanings apply in this case, don't they? Jorge Bergoglio is not your classic idiot - he enjoy flaunting his little erudition when he can as a sort of intellectual bona fides - and is, of course, as cunning as a serpent and sly like a fox. But because he loves tos shoot from the lip and basically has a disordered (disorganized) mind, unable to think systematically, he ends up making some idiotic statements and/or committing acts of idiocy. How we would all love for him - and any pope - to be careful not reckless, thoughtful and thinking not thoughtless and unthinking, responsible not irresponsible, prudent not imprudent, and to use elementary commonsense instead of being idiotic.]

Now, only someone who is totally oblivious to the implications of his own words and deeds could have uttered this preposterous encomium concerning Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who died today: “This zealous pastor has served the church with dedication not only in his diocese but also at the national level as president of the Belgian bishops’ conference, as well as serving as a member of various Roman dicasteries.”

That “zealous pastor” was the archetypal wolf in sheep’s clothing. As the whole Catholic world knows,
- Danneels systematically covered up the homosexual abuse of boys by priests in Belgium, as Rorate Caeli reminds us.
- He also approved the use of obscene “sex education” materials, - supported the legalization of “same-sex unions” and
- even “tried to persuade King Baudouin [of Belgium] to sign the 1990 abortion bill into law”-
all of this well documented.

But none of that mattered to this oblivious Pope. For Danneels was also instrumental in the veritable plot to elect Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy. “According to his own statement,” notes Rorate, “he had been a member of the St Gallen Group of prelates who threw their support behind the election of Pope Francis.” The plot, which failed in 2005 with the election of Cardinal Ratzinger, ultimately succeeded with Bergoglio’s election in 2013, even though the St. Gallen Group was no longer meeting formally.

That Danneels was, as Rorate dubs him, “The Great Elector of Francis” was demonstrated amply by the central role Francis allowed him play in his papacy at the time of his election: appearing with him on the balcony when his election was announced and then pronouncing the prayer for the new pope at his inauguration.

As Rorate further notes, Danneels “later described the result of this conclave as ‘een persoonlijke verrijzeniservaring (a personal resurrection experience).’” And indeed, Francis resurrected the disgraced prelate by inviting him — the epitome of obliviousness — to participate prominently in the bogus Synods on the Family.

Quite simply, Francis doesn’t care what anyone thinks about what he does. He does as he pleases in order to get what he wants and to reward those who helped him to get it. Obliviously enough, the same Pope who has surrounded himself with corrupt and morally compromised associates who have assisted his rise to power over the years has made a joke of this situation.

During one of his airborne press conferences he alluded to the corrupt Borgia family papacies: “I just thank God that there’s no Lucrezia Borgia” in the Vatican, he quipped — a reference to the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI — after it was revealed that he had appointed to his financial reform commission a woman and a priest who were engaging in sexual relations with each other.

At least the Borgia Popes were orthodox in their teaching! [And in the 15th century, that was all Catholics needed to know about the popes, and all they could know. Surely, at the time, the Borgia family scandals were not known beyond Vatican walls.]

On the same occasion Francis declared that he had not “lost any sleep” over the scandal because “corruption was being rooted out and his reforms were working.” That was four years ago, when the press had exposed only the peak of a mountain of corruption that has since emerged into full view.

“It’s very entertaining to be Pope,” said Francis to his friend Cardinal Poli, shortly after he was elected pope. But while the oblivious Pope amuses himself, the Body of Christ suffers the continual humiliation of his wayward papacy. From which it seems only divine intervention can rescue the Church.

*It turns out Ed Faust is another writer for the Fatima Center's 'Fatima Perspectives', and he had this critique of the pope earlier this week on one of the faults I find most objectionable in him - his increasingly dishonest use of Scriptures (via selective quotation, conscious omission, faulty extrapolation and outright editing, even of Jesus's words), to push his agenda:

Woe to you who fabricate Scripture
by Ed Faust

March 12, 2019

“Jesus is the one who says, ‘Woe to you who exploit people, who exploit labor, who pay under the table, who don’t pay pension contributions, who don’t offer vacation days. Woe to you!’”
– Pope Francis, Mass homily of March 8, 2019

As tiresome as it has become to react to the vagaries of Pope Francis, it remains a necessity, for without a corrective some might believe what the Pope says is an accurate reflection of the Gospel and Church teaching. He is, after all, the Pope and the laity cannot be blamed for believing he is a faithful Catholic and credible teacher.

The Pope chose the first Friday in Lent to return to one of his favorite past-times: bashing capitalism. He combined this with another favorite past-time: bashing practicing Catholics. Conflating those who exploit workers with those who faithfully fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation, the Pope declared such people mortal sinners.

Resorting to biblical language, Francis rang down woe upon his designated evil-doers and, as is not unusual in his sermons, perverted both the letter and the spirit of Scripture by putting words into the mouth of Christ and altering one of the beatitudes to suit his purpose. He also, for the record, violated the laws of logic. We’ll get to that shortly.

Francis cited Jesus as denouncing those who pay workers under the table, fail to make pension contributions or provide paid vacations. Since pensions and paid vacations were not part of the usual employment arrangements two thousand years ago in Palestine, and since the Gospels contain no such words as Francis quotes, we can safely conclude that he is extrapolating from general principles, to put it kindly.

But, then, why not say, “I say” instead of “Jesus says”? There is a reckless disregard here for the rules of quotation and an evident desire to lend weight to a personal and contemporary assessment of management-labor relations. This disregard is also symptomatic of an alarmingly cavalier attitude towards the words of the Gospel.

And Francis’s condemnation is so general as to be practically useless. Greed is always exploitative and it is universal. Little is gained by a melodramatic calling down of “woe” upon unnamed persons. But Francis goes out of his way to lend some specificity to his condemnation. He singles out Catholics who faithfully attend Sunday Mass as the self-same culprits who skirt payroll taxes and pension contributions. Why does he direct his vitriol at Sunday-Mass goers?

The Pope has a history of attacking those who adhere to the laws of the Church, so that for him, fidelity to Church discipline is a typical sign of hypocrisy. If one attends Mass on Sunday and confesses regularly, then he becomes suspect of evil-doing, according to the Pope’s repeated denunciations of “pharisaical” Catholics.

A Bergolio homily, however, would not be complete without some tampering with Scripture or heterodox exegesis. In his March 8 homily Francis declared that “poverty is at the center of the Gospel.” That Jesus came so that the poor would have their proper share of worldly wealth is the conclusion the Pope draws from his reading of Scripture. This reading may be in keeping with Marxist “liberation theology” but it is not supported by the Gospel or the constant teaching of the Church.

How banal and narrow an understanding must one have to think that God became incarnate to address the unequal distribution of wealth? If this is, as Francis avers, “the center of the Gospel,” then the Gospel is a rather trivial document on a par with many another political or economic tract.

And this leads us to the Pope’s wildly illogical peroration: he says that “Blessed are the poor” is the first of the beatitudes. He quotes from St. Luke. St. Matthew reads: “…poor in spirit.” The Church has always given St. Matthew’s expansion of the beatitude first consideration in its interpretation, which is that the poor in spirit are those who are humble (“spirit” here being equated with pride).

For Francis, the poor are those who have less money than most and who may not be receiving their due in pension benefits and paid vacations. But why such unfortunate people should be blessed then becomes a mystery. If they are blessed by being poor, then why take that blessing away from them?

But [contrary to the truncated Beatitude he himself often trots out] Francis does not think the poor are blessed. They are rather the victims of those Catholics who faithfully attend Sunday Mass. Francis wants these “pharisaical” Catholics to share the wealth and give workers more, so that they will no longer be poor, or so it would seem. But then, by the Pope’s own admission and his reading of Scripture, compliance with his demands would remove the blessing of poverty. And the Pope has not yet found the passage in which Jesus says, “Blessed are the
y with paid vacations who live in garden suburbs.”

The Pope concludes that if one were to preach as Jesus preached, the newspapers would run headlines saying, “That priest is a Communist.” Communism is about economics. The Gospel is about salvation. To equate salvation with the elimination of poverty through wealth distribution or higher wages and benefits is to strip the Gospel of its spirituality. Any priest who does this might be justly called, if not a Communist, something other than Catholic.

How far Francis will go in his distortion and exploitation of Scripture remains an open question. The “God of Surprises” that the Pope uses to justify his heterodox preaching may have more surprises in store for us. And we will have to continue to issue correctives with each new travesty issuing from the Casa Santa Marta or from aboard some plane on the way back from Zanzibar or Timbuktu.

If you ask, “Who am I to judge the Pope?”, the answer is that I am one possessed of a modicum of common sense and the ability to read the Gospel. It requires no more these days to qualify as a papal critic.
00Friday, March 15, 2019 8:50 PM

An Australian white supremacist who livestreamed New Zealand's deadliest terror attack on Facebook is one of four people arrested over mosque attacks which left at least 49 dead and 48 injured.

The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, NSW, Australia, stormed the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island during Friday prayers about 1.30pm, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless worshippers.

The attack was broadcast in horrifying, live video which showed the suspect wielding at least two rifles. It followed the publication of a 73-page manifesto in which Tarrant laid out his racist, anti-immigrant views.

One man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played.

'It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,' Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.

She pronounced it 'one of New Zealand's darkest days.'

The attack shocked people across the nation of 5 million people, a country that has relatively loose gun laws but is so peaceful even police officers rarely carry firearms.

00Friday, March 15, 2019 9:03 PM

March 14, 2019

Michael J. Matt, editor of The Remnant, points out in this video that the worst pro-abort politicians in the world are Vatican II Catholics. And now that the neo-Catholic compromise has failed to appease the world -with Cardinal Pell and other shepherds off to jail - Michael contends that we are in the last days of the Modernist Revolution in the Church, and that the only hope of the world is the traditional Catholic restoration.

Plus, was the priesthood always corrupt, as so many revisionist historians contend? Michael takes a walk down movie memory lane to put the lie the Catholic-bashing claim that "it's always been this way."

And, finally, Michael points out how the Modernist regime is intentionally destroying the old Catholic Church - the Church that built the greatest civilization in history - in order to make room for what the United Nations has always called the New World Order. [Of which Jorge Bergoglio has emerged as its greatest prophet and advocate.]
00Friday, March 15, 2019 9:55 PM
A great Jesuit who recently died at age 100 describes
his recoil at the changes that have made his order
'unrecognizable' from what it was supposed to be

And how Fr. Spadaro appearts to have been totally oblivious to the critique

March 15, 2019

“It seems that I am in good Company….” This is how an exultant Antonio Spadaro hailed via Twitter the release of Confesiones de jesuitas,”the expanded new edition of a book published back in 2003 with the title 31 jesuitas se confiesan, in which he too now appears together with 37 other confreres, including several of the highest rank, living and dead, from Avery Dulles to Carlo Maria Martini, from Roberto Tucci to Tomás Spidlik, from Jon Sobrino to Robert F. Taft, from Adolfo Nicolás to Arturo Sosa Abascal, the last two generals of the Society of Jesus.

The book’s editors, Valentí Gómez-Oliver and Josep M. Benítez-Riera (both Catalonians), write in the preface that the updating of this collection of testimonies was prompted by the election of the first Jesuit pope in history. They had asked each of the interviewees to “confess” his personal life experience for the sake of composing a sort of collective self-portrait of the Society of Jesus, coming up to today with Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the apex of the Church.

But, a big caveat! This is far from being a celebratory book. Fr. Spadaro must not have realized this, seeing how he exulted at finding himself in the midst of a Company that by no means turns out to be so “good,” according to the judgment of some of its own confreres. [After Fr Rosica who has been revealed to be a decades-long plagiarist and claimant of false academic credentials, we now have Fr Spadaro who apparently has not bothered to read a book he rushes to exult about! A sampling of the Bergoglio 'magic circle'!]

One only needs to read the “confession” of Xavier Tilliette, from France, who died at the age of almost 100 on December 10, 2018, and hailed the next day in L’Osservatore Romano as “not only a thoroughbred philosopher and theologian, but a true Jesuit.”

Tilliette had no rival as a scholar of the German philosopher Schelling, to whom he dedicated a monumental book that is still unsurpassed. But his research ranged farther, into the frontiers of faith and reason, gaining him the admiration and friendship of giants of 20th century Catholic thought like Gaston Fessard, Henri de Lubac, Jean Daniélou, Hans Urs von Balthasar, the first three also Jesuits.

Very much worth reading is the emotional remembrance dedicated to him in L’Osservatore Romano by his confrere Jacques Servais, a disciple of von Balthasar and author of the most important theological interview of Joseph Ratzinger after his resignation from the papacy.

A sampling of what Tilliette confesses in the book, in which the following serves to describe what follows:

“My religious vocation in the Society of Jesus was precocious, and practically never wavered. But in the last decades, in the face of changes that made its original traits unrecognizable, it was put to a hard test and questions arose for me: on the exercise of the vows, on poverty and obedience, on the function of the superiors, on the future of the Society.”

One of the pivotal moments was 1968, when Tilliette was living in Paris, precisely while he was dedicating soul and body to his monumental study on Schelling and while one of his most well-known Jesuit confreres, Michel de Certeau - whom years later Pope Francis would call “the greatest theologian for today” but whom De Lubac branded a “Joachimite” [after the Franciscan theologian Joachim del Fiore whose theory and theology of history St. Bonaventure vigorously contested, as recounted by Joseph Ratzinger in his Habilitation dissertation] infatuated with a presumed golden age when there would no longer be an institutional Church - was instead exalting the revolt as a moment of total liberation:

“I had a very bad experience of the crisis of May 1968 [the Paris student riots that was the only openly militant action of the Cultural Revolution] from which I immediately distanced myself. The enthusiasm of a Michel de Certeau seemed entirely out of place to me. One was witnessing the sacking of this venerable institution, the [Sorbonne] university, and in recoil, a crumbling of the Society [of Jesus] from which it has not recovered.”

[What to say about a pope whose idea of 'greatest theologians' includes Bernard Haering and Michel de Certeau to Walter Kasper and Christoph Schoenborn?]

This is how Tilliette describes this 'crumbling' of a Society of Jesus become unrecognizable to him and to many of his confreres:

“In parallel with the sudden tumult of 1968 and without relation to it, there took place the methodical transformation of the Church following the Council. But the increase of freedom that stemmed from this had disastrous consequences for the scholasticates of the Society. [Scholasticates are persons on a college-level of study preparing to enter a religious order.]

On that occasion I also had a very bad experience of the evolution or transformation of our way of life. The rebellion of the scholasticates [they would have been among the rioting Sorbonne students] seemed absurd to me. I remained convinced that the Society had steadier nerves and an inner strength capable of overcoming the crisis without giving in on anything essential. But the result was not what I hoped. Thanks to God, the spirit was saved, but the body of the spirit, the letter, suffered in a lasting form.

It is a hard trial, that which was inflicted on the Jesuits of my generation, of the previous generation, and of the following one. It may be a lack of flexibility, a lack of adaptation, but these no longer recognize themselves in the relaxed lifestyle that was established, they no longer recognize themselves in the order that in previous times welcomed them.

The general congregations took note of the changes that were produced in behaviors, of the desire for independence among their members, of the permissiveness that comes from civil society and spread among us. They set aside the treasure of the rules.

The priority of priorities is no longer the communal religious life, which ended up in pieces, but the preoccupation with justice and the predilection for the poor. Wonderful ideas, that however run the risk of deteriorating into mere words and being unrealizable for the most part.

As one revealing moment in the crisis of the Society, Tilliette identifies what happened after the death of Cardinal Jean Daniélou, at the Paris home of a prostitute whom he had led to the brink of conversion:

“Something broke in me after the death of Cardinal Daniélou, when calumny was circulating even among the ranks of the Society and the attitude of the superiors was awkward and mediocre. Instead of flying to the aid of an assassinated confrere, there was a conflagration of base vendettas. It was then that I doubted my order, its discernment, its capacity for solidarity. I fell from the height of my ideal, like Mallarmé. Before my entrance and at the time of my formation, I had a very high ideal of the Society, of its esprit de corps, of its solidarity.”

[Elsewhere on this Forum, I posted stories on the fairly recent efforts around 2012 to redeem the tattered reputation of an unjustly calumniated cardinal who died in 1974. In 2015, a three-day conference was held at one of the pontifical universities in Rome to explore the similarities between Benedict XVI and Danielou, whom he admired, in their historical gaze at theology, their emphasis on scripture and Patristics, and their denunciation of the false interpretation of Vatican II.

As a professor of philosophy, first at the Jesuit institutes of formation, then at the Institut Catholique of Paris, and finally at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Tilliette says he had also seen evaporate in the Society the primacy of the “intellectuals”:

“I spent my existence as a Jesuit in the traditional positions of college director and professor, of magazine editor and writer, of university professor. I took on these austere tasks convinced that Jesuit humanism is primordial and that intellectuals are the apples of the Society’s eye. Instead it seems that today it is no longer so and that the preference is given to directly apostolic ministries. I think that a virtue is being made of necessity: the scanty recruitment does not permit the maintenance of a high level of studies and superiors do not have subjects available to fill openings as little by little these become open.

From this point of view, the future of the Society is rather dark. Houses are being closed and the elderly are being placed in residences staffed with medical personnel. Without a doubt there is no other solution. But we would like it if this inevitable retreat would not be accompanied by customary euphoric discourses, which are reminiscent of wartime proclamations of defeat.”

Summing it up, the picture that Tilliette sketches on contemporary society is dark, partly through the silence of the “superiors”:

“Having come to the age at which the shadows stretch across the road, I feel the duty to confess a disappointment that I share with many. I have changed infinitely less than the vital context that surrounds me, and it is a suffering to feel out of sync, anti-modern, and, worse, complicit, since the influence of the surrounding environment is too strong.

I do not want to blame anyone, but at certain moments there has been a lack of resolute words on the part of the superiors.
- The materialist mentality reigns and extends itself without being contrasted by the collective conscience.
- God is absent from hearts.
- The innocent and the victim are worth less than the guilty.
- A society that moves heaven and earth against the death penalty and, at the same time, justifies and promotes free abortion, is at the lowest point of the scale of perversion.”

But the conclusion remains trustful in any case, because what matters more than belonging to the Society is service to the Church:

“Our age, one of the darkest in history, nonetheless sees the blossoming of sublime sacrifices, heroism, examples of holiness. There comes the desire to repeat with Gertrud von le Fort after the first world war: Only in disaster and in universal ruin does the Church stand firm. The holy Catholic Church, like a lighthouse on the hill. Which remains intact in its divine essence even when our sins have stained its noble face.

My early education instilled in me love and respect for the Church, its sacraments, its liturgy, the refuge of mercy, of prayer and of knowledge that it offers to the people of the world. The life of the saints, the example of Fr. de Lubac, the assiduous reading of Claudel, taught me to venerate the Church, to subordinate membership in the Society to the service of the Church and of the pope, for which it was created and which remains its reason for being.

Not the Society as such, but some Jesuits of all ages must make a serious examination of conscience. Mine is certainly not reassuring, and I teach myself a lesson every day. But I do not believe that I have intentionally sinned against the light.”

I wonder if anyone has thought to give a copy of the book to the reigning pope . And one wonders why, in 2003, he was not among the Jesuits that the Catalan editors asked to contribute to their book. (They didn't think him important enough then?) He might find many of Tilliette's words sounding like they were aimed directly at him.

Synchronically, Fr H has a post today about PF's Jesuitical mind... (my immediate riposte to his title question was: Is he a subtle anything at all? Nothing seems to delight him more than hammering home repeatedly any point he has to make with a sledgehammer, and just to make sure no one misses it, he nailguns reminders and corollaries to frame the central nail.

Is PF 'a subtle Jesuit'?

March 15, 2019

Newman's Oxford undergraduate (Loss and Gain) "Charles Reding", about to be rusticated for ... allegedly ... having a mind "perverted, debauched by sophistries and jesuitries", goes to say farewell to the Principal of his College. To whom he says "'I cannot conceive, sir, why I should be unfit company for the gentlemen of the College'.

Dr Bluett's jaw dropped, and his eyes assumed a hollow aspect. 'You will corrupt their minds.' Then he added in a sepulchral tone, which seemed to come from the very depth of his inside, 'You will introduce them, sir, to some subtle Jesuit -- to some subtle Jesuit, Mr Reding'".

What a lovely reputation the Jesuits once had. What a shame we have no subtle Jesuits around today. But Stay!! Perhaps, after all, we do. Perhaps PF is a Subtle Jesuit!!! Had that occurred to you?

Here, again, is what PF said in his joint statement with his Islamic chum:

"The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race, and language are willed by God in his wisdom, through which he created human beings."

The inattentive might misread this as a typical piece of modern liberal 'affirmation', in which everybody is praised for and in their diversity. It is, surely, the dogma expressed by the 'diversity flag', in which all the colours of the rainbow are gloriously combined in one composition. All affirm all.

Well ... we have no way of knowing how PF's Islamic co-signatory glossed these words, But to many, this statement will seem nothing but a statement of the modern liberal blindingly obvious.

But PF introduced a new element into the rich mix when he gave Bishop Schneider permission to report a quite different interpretation: the idea that Diversity of Religion relates to the permissive will of God ... not to what he positively wills, but only to what he is willing to permit even though it is evil in itself.

Lovely Stuff. But PF goes on to bracket diversity of sex with the diversity of religion. And anybody who knows the least about the Judaeo-Christian tradition could have explained to PF that the division of Humanity into two sexes is given in Genesis, a section of the Pentateuch near the beginning of the Bible, as part of the positive will of God for unfallen Humanity ... not just as something God tolerates because it is an unfortunate consequence of creating Man with the free will to choose the Good and the Bad. Creation of Mankind in two complementary sexes is not something that God permits; it is what he has himself freely done.

But ... hang on ... perhaps PF is not, as you were foolishly assuming - impetuous, judgmental readers that you are - a poor ignorant old man who has never read Genesis. Perhaps he is ... after all ... a Subtle Jesuit ... like all those Subtle Jesuits who lurked behind every lamp-post and hedgerow of the Victorian Protestant imagination!

So, on the one hand, to Moslems and Liberals, PF wishes to come across as praising religious diversity; it is a Good positively willed by God.

But, on the other hand, to Bishop Schneider and his associates, PF tips the wink: "Don't be too noisy about this, old man, but of course I agree wholeheartedly with you that the existence of all false religions is one of the terrible evils resulting from the wilfulness and waywardness of Man, once he has been led by Satan into Sin, Disobedience, and Error. If you think it will help, do tell your troops that what I meant was: false religions are not positively but only permissively willed. And do anything else you can to get them to just Shut Up and stop analysing what I say. Analysis is just so ***********ly Rigid. As S Thomas Aquinas so rightly said, Logic is the Devil's Whore."

Amazingly Subtle. Devastatingly Jesuitical. What a man!!!!!

At this point, I wish to say something for Bishop Schneider who was promptly mocked by the Frank Walkers and Louie Verrecchios - who are supposed to be on the right side of the current divide - as 'too naive' to have been 'taken in' by the pope's heavily qualified answers to the bishop's questions. As far as I could tell, he was primarily reporting the pertinent exchange of words - without editorializing - in which he had the common sense to object directly to the pope that the latter cannot possibly consider diversity of religion analogous to diversity of sex.

Other interlocutors might have been content to leave the subject as the pope answered it the first time [as Vaticanistas do at papal news conferences, on the principles of 1) never contradict a pope or a king, and 2) "if the object is unmovable, give up - you are not even an unstoppable force"]. But Mons. Schneider did ask a follow-up question. Which is how he got the now famous concession, "All right, you can say that I said...blah blah blah".

Schneider is sophisticated enough to know that those who read his account did not need any editorializing from him to see that he found that answer wanting, because only a formal rectification would do, even as he knows such a rectification is not possible without the consent of the other signatory, the Grand Imam, who would, of course, never consent... Familiar quandary of the impossible when dealing with Jorge Bergoglio: nothing realistically actionable can be done to un-pope him, so let's stop all the futile circular arguments as to why he is unsuitable to be pope. And hell will freeze over before the Abu Dhabi Declaration ever gets amended one iota.

Still speaking of Jorge Bergoglio, the irrepressible Eccles had this to say about his eulogy for Cardinal Danneels photos and captions from Eccles too:

How to praise a bad cardinal

March 14, 2019

This is number 491 (approx.) in our long-running series on how to be a good pope, especially written for those who feel that a hairy hand may descend on their neck one day, and a strangely familiar voice intone the holy word "Gotcha", which is the customary way of telling a victim that he's going to be the man in the hot seat from now on.

One day it may happen that an elderly cardinal, let's call him Cardinal Dandruff, drops dead. That's odd, as he was only three years older than you, and he wasn't on the list of V.I.A. targets (which is headed by Viganò but may also include Burke, Brandmüller, Festing, Sire, Sarah, Müller, etc.) So he probably died of natural causes. Indeed, this may be through despair at being humiliated by Blase Cupich in the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Bad Cardinals.

Pope and Danneels: 'We did it!'

Dandruff was one of the St Gallstone Mafia, without whom you would never have come to power, and would still be an obscure South American bishop - rather than one who, in the words of your friend St Rosie the Copier, "breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants" (i.e., on a daily basis).

So you want to praise him, while skating over the various scandals with which he was associated. Try the formula "zealous pastor" who "served the Church with dedication". This is harmless enough, and could be applied to any priest who turned up to Mass once in a while and did not actually convert to Islam.

You might also mention that Dandruff participated in a number of synods. Admittedly, the synods were a waste of time, and the conclusions were rigged and distorted (thanks, Baldisseri!), but he did turn up and glare at people, especially the ones you don't like.

Finally, it's always a good move to say that someone Catholic has been "called to God". So much more tactful than mentioning purgatory, or (worse) the Fire that Never Shall Be Quenched and the Worm that Dieth Not. No chance of "Dies Irae" at the Requiem Mass for Cardinal Dandruff, simply "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam"!

The Al Capone Mafia will decide who the next pope will be.
[Tobin, Farrell and Cupich: When I used this photo before, I captioned it 'Uncle Ted's musketeers'.]

Now, what are you [Your Holiness] going to say when McCarrick goes to that great beach house in the sky?

00Sunday, March 17, 2019 2:28 PM
Not much news on Church affairs this past week as the Pope and the Curia were on Lenten retreat, so he did not have an opportunity to blather and the Vatican announced no important actions. However, there's this new report about a major Vatican cover-up for someone who was then one of its most important nuncios...

Vatican nuncio to Kazakhstan accused
of involvement with a woman, financial
irregularities and maltreating staff
while permanent observer to the UN

Complainants say he was withdrawn from the UN in July 2014,
but faced no sanctions and was given new assignment in 2016

by J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon

New York City, N.Y., Mar 16, 2019 (CNA).- An archbishop who served as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations is accused of financial and professional misconduct, including the use of Vatican staff and influence to assist and support financially a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship.

Sources say that although Vatican officials were informed of the man’s conduct, he was quietly reassigned to a new diplomatic post without facing sanctions. [Later in this story, the writers claim that he had no assignments for two years after he resigned the UN post until he was named to be Nuncio to Kazakstan/Central Asia.]

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, 65, now apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, is alleged to have maintained an inappropriate romantic relationship with a woman during his time as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, a post he held from July 2010 until June 2014. [Formerly nuncio to Iraq and Jordan before that, Chullikatt became the first non-Italian Vatican observer at the UN when he succeeded Mons. Celestino Migliore, whom Benedict XVI named to be Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, after the longstanding Nuncio (named by John Paul II) was named Archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland. Migliore was Nuncio to the UN at the time of Benedict XVI's visit to the US and the UN in April 2007. From Poland, he was subsequently named Nuncio to Russia, his current assignment.]

Three priests who were members of the diplomatic staff at the Vatican mission in New York told CNA that Chullikatt would frequently send the woman “inappropriate” and “romantic” text messages from his phone, and that the Holy See’s mission staff assisted her in obtaining a visa to come to New York.

One priest-official said this was “the most unfortunate part of the story having to do with Archbishop Chullikatt.”

