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00Monday, April 15, 2019 3:24 PM

Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, Pietro Lorenzetti, 1320. Fresco, Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi.

Palm Sunday: The Passover of flowers
Sermon by the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
April 14, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

It is with a suggestive name that our forefathers called this day: Palm Sunday, or also Hosanna Sunday, and Pascha Floridum, that is to say Flowery Passover. There are now only eight days left separating us from the solemnity of solemnities, the Lord’s Passover.

Today, this holy day must first blossom before it can bear its fruit. Nature shares in our impatience. The fog and cold that went with the first days of Lent are now making way for colours, smells, the whisperings of spring. After the silence of winter, nature comes alive again. The Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, sitting on a colt, amid an enthusiastic crowd, doesn’t strike a false note in this bucolic context. What a fine forerunner to the joy of Easter!

How tempting it would be to follow Jesus on the easy path that is profiling, and which would lead us in a quiet way to our own Passover.

But Jesus did not don our humanity to receive kingship or glory in this world. What a contrast between the thoughts of men and the thought of God! Jesus does possess glory and kingship, and they come from the Father. His true glorification before men took place before a handful of disciples, a few days before, during His Transfiguration. His glorification will take place once more, for those who may understand, when He is lifted up on the Calvary.

Jesus enters Jerusalem so as to die there. It is the hour of the supreme dispossession of His humanity. It is also the hour of the crowning of His mission. It is His hour. He Who is without sin has weighed Himself down with our own sins’ burden of hatred: hatred against God, hatred against our brothers and sisters in humanity, hatred against the creation.

In His death, a supreme injustice, He doesn’t allow Himself to be overcome by hatred, but He pours out over the world an immeasurable love.

At the end of the way, after He has vanquished and crossed the gates of death, He opens up man’s misery to God’s mercy, and offers us to don a transfigured humanity.

Let us begin this Holy Week as a path of communion with Jesus, a path on which to walk in truth. If we die with Him, with Him we shall live. If we die with Him, God will recognise in us His Son’s image, and will resurrect us with Him.

How can we die with Christ? Let us die to our own sin through the sacrament of penance. Let us die to our bad habits, our steadfast hatreds. Let us convert, so as to live consistently with our faith and the promises of our baptism. Let us at all times become children of light.

Whereas the holy mysteries are nearing by, let us prepare with seriousness to the renewal of our baptismal promises. Have a Holy Week, in the school of Mary, Mater dolorosa. May the Passover flower in our souls before it bears its fruit.


00Monday, April 15, 2019 3:30 PM
Sorry - I have a raft-full of articles to translate from the Italian - Valli, Tosatti, Cascioli and even Luigi Accattoli - reacting to the dismissive and mocking reactions even by 'orthodox traditionalists' to Beneict XVI's notes on clerical sex abuse and its ultimate cause. And a couple, only a couple, of more or less positive reactions in English. But I have been overwhelmed by some writing deadlines in my day job, so I apologize for the failure to post anything new in the past two days and even today... Hope to be able to make up tonight.

No, didn't make it - but this box is reserved for the fire that damaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, in which, thanks be to God and his Mother, it appears that the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and the Crown of Thorns which is the Cathedral's most sacred relic, were promptly rescued by a chaplain aided by firemen, and that all of the significant works of art within the cathedral are reportedly undamaged. But perhaps not at least one of its great rose windows and perhaps more stained glass panels on the sides.

And the central Crucifix appears intact and resplendent in the after-fire gloom.

Once again, let us give thanks to the Lord that he has spared much of this great cathedral which will be restored for the continuing enjoyment and edification of visitors, believers and non-believers alike, as it has done for over 900 years, AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM.

Fire is such an unforgiving and devastating phenomenon when left to itself that it is small wonder almost everyone thought 'This is the end of the Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris as the world has known and heard of for almost 900 years". But minus the steeple )which was a 19th century replacement for the one destroyed by the French Revolution) and a wooden roof hat apparently had withstood the centuries, the structure stands

Here are two first reactions from French Catholics, one a priest, the other a lady journalist, to a tragic event that seemed in the first few hours to be of unmitigated devastation but which has gradually shown itself to be far from irredeemable. Again, Deo gratias!

Notre-Dame de Paris:
A Supernatural Intervention of
the Mother of God for France?

Its night of fire

by Fr. Guillaume de Menthiere
Post and English translation by

April 16, 2019

This night was not made for sleeping. At the sight of Notre-Dame in flames, emotion was too strong, sadness too intense, prayer too needed. And to think that just on the previous day I was still preaching under these millenary vaults where I had been ordained almost thirty years ago! I cannot express the sorrow that fills me when thinking of this archive of so many of our joyful memories disappearing in smoke...

Would you believe, however, that my consternation gave way quickly within me to a kind of enthralled gratefulness? Words that I have always wanted to hear seemed to spring miraculously from this deadly event. During these anguished hours, I seemed, in fact, to feel the old Gaul rooster wake up from his torpor.

How many magnificent unanimous words the media relayed in a persistent and uninterrupted way! By tourists, onlookers, journalists, politicians, churchmen, aesthetes, firemen, ... people of all ages, from all backgrounds, from all backgrounds and from all beliefs... A mysterious communion finally seemed to reign over this people of France, who in the past few months had so sadly shown the world division and fractures. This unity, which a presidential message, planned for the same evening, would probably not have succeeded in renewing, Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, was fulfilling before our stunned eyes. And what if it was once again the supernatural intervention of the Mother of God who restored to our dear and old country the rush of hope?

Of course, there is the infinite pain of seeing these desolate ruins, the irreparable loss of so many works of art, and the despondency of facing the colossal task of reconstruction. And yet, in this Holy Week, leading to the victory of Easter, Christians love again being able to say that God can bring good out of evil. This disaster is the promise and the beginning of what rebirth? Are these still smoking stones, of which the Lord told us yesterday that they would cry, if we would not hear them, calling out for a sudden change and for faith?

Father de Menthière is a priest of the Archdiocese of Paris -- he preached the Lent Conferences of Notre-Dame in 2019. His text was made available to Rorate caeli through different sources. Ms Smits, a veteran reporter and commengator on Church affairs, is the Paris correspondent for LifeSite News

Notre Dame Cathedral:
An unrepeatable treasure of faith and culture

by Jeanne Smits

April 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Paris is in shock. As I start to write, the cathedral of Notre Dame is in flames, and has been burning for two and a half hours. It is the heart and soul of Catholic France, a shrine of incredible beauty built 850 years ago for the glory of God. Whatever the cause of the fire – and an investigation has already been launched – the French are devastated.

Those who believe are praying, and considering the terrifying symbol of the destruction of one of the most important places of worship of the “Oldest daughter of the Church,” at the beginning of Holy Week.

Notre Dame is not the geographical center of France, but it is from here that all distances are calculated on the road network. It is here that the precious Relics of the Passion brought to France by Louis the IXth have been kept since 1806. It was the cathedral of the kings of France when they still had their main residence in the medieval palace of the Louvre.

It is… it was a living symbol of French history that is so intertwined with the history of Salvation: here, throughout the centuries, the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered, and the Blessed Sacrament kept. When the fire broke out, Mass was being said at the main altar.

Even those who do not believe are deeply touched and saddened. Not even the French Revolution was able to destroy Notre Dame de Paris – although the sanguinary Robespierre would have liked to pull it down. Later, it would survive the Second World War, when Paris was preserved from the bombings that obliterated so many towns and historic buildings in Europe.

The bishop of Paris, Mgr Michel Aupetit, tweeted two hours after the start of the fire: “Firefighters are still battling to save the two towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The frame, the roof and the spire have burnt down. If you wish, you can ring the bells of your churches to call to prayer.”

Several hours later, at 11 pm French time, official statements from the Interior ministry and the firefighters of Paris – truly an élite corps – saidvthe structure of the cathedral “is safe and has been preserved in its totality.” Mgr Aupetit said the courage of the firefighters, who risked their lives throughout the operations, the two towers and the façade were saved. But the 700 year-old wooden frame that supported the roof has been destroyed.

My daughter was a direct witness to the beginning of the fire, happening to be across the Seine on the Left Bank when the first flames showed at the base of the XIXth century spire built to replace the original medieval spire that was brought down during the Revolution. The base of the spire was surrounded by scaffolding; first reports say the fire was probably set off accidentally during renovation works.

She described to me the shock of the onlookers, many of whom were crying or looking on in dismay. As the fire slowly spread to the whole of the roof, thousands of Parisians and tourists converged to the banks of the Seine to witness the disaster. Groups formed and started singing canticles or praying the rosary. They are still there as I write. Every church in Paris opened this night for prayers.

One horrified message followed the other on my cell phone. “Smoke and flames coming from the spire.” “It’s burning all over now.” “Everywhere.” “You can see right into the choir now,” wrote my daughter.

She said the moment the spire fell over was almost too much to bear and even frightening.

A daily mass takes place on weekdays at 6:15 pm at the main altar, the new altar facing the faithful from the middle of the transept, directly under the spire where the fire broke out. The cathedral was evacuated at first when a fire alarm went off, after which the public returned, thinking it was a false alert, my daughter told me, having spoken to a person who assisted at that mass. Then the reality of the alert became apparent and all were again requested to leave the building.

It was on this very altar that Dominique Venner, a pagan “new right” historian committed suicide six years ago, allegedly to call attention to the destruction of Western civilization. It was a sacrilege as Notre Dame has known during its long history, when it was turned into a Temple of Reason in 1793…

But mainly, Notre Dame is known for the role it played in France’s Catholic history, with its Te Deums, its glorious Masses, the coronations of several French kings but also of Napoleon.

The sight of the magnificent building convinced a French traditional artist and sculptor brought up in secularism, Henri Charlier, then an atheist, that the Middle Ages were not Dark Ages, but a time of great beauty and civilization. This set him on his road to conversion.

A century later, no one would nowadays dare question the sheer artistic value of the medieval cathedral. It was always a sign of the importance of God, pointing to heaven and reminding passers-by that there is a reality beyond that which can be seen. Saint Louis, king of France, Saint Albert the Great, Saint Thomas Aquinas and so many others knew the building as it stands now, lovingly built by masters of the building arts.

Were the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Crown of Thorns and the many treasures kept there saved? Reports say they are “safe.” But it was only a few hours after the start of the fire that my daughter heard that the Treasure of the Cathedral was being evacuated. Now night has fallen witnesses say that they can see lights from the inside of the building, which seems to indicate that firefighters are within the building. Pictures were taken of the salvage.

French president Emmanuel Macron was to have given a national speech on television following the yellow vest crisis. He decided to postpone his speech and a form of miracle occurred when he spoke of the sadness of Catholics “at the beginning of this Holy Week,” adding that the rebuilding of Notre Dame is a duty born of France’s “profound destiny.”

Since the separation of Church and State in 1905, church buildings in France belong to the State and are conceded to the Catholic Church to be “used for religious purposes.” It can only be hoped that the medieval splendor of Notre Dame will not be spoiled by modernist reconstruction projects.

The renovation project is thought to be responsible for the fire of Notre Dame – which bears similarities with those of the cathedral and Saint-Donatien church in Nantes in 1972 and 2015, both linked to renovation works, as well as that of the historic Parliament of Brittany in 1994. In all these cases, a fire was accidentally set off and then smoldered unnoticed before breaking out with such force that it was too late to quench it.

Many French church buildings are in a sorry state of repair as cultural budgets are used for contemporary art projects.

The cathedral of Paris badly needed renovation but the budget set aside for it was hopelessly inadequate. Several dozen million euros would have been necessary; current works were being done for 2.5 million euros.

A wave of desecrations and attacks against Catholic churches and buildings over the last 18 months, including the desecration of the basilica of Saint Denis which was the necropolis of French royalty and arson at Saint-Sulpice in Paris a month ago have lead to speculation that the fire at Notre Dame was criminal and perhaps even terrorist in nature. The supposed starting point of the fire, in the roof space under the “forest” of the roof frame at the base of the spire, has not been open to the public for many years. An accidental origin appears to be more probable at this point.

Perhaps the flames of Notre Dame will rekindle the faith of the French people, who have felt in their very flesh what it means to lose the treasure of Christianity!

Just two days earlier, Smits had written a beautiful story about the Crown of Thorns which is Notre Dame's most precious relic, and which was the second thing after the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle that the Paris fire chaplain went in to rescue after the fire started.

A Spanish video - 'Hundreds sing the Ave Maria in front of Notre Dame in flames'...

Here's one of the best early reactions I read, even if the writer, too, took it for granted initially that,in effect, all was lost:

Signs of hope amid the flames
Through the intercession of the Mother of God,
may this tragedy remind us of Notre-Dame’s true purpose.

by Father Seán Connolly

April 16, 2019

First commissioned by King Louis VII in 1163, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris took nearly 200 years to build. Since its completion in 1345, it has stood as a monument to the glory of French, European, and Western civilizations. Twelve million visitors or more are drawn to the Cathedral every year to admire its Gothic architecture, flying buttresses, and majestic rose windows.

But, in just a few shocking hours, the shrine was almost completely destroyed. Its near obliteration in a fire yesterday is front page news the world over. It was devastating to watch the live video of the billowing smoke, searing flames, and collapsing spire. Though the worst has been avoided, as it now appears the stone vault and interior remain largely intact (along with the two bell towers of the Cathedral’s iconic facade), the world still mourns the damage done, the full measure of which is yet to be determined.

The photo served to create the impression that ineed the whole structure including its interior was burning.

As the eyes of the world turned to Paris yesterday in concern for the survival of a monument of unique importance in the history of art and architecture, what did they see? As Sohrab Ahmari noted yesterday on Twitter, the world was looking at a cross. A burning cross at the center of Paris for the Notre-Dame Cathedral is cruciform in shape.

Let us pray that what rises from the ashes of this tragedy is a recognition that the heritage of France, Europe and the West is cruciform, for Notre-Dame is a monument in stone to the Christian Faith that built these civilizations.

One can readily see in the fire a metaphor for the state of the Faith in Europe in this increasingly secular age. But after the Cross comes Resurrection—and yesterday provided signs of hope.

The first sign came in the immediate concern expressed for the Blessed Sacrament. That the tabernacle was emptied and Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist was saved from harm is a consolation. The priests and firefighters who facilitated this reminded the world that the whole purpose for the construction of Notre-Dame in the first place was to be a worthy dwelling place for God.

I am reminded of Cordelia’s conversation with Charles in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. She tells him about the closing of the chapel at their family estate after the funeral of her mother and explains having to watch the priest empty the tabernacle, leaving its golden door ajar. “I suppose none of this makes sense to you, Charles, poor agnostic.” she said. “I stayed there till he was gone, and then, suddenly, there wasn’t any chapel any more, just an oddly decorated room.”

Indeed, without the Blessed Sacrament the Notre-Dame Cathedral would be just an odd-looking building in the heart of a cosmopolitan city. It is the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that makes it a church. It was to provide a worthy dwelling place for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist that inspired our ancestors in the Faith to spend their lives building such a glorious edifice. That same faith was on display yesterday when the Blessed Sacrament was rescued.

The second sign of hope was the concern given to also saving one of Christendom’s most cherished relics — the Crown of Thorns. When King Saint Louis IX acquired this instrument of Our Lord’s Passion and brought it to Paris in 1239, he removed his own crown and royal robes to walk barefoot behind the relic as it was carried in procession through the city streets. That same faith was on display yesterday when the Crown of Thorns was saved amid and through the flames.

Finally, the “living stones” of the Church took to the streets of Paris to remind us that the Church is more that just stones but is Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth. It was deeply moving to see the crowds kneeling in prayer in the shadow of Notre-Dame singing the Ave Maria. Why were their tears in the eyes of so many Parisians? Were they crying simply over damage done to a building of grand art and architecture? Or were they crying over something more? Perhaps it was over the lost Catholic identity of their nation symbolized in the flames engulfing Notre-Dame.

And when the French President, Emmanuel Macron, made a solemn promise to rebuild the Cathedral, it should be asked, why? Why bother with such an investment of time, money, and effort? It only makes sense if it is for the same reason it was built in the first place.

It must be rebuilt for the glory of Jesus Christ and His Mother. The beauty and meaning of Notre-Dame lies in the religious beliefs, principles, and culture that inspired its construction. The same faith that inspired its builders 800 years ago was on full display yesterday in the uplifting sounds of the Ave Maria being sung by the crowds on the streets of Paris.

Through the intercession of the Mother of God, may this tragedy remind us of Notre-Dame’s true purpose. And may we see this wonder restored along with Faith that built it.

Fr Z today shares a video of the interior of Notre Dame after the fire that had received more than 3 million views at the time he posted it:


And a video of what was one of the last services on Passion Monday before the fire:

Other images:

Left inset: The Descent from the Cross, French sculptor Nicolas Costou's 1725 Pieta commissioned for Notre Dame, amid the fire rubble, appears unscathed
like the crucifix above it; right, the centar-altar as it was.

A New York Post item today gives the best after-the-fire assessment so far of the damage to the Cathedral's treasures and is very encouraging:

France’s culture minister Franck Riester said the main items in the 12th century Gothic monument’s treasury were safe.

They included its most prized relic — the crown of thorns said to have been placed on Jesus’ head before his crucifixion, which was saved by the Paris Fire Brigade’s heroic chaplain.

Other relics saved included a piece of wood and a nail purported to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified, along with the tunic of Saint Louis — worn by 13th-century French King Louis IX, who brought the crown of thorns to Paris and was later made a saint, he said.

The items were moved from Paris City Hall to the Louvre Tuesday, he said.

Incredibly, a metal rooster that sat atop the 300-foot spire did survive the disaster.

A worker found the cock while combing through the debris, and the item is “dented but properly restorable,” a Ministry of Culture source told Le Parisien newspaper.

However, the fate of three other holy items that were in the rooster that collapsed in the roaring flames remained in doubt, because the sculpture was smashed in, the source added.

They included a fragment of the crown of thorns and relics from Saint Denis and Saint Genevieve — two of Paris’ most cherished saints.

“They were placed at the summit of the church in 1935 by the archbishop of Paris, to protect the building,” Laurent Ferri, the former heritage conservator at the French National Archives, told USA Today.

Thirteen large paintings of religious scenes dating from between 1630 and 1707 known as “The Mays” hung in the cathedral. At least some have been saved — alongside one of the most prized works in the house of worship, a 1716 piece called “The Visitation” by Jean Jouvenet, according to Le Monde.

But Maxime Cumunel, the secretary general of France’s Observatory for Religious Heritage, said that four of the Mays paintings had been damaged.

“We have avoided a complete disaster. But some five to 10 percent of the artwork has probably been destroyed,” Cumunel said.

Riester said the paintings in the building weren’t torched in the inferno, but suffered water and smoke damage. They will also be sent to the Louvre for restoration, he said.

The cathedral’s three famed stained-glass Rose windows, which date back to the 13th century, also “had apparently not suffered catastrophic damage,” Riester said.

Also “affected” was the cathedral’s largest pipe organ — the Great Organ, which was completed in 1868 and features almost 8,000 pipes, he said.

Longtime Notre Dame organist Philippe Lefebvre told AFP the instrument wasn’t burned, but had been showered with water and rubble, which could cause problems.

To see the cathedral with its structure intact, one cannot help admire all over the doubtless divinely-inspired genius and talent of the unknown architects, engineers and artisans who built
Notre Dame in the Middle Ages. Compare this to the fate of the 19th century steeple built to replace the original steeple destroyed by the French revolutionaries:

Apart from the steeple, the fire apparently was contained to the cathedral's wooden roof which is said to have been the original.

We cannot under-estimate the human capacity to rebuild, as Father Z reminds us of two familiar instances in Church history, in Montecassino and in Rome:

Left, the great Benedictine Abbey in Montecassino was reduced to rubble by German bombs in the closing days of World War II; right, St Paul Basilica outside the walls was
destroyed by a fire in 1823. Yet visitors to both sites today who are unaware of this history would never suspect it.

We can all read signs and symbols, even miraculous ones, in the Notre Dame fire that have been commented on or will be commented on, but through it all is the sign of faith, our living faith in Christ and in Catholicism, occasionally and maybe habitually flickering, but alive and always ready to be kindled to ardency. Mysterium fidei!

The Ave Maria of Notre Dame
by Julia Meloni

April 16, 2019

It was a video that brought so many of us to tears: a crowd kneeling and singing “Ave Maria” while Notre Dame burned. “Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,” they beautifully sang as the camera panned to a shot of raw fire.

The juxtaposition between the two images was surreal: at the very moment when devastating flames scorched the body of the cathedral, the bystanders seemed to snatch up its soul with their heavenly song to Our Lady. In that moment of recourse to Mary, they salvaged the faith symbolized by the soaring stones; their song seemed to rise above the fire, in place of the now collapsed spire.

And yet the residual symbolism of the blazing Gothic cathedral remains deeply haunting. As Fr. Kevin Cusick put it: “Today God has allowed us to be reminded of what can be taken away, a symbol of something far greater and infinitely more precious that many have voluntarily forsaken or rejected: our holy Catholic Faith.”

It is a profoundly painful image: a soul’s voluntary torching of a treasure even more exquisite than a rose window or Nicolas Coustou’s Pieta. We in postmodernity have set fire to faith itself — and it is hard to hear an ethereal, imploring “Ave Maria” amid the flames. A brilliant golden altar cross may have glowed intact, transcendently, in Notre Dame’s interior — but that is no guarantee of what will be left when we survey our own wreckage.

Cardinal Burke commented:

[di=10pt]Viewing the ravage of the Cathedral of Notre Dame by yesterday’s fire, men and women of faith are led to consider the attacks upon the infinite beauty of the faith by the grievous sins and crimes of our day[.] …

Yesterday’s event is a sobering reflection upon the destructiveness of man’s rebellion against the beauty, truth, and goodness with which God has created us and our world and has redeemed us and our world by the Redemptive Incarnation of His only-begotten Son, the very event celebrated in the building of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

And so we must turn, like the French bystanders, to the “Ave Maria” of Notre Dame. In The Secret of the Rosary, the great Frenchman St. Louis de Montfort recalls how St. Dominic discovered the “weapon which the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world” — that is, the Holy Rosary.

As Our Lady explained:

My son, do not be surprised that your sermons fail to bear the results you had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece of ground which has not had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to renew the face of the earth He started by sending down rain from heaven—and this was the Angelic Salutation. In this way God made over the world.

A heaven-sent, renovating rain — this is what the “Ave Maria” signifies both at Notre Dame and in the life of the soul. The Secret of the Rosary calls the prayer “a blessed dew that falls from heaven,” watering “the garden of the soul.”

If the “Ave Maria” is our hope for extinguishing personal and civilizational fires, it is also our great consolation in the face of transience and death. Tremulously watching the smoldering cathedral, the soul of the crowd rose up — and when it spoke, it sang, “Holy Mary, Mother of God / Pray for us, sinners / Now, and at the hour of our death.” In The Secret of the Rosary, we meditate on these same lines with aching cries:

Thou who art always filled with compassion
For those in need—
Thou who wilt never despise sinners
Or turn them away…
Pray for us

During this short life
So fraught with sorrow and uncertainty.
Pray for us now,
Now — because we can be sure of nothing
Except the present moment.
Pray for us now
That we are being attacked night and day
By powerful and ruthless enemies …
Pray for us now

So terrible and full of danger,
When our strength is waning
And our spirits are sinking
And our souls and bodies
Are worn out with fear and pain
Pray for us then
At the hour of our death…

any have described having goose bumps after watching the “Ave Maria” video — perhaps because it registers spiritual realities almost too strong to bear. We saw, in thirty-seven compressed seconds, a haunting image of soul-death, of faith in flames — transcended by the soul’s irrepressible turning to Mary in this vale of tears.

00Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:36 PM

I love this affectionate cartoon of Benedict XVI by an admirer whose name I will never know, and I used it occasionally in some posts while he was pope. He needs that
protective umbrella even more, now that he is no longer pope, when detractors like Faggioli, Frank Walker, Mundabor and Louie Verrecchio, to name just a few holier-
than-Benedicts, treat him today as if he were a disgraceful cur unworthy of the least respect, who never did anything right or good in his 92 years. For all his human
failings - including, if you wish, his decision to renounce the papacy - he probably has more holiness in one strand of his hair than all of his detractors combined.

00Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:19 PM
In Magister's original title, the Italian word he uses for 'rupture' is 'frattura' which he encloses in quotes. I choose to enclose in quotes his reference to 'two popes' as though there were two popes.

Despite the birthday/Easter visit
'Rupture' between the 'two popes':
Francis's silence on Emeritus notes

His typical reaction when seriously put to the test

April 17, 2019

In the week that followed the explosive publication of Joseph Ratzinger’s “notes” on the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, there are at least seven essential elements that have come into the open, which are to be kept in mind in view of future developments.

1. The first concerns the genesis of the publication of the “notes.” In the introductory paragraphs, Ratzinger says that he wrote them “in the hiatus between the announcement of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences and its real and proper beginning,” or between September 12 2018, the day of the announcement, and February 21 2019, the opening day of the summit.

But Ratzinger also says that he wrote them to “contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour.”

From which one deduces that he wrote them in order to offer them, first of all, to the leaders of the Church gathered at the Vatican by Pope Francis to discuss the question.

This was confirmed on April 13 by Corriere della Sera, the most widely read secular Italian newspaper, one of the press outlets that two days before had published the full text of the “notes”:

“Benedict sent the eighteen-and-a-half pages on pedophilia ‘to the gracious attention’ of the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, before the global meeting of the episcopal conferences, to make them known also to Francis.”

What happened however is that none of the participants at the summit received Ratzinger’s text. Francis thought it better to keep it to himself, locked away in a drawer.

And no one would have known anything about it if Ratzinger himself, about forty days later, had not decided to make it public, formally in a little-known Bavarian magazine [for priests in the dioceses of Bavaria], Klerusblatt, but practically in a dozen major publications, Catholic and not, all over the world and in several languages, after alerting the highest Vatican authorities to this, as he himself has revealed:

“Having contacted the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the Holy Father himself, it seemed appropriate to publish this text in the Klerusblatt.”

2. A second element is the initial reaction of the Vatican media. Frosty.

The official portal “Vatican News” covered Ratzinger’s text several hours after it had been made public, among the second-class news items, with a brief and bureaucratic summary and with no link to the complete text.

And the same was done by L’Osservatore Romano printed on the afternoon of April 11, with the same concise summary buried at the bottom of page 7, without any lead on the front page and beneath a much more prominent article by the Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and the main adviser and ghostwriter of Pope Francis.

Since it is known how close the pope is to the highest officials of the Vatican media - the prefect of the dicastery for communication Paolo Ruffini and editorial director Andrea Tornielli, in addition to Fr. Spadaro - this chill in reporting Ratzinger's text cannot help but reflect strong irritation on the part of Francis.

3. A third element is the behavior of the Vatican media over the following days, entirely taciturn on the contents and repercussions of Ratzinger’s text, and instead bent on giving distracting and justifying emphasis - with two successive editorials by Tornielli and by OR editor Andrea Monda - to a concomitant gesture of Francis that was as disconcerting as it was spectacular, his kissing the feet of the two rival leaders in the ferocious war between tribes in South Sudan that has already claimed 400,000 lives.

4. A fourth element is the silence of Francis. Not only practiced, but also theorized. In the homily for Palm Sunday, on April 14, the pope took as a basis for comparison the “silence of Jesus throughout his Passion,” a silence that “overcomes the temptation to answer back, to act like a ‘superstar’.” Because “in moments of darkness and great tribulation, we need to keep silent, to find the courage not to speak, as long as our silence is meek and not full of anger. The meekness of silence will make us appear even weaker, more humble. Then the devil will take courage and come out into the open.”

Silence is the typical reaction of Jorge Mario Bergoglio every time he is seriously put to the test. He adopted it with the DUBIA of the four cardinals, with the uncomfortable questions of ex-nuncio in the United States Carlo Maria Viganò, and now with the contribution of the pope emeritus.

That Francis, with this last apologia pro silenzio suo, was alluding “to the tensions and poisons connected to the ‘notes’ of Benedict XVI” is not the fruit of fantasy, seeing that it has been set down in black and white by a reporter very close to Santa Marta like Domenico Agasso, the current coordinator of the website Vatican Insider directed until a few months ago by Tornielli and still under his supervision.

[Does that explain why Bergoglio looked grim in the only photograph the Vatican chose to release of his courtesy visit to Benedict XVI on April 15? They might have chosen one that shows him smiling.]

That exegesis of the papal homily on Sunday April 14,followed two other articles by Agasso with very eloquent titles:
> Francis and the shadow of Ratzinger, the coexistence that weighs on the Vatican
> Coexistence between the two popes is possible only if the emeritus is able to remain invisible

5. And with these two articles there came into the open a fifth element of the story: the radically negative judgment that Pope Francis has developed on the publication of Ratzinger’s “notes.”

Francis is keeping this judgment of his to himself. But the striking vocal harmony of persons very close to him allows an interpretation of what he thinks.

The most diligent in taking a position has been Stefania Falasca, an editorialist for the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, Avvenire, but above all a longtime friend of Bergoglio, together with her husband, Gianni Valente, director of the Vatican news agency Fides and another leading writer for Vatican Insider.

It is useful to recall that Bergoglio’s first telephone call after his election as pope, on the very evening of March 1,3 2013, was to none other than Stefania Falasca. And a good two times, in the days that preceded that conclave, the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires had been to dinner at her house, where Tornielli was also present.

So then, with two tweets shortly after the publication of Ratzinger’s “notes”, Falasca accused the pope emeritus of having violated two requirements that the 2004 directory “Apostolorum Successores” imposed on all bishops emeritus: “not to interfere in any way” with the reigning bishop, and not to “even hint at some kind of parallel authority.”

The first of the two articles by Agasso on Vatican Insider cited above takes its cue from here to maintain that the publication of the “notes” has broken an equilibrium between the two popes, and that this has even come to “a fracture.” And therefore “a ‘constitutional’ question is raised on the role of the pope emeritus.” A role that in effect is an unresolved tangle, but that Bergoglio’s apologists are now taking advantage of to order Ratzinger to remain silent and “hidden from the world.”

And the second article reiterates the same concept, in an interview with [the unspeakably odious pretend-intellectual] Massimo Faggioli, a disciple of what is called the “school of Bologna” and a professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia, he too convinced that “the problem is raised of regulating the figure of the [pope] emeritus for the future” and that in the meantime, at present, it is necessary that Benedict XVI “remain invisible.”

Both articles also fantasize over an external manipulation of the text and of the very person of Ratzinger, on the part of unspecified aides of his. [Considering that the Emeritus's only aides are Georg Gaenswein and the Memores, does anyone really think they would 'manipulate' B16 even if they could? That preposterous accusation also makes it seem that B16 is no longer 'all there'. Which clearly is not the case. As we should know by the very fact that he took the initiative to write the 'notes' - and did so in an unmistakably Ratzinger language and style, despite doubts incredibly raised about this, even by someone like John Henry Westen, LifeSite editor.][

In any case, without saying a single word that is not one of disdain toward the contents of the “notes,” in spite of their extreme seriousness, which are in continuity with what Benedict XVI wrote in the memorable 2010 letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

But there are also those who state: “They want to silence Benedict XVI because he is telling the truth.”

6. And this brings us to the sixth element of the story: the interview of Cardinal Gerhard Müller by Riccardo Cascioli in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana' of April 15.

The whole interview is worth reading. But here are three passages in which Müller vindicates the freedom of the pope emeritus to “speak the truth”:

“Of course bishops emeritus must stay out of the everyday governance of the Church, but when it comes to doctrine, morality, faith they are obligated to speak by divine law. All have promised during episcopal consecration to defend the ‘depositum fidei.’ The bishop and great theologian Ratzinger has not only the right but also the duty to speak and give testimony of revealed truth.” ...

“The apostles Peter and Paul, the founders of the Roman Church, gave their lives for the truth. Peter and Paul did not say: ‘Now there are other successors, Timothy and Titus, let’s let them speak publicly.’ They gave testimony right to the end of their lives, all the way to martyrdom, with blood.” ...

“A bishop emeritus, when he celebrates a Mass, in the homily must he not speak the truth? Must he not speak of the indissolubility of marriage only because other active bishops have introduced new rules that are not in harmony with the divine law? It is instead the active bishops who do not have the power to change the divine law in the Church. They have no right to tell a priest that he must give communion to a person who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. No one can change this divine law, if one does so he is a heretic, he is a schismatic.”...

And these are the final remarks of the interview:
Cardinal Müller, what consequences do you expect from the publication of these “notes” by Benedict XVI?
I hope that some will finally begin to address the problem of sexual abuse in a clear and correct way. Clericalism is a false response.

“Clericalism” being the mantra that for Pope Francis would be the cause of all the evils of the Church.

7. Finally, the seventh but not last element of the story: Francis’s visit to Benedict, on the afternoon of April 15, for Easter and birthday greetings, as shown in the photo released by the Vatican press office.

