THE CHURCH MILITANT - BELEAGUERED BY BERGOGLIANISM

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TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, March 25, 2019 1:38 PM













ALWAYS AND EVER OUR MOST BELOVED BENEDICTUS XVI






Right, teen hero Ray Shehata who summoned police to the rescue before he and 50 others could have been burned alive by vengeful bus driver.

Italian citizenship promised for
teen 'hero' who saved 51 lives with SOS call

Various sources
March 22, 2019

Italy's government has promised to award citizenship to an Egyptian boy who saved 51 lives with his SOS phone call to police.

Thirteen-year old Ramy Shehata is being praised as a hero for saving everyone on board an Italian school bus that was hijacked near Milan then set on fire.

Italy is in shock after the dramatic rescue of 51 children who were allegedly taken hostage by their school bus driver who torched the vehicle, reportedly in protest at Mediterranean migrant deaths.

A spokesman for Italy’s military police, Marco Palmieri, praised the quick thinking of Shehata, who hid his mobile phone when the driver was confiscating those of the other passengers.

"The driver doused petrol on the bus and threatened to blow it up," Mr Palmieri told CNN. "He requested all the children's mobile phones - but one kid managed to hide and called us. You know how canny kids are these days," he said.

Italy’s military police, known as the Carabinieri, said the boy helped to pinpoint the location of the bus.

"Ramy called us and had his head down looking through the glass door and was able to read the signs on the road, giving an exact location of where the bus was and where it was going," a spokesperson said.

The office of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called Ramy Shehata, who is from Egypt, a "little hero" and said he would be granted speedy citizenship.

"The Interior Ministry is ready to take on the expenses and speed up the procedures to recognise citizenship for the little hero," a statement from the interior ministry said. "The hope is to attribute... citizenship to Ramy and remove it from the bus driver".

Ramy's father Kahled Shehata told Italy's ANSA news agency his family arrived in Italy in 2001.

"My son did his duty, it would be nice if he could now get Italian citizenship," Mr Shehata said.

The Italian driver of Senegalese origin on Wednesday hijacked the bus as it was taking the 12-13 year-olds from a gym to school in Crema, east of Milan.

Armed with two petrol canisters and a cigarette lighter, the accused Ousseynou Sy threatened the youngsters, took their telephones and told the adults to tie them up with electric cable.

According to CNN, Carabinieri spokesman Marco Palmieri said the driver allegedly yelled "I need to avenge the deaths in the Mediterranean."

The Milan police anti-terrorism unit has been charged with investigating the hostage-taking, during which Mr Sy reportedly told students: "No one is getting out of here alive."

The incident prompted Italy's populist government to demand that the driver lose his Italian citizenship.

"He blocked all the doors with chains," teaching assistant Tiziana Magarini told news agency AFP. "He showed me a knife and told me to tie up all the children."

The 40-minute ordeal, during which the bus also slammed into a car, was brought to an end when police managed to smash windows open and get those onboard out just as the driver set fire to the vehicle.

A dozen children and two adults were taken to hospital for smoke and fume inhalation, according to emergency services.

"It's crazy, absurd, it's unacceptable. Someone has to pay, and dearly," said Filippo Razzini, the father of a pupil at the school in the small town of Crema who was not on the bus.

"It's good to go back to school today because unfortunately these things are today a reality. But if it were up to me I'd be out there waiting for this guy somewhere," he told AFP.

Ousseynou Sy's lawyer said his client had wanted to "draw attention to the consequences of (Italy's) migration policies".

Italy has clamped down on immigration under far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, demanding it close its ports to charity vessels rescuing migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Mr Salvini said Mr Sy should have his citizenship, granted in 2004 after his marriage to an Italian, revoked. "We shall do all we can to ensure this nefarious person is stripped of his Italian nationality".

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio of the League's governing partner, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, agreed. "I think it is a duty to withdraw immediately the citizenship of this criminal," said Mr Di Maio.

Mr Sy could lose his citizenship if convicted of a terror attack under a tough security decree introduced last year.

Mr Salvini's far-right League party is riding high in the polls in part because of its tough anti-migrant stance.

The driver had no links with Islamic terrorism and "acted as a lone wolf", Alberto Nobili, head of counter-terrorism at the Milan public prosecutor's office, told a news conference.

Mr Nobili said Thursday that Mr Sy had planned the hijacking over several days and "wanted the whole world talking about his story".

He posted a video on YouTube to explain his actions and call on relatives and friends in Crema and Senegal to take action, saying: "Africa -- arise."

Mr Sy got his Italian citizenship and job in 2004 and managed to keep subsequent convictions for drink driving and sexual assault of a minor secret from his employer, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

A neighbour told La Stampa newspaper that he was known as "Paolo". "That's what we called him because his name was too complicated. I saw him go out every morning, he drove a bus. A quiet man but solitary," she said.

Colleagues told Italian media that Mr Sy's separation from his Italian wife, with whom he has two teenage children, was "when his problems started".

William Kilpatrick contrasts the relatively sparse media reportage of the Italian schoolbus hijacking with the saturation coverage of the mosque massacres in New Zealand, but while he has a good point about the Italian story not fitting into the ultra-liberal media narrative about both terrorism and immigration, the more obvious reason is that, thankfully, the bus hijacker failed to kill his hostages, which made it less the stuff of headlines than massacres in two mosques that took the lives of at least 50 Muslims. Moreover, the New Zealand massacre story also id not conform to the usual storyline of "Muslim kills Christian worshippers in church", because this time Muslim worshippers were the victims though the mass killer does not claim to be Christian
and that's not something the media can twist otherwise.



Don't Italian lives matter?
Why did most American media and outlets, notably Google News,
give little attention to the kidnapping/attempted murder
of 51 choolchildren and their chaperones in Italy?

]by William Kilpatrick

March 23, 2019

On March 15th an anti-immigrant white man, who wanted to send a message to the world, killed 50 people inside a mosque in New Zealand. Five days later, a pro-immigrant black man, who also wanted to send a message, kidnapped and tried to immolate 50 children on a school bus near Milan, Italy.

If you missed the first story, you must be a hermit living in the Idaho backwoods in a cabin with no TV, radio, or internet access. If you missed the second story, you can be forgiven because, outside of Europe, it didn’t receive much coverage.

According to the European media, the bus driver, an “Italian citizen” who migrated from Senegal several years ago, hijacked his bus-full of middle school children, forced the three school chaperones to handcuff the children with plastic ties, then took off on the highway, ramming into cars along the way. When he was stopped by a police barricade, he set fire to the bus which he had previously doused with fuel.

Luckily the police were able to break the bus windows and free the students. No one was seriously injured but several children suffered shock, bruises and smoke inhalation. The bus driver, Ousseynou Sy, told the panicked children that what he was doing was revenge for his own three children who had died while crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to get to Italy. He told police that he was retaliating for the thousands of migrants who had drowned in the sea crossing in recent years.

I first became aware of the bus hijack while browsing the Jihad Watch website around 2 p.m. on the day of the incident. Robert Spencer’s piece contained a long excerpt from a Telegraph article published hours earlier. I wondered when the American media would pick up the story.

At 4:30 p.m. I checked Google News. There were plenty of articles about the New Zealand mosque massacre, but nothing about the near-massacre in Italy. I checked again at 6 p.m. Still nothing, but there were 6 headline stories about the New Zealand shooting with a “click for more stories” link which brought up dozens more stories about the mosque attack. I thought to myself that Google News was a bit slow on the uptake. I assumed that they were trying to decide how to minimize the story.

At around 7:30 p.m. Fox News carried a brief account of the hijacked children and the blazing bus. I tried Google News again. There was nothing about Italy, but one could have spent most of the evening reading all the stories about New Zealand. In addition, there was a Snopes piece entitled, “Did ‘Muslim militants’ kill 120 Christians in Nigeria in February/March, 2019?” [Snopes is an online fact-checking and investigative reporting service that appears to have its own agenda.]

To put the New Zealand attack in perspective, a number of Christian and conservative sites had run stories about the almost daily attacks on Christians by Muslims in Nigeria. The Snopes piece was an obvious attempt to undercut that narrative. It emphasized that the Muslim-Christian troubles in Nigeria should be understood as a range war—conflicts and clashes between farmers and cow herders over land. As Snopes presented it, the Nigerian massacres were just like the stories of farmers and cowboys fighting over grazing lands in the old West. And shame on you for thinking it has anything to do with Islam.

I checked Google News again at midnight and at various times the next day, and found nothing about a bus hijacking in Italy; but, again, there were numerous stories, new and old, about the New Zealand tragedy. Perhaps in a few days Snopes will do a “fact check” showing that the Italian bus incident was not presented in the correct context.

Those of a certain age will remember a story from 1976 about a school bus full of children that went missing for 36 hours near the town of Chowchilla, California. Along with their driver, the children had been kidnapped by three men who after an 11 hour drive, hid the bus and transferred the children to two vans which had been hidden underground in a rock quarry. Happily, the children, aided by their driver, managed to escape.

Another school bus full of children went missing two days ago in Italy. Only it didn’t go missing from sight. It went missing from the news. Not entirely, of course, but for such a big story the coverage seemed minimal; and, as of this writing, Google News hasn’t covered it at all. That’s strange.

It’s a great big look-at-me story full of drama and human interest. Most parents, especially those with school-aged children who take buses to school would want to know about a story like this. Grandparents would also want to know. Wouldn’t you? Don’t the people at Google News have children? Don’t they care? Or is something else at work? The Chowchilla school bus story was nationwide news for several days, but that was in a time before the news became highly politicized.

Google News didn’t run the story because it undercut the narratives that they had been pushing for days. One of those narratives is about widespread anti-Muslim bigotry, or “Islamophobia” for short. But the story out of Italy didn’t fit that narrative. The revengeful bus driver wasn’t bigoted against Muslims. In fact, seeing that he comes from Senegal, a country that is 92 percent Muslim, he most probably is a Muslim.

Another narrative that Google favors is that opposition to immigration creates a climate that leads to violence. After all, the New Zealand shooter had pronounced anti-immigrant views. But the Italian bus driver was very much the opposite. He was pro-immigration—so much so that he was willing to kill 50 children in order to protest Italy’s new restrictive policy on immigration.

If you don’t think that Google is biased and is deliberately trying to manage what we are allowed to know, imagine that the children on the bus were Muslim, and their driver was a white nationalist anti-immigrant. Would Google have given the story the silent treatment?

The other reason that Google and other media don’t want to dwell on the story is that the bus driver’s views on immigration are uncomfortably close to their own, and it wouldn’t do for people to think too much about that fact. Like Ousseynou Sy, the media elites tend to think that borders should be open and that all migrants deserve to be safely escorted across the sea (the kidnapper’s views on immigration also happen to closely coincide with those of Pope Francis, a majority of European bishops, and the USCCB).

Sy railed against Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s immigration policies, but as Ned May observes in Gates of Vienna', “[he should] have realized that his actions were an affirmation of Mr. Salvini’s argument against allowing third-world immigrants into Italy.”

Of course, the people who write the news do realize that. They are smart enough to know that Mr. Sy’s behavior is not a good advertisement for their own open-borders position. And so, they have given him short shrift. The story came and went in the blink of an eye. The New York Times claims it carries “All the news that’s fit to print,” but Google News along with numerous other news outlets has a different agenda—something along the line of “All the news that fits our narrative.”

It’s bad enough that Google won’t cover stories that challenge its view of the world. What’s worse is that it’s been trying to silence those who will. As I mentioned earlier in this piece, I came across the bus hijack story in Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. For a long time, Spencer has complained that Google’s search engine division has been targeting Jihad Watch by adjusting its algorithms in order to make it difficult to find his site.

Other media companies and financial giants — Facebook, Patreon, MasterCard and Visa — have also attempted to silence Spencer in various and sundry ways. Spencer fears that in the wake of the New Zealand massacre, leftist and Islamic groups will soon succeed in their attempts “to silence all criticism of jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women and others.” This won’t happen by means of legislation, he says, but through “a complete de-platforming.” “We will be able to speak,” says Spencer, “but no one will be able to hear us, as we won’t be allowed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the rest.”

Does it really matter that much if Spencer’s site is taken down? Aren’t there plenty of other sources to bring us the needed information? The answers are, “yes, it really does matter,” and “no, there aren’t plenty of other sources.” Moreover, those alternative sources that do exist can also be charged with “Islamophobia,” and quickly find themselves without a platform and without funding.

You’re reading about the aborted bus massacre here because I first read it about it on Spencer’s site. It’s true that I would most likely have come across the story even if Jihad Watch were no longer in business. It was, after all, a sensational story complete with a wild bus chase, brave students, heroic police, and photos of the bus engulfed in flames and children reuniting with loved ones.

But how about all the smaller stories that, taken together, give us a picture of how cultural jihad and violent jihad are changing the face of the globe?

Had there been no Jihad Watch, I would have missed many of these. I don’t subscribe to dozens of international newspapers, and I don’t have far-flung correspondents who will alert me of the latest jihad outrages in France, Germany, India, Nigeria and elsewhere.

Here’s a small sampling of stories I’ve read because of links from Jihad Watch that I might have otherwise missed over the last 10 days:

• Canada: University cites New Zealand Massacre as reason for cancelling Islamocritical talk by ex-Muslim.
• London’s Muslim mayor defends arrest of Christian preacher: “There’s not an unlimited right to free speech.”
• MI5: Number of “far right” terrorism cases “absolutely dwarfed” by the number of jihad terror cases.
• Germany: 200 cops arrest 10 Muslims who were “plotting…to kill as many people as possible.”
• Germany: Muslim migrant crimes concealed to prevent “prejudice.”
• Netherlands: Utrecht jihad mass murderer left note saying he acted in the name of Allah.
• Netherlands: Muslim migrant who was “reading the Qur’an a lot” stabs Jewish father and son.
• Australia: Muslims plotted jihad massacres to “defeat all the infidels.”

Well, you get the picture. Jihad is now a normal event in the Western world, and the Islamization of Europe is well underway. But, if the anti-Islamophobia zealots have their way, don’t expect to have that clear picture for much longer. They want you to see only what they want you to see. And they want you to look at it only through the rose-colored lenses that they provide.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, March 26, 2019 2:32 PM
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, March 27, 2019 4:31 AM
Video: Francis, If you don't want to be
the Vicar of Christ, then get out of there!



March 26, 2019



These people are not kissing Jorge Mario Bergoglio, it is not all about him, and his person, as he seems to think.

They want to kiss Peter, the Vicar of Christ. It's monstrous to deny them that.

SHOULD YOU KISS THE POPE’S RING?

March 25, 2019

I’ll admit it. I’m not a fan of Pope Francis, but I’m a faithful Catholic and a priest so I don’t usually criticize him. Plenty of other do, so I reckon I can keep my big trap shut and do my job.

However, for some reason this video that has surfaced on Twitter showing Pope Francis deliberately refusing to allow people to kiss his papal ring has got me riled up.

Should it worry me? Probably not. It’s not big deal, right?

I’m not so sure. It seems to me there are a couple of issues here. The first is the traditional devotion of the faithful. In some places it is customary for the people to kiss the pope’s ring or the priest’s hands. When I was visiting a parish in California some time ago with a large Filipino congregation, I was embarrassed when all the women kissed my hand in greeting, and wanted to pull my hand away like the pope does. [In the Philippines, I was raised to kiss the hands of my grandparents and assorted aunts and uncles, as well as my parish priest and our school chaplain (the only two priests with whom I had routine contact) both in greeting and respect, and as a sign of asking for the person's blessing. More, in fact, since the colloquial expression for doing so was 'to make amen', as if to say that by doing so, one was also saying "I am subject to your command". An alternative form was to bow and bring the honored person's hand up to touch one's forehead.

When I commented on this the parish priest explained, “Yes, it’s embarrassing, but that’s what they do. It’s their custom. Once you understand that they’re not honoring you they are honoring Jesus in you as the priest, then you will be okay with it, plus, it's bad manners to pull away just as it would be if a French person wants to give you one of those double kisses on each cheek.”

Therefore I do actually think it’s disturbing that the pope behaves in this way.

First of all, as the priest in California explained, it seems discourteous. It is part of good manners to adapt to the customs and traditions of the people we are with as much as possible, and the higher position you hold the more this applies.

There’s an old story about Queen Victoria who was visiting the widow of a miner. She sat down at the poor kitchen table and the old woman poured the Queen a cup of tea. Some spilled into the saucer and the old widow picked up the saucer and slurped the tea from it. The Queen copied her. It was poor table manners, but the greater courtesy was to respond gracefully to one’s host.

The second problem with the Pope’s behavior is more troubling. It would seem that he had not yet figured out that being the pope is not about him. This tendency to impose his personality and opinions on the papacy was there from the beginning in his refusal to wear the mozzetta and papal stole when he appeared on the balcony. Then when he decided not to live in the apostolic palace.

These displays of “humility” are embarrassing and indicate (like not allowing people to kiss his ring) that he sees himself as bigger than the office he holds.

The difficult with these displays is that they are not much more than theatrics. There are more substantial things Pope Francis might do to make his point. Wouldn’t a top to bottom house cleaning of the Vatican finances complete with total transparency do much more to make the point about poverty and faithful stewardship than the histrionics of living in the Casa St Martha? Wouldn’t it be truly humbling if the Pope were to root out the gay mafia in the church rather than promote them?

The fact is, when Catholics honor their priest they should be honoring Jesus in that man. The priest should understand that and echo St John the Baptist – pointing to Jesus and saying, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

Likewise, to kiss the pope’s ring is not to honor that man, but to honor St Peter, whose successor he is.

Is it possible that the Pope does not understand that the people who wish to kiss his ring wish to honor St Peter and not him? If he does not, then it would seem that he has not learned one of the basic lessons that every priest should learn –that it’s not all about him.



Catholics and the kissing of rings… or not.
Wherein Fr. Z rants.


March 26, 2019

UPDATE:
I saw this at the Catholic Herald:

A Vatican spokesman said the Pope was “amused” by the reaction to the video. “Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. It’s really as simple as that”

. The pope was “amused”? “Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he does not. It’s really as simple as that”?
Whatever this is, it isn’t simple when you are on the receiving end of his “back hand”.

The start of my original post earlier today:

It could be that you have tried to kiss the hand or ring of a bishop, only to have him snatch it away in an extravagant and conspicuous gesture of humility.

You’ve perhaps by new seen the painful video – it is painful to watch – of the Pope jerking his hand away, even with force, from happy, smiling people at Loreto, Italy, who want to kiss his ring.

In another post, I added a note that public figures often, through repetitive stress to their hands from enthusiastic well-wishers, start defending their digits from painful grabs and twists. I grant that popes have to do that. But that does not seem to be what is going on in this infamous video.

And, it seems that Francis is not consistent.

Bergoglio rule: You may kiss my ring if you are a consecrated person, or a halfclad male, but not if you are just any layman (What about half-clad females?)

In Italy there is a long custom of the baciamano. It is a gesture of courtesy (from courtliness), loyalty, submission. It is deeply ingrained in Catholics to kiss the ring of prelates, because there was also an indulgence attached. There was once an indulgence attached to kissing the hands of the newly ordained.

Catholics of certain cultures are pleased to kiss the hands of priests, whom they see as alter Christus, because their hands touch the Holy Eucharist. During the celebration of the Roman Rite, it is formally inscribed in the rubrics to kiss the hand of the celebrant and objects presented to him and taken from him. These are the famous solita oscula… the usual kisses.

Kissing the hand of the priest, kissing the ring of the bishop – and especially of a pope – is about as Catholic as it gets. It is in our DNA. Does it carry with it the traces of the trappings of a bygone age and highly stratified societies? Sure.

So what? Why is that bad?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker jumped into the discussion with a post at his place. [Fr Z proceeds to quote from the post, which you can read in full above.]

Quite a few times here I’ve written about why we must deck out our liturgical celebrations with the best that we can muster, why we must dress our sacred ministers in glory, for the most glorious of all actions, our sacred liturgical worship. The finery is not about them.

Libs will, like jackasses, bray about the “triumphalism” and ridicule what the Church has through centuries done out of sheer love. Catholics low and high, poor and rich, gave from their earnings, meager or great, the material representation of sweat and devotion, their money, to build beautiful churches, to obtain fine liturgical objects, to develop art and choirs and windows and statues.

The beauty and the gestures are about self-gift, submission, gratitude. Catholics know that graces come from God through the mediation of outward signs, through the minister of sacraments, through the matter of sacraments, through our many symbols. They know that when they kiss the ring of a bishop, they honor much more than, say, the unworthy Most Rev. Fatty McButterpants, by God’s mysterious ways disgraceful wearer of his office.

A whole world of mystery opens up through these gestures and signs. The one who performs the gesture, comes to a threshold of encounter.

Can anyone who truly understands what authentic religious experience is ridicule this powerful impulse of the devout Catholic to revel in and create and support these threshold signs and gestures?

Take, for example, the way that a bishop is vested – by others – for a Solemn Mass. He must sit, with docility, and allow himself to be dressed, rather like the paschal lamb about to have his throat cut. Layer after uncomfortable layer is imposed on him by ministers who work him over literally from head to toe, from miter to those odd booty things on his feet.

Every object and garment of his pontificalia has meaning. When he allows someone else to put the ring on his finger – a nuptial sign of his vocation – he prays:

Cordis et corporis mei, Domine, digitos virtute decora, et septiformis Spiritus sanctificatione circumda.… Adorn with virtue, Lord, the fingers of my body and of my heart, and wrap them about with the sanctification of the sevenfold Spirit.

“The fingers of my heart”! It is as if the very beating heart of the man who accepts the ring can reach out to touch those who come to him for what he can give.

Snatch that away?!?

Perhaps more bishops should celebrate the traditional form of the Roman Rite, and drink in with these prayers the deep draughts of identity, finely curated by the faithful through millennia of love!

The priest who learns the older, traditional form, with its vesting prayers, its prayers after Mass in the Breviary, with the many reminders of who he isn’t during the Mass, is never the same thereafter. Identity is offered in these rites. If so for the priest, how much more for the bishop.

It is interesting that, in these days, I’ve never met a mean bishop who is willing to celebrate the traditional form on a regular basis. In the past, there were quite a few. But… now? I’m not looking for suggestions of names, but I’m racking my brain about the men I’ve observed over the past 30 or so years. And I mean regularly, not rarely.

I’ve met a lot of truly nasty liberal bishops who won’t have a thing to do with tradition. Yes, there are kind men as well. I like to imagine how they would benefit from the gifts of tradition.

When We have been elected Pope, and the lib bishops come to pretend and to prevaricate, I’ll slip the ring off and put it in my back pocket. They can kiss it there.

But seriously, these gestures are important for us as Catholics.

In 1 Timothy, Paul gives advice to a young bishop, in charge of a community being disturbed by the “circumcision party”. He quotes Deuteronomy in a way that cuts two directions: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”
- We must respect our elders in the Church, who do so much work for the Lord.
- However, we also shouldn’t starve the faithful who are also workers in the Church.

Snatching your hand away “muzzles the ox”. Fathers, Bishops, accept honors with submission and cheerful gratitude, recognizing all that lies behind them.



Why did they do away with the Novus Ordo 'Mass table' for the pope's Mass? Maybe to allow more people into the chapel which is really quite small.

The pope did do something right in Loreto -
he said the Mass ad orientem

But spoils it all by not genuflecting at the Consecration


Pope Francis faced the Lord during his March 25 Mass in the famous Italian shrine of Loreto, central Italy.

Francis celebrated on the altar of the Holy House which is the house of Nazareth where the Incarnation took place. Angels brought it to Loreto, and is now a chapel inside the basilica.

gloria.tv/article/M9DkE63JHEjj4U38FFnC9FyjS
The video clip shows the entire Consecration with the camera looking bown on the pope and what he is doing - and he is consistent about not kneeling for the Consecration... Watch him next Maundy Thursday kneel before each of the 12 persons he has chosen to be the object of his humility, as he washes, dries and kisses their feet...



The following post by Aldo Maria Valli is tagged with a warning: "This rubric . is using IRONY If you are allergic to irony, please do not read it."

Bad thoughts
The pope just does not want
any Gollums going after his ring

Translated from

March 26, 2019

Women and the world
As you may have learned, Prof. Luceta Scaraffia and the entire staff of L’Osservatore Romano’s monthly supplement on women in the Church and in the world, Donne Chiesa Mondo, submitted their resignation en masse to the pope, reportedly due to incompatibility with the editorial line of the new OR editor, Andrea Monda.

“it seems to us,” Scaraffia wrote, without masking her bitterness, “that a vital initiative has been reduced to silence and we are back to the antiquated and arid practice of decisions made from above, with direct masculine control of women who are supposed to be responsible”.

An unprecedented case for the pope’s newspaper. But we can now reveal the real reason for the resignations – that, in fact, new editor Monda wishes to change the supplement’s title to Donne Chiese Monda.

Lord of the ring
And as you may have seen on video, the pope, during his visit to Loreto on Monday, withdrew his hand many times when people approached to kiss his ring. [Although he had no problem having it kissed by nuns and priests.] And he rejected the attempt rather theatrically, raising curious questions.

Many interpretations have been given. A gesture of humility? A desire not to give too much importance to the Fisherman’s ring? The need to finish up quickly with having to greet so many people individually?

None of this! Thanks to our sources, we can now tell you the pope’s real reasons.

We all know that one of the advisers Bergoglio most listens to is Argentine Bishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, known as Tucho, whose principal merit is having written a book entitled “Heal me with your mouth: The art of kissing”, a truly important text in contemporary theology.

Fernandez himself told us that he had advised the pope agains thaving his ring kissed. “A kiss may heal you, but it may also infect you – you don’t know how many germs are transmitted this way,” he told the pope. “Believe me, because I know about kissing!”

And so the pope rejects people kissing his ring. It is an example of health protection under the principle of integral human ecology that is so dear to the pope, according to La Civilta Cattolica. And so the video will be used in promotional campaigns advising the public how to avoid getting the flu.

Update:
Get thee behind me, Gollum!
It now seems that the reason given us by Monsignor Tucho was skillfully thought out in order to hide the real reason for the pope’s singular behavior.

The real reason has to do with disquieting news received by the Vatican Secret Service that a certain Gollum, who is described as faithless and unreliable, is in search of the One Ring that can assure him of unlimited power. Therefore, the papal decision – unhappily taken but imperative – to avoid any risky contact with persons unknown.

Let’s see what happens next.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, March 27, 2019 10:29 AM
I have refrained so far from posting anything on Cardinal Marx's announcements and statements about a coming German synod whose outcome, he says, will be 'binding' on the subjects for discussion. Binding on whom, one might ask? And by whose fiat?George Weigel puts it all together...

An open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx
by George Weigel

March 27, 2019

Your Eminence:

I noted with interest your recent announcement of a “binding synodal process” during which the Church in Germany will discuss the celibacy of the Latin-rite Catholic priesthood, the Church’s sexual ethic and clericalism, these being “issues” put on the table by the crisis of clerical sexual abuse.

Perhaps the following questions will help sharpen your discussions.

1) How can the “synodal process” of a local Church produce “binding” results on matters affecting the entire Catholic Church? The Anglican Communion tried this and is now in terminal disarray; the local Anglican churches that took the path of cultural accommodation are comatose. Is this the model you and your fellow-bishops favor?

2) What does the celibacy of priests in the Latin-rite have to do with the sexual abuse crisis? Celibacy has no more to do with sexual abuse than marriage has to do with spousal abuse. Empirical studies indicate that most sexual abuse of the young takes place within (typically broken) families; Protestant denominations with a married clergy also suffer from the scourge of sexual abuse; and in any event, marriage is not a crime-prevention program. Is it cynical to imagine that the abuse crisis is now being weaponized to mount an assault on clerical celibacy, what with other artillery having failed to dislodge this ancient Catholic tradition?

3) According to a Catholic News Agency report, you suggested that “the significance of sexuality to personhood has not yet received sufficient attention from the Church.” Really? Has St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body not been translated into German? Perhaps it has, but it may be too long and complex to have been properly absorbed by German-speaking Catholics.

Permit me then, to draw your attention to pp. 347-358 of Zeuge der Hoffnung (Ferdinand Schoeningh, 2002) the German translation of Witness to Hope, the first volume of my John Paul II biography. There, you and your colleagues will find a summary of the Theology of the Body, including its richly personalistic explanation of the Church’s ethic of human love and its biblically-rooted understanding of celibacy undertaken for the Kingdom of God.

4) You also note that your fellow-bishops “feel…unable to speak on questions of present-day sexual behavior.” That was certainly not the case at the Synods of 2014, 2015, and 2018, where German bishops felt quite able to speak frequently to these questions, albeit in a way that typically mirrored today’s politically-correct fashions.

And I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering just when the German episcopate last spoke to “present-day sexual behavior” in a way that promoted the Church’s ethic of human love as life-affirming and ordered to human happiness and fulfillment, at least in the years since its massive dissent from Humanae Vitae (Pope St. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on the ethics of family planning)? But that, as I understand Pope Francis, is what he is calling us all to do: Witness to, preach, and teach the “Yes” that undergirds everything to which the Church must, in fidelity to both revelation and reason, say “No.” [Oh dear! So Mr Weigel has not rid himself of his Bergoglio blinders for all his broadsides and sharp attacks on the most egregious outrages in this pontificate! As if somehow all these anti-Catholic things have been happening without Bergoglio' participation. You'd think from this last statement that Amoris laetitia or the Abu Dhabi delaration, to name just two, had never happened.]

5) The CNA report also noted that your “synodal process” (which, in a nice tip of the miter to Hegel, you described as a “synodal progression”) would involve consultations with the Central Committee of German Catholics. My dear Cardinal Marx, this is rather like President Trump consulting with Fox News or Speaker Pelosi consulting with the editors of the New York Times.

If you’ll pardon the reference to Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca, even we blundering Americans know that the ZdK, the Zentralkomitee der Deutschen Katholiken, is the schwerpunkt, the spearhead that clears the ground to the far left so that the German bishops can position themselves as the “moderate” or “centrist” force in the German Church. You know, and I know, and everyone else should know that consultations with the ZdK will produce nothing but further attacks on celibacy, further affirmations of current sexual fads, and further deprecations of Humane Vitae (based, in part, on the ZdK’s evident ignorance of the Theology of the Body and German hostility to John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical on the renovation of Catholic moral theology, Veritatis Splendor).

Your Eminence, the German Church — the Catholicism of my ancestors — is dying. It will not be revitalized by becoming a simulacrum of moribund liberal Protestantism.

I wish you a fruitful Lent and a joyful Easter.

As outrageous as Cardinal Marx and the German Catholic establishment are, anti-Catholic antics cannot be more disturbing than the anti-Catholic things perpetrated by the reigning pope...

Pope asks universities to disseminate his claim
that ‘diversity of religions’ is ‘willed by God’

by Maike Hickson


March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican’s office for promoting inter-religious dialogue [it's a Pontifical Council, no less] has asked Catholic university professors to give the “widest possible dissemination” to a controversial joint statement signed by Pope Francis last month that claims a “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” The office adds that the request comes from Pope Francis himself (read full letter below).

The letter of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which was obtained by LifeSiteNews, is dated February 21, 2019. It was sent last week to Catholic university professors in Rome, together with the attached "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" which Pope Francis signed with Grand Imam Ahmad el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on February 4.

Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council, wrote in the letter that the “Holy Father has asked this Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue to contribute to the widest possible dissemination of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” as it had been originally signed by Pope Francis and by Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque.

Guixot asked professors, priests, and sisters at universities to "facilitate the distribution, the study, and the reception” of the document, adding that the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue “will be grateful to you already now for any possible initiative, in the frame of this institution, which aims at the spreading of this Document.”

The letter also quotes some passages from the Abu Dhabi document, in which both signatories pledge “to convey this Document to authorities, influential leaders, persons of religion all over the world, appropriate regional and international organizations, organizations within civil society, religious institutions and leading thinkers.”

The signers promise to “make known the principles contained in this Declaration at all regional and international levels, while requesting that these principles be translated into policies, decisions, legislative texts, courses of study and materials to be circulated.” A further aim is to “educate new generations” in the sense of this document for world peace and fraternity among peoples and religions.

Critics have called passages in the document "false" and "heretical."

Cardinal Raymond Burke said the passage which says that God wills a diversity of religions, is wrong and should be removed.

The statement “has to be removed from this accord because it’s not correct,” he said.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider said earlier this month that in a private conversation he had with Pope Francis on the matter, the pope assured him that the "phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God."

Prominent Catholic philosopher Professor Josef Seifert criticized that – in spite of the private correction of this disturbing sentence which Pope Francis himself made in conversation with Bishop Schneider and his fellow Kazakh bishops – the Pope still wants this document to be disseminated without the statement being corrected.

The February 21 Vatican letter, as it was sent to Catholic university professors on March 21, thus aims at disseminating an ambiguous document that sparked much controversy among Catholics when it was first published on February 4, 2019, especially since it does not contain a formal correction of the following particular sentence:

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.


At the time, Bishop Schneider – among many other voices – contradicted such a statement, since “Christianity is the only God-willed religion.” “Therefore,” he said, “it can never be placed complementarily side by side with other religions. Those would violate the truth of Divine Revelation, as it is unmistakably affirmed in the First Commandment of the Decalogue, who would assert that the diversity of religions is the will of God."

In comments to LifeSiteNews, Seifert strongly criticized the controversial passage of the Abu Dhabi statement. The claim that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God,” he stated, means the “rejection of the Christian Faith: How can God bind eternal salvation to the Faith in Jesus Christ and then, from the time of Creation, will religions which reject this Faith?”

“How can He mandate us to go out into the world to teach the Gospels to all nations and to baptize them, but at the same time wills religions which reject the Gospels and Baptism?” Seifert further asked. In his view, with this claim, the document “directly rejects the Church's absolute claim to truth (which by the way is also held by Islam for its own religion),” and, with it “the whole Creed (since each sentence of the Creed contradicts the creeds of many other religions), all dogmas of the Church, all of her moral teachings.” At the same time, the Austrian professor added, “not only all heresies, but also all non-Christian religions are being given the honor to be willed by God.”

Professor Seifert also commented on the fact that Pope Francis has had a letter sent to Catholic universities in order to disseminate this contested Abu Dhabi document. In spite of the fact that Bishop Schneider received from Pope Francis a sort of indirect correction of this Abu Dhabi statement, “Pope Francis obviously has not only not rescinded this statement, but now even has it sent out to all universities with the request for universal dissemination.”

This is an “unprecedented heresy of all heresies,” Seifert explained, “to spread this unaltered declaration” that the diverse religions are willed by God “without the slightest (and, what is more, unconvincing) declaration that it is merely about the permissive will of God.”

According to Josef Seifert, a private remark (as given in the presence of Bishop Schneider) is not sufficient, in order to rescind “the approval of all heresies and of all those religions which are in contradiction with Christianity as it is to be found in the Abu Dhabi declaration.”

Seifert said that the statement read at face value places the Pope "outside the Church and of the Christian Faith in general, as well as outside of reason."

"For, how could God will contradictions to those most important revealed truths which are simultaneously also willed by Him? This assumption would make God either a lunatic who violates the foundation of all reason – the principle of non-contradiction – and who is a monumental relativist, or a confused God who is indifferent to the matter of whether people witness to the truth or not."

Professor Seifert said that Catholics have the duty to defend the Catholic truth.

“According to the natural law, all priests, cardinals, bishops, and laymen are duty-bound to call upon the Pope to either reject this sentence [about the diversity of religions willed by God] or to resign as Pope," he said.

I must thank Fr Hunwicke whose comment on the above pontifical directive called my attention to the occurrence which aggravates and perpetrates the outrage of the Abu Dhabi Declaration's false anti-Christian premise about the supposedly God-willed diversity of religions....

Interesting...

March 26, 2019

PF has asked the Pontifical Council concerned with 'dialogue' to promote his grossly flawed document claiming that God wills diversity of religion. That council is doing so by commending it for study in Catholic universities.

The normal method of disseminating authentic teaching is by means of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the world-wide Catholic Episcopate, fellow-teachers with the Roman Pontiff of Catholic Truth.

It is a matter for joy that PF has not contaminated these means by making use of them. The status of the document can thus clearly not be claimed to be Magisterial, even by his most sycophantic cronies. Popes do not share their Magisterium with Islamic Scholars. The CDF has not been corrupted by being associated with such a disgraceful statement.

[Don't speak too soon, Father! We will not know until it hits us like a guillotine blade how the CDF will be dragooned into this mess. Though the obvious thing would have been for the CDF to have reacted to Abu Dhabi byre-presenting DOMINUS IESUS to Catholics an to the world - a seminal document I personally believe Jorge Bergoglio rejects, not just because all of his statements and actions as pope contradict what it re-affirmed to the world when Christianity entered its third millennium in 2000, but because he has never referred to it at all - I think not even while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and already making a big deal of playing footsie with the leaders of non-Christian faiths to whom, on the contrary, he all but kowtowed to in public every chance he got.]

What I find interesting is: Why? Did some of PF's collaborators object to an association of such an objectionable statement with the Church's doctrinal mechanisms? Or did the CDF, perhaps, itself courageously explain the problems involved?

Incidentally, I invite readers to revisit the superb CDF document of 2000, Dominus Iesus. [There we are!] It provides a succinct, complete, and convincing answer to PF's most recent public error.

The distinction between God's Will and and his permissive will is irrelevant. God's permissive will includes, for example, the Shoah. And the destruction of the Twin Towers. We are unlikely to find PF, with whatever daft verbal jiggery pokery, inviting justified world-wide opprobrium by suggesting that these events were God's will. Indeed, were he to do so, it would be and be perceived to be a major scandal and not least by the gullible meejah who, until recently, have given him such a soft ride.

What this remarkably unCatholic man meant to say, and did say, is perfectly clear. [i.e., that all religions are equal, which implies that the Incarnation was totally unnecessary and futile - Jesus did not have to come down to earth at all. BTW, Fr H uses the term 'un-Catholic' for this pope, whereas I prefer 'anti-Catholic' and even 'anti-Christian'.]

I don't know if it counts formally and canonically as heresy ... some of the deepest things in the Faith are so fundamental and are so inscribed on every part of Catholicism that they may never have been explicitly defined ex cathedra or by a Council.

The fact that there is only one name given under heaven for Salvation, JESUS, might be one of these undefined basics.

If it is true that Islam and other religions enjoy the status of having been willed by God, then there never need have been one single Christian Martyr.


Omnes Sancti Martyres Dei, orate pro nobis.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, March 29, 2019 12:38 PM
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, March 29, 2019 12:52 PM
Washington, D.C. gets a liberal archbishop
who is to the left of even Cardinal Wuerl


March 28, 2019

The good news is the next archbishop of Washington, D.C., is not Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin or Bishop McElroy. The bad news is, according to Catholic News Agency, the new archbishop will be Wilton Gregory [till now, Archbishop of Atlanta].

A disciple of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Gregory is not just liberal on some things; rather, he is liberal on everything.

On abortion.

On natural law and the traditional family.

On dissident priests.

On the translations of the Novus Ordo.

Even on dressing for the beach at Mass.

If true, this is a disaster for the United States. Pope Francis has managed to select an archbishop for the political capital of the world who is to the left of even Donald Cardinal Wuerl.

Here's the CNA report - which says nothing about Gregory's ultra-liberal record, nor even hint it...

Archbishop Wilton Gregory asked
to lead Washington archdiocese

By Ed Condon and JD Flynn


Washington D.C., Mar 28, 2019(CNA).- Pope Francis is expected to appoint Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta to serve as the next Archbishop of Washington, multiple sources have independently reported to CNA. Gregory would become the seventh Archbishop of Washington, succeeding Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

A formal announcement could come as early as next week, sources say, though it has not yet been confirmed that the archbishop has accepted the appointment. Sources in Rome and the United States told CNA that Gregory was informed of the appointment earlier this week.

Technically, there has been no Archbishop of Washington since Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation was accepted in October 2018, but Wuerl himself has served as interim leader of the archdiocese since that time.

The identity of Wuerl’s successor has been the subject of intense speculation over the last five months, and several prominent members of the American hierarchy were reportedly considered for the role.

One source told CNA that because Washington has been an epicenter of the Church’s sexual abuse crisis, the background of potential candidates has been subject to more exacting scrutiny than is typical for episcopal appointments.

For that reason, the source emphasized, the likely appointment of Gregory could still be subject to change, even close to the announcement, if the Holy See or Gregory himself had reason to be concerned about his ability to address the problems relating to sexual abuse and misconduct that have plagued the Washington archdiocese.

“They absolutely want to get this one right,” the source told CNA.

While Gregory, 71, is generally well-regarded among U.S. bishops as an administrator, one bishop told CNA that some expected his age might discourage him from accepting the appointment.

In Washington, Gregory would likely be expected to provide a period of steady leadership in Washington for the near term, while leaving open the possibility he could carry on past the normal retirement age for bishops of 75.

The Archbishop of Washington is generally viewed as one of the most influential Churchmen in the United States; the five most recent archbishops were all created cardinals - including the now-laicized Theodore McCarrick. The Archbishop of Washington is generally expected to walk a narrow line: articulating the Church’s teaching in the middle of the national political conversation, without appearing to be partisan.

Gregory’s appointment to the archdiocese would follow months of scandal in the Church in the United States, and his selection would likely have been made, at least in part, in recognition of his experience in dealing with the fallout of the last major abuse crisis in the Church.

Serving a term as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004, Gregory was responsible for helping to lead the American hierarchy through the fallout of the Church’s 2002 sexual abuse scandals. He oversaw the formation and implementation of the “Dallas Charter” and USCCB’s “Essential Norms” in 2002. [Not that Gregory alone was responsible for it - since the entire USCCB approved it with not a small amount of self-congratulatory smugness - but after the McCarrick expose and that of a few other US bishops as well, hasn't just about everyone faulted the Dallas Charter since then forgoiut out of its way to spare bishops the scrutiny and strictness it required of priests???]

As a past USCCB president, Gregory is part of a working group - together with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz - charged by the U.S. bishops with examining and developing proposed reforms for enhancing episcopal accountability.

As the first African-American Archbishop of Washington, Gregory’s appointment would also be viewed as a historic milestone for the Church in the United States, especially since the archbishop is likely to be created the first African-American cardinal.

Within the Archdiocese of Washington itself, Gregory’s appointment would likely bring a welcome end to months of speculation.

While Washington’s near 700,000 Catholics are a considerably smaller flock than the 1.2 million Gregory has led in Atlanta, the capital archdiocese is home to a broad diversity of communities, which include the deeply enculturated African-American parishes in the southeast of the city, the affluent parishes of northern parts of the city, large communities of Latin American immigrants, thousands of university students, and the rural communities of southern Maryland.

A Chicago native, Gregory converted to Catholicism as a student in a Chicago Catholic grade school. In 1971, he was ordained a priest in Chicago by Cardinal John Cody. Consecrated bishop at age 36, Gregory served as an auxiliary bishop in his home diocese under Cardinal Joseph Bernardin from 1983 until 1994.

The archbishop is known to have preserved close ties with his home city, and with archdiocesan leadership in Chicago.

In 1994 Gregory became the Bishop of Belleville, Illinois, where he remained for ten years before moving to Atlanta in 2004. Since his arrival in Atlanta, Gregory has ordained 64 men to the priesthood and overseen the welcoming of more than 16,000 people as converts into the Catholic Church.

Calls requesting comment from the Archdiocese of Washington went unreturned. The Archdiocese of Atlanta did not respond to questions as of press time.

I think it is safe to assume that the Gregory appointment will come through - especially in the absence from the CNA story of any other names in the running. Which just goes to show that the reigning pope continues to resolutely favor American bishops in the McCarrick mold. Wuerl is not really out because he still holds his positions in the Vatican curias to which he was named, particularly the all-important Congregation for Bishops.