Former staff members told CNA that on several occasions, Chullikatt mistakenly sent these text messages to staff members, who were left confused and concerned. [What is it with these sinning prelates - or anyone who holds a responsible position anywhere, for that matter - who use their cellphones for both official and private business? First, there was McCarrick protege Cardinal Tobin tweeting 'Nighty-night, sweetie!' to his sister, says he; then Mons. Zanchetta keeping improper selfies and other lewd photographs on his cellphone; now, Mons Chulikatt broadcasting his lovelife via his cellphone. They all could afford to have two cellphones to keep their private business and official business apart, and the common sense to do so, even if their private lives were pure as driven snow.]

The messages were, frankly, very inappropriate in content and clearly romantic in nature,” one priest told CNA. “At least three members of the mission staff received them that I know of, including me.”

“The first time this happened, he managed to send it to a member of staff who didn’t know what to make of it. As [the recipient] was a layman, it was doubly concerning to us,” the priest said.

Another former official said that every time Chullikatt mistakenly sent a romantic message to the wrong person, he would “abandon his phone and get a new cell phone or a new cell phone number.”

Another priest said the archbishop was obliged to change his phone “ridiculously often.”

A third priest who also served at the Holy See’s mission to the U.N. during Chullikatt’s time also recalled the messages.

“I cannot think how he managed to keep doing this,” he told CNA. “I can only surmise he must have been drinking when he would send them to the wrong people.”

“They were of an obviously romantic character, really outlandish, and usually sent very late at night.”

As romantic messages continued to be sent to priests, lay employees, and religious sisters, it became apparent who their intended recipient was.

According to multiple sources, the woman is a consecrated virgin who Chullikatt met during a previous diplomatic assignment. Staffers say they were expected to assist her in securing a visa and coming to the U.S., and later, in finding employment.

The office of the Holy See’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to requests from CNA for comment.

One former official at the mission, also a priest, told CNA that the woman had served as the archbishop’s interpreter during a prior diplomatic posting.

“That was my understanding of how they met,” the former Vatican diplomat told CNA.

A woman of the same name, also a consecrated virgin was previously an auditor at a special assembly of the synod of bishops in Rome, and was identified at that time as a university professor.

The university where the woman reportedly teaches did not respond to a request for confirmation. CNA was unable to contact the woman directly.

After she came to the U.S., the woman was, according to multiple accounts, a regular visitor at the mission’s offices. “She was around, we all knew of her. She was a very significant figure in Chullikatt’s life, I think we can put it that way,” a priest-official told CNA.

The priest told CNA that the woman would visit Chullikatt at the mission in New York “quite frequently,” and that he behaved with “impunity.”

“She was there, that was it,” he told CNA. “In any normal situation, let alone one like this, you would expect there to be some sort of backstory given – we met in school, she’s a family friend, something – but he gave no explanation, he just carried on.”

The same priest said the nuncio’s relationship with the woman was part of a pattern of dysfunctional and unprofessional conduct during his time in New York. Another priest said the relationship fit a pattern of “indifference” to immorality, which included financial impropriety.

A March 11 report from Crux alleged that Chullikatt had mistreated staff at the Holy See’s mission to the U.N. and imposed arbitrary wage cuts on the salaries of lay staff members. The priests who spoke with CNA confirmed those allegations

“I would say that swinging cuts [to salaries] were a mark of his tenure,” one priest told CNA.

“He treated staff as inferiors, across the board. There was no spirit of collaboration, no sense of working ‘with’ anyone.”

The priest also told CNA that in additional to subjecting employees – both priests and lay people – to frequent and “humiliating” outbursts of temper, Chullikatt was also known to dismiss staff at a moment’s notice.

“It was alright for us priests, I suppose,” he told CNA. “We always have a diocese to go home to, but for the lay staff, they were often left stranded with no means of support.”

One priest told CNA that Chullikatt would often bemoan the salaries paid to lay staffers, suggesting that they ought to volunteer their time without concern for being paid. Because they were paid, a priest said, Chullikatt questioned their loyalty.

A source recalled a particular instance in which a lay expert was recruited by the mission for a three month contract.

“This man was a tenured professor who arranged to take three months of unpaid leave from his post to serve the Church. Chullikatt sacked him within two weeks, leaving him without a salary for the rest of his sabbatical.”

“There was only ever room for one opinion, one voice in the room with Chullikatt – even adult conversation was impossible with him, let alone professional collaboration.”

Terrence McKeegan, a former legal advisor to the Holy See’s mission to the U.N., told CNA that after he signed a one-year contract to work for the mission, Chullikatt arbitrarily cut his wages.

“On or about December 10 of 2013, I myself was informed by the nuncio that starting in 2014, he would only pay me half of the salary we had contractually agreed upon,” McKeegan told CNA.

McKeegan also noted that, beyond his contracted position, he was expected to serve, unpaid, as legal advisor to the non-profit Path to Peace Foundation, a legally distinct U.S.-based private foundation affiliated with the U.N. mission. McKeegan said he was not given access to records for the foundation, or invited to attend meetings.

The foundation, he said, helps fund mission operations and staff salaries. It also, according to its tax filings, has funded scholarships, seminars, and a U.N. internship program founded by Fr. Thomas Rosica.

One priest told CNA that may lay employees were reticent to complain because some were in the U.S. only on diplomatic passports, and because many of them love the Church and wanted to support the U.N. mission.

Former staff members said that the imposition of arbitrary cuts to wages and the dismissal of staff were linked to Chullikatt’s relationship with the woman he maintained a relationship with.

“I would say his need to be tight-fisted with the mission’s finances was, at least partly, because he had a secret need. I believe he was supporting this woman: room, board, everything,” one priest, who was directly involved in the mission’s finances, said.

The priest recalled an example in which the archbishop budgeted money for “bonuses” for the mission’s staff, but then only distributed a portion of the money. “The rest? Well, [Chullikatt] knows where it went,” he told CNA.

Another priest, who also was involved in the mission’s financial administration, also told CNA that Chullikatt was supporting the woman financially.

McKeegan spoke to CNA about what he called the “surreal” working conditions under Chullikatt.

In a statement, McKeegan said that in his time in New York he heard “voluminous allegations of highly improper and scandalous behavior by Archbishop Chullikatt.”

“I know that the longest-tenured cleric on staff had already brought many of most serious allegations against the nuncio to the attention of then-Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominque Mamberti, in a meeting they had around Mamberti’s visit to the U.N. in late September of 2012,” McKeegan said.

Concerns about Chullikatt’s behavior, regarding both the woman and the office finances, were reported in a “dossier” of complaints delivered to the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in December 2013, former staffers told CNA.

This dossier included a letter signed by McKeegan detailing numerous instances of financial malpractice by Chullikatt, including the unjust treatment of staff and the near-systematic withholding of agreed salaries.

“I was, and still am, absolutely certain of the serious moral violations that were being committed by the nuncio regarding the withholding of just wages,” McKeegan’s letter said.

“However, based on my experience with high-ranking officials in the Church, I knew that even sins that cry out for vengeance would likely go unheard in Rome, so I stressed in my letter to Archbishop Parolin that the unjust withholding of Mission staff salaries could constitute potential criminal violations of US visa and labor laws.”

According to one staff member familiar with the delivery of the complaints in Rome, direct mention was made of allegations that Chullikatt was supporting the woman financially, and that he had directed mission staff to arrange a visa for her to travel to New York.

In January 2014, Chullikatt was summoned for an extended meeting in Rome, for what a former senior mission staffer called “a dressing down.” Chullikatt remained in Rome for nearly two months, while his absence from New York went unexplained to staff.

[This is reminiscent of Bergoglio protege Mons. Zanchetta being summoned to Rome after complaints had been lodged against him by the Vatican but remaining in place without sanctions until he suddenly resigned as Bishop of Oran. It shows a pattern to the cover-up practice in the Vatican hierarchy and by this pope, as we shall see further on in this story of how much the Chullikatt case recalls the Ricca case.]

“He was supposed to be removed then and there,” one priest said, “but he was able to run around to enough of his friends in Rome to stay on [in his position] a little while longer.”

One staff member told CNA that Chullikatt had “exploited” the pope’s well-known disposition toward mercy, in order to avoid being removed from his position.

Another staffer told CNA that Chullikatt demanded a stay of his removal, insisting that members of the Spanish royal family were scheduled to visit the U.N. in June at his personal invitation, and that he needed to be in place to welcome them.

In June 2014, Queen Sofia of Spain visited the U.N. in New York. Chullikatt’s resignation from the U.N. position was accepted July 1 of that year.

“He used that time [between December and June] to clear out the opposition to him, dismissing staff and generally making life even more miserable before he went,” one former mission staffer told CNA.

During the final six months of Chullikatt’s tenure, several mission staffers were dismissed from their posts. Sources told CNA that Chullikatt waged a “vendetta campaign” because of the complaints to the Secretary of State.]

Several staff members told CNA that Chullikatt would remind them that their obligation to maintain “pontifical secrecy” included his behavior. This, they said, prevented staff from speaking out.

One former priest diplomat told CNA that “I’m sure he thinks everything we saw and had to endure is covered by the secret.”

“In reality, it refers to the sensitive diplomatic work undertaken on behalf of the Church. It certainly doesn’t cover the fact that he’s a nasty little man.”

The pontifical secret, which was defined by Pope St. Paul VI in the 1974 instruction Secreta continere, obliges clerics, lay employees, and even volunteers to keep confidential information obtained in service to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Violation of the secret can be punished with an excommunication.

But the former priest-officials of the U.N. mission told CNA that the secret is formulated without clarity, and can lead employees and volunteers to think they are beholden to keep confidential things they ought to report. They told CNA that Chullikatt’s situation is evidence it would be to the Church’s benefit to reform its policies governing the pontifical secret.

In recent months, Cardinals Blase Cupich and Reinhard Marx have both called for reforms to those policies.

“Pontifical secrecy shouldn’t protect bad people and their bad behavior,” one former priest-official of the U.N. mission told CNA. “It should protect properly professional and confidential information.”

After he resigned from his role New York, Chullikatt spent nearly two years without an assignment before being sent to Kazakhstan in June 2016 – a post one former member of the Vatican diplomatic corps characterized as “the back end of beyond as far as the diplomatic service goes.”

[This time, one must recall the Secretariat of State (and eventually, Bergoglio's) cover-up for Mons Battista Ricca whose case, however, is much worse in many ways, even if he was not a nuncio. It is worth recalling now, because it remains a classic example of the Vatican hierarchy, going all the way up to the pope, covering up for an abusive prelate - and because most people, even Vatican news junkies, will have forgotten about it by now.

We are now hearing about Chullikatt, just as we heard in 2013 about Ricca, to no avail, as far as this pope was concerned, who simply extended the cover-up and '100% tolerance' of Ricca by the Secretariat of State since at least 2004. Ricca had been re-assigned by the Vatican from his assignment to the nunciature in Uruguay in 1999-2001 (where, as charge d'affairs for a brief time, he secured employment at the nunciature for his Swiss live-in lover), after his flagrant homosexual lifestyle caused him to figure in police reports for having been beaten up by young male prostitutes in a 'pink' district of Montevideo and getting trapped in a malfunctioning nunciature elevator with one of them (they had to be rescued by the local fire department). At the Uruguay nuncio's request, Ricca was reassigned from Uruguay and sent to Trinidad-Tobago where he was recalled to the Vatican in 2004, again at the request of the Nuncio there. The Secretary of State at the time was Cardinal Sodano (who was in office till September 15, 2005).

Although Ricca was removed from the diplomatic service, he continued to work in the Secretariat of State where he rose to become a 'nunciature adviser first-class' in the diplomatic section, in charge of supervising the financial activities of nunciatures around the world. At State, he was also able apparently to whitewash his dossier so that none of the bad stuff was in it.

In 2006, apparently while remaining at the Secretariat of State, he was also named manager of two Vatican hotels in Rome and the Casa Santa Marta. On June 15, 2013, the new pope named him Prelate, or spiritual director, of the IOR - in reality, as many Vatican reporters noted at the time, to be his 'eyes and ears' at the Vatican bank. (Ricca became friends with Cardinal Bergoglio as manager of the Vatican hotel in via Scrofula where Bergoglio stayed whenever he visited Rome, a friendship further strengthened when the new pope chose to establish his residence at Casa Santa Marta, also managed by Ricca.)

Note the date well, because only six days later, on June 21, 2013, according to Mons. Vigano, he spoke to the pope directly about the sordid record of then Cardinal McCarrick, a report that close associates of the pope reportedly told muckraker Frederic Martel for his book SODOMA, that the pope felt was 'not important' and therefore chose to ignore it and went on to make McCarrick one of his trusted adviers. Therefore, two egregious examples in a row of the then new-pope, with all his talk of 'zero tolerance' for clerical sex abuse, knowingly chose to ignore accounts of horrendous sexual misconduct by two prelates he chose to make his close associates.

Sandro Magister's investigative reporting uncovered Ricca's past which he published on July 18, 2013,
after a week when various nuncios, at the time summoned to Rome to meet with the new pope, reportedly told the pope about Ricca's past activities. (i.e., the same occasion that gave Vigano a chance to talk to the pope about McCarrick when the pope himself opened up the subject by asking him, "What do you think about Cardinal McCarrick?") And as he would about Vigano's report on McCarrick six days later, the pope chose not to do anything about Ricca.

Magister noted that "Francis had been shown, as is customary, the personal file on Ricca, in which he had not found anything unseemly. [Of course not, it had already been whitewashed, most probably by Ricca himself]. He had also heard from various personalities of the curia, and none of them had raised objections." After hearing from the nuncios about Ricca, Magister further reports, "Sadness over having been kept in the dark with regard to such grave matters, and the intention to remedy the appointment he had made, albeit not definitive but 'ad interim': these were the sentiments expressed by Pope Francis once he was aware of those matters." We all know he did nothing about it, because it is almost six years since he appointed Ricca, and he is still at IOR.

When will this pope be called out openly by more than just Sandro Magister and a few other commentators for his blatant cover-up of his favorites, which is an exercise of clericalism and of sheer hypocrisy worse than any other bishop similarly accused, yet he is given a pass just because he is the pope? Why should he be spared fair criticism and even denunciation for his offenses, just because he is the pope, while he is busy denouncing them in other bishops???

How does this misconduct - and much more - support the much-vaunted and supposed personal holiness of His Holiness Pope Francis? If John Paul II could still be a saint even if he kissed the Koran inexplicably and carried on with his interfaith gatherings in Assisi, would Jorge Bergoglio's repeated offenses of commission and omission and 100% tolerance in his selective dealings with personal favorites accused of the most terrible sex offenses, warrant his still being described by some of his friends and fawners as 'a truly holy man'?]

[Of Chullikatt], one former official of the U.N. mission told CNA simply “he doesn’t deserve to be anywhere.”

McKeegan described the handling of the allegations against Chullikatt, and his eventual rehabilitation as part of an “all-too-familiar pattern.”

“Rome followed a very specific playbook with its handling of Archbishop Chullikatt. Although giving the impression (never directly but via back channels and rumor) to the whistleblower or accuser that Rome was dealing with the problem, the Vatican was instead maneuvering to protect yet another high-ranking official who had “played ball” with the corrupt leadership in the Church.”

“Archbishop Chullikatt was quietly given a sabbatical. This sabbatical period was not used by Rome to fully investigate the serious allegations against him, of which my letter only constituted a small portion, but rather to wait out mission staff accusers like me to give up in frustration,” McKeegan said.

Another former senior member of the mission’s staff told CNA he was unsurprised that the allegations went without formal response, and that Chullikatt had been restored to the diplomatic service.

“You have to understand the culture of the diplomatic service, and the curia more widely,” he told CNA.

“There is a powerful incentive to keep a problem like Chullikatt under wraps. You aren’t just touching one man by speaking out, you touch a whole genealogy of those who have covered for him, and those who he’s covered for and been promoted by in turn,” the priest said.

The Vatican press office acknowledged receipt of questions from CNA regarding the allegations against Chullikatt, but did not respond before deadline.

Despite attempts, Chullikatt could not be reached for comment.

BTW, it doesn't make Chulllikatt's offense less objectionable to say, "At least he was involved with a woman, not another man". A mortal sin is a mortal sin, and unchaste behavior, hetero- or homo-, mortally violates God's Sixth Commandment...

Since almost any topic about 'the Church' these days inevitably leads to clerical/episcopal sex abuse, I shall post here a comment I missed earlier by Phil Lawler on the pope's obituary message on Cardinal Danneels. Lawler sees all there is to see in that message which I must admit I read perfunctorily and found quite muted, in fact. Muted, perhaps, but far from mute about Jorge Bergoglio's tone-deafness and/or his fundamental laissez-faire attitude to what he calls 'sins below the belt' as being but 'minor sins'.

Pope Francis shows no regret over
having pampered Cardinal Danneels

By Phil Lawler

March 15, 2019

Was Pope Francis sending a subtle message to his critics this week? Or have I become a bit paranoid about papal statements? You decide.

In a statement of condolence after the death of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Pope Francis summed up the ecclesiastical career of the Belgian prelate in two sentences. Pay particular attention to the second sentence:

This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication, not only in his diocese, but also at the national level as president of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman dicasteries. Attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church, Cardinal Danneels also took an active role in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family.

Cardinal Danneels was Archbishop of Brussels for more than 30 years. In all that time, did he do nothing more memorable than serve as president of the episcopal conference and participate in Synod meetings? And why does the Pope make a special mention of those very controversial Synod meetings in 2014 and 2015? If Cardinal Danneels made any noteworthy statement during those sessions, it escaped my notice.

The Vatican News service, in its coverage of the cardinal’s death, also put a special focus on his attendance at Synods, methodically listing all eleven (!) of the Synod meetings he attended. But Vatican News, too, paid particular attention to the 2014 and 2015 meetings on the family, setting them apart in a separate paragraph, and mentioning that in these cases, rather than being elected by his brother bishops as a delegate, “he was appointed by Pope Francis himself.”

Which is — or should be — a sore point. Cardinal Danneels was chosen by the Pope to participate in the Synods on the Family, although [while archbishop of Brussels], he he was caught on tape advising a man who had been sexually abused by another Belgian bishop [the victim's own uncle], to keep quiet about the crime.

It was shocking then, and is still shocking today, that the Pontiff would have chosen to bring a prelate out of retirement — to discuss the problems facing the family, no less — after he had been exposed to public disgrace. Even while loudly insisting that bishops should be held responsible for covering up abuse, the Pope bestowed this honor on a cardinal who was widely recognized as one of his key supporters: as a member of the “St. Gallen mafia” that had backed his election.

Yet now, when Cardinal Danneels died, Pope Francis chose to call attention to that shocking appointment. And Vatican News — which presumably seeks to follow the Pontiff’s wishes — did the same. And again, notice that neither the papal statement nor the Vatican News story suggested that Cardinal Danneels had contributed anything of unusual significance to the Synods’ discussions. They mentioned only that he was there —at the Pope’s invitation.

Reading first the Pope’s statement and then the Vatican News story, I had the impression that they were crafted to include an implicit challenge to papal critics: a bold affirmation that the Pope hs no regrets, no second thoughts, about rewarding an old ally.

Maybe that message was sent unintentionally. But even on a more benign reading, the statements from Rome show that the howls of protest about the Danneels appointment made no lasting impression on the Pope and his media team.

In other words, the message from Rome could be interpreted in one of two ways:
We know that you were outraged by the appointment, and we don’t care.
You were outraged, and we didn’t even notice.

I’m not sure which is worse.
00Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:18 PM

Let us offer prayers for the victims of the mosque killings in New Zealand and for all innocent victims of ideological violence of any kind, whether it is Islamist extremism or white supremacy derangement.

The mosque massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand, mark the first terorist attack against Muslims by other than their fellow Muslims (who have killed Muslims indiscriminately in their
opportunistic attacks since the Age of Muslim Terrorism began in the 1970s. But while the perpetrator may be a white man, he is obviously not Christian, and his odious crime is entirely
ideological and racist.

I do have one big caveat about the reporting on the mosque killings. All the headlines refer to it as the 'Christchurch mosque killings'. I must admit that when I first saw the headlines
and realized they were about a massacre, my next thought was "how can a mosque be called 'Christchurch'? It is not, of course. 'Christchurch mosque' simply means it is located in
Christchurch, the biggest city on New Zealand's South Island. I don't know why the headlines don't say 'NZ mosque' or 'New Zealand mosque' instead which are both shorter than
'Christchurch mosque' which looks, prima facie, very much an oxymoron?

Robert Spencer, who maintains the blogsite Jihad Watch, and veteran observer of contemporary Islam, predicts in the wake of the New Zealand mosque killings, the imminent possibility
of free speech and free expression being severely curtailed in the Western democracies. In today's world of political ueber-correctness - currently wielded by the entire liberal
world almost exclusively in favor of Islam/Muslims and LBTQYYZism and its practitioners - whereby punctilious care is taken not to offend these totalitarianisms of the early 21st
century in any way whatsoever, soon any criticism or perceived criticism of them will qualify as a hate crime.

An omen of that comes with Fox News' suspension of talk show host Judge Jeanine Pirro for asking on her show whether the Musllim woman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who was
elected to the US Congress last November, adheres to sharia law which is 'antithetical' to the US Constitution.

According to the report on her suspension by Fox, this is what Pirro said in her show's Opening Statement on March 10:

Omar wears the hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?"

She apparently said nothing worse than that because that was the only statement cited to support Fox News's condemnation, as follows: "We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly."

Which is a politically ueber-correct reaction, and Pirro was right not to issue an apology. She said she merely intended to "ask a question and start a debate" and told the network and the Fox audience that of course, she knows that being a Muslim who is a US citizen "does not mean you don’t support the Constitution." What is left unsaid but obvious is that some Muslims do adhere to sharia law so strongly that they would like it imposed n the countries where they live, as some parts of the UK already do.

All Ms Omar had to do was to say, "I may wear a hijab which is a long-standing Muslim tradition but no, it does not mean I adhere to sharia law and not to the US Constitution". But, of course, she chose to wallow in the media reaction (sympathy for her and outrage at Pirro). She and her socialist-firebrand fellow neophyte congressman from the Bronx have been competing for media attention since Day 1 - and media gratifies them unfailingly by making headlines of everything they say and do. To the point where the Bronx congresswoman has earned her own three-letter headline tag a la JFK.

But that's taking me off course. Here's Robert Spencer on the imminent threat he perceives. He's quite melodramatic in his title and his opening sentence, but given his record, he has extremely personal reasons, besides the objective universal reasons he cites here, for his apparent paranoia.

So long, everybody
If I'm shut out of all platforms over
the next few days, you’ll know why.

by Robert Spencer

March 18, 2019

My friends, it could be time for me to be saying goodbye. Leftist and Islamic groups have been trying for years to silence all criticism of jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women and others, and in the New Zealand massacre they see the best chance in a long time to move in for the kill. I (along with other foes of jihad terror) could be banned from everything and rendered a non-person, a la Alex Jones, any day now.

This is no exaggeration. Meeting in Istanbul, the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on non-Muslim countries to ban “Islamophobia,” which means criticism of Islam, including analysis of the motivating ideology fueling jihad terror. IUMS President Ahmed al-Raisouni said Friday: “IUMS calls on non-Muslim countries to ban the spread of hatred against Islam and Muslims.”

Since analysis of the motivating ideology behind jihad terror is routinely smeared as “hatred of Islam and Muslims,” this will likely outlaw all such analysis and make opposition to jihad terror effectively impossible.

And these bans are very likely coming. In America, they won’t take the form of actual laws forbidding criticism of Islam (although remember that Tom Perez, the current head of the Democratic National Committee, refused to rule out the implementation of such laws a few years ago, when he was Assistant Attorney General in the Obama administration).

They’re more likely to take the form of a complete de-platforming. We will be able to speak, but no one will be able to hear us, as we won’t be allowed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the rest.

IUMS was not alone. Saudi King Salman tweeted:

“The heinous massacre that targeted worshippers in the mosque in New Zealand is a terrorist act, and it reaffirms the responsibility of the international community in combating hate speech and terrorism that is not condoned by religions or the values of tolerance.”

Apparently terrorism that is condoned by religions is fine with him, as in “strike terror in the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60). But by “hate speech” he almost certainly means honest discussion of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence.

Domestically, the call for censorship came from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has for years been trying to shut down all opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others.
- They have succeeded in fooling many people into thinking that it is “bigotry” and “racism” to oppose jihad terror, and have made those who discuss the motivating ideology behind jihad terror toxic in the public square.
- Now Hamas-linked CAIR is attempting to use the New Zealand massacre to achieve total victory: the complete closure of all media platforms to foes of jihad terror and Sharia oppression.

In its press conference on the New Zealand mosque shootings, CAIR top dog Nihad Awad named Donald Trump as responsible for the massacre, despite the fact that in the murderer’s insane “manifesto,” he asks himself: “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?,” and answers: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”

The “symbol of renewed white identity” part is all that the media is quoting. He never says he was incited to violence by Trump, or says anything about Trump and Muslims at all.

Awad also named Pamela Geller and me: “Years ago when another terrorist attacked in Norway, he quoted islamophobes like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.” Yes, he also quoted Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy and Charles Darwin and a host of others. He said he was inspired to violent actions by al-Qaeda. Awad does not, of course, say anything about that.

Anyway, CAIR’s press conference was a full-court press for censorship, and it painted, yet again, a large target on our backs for increasingly unhinged and violent Leftists, as well as jihadis.
- CAIR calls for a total silencing on all platforms of so-called “hate groups,” i.e., those who dare to note that jihad terrorists are inspired by Islamic texts and teachings.
- It is likely that the social media giants will comply; it will not be at all surprising if they succeed in getting us completely silenced.

Not surprisingly, it was in Britain that police moved most swiftly on this. The BBC reported Saturday that “a 24-year old from Oldham” was arrested for a social media post “making reference and support for the terrible events” in New Zealand. Approving of a massacre is disgusting, and if he was calling for or approving of violence then there is no justification for that.

At the same time, the BBC report says: “Social media firms and some news outlets have been criticised for sharing livestream footage of the attack and failing to address far-right extremism on their platforms.”

Calling for or justifying a massacre of innocent people is one thing. But "failing to address far-right extremism on their platforms" is quite another.
- For years now, Leftists and Islamic supremacists have insisted that opposing jihad mass murder and Sharia oppression of women and others constitutes "far-right extremism."
- So it is likely that those who will be shut down will not be limited solely to people such as this “24-year-old from Oldham” who was “making reference and support for the terrible events.” It will include foes of jihad terror.

If and when we are all silenced, however, the jihad will not stop. The multicultural paradise will not dawn on the planet; in fact, there will be more jihad violence and strife than ever. There just won’t be anyone around who dares to oppose it.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS.

It appears that the headline-making Ms. Omar was in the news earlier for her apparent anti-Semitism. William Kilpatrick, another leading commentator and analyst of contemporary Islam had this essay in CWR:

The multicultural myth,
anti-Semitism and misogyny

In defense of Ilhan Omar, a fellow Democrat
said'she comes from a different culture.'
But that’s precisely the point, isn’t it?

by William Kilpatrick

March 17, 2019

The unanswered question about the controversy over Representative Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic statements is why anyone was surprised by them.

Judging by the heavy duty hijabs she wears, Omar is a religious Muslim. And the Koran, which is sacred scripture to Muslims, is replete with anti-Jewish sentiments: Jews are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they wish evil for people and try to mislead them (2:109); and they are cursed by Allah (9:30) who transformed them into apes and pigs (5:59-60). It shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone who takes the Koran seriously might harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

In the Muslim world, Jews are widely considered to be at the back of every bad thing that’s ever happened. Just a few days ago, for example, a Muslim student at NYU accused Chelsea Clinton of being a cause of the New Zealand mosque attack. Clinton’s crime? In the wake of Ilhan Omar’s tweet, Clinton tweeted: “We should expect all elected officials…to not traffic in anti-Semitism.” So a mild criticism of anti-Semitism somehow led a white supremacist in New Zealand who is, in all probability, also an anti-Semite, to kill Muslims at worship. That’s hard to figure. But, then, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are not known for their logical consistency.