During those same hours there came out on the front page of OR an editorial by Tornielli entitled “That ‘penitential way’ which unites the two pontificates” which insists on the harmonious appeal of the two popes - in the major documents of the respective pontificates and most recently also in the “notes” - to prayer, penance, and the conversion of hearts as the master path for overcoming the scandal of abuse. [In other words, Tornielli - a most admirable Ratzingerian reporter/commentator during Benedict XVI's pontificate - seeks to ride on the primarily spiritual content of the Emeritus's notes to play "me, too" for and in behalf of Pope Francis. In 2010, Tornielli, with fellow full Ratzinger-to-Bergoglio turncoat Paolo Rodari, wrote a book ATTACCO A RATZINGER, in which they systematically chronicled and refuted all the media attacks up to that point against B16. He cannot now simply obliterate his Ratzingerian past just because he is serving another pope. BTW, not even he - nor anyone else - could or would even attempt to do a similar defense of Bergoglio because even sticking only to the major anti-Bergoglio objections by the media and commentariat, they would need the rest of their lives to write what can only be a losing argument, unless one accepts and espouses the Rosica premise that Bergolio does and says what he wants to do or say because he is the only authority in the Church, above Scripture, Tradition and prior Magisterium.]

The two things together sound like a signal of truce, at the beginning of Holy Week.

But once again, not a single word from Francis and his spokesman on the contents of Ratzinger’s “notes” concerning the ultimate root of the scandal.

On this the divergence between Francis and Benedict remains intact. And unpredictable in its developments.

A word about the 'traditionalist' critics of Benedict's notes

What infuriates me most about the considerable anti-Benedict XVI flak – which is far-from-friendly fire – from persons like Carl Olson, Christopher Altieri and Steve Skojec, to name three off the top of my head, is when they scoff that “He is not saying anything new, nothing that we don’t already know”.

But is that not the essence of preaching the Gospel to the faithful? To reiterate Christian principles as often as one can, even to those who are presumably well verse in it, and if possible, in a way that catches the attention of the faithful. These very writers themselves functionally have to reiterate themselves and what they believe in order to consistently carry across their point of view.

I say this in great sorrow about commentators whose words I have often posted on the Forum because they have usually represented both common sense and Catholic orthodoxy. But not this time. The only valid question they should address is not whether Benedict XVI was saying anything new but whether he said anything that was wrong factually and contextually, and more importantly, whether he said anything contrary to the faith and therefore damaging to it.

Benedict XVI was not claiming to say anything new, nor, as a Christian and as a priest ordained to be in persona Christi, has he ever claimed to, because he cannot - no one can - 'improve' on the Word of God, nor edit it, nor alter what it means.

In the notes, he was, in fact, simply restating – marshaled together in the context of the February summit on clerical sex abuse (or rather, on ‘protection of minors’) – what he has been saying and writing all his life, as a professor, priest, theologian, cardinal and pope. One born into a 20th century soon engulfed by the atheistic totalitarian ideologies of fascism, Nazism and Communism, not to mention two world wars, the Cold War that followed based on the preventive principle of mutually assured destruction (with the appropriate acronym MAD), and the even worse Reign of Terrorism that has marked the past four decades of human history.

The facts as he tells them are known to ‘everyone’, or at least, to everyone who has an active ongoing concern for the situation of the one true Church of Christ. But other than someone like Cardinal Sarah who has written a book about the contemporary ‘absence of God’ in the world, almost all the critics of the church of Bergoglio and of clerical sex abuse in general – for all their rightful concern - have focused on topical ‘practical’ issues surrounding it, and the causes they attribute it to have largely been sociological rather than spiritual.

Yet they wax scornful and dismissive when a former pope writes as a pastor, not as some incidental commentator or even as a 'professional analyst', about the problem. These same critics of the ‘notes’ were in the past admiring of anything Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI wrote in his tireless analyses since the 1960s of what is wrong in the Church today, not just clerical sex abuse; and in terms of this particular issue, of what he as CDF Prefect and as pope had personally done to help cleanse the Church of Christ from the ‘filth’ he had so dramatically denounced in his 2005 Good Friday meditations less than a month before he was elected pope.

But they have forgotten all that to mock him for ‘saying nothing new’. Not for saying anything wrong or harmful to the faith, but for 'saying nothing new'.

Two commentaries on Benedict XVI’s letter

April 17, 2019

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s brief letter to German priests, which was released last week, has generated a flood of commentary, both because it was unexpected from a figure who has maintained almost total silence since his resignation, and because it presented sharp observations about developments inside and outside the Church that led to the steep rise in sexual abuse. That text warrants extensive consideration, but for now two commentaries by TCT regulars: Fr. Gerald Murray, a theologian and canon lawyer; and Michael Pakaluk, a philosopher. – Robert Royal

Left, 'Prayer', by Stanisław Dębicki, c 1887 [National Museum, Wrocław, Poland]. Right, 'At the Elevation', Jean Benaud, c 1890 [Private collection].

God’s absence enabled the offenses
by Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his surprise letter on the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, examines the root causes of the criminal immorality of an astounding number of Catholic clerics.

He identifies as a prime factor the collapse of sound moral theology, the result of the rejection of natural law reasoning. Underlying this theological chaos is a deeper crisis, what Benedict calls “the absence of God.” He writes: “Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible.”

This calls to mind Robert Cardinal Sarah’s book God or Nothing. When God ceases in fact to be the motive, the center and the hope of the Church’s teaching and activity, innovators very quickly create clever substitutes that in fact turn out to be nothing more than self-worship.

Benedict writes that, after the Council, “it was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed.” Since each man determines his purposes, each man creates his own morality, making himself the determinant of right and wrong for himself, pushing God and His law aside.

Man is to be honored in place of God as the source of his own moral truth. This is the apostasy of the autonomous man of “conscience” who recognizes God’s law only when it is in agreement with what he has decided he already wants to do.

In the strange world of a Church without God at its center, what about other doctrines of the Faith? Benedict examines the loss of faith manifested by how many in the Church treat the Most Holy Eucharist: “Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern.”

The generalized loss of a sense of awe and respect for Christ’s Real Presence is undeniable. Benedict writes: “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.” His use of the word “destroy” is telling.

The new thinking about the Mass and the Eucharist that largely prevailed after the Second Vatican Council resulted in various changes that have diminished the reverence expressed by the average Massgoer:
- Holy Communion is no longer received kneeling but standing, no longer on the tongue alone but now also in the hand;
- the tabernacle was moved off of the main altar, and the priest now stands, or sits in a chair, in the location where the Blessed Sacrament was formerly reserved;
-the tabernacle containing the sacramental presence of God made man is placed off center on a side altar or in some instances in a location not visible from the church pews;
- silence in church before Mass has been replaced by casual banter in audible tones;
- many, many parishioners no longer genuflect when entering or leaving the church;
- venerable liturgical forms, the Latin language and sacred chant were cast out and replaced by generally inadequate and uninspiring replacements;
-almost everyone at Mass goes to Communion, while very few people go to Confession, indicating that people no longer have a consciousness that one must not receive Communion is a state of mortal sin, because most people no longer think that mortal sin is still mortal sin.

Benedict identifies the signs of this breakdown of faith and worship:

“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.”

The temptation to make religion into a kind of folkloric experience celebrating man’s attempt to build a community of benevolence and good feeling is seen when a priest invites everyone at a Funeral Mass or Nuptial Mass to receive Holy Communion.
- Why would a priest invite people who do not believe in the Real Presence to come forward to receive, saying to them ”The Body of Christ” in response to which the non-believers are asked to say “Amen,” signifying belief in what they do not believe?
- Why would a priest communicate to non-practicing Catholics that they should feel free to receive Holy Communion without previous confession?
- How did we get to this point of treating the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ as a mere token of participation in a ritual?

Benedict calls us all to renewed faith: “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.”

It is obvious that a profound disorientation entered into the Church that has manifested itself in doctrinal confusion and an attitude of laxity regarding immorality and even criminal sexual abuse.
The remedy that Benedict indicates is to return to a deep appreciation of the Faith according to its true nature, which includes being ready to die for Christ as the price of fidelity to him.

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City. He is a frequent contributor on radio and television, including EWTN’s Papal Posse.

A practical way for pastors –
and the laity

by Michael Pakaluk

Benedict was the universal pastor of the Church, but his essay on sex abuse and the crisis is written not as pope but as a priest, to priests, in Germany (specifically, to the journal Klerusblatt). Therefore, although it raises large questions in passing – and no one who publishes today can claim to be addressing only a restricted readership – it is valuable mainly as showing a practical way for pastors. In doing so, it also shows ordinary Catholics how humbly to serve the Church in these troubled times.

We see its limited purposes in its opening sentence: “The matter begins with the state-prescribed and supported introduction of children and youths into the nature of sexuality.” He is referring to how, in Germany in 1968, the Ministry of Health under Käte Strobel published a “sex atlas” (Sexualkundeatlas), and produced a movie called Helga, both ostensibly “educational,” but calculated to subvert the authority of local governments and churches over sexual mores.

One could raise deep and universal questions on this basis. Walker Percy, for instance, pleaded with us to consider how America almost overnight became a society in which people streamed to see a pornographic movie in their neighborhood theater. He meant Deep Throat (1972), which became the highest grossing movie of its time.

Or one might ask why libertinism gets introduced under the guise of objective science.

Or whether a sexually permissive society doesn’t, as a society, set itself against the welfare of children – abandoned in divorce, instrumentalized by in vitro conception, or killed by abortions.

But it’s clear that Benedict gives the example simply to appeal to the memories of his readers, mainly elderly German clerics, to shock them once again into seeing that “what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.”

Even his reference to Veritatis splendor has a limited purpose. It’s an open secret that Veritatis splendor is not a favorite reference source of the magisterium of Francis. In particular, Amoris Laetitia ignores it, while seeming, to many interpreters at least, to re-introduce all the errors that the encyclical rejected – the “fundamental option,” conscience as subjective not objective, the denial of intrinsically evil acts.

So how is it possible to refer to Veritatis splendor without at least asking whether any current hesitancy, today, in dealing firmly with sexual abuse, is a consequence of a dalliance among influential bishops in those old errors?

And yet Benedict, now devoted primarily to a life of prayer and contemplation, obviously avoids asking this. He does not even write in the manner of someone who thought to raise the question, but then thought better of it. In his essay, Veritatis splendor was important in putting an end to the Church’s vulnerability in teaching, in the face of the sexual revolution.

That vulnerability led to a collapse in seminary formation. Veritatis splendor proved a necessary piece in the reform of seminaries, which has mainly been successful. [Really???] This again reflects the viewpoint of a priest, who wonders “how young people in this situation could approach the priesthood and accept it, with all its ramifications.”

I said that Benedict’s essay shows a humble path. So it is, here, in its engagement with Veritatis Splendor. He refers to just one teaching of the encyclical, “There [are] actions which [are] always and under all circumstances to be classified as evil.” His essay clearly assumes that that claim, although once controversial, is now taken for granted by everyone.

Why? Because everyone has come to judge, correctly, that sexual abuse of minors is intrinsically evil. Philosophy professors know that certain stock examples have always been able to confound relativists in the classroom: What about rape? What about dashing out the brains of infants?

Well, what about sexual abuse of minors? For Benedict it’s a secondary point that that logic has not, yet, been universally extended to other intrinsically wrong sexual acts, such as sodomy.

That he is writing humbly, for priests, is shown in the Eucharist’s being the focal point of the essay. John Paul II used to write a humble letter to priests, as a fellow priest, on Holy Thursday. Benedict does something similar just before Holy Week.

Benedict gives a wonderful précis of the gospel: the universe is meaningless without God; but a loving God would reveal himself; and he showed the depth of his love by taking on our nature.

Just as the source of evil is flight from God, so the remedy for evil is found in the presence of God. “Let us consider this with regard to a central issue,” he next says, “the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern.”

Note the “our”: he means priests. It’s within the power of any parish priest to address the abuse crisis just here.

The letter closes, “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.” Here, too, is an example of great humility, since it is clear from Benedict’s essay that, the differences noted above notwithstanding, he has allowed himself to be influenced by Francis. [Excuse me????]

Consider that a couple of paragraphs in the essay are on the theme of the devil as the great accuser. That was not a big theme of Benedict’s pontificate but it has been for Francis, long before Viganò. [I beg to disagree. 'The great accuser' part only came with Viganò. Before that, his references to the devil were generic and general - namely, he exists, do not think he does - without ever once getting into specific aspects of Satan. Extremely biased as I have become over Bergoglio, cannot help think that everytime he is anti-Church and anti-Christ, he is, in effect, acting as Satan's agent and surrogate.]

Or the theme that, although it’s good to foster communities of Christian life, the Church catches up the good and bad in its dragnet.

The most beautiful paragraphs in the essay perhaps those on martyrdom, “Today God also has His witnesses (martyres) in the world. We just have to be vigilant in order to see and hear them.” [Is Pakaluk really suggesting that Benedict XVI was reflecting Bergoglio's influence in pointing out these things? As if he had not been writing on 'stuff' like this since he became a priest!]

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is acting dean of the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He lives in Hyattsville, MD with his wife Catherine, also a professor at the Busch School, and their eight children. His latest book, on the Gospel of Mark, The Memoirs of St Peter, is out now from Regnery Gateway.

One of the most commendable reactions to Benedict XVI 'notes' was from Rod Dreher, who had earlier expressed his gratification that Benedict XVI wrote "something like catechumenal communities are necessary so that Christian life can assert itself in its own way". Which is the brunt of the 'Benedict option' after St. Benedict of Norcia's monastic communities in the 5th century. The term has been popularized in current Church discourse by Dreher's book with that title. Which, in itself was a book-length treatment of an idea expressed by Joseph Ratzinger often and in many ways - that the survival and eventual re-flourishing of the Catholic faith would come from small groups of genuine Catholics he called 'creative minorities' (after Toynbee's coinage) who would keep the faith alive in a universally secularized world.

Further reflections
on Benedict XVI's essay

by Rod Dreher

April 13, 2019

There has been a lot of poking fun at Benedict XVI for “blaming the Sixties” for the sex abuse crisis. But at least one progressive Catholic — Pope Francis’s biographer — says that BXVI has a point:

It does. BXVI is not “blaming the Sixties” entirely for what happened. He’s not a stupid man. He is saying — accurately — that there was a general collapse in sexual morality across the West in that time, and that the Church was not immune to it at all.

Is he saying that there was no pederasty in the Church prior to the 1960s? Of course not! But something happened in the late 1960s and through the 1970s that changed things dramatically. It was a release from old bonds, and the idea of bonds. As one of this blog’s readers wrote in a comment about the modern era:

”No, we’ve submitted to ourselves. You’ve argued modern secularists are committed to doing what they each believe will make them happiest. That is submission”

Another measure of the submission to ourselves in the same era:

This is the broader context in which the clerical sex abuse scandal became much worse. Society really was falling apart on sexual morality. The Church, which ought to have held firm, fell apart with it. BXVI is not using this as an excuse, but as part of an explanation.

In his letter, Benedict is harsh on the failures of the institutional Church on this front. He mentions a seminary rector who screened porn for his seminarians. That rector was eventually made a bishop. In this blog post, quoting from Michael S. Rose’s book Goodbye, Good Men, Lee Podles outs this bishop as Kenneth Untener of Saginaw:
Rose points out — this is in Untener’s Wikipedia entry too — that Untener was called to the Vatican to defend the porn movies strategy to Pope John Paul II. With the help of Detroit’s Cardinal Dearden, he must have been successful, because the Pope approved his consecration. One glaring omission in Benedict XVI’s account is the terrible management of the episcopate by John Paul II and, in some cases, by himself.

The Catholic actor Kevin O’Brien has a good reflection on the Benedict letter. Excerpt:

In fact, the theologians Benedict refers to in his essay (some of whom he names) who are intent on denying the objectivity of Goodness; who insist that morality is whatever works best for us in any given situation; who become indignant at any check on the culture of “release” – these theologians are leading the little ones astray. And this includes such armchair theologians as (perhaps) your music minister, your “liturgist”, your CCD teacher, and any other heterodox Catholics who proudly bear wild grapes in what used to be a vineyard but is now a mixture of briar patch and trash heap. In fact, chances are you are being led astray by your pastor and your bishop, as well.

But we have a right to the Faith! And canon law should protect this right. Benedict insists upon this. “Canon law that corresponds to the whole of Jesus’ message must therefore … also protect the Faith, which is also an important legal asset.”

However …

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.

What astonishes me about this essay is that Benedict is speaking with the voice of the Church – a voice that has been silent on this matter for at least seventeen years.

The Abuse Scandal grew up in a clerical culture that was anti-christian. That’s a fact. That’s obviously not the whole explanation for the Scandal, and it is certainly not an excuse, as some are portraying it – and orthodox and traditionalist clergy have been abusers as have heterodox and liberal ones. But the encouragement of indulgence is a problem. Such an atmosphere does not breed saints.

The gardeners were deliberately destroying the garden. They were sowing and cultivating weeds. They still are, many of them.

And yet Benedict, in this essay, has at least repaired the hedge – if only by pointing out where it once stood – and where (with our hard wor and with God’s grace) it will stand again.

This, I believe, is why these short bits from BXVI’s missive are so important:

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...

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.

Of course the author of The Benedict Option is going to be drawn to those passages, especially in light of the extraordinary speech BXVI’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, delivered about the Ben Op last autumn in Rome. (An Italian present there told me afterward, “You can be confident that every syllable of that speech was seen first by Benedict.”) Here, Benedict XVI is telling us that we need small communities of believers who are really convinced, not only for our own formation, but as part of our evangelization efforts. BXVI says in his essay:

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....

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.

As I write in The Benedict Option, this is what we lay Christians have to re-learn. We have to orient our entire lives around God, and do so in communities of Christians who share the same commitment. We can no longer presume God; we have to present him, first of all to ourselves. Remember what church historian Robert Louis Wilken said:

Nothing is more needful today than the survival of Christian culture, because in recent generations this culture has become dangerously thin. At this moment in the Church’s history in this country (and in the West more generally) it is less urgent to convince the alternative culture in which we live of the truth of Christ than it is for the Church to tell itself its own story and to nurture its own life, the culture of the city of God, the Christian republic. This is not going to happen without a rebirth of moral and spiritual discipline and a resolute effort on the part of Christians to comprehend and to defend the remnants of Christian culture.

What Benedict XVI is saying here is that in a time of corruption and widespread loss of faith both outside the institutional Church and within it, believers need to rediscover God, the God who is Love, and make Him present in their own lives, and in the communities where they live. They — we — need this concrete encounter with God’s love, manifest in the lives of fellow believers.

Think about it: the greatest theologian who ever sat on the Petrine throne is telling the world that he himself finds the strength to carry on through this crisis by his daily encounters with the tiny group of faithful believers who live with him in his retirement quarters. It really is that simple. It’s what Joseph Ratzinger himself is doing!

Benedict says this is a “church of the martyrs” now. He’s talking about people willing to suffer for the faith, but he’s also talking about martyrs in the literal sense of “witnesses.” I think he’s saying that those who are going to hold on to the faith, and not succumb to the collapse around us, are those who have habituated themselves to seeing the faith (“a way of life”) made concrete around them.

In my case, it is hard to express how much hope and encouragement I take away from seeing communities of really-believing believers — for example, the Tipi Loschi, as well as a tiny community of Catholic families coming together now near Milan, and the French Catholic agrarians, and the community growing up around St. Benedict Classical Academy in suburban Boston — who are coming together because they can read the signs of the times, and know that they need each other.

Men have forgotten God. Ultimately, says BXVI, that is the reason for the crisis. It is the reason for every crisis of sin. We must begin to remember Him. We need each other as fellow pilgrims and rememberers. We must remind ourselves that God is not an abstraction, but is alive, and with us, because He is in us, if we will have Him.

As you well know, I’m not a Catholic any longer, but I remain a great admirer of Benedict XVI, and I believe that there is wisdom in his essay not only for Catholics, but for all Christians. This is a time of winnowing. This is a time of ark-building. This is a time of decision.
00Thursday, April 18, 2019 1:04 PM
I ought to have done this earlier, but failed to do so in my frantic efforts to catch up with my posts after 2-3 days of falling back... This is my post in PAPA RATZINGER FORUM on September 12, 2008, when Benedict XVI visited Notre Dame de Paris to end the first day of his Apostolic Visit to France. I reproduce it in its entirety because it captures the magnificence of the occasion and the exhilarating spirit of the four-day visit which also took him to Lourdes... His words are, of course, timeless...

September 12, 2008


The Holy Father travelled by Popemobile from the College des Bernardins on the Left Bank to Notre Dame for Vespers with the clergy of Paris, a meeting with ecumenical Church leaders, and later, an address to the youth outside Notre Dame to start their nightlong prayer vigil and a midnight torchlight procession towards the Invalides, site of tomorrow's papal Mass, where they will spend the night.


Here is the English translation of the Holy Father's homily at the Vespers celebration today, from Vatican Radio:

Notre Dame Cathedral

Dear Brother Cardinals and Bishops,
Reverend Canons of the Cathedral Chapter,
Reverend Chaplains of Notre-Dame,
Dear Priests and Deacons,
Dear Friends from Non-Catholic Churches and Ecclesial Communities,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Blessed be God who has brought us together in a place so dear to the heart of every Parisian and all the people of France!

Blessed be God, who grants us the grace of offering him our evening prayer and giving him due praise in the very words which the Church’s liturgy inherited from the synagogue worship practised by Christ and his first disciples!

Yes, blessed be God for coming to our assistance – in adiutorium nostrum – and helping us to offer him our sacrifice of praise!

We are gathered in the Mother Church of the Diocese of Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral, which rises in the heart of the city as a living sign of God’s presence in our midst.

My predecessor, Pope Alexander III, laid its first stone, and Popes Pius VII and John Paul II honoured it by their presence. I am happy to follow in their footsteps, a quarter of a century after coming here to offer a conference on catechesis.

It is hard not to give thanks to the Creator of both matter and spirit for the beauty of this edifice. The Christians of Lutetia had originally built a cathedral dedicated to Saint Stephen, the first martyr; as time went on it became too small, and was gradually replaced, between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, by the great building we admire today.

The faith of the Middle Ages built the cathedrals, and here your ancestors came to praise God, to entrust to him their hopes and to express their love for him.

Great religious and civil events took place in this shrine, where architects, painters, sculptors and musicians have given the best of themselves. We need but recall, among so many others, the architect Jean de Chelles, the painter Charles Le Brun, the sculptor Nicolas Coustou and the organists Louis Vierne and Pierre Cochereau.

Art, as a pathway to God, and choral prayer, the Church’s praise of the Creator, helped Paul Claudel, who attended Vespers here on Christmas Day 1886, to find the way to a personal experience of God.

It is significant that God filled his soul with light during the chanting of the Magnificat, in which the Church listens to the song of the Virgin Mary, the Patroness of this church, who reminds the world that the Almighty has lifted up the lowly (cf. Lk 1:52).

As the scene of other conversions, less celebrated but no less real, and as the pulpit from which preachers of the Gospel like Fathers Lacordaire, Monsabré and Samson transmitted the flame of their passion to the most varied congregations, Notre-Dame Cathedral rightly remains one of the most celebrated monuments of your country’s heritage.

Following a tradition dating back to the time of Saint Louis, I have just venerated the relics of the True Cross and the Crown of Thorns, which have now found a worthy home here, a true offering of the human spirit to the power of creative Love.

Beneath the vaults of this historic Cathedral, which witnesses to the ceaseless dialogue that God wishes to establish with all men and women, his word has just now echoed to become the substance of our evening sacrifice, as expressed in the offering of incense, which makes visible our praise of God.

Providentially, the words of the Psalmist describe the emotion filling our souls with an exactness we could hardly have dared to imagine: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Ps 121:1). Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi: the Psalmist’s joy, brimming over in the very words of the Psalm, penetrates our hearts and resonates deeply within them.

We truly rejoice to enter the house of the Lord, since, as the Fathers of the Church have taught us, this house is nothing other than a concrete symbol of Jerusalem on high, which comes down to us (cf. Rev 21:2) to offer us the most beautiful of dwelling-places.

“If we dwell therein”, writes Saint Hilary of Poitiers, “we are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God, for it is the house of God” (Tract. in Ps. 121:2).

And Saint Augustine adds: “This is a psalm of longing for the heavenly Jerusalem … It is a Song of Steps, not for going down but for going up … On our pilgrimage we sigh, in our homeland we will rejoice; but during this exile, we meet companions who have already seen the holy city and urge us to run towards it” (En. in Ps. 121:2).

Dear friends, during Vespers this evening, we are united in thought and prayer with the voices of the countless men and women who have chanted this psalm in this very place down the centuries. We are united with the pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem and to the steps of its Temple, and with the thousands of men and women who understood that their earthly pilgrimage was to end in heaven, in the eternal Jerusalem, trusting Christ to guide them there. What joy indeed, to know that we are invisibly surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses!

Our pilgrimage to the holy city would not be possible if it were not made in the Church, the seed and the prefiguration of the heavenly Jerusalem.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Ps 126:1). Who is this Lord, if not our Lord Jesus Christ? It is he who founded his Church and built it on rock, on the faith of the Apostle Peter.

In the words of Saint Augustine, “It is Jesus Christ our Lord who himself builds his temple. Many indeed labour to build, yet unless the Lord intervenes to build, in vain do the builders labour” (Tract. in Ps. 126:2).

Dear friends, Augustine goes on to ask how we can know who these builders are, and his answer is this: “All those who preach God’s word in the Church, all who are ministers of God’s divine Sacraments. All of us run, all of us work, all of us build”, yet it is God alone who, within us, “builds, exhorts, and inspires awe; who opens our understanding and guides our minds to faith” (ibid.).

What marvels surround our work in the service of God’s word! We are instruments of the Holy Spirit; God is so humble that he uses us to spread his word. We become his voice, once we have listened carefully to the word coming from his mouth. We place his word on our lips in order to bring it to the world. He accepts the offering of our prayer and through it he communicates himself to everyone we meet.

Truly, as Paul tells the Ephesians, “he has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (1:3), for he has chosen us to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth, and he made us his elect, even before we came into existence, by a mysterious gift of his grace.

God’s Word, the Eternal Word, who was with him from the beginning (cf. Jn 1:1), was born of a woman, born a subject of the law, in order to redeem the subjects of the law, “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (cf. Gal 4:4-5). The Son of God took flesh in the womb of a woman, a virgin.

Your cathedral is a living hymn of stone and light in praise of that act, unique in the annals of human history: the eternal Word of God entering our history in the fulness of time to redeem us by his self-offering in the sacrifice of the Cross.

Our earthly liturgies, entirely ordered to the celebration of this unique act within history, will never fully express its infinite meaning. Certainly, the beauty of our celebrations can never be sufficiently cultivated, fostered and refined, for nothing can be too beautiful for God, who is himself infinite Beauty.

Yet our earthly liturgies will never be more than a pale reflection of the liturgy celebrated in the Jerusalem on high, the goal of our pilgrimage on earth. May our own celebrations nonetheless resemble that liturgy as closely as possible and grant us a foretaste of it!

Even now the word of God is given to us as the soul of our apostolate, the soul of our priestly life. Each morning the word awakens us. Each morning the Lord himself “opens our ear” (cf. Is 50:5) through the psalms in the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. Throughout the day, the word of God becomes the substance of the prayer of the whole Church, as she bears witness in this way to her fidelity to Christ.

In the celebrated phrase of Saint Jerome, to be taken up in the XII Assembly of the Synod of Bishops next month: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Prol. in Is.).

Dear brother priests, do not be afraid to spend much time reading and meditating on the Scriptures and praying the Divine Office! Almost without your knowing it, God’s word, read and pondered in the Church, acts upon you and transforms you.

As the manifestation of divine Wisdom, if that word becomes your life “companion”, it will be your “good counsellor” and an “encouragement in cares and grief” (Wis 8:9).

“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword”, as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us (4:12).

Dear seminarians, who are preparing to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and thus to share in the threefold office of teaching, governing and sanctifying, this word is given to you as a precious treasure.

By meditating on it daily, you will enter into the very life of Christ which you will be called to radiate all around you. By his word, the Lord Jesus instituted the Holy Sacrament of his Body and Blood; by his word, he healed the sick, cast out demons and forgave sins; by his word, he revealed to us the hidden mysteries of his Kingdom.

You are called to become stewards of this word which accomplishes what it communicates. Always cultivate a thirst for the word of God! Thus you will learn to love everyone you meet along life’s journey. In the Church everyone has a place, everyone! Every person can and must find a place in her.

And you, dear deacons, effective co-workers of the Bishops and priests, continue to love the word of God! You proclaim the Gospel at the heart of the Eucharistic celebration, and you expound it in the catechesis you offer to your brothers and sisters.

Make the Gospel the centre of your lives, of your service to your neighbours, of your entire diakonia. Without seeking to take the place of priests, but assisting them with your friendship and your activity, may you be living witnesses to the infinite power of God’s word!

In a particular way, men and women religious and all consecrated persons draw life from the Wisdom of God expressed in his word. The profession of the evangelical counsels has configured you, dear consecrated persons, to Christ, who for our sakes became poor, obedient and chaste.

Your only treasure – which, to tell the truth, will alone survive the passage of time and the curtain of death – is the word of the Lord. It is he who said: “Heaven and earth will pass away; my words will not pass away” (Mt 24:35). Your obedience is, etymologically, a “hearing”, for the word obey comes from the Latin obaudire, meaning to turn one’s ear to someone or something.

In obeying, you turn your soul towards the one who is the Way, and the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), and who says to you, as Saint Benedict taught his monks: “Hear, my child, the teaching of the Master, and hearken to it with all your heart” (Prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict).

Finally, let yourselves be purified daily by him who said: “Every branch that bears fruit my Father prunes, to make it bear more fruit” (Jn 15:2). The purity of God’s word is the model for your own chastity, ensuring its spiritual fruitfulness.

With unfailing confidence in the power of God, who has saved us “in hope” (cf. Rom 8:24) and who wishes to make of us one flock under the guidance of one shepherd, Christ Jesus, I pray for the unity of the Church.

I greet once again with respect and affection the representatives of the Christian Churches and ecclesial communities who, as our brothers and sisters, have come to pray Vespers together with us in this cathedral.

So great is the power of God’s word that we can all be entrusted to it, remembering what Saint Paul once did, our privileged intercessor during this year. As Paul took leave of the presbyters of Ephesus at Miletus, he did not hesitate to entrust them “to God and to the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32), while warning them against every form of division.

I implore the Lord to increase within us the sense of this unity of the word of God, which is the sign, pledge and guarantee of the unity of the Church: there is no love in the Church without love of the word, no Church without unity around Christ the Redeemer, no fruits of redemption without love of God and neighbour, according to the two commandments which sum up all of Sacred Scripture!

Dear brothers and sisters, in Our Lady we have the finest example of fidelity to God’s word. Her great fidelity found fulfilment in the Incarnation; with absolute confidence, Mary can say: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word!” (Lk 1:38).

Our evening prayer is about to take up the Magnificat, the song of her whom all generations will call blessed. Mary believed in the fulfilment of the words the Lord had spoken to her (cf. Lk 1:45); she hoped against all hope in the resurrection of her Son; and so great was her love for humanity that she was given to us as our Mother (cf. Jn 19:27).

Thus we see that “Mary is completely at home with the word of God; with ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the word of God; the word of God becomes her word, and her word issues from the word of God” (Deus Caritas Est, 41).

To her, then, we can say with confidence: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom!” (Spe Salvi, 50). Amen.

At Notre Dame, Pope says art,
like prayer, is a pathway to God

By John Thavis

PARIS, Sept. 12 (CNS) -- Standing in one of the world's most beautiful cathedrals, Pope Benedict XVI told French priests, religious and seminarians that art and prayer were pathways to God.

Then he went outside and, cheered by thousands of young Catholics, prepared them for a candlelight procession across Paris.

The Pope's appearance Sept. 12 at Notre Dame Cathedral marked the close of his first day in France, and he was treated to enthusiastic, if very different, audiences.

After riding in his popemobile past crowds of flag-waving well-wishers in downtown Paris, the 81-year-old Pontiff entered the main doors of the Gothic cathedral. An organ boomed from above, and as he strode down the main aisle, outstretched arms reached for a touch or a blessing.

The Church was packed -- an unusual occurrence in a country where only 10 percent of Catholics attend Mass regularly. French pastoral workers face serious challenges, including a steep decline in vocations and a steady drop in sacramental practice among Catholics.

The Pope did not mention those problems. Instead, leading a celebration of Vespers, he first paid tribute to the cathedral as "a living sign of God's presence in our midst," one whose beauty had helped spur conversions of the famous and the unknown.

Then he spoke to the priests, nuns, deacons and seminarians about the importance of nourishing their faith with daily reading and meditation of Scripture.

"Always cultivate a thirst for the word of God," he said. "Thus you will learn to love everyone you meet along life's journey. In the church, everyone has a place, everyone."

Among those attending the prayer service were representatives of other Christian churches, and the pope made a point of praying for Christian unity. The word of God, he said, is the "sign, pledge and guarantee of unity in the church."

When he appeared on the floodlit steps of the cathedral to greet several thousand youths gathered outside, a roar went up. The Pope, beaming, held his arms up in salutation.

Although a brief greeting had been foreseen when the youth event was organized, the Pope gave his audience a longer talk that focused on two themes: the Holy Spirit and the cross. [I would dispute that only a brief Papal greeting was 'foreseen' for this event! An event with youth was become a customary part of Papal trips, and especially as this one would start off an overnight prayer vigil, how could the Pope just give a perfunctory greeting?]