So what we're getting is an prominent addition to the Wuerl-Cupich-Tobin-Farrell-McElroy line descending from McCarrick, even if Gregory was not, from all accounts, a McCarrick protege as the other four wer. These bishops represent, to borrow from Gilbert and Sullivan, 'the very model of a modern major-general' (in this case, of a modern aggiornamento bishop) by Bergoglio standards.

And in keeping with my practice to try and pool together articles and commentaries that are critical of the reigning pope, let me comment here on what I thought was a premature post by Father Z about 'putting Ring-gate to rest'. Like others who have come to the defense of the pope about this matter - including the BBC correspondent very early on - Fr Z points to the fact that the entire video shows the pope allowing his ring to be kissed for ten minutes before he starts his withdraw-and-shove act, and that after some minutes of this, he then resumes allowing it. I have neither the time nor the desire to watch the entire video so I'll take the word of those who have done so.

What made Fr Z's Ring-gate RIP appear premature was that shortly thereafter, the Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told reporters, ""The Holy Father told me that the motivation was very simple: hygiene. He wants to avoid the risk of contagion for the people, not for him."

OK, very commendable, that!... But why did he allow it for all the nuns and priests who came before the hapless group of lay people he rebuffed, and for all those he apparently allowed to afterwards? Besides, in six years as pope, I don't think this has happened before. Or at least, not caught on camera. But, all of a sudden, for that length of time he was shown to have refused to allow his ring to be kissed, he thought of hygiene? Whatever, it was as lame an excuse as one could find to explain behavior one can only call boorish, to say the least.

Aldo Maria Valli, in the sarcastic piece he wrote (which I translated a few posts above this) soon after the video was made public, has a follow-up piece today entitled "From sanctification to sanification" to ridicule the reason Gisotti gave. I will post it as soon as translated - it's even more sarcastic than the first one.

The only comment I might add is that maybe our beloved pope thinks that all those killer plagues in medieval Europe were started not by the proliferation of mice and other vermin but by people who had kissed the pope's ring. And maybe, going by his hygienic concerns, he should discourage churchgoers from dipping their hands into the holy water font to bless themselves (or will he have churches do away with these fonts altogether)?

Anyway, why does the Vatican not publish guidelines for 'how to behave when you find yourself face to face with the pope'? Such as:
1. However much you might want to hug him, do not try to touch him at all.
2. If you want to kiss his ring, wait until he holds out his ring hand which means he allows you to do so - but do not hold the hand at all. Just genuflect or kneel and bend respectfully to kiss the ring.
3. If he does not hold out his hand to you, do not attempt to take his hand at all. Just kneel to show obeisance. And if you wish, bend down to kiss his foot or at least the hem of his cassock.
3. If he does hold out his hand to you, you should not really kiss the ring but merely bring it close to your lips.
4. If you mean to make such an obeisance to the pope, bring a Sani-wipe with you, so that if any part of your body or clothing touches the ring in any way, you can quickly sanitize the ring to make it safe for whoever comes after you.

My recommendations are, of course, quite minor - although first-line when it comes to the pope - compared to Valli's imaginings of where this 'sanification not sanctification' mania can lead to. So much for 'ring-gate RIP'.

And BTW, what about that other video showing the pope during the Consecration at his Mass in Loreto? I should think there ought to be more outrage over his failure to even attempt to genuflect before consecrating the Bread and Wine than at his boorish ring act. Even if we all know that for some reason he does not (and probably never has) do that at all for the Consecration, though he gladly kneels for those objects of his mercy with whom he allows ihmself to be photographed every Maundy Thursday). If you get a chance, watch the very brief clip, and see if you think it would make an edifyingly awesome model of the priestly act of Consecration, assuming, of course, that he genuflects properly.


Is Archbishop Wilton Gregory
the right man for Washington?

by Michael Warren Davis

March 29, 2019

It’s (almost) official: Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta will be appointed the next Archbishop of Washington, according to Ed Condon of the Catholic News Agency.

The office has technically been vacant since the last archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned in October. Wuerl had been damaged by claims that he covered up sex abuse in his previous diocese of Pittsburgh. He had also maintained – in the face of claims to the contrary – that he knew nothing about the predatory sexual activities of his notorious predecessor, Theodore McCarrick.

Washington is perhaps the most sought-after diocese for ambitious American bishops – but a particular kind of bishop. While the Archbishop of New York finds himself rubbing shoulders with media and cultural luminaries, Washington’s archbishop has priceless access to lawmakers and political lobbyists. McCarrick’s talents as a fundraiser and Wuerl’s masterful diplomacy served them well in the post.

But because Washington is at the very heart of the current sex-abuse crisis, the Vatican couldn’t afford simply to hand the see to the next bureaucrat in line.

The Vatican had to decide whether it wanted a reformer who would expose McCarrick’s network of enablers and fellow-predators – or, shall we say, someone more discreet, who would protect the Church’s public image. Which role will Archbishop Gregory play, if he has indeed been chosen?

Gregory, who would be the first African-American Archbishop of Washington, served as president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2001 until 2004, leading the American bishops through the first chapters of the Spotlight revelations.

It was under his leadership that the USCCB drafted its protocols for handling allegations of predatory priests, known as the “Dallas Charter” – though McCarrick was its principal author. In any event, Gregory certainly has more experience in dealing with the fallout from clerical sex abuse than most of his brother bishops.

He is not, however, the sort of reformer that conservative Catholics were hoping for. Two years ago he addressed the Association of US Catholic Priests, which promotes married priests and female deacons. Other speakers that year included two hardline supporters of Pope Francis: Fr Thomas Rosica and Professor Massimo Faggioli.

Archbishop Gregory has defended the controversial Fr James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and consultant for the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. Ed Condon also reports that Gregory has “close ties” with Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, whom many consider the leader of the USCCB’s pro-Francis faction.

In other words, Wilton Gregory is firmly aligned with the well-connected liberals known as “Team Francis”. This might prove useful should Rome wish to exercise more direct control over Washington’s handling of further scandals in the archdiocese.

Conservative Catholics have long distrusted Archbishop Gregory, who was a friend of McCarrick’s and supported the ex-cardinal in appearing to oppose the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s attempts to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

It should be noted, however, that the Archbishop of Atlanta has spoken with evident distress of his “shame” at allowing himself to be hoodwinked by McCarrick. Indeed, he said recently that Catholics were “perplexed and sickened” that the Holy See may have ignored “multiple warning signs” relating to McCarrick and others.

On the other hand, Cardinal Wuerl – a prelate who certainly did ignore those warning signs – may have had a hand in this reported appointment. He and Cardinal Cupich are the only American members of the Congregation for Bishops, which forwards recommendations to the Holy Father.

From the Vatican’s perspective, Archbishop Gregory is certainly a safe pair of hands. Whether he is the man to clear the skeletons out of Washington’s closet remains to be seen.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, March 31, 2019 9:16 PM
These past two days, there has been very little new 'news' and a paucity of commentary I thought worth recording. So amid that doldrum, I missed the inimitable Maureen Mullarkey's review of the Martel book purporting wholesale homosexuality among the prelates and priests in the Vatican. She also quotes more about Martel's slander of Benedict XVI than other reviewers have done so far - some of it so far out that despite not intending to comment on any of it, I have to.

An anti-Catholic 'expose' traffics in
hearsay, rumor and catty accusations

Frédéric Martel's book, 'In the Closet of the Vatican' proves to be an appalling exercise
in smearing the Catholic Church in order to grind a personal and theological axes

by Maureen Mullarkey

March 29, 2019

Beset by a continuous drip of disclosures about clerical sex abuse, and angered by a pope intent on mischaracterizing the nature of the scandal, Catholics are a ready market for an exposé of a masked but powerful gay culture in Vatican circles. Released simultaneously in twenty countries and scheduled to coincide with the Vatican’s February abuse summit, Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy is a publishing gambit expecting to be an international sensation. [Has it lived up to that expectation though? I have not seen any news reports hailing the sales of the book so far - if sales have been in any way spectacular, or even enough to merit best-seller status on the usual bestseller lists, it would surely have come to our attention by now. I just did a quick check of the New York Times and Amazon nonfiction best-seller lists, and the first 50 titles of amazon-italia's current list of non-fiction 'piu venduto' (most sold) - Martel's book is in none of those. Maybe it was included the first few weeks after it went on sale, who knows?]

Prurience sells. Accordingly, Closet is a lurid through-the-looking-glass potboiler steaming with gleeful digs, salacious innuendo, unsupported inferences, and self-admiring ballyhoo. Like Alice, readers are expected “to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast” (e.g., intimates of Pope Benedict at posh parties with butlers in livery and cakes decorated with marzipan penises; male street prostitution in Rome bankrolled by Vatican clerics). Dozens more follow on into the night with randy seminarians, Muslim rent boys, “sacristy queens,” and sexually arid celibates.

An openly gay propagandist, Martel is hostile to the moral framework of Catholicism’s sexual ethics, and disdains “a continence that is against nature.” He crusades for an unreservedly gay priesthood: “A priest or a cardinal should not be ashamed of being homosexual; I even think it should be one possible social status among others... These cardinals, bishops and priests have the right to have lovers, and to explore their inclinations, whether acquired or innate.”

The book’s logic flows from its premise: most “homophobic” supporters of an objective moral order are themselves gay. It follows that the clerical culture of secrecy can only be eliminated by acknowledging gay priests as gays and, it follows, endorsing homosexuality.

To Martel, it is celibacy that is deviant. By trumpeting the obligatory collapse of priestly discipline, he works to undermine remaining institutional restrictions on sexual freedom. Homosexual priests must be free “to satisfy their inclinations.” To that end, Martel plays the intrepid truth-teller, a latter-day Diogenes carrying a lamp into dark corners in search of an honest cleric. Unsurprising in light of his aim, he finds few.

Those happy few are “gay-friendly,” left-leaning lieutenants of “mischievous” Pope Francis, Martel’s hero. They support gay entitlements, gay marriage, sexual freedom, and assorted social justice distractions from outmoded preoccupations with sin, grace, and natural law. All others are either leading double lives, are “thwarted homophiles,” or just asexual. Francis and his band “know that sexual desire, and homosexual desire first and foremost, is one of the main engines and wellsprings of Vatican life.”

Martel is evasive about his sources, derivative and profligate in his methods. Woven into 555 pages of unsubstantiated hearsay is material heavily indebted to a broad mélange of previously published sources. Despite breathless claims that he is disclosing a bombshell “beyond comprehension,” there is little new to be told. His claim — “It would have been difficult to publish a book like this twenty or even only ten years ago” — is false.

To illustrate, Martel’s chapter on the double life of Marcial Maciel, founder of the cult-like Legion of Christ, reprises what Gordon Urquhart chronicled in The Pope’s Armada (1999). Michael Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men (2002) documented the root of the abuse scandal reaching down to the seminaries after the cultural explosion of the 1960s and ’70s. Closet is a sequel set in Rome. What Rose described in dismay has been repackaged by Martel with tabloid relish and self-promotional chutzpah.

Sociologist Andrew Greely, S.J., is only one of a legion of serious writers who have covered the same ground (celibacy, sexual abuse, clerical homosexuality) with a clear eye and greater discernment for the last two decades and then some. Richard Sipe’s Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis appeared in 1995.

The Catholic press has not skimped on coverage of the seismic shifts within the church that began with sympathy and tolerance for homosexual persons before drifting into acceptance of gay cliques and a separatist culture in seminaries and clerical ranks.

Closet’s trademark novelty consists of catty wink-wink revelations that read like a warm-up routine for a night of Bitchy Bingo. The tenor of his self-styled analysis of Joseph Ratzinger is a pitch-perfect synecdoche of his reasoning about every conservative name mentioned in the tell-all:

Some monsignori I have interviewed [typically unnamed] called Ratzinger a ‘liturgy queen’ or an ‘opera queen.’... Benedict XVI is a veritable gender theory all by himself. Sua quique persona (to each his mask) [Not a mask at all: it's priestly celibacy and chastity in imitation of Christ,but of course, people like Martel would understand none of that]... [He is] a fashionable figure, seen wearing all the fashion houses of Milan, as once Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or Elizabeth II had done."

[Martel does not even bother to be plausible. How could a pope be called 'fashionable'- when all his outerwear, whether a particular pope chooses to wear them or not - is the stuff of centuries-long tradition? It was known from the start of Benedict's Pontificate that he chose to continue getting all his clothes - papal wear as well as shirts and pants - from Euroclero, the same Roman tailor he used all the time he was a cardinal. Since when have the fashion houses of Milan catered to the clergy? The whole myth began with some British newspapers maliciously reporting in 2005 that the red papal shoes worn by Benedict XVI came from Prada - none of them did, as they were made by the same northern Italian 'no-name' shoemaker who made John Paul II's shoes.]

Martel thrills to tell that Oscar Wilde prefigured Benedict in the “homosexualized dandy” Dorian Gray. [Has Martel even read that novel, or even a synopsis of it? It's about a beautiful young man who, in effect, makes a pact with the devil so that he can retain his youth and beauty despite indulging in every conceivable vice and hedonistic pleasure - in exchange for which it would be a full-length portrait of him that would age, fade and reflect his life. So he goes on living his amoral life, which leads him to kill a number of persons who thwart him, and after his last murder, finds his portrait so revolting that he stabs it... His servants find a dead and withered old man stabbed in the heart while the portrait has been restored to its earlier beauty. How does Dorian Gray 'prefigure' Joseph Ratzinger in any way???]

Other Martel tidbits: Benedict “had a marked liking for accessories,” and chose Serengeti-Bushnell sunglasses after being criticized for Ray-Bans. Did you know that instead of downscale Geoxes, he chose “a sublime pair of sparkling Prada moccasins in brilliant lipstick red?” That his tailors and boot-makers were “well known for their ‘intrinsically disordered’ morals”? That as Cardinal Ratzinger, “our queenie” had “dizzying relationships” with young assistants who “were remarkable for their angelic beauty.” “It has to be said that Benedict liked to flirt.” [Gee, how could any of that have escaped the ultra-diligent investigators of AP, the New York Times and Der Spiegel when they pooled their resources in 2009-2010 to uncover any stories they could find to link Joseph Ratzinger directly or indirectly to acts of sexual abuse or covering up clerical sex abuse an came out with zip? Maybe they didn't think 'dizzying relationships with young assistants' constituted sexual abuse at all? Or at least sexual harrassment by a superior? Mullarkey mercifully does not bring up the presumed improper relationship with Georg Gaenswein that, according to other reviewers, Martel pursues.]

Extend this level of bent scrutiny to every subject and every conscientious conservative in the Vatican and you grasp Martel’s rancor toward Catholicism. Closet lingers with unveiled malice over non-progressivist clerics, devoting 11 pages to diminishing the reputation of Guinea’s Cardinal Robert Sarah. An outspoken, prominent standard-bearer for Catholic orthodoxy in the one place — Africa — where the church is growing, he must be discredited.

A second-generation Christian, Sarah is slyly depicted as a residual animist with “ a liking for witchcraft and witch doctors.” Esteemed among Catholics as an heir to Benedict, he is dismissed as a rigid “homophobe” with “an extravagant ego” and an eye on money. An unnamed priest confides that Sarah “prays constantly, as if he’s under some sort of spell. He’s frightening. He’s literally frightening.” Yet another anonymous source badmouths him as “a bottom-of-the-range theologian” whose theology is “puerile.”

On it goes. Defamation is the wrecking ball swung in animus. Depiction of a Vatican degraded to the point of illegitimacy resembles both a sedevacantist J’accuse and dog-eared anti-Catholic tropes. Martel conjures up the counter-Church of the Last Days. The great harlot of the Apocalypse reigns in Vatican City, where prelates travel with escorts and “go regularly to Cuba as sex tourists.” A “ring of lust” encircles the Vatican, a sexual casino for high rollers in cope and chasuble. How many Vatican scandals can be explained by break-ups between an eminence and his secretary-lover?

The title’s intended hypocrites are those conscientious clergy who publicly espouse traditional church teaching on sexual morality: “Heterosexual prelates were rare among those close to John Paul II; chastity was rarer still. . . . Most cardinals around John Paul II led a double life.”

Pope Benedict’s “internalized homophilia” — Martel’s own diagnosis —was among likely causes of his abdication. [That makes no sense at all. Homophilia, in Martel's usage, means a liking for gays to the point of tolerating whatever they do. No homophilic would have commissioned the inquiry Benedict asked three retired cardinals to do about homosexuality in the Vatican.] The Vatican “has one of the biggest gay communities in the world, and I doubt whether, even in San Francisco’s Castro, the emblematic gay quarter, though more mixed today, there are quite as many gays!”

This snake-pit of unverifiable rumor and conjecture is catnip to disaffected Catholics and anti-Catholics alike. Alert readers, however, are apt to see the author himself as the leading imposter —a diva who exaggerates and falsifies in the costume of a journalist.

Closet belongs to the genre of camp scholarship: gossip-as-knowledge-production in drag as sociology. It observes the giddy postmodern strategy to subvert what queer theorists call heterosexual hegemony. If “the hallmark of camp is its spirit of extravagance,” as Susan Sontag famously wrote, Closet is an exercise in high camp.

The act opens in the prologue with Martel crowing about his sex appeal to priests who “influential or otherwise, came on to me decorously, and some, with very little reluctance, more intensely. It’s an occupational hazard!” (And, oh, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi is “cute as a button.”)

An odor of hucksterism hangs over the project. Offered as investigative journalism, it comes with no index, no citations, no footnotes, no bibliography. In place of these is a link to a catalog of general sources (www.sodoma.fr), a preposterous compilation of general references available to anyone on Google but with no specified connection to any line in the book.

Perhaps that explains Martel’s caveat: “This book is accompanied and defended by a consortium of about fifteen lawyers.” A preemptive move, it calls to mind the lawsuits (plagiarism and copyright infringement) brought against Dan Brown for The Da Vinci Code.

Reminders of Brown’s creative methods are apparent to anyone familiar with the 2003 novel. It was his insistence on facticity that turned Brown’s thriller into an international blockbuster. Following suit, Martel prefaces his text with testimony that he is, indeed, presenting facts. (Because certain interviewees are given names of characters invented by Andre Gide, do not — not! — think any interviews contain elements of fiction.)

Echoing Brown’s title, Martel provides a chapter on “The Maritain Code,” offered as “a real key to understanding The Closet.” Jacques Maritain stands as one of the 20th century’s most influential public philosophers, a convert who integrated Catholicism into the literary and intellectual life of his era. That mission was lived, necessarily, within close relation to leading literary figures — André Gide, François Mauriac, Jean Cocteau, others — who were homosexual. Nudge, nudge. Say no more. Just decode.

Without intending to, this ugly book lends credence to stereotypes of homosexuals as sex-obsessed captives of their impulses. It is a slur on conscientious men with homosexual leanings who struggle to keep their vows, honor their commitments, and embrace the pledged obligations of their undertakings.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 3, 2019 2:59 PM
Finally, after several days - despite the pope's trip to Morocco and his enthusiastic reiteration of his AbuDhabi abracadabra and much of his abominable platitudes on Islam and immigration, and the release of his blather-inflated post-synodal exhortation about the 'youth synod' held last October, I have found something online that is truly interesting to an orthodox Catholic like me online - and it is not news, even if much of it may be new to you as it was to me. For me, particularly, to learn that Paul VI's personal preferences on liturgy were precisely what Bugnini and company codified into his Novus Ordo - and that I have been wrong to blame Bugnini and his committee reformists for the appalling wholesale changes they made to the Mass.

No wonder Jorge Bergoglio worships at Papa Montini's altar. In many ways, he's trying all he can to out do him - to impose changes in 'the Church' as radical as that Paul VI imposed with the Novus Ordo. If Montini changed the liturgical practice codified in the previous 500 years with the snap of a papal finger, Bergoglio has been determined to change not just practices but doctrines going all the way back to apostolic times, to which end he often edits Jesus;s evangelical statements to suit his agenda.




Nine months before Vatican-II even ended, Paul VI, in celebrating Mass in the vernacular for the first time, actually already introduced many elements of what would become his 'Novus Ordo' - the only difference being that he had to use the Vetus Ordo prayers because his Missal would not get published till 1969, when the NO officially became the Roman rite Mass.

By the way, I was forewarned by the Forum's internal system, as soon as I pasted the text, that at 65,829 characters, it exceeds the 65,535 allowed per post, so I will have to post it in two sections.

“A Half-Century of Novelty:
Revisiting Paul VI’s Apologia for the New Mass”

by Peter Kwasniewski

April 3, 2019

Text of a lecture given in various places in Australia during a visit sponsored by the Latin Mass Society of Australia.

April 3 of this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae by Pope Paul VI’s 1969 Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, the provisions of which were to go into effect on November 30, the first Sunday of Advent.

When we look back a half-century later at this monstrous masterpiece of liturgical reform —and, truth be told, it is no longer only self-proclaimed traditionalists who lament a job badly done — we often feel moved to ask the simple question: Why? Why was it deemed necessary to make so many and such radical changes in the Mass?

For an explanation, we must look to the pope who, more than any other figure, was responsible for pushing forward the liturgical reform, handing down not only a new rite of Mass, but also, in like manner, new rites for all of the sacraments and indeed new versions of almost everything to be said or done in church — a figurative “sack of Rome” that throws the work of Alaric and Charles V into the shade.

Where can we look to find the pope’s explanation? There are, as one would expect, a plethora of addresses, letters, and other documents that allow us not just a glimpse into the mind of Montini, but a leisurely review; he was frank and outspoken about the liturgical reform, which was and had been his passion prior to and during his pontificate.

Above all, however, we ought to look carefully at three general audiences in the 1960s: the first from March of 1965, concerning the epochal shift from Christian Latin to modern vernaculars; and two from November of 1969, on the even greater shift from the classic Roman Rite to the product of the Consilium.

Before descending into the details of these general audiences, I will make a theological argument about how we, as believers, should understand the historical development of liturgy in the Catholic Church, as this, I am convinced, is the only way to see the magnitude of what Paul VI desired to do, attempted to do, and, in the judgment of most people, succeeded in doing.

Laws of Organic Liturgical Development
In his 1947 encyclical on the liturgy, Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII pointed out a theological error in the tendency of some members of the Liturgical Movement to reach back to suppositious liturgical rites of ancient times while excluding or denigrating later periods of Church history such as the Middle Ages or the Baroque. Speaking of “some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately,” he says:

The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world (cf. Matt 28:20). They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.[1]

Pius XII is writing in 1947 about avant-garde liturgists who want to leapfrog over the Baroque and medieval periods —in other words, over the Roman rite as codified after Trent — to arrive at a pristine apostolic liturgy. In 1947 the Roman Rite was still very much intact, as vintage photos of Pius XII’s magnificent papal liturgies evince; the liturgy committee that was to give Bugnini his first post at the Vatican and eventually produce a new Holy Week was yet to come. [Radical changes in the Holy Week liturgy made by Pius XII which Fr Hunwicke has taken pains to explain how an why they were 'not right', to say the least, and which many sanctimoniously 'traditionalist' bloggers conveniently and consistently fail to acknowledge when referring to Pius XII as the 'last' pope who upheld traditional liturgy.]

So when Pius XII talks about “more recent liturgical rites,” he is talking about medieval and Baroque developments, culminating in the Tridentine codification, of which the 1570 Missale Romanum is the flagship. The key points to take away from this paragraph are, first, that something’s being more ancient does not ipso facto make it better; second, that the historical development of the liturgy is not an accident that God permits, but a plan that He positively wills, inspired by the Holy Spirit and used by the Head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to sanctify the members of His Mystical Body.

Indeed, this passage reads rather like a commentary on the famous Canon 13 of the Seventh Session of the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church that are customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments can be looked down on, or that ministers can without sin omit them according to their own whim, or that any pastor of churches whatever can change them into other new ones, let him be anathema.[2]

The seventh canon of the twenty-second Session of Trent is also highly pertinent. This canon states:

If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema.[3]


When the Council pointedly says “which the Catholic Church uses,” we are given to understand that all of the liturgical ceremonies, vestments, and external signs received from tradition are offices of piety and not incentives to impiety. Thus, the view, later popular with 20th century reformers, that aspects of the classical Roman Rite are to be considered corruptions of authentic liturgy and detrimental to the spiritual life of the faithful is anathematized ahead of time.

In the same spirit, the Roman Catechism published in 1566, three years after the Council of Trent was concluded, says this about the Mass in particular:

The Sacrifice is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august Sacrifice, and to excite the faithful when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine things which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.


Christ promised that “when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will teach you all truth”[4]: cum autem venerit ille Spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem (Jn 16:13). This includes the fullness of liturgy.[5]

One would expect, if the Church is truly governed by the Spirit of God, that her liturgy would, in its large lines and accepted forms, mature and become more perfect over time. Would it not then follow that the rate of change will slow down and the Spirit’s work will gradually shift from inspiring new prayers to preserving the prayers already inspired? A liturgical rite will grow in perfection until it reaches a certain maturity, and then will cease to develop in any but incidental or minor ways.

One could diagram this process as a chart with two lines: the descending line[6] represents the creation of liturgical forms, while the ascending line[7] represents the preservation of existing liturgical forms. As the former action tapers, the latter action dominates, until that verse from Ezekiel is fulfilled in the Church’s sacred liturgy: “Your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God” (Ezek 16:14).[8]

Much more can and should be said on the subject of what we might call “the laws of organic liturgical development,” and I am currently researching and writing on the subject. In the interests of time, however, I will turn to the three general audiences of Paul VI on the topic of the liturgical reform.[9]

General Audience of March 17, 1965
The first text we will look at was delivered on March 17, 1965, ten days after Pope Paul VI celebrated the first-ever Italian-spite Mass at the Church of All Saints (Ognissanti) in Rome. Inspite of official rhetoric, there is little evidence that the people rejoiced; a plaque memorializing the event in Ognissanti was vandalized so many times that a new plaque finally had to be placed high on the wall, out of reach of disgruntled parishioners.[10]

It is hard to know what to be more astonished about: the sheer contempt for the common man with which the audience drips, or the sheer fantasyland into which the pope enters when describing the anticipated benefits of the “new liturgy” that was unveiled at Ognissanti — remember, this was not the Novus Ordo, which was four years away, but a heavily simplified Tridentine Mass conducted in Italian (except for the Roman Canon), with the celebrant facing the people, standing at a temporary altar placed outside of the sanctuary.[11]

The pope says there have been negative reactions and positive reactions. The negative reaction is one of “a certain confusion and annoyance”:

Previously, they say, there was peace, each person could pray as he wished, the whole sequence of the rite was well known; now everything is new, startling, and changed; even the ringing of the bells at the Sanctus is done away with; and then those prayers which one doesn’t know where to find; Holy Communion received standing; Mass ending suddenly with the blessing; everybody answering, many people moving around, rites and readings which are recited aloud … In short, there is no longer any peace and we now know less than we did before; and so on.

This does not seem an altogether unreasonable reaction. As far as the pope is concerned, however, Catholics who react this way have a paltry understanding of what they are doing:

We shall not criticize these views because then we would have to show how they reveal a poor understanding of the meaning of religious ceremonial and allow us to glimpse not a true devotion and a true appreciation of the meaning and worth of the Mass, but rather a certain spiritual laziness which is not prepared to make some personal effort of understanding and participation directed to a better understanding and fulfillment of this, the most sacred of religious acts, in which we are invited, or rather obliged, to participate.


One wonders when a pope has ever said something more self-righteous, presumptuous, insensitive, and unjust? I suppose everyone, before the glorious revolution, was spiritually lazy, unprepared to make even “some” effort to understand, and altogether bereft of participation in the mysteries.

The popularity of Liturgical Movement authors like Dom Prosper Guéranger, Pius Parsch, and Ildefonso Schuster, whose commentaries on the Mass instructed and inspired precisely those laymen who were startled and disturbed by the changes of the 1960s is passed over in utter silence.[12]

Montini continues by explaining that reform always causes people to feel upset because deeply rooted religious practices are being tampered with, but that’s okay — soon everyone will love it. And we’ll make sure that no one can settle back again into silent devotion or laziness. “The congregation will be alive and active!,” he says: everyone must participate. Now one must “listen and pray” (apparently they were doing neither before).

Activity is the order of the day, the name of the game! We will finally have a liturgy that is not mummery (“performed merely according to its external form”) but “an immense wing flying towards the heights of divine mystery and joy.” An immense wing… Excuse me while I reach for the airsickness bag.

The positive reaction, on the other hand, is, according to Paul VI, that of a majority of Catholics, young and old, uneducated and scholarly, the earnestly devout and the urbanely cultured, insiders and outsiders, who greet the changes with “enthusiasm and praise.” At last, they say, “one can understand and follow the complicated and mysterious ceremonial” (the pope declines to explain how simplification and easy accessibility fit with “complicated and mysterious,” unless his meaning is that a ceremonial that was once complicated and mysterious will henceforth cease to be either). At last, “the priest speaks to the people” (but wait: I thought the liturgy was addressed primarily to God?).

One old gentleman, the pope says, fighting back a tear, gushed to a priest that “at last” in this new way of celebrating Mass he fully participated in the sacrifice — indeed, possibly for the first time in his life. Some say this excitement will quiet down and turn into habit. But Pope Paul expresses the hope that the “new form of worship” will continue to stir up “religious enthusiasm,” so that “the gospel of love” will be realized in “the souls of our time.” (He does not seem aware of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s classic critique of religious enthusiasm; it is just this hankering for feelings of enthusiasm or excitement that has led to ever-repeated efforts to stir up or stimulate congregations ever since the sixties, with ever-diminishing returns.)

This papal address is notable for the number of times it uses the word “new”: “new, startling, changed”; “new order”; “new scheme of things”; “new liturgical books”; “new form” (twice); “new liturgy” (twice); “new habit”; “liturgical innovation.” If we add them up, eleven times. Some Catholics today are critical of traditionalists who speak of the Novus Ordo, but here we have a pope identifying the interim missal of 1965 as a novel thing, when it was vastly less of a novelty than the missal of 1969. I think we owe it to Pope Paul to use his terms when we talk about his reforms. He did not try to hide the fact that there had been a sea change.

Many notable Catholics of this period have left us records of their reaction to the “new Mass” of 1965 (which in retrospect turned out to be a half-way house). Evelyn Waugh and William F. Buckley left us choice words about it, but I shall quote what Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in 1966:


The basic error of most of the innovators is to imagine that the new liturgy brings the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass nearer to the faithful, that shorn of its old rituals the Mass now enters into the substance of our lives. For the question is whether we better meet Christ in the Mass by soaring up to Him, or by dragging Him down into our own pedestrian, workaday world. The innovators would replace holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity. The new liturgy actually threatens to frustrate the confrontation with Christ, for it discourages reverence in the face of mystery, precludes awe, and all but extinguishes a sense of sacredness.[13]



General Audience of November 19, 1969
Now we turn to a pair of general audiences given 4½ years later, in the month of November 1969. As mentioned at the start, the Novus Ordo Missae was officially to go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent, which fell on November 30th that year.

The Pope was really feeling the heat at this moment. He had promulgated the text of the Novus Ordo Missae seven months earlier, on April 3. The Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, more commonly known as The Ottaviani Intervention, was completed by June 5, but not published until a few months later; somehow it did not come to Paul VI’s knowledge until September 29, according to historian Yves Chiron.

The popular press picked up the story and made a great deal of it. Paul VI sent the Short Study to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect, Cardinal Šeper, reported to him on November 12 that, in his opinion, the Study was essentially worthless. This was only one week prior to the general audience of November 19. We must bear in mind, then, that this and the following week’s address are Paul VI’s attempt to defend the entire project of the Novus Ordo in the face of its critics and for posterity. It is his apologia pro Missa sua.[14]

What is perhaps most striking about these addresses is the pope’s penchant for gratuitous assertion and his stark authoritarian tone. He wants us to believe that nothing really central has changed, while at the same time listing, and doubling down on, one enormous change after another. For those who take seriously that a developed liturgical rite is a kind of body-soul composite in which one cannot readily separate what it is from how it is done, how it looks, sounds, smells, and feels, the case he makes for essential identity is far from convincing.

On November 19, again the pope does not shy away from the language of novelty: he speaks of “a new rite of Mass” (four times) “a new spirit,” “new directions,” “new rules,” “new and more expansive liturgical language,” “innovation” (twice). He closes with the guarded sentiment: “Do not let us talk about ‘the new Mass.’ Let us rather speak of the ‘new epoch’ in the Church’s life.” In a colossal understatement, the pope says “the Mass will be celebrated in a rather different manner from that in which we have been accustomed to celebrate it in the last four centuries, from the reign of St. Pius V, after the Council of Trent, down to the present.”

He shows admirable candor in getting right to the point:

This change has something astonishing about it, something extraordinary. This is because the Mass is regarded as the traditional and untouchable expression of our religious worship and the authenticity of our faith. We ask ourselves, how could such a change be made? What effect will it have on those who attend Holy Mass?



His answer is feeble. Just pay attention to the explanations you will get from the pulpit and in religious publications, and trust that “a clearer and deeper idea of the stupendous and mysterious notion of the Mass” is just around the corner, thanks to the new missal. Again, he shows candor in admitting that the faithful will have “spontaneous difficulties.”

Paul VI claims that the new missal “is due to the will expressed by the Ecumenical Council held not long ago.” This claim is questionable, to say the least — particularly in view of what the pope will say one week later, when he openly contradicts Sacrosanctum Concilium on any number of points. But here, the new missal is said to be four things, each of which is surprising:

It is an act of obedience. It is an act of coherence of the Church with herself. It is a step forward for her authentic tradition. It is a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent.

- It is quite unclear how “coherence of the Church with herself” is to be achieved by breaking with much of what the Church had been doing in her most important actions for centuries.
- It is quite unclear how exactly a radically revised missal counts as a “step forward” (whatever that means) for the Church’s “authentic tradition” (whatever that means).

I do not think it would be unfair to call this doublespeak. According to Edward Herman, “What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program.”[15]

Again, one is left speechless at the claim that the Novus Ordo Missae is “a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent.” Fidelity — how so, precisely? Vitality — just because papal muscle can be flexed to push through the biggest raft of changes in the history of the Church’s worship?

The speech continues in a tone almost feverish and certainly imperious, as if the pope were feeling the total inadequacy of his account:

It is not an arbitrary act. It is not a transitory or optional experiment. It is not some dilettante’s improvisation. It is a law. It has been thought out by authoritative experts of sacred liturgy; it has been discussed and meditated upon for a long time [that is, for a few years of extremely hasty and busy committee work]. We shall do well to accept it with joyful interest and put it into practice punctually, unanimously, and carefully.

These are not the words of a man who is especially at peace about what he has done, or confident in the power of the product to win over the customers. One suspects a psychiatrist could have a field day analyzing this language.

Pope Paul VI then says that the reform he has imposed “puts an end to uncertainties, discussions, arbitrary abuses. It calls us back to that uniformity of rites and feeling proper to the Catholic Church…” Can irony have no limits?
- It was in large part the Vatican’s practically yearly changes to the liturgy from the 1950s through the 1960s that stirred up this febrile atmosphere of uncertainty, discussion, and abuse;
- it was the insistence on liturgical reform that shattered the uniformity of rites and feeling that the Church had enjoyed in relative peace from the end of the Council of Trent to the 20th century.
- b=Moreover, one of the most characteristic features of the Novus Ordo is its lack of uniformity from one celebration to another, and its multiplication of Catholic “identities.”

The second part of the address goes into “what exactly the changes are.”
- Whether from ignorance or from duplicity, the pope states that the changes “consist of many new directions for celebrating the rites,” not adverting to the fact that the principal change is in the substance of the texts themselves: for example, only 17% of the orations of the old Roman Missal survived intact in the new missal.
- He then has the temerity to say: “Keep this clearly in mind: Nothing has been changed of the substance of the traditional Mass.” I wonder how many people in 1969 believed this; I wonder how many still believe it today.

A passage in St. Irenaeus of Lyons, directed against the arbitrary interpretations of the Gnostics, seems to me to capture perfectly what was done in our times with the Roman Rite, as well as the subterfuge of saying: “This is the Roman Rite” or worse, “This is now tradition.” St. Irenaeus writes:

Their manner of acting is just as if, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels, one should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception of what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king.[16]


Returning to the general audience, we find Paul VI — as if detecting the misgivings his words to this point might generate in a listener — going on the defensive:

Perhaps some may allow themselves to be carried away by the impression made by some particular ceremony or additional rubric [this is what he says, but in fact the transition from old to new is mostly a matter of lost rubrics, not additional ones], and thus think that they conceal some alteration or diminution of truths which were acquired by the Catholic faith for ever, and are sanctioned by it. They might come to believe that the equation between the law of prayer, lex orandi, and the law of faith, lex credendi, is compromised as a result.

It is not so. Absolutely not. Above all, because the rite and the relative rubric are not in themselves a dogmatic definition. Their theological qualification may vary in different degrees according to the liturgical context to which they refer. They are gestures and terms relating to a religious action — experienced and living —of an indescribable mystery of divine presence, not always expressed in a universal way. Only theological criticism can analyze this action and express it in logically satisfying doctrinal formulas.


In a spectacular instance of neoscholastic reductionism, we are told that only dogmatic definitions pertain to the essence of the Catholic Faith, since rites and rubrics have to do with experiences and actions that vary according to place and time; the only expression of truth is a “logically satisfying doctrinal formula.” In these words Paul VI has obliterated the lex orandi as a reality unto itself and has denied liturgy as theologia prima, a mode of revelation.

He continues: “The Mass of the new rite is and remains the same Mass we have always had. If anything, its sameness has been brought out more clearly in some respects.” As Shakespeare says, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” To belabor the point that the Mass is the same establishes that it isn’t; the obvious need not be said. In order to agree with the sameness hypothesis, one would first have to adopt the perspective that the Roman Rite is nothing other than a generic outline — an introduction, some readings, an anaphora with valid words of consecration, communion, conclusion.[17]

As if to offer proof of his claim, the pope rather pathetically turns to the oneness of the Lord’s Supper, the Sacrifice on the Cross, and the representation of both in the Mass, which he says all remains true for the Novus Ordo. Apart from the somewhat odd claim that the Mass is a representation of both the Cross and the Last Supper — which is not what the 22nd Session of the Council of Trent teaches — this, it must be said, is placing the bar of liturgical continuity pretty low.

Far from supporting the claim that the Novus Ordo is still the same Roman rite, it demonstrates only that the Novus Ordo is a valid liturgical rite, like any other liturgy, Eastern or Western, offered by a validly ordained priest using the correct matter and form. By this logic, one could argue that the Novus Ordo is the same as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Still clutching at straws, Paul VI says that the new rite brings out more clearly the relationship between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist,[18] but fails to explain how this is so; and, as can be shown both theoretically and practically, the opposite proves to be true.

He makes one last plug for the joy of active participation, then, as if running out of steam, declares: “You will also see other marvelous features of our Mass.” Why exactly does this plural suddenly appear?
- Is it the papal “we”: 'our' 9MY0 modern papal rite?
- Is it an oblique reference to the Consilium: our committee Mass that we now present to a Catholic world panting in expectation?
- Or is this the “we” of the collectivity that would subsequently find in the Novus Ordo Missae the incentive, and indeed the invitation, to celebrate itself?

Then, another desperate attempt to ram home the sameness thesis: “But do not think that these things are aimed at altering its genuine and traditional essence.” We are left once more with the stubborn question that will not go away: What is “the genuine and traditional essence” of a liturgy? Is it whatever the pope decides it is, however minimal that may be, or can we trust the broad lines of its historical development and its universal reception in the Church, as the Council of Trent so obviously did? In short, it is hard to imagine two more opposed visions of liturgy than Trent’s and Montini’s.

At the end he invokes a favorite word, “pastoral,” as justification, and expresses his desire that “the faithful will participate in the liturgical mystery with more understanding, in a more practical, a more enjoyable, and a more sanctifying way.” I’ll admit this is a subjective call on my part, but to my ear the language here smacks of urban planning and social engineering.

How curious, then, that he refers to “the Word of God which lives and echoes down the centuries” — that very Word whose ongoing incarnation in the organic development of the liturgy is being repudiated — and then opines that the faithful will better “share in the mystical reality of Christ’s sacramental and propitiatory sacrifice,” even though the Novus Ordo has purged the liturgy of its palpable mysticism and its unmistakable accentuation of the propitiatory sacrifice of Calvary.

This address is classic Montini: cold logic, stiff manner, overbearing tone, occasional Maritainian poetic flourishes, and, above all, a baffling obliviousness to the sheer magnitude of what he is doing, as if the dropping of liturgical nuclear bombs were like playing a game of theological chess.

(Continued in next post)
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 3, 2019 2:59 PM
Finally, after several days - despite the pope's trip to Morocco and his enthusiastic reiteration of his AbuDhabi abracadabra and much of his abominable platitudes on Islam
and immigration, and the release of his blather-inflated post-synodal exhortation about the 'youth synod' held last October, I have found something online that is truly
interesting to an orthodox Catholic like me - and it is not news, even if much of it may be new to you as it was to me. For me, particularly: to learn that Paul VI's
personal preferences on liturgy were precisely what Bugnini and company codified into his Novus Ordo
- and consequently, that I have been wrong to blame
Bugnini and his committee reformists for their appalling wholesale changes to the Mass, although of course, Paul VI alone bears the responsibility for imposing his
Mass on the entire Church - literally overnight
(an act that, to me, far outweighs and cancels out the virtue in the courage he showed for promulgating Humanae Vitae).

No wonder Jorge Bergoglio worships at Papa Montini's altar. In many ways, he's trying all he can to outdo him - to force changes in 'the Church' as radical as, if not more,
than that Paul VI imposed with the Novus Ordo. If Montini changed the liturgical practice codified in the previous 500 years with the snap of a papal finger, Bergoglio is
determined to change not just practices but doctrines going all the way back to apostolic times, to which end he often edits Jesus's evangelical statements to suit his agenda.




Nine months before Vatican-II even ended, Paul VI, in celebrating Mass in the vernacular for the first time, actually already introduced many major elements of what would become his 'Novus Ordo' -
the only difference being that he had to use the Vetus Ordo prayers because his Missal would not get published till 1969, when the NO officially became the Roman rite Mass.


By the way, I was forewarned by the Forum's internal system, as soon as I pasted the text, that at 65,829 characters, it exceeds the 65,535 allowed per post, so I will have to post it in two sections.

“A Half-Century of Novelty:
Revisiting Paul VI’s Apologia for the New Mass”

by Peter Kwasniewski

April 3, 2019

Text of a lecture given in various places in Australia during a visit sponsored by the Latin Mass Society of Australia.

April 3 of this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae by Pope Paul VI’s 1969 Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, the provisions of which were to go into effect on November 30, the first Sunday of Advent.

When we look back a half-century later at this monstrous masterpiece of liturgical reform — and, truth be told, it is no longer only self-proclaimed traditionalists who lament a job badly done — we often feel moved to ask the simple question: Why? Why was it deemed necessary to make so many and such radical changes in the Mass?

For an explanation, we must look to the pope who, more than any other figure, was responsible for pushing forward the liturgical reform, handing down not only a new rite of Mass, but also, in like manner, new rites for all of the sacraments and indeed new versions of almost everything to be said or done in church — a figurative “sack of Rome” that throws the work of Alaric and Charles V into the shade.

Where can we look to find the pope’s explanation? There are, as one would expect, a plethora of addresses, letters, and other documents that allow us not just a glimpse into the mind of Montini, but a leisurely review; he was frank and outspoken about the liturgical reform, which was and had been his passion prior to and during his pontificate.

Above all, however, we ought to look carefully at three general audiences in the 1960s: the first from March of 1965, concerning the epochal shift from Christian Latin to modern vernaculars; and two from November of 1969, on the even greater shift from the classic Roman Rite to the product of the Consilium.

Before descending into the details of these general audiences, I will make a theological argument about how we, as believers, should understand the historical development of liturgy in the Catholic Church, as this, I am convinced, is the only way to see the magnitude of what Paul VI desired to do, attempted to do, and, in the judgment of most people, succeeded in doing.