At this point one is supposed to say that not all Muslims are anti-Semitic. That’s quite true. One is also supposed to add that the vast majority of Muslims are not in the least anti-Semitic. But that, sorry to say, is highly doubtful.
- An ADL [Jewish Anti-Defamation League] global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes reveals that people who live in Muslim majority lands score higher on anti-Semitism than other people in other countries.
- In the West Bank and Gaza 93 % of those surveyed had anti-Semitic attitudes. In Iraq the figure was 92%. In both Libya and Algeria, 87% had a negative view of Jews, while 86% of Tunisians and 80% of Moroccans held anti-Semitic views.

It follows that — unless they become thoroughly assimilated — Muslims who migrate from these countries into the West will carry these anti-Semitic attitudes with them. Exhibit A is Europe. The continent which promised the world, “never again,” has seen a dramatic rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes coinciding with the recent migration of millions of Muslims into Europe.

But instead of resisting the new wave of anti-Semitism, a significant number of European politicians are adapting to it. A prime example is Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, who has basically done nothing to quell the growing anti-Jewish element in his party. The slide into anti-Semitism is in part a response to the rise of the Muslim voter. According to the Office of National Statistics, the Muslim population of England and Wales in 2011 was 5.4 percent of the total, while the Jewish population stood at only 0.5 percent.

The muted Democratic Party response to Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism suggests that the Democrats, like their counterparts in Britain, will also follow the path of least resistance.
- Instead of a strong resolution condemning anti-Semitism, all that the Democrats could muster was a watered-down statement condemning every kind of hate under the sun.
- Currently, Jews in America outnumber Muslims, but by 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the second largest religious group after Christians.

If one takes a global view, the Muslim-Jewish ratio is even more lopsided. There are approximately 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, but only about 16 million Jews. To put that in perspective, consider that the total population of all the Jews in the world is less than half of the population of Tokyo.
- If you’re a politician with an eye on potential voters, you’re not going to expend a lot of energy defending a group of people that makes up only 0.02 percent of the world’s population.

In defense of Ilhan Omar, Representative Jan Schakowsky said, “she comes from a different culture.” But that’s precisely the point, isn’t it?
- Culture is very powerful. It does shape the way people think and act. We all know it, but our society requires us to deny it.
- The culture-shapers in the West demand that we acquiesce in the fiction that all cultures and religions are equally beneficent, tolerant, and freedom loving, and thus all people share the same basic values.
- They tell us that a multicultural world will be a less bigoted one.

But the truth is, most Muslims grow up in cultures that are steeped in anti-Semitism. It’s not a hypothesis. It’s a fact. Some Muslims rise above their cultural conditioning, but many do not. - thus, it is quite reasonable to expect that when Muslims migrate they will bring some of that anti-Semitic conditioning with them. Ilhan Omar is not an aberration. She is in the Islamic mainstream.

What else can we expect as Muslim migration into the West increases? - One doesn’t have to be a Nostradamus to predict an increase in misogyny and a rise in the mistreatment of women.
- Islamic societies are not friendly to women’s rights.
- In Mauritania, the Parliament has twice rejected a bill that would require tougher penalties for violence against women. The rejected bill would also have allowed women to travel without their husband’s permission. But the Islamic arbiters of culture in Mauritania said no.
- Not surprisingly, similar bills to protect women and to raise the marriageable age for girls have been rejected in a number of different legislatures throughout the Muslim world.

The Koran says that “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other” (4: 34). The same passage authorizes husbands to “admonish them [their wives] and send them to beds apart and beat them” (4: 34). Moreover, an authoritative Hadith records that Muhammad gave his comrades permission to rape non-Muslim women captured in combat (Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, no. 3371). Since Islam considers itself to be in a permanent state of war with the non-Islamic world, this is often interpreted by some Muslim men to mean that non-Muslim women in non-Islamic countries can be raped with impunity.

Should it come as a surprise, then, that as Muslim immigration into Europe has increased, so has the incidence of rape and other sexual assaults against girls and women?
- When arrested and brought before courts, the perpetrators are often puzzled.
- They don’t see anything wrong with their behavior, and they argue that in their own countries, uncovered women are fair game. - In similar fashion, their lawyers frequently trot out the “they-come-from-a-different-culture” defense. And it frequently works. - Judges in Europe tend to give astonishingly light sentences to Muslims who are found guilty of rape.

The question is not, “Does culture affect attitudes and behaviors?” Everyone from lenient German judges to culturally sensitive Democratic congresswomen tacitly admits that it does.
- The question is, are there objective standards of right and wrong by which all cultures can be judged? That is the question that the Nuremberg Trial judges had to answer after the Holocaust. And that is the question before us today.

The same question comes up in the matter of female genital mutilation (FGM). Although FGM has been a criminal offense in the UK since 1985, it has nevertheless become a major problem which may affect as many as 60,000 girls.
- How did the once unheard of practice of FGM grow to such proportions? The most likely reason is that it was never prosecuted. In fact, the first conviction for FGM in Britain didn’t occur until February of this year.

Why is that? FGM expert and attorney Dr. Charlotte Proudman maintains that the lack of prosecutions is due to fears about being accused of racism: “[Doctors and police] are concerned about cultural sensitivities, worried about being branded racists.’’

In short, British authorities consider FGM to be a cultural thing, and thus something that they, as good multiculturalists, shouldn’t pass judgement on. Meanwhile, in Britain and also in continental Europe, tens of thousands of Muslim girls and young women continue to pay the price for this non-judgmental attitude. It is estimated that at least 500,000 European Muslims have been victims of the brutal practice.

Will FGM come to America? As you probably know, it already has. The only question is, will it spread? According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of woman and girls at risk for FGM has doubled in the past ten years, with more than half a million at risk of undergoing the procedure.

One of the three metropolitan areas where the practice is most prevalent is Minneapolis which has the largest Somali Muslim community in the U.S., and is also the home district of Ilhan Omar. Omar has said that the practice is “heinous,” but nevertheless argued against a Minnesota bill that would increase penalties for FGM (although she ultimately voted for it.)

Another place with a disproportionate number of FGM cases is the Detroit area, which also happens to be the home district of Rashida Tlaib, the other Muslim congresswoman and a defender of Ilhan Omar. In November, 2018 a Federal Judge in Detroit dismissed multiple charges of FGM against a Michigan doctor and her co-defendants, ruling that the federal law banning FGM is unconstitutional. Tellingly, the doctor’s lawyers used the “multicultural” defense saying that their clients were being “persecuted for practicing their religion by a culture and society that doesn’t understand their beliefs and is misinterpreting what they did.”

The judge’s ruling was based on a legal technicality, not on the cultural defense, but as the Muslim population in the U.S. grows, we are likely to hear more of the “we-have-a-different- culture” argument in defense of anti-Jewish sentiments, misogynist practices, and FGM.

Ironically, one of the strongest voices protesting against the relativistic multicultural position is that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali who, like Ilhan Omar, is also a refugee from Somalia. A former member of the Dutch Parliament and also a former Muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is, perhaps, the leading defender of a woman’s inherent rights against Islam’s cultural and religious claims. Here is the mission statement of her AHA Foundation:

The organization believes in liberty for all. That means liberty from female genital mutilation, honor violence and forced marriages. And it means liberty to challenge the ideology of Islamism — extremism that threatens Western Civilization — with rational Enlightenment thought.

We are rapidly coming to the point where we will have to choose between Hirsi Ali’s defense of universal rights, and the multicultural view that what’s right and wrong is relative — simply a function of one’s surrounding culture.

Although Hirsi Ali is an atheist, she respects Christianity, and her natural rights philosophy with its emphasis on rationality is close to the Catholic position. The Catholic Church holds that there is a natural order of things which is accessible to our reason. Out of this natural law flow certain natural rights as well as moral duties proper to our human nature. The Church is, in fact, one of the few institutions still capable of making the case that moral rules are not arbitrary inventions of cultures but rather that they follow from a proper understanding of our human nature.

We tend to take it for granted that the rejection of anti-Semitism and misogyny will continue to be bedrock principles of our society. But it’s best not to make that assumption. Because recent generations of Americans have been thoroughly schooled in the doctrine of cultural relativism, the battle for these bedrock principles may have to be fought all over again.

I harbored no prejudices whatsoever about Muslims, until their extremists, abetted by their political and religious leaders, brought on the Age of Contemporary Terrorism, and I began to see Islamism as an ideology as pernicious and anti-human as the earlier murderous totalitarianisms of the 20th century - Nazism and Communism. But where the latter were at least upfront about their atheism, Islamism ostentatiously flaunts its faith in Allah, the God Mohammed preached, but even more, in Mohammed himself for having laid down the Koran and all its corollary teachings which Muslims follow to the letter according to the variety of Islam they profess.

The best non-Muslim scholars of Islam agree that the Koran, i.e., Mohammed - is very explicit about the ultimate goal to Islamize the whole world and to kill 'infidels' who refuse to become Muslim, or at least, reduce them to dhimmitude, which is abject subservience to Islam which, unlike any other religion today, is also the law (sharia) that governs everything a Muslim says and does in daily life as in religious practice. And that is why it is hard to find genuine 'moderate' Muslims who do not see a universal caliphate as the immediate and ultimate goal.

And while the great majority of 'ordinary' Muslims may oppose terrorist killings and violence done in the name of Allah, they are also obedient faithful who listen to what their local imam says and whatever their political leaders tell them is 'good' and 'right' for Islam. Islam is so inbred into their very marrow that everywhere they go, they must continue to live as they have always have done - hence the Muslim ghettoes of Europe today, and even in parts of the USA and Canada. Why would they acculturate and assimilate themselves into an alien culture when it is indoctrinated into them that eventually Islam will rule the world?

In such a context, we must see the ascendancy of Muslim politicians in the USA. In 2016, London elected a first-generation London-born Pakistani Muslim, Sadiq Khan, as its mayor, sometimes described as the torchbearer of the social democratic wing of Britain's Labour Party. Before becoming mayor, he was a Member of Parliament from 2005-2016. He was always seen as a Muslim moderate who has famously said, "Too often the people who are 'representing' the Islamic faith aren't representative, they're angry men with beards. And that is not what Islam is about."

Unfortunately, the US Muslims in politics today hold to the Islamist ideology that is already anticipating a One World Religion as a necessary result of Islam's conquest of the world. But contrary to what Jorge Bergoglio and Hans Kueng think, naively, that this One World religion will be - i.e, a syncretism of all the positive secular values present in existing religions, with no particular weight or importance given to the elements of Christianity that may be incorporated - the one world religion that the Islamists will impose can only be Islam.

Yet instead of defending Christianity and keeping it intact, alive and essential to the faithful - which is the Church's priority task - the pope himself has not only been setting the example of the most abject dhimmitude to Islam (Abu Dhabi was just the most recent example). More practically, he has turned into the main agent for the Islamization of the West by his advocacy of unlimited mass immigration for which the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are Muslim. Which is the major secular reason - without getting into his deranged theology - that this pope cannot be considered other than anti-Catholic, which really means being anti-Christ.

00Monday, March 18, 2019 8:13 AM

The Transfiguration, Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1307.

The glory of the Transfigured Crucified
by Fr. Robert P. Imbelli

March 17, 2019

As far back as our liturgical sources take us, we find the Church beginning Lent with the Gospels of Jesus’s Temptation in the desert and his Transfiguration on the mountain.

Hence Christians’ Lenten experience replicates the God-guided experience of the people of Israel: their forty days of journeying in the desert, which tested their fidelity, and the community-founding theophany at Sinai which endowed them with the Torah of grace.

But for Christians the pillar of fire and the life-sustaining manna, the covenant and the promise are all recapitulated in Christ. The spiritual élan of Israel’s faith, the intimations and pre-figurations of its inspired Scriptures, find their fulfillment in the Person of Jesus the Christ.

Theophany, in its awesome grace and transforming truth, is revealed to be Christophany. Hence the heart of Christian worship is ever to proclaim, with the seer of the Apocalypse, the joyful doxology: “To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Rev 1:5-6)

One of the inestimable gifts that God has provided his Church is that of the Canon of Holy Scripture: both Testaments bearing conjoint witness to Christ who, in the words of the Church’s pioneering theologian, “is the end of the law” (Rom 10:4) – not its abolishment, but its goal and fulfillment.

What continues to evoke wonder and gratitude is how harmonious is the New Testament’s witness to the novum of Jesus Christ and the salvation he brings – the salvation he is. Not by way of facile “harmonization,” but by the disclosure of a “depth grammar,” a foundational “logic,” if you will, that is pervasively a “Christo-logic.”

Much has been accomplished in New Testament scholarship by stressing the distinctive perspectives of the individual New Testament authors. But there is also a danger of separating them into discrete units, a neglect of the governing canonical perspective. And that perspective, that hermeneutic, as Benedict XVI never tired of insisting, is Christological.

The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Lent is Saint Luke’s telling of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The account of Jesus transfigured appears in each of the Synoptic Gospels, and in each it assumes a crucial role. It follows upon Peter’s confession of Jesus’s identity and marks the more insistent foretelling of his betrayal, his suffering, and his death.

In each Synoptic there is a clear parallel between the narrative of the Transfiguration and that of the Lord’s Baptism. In each epiphany, the voice of the Father is heard from heaven heralding: “This is my beloved Son.” The uniqueness of relation between Father and Son announced at the Baptism is repeated and reinforced at the Transfiguration. Reinforced, because the disciples on the Mount and those to whom they will announce the Good News are exhorted: “Listen to him!” Jesus’s unique authority is proclaimed.

Three features of Luke’s narrative, however, are distinctive and worth considering.
- First, Luke situates the Transfiguration in the context of the prayer of Jesus. He went up to the mountain to pray, and while praying, “his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” Though the other Synoptics refer elsewhere to Jesus’s prayer, Luke places it in singular relief.
- Second, Luke alone recounts the subject of the exchange among Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. They “spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” The suffering and death of Jesus is thereby inserted into the very heart of the Christophany – Transfiguration and Golgotha united in synoptic vision.
- Third, Luke alone of the Synoptics underscores the element of “Glory” that pervades the event. Moses and Elijah appeared “in glory” (doxa); and the disciples, fully awake, saw “Jesus’s glory.” The clear implication is that the glory of Jesus radiates to enfold Moses and Elijah. They are bathed in his glory. Jesus is the sun whose light illumines all those who “dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,” as Zechariah had prophesied. (Lk 1:79)

But the glory of Jesus is not foreign to suffering. Indeed, it shines out precisely in the passion that Jesus willingly undertakes for the world’s salvation. It is above all in his “exodus” that his glory is revealed. His crucifixion becomes his coronation.

Pondering Luke’s recounting of Jesus’s transfiguration, one wonders whether we have paid sufficient heed to its intimate connection with another of his Gospel’s most distinctive depictions: the account of the appearance of the risen Lord to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Jesus chides the down-struck disciples: “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:26) The glory manifested in anticipation at the Transfiguration is now fully realized in the Resurrection, the transformation of suffering and death itself.

And to weave yet more tightly the bond between the two scenes, the risen Christ, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” interprets to the disciples, of yesterday and today, “the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures”. (24:27) The risen Lord testifies that the Logos inspiring and sustaining the whole of Israel’s journey of faith finds eschatological embodiment in himself and his continuing presence in the breaking of Eucharistic bread.

The Glory of the crucified and transfigured Christ enkindled the Christic imagination of the priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, both in heights of exaltation and in depths of desolation. Hopkins glimpsed traces of Christ in all creation – in its grandeur and pied beauty, as well as in its searing affliction and silent tears.

But his Christ-figured vision finds particularly charged expression in the great sonnet, “The Windhover,” explicitly dedicated “To Christ our Lord.” The poem culminates in a riot of images of suffering undergone and transfigured – in Christ the Lord, but also, through Christ, in all those who enter into his Glory:
"No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plow down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion."

In the traditional liturgy, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year on March 18 because the feast day falls on a Sunday in Lent. I believe New York City has an indult to celebrate
it on March 17 even in Lent. But perhaps the worst fate to befall St. Patrick in New York City is to have his feast day reduced to nothing more than an excuse for a St. Patrick's
Day parade increasingly hijacked by Gay Pride marchers whose rainbow enthusiasm is unfazed by the sea of green commemorating St. Patrick. Fr. Rutler's column this week reflects
on the paradoxes of St Patrick's legacy - in Ireland where every week brings that nation farther away from Catholicism, which even as late as half a century ago, was legendary for
sending its -priests, nuns and religious - missionaries around the world, and in Nigeria where they did their best work in terms of the number of people who converted to Catholicism.

Thoughts on St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2019

The holy patron of our archdiocese was a contemporary of Saint Augustine. While Augustine of North Africa became one of the greatest Doctors of the church, Patrick of Roman Britain humbly called himself uneducated, even though he was schooled in France by Saint Germaine of Auxerre and possibly Saint Martin of Tours, and was given books by Pope Saint Celestine I.

Patrick, after six youthful years as a slave captured by Irish pirates, embarked upon the conversion of the Druid tribes. He did not chase the snakes out of Ireland because there were none, nor did he explain the Holy Trinity using a shamrock, for that would have been a Partialist error inconsistent with the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed formulated just a few years before his birth. But he sparked a fire that shed the Gospel light on many parts of the world.

The largest number of people who claim Patrick for their patron are Nigerians, converted by heroic Irish missionaries. The number of baptized Catholics in Nigeria has soared from 19 million in 2005 to 53 million today. There are two thousand priests and nearly 4,000 Religious, along with a boom in vocations.

By contrast, despite many worthy witnesses, the majority of Irish people failed to heed the warnings of Saint John Paul II when he became the first pontiff to set foot on the soil of Eire in 1979. He preached to 1.25 million faithful at a Mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Last year, Pope Francis offered Holy Mass in the same place, and fewer than 130,000 showed up.
- Four months later, the Druids returned and defiantly danced in the streets when abortion was legalized.
- The Taoiseach (Prime Minister), was elected while publicly living in perverse contempt of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. - The chief seminary of Maynooth has the lowest numbers of students since its foundation in 1795.
- Its rector of fifteen years abandoned the Faith and now conducts an esoteric cult in Arizona.

An Irish commentator and playwright recently called Ireland “The Most Anti-Catholic Country on Planet Earth.” This would seem to be hyperbolic, given persecution in Muslim lands, China and North Korea, but it bespeaks the adolescent rebellion of a population moved by an anger unlike the cool detachment of calculating governments.

This is a warning to Catholics in the United States, because such is what happens when religion is only a political and ethnic sentiment. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York City has become a bibulous charade of Saint Patrick.

While contingents advertise their contempt for his Gospel, Nigerians honor Saint Patrick in a different way. A few weeks ago, Nigerian soldiers under attack by the Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram did not masquerade as leprechauns drinking green beer. In a Zambiza forest, they knelt and chanted as their chaplain raised aloft for adoration the same Blessed Sacrament with which Patrick had faced the Druids.

On 1Peter5, Steve Skojec recounts in the form of a non-fiction short story one of the most powerful episodes in Patrick's evangelization of the Irish tribes. -

It is also an occasion to recall St. Patrick's great prayer known as St. Patrick's Breastplate, the imagery taken from Ephesians 6, in St. Paul's admonition on how to battle evil with 'the armor of God'.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

00Tuesday, March 19, 2019 7:36 PM

On St.Joseph's Day today, I put together images that show him as the young man he was when God chose him to be the spouse of the Mother of God and the young man he was to the time when Jesus was 12, which is the last mention of him in the Gospel.

St. Joseph’s Day 2019
by 'Evensong'

March 19,2019

This year more than ever before in history, we need the guidance and protection of St. Joseph. Today, we take a moment to consider at the greatest threats facing the faithful on this feast day of St. Joseph, March, 2019, and the wonderful guardian we have in Saint Joseph.

The Church is under attack from her enemies both from outside and within her very inner sanctum. The enemy of Christ has usurped control of the leadership. In this crisis, we turn to Saint Joseph, the protector of the Church.

The ancient enemy of the Church, having established the satanic [anti-]sacrament of abortion throughout the world, even in once-Catholic Ireland, is now turning to establish “palliative care” (a pseudonym for euthanasia) as a way to attack the life of the elderly and disabled. And so we turn to Saint Joseph, the Patron of the dying.

In the battle to save Christian families, we have perhaps, lost the most ground with the ideology of “gay marriage” and “gender fluidity” being pushed by the same enemies of Christ and His Church And we turn to Saint Joseph, Patron of Families.

Also, remember that Saint Joseph is the Patron of our priests – think on the beautiful, mystical vision of Knock!

There is yet one more way in which each of us should be turning to St. Joseph – he is the Terror of demons. Now, this is something I can personally affirm; St. Joseph is a strong protector against the dark powers that are so strong today.

St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite reformer, mystic and doctor of the Church was especially devoted to St. Joseph. From her Autobiography we read of St. Joseph, “I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him.”

At the last apparition of Fatima, on October 13, 1917, St. Joseph appeared holding the Child Jesus, who blessed the crowds. This was an emphatic indication of the importance of St. Joseph in these turbulent times.

Venerable Maria de Agreda, in “The Mystical City of God”, recounts the special privileges which make St. Joseph a most powerful intercessor on behalf of his children.
- Attaining purity and overcoming sensuality.
- Escaping sin and returning to the faith.
- Increasing love and devotion to his spouse, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Securing the grace of a happy death and defending the soul against the devil’s wiles at that crucial time.

St. Joseph is the terror of demons and they flee at his name.

St. Joseph is a great intercessor for all our needs, especially helpful for our families and health.

Venerable Maria de Agreda quoted Our Lady’s words to her, “That which my spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on
his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them.”

Indeed, trusting in St. Joseph as the foster father of our family has brought us closer to living our consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the
Immaculate Heart of Mary. In speaking of St. Joseph, it is difficult to adequately express his tender love for us, his willingness to protect us,
even from ourselves and obtain for us the graces we need to live our consecrations.

Those interested may check out this site
for plausible accounts from visionaries about the untold life of this extraordinary saint whom God chose
to be foster father of His only Son and chaste spouse and protector of His mother.

A most blessed and happy name day

to Father Joseph Ratzinger,

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

And on behalf of all of us who love and admire Benedict XVI, heartfelt thanks to New Catholic at Rorate caeli for offering the Leonine prayer today in remembrance also of Joseph Ratzinger's name day.

00Tuesday, March 19, 2019 8:10 PM

Unexpected on the pope's part, but hardly a sensation. Cardinal Barbarin is right to decide to retire.
Rightly or wrongly, he has become a liability to his archdiocese because he will always be associated
with a guilty verdict on a sex abuse cover-up... Yet no announcement from the CDF that it will investigate
Barbarin at all. The CDF made it sound, after the sentencing of Cardinal Pell, that a canonical trial
was called for in the case of a guilty verdict against prelates accused of sexual abuse and/or cover-up
But why ignore the Lyon verdict while making it look like the Vatican thinks Pell is guilty as
accused by promptly announcing his canonical trial? I guess Cardinal Pell has become
persona minime grata to this pope holier-than-thou
(forgetting Maccarone, Grassi, Ricca, Inzoli,
Barros, McCarrick, Zanchetta and God-alone-knows-who-else).

BTW, those who still think Jorge Bergoglio is not the legitimate pope - despite all the wishful but
ultimately futile thinking he is not - would do well to read
in which the writer marshals all available authoritative opinion to show why the very fact that
Bergoglio's election was immediately accepted universally and did not begin to be contested until
several months later, establishes the 'dogmatic fact' that he is the legitimate pope validly elected to
succeed Benedict XVI
. You may personally refuse to accept him as pope - that does not make him any
less pope, and whatever else he may go down for in history, he will always be recorded as the 266th
Successor of Peter. And whatever Georg Gaenswein may have said to unnecessarily confuse the issue,
does anyone doubt that Benedict XVI himself recognizes the legitimacy of his successor?

If you attend Mass at all, I would say that your very attendance at a rite where the celebrant is obliged
to pray for the reigning Pope in the first of the prayers of the Eucharistic canon (as I imagine 99.9%
of the world's priests do) is de facto acceptance that he is the pope. I wonder if Frank Walker and all those
who have been gleefully stomping on Steve Skojec for 'insisting' that Bergoglio is pope whatever you may
think of him, have given up going to Mass in order not to have any part in the 'una cum' prayer. Or have
they found a don Minutella nearby who says the Mass without mentioning the reigning pope in that prayer?
More importantly, doesn't this pope need our prayers more than anyone else so that he may return
to the faith and be the pope he ought to be?

It's an intolerable and excruciating agony that God has chosen to put us through but he has allowed it
for the same inscrutable divine reasons that he allowed Nazism and Communism and all the assorted evils
that have afflicted fallen mankind, to which the human mind finds it almost impossible to simply say,
Fiat voluntas tua. Instead we have no choice but to pray: "Lord, let this all pass away soon, and may your
Church and all of us who are its members be the better and stronger for the lessons you mean us to learn".

Mundabor has an interesting reflection on the lot we have drawn who have the misfortune to be living in the time of Bergoglio...

The lot we have been given

March 19 2019

Many times in my life, even before Francis, I have bemoaned my being born in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

A very conservative guy born in a very conservative family, I always felt a bit of a “fish out of the water” in the world I saw around me. It actually began as I was a little child, and the adolescents around me had long (often dirty) hair, wore those horrible blue jeans, and swore like you wouldn’t believe; none of which happened in my well-ordered, rigid, socially very conservative family. Basically, I have felt an outsider, and one born in the wrong age, since the age of four or five. I was terrified of growing up to become one of those long-haired cretins. Happily, it never happened.

When I became an adult, things got worse. The sexual mores of the age were – whilst much more rigid than what I saw afterwards – very different from the traditional country [Italy] I had learned to love through intensive reading and the exortations of my grandmas and grand aunts, and which corresponded to my deepest longing.

I saw around me not only the sinfulness (that, I assure, I always had myself), but an attitude towards it that I found shocking. The world had found its own morality and was very happy with it. I confusedly rebelled, but literally did not know where to look as the Church clearly was infected with the same disease and all those example of the past were gone. I longed for the world my grandmas and grandaunts so clearly represented and in which, it was clear, they had felt so comfortable their entire life.

Now things are, if not at their most painful (if you really want to know pain, you need to be twenty), certainly at their worst. They are, in fact, almost apocalyptycally bad. And once again, I find myself wishing that I were born in a different age.

But then I reflect that I was born exactly at the hour and minute God wanted me to be born. I reflect that all my pains and challenges, God knew before all eternity. I reflect that we are not given to choose the lot that is given to us. We live in the Age of Insanity; when men think they are women, and he who objects is the one with the “phobias”.

God made us live in the Age of Insanity so that we can do our part and collaborate with His grace, fighting the insanity He has allowed to happen. From abortion to euthanasia and from sodomy to Francis, he has put us here knowing perfectly all of this, and in order for us to give our testimony against it.

Nor were past ages a bed of roses. When would I have wanted to be born, exactly? Shall we say, 1890? That would very possibly have meant a trench in the Alps. 1910 perhaps? Ah, that would have meant, quite likely, a barrack in Somalia, my own country torn by civil wars, and effing Commies wherever I turn. 1930 then? Fine, you get to grow up with an unprecedented threat to humanity, and a Communist nightmare taking over more than half Europe. What about 1950? Far too late. Actually, this is the generation that started the whole mess.

Granted, a young man in a trench in the Alps can see senseless massacre around him, but his world will still be in order: Truth and Pope steady on his side, and a system of values allowing him to die in comfort...

I really think we don’t count our blessings often enough.

I am here now, approaching old-ish age. I can sit comfortably at my computer, for now free of religious persecution, and fight for what I believe with a keyboard; in the warmth and comfort of my home; surrounded by unprecedented wealth in the Country and Continent, and not in any need myself; able to afford the luxury to be in pain because of Francis’s antics, rather than because of the grenade exploded 30 feet from my foxhole, or the American bomber flattening out my barracks; and, most of all, with the Internet giving me both a voice and a set of ears inconceivable in every age past.

This is the lot we were given. An Evil Clown as Pope is an unprecedented challenge; but so were the Summer of Love, the Cold War, Hiroshima, the First World War, the French Revolution, the Thirty Years War, the damn Ottomans, Luther and his ilk, the Western Schism, the Plague of 1348, the Great Schism, the damn Muslim hordes, the damn Barbarians hordes, the Great Heresies of the IV Century, and who knows how much I forget now….