Through the gift of the Spirit, he said, young people can be led to bear witness to Christ in their daily lives and to be unafraid to proclaim Christ to others.

"You are at an age marked by great generosity. You need to speak about Christ to all around you, to your families and friends, wherever you study, work and relax," he said.

The youths cheered loudest when the Pope said, "Do not be afraid!" when he told them that he and the whole church have confidence in them.

Looking out at the crowd, the Pope said he knew that many of them wore a cross on a chain around their neck. It is "not mere decoration or a piece of jewelry," but a symbol of their faith and salvation, he said.

The cross is also a symbol of human suffering, and venerating it may sometimes bring mockery or even persecution, he said.

The young people were to walk along the river banks of central Paris that evening and keep an all-night vigil at the Esplanade des Invalides, where the Pope was to say Mass the next morning.

Earlier Sept. 12, the Pope met briefly with a group of Jewish representatives at the papal nunciature in Paris, where he was staying. Noting the importance of Scripture for Judaism, he said Christians and Jews share a historical relationship that "should be strengthened."

The Pope repeated the words of Pope Pius XI, "Spiritually, we are all Semites," and added that the Church opposes every form of anti-Semitism, which can never be theologically justified.

Referring to the victims of anti-Semitism, he added: "Once again I feel the duty to pay heartfelt recognition to those who have died unjustly and to those who have dedicated themselves to assure that the names of these victims may always be remembered. God does not forget."

Cardinal Burke, in his comments to LIFESTE about the Notre Dame fire, cited Benedict XVI's words at the Cathedral in 2008.

00Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:00 PM

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.,
has died at the age of 91

by Carl Olson

April 17, 2019

Fr. James V. Schall, the prolific and much-beloved Jesuit, professor and author, died earlier today. His family states that “he was comfortable and at peace” at the time of his death.

He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928. Educated in public schools in Iowa, he graduated in 1945 from Knoxville, Iowa High, and then attended University of Santa Clara. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Gonzaga University in 1955.

After time in the U.S. Army (1946-47), he joined the Society of Jesus (California Province) in 1948. He received a PhD in Political Theory from Georgetown University in 1960, and an MST from University of Santa Clara four years later. Fr. Schall was a member of the Faculty of Institute of Social Sciences, Gregorian University, Rome, from 1964-77, and a member of the Government Department, University of San Francisco, from 1968-77. He was a member of the Government Department at Georgetown University from 1977 to 2012.

Fr. Schall penned hundreds of essays on political, theological, literary, and philosophical issues for numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers. He wrote dozens of books over the course of some fifty hears, on philosophy, social issues, spirituality, culture, and literature.

How wonderful that the first full eulogy for the passing of the great Father Schall should come from theologian Tracey Rowland, herself a woman of many parts and great intellectual gifts that she has been deploying, as Fr Schall did, to illuminate the circles she moves in and those of us who read her writings.

Uncle, Father, Jesuit, Professor, Giant
Fr James Schall had the capacity to be an intellectual father to many because
he was himself a very together alpha male who knew perfectly well that 2+2=4.

by Tracey Rowland

April 18, 2019

Jerry Schall (left) with his older brother, Fr. James Schall, with Jerry's two young sons, in the early 1960s. (Photo: Fr. James Schall)

The marketing blurb on the book When Jesuits were Giants begins with the statement:

No one in France or the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century doubted that the Jesuits, loved and honored by friends, hated and feared by enemies, were a force to be reckoned with. Scholars, missionaries, educators, adventurers, social innovators – they were Renaissance men, giants.

This Holy Week the Church has lost one of the last sons of St. Ignatius in this mould.

“Uncle Jim” to his vast extended family, “Fr Jim” to his friends, and “Professor James V Schall SJ” to generations of political philosophy students, passed away at 12.48 PDT on Wednesday, the 17th April.

He has been described as “America’s Chesterton” because of the style and humour of his opinion-piece reflections on contemporary ecclesial and social life. He was also a world-class political philosopher. He not only knew what St. Augustine or St Thomas Aquinas had said about some political issue, he could go through the entire Western canon, starting with the pre-Socratics, work his way through the Church Fathers, the medievals and until he finally reached the moderns. The post-moderns he thought were just mad and not worthy of his attention: anyone who thinks that 2+2 might in some alternative universe equal 5 had some kind of mental disability.

As is typical of these Renaissance types he was open to all that classical wisdom had to offer, but argued that there were certain problems beyond the capacities of even the greatest of the Greeks and Romans to solve. These hitherto unresolved issues required the Incarnation – a kind of ontological revolution. Educated people had to be at least open to the possibility that this really did happen, that God really did become incarnate in human form – since it is the only way of making sense of “all that is” – one of his favourite phrases.

It is said that students would enroll at Georgetown University just to “Major in Schall”. In a sense he was his own academic department.

I first came across his name when I was an undergraduate in the 1980s. Instead of reading the books my lecturers had recommended I would spend hours in the library working my way through articles by James V Schall.

On my first trip to the States in 1988 I found my way to Fr Jim’s office at Georgetown. I was in my early 20s and it never occurred to me to send a polite letter before I turned up outside his door. I simply tracked him down and introduced myself as someone who loved his work. He was about to go and deliver a lecture but he told me he would talk to me after the class. I asked if I could stay in his office and look at his library and he agreed to that. I spent a couple of hours taking down references to books on his shelves, and when he reappeared he gave me a cup of tea, we had an academic chat, and then he took me on a tour of his University.

I can’t remember anything about our intellectual exchange but I do remember his walking up to students who were smoking and praising them for having the courage to be politically incorrect. Their responses indicated that they knew who he was and that they loved him.

Quite simply he had the capacity to be an intellectual father to many because he was himself a very together alpha male who knew perfectly well that 2+2 =4.

Not only did he not like political correctness, he had an especially mordant view of feminism. This did not mean that he thought women in any sense inferior to men. He had many friendships with intellectual women and was proud of the females he had taught who went on to occupy high professional positions. Those included Jane Haarland Matlary, a Professor of International Relations at the University of Oslo who served as Norway’s State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997-2000.

However, he thought that women who wanted to be like men, who didn’t value their femininity, or who thought that marriage and family life was somehow beneath them, were victims of an ideology. He also thought that men and women were ‘wired differently’ and he was the chivalrous, dragon-slaying type, who preferred to put women on a pedestal and worship them, rather than virtue-signaling his belief in gender equality.

When I first arrived at Cambridge University he would send me copies of his publications in envelopes addressed to “Mrs Stuart Rowland”. This really impressed the porters at my college who were mostly former military men. They were not much into feminism either. A memo actually went around the porter’s lodge to the effect that all post arriving to “Mrs Stuart Rowland” was to be put in Tracey Rowland’s pigeon-hole, since when Fr Schall’s envelopes first started arriving, no one knew what to do with them. I was later told by the college chaplain that I was one of the porter’s favourite students and I think it was because they loved this little act of politically incorrect chutzpah.

Before I went to Cambridge, and when I was a complete academic no-body, I managed to publish an opinion piece about post-modern philosophy in a secular newspaper. Fr Jim liked it and used a quotation from it in one of his articles, citing “Tracey Rowland” alongside Aristotle and St. Augustine. He then sent me the article with a short covering note saying “Happy St. Valentine’s Day – regards to Stuart, pray for me, Fr Jim!” I took multiple photo-copies of his article and proudly handed out copies to my friends. One of them joked that I was lucky to be mentioned alongside Aristotle and Augustine and not Snoopy and Schroeder. He loved the Peanuts cartoons!

However by far his greatest act of chivalry occurred when my book Ratzinger’s Faith received a two page ‘bad review’ in the Times Literary Supplement. Ratzinger’s Faith actually sold very well and was translated into three other languages and my publisher was not at all concerned about the fact that the reviewer didn’t like my book. The publisher said: “a double-page spread in the TLS is a double-page spread in the TLS” – in other words, all publicity is good publicity.

The reviewer however had ridiculed my book by calling it “a papal romance”. He said words to the effect that I was in love with Ratzinger and that my reading was completely unreliable because it didn’t square with the profile of Ratzinger that he had been given in his interviews with Hans Küng.

What annoyed me most about the review was that my book was not a biography in the sense of an attempt to deal with Ratzinger the man, but only with his ideas. Even theological liberals agree with me that Ratzinger was never a liberal, which is one of the points I tried to emphasize.

In any event, when news of the “papal romance” article reached Fr Jim via his friend Monsignor Sokolowski, he was in hospital recovering from an operation for cancer of the mouth. At the time he was being fed through a drip but he still managed to type out an article blasting the reviewer for all manner of intellectual ineptitudes. The reviewer informed Fr Jim that he had friends in the Society of Jesus, and Fr Jim’s response was something along the lines of “so what, I am 80-something, in hospital, with cancer, do your worst”.

No doubt many academic articles will be written in the years ahead about Fr Jim’s contribution to Catholic political philosophy. His books and papers will be his legacy to future generations. Unlike so many other Jesuits since the Arrupe era he never went down the path of fostering the rag-bag of Leftist political causes. He had no time whatsoever for Marxism. He believed that there will always be elites and that the best thing that a Jesuit could do would be to ensure that the elites were in both belief and practice Catholic! He thought that if the social leaders were good, holy people, then this would foster the good of all. The idea of allowing Communists a say in the choice of bishops was, for him, an idea from planet Pluto, or maybe even from hell.

When new generations of Catholic students want to study political philosophy the name “Schall” will feature prominently on their book lists. Already his book Another Sort of Learning is well known in Catholic undergraduate circles. It offers extensive reading lists for students who want to immerse themselves in the Catholic intellectual tradition.

For those of us who knew him, who were privileged to be on his mailing list, there is a sense that we haven’t just lost a friend, we have lost one of the last old-style renaissance-men of the Jesuits. We have lost one of the giants!

I am devastated. It feels like a member of the family has died. I went to THE CATHOLIC THING this morning thinking to myself, "Surely, there must be a commentary by now from Fr Schall on Benedict XVI's Klerusblatt essay"... and instead, this news. What great moments of reading pleasure and mental stimulation he has given me all these years since I first 'discovered' him when I became involved in the Benedict XVI forums back in 2005, and he soon became for me not just the best and most brilliant commentator on Benedict XVI's works and words, but also my favorite Jesuit of all time. Dear dear Fr. Schall, who has now gone back to the bosom of God, thank you for the legacy of your thought and solid Catholic orthodoxy which thankfully live on in your books.

In the past 14 years, I have occasionally thought what it could have been if Fr Schall and that other great American Jesuit, the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, had lived closer together in time and space and circumstance, which would have been more fantastic even than if Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had been contemporaneous and interacting. On a more practical plane, I was always hoping there might have been an occasion for Fr Schall to sit own with benedict XVI whom he unhesitatingly called the greatest mind of all the world figures today, and to whom he always felt a kinship because they were almost the same age (Schall was born eight months later than Joseph Ratzinger).

Last year, as he turned 90, his colleagues at THE CATHOLIC THING put together a tribute called SCHALL AT 90 which is very apropos today.

Schall at Ninety
by The Friends of Fr. Schall

January 16, 2018

Editor's Note: The ever sharp-eyed Brad Miner noticed a few weeks ago that our colleague, James V. Schall, S.J., was turning 90 on January 20. I immediately sent out a message to some friends asking for brief comments to be published on that occasion; and you may read them, in alphabetical order, below. But I should have known. Before we could assemble and publish them, Fr. Schall himself sent me a column, scheduled for today, on the very same topic. So we’ve had to move up our musings; and now, in addition, you may read his own meditations on turning 90 at the end of these brief tributes. – Robert Royal

Robert Royal
I’d known the good padre’s work before I came to Washington in the early 1980s. Around then, I reviewed somewhere his book The Politics of Heaven and Hell. A new DC friend warned me, “Be careful about reviewing books by Schall. You start doing that, and you’ll never do anything else.” I never wrote another review of Schall (though maybe Another Sort of Learning?). I have tried (unsuccessfully) to keep up, nevertheless to incalculable benefit.

But I also benefitted, thanks to the friendship of Denise and Dennis Bartlett, colleagues of Schall’s when they were together in San Francisco. They began to invite us all to their DC home for birthdays, holidays, special occasions (book parties, to be sure). So for over twenty years, the Bartlett and Royal families and magister Schall lived some high moments together. My children didn’t realize until they were adults that the unassuming and amusing priest they knew was also a certifiably world-class Catholic brain.

But familiarity and normalcy were of a piece with his vast, wide-ranging, insightful oeuvre, because in the Schallian scheme, everything true is an intelligible and related part of “what is” (a phrase he has often intoned with near magical effect). For most of us, it’s not as easy to know “what is” as we think. But that’s why we need and – as generations of his formal and informal students know – are eternally grateful to the Creator for these 90 years – may there be many more – of James Schall.

Hadley Arkes
In the early 1980s, I was on leave from Amherst College, visiting at Georgetown. An unanticipated gift: Jim Schall was my new colleague, and became an enduring blessing. We took long walks through Georgetown, and we would think aloud, together, on questions in political philosophy that we were trying to answer – and to explain to students. When I finally came into the Church, in 2010, Fr. was with me, to concelebrate.

One thing that fascinated us were the teachings of my former professor, Leo Strauss, on the tension between reason and revelation. John Paul II would write on this in Fides et Ratio. But long before, Fr. Schall had said some of the most sensible things about the problem: “Revelation can be articulated because it contains logos.”

Both revelation and reason, then, were only accessible to a creature that had the wit to sift the claims of revelation that were plausible and implausible: “If what is said to be revealed is irrational or contradictory, it cannot be believed, even according to revelation.” This has political as well as purely philosophical implications: “Ironically,” it turns out that we will not understand the world if it is only the world we seek to understand. [And] we often suspect, at our highest moments, that in being in this world, we are not made only for it, dear as it can seem to be.”

Looking ahead to that world, Father ends his notes: “Pray for me . . . Jim.” And I ever will.

Bruce Fingerhut
Here is a man who taught hundreds of students every year, always reading and responding directly to them rather than using an assistant. He suffered from physical difficulties and never spoke of it; he wrote major articles from history to philosophy, from basketball to Catholic understanding.

Here is a man whose relations with young and old alike centered in intelligence, learning, and friendship, but in the end, I believe, the greatest gift he has given us is purpose. For all of us who have had the honor to know him, it is to realize how green is our valley.

Matthew Hanley
I did not have the benefit of Fr. Schall’s instruction in college. But at that age, like most products of our ambient culture, I doubt I’d have absorbed a fraction of the wisdom he had to offer. Still, a time came, early in my professional life, when I needed to go digging for meaty Catholic commentary: for firm fidelity in a hostile cultural environment, and for felicity in putting forth the relevant reasoning. And like anyone who goes looking for such things, I found the name Schall.

Thank God Schall did not limit himself to the classroom! His prolific corpus is a lifetime act of generosity; his wide range of subject matter attests to the interlocking truths of the faith and of reason he so cherished and defended at every turn. But what impresses me even more is the fact that he has done all this while enduring, shall we say, rather dispiriting developments in higher education – when most curricula typically frown upon confronting cultural collapse, even with good cheer.

Few will match his output, but we will need many to emulate his faithfulness – in a time where that quality may well mean an uncomfortable embrace with various degrees of estrangement.

Daniel Mahoney
Father Schall is a gifted political philosopher, an indefatigable student of the Church and the world, and one of the great defenders of the “natural order of things” – of “what is,” as he likes to say. He still participates in public and scholarly discussions with the energy of a man half his age.

I have known him since 1983, and have followed his books and writings; surprisingly, he has followed and encouraged my own work over the years. He is one of the great Catholic critics of the ideological distortion of reality – of the lies that increasingly dominate late modernity. As the Church is tempted in this new Franciscan dispensation to once more “kneel before the world” (Jacques Maritain), Father Schall is more indispensable than ever.

He resists the temptation to “immanentize the eschaton” – to reduce Christianity to a humanitarian project of this-worldly amelioration.
-nLucid and informed about political economy, he resists the lie that “the poor are poor because the rich are rich.”
- He rebukes the pacifist delusion that “war is always immoral and never has any legitimate justification.” Tyranny must be resisted and civilization must be honorably defended.
- He opposes the secular religion of radical environmentalism as an enemy of life and human fecundity.
- He cannot abide the self-evident lie “that Islam is only a religion of peace.” He knows that it has always “expanded by military conquest.”
- He is the scourge of relativism because he knows that a human being can know truths “about himself, the cosmos, or God.”
Turn to “Fifteen Lies at the Basis of our Culture” in his book A Line Through the Human Heart for a brilliant summary.

All God’s blessings to our great friend on his ninetieth birthday

Brad Miner
I’ve known Father Schall (“Jim,” as he prefers) since the late 1980s, although I’ve gotten to know him well only since the launch of The Catholic Thing in 2008. Our friendship since then has been almost entirely epistolary: not letters but emails – about two per week.

Readers of his remarkably voluminous writings know of his erudition and wit and, yes, his wisdom, and all that comes through in correspondence with him, except that the formality of books and essays evaporates in the Socratic exchanges we share. (He’s Socrates, although I’m a very poor excuse for Plato.)

Jim is without question the greatest teacher I’ve ever known, and I’ve often recalled Henry Adamss’ observation that a great “teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Schall is the man Adams had in mind.

Jim and I share thoughts about the Vatican and about college football, but I haven’t hesitated to ask him for guidance concerning spiritual matters, because, although I’m no philosopher, I am a sinner, and Jim is above all a priest – a living testament to the virtues of the Jesuit way of life. He ends every email, “Pray for me.” It’s also my most fervent request of him.

Fr. Gerald E. Murray
Is there such a thing as an ideal Jesuit? Of course! The early generations of Jesuit missionaries and teachers became the standard in the Society of Jesus. Fr. James Schall embodies many characteristics of Jesuit saints such as Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius.

In my grateful experience of eight years studying under Jesuits, I came to know that a true son of St. Ignatius is above all a convinced Catholic who uses the intelligence given to him by God to promote the Faith by teaching and writing and, most importantly, by living that Faith. Fr. Schall is one of that breed of bold men who entered the Society of Jesus, learned exactly what was expected of them, and so lived with great fidelity.

An old Jesuit high school teacher liked to remind students that “knowledge makes a bloody entrance.” These days, the same goes for knowledge of Catholic teaching. Unreflective prejudice against anything that contradicts popular assumptions is the enemy of all serious Catholic professors. Educating students in the truths of the Faith involves moral combat. Fr. Schall has valiantly carried out that battle in the lecture hall and through his outstanding writings for a long, long time.

Thank you, Fr. Schall for being the true son of St. Ignatius that you are. We thank God for men like you know that we need today exactly what St. Ignatius proposed to his first followers: to make Christ known and loved ad majorem Dei gloriam. Happy 90th Birthday!

Michael Pakaluk
A religious conversion in college taught me I almost knew nothing of the long history of thinking about ultimate things. Then Schall’s Another Sort of Learning pointed me to a “second education for which all education exists.” It was not adventures of ideas, but of truths, through books.

“Anyone can get an education if he can read” – but one must take care to read “books that tell the truth,” which are rare. He looks over a fine old copy of Boswell’s Life of Johnson. He loves Cicero and finds himself wondering how often Johnson mentions Cicero. The adventure begins.

It’s an adventure still. But in the future it will actually be a “third education.” It will be even harder to discover, because it will remain essentially contemplative: nothing electronic, nothing glowing, simply symbols on a page that capture someone’s speaking to us.

Schall will be speaking to one of those future students, who will even more need an education, despite being in college. Someone may text then, “Mr. Smith had somehow found a book, a well-preserved first edition of Schall’s Another Sort of Learning, the cover of which I damaged in my enthusiasm to open it.” And he’ll find there lists of truthful books, and by taking the hand of that author, he will meet: Plato and Aristotle, Knox, de Lubac, and Pieper. And, like us, as he embarks on his adventures, he will glow with gratitude for meeting, too . . . Fr. Schall.

Fr. Paul D. Scalia
I still can’t keep up with him. He’s been retired for several years, and I’m still chasing his writings and his recommendations. And I wasn’t even one of his students. At least not officially.

I met the famous Father Schall (“He’s a good Jesuit….at Georgetown”) in 1996, when I was a newly ordained, 25-year-old priest. He and I somehow started getting together for lunch. He seemed old even then. Every so often we would meet at Georgetown campus and then – at his rapid pace – walk several blocks to Martin’s (of course).

Lunch conversation was a round robin of who thought what about this or that. Without holding forth he was instructing. Nor was he an ivory tower professor. Conversation could be as much about handling pastoral situations as about having him explain Strauss (again). Several days later I would inevitably receive a thank you note. . .and a packet of articles to read.

It was an important and timely lesson. The temptation for the newly-ordained priest is to pour himself into parish activities. Seminary and study are in the rear view mirror, and now he can get down to real work. Father Schall provided a reminder of the priest’s need to continue reading and studying – for the sake of his pastoral work. It was Saint Francis de Sales who said that for a priest study is the eighth sacrament. It was Schall who taught it to me.

Cynthia Searcy
When I was an undergraduate at Georgetown, Fr. Schall distributed a column to the class titled “Schall at 75.” The student sitting next to me leaned over and said, “Our children will probably be assigned ‘Schall at 105.’” We’re now at the half-way mark. As these tributes attest, Fr. Schall is a rare scholar, writer, friend. But I think Fr. Schall would agree, that there is nothing he excels at more than as a teacher.

I found his use of the Socratic method terrifying, at first. But older students gave me some tips: 1) Always remember when Aristotle died; 2) Never, ever, answer: “I don’t know.” This was the only wrong answer, and evoked a swift, “Yes, you do!” (Once he learned I was from Kentucky, it was also good to be keep up on college basketball.)

His use of the Socratic method, I came to realize, reflected his general outlook on teaching. Students are each worth knowing, and should be treated individually, capable of growing in knowledge and virtue, not coddled or pandered to. Miraculously, this made him widely popular. His courses were almost always over-subscribed and he was repeatedly selected professor-of-the-year by the senior class (my own included).

His legacy will be that he never wavered in the conviction that human beings are capable of knowing the truth, and that with good teachers, young people could be inspired to want to know “what is.” I am among thousands eternally grateful for his commitment to that vocation.

Fr. Robert Sokolowski
Dear Fr. Schall, You are retired from Georgetown and no longer lecture in a classroom, but you’re still teaching a grateful audience; they are all over the country and in far corners of the world. The Internet, like the printing of books, was invented for people like you.

You are never dull, always insightful, and at ninety, as energetic as ever; and you are one of the best friends we have. With God’s grace, may you continue to express His Word and, in the spirit of St. Ignatius, bear witness to His great glory.

David Walsh
Dear Jim, we wish you a Wonderful 90th Birthday celebration. We miss not being able to invite you to Chesapeake Beach for dinners where we can parade you, especially for visiting Irish, as our own bona fide celebrity. Thank you for the friendship you continue to sustain over the years, especially in your non-retirement!

You definitively explode the myth that there is any retreat from the life of the mind. Your reflections on a variety of challenges, ecclesiastical, political, and existential, continue to dazzle and amaze, as you whisk us aloft on those intellectual leaps that are vintage Schall. But beyond your global well-wishers and admirers, there is one group in particular for whom you remain the indispensable.

I refer to the lonely scribblers who, when they toil, know not whether any one will read or care. As a lowly member of that fraternity I can assure you we take great consolation in knowing there is at least one who will take up the volume and read it with penetration and generosity. It is in this way you have become the silent partner of the work of so many who sit at their desks and wonder, “what will Schall think of this?”

David Warren
I first became aware of Father Schall as a reader, nearly forty years ago – decades before I was received into the Catholic Church, and when I had only recently become a Christian. A notice of his wonderful book, Welcome Number 4,000,000,000, appeared somewhere, and I began hunting his by-line thereafter in magazines, or anywhere.

My interest was, back then, more in politics than religion. For whatever reason I had come to associate contemporary Catholics with the battier forms of liberalism. But in Schall, as in another Catholic thinker I discovered in the later 1970s (a certain Joseph Ratzinger), I found a quality of mind that changed this outlook. Or rather,]at least four qualities, intersecting: real learning, good sense, generosity of spirit, and patient courage or steadfastness.

Through the intervening years I have come to know him as companion and guide – as teacher – without knowing him personally nor ever sitting in his class. The question, “What would Schall think?” has often acted as a restraint upon me, and more often still as an encouragement. By now his name alone comes to mind as an assurance, that even through a long crisis in “Western Civ” or Latin Christendom, God has provided. And even among our contemporaries, we will never be without truly Catholic companions and guides. He is utterly reliable: as high praise as I could give for any man. What a blessing he has been.

And Fr Jim himself, of course, contributed his own thoughts...

Schall at Ninety
by James V. Schall, S.J.

Beginning with “Schall at Seventy,” I have written a birthday comment (January 20) every five years. At seventy, I would be teaching at Georgetown for another fifteen years. On December 7, 2012, I gave my “Last Lecture” in Gaston Hall. On the first day of Spring, 2013, I flew to California, and have resided here in Los Gatos since. It is a good place for tired and retired Jesuits. Some forty of my various classmates have died here since I arrived. We do not call this center “The Waiting Room” or “The Last Assignment” for nothing, but all in good cheer.

In reading Brad Miner’s book, The Compleat Gentleman, I came across the following passage: “But, God willing, we will all turn ninety, and then what? We can plausibly think of fifty as young, but ninety?” Indeed.

This Los Gatos house is where I entered the Order as a novice in 1948. I left here for studies at Gonzaga University in 1952. This second run is already longer than the first. One manages to keep busy. The computer enables many things. I have had a number of books published since I arrived here.

In one, Remembering Belloc, I recalled his Path to Rome. There he said something pertinent to what concerns us as we age. In 1901, Belloc reflected that, in later years, we begin to worry about the human side of the supernatural Church.

When I arrived here five years ago, I did not suspect that the center of the Church, Rome, where I taught for twelve years, would turn out to be something to worry about. In recent decades, the Church seemed to be in sure hands. Now many people I know throw up their hands and wonder what will collapse next. My books, Catholicism and Intelligence and The Modern Age, more or less spelled out the world as I came to see it.

A former student, Scott Walter, recalled the annoyance that Walker Percy felt when constantly asked in interviews why he was a Catholic. He simply inquired: “What else is there?” My experience finds this to be the most productive of answers. See what you come up with in trying to find something better.

On examination, what is claimed to be better almost invariably turns out to be worse. One good thing about evil and sin is that we can think about them with a cold eye. But just because nothing is better does not prove that no basic problem exists at the center.

In retrospect, much of my life consisted in recommending things to read. I discovered Plato at a relatively advanced age. At Georgetown, every so often, I would spend a semester with a class in which we would read as much of Plato as we could.

To read Plato, however, it helps to be well-grounded in Aristotle and Aquinas. Few are more helpful in putting all these together than Charles N. R. McCoy, Josef Pieper, Joseph Ratzinger, and Robert Sokolowski. I had been fortunate in my early studies to have had as teachers Clifford Kossel, S. J. and Heinrich Rommen.

When asked what “field” I was in, I usually said “political philosophy.” But lest that sound hopelessly narrow, I argued that from this beginning one could and should go in many directions. If there is any “distinct” Schall contribution to political philosophy, it is basically distilled in my Political Philosophy & Revelation: A Catholic View.

The essential point is that reason and revelation belong together in a non-contradictory way. But we see this only after acknowledging what questions that philosophy can ask but not answer by itself. At this point, we become aware that an intelligence is found in revelation. The mind of revelation and the mind of reason have the same origin.

What I best like to write is the short essay – The Satisfied Crocodile (American Chesterton Society) is the latest collection. What I like to recommend are short books that take an unsuspecting student or curious adult to the heart of things. Such books can be found. Suggesting them was the burden of Another Sort of Learning and Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught.

Ultimately, “teaching” consists in two things: 1) the teacher and the student together read the same books that bring both to the truth, to the heart of things (Plato is the quickest way); 2) A professor, to recall Frederick Wilhelmsen, must state, over the years, what he has learned in his teaching.

That Schall at ninety has said all that he has to say is probable, but don’t count on it! As we age, we can, with Belloc, worry about the human side of the supernatural Church. But about Schall’s corporeal side, little leeway is left. The words of the rousing old tune state it best: “The Old Grey Mare she ‘ain’t’ what she used to be, many long years ago.”

Last Christmas, Fr. Schall had a post-surgery crisis that was quite critical, but he recovered soon enough, not just to celebrate his 91st birthday, but also to resume writing right away for his usual outlets - The Catholic Thing, Crisis magazine, and Catholic World Report.

I should have known something was amiss again when he failed to 'react' to Benedict XVI's latest essay, much less the Notre Dame fire, and I thought he would link them up in his inimitable way. I will never forget how, within hours of the Vatican's publication of the Regensburg lecture as soon as it had been delivered - even before the global wave of malice that washed over it 24 hours later - Fr. Schall posted online for the world to read a full-bodied appreciation of the lecture for the seminal intellectual and moral landmark that it was, the first great address of the 21st century. [Does anyone remember anything comparable? Other, that is, than the subsequent September addresses to the world that Benedict XVI delivered in Paris, London and Berlin, not forgetting his undelivered address for La Sapientia University.]

Dear Father Schall, now you rest in God. Pray for us and for the Church and faith you served so well.

00Friday, April 19, 2019 6:20 PM

Ecce lignum crucis!

NB: Fr. Cipolla was an Episcopalian priest who was received into the Catholic Church in 1982 under John Paul II's decree
allowing married Episcopalian and Anglican priests into the Church.

Sermon for Good Friday 2019:
The death of Christ destroys
the absoluteness of Death

by Fr. Richard Cipolla

April 19, 2019

My son sent me a text: Notre Dame is on fire. I was doing something else and did not immediately check on the news. Then I did. I watched what was happening in Paris, the flames, the silent observers, the media, commentators who had no idea of what Notre Dame means or what is its deep significance and who tried to fudge things with platitudes. I sat there mesmerized.

And then an image I will never forget. The fleche, the spire of the cathedral, aflame, collapsed and fell out of sight. And the flames continued to roar. Suddenly the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is seen arriving with an entourage. Next to him is a cleric in a grey shirt and plastic tab collar. They both look serious.

Notre Dame is burning. But they do not join the hundreds of Catholic standing there singing hymns, most of them young people, singing, above all, the Salve Regina. The officials do not join in singing the Salve Regina, because Macron’s generation does not know how to sing the Salve Regina.

And later Macron announces an international campaign to rebuild Notre Dame. Listen to what he said while the cathedral was still burning: “Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicenter of our lives... Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I’d like to speak of hope too,” he said, announcing the launch of and fundraising campaign. “Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”

What do you notice here? Not one word of the Christian faith, the Catholic faith that is at the root, the raison d’être, of this remarkable structure, which is not only a structure but a Catholic Church. Macron’s words are yet one more example of the black hole of post- modern sensibilities, where the Christian foundations of Western culture have been deliberately forgotten or twisted out of shape.

Yes, these foundations extend deep from the Classical era of Greece and Rome. But these pagan foundations were Christianized, however imperfectly, but still Christianized by faith in Jesus Christ, his person as God incarnate and his teaching founded on a love of infinite depth. And these foundations and the civilization that it produced has been the victim of the black hole of deliberate forgetfulness that has sucked out the Christian foundations of Western culture that produced our civilization, foundations that are now not only forgotten but denied. The black hole of the post -modern culture is that deliberate forgetfulness and an accompanying hatred of the very origins of our culture.

Do you know what a black hole is? You should. There was a color photograph of a black hole some ten days ago posted on the front page of the New York Times and many other national newspapers. The same photo was everywhere on the internet. Traditional Catholics ought to be au courant not only about religious matters but also all matters that pertain to the human condition. And black holes certainly pertain to the human condition.

What is a black hole? It is the result of the death of a big star when it runs out of fuel. It explodes with a remarkable fire-works like display, after which it falls in on itself, and the mass of the dead star is so intense that its gravity is quasi-infinite, so that whatever is close to the dead star is sucked into it and cannot emerge out of it. And this is important. Even light cannot escape from it because of the intensity of its gravitational pull. Even light. Imagine.

Nothing can escape. Not even light. It is absolutely dark but almost infinitely powerful to suck anything that comes close into its inescapable darkness. And this physical phenomenon corresponds to the spiritual black hole of sin.

We always think that we can skirt the pull of sin and the consequences of sin. That we can play with fire, that we can do our own thing in a culture that encourages us to do so without any moral reference, and we believe that what we do in this way is somehow immune to the pull of the black hole of annihilation, that we can approach the black hole of sin and then pull the throttles of the space ship named Ego and escape from the inevitable sucking force of the blackness of the spiritual black hole whose center is ice.

If Dante had known about black holes he would not have changed one line of the Divine Comedy, especially the Inferno. He would have recognized the physical manifestation of hell in a black hole.

Now if one objects to the imaginative coupling of the black hole of modern physics to hell on the basis of the sharp distinction between the physical and the spiritual, then one must remember Flannery O’Connor’s comment to the young priest after the Second Vatican Council, who was present at a soirée in Manhattan organized by that liberated Catholic Mary McCarthy.