Laws of Organic Liturgical Development
In his 1947 encyclical on the liturgy, Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII pointed out a theological error in the tendency of some members of the Liturgical Movement to reach back to suppositious liturgical rites of ancient times while excluding or denigrating later periods of Church history such as the Middle Ages or the Baroque. Speaking of “some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately,” he says:

The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world (cf. Matt 28:20). They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.[1]

Pius XII is writing in 1947 about avant-garde liturgists who want to leapfrog over the Baroque and medieval periods —in other words, over the Roman rite as codified after Trent — to arrive at a pristine apostolic liturgy. In 1947 the Roman Rite was still very much intact, as vintage photos of Pius XII’s magnificent papal liturgies evince; the liturgy committee that was to give Bugnini his first post at the Vatican and eventually produce a new Holy Week was yet to come. [Radical changes in the Holy Week liturgy made by Pius XII which Fr Hunwicke has taken pains to explain how and why they were 'not right', to say the least, and which many sanctimoniously 'traditionalist' bloggers conveniently and consistently fail to acknowledge when referring to Pius XII as the 'last' pope who upheld traditional liturgy.]

So when Pius XII talks about “more recent liturgical rites", he is talking about medieval and Baroque developments, culminating in the Tridentine codification, of which the 1570 Missale Romanum is the flagship. The key points to take away from this paragraph are, first, that something’s being more ancient does not ipso facto make it better; second, that the historical development of the liturgy is not an accident that God permits, but a plan that He positively wills, inspired by the Holy Spirit and used by the Head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to sanctify the members of His Mystical Body.

Indeed, this passage reads rather like a commentary on the famous Canon 13 of the Seventh Session of the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church that are customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments can be looked down on, or that ministers can without sin omit them according to their own whim, or that any pastor of churches whatever can change them into other new ones, let him be anathema.[2]

The seventh canon of the twenty-second Session of Trent is also highly pertinent. This canon states:

If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety, let him be anathema.[3]


When the Council pointedly says “which the Catholic Church uses,” we are given to understand that all of the liturgical ceremonies, vestments, and external signs received from tradition are offices of piety and not incentives to impiety. Thus, the view, later popular with 20th century reformers, that aspects of the classical Roman Rite are to be considered corruptions of authentic liturgy and detrimental to the spiritual life of the faithful is anathematized ahead of time.

In the same spirit, the Roman Catechism published in 1566, three years after the Council of Trent was concluded, says this about the Mass in particular:

The Sacrifice is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august Sacrifice, and to excite the faithful when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine things which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.


Christ promised that “when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will teach you all truth”[4]: cum autem venerit ille Spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem (Jn 16:13). This includes the fullness of liturgy.[5]

One would expect, if the Church is truly governed by the Spirit of God, that her liturgy would, in its large lines and accepted forms, mature and become more perfect over time. Would it not then follow that the rate of change will slow down and the Spirit’s work will gradually shift from inspiring new prayers to preserving the prayers already inspired? A liturgical rite will grow in perfection until it reaches a certain maturity, and then will cease to develop in any but incidental or minor ways.

One could diagram this process as a chart with two lines: the descending line[6] represents the creation of liturgical forms, while the ascending line[7] represents the preservation of existing liturgical forms. As the former action tapers, the latter action dominates, until that verse from Ezekiel is fulfilled in the Church’s sacred liturgy: “Your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God” (Ezek 16:14).[8]

Much more can and should be said on the subject of what we might call “the laws of organic liturgical development,” and I am currently researching and writing on the subject. In the interests of time, however, I will turn to the three general audiences of Paul VI on the topic of the liturgical reform.[9]

General Audience of March 17, 1965
The first text we will look at was delivered on March 17, 1965, ten days after Pope Paul VI celebrated the first-ever Italian-spite Mass at the Church of All Saints (Ognissanti) in Rome. Inspite of official rhetoric, there is little evidence that the people rejoiced; a plaque memorializing the event in Ognissanti was vandalized so many times that a new plaque finally had to be placed high on the wall, out of reach of disgruntled parishioners.[10]

It is hard to know what to be more astonished about: the sheer contempt for the common man with which the audience drips, or the sheer fantasyland into which the pope enters when describing the anticipated benefits of the “new liturgy” that was unveiled at Ognissanti — remember, this was not the Novus Ordo, which was four years away, but a heavily simplified Tridentine Mass conducted in Italian (except for the Roman Canon), with the celebrant facing the people, standing at a temporary altar placed outside of the sanctuary.[11]

The pope says there have been negative reactions and positive reactions. The negative reaction is one of “a certain confusion and annoyance”:

Previously, they say, there was peace, each person could pray as he wished, the whole sequence of the rite was well known; now everything is new, startling, and changed; even the ringing of the bells at the Sanctus is done away with; and then those prayers which one doesn’t know where to find; Holy Communion received standing; Mass ending suddenly with the blessing; everybody answering, many people moving around, rites and readings which are recited aloud … In short, there is no longer any peace and we now know less than we did before; and so on.

This does not seem an altogether unreasonable reaction. As far as the pope is concerned, however, Catholics who react this way have a paltry understanding of what they are doing:

We shall not criticize these views because then we would have to show how they reveal a poor understanding of the meaning of religious ceremonial and allow us to glimpse not a true devotion and a true appreciation of the meaning and worth of the Mass, but rather a certain spiritual laziness which is not prepared to make some personal effort of understanding and participation directed to a better understanding and fulfillment of this, the most sacred of religious acts, in which we are invited, or rather obliged, to participate.


One wonders when a pope has ever said something more self-righteous, presumptuous, insensitive, and unjust? I suppose everyone, before the glorious revolution, was spiritually lazy, unprepared to make even “some” effort to understand, and altogether bereft of participation in the mysteries.

The popularity of Liturgical Movement authors like Dom Prosper Guéranger, Pius Parsch, and Ildefonso Schuster, whose commentaries on the Mass instructed and inspired precisely those laymen who were startled and disturbed by the changes of the 1960s is passed over in utter silence.[12]

Montini continues by explaining that reform always causes people to feel upset because deeply rooted religious practices are being tampered with, but that’s okay — soon everyone will love it. And we’ll make sure that no one can settle back again into silent devotion or laziness. “The congregation will be alive and active!,” he says: everyone must participate. Now one must “listen and pray” (apparently they were doing neither before).

Activity is the order of the day, the name of the game! We will finally have a liturgy that is not mummery (“performed merely according to its external form”) but “an immense wing flying towards the heights of divine mystery and joy.” An immense wing… Excuse me while I reach for the airsickness bag.

The positive reaction, on the other hand, is, according to Paul VI, that of a majority of Catholics, young and old, uneducated and scholarly, the earnestly devout and the urbanely cultured, insiders and outsiders, who greet the changes with “enthusiasm and praise.” At last, they say, “one can understand and follow the complicated and mysterious ceremonial”(the pope declines to explain how simplification and easy accessibility fit with “complicated and mysterious,” unless his meaning is that a ceremonial that was once complicated and mysterious will henceforth cease to be either). At last, “the priest speaks to the people” (but wait: I thought the liturgy was addressed primarily to God?).

One old gentleman, the pope says, fighting back a tear, gushed to a priest that “at last” in this new way of celebrating Mass he fully participated in the sacrifice — indeed, possibly for the first time in his life. Some say this excitement will quiet down and turn into habit. But Pope Paul expresses the hope that the “new form of worship” will continue to stir up “religious enthusiasm,” so that “the gospel of love” will be realized in “the souls of our time.” (He does not seem aware of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s classic critique of religious enthusiasm; it is just this hankering for feelings of enthusiasm or excitement that has led to ever-repeated efforts to stir up or stimulate congregations ever since the sixties, with ever-diminishing returns.)

This papal address is notable for the number of times it uses the word “new”: “new, startling, changed”; “new order”; “new scheme of things”; “new liturgical books”; “new form” (twice); “new liturgy” (twice); “new habit”; “liturgical innovation.” If we add them up, eleven times. Some Catholics today are critical of traditionalists who speak of the Novus Ordo, but here we have a pope identifying the interim missal of 1965 as a novel thing, when it was vastly less of a novelty than the missal of 1969. I think we owe it to Pope Paul to use his terms when we talk about his reforms. He did not try to hide the fact that there had been a sea change.

Many notable Catholics of this period have left us records of their reaction to the “new Mass” of 1965 (which in retrospect turned out to be a half-way house). Evelyn Waugh and William F. Buckley left us choice words about it, but I shall quote what Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in 1966:

The basic error of most of the innovators is to imagine that the new liturgy brings the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass nearer to the faithful, that shorn of its old rituals the Mass now enters into the substance of our lives. For the question is whether we better meet Christ in the Mass by soaring up to Him, or by dragging Him down into our own pedestrian, workaday world. The innovators would replace holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity. The new liturgy actually threatens to frustrate the confrontation with Christ, for it discourages reverence in the face of mystery, precludes awe, and all but extinguishes a sense of sacredness.[13]



General Audience of November 19, 1969
Now we turn to a pair of general audiences given 4½ years later, in the month of November 1969. As mentioned at the start, the Novus Ordo Missae was officially to go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent, which fell on November 30th that year.

The Pope was really feeling the heat at this moment. He had promulgated the text of the Novus Ordo Missae seven months earlier, on April 3. The Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, more commonly known as The Ottaviani Intervention, was completed by June 5, but not published until a few months later; somehow it did not come to Paul VI’s knowledge until September 29, according to historian Yves Chiron.

The popular press picked up the story and made a great deal of it. Paul VI sent the Short Study to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect, Cardinal Šeper, reported to him on November 12 that, in his opinion, the Study was essentially worthless. This was only one week prior to the general audience of November 19. We must bear in mind, then, that this and the following week’s address are Paul VI’s attempt to defend the entire project of the Novus Ordo in the face of its critics and for posterity. It is his apologia pro Missa sua.[14]

What is perhaps most striking about these addresses is the pope’s penchant for gratuitous assertion and his stark authoritarian tone. He wants us to believe that nothing really central has changed, while at the same time listing, and doubling down on, one enormous change after another. For those who take seriously that a developed liturgical rite is a kind of body-soul composite in which one cannot readily separate what it is from how it is done, how it looks, sounds, smells, and feels, the case he makes for essential identity is far from convincing.

On November 19, again the pope does not shy away from the language of novelty: he speaks of “a new rite of Mass” (four times) “a new spirit,” “new directions,” “new rules,” “new and more expansive liturgical language,” “innovation” (twice). He closes with the guarded sentiment: “Do not let us talk about ‘the new Mass.’ Let us rather speak of the ‘new epoch’ in the Church’s life.” In a colossal understatement, the pope says “the Mass will be celebrated in a rather different manner from that in which we have been accustomed to celebrate it in the last four centuries, from the reign of St. Pius V, after the Council of Trent, down to the present.”

He shows admirable candor in getting right to the point:

This change has something astonishing about it, something extraordinary. This is because the Mass is regarded as the traditional and untouchable expression of our religious worship and the authenticity of our faith. We ask ourselves, how could such a change be made? What effect will it have on those who attend Holy Mass?

His answer is feeble: Just pay attention to the explanations you will get from the pulpit and in religious publications, and trust that “a clearer and deeper idea of the stupendous and mysterious notion of the Mass” is just around the corner, thanks to the new missal. Again, he shows candor in admitting that the faithful will have “spontaneous difficulties.”

Paul VI claims that the new missal “is due to the will expressed by the Ecumenical Council held not long ago.” This claim is questionable, to say the least — particularly in view of what the pope will say one week later, when he openly contradicts Sacrosanctum Concilium on any number of points. But here, the new missal is said to be four things, each of which is surprising:

It is an act of obedience. It is an act of coherence of the Church with herself. It is a step forward for her authentic tradition. It is a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent.

- It is quite unclear how “coherence of the Church with herself” is to be achieved by breaking with much of what the Church had been doing in her most important actions for centuries.
- It is quite unclear how exactly a radically revised missal counts as a “step forward” (whatever that means) for the Church’s “authentic tradition” (whatever that means).

I do not think it would be unfair to call this doublespeak. According to Edward Herman, “What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program.”[15]

Again, one is left speechless at the claim that the Novus Ordo Missae is “a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent.” Fidelity — how so, precisely? Vitality — just because papal muscle can be flexed to push through the biggest raft of changes in the history of the Church’s worship?

The speech continues in a tone almost feverish and certainly imperious, as if the pope were feeling the total inadequacy of his account:

It is not an arbitrary act. It is not a transitory or optional experiment. It is not some dilettante’s improvisation. It is a law. It has been thought out by authoritative experts of sacred liturgy; it has been discussed and meditated upon for a long time [that is, for a few years of extremely hasty and busy committee work]. We shall do well to accept it with joyful interest and put it into practice punctually, unanimously, and carefully.

These are not the words of a man who is especially at peace about what he has done, or confident in the power of the product to win over the customers. One suspects a psychiatrist could have a field day analyzing this language.

Pope Paul VI then says that the reform he has imposed “puts an end to uncertainties, discussions, arbitrary abuses. It calls us back to that uniformity of rites and feeling proper to the Catholic Church…” Can irony have no limits?
- It was in large part the Vatican’s practically yearly changes to the liturgy from the 1950s through the 1960s that stirred up this febrile atmosphere of uncertainty, discussion, and abuse;
- it was the insistence on liturgical reform that shattered the uniformity of rites and feeling that the Church had enjoyed in relative peace from the end of the Council of Trent to the 20th century.
- Moreover, one of the most characteristic features of the Novus Ordo is its lack of uniformity from one celebration to another, and its multiplication of Catholic “identities.”

The second part of the address goes into “what exactly the changes are.”
- Whether from ignorance or from duplicity, the pope states that the changes “consist of many new directions for celebrating the rites,” not adverting to the fact that the principal change is in the substance of the texts themselves: for example,only 17% of the prayers of the old Roman Missal survived intact in the new missal.
- He then has the temerity to say: “Keep this clearly in mind: Nothing has been changed of the substance of the traditional Mass.” I wonder how many people in 1969 believed this; I wonder how many still believe it today.

A passage in St. Irenaeus of Lyons, directed against the arbitrary interpretations of the Gnostics, seems to me to capture perfectly what was done in our times with the Roman Rite, as well as the subterfuge of saying: “This is the Roman Rite” or worse, “This is now tradition.” St. Irenaeus writes:

Their manner of acting is just as if, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels, one should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception of what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king.[16]


Returning to the general audience, we find Paul VI — as if detecting the misgivings his words to this point might generate in a listener — going on the defensive:

Perhaps some may allow themselves to be carried away by the impression made by some particular ceremony or additional rubric [this is what he says, but in fact the transition from old to new is mostly a matter of lost rubrics, not additional ones], and thus think that they conceal some alteration or diminution of truths which were acquired by the Catholic faith for ever, and are sanctioned by it. They might come to believe that the equation between the law of prayer, lex orandi, and the law of faith, lex credendi, is compromised as a result.

It is not so. Absolutely not. Above all, because the rite and the relative rubric are not in themselves a dogmatic definition. Their theological qualification may vary in different degrees according to the liturgical context to which they refer. They are gestures and terms relating to a religious action — experienced and living —of an indescribable mystery of divine presence, not always expressed in a universal way. Only theological criticism can analyze this action and express it in logically satisfying doctrinal formulas.


In a spectacular instance of neoscholastic reductionism, we are told that only dogmatic definitions pertain to the essence of the Catholic Faith, since rites and rubrics have to do with experiences and actions that vary according to place and time; the only expression of truth is a “logically satisfying doctrinal formula.” In these words Paul VI has obliterated the lex orandi as a reality unto itself and has denied liturgy as theologia prima, a mode of revelation.

He continues: “The Mass of the new rite is and remains the same Mass we have always had. If anything, its sameness has been brought out more clearly in some respects.” As Shakespeare says, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” To belabor the point that the Mass is the same establishes that it isn’t; the obvious need not be said. In order to agree with the sameness hypothesis, one would first have to adopt the perspective that the Roman Rite is nothing other than a generic outline — an introduction, some readings, an anaphora with valid words of consecration, communion, conclusion.[17]

As if to offer proof of his claim, the pope rather pathetically turns to the oneness of the Lord’s Supper, the Sacrifice on the Cross, and the representation of both in the Mass, which he says all remains true for the Novus Ordo. Apart from the somewhat odd claim that the Mass is a representation of both the Cross and the Last Supper — which is not what the 22nd Session of the Council of Trent teaches — this, it must be said, is placing the bar of liturgical continuity pretty low. [As someone put it well on a Traditional Mass-promoting website, The Council of Trent and St. Thomas Aquinas tell us: THE MASS IS BOTH SACRIFICE AND SACRAMENT. IT IS THE SACRIFICE OF CALVARY, RE-ENACTED BY JESUS CHRIST IN AN UNBLOODY MANNER, THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF ONE EMPOWERED BY HIM. AND AS A SACRAMENT, JESUS GIVES HIMSELF TO THE RECIPIENT, IN HOLY COMMUNION, AS FOOD FOR THE SOUL. In the words of the Council:

“That He might leave to His own beloved spouse, the Church , a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, accomplished once on the cross, might be re-presented and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and by which its saving power might be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit … And forasmuch in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, the Holy Synod teaches that this sacrifice (of the Mass) is truly propitiatory, and that by means thereof this is effected that we might obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid if we draw near to God contrite and penitent, with a sincere heart and an upright faith, with fear and reverence. For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof (of the Mass), granting grace and the gift of penitence, forgives even heinous crimes and sins. For the Victim is one and the same, and the One who now offers by the ministry of the priests is the very same One who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of the offering being different. The fruits of that oblation - namely, that bloody one - are received most plentifully by this unbloody one.”


Far from supporting the claim that the Novus Ordo is still the same Roman rite, it demonstrates only that the Novus Ordo is a valid liturgical rite, like any other liturgy, Eastern or Western, offered by a validly ordained priest using the correct matter and form. By this logic, one could argue that the Novus Ordo is the same as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Still clutching at straws, Paul VI says that the new rite brings out more clearly the relationship between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist,[18] but fails to explain how this is so; and, as can be shown both theoretically and practically, the opposite proves to be true.

He makes one last plug for the joy of active participation, then, as if running out of steam, declares: “You will also see other marvelous features of our Mass.” Why exactly does this plural suddenly appear?
- Is it the papal “we”: 'our' ('my') modern papal rite?
- Is it an oblique reference to the Consilium: our committee Mass that we now present to a Catholic world panting in expectation?
- Or is this the “we” of the collectivity that would subsequently find in the Novus Ordo Missae the incentive, and indeed the invitation, to celebrate itself?

Then, another desperate attempt to ram home the sameness thesis: “But do not think that these things are aimed at altering its genuine and traditional essence.” We are left once more with the stubborn question that will not go away: What is “the genuine and traditional essence” of a liturgy? Is it whatever the pope decides it is, however minimal that may be, or can we trust the broad lines of its historical development and its universal reception in the Church, as the Council of Trent so obviously did? In short, it is hard to imagine two more opposed visions of liturgy than Trent’s and Montini’s.

At the end he invokes a favorite word, “pastoral,” as justification, and expresses his desire that “the faithful will participate in the liturgical mystery with more understanding, in a more practical, a more enjoyable, and a more sanctifying way.” I’ll admit this is a subjective call on my part, but to my ear the language here smacks of urban planning and social engineering.

How curious, then, that he refers to “the Word of God which lives and echoes down the centuries” — that very Word whose ongoing incarnation in the organic development of the liturgy is being repudiated — and then opines that the faithful will better “share in the mystical reality of Christ’s sacramental and propitiatory sacrifice,” even though the Novus Ordo has purged the liturgy of its palpable mysticism and its unmistakable accentuation of the propitiatory sacrifice of Calvary.

This address is classic Montini: cold logic, stiff manner, overbearing tone, occasional Maritainian poetic flourishes, and, above all, a baffling obliviousness to the sheer magnitude of what he is doing, as if the dropping of liturgical nuclear bombs were like playing a game of theological chess.

(Continued in next post)
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 3, 2019 3:55 PM


Nine months before Vatican-II even ended, Paul VI, in celebrating Mass in the vernacular for the first time, actually already introduced many major elements of what would become his 'Novus Ordo' -
the only difference being that he had to use the Vetus Ordo prayers because his Missal would not get published till 1969, when the NO officially became the Roman rite Mass.


“A Half-Century of Novelty:
Revisiting Paul VI’s Apologia for the New Mass”
- Part 2

by Peter Kwasniewski

April 3, 2019

(Continued from above)

General Audience of November 26, 1969
One week later, the pope continues his apologia. Once again, notice how relentlessly Paul VI underlines the newness of what he is imposing on the Church. In the opening sentence he speaks of “the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass.” The phrase “new rite” is mentioned seven times; the words “new,” “newness,” or “renewal,” seven more times; “innovation” twice; “novelty” twice. That makes a total of 18 times.

In classic Montini fashion, his second paragraph lingers regretfully over what is to be lost:

A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead. It is at such a moment as this that we get a better understanding of the value of historical tradition and the communion of the saints.

As incredible as it may seem, the pope appears to be saying that when we give up our hereditary religious patrimony, we feel most keenly the value of that tradition and of the communion of saints with whom we once prayed in common! This seems to me a sadistic maneuver, like telling a child: “You will appreciate your mother more if we take her away from you and you never see her again.” He continues, resuming themes from his March 1965 address:

This change will affect the ceremonies of the Mass. We shall become aware, perhaps with some feeling of annoyance, that the ceremonies at the altar are no longer being carried out with the same words and gestures to which we were accustomed — perhaps so much accustomed that we no longer took any notice of them. This change also touches the faithful. It is intended to interest each one of those present, to draw them out of their customary personal devotions or their usual torpor.


If I am not mistaken, Paul VI is arguing that ritual stability causes people to stop paying attention to what is going on and to fold in on themselves in subjectivism or laziness. If this were true, it would explain the obsession of modern liturgists with constantly changing things up: as I once remarked, paraphrasing Heraclitus,
“you can never step in the same Novus Ordo twice.”
In the experience of many, on the contrary, stability in ritual makes possible a deep intimacy with the Church’s prayer, and thereby heads off unhealthy private or collective subjectivism.

In any case, the pope seems to be under no illusions about the shake-up when he writes in paragraphs 4 and 5:

We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience. It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits. We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others. Even priests may feel some annoyance in this respect. … This novelty is no small thing. We should not let ourselves be surprised by the nature, or even the nuisance, of its exterior forms.

This hardly requires comment, except to say that Paul VI would never have succeeded as a salesman.

It is no wonder so many Catholics stopped going to Mass and a further wave of priests and religious suffered the crisis of spiritual disorientation, when their supreme Shepherd thought it was a good idea to cause especially pious persons and priests a “many-sided inconvenience,” “upset,” “disturbance,” “annoyance,” “nuisance,” as they struggled to figure out what in Hades was going on with the “exterior forms” — not to say internal spirit —of the Church’s liturgy!

In the face of this upcoming challenge, what does Paul VI recommend? Like an eggheaded intellectual out of touch with ordinary Christians, he suggests that we need to prepare ourselves for “this special and historical occasion” by, don’t you know, doubling down on our study of books and articles that explain the motives for “this grave change.”

Recognizing again the inherent weakness of his position, he invokes “obedience to the Council” — he knows the lesson of totalitarian propaganda that the only thing needed to establish a falsehood as truth is to repeat the same lies calmly, boldly, and frequently — and adds to it, for good measure, “obedience to your bishops.” He is confident that all the bishops will be lining up in good ultramontanist (or should we say ultra-Montinist)[19] fashion. In a moment of almost Montanist afflatus, he concludes paragraph 6:

It is Christ’s will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change. A prophetic moment is occurring in the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church, arousing it, obliging it to renew the mysterious art of its prayer.


In paragraphs 7 through 14 — the largest thematic section of the discourse — Paul VI offers a defense of the practical abolition of Latin. He still seems to be smarting under the lash of Tito Casini’s 1965 book The Torn Tunic, in which that popular Italian author attacked the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass.

The pope’s point of departure in this section is the claim that because “the faithful are also invested with the ‘royal priesthood’ … they are qualified to have supernatural conversation with God” (§6). From this truth — which no one had ever denied, in theory or in practice — Paul VI deduces the necessity of replacing Latin with the common spoken language; for otherwise, the people are not able to have a supernatural conversation with God (?). The pope starts up his familiar hand-wringing routine, in which he will first tell us how great a loss will be incurred by the new rite:

The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power, and the expressive sacrality of Latin.

We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant. We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment.

What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?
(§§8–9)

It is at this point that Paul VI shows his cards, advocating a kind of epistemological nudism or “free and simple” philosophy:


The answer will seem banal, prosaic. Yet it is a good answer, because it is human, because it is apostolic. Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more — particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.(§§10–11)


As our earlier quotation from Dietrich von Hildebrand pointed out, we see here a humanistic, horizontal, and anthropocentric understanding of liturgy that is opposed, paradoxically, to liturgy’s very effectiveness as a means of spiritual transformation, drawing the soul up to the infinite God and into communion with the Mystical Body of Christ, past, present, and eternal.

The Latin language is effective precisely because of its “beauty, power, and expressive sacrality,” its “sacred utterance,” its “priceless worth,” the loftiness of its associations, and the “stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing” that clothes it in music, Gregorian chant.

Participation in the sense of the immediate comprehension of “plain language, easily understood, in everyday speech,” is the least and lowest sense in which the faithful participate in the awesome mysteries of Christ. Sociologists have pointed out that dense, impenetrable, to some extent off-limits, religious rituals are a powerful motivator for belief and devotion. Fr. Aidan Nichols observes: “The notion that the more intelligible the sign, the more effectively it will enter the lives of the faithful is implausible to the sociological imagination. … A certain opacity is essential to symbolic action.”[20]

Psychologists note that archetypal symbolism conveyed in gestures, clothing, and other physical phenomena, not to say the super-rational language of music, are at least as communicative as words, if not more so. The power of the liturgy to affect the soul depends to a very great extent on such non-verbal elements and the subtle factor that may be called, for lack of a better term, atmosphere or ambiance.

Yes, the faithful should have some grasp of the content of the Mass (and, of course, of more than just the Mass); about this, Dom Guéranger and the pars sanior of the Liturgical Movement were right.[21] But what draws men to liturgical worship is the prospect of an encounter with the mysterious and the ineffable, the strangely beautiful that opens our minds to the transcendent and offers a glimpse of heaven.

In this way it was exactly anti-apostolic to invert the Church’s priorities by placing a superficial notion of popular engagement above the more profound immersion in prayer that the ancient liturgy, properly celebrated, had always offered to the faithful, and still does.

In one of the most hauntingly ironic statements in papal history, Paul VI noted with some melancholy in his 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi: “Modern man is sated by talk; he is obviously tired of listening, and what is worse, impervious to words.”[22] This observation was made only five years after he had imposed on the Church a liturgy outstanding for its non-stop verbosity, huge doses of Scripture, lack of silence, and paucity of non-verbal ritual.

Back in the 1969 address, Pope Paul, however, proceeds to dig himself into a hole:

If the divine Latin language kept us apart from the children, from youth, from the world of labor and of affairs, if it were a dark screen, not a clear window, would it be right for us fishers of souls to maintain it as the exclusive language of prayer and religious intercourse?


The most dramatic decline in Mass attendance in the decade after the Council (that is, from the first introduction of the vernacular and versus populum to the imposition of the Novus Ordo) was found precisely among the laborers, as English sociologist Anthony Archer demonstrated.[23]

Furthermore, it is by no means clear that “men of affairs” ever favored the liturgical reform. I have already mentioned Casini, von Hildebrand, Waugh, and Buckley, but the most embarrassing sign of the lack of support among educated people came in 1971, with a petition urging the preservation of the traditional Latin Mass, signed by 56 of the most eminent cultural figures of Great Britain—“many of the foremost writers, critics, academics, and musicians of the day, as well as politicians from Britain’s then three main parties, and two Anglican bishops”[24] — which John Cardinal Heenan presented to Pope Paul VI, an intervention that led to the “English Indult” (sometimes called the “Agatha Christie Indult”) for the continued use of the old Mass, which was, in retrospect, the first step in a long process of backtracking on the overblown claims that had been made for the “new epoch” to be ushered in by the liturgical reform.[25]

Lastly, Paul VI’s mention of “children and youth” may remind us of what is perhaps the sharpest irony of all: while the average number of children born to mainstream Catholics and the average retention rate of young adults continues to be alarmingly low, the numbers of large families and the overall youthfulness of the traditional Mass movement today tell a very different story about what attracts people to Christ and what pushes them away.

In paragraphs 13 and 14, the pope throws a sop to Latin-lovers by reminding them that the new rite of Mass allows for the people to sing together in Latin the Ordinary of the Mass — an allowance that was almost never to be actualized in practice — and that Latin will still remain the official language of Vatican documents, cold comfort if ever there was any. Without any indication of sarcasm, he says: “Latin will remain … as the key to the patrimony of our religious, historical, and human culture. If possible, it will reflourish in splendor.” Yet if Latin is really the key to our Catholic patrimony, why are we making the one move most calculated to destroy its living presence in the Church? How will this help Latin “reflourish in splendor”?

In paragraph 15, Paul VI takes up his theme from the previous week that the Mass hasn’t really changed, because “the fundamental outline of the Mass is still the traditional one, not only theologically but also spiritually.” If by “fundamental outline” one means that some kind of penitential thing comes first, some kind of Eucharistic prayer comes around the middle, and some kind of gesture indicating the end of the service comes last, one can warmly agree with the pope’s assessment.

Here we would not have the time to go through a lengthy list of examples of ways in which the structure, theology, and spirituality of the new missal clearly differ or depart from those of the old missal.[26] But it takes little more than attendance at the usus antiquior to begin to see for oneself that the application of the word “traditional” to the reformed liturgical rites of Paul VI is precisely the sort of “abuse of language, abuse of power” about which the philosopher Josef Pieper, who lived under the National Socialist regime in Germany, wrote so eloquently.

Then Paul VI has either the naivete or the shamelessness to assert:

Indeed, if the rite is carried out as it ought to be, the spiritual aspect will be found to have greater richness. The greater simplicity of the ceremonies, the variety and abundance of scriptural texts, the joint acts of the ministers, the silences which will mark various deeper moments in the rite, will all help to bring this out.

As long as everyone “participates profoundly,” he says, the Mass will become “more than ever a school of spiritual depth and a peaceful but demanding school of Christian sociology. The soul’s relationship with Christ and with the brethren thus attains new and vital intensity.” In lines like this, we see Paul VI abandoning himself to full-scale fantasyland.

The last three paragraphs, 17 through 19, form a bizarre coda that conveys to us, even today at a distance, something of the feeling of slapdash haste and scarcely-controlled chaos that surrounded the entire project of liturgical reform:

But there is still a practical difficulty, which the excellence of the sacred renders not a little important. [What an expression!] How can we celebrate this new rite when we have not yet got a complete missal, and there are still so many uncertainties about what to do?

Good question, Holy Father. It was a question that had rarely left the lips of clergy and laity for a good 15 years by this point, as rubrics, texts, music, language, nearly everything continued to evolve on an almost annual basis. What we see in this madness for sacramental reform, starting regrettably under Pius XII, is the very negation of the correct Catholic attitude towards tradition, which is that of a gardener, not that of an industrialist or a real estate developer who knocks down the old mansion to make way for modern flats. If I might adapt some recent words of Fr. John Hunwicke: the pope needs

to remember the aperçu 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 re-appropriation at the very highest level within the Church of the central, fundamental importance of a negative and preservative papacy. Tradidi quod et accepi implies Quod non accepi non tradam.


Having posed the question, Paul VI answers it with rather more technical detail than one would expect in a general audience. The takeaway is that
- Latin liturgy is definitely on its way out — and that, by the pope’s express will.
- By November 28, 1971, there are to be no more Latin liturgies from the old missal or even from the new one.
And if a priest expects to find himself in various places, offering Mass alone and with a congregation, he had better invest in a stout wagon for carrying all the liturgical books he will need. The old days when an altar missal sufficed are hereby excluded in the name of “greater simplicity of rites.”[27]

The address closes with a final subtle irony—a quotation from one of Paul VI’s favorite authors, the Swiss priest and theologian Maurice Zundel (1897–1975), from the preface to the second edition of Le Poème de la Sainte Liturgie of 1934, which was published in English in 1939 under the title The Splendor of the Liturgy:

The Mass is a Mystery to be lived in a death of Love. Its divine reality surpasses all words. . . It is the Action par excellence, the very act of our Redemption, in the Memorial which makes it present.[28]


I do not know what Zundel, who died in 1975, thought of the Novus Ordo Missae, but I can say without a doubt: Anyone who reads this book, a profound work of mystical theology, which, from start to finish, is steeped in the prayers and ceremonies of the classic Roman Rite, enters into a world of luminous wonder and fiery devotion — the epitome of a Church securely and gratefully rooted in her tradition. This world was doomed by Paul VI’s interim missal of 1965 and banished by the perfidious Missale Romanum of 1969.

To a poor layman or priest standing in the audience on November 19 or November 26 of that fateful year, the glorious and intimate world described in Zundel[29] seemed on the verge of being lost for ever.

Conclusion
Revisiting these audiences five decades later is important for many reasons. Today I should like to mention just two of them.

The main reason is that, considering the magnitude of the reform, Paul VI’s defense of it is exceedingly flimsy. Some people saw that already back in 1965 and 1969, but today it is overwhelmingly clear, with the benefit of a hindsight that shows how narrow and dated are his assumptions, and how his every prediction has failed.

Montini’s defense of the Novus Ordo relies on equivocation, deceitfulness about the extent of the changes, and a brute exercise of top-down authority. It is based on a poor theology of liturgy, sacraments, and prayer; a poor sociology of ritual; a poor psychology of habit; and a poor philosophical analysis of modernity.

A second reason has to do with more recent attempts to clean up the Montinian mess. Proponents of the “Reform of the Reform,” no doubt in good faith, cling to a narrative in which the Novus Ordo Missae came hot off the Vatican press clothed in Latin as with a garment, ready to be celebrated in splendor and solemnity to the noble strains of Gregorian chant, in perfect fulfillment of the conciliar constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium — and then the Mass got “hijacked” by European and American progressives, who flatly contradicted the good intentions of Paul VI. [It is what I have tended to believe all these years! In 1969-1970, there was no Internet, and even if I had any interest at all in following Church news, there was no way to do that from just reading the newspapers in the Philippines. All I know is that the day I first attended a Novus Ordo Mass, I stopped going to Mass - I wasn't even interested in looking for any explanations of such a radical change for the worse - and thereby led a life of mortal sin for the next two decades because of that.]

A basic problem with this narrative is that it’s false. The three general audiences indicate that
- Paul VI never thought that the Novus Ordo would be celebrated widely in Latin;
- he never expected Gregorian chant to survive in the parishes;
- he never wanted “our Mass” to look or sound like the inherited Roman liturgy.
- He calmly noted that Latin and Gregorian chant would disappear; the old way of celebrating Mass would perish from the face of the Earth.
To this extent, then, he sought rupture, not the continuity for which his successor Benedict XVI has become famous.[30] Certainly Paul VI could have heartily endorsed the words of influential liturgist and Consilium member Joseph Gelineau, S.J.:

]Let those who like myself have known and sung a Latin-Gregorian High Mass remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass that we now have. Not only the words, the melodies, and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.[31]


It is evident that Paul VI’s operative principle was accommodationism: the liturgy must be accommodated to the mentality and purported needs of Modern Man.[32] To this hungry Moloch of modernization, every other consideration had to yield; indeed, the first sacrificial offering to be placed in its mouth was the Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

It requires no towering intelligence to see that some of its clearest and most important provisions were not only ignored but negated. Paul VI acted against the provisions signed by 2,147 bishops and major superiors in an exercise of hyperpapalism that has no other historical equivalent and probably never will. In this way he exhibited an extreme megalomania that could be summed up in the phrase: L’église, c’est moi. [It's what I have been saying of Bergoglio's concept of his papal office.]

These three audiences illustrate a more general trend.
We can see an exact parallel to them in the manner in which the Vatican after the Council discouraged culturally Catholic nations from preserving any special constitutional recognition of or agreement with the Church, and
- in the disastrous policy towards the Communist countries known as Ostpolitik, which has resurfaced in Pope Francis’s sell-out to the Chinese government.
- We see it in the encouragement of ugly modern art, with the Paul VI audience hall, opened in 1971, as its preeminent monument.
- We see it in the discouragement of clerical attire and large families.

In other words, we are looking at a comprehensive program of secularization, of conformity to the liberal Western world forged in the anticlerical Enlightenment and repackaged after World War II as optimistic humanism. This was the defining ethos of the Vatican II period as interpreted and advanced by and under Pope Paul VI. [And now by his spiritual heir, Jorge Bergoglio]

And this is and was contrary to the fundamental demand of Christianity according to St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world” — that is, the world as fallen angels and sinful men have made it, in their rebellion against God — “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

The great American Catholic writer of the 19th century, Orestes Brownson, wrote in July 1846:

The Church is not here to follow the spirit of the age, but to control and direct it, often to struggle against it.

They do her the greatest disservice who seek to disown her glorious past, and to modify her as far as possible, so as to adapt her to prevailing methods of thought and feeling.

It is her zealous but mistaken friends, who, guided by a short-sighted policy, and taking counsel of the world around them, seek, as they express it, to liberalize her, to bring her more into harmony with the spirit of the age, from whom we, as good Catholics, should always pray, Libera nos, Domine![33]


Martin Mosebach speaks of “the defective liturgical development that was encouraged by a mentality antagonistic to spiritual realities.”[34] This, in fact, is what we see in Paul VI: a mentality so preoccupied with modernity, with evangelization, and with accessibility that it ends up becoming antagonistic to spiritual realities
— the set-apartness of the sacred;
- the primacy of God and the things of God;
- the otherworldly itinerary of Christ in His Passion, death, resurrection, and ascension; and
- the conquest of this world for Christ the King, seizing it from Satan’s empire and sanctifying it with her “mystic benedictions . . . derived from apostolic discipline and tradition.”[35]

Permit me to conclude with a quotation from Johann Adam Möhler:

If one cannot trust tradition, then Christians would rightly despair of ever learning what Christianity really is; they would rightly despair that there is a Holy Spirit which fills the Church, that there exists a common spirit and sure knowledge of Christianity. … This is the state in which those who reject tradition find themselves, and for them there can be no such thing as an objective Christianity.[36]


NOTES
[1] Mediator Dei, n. 61.
[2] DZ 856: “Canon 13. Si quis dixerit, receptos et approbatos Ecclesiae catholicae ritus in solemni sacramentorum administratione adhiberi consuetos aut contemni, aut sine peccato a ministris pro libito omitti, aut in novos alios per quemcumque ecclesiarum pastorem mutari posse, A.S.” Another translation of this dense text renders it thus: “If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones, let him be anathema.”
[3] “Si quis dixerit, ceremonias, vestes et externa signa, quibus in missarum celebratione Ecclesia Catholica utitur, irritabula impietatis esse magis quam officia pietatis: anathema sit.” On the surface, this canon would seem to require saying that the Novus Ordo, in its integrity, must be an “office of piety” and not an “incentive to impiety.” But it does not follow that the Novus Ordo fosters piety as much as the traditional rite, or that it avoids occasions of impiety as well as the traditional rite does. This canon also cannot be taken in isolation from other conditions that must be fulfilled before we can identify a given rite as actually Catholic, as opposed to being a tolerated intruder.
[4] St. Thomas Aquinas (ST II-II, q. 1, a. 9, sed contra) cites this verse as evidence for the indefectibility of the Church: “The universal Church cannot err, since she is governed by the Holy Ghost, Who is the Spirit of truth: for such was Our Lord’s promise to His disciples (Jn 16:13): ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth.’”
[5] Susanne Spencer writes: “The beauty of tradition is that it does not cast out the years between the early Church and now, but trusts that the Holy Spirit has guided the Church as we have grown in understanding of doctrine and developed our liturgical rites. Soon-to-be-canonized Blessed John Henry Newman describes the development of tradition in this way: ‘A true development, then, may be described as one which is conservative of the course of antecedent developments being really those antecedents and something besides them: it is an addition which illustrates, not obscures, corroborates, not corrects, the body of thought from which it proceeds.’” “The Beauty of the Extraordinary Form Comes from Tradition,” citing Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Pt. II, Ch. V.6.
[6] Like the descent of the dove, or the tongues of fire on Pentecost, announcing that a new dispensation is at hand. However, there will never be another dispensation: that of Christ is definitive. Hence, one can never expect a time, after the age of the Apostles, in which new Christian rites or sacraments will come into existence.
[7] This could remind us of the Ascension and the Assumption, exemplars of our final destiny in the unchanging bliss of heaven. As liturgy unfolds over time, it becomes more evidently the image of the eschatological banquet.
[8] This entire chapter of Ezekiel, especially verses 8 to 26, can be taken as a description of a three-stage historical drama: first, the calling of Israel and the old covenant; second, the coming of Christ and the new covenant, which inaugurated a period of maturation and royal splendor; third, the apostasy of the 20th century when churchmen went whoring after secular values, created “colorful shrines” to the gods of the world, and made a religion out of humanism, burning incense to “images of men.” To these values, gods, and images, churchmen sacrificed the Church’s sons and daughters, in the outward exodus of the baptized who left the Church and the internal exodus of the faithful who have ceased to believe or even to know the Catholic Faith.
[9] I would like to point out that all canonists and theologians are in agreement that General Audiences, like papal homilies or sermons, occupy a lowly place among the instruments by which a pope can choose to exercise his magisterium. They are often a mixture of statements that say something about matters of faith or morals and other statements that mere express the pope’s personal opinion. While they deserve our respectful attention, they usually do not demand much from us in the way of assent.
[10] See Gregory DiPippo, “The Liturgist Manifesto.” For more on the Ognissant event, see Dom Alcuin Reid, “March 7th, 1965—‘An extraordinary way of celebrating the Holy Mass’”; Peter Kwasniewski, “‘Backwards vs. Forwards’—What Does It Mean?” and “Just Say No to ’65!”; and the article mentioned in the next note.
[11] See the description at Rorate Caeli in “The 50th Anniversary of Paul VI’s First Italian Mass: Some Hard Truths About the ‘1965 Missal’ and the Liturgical Reform.”
[12] Pope Benedict XVI, whose intelligence, fairness, courtesy, and realism greatly exceeded those of Paul VI, noted precisely this fact in his Letter to Bishops Con Grande Fiducia, which accompanied the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum: “Afterwards, however [i.e., in the period after the introduction of the new missal], it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this [older] usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the Liturgical Movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration.”
[13] Triumph magazine, October 1966; cited in Michael Davies, Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II (Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 2003), 40–41.
[14] It is also worth noting that in response to the Short Study and other critiques, the pope pushed through a number of significant modifications to the Institutio Generalis that prefaced the missal.
[15] Quoted here. A similar Montinian phrase shows up in an Address to a Consistory, May 24, 1976: “For our part, in the name of tradition [!], we beseech all our children and all Catholic communities to celebrate the rites of the restored liturgy with dignity and fervent devotion.”
[16] Against Heresies, Book I, ch. 8.
[17] Such a remote or abstract sameness would not, in all probability, satisfy the simple and childlike or the sophisticated and cultured that the Mass was the same—the two demographics most heavily alienated from the Church during this period.
[18] Incidentally admitting that the age-old nomenclature of “the Mass of Catechumens” and “the Mass of the Faithful,” matching up to ancient practice and followed by hundreds of commentators over the centuries, has therewith been jettisoned.
[19] This was prior to the heroic stance taken up by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which was to bring out the worst of the tyrant in Paul VI. But that is a story for another time.
[20] Aidan Nichols, Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of Its Contemporary Form (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996), 61.
[21] It is distressing to see some of today’s would-be advocates of tradition exalting a “devotionalism of ignorance” and a strict bifurcation between lay spirituality and the rites of the sanctuary. On this topic, see my articles “Is Passivity Mistaken for Piety? On the Perils and Pitfalls of Participation”; “Two Different Treasure Chests”; “Carrying Forward the Noble Work of the Liturgical Movement”; “Living the Vita Liturgica: Conditions, Obstacles, Prospects.”
[22] Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 42.
[23] In his book The Two Catholic Churches: A Study in Oppression (SCM Press, 1986); see this article by Joseph Shaw.
[24] See this position paper, which is included in the forthcoming book from Angelico Press, The Case for Liturgical Restoration.
[25] The crucial milestones in this process are well known: the English Indult of 1971, Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 1984 (cleverly named to sound like a response to and replacement of Tres Abhinc Annos of 1967), Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988, Summorum Pontificum of 2007, and Universae Ecclesiae of 2011.
[26] It is clear to those who compare them, although one is permitted to wonder how well acquainted Paul VI was with every liturgical book published at his behest. According to Archbishop Bugnini, on the one hand Paul VI read each draft of the Ordo Missae with painstaking care, underlining in multiple colors and annotating the margins in small print, while on the other hand he returned the text of the new lectionary with a note saying he had not been able to study it in detail but assumed that the experts had done their work properly.
[27] To use the language of the Synod of Pistoia—and of Paul VI.
[28] The wording of the opening phrases as quoted by the pope is somewhat different from that which is found in the English edition published by Sheed & Ward: “The Mass is a mystery, which must be made our living experience. And that experience is no less than a death for love.”
[29] Or, for that matter, in Prosper Guéranger, Nicholas Gihr, Pius Parsch, Fernand Cabrol, Ildefonso Schuster, or any of the large number of liturgical commentators in the 19th and 20th centuries who labored tirelessly to advance understanding and reanimate participation in the liturgy of the Church in its traditional (i.e., handed down) form, not as it might be reinvented by engineers in laboratories.
[30] The only exception was in Paul VI's attitude towards monks and nuns, who, in his Apostolic Letter Sacrificium Laudis, he encouraged to retain their chanted Latin Divine Office. However, he never enforced this, in keeping with his typically weak and ambivalent mode of governance, and watched from the balcony as all of the great religious orders collapsed, taking their choral office and sung Mass into the tomb with them.
[31] From Demain la liturgie (Paris, 1976), 9–10.
[32] On the motives of the reform and its revolutionary nature, the comprehensive work by Michael Davies remains indispensable, even if it must be supplemented by more recent publications: Pope Paul’s New Mass (Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2009). See Yves Chiron, Annibale Bugnini, Reformer of the Liturgy, trans. John Pepino (Brooklyn: Angelico Press, 2018).
[33] “Newman’s Development of Christian Doctrine,” accessed here on March 20, 2019.
[34] Martin Mosebach, Subversive Catholicism: Papacy, Liturgy, Church (Brooklyn: Angelico Press, forthcoming), 95.
[35] Council of Trent, Session 22, ch. 5.
[36] Quoted in Antoine Arjakovsky, What is Orthodoxy? A Genealogy of Christian Understanding (Brooklyn: Angelico Press, 2018), 267–68.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 3, 2019 10:26 PM
I am finally reading some feedback/blowback about recent statements made by our reigning pope. This one has to do with Jorge Bergoglio’s penchant for citing not exactly well-known, if not questionable, sources for his more outlandish ideas. It’s one way to show off his erratic erudition whenever the occasion presents itself.