I reflect on all this, and I do not complain too much. God knows what he does, and I must say my lot has been very painful at times, and I will carry the scars for life; but all in all, it has been a pain born of comfort and a full belly, it was the pain of rich societies. Yes, we can play spiritual and say it would be better to suffer hunger an entire lifetime and know that the Pope is staunchly Catholic, but I am not entirely sure we would really switch places given the possibility.

This is the lot we were given. We were given it for a reason. It has good and bad like every other age before and after us, and it has unique challenges like many other ages before (and after) us.

Think of it next time Francis sounds like he is on drugs.
00Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:40 AM

Jorge Bergoglio and his pontificate continue to be record-setting all right, but for all the wrong things. Since the invention of printing, no pope has had so many books
(or even any such book) hypercritical of him written just in the first few years of his papacy.

The man who is supposed to be the symbol of unity for the Church has turned instead not just into her most divisive and destructive agent but a deliberate wrecking-ball
bent on reducing to rubble and dust any doctrine or practice of the Church that he rejects as objectionable for the anti-Catholic church of Bergoglio that he has been
establishing - only de facto now, necessarily, because he needs his supreme de jure powers in the real Church to perpetrate his diabolical designs against the one true
Church of Christ. Of course, he only 'means well' - in fact, he thinks [blasphemously] of his ambitions and goals as 'inspired by the Holy Spirit' when the spirit he appears
to evoke is really Satan.

Six years in, Francis has shown himself
to be the most troubling pope in history

by Peter Kwasniewski

March 19, 2019

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photomontage above tells quite a tale, on this, the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’s papal inauguration on March 19, 2013.

As we know from the seldom dull annals of Church history, many popes have deserved, and received, abundant praise or bitter criticism from their contemporaries or from later ages.
- On the one hand, the papacy shines, like a jewel-studded crown, with dozens of saints who shouldered their burden of governance with heroic generosity and dedication. The papacy’s record in this regard puts to shame the record of any other institution; indeed, no series of rulers of any earthly empire or kingdom can hold a candle up to it for longevity, stability, constancy, and virtue.
- On the other hand, as history shows, the papacy — though protected from definitively committing the Church to error — is not, after all, protected from moral failings or intellectual debility, from catastrophic political blunders in pursuit of policy or from excessive friendliness to the Church’s enemies.

In a forthcoming book, Martin Mosebach vividly describes how we find both sides of the papacy illustrated in the first pope:

Even those hostile to the papacy would have to admire the shape and construction of this office that, from the beginning, has preserved it — in the person of Peter — from crises.

As the successor and representative of Christ, as the Rock on which the Church is to be built, even the most capable office-bearer is bound to fail. For this office of “confirming his brothers in faith”, Christ chose the very disciple who, while he had always shown courage and vitality, failed when it came to acknowledging his Master. “Then he began to curse and swear” — the evangelist, describing Peter’s apostasy beside the fire in the High Priest’s courtyard, leaves us in no doubt as to the seriousness of this betrayal.

By choosing Peter, Christ shows that the office of representative requires no special intellectual gifts and talents, no firmness of character and no proven stability — which means that every man is equally fitted and unfitted for this office.

Christ became man and therefore every man is equally equipped to represent him. No pope can betray Christ more than Peter did in that courtyard, no pope can follow Christ more than Peter, who got himself crucified on his account.

The choice of Peter establishes the clear distinction, in the Church, between the office and the person. It is this principle that makes it possible to encounter the incarnate, grace-bestowing Christ even in unworthy human beings. The choice of Peter also makes concrete the Catholic anthropology that sees man as weak and sinful, and yet called to pursue the highest perfection.

Today, we are required more than ever to lean hard on “the distinction between the office and the person.”
- The papacy deserves our veneration and our adherence.
- The incumbent pope may or may not be worthy of his office and may, in fact, be a major scandal, a stumbling block to the faithful and to those outside the flock.

Christ does not and will not abandon His Church, even when churchmen abandon Him. The Head of the Church is and always remains Jesus Christ.
- The phrase “Vicar of Christ” brings this out quite clearly: a vicar is one who stands in for someone, who represents Him, and has authority solely from and for Him.
- This concept not only does not lead to hyperpapalism, it undermines it in principle by showing the pope to be a stand-in for the actual eternal Head of the Church. The pope represents this Head on earth — and he can badly fail in his duty.

Mosebach rightly reminds us of a truth that, in healthier times, might seem a truism:
- Man is weak and sinful yet called to pursue the highest perfection.
- The pope, more than any other, is reasonably expected to pursue this highest perfection, not only to set a good example for the other shepherds and sheep, but more particularly to secure his own salvation and the good of the flock entrusted to him.

Alas, we see weakness and sinfulness abounding at the Vatican and throughout the Church.
- The evidence of corruption has become so multifaceted and voluminous that it is impossible not only to deny it, but even to avoid corrosive contact with it.
- The prophet Jeremiah has words for a situation like this: “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have caused them to go astray” (50:6).

The photomontage above puts before us an unprecedented number and variety of book-length critiques published over the past few years, documenting the doctrinal aberrations and failures of Pope Francis, which are cause for the greatest alarm and the most fervent prayer and penance. We pray that where sin abounds, grace will abound the more.
- Meanwhile, we know that the evils under which we suffer must be temporary; the only states that last forever are heaven and hell, which are not of this world.
- We may also take comfort and courage in the knowledge that God will not be mocked, but has already prepared in His eternal wisdom the doom that will come upon those who lift themselves above their humble status as successors, not replacements, of the apostles: “As for your terribleness, the pride of your heart has deceived you, O dweller in the clefts of the rock, holding the height of the hill. Though you should make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there, says the Lord” (Jer 49:16).

To high-ranking prelates enjoying favor, influence, and power, the prophet cries out: “You also, O madmen, shall be brought to silence; the sword shall pursue you” (Jer 48:2) — be it the sword of civil authorities or the sword of inevitable death.

"A sword against the oracle priests, that they may become fools! A sword against her mighty men, that they may be destroyed! … For it is a land of images, and they are mad over idols. Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her. (Jer 50:36–39 ESV)
- The “land of images” might call to mind disturbing light shows on the façades of Roman churches;
- Madness over idols calls to mind the frenetic chasing after the “values” of European liberalism, the abstract “ideals” of modernism, and the “cult” of liturgical change.
- The “wild beasts,” those who live by their carnal passions;
- the “hyenas,” those who make incessant noise about progress;
- the “ostriches,” those who bury their heads in the sand denying that there is a crisis —
all these will find themselves cast off to Babylon. It is only a matter of time.

An infallible law of the moral order guarantees, and the world’s history copiously illustrates, that evil necessarily consumes itself, and its protagonists end up destroying each other: “The mighty man has stumbled against the mighty; they have fallen both of them together” (Jer 46:12).

The mountain of literature critical of the Bergoglio pontificate and curia offers a somber witness, for our time and for future ages, to the inundation of wickedness in high places, and urges us to persevere in the Christian battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The really frightening thing is that while he may the most troubling pope in history, Jorge Bergoglio appears not the least bit troubled - because he has already managed to do in six years what the entire Age of Enlightenment and its liberal heirs over the past three centuries failed to do - which is to undermine the Catholic Church and the faith to the extent that Bergoglio has done so far, and all of it from within and from the top.

Maybe that is why none of his most fanatic and fawning paladins have written any book to counteract - much less to refute - all the contra-Bergoglio books so far. As I pointed out in an earlier post, most of us are aware only of the books written in English, but consider the fact that by the three of them alone, Italian Vaticanistas Aldo Maria Valli, Antonio Socci and Marco Tosatti have now written nine books so far criticizing Bergoglio and his Pontificate (Valli 4, Socci 3, Tosatti 2). In addition to which there must be a couple at least written by his fellow Argentines.

The Bergogliacs don't have to bother answering because, clothed with his full papal authority, Bergoglio's (mis)deeds and inexhaustible blather become instant dogma and instant magisterium, de jure and de facto.
Whereas none of what his critics write amounts to anything but personal opinion even if it is the truth they use to criticize him. Yup, life is not fair at all...

A few days ago, Fr. Hunwicke touched off a minor stir among his fellow 'conservative' bloggers by saying, with his unfailing irony, that Jorge Bergoglio is by no means 'the worst pope ever'...

'The worst pope ever'?

March 16, 2019

So a correspondent wrote on one of my threads. It set me thinking.

I am convinced that PF is most certainly not the worst man ever to have been pope. OK; he has a short temper; he turns easily to abuse; he has either a very bad memory or a tendency to lie. But even striking characteristics like his propensity to accuse people of shit-eating betoken, probably, nothing more than a cultural background a trifle different from our own.

We middle-class British are so much more circumlocutory in our put-downs of those we dislike. "My dear fellow, with the utmost respect I'm not entirely sure that I completely agree with you" may be every bit as aggressively focused as "You coprophagist!". We must be humble enough to be open to semantic diversity.

Anybody who seriously thinks that PF is the worst man ever to have been pope should probably read rather more Church History. I do not only have in mind the 'Marozia' popes of the period called the Pornocracy. [I had to look up Marozia, ale for which I was unprepared. See].

I would also nominate Urban VI, who precipitated the Western Schism by his 'harshness and violence'; and Paul IV Caraffa, 'of ferocious character', whose malevolent hostility towards the English Catholic Church during the reign of Queen Mary made it so much easier for Elizabeth Tudor to reintroduce the Reformation to my country.

What might, much more plausibly, be argued is that PF is the worst pope in the single sense that the papal office has drastically changed under the influence of modernity, in a world of instant communications and rapid reporting and the possibility of minute-by-minute micromanagement.

So this Ministry, when exercised by an impatient shoot-from-the-hip-especially-when-you're-irritated individual like PF, is more dangerous now than any exercise of the Petrine office was in the past, even in the pontificates of very bad men, back in those happy days when the ordinary layman or cleric probably knew little about the current occupant of the Roman See, and had certainly not heard about the sillier things he said in his private chapel this morning or the proclivities of his nastier cronies.

What we need after PF's death or abdication or deposition is not a better or more holy or more prayerful man. What we need is the papal office itself stripped down and cleansed from the idolatrous accretions of recent pontificates, so that it is again a Petrine Ministry which can without daily disaster be exercised by an ordinary sinful human being with ordinary human failings tempered by the Grace of God ... just like the great majority of popes over two millennia, who were neither saints nor reprobates.

Above all, a new pope will need the self-discipline to ... you thought I was going to write "Talk very much less". But that does not quite get to the heart of the problem. Very soon after this pontificate began, I wrote in a blogpost that our new pope should not be allowed out without whatever he was to say having been carefully checked by those in the Curia whose responsibility it is to give a theological shape to a pontificate.

Papal authority is not personal in an individualistic or whimsical sort of way. The pope is supposed to say, not what he feels or wants, but what the judgement of the Roman Church is as a corporate and structured body mindful of its own Holy and immemorial Tradition. (When PF, after some off-the-cuff remarks about his own liturgical preferences, emphatically added "This is Magisterium!", he thereby exemplified the main error which he entertains with regard to his own job-description.)

The first major exercise of papal authority, the letter called I Clement, has the form of something written as if by one member of the Roman Presbyterate. St Clement is not himself actually mentioned. The writer was very clearly an individual who expected to be obeyed. But he writes and judges and instructs in a corporate manner.

That is why the Curia Romana has a doctrinal status and purpose. It is not meant to be a tedious bureaucracy which so sadly gets in the way of everybody being able to see what a splendid chap a pope is once he is able to shake off his staff.

It is an integral part of the exercise of the Ministry which the Redeemer instituted in his Church, because an episkopos is meaningless without his presbyterium, his diakonia, his laos. And this goes for Rome as much as for any other particular Church. The earliest witnesses of the Roman Primacy, SS Ignatius and Irenaeus, do not explicitly mention the Roman Bishop; they talk about the Roman Church.

Finally: this Next Pope will need to remember the apercu of Blessed John Henry Newman, that the Ministry of the Roman Church within the Oikoumene is to be a barrier, a remora, against the intrusion of erroneous novelty. It is: to hand on the Great Tradition unadulterated.

In an age when the adjective "negative" has unpopular vibes, we need a reappropriation at the very highest level within the Church of the central, fundamental importance of a negative and preservative, papacy. Tradidi quod et accepi [I pass on to you what I have received) implies Quod non accepi non tradam (I do not pass on what I have not received).

Once again, Mundabor - whose blog motto is precisely Mons. Lefebvre's 'Tradidi quod et accepi' takes up the argument...

The race for worst pope

March 18, 2019

A mini-debate is raging as to whether Francis is the worst Pope in history. I would like to add my short take.

Other Popes in the past have certainly been quite as much scoundrels as Francis is. I also agree that some of the past Popes have been produced, and were in turn the product, in times of great corruption within the Church. But to me, this is not the point.

The point of Francis is that he is the apex (up to now) ofa period of unprecedented corruption within the Church. Corruption that is, we can safely say, on the one hand every bit as heretical as the Arian crisis and, on the other hand (and this makes it unique) encompassing every aspect of Church teaching from the death penalty to the doctrine of war, from homosexuality to adultery, from the understanding of the Sacraments to the very role of the Church.

Francis wins the title of worst Pope in history hands down because he sits at the very top of a pile of rot that has never been as high as today.

To this, we must obviously add the nature of today’s worldwide instant communication. However, it is not that Francis is a heretic only in what he says “off-the-cuff”. No, he plans his heresies with great care, as seen in the synods then transmogrified in Amoris Laetitia.

I grew up accustomed to read, in the touristic peregrinations to which I took part with my parents, of the sudden changes in the fortune of this or that Roman faction as the Pope, and thus the alliances and relationship of powe, changed (stuff like “when such and such becomes Pope, family X occupied the castles of Y and Z”; we are talking here of the families who gave or lost Popes, or had them in their pocket - the families of the Orsini and Colonna are still today in the popular lore for such antics).

Still, that corruption did not arrive at the very marrow of the Church. It was corruption of mores, not corruption of doctrine. It was the abuse of Church power to enrich individuals and families, not Her willed sabotage out of hatred for Her.

So yes, I think it can be safely said that Francis is, from what we can see, the worst Pope ever. The fact that his antics are instantly spread worldwide also add to his culpability, because he knows it and does it anyway.

Francis is a huge scoundrel sitting on top of a mountain of theological rot.

He wins this race hands down.

00Wednesday, March 20, 2019 6:52 PM

Why Jorge Bergoglio is validly pope:
For each objection, an answer

by Robert Siscoe

March 19, 2019

This is Part II in a two-part series. Read Part I here -
I did not post Part 1 although I did provide the link when I referenced it at the time it first came out, because it was lengthy and I did not have time that day to make the appropriate formatting
indications consistent with the text and formatting conventions I employ for all my posts. It does need to be placed on record.

Part 2 is useful because it takes the many objections made so far to contest the legitimacy and validity of Jorge Bergoglio's election as pope. Alas, it is is just the hard reality we must live with
because no one but God can do anything about it. He is pope whether we like it or not, whether we like him or not...

Other than his bald assertions that "Christ himself makes the man pope etc.", I have not taken the trouble to question any of Siscoe's arguments (even though some of them sound
rather circular to me, and I will not take his word for every syllogism he makes) - for the simple reason that I do not need them. Common sense always told me, that
however much I have come to reject him for failing to be what a pope is supposed to be, Bergoglio was elected pope - validly, despite the tendentious and weak technical
objections that have been raised. Subsequent arguments that have raged since then to dispute his legitimacy or to protest his apostasy/heresy, have all ended up concluding
that there really is nothing practical anyone can do about it.
So why persist in futile argument? Protest as loud and often as you can whatever he says and does that is anti-Catholic, but not
that he is pope. We protest, object, denounce and even condemn what he says and does because it matters to the Church and to the faithful, and it matters only because and if
he is pope, with all the 'plenitudo potestatis' that he thereby exercises

To briefly recap what was shown in Part I, the peaceful and universal acceptance of a pope, following his election, is an infallible sign of his legitimacy and of the presence of all the conditions required for legitimacy. Practically speaking, when the cardinals elect a pope and present him to the Church as having been elected, if the election is not at once contested, or if the man elected is not at once rejected, it provides infallible certitude that he is the true pope, as well as an equal degree of certitude that every condition required for him to have become pope (such as the condition that the papal office was vacant at the time), was satisfied.

Objections and Answers
(The objections in quotation marks are taken verbatim from online sources; the others are paraphrased.)

Objection: “Benedict remains in office. Even if the whole world is in error of fact on the invalidity of Benedict’s renunciation, the belief based on that error, i.e. that Francis has been validly elected pope, cannot nullify the fact that there is already a pope[.] … Universal acceptance cannot validate the election of a man who is elected while another man is still validly holding office[.]”
Answer: The error in this objection is evident. It treats a fallible personal opinion (i.e., that Benedict’s abdication was invalid) as an infallible fact, and then uses it to reject a truth that is infallibly certain (i.e., the legitimacy of a pope who has been universally accepted). Here is the syllogism according to this erroneous reasoning:
Major: Francis’s election was accepted by the entire Church, which provides infallible certitude that he became the pope (infallible dogmatic fact).
Minor: Benedict’s resignation was invalid (fallible personal opinion).
Conclusion: Since Benedict’s resignation was invalid, Francis never became the pope (error).

The correct reasoning is as follows:
Major: Francis’s election was accepted by the entire Church, which provides infallible certitude that he became the Pope (infallible dogmatic fact).
Minor: A condition for Francis to have become Pope is that Benedict’s resignation was valid.
Conclusion: Since the entire Church accepted Francis as Pope, it is infallibly certain that Benedict’s resignation was valid.

Objection: “Finally, as regards the universal and peaceful acceptance of a papal election: while this principle is certainly a valid reflex principle for troubled consciences in the case of a valid election, there is no possibility of a valid election when the College had no right to act, for it is contrary not only to Canon Law but to Divine Law to elect another Roman Pontiff while the Pope still lives and has not validly resigned.”
Answer: This objection maintains that “the peaceful and universal acceptance of a pope” provides infallible certitude of a pope’s legitimacy only if his election was valid, but not if it was invalid. To put it another way, it guarantees the legitimacy of a pope only if all the conditions required for him to have become pope were satisfied, but not if they were not satisfied. But if that were the case, the doctrine would serve no purpose at all, since the Church could never have infallible certainty that all the requisite conditions were satisfied and that an election was valid.

The truth is that the universal acceptance of a pope is what guarantees that all the conditions were satisfied, which is why Cardinal Billot said, “From the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy.”

Once again, the root error of this objection is the rejection of a truth that is infallibly certain (and de fide) based on a fallible personal opinion (that Benedict’s abdication was invalid).

The next objection is a continuation of the previous one.
Objection: “It is also not valid, as regards its implicit minor: namely, that there has been a peaceful and universal acceptance of the Papal resignation. There has not, as the preface to this disputed question demonstrates. Hence, the application of this reflex principle to the present case is at best praeter rem, and worse a subterfuge.”
Answer: The validity of a resignation does not require that it be peacefully and universally accepted. All that is required is that it be “made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone” (Can. 332 §2). Therefore, the peaceful and universal acceptance of Benedict’s resignation is not an implicit minor. The minor is that the Chair of Peter was vacant before Francis was universally accepted as Pope; the implicit minor is that Christ accepted Benedict’s abdication and stripped him of the papal office.

Now, as the official declaratio shows, the manifest intention of Benedict was to “renounce the ministry of the Bishop of Rome … in such a way that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant” [1] (minor). The universal acceptance of Francis as pope two weeks later proves that Benedict accomplished his goal (implicit minor).

Objection: “Though, in common law, possession is nine tenths of right, and thus, usurpation can lead to acquisition of right; … it is not valid theologically in regard to an ecclesiastical office which was established by Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, by an immediate personal act. Of which kind is the office of Pope. The theological reason is this: that no one can snatch anything out of the Hand of the Living God (John 10:28). And thus, no usurpation of the papal office can constrain the Godhead, Who is Infinite Justice and Omnipotence Himself, to transfer the grace of the Papal munus to another. To hold otherwise, would be a theological impossibility and absurdity.”
Answer: If a papal claimant usurped the papal office illicitly, without becoming the legitimate pope, he would never be universally accepted as pope by the Church. On the other hand, if his claim to the papacy is universally accepted, it provides infallible certitude that he became the pope. Cardinal Billot explains the reason as follows:

God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately [2]. [As during the Western Schism and the Avignon Papacy?]

Objection: The idea that a man is pope just because everyone accepts him as pope is “BS.” “I don’t care if it is completely unanimous,” since “if the entire world is proclaiming something that is false, it does not make that falsehood true.”
Answer: This objection errs 1) by reversing the cause and effect and 2) by a faulty comparison. The universal acceptance of a pope does not cause a man to become pope (“it does not make” him the pope), but rather confirms that he has already become pope.

As the canonists Wernz-Vidal explain, the practically unanimous acceptance of a pope is an “infallible effect” [3] of his legitimacy — or “an infallible sign of his legitimacy” [4], in the words of Cardinal Billot. The effect is the universal acceptance; the cause is a legitimate pope. If the effect (universal acceptance) exists, it provides infallible certainty of the presence of the cause (a legitimate pope). If the cause is not present, neither will be the effect.

The following shows how this objection erred by reversing the cause and effect: “If the entire world is proclaiming (cause) something that is false, it does not make (effect) that falsehood true.”

Here is the correct understanding of the doctrine:
If the entire Church proclaims a man as pope (effect), it is because he is the legitimate pope (cause).

It should also be noted that even if there were a causal relationship between the Church’s acceptance of a pope and his legitimacy as pope, the Church’s universal acceptance “would not make a falsehood true.”

Rather, Christ (the efficient cause) would make a non-pope the true pope by conferring upon him the pontifical dignity, which the Church’s acceptance of him as pope would dispose him to receive (the universal acceptance being the dispositive cause). Simply put, if a non-pope became pope as he was gradually universally accepted by the Church, it would be due to Christ making him the pope, not man proclaiming him so. [This goes to the whole question of permissive will that allows evil in the world for God's own reasons - versus God's positive will for good. Surely the election of a pope who turns out to be anti-Catholic or worse is an evil that comes under permissive will, and we know God allows evil in the world because that is the major consequence of Original Sin.]

Objection: Vatican I defined that the pope is infallible and therefore cannot lose the faith or teach heresy. Francis clearly does not have the Faith, and he has taught heresy. This proves that he lacks the protection of the papal office and therefore is a sign that he is not the pope.
Answer: Nowhere did Vatican I define that a pope is unable to lose the Faith or personally teach heresy. What it defined is that he is unable to err when he defines a doctrine, ex cathedra. Cardinal Camillo Mazzella, who held the chair of theology at the Gregorian in the decade following the First Vatican Council, wrote the following in De Religione et Ecclesia (1905):

It is one thing that the Roman Pontiff cannot teach a heresy when speaking ex cathedra (what the Council of the Vatican defined); and it is another thing that he cannot fall into heresy, that is, become a heretic as a private person. On this last question the Council said nothing (De hac questione nihil dixit Concilium); and the theologians and canonists are not in agreement among themselves concerning it. [5]

More than a century after Vatican I, Cardinal Stickler wrote:

No theologian today, even if he accept unconditionally the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, asserts thereby that the pope, speaking in the abstract, cannot personally become a heretic[.] [6]

Objection: Even if Francis became pope after his election, he clearly does not have the faith now, so he can’t be the pope. St. Robert Bellarmine said a heretic is ipso facto deposed.
Answer: In De Ecclesia Militante (Chapter X), Bellarmine shows what his true position is concerning the loss of office for heresy. He explains that a pope who falls into heresy does not lose the pontificate unless 1) he publicly separates himself from the Church or 2) is convicted of heresy by the Church:

It is certain, whatever one or another might think, an occult heretic, if he might be a Bishop, or even the Supreme Pontiff, does not lose jurisdiction, nor dignity, or the name of the head in the Church, until either he separates himself publicly from the Church [7], or being convicted of heresy, is separated against his will.

Francis has not publicly separated himself from the Church, nor has he been convicted of heresy. Therefore, according to Bellarmine, he has not lost his office. And the fact that he remains pope is confirmed by the infallibility of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, which continues to recognize him as pope, thereby providing “clear-cut witness to the legitimacy of his succession” (Van Noort) [8], as was discussed in Part I.

Objection: I know a lot of Catholics who reject Francis as pope, so I deny that he is “universally accepted” as pope.
Answer: Even if someone denies that Francis is “universally accepted” now, he can’t deny that Francis was universally accepted in the weeks and months following his election. That alone suffices to prove he became pope. As Cardinal Billot explains, the legitimacy of a Roman pontiff is infallibly certain “from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church” [9]. John of St. Thomas teaches the same: “As soon as men see or hear that a Pope has been elected, and that the election is not contested, they are obliged to believe that that man is the Pope, and to accept him” [10].

Objection: Francis might be “universally accepted,” but he hasn’t been “peacefully” accepted.
Answer: The “peaceful” aspect refers to the election not at once being contested; the “universal” aspect refers to the entire Church learning of the election and not at once contesting it. No one contested Francis’s election until many months after the entire Church had accepted it.

Objection: The papal bull of Paul IV, Cum ex Apostolatus, says pre-election heresy renders null the promotion or elevation of a bishop, a patriarch, or even the Roman pontiff and goes on to say the elevation or promotion does not become valid even if obedience had been “accorded to such by all.” Therefore, universal acceptance does not prove the legitimacy of a pope.
Answer: - The first thing to note is that the penal sanctions contained in Cum ex Apostolatus were considered so manifestly unjust and problematic that at the time of Vatican I, the opponents of papal infallibility presented it as evidence that the pope is not infallible. And the defenders of the dogma did not disagree with them concerning the problematic nature of the contents of the document, but instead defended papal infallibility by proving that the bull itself did not meet the conditions for infallibility.
- Second, Cum ex Apostolatus has been derogated and hence is no longer in force.
- Third, saying a pope, whose election is null and void from pre-election heresy, will not acquire validity if obedience is accorded to him by all does not mean it can actually happen that an invalidly elected pope can be universally accepted as pope by the Church. [????]
- Lastly, the legitimacy of a pope who has been universally accepted is qualified as “theologically certain.” This would not be the case if the Church interpreted the aforementioned teaching of the problematic, and now abrogated, papal bull, Cum ex Apostolatus, as meaning that an illegitimate pope can be universally accepted as pope by the Church. For more on this, see here.

Objection: Even if Benedict’s abdication was valid, the election of Francis was null and void due to the conspiracy of the St. Gallen Mafia, which is forbidden by Universi Dominici Gregis, n. 81.
Answer: The canonist Ed Peters has provided a canonical reply to this and other canonical objections. Theologically, all such objections are proven to be false by the universal acceptance of Francis, which would not have taken place if any illicit acts of the cardinals had invalidated the election. Also relevant here is the following teaching of St. Alphonsus:

It is of no importance that in past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterwards by the whole Church as Pope, since in light of such acceptance he has already become the legitimate and true Pope (attesoché per tale accettazione già si è renduto legittimo e vero pontefice). [11]

[The following is the part of Siscoe's assertions that I do question. If instead of using 'Christ', he had used 'Holy Spirit', then he is all but saying that God has a direct hand in the election of a pope, a presumption Cardinal Ratzinger has famously refuted.]

It should also be noted that the election is merely the mechanism by which the Church chooses a pope, but it is always Christ Who makes the man pope by conferring upon him the pontifical authority. Now, Christ is not restricted by human law or hindered from acting due to illicit or fraudulent acts of man. While it is certain that Christ will act by joining the man elected (matter) to the pontificate (form) when the election laws are followed, He is not hindered from doing so due to a defect in the election. This explains why some men who were illicitly elected became legitimate popes.

This would logically apply in reverse as well. For example, if a pope pretended to resign from the papacy and deceived the Church into believing he did so (which is essentially what those who deny the validity of Benedict’s resignation are attributing to him), there is no doubt that Christ would strip such a one of the pontificate. This is implicitly confirmed by the historical examples of true popes who were illicitly deposed yet nevertheless lost the papal office when they acquiesced to it.