He was a cutting-edge priest, who was advocating for a purely spiritual, that is, at least in his mind, symbolic, understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist: O’Connor replied to this avant garde, cutting-edge priest, the darling of the post Vatican II salon liberals: if it’s only a symbol, to hell with it. And Flannery O’Connor was right, not merely about the theology of the matter but also in her using hell as an analogy to the denial of one of the fundamental Catholic understandings of the Eucharist, the Mass.

But yet we come here on this Good Friday, Good because it is good for you and me, not good for Christ, at least in the normal use of that word, but good for you and me. It is good, rather it is super good, it is remarkable beyond all measure, that because of Good Friday it is possible not to be sucked into the black hole of sin from which there is no return but rather through faith to allow death to lead us into eternal life, basking forever in the glorious light of the Son, not the sun in the sky, but rather the Son who is God of God, light of light, true God, consubstantial with the Father.

- We live in an age, abetted by nonsense spouted by bishops and priests, that confuses mercy with forgiveness, that refuses to talk about the objective reality of sin without which there can be no mercy.
- We live in an age that thinks that the terrible inevitability of sin leading us to the place in which there is no light and from which there is no escape, huis clos, can be changed, made null and void by the magic wand of mercy, of God’s mercy, without the radical turning around of the trajectory of our life that is going in the direction of the black hole of sin and death.

The mercy of God is not a warm fuzzy blanket that covers our sins. The mercy of God is not a wink that overlooks our sin. The mercy of God comes from that love of God that we cannot begin to understand, that mercy that embraces the prodigal son and kisses him even before the son confesses his sins to his father. But, but yet he returns, he returns, he understands what he has done, and he begs forgiveness for what he has done.

There is no mercy without repentance, and repentance always demands that I understand that I deliberately flew very close to the black hole and wanted to be sucked into that place in which light itself cannot exist, and that I did not become a part of this horrible state is because of what we commemorate here today.

The Cross of Jesus Christ is not only the answer to the problem of evil. It is not merely part of a belief of Christians that somehow the death of this Jewish man over two thousand years ago, this death of terrible suffering-- but others have suffered likewise in many situations-- but that this death, because of who died on that cross makes possible the negation of the inevitability of being sucked into the blackness of the black hole of nothingness after death, the terrible nothingness of eternity without the light of God.

Oh, how this liturgical act is an antidote to the radical individualism of our society, an antidote also to a facile and rote version of the Catholic faith in which everyone goes to heaven and in which the existence of the black hole of sin and death is denied.

Today is the commemoration of the death of God, the God who did not shrink from allowing himself to plunge into the black hole of death, but rather in human flesh willingly underwent the blackness of death in order to destroy the terrible absoluteness of death.

In a few minutes we will participate in the veneration of the Cross. The clergy and servers will take off their shoes in an act of humility, and in a ritual that speaks so much more than words they will kiss the feet of Christ on the cross. And so will you. You will kiss the feet of the Crucified Savior, and in so doing you will affirm that love is the real and total antidote to sin and death.

But there is more. The Blessed Sacrament will be taken from the Altar of Repose and brought into the church in solemn procession. When the Blessed Sacrament is carried into the church in procession, one of the greatest and loveliest hymns of the Church is sung. Listen to the words. Vexilla regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go,
The cross shines forth in mystic glow;
Where He in flesh, our flesh who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.

O tree of beauty, tree of light!
O tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy limbs should find their rest.

O cross, our one reliance, hail!
Still may thy power with us avail
To give new virtue to the saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

Why is the Sacred Host brought into the church in this solemn procession on this Good Friday? In order for the priest, on the one day that the Sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated, to hold the Host on high for all to see on this day, to behold the Sacrament of the One who exploded the black hole of sin and death, the God who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten Son to die for us, and it is the priest, the one who offers sacrifice, who then consumes the Sacred Host not to offer the Sacrifice as he usually does at the Mass, but to show us what the absence of the Sacramental presence of Christ would mean, the void without hope.

And with this gesture the priest shows us what this is all about, the will of God to become flesh and die a real death for you and me. He died a real human death, yes, without sin, but real, a death died not in some sort of smug way knowing the outcome, smug because of his Godhead, but rather like you and me, he died in faith that his Father would allow him to smash the terrible power of death and bring him once again to his bosom. He died really for you and me so that the reality of what he died for, the forgiveness of our sins, may become a reality in our space and time, for you and for me.

The fall of the fleche, the steeple of Notre Dame, was a terrible warning — not in the sense of God caused this in some sort of dark pseudo-pious way. But rather as a terrible warning for all to see the power of the black hole of sin and death to suck everything into its blackness and obliterate it, its power to make us forget who we are and where we came from. Enough.

Ecce lignum crucis. Behold the wood of the Christ on which hung the salvation of the world. Come let us adore him.

On his blogpost for Good Friday, Aldo Maria Valli harks back to Benedict XVI...


Good Friday, 21 March 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This year we have also walked along the Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, evoking again with faith the stages of Christ's Passion. Our eyes have seen again the sufferings and anguish that our Redeemer had to bear in the hour of great sorrow, which marked the climax of his earthly mission.

Jesus dies on the Cross and lies in the tomb. The day of Good Friday, so permeated by human sadness and religious silence, closes in the silence of meditation and prayer. In returning home, we too, like those who were present at the sacrifice of Jesus, "beat our breasts", recalling what happened (cf. Lk 23: 48). Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of God? For us, for our salvation, he became man and died on the Cross.

Brothers and sisters, our gaze is frequently distracted by scattered and passing earthly interests; let us direct our gaze today toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his Cross. The Cross is the source of immortal life, the school of justice and peace, the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy.

It is permanent proof of an oblative and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, even to dying crucified. His nailed arms are open to each human being and they invite us to draw near to him, certain that he accepts us and clasps us in an embrace of infinite tenderness: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32).

Through the sorrowful Way of the Cross, the men and women of all ages, reconciled and redeemed by Christ's Blood, have become friends of God, sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father.

"Friend" is what Jesus calls Judas and he offers him the last and dramatic call to conversion. He calls each of us friend because he is the true friend of everyone. Unfortunately, we do not Always manage to perceive the depth of this limitless love that God has for his creatures. For him there is no distinction of race or culture.

Jesus Christ died to liberate the whole of humanity from ignorance of God, from the circle of hate and vengeance, from the slavery to sin. The Cross makes us brothers and sisters.

Let us ask ourselves: but what have we done with this gift? What have we done with the revelation of the Face of God in Christ, with the revelation of God's love that conquers hate?
- Many, in our age as well, do not know God and cannot find him in the crucified Christ.
- Many are in search of a love or a liberty that excludes God.
- Many believe they have no need of God.

Dear friends: After having lived together Jesus's Passion, let us this evening allow his sacrifice on the Cross to question us.
- Let us permit him to put our human certainties in crisis.
- Let us open our hearts to him. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love.
- Let us not be afraid: upon dying, the Lord saved sinners, that is, all of us.

The Apostle Peter wrote: Jesus "himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (I Pt 2: 24).

This is the truth of Good Friday: on the Cross, the Redeemer has restored to us the dignity that belongs to us, has made us adoptive sons and daughters of God whom he has created in his image and likeness.

Let us remain, then, in adoration before the Cross. O Christ, crucified King, give us true knowledge of you, the joy for which we yearn, the love that fills our heart, thirsty for the infinite. This is our prayer for this evening, Jesus, Son of God, who died for us on the Cross and was raised up on the third day.


00Friday, April 19, 2019 8:27 PM

Why this time I will not 'follow'
the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum

Translated from

April 19, 2019

I have read the meditations written for the Via Crucis at the Roman Colosseum today – written by a nun who is strongly involved in assisting women who are victims of human trafficking. [Obviously she was asked to do so by the reigning pope because of her cause.]

I believe for the first time in many many years, I will not take part, not even as a TV spectator, in this event. I do not wish to give it my support, as minuscule as this may be, by listening to or being present for something that seems to me like a ‘commercial’ for the immigration business, a 'spot' of ideological and political character, but one of truly lowdown politics.

I grant the good faith of everyone having to do with this. And I understand that the Church in Italy has seen and is seeing a drastic reduction in the not-inconsiderable revenue it was getting [for ‘assistance to immigrants’, presumably] since the current Italian government took strong measures to block illegal immigration en masse to this country.

I know that – probably out of courting favor with the reigning pope, or for their own selfish interests, or for demagoguery, or for choosing social activism in behalf of illegal migrants above other political causes – the Church in Italy has followed the Vatican line of espousing a political and sociological message that is globalist and immigrationist [even to the detriment of national sovereignty] and in doing so, it has been promoting something which she seems to condemn in words.

For which, I believe, they will be accountable to history. French author Laurent Dandreu has explained it well in his beautiful book “Église et immigration, le grand malaise; le pape et le suicide de la civilisation européenne” [The Church and immigration, the great malaise: The pope and the suicide of European civilization), which so far has not found an Italian publisher.

But how dare they instrumentalize the Way of the Cross in this total and totalizing manner! Sure, the powers-that-be have every 'right' to do so. But not with my participation, infinitesimal and completely negligible as it may be.

In fact, Jorge Bergoglio has knowingly and deliberately set about to carry out his ultraliberal – and ultimately anti-Catholic - political and social agenda, not just through his acts of governance and his appointment of likeminded ideologues to the Church hierarchy, but even in relatively ‘minor’ matters such as his choice of the priest who leads the Roman Curia’s annual Lenten exercises and of who writes the annual Via Crucis meditations for the Colosseum. Paul VI already paved the way for him with the Novus Ordo, which has allowed the unforgivable and seemingly infinite ways of politicizing and ideologizing the liturgy, including the Way of the Cross, and the Lord's Prayer itself. Yet the sole purpose of liturgy, and of Christian life which it stands for, is the worship of God as we thank him for his graces, make reparation for our sins, and raise our petitions to him.

All who work under and for this pope must toe his line – which they do and will continue to do gladly - because they are the ill-begotten heirs of Vatican-II and its so-called ‘spirit’ which is uncompromisingly ‘mondanizing’. They want – and have allowed – the Zeitgeist, which represents the very spirit of Satan, to permeate the Church in order to promote their own ideas about what the Church of Christ ought to be. Which is not what the Gospel tells us he means His Church to be, namely, an extension of himself within this world to the end of time when he comes again. The church of Bergoglio and his fellow V2 'spiritists’ is not promoting Christ and the Word of God at all but themselves and their opinions.

00Friday, April 19, 2019 9:57 PM
From today:

This Facebook user posted the photos, saying “When I looked at this photo last night, I was really astounded by what I saw. When I look at it, I see
a silhouette of Jesus. I really see a vivid image.”

What do you think? Is it Jesus or Our Lady? Even if this was photoshopped, most skillfully indeed, it serves as a powerful reminder that on many occasions, not just the devil,
but God himself is 'in the details', and for a purpose, if we but looked.

Fire, because of its inherent qualities, is a remarkable source of powerful metaphors, and most of these are being invoked these days in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. The day it broke out, Fr Hunwicke recounts this coincidence (or synchronicity, as Jung would rather call it):

Fire and the Baalim

April 15, 2019

...Having just heard of the fire in Paris yesterday afternoon, I took up my Breviarium Romanum to say Matins of the following day, April 15, and found myself reading Jeremiah 11:15-20:

Olivam uberem, pulchram, fructiferam, speciosam vocavit Dominus nomen tuum: ad vocem loquelae, grandis exarsit ignis in ea, et combusta sunt fruteta eius. Et Dominus exercituum, qui plantavit te, locutus est super te malum: pro malis domus Israel et domus Iuda, quae fecerunt sibi ad irritandum me, libantes Baalim.

"The LORD has named you [Israel] 'a spreading olive tree, a pleasure to behold'; Now he sets fire to it, its branches burn.
because of the evil done by the house of Israel and by the house of Judah, who provoked me by sacrificing to Baal."

[In which the prophet recalls God's words to him about what he must tell 'the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem':

Cursed be anyone who does not observe the words of this covenant, which I commanded your ancestors the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that iron furnace, saying: Listen to my voice and do all that I command you. Then you shall be my people, and I will be your God".

I couldn't help thinking of PF's syncretistic Abu Dhabi statement. How could anybody not?

Later, one Macron appeared on the TV, talking in long syllables about the rebuilding which would follow. I thought: Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum... (Unless the Lord builds the house...)

Apparently, the use of public money would not offend against laicite because Notre Dame is, culturally, so much bigger a thing than mere Christianity. So that's all right, then. Some arty person, interviewed this morning, explained that the rebuilt Cathedral will of course be disentangled from the (Christian) myths which led to its building. More or less back to the Revolution, and the Goddess Reason...

Roberto De Mattei develops the fire metaphor to the max...

“Thou didst hear his words out of the midst of the fire” (Deuteronomy 4, 36)

by Roberto de Mattei
Translated for Rorate caeli by 'Fracnesca Romana' from

April 17, 2019

Why did the fire of Notre Dame Cathedral generate such enormous shock all over the world? Because apart from the intrinsic value of the monument, Notre Dame is a symbol. It was written everywhere: a symbol of Christianity, a symbol of Western conscience, a symbol of a collective cultural patrimony, a symbol of European identity, a symbol of French national history.

We live in a world that has lost the value of logic, but the power of symbols is still extraordinary, given that symbols are used by the mass-media system to create emotional-reactions, often replacing the role of reason.

There are in fact two ways of arriving at the truth: one through reason, the other through symbols. But the two ways are complementary, not alternative. Jesus, for example, uses the language of symbols, but also convincing logic.
- Rational language is founded on the principal of non-contradiction, whereas symbolic language is based on images and visible signs referring to an invisible reality.
- A symbol renders immediately comprehensible that which is veiled to the eyes of reason.
- Logic helps to decipher the language of symbols. Everything our senses experience has a significance and leads to the invisible, of which it is a reflex and imitation.

In the case of the Notre Dame fire, everyone perceived the symbolic value of the wounded cathedral, but few have sought to understand the symbolic significance of what happened. Notre Dame, like all cathedrals, represents the Catholic Church in its architectural impetus towards Heaven.

How not to see in the smoke and flames that enveloped it on April 15th, the image of the smoke and flames enveloping the Church of Christ? As far back as 1972, Paul VI spoke of the “smoke of Satan” penetrating the Temple of God. This smoke today is the result of a fire that ravaged the Church, until it carbonized the very top. Might it not be possible to see in the collapse of the fleche - Notre Dame’s tall spire - the fall of the pinnacle of the Church?

At this time, another symbolic image overlaps that of the Notre Dame blaze: a scene with Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, kissing the feet of three Sudanese Muslim leaders, asking them “to extinguish the fires of war once and for all.”

This happened on April 11th at the end of a spiritual retreat in the Vatican, conceived by the (schismatic) Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Immediately afterwards, on the first day of Holy Week, the French cathedral – the most famous and most visited in the world after St. Peter’s – was consumed by flames.

In the world of those faithful to Tradition, there is an ongoing discussion, at times heated [in the attempt] to establish whether this or that verbal expression by Pope Francis can be considered heretical. But this theological and canonical investigation risks staying abstract and ignoring the language of gestures, which expresses in a direct manner a reality that every baptized person who has kept his sensus fidei can easily discern.

Well then, rarely has the Church been humiliated by gestures like the one made by Pope Francis prostrated at the feet of political and other religious leaders. Francis is in fact, the Vicar on Earth of the King of Kings, to Whom everyone owes homage. There can never be any true peace outside the Truth proclaimed by He Who is the only Prince of Peace. His dominion embraces all men, as Pope Pius XI reminds us of in his encyclical Quas Primas, of December 11th 1925, citing the words of his predecessor Leo XIII:

“The empire of Christ extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ (Enc. Annum Sacrum, 25 May 1899). Pius XI adds: “If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why should we despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - He who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister?”

On April 11th Jesus Christ was humiliated by His Vicar, with an act just as symbolic as the fire on April 15th. In the tragedy of the blaze, Divine Providence did not allow the Holy Crown of Thorns to be destroyed, redeemed at great cost by St. Louis, who in 1239, wearing only a linen tunic, and barefoot, welcomed it to Paris and carried it in procession. To safeguard this relic the Sovereign commissioned the building of Sainte Chapelle, an outstanding jewel of Gothic art. We must be grateful to the firefighter’s Chaplain, Father Fournier, who, defying danger, managed to save the Holy Species and the Crown of Thorns.*

Jesus, after being scourged, insulted and besmirched with spit, was forced to wear a purple garment; a crown of thorns was thrust on His head, and, in His right hand, in the place of a scepter, a cane, to signify that His was a sham Kingdom. Then His executioners knelt in front of Him and adored Him in mockery, saying Ave Rex Judaeorum (Hail, King of the Jews) (Mt 27, 28-29). The Lord then came out in plain sight of everyone, dressed in purple, crowned with thorns: portans coronam spineam et purpureum vestimentum (John 19, 5) and Pilate showed Him to the people, with the words: Ecce Homo: Behold the Man. The Prefect of the Praetorium, spoke unknowingly through the mouth of the Holy Spirit, Who was saying: He appears to be merely a Man, but He is the Son of God, the Messiah, promised by the law, the King of men and Angels, the Saviour of the human race.

In the same way, in this age of Passion we live in, the words Ecce Ecclesia seem to resound: behold the Bride of Christ, the only depositary of the means of Salvation, the Queen of Peace, the Teacher of men, the Kingdom, whose keys have been entrusted to Peter. Behold Holy Church, covered in sores, disfigured, defiled. How is it possible that She be treated this way? Moved by sorrow and indignation, we adore the Church, directing our veneration in particular to the adorable relic of the Crown of Thorns.

In medieval cathedrals, like Notre Dame, the demons were represented under the form of grotesque and deformed sculptures (gargoyles) on the exterior of the church, which the wicked spirits cannot enter into. When flares of fire inside the temple of God, replace the pure light of the stained-glass, it means that hell has entered. “The Fires of Hell in Notre Dame”, was a headline on the front page of the German newspaper Bild of April 16th.

The words of St. Louis Maria Grignon de Montfort, in the entreaty of his Inflamed Prayer, resound prophetically. “Fire! Fire! Fire! Help! Help! Help! There is fire in the house of God! There is fire in souls! There is fire even in the sanctuary!” But just as vibrantly the Saint’s final invocation resounds in our hearts, on this Easter Eve: “Exsurge, Domine, quare abdormis? Rise Lord! Why are you pretending to sleep? Rise with all Your omnipotence, mercy and justice. Form a company of bodyguards chosen to protect Your House, defend Your Glory and save souls, so that there is only one sheepfold and one Shepherd, and all may glorify You in Your Temple. Et in templo ejus omnes dicent gloriam. Amen.”

Since the first two items in this postbox are about images and symbols, let me pursue that farout weird if not downright lunatic gesture of the reigning pope towards the leaders of South Sudan. Cringeworthy, embarrassing, certainly not necessary at all nor called for, it is the act of an ultimate narcissist calling attention to his virtue [I think the current jargon for it is 'virtue signalling'] of , methinks, 'humility'. What and who exactly did this theatrical gesture (my first adjective for it upon seeing the pictures was 'disgusting') serve?Nothing and no one, obviously, least of all Bergoglio.

Antonio Socci promptly posted a quotation from a Benedict XVI Corpus Domini homily which Socci entitled 'Memo to Bergoglio from the Pope', and although Socci is obviously rubbing in his pet theory that Benedict XVI is still pope and is the only pope today, this does not at all detract from B16's 'lesson' on kneeling...

Has any Bergogliac come up with any explanation for why their lord and master cannot genuflect at the Consecration or kneel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament but displays
all the agility of a serpent to slither and grovel before human beings? In the case of the Sudanese leaders, he cannot even claim he is honoring the Lord whom he sees in
the poor and the downtrodden... Oh, I know - a Bergogliac will claim he is groveling at their feet because these leaders are 'peacemakers' (then Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas
should have cause to complain - not to mention Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama - that Bergoglio never gave them the same obeisance when they are 'arguably' two
of the greatest 'peacemakers' the world has known! ...I think in the next foreign country he visits, Bergoglio will slither down to the tarmac as soon as he steps off the plane
to kiss the feet of his host and his wife and their official entourage, which he will say makes far more sense than John Paul II kneeling down to kiss the earth upon arriving at
a foreign destination.]

00Sunday, April 21, 2019 9:49 PM
00Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:05 PM

On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 92.


April 21, 2019, EASTER SUNDAY

The Resurrection, from left: Duccio, 1308; Fra Angelico, 1400; Titian, 1520; El Greco, 1590s; Di Giovani, 15th-cent.

Greek Orthodox and Russian icons; extreme right, Coptic icon.
Below, left, Johann Tischbein the Elder, 1763; right, Raphael, 1502. [NB: The Tischbein painting, which is at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, illustrated Benedict XVI's Easter greeting card in 2012.

by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI

“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).

With these words Saint Paul explains quite drastically what faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means for the Christian message overall: it is its very foundation. The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead.

If this were taken away, it would still be possible to piece together from the Christian tradition a series of interesting ideas about God and men, about man’s being and his obligations, a kind of religious world view: but the Christian faith itself would be dead.

Jesus would be a failed religious leader, who despite his failure remains great and can cause us to reflect. But he would then remain purely human, and his authority would extend only so far as his message is of interest to us.

He would no longer be a criterion; the only criterion left would be our own judgment in selecting from his heritage what strikes us as helpful. In other words, we would be alone. Our own judgment would be the highest instance.

Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that changes the world and the situation of mankind. Then he becomes the criterion on which we can rely. For then God has truly revealed himself.

To this extent, in our quest for the figure of Jesus, the Resurrection is the crucial point. Whether Jesus merely was or whether he also is – this depends on the Resurrection. In answering yes or no to this question, we are taking a stand not simply on one event among others, but on the figure of Jesus as such.

Therefore it is necessary to listen with particular attention as the New Testament bears witness to the Resurrection. Yet first we have to acknowledge that this testimony, considered from a historical point of view, is presented to us in a particularly complex form and gives rise to many questions.

What actually happened? Clearly, for the witnesses who encountered the risen Lord, it was not easy to say. They were confronted with what for them was an entirely new reality, far beyond the limits of their experience. Much as the reality of the event overwhelmed them and impelled them to bear witness, it was still utterly unlike anything they had previously known.

Saint Mark tells us that the disciples on their way down from the mountain of the Transfiguration were puzzled by the saying of Jesus that the Son of Man would “rise from the dead”. And they asked one another what “rising from the dead” could mean (9:9-10). And indeed, what does it mean? The disciples did not know, and they could find out only through encountering the reality itself.

Anyone approaching the Resurrection accounts in the belief that he knows what rising from the dead means will inevitably misunderstand those accounts and will then dismiss them as meaningless.

Rudolf Bultmann raised an objection against Resurrection faith by arguing that even if Jesus had come back from the grave, we would have to say that “a miraculous natural event such as the resuscitation of a dead man” would not help us and would be existentially irrelevant (cf. New Testament and Mythology, p. 7).

Now it must be acknowledged that if in Jesus’s Resurrection we were dealing simply with the miracle of a resuscitated corpse, it would ultimately be of no concern to us. For it would be no more important than the resuscitation of a clinically dead person through the art of doctors. For the world as such and for our human existence, nothing would have changed.

The miracle of a resuscitated corpse would indicate that Jesus’s Resurrection was equivalent to the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43 and parallel passages), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44). After a more or less short period, these individuals returned to their former lives, and then at a later point they died definitively.

The New Testament testimonies leave us in no doubt that what happened in the “Resurrection of the Son of Man” was utterly different. Jesus’s Resurrection was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming, but lies beyond it – a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence.

Therefore the Resurrection of Jesus is not an isolated event that we could set aside as something limited to the past, but it constitutes an “evolutionary leap” (to draw an analogy, albeit one that is easily misunderstood). In Jesus’s Resurrection a new possibility of human existence is attained that affects everyone and that opens up a future, a new kind of future, for mankind.

So Paul was absolutely right to link the resurrection of Christians and the Resurrection of Jesus inseparably together: “If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:16, 20).

Christ’s Resurrection is either a universal event, or it is nothing, Paul tells us. And only if we understand it as a universal event, as the opening up of a new dimension of human existence, are we on the way toward any kind of correct understanding of the New Testament Resurrection testimony.

On this basis we can understand the unique character of this New Testament testimony. Jesus has not returned to a normal human life in this world like Lazarus and the others whom Jesus raised from the dead. He has entered upon a different life, a new life – he has entered the vast breadth of God himself, and it is from there that he reveals himself to his followers.

For the disciples, too, this was something utterly unexpected, to which they were only slowly able to adjust. Jewish faith did indeed know of a resurrection of the dead at the end of time. New life was linked to the inbreaking of a new world and thus made complete sense.

If there is a new world, then there is also a new mode of life there. But a resurrection into definitive otherness in the midst of the continuing old world was not foreseen and therefore at first made no sense. So the promise of resurrection remained initially unintelligible to the disciples.

The process of coming to Resurrection faith is analogous to what we saw in the case of the Cross. Nobody had thought of a crucified Messiah. Now the “fact” was there - and it was necessary, on the basis of that fact, to take a fresh look at Scripture. We saw in the previous chapter how Scripture yielded new insights in the light of the unexpected turn of events and how the “fact” then began to make sense.

Admittedly, the new reading of Scripture could begin only after the Resurrection, because it was only through the Resurrection that Jesus was accredited as the one sent by God. Now people had to search Scripture for both Cross and Resurrection, so as to understand them in a new way and thereby come to believe in Jesus as the Son of God.

This also presupposes that for the disciples the Resurrection was just as real as the Cross. It presupposes that they were simply overwhelmed by the reality, that, after their initial hesitation and astonishment, they could no longer ignore that reality. It is truly he. He is alive; he has spoken to us; he has allowed us to touch him, even if he no longer belongs to the realm of the tangible in the normal way.

The paradox was indescribable. He was quite different, no mere resuscitated corpse, but one living anew and forever in the power of God. And yet at the same time, while no longer belonging to our world, he was truly present there, he himself.

It was an utterly unique experience, which burst open the normal boundaries of experience and yet for the disciples was quite beyond doubt. This explains the unique character of the Resurrection accounts: they speak of something paradoxical, of something that surpasses all experience and yet is utterly real and present.

But could it really be true? Can we – as men of the modern world – put our faith in such testimony? “Enlightened” thinking would say no.

For Gerd Lüdemann, for example, it seems clear that in consequence of the “revolution in the scientific image of the world . . . the traditional concepts of Jesus’s Resurrection are to be considered outdated” (quoted in Wilckens, Theologie des Neun Testaments 1/2, pp. 119-20).

But what exactly is this “scientific image of the world”? How far can it be considered normative? Hartmut Gese in his important article “Die Frage des Weltbildes”, to which I should like to draw attention, has painstakingly described the limits of this normativity.

Naturally there can be no contradiction of clear scientific data. The Resurrection accounts certainly speak of something outside our world of experience. They speak of something new, something unprecedented – a new dimension of reality that is revealed.

What already exists is not called into question. Rather we are told that there is a further dimension, beyond what was previously known. Does that contradict science? Can there really only ever be what there has always been? Can there not be something unexpected, something unimaginable, something new?

If there really is a God, is he not able to create a new dimension of human existence, a new dimension of reality altogether? Is not creation actually waiting for this last and highest “evolutionary leap”, for the union of the finite with the infinite, for the union of man and God, for the conquest of death?

Throughout the history of the living, the origins of anything new have always been small, practically invisible, and easily overlooked. The Lord himself has told us that “heaven” in this world is like a mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds (Matthew 13:31-32), yet contained within it are the infinite potentialities of God.

In terms of world history, Jesus’s Resurrection is improbable; it is the smallest mustard seed of history.

This reversal of proportions is one of God’s mysteries. The great – the mighty – is ultimately the small. And the tiny mustard seed is something truly great.

So it is that the Resurrection has entered the world only through certain mysterious appearances to the chosen few. And yet it was truly the new beginning for which the world was silently waiting. And for the few witnesses – precisely because they themselves could not fathom it – it was such an overwhelmingly real happening, confronting them so powerfully, that every doubt was dispelled, and they stepped forth before the world with an utterly new fearlessness in order to bear witness: Christ is truly risen.

Always worth re-reading! For which one can say a second Alleluia besides the Easter cry of jubilation.

P.S. To mark Easter Sunday, CWR has reprinted the following excerpt about the Resurrection from Joseph Ratzinger's 1968 book INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY. It is a necessarily 'academic' approach since the book consists of lectures he gave to his theology classes in Tuebingen in 1967.

The truth of the Resurrection
'The Resurrection narratives are something other and more than disguised liturgical scenes:
they make visible the founding event on which all Christian liturgy rests'

April 21, 2019

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from Introduction to Christianity (2nd edition) by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Ignatius Press, 1990, 2004; pp. 301-10).

To the Christian, faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an expression of certainty that the saying that seems to be only a beautiful dream is in fact true: “Love is strong as death” (Song 8:6).

In the Old Testament this sentence comes in the middle of praises of the power of eros. But this by no means signifies that we can simply push it aside as a lyrical exaggeration. The boundless demands of eros, its apparent exaggerations and extravagance, do in reality give expression to a basic problem, indeed the basic problem of human existence, insofar as they reflect the nature and intrinsic paradox of love: love demands infinity, indestructibility; indeed, it is, so to speak, a call for infinity.

But it is also a fact that this cry of love cannot be satisfied, that it demands infinity but cannot grant it; that it claims eternity but in fact is included in the world of death, in its loneliness and its power of destruction. Only from this angle can one understand what “resurrection” means. It is the greater strength of love in face of death.

At the same time it is proof of what only immortality can create: being in the other who still stands when I have fallen apart. Man is a being who himself does not live forever but is necessarily delivered up to death. For him, since he has no continuance in himself, survival, from a purely human point of view, can only become possible through his continuing to exist in another.

The statements of Scripture about the connection between sin and death are to he understood from this angle. For it now becomes clear that man’s attempt “to be like God”, his striving for autonomy, through which he wishes to stand on his own feet alone, means his death, for he just cannot stand on his own. If man – and this is the real nature of sin – nevertheless refuses to recognize his own limits and tries to be completely self-sufficient, then precisely by adopting this attitude he delivers himself up to death.

Of course man does understand that his life alone does not endure and that he must therefore strive to exist in others, so as to remain through them and in them in the land of the living. Two ways in particular have been tried.
- First, living on in one’s own children: that is why in primitive peoples failure to marry and childlessness are regarded as the most terrible curse; they mean hopeless destruction, final death. Conversely, the largest possible number of children offers at the same time the greatest possible chance of survival, hope of immortality, and thus the most genuine blessing that man can expect.
- Another way discloses itself when man discovers that in his children he only continues to exist in a very unreal way; he wants more of himself to remain. So he takes refuge in the idea of fame, which should make him really immortal if be lives on through all ages in the memory of others.

But this second attempt of man’s to obtain immortality for himself by existing in others fails just as badly as the first: what remains is not the self but only its echo, a mere shadow.

So self-made immortality is really only a Hades, a sheol: more nonbeing than being. The inadequacy of both ways lies partly in the fact that the other person who holds my being after my death cannot carry this being itself but only its echo; and even more in the fact that even the other person to whom I have, so to speak, entrusted my continuance will not last – he, too, will perish.

This leads us to the next step. We have seen so far that man has no permanence in himself. And consequently can only continue to exist in another but that his existence in another is only shadowy and once again not final, because this other must perish, too.

If this is so, then only one could truly give lasting stability: he who is, who does not come into existence and pass away again, but abides in the midst of transience: the God of the living, who does not hold just the shadow and echo of my being, whose ideas are not just copies of reality.

I myself am his thought, which establishes me more securely, so to speak, than I am in myself; his thought is not the posthumous shadow but the original source and strength of my being. In him I can stand as more than a shadow; in him I am truly closer to myself than I should be if I just tried to stay by myself.

Before we return from here to the Resurrection, let us try to see the same thing once again from a somewhat different side. We can start again from the dictum about love and death and say: Only where someone values love more highly than life, that is, only where someone is ready to put life second to love, for the sake of love, can love be stronger and more than death. If it is to be more than death, it must first be more than mere life.

But if it could be this, not just in intention but in reality, then that would mean at the same time that the power of love had risen superior to the power of the merely biological and taken it into its service. To use Teilhard de Chardin’s terminology, where that took place, the decisive complexity or “complexification” would have occurred; bios, too, would be encompassed by and incorporated in the power of love. It would cross the boundary –death – and create unity where death divides.

If the power of love for another were so strong somewhere that it could keep alive not just his memory, the shadow of his “I”, but that person himself, then a new stage in life would have been reached.

This would mean that the realm of biological evolutions and mutations had been left behind and the leap made to a quite different plane, on which love was no longer subject to bios but made use of it. Such a final stage of “mutation” and “evolution” would itself no longer be a biological stage; it would signify the end of the sovereignty of bios, which is at the same time the sovereignty of death; it would open up the realm that the Greek Bible calls zoe, that is, definitive life, which has left behind the rule of death.

The last stage of evolution needed by the world to reach its goal would then no longer be achieved within the realm of biology but by the spirit, by freedom, by love. It would no longer be evolution but decision and gift in one.