The strange ‘light’ from Roqueplo,
French philosopher cited by the pope
on his return flight from Morocco

Translated from

April 3, 2019

During his airborne news conference on his return from Morocco, Pope Francis, responding to one question, cited a French philosopher, Philippe Roqueplo, and said that this thinker had given him an important ‘hermeneutic light’ for understanding a situation.

A statement which is rather singular from a pope if one learns what this philosopher - an environmental activist who studies the relationships between science, technology and culture – thinks about abortion and the right to life. About which my friend, Andrea Mondinelli, has promptly written me.

[Had to Google him – he is a trained musician who also administers a non-profit social cooperative based in Brescia which engages in a variety of programs from assistance to the needy, handicapped and drug-dependent, to training young people and farmers in the right way to apply for loans to finance their projects.]

Dear AldoMaria,
I wish to point out to you this part of Bergoglio’s most recent inflight news conference -

Question by Cristiana Caricato, correspondent of TV2000, the Italian bishops’ TV network: “Holy Father, you just spoke about ‘fears’ and the risks of ‘dictatorship’ that such fears can generate. Today, an Italian cabinet minister, speaking of the recently concluded World Congress of Families in Verona, said that instead of fearing the family, we should fear Islam, whereas you have been saying something else all these years. Do you think, we are at risk of a dictatorship in Italy? Would it be the result of prejudice out of ignorance? What do you think? Furthermore, you often denounce the action of the devil, as you did at the recent summit on the protection of minors. It seems to me that the devil has been most active recently, he has been doing so many things, even in the Church… What should be done to fight him, especially regarding clerical sex abuses? Do laws alone suffice? Why is the devil so active at this time? [Because his most willing and most successful agent today – though the latter frequently denounceshim in public - appears to be the nominal leader of the world’s largest church, the Church to which Satan has always been the Anti-Christ.]
Answer: Very well. Thank you for the question. A newspaper, after my address to conclude the meeting on the protection of minors, commented: “The pope has been cunning – first, he said that ‘pedophilia’ [Italian media persist in using this word erroneously as shorthand for ‘clerical sex abuse’] is a global problem, a worldwide scourge; then he said something about the Church; but in the end, he washed his hands off the issue and blamed it all on the devil”. [PF surely summarized that one right! After all, it is his modus operandi.] Rather simplistic, right? What I said in my address was clear. [Oh, he always thinks everything he says is CLEAR, and anyone who claims not to get what he means is simply stupid or one of those neo-Pelagians he despises.]

In the 1970s, a French philosopher made a distinction that has given me much light – his name is Roqueplo, and he gave me a hermeneutic light. He said: To understand a situation, one must give all possible explanations and then look for significances – what does it mean for society, what does it mean for the individual, what does it mean for religion…” [I have to look up the rest of the quote to see how this apercu helps the pope answer the question.]

Now, who is this Roqueplo who has given Bergoglio ‘much light’? [Not a major name, if one goes by the fact that Wikipedia has no entry on him in English, only in French. The CNS transcriber of the interview wrote ‘not intelligible’ in place of the name, because obviously he/she was not familiar with it. I bet no one else on that papal plane was. Poor illiterates, us!]

He is an ex-Dominican [the ‘ex-‘ already says a lot], one of the most ‘unhinged’ philosophers who ever existed. What else can one say about someone who wrote: ”It is an error to invoke respect for human life in order to prohibit abortions. In my opinion, it involves the same argument one makes about [human] in-vitro fertilization [and presumably, the use of IVF embryos for research]. It is a practice that has been defended, in some cases, as moral, on the basis of the conviction that an embryo produced through IVF is not authentically human…] [So all those millions of persons born through IVF in the past 51 years are not ‘authentically human’? That is the weirdest argument I have ever seen against IVF, which Roqueplo apparently does not object to, because he is saying, in effect, that there is nothing wrong with using human embryos for research purposes.]And it is not human, because an embryo [used for research] was never destined to become a person, because no one wished it to become a person. So this reasoning, in my opinion, also goes for an embryo in the womb which a woman, with full lucidity, decides to interrupt its development [i.e., to abort it] as soon as she learns she is pregnant. I do not see any reason why anyone should doubt that this woman, by acting so, inevitably lacks the respect that each of one should have for every authentically human life”.

[ [I cannot believe such unscientific statements from a trained scientist who, according to Wikipedia, was the research director of CNRS, France’s National Center for Scientific Research, from 1979-1983, when he left to head the energy sector of the French ministry for the environment. The entry calls him the pioneer in France (he was born in 1926) on thinking out the relationship between scientific expertise and democracy, to which he has devoted many works. In the Wikipedia entry, the only book he published in the 1970s – his first book, in fact - was entitled Le Partage du savoir : science, culture, vulgarisation (Sharing knowledge: Science, culture, vulgarization). Could that be the source for Bergoglio’s illumination?]

If you don’t believe that these words were written by an ex-Domincan who remains a Catholic, check it out yourself. Here is my source:
Philippe Roqueplo,"Posizione morale di fronte alla sperimentazione scientifica nel settore della vita" (Moral position on scientif experimentation with human life), pp 84-85 of the book L’aborto nella discussione teologica Cattolica (Abortion in Catholic theological discussion), Queriniana, 1977.

He is one of those evil teachers who have legitimized abortionism in the Catholic world. His hermeneutic ‘light’ must be considered, Luciferian, to say the least.



Earlier, Steve Skojec at 1Peter5 commented on the pope's statements on the Abu Dhab Delcaration and Islam in general during his inflight presser. Skojec has been the object of daily shotgun criticism from canon212's Frank Walker, mainly for his insistence that, whatever you may think of him, Jorge Bergoglio is the legitimate pope, though Skojec has so far reacted only via Twitter.

Pope's delusion of dialog
continues with Islam

by Steve Skojec

April 2, 2019

Asked by a journalist during the in-flight press conference going home from Morocco about the potential consequences of his visit “for the future, for world peace, for coexistence in the dialogue between cultures,” Pope Francis responded:

I will say that now there are flowers, the fruits will come later, but the flowers are promising. I am happy because in these two journeys I have been able to talk much about what is in my heart — peace, unity, fraternity. With Muslim brothers and sisters, we sealed this fraternity in the Abu Dhabi document, and here in Morocco, with this we have all seen a freedom, a welcome, all brothers with such great respect, and this beautiful flower of coexistence, a beautiful flower that is promising to bear fruit.


The “fraternity” that was “sealed” in the Abu Dhabi statement was based, in part, on the assertion — signed jointly by the pope and the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad el-Tayeb — that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”

This statement, pregnant with the implication that God actually wanted false religions to arise upon the Earth, leading men astray from the true path offered only by Christ, raised more than a few eyebrows, not least of which were perched on the forehead of Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The outspokenly orthodoxy auxiliary bishop of Astana, Khazakstan attempted to wrestle a correction out of the pope during the ad limina visit of the bishops of his country to the Holy See last month.

The pope made a concession that Bishop Schneider could say “that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God” — as though he had intended to say that all these things God positively willed, except the one he was called out on, and that one the Good Lord merely put up with, tolerant fellow that He is.

Bishop Schneider pressed the pope to make a correction in an official statement, but he deflected, and so the good bishop escalated the need for correction in his own recently published analysis of how the Church might handle a heretical pope. Of the problematic phrase in the Abu Dhabi statement, Bishop Schneider wrote, “This formulation as such needs an official Papal correction, otherwise it evidently will contradict the First Commandment of the Decalogue and the unmistakable and explicit teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ, hence contradicting Divine Revelation.”

The pope, meanwhile, requested the “widest possible dissemination” of his uncorrected statement at Catholic universities. Not a public peep about the distinction he granted Mons. Schneider, evidently as a manifestation of The Perón Rule. [Namely, "Say different things to different people, depending on what they want to hear, and that way, you will displease no one". And right on cue, Bergoglio demonstrated his adherence to the Peron rule by using the line he gave Schneider to justify the controversial statement in the Abu Dhabi Declaration in reporting to the General Audience yesterday, April 3, about his trip to Morocco:

But one might ask: but why does the Pope go to Muslims and not only to Catholics? Why are there so many religions, how come there are so many religions? With Muslims, we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham: why does God permit there to be so many religions?

God wanted to permit this: the theologians of the Scholastica made reference to the voluntas permissiva of God. He wanted to allow this situation: there are many religions; some are born of culture, but they always look to heaven, they look to God. [Among the world's major religions, Buddhists and Hindus don't!] But what God wants is fraternity between us and in a special way – here is the reason for this trip – with our brothers, sons of Abraham like us, the Muslims. We must not be afraid of difference: God allowed this. We must be afraid if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life...."

[Your Holiness, it is not about fearing 'differences' - it is fearing what the 'differences' may bring, and are already bringing, in an unprecedented way and to an unprecedented degree, through the unofficial invasion of Europe by millions of Muslim migrants in the past two decades, but worse in the past six years.

An invasion you have been proactively encouraging because you do not think it is an invasion at all, that they have a right to migrate as they please and legality be damned, and that, in fact, these migrants - even though the majority of them are 'undocumented' - should be welcomed with open arms and 'integrated' into the European community. You simply ignore the fact that Muslim migrants choose to live together in ghettoes because they refuse to integrate with their host communities, the better to keep their Muslimhood (and every practical imlication and consequence this has) intact and 'uncorrupted'.]


The renowned German Catholic philosopher, Professor Josef Seifert, reacted strongly to the initiative of the pope to distribute the statement, saying it would be the “unprecedented heresy of all heresies” to “spread this unaltered declaration” that the diverse religions are willed by God “without the slightest (and, what is more, unconvincing) declaration that it is merely about the permissive will of God.”

According to Seifert, a private remark (as given in the presence of Bishop Schneider) is not sufficient to rescind “the approval of all heresies and of all those religions which are in contradiction with Christianity as it is to be found in the Abu Dhabi declaration.”

Seifert said the statement read at face value places the pope “outside the Church and of the Christian Faith in general, as well as outside of reason.”

For, how could God will contradictions to those most important revealed truths which are simultaneously also willed by Him? This assumption would make God either a lunatic who violates the foundation of all reason — the principle of non-contradiction — and who is a monumental relativist, or a confused God who is indifferent to the matter of whether people witness to the truth or not.

But Francis wasn’t finished.

During his visit to Morocco, he is reported to have said that “trying to convert people to one’s own belief ‘always leads to an impasse,’” followed by another of his appeals not to “proselytize.”

Don’t tell that to the saints who analyzed Islam as “an impious, blasphemous, vicious cult” and “an invention of the devil”, or the many martyrs — like St. Pelagius of Cordoba — who died refusing to submit to its unwholesome demands. They had some potent thoughts of their own about what is, at best, as St. John Damascene called the religion of Mohammed, a “heresy” that constitutes a “forerunner of the Antichrist.”

In other words: Islam is a false ideology and a path to perdition, and the conversion of its adherents, if we care about their souls, is desirable. It is certainly desired by God, who created men to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.

As my friend Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute relates, when St. Francis of Assisi, not having received the memo against proselytism, attempted to convert the sultan of Egypt, he made the stakes clear: “If you do not wish to believe we will commend your soul to God because we declare that if you die while holding to your law you will be lost; God will not accept your soul. For this reason we have come to you.”

But for this pope, who disparaged Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address as destructive, has offered a false equivalency between the known epidemic of Islamic violence and some unspecified “Catholic violence,” and who encouraged Muslim refugees to look to the Quran and the “faith that your parents instilled in you” to help them, it seems that the idea of actually holding a critical thought about Islam — let alone desiring the conversion of Muslims to Catholicism — is unthinkable.

But this is not what Muslim converts want to hear from their pope.

Last year, a group of Catholics who had converted from Islam — many no doubt at great personal risk — made an impassioned plea to the pope in the form of an open letter. They claimed that many of their number had tried to contact the pope, “on many occasions and for several years, and we have never received the slightest acknowledgement of our letters or requests for meetings.”

After making clear with quotes from both Scripture and the Quran that Islam is “a proper antichrist” and “wants us to be its enemy,” they ask, “the Pope seems to propose the Quran as a way of salvation, is that not cause for worry? Should we return to Islam?”

“We beg you,” they continue, “not to seek in Islam an ally in your fight against the powers that want to dominate and enslave the world, ‬since they share the same totalitarian logic based on the rejection of the kingship of Christ (‬Lk ‬4:7).”

They lay bare the scandal of this failure of the Church to recognize what its overtures to Islam are causing:

The pro-Islam speech of Your Holiness leads us to deplore the fact that Muslims are not invited to leave Islam, and ‬that many ex-Muslims, ‬such as Magdi Allam,‭ ‬are even leaving the Church, ‬disgusted by her cowardice, ‬wounded by equivocal gestures, ‬confused by the lack of evangelization, ‬scandalized by the praise given to Islam… ‬Thus ignorant souls are misled, ‬and Christians are not preparing for a confrontation with Islam, ‬to ‬which St. ‬John Paul II has called them (‬Ecclesia in Europa,‭ ‬No.‭ ‬57‭)‬.

‭There is no indication that they ever received a response. But if they can see the truth of it, we can too, whether the pope cares to acknowledge reality or continue with his dialogue delusion.

[I have a personal sidebar I wish to relate regarding Prof. Seifert's earlier statements crticizing the Abu Dhabi 'heresy' but I'll reserve that for later...

I see one of the pope's activities in Morocco was to visit a school for the formation of imams who, according to the press release, "are trained to be moderate Muslims'. Whatever they mean by moderate Muslims, surely it does not mean that these trainee imams don't get to learn the entire Quran, including all the passages about the obligation to kill infidels and apostates and to conquer the world for Islam. Of course, since Bergoglio has no second thoughts about misquoting Jesus or editing his statements or omitting key passages of them in order to promote his agenda, it is far easier for him to simply pretend the Quran contains nothing but statements on peace and love as if Muhammed were the Haights-Ashbury idea of St Francis of Assisi as the original flower child. It's sheer intellectual dishonesty on the pope's part to close his eyes to Muhammed's deadly exhortations!

As for the Skojec-Walker war of words, it epitomizes the realistic vs the delusional view about this pope's legitimacy. I've been realistic from the beginning but more so now, as one after the other of the most authoritative Catholic experts on canon law, theology and ecclesiology, have said, as others in the past have done down the centuries, that there is no practical way at all to get rid of an unwanted pope who is - despite all the protests by the Frank Walkers and Louie Verrecchios, and yes, Bishop Gracida whose extreme position against PF I have yet to address - 'universally accepted' in the common and usual sense of the term. In their mind, 'universal' should mean 'unanimous', and 'accepted' should also mean 'approved of'(by them, to begin with).. They are the equivalent of the Clinton voters of 2016 who refuse to accept the legitimacy of Donald Trump.

One of the recent Walker headlines I saw was "Why are Skojec and Siscoe afraid of a conclave investigation by cardinals?" I was surprised it didn't read "Why are PervSkojec and PervSiscoe afraid of a PervConclave investigation by PervCardinals?"
- What conclave investigation? - By what cardinals?
- Walker's 'FrancisCardinals"? (which includes every cardinal who has failed to speak out against this pope).
- Has anyone even thought out how such an investigation could get started?

- I don't think any such investigation was even provided for in John Paul II's Universi Dominici gregis which set the rules for conclaves.

But this wild and farfetched - and worse, unrealizable - idea to 'get rid of Bergoglio well before he abdicates or dies' simply indicates the alarming degree of delusion by those who think it can be done, though they themselves cannot do anything about it nor can even propose any practical way of doing it. (Because if they could, then they would be superior to, say, St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church.) In fact, they are even more pathetic than Bergoglio who does, most unfortunately, have the potentatis plenitudo to do whatever he wants as pope, as wrongly as he may have been exercising this power and authority and will continue to exercise it for as long as he lives!

And yes, in a responsible and well-founded way, HAGAN LIO!, everyone - all those who care about the faith and the Church, HAGAN LIO everytime Bergoglio says or does something un-papal, anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. And even, as one priest recommended, pray that he may have a happy death soon, reconciled to God for all the problems he has caused the Church.]


Update on Bergoglio's 'permissive will' statement:
Pope Francis says
God merely ‘permits’ Islam

by Diane Montagna


ROME, April 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has publicly but informally clarified his controversial statement issued in Abu Dhabi, in which he appeared to state that God “wills” the existence of many religions.

This appears to contrast with the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church, which teaches, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, that the “one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.”

The informal clarification came at today’s general audience, as the Pope reflected on his recent trip to Muslim-majority Morocco. In unscripted remarks, he said to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square:

But some may wonder: but why does the Pope go visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics? Because there are so many religions, and why are there so many religions? With the Muslims we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham: why does God allow so many religions to exist? God wanted to allow this: the Scholastic theologians referred to the voluntas permissiva [permissive will] of God. He willed to permit this reality: there are many religions; some are born of culture, but they always look to heaven, they look to God. But what God does will is fraternity among us, and in a special way — hence the reason for this journey — with our brothers, who are sons of Abraham, like us, the Muslims. We must not be afraid of the difference: God has permitted this. We ought to be frightened if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life.


In February, Pope Francis came under fire for signing a joint statement with a Grand Imam in Abu Dhabi, saying that “pluralism and diversity” of religions are “willed by God”.

The Feb. 4 statement incited controversy among Christians for asserting that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions” — like the diversity of “color, sex, race and language” — are “willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings” — a claim many believe to be contrary to the Catholic faith.

Some critics argued the Pope’s statement seemed not only to “overturn the doctrine of the Gospel” but also to align with the ideas of Freemasonry.

Observers pointed out that the potential for confusion was compounded by the fact that both Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church asked in the document that it “become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation.” [Which, in case you missed it, the pope promptly carried out by asking the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialog, for a start, to disseminate the document to all Catholic universities.]

To remedy the confusion arising from the statement, four days later Bishop Athanasius Schneider issued a statement on uniqueness of faith in Jesus Christ. Three weeks after that, at a March 1 ad limina meeting of the bishops of Kazakhstan and Central Asia with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Bishop Schneider privately obtained from Pope Francis a clarification that God only permits but does not positively will a “diversity of religions.”

The Pope explicitly stated that Schneider could share the contents of their exchange on this point. “You can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God,” he told the assembled bishops, who come from predominantly Muslim regions.

Bishop Schneider in turn asked the Pope to clarify the statement in the Abu Dhabi document officially. [Fat chance he will do that! He probably cleared it first with Al-Tayyab that he was going to make an informal clarification at the GA yesterday, but not to worry, it was just for (Christian) appearances, and he is not in any way formally repudiating or amending the statement in the Declaration!]

In light of the Abu Dhabi statement and today’s informal clarification from Pope Francis, LifeSite spoke with Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission and former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ committee on doctrine, about the controversy.

In 2017, Fr. Weinandy wrote a letter to Pope Francis (which was subsequently made public) saying his pontificate is marked by “chronic confusion” and warning that teaching with a “seemingly intentional lack of clarity risks sinning against the Holy Spirit.”

In our interview with the Fr. Weinandy on the Abu Dhabi statement, he identifies what he believes is its most problematic element, and offers his perspective on both on the Pope’s private clarification to Bishop Schneider and his public remarks at this week’s general audience.

Here is our interview with Fr. Thomas Weinandy.
Fr. Weinandy, recently Pope Francis signed a document during his visit to Abu Dhabi which stated that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” What are your thoughts on such a statement?
There has been a great deal of discussion in recent years concerning the plurality of religions within the world. Such a discussion involves the merit of various founders of these religions – such as Buddha, Mohammad, and Jesus. The motivation surrounding these theological discussions and the various religious dialogues that often accompany them partly springs from a desire to foster mutual understanding and respect among the various world religions.

Vatican II encouraged such mutual understanding and regard. So I think Pope Francis was equally motivated by this noble desire. He wanted to affirm the Church’s desire that all religions should be respected. Also, in relation to Islam, Francis wanted to foster a friendship with the Islamic world so as to foster religious freedom within that world, a world that is often intolerant of other religions, particularly Christianity.

I also think he wanted to undercut some Islamic factions that foster terrorism. Because of mutual respect for each other’s religious beliefs, there is no place for persecution or terrorist acts. So I believe Pope Francis acted with good intentions. He was attempting to fulfill what the fathers of Vatican II stated in Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions). Christians and Muslims should seek “to achieve mutual understanding” so as together they may “preserve and promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values” (# 3).

Pope Francis, in this week’s Wednesday Audience, reiterated this very point. “What God wills is fraternity among us and in a special way — this is the reason for this journey (to Morocco) — with our brothers, who are sons of Abraham like us, the Muslims.”

What did Vatican II say about the truth contained within religions other than Christianity? Does the question of “truth” raise some knotty issues?
Well, again Vatican II wanted rightly to be conciliatory and respectful. So it said that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.” It speaks of other religions having “a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.”

Yet, the Council stated that the Church has the duty to proclaim that “Christ is the way, the truth and the life (Jn.14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life” (# 2). So while non-Christian religions may possess rays of truth, yet Christianity possesses the fullness of truth and life in Jesus Christ. Here some further distinctions are in order.

First, except for Judaism and Christianity, all other religions are gnostic. What do I mean by that? Buddha, Mohammad, or the religious texts of other religions merely provide “religious” knowledge as to what people are to do if they are to live “true” religious lives. That may differ from one religion to the next, but the principle is the same.

Buddha is believed to provide the knowledge to obtain a proper religious life and Mohammad is believed to offer the means by which one can foster and obtain a right relationship with Allah. What must be noted is that once Buddha or Mohammed provides the “knowledge,” their importance ceases. Having provided the needed knowledge, their followers only need to obey it. This is not the case within Judaism and Christianity.

Second, unlike gnostic religions, within Judaism God does not simply provide previously unknown “knowledge,” but he distinctly acts so that the Jewish people are now able, through the divine covenantal act, to have a unique relationship to him that others do not share. They are God’s “chosen people.”

Third, moreover, Jesus, as the Father’s incarnate Son, is the fulfillment of what was anticipated within Judaism. Through his saving death and resurrection, all who believe in him are now able to have a new relationship with his Father through the Holy Spirit, a relationship that was not possible prior to Jesus’s saving acts.

Christians do not simply receive new “knowledge,” but they are re-created through faith and baptism so as to abide in Christ and so to reap the benefits of the salvation that Jesus brings – freedom from sin and death, becoming holy children of the Father through the indwelling Spirit so as to rise gloriously when Jesus returns at the end of time.

Note, and this is absolutely important, Jesus performs saving acts by which a new relationship with God is now possible, and moreover, Jesus’s importance never ceases.
- Because Jesus does not simply give us knowledge, he is not merely a prophet whose importance ceases once the divine message is given. Rather, we only have communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit if we abide in him as our Lord and Savior.
- We must continually live in the risen Christ Jesus! This is accordance with the Father’s eternal will that all be united to Christ – things in heaven and things on earth (see Eph 1:3-14).
- Moreover, Jesus, as the universal Savior and definitive Lord, is pre-eminent in every way (see Col 1:15-20). In his name alone do we have salvation (see Acts 4:12).

Because the Son of God humbled himself in becoming man, and in his even greater humility in dying on the cross, the Father, “therefore, highly exalted him, and gave him a name “above every other name” such that at his name “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:5-11). Jesus is unique both as to who he is and as to the manner of salvation he achieves.

So, is it here that the statement that Pope Francis signed becomes problematic in your view?
Did I make it too obvious?! Yes, it is precisely in this divinely revealed gospel message that Francis’s signed document is doctrinally sticky.

While other religions, except for Judaism, may have “rays” of truth, only Christianity has the full light of truth. As Jesus himself declares: “I, I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). We must live in Christ if we are to live in the light of truth.

While other religions may have rays of truth, they also contain the darkness of error (except for Judaism, which while not possessing the fullness of truth, does not contain any error). This darkness can only be overcome in the fullness of light, the fullness of truth that is Jesus Christ. [I am baffled by Fr Weinandy's statement that Judaism 'does not contain any error'. I remember well the Prayer for the Jews in the Good Friday Liturgy which Benedict XVI amended in 2008 in order to be less caustic to the Jews: Before that amendment, changes made by Pius XII and then John XXIII to that prayer both included the phraseology, "Hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness." I guess 'blindness' and 'being in darkness' do not constitute error? Even if the principal blindness is the failure of organized Judaism since the time of Christ to recognize in him their long-awaited Messiah despite how he met and fulfilled all the prophecies and criteria found in the Old Testament about the Messiah?

Benedict's amended prayer omits the escription of blindness and darkness to say, instead, "Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men..."]


During the recent ad limina visit of the Kazakh bishops to Rome, Bishop Athanasius Schneider raised some of these same concerns with Pope Francis. He wanted to make a distinction between “God’s permissive will,” and “God’s positive will.” Would you agree with this sort of distinction?
Yes, this is a traditional theological distinction. God may permit the existence of other religions, since they arise out the natural human search for God; yet he did not positively will them as saving means of salvation. While these religions may aid those who hold their beliefs, those beliefs are not in themselves saving.

A Buddhist or Muslim may achieve salvation, but ultimately they do so because Jesus died for their sins and they will rise to glory only because Jesus is their risen Savior and Lord. The only religions that God positively willed are Judaism and Christianity for he himself founded these religions through his own positive divine actions and revelation.

Pope Francis told Bishop Schneider that the documents he signed could be interpreted in that manner. What are your thoughts on the content of Pope Francis’s “private clarification?”
I think Francis is willing for people, such as Bishop Schneider, or myself, or many others, to give the document this interpretation. He is happy to let others interpret it in that manner because, I think, he recognizes that it is a legitimate interpretation.

Actually, in this week’s General Audience, Pope Francis does appear to make this point. He said: “God willed to allow this: the Scholastic theologians referred to the voluntas permissiva [permissive will] of God. He willed to allow this reality: there are many religions; some are born of culture, but they always look to heaven, they look to God.”

Although he refers to “the permissive will,” of God with regards to other religions, Pope Francis does not contrast it with God’s “positive will.” Unlike other religions which are of human origin, God positively willed and so directly acted in the founding of Judaism and Christianity.

The problem is that, more than likely, the vast majority of the media and many other theologians and bishops will continue to interpret the original document in the manner that, as God willed Judaism and Christianity, so he also willed other religions – full stop.

There still persists some lack of clarity since Pope Francis has not directly repudiated the original statement as it appears in the Abu Dhabi document. In the end it is still quite confusing, and unnecessarily so, but that is the normal state of play these days.

What I find very sad and scandalously troubling is that, in the midst of it all, Jesus is being insulted. He is reduced to the level of Buddha or Mohammed when in fact he is the Father’s beloved Messianic Son, the one in whom the Father is well pleased. Ultimately, this insult is also an attack on the Holy Spirit and God the Father himself.
- “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (Jn. 5:23).
- Moreover, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father” (1 Jn 2:22-23). This insult, this attack on Jesus, whether intentional or not, can only please the devil and his earthly collaborators. [Who can forget that shockingly un-Christian inaugural Pope Francis video on his monthly intentions which visually and textually did bring Jesus down to the level of Buddha or Mohammed?]

So, while I believe that Pope Francis may have been well- intentioned in signing such a document that states that God willed all religions, his doing so has doctrinal consequences well beyond what he may have envisioned or desired. [But, Father, how can it be well-intentioned for a pope who was elected to be the leader of the world's Catholics, and therefore, in effect, leader of all the world's Christians, to consistently preach, as he has been doing, the equality and equiparity of all religions???]

What can we do? We can proclaim, on bended knee, with all of the Saints that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and that his singular reign alone is now and will be forever.


Now, for that personal sidebar I mentioned earlier:
On February 8, just 4 days after the infamous Abu Dhabi Joint Declaration by Pope Francis and a leading Muslim Sunni imam and scholar, Gloria TV’s English service published an essay by German theologian Prof. Josef Seifert reacting to said declaration:

Grave concerns about
Pope Francis’s Abu Dhabi document

by Professor Josef Seifert

February 8, 2019

There are grave concerns among Catholics about the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together which Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, signed on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

Nobody doubts that many truths about God and the natural moral law, and many semina Verbi (seeds of the Word [of God]) have been known by the pagans and are contained in many religions (except in the directly satanic ones), such as the “golden rule”.

Nobody believes that God cannot give the grace of eternal salvation outside the realm of the visible Church, its sacraments and conscious Christian faith. No one fails to see the many good and beautiful truths Pope Francis and the Imam confirm in the document.

However, to claim that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions" (colour, sex, race and language) are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings” goes far, far beyond all this.
- How can God will religions that deny Christ's divinity and resurrection? How is this compatible with logic? Can God want that men hold contradictorily opposed beliefs about Jesus Christ or about God or about any other thing?
- How can God from creation on have willed that men would fall into sin, [He obviously did not will this but by giving free will to the man and woman he created, he allowed the possibility their free will could make wrong choices!] worship false gods, become victims of errors and superstitions of all sorts, that they adhere to subtly atheist or pantheist religions such as Buddhism, or to religions cursed by the Old Testament and attributed to demons and demon-worship?

How can God, who wants his disciples to go out and preach to the whole world and baptize them, have willed any Christian heresy, let alone religions that deny the faith of which Jesus says to Nicodemus that he who believes in Him will be saved and he who does not, will be damned (John 3,18)?

If we read the Old and the New Testament, or look at the universal teachings of the Church on the divine command, given by Christ himself, to preach the Gospel to all nations, on the necessity of baptism and faith for salvation, etc., the opposite is clearly the case.

How can it then be true that God in His wisdom willed from creation on that many people do not believe in their only Redeemer? [Does this not get the cart before the horse? After all, it took, we are told, 62 generations to get from Adam to Jesus, during which a Messiah was prophesied on and off, but how were the Jews to recognize him? It took 62 generations for God to decide it was the 'fullness of time' for His Son to be incarnated in a Jewish mother, at a time when Jewish politics dictated the active suppression of anyone who could be a candidate Messiah. Yet the first Christian communities were necessarily largely Jewish- who did manage to spread Christianity across the Near East and in the Mediterranean basin from North Africa to Greece in the early missionary voyages of the apostles.]

I do not see any artful mental acrobatics capable of denying that this statement not only contains all heresies but also alleges a divine will that a large majority of mankind espouse all kinds of false and non-Christian religious creeds.

Besides, by attributing to God the will that there be religions contradicting His Divine Revelation, instead of attributing to him the will that all nations shall come to believe in the one true God and His Son and our Redeemer, God is turned into a relativist who does not know that there is only one truth and that its opposite cannot be true for different nations, or who does not care whether men believe in truth or falsity. This phrase claims that God wills religious errors. [But I suppose relativists never realize nor would ever acknowledge that they are relativist, because they are so sure of the position they take at any given time, that for them, it cannot be other than 'absolute'.]

By signing the statement that God wills a plurality of religions, the Pope defied both fides and ratio and rejected Christianity which is inseparable from the belief in Jesus Christ, who is the unus Dominus. (I assume that also the highest Islamic authorities will expel this Imam because Islam makes an absolute claim to truth as well). [Wrong assumption, because the Imam was obviously in this in order to milk the full propaganda bonanza of issuing a joint statement with the reigning pope, no less, which Islam can now brandish as 'proof' that its aspirations do not go beyond that of the other major religion on the planet, and so, God be praised!, there is nothing to fear from Islam or about Islam!]

In fact, if God really “wills all religions,” then he must hate the Catholic Church most of all because of its claim to be the one, Catholic, and apostolic Church and because it rejects in its dogmas and perennial magisterial teachings any relativization of the Christian religion which would turn Christianity into one of many contradictory religions.

In sum: Any Catholic should pray that the Pope convert and reject this horrible sentence in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by him and the Great Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, because it undermines all true and beautiful things this document says on brotherhood.

It is neither impossible nor shameful for a Pope to retract errors that he has committed in his non-infallible teachings. The first Pope, instituted by Jesus Christ himself, Peter, did so upon the reprimand of St. Paul during the first Apostolic Council of the Church. Pope John XXII revoked on this deathbed a heresy about separated souls that he had committed in a previous document and that was a second time condemned as heresy by his successor.

Therefore, we have all good reason to hope that Pope Francis will revoke a sentence that constitutes a total break with logic as well as with Biblical and Church teaching.

If he does not do this, I am afraid that Canon Law may apply according to which a Pope automatically loses his Petrine office when professing heresy, especially when he professes the sum-total of all heresies.


So, Seifert was pretty terse and summary with his conclusions. But I had not read the Gloria-TV article at all, and only became aware of it when following a link in a blogpost by Aldo Maria Valli transmitting the content of the Seifert article to his Italian readers. Valli chose to open his blog post with that question from the Seifert article.

“How can God will religions that deny Christ's divinity and resurrection?” It is the question that philosopher Josef Seifert poses in an article commenting on the much discussed and disputed Declaration of Abu Dhabi signed by Pope rancus and Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo,in which it is affirmed that ‘the plurality and diversity of religions”, like that of color, sex, race and language, are the product of the ‘wise will of God’.

[And it struck me just now that in the same way religion does not belong to the ‘series’ listed, neither does sex. And to include sex among the categories that exhibit ‘plurality and diversity’ is to tacitly accept the contemporary absurdity that there are as many shades of ‘sex’ – or gender, to use the preferred word – as people wish to describe themselves. But there is no plurality or diversity of sex or gender at all:

When God created human beings… he created them male and female. When they were created, he blessed them and named them humankind. (Gen 5, 1-2) I wonder why no one has brought this up before.

Valli goes on to quote liberally from Seifert’s article, but I stopped translating at that point because I was disturbed by the question posed by Seifert: “How can God will religions that deny Christ's divinity and resurrection?” Which I thought was a major slapdown of Judaism.

I was so disturbed by it that I wrote Mr Valli through his Facebook page to ask him:

What do you think of Seifert's statement that, in effect, God could not will religions that deny the divinity of Christ? Because Judaism does deny that - and yet, are we to say God did not will Judaism at all, when Jesus himself was born and raised a Jew, and followed Jewish observances faithfully, and that indeed, Judaism was the necessary matrix for Christianity?

To which he promptly replied, “I shall reach out to a theologian to get you an answer”.

The following day, I had my answer, through Mr Valli's Facebook page – from no less than Mons. Nicola Bux, whom I thank a lot for trying to answer me in English, as follows:

The polytheistic religions either ignore Christ and do not pose the problem of his divinity, or they would number him in their Pantheon as one of many gods.

Islam, notoriously, denies the divinity of Christ, because it considers him only as a prophet.

As for Judaism, it must be noted that before Christ, it had been awaiting the Messiah, whose divine and human identity was evoked in disparate images (the powerful Messiah King, the Messiah son of God, the Messiah suffering man, and even the idea of a collective messiah in ‘a people’).

The part of Judaism that welcomed Jesus Christ found fulfillment with him in the Catholic religion.

Subsequent Judaism, up to the present day, has been divided into multiple currents, even including one called ‘Jews for Jesus’.

Judaism, after Christ, is a different religion from the one before Christ. All this can serve to explain the thought of Joseph Seifert.

Sincerely in Domino Iesu,
Mons. Nicola Bux


I chose not to belabor my point – which was that Prof. Seifert’s statement was so sweeping and summary as to ignore the inescapable exceptionalism of Judaism in the history of religions and in the very genesis of Christianity, though, of course, I did not expect him to get into the detail of any of his general arguments in such a short piece.

However, Fr. Weinandy’s comments to LifeSite about Judaism reinforced my limited layman’s understanding that God made the Israelites his Chosen People because they were to prepare the way for the Messiah to be born among them. Weinandy's statements were certainly in sharp contrast to Prof. Seifert’s stark question/affirmation: “How can God will religions that deny Christ's divinity and resurrection?” According to Fr. Weinandy:

The only religions that God positively willed are Judaism and Christianity for he himself founded these religions through his own positive divine actions and revelation...

Unlike other religions which are of human origin, God positively willed and so directly acted in the founding of Judaism and Christianity…

The problem is that, more than likely, the vast majority of the media and many other theologians and bishops will continue to interpret the original document in the manner that, as God willed Judaism and Christianity, so he also willed other religions – full stop.

Thus ends my little sidebar about venturing into logical questions raised by statements made by authoritative Catholics.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:26 PM

Outgoing DC bishop, Cardinal Wuerl, left, looks on as his successor addresses his first news conference. Right and below, canon212.com's characteristic effusions on the Wilton appointment. Just try to ignore the adjectives and hyperbole.


"Oh when will they ever learn?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..."

And it sounds like NEVER! Just keep everything
within the same sordid hierarchical line...


More of the same:
Archbishop Wilton Gregory named
to head DC Archdiocese

by Steve Skojec

April 4, 2019

As had been widely-speculated, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta was appointed Thursday to succeed Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the Archbishop of Washington.

The diocese has fallen under heavy scrutiny after its two most recent bishops have become emblematic of the clerical sex abuse crisis — Theodore McCarrick for his alleged abuse of priests, seminarians, and altar boys; and his successor, Wuerl, for his failure to properly handle abuse cases during his tenure as the bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl had also denied having knowledge of of McCarrick’s illicit activities, and was embarrassed when it was later proven that he’d known of allegations about McCarrick since at least 2004.

Archbishop Gregory — no doubt soon to be cardinal — was the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004. In that role, he was responsible for the implementation of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, an effort the bishops love to tout, but which has faced heavy criticism for its failure to address one of the primary underlying problems with clerical abuse: accountability for the bishops themselves.

Catholic commentator Phil Lawler, who covered the creation of the Dallas Charter as a journalist in 2002, wrote in a 2016 column that

“In Dallas the bishops talked about how to discipline wayward priests; they said very little about how to restore trust in their own leadership.” Within weeks after that June 2002 meeting in Dallas, Bishop (now Archbishop) Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, then the president of the US bishops’ conference, placidly announced that the scandal was past history, and unquestioning Catholic journalists have been echoing that claim for years.”

We all know how that turned out.

The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who consecrated Gregory to the episcopate in 1983 and has been described as his “mentor,” is one of the most troubling figures in the history of the American epicopacy. Dark and sordid allegations continue to surround him over two decades after his death from pancreatic cancer in 1996.
- Bernardin has been accused of covering up for a number of clerical sex abusers, but also of recruiting homosexuals from Latin America to seminaries in Chicago, where he served as Archbishop from 1982 to 1996.
- Bernardin has also been alleged to have had a “sexual penchant for young men,” according to Catholic journalist Matt. C. Abbot.
- In one of the most disturbing allegations, he was identified by some as being the perpetrator of a ritual Satanic rape of an 11 year old girl in 1957, as fictionalized in the novel Windswept House, by the late Malachi Martin. The young girl, known only as “Agnes,” was reported to have come forward and passed a polygraph examination about this event in 1992.

And in much of the reportage of his appointment to DC, Gregory is being described as Bernardin’s “protege.” We’re left on our own to figure out what that might mean.

Catholic journalist and author George Neumayr has an idea. He reported last November — when rumors of Gregory being in the running for DC first surfaced — that
- in Atlanta, Gregory "maintained Bernardin’s program of gay promotion and propaganda in the Church.”
- Gregory has “defended the writings and speeches” of the notoriously pro-LGBT Jesuit, Fr. James Martin” — whom Gregory also invited to speak in his diocese last October — and
- appointed a priest caught in a homosexual love triangle to be the pastor of a parish in Conyers. (The parish, ironically, is named St. Pius X.)

And do you remember the letter then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the CDF, sent to the American bishops in 2004, saying that Catholic politicians who “reject the doctrine of the Church” should not receive the Eucharist? The one Theodore McCarrick “bowdlerized,” as Phil Lawler put it, when it was shared with the other U.S. bishops, “to suggest that the Vatican had not recommended withholding Communion from abortion advocates”?

Well the letter wasn’t only addressed to McCarrick. It was also sent to Wilton Gregory.

Everywhere you look, Gregory is there, sidled up close to the wrong kind of ecclesiastical figures, the wrong sorts of issues, his name in close proximity with those promoting or perpetrating evil in the Church, or those who refuse to understand the problems that ail us.

In other words, as long as you don’t want anything of substance to change, he appears to be a perfect fit to succeed the last two men who headed up the D.C. archdiocese.

If they want us to believe they don’t take any of this seriously, they’ve succeeded.


But here's the National Fishwrap with its earnest 'good faith' reporting on Mons. Wilson's debut in DC:

Gregory's promise:
'I will always tell you the truth'

[As his predecessors didn't?]

by Tom Roberts
Editor

April 4, 2019

WASHINGTON — In what he termed "a moment fraught with challenges," the new leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, in his first public appearance here April 4, repeatedly pledged to be honest with his flock.