Now, since it is certain that only Christ can authoritatively remove a true pope from the pontificate, if He has done so in cases of popes who were illegally deposed yet acquiesced to it, would He not do the same in the case of a pope who pretended to resign, by orchestrating his own illegal abdication and acquiescing to it? No doubt He would, and if the next pope were universally accepted, it would prove it.

Objection: If a man is elected by a conclave, that by itself does not mean he’s the pope, or even a member of the Church. He is guilty until proven innocent, and the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate that he is Catholic before the faithful accept him as pope.
Answer: This objection is virtually identical to the following error of Wycliffe and Hus, which was formally condemned at the Council of Constance:

“The vocal (viva voce) agreement of the electors, or of the greater part of them, according to human custom, does not mean by itself that the person has been legitimately elected, or that by this very fact he is the true and manifest successor or vicar of the apostle Peter, or of another apostle in an ecclesiastical office. It is rather to the works of the one elected that we should look[.] … For, the more plentifully a person acts meritoriously towards building up the church, the more copiously does he thereby have power from God for this.” – CONDEMNED. [12]

The faithful do not decide for themselves if the elect is a member of the Church before accepting him as pope. The election laws provide that the elect becomes the “true pope and Head of the College of Bishops” immediately upon his acceptance of the election (Universi Dominici Gregis, n. 81). The universal acceptance simply confirms his legitimacy and prevents future doubts from calling it into question.

Objection: The peaceful and universal acceptance of a pope doesn’t prove he is the true pope. This is proven from the case of Antipope Anacletus II, who “was backed by a majority of cardinals and the entirety of Rome with the exception of the Corsi family and illegitimately ruled EIGHT YEARS until his death. … You can read the long versions at”
Answer: Anacletus II’s election was not uncontested (“peaceful”), nor was he ever “universally accepted” as pope by the Church. “The long version at” refers to his election as “the contested papal election of the year 1130.” The reason it was contested is because it took place three hours after the election of the true pope, Innocent II — who was proclaimed to be the true pope by three synods held later same year. The usurper may have won over the majority of the population of Rome for a time, but that doesn’t suffice for a “universal” acceptance.

Objection: The doctrine of the peaceful and universal acceptance is nothing but a theological opinion that any Catholic is free to reject.
Answer: This doctrine is far more than a mere opinion, and no Catholic who wishes to save his soul can reject it. In his book On the Value of Theological Notes and the Criteria for Discerning Them (which was drafted for use by the auditors of the Roman Congregations), Fr. Sixtus Cartechini, S.J., noted that the rejection the legitimacy of a pope who has been universally accepted is a “mortal sin against the Faith.” John of St. Thomas qualifies it as heresy:

Whoever would deny that a particular man is Pope after he has been peacefully and canonically accepted, would not only be a schismatic, but also a heretic; for, not only would he rend the unity of the Church … but he would also add to this a perverse doctrine, by denying that the man accepted by the Church is to be regarded as the Pope and the rule of faith. Pertinent here is the teaching of St. Jerome (Commentary on Titus, chapter 3) and of St. Thomas (IIa IIae Q. 39 A. 1 ad 3), that every schism concocts some heresy for itself, in order to justify its withdrawal from the Church. Thus, although schism is distinct from heresy, in (…) the case at hand, whoever would deny the proposition just stated would not be a pure schismatic, but also a heretic, as Suarez also reckons. [13]

It is worth noting that the reason Cartechini qualified it as “a mortal sin against faith,” rather than heresy, is due to a doctrinal development that occurred in the last few centuries.[14] Today, strictly speaking, heresy is limited to the rejection of a truth that has been formally revealed (the primary object of infallibility), whereas in past centuries rejecting any doctrine that is de fide was considered heresy (cf. ST II q. 11, a 2).

But whether it is qualified as heresy in the strict or only in a broad sense, in either case, it is a mortal sin against faith, which will deprive a Catholic of the state of grace and merit an eternal punishment. [One wonders what the confessors of anti-Bergoglians like Ann Barnhardt or Frank Walker tell them when they confess that they do not accept Bergoglio is the pope! (Or do they confess this at all?) When one confesses "I do not like this pope at all, and I reject everything he says or does that I consider to be anti-Catholic", it is an admission that he/she recognizes Bergoglio as pope and therefore prays for him (to become a genuine Catholic, to begin with, and stop harming and defiling the Church of Christ). And all those who take part in discussions on whether Bergoglio is 'the worst pope ever' are acknowledging he is pope.]

With the election of Francis, the Church appears to be entering into the final stage of her passion, as the walls of the Great Façade are finally collapsing — which never would have happened if the cardinals had elected another Benedict or John Paul II.

At the present time, the scales are falling from the eyes of many Catholics, and the wheat is rapidly being separated from the chaff. During this time of chaos and doctrinal confusion, the proper response is not to imitate heretics by rejecting “sound doctrine,” but rather to stand fast and hold to tradition (cf. 2 Thess. 2:14), which, as St. Vincent of Lerins said, “can never be led astray by any lying novelty.” No one who holds fast to tradition will reject the legitimacy of a pope whose election has been universally accepted by the Church.

[1] Benedict XVI, Declaratio, February 10, 2013.
[2] Op.cit.
[3] Wernz-Vidal, Ius Can., II. p. 520, note 171,
[4] Op. cit.
[5] Mazzella, C. De Religione et Ecclesia, 6th ed. (Prati: Giach. Filii., 1905), p. 817.
[6] The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 60, No. 3.
[7] By “separating himself publicly from the Church,” he means leaving the Church and publicly severing communion with the other bishops. This is clear from the historical example he uses (Novatian) to support same teaching in De Romano Pontifice, bk. 2, ch, 30.
[8] Op. cit.
[9] Op. cit.
[10] Op. cit.
[11] Liguori, Verita della Fede, in “Opera…,” vol. VIII., p. 720, n. 9.
[12] Inter Cunctus, Council of Constance.
[13] Op. cit.
[14] The development resulted in a distinction between the assent of faith owed to formally revealed truths (de fide divina et catholica) and the assent that is owed to de fide truths that constitute the secondary object of infallibility (de fide ecclesiastica). Today, rejecting the former is heresy, strictly speaking (c. 751), while rejection of the latter is a mortal sin against faith.

All right, so unless you prefer to endlessly litigate the question, and believe wishful thinking can overcome reality, Jorge Bergoglio is a valid and legitimate pope, and the 266th Successor of Peter. To our incalculable misfortune. But it does not mean we ought to follow him when he is wrong, nor to stop protesting his errors past, present and to come.

But the discussion continues circularly, endlessly and fruitlessly on what can be done about a bad pope. A discussion that necessarily involves and interests only those Catholics who think he is a bad pope, maybe even a bad man, fundamentally - perhaps evil, even, as agents of Satan are. Bergogliacs rejoice that we are apoplectic about the pope but not that we dare speak of himn the way we do.

There are more than fifty shades of antipathy to Bergoglio, or at least, to what he has been doing to the Church and to the faith. Some of the most poignant expressions of such antipathy come from priests and nuns. In recent days, Sandro Magister got one such letter from a missionary priest, and Aldo Maria Valli, from a cloistered nun.

Perhaps there were some such letters about Paul VI in the years when priests were leaving their ministry by the tens of thousands to get married. And look, he's a saint now, but that's another matter altogether...

The cry of a longtime missionary priest:
Where is the Catholic Church and
what do I tell the faithful
about what she is today?

March 18, 2019

A missionary priest who has spent a lifetime on the frontier thousands of miles from Rome writes to me: “By now it is no longer possible to doubt where the Church’s leader is taking us: to a point at which one who is alive must of necessity react. How much longer can we remain silent?”

But meanwhile, he has broken his silence. With sixteen questions.

1. By now it is clear. The Catholic Church is no longer the same as it was before 2013. And I really want to see if someone succeeds in defining what the Catholic Church is today.
[Easier to define it by what it is not. It is not 'the church' Jorge Bergoglio has been serving and working for.]

2. I pose this problem to myself all the more because the thing touches me personally. If I must present the Church to those who are outside, first of all I need to know to what kind of Church I belong. And in the second place, what must I say? [Go ahead, Father, just preach what you have been doing before March 2013. Tradidi quod et accepi.]

3. We who live in mission countries, where there are so many religions more or less in harmony, we distinguish ourselves from each other by our practical life, custom, laws, habits, duties before we do so by doctrine and theories.

For example, the Muslims do not eat pork, they practice circumcision, they observe the fast of Ramadan, they can divorce and remarry repeatedly, they can have two or more wives, they pray five times a day in a special way on Friday, etc.

The Hindus do not eat beef, they fast before certain feasts, the women marry only once even if the husband dies, they honor a great number of divinities, they cremate their dead, etc.

And Catholic Christians? At least until a while ago they could marry only once until the death of one of the spouses, their priests and nuns had to be be celibate and unmarried, they obeyed the pope, they were devoted to the Blessed Mother and the saints, they did not believe in wizards and spirits, they did not make animal sacrifices, men and women prayed together in church, they ate any kind of meat and fish, on Sunday they had the obligation to rest and to go to Mass, etc.

4. Jesus risen sent the apostles to baptize all the peoples of the earth in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And this is how Christianity spread and shaped the customs, laws, and habits of entire civilizations. All this bore fruit in many martyrs and saints, some blessed with mystical experiences that gave them flashes of paradise.

5. To have all these gifts and these graces, how many persons have converted and have abandoned with many privations their communities of origin and their way of living!

6. But now I as a missionary no longer know precisely what the Catholic Church is. And since I see the pope, the cardinals, the bishops gradually and inexorably tolerating the legitimization of adultery, approving sodomy, blessing homosexual marriages, admitting the parity of salvation with other religions… to what kind of conversion must I invite others?

7. The same thing also applies to any person in the West who perhaps is an atheist or unbeliever. Why should he convert and accept our faith if we profess all these things?

8. Fortunately our bishops here on mission do not talk about all the oddities that are discussed in Rome. The only novelty is that now they make marriage annulments a bit easier, in spite of the fact that the people do not accept that so willingly, given that they have learned that marriage must not be dissolved in any case.

9. The risk is that of arriving at the scandal that, in this as in other mission countries, only Christians - Protestants and Catholics alike - approve of adultery and sodomy. Among Muslims and Hindus, in fact, adultery (meaning a relationship outside of marriage) is a crime that is punished at a community and civil level. Sodomy is considered a very serious act and is the object of reprobation. The polygamy of the Muslims has nothing to do with adultery, because it is a social contract sanctioned by the rite of matrimony, with all the obligations of support of the wife and care of the children.

10. The tragicomedy of the thing is that in other religions, who do not have the benefit of Christ's Gospel, there is no lack of solid norms founded on good sense and on nature, while now the official leaders of Christianity promote and uphold the way of living and the morality of pre-Christian times. Did Jesus come down to earth for this?

11. In Germany there are even those who make fun of the bishops of Africa as backward, because on their continent homosexuality is forbidden. Is 'new evangelization' to be in the name of this upside-down gospel, an imposition of the false anthropological 'achievements' of the West on the poor who have sound minds.

12. What I do not understand is the submission and silence of many bishops and priests. I do not see even a passive resistance. The martyrs faced death. But today only some laymen who are not bound by ecclesiastical structures are speaking out, while priests and bishops - save for a few exceptions - stay quiet out of fear of retaliation and defamatory accusations.

13. It is continuously preached what is needed is not to divide, but to unite. And therefore to shut up, because open opposition would do too much damage to the Church. But this respectful attitude ends up favoring precisely those who work disaster.

14. The pope knows this, and he comes up with all sorts of things to protect himself. His continual trips, the accords with the Lutherans, the accords with the Muslims, the accords with China and so on are all trenches that defend him. How can one criticize him when wherever he goes he is welcomed with great fanfare and acclamation? [But how can all these anti-Catholic accords'protect' him, and against what? And what do we care if non-Catholics greet him with great fanfare and acclamation? The pope's personal popularity - what remains of it, at any rate - has nothing to do with our faith, nor should it keep us from criticizing him when he needs to be criticized.]

15. One precaution that the leaders of the Church adopt when they speak and decide and hold synods is not to go at all against the LGBT plans and credo. Never do they wonder if God the Father knows something about this and if God the Father thinks about it in the same way. God the Father never complains, and with Jesus having given the keys to Peter they think they can use them as they please and play the master. [I must confess I am completely baffled by this paragraph. I gather he is questioning why the synods have not opposed 'LGBT plans and credo' although God disapproves, and he thinks that the man who now holds 'Peter's keys' is using it to'play the master'???]

16. But the Spirit of God is always alive. And therefore today as well we are sure that there are many saints who still allow God to live among us. O Lord, stay with us!

Here is the nun's letter to Valli...

'Here is why, even I,
a cloistered nun, feel uprooted'

Translated from

March 19, 2019

Dear readers, a cloistered nun has written me from a charterhouse where she has lived for years, saying she feels the need to open her heart and confide all the disconcertment and sorrow that she feels for the situation in which the Bride of Christ finds herself today:

Dear brother, the Abu Dhabi Declaration has left me dismayed. Who is this God in whose name this declaration was said to be made? It cannot be the Catholic God, who, however, is not Catholic, as Bergoglio told Scalfari. No, the god invoked has all the semblances of a modernist God, a product of conscience (or of the Masonic lodges) that lives and speaks in the religious sentiments of everyone, and who recruits his adepts everywhere to make them into a universal brotherhood; whose positive will is to forge a New Religion of Tolerance (one that is multi-ethnic, ecologistic, and while we’re at it, pure vegan) [Sounds very much like the Anti-Christ of Soloviev] that embraces all religions as equivalent expressions of an intimate and inclusive religious experience. The solution to all the problems that assail the world is to be found in this ‘divinity’. The Catechism of the catholic Church – yes, since I am an out-of-date bigot, I still refer to the Catechism – speaks of it as a most insidious religious imposition.

We have learned that the auxiliary bishop of Astana – the one who would be Athanasius of our sad times, like the anti-Arian Athanasius of the 4th century - recently met the pope. Very well. A spiritual experience, according to the bishop, who even says that he and his confreres prayed for the intentions of the pope in order to obtain the plenary indulgence attached to visiting the Tomb of St. Peter as they did. (But aren’t indulgences out of date? Now there is misericordism [Bergoglio’s ideology of faux mercy] for all!) In any case,the Vicar of Christ on earth was very fraternal and kind to him [and his fellow bishops]. A very cordial atmosphere, in which the pope asked them to speak to him freely, even with criticisms, that it would please him to have a free-wheeling conversation.

I am not inventing an irreverent caricature. All this was said by Mons. Schenider in his interview with LifeSite News. [True, but it is neither nice nor right of the good nun to mock Schneider as others who are anti-Bergoglio-because-pro-Church have done. As if merely by reporting what happened at their ad limina meeting with the pope amounts to a ‘sellout ‘by Schneider. He is secretary of the Kazakhstan bishops’ conference and is Auxiliary Bishop of Astana. He was obliged to take part in the adlimina visit and obviously saw it as a chance to ’confront’ the pope about that controversial line in the Abu Dhabi Declaration. And he took the opportunity.]

Parenthetically, however, was not Schneider ordered by the Vatican not too long ago to stay put and stop travelling, apparently for speaking with too much parrhesia when he is abroad? Was he not specifically asked to stop giving lectures in which he is able to engage in stone-throwing and spreading doctrines that are too rigid?

Mons. Schneider obviously wished to ’hermeneutize’ the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which to date, has not been updated nor corrected. Nor will it ever be. [With all due respect: Get real, Sister! Even Schneider did not think it would be ,just because he asked! If only because Bergoglio cannot do it unilaterally. More importantly, because he doesn’t want to, as he does not see why it should be changed at all, despite its ambiguity and the error he concedes it contains.]

With all the respect and esteem I have for Mons. Schneider, who is a genuine spearhead bearer, it seems to me he is too naïve. [On the contrary! He is the ultimate realist. He made it clear in the LifeSite interview that he did tell the pope a formal correction was necessary – but all he got was his ‘permission’ to tell everyone that God’s permissive will, not his positive will, allowed religious diversity. Schneider reiterated his call for a formal correction in his more recent essay “On the question of a heretical pope” – clearly occasioned by that meeting he had with the pope earlier this month.]

Dear brother, in a recent article, you ended with a question: Whether this pope’s idea of the papal munus docendi (ministry or office of teaching) was not too detached?

Yes, it is, dear brother. For Bergoglio, the Church is a polyhedron with many colors and myriad facets which makes it so diverse and interesting for its plurality, and not something that is catholically monolithic (which must be abhorred).

Moreover,this pope, besides being adept at managing the polyhedron, is also a peronist. Depending on the occasion, he finds everyone right, those who say A as well as those who say B even if B is the exact opposite of A.

Whereas to me, a miserable bigot, a polyhedron evokes disorder, deconstruction, cacophony, ugliness. Yet the works of Divine Wisdom are everything but that!

How disturbing it is! A Peronism of half truths that are in themselves half-lies, the harebrained image of a polyhedron, and non-Catholic principles (of the type like “Reality is superior to ideas”) seem to constitute a Luciferian mind. I seem to hear the Lord, saying with divine indignation: “Get thee behind me! You do not think according to God.”

Dear brother, there are many of us who feel discouraged and tired out, but above all, confused and ‘uprooted’. There is papolatry, addiction to the rhetoric du jour, supine withdrawal, and blindness, even here in the convent. This makes me most uneasy because authentic ecclesial obedience is being confused with the obedience of totalitarian clericalism.

I must resist and fight it – so I am considered a rebel because I am unable to ‘toast the pope’ to use an expression of Cardinal Newman. The first of all the Vicars of Christ on earth constrains me to prefer unconditional submission to Truth and to the Divine Will, which this ‘church’ no longer teaches and which no longer even wants to interpret to us.

The daily firestorm one has to go through is wearing. You know what it is like. When I go to your blog every day, I seem to see you experiencing this degradation which seems to have an endless expanse. Which is anything but duc in altum [the formal title of Valli’s blog, taken from Luke 5:4, where the Lord urges Simon Peter to ‘launch into the deep’ – ‘Duc in altum!’ - with his boat]. But it is not possible to desert.

One thing agitates me most and causes anguish: the Church has come under the judgment of secular courts. Just now we have learned tha France has asked the Holy See to lift the diplomatic immunity from its Nuncio in Paris who has been accused of sexual misconduct.

With the Barbarin story – not to mention its more abject Australian version with Cardinal Pell – the Church is letting the State decide everything. And does not object. [That is not quite right. The State has the right to try anyone within its jursdiction - cardinals, bishops and priests included – if a proper case for prosecution is established. The Church cannot contest that, and the case will have to be decided in civilian court. This is a case of “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”, no matter if Caesar is motivated by extra-judicial biases.]

The ‘church’ has become like some corporation which is responsible for the misdeeds of its employees. Having sadly surrendered her sovereignty and inalienable freedom, it no longer has the courage to defy the judgments of the world’s tribunals. [I think the good sister thinks there is – or should be – no limitation to what the church can do vis-avis the state. What it most certainly cannot do is violate the clear civilian prerogatives of the state, no matter how wrongfully these prerogatives are employed. All those who work in the church are also citizens all subject to the rule of civilian law.]

Has she forgotten that it is not the world who must judge the Church but the Church which must judge the world? [Judgment is a very loose term. In the sense of giving an opinion about someone or something, ‘the world’ – as represented today by mass media, social media and public opinion – is entitled to ‘judge’ the church by worldly standards, but that is how it has always been. Jesus himself warned us: “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way”(Lk 6, 22-23).The Church, properly speaking, cannot and does not judge ‘the world’ collectively and generically – she is specific about the sins that need to be denounced and avoided, but members of the church also commit these sins.]

The Spouse of Christ has become unrecognizable in having been so demoralized and submissive to the world. This surrender to the world has also made her use the weapons of the world in order to demolish and nullify the house of God.

Let us give voice to our Mother Church, free, unmuzzled, impregnable, indestructible, holy and victorious. Pius XII exhorted us: “Trust, therefore, be strong and constant. None of you will desert. Let your baptism be a weapon, your faith like a helmet, charity like a lance, patience as your complete armor. Let your works be treasures which will merit mercy worthily.”

Every once in a while, to shut me up, I am told that I am not St. Catherine of Siena. Of course I am not. But not even she was who she would become when she showed the daring that we know she did. Let us place ourselves in the hands of the Lord and ask him to shorten this dark night for us. In the end, his Heart will triumph even us the Truth makes us free.

Your every affectionate and prayerful
Hidden Sister

00Wednesday, March 20, 2019 7:28 PM

When a pope is elected, the cardinals who have just chosen him make their way to the Hall of Benedictions atop the narthex of St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s a challenging journey for some: In 2005, the frail, 79-year-old Cardinal William Baum was carried out of the Sistine Chapel, through the basilica, and up to the Hall of Benedictions by his conclavist-secretary, Msgr. Bart Smith, doing a fair imitation of Aeneas toting Anchises out of Troy as sculpted by Gianlorenzo Bernini.

As the new pontiff is presented, the cardinals appear at the windows flanking the central loggia of the basilica; there, they receive the first papal blessing with the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. On March 13, 2013, two cardinals remained behind for a few moments, alone in a window after Pope Francis retired for the night. They seemed pensive, these experienced, thoughtful, and prayerful men, both of whom had worked hard to reform troubled dioceses.

The Church had just experienced an unprecedented form of papal abdication; the conclave had resolved itself quickly in favor of a candidate unfamiliar to many electors; what was coming next? One of those men was the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, who died in 2015. The other was his friend and ally, Cardinal George Pell, then the Archbishop of Sydney, later the Vatican’s chief financial officer.

Some years before, Cardinal George had shocked the priests of Chicago by suggesting, almost offhandedly, that while he would die in his bed, his successor would die in jail and that man’s successor would be executed in the public square — after which the martyr’s successor would, as the Church had done so often in the past, help pick up the fragments of a broken civilization and start again.

It seems unlikely that, on the night of March 13, 2013, Cardinal George imagined that his hypothetical scenario would be dramatically accelerated, the only difference being that the friend beside him would be the one in jail. And Cardinal Pell would be in prison, not for the defense of life or religious freedom, but because of a wickedly perverse conviction on uncorroborated charges of sexual abuse that a jury had been shown could not possibly have happened.

There are, as sociologist Peter Rossi used to say, many ironies in the fire.

We may hope and we should pray — intensely — that Cardinal Pell’s conviction is reversed on appeal. If it is not, the innocent cardinal will become a prison evangelist and a witness to Christ behind bars. Australian justice, on the other hand, will have suffered a devastating blow from which it will take a long time to recover. And reasonable people will wonder whether it is safe to do business or travel in a country where a fever-swamp media and secularist bigots have the capacity to distort the legal process into a grotesque parody of democratic maturity.

But even if the appeal is successful — as it should be on any rational grounds, and if the words “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean anything in Australian courts — the assault on the Church and its leaders will continue.
- The issue of clerical sexual abuse has been weaponized.
- And that weapon is being used, not to deal with abominable sins and crimes that cry out to heaven, but to settle all sorts of other scores, ecclesiastical, political, and, in Pell’s case, financial, given the corrupt practices the cardinal was exposing.

The acceleration of Cardinal George’s prediction of cardinals-in-jail should also give pause to those who blame the abuse crisis on “clericalism.”
- Clericalism — the evil misuse of the respect those in Holy Orders rightly enjoy because of their sacred office — facilitates abuse; it doesn’t cause it.
- Like the charge of abuse, the “clericalism” trope has been weaponized by the Church’s enemies, to the point where it is becoming difficult for any Catholic cleric charged with misconduct to receive a fair hearing or a fair trial.
- The vicious public atmosphere on display in Australia whenever the words “George Pell” are spoken is not improved by senior churchmen, in Rome and elsewhere, blaming abuse on “clericalism.”

From his present station in the Communion of Saints, I have no doubt that Francis George is interceding for George Pell, and for the vindication of justice by the judges who will hear the Australian cardinal’s appeal — even as the American cardinal may regret how prescient he was.
00Wednesday, March 20, 2019 8:13 PM
China's President Xi sing Italy's praises
on eve of visit but says nothing
about Matteo Ricci's evangelization of China

by Fr Bernardo Cervellera

Rome, March 20, 2019 (AsiaNews) - In an interview given today to the Corriere della Sera, on the eve of his journey that will take him to Rome, Monaco and France, President Xi Jinping’s words are a true love song for Italy. Yet what is really amazing about this long ode to relations between our nation and the Middle Empire is his silence on Matteo Ricci and the Cultural Revolution.

Xi lists the relations between the two "ancient civilizations" citing Virgil, Gan Ying, Marco Polo... However, he remains completely silent about the Italian Jesuit from Macerata who at the end of the sixteenth century, armed only with his humanistic and religious culture, succeeded in presenting himself before the emperor and getting himself hired as a court astronomer. He inaugurated an era lasting centuries in which the Jesuits - many of them Italians like Giulio Aleni, Martino Martini, Giuseppe Castiglione - helped China to reposition itself in the world of that time after the isolation sought by the Ming dynasty, helping the empire to modernize in science, agriculture and even the art of war.

The Italian missionaries of the nineteenth century - including those of the PIME - who have brought Western medicine, hospitals, schools for girls, new crops to satisfy the hunger of the Chinese as well as universities are absent. It is true: the green light for evangelization came from the impositions of Western powers with unequal treaties.

But it is also true that the missionaries did not stay around to dabble in foreign territorial concessions, but reached the most abandoned and inaccessible places of the empire to bring aid, culture, solidarity together with faith. The love of missionaries towards the Chinese, more than towards their homelands, is evident in Msgr. Simeone Volonteri (1873-1904) from PIME, who along with other Italian missionaries refused the "protectorate" of Italy.

After the Boxer nationalist uprising, they also refused the "war booty" guaranteed to them by Italy's victory, asking it be used for charity work for the benefit of the Chinese. For his clear testimony, Msgr. Volonteri received the title of "Great Mandarin of the Chinese Empire" from the emperor.

Xi Jinping's silence on these facts shows a lack of historical knowledge or - more likely - an ideological vision of history. From Mao onwards, religion and Catholicism in particular have been branded as "servants of imperialism" in China, mimicking the Soviet Union that had engaged in a furious war against religions.

This ideological vision - of religion as the source of all possible evils - is still present in China, supported by the most radical wing of the Party, which lurks in the United Front and in the State Administration for Religious Affairs. This more radical wing is the enemy of the agreement signed by the Vatican and China and continues to oppress bishops, priests and faithful with its ideology of an "independent Church", even if the agreement admits that the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church in China.

If Xi Jinping, coming to Italy, does not visit the Vatican - as is the case for all heads of state in the world - it is only because he does not want to be "overtaken on the left" by this ideological fringe, which uses religion also in its battle against the president. [There's also the more relevant fact that formal diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican have not resumed - despite coming to that bilateral secret agreement in September last year.]

The same can be said for Xi's silence on the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). At that time, Italy and the Italian communist party became the greatest defenders of the Chinese experiment in Marxist extremism. Politicians, groups, demonstrations in Italy hailed China and its revolution as "the workers' paradise", the "place of justice", and Mao Zedong as the benevolent god who offers his pearls of wisdom to nurture the new world.

Instead, with the civil war he incited, Mao tried to hide the failures of the Great Leap Forward (which caused about 50 million deaths, almost all of them from hunger), by eliminating his personal enemies. In this case the historical myopia was above all on the part of Italy and of the leftwing parties, which paraded around with luminous images of the revolution, ignoring its toll in bloodbath. Nor did they ever make a "mea culpa" afterwards.

However in China, even now - and at the behest of Xi Jinping - this period of "great chaos" cannot be studied or judged: "perestroika" is forbidden for fear that it will lead to the same result as the USSR: the fall of the communist regime. Perhaps the prohibition is also due to the fact that too many things in China - media control, dissidence, religions, foreign trade - have an air of Cultural revolution.

As in all violin solos the silences further enhance the fullness of the melody. In Xi's article, these silences tell of the weakness of his position, halfway between a "siren song" - to push Italy into a partnership with Beijing, without the European Union - and a cry for help to support his image, dangerously threatened at home by the "leftist" enemy fringes.