But what has all this to do, it may be asked, with faith in the Resurrection of Jesus? Well, we previously considered the question of the possible immortality of man from two sides, which now turn out to be aspects of one and the same state of affairs.
- We said that, as man has no permanence in himself, his survival could. only be brought about by his living on in another.
- And we said, from the point of view of this “other”, that only the love that takes up the beloved in itself, into its own being, could make possible this existence in the other.

These two complementary aspects are mirrored again, so it seems to me, in the two New Testament ways of describing the Resurrection of the Lord: “Jesus has risen” and “God (the Father) has awakened Jesus.” The two formulas meet in the fact that Jesus’s total love for men, which leads him to the Cross, is perfected in totally passing beyond to the Father and therein becomes stronger than death, because in this it is at the same time total “being held” by him.

From this a further step results. We can now say that love always establishes some kind of immortality; even in its prehuman stage, it points, in the form of preservation of the species, in this direction. Indeed, this founding of immortality is not something incidental to love, not one thing that it does among others, but what really gives it its specific character.

This principle can be reversed; it then signifies that immortality always” proceeds from love, never out of the autarchy of that which is sufficient to itself. We may even be bold enough to assert that this principle, properly understood, also applies even to God as he is seen by the Christian faith.

God, too, is absolute permanence, as opposed to everything transitory, for the reason that he is the relation of three Persons to one another, their incorporation in the “for one another” of love, act-substance of the love that is absolute and therefore completely “relative”, living only “in relation to”.

As we said earlier, it is not autarchy, which knows no one but itself, that is divine; what is revolutionary about the Christian view of the world and of God, we found, as opposed to those of antiquity, is that it learns to understand the “absolute” as absolute “relatedness”, as relatio subsistens.

To return to our argument, love is the foundation of immortality, and immortality proceeds from love alone. This statement to which we have now worked our way also means that he who has love for all has established immortality for all. That is precisely the meaning of the biblical statement that his Resurrection is our life.

The – to us – curious reasoning of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians now becomes comprehensible: if he has risen, then we have, too, for then love is stronger than death; if he has not risen, then we have not either, for then the situation is still that death has the last word, nothing else (cf. I Cor 15:16f.).

Since this is a statement of central importance, let us spell it out once again in a different way: Either love is stronger than death, or it is not. If it has become so in him, then it became so precisely as love for others. This also means, it is true, that our own love, left to itself, is not sufficient to overcome death; taken in itself it would have to remain an unanswered cry. It means that only his love, coinciding with God’s own power of life and love, can be the foundation of our immortality.Nevertheless, it still remains true that the mode of our immortality will depend on our mode of loving. We shall have to return to this in the section on the Last Judgment.

A further point emerges from this discussion. Given the foregoing considerations, it goes without saying that the life of him who has risen from the dead is not once again bios, the biological form of our mortal life within history; it is zoe, new, different, definitive life; life that has stepped beyond the mortal realm of bios and history, a realm that has here been surpassed by a greater power.

And in fact the Resurrection narratives of the New Testament allow us to see clearly that the life of the Risen One lies, not within the historical bios, but beyond and above it. It is also true, of course, that this new life begot itself in history and had to do so, because after all, it is there for history, and the Christian message is basically nothing else than the transmission of the testimony that love has managed to break through death here and thus has transformed fundamentally the situation of all of us.

Once we have realized this, it is no longer difficult to find the right kind of hermeneutics for the difficult business of expounding the biblical Resurrection narratives, that is, to acquire a clear understanding of the sense in which they must properly be understood.

Obviously we cannot attempt here a detailed discussion of the questions involved, which today present themselves in a more difficult form than ever before; especially as historical and – for the most part inadequately pondered – philosophical statements are becoming more and more inextricably intertwined, and exegesis itself quite often produces its own philosophy, which is intended to appear to the layman as a supremely refined distillation of the biblical evidence.

Many points of detail will here always remain open to discussion, but it is possible to recognize a fundamental dividing line between explanation that remains explanation and arbitrary adaptations [to contemporary ways of thinking].

First of all, it is quite clear that after his Resurrection Christ did not go back to his previous earthly life, as we are told the young man of Nain and Lazarus did. He rose again to definitive life, which is no longer governed by chemical and biological laws and therefore stands outside the possibility of death, in the eternity conferred by love. That is why the encounters with him are “appearances”; that is why he with whom people had sat at table two days earlier is not recognized by his best friends and, even when recognized, remains foreign: only where he grants vision ishe seen; only when he opens men’s eyes and makes their hearts open up can the countenance of the eternal love that conquers death become recognizable in our mortal world, and, in that love, the new, different world, the world of him who is to come.

That is also why it is so difficult, indeed absolutely impossible, for the Gospels to describe the encounter with the risen Christ; that is why they can only stammer when they speak of these meetings and seem to provide contradictory descriptions of them.

In reality they are surprisingly unanimous in the dialectic of their statements, in the simultaneity of touching and not touching, or recognizing and not recognizing, of complete identity between the crucified and the risen Christ and complete transformation.

People recognize the Lord and yet do not recognize him again; people touch him, and yet he is untouchable; he is the same and yet quite different. As we have said, the dialectic is always the same; it is only the stylistic means by which it is expressed that changes.

For example, let us examine a little more closely from this point of view the Emmaus story, which we have already touched upon briefly. At first sight it looks as if we are confronted here with a completely earthly and material notion of resurrection; as if nothing remains of the mysterious and indescribable elements to be found in the Pauline accounts. It looks as if the tendency to detailed depiction, to the concreteness of legend, supported by the apologist’s desire for something tangible, had completely won the upper hand and fetched the risen Lord right back into earthly history.

But this impression is soon contradicted by his mysterious appearance and his no less mysterious disappearance. The notion is contradicted even more by the fact that here, too, he remains unrecognizable to the accustomed eye. He cannot be firmly grasped as he could be in the time of his earthly life; he is discovered only in the realm of faith; he sets the hearts of the two travelers aflame by his interpretation of the Scriptures and by breaking bread he opens their eyes.

This is a reference to the two basic elements in early Christian worship, which consisted of the liturgy of the word (the reading and expounding of Scripture) and the eucharistic breaking of bread. In this way the evangelist makes it clear that the encounter with the risen Christ lies on a quite new plane; he tries to describe the indescribable in terms of the liturgical facts.
- He thereby provides both a theology of the Resurrection and a theology of the liturgy: one encounters the risen Christ in the word and in the sacrament; worship is the way in which he becomes touchable to us and, recognizable as the living Christ.
- And conversely, the liturgy is based on the mystery of Easter; it is to he understood as the Lord's approach to us. In it he becomes our traveling companion, sets our dull hearts aflame, and opens our sealed eyes. He still walks with us, still finds us worried and downhearted, and still has the power to make us see.

Of course, all this is only half the story; to stop at this alone would mean falsifying the evidence of the New Testament. Experience of the risen Christ is something other than a meeting with a man from within our history, and it must certainly not be traced back to conversations at table and recollections that would have finally crystallized in the idea that he still lived and went about his business. Such an interpretation reduces what happened to the purely human level and robs it of its specific quality.

The Resurrection narratives are something other and more than disguised liturgical scenes: they make visible the founding event on which all Christian liturgy rests.
- They testify to an approach that did not rise from the hearts of the disciples but came to them from outside, convinced them despite their doubts and made them certain that the Lord had truly risen.
- He who lay in the grave is no longer there; he – really he himself – lives.
- He who had been transposed into the other world of God showed himself powerful enough to make it palpably clear that he himself stood in their presence again, that in him the power of love had really proved itself stronger than the power of death.

Only by taking this just as seriously as what we said first does one remain faithful to the witness borne by the New Testament; only thus, too, is its seriousness in world history preserved.

The comfortable attempt to spare oneself the belief in the mystery of God’s mighty actions in this world and yet at the same time to have the satisfaction of remaining on the foundation of the biblical message leads nowhere; it measures up neither to the honesty of reason nor to the claims of faith.

One cannot have both the Christian faith and “religion within the bounds of pure reason”; a choice is unavoidable. He who believes will see more and more clearly, it is true, how rational it is to have faith in the love that has conquered death.

00Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:23 PM
Holy Week 2019 began with the Holy Monday fire at the Cathedrale de Notre Dame in Paris and ends with this new tragedy.

Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch following a blast at St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo.

At least 100 people were killed in explosions Easter morning, detonated in churches and hotels across Sri Lanka. Hundreds more are reportedly injured.

At 8:45 a.m., explosions were detonated during Easter Mass at churches in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, and in Negombo, a city 20 miles to its north. At the same time, a bomb exploded at a service at the evangelical Zion Church in Batticaolo, on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

St. Anthony’s Shrine was the Catholic church targeted in Colombo, and St. Sebastian’s is the Catholic parish in Negombo.

Pews were shattered by the blast at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, and floors and ceilings were covered in blood. The shrine is the most well-known Church in Sri Lanka, and is designated the country’s national shrine. The first chapel on the Church property was built during Sri Lanka’s Dutch colonial period, when Catholicism was mostly forbidden on the island.

There were also explosions Sunday morning at three luxury hotels in Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, called on Sri Lankans to remain “united and strong” in the face of “cowardly attacks on our people today.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. In recent weeks, there has been concern that Sri Lankans who had been part of the Islamic State could become a threat, as they have begun returning to the country from the Middle East, according to the BBC.

The country has been plagued with periodic violence since its 26-year civil war concluded in 2009.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal; its population is more than 21 million. More than 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, roughly 13% are Hindus, almost 10% are Muslims, and fewer than 8% are Christians. There are 1.5 million Catholics in the country, constituting the overwhelming majority of the Sri Lanka’s Christians.

In a January 2015 visit to the country, Pope Francis urged peace and reconciliation among the country’s rival factions.

“In this difficult effort to forgive and find peace, Mary is always here to encourage us, to guide us, to lead us,” the pope said Jan. 14, 2015, at the Our Lady of Madhu shrine in Sri Lanka’s Mannar district.

“Just as she forgave her son’s killers at the foot of his cross, then held his lifeless body in her hands, so now she wants to guide Sri Lankans to greater reconciliation, so that the balm of God’s pardon and mercy may bring true healing to all.”


Sri Lanka bombings death toll
rises to nearly 300

Officials admit they had 'prior information' of attacks

COLOMBO, April 21, 2019 - Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed they had "prior information" of an imminent attack on churches, up to 10 days before the Easter Sunday bombings which claimed the lives of almost 300 people, including foreign citizens.

Key points:
- There were eight explosions — three at church services, three at hotels, one outside a zoo south of the capital Colombo, and another on the outskirts of the city
- Police issued an intelligence report warning of possible suicide bombings 10 days prior.

The death toll from the attacks on churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka has risen significantly to 290, with around 500 people injured, police said on Monday.

Sri Lankans accounted for the bulk of those killed, although government officials said 32 foreigners — including British, American, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals — died in the attacks.

Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the bombings as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility. He said most of the bombings were believed to have been suicide attacks. Thirteen people have been arrested so far.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged the Government had some "prior information of the attack", though ministers were not told.

News outlet Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported it had seen documents showing that Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches".

"A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ [National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka] is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo," the alert said, according to AFP.

Mr Wickremesinghe said there was not an adequate response and there needed to be an inquiry into how the information was used.

24 people have been arrested, and the defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the culprits were religious extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility. The minister urged media not to publicise names of today's attackers. He warned other extremist groups could exploit situation & create tension between communities. "Don't give extremists a voice. Don't help to make them martyrs".

He also said the Government needed to look at the international links of a local militant group. He cited a foreign intelligence service as reporting that a little-known Islamist group was planning attacks.

Local Christian groups said they faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years.

Last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

Inside St. Sebastian church after the bombing. The statue of the Risen Christ is blood-spattered but intact. As the Cross and Pieta at Notre Dame's main altar remained intact...

More than 50 people were killed in St Sebastian's gothic-style Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of the capital of Colombo, a police official told Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on an evangelical church in Batticaloa in the country's eastern province.

The Easter Sunday attack was the worst violence to hit Sri Lanka since its civil war ended a decade ago. Police said one blast struck a hotel in Dehiwela, near Colombo, while a military spokesman confirmed another in Dematagoda on the outskirts of the capital.

Another attack targeted parishioners at St Anthony's Shrine in central Colombo, and three hotels were also hit in the city.

Eyewitnesses reported harrowing scenes from Colombo. "People were being dragged out," said Bhanuka Harischandra, a 24-year-old founder of a tech marketing company who was going to the city's Shangri-La Hotel for a meeting when it was bombed.

"People didn't know what was going on. It was panic mode. There was blood everywhere."

Mangala Karunaratne, a Colombo resident, said the community was "in disbelief". "During the 30 years of civil war we had lots of explosions in Colombo," he said. "But it's been 10 years of peace and we got used to that. So that's why it's really surprising and shocking."

Leaders from around the world condemned the attacks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "several" Americans were killed and that "these vile attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism".

"[Targeting] innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear," he said.

Three Indian citizens and five Britons were killed in the blasts, and Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Theresa May offered their condolences.

Sri Lankan Catholic Church Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith described it as "a very, very sad day for all of us".

"I [would] also like to ask the Government to hold a very impartial, strong inquiry and find out who is responsible behind this act and also to punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that."

Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka condemned the church attacks, and Pope Francis expressed condolences at the end of his traditional Easter Sunday blessing in Rome.

"I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks," he said in his Easter Sunday message. "I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence."

On Twitter, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called the Sri Lankan terror attacks "an assault on all humanity", while Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described them as "a despicable crime".

"We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all," he said.
00Monday, April 22, 2019 12:13 AM

Greta and the pope in
an upside down world

When world leaders accept moral blows and sermonettes from
a 16-year-old Swedish girl with a flair for propaganda

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

April 19, 2019

It was not a private audience as many climate catastrophists had wished and expected, but the media effect wasn't any less.

The two principal global sponsors today of climate catastrophism met briefly in St. Peter's Square, long enough for the ritual photos to re-launch their common message to the world.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who has been organizing Friday strikes [to protest that not enough is being done to forestall a climate catastrophe soon], took part in the pope's Wednesday general audience yesterday and was able to meet him briefly on the rope line afterwards.

Long enough for some commemorative photos of a 'milestone event' in saving the planet, with Greta holding up her poster [inviting everyone to take part in her cause by celebrating Laudato si on May 24], and of course, receiving a blessing from the pope.

"He told me to go ahead [with the initiative]", the girl said later. Which was substantially confirmed by the Vatican Press Office through interim papal spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, who said: "The Holy Father thanked and encouraged Greta Thunberg for her commitment in behalf of the environment. On her part, the young Swedish activist, who had requested a meeting wht Pope Francis, thanked him for his great commitment in favor of the care of Creation".

So, going by Gisotti's statement, the pope spoke in worldly terms (the environment), while the girl used a term from his encyclical (the care of Creation). Reverse osmosis, it seems.

Greta arrived in Rome by train from Strasbourg [seat of the European Parliament] where she delighted European parliamentarians with her lttie sermonettes on the climate, but found the time to dedicate a thought, in her own way, to the Notre Dame fire: "This will be rebuilt, but our common home is crumbling, time is pressing but nothing is happening".

[What does she know? If her reading has been limited to the self-serving jeremiads of the climate catastrophists, one expects she does not care about the numerous books and articles that have been written by authoritative scientists and commentators who not only refute the climate scare raised by the activists as over-the-top and unlikely, but have also documented all the advances made by various nations, including the most progressive ones led by the USA, in instituting various laws since the 1960s to protect the environment from the worst effects of contemporary human activity on the climate (mainly, through the necessary use of fossil fuels until alternative energy sources become feasible in enough quantities and with comparatively low cost, and through indiscriminate massive pollution of communities and water resources by industrial wastes). Morever, all climate catastrophists grossly exaggerate the effect of human activity on the climate, which even if it comtinued to be irresponsible since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring raised global awareness on environmental pollution in the 1960s, has minuscule effect compared to the cosmic effects of solar activity over which man has no control.]

In other words, to her, the Notre Dame fire was unfortunate, but let us think of a more serious cause: We must save the entire planet, not just one church. Unfortunately, she will be in Italy for a few days, Today, Maundy Thursday, to address our parliamentarians, and tomorrow, to lead a 'Fridays for future' strike. And who cares that she does it in Rome, capital of Christianity, on Good Friday, when she is likely to distract not a few persons from observing this solemnity. If the pope himself encouraged her to go on with her 'work', what can we say? [Did he know she was going to be addressing Italian parliamentarians on Maundy Thursday and leading strikes on Good Friday? And if he did, he obviously did not have second thoughts about it.] Keeping in mind, of course, that Jesus died for the redemption of all, including Ms. Thunberg.

But it is a very pathetic and even very concerning surreal situation in which men who are among the most powerful leaders in the world, politicians who hold the fate of their peoples in their hands, want to outdo each other in taking moral blows and santimonious orders from a teenager indoctrinated in the environmentalist gospel and who speaks of it like a broken record. They are adults who can no longer propose anything on their own and consider themselves like schoolchildren taking lessons from a wise and knowing adolescent. What a topsy-turvy world!

In this respect - for the moment leaving Greta to her destiny - the most concerning is that in the church of Bergoglio, there seems to be no awareness at all that what is at stake is not so much the pollution levels or global temperatures, but the very idea of man, his relationship to God and therefore to other men and the world he lives in.

The anthropological challenge is in play even on ecological issues, and it is evident ,to quote Paul VI, that non-Catholic thinking has asserted itself in the Church, a thinking that does not consider man and nature as part of God's creative design. Man is no longer considered the vertex of Creation, ontologically different from all other living creatures, but part of a 'community of living creatures' in which he is the only potential factor for disequilibrium and destruction (all other beings behave according tot heir given nature).

And here we have the clear attempt to overturn the order willed by God. This is what ought to preoccupy the leaders of the Church, not the rise and fall of global temperatures, a fluctuation that has always existed.

Obviously, human activity did not cause the great Ice Ages and their subsequent thaws during earth's long geological history, to which human beings are very late comers. This is a commonsense fact which none of the climate catastrophists seem to even consider in insisting that man can avert such climate extremes if everyone drove electric cars, stopped using airconditioning, and halted any activity that has a 'carbon footprint'.

And BTW, Jorge Bergoglio will get his ironic come-uppance if and when Greta Thunberg is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 all by herself, or even as co-winner with Jorge Bergoglio.

As I try to group together items critical of Bergoglio, here is one from Antonio Socci from Holy Saturday:

To keep talking about migrants
even in Holy Week
is to cancel out God

Translated from

April 20, 2019

During Holy Week, at least, could the topic of papal discourse have been devoted to Jesus Christ? Or was that too much to ask of the Vatican and the pope?

I do not know if oltretevere [literally, ‘beyond the Tiber’, an Italian colloquialism to refer to the Vatican, which is across the Tiber from central Rome] there are still Catholics (other than Benedict XVI and a few others), but the Church’s raison d’etre is to proclaim Christ and his Gospel, and the common folk have an infinite desire to hear men oF God who speak of Jesus, of the meaning of life, and of eternity.

To preach on the climate and the environment, we already have Greta Thunberg and her followers. There is no need for Bergoglio to do so because if he believes in hell, he ought to be warning us against the fires of hell instead of global warming.

Is it really possible that the Church has set aside the Passion of Christ who delivered himself to be slaughtered for love of us, who ‘bled himself to death for you’ as an ancient polyphonic hymn tells us, and who rose after three days, having conquered evil and death, thus opening up eternal life to mankind? How many times have you heard Bergoglio speak of the resurrection, of eternity, of Hell, purgatory and Paradise? [Well, he had to speak of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday!]

Since his wayward Latin American reign began (speaking of the environment and global warming at the Mass that inaugurated his pontificate), Jesus has become the Great Ignored [or Underplayed], while at the same time, there has been absolute silence on eternal life and the mystery of God.

Of course, Jesus is recalled now and then, but it seems only as a pretext to speak of migrants. At Christmas, this pope told us that Jesus was a migrant (which is of course, not true in any way). It almost seemed as if he was celebrating the boat people instead of the birth of Christ.

[This is one of those preposterous factoids that our erigning pope spits out as he pleases, to ‘support’ any position he takes. How can a baby born in ancient Palestine, long after the Egyptian bondage and the Babylonian captivity, be called a migrant when he descended humanly from the royal line of David with a genealogy that goes back multiple generations to Adam as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew?]

And during this Holy Week, the Passion of Christ was used as pretext to speak about migrants by Cardinal Bassetti, the Bergoglian president of the Italian bishops conference (CEI), when at the Maundy Thursday liturgy, he parroted the line that “Migrants are not a problem – they are resources”.

In the Via Crucis at the Colosseum of Rome, presided by Bergoglio, La Repubblica informs us, “the various meditations protested closed doors and lager-like accommodations for the illegals”.

It is true that the Passion of Christ encompasses all fo mankind’s sufferings, but at least on Good Friday, concentrate on him – because Bergoglio already uses the other 364 days of the year to speak of his migrants!

And if he really wishes to speak about atrocities in today’s world, why not address the suffering of persecuted Christians which the Bergoglio Vatican hates to bring up at all because the persecutors are often regimes run by his Muslim ‘brothers’, or by Communists as in China which Bergoglio wishes to gratify at any cost (he has practically turned over the Church in China to the atheist dictators of Beijing).

Or he could speak about the incessant attacks against life, starting with the lives of the unborn (counting in the millions annually around the world), but this is obviously not a politically correct issue to bring up, so the Vatican is careful not to do so unless it cannot avoid it [as when the pope has to give pro forma support to events like the March for Life].

Moreover, the migrant issue is now 'anachronistic' because today, anyone who really cares that migrants fleeing Africa run the risk of dying at sea [for being transported by the human traffickers who charge them exorbitant prices for their 'service' in boats and ships that are unseaworthy and overcrowded], should rejoice because for now, those maritime drownings involving hundreds at a time have come to an end. But the Bergoglio Vatican won’t even acknowledge this because to do would be indirect praise of the Italian minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, whom Catholic media in Italy have depicted as Satan himself.

Meanwhile, the Church in Africa considers the exodus of so many young people to Europe a crying shame. As Cardinal Robert Sarah explained:

“The Church cannot cooperate with this new form of slavery that mass migration has become. If the West continues in this fatal way, there is a great risk that, due to denatalization (lower birth rates), it will disappear, invaded by foreigners, just as Rome was invaded by barbarians….My country is predominantly Muslim. I think I know the reality I'm talking about...

“Like a tree, every man has his own ground, his own environment, in which he can grow best. Better to help persons realize themselves in their own cultures rather than encourage them to come to a Europe in full decadence. It is a false exegesis to use the Word of God in order to promote mass migration. God has never wanted these rifts”.

Cardinal Sarah, a great man of God, has explained many times that the greatest charity towards man is to give him God through the announcement of the Christian Gospel, which is the mission of the Church. But he observes that the progressivist Church has sidelined God and concerned itself only with politics as manifested in the favorite issues of the Left. In this sense, Bergoglio is in permanent electoral campaign mode.

In many Catholic publications, ‘non-negotiable principles’ do not exist, and what they propagate is progressivist politics. On Maundy Thursday, the front page of Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, featured a major advertisement for the latest book of the Jesuit priest Bartolomeo Sorge (who chanpions a revival of the 1970s) entitled
Perché il populismo fa male al popolo (Why populism is bad for the people). It is along the lines of that infamous Famiglia Cristiana cover last year which featured Salvini as Satan [for being the architect and chief executor of the new Italian government’s policy to turn away ships bearing persons intent on entering Europe illegally, i.e., without visas). [BTW, how then does Fr Sorge in his 'anti-populism' book Jorge Bergoglio's militant championing of 'world populist movements', of which he has sponsored five inernational congresses so far? Other than by making a distinction between the 'populism' of Peronist Bergoglio and his proteges like Bolivia's Evo Morales, which surely Sorge must find 'right and admirable', against the 'populism' of Matteo Salvini and the other European leaders who mean it primarily as upholding national sovereignty and identity against all comers?]

The obliteration of God from the public consciousness, of which Benedict XVI spoke most forcefully in his most recent intervention, is happening primarily through the work of the very men who, by occupation if not by mission, ought to be speaking to the world of Christ and of eternal life.

As Benedict XVI noted with sorrow: “Even we Christians and priests choose not to speak about God who has become the private business of a minority”.

And yet men who have a wrenching need to rediscover the sense in life, to find salvation, look to the Church for this – as the world looked on the Church in the past few days with the fire at Notre Dame de Paris.

There is a hunger and thirst for God but those who have the duty to respond to this hunger and thirst are poisoned by political motivations, by environmentalist and migrationist fanaticism, and [appear to] have forgotten God.

Yet nothing can reach the human heart as powerfully as the face of Christ. As the French writer George Bernanos wrote: “The day will come when men will be unable to say the name of Jesus without weeping”.

While the following is not specifically anti-Bergoglio, its general tone and message is - that Christians who care about their faith and see it whittled down daily by the spirit of the world that has pervaded even the Church hierarchy cannot afford to simply keep silent about this progressive obliteration of God from the public consciousness.

Why we cannot be silent

April 17, 2019

Go ahead. Ban me. Block me. Get out your nasty dictionary and vilify me. Call me obsessed. Hateful. Bigoted. Have at it.

The fact is, there are a million things I’d rather write about, but the state of the world leaves me no choice. To be silent is to give tacit approval. To be silent is to accept. To be silent is to capitulate. And that’s not going to happen.

A Democratic leader announces his presidential candidacy and then turns to kiss his same-sex partner. And the crowd celebrates.

Sorry, but I’m not celebrating.

A growing number of parents are devastated after their vulnerable, confused, trans-identified daughters have had their breasts removed, only to realize they are actually women. Or their sons have had their private parts altered, only to realize they are actually boys. Dare we be silent? Even health workers are raising their voices in protest.

As noted by the Kelsey Coalition, “History is replete with medical scandals. Frontal lobotomies to treat mental illness. Forced sterilization to control ‘undesirable’ populations. The infamous Tuskegee Experiment. Indefensible, unethical medical procedures were performed for years. Why did it take so long to stop them? History is repeating itself.”

[Make] no mistake about it: You can be polite, gracious, friendly, kind, and civil when discussing LGBT issues. But if you don’t affirm the LGBT agenda, you’ll be branded a hateful, bigoted, Nazi homophobe. Don’t be surprised!

Today, “young people are often prescribed risky hormonal treatments . . . . Not a single long-term study supports such risky medical interventions.” Worst of all, “Minor children may be treated surgically. Girls may have their breasts removed at age 13 and their uterus at 16. Teen boys may have their penis and testes removed shortly after their 16th birthday.”

This is social madness. How can we sit idly by?

][The author fails to note an item that made the news last month - in which most of the media reports omitted the proviso 'in very restricted cases'. But no matter: the moment any new is reported with the heading "The Vatican says..." or "The Pope says...", few media consumers will note, much less appreciate, any conditions attached to the general statement.

Consider the unfortunate sequelae to Chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia which everyone, including the pope himself, has taken to mean that remarried Catholic divorcees who are otherwise unqualified to receive Communion may do so as they please, and priests ought to have no qualms giving communion to people living in a continuing state of mortal sin.

Vatican News runs interview
claiming puberty blockers okay
in ‘very restricted cases’

VATICAN CITY, March 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued on the Vatican News website that it’s acceptable to give children a puberty-blocking hormone in “very restricted cases.”

The Academy member, Laura Palazanni, said that Italy’s National Committee of Bioethics (NBC) – of which she is the vice president – had advised that the puberty blocker triptorelin should be used “only briefly” to create “a window of opportunity” for doctors to appropriately diagnose a child when he or she is at risk of self-harm, suicide, or self-medicating with puberty blockers bought over the internet.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the College of American Pediatricians, told LifeSiteNews that puberty blockers should never be given to a physically healthy child.

“It is never ethically permissible to give a physically healthy child puberty blocking medication because these drugs cause objective harm,” she said via email. “Ethical and compassionate physicians do not give any child, let alone a suicidal one, medications that cause harm.”...[/dim

Our moral framework is collapsing, and our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids will pay dearly. How can I hold my tongue from speaking or restrain my pen from writing?

It is love that motivates me and moves me. Love for God. Love for America. Love for the coming generations. Love for what is best.

You can call it hate. You can brand me a Nazi. That will only encourage me to speak up all the more clearly.

On Monday, I tweeted, “[Make] no mistake about it: You can be polite, gracious, friendly, kind, and civil when discussing LGBT issues. But if you don’t affirm the LGBT agenda, you’ll be branded a hateful, bigoted, Nazi homophobe. Don’t be surprised!”

In response, a concerned mom posted: “Sad truth! Even my daughter who goes to a Christian school comes under attack for defending what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. She gets so frustrated. Cried today to me about having to defend 2 genders among a few of her friends. Jesus said we would be persecuted.”

How can I hold back after reading something like this? And note carefully: It’s happening in Christian schools. Bible-believing schools. Jesus-exalting schools. Or at least, that’s what they’re supposed to be.

Yet even here, the spirit of the world has become so pervasive that it is now controversial to affirm the Christian Scriptures in an allegedly Christian school. It’s controversial to state that there are two genders (as opposed to an endless number of genders). What on earth is coming next?

No wonder this young lady was in tears. No wonder her mother was grieved. To be unmoved by this is to be indifferent, apathetic, compromised, and complacent. God forbid that should describe you or me.

Pat Buchanan put all this in context in a recent article, noting that, “If Pete [Buttigieg] is right, since the time of Christ, Christians have ostracized and persecuted gays simply for being and behaving as God intended. [Buttigieg is the aforementioned gay presidential candidate.]

“And if that is true, what is the defense of Christianity?”
The “progressive” response is simple: Just rewrite the Book!

Buchanan also wrote,

“After the sexual revolution of the ’60s, births out of wedlock rocketed to where 40 percent of all children are born without a father in the home, as are half of Hispanics and 70 percent of all black children.

“Pornography, which used to bring a prison term, today dominates cable TV. Marijuana, once a social scourge, is the hot new product. And Sen. Kamala Harris wants prostitution legalized.”

And on and on it goes.

In our families. In our schools. In our places of business. In the media. In the world of entertainment and sports. And in the world of social media.

Wherever we turn, there is confusion. Deception. Darkness.

And that is because we who have the light are not living as light. Not shining as light. Not walking in truth. Not speaking the truth.

That’s why I cannot (and will not) be silent.
What about you?
It’s time we let our light shine — in word and in deed.
Do we really have a choice?
00Monday, April 22, 2019 7:08 PM

Fontgombault is a Benedictine monastery of the Solesmes Congregation named after the Benedictine movement founded in 1832 by Dom Prosper Gueranguer, who against all expectations, revived the Abbey of Solesmes built in 1010 but largely demolished by the French Revolution, and restored monastic life in France. The Fontgombault Abbey itself dates back to 1091 and was a flourishing abbey until the Calvinists sacked it in 1569. It was not restored till 1741, only to be partly demolished during the French Revolution, after which it was nationalized and sold off to various religious entities who used it for a variety of purposes - sucessively, a Trappist farm and kirsch distillery, a button factory, a military hospital and a diocesan seminary which closed in 1948 for lack of vocations. Wikipedia continues:

In 1948, the empty buildings were restored to the site's original purpose when 22 monks from Solesmes Abbey settled it afresh as a Benedictine community. It is now the most populous of the Solesmes foundations, with over a hundred monks, and has in its turn made three foundations in France — Randol Abbey in 1971, Triors Abbey in 1984, and Gaussan Priory in 1994 — as well as Clear Creek Abbey in the United States in 1999, which was elevated from a priory in 2010. Mass is celebrated in Latin using the traditional pre-Vatican II rite as in the 1962 Roman Missal. As Benedictines of the Solesmes Congregation, Gregorian chant is at the heart of the community's liturgical practice, and recordings of their chants have become world-famous.

In the past few years, Rorate caeli has been privileged to publish the English translation of the homilies preached by Fontgombault's abbot on important Church holidays.

Fontgombault Easter Day Sermon
The Lessons of the Benedict XVI text:
Atheistic globalism enslaves, but Christ Lives!

by the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault

Do not be afraid. (Mk 16:6}

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,
Last night, we were close to Christ during His resurrection, and we renewed the promises of our baptism. This morning, in the light of the most solemn of the “Days of the Lord”, and then all along Easter time and the months to come, we will have to keep with braveness these promises, we will have to keep them alive, not because we trust in our own strength, but by drawing this strength from the assistance of the risen Lord.

He is our life. He is our hope. How could we, after living the Passion’s sorrowful hours, after sharing the joys of the resurrection, content ourselves with being merely poll Christians, Christians practicing occasionally or according to circumstances, Christians who defend a few muddled values, or more or less murky ideologies? Let us be Christians in truth, namely, authentic disciples of Christ, of the Christ Who is risen, but Who, before resurrecting, died on the Cross.

We have to acknowledge it - it is not an easy task to be a Christian. These last weeks, the media have profusely spoken of the Church, and of certain churchmen. The lynching by the media of the Primate of the Gauls, the archbishop of Lyon, the insults endured by some priests while they were getting about, point out the last of the Beatitudes to us:

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. (Mt 5:11-12)

The Easter morning joy is preceded by the sufferings of Good Friday. Let us gather in our prayer all those who have government or teaching responsibilities within the Church.

In a recent text, Benedict XVI recalled the collapse of morals between 1960 and 1980, and he made this consideration:

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.