"I believe that the only way I can serve the local archdiocese is by telling you the truth," said Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will become the seventh archbishop of Washington. He repeated the claim several times during a 45-minute news conference in which he also answered questions about the effects of clericalism, the need for transparency in the church, the need to address mistakes of his predecessors, and how he intends to relate to the city's political scene.

Gregory, 71, currently the archbishop of Atlanta, will be installed in Washington, D.C., on May 21.

"This is obviously a moment fraught with challenges throughout our entire Catholic Church, but nowhere more so than in this local faith community," he said in prepared remarks, making a reference to the turmoil that has roiled the archdiocese during the past year.

His immediate predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who introduced Gregory, resigned in October after a Pennsylvania grand jury report raised questions about his handling of abusive priests in the 1990s while bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl's predecessor in Washington, Theodore McCarrick, was removed from the priesthood after revelations he sexually abused a youngster and sexually harassed seminarians.

"I would be naive not to acknowledge the unique task that awaits us," Gregory said in his remarks. He spoke of his confidence in the grace of God and the goodness of the people of the church as aids in facing his new responsibilities. "I want to come to know you, to hear your stories, to listen to the emotions and experiences and expectations that have shaped your precious Catholic faith, for better or for worse. I want to offer you hope."

He characterized his new archdiocese, its ethnic and social diversity. In a compact line that spoke of both the material and spiritual richness and poverty of its people, he said: "The Archdiocese of Washington is home to the poor and the powerful, neither of which realizes they are both."

In addition to offering hope, he promised: "I will rebuild your trust. I cannot undo the past, but I sincerely believe that together, we will not merely address the moments where we have fallen short or failed outright, but we will model for all the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we will reclaim the future." The archdiocese, he said, will move forward, "neither forgetting the past nor being constrained by it."

Asked about the role of what has been described as clerical or hierarchical culture in the sex abuse crisis, he recounted a scene from early in his priesthood in Chicago. He had been appointed to study in Rome and had just purchased a trunk in a store on Wabash Avenue when he met an older priest, whom he had long admired, who warned him of three temptations he would face in Rome: "He said, 'You will face the temptation for self-aggrandizement, the temptation for pleasure, and the temptation to power. And the most damaging and seductive temptation is that for power.'

"And I think so much of what we're facing now was a misuse of power, an abuse of power, clerical power, power that was intended in too many cases to dominate and destroy lives."

Perhaps the most candid moment of the exchange with the media came when asked whether he would address the misdeeds of his predecessors.

"It's difficult to come into a situation where there is unrest. I've known Donald Wuerl for over 40 years," Gregory said. "I know he is a gentleman. He works very hard for the church. He's acknowledged that he's made mistakes. That's a sign of the integrity of the man.

"If I can shed light on what I think we need to do in response to some of the mistakes he's acknowledged and asked forgiveness for, I'll do that. Part of clericalism is circling the wagons so that the episcopacy won't call one another to task. I think this moment has shown the folly of that approach to episcopal governance and episcopal collegiality."


Asked about transparency in the church, he repeated, "I will always tell you the truth."

Illustrating his promise, he recounted a scene during the 2001-2004 period when he was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and leading the bishops to confront the growing sex abuse scandal. He said he met with Pope John Paul II and spoke candidly with him.

"I can remember on one occasion telling him what I had discovered" about the sexual abuse of young people, he said. "And he said, 'Are you sure?' And I said, 'Holy Father, I am sure, and there is more.' So I walked away from my time as president knowing this one thing: that I told them the truth as I knew it. And that's what I will do for the Archdiocese of Washington."

Asked how he intended to relate to the political power structure in Washington, he replied: "I see this appointment as an appointment to be the pastor of the Archdiocese of Washington. I was not elected to Congress," he said. "The pastor must speak of those things that are rooted in the Gospel, but I'm not going to be at any negotiating tables. That's not my place. My place is in the pews with the people."

He said, when asked what message he had for people who had left the church, "Well, we've certainly given our faithful lots of reasons to leave the church. I want to provide a few reasons to stay. I want to assure the people that I will be honest with them."

In his final response, he described himself as "an ordinary human being" who will not always handle matters perfectly.

"But I always have to tell you the truth," he said, repeating, "I have to tell you the truth. And I will."


So it seems Mons. Gregory came out well at the news conference today, said all the right things. Words are cheap, of course. Would he really investigate what Donald Wuerl knew about McCarrick and when, how he dealt with Benedict XVI's sanctions on McCarrick, stuff like that, and will he release archdiocesan documents relevant to Mons. Vigano's accusations? Naaah, I don't think he will do anything that will embarrass the pope, because candor and truth-telling will get him nowhere fast. Still, he is among the bishops - all the Catholic bishops and priests in the world, including the pope, whom we pray for at the Te igitur in every Mass. So God bless, and miserere nobis.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, April 5, 2019 4:01 AM

OBJECTIVE CORRELATIVE:It was irresistible - to put together a recent cartoon of Bergoglio the Demolition Man, with the actual newsphoto from today of a bulldozer razing a parish building serving the poor in Shaanxi province.
What has Bergoglio to show so far for his secret deal with Beijing? Nothing but more persecution of underground Catholics to force them into the 'official church' Bergoglio has now recognized de facto if not de jure (maybe it is
de jure in the secret deal).




Shaanxi government razes
Qianyang parish to ground

by Fr Bernardo Cervellera
Editor


Rome, April 4, 2019 (AsiaNews) - This morning, the Qianyang (Shaanxi) government razed the only parish in the city to the ground. A bulldozer reduced the two-story building to rubble under the supervision of a group of policemen. In the video sent to AsiaNews we hear the sobs of some women, while several faithful look astonished at the destruction.

The Qianyang parish was located in a very poor area of ​​Shaanxi and serves around 2,000 Catholics, all peasants. It was built with offerings from other communities in the diocese.

On the upper floor the building housed the liturgy room; on the ground floor there were offices and the nuns residence. The sisters offered medical aid, medical visits and medicines to the indigent population.

The reasons for the destruction are still not known clearly.

The Diocese of Fengxiang, led until 2017 by Msgr. Luke Li Jingfeng has a special character in the Chinese church scene: it is the only diocese where neither the faithful nor the bishop are members of the Patriotic Association, although the government's Officfor Religious Affairs has a presence there. From 2017, the bishop has been 54 years old Msgr. Peter Li Huiyuan.

Some observers think that violence against the parish is a way to force the diocese to apply the new religious regulations and to have bishops and priests enrolled in the Patriotic Association.

Others point out that the communist cell that presides over the Qianyang government is made up of radical Maoists, for whom "religion is a fantasy that must be eradicated".

The church of Qianyang is famous in the area: in the past, according to the faithful, some miracles have been attributed to the holy water in the parish. Since then, many have flocked to receive holy water that is used as a physical and spiritual remedy for humans and animals.

For some believers, the destruction is due to the Maoists "fear of holy water".
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, April 6, 2019 12:42 AM


If I were a Vaticanista in this Bergoglio era, I would have long ago asked to be reassigned or quit my job. Because, for a living, who wants to have to go through the reigning
pope's endless blather - starting with his daily homilette at Casa Santa Marta - and try to write it up into a story that people might genuinely want to read? Every Vaticanista
today ought to demand beyond-and-above-call-of-duty combat pay if the story of the day is all about a new papal document which in this pontificate tends to beat every record
for length and verbosity.

I never read anything by Bergoglio in full after Evangelii Gaudium - which I needed to read to get a concrete idea of how far the then-new pope would go in
institutionalizing the 'spirit of Vatican II' that he embodied so well. It soon became very clear that he was going to overwhelm and replace that ‘spirit’ which had already
led too many priests and bishops in the Church down the wrong paths, and institutionalize in its place ‘the fiat of Jorge Bergoglio’, who has constituted himself into the one-man
alpha-and-omega of Church authority that Fr.Rosica would several years later immortalize in his infamous definition –

incidentally, a statement the Bergoglio Vatican has never questioned nor repudiated – and what does that tell you?

Of Amoris Laetitia, I only read the parts in which its controversial statements were embedded, especially Chapter 8, after having left others more diligent and qualified to
discover and expose them. I didn’t think I needed to go through all the stuff that constituted the bulk of the cake in which the pope and his ghostwriters had embedded the
arsenic in Chapter 8, because I did not need to be catechized by them through their tiresomely platitudinous recycling of what the Church has always taught about marriage.

So I decided not to even look at the most recent papal exhortation on the so-called ’youth synod’ before others had unpacked it for me, and now that they have, I don’t even
have the desire to do so. Apparently,it is worse even than Amoris Laetitia because it puts down doctrine in general, not just a specific doctrine as Jesus’s teaching
on adultery (and what that means about divorce and remarriage and reception of the Eucharist)…. First, here’s Aldo Maria Valli’s initial take on it:


‘Christus vivit’ and
its smarmy antipathy towards doctrine

Translated from

April 4, 2015

One aspect emerges from the post-synodal exhortation Christus vivit, dedicated to ‘young people and all the People of God': an antipathy to doctrinal and social content on the part of those who drew up the document. [Reflecting, how could it not, the reigning pope’s own attitude. After all, he signed the document and only his name appears as its author.]

Just consider this passage:

As for growth, I would make one important point. In some places, it happens that young people are helped to have a powerful experience of God, an encounter with Jesus that touched their hearts. But the only follow-up to this is a series of “formation” meetings featuring talks about doctrinal and moral issues, the evils of today’s world, the Church, her social doctrine, chastity, marriage, birth control and so on.

As a result, many young people get bored, they lose the fire of their encounter with Christ and the joy of following him; many give up and others become downcast or negative. Rather than being too concerned with communicating a great deal of doctrine, let us first try to awaken and consolidate the great experiences that sustain the Christian life. [212]

This passage is significant because it shows that the document was written not so much with an eye to the needs and questions of young people today, but on the basis of [clearly un-evangelical] idiosyncrasies held by some ex-young people, now aged, that “doctrinal and moral questions” do not matter because they only provoke boredom.

Whoever has had to work with young people knows that in our time, the problem is no to provide them with ‘intense experiences’ and occasions of strong emotional encounters. They can find those anywhere because the world offers them in profusion. What young people ask for, perhaps in a confused way but not less evident because of that, is the exact opposite.

Because they live in a ‘liquid’ society, full of experience possibilities that have no moral reference points nor even rational meaning, they thirst for doctrine, for structured thought, for content, for rules – and when they find someone who is able to slake their thirst, they are far from bored but are very grateful because new horizons have been opened for them which no one had even spoken of to them. And they also discover the value of authority.

A Catholic educator wrote me: “In many decades working with highschool students first then with university students and young workers later, I really experienced the opposite of what Christus vivit claims. I have experienced young people asking help to decide on questions that are not even raised in school or university. What kind of young people have been listening to the bishops and to the pope for them to come to such a conclusion?” [Oh, Jorge Bergoglio must have thrown in his input here. From the not inconsiderable but still quite limited obligatory reading I’ve done since he became pope, he’s a great one for inventing far-fetched hypothetical situations which he presents as his pastoral experience, in which the very way he narrates them betrays they are fictional. But he makes them up anyway all the time to push any point he wants to make.]

My friend Andrea Mondineli has compared that passage from Christus vivit to the magisterium exporessed by St. Pius X in Acerbo nimis, in which he affirms the essentiality of doctrine because “the intellect, if it lacks true light in recognizing what is divine, would be like a blind man holding to another blind man until both of them fall into a ditch”.

And that is so. Only an ideological vision of reality could sustain that the problem today is to “dampen the urge to transmit a great quantity of doctrinal content”.

Such expressions are used by the 1968ers when they indulge in notionism and oppose every type of authority. But today, they sound anachronistic.

Suspicion of, if not hostility to, doctrine and moral norms emerges in other points of the exhortation. As when it warns of the risk of suffocating young people "with an ensemble of rules that give them a reductive and moralistic image of Christianity”. (No. 233] Suffocating them? When it is precisely the lack of moral directives – as educators know quite well – that leads a person to interior disequlibrium and unhappiness?

Dismissive of doctrine and morality, Christus vivit at a certain point expresses the need for a ‘synodal’ and ‘popular’ ministry to young people. These are adjectives very much in vogue in this pontificate, but do not say much. Indeed, they say nothing.

How different from the tone and content of John Paul II’s Fides et ratio, where he explains that in order to promote the dignity of the human being as well as the announcement of the Gospel, it is urgent “to lead people to discover both their capacity to know the truth and their yearning for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life.”[No. 102]

to know the true, the good and the beautiful, to give meaning to life. This is the great thirst young people have. And to deal with their demand, one needs philosophical thought that is oriented in an authentically Christian sense. We need to establish a new alliance between human reason and divine will, as Benedict XVI never ceased to urge.

One doubts that a ‘synodal ministry’ – whatever this vague clerico-bureaucratic term means – could help to bring young people closer to God.


In search of young people
by Robert Royal

April 4, 2019

Some years ago, my pastor talked me into teaching “Catholic Morals” to high-school sophomores. I can’t say that I look back to those three years with, uh, pleasure. Or satisfaction. Some of my students are still Catholic; others lapsed. The whole experience left me with profound appreciation for anyone who knows how to work with and really reach young people with the Good News in a dying culture like our post-truth West.

I’m, therefore, somewhat indulgent towards anyone who even tries to evangelize young people, especially since the dreaded Millennials have made their appearance. It’s easy to criticize failures; hard to know what to do – or sometimes even where to start. If you think you have an answer, try it out somewhere – see what happens. I’ve written here about a few outfits who may yet save us. The harvest could be great, but there aren’t nearly enough laborers (or good ideas) in the vineyard.

I also wrote almost daily about the Synod on Youth last October, with a mixture of hope about the goals and doubts about the approach. And I read Pope Francis’s Post Synodal Exhortation for that synod, Christus vivit! (“Christ Lives!”), which was released Tuesday, with similar expectations.

There are some quite moving pages in this lengthy document, encouraging young people to aspire to great things, to become themselves actors in their own stories, to speak to the Church, even when they have doubts, and be open to answers they may receive from older relatives and trusted authority figures in the Church. And above all to be open to the reality of Jesus Christ.

The Exhortation argues that the young should help teach those in the Church wedded to dead older models of outreach, how to talk to young people today. Instead of lectures on faith and morals, the young themselves should encourage the building up of communities through various groups and activities: attending to the poor and marginalized, working for social justice, developing new music ministries, liturgical celebrations, and social activities. [Of course, that's the now stultifyingly familiar 'activist' church dear to spirit-of-Vatican-II progressivists and to Jorge Bergoglio. And what, pray, are those older models of outreach that did manage to speak to generations of young people through the centuries? What was wrong with absorbing the faith from their elders, being catechized properly (in our time, just ask any Catholic who was given the Baltimore Catechism, say, to literally indoctrinate Catholicism into us during our formative years in school), and being exposed to bishops, priests and laymen who demonstrated Christian living directly?]

There’s also encouragement about seeing work – all work – as a vocation in addition to the more traditional forms of religious vocations. This is all to the good – especially, I believe, encouraging young people who are enthusiastic about the Faith to reach out to other young people. And to marry and form families – a need that, as I suggested to several bishops during the Synod, was being neglected.

In my view, though, there’s still not enough emphasis on not only falling in love and marrying for life, but also having children. There’s much vaguer talk about deep love generating life. But especially in the developed world, where populations are collapsing, saying explicitly that for most people their vocation will be a job, marriage, and having children would have made this document far more pointed.

One of the ironies about the exhortation is that it pretty much describes what Catholic schools and youth ministries have been doing for decades – at least in the United States – as if it’s something novel. And as potentially effective, when it’s been, in large part, ineffective. The Church here continues to hemorrhage young people. [Typical of anything that is theorized by committee from preconceived notions that have no input from reality!]
- Indeed, is there any country in the modern world where the doctrinal has been excessively and rigidly emphasized over the pastoral?
- Where the adults drive people away with stale repetition of morals and doctrines, and don’t put greater effort into socializing and “welcoming” than in teaching and forming?

The pope often suggests this. But my guess is: probably only rarely since Vatican II.

In fact, to judge by the evidence we have of what programs seem to attract the most students and actually lead to their living authentic Christian lives, it’s the ones that combine pastoral outreach with a substantial dose of Catholic truth.

Bishop Robert Barron has been pointing out for years that the single factor most young people cite for turning away from the Faith is that they think science has made belief unbelievable.

It may very well be, as Pope Francis claims, that starting out with arguments to the contrary may put many people off. That’s only to say that we first meet people where they are. But I see the popularity among young people of figures like Jordan Peterson – and Bishop Barron himself. And it leads me to believe that many are looking for something meatier than the millionth repetition of (otherwise true) assertions that God loves us.

Christ is mentioned a lot in the Exhortation – Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J., who probably had a hand in the drafting, has written a glowing article pointing out that not only does Christ “live” in the title, but “’Life,’ ‘living,’ ‘alive’ are terms repeated throughout the text some 280 times, just as many times as the word ‘young,’ which is the key to the exhortation.”

Quite true, but maybe that near obsession – a half dozen times per page by my count – also reflects a certain limitation. Because it’s also true that you can read through this lengthy text and never see the words “heaven” (except in one quotation), “death,” “afterlife,” “eternity” (except as God willing us from all eternity, not as a future state), etc.

This surprised me so much that I actually did word searches, thinking maybe I’d overlooked something in a quick first reading. But no. The whole question of what happens when we die is absent – as well as whether “outreach” to young people is merely a way to give them a richer human experience – a sociological and psychological goal – or whether it matters eternally in some transcendent sense.

And that means that other than a ramped-up sense of forgiveness and Christ’s accompaniment of all his children, there’s a lot here that the best of the secular world could already offer young people. And does, along with indulgences for fornication, homosexuality, and abortion.

You can argue over the many and various ways the Exhortation tries to remove obstacles to reaching the large swaths of young people now distant and profoundly uninterested in religion, especially Catholicism. But the reluctance to touch on some of the most consequential matters of the Faith may be one of the very things that has failed to attract young people desperately searching for deeper answers.

Well, first let us be thankful this exhortation did not, as speculated, turn out to be a papal justification of homosexual and other deviant lifestyles. But it is certainly true to Bergoglian form in its dismissiveness of doctrine in the life of the Christian.

Jorge Bergoglio basically reduces the catechism to “God loves you, he loves you as you are, you do not have to change anything, you do not even have to be Catholic or Christian, he will always forgive you - provided you remember that your purpose in life is to help others, especially the poor and the migrants, and to save the earth by recycling, doing without air conditioning, driving small vehicles and avoiding air travel”.

One of the first lessons in the Baltimore Catechism is “Why did God make man?” And I learned, at kindergarten in the nuns’ school I attended, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, April 6, 2019 6:23 AM


So SODOMA author Frederic Martel got it wrong - half-wrong,anyway. He predicted a major address on homosexuality by the pope at a meeting in the Vatican to which many leading LGBTQY activists had been invited. The meeting did take place, only not with the pope but with his Secretary of State, and of course, there was no papal address...

Cardinal Parolin receives LGBT activists
working to decriminalize homosexual acts

[In other words, those who oppose anti-sodomy laws
that exist today in at least 71 countries]

by Diane Montagna


ROME, April 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin today met with a group of 51 LGBT activists, politicians, and judges working to decriminalize homosexual acts, the Holy See has confirmed.

In a statement released this afternoon, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, responding to repeated inquiries from journalists about the alleged meeting, said:

Today in the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin received a group of approximately 50 persons working in various ways against the criminalization of homosexuality.

During the meeting, research on the criminalization of homosexual relationships in the Caribbean was presented to the Vatican Secretary of State.

Cardinal Parolin extended a brief greeting to those present, repeating the Catholic Church’s position in defence of the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence.

After having listened to the presentations of some of the participants at the meeting, Cardinal Parolin then assured that he would inform the Holy Father of the contents of the research.


News of today’s meeting first emerged in late March, when French sociologist and author Dr. Frédéric Martel, who is an open homosexual, reported on the event, referencing a letter of invitation addressed to an LGBT activist.

As LifeSite reported on Mar. 29, the letter, dated March 4 and signed by Professor Raúl Zaffaroni and Dr. Leonardo Raznovich – was sent on behalf of a coordinating committee for a research project regarding “criminalization of sexual relations between persons of same sex in the Caribbean.”

Organizers invited addressees (in this case, a pro-LGBT activist at the U.N.) to join a “private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis to be held on 5 April 2019 at the Vatican City at 12.00 noon.”

The letter stated that during the audience, “the Chair of the Coordinating Committee, Professor Raúl Zaffaroni, Justice of the Inter American Court of Human Rights, will present to His Holiness the Pope the preliminary results of the research.”

It added that “Professor Zaffaroni’s words will be followed by a historical speech by His Holiness relevant to the subject matter.”

With speculation of the Pope’s impending speech swirling on social media, on April 4 Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti “categorically” denied that the Holy Father would “deliver a ‘historical speech’ on the topic of homosexuality,” but he did not deny that the meeting would occur.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church — based on natural law, scripture and tradition — teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” (n. 2357), and that homosexuality is “objectively disordered” (n. 2358).

The Catechism also states that “persons who experience these tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” However, it makes clear that “under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved” (n. 2357, n. 2358).

At a press conference following today’s meeting at the Vatican, one of the participants — Baroness Helena Ann Kennedy, a British barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords — told reporters that the LGBT group was respectfully welcomed. [Hey, if they were invited to the Vatican, how could they not be welcomed, and respectfully? That's just elementary good manners.]

“We have begun a dialogue, and Cardinal Parolin said that this dialogue will continue,” she said.

According to Italian media reports, the study on the criminalization of homosexual relationships in the Caribbean presented to Cardinal Parolin at today’s meeting highlights “the link between laws that still criminalize homosexuality in ten Caribbean counties and discriminatory attitudes that spread throughout society to the point of violence.”

Organizers argue that the Catholic Church bears some responsibility in the matter and are petitioning the Holy See to issue a statement opposing the criminalization of homosexual acts.

Leonardo Raznovich told journalists at today’s press gathering that when the research began, the Supreme Court in Belize declared the criminalization of homosexuality unconstitutional but the Catholic Church challenged the decision. Raznovich claimed that Pope Francis “intervened” — leading the local Church to withdraw their appeal.

“Thanks to the intervention of Pope Francis,” he said Belize is no longer numbered among the countries that criminalize homosexual acts.

Raznovich, who is an open homosexual, said the group then decided to petition the Holy See for a meeting, in order to determine the Vatican’s “position” on the matter.

While one LGBT site blamed the Pope’s absence on pressure following Martel’s announcement of the Pope’s “historic speech,” participants at today’s press conference sought to downplay the controversy.

“We had hoped to see the Pope himself, but in the end, he wasn’t available,” Kennedy said. “We can only imagine that he had state issues that required his presence.”

“Until a few days ago we thought we’d see him, then we learned he wasn’t available. We were sad that we couldn't see him, but maybe we’ll see him next time,” she added.

According to reports, at today’s press conference Raznovich publicly thanked Pope Francis, who he said “to some extent is responsible for this meeting. After intervening on the Church in Belize he wanted to know more about this research, and that is why we are here today.”

The Associated Press reported that the group had issued a statement urging the Catholic Church to declare its opposition to “conversion” therapies, which are aimed at bringing healing to persons who suffer with same-sex tendencies.

Deutsche Bank, which operates in 60 countries worldwide, also issued a statement on their participation in the private meeting at the with Cardinal Parolin, which they said was aimed at discussing “LGBTIQ discrimination.”

According to the statement, Management Board Member Karl von Rohr represented Deutsche Bank “as part of a delegation from Open for Business, a coalition of global companies that presents and promotes the business and economic case for LGBTQI rights"

After the press conference, Karl von Rohr, President and Member of the Management Board said: “We have a responsibility to both business and society to work with influential platforms that advocate a more inclusive and just world. Deutsche Bank is committed to advancing LGBTIQ rights around the world. We are grateful for the Vatican hosting us to discuss this topic and look forward to continue partnering with other companies, civil society organizations and governments to advance this important human rights issue.

The German bank praised Cardinal Pietro Parolin for signaling his willingness “to collectively move forward with the conversation.”

“This represents an important new level of dialogue with the Vatican across a broad base of stakeholders, which consisted of parliamentarians, judges, human right advocates and business leaders,” the bank said.

Along with Deutsche Bank, Open for Business members Accenture, Brunswick Group, EY, IBM, Microsoft, Linklaters and Virgin Atlantic all took part in the private audience with Cardinal Parolin.

The statement also highlighted that the initiative is supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and “includes a global call for companies to implement the UN standards of Conduct to tackle LGBTIQ discrimination in the workplace by 2020.”

In comments to LifeSite, a senior Vatican official said that today’s meeting threatens to “paralyze the Church in her moral proclamation.”

“Criminality is conduct from the perspective of civil justice,” the senior official explained. “In the Church, it is about God’s Commandments whose violation is a mortal sin. The public, however, will not make that precise distinction. This is exactly the intended effect."


Observers also wonder what repercussions the Vatican’s dialogue with LGBT activist, politicians and judges will have on the more than 30 African nations where homosexual activity between adults is still outlawed, and which live under growing threat of ideological colonization from the LGBT lobby in the West.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, April 6, 2019 1:10 PM
The consequences of believing in Jesus Christ
by Raymond Kowalski

April 5, 2019

On March 28, 2019, the Catholic News Agency reported on a lecture given the previous day by Archbishop Charles Chaput to seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

During his address, Archbishop Chaput said, “Do we really believe in Jesus Christ or not? That’s the central question in our lives. Everything turns on the answer. Because if our Christian faith really grounds and organizes our lives, then we have no reason to fear, and we have every reason to hope.”

What a stunning question to ask seminarians at the Josephinum, which, according to the news report, is a college-level and major seminary directly accountable to the Holy See and overseen by the apostolic nuncio to the United States.

An affirmative answer comes so easily for most of us. Of course we believe in Jesus Christ. We say so every Sunday during the Creed. But Archbishop Chaput adds the important qualifier: do we really believe in Jesus Christ? He asks us to go beyond mere words recited by rote. There are consequences to believing in Jesus Christ.

Two days prior to the archbishop’s lecture, the Church observed the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast could just as validly be called the Feast of the Incarnation. As we ponder what it means to really believe in Jesus Christ, this is a good place to begin. It is the first mystery of the Holy Rosary for a reason.
- Do we really believe that God became man?
- Do we really believe that Jesus Christ is that man?
- When we kneel during the Creed at the words, “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man,” do we know and believe why we mark these words?
- When we kneel during the Last Gospel at the words Et Verbum caro factum est, do we assent to the reality of this event?

As Archbishop Chaput put it, everything turns on our answer. The Incarnation is the bedrock of Catholicism. Everything else is built on this doctrine.
- If we do not believe that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, Catholicism is a waste of time.
- If we do believe it, we are led to the awesome reality of salvation, which is to say, to our ultimate return to the Father, by means of the Church that Christ founded and the precepts that He established.
- If we really believe in Jesus Christ, true God and true man, then we must believe in the one church that He established; we must offer the perpetual sacrifice that He instituted; and we must live our lives according to all that He taught.

These days, some important voices are suggesting that mere “acknowledgment” of the “Creator” is sufficient for salvation. (See, for example, the “Document on Human Fraternity,” signed by the pope in Abu Dhabi in February 2019, which went so far as to proclaim that it is the Creator “who on the last day will judge mankind.”) It is natural, therefore, that the faithful today would have doubts about the person of Jesus Christ, or why a Redeemer is even necessary. (Perhaps this is why Archbishop Chaput challenged this group of seminarians to look deep into their hearts.)

To doubt is human. The most famous doubter in history was Christ’s own apostle, Thomas. We all know the story about Thomas’s doubting the reports of the Resurrection. But the colloquy between Jesus and Thomas after the Last Supper and before the Crucifixion, as recounted in John, Chapter 14, is more instructive for these times.

Jesus begins, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.”

Jesus explains that He is going ahead of the apostles to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. He assures the apostles, “I will come again, and will take you to myself; that where I am, you also may be.”

Thomas protests that they do not know the way to where Jesus is going. Jesus answers,

“I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me... If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also; and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him.”

Lest there still be doubt about His divinity and incarnation, Jesus says, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.”

We are here confronted with the direct, personal testimony of Christ Himself regarding His identity and the eternal joy that will belong to those who believe in Him. It was meant to reassure the apostles in the near term and the faithful down through the ages against the turmoil and persecution that awaited those who believe. “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.”

Do we take Him at His word or not? This is Archbishop Chaput’s challenge to the seminarians and to all of us. Do we really believe in Jesus Christ and embrace the consequences of our answer?

Within hours of His speaking these words, Christ’s apostles were confronted with the challenge of belief. Their teacher, commander of the waves and wind, healer of the sick, master of demons, had been brutally and publicly tortured and killed — an example to all who might consider themselves a follower of this radical.

After learning of Christ’s Resurrection, the eleven disciples went to the appointed mountain in Galilee. “And seeing him they adored: but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17).

After reaffirming that “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth,” Christ sent them out into the world:

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:18–20.)


They had been sifted, put to the test. Now confirmed in their belief in Christ, they went out with zeal to carry out their commission, knowing full well that, as a consequence, they would drink from the same chalice.

In our time, martyrdom is a less likely consequence of belief in Christ, although it is making a comeback in many parts of the world. For now, our news media report on priests being stabbed at Mass in Montreal and statues of the Virgin Mary being beheaded in the Los Angeles area. For now.

In our time, the most likely consequence of belief in Jesus Christ, and observance of all things whatsoever He has commanded, is conflict: conflict between parents and children; conflict between friends; conflict between parishioners; and, perhaps most tragically, conflict between believers and their clergy.

This is the lesson to take away. If you really believe in Jesus Christ, be prepared for conflict.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, April 7, 2019 11:37 AM

A few days ago, I made the following remark about our reigning pope:

I never read anything by Bergoglio in full after Evangelii Gaudium - which I needed to read to get a concrete idea of how far the then-new pope would go in
institutionalizing the 'spirit of Vatican II' that he embodied so well. It soon became very clear that he was going to overwhelm and replace that ‘spirit’ which had already led too many priests and bishops in the Church down the wrong paths, and institutionalize in its place ‘the fiat of Jorge Bergoglio’, who has constituted himself into the one-man alpha-and-omega of Church authority that Fr.Rosica would several years later immortalize in his infamous definition –

incidentally, a statement the Bergoglio Vatican has never questioned nor repudiated – and what does that tell you?

The following day, there was this article in CRISIS magazine, which is an analysis of whether Vatican-II is still relevant in the age of Bergoglio. The writer says yes, it is to Bergoglio. My bias is far more extreme than his: that Bergoglio has simply made any previous teaching and practice of the Church irrelevant to him, because he alone decides what ought to be taught and done, and how it is to be taught and done. As if 2012-plus years of Church history have in effect been wiped out since Bergoglio became pope, and everything with him must be de novo.

Is Vatican II irrelevant now?
by DAVID G. BONAGURA JR.

April 5, 2019

Is Vatican II irrelevant now in the seventh year of Francis’s pontificate? In one respect, yes; in another, no. Neither explanation is what one might expect at first glance.

Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI devoted the heart of their respective pontificates to trying to implement — or salvage, depending on one’s perspective — the teachings of the Council. All three were present for its duration and major players in its workings as pope, cardinal-archbishop, and theological adviser, respectively. All three deeply believed in the Council’s purpose, message, and general teachings, and sought to make them vibrant within their own Magisteria.

Even Joseph Ratzinger, who, when writing within the guild as an academic theologian, openly criticized certain aspects of various conciliar documents, most notably the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), sought to preserve the integrity of the Council when he became pope.

In his first Christmas address to the Roman Curia in 2005, forty years after the Council’s conclusion, Benedict XVI made his most famous attempt at rescuing the Council from what he called the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” a method of interpretation that disregarded what the Council actually said in favor of an agenda inimical to the Council and to the Church’s teachings, hidden under the nebulous banner of the “Spirit of Vatican II.”

Benedict, though well aware of the dramatic upheavals the Council generated, expressed his steadfast commitment to its correct implementation: “Today we can look with gratitude at the Second Vatican Council: if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.”

It is well known that in the ensuing decades after the Council, the “Spirit of Vatican II” ruptured the Church’s theological, liturgical, and pastoral life.
- Everything that belonged to the Church’s centuries-long Tradition was suddenly forbidden by those who controlled the parishes, chanceries, seminaries, and universities.
- Instead, new fads, prompted not by the faith but by the left-leaning wanderings of the rapidly secularizing West, were introduced into every facet of Church life.


A tiny number of bishops, priests, and lay people labored to stop these alarming practices by appealing to the actual texts of the Council: nowhere did a single document even mention turning the altar to face the people, or that all religions were equal, or that theologians formed their own authoritative Magisterium, or that Catholic universities need not be controlled by the Church, or that clerical celibacy and women’s ordination ought to be reconsidered.

As long as there was at least nominal support from the pope for realigning post-conciliar practices with what the Council actually said — and there was from all three popes, even if weakly in the case of the floundering Paul VI — then it seemed that the Council could be rescued from its inauthentic interpreters.

Flash-forward to the present — fifty-four years after the Council’s close and fourteen years after Benedict’s speech — and the nature of the conversation has shifted.
- Pope Francis is the first pope ordained a priest after the Council’s close.
- From the start of his pontificate through to the present, Francis has been championed by liberal Catholics for his “prophetic interpretation of the Council,” which is to say, for using his office to advance the Spirit of Vatican II.

And this he has done: from opening a commission to study the possibility of females in the diaconate to his rigged synods and his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which have softened the Church’s teachings on marriage and family life, Francis has turned the Spirit of Vatican II into the substance of his papacy.

His recent [not just recent - they go all the way back, though not formally as in its outrageous formulation in the Abu Dhabi document] affirmations and speeches that make Catholicism appear as just another religion raised legitimate concerns until Bishop Schneider, during an ad limina visit to the Vatican by the Kazakhstani episcopacy, was able to secure from Francis a clarification that God permits religious pluralism rather than wills it. Thus if it were not for vigilant and faithful bishops like Schneider, Francis would be content to give the spirit of the Council free rein. [Whoa! Bonagura is making too much out of that small 'concession' - which sounded more like a polite "All right already, just shut the hell up!" Even if the pope did make use of it last week to 'justify' the Abu Dhabi formulation.]

Since Francis is receptive to its distorted spirit, he has invoked the Council without engaging its texts in the manner his predecessors did. [But that is exactly what 'the spirit of Vatican II' was and is - its exponents do not care about the letter of the law at all, only about its 'spirit' as they interpret it, and none but some of their scholars, who have to do it as a professional duty, have ever bothered to really look at what those documents actually say. You think Jorge Bergoglio did or does???]

Take, for example, his vigorous declaration that the liturgical reforms that followed the Council are “irreversible” and any “reform of the reform” — a reconfiguring of aspects of the Mass that were wrongfully or harmfully changed — is wrongheaded. Off the table for Francis is any discussion of the vast distortions between what the Council said about the Mass versus the new Mass that a subsequent committee engineered.

We saw this illustrated when Cardinal Sarah’s advocacy of ad orientem worship was sharply rebuked by the Vatican in the summer of 2016. Three months later, Sarah’s wings were clipped as Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship when the dicastery’s episcopal members were replaced by Francis supporters.

Rather than return to the Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for analysis, Francis urged the faithful to reform their mentality and accept the new Mass as it is. And if these papal assertions were not enough, Francis publicly invoked his “magisterial authority” to strengthen his speech, a move that not only had prior popes never attempted, but one that, as canonist Ed Peters pointed out, showcases a bumbling of the papal playbook. [Not just a bumbling, but a complete rewrite of the papal playbook, as he has done incessantly since his infamous first words as pope - 'Buona sera', like some TV host.]

We could cite other examples such as when Francis encouraged a group of Italian theologians to adhere to the Council without encouraging a corresponding exploration of its texts, and when, speaking at a canon law conference, he stated that “the Second Vatican Council marked the passage from an ecclesiology modeled on canon law to a canon law conforming to ecclesiology,” a statement that, again according to Ed Peters, gives the wrong impression on both subjects.

For Francis, Vatican II is still relevant in regards to its nebulous spirit, for it provides cover for more distortions of Catholic faith and practice, as well as a model for how to make these distortions happen in the present. A case in point is how Francis dispatched his closest collaborators to advance a reading of Amoris Laetitia that is a serious — and dangerous — rupture of Catholic teaching on marriage and the Eucharist.

However, Vatican II has become irrelevant in another sense: there is not much motivation to appeal to its documents anymore.
Conservative prelates and laity trying to counter Francis’s disruptive innovations have been appealing for support not to Vatican II but to Scripture and the broader Tradition because Francis and his supporters have steered the universal Church beyond the texts of the Council. Defending and redeeming these texts is no longer as important as it seemed only a decade ago because the issues at stake today were not contemplated by the Council fathers.
[This is the best point made by Bonagura - a pre-eminently excellent one.]

For example, no bishop at the Council imagined that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics could receive the Eucharist while living in an adulterous relationship.

Does this mean that the actual teachings of Vatican II will fade into oblivion? This is unlikely to happen in the short term since the Council’s documents and approach have been incorporated into the extensive and widely consulted Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was created to rein in the wayward Spirit of Vatican II.

As a collective body, the texts of Vatican II will continue to have less and less import. Ironically, it is the Spirit of the Council untethered from reality that is both winning the moment and inspiring a genuine reform by driving its opponents to the real source of renewal — Scripture and Tradition. [Though, of course, recourse to either Scripture or Tradition is of no avail where it concerns this pope, who habitually misquotes and edits Scripture to suit his purposes, and who is clearly contemptuous, tout court, of 'Tradition'. Remember Rosica:]

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, April 8, 2019 1:53 PM

Martha Alegria Reichmann,"SACRED BETRAYALS -The horrific account of betrayals against a widow involving a bishop, a cardinal and even a pope"- The true story".

Widow of onetime dean of Vatican diplomatic corps
accuses Cardinal Maradiaga of betrayal and coverup

by Edward Pentin

April 6, 2019

The widow of a former dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps has written an exposé accusing one of Pope Francis’s closest associates of betraying her family and covering up for grave clerical misconduct.

Martha Alegria Reichmann, whose late husband, Alejandro Valladares, was the Honduran ambassador to the Holy See for 22 years, explains in the book, Sacred Betrayals, how they were once close friends of Cardinal Óscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the longtime archbishop of Tegucigalpa.

Her book, so far only in Spanish, chronicles how the cardinal, who is coordinator of the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father on Church reform, advised her to make a bad financial investment that caused her to lose her life savings.

She also provides details of the cardinal’s support for Bishop Juan Josè Pineda, who has been accused of sexual abuse of seminarians, living in active homosexual relationships and financial impropriety. Pope Francis accepted Bishop Pineda’s resignation last July, but no details of any disciplinary measures have been revealed.

The Register spoke to Alegria March 26.

Mrs. Alegria, what are your reasons for writing this book?
First of all, because, following the fraud, I suffered; and in the consequent betrayal by Cardinal Maradiaga of my family,I discovered a dark side in him, and I could not live in peace and serenity for the rest of my life without having made this public denunciation; because my Christian, ethical and moral principles did not allow me to keep quiet about such terrible things — that would have made me responsible for a cover-up; because to declare what I know and what they have done to me is not only a right that I have, but a duty; because I am a victim of the corrupt system that reigns in the current papacy.

I do not limit myself to telling my painful experience. I go much further because there are things that many people don’t know for lack of information; also, because the wicked triumph when the righteous are silent; and because God himself is being mocked.

Why did you choose the title 'Sacred Betrayal'?
Because I have been betrayed by people who carry a sacred investiture: former Bishop Juan Josè Pineda, Cardinal Oscar Andrès Rodrìguez Maradiaga and Pope Francis — three people I trusted blindly. In my book, everything is very well explained and demonstrated. There’s no doubt that’s how it was.

Cardinal Maradiaga is the coordinator of the “council of cardinals”; and despite being beyond retirement age, he is still archbishop of Tegucigalpa. Considering the allegations against him — all of which he denies — why do you think he remains in these positions?
In my book, I explain how the Vatican maneuvered so that Maradiaga would not be officially implicated as Pineda’s concealer; that way he could be kept in the “council of cardinals.” That was a grotesque action and a mockery of honesty because they gave him impunity.

The Pope has acted against cover-ups on very few occasions, only when the external pressure is very strong, as happened in Chile. In contrast, in Honduras, the cardinal has the media in his favor, and they do not report any of the denunciations against him. As for the few media that denounce, the cardinal calls them slanderers, and the fanatics and naive believe him in spite of so much evidence, although, little by little, they are becoming convinced of the truth.

I am just a widow to whom neither Maradiaga nor Francis have given importance because they do not practice the Gospel as it should be. It seems that the teachings of Christ have gone out of fashion and the devil reigns. The reasons for this terrible situation are revealed in my book, and it’s something frightening.

Why do you think Cardinal Maradiaga has been so protective of Bishop Pineda?
The causes of this extreme protection and concealment that has lasted almost 20 years are incomprehensible and unjustified from every point of view. Therefore, each person interprets it in his own way, and they make conjectures and accusations that harm the cardinal tremendously and, consequently, the Church.

There can be nothing good in that extreme protection. This is one of the reasons why Maradiaga has lost respect and credibility in a good part of the Honduran population.

Why do you think Pope Francis has dealt differently with Cardinal Maradiaga compared to other cardinals implicated in scandal?
Cardinal [Francisco Javier] Erràzuriz had only one accusation against him, for which he was removed from the Council of cardinals, but he is Chilean. Maradiaga has several serious, very serious accusations, but in Honduras there has not been the pressure that there was in Chile, and those pressures have been limited to eliminating Pineda.

The Pope keeps him by his side because perhaps he needs his bad advice, because he has punished those who have given him good advice, such as Father Thomas Weinandy, one of the most prestigious theologians in the world who was removed from his post in the United States Episcopal Conference [USCCB].

What do you believe are the underlying causes of the financial and spiritual corruption you refer to in the book?
Maradiaga is very powerful because he has the absolute support of someone much more powerful, who is Pope Francis. This is the reason why it is very easy for him to manage a dictatorship in the diocese as he pleases; he solves many problems by just saying: “These are slanders” or “They are attacking me so as to attack the Pope.”

Maradiaga has a dark side that he has been able to hide very well all his life and that he has a double morality that nobody could imagine, except his victims. Whoever reads my book will be surprised and convinced of this because what I tell there, I demonstrate, and Maradiaga will no longer be able to continue saying his hackneyed phrases: “They are calumnies”; “They attack me so as to attack the Pope.”

What are your hopes for the future? What needs to be done to ensure that the Honduran Church will recover from the corruption that you write about?
The hope, not only mine, but of many Catholics and many priests in Honduras, is that Maradiaga will be replaced by a pastor who has a fear of God, who makes a general cleaning for a fresh start, taking into account moral principles, honesty and transparency, both in finances and spiritually — a shepherd who is humble of heart, energetic, transparent, kind and just.

Whoever replaces Maradiaga will have a very difficult task because everything that is crooked will have to be straightened out. I am sure that these are the hopes also of many of the teachers and students of the Catholic University [of Honduras], especially the students of the faculty of medicine, who are going through terrible difficulties and have told Maradiaga that if it weren’t for the large amounts of money that he has drained from the university, they wouldn’t be going through so many calamities.

At the Catholic University, there is a lot to clean up, too. When? Maybe not till we have another pope, or maybe if Pope Francis put into practice all those beautiful phrases that he knows how to say and that are blown away like clouds that disappear into nothingness. As for my personal situation, I hope and trust only in God. I have abandoned myself to him with the absolute certainty that he will answer me. God is merciful. God is just. God works miracles. ... “God alone is enough.”