The sorry fact is that the Vatican has been angling publicly for a meeting between the Pope and Xi while he is in Italy, which has a near-zero probability.

Left, Cardinal Zen and Chen Guangcheng meeting in Washington, D.C. Jan. 28, 2019; Chen and his wife. Photos by Anita Crane.

A meeting between two of
contemporary China's heroes

by Anita Crane

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, January 28, history was made when two heroes met, and a heroine joined them in the same room.

Chen Guangcheng went to meet Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was awarded by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) with their highest honor, the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, and Chen’s wife Weijing Yuan joined him there.

Zen, Chen, and Yuan are real heroes because they put their lives on the line to save Chinese people of all ages, from little unborn babies and their mothers to adults who want fundamental human rights and the freedom to seek the meaning of life.

Cardinal Zen is bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, and his record is well-known in behalf of the Catholics of China, especially those in the underground Church, and also in upholding democratic rights in HongKong since it came back under Chinese governance in 1997.

In 2012, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng dramatically escaped house arrest with the help of his wife just before then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton went to Beijing for a diplomatic visit. Chen, along with his wife and children, were granted asylum in the United States, where he is a visiting law fellow at the Catholic University of America.

Before they met, both men were kindred spirits since they were both expert firsthand witnesses who did everything in their power to warn Pope Francis about the dangers of letting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule the Catholic Church in China.

On January 10, 2018, Cardinal Zen went to Pope Francis at the Vatican, met with him for 30 minutes, and gave him a warning letter about the CCP with his pleas not to let the CCP control the Church. Because Vatican officials persisted in negotiations with the dishonest CCP, Zen wrote articles [which has continued after the Vatican and China signed a secret agreement in September 2018). As a result, the Vatican shuns Cardinal Zen.

VOC’s ceremony for Cardinal Zen was packed wall-to-wall. American politicians were there, Chinese citizens, and fans from other Asian nations such as Taiwan. In 2015, VOC gave Chen Guangcheng the same award. So when VOC announced that Chen was there, the audience cheered.

After his speech, Cardinal Zen moved as quickly as possible to meet Chen ,and a dense group pressed against them while they spoke in Chinese. Cardinal Zen spoke to me there in English and after VOC produced their video of Cardinal Zen’s speech, I interviewed Mr. Chen with the help of his translator Danica Mills.

On September 22, 2018, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin vaguely announced a Provisional Agreement with the Chinese government. Parolin also said: quote]The objective of the Holy See is a pastoral one: the Holy See intends just to create the condition, or help to create the condition, of a greater freedom, autonomy and organization, in order that the Catholic Church can dedicate itself to the mission of announcing the Gospel and also to contribute to the well-being and to the spiritual and material prosperity and harmony of the country, of every person and of the world as a whole.

Two days before the announcement, Zen held a media conference and called for Parolin to resign because “A church enslaved by the government is no real Catholic Church.” The day of the Vatican’s announcement, Zen passionately decried the legal weakness of the treaty and expressed his alarm because Catholics can’t know when the CCP will persecute them for allegedly violating secret terms.

When a journalist asked Pope Francis about Cardinal Zen’s objections, the pope praised Parolin and the Communists:

This went ahead two steps and back one, two ahead and back one. Then, months passed without speaking to each other, and then the time of God, which appears to be [the time of the] Chinese. Slowly. This is wisdom, the wisdom of the Chinese. And the bishops who were in difficulty were studied case by case and in the case of the bishops, in the end dossiers came on to my desk about each one. And I was responsible for signing the case of the bishops.

Zen and Chen find the agreement absurd because the CCP is an atheist and tyrannical government. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church opposes all forms of tyranny, including atheist collectivism, also known as Marxism, socialism, and communism. In China, the CCP runs a fake Catholic Church called the Catholic Patriotic Association and before the reign of Francis, the Vatican refused to allow China’s Communist government to control the Catholic Church there.

During secret negotiations, the Vatican sent Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, to China and he said this and other bizarre things: "Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese".

In a February 2018 article entitled “The Vatican Plans to Make a Deal with the Devil,” Chen warned Pope Francis about Sorondo’s approval of China’s violence against all human rights, including her massive abortion and organ harvesting holocausts.

In part, Chen explained:

“Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo went to China and attended a conference on organ donation and transplantation. At that time he praised China for setting up a global best practice model for eradicating organ trafficking. He also said that China today is not the one when John Paul II was the Pope from 1978 to 2005, nor like the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

“Sorondo’s willful ignorance is beyond disgusting. I would like to ask him: ‘Did you know that, last year, 32 college students in Wuhan inexplicably went missing?’ The CCP did not provide any leads in spite of the ‘Sky Eye Project’ (the CCP uses the grid in which it controls hundreds of millions of cameras to follow the movements of everyone in society). Instead it detained the reporters who called for support for the parents who lost their children!...In China, many children are stolen or snatched while playing in the street, and their organs later removed and sold."[dim]

After the Vatican-China agreement, the CCP oppressed Catholics worse than before as they banned children from Mass, destroyed churches and shrines, and arrested priests, to name just a few attacks. China has a long record of arresting and enslaving its citizens and even visitors in labor camps. Cardinal Zen’s brother-in-law was one of those slaves.

Before Chen, one of China’s former slaves, the late Catholic human rights activist Harry Wu, came to the United States and exposed China’s brutalities because “As a human being, as a believer in God, I have to do something. I could have easily died in the camps. So, who is Harry Wu? No one, if not someone for these millions of faceless, nameless, voiceless people.”

Today, the crises and the pleas of Catholics in China who feel betrayed by the Vatican are readily available from Asia News and UCAN, The Union of Catholic Asian News. For example, Bishop Peter Jin Lugang of Nanyang is the underground bishop recognized by the Catholic Patriotic Association on January 30, and he has begged Pope Francis for a way not to belong to it.

After Francis signed the agreement, Chen called it “A Pact with a Thief, a Deal with the Devil” and he said:

Not only does the action of the CCP selecting Catholic bishops represent a major decline for the Vatican, but it is the equivalent of bowing before evil, of selling God to the devil. Does the Vatican not know that the Communist Party controls everything in China? ... This will become yet another shameful episode whose stain the Catholic Church will be unable to cleanse.

While Chen’s authentic witness is powerful, his op-ed above also called for a correction on Church history, especially on Pope Pius XII. For decades, Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic scholars have published evidence that Venerable Pius XII saved many Jews from the Nazis but some people still slander him as “Hitler’s pope.”

Thankfully, on March 4, Pope Francis ordered the Vatican’s Secret Archives to open the records of Pius XII’s entire papacy starting March 20, 2020, and the truth should prove to be enthralling. Jews weren’t Hitler’s only victims. Hitler planned to destroy the Catholic Church and he murdered countless Catholics to prove it.

Given the pope’s rejection of his advice, Cardinal Zen continued pleading for justice. October 24, 2018, The New York Times published his analysis “The Pope Doesn’t Understand China,” where he says:

Pope Francis, an Argentine, doesn’t seem to understand the Communists. He is very pastoral, and he comes from South America, where historically military governments and the rich got together to oppress poor people. And who there would come out to defend the poor? The Communists. Maybe even some Jesuits, and the government would call those Jesuits Communists.

At the VOC reception, Cardinal Zen briefly told me that while he believes Pope Francis has good intentions, the people who “surround him” know the reality of the CCP and they have their “own agenda.” He has mused that he’s not silent like his namesake Saint Joseph. Therefore, in reply to Pope Francis’s rejection, Zen wrote the new book “For the Love of My People I Will Not Keep Silent.” It’s published in Chinese and English, and you may read an excerpt in Zen’s article “What the Church is risking in its dialogue with China.”

I requested to interview both Chen Guangcheng and Weijing Yuan because, even though Chen is the public spokesman in their family, they proved themselves equal, complementary partners in their dangerous mission to secure human rights. For example, Yuan co-authored their beautiful book “The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Freedom and Justice in China” but only Chen is named as the author. As it turned out, only Chen answered my questions.

So what did Chen discuss with Zen at their historic meeting? As the photo above shows, their meeting was joyful. Chen first explained to Zen that the publisher of his new book asked him for a promo blurb, but he didn’t get the request in time.

Chen then told Cardinal Zen:

“I said I had read the draft of your book, and learned about how you were pressing for freedom of religion, rule of law, and human rights, and had done some really important work in those areas, completely fearlessly. And how you had asked to meet with the pope and urged him to stand up for human rights when thinking about the relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, and also how in your speech you had talked about some issues related to the CCP’s human rights violations in China.

“I also said that in the past few years I had known about the work he had done to support and appeal for human rights. And I used my own experience to tell him that these things were really useful, and how in China, when people speak out it really does make a difference, even if it doesn’t result in the authoritarian CCP being pulled out of power...

“I also brought up that in 2005, when we were fighting against the violent one-child policy campaigns, because of our efforts in two years, because they were battling against me and repressing me, they ended up relaxing their enforcement of the one-child policy with the result that in our area some 90,000 children were allowed to live. When Cardinal Zen heard this, he was very moved and surprised. He said our work was truly virtuous and charitable... It was the highest praise because he was speaking about the deepest love called “charity,” which is “the habit or power which disposes us to love God above all creatures for Himself, and to love ourselves and our neighbors for the sake of God.”

Likewise, I told Chen and Yuan that their work is in keeping with Christ’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. I said the same to Mr. Chen when I met him after his 2017 speech at the Westminster Institute, where I thanked him and asked him to also thank his heroic wife. I then invited him and his wife to become Catholic because they already act saintly.

Obviously, Chen is appalled by the Vatican-China agreement and Cardinal Sorondo. So I again invited him and Yuan to consider becoming Catholic because I believe that if they know the fullness of truth about Christ and His relationship with us, they will find great peace and joy.

“As for what I was saying at the Westminster Institute, I said that I am a spiritual person, and that I believe that there is a spiritual power greater than our human world out there in the universe,” Chen answered. “But despite having these spiritual beliefs, I am not a follower of any specific religion or god. So, even though some of the work I have done seems very close to some people’s religious beliefs, I think it is just that there is some resonance there. But I don’t believe in any specific religion at this time.”

Now Guangcheng knows Cardinal Zen, and much could come from their friendship.

Cardinal Zen said this in his VOC award acceptance speech:

I have not suffered directly personally from the Communists. I came to Hong Kong in 1948 to join the Salesian Society, and the Communists took power only in 1949, the following year. My family suffered, as all families suffered under that inhumane system. My brother-in-law, husband of my elder sister, a most sweet person, one day they came to arrest him without saying a word, without saying of which crime he was accused. They sent him to work for the construction or repair of railway. They shaved his head, working under the sun, and then after a couple of months they released him and sent him back home. Again, without any explanation. …

I am here to receive, gratefully, the medal; not in my honor, because I have almost paid nothing for my freedom, but for all those who suffered really for the freedom in China and in Hong Kong. I receive the medal for all those who really deserve it, but they cannot come here to accept it. I want to remember all those heroes who offered their life for the cause of human dignity and freedom. We don’t mourn them, because they are in God’s bosom in eternal bliss. And we understand that those who try to harm their dignity, they only humiliated and degraded themselves.

I want to remember many of those heroes who are suffering in this moment in China or in Hong Kong for voicing their claim for respect of their dignity, for freedom, and for democracy. Those well known and those anonymous heroes. May my presence here today confirm your noble work in the efforts to support all those people and may our presence here today and our prayer every day bring them comfort and strength. May God bless you all.


Out of topic in this post, but just a note here about two new interventions by Mons. Athanasius Schneider from Kazakhstan, which I have not had time to post:
- The first, as co-signatory with the president of the Kazakhstan bishops' conference in full support of Mons. Francis Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio to Kazakhstan and Central
Asia since 2016, who has been accused of sexual and financial misconduct by his former employees at the Vatican observer mission to the UN in New York, where he was
nuncio from 2010-2014, recalled to the Vatican and not given a new assignment till 2016. The Kazakhstan endorsement of Chulikatt speaks of his outstanding and
exemplary performance as Nuncio to Kazakhstan. This does not necessarily mean, of course, that his performance at the UN mission was exemplary, and for Chulikatt's
own sake, it's best that the charges made against him are answered and investigated.
- The second, an essay entitled "On the question of a heretical pope" published by conservative sites like Rorate caeli and 1Peter5 that is useful as documentation.

Written in his usual teaching style, well-researched in historical citations, Bishop Schneider comes to the same conclusion every other contemporary analyst has reached
about the practical impossibility of doing anything about a heretical or otherwise just plain 'bad' pope - other than 1) fraternal correction - which no one has
sought to do since the 'filial correction' sent to the pope and made public in September 2017 by conservative theologians was met with deliberate deafness and rockhard
resistance, just as the Five Dubia before it and Mons. Vigano's Testimonies afterwards; and 2) prayer, always and regardless. Of course, Mons. Schneider reiterates
that the pope must correct that infamous statement that God wills all religions blah-blah-blah in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, but even he must know it's not going to happen!

In short, dealing concretely to counteract or even simply to neutralize the resolute willfullness of Jorge Bergoglio - who wields the supreme authority of
the papacy so self-servingly - can only be an exercise in futility. Best reserve your energies and efforts to living according to the faith,that which was
handed down through the popes in an unbroken line from Peter to Benedict XVI, and ignoring whatever this pope says and does that do not conform to
what was handed down to him, and are simply his personal ideas that he seeks to inflict on 'the Church'.

00Thursday, March 21, 2019 9:13 PM

The 2016 election laid bare profound but long-hidden ideological divisions among America’s conservative intellectuals.

Some of us heartily supported the Trumpian insurgency. Others reluctantly pulled the lever for Trump. Still others opposed his candidacy, adopted the label “Never Trump,” or even endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Yet more than two years later, we speak with one voice: There is no returning to the pre-Trump conservative consensus that collapsed in 2016. Any attempt to revive the failed conservative consensus that preceded Trump would be misguided and harmful to the right.

We give credit where it is due:
- Consensus conservatism played a heroic role in defeating Communism in the last century, by promoting prosperity at home and the expansion of a rules-based international order.
- At its best, the old consensus defended the natural rights of Americans and the “transcendent dignity of the human person, as the visible image of the invisible God” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus) against the depredations of totalitarian regimes.

But even during the Cold War, this conservatism too often tracked the same lodestar liberalism did — namely, individual autonomy. The fetishizing of autonomy paradoxically yielded the very tyranny that consensus conservatives claim most to detest.

America’s public philosophy now puts great stock in “the right to define one’s own concept of ... the mystery of human life,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy, the libertarian conservative par excellence, wrote while upholding the constitutional “right” to abortion. But this vast leeway to discover the meaning of existence extends to destroying the freedom and lives of others (the unborn child’s, in the case of abortion).

Yes, the old conservative consensus paid lip service to traditional values.
- But it failed to retard, much less reverse, the eclipse of permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else.
- It surrendered to the pornographization of daily life, to the culture of death, to the cult of competitiveness. It too often bowed to a poisonous and censorious multiculturalism.

Faced with voters’ resounding “No!” to these centrifugal forces, consensus conservatives have grown only more rigid in their certainties.
- They have elevated prudential judgments and policies into sacred dogmas.
- These dogmas — free trade on every front, free movement through every boundary, small government as an end in itself, technological advancement as a cure-all — foreclose debate about the nature and purpose of our common life.

Consensus conservatism long ago ceased to inquire into the first things. But we will not.

We oppose the soulless society of individual affluence.
- Our society must not prioritize the needs of the childless, the healthy, and the intellectually competitive.
- Our policy must accommodate the messy demands of authentic human attachments: family, faith, and the political community.
- We welcome allies who oppose dehumanizing attempts at “liberation” such as pornography, “designer babies,” wombs for rent, and the severing of the link between sex and gender.

We stand with the American citizen.
- In recent years, some have argued for immigration by saying that working-class Americans are less hard-working, less fertile, in some sense less worthy than potential immigrants.
- We oppose attempts to displace American citizens.
- Advancing the common good requires standing with, rather than abandoning, our countrymen.
- They are our fellow citizens, not interchangeable economic units.
- And as Americans we owe each other a distinct allegiance and must put each other first.

We reject attempts to compromise on human dignity.
In 2013, the Republican National Committee released an “autopsy report” that proposed compromising on social issues in order to appeal to young voters.
- In fact, millennials are the most pro-life generation in America, while economic libertarianism isn’t nearly as popular as its Beltway proponents imagine.
- We affirm the non-negotiable dignity of every unborn life and oppose the transhumanist project of radical self-identification.

We resist a tyrannical liberalism.
- We seek to revive the virtues of liberality and neighborliness that many people describe as “liberalism.”
- But we oppose any attempt to conflate American interests with liberal ideology.
- When an ideological liberalism seeks to dictate our foreign policy and dominate our religious and charitable institutions, tyranny is the result, at home and abroad.

We want a country that works for workers.
- The Republican Party has for too long held investors and “job creators” above workers and citizens, dismissing vast swaths of Americans as takers unworthy of its time.
- Trump’s victory, driven in part by his appeal to working-class voters, shows the potential of a political movement that heeds the cries of the working class as much as the demands of capital.
- Americans take more pride in their identity as workers than their identity as consumers.
- Economic and welfare policy should prioritize work over consumption.

We believe home matters.
- For those who enjoy the upsides, a borderless world brings intoxicating new liberties. They can go anywhere, work anywhere. They can call themselves “citizens” of the world.
- But the jet-setters’ vision clashes with the human need for a common life. And it has bred resentments that are only beginning to surface.
- We embrace the new nationalism insofar as it stands against the utopian ideal of a borderless world that, in practice, leads to universal tyranny.

Whatever else might be said about it, the Trump phenomenon has opened up space in which to pose these questions anew.
- We will guard that space jealously.
- And we respectfully decline to join with those who would resurrect warmed-over Reaganism and foreclose honest debate.

Sohrab Ahmari
New York Post
Jeffrey Blehar
Patrick Deneen
University of Notre Dame
Rod Dreher
The American Conservative
Darel Paul
Williams College
C. C. Pecknold
The Catholic University of America
Matthew Peterson
The Claremont Institute
James Poulos
The American Mind
Mark Regnerus
University of Texas at Austin
Matthew Schmitz
First Things
Kevin E. Stuart
Austin Institute
David Upham
University of Dallas
Matthew Walther
The Week
Julia Yost
First Things

Rather unprecedented, I think, for a non-political publication like FIRST THINGS to publish such a manifesto of support for a presidential candidate this early before the
next presidential election. As it is unprecedented to find 'conservative' editorialists and opinion-makers to do so. This shows, above all, that whatever you may think of
Trump as a person, he has delivered - and delivered quite well - on most of the things he promised in 2016 that he would do as president. The FIRST THINGS manifesto
articulates the principles underlying that agenda, principles that deserve the support of every American who truly cares for his country and for the daily lot and quality
of life for himself, his family and friends... I hate to think what the reaction will be from the 'left' and all faux-conservatives left in the ditch by Trump's rise.

00Friday, March 22, 2019 2:08 AM

It's the second name day in three days for the Emeritus Pope: After his 'birth-name day' on March 19, it's his 'papal-name day' today, the feast
day of St Benedict of Norcia (480-547), or as the Benedictines say who first used the term, his 'birthday in heaven', the day of his death...


In 2009, Vittorio Messori wrote this reflection on the bond that links Benedict of Norcia and Benedict XVI...

Why Benedict XVI sees
monastic life as an example
for those of waning faith

Translated from

May 23, 2009

Why does a Bavarian Pope in the 21st century favor a Sabine monk of the 6th century so much as to take his name and consider him the patron of his Pontificate?

Why, among all the places which have been inviting him, has he chosen to visit Montecassino for a Sunday of 'full immersion' [English term is used in the original] in the Benedictine world? [This refers to Benedict's pastoral visit to the Bendictine Abbey of Montecassino on Ascension Sunday, May 24, 2009.]

Why was it, that just the day before the death of his beloved predecessor, he went to Subiaco - where the adventure of Western monasticism began - to lecture on what could have been a program of government?

To understand such attention, one must remember that the lucid theologian, the post-modern intellectual who has become a pastor of souls, has always had - now, more than ever - an obsessive concern: about the weakening of the faith, of which he is both custodian and guarantor.

A faith, he recently wrote, "that appears to be dying out like a candle that has run out of wick'. Hence, the need to rediscover the reasons for believing, to reconfirm the reasonableness of 'wagering' on the truth of the Gospel.

The enormous ecclesial edifice hangs in the balance (St. Paul's expression) on the historicity of an empty tomb in Jerusalem. If this certainty should waver at all, then nothing will remain.

Something has been taking place for decades that was very disturbing to Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Holy Office and disturbs him even more now as Benedict XVI.

And it is the fact that what remains of a Christianity mowed down by secularism has tended to transform itself into an international association of volunteers, a socially-committed non-profit organization.

The love that the Gospel urges is understood only in the horizontal sense, which means the charity of giving bread and championing socio-political commitments for a more peaceful, just and less polluted society.

This, in effect, is the 'trinitarian' slogan proposed as the new Creed by the Ecumenical Council of the Churches of Geneva: "Peace, justice, and protecting creation".
[They anticipated Jorge Bergoglio by a few years in this!]

Well then, behind this clearing away of the authentic Christian perspective - which is also 'horizontal' as a consequence of its 'verticality' in looking at the things of the earth because it believes in heaven - there is a crisis of faith which is the true and tragic problem of modern Christianity.

With hope dimmed in an eternal life in the hereafter, the survivors who continue to feel 'engaged' seek pacification in working for a better life in the present, and dedicate themselves to the tangible certainties of the here and now.

Faith in man and history has replaced faith in God and eternity - and the militant for good causes has replaced the praying man and the ascetic.

Christians (but without Jesus as Christ-God!) as philanthropists, volunteers, labor unionists, environmentalists, custodians of human rights...

It is a disquieting deformation that in the recent past, went through the clerico-Marxist stage and which has now assumed the robes of the new hegemonic ideology - that of political correctness, of Western liberal radicalism.

What is the point in adhering to dogmas and wasting time in prayer, when there is a world which can be saved thanks to human powers, of whatever Credo or lack thereof, provided it is well intended?

This trend was a cause of anguish for Paul VI, opposed by John Paul II's extraordinary mix of mysticism and concreteness, and for Benedict XVI, the absolute priority for intervention.

All the last Popes were well aware that - through the logic of the 'et-et' ['and-and', i.e., inclusive] which has always guided the Church, and the rejection of every 'aut-aut' [either-or] - Christianity is called on to humanize the City of Man, but while believing in the heavenly Jerusalem, it is mired in the world, and while it prays, it concerns itself with mortal beings insofar as they are called to immortality.

A balancing act, a synthesis, that seems to be everything. The weakening of faith has unbalanced those who, even without explicitly refuting the Credo (noisy contestation has ended out of sheer exhaustion, a sense of irrelevance, or even out of dissimulation), do not think it is necessary to their actions in any way.

And even this - or perhaps, this above all - can explain the attention that even before he became Pope, Joseph Ratzinger has always had for monastic life.

A life that is absurd, insupportable, even inhuman. A life sentence -since one chooses for life - worse than that in public prisons: a renunciation of the family, abstention from sex, no personal property, eight hours of daily communal prayer in addition to prayer by oneself, nocturnal vigils, penances, frugal vegetarian fare interrupted by frequent fasting, heat and cold, prompt and absolute obedience, prohibition from going beyond cloister walls, rare news from the outside world and what there is, filtered through one's superiors, close living together that is continuous and has no term, with companions imposed on you - a hell, in short.

But a hell that can be turned into Paradise. If, and only if, one has a vision of faith that does not hesitate about the truth of the Gospel and its promises. A Paradise only for he who believes, without a doubt, that Jesus Christ is really who the Church announces him to be.

It's a vocation for only a few, certainly. In which one manifests a total, radical faith. That does not hesitate to push to extreme consequences, and of which Montecassino has been an illustrious example for 15 centuries.

The Benedictine shows with his very life that the flame of his candle has plenty of wick. Perhaps it is this light, so rare and precious, that Benedict XVI wishes to show us believers who are increasingly unbelieving, we who have kept of the monastic dualism only the 'labora', forgetting completely about the 'ora'.

Famous monk Popes
Gregory VII
Ildebrando of Soana (ca 1020) became Pope in 1073. He clashed with the Emperor Henry IV and died after the pillage of Rome (1084).

Urban II
Urban (ca. 1040–1099) was the Prior of teh Abbey of Cluny and one of the most active supporters of the Gregorian reforms. In 1086, he became the 159th Pope.

Celestine V
As a young man, he was a monk at the benedictine monastery of Santa Maria di Falfoli. Celestine (1215-1296) is venerated as a saint and was the only Pope, before Benedict XVI, who ever abdicated. [He was the Pope whose mortal remains Benedict XVI visited in L'Aquila after the earthquake].

And not a Pope:
Dom Pierre Perignon
The French monk (1639-1715), who invented champagne, according to legend, was the superintendent of the Abbey of St. Pierre d'Hautvillers.

Sermon for the Feast of SAINT BENEDICT:
"May the singing of the earth
keep ascending towards Heaven!"

by the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
Fontgombault, March 21, 2019
Thanks to

"What will therefore our share be?" - Matthew 19:27

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The very human question St. Peter asks the Lord is quite welcome, and it should reassure us. Peter had not waited to put this question to himself, on the day when, egged on by his brother Andrew, he had followed a man on the shore of the Tiberias Sea who was presented to him as the Messiah.

Every day, either very early in the morning, or in the evening, Peter and his friends, on the shore of this lake, after a night or a day of work, asked themselves what share the housewives of Capernaum and the surrounding cities would take of the fresh fish they would be offering them. They also wondered how they would share out the profits of the fishing. What therefore would their share be?

Today, Peter sees the rich young man go away with sadness. This young man was not like the Galilee fishermen, he had great wealth. And he was a righteous man, who had kept God’s commandments from his youth. Jesus Himself loved him. Yet, when the Master invited him to relinquish his wealth to follow Him… No, he really could not. That was too much. The treasure promised to him in Heaven was not worth the treasure possessed on this earth. Or rather, possessed by his own treasure, the young man was no longer able to detach himself from it so as to possess another treasure.

As he remembered the day he had first met the Lord, maybe Peter was becoming aware with a certain uneasiness that he had never asked the question of the terms of the contract. They had followed, in the enthusiasm of the encounter, the Savior promised to Israel. Since then, the outlook had kept darkening. The future was growing more and more uncertain… It was becoming urgent to specify: What will therefore our share be?

Peter was not asking for the impossible. As a fisherman, he was merely demanding that which was just. The Lord’s answer is unexpected: “A hundredfold, and as your inheritance, eternal life.” That was far more than what he could expect, far more than he had ever received.

The share prepared by God for His friends is a plentiful share. But so as to be able to possess this share, one has to be free: not to possess other treasures, not to be possessed by them.

The question asked by Peter, and the answer given by Jesus, are a light on our own path. We have once met Jesus, perhaps since the very first days of our lives, when we received the sacrament of baptism. We did not ask any questions on what would be the just reward which would be due to us. Other people thought that following Christ was something good for us. As the years pass, we have to acknowledge that between the rich young man going away from Jesus and Peter, who is convinced to have left everything to follow Him, we never really choose.

Maybe our own treasure does not consist in gold and jewels, in huge expanses of land; our own treasure might be a self-esteem that never was evangelized, a secret pride; our own treasure is also such or such character trait, a bad habit that we have never really accepted to give up. No matter what it may be, we are possessed, and we are unable to possess.

The Church invites us today, through the figure of St. Benedict, to choose the path of an uncompromising holiness: to forsake our own treasures, so as to receive in return the hundredfold promised by Jesus, and as our inheritance, eternal life.

If the Church applies to St. Benedict the reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus we have just heard, it is because it bears witness to the fruitfulness of the offering of one’s life. Already before his life of retreat, Benedict did not leave indifferent those who came in contact with him, as testified for instance by the miracle of the sieve broken and made whole. This shining forth led Benedict towards retreat, so as to consecrate himself to God alone.