If it is easy to muddle up and lose the reference points meant to orientate life, such as those of natural law, it is much harder to find them back.

In their responsibilities, the bishops partake in the Son of God’s solicitude for His Church and for all men and women, but also in His loneliness. They need our prayer. May the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and truth, guide them.

The years of errors have taken their toll in victims. There are still victims. Victims of pedophilia, victims of abortion, victims of divorces, victims offered to the gods of money and pleasure. Among the culprits, there are priests. That is true. There have been silences, too many silences. There still are deafening silences...

On this Easter morning, let us pray for all the abuse victims within the Church, and also outside the Church. May Christ restore in them what was destroyed by those who should have built. May these poor find in the Church a loving and caring Mother; may they find again Christ.

In this Easter joy, let us remember without shame the Church’s long past of service in favor of humanity in its weakest states.
- Who founded orphanages and hospitals?
- Who is today fighting on behalf of life, from its very first moment in the maternal womb, until its natural end, against the death-bringing laws of many nations?
- During these holy days, so many priests throughout the world have spent long hours in the confessionals, listening to human misery and forgiving it. The media will not speak of these authentic witnesses of the Gospel, of these disciples of Christ.

Cardinal Robert Sarah recently encouraged young people:

Don’t allow yourselves to be upset by what is being written about cardinals, bishops, and priests; but search the Gospel, and fix your eyes on Christ. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life, and He gives the guarantee that we are not mistaken. Then, love the Church and serve her, no matter what is said about her. She is your mother, pure and immaculate, wrinkle-free and spotless. The stains we see on her face are actually our own stains. Her children are in a crisis, but the Church herself is not. Last, convert, first yourself, then be missionaries. Last, try to lead your friends to Christ. (Interview with Arthur Herlin, I.Media, Rome, April 5th, 2019)

On this Easter morning, Christ casts over all life the light of His resurrection. This light is the first witness of the fruitfulness of an unjust death. God never leaves the last word to evil. This day is truly “the day which the Lord has made.” He has chiseled it as an artist would have done, paying attention to the slightest detail. Nothing was left to chance. A day which is the witness of light’s victory over darkness, a day when all justice is restored, a day when divine Love topples all hatred.

In the tomb, very early in the morning, the angel of the Resurrection, under the guise of a young man clothed in a white robe and sitting on the right, reassures the two women: “Do not be frightened. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified? He is risen: he is not here.” Something similar had happened during the Christmas night, when the angel had come forward to meet the shepherds:

Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people. For this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. (Lk 2:10-11)

Today, the Savior has overcome death. The promised salvation is achieved. The same words of comfort had also been addressed by the angel Gabriel to Mary during the Annunciation: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.” (Lk 1:30)

Whereas the gigantic machinery of atheistic globalism enslaves continents, peoples, and nations, to the gods “Money” and “Pleasure”, we may well be worried. Yet, on this Easter morning, the risen Lord offers us, as well as the world, His peace. “Do not be frightened. My victory is final and irrevocable.”

Death and life fought a tremendous duel: the Prince of life dies, then He reigns, alive. (Sequence of Easter Victimae Paschali Laudes)

Amen, Alleluia.

And this was Abbot Pateau's sermon at the Easter Vigil Mass:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The flames of the Easter fire rending the night have opened the holy Vigil. The flame has sprung out from the stone. Christ has overcome death. He has come out of the tomb. God has risen Him up. He is alive. Such is the Easter message, the heart of our faith: “You seek Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He is risen, as He had foretold.”

What sense can we give to this event? God, if He be truly God, cannot die. As for Christ, He truly died, crucified upon the Golgotha. The Scripture texts bear witness to this fact. A lie could not have withstood the presence of so many witnesses.

As during Christmas night, the birth according to the flesh of the second Person of the Holy Trinity had no impact on His divine nature, thus the death and resurrection of the Son of God that we celebrate tonight are not those of His divine nature, but of His humanity.

Yet, why such an event? Were Christ’s incarnation and death truly indispensable for the salvation of mankind? Repairing perfectly Adam and Eve’s primeval rebellion against their Maker required that one of their descendants should love God and obey Him as much as He is lovable and deserves to be obeyed: only He who would be both truly God and truly man could do that.

The Son of God in His human nature has secured salvation for mankind. He has borne on His shoulders our own humanity’s burden of evil. He Who never sinned, offered Himself as a victim, nailed on a cross by the hands of men, nailed on a cross out of His love for each of us. And this humanity that had been offered to God and to men, men condemned it to an infamous death; yet, God did not abandon it to the power of death.

Christ sprung out of His tomb. From then on, He carries away in His wake all those who accept to be reconciled with God, and who, in order to do that, become His members, incorporated to the Church by the sacrament of baptism.

To baptize means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with Him, as “a new creature.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1214) We have to keep the faith.

Towards the end of his homily on the Le Bourget airfield, St. John Paul II asked: “France, eldest daughter of the Church, are you faithful to the promises of your baptism?” (June 1st, 1980) These words still resound in our ears, and they find an even more personal reflection during this holy night’s liturgy, when we have just renewed the promises of our own baptism.

First, we have renounced Satan, all the works he inspires, all his seductions. Evil is at our doors: rampaging wars, crimes and attacks too often carried out in the name of God, the proliferation of teaching structures in the service of the culture of death, the enslavement of nations to the power of money and pleasure: such are the works of death daily surrounding us. We are sorely tempted to throw in the towel, and to withdraw into ourselves, all the more since evil is also inhabiting our own hearts. He who wants to follow Christ should doubtless turn away from evil; but he should above all allow the Paschal fire to enlighten, to warm up, to set ablaze his own weary heart.

God’s commandments are not arbitrary constraints, but words of life, offered out of love. Let everyone who would reform the world begin by being a little light for those around him or her. Light creates a desire for light. It is an urgent task to develop anew a taste for light, for the beauty that comes from God.

After renouncing Satan, we have proclaimed our Faith. We believe in God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, in Jesus Christ His Son, in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Each of our answers is in the first person of the plural. It is a personal answer, but we utter it within a much larger community, the Church, who proclaims, everywhere in the world tonight, one faith, one baptism. We share this one faith and this one baptism with the millions of men and women who, throughout centuries, often amid persecutions, faithfully kept and lived without a false sense of shame this precious deposit, and handed it down to us.

How could we, amid the joys of this night, forget those who have strayed away from the Church, or assert that they have lost the faith? He who was later to become Pius XII, declared on July 13th, 1937, under the vaults of Notre-Dame de Paris:

Amidst the ceaseless rumbling of this huge metropolis, amidst the hustle and bustle of business and pleasure, in the fierce whirlpool of the struggle for life, Notre-Dame de Paris, a witness full of pity for barren despair and deceitful joys, Notre-Dame de Paris, always serene in her quiet and pacifying gravity, seems to keep ceaselessly repeating to all the passers-by, “Orate, fratres, Pray, brethren”. She seems to be, I would say, herself an 'Orate, fratres' of stone, a perpetual invitation to prayer.

The very deep and widespread emotion before the terrible fire is a question for us. Was therefore the voice of the more than 800 year-old Lady still heard, so that so much agitation should take place around her sickbed? Abp. Aupetit, the archbishop of Paris, affirmed: "We have lost the beauty of the casket, but we have not lost the jewel it contained: Christ present in His Word and His Body given up for us."

Many today weep on the lost beauty of the casket. For a long time, they have been thinking they have forgotten or lost the jewel they had received on the day of their baptism. May Mary, who keeps the faith of her children, give back both the jewel and the casket to those who have kept a little love for her.

During this week, little oil lamps shining with the Paschal fire will be placed in the church, and the sacristans will keep them burning; and until the Ascension, the Paschal candle will tower over our assemblies. The Lord said:

I am come to cast fire on the earth. And what will I, but that it be kindled? And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized. And how am I straitened until it be accomplished! (Lk 12:49-50)

The fire is there. Jesus kindled it during His resurrection. Yet, this fire should keep burning, not only at the end of a few candle wicks, but in our blazing hearts. It should keep burning in each of our families, our communities, our homes. The world urgently needs this fire, and we alone can give it to the world. Let us burn with this fire, let us burn with the source of life of the risen Lord.

Amen, Alleluia.

Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault

00Monday, April 22, 2019 7:47 PM
Surrexit Dominus vere! Alleluia!
Translated from

April 22, 2019

Dear friends, on this Angel's Monday 2019, I wish to re-propose the words that Benedict XVI addressed to the faithful at the Regina caeli in Castel Gandolfo on Angel's Monday 2011. He started off from that most beautiful announcement in Latin, "Surrexit Dominus vere! Alleluia!', which is also the most beautiful greeting which Christians can give each other to underscore that this is the heart of our faith. It is a profession of faith, a commitment of our life, an inviattion to lift up our eyes to God in adoration.

In our times today, in which even 'the Church' sends forth continual invitations to adore man more than God, may Benedict XVI's words give us comfort and courage.

Rather than just the text of that minihomily, I have chosen to reprint here my post of that Regina caeli eight years ago.


'Regina caeli'
on Angel's Monday

April 25, 2011

Special guests at the holy Father's Regina caeli prayers on Easter Monday were representatives of the Italian anti-pedophilia association Meter which is marking the 15th National Day for child victims of abuse, violence, exploitation and indifference.

The Holy Father encouraged Meter, headed by Father Fortunato Di Nota, to continue with its work of prevention and consciousness-raising about these problems, especially in collaboration with parishes, oratories and other church associations involved in forming the new generations.

This was the Pope's general message in English:

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims here present for today’s Regina Caeli prayers.

With greater joy than ever, the Church celebrates these eight days in a special way, as she recalls the Lord Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

Let us pray fervently that the joy and peace of Our Lady, Mary of Magdala and the Apostles will be our own as we welcome the risen Lord into our hearts and lives. I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon you all!

Here is a full translation of the Holy Father's words:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Surrexit Dominus vere! Alleluia! - Christ has truly risen, Alleluia!

The Resurrection of the Lord marks the renewal of our human condition - Christ conquered death which was caused by our sins, and brings us back to immortal life. The entire life of the Church and the very existence of Christians come from this event.

We read this today, the Angel's Monday, in the first mission statement of the nascent Church: "God raised this Jesus," the Apostle Peter proclaimed. "Of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you (both) see and hear"
(Acts 3,32-33).

One of the characteristic signs of faith in the Resurrection is the greeting among Christians at Eastertime inspired by the ancient liturgical hymn: "Christ is risen. He is truly risen".

It is a profession of faith and a commitment of life, just as it was for the women described in the Gospel of St. Matthew: "And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me"

"The entire Church", wrote the Servant of God Paul VI, "received the mission to evangelize, and the work of each person is important for everyone. It continues to be a sign that is both opaque and luminous of the new presence of Jesus, of his departure and permanence. It prolongs his presence and continues it" (Apost. Exh. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 8 December 1975, 15: AAS 68 [1976], 14).

How can we encounter the Lord and become ever more authentic witnesses for him? St. Maximus of Turin said: "Whoever wishes to reach the Lord must first place himself with his own faith at the right hand of God and sense himself in heaven with full conviction of the heart" (Sermo XXXIX a, 3: CCL 23, 157).

He must therefore learn to constantly fix the eye of mind and heart towards the altitude of God, on the Risen Christ. Thus God encounters man - in prayer, in adoration.

The theologian Romano Guardini observed that "adoration is not some thing accessory or secondary - it is the ultimate interest, the very sense of being. In adoration, man recognizes that which is validly pure and simple and holy"
(La Pasqua, Meditazioni, Brescia 1995, 62).

Only if we know how to turn to God, to pray to him, are we able to discover the most profound significance of our life, and our daily journey becomes illumined by the light of the Risen One.

Dear friends, the Church, in the East and the West, celebrates today the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, 'wise announcer of the Word and writer of the doctrines of Christ', as he was described in ancient times. He is also the patron of the City of Venice, where, God willing, I will be making a pastoral visit on May 7-8.

Let us now invoke the Virgin Mary, so that she may help us comply faithfully and joyfully with the mission that the Risen Lord has entrusted to each of us.

00Tuesday, April 23, 2019 8:12 AM

Cover of Vida Nueva's April 27 edition, on the upcoming Vatican constitution (Courtesy of Vida Nueva)

The fire at Notre Dame will soon have its literal ‘objective correlative’ in concrete form – a realization of the Rosica definition of Jorge Bergoglio (which, it turns out, Rosica had also plagiarized from a Protestant minister speaking about Bergoglio]

that will really burn down the one true Church of Christ as her Fathers and Doctors, saints and martyrs, popes, priests and laymen had striven with great effort and sacrifice to keep whole and intact through two millennia.

It shouldn’t be surprising, given the startling novelties he had pre-announced in Evangelii gaudium, but still, the new ‘Constitution’ that Bergoglio and his cardinal advisers have drawn up for the Roman Curia and the governance of the Church in general goes far beyond what one might have expected, even a super-realist like me. As I see it from a first reading of this preview, Bergoglio is hereby institutionalizing two of his major objectives as pope:
1) the primacy of pastoral work over doctrine, except that he presents pastoral ministry in the guise of ‘evangelization’ (which is a joke because Bergoglio has openly and often said he does not really want to ‘evangelize’ anyone, if by this we mean what ‘evangelization’ has always meant, which is to preach the Gospel of Christ to the world, with the aim of bringing the faith to those who are not Christian, and rekindling the faith among those Christians who have fallen away or become lukewarm and indifferent); and
2) making diocesan bishops superior in authority, at least within his diocese, to any official of the Roman Curia.

The worst implication of the first ‘reform’ is that now, anyone can preach or publish heterodoxies and heresies with impunity, provided his local bishop does not object. This destroys any vestige of unity, catholicity, apostolicity and Romanity in what is supposed to be the Church of Christ characterized as ‘one, holy, Catholic and apostolic’ (and for us in the Latin rite, ‘Roman’). Can there even be holiness in such a ‘church’?

In the thinking of Bergoglio and his advisers, ‘evangelization’ has nothing to do with doctrine – as if the content of the ‘evangelizing’ or ‘missionary’ message did not necessarily have to be the doctrine of the faith - as it had stood for 2013 years until Jorge Bergoglio came along without any intention of being bound by the bimillennial doctrine handed down to him, as Successor of Peter, by Scripture, Tradition and preceding Magisterium, to uphold, defend, and not alter in any substantial way.

Bergoglio’s new ‘Constitution’ for the Roman Curia
will place ‘evangelization’ ahead of doctrine

by Ines San Martin
Rome Bureau Editor

April 22, 2019

ROME - A new “super dicastery” on evangelization might be one of the most significant reforms of the governing structures of the Vatican, according to a new report.

Spanish journalist Dario Menor Torres, writing for the Spanish weekly Vida Nueva, reveals several elements of the new Vatican constitution that has been in development for years.

The biggest novelty in the document, called Praedicate Evangelium [“Preach the Gospel”], will be the creation of the “super dicastery” for evangelization, which will potentially be more important than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), often called “The Supreme Congregation.”

Having its roots in the Roman Inquisition, the doctrinal office is the oldest among the congregations of the Roman Curia, and insiders still call it the Holy Office, as it is tasked with promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine and defending the Church from heresy.

Today, in addition to defending doctrine, it is also tasked with judging priests who’ve been accused of sexually abusing minors, with 17 officials dedicated almost exclusively to this task.

Another of the novelties in the new constitution is that the curia will no longer be divided into “congregations” and the less prestigious “pontifical councils;” instead all autonomous Vatican departments will be called “dicasteries,” which has already been applied to several new bodies established by Pope Francis.

The new “super dicastery” for evangelization will result from the merging of two already existing bodies: The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also known as Propaganda Fide (Proapgating the faith), that is tasked with overseeing “missionary territories;” and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, that was created in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI to confront the rapid secularization of Western countries.

Menor’s report is based on interviews he conducted with Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, both members of the pope’s Council of Cardinal Advisers, which was established at the beginning of Francis’s pontificate to help reform the Curia.

“Pope Francis always underlines that the Church is missionary,” Maradiaga told Vida Nueva. “For this reason, it’s logical that we put in the first place the dicastery for Evangelization and not the one for the Doctrine of the Faith. This way, the pope sends a significant signal of the reform to the entire People of God,” the cardinal said. Gracias agreed.

“The main point of the new Apostolic Constitution is that the mission of the Church is evangelization,” the Indian cardinal told Vida Nueva. “It puts it at the center of the Church and everything the Curia does. It will be the first dicastery. The name of the text shows that evangelization is the principal objective, ahead of anything else.”

[Again, what exactly do the Bergogliacs mean by ‘evangelization’? Does it mean to lighten the ‘burden’ on Catholics of what it means to lead a Christian life – even if Jesus said that the way would be narrow and difficult for those who wish to enter the Kingdom of God? As Bergoglio already did with allowing communion for couples living in adultery by Jesus’sown definition of what adultery is?]

Crux had exclusive access to the article before this week’s edition reaches subscribers on Saturday.

According to the report from Vida Nueva, Francis could sign the new constitution on June 29, the Solemnity of Peter and Paul. Conforming to what Gracias told Crux earlier this month, the draft of Praedicate Evangelium was sent to the world’s bishops’ conferences, heads of the Vatican’s dicasteries and other Church officials to review the document and send suggestions by the end of May.

The plan is to compile all the suggestions, make the necessary modifications, and for the Council of Cardinals Advisers to review it again during their June 25-27 meeting.

Beyond the mega-Dicastery for Evangelization, the constitution reportedly also stipulates the creation of a Dicastery for Charity and the merger of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

In addition, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (CPM), created by Francis to assist him in formulating measures the global Church can make to prevent and combat clerical sexual abuse, will become a part of the curial structure to make it “more effective.” [Not that it has even had a chance to do anything in the first three years of its existence, with two of its lay members resigning in a huff, after which there was a year-long hiatus when it was in limbo, only to be resuscitated as part of the Bergoglio Vatican's cosmetic response to the new conflagration over clerical sex abuses and their cover-up. Now that it will become a presumably autonomous body [dicastery?] within the 'new Curia', will it then take over the tribunal function forced on the CDF by the first clerical sex abuse crisis in 2002? Leaving the CDF with exactly what to do? Since they cannot have a Do-Nothing Dicastery, they will probably abolish it altogether? I bet many of the episcopal conferences and bishops whose suggestions are being solicited on these reforms will recommend that! Henceforth, they will be their own doctrinal chiefs, so what do they need the CDF for? And the CDF itself would be left with no universal Church doctrine to safeguard and enforce, so it has been made superfluous.

Among other things, until he can find a good pretext to abrogate Summorum Pontificum, this demotion of the CDF to insignificance, if not its outright abolition, is the biggest slap Bergoglio can administer to Benedict XVI. "See how inconsequential your congregation really is in the scheme of things? How could it have been considered the 'premier' congregation at all?"

[sim=10pt]Menor writes that Praedicate Evangelium places the Curia at the service of both the pope and the college of bishops.

“As successors of the apostles, the bishops don’t have an ecclesiological position that puts them below those who work in the Roman Curia,” Maradiaga said. Hence, once the constitution is approved, a bishop from any diocese, no matter how small, will have the same hierarchical power as the prefect of a Vatican dicastery.

Once the text is approved - which will be on a 25-year “trial period” - the Vatican dicasteries will no longer be instruments for the pope to supervise local churches, but will actually be there to serve bishops from around the world.

[They are already that – they serve the pope by enforcing the decrees and rules of the universal Church on all local Churches. But under the Bergoglio constitution, there will no longer be a universal Church, if each local Church will have autonomy, even in terms of doctrine.]

The new dicastery for charity, that will absorb what today is known as the Office of the Papal Almoner, will come right after the Secretary of State and the Dicastery for Evangelization, as a reminder that charity is also a key element of the Catholic faith. This office will “feed” from the donations the pope receives and also by tapping into the Vatican’s central bank, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, or APSA. (A separate institution, the Institute for the Works of Religion, is often called the Vatican bank, but mostly serves religious orders and institutions.)

All these reforms are a continuation of changes already implemented, like the merging of the Vatican’s media offices into the Dicastery for Communications; and the merger of most of the pontifical councils into two mega-structures: The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

According to Maradiaga, Praedicate Evangelium can give back to the faithful the hope that Francis’s pontificate had generated at its start. “It offers to the people of God a new and brave perspective of reform in the spirit of Francis,” he said, adding that the constitution takes a lot from the Argentine pontiff’s first major texts, such as Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, and Amoris Laetitia.

“I’m personally satisfied with the result,” Gracias told Vida Nueva. “It won’t only be a cosmetic change but it will be the impetus for a change of mentality that is already underway.”
[What terrifying and horrible words! -"reform in the spirit of Francis" and 'a change of mentality that is already underway".]

The furor over Amoris laetitia and the DUBIA and the Vigano accusations will seem like little fires in the wake of the conflagration - the Holocaust, perhaps, is the correct word (i.e., the utter destruction by the consuming fire of Bergoglio's hubris) of the Church of Christ as we know it. Who know what other devastatingly nasty surprises are to be found in Bergoglio's Constitution? He said he would change the Church completely in four years - it's taken him an extra two years but that is exactly what he is doing. And because as pope, he is the supreme authority in the Church, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him. Nothing but an act of God.

Meanwhile, there is no end to the infinite variety of outrages to the faith that the church of Bergoglio and its ministers can think of. Gloria TV has posted a video clip that is even more offensive than that we saw a month ago when 'the Holy Father' literally pushed away persons wishing to kiss the Ring of the Fisherman that he wears.

The video clip comes from the full Mass video posted online by the Archdiocese of Santiago. Obviously, they are proud of what their new bishop has done.

Radical bishop denies communion
to kneeling Catholics

Bishop Celestino Aós, the Apostolic Administrator of Santiago de Chile, denied Holy Communion to several faithful who were kneeling during the Chrism Mass in Santiago Cathedral (April 18) in order to receive the Body of Christ.

Aós replaced liberal Santiago Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, 77, in March. Francis had kept Ezzati in place beyond his retirement age but finally accepted his resignation as a civilian court started investigating him for sex misdeeds by persons under his jurisdiction.

BTW, with his new Apostolic Constitution, Bergoglio will not even have to abrogate Summorum Pontificum. His soon-to-be conpletely autonomous bishops can simply refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to be said in their dioceses, as the Bishop of Cremona, Italy, and his immediate predecessor have done. and not a few other bishops around the world. A couple of weeks ago, I posted my translation of Aldo Maria Valli's account of the Cremona ban on the Mass of the Ages. Now Gloria TV reports that the mindless bishop, Antonio Napolioni, told a parish council meeting that "he will never allow the Old Mass in his diocese and that his decision is backed by the Vatican".

But why is it that those who are reporting Napolioni's adamance have not bothered asking him to explain why he - and every bishop and priest who want to have nothing to do with the Traditional Mass - are being so tyrannical about imposing their personal prejudice? How can the Traditional Mass possibly hurt them, except to wound their egos that can brook no opposition whatsoever! If that's not being evil, then they are very sick men who have no business being ministers of God.]

00Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:59 PM
Just what I was arguing in some of my remarks on the article about the brief meeting of Greta Thunberg and Jorge Bergoglio - and I was not even aware that Earth Day 2019 was at hand. The one glaring thing about this article is that it does not even mention climate change, which is surely one of the major concerns of the most ardent environmentalists, whose wild fear-mongeirng speculations in the past two decades have oscillated between global warming, then global cooling, and I think we're back to global warming... What none of these so-called scientists deliberately ignore is that in geologic time - measured in millions of years, not decades, much less years as these hotshots do their reckoning - a 'trend' in geological phenomena of even a few centuries is but a blip on the geological time scale.

On the 49th Earth Day,
gloomy predictions have not come to pass

Through new technologies and through legislation,
environmental trends have improved significantly in the USA

by Nicolas Loris

April 22, 2019

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

This Earth Day, it almost feels like we should be carving some turkey. Why? Because we have a lot to be thankful for since the first Earth Day event occurred 49 years ago.

We should be thankful that the gloom-and-doom predictions made throughout the past several decades haven’t come true.

Fearmongering about explosive population growth, food crises, and the imminent depletion of natural resources have been a staple of Earth Day events since 1970. And the common thread among them is that they’ve stirred up a lot more emotions than facts.

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil,” ecologist Kenneth Watt warned around the time of the first Earth Day event. “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'” Watt also warned of global cooling and nitrogen buildup rendering all of the planet’s land unusable.

The issue, however, is that present trends don’t continue. They change dramatically for a number of reasons. Innovation happens. Consumer behavior changes. Importantly, price signals play a huge role in communicating information to energy producers as well as consumers.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution.

Higher prices at the pump encourage companies to extract and supply more oil. Expensive gas prices, meanwhile, motivate entrepreneurs to invest in alternatives to oil, whether that’s batteries, natural gas vehicles, or biofuels. Drivers will examine their consumption options as well, whether carpooling, finding alternative modes of transportation, or, over time, purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Here we are, 19 years past Watt’s arbitrary deadline, and drivers are pulling up to the pump saying, “Fill ‘er up, buddy” (figuratively speaking, as Watts also didn’t foresee self-service stations) without any cause for concern.

Thanks to human ingenuity and the entrepreneurial drive of energy producers, the United States is now the world’s largest oil producer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and continually breaking records.

While global energy poverty and food insecurity remain a pressing challenge, the problem is getting much better, not worse. World Bank and United Nations data show extreme poverty and global hunger has noticeably dropped since 1970. And according to the International Energy Agency, the number of people without access to electricity fell to below 1 billion people for the first time.

Clearly, there’s work to be done. But signs are pointing in the right direction.

In the United States, the common perception is that the country’s environmental state is deteriorating. On the contrary, through investment in new technologies, and through legislation, environmental trends have improved significantly in the United States.

Pollutants known to cause harm to public health and the environment are declining. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest air quality trends report, the combined emissions of the six common air pollutants have decreased 73% between 1970-2017.

We should be thankful for economic liberties that provide people with the means to protect the environment. As a country grows economically, it increases the financial ability of its citizens and businesses to care for the environment and reduce pollutants emitted from industrial growth.

Countries with greater economic freedoms have cleaner environments and greater environmental sustainability. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index show a highly positive correlation between a country’s environmental performance and its economic freedom.

Freer economies have access to more products and technologies that make our lives healthier and the environment cleaner. For instance, the availability of simple products such as soaps, cleaners, and detergents makes our homes dramatically cleaner and healthier. The development of sanitation systems and availability of garbage collection greatly reduce many types of diseases and reduce toxins in the air and water.

These products and services may not be what immediately comes to mind on Earth Day, but they’ve had an enormous impact on cleaning up the planet.

And we should be thankful for clearly defined and protected private property rights. One of the first lessons I learned in economics is that nobody washes a rental car because you don’t care for what you don’t own.

Property rights are a central hallmark in the United States and around the world for improved environmental stewardship, conservation and health of species, wildlife, habitats, forests, and other resources. The absence of enforced private property rights in developing country remains one of the largest barriers to improved prosperity and environmental well-being.

Catastrophic but unlikely gloom-and-doom predictions will continue to grab media headlines, but free societies with the protection of property rights are tried and true pathways to a healthier, cleaner world. As we reflect on the progress we’ve made as a free society, let’s celebrate and be thankful.

50 years of apocalyptic global warming
predictions - and where we are today

by Tyler Durden

April 23, 2019

Two of the most important problems that the so-called Green New Deal will attempt to solve at the cost of incalculable trillions are global warming and its consequences, including drought, famine, floods and massive starvation.

You may recall that Obama in his 2015 State of the Union speech declared that the greatest threat facing us was neither terrorism nor ISIS. It wasn’t nuclear weapons in rogue states either. “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” said Obama.

His entire administration including Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry, frequently repeated the claim that climate change was the greatest threat facing the world. It was a sentiment Obama stressed again during an Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades where he said, “This is not a problem for another generation. It has serious implications for the way we live right now”.

More recently, presidential hopefuls like Beto O’Rourke, along with most Democrat candidates, declared their zealous support for the Green New Deal in forecasting that the world will end in 12 years if nothing is done.

“This is the final chance, the scientists are absolutely unanimous on this — that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis. Not to be melodramatic, but the future of the world depends on us right now here where we are.”

This leads to the question I pose in this brief, data-driven, essay: What kind of track record do the politicians and their experts have in their climate predictions? After all, some of these predictions were made 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. Can’t we now look back at their predictions and begin to hold them accountable?

As others have done, I have chosen to begin with the first Earth Day “Celebration” in 1970. Now who can be against Earth Day? It’s a charming idea, and I have been an enthusiastic supporter since my college days in Ann Arbor, when we celebrated the event on the campus of the University of Michigan.

Here’s what the experts were saying almost a half century ago on Earth Day, 1970:

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
— Harvard biologist George Wald

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
— Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human Habitation.”
— Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years. … Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born. … [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.
— Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions …. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
— North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

“In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”
— Life magazine

“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable. … By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any. … The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
— Kenneth Watt

Global Warming and Massive Starvation
I will focus my attention on the two most important predictions: Global Warming and Massive Starvation. If we return to the failed prediction of global cooling noted above, we can put the temperature data in a wider perspective.

NASA data show that a period of warming in the 1920s and 30s was followed by two or three decades of cooling temperatures, from the 1940s to 1970. At that time many experts, including Carl Sagan, warned us of a possible ice age — only to have the climate pattern change on them.

From the 1970s to the late 1990s, scientists began to record slightly warmer temperatures. Curiously, as we look back at this period, NASA sounded the alarm for global warming while a short time later the New York Times cited NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] data showing no warming over the past 100 years in the US.

Since then, group think and political correctness, plus rewards in government grants and university promotions, have created incentives for nearly everyone to jump onto the current bandwagon of projecting an escalating warming trend. Once again we came back to the doomsday scenario that characterized 1970’s.

Then, out of the blue, the darned climate changed again. Global temperature data has been roughly flat since about 1998, even cooling by .056 degrees C from February 2016 to February 2018, according to official NASA global temperature data. Of course, this is just a two-year trend.

You may have noticed that nearly all of the doomsday theories seem to begin with the phrase, “if current trends continue.” But, as I have just reviewed, current trends don’t continue. Global temperatures go down, then up, then stay flat. Population growth tapers off, new oil reserves are discovered, agricultural yields increase at even higher rates. Doomsday forecasters always overestimate gloomy trends and underestimate human ingenuity in problem solving.

This raises the question: How would an informed citizen make sense of our current predicament?

Without question there has been an increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. A majority of scientists believe this to be the primary source of the global warming that has occurred.

Just how much warming has occurred?

The scientific consensus is that the average temperature of the Earth has risen about 0.4 °C over the past 100 years. This is far less than experts predicted. And therein lies the problem: scientists are better at observation than prediction.

A case in point: experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate carrying out global warming research have now predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100. Notice the nearly 5-fold difference between the conservative and more liberal (one is tempted to say “progressive”) estimates. This strikes me as akin to meteorologists predicting tomorrow’s high as somewhere between 40 and 80 degrees. Not much of a forecast if you are trying to decide whether to head to the beach or not. The confidence interval seems pretty safe, but the precision leaves much to be desired. Just how much faith should one put in such projections, given the flawed models and track record of failed predictions?

Regarding the other staggering Earth Day forecast of widespread starvation into hundreds of millions, recent satellite data from NASA and NOAA offer a compelling explanation for the spectacular failure of these predictions.

Almost half of Earth’s vegetated lands have shown significant greening over the past 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions.

This greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States, or more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000’s. That increase represents an enormous amount of food to feed a hungry planet, which is one reason the Earth Day predictions of mass starvation never materialized.

Because the mainstream media refuses to report such important data as this is from NASA and NOAA that do not support their doomsday narrative, I have never actually met anyone who knew anything about this when I mention it. I only learned about this myself a few years ago because of Matt Ridley, whose excellent blog I recommend without reserve:

You may remember from high school biology that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth. Green leaves use energy from sunlight through photosynthesis to chemically combine carbon dioxide with nitrogen drawn in from the air with water and nutrients tapped from the ground to produce sugars, which are the main source of food, fiber and fuel for life on Earth. The good news is that the impact that this greening has had in reducing hunger and starvation around the globe is undiminished, despite going unreported. When is the last time you heard a report of massive human starvation of hundreds of millions, or even tens of milions. How about 1 million … do I hear a hundred thousand, anyone? Anyone?

Fact Check: Fewer and fewer people die from climate-related natural disasters.
This is clearly the opposite of what you hear from the mainstream media, which loves to provide as much coverage as possible of one disaster after another. A more rational analysis would examine the average number of deaths per decade from 1920-1917. But this would show a “huuuge” decline in deaths caused by climate change, and we can’t have that now can we? The data below are from the most respected global database, the International Disaster Database.

In contrast to the dire Earth Day predictions of 1970, climate-related deaths have been declining strongly for 70 years. Notice that this decline in the absolute number deaths occurred while the global population increased four-fold. Thus, the individual risk of dying from climate-related disasters has declined almost 99% from the 1920s to the present day.

Our increased wealth and technological capacity to respond to natural disasters has greatly reduced our collective human climate vulnerability – Good news for rational beings, bad news for Democrat candidates.
00Thursday, April 25, 2019 4:31 AM

Sandro Magister today devotes his blogpost to previewing a new book on Benedict XVI which s also partly by him because it documents letters by him and their corresponding replies on a subject about which he has expressed himself many times, in his writings before and after he became Pope, and in his addresses as Pope to Jewish communities in the synagogues he visited (Cologne, New York, Rome), in many private audiences with Jewish delegations, and of course, his visit to the Holy Land in 2009. The book however documents material from 2016 to 2018.