This may be hard to answer, but some might ask themselves whether you've written the book and perhaps exaggerated some of its content in order to make it a best-seller and thereby regain some of the money you lost. What would you say to such an accusation?
Do not worry; maybe it is difficult to ask the question, but, for me, it is very easy to answer it. What is more, the harder they are, the more I like them, because I always act based on the truth.

In my book I explain that I started writing it in 2016 just to have a psychological relief from everything I was living through; but as I discovered more and more things, all terrible and surprising, I added them in. I had a time of doubt, whether to publish it or not, and put it in the hands of God. Finally, I made the decision to do so because of the attitude of total injustice and cowardice that Cardinal Maradiaga showed, which angered me very much. This is told and demonstrated with evidence, and my lawyer has the audio of what he said. It was a terrible slander against one of his victims, and that was not me.

Everything that is written is not exaggerated. I just narrated the facts exactly as they are, and those that needed to be proved are proved. I can assure this with great force and a lot of certainty, and whoever thinks otherwise, I challenge him to prove it to me, but with proofs, just as I have done. Last week I read an article, in the Confidential newspaper, by a person who read the book and says that I fell short with the title I gave it.

There I do not say anything for the sake of saying it. I do not leave anything in the air. If I say that the cardinal was never our friend, I show it. If I say that my husband was the one who had the idea and carried it out, to get him to become a cardinal, I prove it. If I say that in Rome they are demanding the removal of Maradiaga while in Honduras there is a cover-up for him, I show it.

In the book there are very strong accusations and terrible revelations, but after everything, I give the evidence. So nothing is either invented or exaggerated. What is more, there are cases that are terrible and I did not include them because I do not have the evidence.

In Honduras a book came out shortly before mine, more or less the same size and number of pages with a cost of 600 [Honduran lempira, about $25] a copy. My book has a cost of L. 350 [about $14]. Almost half. Copies are selling well enough, but whether it becomes a success or not does not depend on me. That depends only on God. I did it with my conscience; I did it with the truth in my hand; I did it for dignity, for conviction and for love of God. I started with a sentence by Edmund Burke that says: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” Yes, I would like it to have a wide sale and that no one takes advantage of it. That I do make clear.

The fact that I did not accept a large amount of money in the past, that Maradiaga offered me, was because I believe that the money of the Church is for the poor. It was an act of sincerity and honesty that I am sure God will take into account, but I honestly do not think that applies to the book. God has his ways and knows how to act in his own time.

I somehow think that Mrs. Alegria's accusations will fall on the same deaf ears that have studiously ignored the DUBIA on AL and Mons Vigano's accusations, On the principle, I suppose, that giving an answer amounts to accepting the accusers' premise that something wrong, or at least questionable, was done, so why even bother to answer a 'non-existent' premise? Mrs. Alegria says she shows proof for every charge that she makes in the book, but will it be good enough for the pope to do what needs to be done if Maradiaga, so far one of most securely positioned among the Bergoglian untouchables, is shown to be culpable of at least Mrs. Alegria's main charges?


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, April 8, 2019 4:10 PM




Part of the secret deal that the Bergoglio Vatican signed with Beijing must provide that "The Holy See must not comment at all on any events affecting Catholics in
China
, especially if it has to do with mandatory enrollment in the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which, as stated in the preamble, is the sine qua non
to this agreement."
Otherwise, how explain the total silence of the Vatican about all the outrageous things that have been happening to underground Catholics and their bishops and priests since the deal was signed in September?


Bitter Easter in China:
In its game with Rome, Beijing romps away unopposed

[Actually, the game was over in September 2018: The Chinese won it by forfeit
because the Vatican abjectly agreed to any terms just to get an agreement]


April 8, 2019

One of the ways Communist China is applying its agreement with the Holy See is shown by the photo of a bulldozer under police escort demolishing a parish headquarters in Qianyang, which housed both its spaces for liturgy and for social work (a free clinic for the poor run by nuns).

The fault of the pastor and of the 2,000 faithful of this “clandestine” parish is the same as that of the diocese of which it is part, that of Fengxiang, in Shaanxi - the only diocese in all of China in which none of the baptized, from the bishop to the last of the faithful, has yet agreed to enroll in the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the main instrument with which the regime subjects the Church to itself in the name of its “independence” from Rome. Benedict XVI had defined this as “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine, in the 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics, which his successor declares to be still valid [but which he has apparently, if not obviously, abrogated, judging by what we know so far of the agreement the Vatican signed with China. Starting with the simple fact that Bergoglio has recognized seven CPCA bishops who were illegitimately ordained and asked legitimate Vatican-appointed clandestine bishops to step aside in their favor. Does the Bergoglio Vatican really think it is hoodwinking anyone here?]

But it’s not only the material destruction of this as of many other buildings of the Catholic Church. What is more serious is the systematic suffocation of that big portion of the Church which does not have official recognition from the Chinese government, but also does not want to submit to the blackmail of being admitted to 'legality' only if it agrees to enroll in the Patriotic Association. [In no historical instance through two centuries have Catholics ever had to be declared 'legal' by the State in order to freely practice their faith.]

The case of the diocese of Mindong, in Fujan, is perhaps the most instructive, if one wants to understand how the Beijing authorities are putting into practice the secret agreement signed last September 22 with the Holy See.

Yet it was precisely the diocese of Mindong that a year ago had been indicated as the “stress test” for the good success of the agreement between the Holy See and China, in an article by Gianni Valente, the expert on Vatican affairs most read and cited by Pope Francis. [The husband in the Vaticanista power couple - the wife is Stefania Falasca of Avvenire - who became intimate friends of Bergoglio in Rome years before he became pope.]

But to judge by what is happening there today, this diocese is instead the “test” not of the agreement’s success, but of its failure.

Easter is drawing near, but the bishop who currently plays the role of auxiliary in the diocese of Mindong, Vincent Guo Xijin, is at serious risk of being blocked from celebrating both the Chrism Mass, on the morning of Holy Thursday, and the liturgies of the subsequent Triduum, as he was blocked from doing so last year. And in 2017, when just before Holy Week he was arrested by the police, to reappear twenty days later.

The punishment is over his refusal to celebrate the rites of Easter together with the excommunicated government-appointed bishop Vincent Zhan Silu, installed by the communist regime in his same diocese.

But then on September 22 2018 came the agreement between the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops, and Rome not only revoked Zhan’s excommunication, but it convinced Guo to give up the leadership of the diocese to him, accepting for himself the role of a simple auxiliary, in spite of the fact that in Mindong there is a big disproportion between the “clandestine” Church which Guo leads - 80,000 faithful strong, 57 priests, 200 nuns, 300 consecrated laity, hundreds of catechists, versus the “official” Church of the formerly excommunicated Zhan, with a few thousand faithful and a dozen priests.

In order to set up the diocese of Mindong to the benefit of the 'official church', the Vatican twice sent one of its most experienced diplomats in the China negotiations, Cardinal Claudio Maria Celli in December 2017 [nine months before the agreement was signed, showing premeditation] and then again in December 2018.

The first time Guo resisted, but the second time he said yes. To obtain his obedience, Celli told him that it was Pope Francis himself who was asking him for this “sacrifice for the unity of the Chinese Church.”

The fact is, however, that in the face of the stepback by Rome, the Beijing authorities did not move a millimeter. The revocation of Zhan’s excommunication was not at all reciprocated with an official recognition of Guo on the part of the Chinese government. He continues not to be recognized as a bishop and to live, as a result, in illegality, at the mercy of the regime, which at any moment can arrest him, confine him, block him from celebrating Mass.

AsiaNews, the authoritative news agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions that also publishes in Chinese, has revealed that in the past few months the Chinese authorities have repeatedly set as a condition for Guo’s recognition his enrollment in the Patriotic Association, but he has always refused.

And the same thing has happened with dozens of “clandestine” priests of his diocese. None of them so far has agreed to sign a document in which it is demanded that they switch to the service of the new bishop Zhan, obey the laws of the state, enroll in the official organizations, and support the principle of the Church’s “independence.”

In addition to being vice-president of the Patriotic Association and of the pseudo episcopal conference that assembles only the bishops recognized by the government, Zhan is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which held its last plenary session in Beijing in early March.

Responding in those days to a journalist of Xintao Daily who asked him what he thought about the obligation laid on Catholics to enroll in the Patriotic Association [So it has been made an obligation by the Chinese, and as such, it must be explicitly mentioned in the Vatican's secret agreement with China - no wonder the Vatican chooses to keep it secret] in order to do away with the 'clandestine' Church once and for all, Zhan said that this is the only way to make it so that “the Church is united.”

And this is the process of 'reconciliation' Pope Francis has chosen to force 'unity' between the official and underground churches in China. From Wenzhou, from Henan, from Hubei and from numerous other places there is news of continual pressure in this direction on “clandestine” bishops and priests, in some cases with offers of money.

How futile the timid reserve expressed in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano on February 3 by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples [which has administrative jurisdiction over all churches in missionlands, which includes China]:

“I hope I never have to hear or read again about local situations in which the agreement is exploited for the sake of forcing persons to do that which the Chinese law itself does not require, like enrolling in the Patriotic Association.”

[Which sounds outright hypocritical because surely Filoni knows - or ought to know - the contents of the secret agreement. Even more interesting is his remark that Chinese law itself does not require membership in the CPCA - which, of course, does not stop a totalitarian regime from imposing any measure it wants, law or not.]

The case of Mindong is not at all an isolated case. And not even the most serious. At the end of March, in the diocese of Xuanhua, in the province of Hebei, the police arrested and took to an undisclosed location its bishop, Augustine Cui Tai. It was the umpteenth in a series of arrests that for years have punished this “unofficial” bishop, this time betrayed by one of his priests, named Zhang Li, who reported him to the authorities and accused him of not obeying the new norms of the Vatican, which according to him require all the “clandestine” to join the “official” Church and to submit to its conditions.

But at the Vatican there is no sign at all of reaction to this terrible news on the post-agreement. [What an understatement! The Vatican has, in fact, maintained total silence in the face of all the news reported serially since September of reprisals against non-cooperating clandestine bishops, priests and communities.]

In mid-March, just before the official visit to Italy of Chinese president Xi Jinping, the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civiltà Cattolica and the lead adviser and ghostwriter of Pope Francis, published to great fanfare [and little reaction from anyone!] a book entitled The Church in China. A future yet to be written,” with an enthusiastic preface by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

The Vatican authorities also made it known in various ways, during those days, that the doors of the Apostolic Palace were open, wide open, to a visit from the Chinese president to the pope.

But the visit didn’t happen. It appears Xi Jinping did not even consider it for a moment. [How unrealistic of the Bergoglio Vatican to have expected anything in this regard! There are no formal diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican. Xi was not going to breach diplomatic protocol to make headlines for Bergoglio, whom he must consider a complete vassal, if not a pathetic toady, for having agreed to what is apparently a very one-sided agreement in favor of Beijing. An agreement Beijing, one must note, did not seek or need - all the initiative for this was from the Vatican hoping to thereby wangle an invitation for the pope to visit Beijing, with the pretext of wanting a unified church in China. Sure, Beijing too wants a 'unified church', but one that is totally under its control. Meanwhile, China is only too willing to present a facade of friendliness to the Vatican in the interests of its own international image, but it remains a facade. Who knows what, if any, development will make it do something more concrete to show its friendliness - such as inviting Bergoglio to Beijing!]

Another slap for the Church of Rome, this one also taken in silence. [Well, how could the Vatican express disappointment, much less outrage, that the Chinese President would not follow their propaganda script for Bergoglio? There was not the slightest reason for them to expect that Xi would 'cooperate' in any way, and it was imprudent of them, if not demeaning, to have openly positioned themselves eagerly awaiting a Yes from Xi, like a panting dog, jaws wide open and drooling in expectation!]
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, April 9, 2019 7:32 AM

The French title of Cardinal Sarah's third book-length interview with journalist Nicholas Diat comes from Luke's account of the risen Christ's encounter with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, on the night of the first Easter Sunday, when the two men ask their unrecognized traveling companion to “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” The title for the English edition uses the last clause which it translates as 'The day is now far spent".

‘As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West’:
An interview with Cardinal Sarah

The Vatican cardinal discusses his hard-hitting new book
in an exclusive interview with La Nef

Translated by Zachary Thomas for

April 5, 2019

Cardinal Robert Sarah is publishing the third of his book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat: The Day is Far Spent. An unflinching diagnosis, but one full of hope in the midst of the spiritual and moral crisis of the West.

In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?
The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this.

Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.

Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds.

Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself.

The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It has preferred the kind of riches that it owes only to itself.

Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood. But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.

You write that “Christ never promised his faithful that they would be in the majority” (pg. 34), and you go on: “Despite the missionaries’ greatest efforts, the Church has never dominated the world. The Church’s mission is a mission of love, and love does not dominate” (pg. 35). Earlier, you wrote that “it is the ‘small remnant’ that has saved the faith.” If you will pardon a bold question: What is the problem exactly, seeing that this “small remnant” does in fact exist currently and manages to survive even in a world hostile to the faith?
Christians must be missionaries. They cannot keep the treasure of the Faith for themselves. Mission and evangelization remain an urgent spiritual task. And as St. Paul says, every Christian should be able to say “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).

Further, “God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). How can we do nothing when so many souls do not know the only truth that sets us free: Jesus Christ? The prevailing relativism considers religious pluralism to be a good in itself. No! The plenitude of revealed truth that the Catholic Church has received must be transmitted, proclaimed, and preached.

The goal of evangelization is not world domination, but the service of God. Don’t forget that Christ’s victory over the world is…the Cross! It is not our intention to take over the power of the world. Evangelization is done through the Cross.

The martyrs are the first missionaries. Before the eyes of men, their life is a failure. The goal of evangelization is not to “keep count” like social media networks that want to “make a buzz.” Our goal is not to be popular in the media. We want that each and every soul be saved by Christ. Evangelization is not a question of success. It is a profoundly interior and supernatural reality.

I’d like to go back to one of your points in the previous question. Do you mean to say that European Christendom, where Christianity was able to establish itself throughout the whole of society, was only a sort of interlude in history; that it should not be taken as a model in the sense that in Europe Christianity “dominated” and imposed itself through a kind of social coercion?
A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation.

But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls?

There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere.
- A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state.
- A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice.
- A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

Over the course of European history, we have moved from a society in which the group outweighed the person (the holism of the Middle Ages) – a type of society that still exists in Africa and continues to characterize Islam – to a society in which the person is emancipated from the group (individualism). We might also say, broadly speaking, that we have passed from a society dominated by the quest for truth to a society dominated by the quest for freedom. The Church herself has developed her doctrine in the face of this evolution, proclaiming the right to religious liberty at Vatican II. How do you see the position of the Church toward this evolution? Is there a balance to be struck between the two poles of “truth” and “freedom,” whereas so far we have merely gone from one excess to the other?
It is not correct to speak of a “balance” between two poles: truth and freedom. In fact, this manner of speaking presupposes that these realities are external to and in opposition to one another. Freedom is essentially a tending toward what is good and true. The truth is meant to be known and freely embraced. A freedom that is not itself oriented and guided by truth is nonsensical. Error has no rights.

Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good.

Revelation is the breaking in of divine truth into our lives. It does not constrain us. In giving and revealing Himself, God respects the freedom that He Himself created. I believe that the opposition between truth and freedom is the fruit of a false conception of human dignity.

Modern man hypostatizes his freedom, making it an absolute to the point of believing that it is threatened when he accepts the truth. However, to accept the truth is the most beautiful act of freedom that man can perform.

I believe that your question reveals how deeply the crisis of the Western conscience is really in the end a crisis of faith. Western man is afraid of losing his freedom by accepting the gift of true faith. He prefers to close himself up inside a freedom that is devoid of content. The act of faith is an encounter between freedom and truth. That is why in the first chapter of my book I have insisted on the crisis of faith. Our freedom comes to fulfillment when it says “yes” to revealed truth. If freedom says “no” to God, it denies itself. It asphyxiates.

You dwell at length on the crisis of the priesthood and argue for priestly celibacy. What do you see as the primary cause in the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and what do you think of the summit that just took place in Rome on this question?
I think that the crisis of the priesthood is one of the main factors in the crisis of the Church. We have taken away priests’ identity. We have made priests believe that they need to be efficient men. But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself.

The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. The roots of this crisis are spiritual. A priest who does not pray or makes a theatre out of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, a priest who only confesses rarely and who does not live concretely like another Christ, is cut off from the source of his own being. The result is death. I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned.

We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I want to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hate! I want to express my affection as a father and brother for the priests of the whole world.

In a book that has caused quite a stir [In the Closet of the Vatican, by Frédéric Martel], the author explains that there are many homosexual prelates in the Vatican. He lends credibility to Mgr Viganò’s denunciation of the influence of a powerful gay network in the heart of the Curia. What do you think of this? Is there a homosexual problem in the heart of the Church and if so, why is it a taboo?
Today the Church is living with Christ through the outrages of the Passion. The sins of her members come back to her like strikes on the face. Some have tried to instrumentalize these sins in order to put pressure on the bishops. Some want them to adopt the judgments and language of the world. Some bishops have caved in to the pressure. We see them calling for the abandonment of priestly celibacy or making unsound statements about homosexual acts. Should we be surprised? The Apostles themselves turned tail in the Garden of Olives. They abandoned Christ in His most difficult hour.

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to doctrinal truth! They disorient the Christian faithful by their confusing and ambiguous language. They adulterate and falsify the Word of God, willing to twist and bend it to gain the world’s approval. They are the Judas Iscariots of our time.

Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity [to priestly vows]. Let us not perpetrate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us.

When the fault is public, the penalties provided for by Church law must be applied. Punishment is merciful, an act of charity and fraternal love. Punishment restores the damage done to the common good and permits the guilty party to redeem himself. Punishment is part of the paternal role of bishops.

Finally, we must have the courage to clearly apply the norms regarding the acceptance of seminarians. Men whose psychology is deeply and permanently anchored in homosexuality, or who practice duplicity and lying, cannot be accepted as candidates for the priesthood.

One chapter is dedicated to the “crisis of the Church.” When precisely do you place the beginning of this crisis and what does it consist in? In particular, how do you relate the “crisis of faith” to the crisis of “moral theology.” Does one precede the other?
The crisis of the Church is above all a crisis of the faith. Some want the Church to be a human and horizontal society; they want it to speak the language of the media. They want to make it popular. They urge it not to speak about God, but to throw itself body and soul into social problems: migration, ecology, dialogue, the culture of encounter, the struggle against poverty, for justice and peace.

These are of course important and vital questions before which the Church cannot shut her eyes. But a Church such as this is of interest to no one [other than those who want such a church, an who have their priorities all wrong, like the reigning pope].
- The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus.
- She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us.
- When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her.
- We are tempted to think that our action and our ideas will save the Church. It would be better to begin by letting her save herself.


I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests.
- Priests must be possessed by the desire for holiness, for perfection in God and fidelity to the doctrine of Him who has chosen and sent them.
- Their whole being and all their activities must be put to the service of sanctity.
- The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself.
It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her.

Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about. [An idea that was often expressed by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.]
- We need saints who dare to see all things through the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God.
- The crisis of moral theology is the consequence of a voluntary blindness. We have refused to look at life through the light of the Faith.

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

The second and third parts of your book are about the crisis in western societies. The subject is so vast, and you touch on so many important points–from the expansion of the “culture of death” to the problems of consumerism tied to global liberalism, passing through questions of identity, transmission, Islamism, etc.–that it is impossible to address them all. Among these problems, which seem to you to be the most important and what are the principal causes for the decline of the West?
First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature.
- The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches.
- The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples.
- At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents.
- We have become accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore!

I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism?
- Muslims despise the atheistic West.
- They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.
- Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity.

To the countries of the Third World, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

You end this beautiful book with a section entitled “Rediscovering Hope: The Practice of the Christian Virtues.” What do you mean by this? In what way can practicing these virtues be a remedy for the multifarious crisis we have spoken about in this interview?
We should not imagine a special program that could provide a remedy for the current multi-faceted crisis.
- We have simply to live our Faith, completely and radically.
- The Christian virtues represent the Faith blossoming in all the human faculties. They mark the way for a happy life in harmony with God. We must create places where they can flourish.
- I call upon Christians to open oases of freedom in the midst the desert created by rampant profiteering.
- We must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible.
- Our communities must put God in the center.
- Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced.

In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way.
- The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others.
- Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).
- In the disaster, confusion, and darkness of our world, we find “the light that shines in the darkness” (cf. Jn 1:5): He who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, April 9, 2019 12:41 PM










On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 92.



ALWAYS AND EVER OUR MOST BELOVED BENEDICTUS XVI






The borrowed testimony
that convicted George Pell

by Keith Windschuttle
Editor-in-Chief

April 7, 2019

Quadrant is an Australian literary and cultural journal founded in 1956 and is considered conservative. It reviews literature, publishes articles on politics, history and the arts, as well as short stories and poetry. George Pell iss among the prominent names among its contributing writers.


Billy” was a 10-year-old student at St. Jerome School in 1998, and an altar boy just like his older brother before him. A sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks, Billy was outgoing and well-liked. One morning, after serving Mass, Rev. Charles Engelhardt caught Billy in the church sacristy sipping leftover wine. Rather than get mad, however, the priest poured Billy more wine. According to the grand jury, he also showed him some pornographic magazines, asking the boy how the pictures made him feel and whether he preferred the images of naked men or women. He told Billy it was time to become a man and that they would soon begin their “sessions.” A week later, Billy learned what Engelhardt meant. After Mass, the priest allegedly fondled the boy, sucked his penis and ordered Billy to kneel and fellate him – calling him “son” while instructing him to move his head faster or slower – until Engelhardt ejaculated. The priest later suggested another “session,” but Billy refused and Engelhardt let him be. — Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files”, Rolling Stone, 15 September 2011


What is the difference between this account of child sex abuse in a Catholic church in Philadelphia and the evidence given by the sole accuser in the Victorian court case that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing a thirteen-year-old choir boy at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1996? Not much.

The American case allegedly occurred in 1998 and the perpetrator was a Catholic priest, not an archbishop. There were two boys in the Melbourne sacristy after Mass, not one, as in Philadelphia. However, the rest of the accusation that condemned Pell bears uncanny similarities to that given by “Billy Doe” and reproduced by a journalist in the American magazine, Rolling Stone. The Reverend Charles Engelhardt, also prosecuted, was convicted and sent to prison, where he died.

No transcript of the evidence given by Pell’s anonymous accuser has been released and the evidence itself was given in camera, but part of the address to the jury by the Victorian Crown Prosecutor is reproduced by ABC journalist Louise Milligan in her book, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell (2017, revised edn. 2019). It contains the details of the sexual abuse the alleged victim – who Milligan calls “The Kid” in the excerpt from her book below – described to the court.

In December 1996, as the choir from a Sunday Solemn Mass presided over by Archbishop Pell was leaving the cathedral, two choir boys left the procession and headed for the sacristy “in search of some hijinks”. They found some communion wine there and started swigging it. Milligan continues:

But not much time passed before they were sprung in the act. The Kid would tell the police that it was the Archbishop, who asked them what they were doing and indicated that they were in trouble. He said Pell then approached them. He took out his penis … “He pulled [The Choirboy, i.e. the other boy] aside and had him crouch in front of him. Cardinal Pell was standing,” Crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson would later explain … “So according to [The Kid] Cardinal Pell had his hand on the back of [The Choirboy’s] head and his other hand at his own genital area. [The Kid] saw [The Choirboy’s] head being lowered towards the genital area of Cardinal Pell. This all occurred over no more than a minute or two. Cardinal Pell then moved on to [The Kid] … Cardinal Pell was standing and he pushed [The Kid’s] head down to a position where [The Kid] was crouching or kneeling. [The Kid] was then pushed onto Cardinal Pell’s erect penis so that Cardinal Pell was in [The Kid’s] mouth. This act of fellatio or oral sex lasted for a short period which [The Kid] estimates to be a couple of minutes. You will hear that Cardinal Pell then stopped and told [The Kid] to remove his pants. [The Kid] stood upright. [The Kid] pulled down or dropped his pants and his underwear in accordance with the instruction. … Cardinal Pell then started touching [The Kid’s] genitalia … While touching [The Kid’s] genitalia, it’s alleged that the Cardinal was touching his own genitalia.” After a couple of minutes, the Archbishop stood up. The boys went back to their robing room.


The Philadelphia case was written up in Rolling Stone in September 2011, well before Victoria’s police began what they called their “trawling operation” against George Pell, hoping to find someone to testify against him.

As Detective Inspector Paul Sheridan of Victoria Police told Pell’s committal hearing, they began their activity in 2013 to see whether he had committed serious crimes that had gone unreported, but the complainant only came forward in June 2015. In other words, the Rolling Stone story had been in circulation for two years before an Australian version was provided to the police.

So, what is the probability that the evidence given in Australia was not an authentic account of what happened in Melbourne but, rather, a copy of a story that had already been aired in print and online? Here are the similarities between the American and the Australian allegations:
- Both cases of sexual abuse occurred in the sacristy after Sunday Mass.
- In both cases, the victims had been drinking wine they found in the sacristy.
- Both boys assisted in the celebration of the Mass.
- The priest fondled both boys’ genitals.
- Both boys were made to kneel before the priest.
- Both boys were made to perform fellatio on the priest.
- Both the alleged victims were the only witnesses who testified for the prosecution in court; it was their word against that of the priests.

The only difference between the American and Australian evidence was the account of a second alleged meeting, which the boys said took place “a few months later” in Philadelphia and “a month or so later” in Melbourne. In the American version, it was a different priest involved this time, who led the same boy to the sacristy, told him to undress and then fellated him. In the Australian version, Pell allegedly found the boy in the back corridor of the cathedral, forced him up against a wall and fondled his genitals.

Nonetheless, the two accounts are so close to being identical that the likelihood of the Australian version being original is most implausible. There are far too many similarities in the stories for them to be explained by coincidence. The conclusion is unavoidable:

“The Kid” was repeating a story he had found in a magazine – or repeating a story someone else had found for him in the media – thereby deriving his account of what Pell did from evidence given in a trial in the United States four years earlier. In short, the testimony that convicted George Pell was a sham.

This does not mean the accuser was deliberately making it up. He might have come to persuade himself the events actually happened, or some therapist might have helped him “recover” his memory. But no matter how sincere the accuser’s beliefs were, that does not make them true, especially when there is so much other evidence against them.

There is little doubt that if members of the jury in Pell’s case had been informed of the surprising similarities between the two versions, some of them must have had serious questions about their witness’s veracity. The result would have been either a second hung jury or a not guilty verdict.

So why has none of this been made public in Australia before? Although I am a reasonably thorough browser of the Australian media, I had not heard the details of the American story until a Quadrant reader, Richard Mullins, alerted me to the Rolling Stone article. However, that article was not buried away in some forgotten archive. Rolling Stone is an American magazine devoted to popular culture, targeted at teenagers and young adults. It published an Australian edition from 1970 until its closure in January 2018.

In the United States the allegations made by “Billy Doe” made national headlines in 2011. Under his real name of Daniel Gallagher,he was identified as an accuser whose testimony sent two Catholic priests and a school teacher to prison, as well as Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy.

The jailing of this senior Catholic administrator for protecting clerical offenders under his charge was seen by American newspapers as proof that corruption extended to the heights of the Catholic hierarchy. The police and district-attorney’s office who investigated and prosecuted the case emerged as heroes in the American mainstream news media.

However, in 2016, Newsweek devoted a 5000-word feature article by Ralph Cipriano to the scandal. This was partly designed to expose the activist journalism of Rolling Stone author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, in the wake of her equally notorious story about a University of Virginia student who claimed in 2014 she was gang-raped by seven men at a college party. That ‘toxic masculinity’ story dominated press and television headlines for weeks, until the purported victim’s hoax was exposed. Rolling Stone was subsequently hit with defamation suits by several of the accused young men.

Cipriano of Newsweek was also keen to reveal the local politics behind the subsequent legal clashes over the proceedings of the church sexual abuse cases between the state of Pennsylvania’s higher judiciary and Philadelphia’s District Attorney.

The trials of the clergy had remained front-page news in the state for three years because multiple appeals in the cases had overturned the original convictions, resulting in retrials, reversals of convictions, and ongoing disputes between courts and government.

Newsweek also said it had reliable information that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had paid Gallagher compensation of $5 million. By this time, Gallagher’s status as a reliable witness was dubious. The magazine found a wide range of inconsistencies between the evidence he gave to police and his eventual testimony in court. He was a drug dealer and petty thief well-known to police and had been arrested six times on charges of this kind.

Catholic defence lawyers argued the District Attorney had given Gallagher “red-carpet treatment” because he was one of the few alleged victims of sex abuse whose allegations fell within the local statute of limitations, which meant charges against the church could be filed.

In other words, it is very unlikely that the story of “Billy Doe” was unknown to those in Australia involved in the prosecution of George Pell. The police in Victoria who were pursuing Pell, and whose minds were no doubt finely tuned to anything that would support his prosecution, must have been aware of the success their counterparts in Philadelphia had enjoyed from both the support of District-Attorney Seth Williams, later sentenced to five years in prison on unrelated bribery charges, and their extensive media coverage. The American example told the Victorians they were on a winning track.

What about the Australian media? They gave a lot of coverage to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but made little mention of the fact that the findings and interpretation of events in Australia were following a well-worn track of investigations overseas, as I showed in my column in the April edition of Quadrant.

The current heroine of the news media pursuing this story is Louise Milligan, who has a best-seller with her book Cardinal, and her own special reports on ABC television’s 7.30 and Four Corners programs. The latest edition of her book lists the number of awards this work has won her: the Walkley Book Award, two Quill awards from the Melbourne Press Club, the Sir Owen Dixon Chambers Law Reporter of the Year award, the Civic Choice award in the Melbourne Prize for Literature.

The new edition also carries accolades from an impressive array of left-wing journalists and authors: Annabel Crabb, David Marr, David Armstrong, Peter Fitzsimons, Kate McClymont, Quentin Dempster, Michaela Bond, Derryn Hinch, Yvonne Rance, Gerard Windsor and Anton Rose, plus a foreword by novelist/historian Tom Keneally who says Pell got what he deserved because he was “a notable neo-conservative”, who “had questioned climate change” and “has raised only muted opposition to the federal government’s heinous asylum seeker policy”.

Did Milligan know about the similarities between the evidence of “Billy” and “The Kid”? There is nothing in her book, or anything else she has written that I know of, to indicate that she did. She seems to be completely in the dark about the American connection. So, as far as I can see, she cannot be accused of suppressing information to make her own case more plausible.

However, a real investigative journalist would not have left out of reckoning the overseas dimension to this story. So the most that Milligan can be accused of in her single-minded pursuit of her quarry, is incompetence in not investigating the full dimensions of the story over the many months she worked on it. This must eventually be a source of embarrassment for those who have showered her with prizes, and for all those on the list of writers who adulate her journalistic skills in the early pages of her book.

The Victorian police, however, are in a different position. They had every reason both to know about the American connection and to keep it quiet, lest it ruin their case. Catholic lawyer Frank Brennan and Pell himself in the early stages of this drama both suggested that the police were leaking information to the news media.

The philosopher and theologian, Chris S. Friel, in an impressive, forensic examination of the case on the UK site Academia, has suggested the police engaged in a long-term strategy to slowly undermine Pell’s public reputation and to entwine it with the publicity attracted by the Royal Commission. Friel is judicious in what the available evidence showed at the time he wrote:

It will be countered that the very idea that the Victorian police deliberately created a distraction is just a conspiracy theory. It’s true that it is merely a hypothesis, one based on circumstantial evidence, and I would not argue that it is proven beyond reasonable doubt. But it does fit the facts, and so provide a reason to doubt whether the complainant is telling the truth beyond reasonable doubt …

As to the issue of “conspiracy,” we recall that Milligan herself hints at one: for, according to The Kid, Pell is not the only menace; some unnamed and dangerous man is searching for the informant, and that is why he pleads with the journalist that she should continue her investigation.


If Australia still has any genuine investigative journalists, there must be one somewhere willing to follow these leads into the bowels of the Victorian police operations to find out what was really going on all this time. Meanwhile, George Pell remains in prison until his appeal in June, unjustly convicted and unjustly defamed.

NB: Not a few of those who used the combox to comment on this article noted the striking juxtaposition of 'Billy', the nickname used in the Rolling Stone article, and 'The Kid' used by Milligan for Pell's accuser. Mere coincidence? More likely, Milligan had read the Rolling Stone article despite Windschuttle charitably ruling this out... In any case, the other consequence most to be desired out of this whole farce - other than the cardinal's irghtful acquittal - must be a fullblown exposure of the Victoria police's obvious manipulations to manufacture a case against Pell.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, April 9, 2019 1:00 PM
Cardinal Sarah and proselytism

April 9, 2019

His Eminence Cardinal Sarah does not rant. He does not take PF to task directly by name.

He just tells the Truth.. When PF has taught error, as he so frequently does, Sarah does not tactfully wait a few weeks and then tactfully tell the Truth. He tells it straight away. Calmly, humbly, elegantly.

PF is no fool. He knows that if you slam 'proselytism' without defining the term, non-Christians and non-Catholics will hear what they want to hear. But he will have a bolt hole enabling him to deny, if it suits him, that he ever condemned seeking to bring to their Redeemer souls whom Christ died to save.

I wonder what further attacks upon our Lord PF will make, taking advantage of the Mysterium Paschale.

I do not have Cardinal Sarah's gentle and saintly gifts. I find it difficult to conceal the fact that, in my own opinion and speaking only for myself, this pontificate has moved from being an embarrassment to being a problem, and, now, to being something far worse.

Tomorrow I will offer a concrete example of what I regard as Proselytism.

Because the following was my last post on the preceding page, added at 1 o'clock in the morning, I am re-posting it on this box.


The French title of Cardinal Sarah's third book-length interview with journalist Nicholas Diat comes from Luke's account of the risen Christ's encounter with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, on the night of the first Easter Sunday, when the two men ask their unrecognized traveling companion to “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” The title for the English edition uses the last clause which it translates as 'The day is now far spent".

‘As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West’:
An interview with Cardinal Sarah

The Vatican cardinal discusses his hard-hitting new book
in an exclusive interview with La Nef

Translated by Zachary Thomas for

April 5, 2019

Cardinal Robert Sarah is publishing the third of his book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat: The Day is Far Spent. An unflinching diagnosis, but one full of hope in the midst of the spiritual and moral crisis of the West.

In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?
The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this.

Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices.

Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds.

Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself.

The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It has preferred the kind of riches that it owes only to itself.

Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood. But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.

You write that “Christ never promised his faithful that they would be in the majority” (pg. 34), and you go on: “Despite the missionaries’ greatest efforts, the Church has never dominated the world. The Church’s mission is a mission of love, and love does not dominate” (pg. 35). Earlier, you wrote that “it is the ‘small remnant’ that has saved the faith.” If you will pardon a bold question: What is the problem exactly, seeing that this “small remnant” does in fact exist currently and manages to survive even in a world hostile to the faith?
Christians must be missionaries. They cannot keep the treasure of the Faith for themselves. Mission and evangelization remain an urgent spiritual task. And as St. Paul says, every Christian should be able to say “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).

Further, “God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). How can we do nothing when so many souls do not know the only truth that sets us free: Jesus Christ? The prevailing relativism considers religious pluralism to be a good in itself. No! The plenitude of revealed truth that the Catholic Church has received must be transmitted, proclaimed, and preached.

The goal of evangelization is not world domination, but the service of God. Don’t forget that Christ’s victory over the world is…the Cross! It is not our intention to take over the power of the world. Evangelization is done through the Cross.

The martyrs are the first missionaries. Before the eyes of men, their life is a failure. The goal of evangelization is not to “keep count” like social media networks that want to “make a buzz.” Our goal is not to be popular in the media. We want that each and every soul be saved by Christ. Evangelization is not a question of success. It is a profoundly interior and supernatural reality.

I’d like to go back to one of your points in the previous question. Do you mean to say that European Christendom, where Christianity was able to establish itself throughout the whole of society, was only a sort of interlude in history; that it should not be taken as a model in the sense that in Europe Christianity “dominated” and imposed itself through a kind of social coercion?
A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation.

But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls?

There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere.
- A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state.
- A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice.
- A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

Over the course of European history, we have moved from a society in which the group outweighed the person (the holism of the Middle Ages) – a type of society that still exists in Africa and continues to characterize Islam – to a society in which the person is emancipated from the group (individualism). We might also say, broadly speaking, that we have passed from a society dominated by the quest for truth to a society dominated by the quest for freedom. The Church herself has developed her doctrine in the face of this evolution, proclaiming the right to religious liberty at Vatican II. How do you see the position of the Church toward this evolution? Is there a balance to be struck between the two poles of “truth” and “freedom,” whereas so far we have merely gone from one excess to the other?
It is not correct to speak of a “balance” between two poles: truth and freedom. In fact, this manner of speaking presupposes that these realities are external to and in opposition to one another. Freedom is essentially a tending toward what is good and true. The truth is meant to be known and freely embraced. A freedom that is not itself oriented and guided by truth is nonsensical. Error has no rights.

Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good.

Revelation is the breaking in of divine truth into our lives. It does not constrain us. In giving and revealing Himself, God respects the freedom that He Himself created. I believe that the opposition between truth and freedom is the fruit of a false conception of human dignity.

Modern man hypostatizes his freedom, making it an absolute to the point of believing that it is threatened when he accepts the truth. However, to accept the truth is the most beautiful act of freedom that man can perform.

I believe that your question reveals how deeply the crisis of the Western conscience is really in the end a crisis of faith. Western man is afraid of losing his freedom by accepting the gift of true faith. He prefers to close himself up inside a freedom that is devoid of content. The act of faith is an encounter between freedom and truth. That is why in the first chapter of my book I have insisted on the crisis of faith. Our freedom comes to fulfillment when it says “yes” to revealed truth. If freedom says “no” to God, it denies itself. It asphyxiates.

You dwell at length on the crisis of the priesthood and argue for priestly celibacy. What do you see as the primary cause in the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and what do you think of the summit that just took place in Rome on this question?
I think that the crisis of the priesthood is one of the main factors in the crisis of the Church. We have taken away priests’ identity. We have made priests believe that they need to be efficient men. But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself.

The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. The roots of this crisis are spiritual. A priest who does not pray or makes a theatre out of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, a priest who only confesses rarely and who does not live concretely like another Christ, is cut off from the source of his own being. The result is death. I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned.

We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I want to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hate! I want to express my affection as a father and brother for the priests of the whole world.

In a book that has caused quite a stir [In the Closet of the Vatican, by Frédéric Martel], the author explains that there are many homosexual prelates in the Vatican. He lends credibility to Mgr Viganò’s denunciation of the influence of a powerful gay network in the heart of the Curia. What do you think of this? Is there a homosexual problem in the heart of the Church and if so, why is it a taboo?
Today the Church is living with Christ through the outrages of the Passion. The sins of her members come back to her like strikes on the face. Some have tried to instrumentalize these sins in order to put pressure on the bishops. Some want them to adopt the judgments and language of the world. Some bishops have caved in to the pressure. We see them calling for the abandonment of priestly celibacy or making unsound statements about homosexual acts. Should we be surprised? The Apostles themselves turned tail in the Garden of Olives. They abandoned Christ in His most difficult hour.

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to doctrinal truth! They disorient the Christian faithful by their confusing and ambiguous language. They adulterate and falsify the Word of God, willing to twist and bend it to gain the world’s approval. They are the Judas Iscariots of our time.

Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity [to priestly vows]. Let us not perpetrate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us.

When the fault is public, the penalties provided for by Church law must be applied. Punishment is merciful, an act of charity and fraternal love. Punishment restores the damage done to the common good and permits the guilty party to redeem himself. Punishment is part of the paternal role of bishops.

Finally, we must have the courage to clearly apply the norms regarding the acceptance of seminarians. Men whose psychology is deeply and permanently anchored in homosexuality, or who practice duplicity and lying, cannot be accepted as candidates for the priesthood.

One chapter is dedicated to the “crisis of the Church.” When precisely do you place the beginning of this crisis and what does it consist in? In particular, how do you relate the “crisis of faith” to the crisis of “moral theology.” Does one precede the other?
The crisis of the Church is above all a crisis of the faith. Some want the Church to be a human and horizontal society; they want it to speak the language of the media. They want to make it popular. They urge it not to speak about God, but to throw itself body and soul into social problems: migration, ecology, dialogue, the culture of encounter, the struggle against poverty, for justice and peace.

These are of course important and vital questions before which the Church cannot shut her eyes. But a Church such as this is of interest to no one [other than those who want such a church, an who have their priorities all wrong, like the reigning pope].
- The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus.
- She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us.
- When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her.
- We are tempted to think that our action and our ideas will save the Church. It would be better to begin by letting her save herself.


I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests.
- Priests must be possessed by the desire for holiness, for perfection in God and fidelity to the doctrine of Him who has chosen and sent them.
- Their whole being and all their activities must be put to the service of sanctity.
- The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself.
It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her.

Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about. [An idea that was often expressed by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.]
- We need saints who dare to see all things through the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God.
- The crisis of moral theology is the consequence of a voluntary blindness. We have refused to look at life through the light of the Faith.

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

The second and third parts of your book are about the crisis in western societies. The subject is so vast, and you touch on so many important points–from the expansion of the “culture of death” to the problems of consumerism tied to global liberalism, passing through questions of identity, transmission, Islamism, etc.–that it is impossible to address them all. Among these problems, which seem to you to be the most important and what are the principal causes for the decline of the West?
First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature.
- The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches.
- The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples.
- At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents.
- We have become accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore!

I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism?
- Muslims despise the atheistic West.
- They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.
- Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity.

To the countries of the Third World, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

You end this beautiful book with a section entitled “Rediscovering Hope: The Practice of the Christian Virtues.” What do you mean by this? In what way can practicing these virtues be a remedy for the multifarious crisis we have spoken about in this interview?
We should not imagine a special program that could provide a remedy for the current multi-faceted crisis.
- We have simply to live our Faith, completely and radically.
- The Christian virtues represent the Faith blossoming in all the human faculties. They mark the way for a happy life in harmony with God. We must create places where they can flourish.
- I call upon Christians to open oases of freedom in the midst the desert created by rampant profiteering.
- We must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible.
- Our communities must put God in the center.
- Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced.

In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way.
- The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others.
- Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).
- In the disaster, confusion, and darkness of our world, we find “the light that shines in the darkness” (cf. Jn 1:5): He who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, April 9, 2019 2:32 PM
I have waited a few days before posting this translation, in case Cardinal Bassetti or his office would issue a statement about it, but none has come so far. Which could mean that 1) none of the cardinal's staff or friends read Marco Tosatti at all, nor do any of their friends and familiars who might have called their attention to it, and so they have had no occasion to protest it; 2) Bassetti and his staff couldn't care less what Tosatti writes; or 3) Bassetti and his staff understand it for the irony/sarcasm that it is and are happy to just let it be. [What, not even any of the staff at Bassetti's house organ, Avvenire, will go to bat against Tosatti? I am pretty sure they read him!]

Tosatti's concoction - his or somebody else's (he hints in one of his replies to his combox commentators that it was originally written by a very frustrated priest) - reminds me of what I have often conjectured about Jorge Bergoglio's thinking when he knowingly edits Jesus's words from the Gospel or gives them the wrong spin to push his personal agenda. But this letter pushes the argument to its absurdest limits to explain just how and why Jorge Bergoglio thinks he knows better than Jesus 'how to be God' and what a church ought to be...



An exclusive: We publish a private letter
from Cardinal Bassetti to Jesus Christ

Translated from

April 4, 2019

Dear friends, foes, and trolls (habitual and occasional) of Stilum Curiae. Today, we are pleased to offer you a journalistic treat - something exceptional, extraordinary, beyond common – in short a true scoop. Don’t ask how, but we have come into possession of a letter sent by the president of the Italian bishops' conference (CEI), Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti. As you can see, the letter is preceded by an epigraph. Enjoy!