But even under the bushel, the lamp kept shining. Benedict became the Father of Western monasticism, and also the Father of Europe. After Benedict’s death, Europe was to become covered by thousands of monasteries and priories. During unsettled times, they appeared to many as places of shelter, places where one could live reconciled with one’s brothers, reconciled with God, and reconciled with nature. In these schools of the Lord’s service, monks would dwell so as to serve God alone.

Were the times in which Benedict was living more unsettled than the times we are living in today? One could not claim that. Yet, it is certain that in today’s monasteries Benedict’s disciples still have to give the testimony of their faithfulness to the answer they gave to the Lord on the day of their solemn consecration, that answer which is the one the rich young man should have given, “Uphold me, O Lord, according to Thy word, and I shall live.” In return, the Lord promises not that which is merely just, but a hundredfold, and as our inheritance, eternal life.

This hundredfold promised to the monk is from now on already a life of fraternity inside the community; it is a peace conducive to seeking God. This hundredfold is also the grace to be able to gather to sing the praises of God in choir, or also to gather in the daily manual work.

Benedict’s sole concern was to seek God, and as he did that, he became one of the main evangelizers of Europe. Today, Europe has grown old, its faith has grown cold. In the eyes of our contemporaries, the world no longer appears as the splendid work of a loving Maker, but as the fruit of a cold and soulless chance.

Although telescopes may bring our eyes ever farther towards the ends of the universe, our hearts no longer know how to consider our closest friend as a being who is loved by God, or creation as a gift to be respected. The eyes of our hearts have grown dimmer, and have eventually become obscure.

Amidst silence and darkness, the monastery bell should still resound, a messenger of divine Love in a world no longer able to love, a messenger of the monks, who pray for those who no longer pray.

All of you who remain close to so many of these houses, please ask for these communities to persevere and for faithful vocations, so that the singing of the earth should keep ascending towards Heaven, and so that this praise should not fall silent.


00Friday, March 22, 2019 4:48 PM
Fr Hunwicke on Mons. Schneider
and why depose-a-pope can't be DIY

March 22, 2019

...I commend - how could I not - the fine treatise by Bishop Athanasius Schneider about heretical popes (and much else).

Readers of this blog will immediately discern that his arguments, evidence, exempla, and conclusions are exactly those which I have regularly deployed here. So you will not be surprised that I am feeling quite up-beat.

Bishop Athanasius has rightly emphasised the importance of the Honorius case (above those of other errant popes) in making clear beyond any question that
(1) popes can err [i.e., commit heresy];
(2) such popes can be formally and Magisterially condemned for heresy; and
(3) such popes do not ipso facto by their heresy lose their position.

[Why Cardinal Burke said otherwise not too long ago always puzzled me. But then whoever spoke to him when he said that did not follow up on his statement since it obviously has no concrete practical application: What does losing his position ipso facto mean? The statement is meaningless if no one recognizes that the heretical pope is no longer pope ipso facto!

And has it not been said over and over that to establish the fact that heresy has been committed - especially if it's a pope who's concerned - is virtually impossible? At least not while the putatively heretical pope is still pope - if only because 1) he continues to have plenitudo potestatis, and 2) anyone as cunning as Jorge Bergoglio would be - and has been - extremely careful not to provide any evidence in word or deed that could be used, even if only technically, to charge him with material heresy, to begin with.]

When something has happened, this proves it can happen.

Do-it-yourself depose-a-pope may be emotionally satisfying but it is not an option for grown-ups in a real world.

[This is probably the best way anyone has expressed so far the futility of wishful thinking, especially by those who keep harping,"Why can't the cardinals do something, anything, to depose Bergoglio?"
Which cardinals, for a start? All of the cardinals we might consider to be 'anti-Bergoglio', starting with Cardinal Burke, recognize him as pope - they have used and may use the strongest terms to denounce his errors, real and perceived, but not one can nor has come out to call him heretical outright, and more importantly, not one has called for him to be deposed. Because they know the limits of the possible - it's Canon 212, Par. 3, versus the full weight of a pope's plenitudo potentatis. (Mons. Vigano called for him to resign, to never-ending flak even from those sympathetic to his testimony - their objection being that it supposedly weakens and damages his testimony because it makes him look vengeful.)

To all the ultra-rabid champions of declare-Francis-a-heretic-now and/or depose-Francis-now-because-he-is-illegitimate-and/or-heretical, what exactly do you think can be done to effect any or both of those objectives? "Let the cardinals figure out what can be done" is not an answer. Analysts of the situation, pro- or contra-Bergoglio, have unanimously conceded there is nothing that can be done short of divine intervention one way or the other. This militant depose-Francis/declare-him-heretical-now brigade - who obviously have no answers themselves - can't just go on mocking and insulting everyone else. For what? Because they are not God and can do nothing to 'bring down' Bergoglio?]

The Remnant cartoonist does a great takeoff, left, from the Spectator's unforgettable cartoon of Bergoglio the wrecking ball, and the Remnant caption riffs on the Abu Dhabi 'heresy'.

Thank God for Francis -
who shows us daily by negative example
the limits and pitfalls of papal infallibility

by Christopher A. Ferrara

March 21, 2019

Whether the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ depends entirely upon her infallibility as an organ of truth, for if she were not such then she would not be indefectible, Christ’s promise of indefectibility (cf. Matt. 28:20) would be void and He himself could not, therefore, be what he claimed to be: the God who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Infallibility of teaching on faith and morals is intrinsic to the divine commission, for without it the Church could not make of all nations disciples of Christ but only disciples of human teaching which may or may not correspond to the revealed truth of the Gospel. This was the lot of the nations that became disciples of Luther and his progeny before any form of the Christian religion was finally banished from all nations by the terminal secularism of political modernity.

As Cardinal Newman put it: “If Christianity is both social and dogmatic, and intended for all ages, it must humanly speaking have an infallible expounder.” [An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, II.13] But who or what in the Church is the infallible expounder? It can only be the Church as a whole, whose supreme leader on earth is indeed the Pope, but whose head is Christ and Him alone.

The infallible expounder cannot be the Pope alone, even if his authority is supreme, universal and direct as to every member of the Church, for it is not the Pope alone who received the divine commission. And while Our Lord said to Peter “thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church (Matt 16:18),” he also said, before prophesying that Peter would deny Him thrice: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Lk 22:31-32).

The Pope is, after all, a man, and a man is always subject to human frailty and the possibility of error that comes with every exercise of free will, which is not lost upon election to the papacy. Hence Saint Paul’s famous rebuke of the first Pope at Antioch on account of his cowardly feigned adherence to Jewish dietary laws, which threatened the entire mission of the Church to the Gentiles by suggesting that they ought to follow the Mosaic law:

But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

For before that some came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision.

And to his dissimulation the rest of the Jews consented, so that Barnabas also was led by them into that dissimulation.

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as the Jews do, how dost thou compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? [2 Gal 11-14]

The Church, however, is not a man or even a mere collective of men, but the Mystical Body of Christ whose subsistence cannot be destroyed by any human error. Lost in the current mania of hyper-papalism is the infallibility of the Church as a corporate whole, extending even to the faithful as a body, which obeys what has always been taught by the Church as a whole and rejects what is foreign to that teaching. As Ludwig Ott explains:

One may distinguish and active and a passive infallibility. The former belongs to the pastors of the Church in the exercise of their teaching office (infallibilitas in docendo), the latter to the faithful as a whole in its assent to the message of faith (infallibilitas in credendo) Active and passive are related as cause and effect.

During the Arian crisis this “passive” infallibility of the faithful was crucial to the Church’s survival — that is, to the maintenance of her indefectibility. As Cardinal Newman famously explains, the laity were more faithful than their teachers to what their teachers had always taught them in the light of Revelation:

In that time of immense confusion … the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism;… at one time the Pope, at other times the patriarchal, metropolitan, and other great sees, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them. [On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine (1859)]

So, the Church’s infallibility pertains to the whole of her divine constitution: both the hierarchy and the laity which together comprise the Mystical Body. And there are times — our time is one of them — when at least a remnant of the laity keeps the faith they were taught even though the hierarchy has generally failed in its commission to defend and protect it. This is not to deny that there are still many among the hierarchs who believe what they were taught. To quote Newman again apropos the Arian crisis:

… I am not denying that the great body of the Bishops were in their internal belief orthodox; nor that there were numbers of clergy who stood by the laity, and acted as their centres and guides; nor that the laity actually received their faith, in the first instance, from the Bishops and clergy; nor that some portions of the laity were ignorant, and other portions at length corrupted by the Arian teachers … but I mean still, that in that time of immense confusion the divine dogma of our Lord’s divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and (humanly speaking) preserved, far more by the “Ecclesia docta” [the Church that is taught] than by the “Ecclesia docens” [the cChurch that teaches]…

What is “the faith” the faithful remnant are preserving far more than the generality of the hierarchy in our current “time of immense confusion”? It is nothing other than the total ensemble of doctrines the Church as a whole has taught and believed since apostolic times, otherwise known as the deposit of faith, developed and applied to particular circumstances as necessary but never contradicted.

Too little attention has been paid in our day to the one criterion by which the validity of all Church teaching is judged: the constancy of what she has handed down in her corporate function as teacher, versus the novelty of some particular pronouncement extrinsic to the depositum fidei.

Blessed Pius IX, the very Pope who narrowly defined papal infallibility by approving the Vatican I decree, was at pains to make clear in answer to Johannes Dollinger, before Dollinger’s apostasy and ultimate excommunication, that the teaching Church as a whole is infallible, not only as to “dogmas expressly defined by the Church” but also when it comes to “matters transmitted as divinely revealed by the ordinary Magisterium of the whole Church dispersed throughout the world and, for that reason, held by the universal consensus of Catholic theologians as belonging to the faith.” [DZ 2879]

It is of decisive importance in our current circumstances to recall how Vatican I’s definition of papal (versus ecclesial corporate) infallibility was strictly limited to the rarity of singular and solemn papal pronouncements commanding universal assent on a matter of faith and morals. The Council’s conditions for papal infallibility are that the Pope:
(1) “when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, acting in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,” (2) “defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,”
(3) “a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church…”
[DZ 3074]

Only then, the Council declared, can it be said that the Pope in his singular definitions “possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.”

But even in the exercise of this extraordinary Magisterium the Pope can do nothing but define solemnly as dogma matters already “transmitted as divinely revealed by the ordinary Magisterium of the whole Church dispersed throughout the world ” — , of course, Popes and Councils presided over by Popes and the body of bishops as a diachronic moral totality. (The body of bishops does not mean episcopal conferences in particular countries, which are no part of the divine constitution of the Church and were not even given formal juridical status until the Second Vatican Council’s decree Christus Dominus, which Paul VI implemented in 1966 with his motu proprio Ecclesiae sanctae­ — one of his many prudential blunders.)

In short, the Pope has absolutely no power to define a novel doctrine that was never a part of the Church’s Magisterium, either ordinary or extraordinary. As Vatican I declared in the very process of defining and delimiting papal infallibility:

“For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that they might disclose a new doctrine by his revelation, but rather that, with his assistance, they might reverently guard and faithfully explain that revelation or deposition of faith that was handed down through the apostles.” [DZ 3070]

Now, none of the novel notions by which Bergoglio has afflicted the Church can be found anywhere in the deposit of faith laid down by the Church as a whole since apostolic times.
- His authorization of Holy Communion for certain public adulterers, - his notion of environmental “sins against the Earth,”
- his absurd attempt to repeal the Church’s bimillenial teaching in defense of capital punishment by calling the purported repeal a “development,”
- his innumerable distortions and misrepresentations of the Gospel to suit his endless philippic against observant Catholics, and so forth, are nothing but his own ideas. As such, by definition, they cannot belong to the Magisterium. Nor, for that matter, can they be considered Catholic doctrine at all, as opposed to the doctrine expounded by Jorge Mario Bergoglio yet never imposed on the Catholic conscience by a solemn dogmatic definition, which is impossible given the very novelty of what Bergoglio preaches.

Novel ideas are not Catholic doctrine but rather something else that is literally of no moment for a believing Catholic. And so it is with all of the novel notions and practices that have proliferated in the Church since Vatican II.
- For example, no Catholic is obliged to believe in ecumenism, dialogue, inter-religious dialogue or collegiality, whatever these notions might mean, for the simple reason that the Church had never heard of them before 1962 — putting aside the further problem of their virtual meaninglessness as mere conceptual containers for various recklessly imprudent ecclesial activities.

The question that confronts us with Bergoglio, therefore, is simply this: Is it possible for a Pope’s personal teaching to depart from what the Church as a whole has always taught and believed in favor of his own novel ideas? It must be possible, for it were not then there would be no distinction between the extraordinary and the ordinary Magisterium and the Pope would have to be viewed as simply inerrant tout court.

Pope Benedict XVI certainly recognized the peril of a Pope who promotes his own ideas when he said the following at the outset of his own pontificate:

The power of teaching in the Church involves a commitment to the service of obedience to the faith. The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: The Pope's ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.

To deny that a given Pope can ever depart from orthodoxy by proclaiming his own ideas is to argue implicitly that every utterance of a true Pope touching on faith and morals must be accepted without question. And it is precisely this Protestant caricature of the papacy to which the sedevacantists resort in opposition to the traditionalist position that Bergoglio may be resisted in his errors while yet being recognized as Pope. To quote the leading sedevacantist website in this regard:

By saying Francis is Pope but then refusing his magisterium, the would-be traditionalists in the Vatican II Church are doing untold damage to the traditional Catholic doctrine of the Papacy because the papal office was instituted as the sure norm of orthodoxy at every point in time in Church history, guaranteed by Christ Himself. This does not mean that every papal magisterial act is infallible, but it does mean that every papal magisterial act is authoritative, thus binding on consciences and, by the providence of Almighty God, always safe to follow. This means that souls cannot be led astray by any pernicious error if they follow the teaching of the Pope. That safety is guaranteed and caused by Christ Himself.

So, according to the sedevacantists, while not every magisterial act by a true Pope is infallible, his every magisterial act is authoritative, binding on conscience, safe to follow and free from pernicious error. This laughable self-contradiction is at the heart of the sedevacantist polemic. And so it must be. For if the sedevacantists were to admit that a Pope is capable of erring in his ordinary day-to-day teaching even once, then their position would collapse into a vain argument over a matter of degree: How much error must a Pope manifest before it can be concluded that he has un-Poped himself or that he never was Pope in the first place? Would only one error suffice? If not one, then how many?

There is no escaping this fatal flaw in the sedevacantist position: they must hold that any Pope who errs in any matter of faith and morals by proclaiming some novelty, such as Bergoglio’s opinion (contrary to divine revelation) that capital punishment is an attack on human dignity, cannot be a true Pope. That necessitarian logic means that they must also hold that we have had no Pope since Pius XII, given the profusion of doctrinal novelties — or what they would call doctrinal novelties — and novel practices that litter every pontificate following his in this time of immense confusion. Bergoglio has simply made it appear easier to sustain the ludicrous sedevacantist contention that we have had no Pope since 1958. [I really don't see why we should pay any attention at all to what the sedevacantists say! I think they are a very tiny minority who realistically have no effect on other Catholics.]

From our perspective, however, the Bergoglian Debacle is an evil from which God has already drawn a great good. For Bergoglio has demonstrated dramatically, once and for all, that the limitations of the papacy are exceeded whenever a Pope, in the exercise of his free will, fails to correspond to the grace of his state, departs from the path of Tradition and chooses to “proclaim his own ideas” rather than “constantly bind[ing] himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.”

Bergoglio has dispelled the pious fiction, long promoted by ultramontane theologians, that the faithful are obliged to believe unconditionally that the Holy Ghost infallibly insures the “safety” of every papal teaching and that we must not trouble ourselves with any apparent departure from what the Church has always taught.

Philip Lawler has rightly observed of Bergoglio that “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith.” That conservative Catholics now recognize what traditionalists have always understood — that a Pope’s leadership can be a danger to the faith —is a major step toward the greater recognition that the entire ecclesial crisis of the past half-century has emanated in the first instance from epochal failures of papal governance and that it will end only when a future Pope finds the courage to right the wrongs his predecessors have committed — just as Benedict XVI, at least to some extent, attempted to do before he abdicated the papal throne.

As Bergoglio has said concerning his own conduct of the papacy: “On the other hand, I am by nature oblivious, and so I go ahead.” [“D’altra parte, per natura io sono incosciente, e cosi vado avanti.”]. Perhaps “oblivious” is too kind a translation of the Italian “incosciente,” whose alternate meanings are reckless, thoughtless, irresponsible and imprudent. But then the entire post-conciliar aggiornamento has been reckless, thoughtless, irresponsible and imprudent.

The Bergoglian pontificate is but a logical continuation of the same ruinous pursuit of vain novelty. Surely that must now be obvious to anyone who still cares about the faith of our fathers. This is what Jorge Mario Bergoglio has shown to those who still did not know.

Meanwhile, 'Francesca Romana' of Rorate caeli has interviewed Church historian and vociferous Bergoglio opponent Roberto De Mattei on Mons. Schneider's recent essay "On the question of a heretical pope" - and he comes to the same conclusion as any other Catholic who does not allow his opinion of Bergoglio to overwhelm elementary common sense, that there is nothing than can be done now to depose Bergoglio who, moreover, must be "acknowledged as the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church"...

Roberto de Mattei:
Why Bergoglio's errors do not entail the loss
of his papacy and why his deposition is not feasible

Interview by 'Francesca Romana'

March 22, 2019

Professor de Mattei, what do you think of the study His Excellency Monsignor Schneider made on a “heretic Pope”?
I consider it an important document. Firstly, Monsignor Schneider is one of the most esteemed among contemporary bishops for his patristic culture and personal piety. Secondly, the subject is of very great interest and Monsignor Schneider had the courage to address it openly, unambiguously and uncompromisingly.

What points do you most agree with?
First of all, I agree completely with Monsignor Schneider when he admits the possibility that a Pope can “promote doctrinal errors or heresies”, even if never ex cathedra. The hypothesis of a heretic pope is not only sustained by almost all theologians and canonists, but it is also a historical fact which occurred for example, with Pope Honorius, and which can tragically be repeated.

Another point that Monsignor Schneider clarifies well, in the light of Church teaching, is the stance that is to be taken when faced with a heretical Pope. "In dealing with the tragic case of a heretical pope, all the members of the Church, beginning with the bishops, down to the simple faithful, have to use all legitimate means, such as private and public corrections of the erring pope, constant and ardent prayers and public professions of the truth in order that the Apostolic See may again profess with clarity the Divine truths, that the Lord entrusted to Peter and to all his successors." It is not enough to pray in silence, as if nothing has happened.

We need to resist and react. And the best way is that of fraternal correction, which is chiefly up to the bishops and cardinals, but which also ordinary lay-people can extend to the Pontiff, as happened with the Correctio filialis. I quote: "In this issue the numerical factor is not decisive. It is sufficient to have even a couple of bishops proclaiming the integrity of Faith and correcting thereby the errors of a heretical pope. It is sufficient that bishops instruct and protect their flock from the errors of a heretical pope and their priests and the parents of Catholic families will do the same.” I agree completely with Monsignor Schneider when he states that: “even if a pope is spreading theological errors and heresies, the Faith of the Church as a whole will remain intact because of the promise of Christ concerning the special assistance and permanent presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the truth, in His Church (cf. John 14: 17; 1 John 2: 27)".

[Can some popular blogger or Catholic website start a project asking their readers to report to them if, when and whenever their local bishop or even parish priest preaches to them that what Bergoglio has been teaching about, say, communion for persons living in adultery or about the absolute wrongness of the death penalty, is contrary to what the Church has always taught? I would like to know, for instance, if Mons. Schneider himself preaches that in Astana. I don't doubt his good faith at all, in every sense of the word, but preaching on paper is not the same as actually going to the pulpit every Sunday to tell your congregation what and why some of the reigning pope's teachings are not just questionable but wrong... For my part, I will attest to the fact that at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York, both our pastor, Fr. James Miara, and his occasional guest celebrant, Fr. Peter Stravinskas, do so in respectful but unequivocal terms. ]

Is there any point of Monsignor Schneider’s analysis that you don’t agree with?
I’m somewhat puzzled by his statement: “A pope cannot be deposed in whatsoever form and for whatever reason, not even for the reason of heresy.” Monsignor Schneider denies the possibility of the loss of the papacy, while admitting this thesis has been voiced by great canonists and theologians, like Cardinal Cajetan and St. Robert Bellarmine, in favour of it. [But it's one thing to be in favor of it - it's another thing to be able to do it. Hypothesis, which is the expression of a possibility, is fine, but is the possible even probable? Obviously, in this case, it has never been probable before, and it is not probable now. Mons. Schneider ought to have properly hedged that statement which puzzles De Mattei (who I am sure understands exactly what Schneider was saying).]

The position that seems to me the most convincing is that of the Brazilian theologian, Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, who died recently, which he sums up in chapter VII of his book Can a Pope be…a heretic? The Theological Hypothesis of a Heretical Pope (Caminhos Romanos, 2018).

Arnaldo da Silveira retains that there is a profound incompatibility between heresy and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. However, loss of office is not automatic. Since as a visible society the Church’s official acts must also be visible, the heretical Pope continues in office until the full outward manifestation of his heresy. [And then what? Who actually deposes him? A determined narcissist like Bergoglio will simply stay put, secure in his plenitudo potentatis and his smugness that he knows better about everything than everybody, including Christ himself!]

St. Robert Bellarmine teaches that the heretical Pope loses the papacy when his heresy becomes manifest. This is to be understood as a full manifestation, that is, one that imposes itself to acceptance by the sana pars [literally, 'healthy part', but what is the idiomatic English translation?] of Catholics. If a part of Catholics considers the manifestation doubtful or insufficient, it is either because the latter is not full, or the former are not the true sana pars. A clash will then become inevitable, and everything depending on the sensus fidei of Catholics and on the movements of grace. For as long as he is tolerated and accepted by the universal Church, the heretic will be true Pope, and in principle, his acts are valid.

The loss of the Pontificate, therefore, will not result from a deposition by anyone but from an act of the Pope himself, who, by becoming a formal and notorious heretic will have excluded himself from the visible Church, thus tacitly resigning the Pontificate. [This makes no sense. There can be no 'tacit' resignation of any office - resignation means stepping down from your office. Can anyone imagine Bergoglio resigning because he thinks he has excluded himself from the Church? It's a total impossibility for someone who has behaved, almost from day 1 of his Pontificate, to make it clear to everyone, "L'Eglise, c'est moi!"

What then is your final consideration?
While not agreeing with the thesis that a heretic pope never loses the papacy [You may not agree with it but you are unable to show us how exactly that can be done short of the heretic pope himself leaving office, which he certainly won't do on his own because as far as he is concerned, he is not heretical. Moreover, it has not been possible before, even if Honorius's and John XXII's heresies were minor compared to Bergoglio's offenses, though of course, no one ever thought that any pope would commit the wholesale heterodoxies and carefully hedged heresies that Bergoglio has done] I think that Monsignor Schneider’s position is somewhat acceptable at the present time, in order to avoid that crypto-sedevacantism some traditionalists tend towards. On this point my position coincides with that of Monsignor Schneider, not on the theoretical level but on the practical level.

I think that the errors or heresies of Pope Francis, even if professed publicly, do not entail his loss of the papacy, since they are not known and manifest to the Catholic population. When I speak of the Catholic population, I’m not referring to the Catholic public opinion in the widest sense of the term, but to that group of baptized who are today maintaining the Catholic faith in its integrity. [I suppose they make up what De Mattei referred to earlier as the 'pars sana'.] Many of them still interpret pro bono the words and actions of Pope Francis and do not perceive any malice. We cannot say then that his loss of faith is evident and manifest. [There you have one of the fundamental problems with 'establishing' that this pope is heretical: most Catholics still think that 'the pope says...' means that is what the Church teaches].

When St. Robert or Cajetan wrote their books, society was fully Catholic, the sensus fidei was developed, and it was very easy to perceive the heresy of a priest, a bishop, even of a Pope. Today the large majority of the baptized, the priests, the bishops, even the Pope, are immersed in heresy and very few people can distinguish the true faith. So the correct indications by great classical theologians are difficult to follow in practice. The famous canonist Franciscus Xaverius Wernz in his Jus Decretalium (tomus VI, 1913, pp. 19-23) makes an important distinction between public and notorious crime. Publicum does not mean notorious: “Publicum est vocabulum genericum quod sub se complectitur notorium, manifestum et public simpliciter". - A crime is publicum when it is diffused, but it is not known as a crime by all the people. Notorious means something more: the crime is known by all: “Notorious facts they need no proof” (can. 1747, 1).

In my view, the promotion and spreading of heresy by Pope Francis is public, but not notorious in the canonical sense of the term. For this reason we must acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the Catholic Church. His deposition is for me, unfeasible, not in thesis, but at this concrete, historical point in time. Everything though may change from one day to the next.

[What would change? That Bergoglio's heresies become 'notorious in the canonical sense of the term', meaning his heresies are 'known to all'? Since 'all' in this case would mean a significant majority, at least, of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, how and when will that happen? Because it also seems apparent that the majority of the world's priests and bishops are happy to simply follow the pope's lead - we know that is the case in Europe and the Americas - then they will go on spreading Bergoglio's word as they have been doing - not the Word of God, but Bergoglio's word as if it were the Word of God - to their respective flocks who are too docile to question them because they do not know any better. Look how they all simply sat back and accepted the Novus Ordo when it was imposed on them overnight!]

In this sense, I too, like Monsignor Schneider, rely on Divine Providence, but without excluding future scenarios, like that of a heretic Pope possibly losing the papacy. [Excuse me, but did you not just say, a few lines earlier, that "His deposition is for me, unfeasible, not in thesis, but at this concrete, historical point in time"? In fact, what would make it feasible even in thesis now and whenever??? And what will make it feasible in the future? That a post-Bergoglio pope will loosen the canonical definition of heresy and provide that any pope who is thereby considered heretical shall automatically forfeit the papacy, and that to ensure this happens, every pope henceforth will be required to wear an oath to this effect when he is elected?

It should be theoretically possible because such a measure would be meant to uphold and defend the deposit of faith against any more Bergoglios - and is probably a necessary and obvious counterbalance to the doctrine of papal infallibility. i.e., no pope can be deemed infallible, and in fact will automatically commit heresy, if he teaches anything other than what is contained in the deposit of faith handed down to him!

BTW, despite the questions I pose to some of Prof. De Mattei's statements in this interview, I am truly grateful and appreciative that he is unequivocal here that Bergoglio must still be acknowledged as pope, and that deposing him is just not feasible. That he is, whatever our objections, and even if he is conceivably an evil man.

On to another potential major controversy unnecessarily generated by the church of Bergoglio:

Pro-'deaconess' theologian claims Vatican commission
on female deacons found no evidence they existed

[At least not as equivalent to male deacons, as the current proponents insist]

by Maike Hickson

March 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Professor Peter Hünermann – a well-connected and prominent German theologian – has told LifeSiteNews that, according to members of the German bishops' doctrinal commission who spoke to him, the Vatican commission created by Pope Francis to study historical evidence for female deacons found that “there is no historical evidence that in the Patristic era, women were ordained as deacons.”

In a recent interview in Germany, Professor Hünermann spoke about this Vatican commission on the history of female deacons that had been established, in 2016, by Pope Francis. This commission ended its work and gave its report to Pope Francis in mid-2018.

Professor Hünermann commented on the fact that Pope Francis “has withheld the results for months now,” saying that this “is a sign for me that he does not agree with this statement as it stands.”

When LifeSiteNews reached out to the German theologian, asking him for more information on this matter, he answered, saying that “Professor [Marianne] Schlosser of Vienna – a student of then-Professor Ratzinger [and a member of the Vatican female deacon commission] – informed the German doctrinal commission about the results of this study [of the commission]. This I learned from members of the doctrinal commission.” He further explained that the “result of the Roman commission” is: “there is no historical evidence that in the Patristic era, women were ordained as deacons.”

As Professor Hünermann explained, this position had been earlier held by Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome – as well as by Professor Karl-Heinz Menke, who was a member of this 2016 Vatican commission on the female diaconate. As LifeSiteNews reported, Menke had said, in 2016: “A female diaconate has nowhere and never participated in the office transmitted by ordination.”