I will not post Magister's article now because it makes references to documents that he describes only in passing, and I am not comfortable posting Magister's narrative until I can check out those documents.

The book itself will not be formally presented in Rome until May 16, at the Pontifical Lateran University. Speakers will inclue Rabbi Folger, Mons. Georg Gaenswein representing the Pope Emeritus, Elio Guerrero, and the editor of L'Osservatore romano,, Andrea Monda.
00Friday, April 26, 2019 7:17 AM

Cardinal Maradiaga, the face of Pope Francis's curial reform, apparently remains non-accountable and untouchable despite many consistent accusations of his questionable management of his archdiocese in Honduras and other corrupt behavior.

Corruption of Pope Francis's reform chief
exposed in groundbreaking new book

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

April 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – According to the widow of a former ambassador to the Vatican from Honduras, Pope Francis’s reform chief Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga has maintained an abusive and mafia-like regime in Honduras for decades, promoting false investment schemes, diverting money from the local university and from the government to shadowy and immoral purposes, and ruthlessly protecting his corrupt auxiliary bishop, who was forced to resign in 2018 following accusations of sexual abuse of seminarians.

Moreover, the conduct of the cardinal is well-known to senior members of the Vatican curia and even to Pope Francis himself, who appears to be beholden to Rodríguez Maradiaga and is unable – or unwilling – to correct the wayward prelate.

Martha Alegría Reichmann, the widow of former Vatican ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, gives readers a detailed portrayal of the dark world of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga in a new book recently published in Honduras, Traiciones Sagradas (Sacred Betrayals), in which she offers a personal, insider’s view of the alleged misbehavior and abuses of the coordinator of Pope Francis’s “C9” Council of Cardinal Advisors, charged with reforming the Church’s governance.

Alegría’s groundbreaking book contains numerous revelations and descriptions that illustrate the depth of corruption of the man Pope Francis has chosen as the public face of his reform project, and who mysteriously continues to occupy his position despite the massive scandals that have engulfed him since 2017.

Alegria claims that Rodríguez Maradiaga regards Pope Francis as indebted to him for his election and for convincing him to accept the papacy, and indicates that even Francis cannot control the cardinal, who seems exempt from accountability for his personal misbehavior and abuse of power.

The book also sheds light on what Alegría calls the “excessive” and “unhealthy” relationship between the Cardinal and his close friend and later Auxiliary Bishop, José Juan Pineda Fasquelle, who was housed with Rodríguez Maradiaga for years in the archbishop’s residence of Villa Iris – along with his homosexual boyfriend, Erick Cravioto Fajardo, a layman who dressed as a priest.

According to Alegría, Rodríguez Maradiaga ruthlessly destroyed the careers of at least six priests who raised objections to Pineda’s scandalous behavior, reportedly including sexual predation of seminarians, which eventually led to his forced resignation in 2018.

The book gives the perspective of someone who had been one of Rodríguez Maradiaga’s closest friends, but became a victim of his deceptions and abuse of power, losing most of her family’s savings in a fraudulent investment scheme pushed on her and her husband by the cardinal. Alegría says that the cardinal attempted to silence her and even to induce her to lie to protect him, leading her to a rude awakening regarding his true character.

Alegría reveals that she and her husband were close personal friends of Rodriguez Maradiaga and his close friend, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, for more than two decades, and that he, Rodríguez Maradiaga, stayed at their home in Rome so frequently that they thought of him as a family member who even spoke of coming to live with them after he retired.

However, a series of betrayals by Rodríguez Maradiaga and Pineda would destroy their relationship and bring Alegría to a painful awareness of the crisis of corruption currently roiling the Catholic Church.

According to Alegría, Rodriguez Maradiaga used his personal influence as Archbishop of Tegucigalpa to ensure that her husband was reappointed to the ambassadorship year after year, while Valladares Lanza worked to convince high members of the Vatican curia to support making Rodríguez Maradiaga into a cardinal, a project that was ultimately successful, making him the first Honduran to be given such an honor.

Alegría also states that her husband helped Fr. Pineda to receive his appointment as Rodríguez Maradiaga´s auxiliary bishop. Pineda even went on a trip with the couple to Russia, paid for by the couple, and Alegría lent him several rare books as well as historical manuscripts of great value inherited by her husband, which had belonged to Marco Aurelio Soto, a president of Honduras during the 19th century.

However, the relationship began to fall apart after Pineda, now an auxiliary bishop, sent a friend to visit the couple in Rome, a man who was already known to them from Pineda himself to be a practicing homosexual who had been kicked out of a school for personal misbehavior. Despite receiving the man politely and inviting him to dinner, he began to speak badly of them to others, writes Alegría. When Alegría complained to Pineda about his friend’s behavior, she realized that the bishop had a deep personal loyalty to the man, and that she and her husband had, almost overnight, become Pineda’s enemy.

Pineda “couldn’t hide his displeasure at what I was telling him,” writes Alegría. “I only told him what had happened and it seemed like I was offending him and insulting his mother. . . . What’s more, he told me that I was offending him.” Alegría got up and left. Later, one of Rodríguez Maradiaga’s sisters, who was a close friend of the family as well, told the couple that Pineda had told her that he would “put his hands into a fire for that friend, but not for Martha [Alegría].”

From that point on Pineda would not speak to the couple, and the two decided to ask him to return the books and the historic documents that they had lent him a couple of years earlier, but to no avail – Pineda has never returned them, even after Alegría filed a canonical suit against him in the Holy See for the crime of theft. Soon, the couple would also learn that Pineda and his homosexual friend were maneuvering to bring about Valladares Lanza’s removal from the ambassadorship, Alegría writes.

According to Alegría, the couple’s falling out with Pineda would lead also to their falling out with Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, who would prove himself to be an unconditional defender of Pineda in the face of any and every accusation, no matter how well founded.

Despite all that her husband had done for the cardinal and despite their decades of close friendship, Rodríguez Maradiaga would turn on them completely, after inducing them to turn over their savings to a bogus investment firm which would soon disappear, taking the bulk of their family’s savings with it.

After numerous attempts to communicate with Pineda to obtain the documents that she had lent to him, Alegría says she sent an email to Pineda giving him 15 days to return them or she would initiate a canonical suit against him for theft. Alegría says that Pineda forwarded the email to Rodríguez Maradiaga, who then began to intervene in favor of his protégé.

While at a Honduran hospital with her dying husband following the end of his ambassadorship, Alegría was approached by one of the cardinal’s clergy, Fr. Carlo Magno Núñez, who told her that Rodríguez Maradiaga wanted her to “forget about the issue of the documents,” according to Alegría, and that “he didn’t like people to fight, that I knew about the appreciation the cardinal has for his auxiliary [bishop], and he gave me to understand that he would not permit people to bother him.” He would later accuse Alegría of having “hatred in her heart” and would tell her that she had to accept Pineda as he was.

Later, after Alegría had submitted a canonical suit to Cardinal Marc Ouellet against Pineda for theft and had spoken to Ouellet about it, the cardinal began to stonewall her and apparently shelved the case. Alegría says has never received a verdict in the matter, and believes it is because Rodríguez Maradiaga used his powerful position as coordinator of the Council of Cardinal Advisors to cow Ouelett and shut down her suit.

“I now understand how things work, Your Eminence,” wrote Alegría to Ouellet. “Cardinal Maradiaga favors his auxiliary because he’s his good friend, and you favor Maradiaga because he’s a friend of the pope, and so nothing is resolved, there is no justice. Is this the Holy Mother Church that our Lord Jesus Christ wants?” She says she never received a response.

Alegría relates in the book that Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga induced her husband to turn over the family’s savings to a bogus investment firm that ultimately disappeared with Alegría’s inheritance following her husband’s death. She claims that she informed Pope Francis himself about this deed during a personal audience, but that Francis refuses to act against the cardinal because of his debt to him for his election to the papacy and even his acceptance of his election.

The investment firm, called Leman Wealth Management, was run by a British Muslim named Youssry Henien. Alegría says that Rodríguez Maradiaga visited the couple in Rome a year before their return to Honduras, and urged them insistently to place their savings in Leman, claiming it promised a 7% rate of return, and that he had invested all of the money of the archdiocese in the venture.

The couple was hesitant to place all of their savings in one investment, even if it guaranteed such a high rate of return, but the cardinal insisted that it was safe. “’But this is safe, that’s why I invested all of the money of the diocese, I HAVE ALREADY INVESTIGATED IT,’ he emphasized with great certitude,” writes Alegría.

Despite their misgivings, the couple decided to trust the cardinal. Alegría reports that the cardinal induced others to make investments in the venture as well. All lost their money in the fraudulent scheme.

Leman Wealth Management suddenly disappeared in 2012, with the widowed Alegría’s savings as well as that of others who had followed Rodríguez Maradiaga’s advice. Alegría writes that the cardinal and other archdiocesan personnel claimed to her that the archdiocese also had been deceived and had lost money to the scheme, and that they were working to receive the lost funds.

Alegría reports that although the cardinal gave her some money to help her, he was evasive about efforts to recover the money, and gave her what she regarded as a fanciful story about intrigue involving the CIA and Leman. She claims that the cardinal even told her to lie about his promotion of the scam, and to tell her attorneys that it was someone else who had led her to it.

Increasingly, the cardinal avoided and stonewalled Alegría, refusing to answer her inquiries, and told his clergy not to discuss the matter with her. Her lost investment was never returned.

Later, Rodríguez Maradiaga would tell the media that he didn’t know anything about Leman Wealth Management, and that the archdiocese had never approved any investments with the firm. His claim appears to contradict not only Alegría’s account, but also an investigative report commissioned by Pope Francis on the scandal and widely reported in the major media, which indicate that the cardinal invested the equivalent of millions of dollars in Leman.

Eventually, Alegría decided to go to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, who was a friend of her late husband and had even celebrated a special Requiem Mass at the Vatican for him following his death. After Alegría informed Parolin of Rodríguez Maradiaga’s misconduct, the latter broke his silence and sent her a message through a subordinate, telling her “not to go around speaking badly of him,” in Alegría’s words. She responded by rebuking him for his misbehavior and copied Parolin. Their relationship was definitively broken.

Meanwhile, numerous complaints by laymen, priests, religious, and seminarians against the cardinal and Bishop Pineda had reached the Vatican through the apostolic nuncio, who proved himself to be open and objective in listening to those who spoke against Maradiaga's regime. As a result, says Alegría, both the cardinal and Pineda boycotted a traditional breakfast held by the nuncio for the members of the episcopal conference during one of its meetings.

In response to the complaints, the Holy See launched an investigation of Pineda, and the cardinal began to double down in the defense of his auxiliary, who he claimed was the victim of “envy” on the part of others. According to Alegría, Rodriguez Maradiaga withheld an annual Christmas bonus from his archdiocesan clergy in December of 2015, expressly stating in a private meeting with them in January that this was a punishment for having spoken badly about Pineda to the papal nuncio. He even made a racist remark about the nuncio, Alegría alleges.

She adds that the cardinal went so far as to order his clergy, seminarians, and personnel at the University of Tegucigalpa to write letters to the Vatican supportive of Pineda.

In 2017, the Vatican began a formal investigation of accusations against Bishop Pineda, and Alegría was called to testify regarding his purported theft of her husband’s historical manuscripts. In November of that year, Alegría was granted an audience with Pope Francis himself, to offer her complaint to him in person regarding Rodríguez Maradiaga’s involvement in her financial victimization.

“I told [Pope Francis] that I had come from Honduras especially to speak with him,” writes Alegría. “He immediately told me that he had read my letters and was aware of everything, adding that he had already given instructions to the Secretary of State [Cardinal Pietro Parolin] to resolve my problem and that I could count on all of his goodwill.”

Alegría then sent a transcript of the Pope’s comments to Parolin, who didn’t respond to her for three months. When a mutual friend went to Parolin to ask him what was happening with the case, Parolin told him that the matter was in the Pope’s hands and he could do nothing. It was now Francis himself who was stonewalling Alegría.

Ultimately, Alegría decided in early 2018 to give an interview revealing the whole affair to the Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi. Alegría writes that when Cardinal Parolin learned of the impending interview, he sent her a message stating that the Pope wanted her to hold off until she had met with Rodriguez Maradiaga to discuss the matter during his visit to Rome. She was informed that the cardinal had accepted the pope’s proposal for a discussion and was happy to meet with her, apparently ending his years of silence on the matter. However, to her amazement, he again stonewalled her attempts to arrange the meeting, and left Rome for Honduras, claiming he would meet with her there at some time in the future. She refused, regarding it as yet another ruse of the cardinal, and did the interview with Fittipaldi, breaking the story to the international media. The Vatican gave no response to the story.

In December of 2017 some of the results of the report sent to Pope Francis by investigators were leaked to the media, which reported that Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga was accused of taking over 40,000 USD per month from the University of Tegucigalpa, of which he was chancellor, for many years, and of diverting millions of dollars in archdiocesan funds to Leman Wealth Management, where at least some of it had disappeared in German banks, along with the company itself. Maradiaga responded by asserting that that the archdiocese never approved any investments in the company, but did not unequivocally deny that he had personally done so.

Moreover, L’Espresso’s Emiliano Fittipaldi reported that Auxiliary Bishop Pineda was accused of diverting large sums of archdiocesan and government grant money to support friends who were suspected of being his homosexual paramours, one of whom was a layman named “Erick,” who dressed as a priest and lived at the same residence with Pineda and Rodríguez Maradiaga himself, Villa Iris. Sources told Fittipaldi that the Vatican had been informed and “the Pope knows everything.”

Then, in March of 2018, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported that Bishop Pineda had been accused of homosexual predation against seminarians in statements submitted to the Vatican investigator. Pentin also confirmed the earlier L’Espresso article regarding Pineda’s use of money to support homosexual partners. Soon after, Pope Francis accepted Pineda’s resignation of his office, but no canonical sanctions are known to have been imposed on him.

In July, Pentin revealed the existence of a letter from dozens of seminarians of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa complaining of a “homosexual network” in the seminary protected by the seminary rector. Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga reportedly denounced the letter as “gossip.” In August, Pentin reported that Rodríguez Maradiaga was protecting a large cadre of homosexual seminarians, having sent them out of the seminary on temporary assignments to conceal them while they were under potential scrutiny.

Since then, Rodríguez Maradiaga’s scandalous conduct and associations have been covered only in a limited way in the international media, as well as in Honduras itself, where the country’s major media, controlled by its tight-knit ruling class, has largely ignored the scandals, and even Alegría’s tell-all book.

Despite it all, the cardinal remains the Coordinator of the pope’s Council of Cardinal Advisors, which has just worked out a major reform of the curia that would place the integrity of doctrine below “evangelization” in order of priority.

The cardinal’s ongoing impunity in the Vatican provides striking evidence of the corruption reigning in the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy under the regime of Pope Francis.
00Friday, April 26, 2019 3:42 PM

Published a week short of his 92nd birthday, Joseph Ratzinger’s essay on the epidemiology of the clergy sex-abuse crisis vividly illustrated his still-unparalleled capacity to incinerate the brain circuits of various Catholic progressives. [What a forcefully descriptive phrase!]

The origins of the text written by the Pope Emeritus remain unclear: Did he initially write it to assist the bishops who met in Rome this past February to address the abuse crisis? But whatever its history, the Ratzingerian diagnosis is well worth considering.

In Benedict XVI’s view, the Catholic crisis of clerical sexual abuse was, in the main, an ecclesiastical by-product of the “sexual revolution”: a tsunami of cultural deconstruction that hit the Church in a moment of doctrinal and moral confusion, lax clerical discipline, poor seminary formation, and weak episcopal oversight, all of which combined to produce many of the scandals with which we’re painfully familiar today.

This diagnosis does not explain everything about the abuse crisis, of course. It does not explain psychopaths like Marcial Maciel and Theodore McCarrick. It does not explain the abusive behavior by clergy and religious in pre-conciliar Ireland and Quebec. It does not explain the challenges the Church faces from clerical concubinage (and worse) in Africa today.

But Ratzinger’s epidemiology does address, pointedly, the sharp spike in clerical sexual abuse that began in the late 1960s and peaked in the 1980s, before the reforms of the priesthood and seminaries initiated by Pope John Paul II began to take hold.

As it happens, I have been making virtually the same argument since the publication of The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church in 2002. There, I suggested that the clerical self-deception and duplicity that accompanied widespread dissent from Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on family planning, Humanae Vitae, created an environment in which abusive sexual behavior intensified.

Men who persuaded themselves that they need not believe or teach what the Church professed to be true (especially about the ethics of human love) were especially vulnerable to the tidal wave of the sexual revolution; and in short order intellectual duplicity led to behavioral duplicity — and abuse.

That seminaries were in intellectual and disciplinary meltdown in this same period compounded the crisis. So did Rome’s failure to promote ecclesiastical discipline in the face of blatant dissent.

It was, in brief, a perfect storm, one in which the dark forces that are always trying to destroy the Church and impede its evangelical mission could wreak terrible damage.

For this analysis, I was duly bludgeoned by a portside Catholic commentariat that seemed locked into denial in 2002. Judging from the immediate, volatile, and sometime vicious responses to Ratzinger’s memorandum from the same quarters two weeks ago, too many on the Catholic Left remain in denial about the link between doctrinal and moral dissent and clerical wickedness. Thus, the Pope Emeritus was deemed senile by some, imprudent by others, and disloyal to his successor by the critics.

One of these frothing pundits (many of whom are progressive ultramontanists for whom Pope Francis’s infallibility is virtually boundless) even went so far as to charge Benedict with being, in effect, a schismatic.
- But did any of these critics engage Ratzinger’s argument? No.
- Did any of the critics offer a different, more plausible explanation for the spike in clerical sexual abuse that followed the penetration of the Church by the sexual revolution, the Humanae Vitae controversy, the breakdown of discipline in seminary formation, and the evolution of moral theologies that deconstructed the notion that some acts are always and everywhere wrong? No.
As in 2002, there was lots of vitriol; but no serious alternative diagnosis was offered.

And as I’ve noted before, “clericalism” is not a serious explanation for the sin and crime of clerical sexual abuse. Clericalism facilitates abuse, in that abusers prey on those who rightly hold the priesthood in esteem. But “clericalism” does not explain sexual predation, which has other, deeper causes and is in fact a global plague.

00Friday, April 26, 2019 4:16 PM

Former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both tweeted sympathies about "Easter worshippers" killed in Sri Lanka without mentioning Christians.

Do 'Easter worshippers' worship Easter??? Both Obama and Clinton claim to be Christians, but how Christian are they exactly?

About 'Easter worshippers':
Anything not to mention Christ or Christianity

by Dennis Prager

April 23, 2019

Sometimes, a few sentences tell you more about a person — and, more importantly, an ideology — than a learned thesis.

That is the case with tweets from Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama two days ago in response to the mass murder of more than 300 Christians and others in Sri Lanka.

Their tweets are worth serious analysis because they reveal a great deal about the left. Of course, they reveal a great deal about Clinton and Obama, too, but that doesn’t interest me.

And that, too, is important. Many Americans —especially conservatives and “independents” — are more interested in individual politicians than in political ideologies.

Many conservatives have long been fixated on Clinton — so much so that probably any other Democrat would have defeated Donald Trump, as conservative anger specifically toward her propelled many people to the polls.

Similarly, Republican Never-Trumpers are fixated on Trump rather than policy. They care more about Trump’s personal flaws than about the mortal dangers the left poses to America and the West or about the uniquely successful conservative policies Trump promulgates.

And independents all claim to vote “for the person, not the party.”

Only leftists understand that one must vote left no matter who the Democrat is, no matter who the Republican opponent is. Leftists are completely interchangeable: There is no ideological difference among the 20 or so Democrats running for president. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not one degree to the right of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

That is why it is important to understand Clinton and Obama’s tweets: to understand the left, not to understand her or him.

Here are the tweets: Obama- “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Three hours later, Clinton tweeted: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.”

As they both spelled “worshipers” the same idiosyncratic way and used the term “Easter worshippers,” it is likely they either had the same writers or Clinton copied Obama.

Here’s what’s critical: Neither used the word “Christians.” And in order to avoid doing so, they went so far as to make up a new term— ”Easter worshippers” — heretofore unknown to any Christian.

When Jews were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Clinton mentioned the synagogue in a tweet. But in her post-Sri Lanka tweet, despite the bombing of three churches filled with Christians, Clinton made no mention of church or churches.

In a tweet after the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, she wrote that her heart broke for “the global Muslim community.” But in her latest tweet, not a word about Christians or the global Christian community.

Obama similarly wrote in his tweet about New Zealand that he was grieving with “the Muslim community” over the “horrible massacre in the Mosques.” But in his tweet about Sri Lanka, there is no mention of Christians or churches.

The reason neither of them mentioned Christians or churches is that the left has essentially forbidden mention of all the anti-Christian murders perpetrated by Muslims in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and of all the Muslim desecration of churches in Europe, Africa, and anywhere else.

This is part of the same phenomenon — that I and others have documented — of British police and politicians covering up six years of rape of 1,400 English girls by Muslim “grooming gangs” in Rotherham and elsewhere in England.

Essentially, the left’s rule is that nothing bad — no matter how true — may be said about Muslims or Islam and nothing good — no matter how true — may be said of Christians or Christianity. [With some modification of the part about Christians, since he often praises non-Catholic Christians, the reigning pope lives by this rule, dpesn't he?]

Clinton’s post-New Zealand tweet also included these words: “We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms. White supremacist terrorists must be condemned by leaders everywhere. Their murderous hatred must be stopped.”

She made sure to condemn “Islamophobia,” but she wrote not a word about the far more destructive and widespread hatred of Christians in the Muslim world, seen in Muslims’ virtual elimination of the Christian communities in the Middle East, the regular murder and kidnappings of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the murder of Christians in Nigeria. [All that to applies to Bergoglio! An ideological trinity of peas in a pod - Bergoglio-Obama-Clinton.]

She calls on “leaders everywhere” to condemn “white supremacist terrorists,” one of the smallest hate groups on Earth, but never calls on leaders everywhere to condemn Islamist terrorists, the largest hate group on Earth.

These two tweets tell you a lot about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But far more importantly, they tell you a lot about the left.
00Saturday, April 27, 2019 7:51 AM
There's been comparatively little'excitement' on line in the past few days - after the Notre Dame fire and its immediate aftermath (little significant damage, thank God, except to the 800-year-old oaken roof) and the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, death toll last pegged at 320, with muted MSM commentary since ISIS laid claim to the massacre - and the surprising lack of reaction to the preview of the Bergoglian curial reform which will really overturn the Church's hierarchical structure inside out to institutionalize the church of Bergoglio within the temporal structure of the Church of Christ, although that, of course, is not the way he sees his absolutely proprietorial expropriation of the one true Church of Christ to himself. I cannot get over how he has used the pretext of 'curial reform' to institutionalize the radical changes he pre-announced in Evangelii gaudium.

And yet, I seem to be the only one reacting this way. Is it because the preview given us by Cardinals Maradiaga and Gracias is not yet official? What difference does it make? They have laid down the basic radical changes that will be in effect for a 25-year trial period from the time Bergoglio's Apostolic Constitution is promulgated on or around June 29. God knows how many more 'lesser' but equally outrageous changes the full document will tell us. If you are not outraged now about what we have been told so far, does it make you any virtuous to postpone the outrage until the document is formally promulgate?

So, absent any outcry so far, let me just pick up a few items that I feel ought to go on record these days. I start with how Fr. Hunwicke, Latinist that he is, caught the reigning pope mis-stating the Urbi et Orbi blessing last Easter from watching a video of the event. Apparently he was among all of the millions of Catholics had not bothered to watch Bergoglio's Easter performance at all. Z surely did not, as he became aware of Bergoglio's latin blooper - a big one to anyone who knows Latin - through Fr H's blogpost. Nor, apparently did the Latin-familiar anti-Bergoglio Vaticanista triad of Socci, Tosatti and Valli, or they would have unfailingly commented on it.

The latest liturgical innovation

April 26, 2019

The [last line of the] Blessing Urbi et Orbi by the Bishop Of Rome, this year, took the following (gracious, merciful and humble) form:

Et benedictio Dei Omnipotentis, Patris, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, descendat super vos et maneat semper.

[The correct formula is: Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. (And may the blessing of Almighty God - the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit - come down on you and remain with you forever.]

Listen to it on Vatican TV if you don't believe me. And he had an enormous white book held open in front of him by some poor sweating flunkey.

For five years, PF's cronies have been assuring us that his every word and deed is by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Is he now claiming the infallible and Magisterial right to change, not only the Catechism of the Catholic Church, not only Denziger, but even Kennedy's Latin Primer?

Or does this highly sophisticated form of blessing somehow mysteriously imply tritheism?

Does a public manifestation of Trinitarian heterodoxy mean that he has finally lost the munus Petrinum?

Mormons are tritheists. Is PF a Mormon? Who are we to judge?...

No, I think it was simple illiteracy in Latin...Which I don't understand. Surely Jorge Bergoglio would have studied more Latin in seminary than Socci-Tosatti-Valli in thei required Latin courses in the Italian high schools they attended. Or did he?

Father Z comments, in the context of a broader ‘rant’ about the loss of Latin in the Roman (Latin) Church:

At Easter, the Roman Pontiff shows up on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, gives a little talk and then imparts, with an indulgence, a blessing on the city and on the world. Nice. This is an old custom. It is intended for the whole world. So, the Roman Pontiff uses the Church’s official language: Latin.

But the Roman Pontiff, in front of the whole world, blows the Latin, even though he has a book in front of him. Fr. Hunwicke pointed this out. [The pope] chants: “Benedictio Dei Omnipotentis, Patris, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, descendat super vos et maneat semper.’

To one who has a bit of a Latin ear, that simply screams. This is a big deal. There’s nothing good about this…

* [The correct formula for the Urbi et Orbi blessing is: “Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper.” (And may the blessing of Almighty God – (of) the Father, and (of) the Son, and (of) the Holy Spirit - come down on you and remain with you forever.) Fr H is saying that, as pronounced by Bergoglio last Easter, there are three separate ‘Gods’ invoked, instead of the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

The form of the Urbi et Orbi blessing is similar to the words to the Sign of the Cross: “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” – In the name of the Father, (of) the Son and (of) the Holy Spirit”, where all three nouns are declined in the genitive form. In contrast, in the Gloria, it is ”Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto” - Glory to the Father, (to) the Son, and (to) the Holy Spirit - where the nouns are declined in the dative form.

In Bergoglio’s self-improvised formulation, ‘the Son and the Holy Spirit’ are both nominative, which makes for a nonsensical hodgepodge, i.e., “May the blessing of Almighty God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you forever’.” Big deal, you might say, what difference does it make? It is the difference between right and wrong in terms of grammar, usage and ritual. Wrong grammar and wrong usage are unforgivable in this particular circumstance, but if a ritual formulation is wrong, the ritual becomes invalid. That is why it matters.]

Then, there are those statements made on TV by one of the McCarrick proteges who became instant Bergoglio pets:

A Cardinal on the ropes of logic

April 24, 2019

…There came to my attention a TV interview granted by His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, in the never-before-cardinalatial see of Newark, less than 17 miles and about a 45 minute drive from the digs of the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, across the river.

Card. Tobin did something remarkable in that TV interview:
When questioned by the woman from NBC’s Today Show, who implicitly attacked the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and manifestly got it wrong – she said the Church says that homosexuals are “intrinsically disordered”, which is not what the Church teaches – Card. Tobin did not correct her error. Card. Tobin did not defend what the Church actually teaches in a way that even someone from NBC can understand… with the help of repetitions and words of few syllables.

NB: The Church says that the inclination is intrinsically disordered.

Instead, Card. Tobin said – and I’m not making this up….

TOBIN: “The Church, I think, is having its own conversation about what our faith has us do and say with people in relationships that are same-sex. What should be without debate is that we are called to welcome them.”

NBC: “But how can you welcome people that you call ‘intrinsically disordered?’”

TOBIN: “Well I don’t call them ‘intrinsically disordered.’”

NBC: “But isn’t that the Catechism of the Catholic Church?”

TOBIN: “That is… it’s very unfortunate language. Let’s hope that eventually that language is a little less hurtful.”

“… a little less hurtful”.

So, Tobin did not correct her mischaracterization. He distanced himself from language used in the CCC, though she had gotten it wrong. But what is the real problem with what he said? Follow the logic.

He suggests that, through some sort of “conversation”, whatever that is, the language used to describe who homosexuals are and what they do will be “a little less hurtful”. Think about that. Less hurtful is still hurtful.

How much “hurtful” is an acceptable level of pain? How much less hurtful is within acceptable parameters?

Once you accept the MSM and modernist and secularist and homosexualist and Jesuit position that the Church’s teaching (language = teaching) is “hurtful”, then you are on the ropes of logic. You have no where to go but to acquiesce to their desire to force the Church to deny her teaching and to jettison natural law and divine revelation as a foundation for morals.

You wind up like Peter, warming himself at the fire in the MSM’s courtyard while the Truth incarnate is on trial. When challenged about the Truth, he caved.

Charity is more important than being “less hurtful”. Charity involves the truth for the sake of the true good of others. That may require discomfort, even danger and self-sacrifice. It may involve not simply accepting the position of the MSM and the Jesuit homosexualists and the Fishwrap and others who hate the Faith. It may involve not being popular and safe and adored by the world.
00Monday, April 29, 2019 4:14 PM
There is still a news doldrum insofar as major Church news is concerned, but over the weekend, something major did occur, IMHO, which even Catholic news junkies may have considered 'minor', but nonetheless constitutes another landmark in Jorge Bergoglio's systematic degradation of Catholicism as we know it and overall cheapening to meaninglessness of the Church's sanctification process.

The beatification of 'Satanelli',
patron of Communist terrorists and
victims of questionable road accidents

April 28, 2019

Something unbelievable happened today in Argentina: along with three other locals, Enrique Angelelli, Bishop of La Rioja, who died in a car crash in 1976, was "beatified as a martyr"...

Well-known Spanish Catholic pundit Luis Fernando Pérez Bustamante, made the following comment:

An infamous day in the history of the Church. A bishop close to the terrorist 'Montonero' movement will be 'beatified' as a martyr.

Such an insult to the memory of true Martyrs cannot and must not remain unpunished.

It is hard for a Pope to fall this low.

In fact, this Pontificate is summed up perfectly with this beatification. It is the absolute opposite of true holiness, true Tradition, to the Catholic ethos, to moral, doctrinal, and spiritual decency.

Last year, in fact, Rorate caeli was one of the few Catholic outlets in English who took note and protested Bergoglio's proclamation of 'Satanelli' last year as a martyr for dying in a road accident that the Argentine courts had initially declared to be a the outcome of a mechanical car failure that was not 'set up' by anyone. Imagine the thousands of Catholics who have died that way and therefore ought to be mass-beatified as martyrs by Bergoglio! Here are two of the items I posted in this forum last year protesting the Satanelli 'beatification'.

A reaction yesterday from Fr. Michael Orsi, chaplain of the Ave Maria University School of Law in Naples, Florida:

There really have been two other news items of interest this weekend, if you will pardon my use
of's headlines

The Bergoglio-Maradiaga-Soros tie-up to promote US obrder-invading caravans is certainly very plausible, and
the pope did make a hefty contribution to those intending transgressors of US immigration law. And appointing
a onetime KPMG auditor to succeed Cardinal Pell as Prefect of the Dicastery for the Economy is certainly
a signature Bergoglio move (stunt?) to appoint a woman to the highest position he can possibly think of
in the Church hierarchy that will admit a lay appointment.

Phil Lawler has a valid objection to the proposed superdicastery for evangelization in the forthcoming Bergoglio Constitution to 'reform' the Roman Curia, a word that masks what he is really attempting, namely, to institutionalize his systematic overturning of almost everything important in the Roman Catholic Church as it had been until that cursed day of March 13, 2013. His point is that evangelization is a mission for the entire Church, not just a Curial task.

Why a ‘superdicastery’ for evangelization
is not a good idea

By Phil Lawler

April 26, 2019

After six years and 29 working sessions (each stretching across three days), the Council of Cardinals is finally ready to unveil its plan for reorganizing the Roman Curia. A preview report, based on interviews with two of the cardinals on the Pope’s advisory committee, the new plan features a “superdicastery” devoted to evangelization.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the chairman of the Council of Cardinals, explains that Pope Francis wants to underline the primary duty of the Church: to evangelize. “For this reason,” he says, “it’s logical that we put in the first place the dicastery for evangelization and not the one for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

But wait a minute. If you look at the structure of the Roman Curia today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) does not hold the “first place” among the offices of the Vatican. The CDF is the oldest of the offices in the Roman Curia, and its history (as the Inquisition and later the Holy Office) is the stuff of legends, but the “superdicastery” today is the Secretariat of State. And at least to date, no one has suggested that situation will be changed by Praedicate Evangelium, the proposed apostolic constitution that is now being circulated among Church leaders for comments and suggestions.