‘Learn how to be God as as God ought to be” (John B Keating)

Letter of the CEI President to Our Lord

To Jesus of Nazareth
Way of Eternity
Kingdom of Heaven
Personal and Confidential

Dearest,
I am constrained to write you because I note that, despite our repeated warnings, your pastoral action is not in line with that of the Newchurch. Or is it that you take your position to be legibus solutus [above the law]? You have said that you are meek and humble. Therefore, you must obey the authorities who lead the Newchurch.

I want to be frank. You are obstinately divisive. We have sought in every way to hide this embarrassing characteristic of yours but now it is no longer possible. Some of your faithful, who are retrograde and conservative, hie themselves behind your gestures and your words in order to accuse us of our supposed betrayal of you. This has become intolerable and it is therefore time to clear things up. And to come to an inevitable compromise.

I am leafing through the Gospels and at every page, I find you making excessive statements, carrying out rash if not violent acts. That’s not good, my Lord. Not goo at all. Whether you siad and did certain things, or whether they were simply attributed to you by your accomplices Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Who, by the way, have already been reported to the Commission for Inter-Religious Dialog.

Therefore:
1) You cannot say that you are the only way leading to the Kindgom f oHeaven. This presumption of uniqueness is unacceptable. Let it suffice you to be one of so many ways that lead to God. Like Mohammed and Buddha, for example. And do not tell me that messages other than yours cannot lead to the same God. Such childish protests do you no honor.

Please uphold the principle of non-contradiction. Or do you wish to continue trusting in that Dominican from Aquino? And do you wish to go on being a ’sign o contradiction’? To promise that you will set everyone against each other, or announce that you bring a sword and that you will light fires? Have you considered the seriousness of such statements? Unity, synthesis, inclusion, concord, community – a serious God would instead announce all this! Yet they say you were a carpenter. A carpenter puts together different pieces. With nails and paste. Well, nails are too definitive,and you have already made use of them excessively (see below). But paste is good. Use paste. Be the God of Pasting Together.

2) You, as I said earlier, are a violent man. Verbally and in deed. How could you have offended the Pharisees with an address full of insult and metaphors – ‘whited sepulchers’ and the like – which mark in you a will for rupture and rending apart with whoever does not agree with you? Who do you think you are? God?

Even if you were, this does not allow you to do as you please. You need discretion, tact, carefulness. For example: “My Pharisee friends, respecting every exegetic option, I maintain that your interpretation of the Torah is too literal”. Would it not have been better that way? Would you not have said the same thing you said and meant without offending so many good men? Not to mention that scene in the Temple against the dove sellers and the moneychangers. Don’t you know the law of supply and demand? Do you know how many families depended on that innocent commerce outside the Temple?

3) Now we come to your non-appealable condemnations. There is always an appeal! Remember that if you, as God, are good, we in the Newchurch are even better.
- How then could you condemn adultery? Sexual morality is changeable and must be discussed with discernment. Not imposed with the threat of hell. That’s easy. Far too easy to compel obedience that way.
- You obviously have no idea about the pastoral ministry of accompaniment, especially of those who are farthest away. And of those who are ‘different’. A pedophile is also a person, one who suffers because he is ‘different’. But you would advise him to tie a millstone around d his neck and go drown himself? Excuse me, but that is scandalous.
- What about Judas? Don’t you believe even your beloved John that he is a thief? Obviously, you ignore what oscillations of conscience pushed that unfortunate man to accept thirty pieces of silver. Perhaps he was in need.Perhaps because you had excluded him from the circle of your intimate,s and the poor man felt that he was set aside. In order to convince him to give up his intentions.

But why say, “Better for him if he had not been born!” It is an unforgivable statement that shows your insensibility towards sinners, or better, towards those who unconsciously make an error. I hope that after 2000 years, you have had the opportunity to repent of a statement that does not do you honor!

4) Now I come to a very sensitive point. You see, the fruitful collaboration between theology and psychoanalysis have convinced us that you not only suffered from sadistic impulses towards those who did not think like you, but also nurtured masochistic tendencies .

Let me say it clearly: You did go out of your way to get to Golgotha and all that business about carrying a cross. To the High priest who asked you, “Are you the Messiah, son of the living God?”, you don’t bluntly say, “That I am”! Instead, you should have referred to the diverse Messiahs that arose everywhere in the Israel of your time and taken the discussion to a higher dialectical plane. “I consider myself the Messiah, but a purely spiritual dimension which nonetheless does not interfere in any way with the monotheism of which you are the custodian”. That’s how one answers a High Priest.

But instead, what? You added that you would thereafter appear in the heavens at the right hand of God. Allow me to say that was an unpardonable provocation. And then, regarding that heavenly cloud and your second coming, what’s with the statement “I will come like a thief”? A thief? It is your duty to warn us. You cannot just come when you want and judge each man by yourself. You must give us notice, and we will then name a commission which, together with you, will evaluate your judgments with discernment.

I’m coming to the end of my letter. I am sorry that I have been harsh in some respects, but as president of the Italian bishops’ conference, it was my duty to inform you of the grave errors you had committed and which bore bitter fruit during the recent so-called World Congress of Families in Verona, during which difficult, complex, problematic and intricate questions like abortion, divorce, surrogate wombs, homosexuality and child adoption were confronted in your preferred and easy way out: with a Yes or a No.

I don’t even wish to tell you how much that event offended Pope Francis. I will confess that I have written this letter against his will. “Let’s not have anything to do with Him,” he told me. I hope that it is not so. I greet your Mother – but without any of her titles in order not to offend the Lutherans – and I hope that these lines will urge you to reflect and teach you how to be God as you should be.

Obedience, my dear Lord. Obedience. This is the virtue we must all exercise. Obedience to us.

Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti
President of the CEI



A Bergoglian P.S., sort of, to the above - a tweet with video from and by the CEI's own TV network:

New papal utterance:
"Being Angry with Christ is a Kind of Prayer!"


April 9, 2019

No, no, we are not making this up. It is what the reigning Bishop of Rome really said this past Sunday in a visit to the Roman parish of St. Julius:
"Even getting angry at Jesus can be a kind of prayer. Jesus likes seeing the truth of our heart. Don't pretend in front of Jesus."



P.S. In fact, when following a link which I thought would be something else, I came upon the following report from ZENIT,
https://zenit.org/articles/popes-pastoral-visit-to-the-roman-parish-of-san-giulio-in-monteverde-full-text/
which is an English translation of the pope's necessarily brief interaction with various parish groups at St Julius. His closing words to each
group (old people, sick and disabled, young people, children, participants of a yearlong (?) living Nativity scene, etc), though it ends with
a prayer, sound like he is hurrying up to meet the next group. Nonetheless, to each group, he said quite a number of Catholic and Christian
statements to them that were generally unexceptionable. Even the 'getting angry at Jesus can be sort of a prayer', irreverent as it sounds,
is in the context of prayer as a conversation with the Lord, before whom, of course, there is no sense pretending anything. At one point, he
even says that his duty as a Successor of Peter is to confirm his brothers in the faith - imagine that! - which surprised me as much as his
Angelus remarks later about the adulterous woman Jesus saved from stoning, because for the first time, he went on to cite how the story
ends, that Jesus tells the woman to 'Go and sin no more' - which was always the biggest omission in his reading of the story as though God's
mercy were completely unconditional... And I rather liked the bit about "I don't have Peter's mobile [phone], but all of us have Jesus's
mobile - we can call him any time, etc". Jorge Bergoglio can play the part of avuncular Christian pastor when he chooses to.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:52 PM

A social network post Tosatti screen-captured (plus my translation of it). Bergoglio's ignorance of the derivation and origin of Mafia, the word and the organizations
so-named, cannot be called shameful, as only scholars and anyone who specifically looks it up would know it.


Obviously, what I remarked in the preceding post about the pope being able to say Catholic statements when he wants to
does not apply to his habitual recklessness in spouting out about many thing he really has no firm knowledge of...


The pope, the Mafia and the obvious
embarrassment of Vatican communications

Translated from

April 9, 2018

Because Stilum Curiae has its moments of misplaced benevolence, I had intended to pass over the reigning pope’s most recent statements about immigration, the mafia, etc. If only because I was out of town attending to unhappy matters and had not really followed that report attentively. But an article by my friend Giuseppe Rusconi on his site Rosso Porpora – which I would advise you to read in its entirety – has prompted me to speak out on this matter. Rusconi writes:

On Saturday, April 6, the pope gave an audience to teachers and students of the Collegio San Carlo of Milan. Rather strange (besides being offensive to the truth of facts and Italian history) was his reply to a question about a multi-ethnic society and identity. Especially since what the Vatican daily news bulletin reported about it does not correspond to the video shown originally by Vatican News [the official Vatican ‘news agency’ in the new Dicastery of Communications].

Jorge Mario Bergoglio had answered four questions, including that of Prof. Sivlia Perucca on multi-ethnicity and identity. Here is what he answered, according to a transcription from the 2:07-minutes video of Vatican News on April 6, 2019, with the title ”Pope: No to fear of migrants. We are all migrants”, accompanied by an article by Debora Donnni with citations having to do also with the title of the full video: “Pope: Those who sell arms have the deaths of many children on their conscience” [Why only the deaths of children, why not of everyone who gets killed by those weapons?]

Here is what the pope says on the video:

Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of migrants. [Some might object] ‘But, Father, migrants are…’ Migrants are us. Jesus was a migrant. [One really has no answer to why Bergoglio is so obstinate about saying this obvious falsehood again and again!] So don’t be afraid of migrants. “But they are delinquent”, you may say.
- But we, too, have many delinquents, yes? The Mafia was not invented by Nigerians – it’s a ‘national value’, yes? The Mafia is ours, made in Italy, yes? It is ours.
- We all are… we all have the possibility to be delinquents.
- But migrants are those who bring us riches [ricchezze], always.
- Even Europe was made up of migrants.[You'd think there were no native European peoples at all, that Europe was unpopulated before 'migrants' came.] The barbarians, the Celts, all those who came from the north, and brought us their cultures.
[What were the barbarian ‘cultures’ and was any of it assimilated? Obviously not! It was the other way around. And what were the barbarians and the Celts but native European peoples who each had their own pagan cultures? ]
- Europe grew that way, through the juxtaposition of cultures.
[I will not comment further on everything that is wrong with the above statements (which I have separated into thought units for easier appreciaiton), historically and factually. Except to point out that Bergoglio truly seems to think that Christianity had nothing to do with the formation of Europe, that it was not Christianity that gave Europe its identity in the first 16-17 centuries since Christ was born on earth, that the very barbarians who caused the final fall of the Roman empire assimilated the culture they had come to replace!]

Remember this well today. There is the temptation to build a culture of walls, to erect walls, walls in the hearts, walls on the earth to prevent these encounter of cultures, with other peoples. Whoever puts up a wall, whoever constructs a wall, ends up being a prisoner behind the walls he built, without horizons.
[Really, he says this so often one would expect that he would logically announce to the world that in view of this, he is ordering the walls enclosing the Vatican to be demolished once and for all! Will he dare, one of these days?]


But this is what the pope said, according to the official Vatican news bulletin published April 7, 2019:

Do not be afraid. And here I touch a wound: do not be afraid of migrants. Migrants are those who bring us riches, always. Even Europe was made up of migrants. The barbarians, the Celts – all those who came from the north and brought their cultures with them. That is how Europe grew, through the juxtaposition of cultures But today, be mindful of this: today, there is the temptation to build a culture of walls, to erect walls, walls in the heart, walls on earth to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other peoples. An whoever erects a wall, whoever builds a wall, ends up a slave behind the walls he built, without horizons.

NOTE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT HE ACTUALLY SAID ON THE VIDEO AND THE ACCOUNT N THE VATICAN BULLETIN.

Even to the naked eye, one sees immediately an obvious reduction in the official ‘transcript’ of what he actually said. The main differences? Statements that are no longer there:
- Jesus defined as a migrant.
- The substantial comment that the Mafia was ‘not invented by Nigerians” but rather ‘made in Italy’, a ‘national value’.
- The subsequent remark that ”We all are, we all have the possibility to be delinquents”.

It’s easy to see the political and religious reasons that led the Secretariat for Communications (perhaps in collaboration with the Secretariat of State and probably others) to take out their robes as prestidigitators, robes kept conveniently on hand to abjure the unwary when necessary.

For someone who continually and hieratically admonishes the mass media to report facts correctly – and therefore, avoiding any manipulation of them – this is truly a great example to set! Secretly, the ex-catholic newspaper Avvenire [Rusconi uses ‘ex-Catholic’ ironically, since that the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference has become, to all intents and purposes, the principle mouthpiece advocating open borders and indiscriminate immigration, not to mention anti-Catholic positions on life issues] must be rejoicing. We can imagine the malignant joy of Avvenire’s Editor-Thurifer-in-chief and his fellow thurifers: “So, they want to rob us of our copyright to fake news? Good for them. People will understand that they must be suspicious of imitators and drink directly from the original spring which is Avvenire”.


How nice, right? Speaking of migrants, there is an Arab saying which I have always liked:"àdaa Alìma ià iadatihà al kadìma" (Alima has returned to her old habits), and for a Vatican communications outfit that sought to misrepresent a letter from the Emeritus pope not too long ago, I would say that the old habit can be too strong to resist, sometimes.

But we understand. We also understand how it has become increasingly difficult to manage – and render more plausible - some papal statements that are desolating for the panorama of ignorance, genericness and superficiality that they reveal. Statements that seem more like bar chatter, than something from the Sala Clementina.

To begin with, to speak of the Mafia as a ‘national value’ for Italians is a colossal stupidity. Perhaps the pope has never heard of – to cite just a few [that have adopted the name as well as the rules] - the Russian Mafia, Chinese Mafia, the Irish Mafia, the Jewish Mafia and the secret societies of Western Africa (many of them impregnated with black magic and esotericism, with rituals that are often bloody) which have transmitted their legacy to the Nigerian Mafia (or mafias, since there appear to be many). And being Argentine, he must know about the Zvi Migdal, the organization led by some Argentine Jews who in the early part of the 20th century set up the most extensive traffic for prostitution in Latin America.

In the second place, persons more erudite than me have pointed out that – surprise! – the term ‘mafia’ itself comes from Arabic: “Some theories trace the term farther back in time and space to the Arabic influence: maḥyāṣ (blustering) and its corresponding noun maḥyaṣa (blusterer). Perhaps more convincing is the idea that the word is really derived from the Arabic mo’a-fiah, which literally describes an arrogant action or behavior.”

So, look! it is the pope’s ‘chosen people’’ themselves, those whose unrestricted mass migration to our country he defends daily, who gave us the term. Even on the social media, some people have pointed this out (see photo above).

Moreover: to ignore that the Sicilian Mafia (like the Canorra of Naples and the ‘Ndrangheta of Calabria) have a historical and social origin that was regional and circumscribed to certain parts of Italy is offensive, not just to intelligence but to the other cultures and regions of the country.

We understand that the recent collapse of financial affairs in the Church of Italy was caused by the current Italian government’s blockage of the human trafficking that used to bring tens of thousands onto our shores [and money to Italian Church coffers through some arcane connection] as we can see from the enraged actions of Cardinal Bassetti and company. But let’s not get into that now.

Nonetheless, the reference to the Mafia by someone who was elected to Peter’s Chair thanks to the work of the ‘Sankt Gallen Mafia’ – the term used by the late Cardinal Danneels of the group he was part of – seems to be in poor taste.

Those who have been to visit the Emeritus Pope all say that despite his growing and devastating physical frailty [he will be 92 in a few days], his mind remains lucid and acute – which is a great gift, a grace from God. But experience shows us that unfortunately, advancing age has not borne the same fruit for others.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, April 10, 2019 9:25 PM

The core of the M87 galaxy 55 million light years away from earth, and the black hole at its center (better appreciated in the inset).

Time out from Church affairs and the latest Bergogliades to share this immense bit of scientific news, to which we have been alerted by Fr. Z, an inveterate aficionado on space matters....

First image of a 'black hole' ever
by Elizabeth Landau
NASA Hedquarters, Washington,DC
April 10, 2019

Using the Event Horizon Telescope, scientists obtained an image of the black hole at the center of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon.

A black hole is an extremely dense object from which no light can escape. Anything that comes within a black hole’s “event horizon,” its point of no return, will be consumed, never to re-emerge, because of the black hole’s unimaginably strong gravity. By its very nature, a black hole cannot be seen, but the hot disk of material that encircles it shines bright. Against a bright backdrop, such as this disk, a black hole appears to cast a shadow.

The stunning new image shows the shadow of the supermassive black hole in the center of Messier 87 (M87), an elliptical galaxy some 55 million light-years from Earth. This black hole is 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun. Catching its shadow involved eight ground-based radio telescopes around the globe, operating together as if they were one telescope the size of our entire planet.

“This is an amazing accomplishment by the EHT team,” said Paul Hertz, director of the astrophysics division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Years ago, we thought we would have to build a very large space telescope to image a black hole. By getting radio telescopes around the world to work in concert like one instrument, the EHT team achieved this, decades ahead of time.”

To complement the EHT findings, several NASA spacecraft were part of a large effort, coordinated by the EHT’s Multiwavelength Working Group, to observe the black hole using different wavelengths of light. As part of this effort, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory space telescope missions, all attuned to different varieties of X-ray light, turned their gaze to the M87 black hole around the same time as the EHT in April 2017. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was also watching for changes in gamma-ray light from M87 during the EHT observations. If EHT observed changes in the structure of the black hole’s environment, data from these missions and other telescopes could be used to help figure out what was going on.

While NASA observations did not directly trace out the historic image, astronomers used data from NASA’s Chandra and NuSTAR satellites to measure the X-ray brightness of M87’s jet. Scientists used this information to compare their models of the jet and disk around the black hole with the EHT observations. Other insights may come as researchers continue to pore over these data.

There are many remaining questions about black holes that the coordinated NASA observations may help answer. Mysteries linger about why particles get such a huge energy boost around black holes, forming dramatic jets that surge away from the poles of black holes at nearly the speed of light. When material falls into the black hole, where does the energy go?

“X-rays help us connect what’s happening to the particles near the event horizon with what we can measure with our telescopes,” said Joey Neilsen, an astronomer at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, who led the Chandra and NuSTAR analysis on behalf of the EHT’s Multiwavelength Working Group.

NASA space telescopes have previously studied a jet extending more than 1,000 light-years away from the center of M87. The jet is made of particles traveling near the speed of light, shooting out at high energies from close to the event horizon. The EHT was designed in part to study the origin of this jet and others like it. A blob of matter in the jet called HST-1, discovered by Hubble astronomers in 1999, has undergone a mysterious cycle of brightening and dimming.

Chandra, NuSTAR, Swift and Fermi, as well as NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) experiment on the International Space Station, also looked at the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, called Sagittarius A*, in coordination with EHT.

Getting so many different telescopes on the ground and in space to all look toward the same celestial object is a huge undertaking in and of itself, scientists emphasize.

“Scheduling all of these coordinated observations was a really hard problem for both the EHT and the Chandra and NuSTAR mission planners,” Neilsen said. “They did really incredible work to get us the data that we have, and we’re exceedingly grateful.”

Neilsen and colleagues who were part of the coordinated observations will be working on dissecting the entire spectrum of light coming from the M87 black hole, all the way from low-energy radio waves to high-energy gamma rays. With so much data from EHT and other telescopes, scientists may have years of discoveries ahead.

I cannot resist saying how a figurative black hole exists in the Vatican from which no light will ever emerge about Mons. Vigano's accusations regarding Theodore McCarrick and the massive blanket cover-up about his sinful double life by everyone in the Church who learned about it.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:36 AM

Left, Benedict XVI as Pope in 2010; right, as emeritus Pope today.

The Emeritus Pope breaks his silence
on the Church's sex-abuse crisis

Benedict analyzes the situation but says that despite the sins of her members,
the 'indestructible Church' remains the very instrument through which God saves man,
so she must oppose the devil's lies and half-truths with the whole truth

by Edward Pentin

April 10, 2019

VATICAN CITY — In his most significant pronouncement since he resigned the papacy in 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written a lengthy essay on clerical sex abuse in which he explains what he sees as the roots of the crisis, the effects it has had on the priesthood, and how the Church should best respond.

Running at just over 6,000 words and to be published April 11 in Klerusblatt, a small-circulation Bavarian monthly, Benedict XVI places the blame mainly on the sexual revolution and a collapse of Catholic moral theology since the Second Vatican Council. This resulted, he argues, in a “breakdown” in the seminary formation that had preceded the Council.

Benedict criticizes canon law for initially being insufficient in dealing with the scourge, explains the reforms he introduced to deal with abuse cases, and asserts that “only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ” can lead the Church out of the crisis.

The pope emeritus begins his essay, entitled “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse,” by noting that the “extent and gravity” of the abuse crisis has “deeply distressed” priests and laity and “driven more than a few to call into question the very faith of the Church.”

Recalling the Vatican’s Feb. 21-24 summit on the protection of minors in the Church, he says it was “necessary” to send out a “strong message” and seek a “new beginning” so the Church could again become “truly credible.”

Benedict writes that he compiled notes from the documents and reports from that meeting that culminated in this text, which he says he has shown to Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state.

The essay is divided into three parts. The first is an examination of the “wider societal context” of the crisis, in which he says he tries to show that an “egregious event” occurred in the 1960s “on a scale unprecedented in history.”

A second section deals with the effects of this on the “formation of priests and on the lives of priests.”

And in a third part he develops “some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church.”

‘1968 Revolution’
To give an idea of the wider societal context, the Pope Emeritus recalls the “all-out sexual freedom” that followed the “1968 Revolution.” From 1960 to 1980, he says “standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely,” resulting in a “normlessness” that, despite “laborious attempts,” has not been halted.

Drawing primarily on examples from German-speaking Europe, he remembers state-sponsored graphic sex education, lascivious advertising and “sex and pornographic movies” that became a “common occurrence” after 1968. This, in turn, led to violence and aggression, he says, and pedophilia was “diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.”

He wondered at the time how young people would approach the priesthood in this environment and says the collapse in vocations and “very high number of laicizations” were a “consequence of all these processes.”

At the same time, Catholic moral theology also “suffered a collapse,” he says, rendering the Church “defenseless against these changes in society.”

He explains that, until the Second Vatican Council, moral theology was largely founded on natural law, but in the “struggle for a new understanding of Revelation,” the “natural law was largely abandoned, and a moral theology based entirely on the Bible was demanded.”

In consequence, Benedict says, no longer could anything be “constituted an absolute good,” but only the “relative” could be “better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances.”

This relativistic perspective reached “dramatic proportions” in the late 1980s and 1990s, when documents emerged such as the 1989 “Cologne Declaration,” which dissented from Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching, prompting an “outcry against the Magisterium of the Church.” He recalls how John Paul II tried to stem the crisis in moral theology through his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor and creating the Catechism.

But dissenting theologians started applying infallibility only to matters of faith and not to morals, even though, Benedict writes, the Church’s moral teaching is deeply linked to the faith. Those who deny this, he continues, force the Church to remain silent “precisely where the boundary between truth and lies is at stake.”

Formation Breakdown
Turning to the second part of his essay, Benedict says this “long-prepared and ongoing process of dissolution of the Christian concept of morality” led to a “far-reaching breakdown” in priestly formation.

He notes how “various seminary homosexual clubs” had a significant impact on seminaries, resulting, in the U.S. at least, in two apostolic visitations that bore little fruit.

But he also underlines how changes to the appointment of bishops after Vatican II put an emphasis on “conciliarity,” leading to a “negative attitude” toward tradition — so much so that Benedict says even his own books were “hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk.”

Pedophilia did not become “acute” until the late 1980s, he says, but canon law at that time “did not seem sufficient” for dealing with the crime. Rome believed “temporary suspension” was sufficient to “bring about purification and clarification,” but this was not accepted by U.S. bishops dealing with the emerging American clergy abuse crisis, because the alleged abusers were still “directly associated” with their bishop. A “renewal and deepening” of the “deliberately loosely constructed criminal law” of the 1983 Code of Canon law then “slowly” began to take place.

Benedict also pinpointed another canonical problem: the Church’s perception of criminal law which so fully guaranteed the rights of the accused that “any conviction” was “factually excluded” — something he describes as “guarantorism.”

But Benedict argues that a “properly formed canon law” must contain a “double guarantee” — legal protections for both the accused and the “good at stake,” which he defines as protecting the deposit of faith. The faith “no longer appears” to be a good “requiring protection,” he says, adding it is an “alarming situation” that pastors must take “seriously.”

To help overcome this “guarantorism,” Benedict decided with John Paul II to transfer abuse cases from the Congregation for Clergy to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) — a move, he says, that was crucially important to the Church, as such misconduct “ultimately damages the faith” and that enabled “the maximum penalty” to be imposed.

But he adds that an aspect of guarantorism rightly remained in force, namely the need for “clear proof of the offense.” To ensure this, and that penalties were lawfully imposed, Benedict says the Holy See would take over investigation of cases if dioceses were “overwhelmed” by the need for a “genuine criminal process.” The possibility for appeal was also provided.

But all of that was “beyond the capacities” of the CDF at the time, leading to delays. “Pope Francis has undertaken further reforms,” Benedict notes.

What Must Be Done
Turning to what needs to be done, Benedict argues that trying to “create another Church” has “already failed” and proceeds to give a catechesis on how the “power of evil arises from our refusal to love God.” [He may be too polite to say so, but isn't his successor trying to put the finishing touches on precisely 'another church' that his fellow Vatican II 'spiritists' had tried so hard to set up in the post-Vatican II years before this pontificate?]

He teaches that a world without God “can only be a world without meaning,” without standards of “good or evil,” where “power is the only principle” and “truth does not count.” A society without God “means the end of freedom,” he continues, and Western society is one where “God is absent” and has “nothing left to offer it.”

“At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course,” Benedict writes. “That is the case with pedophilia. It was theorized only a short time ago as quite legitimate, but it has spread further and further. And now we realize with shock that things are happening to our children and young people that threaten to destroy them. The fact that this could also spread in the Church and among priests ought to disturb us in particular.”

Pedophilia reached such proportions, he says, because of the “absence of God,” and he notes how Christians and priests “prefer not to talk about God” who has “become the private affair of a minority.”

Therefore, the “paramount task” is to once again place God in the “center of our thoughts, words and actions,” he says, to be “renewed and mastered by the faith” rather than be “masters of faith.”

He says the Second Vatican Council “rightly” focused on returning the real presence of Christ to the center of Christian life, but today a “rather different attitude is prevalent,” one that destroys the “greatness of the Mystery.”

This has resulted in declining participation in Sunday Mass, the devaluation of the Eucharist to a “ceremonial gesture,” and the reception of Holy Communion simply as a “matter of course.”

“What is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament,” Benedict says. “In conversations with victims of pedophilia, I have been made acutely aware of this.”

The Indestructible Holy Church
He also observes that the Church today is “widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus,” spoken of in “political categories” as something we must “now take into our own hands and redesign.” But a “self-made Church cannot constitute hope,” he says.

Noting that the Church today is and always has been made up of wheat and weeds, of “evil fish” and “good fish,” he says that to proclaim both “is not a false form of apologetics, but a necessary service to the Truth.”

But the devil is identified in the Book of Revelation as “the accuser who accuses our brothers before God day and night” because he “wants to prove there are no righteous people.” Today, the accusation against God is “above all about disparaging His Church as bad in its entirety and thus dissuading us from it,” he says.

But he stresses that, also today, the Church is “not just made up of bad fish and weeds,” but continues to be the “very instrument” through which God saves us.

“It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth,” Benedict says. “Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible.”

And he recalls the “many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us,” as well as “His witnesses (martyres) in the world.”

“We just have to be vigilant to see and hear them,” he says, adding that an “inertia of the heart” leads us to “not wish to recognize them” — but recognizing them is essential to evangelization, he says.

Benedict closes by thanking Pope Francis “for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!”

[It is very sad - tragic to me - that Benedict XVI has to abide by these ritualistic head-bowing in the direction of the reigning pope especially when the head-bows are to some things that are rather fictional, and the head-bowing appears to indicate total approval of what his successor says and does.

Yet he bound himself by having volunteered, on February 28, 2013 in his last address to the College of Cardinals, a vow of obedience and respect to the next pope, whoever he might be. But surely such a vow should not mean ignoring the anti-Catholic words and actions of the reigning pope. And unless he leaves behind a memorandum documenting his denunciation of such words and actions to be made public only upon his death or that of Jorge Bergoglio, then history will record him as complicit to the latter. It is certainly not what one expects of someone who until six years ago was widely considered even by his enemies and worst critics to be a potential Doctor of the Church.]



Sex, scandal, the Church, and a general atmosphere of disintegration: That’s the main focus of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s unexpected intervention into today’s unhappy Church politics. Benedict, after contacting Pope Francis, has written a statement on the Church and its sex abuse scandal that he plans to publish in a Bavarian periodical.

The tone of the document is his usual one, that of calm and matter-of-fact statements. Overall, it’s more testimony than analysis, testimony from a man who lived through cultural convulsions and theological betrayals. And it’s a faithful man’s testimony of God’s enduring love.

The Revolution of ’68 has always loomed large in Benedict’s accounts. The events of that fateful year were felt much more acutely in Western Europe than the United States. The war-smashed continent took a deep breath in 1945, and the next fifteen years saw determined efforts to rebuild. The object was not just material reconstruction, but moral and spiritual restoration as well.

Somehow the West succeeded, but at a cost. It took steely resolve to turn back communism in France and Italy. Germany and Austria had Russian divisions on their borders. Everyone felt the ominous threat of nuclear annihilation.

In retrospect, it was not the young people who changed so much in ’68. It was their parents, many of whom had neither the will nor inclination to resist. Perhaps they were spiritually exhausted, first by the civilizational catastrophe of the first half of the twentieth century, and then by the two long decades of painstaking efforts to bring back prosperity, decency, and normal life.

Whatever its causes, Benedict is surely correct. The Revolution of ’68 shattered the prohibitions, inhibitions, and stable norms that are necessary to restrain man’s appetites, and thus contributed to the conditions in which clerical sexual malfeasance and abuse festered. But it is important to realize that ’68 unchained more than just sexual desire.

It unleashed pleonexia. The enduring content of that historical moment was an imperative of release that ministered to a voracious desire for sensual experiences and material consumption.

The social transformations wrought by that imperative are ongoing. They are so powerful that, in the politics of the West, they have fused left and right into a neoliberal consensus that seeks maximal release for the sake of wealth creation (the economic de-regulatory right) and maximal release for the sake of personal fulfillment and self-acceptance (the cultural de-regulatory left). It’s no surprise that the Church was swept up in the imperative of release that flies the false flag of freedom.

Benedict gives ample attention to the ways in which leading moral theologians baptized the imperative of release, recounting the pathetic pledge of Franz Böckle to resist with all his resources the only evil he recognized: the limitation on release that comes with acknowledging the notion of intrinsically evil acts—things that cannot be done. Böckle was typical. To one degree or another, since Vatican II the majority of theologians in the West have shrunk from the implications of the Church’s affirmation of the objectivity of truth.

He provides anecdotes about seminary training in the 1970s and 1980s that indicate that an insouciant dismissal of the Church’s magisterium was not the sole province of moral theologians. A certain “progressive” mentality predominated, and it drove out anything that had the slightest smell of the authority of revelation.

During the pontificate of John Paul II there were entire sectors of the Church in quasi-open rebellion, loyal to the imperative of release rather than the bishop of Rome. To this Benedict adds detailed observations about the inadequacies of the Church’s own legal code that made the official mechanisms for disciplining clerical sexual abuse ineffective. The overall impression: Overwhelmed by the Revolution of ’68, riddled with dissent, and structured by institutional and canonical assumptions ill-suited to present realities, the Catholic Church has become an ungovernable mess. The picture gives one sympathy for the men trying to master her present, grave challenges.

Benedict sees the influence the Revolution of ’68 exercised over the Church. As one of the last survivors of the heroic generation, the men who in the mid-twentieth century reshaped the Church with bold new intellectual projects, culminating in the Second Vatican Council, I wish he would reflect on the ways in which the lines of influence went the other way as well.

There can be little doubt that Vatican II functioned as a triggering mechanism during the explosive 1960s. It signaled to the West that the epitome of unchanging truth was reconsidering, rethinking, reframing—in a word, revising. [I think that in Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's many analyses of Vatican-II, he more than enough demonstrated - and lamented - the tremendous synergistic effect of the Revolution of '68 and the progressive hermeneutic of Vatican-II on the entire Catholic panorama. A negative super-synergy that resulted in all the major negative consequences that Benedict XVI recounts anew in this essay.]

All of this revising was said to re-express the same, unchanging truths. They were simply being restated with an eye toward greater openness. But of course “openness,” while not a synonym for release, is a close cousin. If the Pope Emeritus wishes to give an adequate account of the historical context for the failure of moral discipline among the clergy, he needs to reckon with the Church’s profound role in the Revolution of ’68, not just her fate in its aftermath. [I disagree that the Church had a profound role in the '68 Revolution - she was very much a victim. The major movers of the '68 Revolution were not in any way 'influenced' by the Church - or even how Vatican II came to be interpreted within the Church - because the '68ers were were primarily Marxist, nihilist and therefore atheistic and anti-religion. It was the 'spirit of Vatican-II' progressivists who used the Revolution of '68 to fuel and justify their ultra-liberal positions and their concomitant 'anything goes' permissiveness in matters of faith (doctrine and liturgy) and of morals (priests leaving the Church in the tens of thousands to get married - an exodus that did not start until after 1968 - while some of their colleagues who stayed behind unleashed their sexuality to abuse minors and children, though this scandal was not apparent at the time).]

This is not just a task for Benedict; it something we all need to undertake. As he warns, we can’t escape our problems by creating another Church. I’d add: We can’t escape by pretending we live in another era, one undefiled by ’68 and the imperative of release. As we seek the way of faithfulness in the twenty-first century, we need to keep our eyes on Christ, as Benedict rightly reminds us. But we also need to take the full measure of the twentieth century, and do so while keeping in mind that the Church was an agent in those tumultuous decades as much as it was a victim. [The 'Church' became an agent insofar as her internal degradation due to Vatican-II progressivism reflected the top-to-bottom moral and cultural corrosion brought about by the Cultural Revolution, in effect, making common cause with it.]


Former Pope Benedict blames Church’s
sex scandals partly on the ‘60s

By Sohrab Ahmari
Op-Ed Editor

April 10, 2019

When Pope Benedict XVI resigned the papacy in 2013, he vowed to live the rest of his days in seclusion, to serve the Catholic Church “through a life dedicated to prayer.” But the church’s spiraling abuse crisis prompted him this week to ­return to the limelight.

The retired pontiff has drafted a 6,000-word document in his native German and aims to publish it in a monthly periodical for clergy in his home region of Bavaria. Benedict says the document, an English translation of which I’ve reviewed, is meant to assist the Church in seeking “a new beginning” and making her “again truly credible as a light among peoples and as a force in service against the powers of ­destruction.”

In the preface, he makes it clear that he is “no longer directly responsible” for the church and that he consulted Pope Francis before ­resolving to make the document public.

Nevertheless, Benedict’s “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse” has the unmistakable ring of a papal document. You might even call it a post-retirement encyclical.

It’s written with his signature precision and clarity of insight and offers a piercing account of the origins of the crisis and a ­vision of the way forward.

The church’s still-radiating crisis, Benedict suggests, was a product of the moral laxity that swept the West, and not just the church, in the 1960s. The young rebels of 1968, Benedict writes, fought for “all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.”

Benedict adds: “Part of the physiognomy of the Revolution of 1968 was that pedophilia was now also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.” This might strike contemporary readers as puzzling. But those who lived through that wretched decade will remember that some of the leading ’68ers also advocated “anti-authoritarian education,” which involved some pretty ­unsavory interactions between adults and children. Hippie communes weren’t child-friendly places, either.

“I have always wondered how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications,” Benedict writes. “The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were consequence of all these processes.”

The church, in other words, was no more immune to the disorders of that decade and its aftermath than the rest of society.

How come? Benedict blames clerics and theologians who, in the ­aftermath of Vatican II, abandoned natural law — the notion that morality is written into ­human nature itself and can therefore be grasped by human reason — in favor of a more “pragmatic” ­morality.

Under the new dispensation, “there could no longer be anything that constituted an ­absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; there could only be relative moral judgments.”

The real world result was that “in various seminaries, homosexual clubs were established, which more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in seminaries.”

The new morality also encouraged a “critical or negative attitude toward hitherto existing tradition,” he writes, in favor of a “new, radically open relationship with the world.”

For one bishop, the German pontiff says, that meant going so far as screening porn for seminarians. In many seminaries, meanwhile, students caught reading his own books, written while he was still a cardinal and known for their doctrinal rigor, would be “considered unsuitable for the priesthood.”

The looseness of those years also affected how the church ­handled cases of abusive priests, who we now know targeted mostly boys and young men. In church proceedings, “the rights of the accused had to be guaranteed” above all else, “to an extent that factually excluded any conviction at all.”

Such absolutism in defense of the accused was ­incorrectly seen as a “conciliar” requirement — anything less was a betrayal of Vatican II. Hence the cover-ups and shuffling around of abusive priests.

It’s impossible to miss Benedict’s bitterness toward what he sees as distortions of Vatican II, a council he helped shape as a young theologian.

So what is to be done now? Benedict recommends reforming church law, to give as much emphasis to protecting the faithful, not least the faith of ordinary Catholics, as to safeguarding the procedural rights of accused priests. But no amount of procedural reform, the pope notes, can substitute for the recovering Catholicism’s absolute moral standards. “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” he asks. “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”

Yet he ends on an optimistic note: “Yes, there is sin in the church and evil. But even today there is the holy church, which is indestructible.” Amen.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:34 AM


CNA presented the full text fof Benedict XVI's essay in an English translation by Anian Christoph Wimmer..

The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse
by BENEDICT XVI
Emeritus Pope

Translated from KLERUSBLATT
by Anian Christoph Wimmer



On February 21 to 24, at the invitation of Pope Francis, the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences gathered at the Vatican to discuss the current crisis of the faith and of the Church; a crisis experienced throughout the world after shocking revelations of clerical abuse perpetrated against minors.

The extent and gravity of the reported incidents has deeply distressed priests as well as laity, and has caused more than a few to call into question the very Faith of the Church. It was necessary to send out a strong message, and seek out a new beginning, so to make the Church again truly credible as a light among peoples and as a force in service against the powers of destruction.

Since I myself had served in a position of responsibility as shepherd of the Church at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, and during the run-up to it, I had to ask myself – even though, as emeritus, I am no longer directly responsible – what I could contribute to a new beginning.

Thus, after the meeting of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences was announced, I compiled some notes by which I might contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour.

Having contacted the Secretary of State, Cardinal [Pietro] Parolin and the Holy Father [Pope Francis] himself, it seemed appropriate to publish this text in the Klerusblatt [a monthly periodical for clergy in mostly Bavarian dioceses].

My work is divided into three parts.

In the first part, I aim to present briefly the wider social context of the question, without which the problem cannot be understood. I try to show that in the 1960s an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history. It could be said that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, the previously normative standards regarding sexuality collapsed entirely, and a new normalcy arose that has by now been the subject of laborious attempts at disruption.

In the second part, I aim to point out the effects of this situation on the formation of priests and on the lives of priests.

Finally, in the third part, I would like to develop some perspectives for a proper response on the part of the Church.


I.
(1) The matter begins with the state-prescribed and supported introduction of children and youths into the nature of sexuality. In Germany, the then-Minister of Health, Ms. (Käte) Strobel, had a film made in which everything that had previously not been allowed to be shown publicly, including sexual intercourse, was now shown for the purpose of education. What at first was only intended for the sexual education of young people consequently was widely accepted as a feasible option.

Similar effects were achieved by the “Sexkoffer” published by the Austrian government [A controversial ‘suitcase’ of sex education materials used in Austrian schools in the late 1980s]. Sexual and pornographic movies then became a common occurrence, to the point that they were screened at newsreel theaters [Bahnhofskinos].

I still remember seeing, as I was walking through the city of Regensburg one day, crowds of people lining up in front of a large cinema, something we had previously only seen in times of war, when some special allocation was to be hoped for. I also remember arriving in the city on Good Friday in the year 1970 and seeing all the billboards plastered up with a large poster of two completely naked people in a close embrace.

Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.

The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers. And since the clothing of that time equally provoked aggression, school principals also made attempts at introducing school uniforms with a view to facilitating a climate of learning. Part of the physiognomy of the Revolution of ‘68 was that pedophilia was then also diagnosed as allowed and appropriate.

For the young people in the Church, but not only for them, this was in many ways a very difficult time. I have always wondered how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications. The extensive collapse of the next generation of priests in those years and the very high number of laicizations were a consequence of all these developments.

(2) At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society. I will try to outline briefly the trajectory of this development.

Until the Second Vatican Council, Catholic moral theology was largely founded on natural law, while Sacred Scripture was only cited for background or substantiation. In the Council’s struggle for a new understanding of Revelation, the natural law option was largely abandoned, and a moral theology based entirely on the Bible was demanded.

I still remember how the Jesuit faculty in Frankfurt trained a highly gifted young Father (Bruno Schüller) with the purpose of developing a morality based entirely on Scripture. Father Schüller’s beautiful dissertation shows a first step towards building a morality based on Scripture. Father Schüller was then sent to America for further studies and came back with the realization that from the Bible alone, morality could not be expressed systematically. He then attempted a more pragmatic moral theology, without being able to provide an answer to the crisis of morality.

In the end, it was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed. While the old phrase “the end justifies the means” was not confirmed in this crude form, its way of thinking had become definitive. Consequently, there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative value judgments. There no longer was the (absolute) good, but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances.

The crisis of the justification and presentation of Catholic morality reached dramatic proportions in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. On January 5, 1989, the “Cologne Declaration”, signed by 15 Catholic professors of theology, was published. It focused on various crisis points in the relationship between the episcopal magisterium and the task of theology.

(Reactions to) this text, which at first did not extend beyond the usual level of protests, very rapidly grew into an outcry against the Magisterium of the Church and mustered, audibly and visibly, the global protest potential against the expected doctrinal texts of John Paul II (cf. D. Mieth, Kölner Erklärung, LThK, VI3, p. 196) [LTHK is the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, a German-language "Lexicon of Theology and the Church”, whose editors included Karl Rahner and Cardinal Walter Kasper.]

Pope John Paul II, who knew very well the situation of moral theology and followed it closely, commissioned work on an encyclical that would set these things right again. It was published under the title Veritatis splendor on August 6, 1993, and it triggered vehement backlashes on the part of moral theologians. Before it, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” already had persuasively presented, in a systematic fashion, morality as proclaimed by the Church.

I shall never forget how then-leading German moral theologian Franz Böckle, who, having returned to his native Switzerland after his retirement, announced in view of the possible decisions of the encyclical Veritatis splendor that if the encyclical should determine that there were actions which were always and under all circumstances to be classified as evil, he would challenge it with all the resources at his disposal.

It was God, the Merciful, that spared him from having to put his resolution into practice; Böckle died on July 8, 1991. The encyclical was published on August 6, 1993, and did indeed include the determination that there were actions that can never become good.
The pope was fully aware of the importance of this decision at that moment and for this part of his text, he had once again consulted leading specialists who did not take part in the editing of the encyclical. He knew that he must leave no doubt about the fact that the moral calculus involved in balancing goods must respect a final limit.

There are goods that are never subject to trade-offs. There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is (about) more than mere physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life.

Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence. The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated by Böckle and many others shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.

In moral theology, however, another question had meanwhile become pressing: The hypothesis that the Magisterium of the Church should have final competence (infallibility) only in matters concerning the faith itself gained widespread acceptance; (in this view) questions concerning morality should not fall within the scope of infallible decisions of the Magisterium of the Church.