Professor Hünermann also pointed out to LifeSiteNews that “I assume that Cardinal [Luis] Ladaria as the president of this [2016 Vatican] commission shares this position.” Hünermann himself is in favor of a female diaconate and has discussed this position in a 2012 academic article.

“Whether Professor Phyllis Zagano or other members [of that commission] have introduced a dissenting minority report and whether this has been documented in the final report, is not known to me,” the German professor adds. LifeSiteNews had recently reported on some statements made by Zagano, who claimed that in the early history of the Church the “ordination ceremonies for women deacons were identical to the ordination ceremonies for men.” She implied that, therefore, a female diaconate would be possible.

Professor Hünermann also hopes for such a female diaconate. He confirms to LifeSiteNews that he himself had recommended, in 2016, to Pope Francis to establish such a study commission on the female diaconate. He also told LifeSiteNews that “it is my reflection that it is not an accident that Pope Francis has not yet published the [findings of the] counseling commission. In his view, the very fact that the findings of this commission are 'obviously highly shaky' can be seen in the practice of several Orthodox churches which in the meantime have resumed their old practice and ordain women as deacons and have very good experiences with it in the pastoral care.[Well, if Bergoglio can overrule synods at will to 'promulgate' whatever he wants, there's no reason to expect he will nor the findings of a commission he himself named if those findings are contrary to what he believes and/or what he really wants to happen. In this case, he can always cite Paul VI who ignored the recommendations of his commission on artificial contraception.]

Already in 2002, a similar commission of the Vatican's International Theological Commission had published its own findings concerning this topic; it found that there was never an ordained office of female deacons in the history of the Church. It stated:

The deaconesses mentioned in the tradition of the ancient Church – as evidenced by the rite of institution and the functions they exercised – were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons.

The unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, in the clear distinction between the ministries of the bishop and the priests on the one hand and the diaconal ministry on the other, is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the Magisterium.

[But of course, Bergoglio chose to ignore this very authoritative report in favor of a new investigation. In the same way that he chose to re-visit the question of communion for remarried divorcees after John Paul II had already laid down the definitive NO in Familiaris consortio. For him, it always has to be 'my way, regardless'.]

As Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in 2013: “According to Catholic doctrine, the Sacrament of Holy Orders – in its stages bishop, priest, and deacon – can only be validly received by a man.”

Professor Manfred Hauke, in recent comments to LifeSiteNews, further strengthened this position when he said: “We cannot identify the consecration of deaconesses with the ordination of deacons. It was not sacramental ordination that can be identified with the Sacrament of Orders (for bishops, priests, and deacons).” He added: “The history of the institution of deaconesses offers no solid basis, therefore, for the introduction of a sacramental female diaconate. The ancient Church was unacquainted with a female diaconate equivalent to the male diaconate.”
00Saturday, March 23, 2019 2:45 AM

Left, Benedict XV beatifies Newman in Birmingham, Sept 2010; Right, Portrait of Newman by John Everett Millais, 1881.

Cardinal Newman:
Saint, theologian, prose stylist

By David Carlin

March 22, 2019

In November last year, the Vatican certified a second miracle attributed to John Henry Newman (1801-1890), and on February 13 of this year, Pope Francis gave his approval to this certification. Cardinal Newman had previously been declared Venerable and then Blessed. This second miracle was needed for Newman to be promoted to the rank of Saint. It is expected that his formal canonization will take place before the year is ended.

Many think that Newman, perhaps the greatest Catholic theologian since Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, will receive one more promotion after joining the ranks of officially recognized saints. They expect that it will not be long thereafter that he will be counted as a Doctor of the Church.

Not long ago I re-read, after first reading it a half-century earlier, Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua, the autobiographical history of his religious opinions up to 1845, the year he left the Church of England and became a Catholic.

The prose style of the Apologia, written in his mid-sixties, is far more subdued than that of his other prose masterpiece, The Idea of a University, written a dozen years earlier. The Idea abounds in epigrams and other striking verbal formulas. Frequently, in order to reinforce a thought, Newman reiterates his point in a half-dozen ways, each time expressing it in a new and arresting manner. The style is rich, perhaps too rich. It reminds me of good cheesecake: delicious, but a small amount goes a long way.

By the time he wrote the Apologia, Newman had pruned his style of its spectacular elements; the cheesecake analogy no longer applied. If you come to the Apologia after just having read the Idea, as I first did years ago, you may be disappointed by the lack of fireworks. The whole thing is written in black and white and shades of gray, not in Technicolor. How drab it all seems at first. But stay with it a while, grow accustomed to its melody, and you soon realize you’re in the presence of another prose masterpiece, though a masterpiece of a very different kind.

The style is graceful, quiet, flowing, mature, like a calm but powerful river. It is a wonderful combination of formality and intimacy, just right for the subject matter: the history of the theological opinions of a man composed of equal parts high intellect and religious passion.

In the earlier work, you get the impression of a writer striving to make an impact on the reader, and succeeding brilliantly. In the later work, you get just the opposite impression – a writer who has given up straining for effects, who now writes effortlessly, yet has become incapable of writing a bad sentence. (Of course, it must always be remembered that the greatest art lies in concealing art.)

Well, as I was saying, I recently re-read the Apologia, and I read it for more than its style; I read it as well for its content, its message. What was Newman’s great theological concern? Positively speaking, it was to find religious truth. Negatively, it was to resist something he called “liberalism” in religion.

And what did he mean by religious liberalism? He meant the anti-dogmatic style of religion; a style that regards religion as a matter purely of sentiment and conduct, not of doctrine. In liberal Christianity, there can be no heresy, because there is really no truth or falsity, at least none we can feel sure of.

There is no objective standard by which we can judge this religion true and that religion false. Everything is subjective, nothing is objective. All beliefs are equal. All religions are equal. What religion you hold, or whether you hold any at all, is purely a matter of personal preference. Liberalism is tantamount to a denial that there is a divine revelation.

Newman was convinced, very correctly, that religious liberalism was growing in his day. It was this conviction that led him and his friends to launch what came to be called the Tractarian Movement or Oxford Movement – an attempt to resist liberalism and to reassert the dogmatic principle in the Church of England.

They did this by trying to revive, through both their writings and their personal influence, the beliefs and practices of ancient and medieval Christianity. They wanted to “Catholicize” Anglicanism – though without “Romanizing” it. They meant to be Anglo-Catholics, not Roman Catholics.

It was this struggle against liberalism that finally led Newman to Rome. Anglicanism, he decided reluctantly, was a lost cause, hopelessly infected with Protestantism. And as Newman (who was in the habit of taking long views) saw things, Protestantism eventually led to religious liberalism, and liberalism, in turn, led to what in his day was called either “rationalism” or “infidelity,” i.e., agnosticism and atheism.

In the last analysis, he held, there is no logical resting point between atheism at one extreme and Catholicism – Roman Catholicism – at the other.

Given that liberalism is today on the rise among Catholics, this is perhaps just the right moment for us to be reminded of Newman. Let’s hope that his canonization inspires a “back to Newman” movement. And a declaration of the great Cardinal as a Doctor of the Church.

The catalog of Newman books available online today includes all of his major works and anthologies, many in multiple English editions.

Aldo Maria Valli has a great example of the relativism that has become the hallmark of the church of Bergoglio...

Lutheran bishops of Norway support legalized
abortion and diss the Catholic Church for
'lack of concern for women's rights'

Translated from

March 21, 2019

Years ago, at a dinner in Oslo, I met a Norwegian Lutheran pastor. We started to chat and I found out he was married. In fact, married, divorced and remarried. This time, with a woman pastor. Who herself had been divorced, if I remember right.

I am afraid my face betrayed a certain surprise, because the pastor said: “I know, it’s difficult for you Roman Catholics to understand”. He said it with the condescension that northern Europeans sometimes have towards us southern Europeans, and my impression was that he was thinking, “But sooner or later, you too will have to deal with such a situation”.

At the time, John Paul II was pope, and I thought to myself, “These Lutherans think they are so progressive but have not understood that, very simply, they have yielded to the logic of the world and have betrayed God’s commandment”. Poor ingenuous man that I was, in my heart I thanked God for having made me born as a Catholic, which made me feel secure from any deviations from his law. Today, so many years later, after so much ecumenical ‘updating’, I don’t feel that safe anymore.

The episode came back to mind when I read that the Lutheran bishops of Norway had signed a declaration on abortion that said, among other things, that “the [Catholic] Church, as an institution, has shown, in the course of history, a lack of concern for the liberation and the rights of women“.

I proceeded to read: “A society with legal access to abortion is a society that is better than one that has no such access. It prevents illegal abortions and promotes the health and safety of women”. It sounds like the manifesto of a pro-abortion political party. Especially since these ‘pastors’, in order to be unequivocal, are careful to underscore that “We do not wish to question the abortion laws at all”.

Of course, their declaration included an apology: “We are sorry. As a church, we should change the way we talk about abortion and to take care of those persons who are affected”.

Nor did they lack ambiguity. The objective of their church, the bishops wrote, is not so much to question the law [in Norway, abortion is legal up the 12th week of pregnancy], nor to question that the fetus is a life ‘that has value and needs protection' but ”to promote inclusive communion”. ‘Inclusive communion’ – what does that mean?

What about ambivalence? It was there, too. Because the bishops, while appearing to recognize that the fetus is a person, ultimately defend the law that makes abortion a right – whereas that unborn person has no voice to assert his/her right to life.

What about an appeal for dialog? Of course. The Lutheran bishops say, quite apologetically, that opposing the liberalization of abortion had only worsened their church’s dialog with society and with women.

So: Mea culpa, ambiguity, ambivalence, transforming dialog into a new dogma – where have I heard this repertoire before?

Yet this statement of position by the Lutheran bishops comes at a time when Norwegian politicians themselves are seeing to rethink some questions in a new light. As for instance, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who heads the conservative party, has spoken of a possible amendment to restrict selective abortions, and the country’s Supreme Court has recognized the right of doctors not to provide medical services when these procedures are contrary to their conscience.

So, while politics and society, even in an ultra-secularized society like Norway, appear for the first time to be headed in a less relativistic direction, here is the Lutheran Church giving a boost to relativistic thinking. The same thinking promoted by some Catholics who think, as the reigning pope does, that ‘Luther was needed medicine for the Church’, but Catholics have remained backward by four centuries!

Congratulations for Luther’s farsightedness!

00Sunday, March 24, 2019 1:14 AM
Leaked report from the 2013 Conclave
reveals who got votes in the first balloting

The Jesuits' 'America' magazine previews a chapter
from a forthcoming book all about that conclave

[Nice to know 'what happened' but does this not
violate the supposed rules of conclave secrecy?]

By Michelle Boorstein

March 22,, 2019

A rare, leaked report about a papal election revealed great uncertainty in the 2013 picking of Pope Francis, with a huge number of cardinals getting votes — and for the first time top spots for an American and a Canadian.

A piece published Friday by America, a Catholic news site, gives what experts say is unprecedented public detail about a conclave — the normally top-secret event in which cardinals select popes. Participants take an oath not to share what goes on inside the rounds of voting, and some papal experts Friday said they feared the detailed leak could corrupt the entire process going forward.

Francis’s election followed Pope Benedict XVI’s historic, surprise resignation and came amid turmoil about dysfunction in the Vatican bureaucracy and a perceived lack of an inspiring spiritual leader at the helm of the world’s largest church. [Benedict XVI has been accused of many outrageously false things but never that he failed to provide exemplary spiritual leadership as pope.] The votes revealed in the story show for the first time the dramatic shift away from Europe and toward the Americas as a center of Catholicism.

Almost all top vote-getters for centuries have been Europeans, said America’s Vatican reporter, Gerard O’Connell, who wrote the piece entitled “Inside the election of Pope Francis.” But in 2013 the top four were an Italian (Angelo Scola), a South American — Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, from Argentina — Canadian Marc Ouellet and Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, the article reports.

Often, winners’ vote-counts get out years after conclaves, but several papal experts said this was the most detailed leak they had seen. It includes details of the scene leading up to the vote, and much more specific numbers -- how many people garnered any votes, names of many who won votes and how many they had received.

[They are forgetting the leak by an 'unnamed cardinal' of purported 'details' from the April 2005 Conclave which was published in October of the same year. Get with it, Michelle Boorstein. You're supposed to be the top religion reporter for yoru paper - how can you not recall recent history? The purpose then - unlike the current report on the 2013 Conclave, clearly written to reinforce the personal reputation of the reigning pope for release at a time when his credibility and popularity are both sagging - was to undermine Benedict XVI at the start of his pontificate by alleging that he was significantly challenged by Bergoglio who purportedly got half as many votes as Joseph Ratzinger did in the fourth and final balloting in 2005.

It is believed that the leaker cardinal, since deceased, was an Italian (initials M.P.) who was with the Curial Old Guard led by Cardinal Sodano, the Old Guard who never liked Ratzinger because he never took part in Curial politics during his almost quarter century as the primus inter pares of Curial officials.]

O’Connell’s story, which is excerpted from his upcoming book on the conclave, focuses on the first round of Francis’s election. Conclaves require a two-thirds vote and usually take several rounds to get there. Francis’s had five rounds. In the first round, of the 115 cardinal-electors, 23 names got votes — one-fifth of the total number of cardinals voting. (One of the 23 was a misspelling of Bergoglio, America reported.)

Scola got 30, Bergoglio 26 (or 27 with the proper spelling), Ouellet 22 and O’Malley 10. Ouellet’s and O’Malley’s tallies were the highest conclave votes ever for North Americans, experts said.

The piece, which covers only the first round, describes that vote as tone-setting — surprising cardinals with the low number for the European Scola and making clear Bergoglio was very much in the running.

Experts on Friday offered different views of what the votes meant.
- Some said it showed the cardinals were strongly driven by a desire for geographical diversity, as the church has been shrinking for years in Europe.
- Others said Bergoglio’s rise, and a strong showing for O’Malley, showed voters’ attraction to clerics known for their focus on the poor, immigrants, social questions and a simple lifestyle — compared with those known for their theological focus and correctness and clarity.
- Benedict is a towering theologian who is considered more on the conservative side, as are Scola and Ouellet, and all were people with many years as Vatican insiders.
- Some said Francis in 2013 wasn’t seen as the potential trailblazer he often is perceived as now; he was viewed as a Benedict-like pastor, but from a part of the world on the rise. [How would the cardinals who got lured into voting for Bergoglio ever have thought that, considering the ultra-liberal creds of the Sankt Gallen Mafia cardinals who electioneered for Bergoglio??? Would anyone ever think that the likes of Danneels and Kasper could push a 'Benedict-like' pastor for pope? Moreover, it was clear from all the blabber surrounding and during the pre-conclave general congregations that the cardinals intended to choose an anti-Benedict, so convinced were they that Vatileaks was a major scandal even if the author of the Vatileaks book himself pointed out in the book that the leaked documents did not at all reflect negatively on Benedict himself. And the cardinals must have been so sold on the Sankt-Gallen Mafia's marketing of Bergoglio that apparently no one bothered to research his record in Argentina and in effect, bought a pig in a poke.]

In 2013 “there was so much concern over the managerial disarray in the Vatican, in the last years of Benedict XVI. There was a widespread sense: ‘We need someone from outside this milieu to come from outside and clean this all up.’ It was difficult, bordering on the impossible, to have an Italian elected” in that climate, said papal biographer George Weigel. [Ummm, Mr Weigel, did what you call the 'managerial disarray' in the last years of Benedict XVI's pontificate even approach the widely conceded managerial disarray in the final years of John Paul II's Pontificate (and illness) when he necessarily had to delegate all his governing powers to sundry Curial officials? The sad part is, although he has since then made up somewhat for dropping Beendict XV like a hot potato in the year of Vatileaks, Weigel - who wrote an inspired and inspiring book called GOD'S CHOICE, also in 2005, a few months after the Conclave, about how Joseph Ratzinger came to succeed John Paul II - quickly hopped on the post-Vatileaks anti-Benedict bandwagon, and was at least for the first 2-3 years of this pontificate, a great Bergoglio enthusiast. And until now, as strongly as he criticizes the many things that are wrong with this pontificate, he has managed not to lay anything directly at the doorstep of Bergoglio.]

Kathleen Sprows Cummings, a historian who runs a center for the study of U.S. Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, said Friday she was shocked O’Malley got so many votes. She noted that New York City’s archbishop, Timothy Dolan, got two votes in that first round, according to America.

“If reporters would ask [in 2013], ‘Could an American be pope?’ I’d laugh. But now I’m not sure about that,” she said.

Cummings and O’Connell both said most cardinals recognized global Catholics would be skeptical of a pope from a superpower. She also noted that Americans have been voting in papal conclaves only for roughly the last century. It was a European affair until then — and Americans at times had literally missed the boat to get to Rome in time.

The O’Malley votes, she said, could reflect voters’ desire for a more simple papal image. The Boston cleric is from a religious order, like Francis, whose character and style emphasize humility. (O’Malley is a Franciscan, Francis a Jesuit.) Cummings said it is possible O’Malley coming from a city associated with rehabilitating from the clergy sex abuse crisis was a strength.

“He has respect and credibility that a lot of people realize the church as a whole is lacking,” Cummings said.

Several papal experts were very concerned about the leak. Catholicism teaches that the conclave is a spiritual event meant to support holy men in prayers that will lead them to a choice. The image of coalition-building and potential politicking — in other words, standard fare for an election — was worrisome to some.

The leaker (or leakers) “are in violation of the secrecy they were sworn to. They took an oath,” said the Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of theology at Catholic University in Washington. “The reason we desire to protect those [voting] is because this isn’t just a democratic process. This is a process that is human, but also each of them are called to present their thoughts before God. … This isn’t just a simple who gets the highest vote or politicking or campaigning on a political level.” [The problem, of course, is that no action has ever been taken against these oath-breakers - and none is expected - so that the provision for excommunication as the penalty for violating the secrecy rule has been a virtual dead letter, even if, of course, the secrecy has been honored in the past two conclaves by at least 95% of the participants. In fact, I don't think John Paul II's conclave rules ever specified just how a violation is to be established and investigated, and by whom.]

Morozowich said he didn’t want Catholics to over-analyze and focus on the voting process, or for future cardinal-voters to be thinking too much about what their fellow cardinals are thinking when they should be seeking what God is saying to their heart. “I don’t want people to say the church is divided,” he said. [Oh, come off it! Do you happen to live on Mars? The Church has been divided since at least Vatican-II.]

O’Connell said people who shared the details with him emphasized the import of the election, with the knowledge he wasn’t going to publish right away. He said he has been working on the book since 2013.

“Everyone realized a seismic shift had happened, towards the Americas,” he said. “They wanted it to be important for history for people to know the story.” [Big deal already! What's not to understand? The cardinal electors thought it was time to have a non-European pope, so they chose someone from Latin America which has the largest Catholic population of any continent, and someone moreover who had been sold to them as a saint-in-waiting who would also be the great top-to-bottom wall-to-wall reformer that everyone hopes a new pope will be....

I think one important thing this chapter of O'Connell's book tells us is that Bergoglio wasn't exactly a shoo-in at the start - even if Scola only
had 4 more votes than he did at the first ballot. But Bergoglio's grand electors had a whole evening and part of the next morning to change
the dynamics in his favor, especially since his showing against Scherer of Brazil (4 votes) would have served to rally all the Latin American
cardinals instantly behind him because he would become the first pope from the New World. Whereas, from all accounts, Cardinal Scola did
not even have all the Italian bishops behind him, and he obviously had no organized support. As Raymond Arroyo notes:

One assumes that the 'Ratzingerian' cardinals split between Scola and Ouellet, with their combined vote at the first ballot 52 to Bergoglio's 26
or 27 - a difference that couldn't have been made up even if all the Latin American and North American cardinals had aligned behind Bergoglio
after the first ballot. But all the other non-European cardinal electors would also have rallied behind Bergoglio after the first ballot in order to
finally put an end to European hegemony in papal annals. I bet every cardinal who decided to vote for Bergoglio was thinking to himself,
"Wow, I am part of an epochal history-making event!"

00Sunday, March 24, 2019 4:23 AM

Here's a beautiful initiative from the Anglican Catholics in behalf of Cardinal Pell.

by Deborah Gyapong
March 23, 2019

When Archbishop John Hepworth first disclosed to the Catholic hierarchy that he had been sexually abused from the time he was a young Catholic seminarian, the response initially from the Catholic hierarchy seemed to be that he was crazy or a charlatan.

This response led to attitudes of contempt not only towards Hepworth, but also for the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC). he led. That contempt nearly destroyed the dreams of TAC communities of ever being accepted into the Catholic Church with their clergy.

I believe it is Cardinal Pell who rescued us, because through a mutual friend of both men, he advised Hepworth to go to through the Melbourne process he had created to handling sexual abuse claims when he was Archbishop of Melbourne.

That process, led by a Queen’s Counsel with vast experience in hearing and weighing clergy sexual abuse claims, vindicated Archbishop Hepworth. The QC believed him and that marked a turning point, I believe, in rescuing what seemed like our shattered prospects of entering the Catholic church as intact communities.

Because of Cardinal Pell’s help behind the scenes in this case, I join those around the world who find his conviction in a second jury trial of sexual abuse of minors a miscarriage of justice.

The verdict was based on the testimony of one of the victims, who described events that many other witnesses said could not have possibly have happened given the time, place and circumstances.

Many around the world, myself included, see Pell as the scapegoat for the clergy abuse sins of the Catholic Church but hated all the more because he stood up for traditional Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

So, I post from our comments section this from Fr. John Hodgins in Toronto:

THE PSALM 44 INITIATIVE — Priests around the world are being asked to offer one Mass for Cardinal Pell each week while he is incarceratted; and to send a Mass card with a note of support for our brother in prison.

Psalm 44. Deus, auribus.
WE have heard with our ears, O God,
our fathers have told us what thou hast done in their time of old:
2 How thou hast driven out the heathen with thy hand, and planted our fathers in; how thou hast destroyed the nations, and made thy people to flourish.
3 For they gat not the land in possession through their own sword, neither was it their own arm that helped them;
4 But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance; because thou hadst a favour unto them.
5 Thou art my King, O God; send help unto Jacob.
6 Through thee will we overthrow our enemies, and in thy Name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
7 For I will not trust in my bow, it is not my sword that shall help me;
8 But it is thou that savest us from our enemies, and puttest them to confusion that hate us.
9 We make our boast of God all day long, and will praise thy Name for ever.
10 But now thou art far off, and puttest us to confusion, and goest not forth with our armies.
11 Thou makest us to turn our backs upon our enemies, so that they which hate us spoil our goods.
12 Thou lettest us be eaten up like sheep, and hast scattered us among the heathen.
13 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and takest no money for them.
14 Thou makest us to be rebuked of our neighbours, to be laughed to scorn, and had in derision of them that are round about us.
15 Thou makest us to be a byword among the nations and, that the peoples shake their heads at us.
16 My confusion is daily before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me;
17 For the voice of the slanderer and blasphemer, for the enemy and avenger.
18 And though all this be come upon us, yet do we not forget thee, nor behave ourselves frowardly in thy covenant.
19 Our heart is not turned back, neither our steps gone out of thy way;
20 No, not when thou hast smitten us into the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
21 If we have forgotten the Name of our God, and holden up our hands to any strange god, shall not God search it out? for he knoweth the very secrets of the heart.
22 For thy sake also are we killed all the day long, and are counted as sheep appointed to be slain.
23 Up, Lord, why sleepest thou? awake, and be not absent from us for ever.
24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our misery and trouble?
25 For our soul is brought low, even unto the dust; our belly cleaveth unto the ground.
26 Arise, and help us.

Of course lay people may also offer their Mass intentions for Cardinal Pell and send him a note of support. A wave of Mass offerings and mountains of mail going to the Cardinal can be a great spiritual grace for all of us during these very dark days.

Please mail to:
George Cardinal Pell,
Melbourne Assessment Prison,
317-353 Spencer St.,
West Melbourne, VIC 3003
00Sunday, March 24, 2019 2:29 PM
See what the Vatican gets for all its kowtowing!

Chinese president will likely
snub Pope Francis while in Rome

[How could the Vatican think Xi would agree
to meet the pope? He does not have to, and
China already has what it wants out of Rome]

by Doug Mainwaring

VATICAN CITY, March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNew)s — Despite entering into a controversial, lopsided agreement with the Vatican last September in which China gained greater control over the Chinese Catholic Church, President Xi Jinping will evidently snub the Holy See while visiting Rome this week.

Vatican sources told Reuters that although there have been some behind-the-scenes discussions, Chinese officials have not requested a meeting between Xi Jinping and Pope Francis. It is customary for heads of state to visit the Holy See while in Rome.

“The pope is willing to see Xi Jinping, but I’m not sure Xi is willing to meet the pope,” said Fr. Sergio Ticozzi, an expert on mainland China Catholic affairs living in Hong Kong, according to The South China Morning Post.

“Politically speaking, it will go against his religious affairs policy if he accepts the Vatican’s invitation,” continued Ticozzi. “Xi has emphasized the sinicization of religions, so meeting the pope would kind of gesture an acceptance of interference from a Western religious authority in his domestic religious policy.”

The optics are bad for the Vatican.

The official visit to Rome coincides with the publication of a new book by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin titled, The Church in China - A Future Yet to be Written. Parolin was one of the chief negotiators of the Vatican-Chinese communist government deal.

Perhaps to entreat the Chinese president to meet with the Pope, Parolin wrote in the book’s introduction, “The Holy See (nurtures) no distrust or hostility toward any country.”

Parolin further asserts that the Catholic Church in China “cannot be separated from a stance of respect, esteem, and trust toward the Chinese people and their legitimate state authorities.”

By favoring the government-approved Chinese Patriotic Church, the September agreement weakened the “Underground Catholic Church” in China, which had remained faithful to the Holy See through decades of communist persecution and suppression.

Before the ink had a chance to dry on the ‘historic’ agreement, the Chinese Patriotic Church declared its “independence,” stating that it will remain loyal to the communist regime.

The Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics and the Council of Bishops of the Church of China — neither of which have been recognized by the Vatican — avowed that “The Chinese Catholic Church ‘will continue to operate independently,’” according to a report by AsiaNews at the time.

“We love the country and the Church, we will carry forward the principle of independence and the concept of the sinicization of religion while remaining on the path that leads to socialist society,” the Chinese Church stated.

“Independence” suggests independence from Rome’s authority and “sinicization” refers to the process where foreign influences within China are made more compatible with Chinese culture. In reality, however, sinicization has become the government's attempt to co-opt Christianity.

After the agreement with the Chinese government was announced, Parolin said, For the first time all the bishops in China are in communion with the bishop of Rome, with the Successor of Peter. [Note that he says 'All the bishops' - not 'all the Catholics'! As if the faithful had nothing to do with all this!] And Pope Francis, like his immediate predecessors, looks with particular care to the Chinese people.”

Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, who has been a fierce critic of the deal with China, accused Parolin of an “incredible betrayal” of the Church in China and said he should resign.

“They’re giving the flock into the mouths of wolves,” Cardinal Zen said in the run-up to the diplomatic agreement between the Vatican and Communist Beijing.

“The consequences will be tragic and long-lasting, not only for the church in China but for the whole Church because it damages the credibility,” he added.

China expert Steven Mosher has echoed Cardinal Zen, saying, “I believe that the ‘provisional agreement’ is a betrayal of the Catholic Church in China.”

“I see it as a betrayal on several levels,” wrote Mosher. “It betrays the authority of the papacy by giving the Chinese Communist Party the right to name bishops. It betrays the underground Church in China, a Church which not only has survived decades of persecution at the hands of the authorities but is now, once again, under siege. And — I would argue — because it is a secret agreement, it betrays the truth by allowing both sides to misrepresent it.”

Parolin told Mosher in May that the signing of an agreement with the Chinese Party-State would give Rome “leverage” over the Communist authorities that it could use to help Catholics in China.

But how much leverage does an agreement give you that is not only "secret" but entirely "provisional'? “The answer, of course, is none,” added Mosher.

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