There is probably something right about this hypothesis that warrants further discussion. But there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life.

All this makes apparent just how fundamentally the authority of the Church in matters of morality is called into question. Those who deny the Church a final teaching competence in this area force her to remain silent precisely where the boundary between truth and lies is at stake.

Independently of this question, in many circles of moral theology, the hypothesis was expounded that the Church does not and cannot have her own morality. The argument being that all moral hypotheses would also know parallels in other religions, and therefore a Christian property of morality could not exist. But the question of the unique nature of a biblical morality is not answered by the fact that for every single sentence somewhere, a parallel can also be found in other religions. Rather, it is about the whole of biblical morality, which as such is new and different from its individual parts.

The moral doctrine of Holy Scripture has its uniqueness ultimately predicated in its cleaving to the image of God, in faith in the one God who showed himself in Jesus Christ and who lived as a human being. The Decalogue is an application of the biblical faith in God to human life. The image of God and morality belong together and thus result in the particular change of the Christian attitude towards the world and human life. Moreover, Christianity has been described from the beginning with the word hodós (Greek for a road, in the New Testament often used in the sense of a path of progress).

Faith is a journey and a way of life. In the old Church, the catechumenate was created as a habitat against an increasingly demoralized culture, in which the distinctive and fresh aspects of the Christian way of life were practiced and at the same time protected from the common way of life. I think that even today something like catechumenal communities are necessary so that Christian life can assert itself in its own way.

II.
Initial Ecclesial Reactions
(1) The long-prepared and ongoing process of dissolution of the Christian concept of morality was, as I have tried to show, marked by an unprecedented radicalism in the 1960s. This dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church necessarily had to have an effect on the diverse areas of the Church.

In the context of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences from all over the world with Pope Francis, the question of priestly life, as well as that of seminaries, is of particular interest. As regards the problem of preparation for priestly ministry in seminaries, there is in fact a far-reaching breakdown of the previous form of this preparation.

In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries. In one seminary in southern Germany, candidates for the priesthood and candidates for the lay ministry of the pastoral specialist (Pastoralreferent) lived together. At the common meals, seminarians and pastoral specialists ate together, the married among the laymen sometimes accompanied by their wives and children, and on occasion by their girlfriends. The climate in this seminary could not provide support for preparation to the priestly vocation. The Holy See knew of such problems, without being informed precisely. As a first step, an Apostolic Visitation was arranged of seminaries in the United States.

As the criteria for the selection and appointment of bishops had also been changed after the Second Vatican Council, the relationship of bishops to their seminaries was very different, too. Above all, a criterion for the appointment of new bishops was now their “conciliarity,” which of course could be understood to mean rather different things.

Indeed, in many parts of the Church, conciliar attitudes were understood to mean having a critical or negative attitude towards the hitherto existing tradition, which was now to be replaced by a new, radically open relationship with the world.

One bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith.

There were — not only in the United States of America — individual bishops who rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole and sought to bring about a kind of new, modern “Catholicity” in their dioceses. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unsuitable for the priesthood. My books were hidden away, like bad literature, and only read under the desk.

The Visitation that now took place brought no new insights, apparently because various powers had joined forces to conceal the true situation. A second Visitation was ordered and brought considerably more insights, but on the whole failed to achieve any outcomes. Nonetheless, since the 1970s the situation in seminaries has generally improved. And yet, only isolated cases of a new strengthening of priestly vocations came about as the overall situation had taken a different turn.

(2) The question of pedophilia, as I recall, did not become acute until the second half of the 1980s. In the meantime, it had already become a public issue in the U.S., such that the bishops in Rome sought help, since canon law, as it is written in the new (1983) Code, did not seem sufficient for taking the necessary measures.

Rome and the Roman canonists at first had difficulty with these concerns; in their opinion the temporary suspension from priestly office had to be sufficient to bring about purification and clarification. This could not be accepted by the American bishops, because the priests thus remained in the service of the bishop, and thereby could be taken to be (still) directly associated with him. Only slowly, a renewal and deepening of the deliberately loosely constructed criminal law of the new Code began to take shape.

In addition, however, there was a fundamental problem in the perception of criminal law. Only so-called guarantorism (a kind of procedural protectionism), was still regarded as “conciliar.” This means that above all the rights of the accused had to be guaranteed, to an extent that factually excluded any conviction at all. As a counterweight against the often-inadequate defense options available to accused theologians, their right to defense by way of guarantorism was extended to such an extent that convictions were hardly possible.

Allow me a brief excursus at this point. In light of the scale of pedophilic misconduct, a word of Jesus has again come to attention which says: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

The phrase “the little ones” in the language of Jesus means the common believers who can be confounded in their faith by the intellectual arrogance of those who think they are clever. So here Jesus protects the deposit of the faith with an emphatic threat of punishment to those who do it harm.

The modern use of the sentence is not in itself wrong, but it must not obscure the original meaning. In that meaning, it becomes clear, contrary to any guarantorism, that it is not only the right of the accused that is important and requires a guarantee. Great goods such as the Faith are equally important.

A balanced canon law that corresponds to the whole of Jesus’s message must therefore not only provide a guarantee for the accused, the respect for whom is a legal good. It must also protect the Faith, which is also an important legal asset. A properly formed canon law must therefore contain a double guarantee — legal protection of the accused, legal protection of the good at stake.

If today one puts forward this inherently clear conception, one generally falls on deaf ears when it comes to the question of the protection of the Faith as a legal good. In the general awareness of the law, the Faith no longer appears to have the rank of a good requiring protection. This is an alarming situation which must be considered and taken seriously by the pastors of the Church.

I would now like to add, to the brief notes on the situation of priestly formation at the time of the public outbreak of the crisis, a few remarks regarding the development of canon law in this matter.

In principle, the Congregation of the Clergy is responsible for dealing with crimes committed by priests. But since guarantorism dominated the situation to a large extent at the time, I agreed with Pope John Paul II that it was appropriate to assign the competence for these offences to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the title Delicta maiora contra fidem [major rimes against the faith].

This arrangement also made it possible to impose the maximum penalty, i.e., expulsion from the clergy, which could not have been imposed under other legal provisions. This was not a trick to be able to impose the maximum penalty, but is a consequence of the importance of the Faith for the Church. In fact, it is important to see that such misconduct by clerics ultimately damages the Faith.

Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible. The severity of the punishment, however, also presupposes a clear proof of the offense — this aspect of guarantorism remains in force.

In other words, in order to impose the maximum penalty lawfully, a genuine criminal process is required. But both the dioceses and the Holy See were overwhelmed by such a requirement. We therefore formulated a minimum level of criminal proceedings and left open the possibility that the Holy See itself would take over the trial where the diocese or the metropolitan administration is unable to do so. In each case, the trial would have to be reviewed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to guarantee the rights of the accused. Finally, in the Feria IV (i.e., the assembly of the members of the Congregation), we established an appeal instance in order to provide for the possibility of an appeal.

Because all of this actually went beyond the capacities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and because delays arose which had to be prevented owing to the nature of the matter, Pope Francis has undertaken further reforms.

III.
(1) What must be done? Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed. Only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way. So let us first try to understand anew and from within (ourselves) what the Lord wants, and has wanted with us.

First, I would suggest the following: If we really wanted to summarize very briefly the content of the Faith as laid down in the Bible, we might do so by saying that the Lord has initiated a narrative of love with us and wants to subsume all creation in it. The counterforce against evil, which threatens us and the whole world, can ultimately only consist in our entering into this love. It is the real counterforce against evil.

The power of evil arises from our refusal to love God. He who entrusts himself to the love of God is redeemed. Our being not redeemed is a consequence of our inability to love God. Learning to love God is therefore the path of human redemption.

Let us now try to unpack this essential content of God’s revelation a little more. We might then say that the first fundamental gift that Faith offers us is the certainty that God exists.

A world without God can only be a world without meaning. For where, then, does everything that is come from? In any case, it has no spiritual purpose. It is somehow simply there and has neither any goal nor any sense. Then there are no standards of good or evil. Then only what is stronger than the other can assert itself. Power is then the only principle. Truth does not count, it actually does not exist. Only if things have a spiritual reason, are intended and conceived — only if there is a Creator God who is good and wants the good — can the life of man also have meaning.

That there is God as creator and as the measure of all things is first and foremost a primordial need. But a God who would not express Himself at all, who would not make Himself known, would remain a presumption and could thus not determine the form (Gestalt) of our life.

For God to be really God in this deliberate creation, we must look to Him to express Himself in some way. He has done so in many ways, but decisively in the call that went to Abraham whch has given people in search of God the orientation that leads beyond all expectation: God Himself becomes creature, speaks as man with us human beings.

In this way the sentence “God is” ultimately turns into a truly joyous message, precisely because He is more than understanding, because He creates – and is – love. To once more make people aware of this is the first and fundamental task entrusted to us by the Lord.

A society without God — a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent — is a society that loses its measure. In our day, the catchphrase of God’s death was coined. When God does die in a society, it becomes free, we were assured.

In reality, the death of God in a society also means the end of freedom, because what dies is the purpose that provides orientation. And because the compass disappears that points us in the right direction by teaching us to distinguish good from evil.

Western society is a society in which God is absent in the public sphere and has nothing left to offer it. And that is why it is a society in which the measure of humanity is increasingly lost. At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.

That is the case with pedophilia. It was theorized only a short time ago as quite legitimate, but it has spread further and further. And now we realize with shock that things are happening to our children and young people that threaten to destroy them. The fact that this could also spread in the Church and among priests ought to disturb us in particular.

Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. We Christians and priests also prefer not to talk about God, because this speech does not seem to be practical. After the upheaval of the Second World War, we in Germany had still expressly placed our Constitution under the responsibility to God as a guiding principle. Half a century later, it was no longer possible to include responsibility to God as a guiding principle in the European constitution. God is regarded as the party concern of a small group and can no longer stand as the guiding principle for the community as a whole. This decision reflects the situation in the West, where God has become the private affair of a minority.

A paramount task, which must result from the moral upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto Him. Above all, we ourselves must learn again to recognize God as the foundation of our life instead of leaving Him aside as a somehow ineffective phrase. I will never forget the warning that the great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once wrote to me on one of his letter cards. “Do not presuppose the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but present them!”

Indeed, in theology God is often taken for granted as a matter of course, but concretely one does not deal with Him. The theme of God seems so unreal, so far removed from the things that concern us. And yet everything becomes different if one does not presuppose but present God. Not somehow leaving Him in the background, but recognizing Him as the center of our thoughts, words and actions.

(2) God became man for us. Man as His creature is so close to His heart that He has united himself with him and has thus entered human history in a very practical way. He speaks with us, He lives with us, He suffers with us and He took death upon Himself for us. We talk about this in detail in theology, with learned words and thoughts. But it is precisely in this way that we run the risk of becoming masters of faith instead of being renewed and mastered by the Faith.

Let us consider this with regard to a central issue, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern. The Second Vatican Council was rightly focused on returning this sacrament of the Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the Presence of His Person, of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, to the center of Christian life and the very existence of the Church. In part, this really has come about, and we should be most grateful to the Lord for it.

And yet a rather different attitude is prevalent. What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians of today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. The Eucharist is devalued into a mere ceremonial gesture when it is taken for granted that courtesy requires Him to be offered at family celebrations or on occasions such as weddings and funerals to all those invited for family reasons.

The way people often simply receive the Holy Sacrament in communion as a matter of course shows that many see communion as a purely ceremonial gesture. Therefore, when thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another Church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament.

In conversations with victims of pedophilia, I have been made acutely aware of this first and foremost requirement. A young woman who was a (former) altar server told me that the chaplain, her superior as an altar server, always introduced the sexual abuse he was committing against her with the words: “This is my body which will be given up for you.”

It is obvious that this woman can no longer hear the very words of consecration without experiencing again all the horrific distress of her abuse. Yes, we must urgently implore the Lord for forgiveness, and first and foremost we must swear by Him and ask Him to teach us all anew to understand the greatness of His suffering, His sacrifice. And we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.

(3) And finally, there is the Mystery of the Church. The sentence with which Romano Guardini, almost 100 years ago, expressed the joyful hope that was instilled in him and many others, remains unforgotten: “An event of incalculable importance has begun; the Church is awakening in souls.”

He meant to say that no longer was the Church experienced and perceived as merely an external system entering our lives, as a kind of authority, but rather it began to be perceived as being present within people’s hearts — as something not merely external, but internally moving us. About half a century later, in reconsidering this process and looking at what had been happening, I felt tempted to reverse the sentence: “The Church is dying in souls.”

Indeed, the Church today is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus. One speaks of it almost exclusively in political categories, and this applies even to bishops, who formulate their conception of the church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms. The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, urges us to regard the Church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign. But a self-made Church cannot constitute hope.

Jesus Himself compared the Church to a fishing net in which good and bad fish are ultimately separated by God Himself. There is also the parable of the Church as a field on which the good grain that God Himself has sown grows, but also the weeds that “an enemy” secretly sown onto it.

Indeed, the weeds in God’s field, the Church, are excessively visible, and the evil fish in the net also show their strength. Nevertheless, the field is still God’s field and the net is God’s fishing net. And at all times, there are not only the weeds and the evil fish, but also the crops of God and the good fish. To proclaim both with emphasis is not a false form of apologetics, but a necessary service to the Truth.

In this context it is necessary to refer to an important text in the Revelation of St. John. The devil is identified as the accuser who accuses our brothers before God day and night (Revelation 12:10). St. John’s Apocalypse thus takes up a thought from the center of the framing narrative in the Book of Job (Job 1 and 2, 10; 42:7-16). In that book, the devil sought to talk down the righteousness of Job before God as being merely external. And exactly this is what the Apocalypse has to say: The devil wants to prove that there are no righteous people; that all righteousness of people is only displayed on the outside. If one could hew closer to a person, then the appearance of his justice would quickly fall away.

The narrative in Job begins with a dispute between God and the devil, in which God had referred to Job as a truly righteous man. He is now to be used as an example to test who is right. Take away his possessions and you will see that nothing remains of his piety, the devil argues. God allows him this attempt, from which Job emerges positively. Now the devil pushes on and he says: “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 2:4f)

God grants the devil a second turn. He may also touch the skin of Job. Only killing Job is denied to him. For Christians it is clear that this Job, who stands before God as an example for all mankind, is Jesus Christ. In St. John’s Apocalypse the drama of humanity is presented to us in all its breadth.

The Creator God is confronted with the devil who speaks ill of all mankind and all creation. He says, not only to God but above all to people: Look at what this God has done. Supposedly a good creation, but in reality full of misery and disgust. That disparagement of creation is really a disparagement of God. It wants to prove that God Himself is not good, and thus to turn us away from Him.

The timeliness of what the Apocalypse is telling us here is obvious. Today, the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing His Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. No, even today the Church is not just made up of bad fish and weeds. The Church of God also exists today, and today it is the very instrument through which God saves us.

It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth: Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible. Today there are many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us. Today God also has His witnesses (martyres) in the world. We just have to be vigilant in order to see and hear them.

The word martyr is taken from procedural law. In the trial against the devil, Jesus Christ is the first and actual witness for God, the first martyr, who has since been followed by countless others.

Today’s Church is more than ever a “Church of the Martyrs” and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of Faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.

I live in a house, in a small community of people who discover such witnesses of the living God again and again in everyday life and who joyfully point this out to me as well. To see and find the living Church is a wonderful task which strengthens us and makes us joyful in our Faith time and again.

At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!

Forgive me, Your Holiness, but I really find this last sentence gratuitous and completely unnecessary - unless you meant to be ironic, if not directly sarcastic - especially in the light of your criticisms in the body of the essay about the Church today being perceived as no more than a political apparatus, and against creating 'a new church' in response to the abuse crisis. That last sentence could have been omitted totally because it really has nothing to do with your arguments.

If your successor 'shows the light of God' at all, it is because he has to appear to be doing so - occasionally, not again and again - just because he happens to be pope. And yet 'the light of God' is certainly absent from all of his questionable statements and actions.

With that unnecessary last sentence, you have just given all your detractors - who will certainly not read it as irony - all the ammunition they will ever need to defame you indefinitely, not just for having made the Bergoglio pontificate possible with your resignation, but for being really one with him in spirit.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, April 12, 2019 12:30 AM
AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS?


I googled the President of South Sudan right away to check if he had done anything or had anything done to him to merit such a papal obeisance, which this pope does not even render to the Body and Blood of our Lord during the solemn act of Consecration at Mass. If anyone finds something, please let me know, because I didn’t.

This story comes just a few days after Fr Hunwicke chose to excuse Jorge Bergoglio for this habitual omission at Consecration (also habitually omitted at any papal liturgy honoring the Blessed Sacrament). On the grounds that the pope may have a valid physical reason for not doing so because he himself, Fr.H, though 10 years younger than the pope, only approximates a genuflection at Consecration (he bends his knee as if to genuflect but does not lower his body all the way down so that the knee touches the floor) because of age-related impairment.

But PF does not even do that, as we saw in the close-up Consecration sequence filmed when he said Mass recently at the Holy House of Loreto. In the past, CTV cameras carefully panned away to the congregation or something else to avoid showing the pope not genuflecting at Consecration.

Strangely, however, Fr H appears to have forgotten that for the past six years since he became pope (and probably several more years before that when he was in Argentina), Jorge Bergoglio has had no apparent difficulty whatsoever in kneeling down 12 times in succession to wash, dry and kiss the feet of whoever his chosen objects of token service are for the day.

Maybe he does not believe in the Real Presence at Consecration and at Benediction and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, because why else would he kneel in front of living persons and but not for the Eucharist? [Incidentally, here is one major reason why the traditional Mass is anathema to Jorge Bergoglio: How could he possibly carry out all the kneeling and bowing to the unseen Lord in the tabernacle and to the consecrated Bread and Wine that is called for while celebrating the usus antiquior?]

And no, the President of South Sudan is not a nonagenarian Italian priest who has spent his life advocating for homosexuals and their lifestyle, as someone whose ring and hand Bergoglio bent to kiss in veneration after a Mass concelebrated at the Casa Santa Marta chapel.

One could well remark that at least PF is not being a hypocrite in consistently failing to reverence the Eucharist as priests are expected to do, but we cannot argue that because he also consistently kneels at will to reverence some humans. So why not the Eucharist? Maybe this is explained in one of those 11 booklets on Jorge Bergoglio's theology that Mons. Dario Vigano sought in vain to have Benedict XVI endorse?


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, April 12, 2019 3:56 PM
Benedict’s powerful message —
and the bid to suppress it

By Phil Lawler

April 11, 2019

After six years of public silence, broken only by a few mild personal comments, Pope-emeritus Benedict has spoken out dramatically, with a 6,000-word essay on sexual abuse that has been described as a sort of post-papal encyclical. Clearly the retired Pontiff felt compelled to write: to say things that were not being said. Benedict thought the subject was too important to allow for his continued silence.

Vatican communications officials thought differently, it seems. Benedict’s essay became public on Wednesday night, but on Thursday morning there was no mention of the extraordinary statement in the Vatican’s news outlets. (Later in the day the Vatican News service issued a report summarizing Benedict’s essay; it appeared “below the fold” on the Vatican News web page, below a headline story on relief efforts for cyclone victims in Mozambique.)

For that matter it is noteworthy that the former Pope’s statement was not published by a Vatican outlet in the first place; it first appeared in the German Klerusblatt and the Italian secular newspaper Corriere della Sera, along with English translations by the Catholic News Agency and National Catholic Register.

Benedict reports that he consulted with Pope Francis before publishing the essay. He does not say that the current Pope encouraged his writing, and it is difficult to imagine that Pope Francis was enthusiastic about his predecessor’s work on this issue.

The two Popes, past and present, are miles apart in their analysis of the sex-abuse scandal. Nowhere does Benedict mention the “clericalism” that Pope Francis has cited as the root cause of the problem, and rarely has Pope Francis mentioned the moral breakdown that Benedict blames for the scandal.

The silence of the official Vatican media is a clear indication that Benedict’s essay has not found a warm welcome at the St. Martha residence. Even more revealing is the frantic reaction of the Pope’s most ardent supporters, who have flooded the internet with their embarrassed protests, their complaints that Benedict is sadly mistaken when he suggests that the social and ecclesiastical uproar of the 1960s gave rise to the epidemic of abuse.

Those protests against Benedict — the mock-sorrowful sighs that we all know sexual abuse is not a function of rampant sexual immorality — should be seen as signals to the secular media. And secular outlets, sympathetic to the causes of the sexual revolution, will duly carry the message that Benedict is out of touch, that his thesis has already been disproven.

But facts, as John Adams observed, are stubborn things. And the facts testify unambiguously in Benedict’s favor. Something happened in the 1960s and thereafter to precipitate a rash of clerical abuse. Yes, the problem had arisen in the past. But every responsible survey has shown a stunning spike in clerical abuse, occurring just after the tumult that Benedict describes in his essay.

Granted, the former Pontiff has not proven, with apodictic certainty, that the collapse of Catholic moral teaching led to clerical abuse. But to dismiss his thesis airily, as if it had been tested and rejected, is downright dishonest.

Facts are facts, no matter who proclaims them. The abuse crisis did arise in the muddled aftermath of Vatican II. Benedict puts forward a theory to explain why that happened. His theory is not congenial to the ideas of liberal Catholic intellectuals, but that fact does not excuse their attempt to suppress a discussion, to deny basic realities. (Come to think of it, this is not the first time that the public defenders of Pope Francis have encouraged the public to ignore facts, to entertain the possibility that 2+2=5.)

That message — the message of Pope-emeritus Benedict — is a striking departure from the messages that have been issued by so many Church leaders. The former Pope does not write about “policies and procedures;” he does not suggest a technical or legalistic solution to a moral problem. On the contrary he insists that we focus our attention entirely on that moral problem and then move on to a solution which must also, necessarily, be found in the moral realm.

As background for his message, Benedict recalls the 1960s, when “an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history.” He writes about the breakdown in public morality, which was unfortunately accompanied by the “dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church.” This combination of events left the Church largely defenseless, he says.

In an unsparing analysis, Benedict writes of the problems in priestly formation, as “homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in seminaries.” He acknowledges that a visitation of American seminaries produced no major improvements. He charges that some bishops “rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole.”

He sees the turmoil as a fundamental challenge to the essence of the faith, observing that if there are no absolute truths — no eternal verities for which one might willingly give one’s life — then the concept of Christian martyrdom seems absurd. He writes: “The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated [by liberal Catholic theologians] shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.”

“A world without God can only be a world without meaning,” Benedict warns. “Power is then the only principle.” In such a world, how can society guard against those who use their powers over others for self-gratification? “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” Benedict asks. He answers: “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”

It is by restoring the presence of God, then, that Benedict suggests the Church must respond to this unprecedented crisis. He connects the breakdown in morality with a lack of reverence in worship, “a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery.” Mourning the grotesque ways in which predatory priests have blasphemed the Blessed Sacrament, he writes that “we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.”

In short Pope-emeritus Benedict draws the connection between the lack of reverence for God and the lack of appreciation for human dignity—between the abuse of liturgy and the abuse of children. Faithful Catholics should recognize the logic and force of that message. And indeed Benedict voices his confidence that the most loyal sons and daughters of the Church will work are already working — toward the renewal he awaits:

If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering.


Still the renewal will not come easily; it will entail suffering. For Benedict, that suffering will include the waves of hostility that his essay has provoked, the dismissive attitude of much lesser theologians, the campaign to write him off as an elderly crank.

No doubt the former Pope anticipated the opposition that his essay would encounter. He chose to “send out a strong message” anyway, because suffering for the truth is a powerful form of Christian witness.


Benedict’s analysis:
What impressed me most

by Jeff Mirus

April 11, 2019

There are several things which I found particularly intriguing about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s analysis of the roots of the contemporary Church’s problem with clerical sexual abuse. And there is one thing that I found most impressive going forward.

First, it was both intriguing and gratifying to me that Benedict locates the particular cultural roots of the abuse problem in the massive cultural shift of the 1960s. That’s gratifying because I have long argued that the crisis in the Church that exploded in the second half of the twentieth century was primarily the result of the collision of a Church in intense need of interior renewal prior to that period with an enormous historical-cultural circumstance —namely, that the long slow secularization of Western culture finally reached the point, in the period following World War II, when that culture no longer recognized the reasons for the public moral restraint which had mostly characterized the West in the past.

The result was that in the matter of a few years — the 1960s — the sexual taboos were swept away, not in terms of private avoidance, which had long since generally disappeared, but in terms of a vanishing public “respectability”. This was a game-changer for a Church that was thoroughly entwined among the respectable institutions of the West and far too dependent on the surrounding dominant culture for its public posture of righteousness.

The result was that when this massive public cultural shift occurred, bishops and priests very often simply continued to follow the dominant culture from which they tended to take their cues. It is precisely this analysis, for example, which explains why Modernism was frequently underground in Catholic universities in the first half of the twentieth century, only to burst into brazen dominance almost overnight.

Second, I found it very intriguing to see how much Pope Benedict knew about the problems in the Church. Sometimes faithful priests and laity wondered whether Rome really knew how bad things were, say, in the 1970s and 1980s, considering how little public acknowledgement and public discipline there was.

The tip-off for me was the Pope Emeritus’s admission that the first American seminary visitation was pretty much a failure because so much had been hidden (even though things did get better over time partly as a result).

He also remembered key details, such as that “one bishop, who had previously been seminary rector, had arranged for the seminarians to be shown pornographic films, allegedly with the intention of thus making them resistant to behavior contrary to the faith”. This was Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, Michigan — who was, almost inconceivably, appointed over the well-justified opposition of faithful laity.

The third thing that intrigued me was a matter about which I was almost completely ignorant. Pope Emeritus Benedict discusses the inadequacy of the 1983 Code of Canon Law when it came to the ability to investigate, judge and impose significant ecclesiastical sanctions on wayward priests. It was partly this that led to Pope John Paul II’s decision to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of the investigation of clerical abuse, for apparently only violations under the authority of the CDF could, as a matter of normal course, result in expulsion from the priesthood.

Various revisions to the Code have been made since that time, but it is pretty obvious that the Church’s codified judicial processes can still be difficult to use effectively in at least some situations. The portions of Benedict’s analysis which touch on Canon Law are very interesting indeed.

What impressed me most, however, is what has always impressed me most about Pope Benedict and, indeed, Cardinal Ratzinger as was — namely, his wonderful spiritual depth. Pope Emeritus Benedict knows that the root crisis, not only for clerical abuse but for the entire problem of Catholic secularization, is the profound absence of God in the minds and hearts of far too may Catholics. He explores this problem in theology, in liturgy, even in the spiritual life, and he has much to say about it. But put generally, the main point is this:

A paramount task, which must result from the moral upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto Him. Above all, we ourselves must learn again to recognize God as the foundation of our life instead of leaving Him aside as a somehow ineffective phrase.


The entire text of The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse is fairly brief, only about five times the length of one of my own typical commentaries, or about seven to eight times as long as this brief introduction. Everyone should read it, not for anger and recrimination, but for greater understanding and spiritual growth.

Other than the 'headline' that canon212.com not surprisingly made of it, I am happy to note I seem to be the only one who has cavilled at the final sentence in Benedict XVI's essay, other than a 'headline' in canon212.com. Mine is out of an excess of concern that, as I daily pray, Joseph Ratzinger may be spared further unnecessary controversy subjecting him to more than the opprobrium he already gets from outspoken orthodox Catholics who blame him for Bergoglio.

It seems one can classify the reactions to his essay broadly into four groups:
1) those who approve of the entire essay unconditionally such as the two commentators above of catholicculture.org [and those who might be called Ratzingerian among Italian Vaticanistas today - Antonio Socci, Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli and Riccardo Cascioli, whose eactions I have yet to translate]
2) those who approve partly, but fault Benedict for being 'incomplete' in many ways (e.g., Carl Olson of Catholic World Report) chiefly by failing to address specific issues such as homosexuality in the clergy and how to deal with bishops who condone and/or cover up clerical sex abuse. Yet B16 himself describes his essay as 'notes' he made in the wake of the February 2019 Vatican summit, which was supposed to deal with those specific issues but did not. B16's notes, though far more organized and coherent than even his successor's formal documents, are far from constituting a post-papal 'encyclical' - which would necessarily be far more encompassing - as some admirers have described it. More importantly, he studiously avoids giving the impression that he still has anything to do with the governance of the Church as he would if he made any 'practical' recommendations on specific issues.
3) those who claim it says nothing new nor adds anything to the discussion (e.g., Steve Skojec of 1Peter5), namely, those who have also dismissed Benedict XVI as totally worthless and irredeemable, because 'it is unforgivable' that any pope should resign [Would they say that if Jorge Bergoglio ever resigned???] consigning him to a circle of Dante's Hell for having resigned and made it possible for Bergoglio to be pope, and
4) the Bergoglio courtiers who would never find anything good to say anyway about any pope but Bergoglio (and his forerunner, Paul VI).

P.S. And then there's someone like Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant - one of those 'traditionalists' who consider Benedict's resignation as 'disastrous' and will forever hold that against him - but who does find 'some merit' in the former Pope's April 11 'notes' and does not seem to share the anti-Benedict progressivist view - which is really preposterous - that the Emeritus Pope has no business writing anything like this at all because he is being divisive and setting himself against the reigning pope.

So, you see, Benedict's to-me-very-problematic last sentence in the article was something they decided to ignore either because they recognize it as irony, or saw it as mere window dressing to hide the criticisms of his successor implied by much of the truths of the faith Benedict reiterates here, as he has always done throughout his life in the Church.

Moreover, just because he resigned as Pope does not deprive him of his Canon 212, Section 3 right and duty to speak out when the faith is threatened, something he manages to do in this article without having to go ad hominem, literally, if only because he does not have to, since everyone, friend or foe, knows exactly what applies to those positions fervently held in this pontificate.



Benedict XVI speaks
(Despite the wolves)

by Michael J. Matt
Editor

April 12, 2019

Benedict XVI’s April letter on the crisis in the Church is not easily critiqued or, indeed, categorized. First of all, he’s not the pope, and so it's natural for one to wonder what the point of the exercise actually was. [The point of the 'exercise' is to reiterate to the faithful that the Church as a whole, in its visible components from the pope down, needs to return to God and put him once more in the center of our lives, not as a mere token one refers to once in a while to lend a semblance of righteousness to what we say and do. One does not need to be pope to do that, but it helps if it comes from an ex-pope who knows and lives whereof he speaks.]

On the other hand, as Francis continues to severely undermine what’s left of the Catholic Church, should Benedict be faulted for trying to do something meaningful in the face a crisis no one in Rome seems ready to even adequately address, much less seriously confront?

If Benedict’s intervention is to be evaluated on the basis of the gush of vitriol it received from his liberal critics, it certainly can't be all bad.

“Embarrassingly wrong”, screams the USA Today headline. “Benedict blasted for blaming homosexuality, sexual revolution for church abuse crisis”, claims columnist John Bacon.

Here’s the problem for the Cupich types: Benedict did the very thing the Vatican went to great lengths not to do during the recent sham summit on clerical sexual abuse — he brought up the “H” word:

"In various seminaries, homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”

[Of course, Skojec and the entire holier-than-Benedict brigade mock him for having used the word only once in the 6,000-word essay. But homosexuality in the clergy and the resultant sex abuses it fueled is only one of the severe manifestations of the virtual absence of God from Christian life today. The analysis was not meant to tackle the specific issues that the February summit avoided - imagine the extent and the decibel level of the protests against him if he had done that: "Shut up, you're no longer pope, and how dare you set yourself up as a one-man council against the work that was done by the pope and 350 bishops from around the world" - but to underscore how, in being fixated on specific issues, even the most well-meaning of Catholics misses the broad picture and forgets to put God in it at all.]

It’s no wonder the Lefties — in the Church and out — are seeing red. The former Pope Benedict XVI was supposed to shut up and say his prayers after the bizarre 2013 abdication. But now he's out there claiming that homosexuality in the priesthood fueled the crisis.

Way to go, Your Emeritusness! That's a finger in the eyes of a lot of powerful people, including the three amigos (Blase, Jimmy and Jorge).

But that's not all. The former Pope dared to suggest that the Church of Vatican II was “ill-equipped to combat the crisis,” and that a “crisis of supernatural faith” was at work in the Church in the late 1960s which had come about from the “absence of God”.

The “absence of God”… in the immediate aftermath of the bestest, greatestest and most awesomest Council in the history of the Church? Impossible!

Benedict’s intervention was “neither accurate nor helpful”, scolds former CNS reporter, John Thavis: "When a retired pope issues statements on these kinds of issues, it undercuts the efforts of the current pope." [But just what was wrong with the statements - other than Mr Thavis's objections to a retired pope speaking his mind while not neglecting to 'genuflect' before the reigning pope with a cringeworthy hosannah if that was what it took to be 'permitted' to publish his notes? Undercuts the current pope's efforts in what way? By restating certain truths of the faith? Bergoglio should be thankful Benedict is doing it while he, the reigning pope, prioritizes UN development goals and the virtual delivering of Europe to Islam.]

You’ve got us there, Mr. Thavis. In fact, if the former pope is truly “undercutting the efforts of the current pope,” perhaps we should all get down on our knees and pray he picks up his pen more often.

This will only “divide the Church,” whines Andrew Chesnut, chair of the Catholic Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University, “at a time when Francis has been calling for unity.” Indeed! But, then again, who is he to judge?

And Fordham’s David Gibson called Benedict’s letter "deeply problematic and damaging at a crucial time", adding that “he is not the Pope. Just acting like one.” [Gibson, who capitalized on Benedict XVI's election as pope in 2005 to put out a most unflattering biography of the then-new pope, without ever talking to Joseph Ratzinger, on the basis of having worked at Vatican Radio for a number of years - never agreed with anything Benedict XVI said or did when he was pope. He has even more reason to be 'disapproving' now.]

Well, somebody has to!

Nothing new here. The Left will always pitch a hissy fit whenever someone in clerical attire says something even remotely Catholic. These are the same folks, by the way, who lost their collective mind when the “archconservative”, staunch “traditionalist”, one-time peritus at Vatican II ascended the throne of Peter in the first place.

Ratzinger believed in God and the Church's moral authority, which for some of these folks made "God's Rottweiler" nothing less than an insufferable "rad trad".

So, what are we to make of it all? Well, it’s Benedict, which means it’s a little of this and a little of that. [I think this is the first time I have ever read anyone characterize Benedict's thinking or writing as 'a little of this and little of that', as if the man recognized by many authoritative Catholic and secular intellectuals as the greatest living mind in the Church of the late 20th century and the start of the 21st century we no better than a dilettante or amateur dabbler!]

Some of it reads like the words of a kindly and sincere old man attempting to convince himself of something of which he's no longer quite so sure. His is a genuine attempt to address the root cause of the crisis in the Church, obviously, which puts him leagues ahead of his hapless successor, but he's still unwilling (or unable) to see the bare nakedness of the Council.

In some passages, Benedict shines light on the fundamental problem; while in others, the thinking of a man nearly as conflicted as the new Church he helped build comes to the fore. [The problem with all the holier-than-Benedict trads who see nothing but evil in Vatican-II is that they fail to see that as popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI had no choice but to uphold Vatican-II as they saw and interpreted it - which, as Benedict XVI rightly described it, could only be through a hermeneutic of continuity with what went before. It was a valid ecumenical council whose teachings and decisions a pope cannot change by himself because the Magisterium of an ecumenical council is superior to a pope's.

The final documents of Vatican II - the letter of the law, not the false 'spirit' the progressivists claimed and continue to claim - were such that even Mons. Marcel Lefebvre, who was a council Father, signed them, starting to protest only when the liturgy became the first victim of the progressivists. What did Michael Matt and his fellow 'rad trads' expect John Paul II and Benedict XVI to do? Unilaterally - and 'illegally' - abrogate or amend any Vatican II document they found deficient in any way? Or call a new council to 'clean up the mess'?

Benedict XVI was able to promulgate Summorum Pontificum only because the Vatican II Constitution on the Liturgy did not, in fact, abrogate the traditional Mass at all. Bear in mind this was the first Vatican document approved, at the very first session of the four-year Council. If it had provided for the abrogation of the traditional Mass, it would never have passed at all, and we would have heard from Marcel Lefebvre back in December 1962, not in 1975, when Paul VI suppressed the FSSPX that Lefebvre founded in 1970, forbidding Lefebvre from ordaining any priests, a prohibition Lefebvre ignored. But it would be 1988 before Lefebvre would defy another pope, this time John Paul II who forbade him from consecrating bishops not named by the Vatican.]


The one-time revolutionary appears to be looking back over his once-cherished Revolution with a more critical (or at least realistic) eye. He seems to be longing to rediscover the promise that Revolution once held for him, but can't quite get past the nightmare of a Church fighting for its life in a world in which God is dead.

[Joseph Ratzinger was always realistic about Vatican II and how it had been hijacked during the Council by the progressivists who used the media to foist 'the Council of the media' on public opinion. To accuse him now of seeming to realize all this too late is to ignore THE RATZINGER REPORT, the book-length interview with Vittorio Messori in 1984, all of 35 years ago, that was his wide-ranging critique of how Vatican-II was mis-implemented and mis-interpreted by too many in the Church. A book that firmed up media depiction of him as 'God's rottweiler' and inflamed all those in the Church who felt alluded to.

Published just before the Extraordinary Synod John Paul II called to mark the 20th anniversary of the Conclusion of Vatican II, and discuss its reception by the Church thus far, it got so much publicity that Cardinal Godried Danneels, who was the relator of the synod, complained to the media at its start, "This not a synod about a book; it is a synod about a Council".

Unfortunately for all of us, although that synod produced the contemporary Catechism of the Catholic Church, necessarily incorporating the teachings of Vatican II in a way no one questioned until this pontificate, the reigning pope himself unilaterally changed the Catechism to declare the death penalty 'unacceptable' under any condition whatsoever, and the man who chaired the editorial board of the Catechism, Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna, has become a major advocate of homosexual unions, in direct opposition to what the Catechism says about homosexual acts being sinful.]


He suffers from the same kind of dilution [delusion?] that plagues many of the more conservative bishops and cardinals of that era — brought on now by years of wishful thinking, I suppose, and decades of habitually denying the obvious, and where an imaginary Second Vatican Council had to eclipse the one clearly tearing the Church apart. [See comment above! I guess Mr Matt really never heard of THE RATZINGER REPORT, much less read it.]

And so for the few men who at least will admit there's a problem, it’s always the bishops’ fault or the ‘Council of the Media' or the ‘Virtual Council'. But the Council itself is beyond reproach. Our beloved Cardinal Burke, it would seem, suffers from a similar affliction.

[Mr Matt's sarcasm is misplaced here, and like the other rad-trads of his ilk who see Vatican II as nothing but sheer unmitigated evil, they ignore that Mons. Lefebvre - whose opposition to Vatican II was the most concrete and best documented of all - took all of 23 years to consolidate his four objections to Vatican II. Four!

The first and most familiar was not an objection to the Vatican II document that provided the basis for a Novus Ordo, but the form this new Mass took, which went far beyond the guidelines of Sacrosanctum Concilium - a Novus Ordo that Lefebvre and the FSSPX defied from the beginning.

The other three issues are: 1) 'false' or 'aberrant' ecumenism to the detriment of Catholic mission; 2) the principle of religious liberty espoused by the Vatican-II document Dignitatis Humanae (which Leebvre voted against in the Council, but to which he signed his agreement afterwards, though he claimed that what he signed was simply an attendance sheet); and 3) the promotion of collegiality in place of strict papal supremacy.

He didn't appear to take issue with Gaudium et spes, the Pastoral Constitution on 'The Church in the Modern world', a favorite of John Paul II but a document that Joseph Ratzinger has always criticized for failing to offer an adequate definition of the "essential features that constitute the modern era". Nor with Nostra aetate, the brief document that acknowledges that other major religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism do contain something good in each of them that the Church an ought to be partners in doing things for the common temporal good. Lefebvre's successors have been far more outspoken in denouncing Nostra aetate as undermining the Church's missionary task.]

They look to the Sexual Revolution, bad bishops, wayward priests —anything other than the cold, hard fact that the fundamental problem in the Church today is the Revolution of Vatican II itself — a disastrous affair that gave rise to the most devastating crisis in the Church since the Protestant Revolt.

[Mr Matt is mixing up causes and effects, and altogether missing Benedict XVI's point that the entire climate of the 1960s was already so marked by the absence of God in modern man's reckoning that it inevitably produced the laissez-faire of an amoral me-myself-and-I-centered society bent only on the satisfaction of its desires and pleasures. That this amorality infected even men of the Church who were the ultimate implementers of Vatican II and implemented it according to the Zeitgeist of '68. A Zeitgeist that was foreshadowed in the deliberate ambiguities of some Vatican-II documents that sought a compromise between traditional conservative thinking and the progressivist worldview.]

The Council and its evil Spirit, along with its New Mass, decimated the Catholic Church, turned the priesthood into a gay profession, emptied seminaries and pews alike, and has done more to discredit the Catholic Church in the eyes of the world than all of the Protestant revolutionaries combined.

Perhaps, a Benedict well advanced in years is beginning to abandon hope of rescuing his precious Council. I don’t know...we'll likely never know. But do read his letter. See if you can make out what's between the lines, and then you make the call.

We’ve made several pull quotes out of those passages which, if nothing else, are like nothing any of us will ever hear from the lips of Pope Francis -- passages, by the way, which make Benedict’s final paragraph so astonishingly perplexing as to leave one wondering if the man's being blackmailed.

Whatever you think of it, pray for Benedict XVI. Even his mixed-bag intervention makes it clear to the careful reader that they got rid of this man for a reason. He needs our prayers, more than our criticism and derision — our prayers and our forgiveness for having indeed fled for fear of the wolves.

Only God and Joseph Ratzinger know what demons conspired against the 265th successor of St. Peter to induce him to do the disastrous thing he did.


[WHAT CONDESCENSION! I imagine Bergogliacs must have the same extreme reaction to critiques of the reigning pope by those of us in what I should call, in all fairness, the holier-than-Bergoglio brigade, as I have to the relentless broadsides by the holier-than-Benedict platoons.]

His unedited letter follows, with pull quotes to draw the reader's attention to the type of observations which were so conspicuous by their absence at Francis' Summit on clerical sexual abuse last February--a Summit which I attended and so can testify to how assiduously Francis & Co tried to avoid the very conclusions Benedict's letter, despite its obvious flaws, has now brought to the fore.

There can be little doubt that Francis had no knowledge of this letter's existence before it was released...else, surely, it would never have seen the light of day. {So, Mr Matt not only ignores or feigns not to remember THE RATZINGER REPORT, but also what Benedict XVI states in his introduction to the essay- that he cleared the project with Cardinal Parolin and through him, with the pope. Of course, we don't know if the Vatican asked to see the manuscript first before it was published so it could give an informal nihil obstat, or whether the Emeritus Pope, out of punctilious courtesy, provided the manuscript before he sent it out to be published. In any case, given the egregious presence of that last sentence in the letter, I would like to think Parolin and/or the pope read the 'notes' and found it unexceptionable because its chosen frame of reference is all in the past, even if it was written as a reaction to a recent event.

I am omitting Matt's reprint of the essay. I do not know why he keeps referring to it as a letter - it is not an encyclical nor was it meant to be nor could it be.]


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, April 13, 2019 3:07 AM
Before the day is over, I wanted to post this on her feast day today about one of the five Teresas whom, in addition to the Virgin Mary (as my
baptismal and formal name is Maria Teresa) I consider my other patron saints, in order of canonization: Teresa de Avila, Therese of Lisieux,
Teresa Benedetta della Croce (Edith Stein), Teresa de los Andes, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Carmelite from Chile is the least-known of them and the youngest.


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