In the US government, the Secretary of State is charged with the conduct of foreign affairs. At the Vatican, however, the office is more like that of a prime minister. Yes, the Secretariat of State handles relations with the world’s governments, through the offices of apostolic nuncios and other Vatican diplomats. But that function is assigned, significantly, to the “Second Section” of the Secretariat of State. The First Section has a broader mandate (as set forth in Pastor Bonus, the apostolic constitution currently governing the Curia) “to expedite the business concerning the daily service of the Supreme Pontiff…” This section is headed by the sostituto, a prelate who coordinates all the paperwork that flows through the Vatican bureaucracy.

Anyone who knows how the Vatican operates today recognizes the Secretariat of State as the “superdicastery.” I recall having a cup of coffee with a Vatican official, who spoke about how all his efforts were dependent on “what they decide” — as he nodded his head toward the offices of the Secretariat of State.

Another official, the head of a less prestigious dicastery, recounted how he had been charged with setting up a working group to handle a particular question. After a few meetings he noticed that attendance was slipping. Only later did he learn that the Secretary of State had formed his own committee to handle the same question, and everyone implicitly understood that the original group was now irrelevant.

In the past I have argued that the overweening power of the Secretariat of State is an obstacle to Vatican reform. Because of its twofold role — dealing simultaneously with the pressures imposed by secular governments and the internal business of the Church — the office is subject to conflicting pressures.

Moreover it is traditionally staffed by Vatican diplomats, who are trained to avoid conflict, whereas Catholic bishops are, or should be, willing to speak boldly and forthrightly. “Aren’t there inherent risks involved,” I have asked, “in giving career diplomats the authority to influence the Vatican offices that supervise the selection of bishops, the evangelization of mission territories, the training of clerics, and even the teaching of Catholic doctrine?”

If the CDF were the “superdicastery,” we would have some assurance that all Vatican policies would be guided by an overriding concern for doctrinal clarity. [It certainly was La Suprema in the Roman Curia under John Paul II, when by consensus - propagated even by the media who detested him - Cardinal Ratzinger was considered the second most powerful man in the Vatican after the pope. Not because he wielded power in any temporal sense, but because John Paul II admitted, in asking him to come to Rome to head the CDF, that he needed someone beside him who would strengthen and defend the bulwarks of the faith. At that time, Cardinal Sodano, though a very powerful Secretary of State - one who was able for a time to override Cardinal Ratzinger and the pope himself on the matter of Marcial Maciel - was never considered the Vatican's #2 man.]

Unfortunately, for the last few years the CDF has clearly been left out of the discussions preceding important policy decisions. Pope Francis tells us that evangelizing — preaching the faith — is our top priority. And so it is. But what exactly is this faith that we preach? Clarity in doctrine is not an obstacle to evangelization; it is a necessary condition for spreading the Gospel message. [But Mr. Lawler, the Gospel message itself is the doctrine that the CDF - and the Pope - are dutybound to uphold in its entirety and according to the interpretations that the Church has transmitted from apostolic times to the present. A transmission however which the reigning pope has simply chosen to cut off.]

Yet I have another, more pressing reason for questioning the wisdom of establishing a “superdicastery” devoted to evangelization. The work of spreading the faith, of bringing people to Christ, is ordinarily not the work of an office or institution.

It is one-on-one work, done by individuals: by missionaries, by parish priests, and above all by lay people—by parents teaching their children, by friends talking to friends, by loyal Catholics bearing public witness to their faith. Pope Francis has called for a decentralization of Church governance, and evangelization is the ultimate field for decentralized activity. All baptized Christians are commissioned to evangelize. It is our work, not the work of an office in Rome.

What is it, exactly, that a dicastery for evangelization would accomplish? Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI spoke frequently about the need for a “new evangelization” — a drive to restore the health of Christianity in the societies of Europe and North America, where the faith, once dominant, has now sunk into desuetude.

In 2010 Pope Benedict established the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization to supervise that campaign. It seemed like a good idea, but unfortunately that dicastery has become an office in search of a mission; its most conspicuous activities have been coordinating pilgrimages and other “set pieces” of pious devotion — worthy efforts, to be sure, but not novel approaches to evangelization. Meanwhile, in Europe and North America, the secularizing trend has accelerated.

Evangelization is the mission of the entire Church. The offices of the Roman Curia have a more specific mission: to assist the Holy Father in his work, promoting and ensuring the unity and integrity of the faith. [It seems that in Bergoglio's new Constitution,the pope does not need the Roman Curia - that their primary purpose is to serve the needs of local bishops [which is how the Curia has always helped the pope, so what's new about that?, but at the same time, Bergoglio is giving bishops a 'superior' position in the hierarchy with respect to the heads of Roman Curial offices, so theoretically, no Curial official would be able to enforce any decree on any local diocese whose bishop is uncooperative. But what am I saying? Under the Bergoglio Constitution, there would no longer be a universal Church,as each bishop also has doctrinal autonomy. Think the German Church multipled 5000 times around the world!]
00Monday, April 29, 2019 5:19 PM
The must-read commentary from this weekend:

Will Sri Lanka be a wake-up call for the West?
Church leaders have rightly condemned white supremacists, but seem to ignore
that Islam is, historically and ideologically, a supremacist religion.

by William Kilpatrick

April 28, 2019

I haven’t yet seen [the film] Hotel Mumbai, but I was surprised to learn of its release last month. The surprise was on two counts: first, that anyone had dared to make a movie that depicts Muslims as terrorists, and, second, that the terrorists hadn’t been transformed, for politically correct reasons, into white supremacists from rural Virginia.

The story certainly merits big-screen treatment. In November 2008, ten heavily armed members of an Islamic terrorist organization laid siege for four days to the city of Mumbai. Their most iconic target was the majestic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel which could be seen on televised news reports with smoke billowing from its upper floors. Altogether, 164 people were killed and 300 wounded.

I remember thinking at the time that Mumbai would be a turning point. People would finally wake up and take decisive action to counter the ideology that led to the carnage in India’s largest city. But I had thought the same thing after the London tube and bus bombings (2005), the bombings of four commuter trains in Madrid (2004), the attack on an elementary school in Beslan, Russia which left more than 330 dead (2004), and, of course, after 9/11.

But here we are, eleven years after Mumbai, eighteen years after 9/11 and 35,000 deadly Islamic terror attacks in-between, and I don’t think we’ve made any progress in understanding the threat. And that’s the optimistic assessment. The truth is, we’re not simply back where we were in 2001. We’ve actually regressed.

Today’s average college graduate has a poorer understanding of the enemy we face than his counterpart of eighteen years ago. The ‘woke’ generation is alert to every variety of “microaggression,” but it seems oblivious to the most macro aggressive force on the planet.

That’s because the politically correct crowd have now gained a much tighter control of the narrative.
- In the early days of the “war on terror,” it was still permissible to say that our terrorist enemies were inspired by the more radical teachings of the prophet Muhammad.
- The forces of obfuscation had not yet shifted into high gear, and the term “Islamophobia” had not yet been turned into a club with which to beat Islamosceptics into submission.
- Although President Bush assured us that Islam is a religion of peace, it didn’t seem so to many in America at the time. Indeed, Islam looked to be an aggressive religion, and it was still possible to say so without fear of being denied a public platform or of losing one’s job.

Since then, the narrative has shifted nearly 180 degrees. - “Islamophobia,” which initially seemed nothing more than a PR ploy, is now an ironclad doctrine.
- The slightest criticism of Islam brings swift retribution.
When a guest on Fox News began to speculate that the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral might have been purposefully set, he was immediately shut down by host Shepard Smith.

Likewise, when Catholic League president Bill Donahue began to speculate in the same direction, Neil Cavuto abruptly cut him off. The religion that must not be named [in any negative context] is now setting the parameters of public discourse.

In the days immediately following 9/11, Muslims were suspected of being aggressors, but they are now defended as victims — of Islamophobia, hate crimes, discrimination and worse.

This narrative was bolstered on March 15 when a deranged white supremacist killed 50 Muslims in two mosques in New Zealand. From the month-long worldwide coverage, one would think that this was simply the worst example of a long campaign against mosques that must now finally be brought to an end. But that is not the case.
- Attacks on mosques by non-Muslims are a rarity. [When did we even hear of one, before the New Zealand insanity?]
- The New Zealand attack was essentially a one-off, not part of a pattern.

Meanwhile, a very obvious pattern of attacks on Christian churches by Muslims had been unfolding for years. But, by and large, the media refused to look at it.
- The media has given only minimal attention to the hundreds of attacks on Christian churches in recent years in Nigeria, Egypt and elsewhere.
- Nor has it paid much attention to the hundreds of churches that have been vandalized, desecrated and torched in France alone in the last year.
- It wasn’t until the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral that most Americans first learned of the string of attacks on French churches. And even then, they had to pay close attention.
It was a brief mention of these church desecrations which caused Neil Cavuto to hang up on Bill Donahue lest viewers learn too much.

Of course, some Muslim attacks on Christians are so blatant that even the mainstream media can’t ignore them. But they can downplay them. Such is the case with the horrific attacks on three Christian churches, and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday by Muslim terrorists.
- As a number of columnists have observed, the mainstream media dragged a basketful of red herrings across the story in an effort to throw readers off the scent.
- Mark Steyn points out that the lead sentence in The Economist was: 'It has been nearly ten years since the guns fell silent in Sri Lanka’s civil war. But bloodshed returned with a vengeance…'
- A number of other news reports began with the same lead. If you didn’t read beyond the lead, you’d think, “It’s those darned Tamil Tigers again. Haven’t they done enough damage?”

In the meantime, several presidential candidates didn’t think the story of hundreds of Christians being killed in church was worth mentioning at all.
- The day after the bombings, CNN hosted a Town Hall for five Democrat candidates. Not a single one mentioned the horrific attacks.
- Nor did the CNN anchors see fit to even raise the question. Jihad terror against Christians is, apparently, not a big issue for Democrats or for CNN.

[Kilpatrick egregiously fails to mention here the simultaneous description of the church victims in Sri Lanka as 'Easter worshippers' by Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton in their supposedly 'sympathetic' tweets. The Democrats have coined a fatuous neologism just to avoid saying 'Christians', which has now become, for them, in the equally fatuous jargon of the day, 'the C-word' (along with Christ, from which the word derives), lest they commit the ultimate secular transgression these days, political incorrectness. Yet in their political campaigns, neither Obama nor Clinton failed to tout their 'Christianity', something which they will now keep silent about because it is politically incorrect to ever mention it unless it is to demean it.]

What will it take to wake up people to the gravity and extent of the jihad threat? Will it take a more massive attack on the scale of Mumbai? More devastating attacks on churches and hotels like the ones that occurred last week in Sri Lanka? Or will it take another 9/11 — only this time on a larger scale with even more loss of life?

We assume, of course, that at some point everyone will wake up, and decisive action will be taken. But that’s not necessarily so. For some — in press rooms, in broadcast studios, in universities, and in government — it may well be that nothing will wake them up.

In what Samuel Huntington called “the clash of civilizations,” many have, in effect, already chosen sides.
- Their automatic defense of Islam is part of a worldview that is based on fear or dislike of Christianity and the West, and faith in diversity.
- They are so committed to this narrative that no evidence to the contrary will shake their faith.
- They may see some problems with Islam, but, like Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent who covered-up Stalin’s forced starvation of millions in Ukraine, they are willing to tell lies for the sake of an illusory future harmony.

If you wait for the mainstream media to wake up, you might be waiting for a long time. But where else shall we turn for guidance? There are some world leaders who seem to grasp the situation: Victor Orban, Sebastian Kurz, Matteo Salvini, Donald Trump, and others. But they are a minority.

Many other world leaders, by contrast, seem clueless about Islam. They continue to implement policies — such as increased immigration — that will lead to the death of their own cultures.

In times past, people could look to the Catholic Church for guidance regarding Islam. But not anymore.
- Amazingly, jihad terror seems to be a secondary issue for the Church.
- Even though the Church is one of the jihadists’ main targets, the bishops’ radar is focused elsewhere — on climate change, on the needs of the LGBT community, and, ironically, on “Islamophobia.”
- Indeed, some Church leaders are intent on portraying Islam as a beleaguered fellow faith.
- Many seem more interested in defending Islam from criticism than in defending Christians from violent attacks.
- Thus, key members of the hierarchy have consistently maintained that attacks carried out in the name of Allah have nothing to do with Islam, and Pope Francis has drawn a moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity on more than one occasion.

This policy betrays either a deep ignorance of Islam, or else a willingness to conceal the truth.
- If Church authorities are lying, they undoubtedly justify it to themselves as a ‘noble lie’ — a lie told for the benefit of others.
- Perhaps, they fear that the truth might provoke a “backlash” against Muslims which would set in motion a cycle of violence.
- Perhaps they hope to create a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby Muslims come to believe all the positive things said about their faith, and strive to act accordingly.
- Or, perhaps, Church leaders fear that a frank discussion of Islam would only provoke more Islamic violence against Christians.

Whatever the reasons, the strategy of prevarication is not working. Church authorities continue to praise Islam as a religion of peace and justice, and Arab leaders applaud the pope for his defense of Islam, yet Muslim attacks on Christians keep escalating. And not just in Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, but also in Europe.

Meanwhile, the odds for the backlash which secular and Church leaders fear, are increasing. As it becomes more apparent that Church leaders won’t tell the truth about the threat, and that the state won’t protect them, more people will, unfortunately, be tempted to take matters into their own hands.
- The point is, the current head-in-the-sand approach of pretending (or actually believing) that jihad has nothing to do with Islam, only serves to fuel the jihad.
- The repeated assurance that jihadists are a tiny minority who misunderstand their religion only guarantees that Christians will be unprepared for the next attack. They were certainly unprepared in Sri Lanka.

As the Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith said: “It’s very difficult and a very sad situation for all of us because we never expected such a thing to happen and especially on Easter Sunday.”

Especially not on Easter Sunday? If the archbishop was acquainted with the activities of jihadists, he would know that they prefer to attack churches on Christian holy days such as Easter, Palm Sunday, and Christmas, and he might have taken precautions. But in the current climate, simply taking precautions might be seen as an act of distrust toward one’s Muslim neighbors.

As Robert Spencer asks in a recent article, “Would it have been Islamophobic to have Sri Lankan churches guarded for Easter?”
- The doctrine of jihad — the belief that Muslims have a religious obligation to fight unbelievers — is subscribed to by a significant percentage of Muslims worldwide.
- It is solidly based in the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira.
- Moreover, it is rooted in Islamic history.

The history of Islam — a history with which today’s non-Muslims are mostly unfamiliar — is largely a history of jihad. By one estimate, up to 80 million people in India alone lost their lives to jihad over the centuries.

Considering Sri Lanka’s close proximity to India, it might be expected that the Archbishop of Colombo would know some of this history. But the Archbishop does not seem to be the inquiring type. Three days after the attack, he met with several Islamic ambassadors who assured him, he said, that the bombings had “no connection to Islam.” [It was certainly incredible to me, and very disappointing, that Cardinal Ranjith said that - since he is certainly intelligent enough to know that such an 'assurance' means nothing (it's not as if jihadists had at any time first consulted their country's ambassador before going out to kill!)]

Church leaders have rightly condemned white supremacists, but seem not to have noticed that Islam is a supremacist religion which considers Muslims “the best of people” (Koran 3: 110), and non-believers, “the worst of creatures" (98: 6). Unbelievers are also “unclean” (9: 28), “ignorant” (6: 111). “helpers of the devil” (4: 76), like “cattle” (7: 179), and, in the case of Jews who displeased Allah, “transformed into apes and swine” (5: 60).

Meanwhile, Islamic law books which are available on Amazon, and widely consulted for guidance, assert that the value of a Christian or Jew is one-third the value of a Muslim.

Since the same law books, together with the Koran, present jihad as the best deed a Muslim can perform after belief in Allah and Muhammad, it should come as no surprise that jihad attacks are so frequent and widespread. There is even less reason to be surprised when we consider that jihadists are guaranteed immediate entrance to paradise and the company of 72 virgins.

Yet, like the Archbishop of Colombo, people continue to be surprised. But, of course, archbishops and cardinals have less reason to be surprised than most. After all, religion is their territory.

At some future point — perhaps in as few as fifteen or twenty years — subjugated Christians in Europe and other parts of the Western world will wonder why no one had given them warning. Why, they will ask, hadn’t previous generations learned the lessons provided by Mumbai, Madrid, London, Beslan, New York, Orlando, Paris, Nice, Brussels, Bali, Nigeria, Egypt and Sri Lanka?

Catholics, especially, will wonder why their shepherds had felt no obligation to inform them.

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues. His articles on Islam have appeared in Aleteia, National Catholic Register, Investor’s Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications.
00Monday, April 29, 2019 8:02 PM

April 29

Third from left: The Mystical Marriage of Catherine, Giovanni da Paolo, 1470; third from right, the head of St. Catherine in Siena's Basilica di San Domenico.
ST. CATERINA DA SIENA (Italy, 1347-1380), Virgin, Dominican lay sister, Mystic, Doctor of the Church

Caterina Benincasa was born the 23rd child of a Tuscan wool merchant, with a twin sister who died in infancy. At age 6, she told about seeing Jesus in a vision,
the first of her lifelong mystical experiences, and at age 7, she vowed herself to chastity. Despite pressure from her family to marry, she joined the Dominican
Third Order and lived the next three years of her life in seclusion but through her letters encouraging others in their spiritual life, she gathered an active apostolate
around her. Her self-mortification to the extreme was well-known, and towards the end of her life, lived only on Communion. Early on, she started to wear a steel
chain around her waist, with which she would beat herself three times a day, once for Christ, once for the living, and once for the dead. In 1366, she told her
confessor she had entered into a 'mystical marriage' with Christ, who urged her to leave her private life and work in public. With her sister Dominicans, she
travelled through the region advocating clergy reform and spiritual renewal, where she also gained renown for performing miracles of healing. She became
interested in public affairs and started to exchange letters with public figures, including, famously, two Popes. (Her expression 'dolce Cristo in terra' for the Pope
has become immortal, and was particularly dear to San Jose Maria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei). When the Great Western Schism began in 1378 that led to
two and sometimes even three rival Popes at a time, she travelled to Avignon and convinced Gregory VI to return to Rome. When he died, she supported the
cause of his successor Urban VI and went to Rome at his invitation to serve at the Vatican. She died at the age of 33, ostensibly from failure to eat. More than
300 of her letters survive, along with her main work, The Dialogues of Divine Providence, in which she recreates her own conversations with God. In 1375,
she is believed to have received the stigmata in Pisa, but these only became visible on her death. Her remains are venerated in the Church of Santa Minerva in
Rome, but about ten years after she died, her native city of Siena was able to take possession of her incorrupt head, and when it came home to Siena, her own
mother was still alive to take part in the procession that installed the relic in the Basilica of San Domenico. The Benincasa house in Siena was kept intact and
is now a shrine to the saint. In 1939, Pius XII declared her and St. Francis of Assisi as co-patrons of Italy; in 1970, Paul VI proclaimed her and St. Teresa of Avila
as the first woman Doctors of the Church, and in 1999, John Paul II made her one of the Patrons of Europe.

Antonio Socci offers this helpful reminders from the saint of the day, Caterina da Siena, Doctor of the Church and Co-Patron of Europe...
I do not think she is in any way among the favorite saints of the reigning pope

The example of Catherine of Siena
Translated from

April 29, 2019

In remembrance of St. Catherine today, I would like to underscore that this extraordinary girl – who was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, Patron of Italy and of Rome, and Co-Patron of Europe – was simply Caterina Benincasa when she wrote the letters I am quoting from below (but one who walked on foot, even all the way to Avignon, in her efforts to bring back the popes to Rome and save the Church). She was a 20-year-old girl, uneducated outside the home, a laywoman who belonged to the Dominican Third Order.

To her friends, she used to say: “Do not be satisfied with smallness. God wants you to be great. If you could be who you are supposed to be, you could set Italy on fire!”

God himself spoke to the mystic Maria Valtorta about Catherine of Siena, in a message he intended for Pius XII: “Other predecessors of yours listened to those whom I used as means to communicate, and if the Church is still Roman, it is because a pope yielded to the pleas of Catherine”.

Therefore, as we admire the faith, the charity and the courage of Catherine, we must also admire the humility of the popes, bishops and cardinals who – despite their immersion in corrupt customs – knew enough to listen to the vehement appeals of a young girl, recognizing in her voice the will of God himself.

That was a disgraceful epoch when the Pastors of the Church could not recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit and if they did, they did not want to follow, choosing instead to obey the power of worldly ideologies. Here are some of the most ardent words from Catherine that changed the history of the Church:

“I, Catherine, servant and slave of Jesus Christ, write you in His Most Precious Blood, with the desire to see you well based in the true light…

It is time for you to sheathe your dagger, to loathe vice in yourself and in your subjects, and in the ministers of the Holy Church. I say this to you because in this life, no one is without sin: and charity should first move by itself, it must be used first on oneself for the sake of virtue, and for our neighbor.

Therefore, cut out vice; and if the heart of the creature cannot change, nor his defects removed, but only have what God brings him, and unless the creature tries, while listening to God, to draw out the poison of vice, then at the very least, Holy Father, let their disordered lives and sinful ways and customs be taken away from you…

And so, if I seem to say too much and too presumptuously, let my pain and my love excuse me before God and before yourself. Because wherever I turn, I have no place to rest my head on. If I wish this (that wherever Christ is, there is eternal life) and I see that you, who are Christ on earth, see the hell of many iniquities, with the poison of self-love... then let your heart show the flower of holy justice, without any fear ".
- Letter to Pope Urban VI

…Only by passing through the crucible will you be what you ought to be, the sweet Vicar of Christ on earth!... Therefore, do everything that is in your power to do, as long as you do not act according to the will of men rather than the will of God who asks nothing more, for which reason he has placed you in your supreme vicariate… But you need the help of the Crucified Jesus Christ, and with you, those of the bishops called to advise you, among whom, however, many are corrupt and are not even fervent priests – free yourselves of these men, place your holy wishes in Jesus Christ alone, repudiate the delights from the rot of corruption, distinguish yourself from them.

If you [the ministers of Christ] do not know how to suffer, then you are unworthy. You represent the sweet Christ Jesus, and like Him you must only desire the good of souls, you must drink the cup of bitterness, you must take the gall yourself. How blessed your soul will be and mine to see you are the one who would initiate so much goodness."

-Letter to Gregory VI

“Open your eyes and see the perversity of death that has come upon the world, and singularly in the Body of the Holy Church. Let your hearts and souls burst to see so many offenses against God!... Alas, enough with keeping silent. Cry out in a hundred thousand tongues. I have seen that by keeping silent, the world has become rotten, and the Bride of Christ has been exsanguinated”.
Letter to an important prelate

“If I were you, I would be afraid for divine justice to fall on me”.
- Letter to Gregory XI

'Therefore follow those true pastors who follow the Crucified Christ”.
- Letter to her followers

The quotations from St. Catherine are my translations of the Italian. All her letters in English translation can be found online
but I did not have the time to look up the passages chosen by Socci. Remarkably, we are told she only learned to write about three years before her death.
She dictated her letters and her texts to trusted secretaries.

Looking back now to Benedict XVI's catechesis on Caterina da Siena in 2010...

Catechesis on St. Caterina of Siena

Nov. 24, 2010

The Holy Father devoted his catechesis today to St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church and Co-Patron of Europe.

Here is a full translation of the catechesis:

Today I wish to speak to you of a woman who had an eminent role in the history of the Church - St. Caterina of Siena. The century in which she lived - the 14th - was a tormented era for the life of the Church and the entire social fabric of Italy and Europe.

Nonetheless, even in the moment of greatest difficulty, the Lord does not cease blessing his people, inspiring men and women saints who are able to shake minds and hearts, provoking conversion and renewal.

Caterina is one of them, and even today, she speaks to us and sustains us in walking with courage towards holiness in order to be increasingly better disciples of the Lord.

Born in Siena in 1347, to a very large family, she died in Rome in 1380. At the age of 16, urged by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the third Dominican order, into its female branch called the Mantellate (Cloaked Ones).

Continuing to live with her family, she confirmed the vow of virginity that she had privately made when she was an adolescent. She dedicated herself to prayer, penitence, and works of charity, particularly in behalf of sick people.

When the fame of her holiness became widespread, she was the protagonist of an intense activity of spiritual advice for every category of persons: nobles and political men, artists and the common folk, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, including Pope Gregory XI, who lived at that time in Avignon, and whom Caterina exhorted energetically and effectively to return to Rome.

She travelled a lot to campaign for internal reform in the Church and to promote peace among States. For this reason, the Venerable John Paul II declared her Co-Patron of Europe - that the Old Continent may never forget the Christian roots that are the basis of her journey, and may continue to draw from the Gospel those fundamental values that assure justice and concord.

Caterina suffered much, as many saints do. There were some who distrusted her so much that in 1374, six years before her death, the Chapter General of the Dominican order called her to Florence for interrogation. That brought her in touch with an educated and humble friar, Raimondo da Capua, future master-General of the order.

He became her confessor and her 'spiritual son', and he would write the first complete biography of the saint, who was canonized in 1461.

Caterina learned to read with difficulty and only learned to write as an adult. Her teaching is contained in the Dialogo della Divina Provvidenza, also called the Book of Divine Doctrine, a masterwork of spiritual literature; in her Epistolary, and in a collection of prayers.

Her teaching is endowed with such richness that the Servant of God, Paul VI, declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1970, a title added to that of co-Patron of Rome, as declared by Pius XI, and Patron of Italy, by the Venerable Pius XII.

In a vision that would never be erased from Caterina's mind and heart, Our Lady presented her to Jesus, who gave her a splendid ring, saying: "I, your Creator and Savior, wed you in the faith, that you will conserve pure until you celebrate our eternal marriage with me in heaven" (Raimondo da Capua, S. Caterina da Siena, Legenda maior, n. 115, Siena 1998).

That ring was visible only to her. In this extraordinary episode, we can grasp the vital center of Caterina's religiosity and that of every authentic spirituality: Christocentrism. Christ was for her as a spouse with whom there is a relationship of intimacy, of communion and of fidelity - he is the well-beloved above all others.

This profound union with the Lord is illustrated by another episode in the life of this distinguished mystic: the exchange of hearts. According to Raimondo da Capua, who transmitted the confidences he received from Caterina, the Lord Jesus appeared to her with a shining red heart in his hand, opened her breast, and put the heart in, saying: "Dearest daughter, since the other day I took the heart that you offered me, I give you my own, and from now on, it will be in the place that your heart was" (ibid.) Caterina truly lived the words of St. Paul: "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2,20).

Like the Sienese saint, every believer feels the need to be formed according to the sentiments of the Heart of Christ in order to love God and neighbor as Christ himself loves. And we all can allow our hearts to be transformed and to learn to love like Christ, in a familiarity with him that is nourished by prayer, by meditation on the Word of God, and by the Sacraments, especially by frequently receiving Holy Communion with devotion. For Caterina too belongs to the ranks of Eucharistic saints with which I concluded my Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis (cfr No. 94).

Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist is an extraordinary gift of God's love that renews us continually in our journey of faith, reinvigorates our hope, and inflames our charity, to make us ever more like him.

Around a personality as strong and authentic as Caterina, there came to be a true and proper spiritual family. They were persons fascinated by the moral authority of this young woman with such an exalted way of life, and sometimes, also impressed by the mystical phenomena that they witnessed, such as her frequent ecstasies.

Many placed themselves at her service, and above all, considered it a privilege to be spiritually guided by Caterina. They called her 'Mamma', since as spiritual children, they drew nourishment for the spirit from her.

Even today, the Church receives great good from the exercise of maternal spirituality by so many women, consecrated and lay, who nourish in other souls the thought of God, strengthen the faith of people, and orient Christian life towards ever higher peaks.

"Children I say to you and I call you," Caterina writes to one of her spiritual children, the Carthusian monk Giovanni Sabatini, "in that I give birth to you for continuous prayer and desire for the presence of God, just as a mother bears her children" (Epistolario, Lettera n. 141: A don Giovanni de' Sabbatini).

She used to address the Dominican friar Bartolomeo da Dominici, with the words "Dearest brother and son in Christ our sweet Jesus".

Another feature of Caterina's spirituality is tied to her gift of tears. They express exquisite and profound sensitivity, a capacity for emotion and tenderness. Not a few saints have had the gift of tears, renewing the emotion of Jesus himself, who never kept back tears nor hid them, as when he wept at the tomb of Lazarus, at the sorrow of Mary and Martha, and at the sight of Jerusalem in his last days on earth.

According to Caterina, the tears of saints are mixed with the Blood of Christ, of which she spoke in vibrant tones and with very effective symbolic images: "Think of Christ crucified, God and man... Make the crucified Christ your object of meditation, hide yourself in the wounds of the crucified Christ, drown in the blood of the crucified Christ" (Epistolario, Lettera n. 16: Ad uno il cui nome si tace).

Here we can understand why Caterina, though aware of the human deficiencies of priests, always had a great reverence for them - they dispense, through the Sacraments and and the Word, the salvific power of the Blood of Christ.

The Sienese saint always invited consecrated ministers, even the Pope, whom she called 'dolce Cristo in terra', to be faithful to their responsibilities, motivated always and only by profound and constant love for the Church.

Before dying she said: "Leaving my body, I, in fact, consumed and gave my life in the Church and for the Holy Church, which for me was a most singular grace" (Raimondo da Capua, S. Caterina da Siena, Legenda maior, n. 363).

Thus, from St. Caterina we learn the most sublime science: to know and love Jesus Christ and his Church. In the Dialog of Divine Providence, she, using a singular image, describes Christ as a bridge between heaven and earth. It has three steps made up of the feet, the rib cage and the mouth of Jesus.

Ascending through these steps, the soul goes through the three stages of every life of sanctification: detachment from sin, practice of virtue and love, and affectionate union with God.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us learn from Santa Caterina to love Christ and the Church with courage, intensely and sincerely. Therefore, let us adopt the words of Santa Caterina that we read in the Dialog of Divine Providence. at the conclusion of the chapter that speaks of Christ as bridge: "Out of mercy you washed us in Blood. Out of mercy, you have wanted to speak to your creatures. Oh Fool for love, it was not enough for you to be incarnated, you also wished to die!... Oh mercy! My heart drowns thinking of you: that wherever I think to look, I find only mercy" (cap. 30, pp. 79-80). Grazie.

00Monday, April 29, 2019 9:19 PM

If one penny of Peter's Pence under this pope has yet gone to help persecuted Christians anywhere in the globe, it is certainly worth a month's Sunday of headlines to note that the Vatican has never
said so at all - yet all this hype about helping undocumented would-be immigrants to break the law. No, I don't think the pope remembers Jesus ever said 'Render unto Caesar...'

The ever-militant Elizabeth Yore, human rights activist lawyer and fiercely orthodox Catholic, had a prompt reaction to Bergoglio's reported largesse towards illegal Hondurans
seeking to enter the USA by hook or by Peter's crook...

Pope to Give $500,000 to illegal immigrants

by Elizabeth Yore

April 28, 2019

DrudgeReport headlines scream “Pope Funds Caravan” or “Border Battle: Pope Funds Caravan.” The Vatican wires half a million dollars from Peter’s Pence to aid the illegal immigrant caravan marching towards the southern border of the United States.

Attention Catholics!
Pencil in June 30, 2019 on your church calendar. It signifies this year’s collection day for Peter’s Pence, the global collection plate for the Pope’s favorite charities. According to the USCCB website, the purpose of Peter's Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.

Surely, the persecuted Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria desperately deserve $500,000 to help them rebuild their devastated churches, schools, homes, and lives at the brutal hands of Islamic jihadists, do they not? After all, these innocent Catholics weren’t breaking the law when the violent jihadis terrorized their land, destroyed their Churches and raped their women.

What about the underground Catholic Church in China who are experiencing a massive destructive crackdown and demolition of their churches and lives by the Communist government? They could use $500,000 from Peter’s Pence to rebuild their places of worship.

Clearly, Catholics victims of the suicide bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka by Islamic terrorists would benefit greatly with $500,000 from Peter’s Pence, would they not?

Certainly, the funds from Peter’s Pence should be directed to the Catholic Church in the Middle East and Africa, after a genocidal year of unrelenting terrorism and Christian persecution by Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists?

No, Francis is focusing on the Soros agenda, not the persecuted Catholics’ agenda. Recall that this is the Pope who said, “If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”

Francis shares the Soros view that “national borders are the obstacle.” The Pope incessantly interjects his view into American politics, by commenting about Trump’s wall as “those who build walls will become prisoners of the walls they put up” or intruding into the political campaign that politicians who promote a wall are “un-Christian.”

The man who sits safely and securely behind his 39-foot-high Vatican wall undermines American security by funding open borders.

By pouring monies into illegal migrant caravans, Pope Francis is facilitating the soaring crime rates of human trafficking, illegal drugs, criminal organizations, and exploitation of women and children, along with the organized participation and funding of George Soros and the United Nations. Central American immigrants from the MS-13 gangs are flowing over our porous border and wreaking havoc in our communities.

It’s noteworthy that American Catholics are the largest contributors to Peter’s Pence. It is time to shut off the financial spigot to this Vatican scheme to undermine the safety, security and sovereignty of Europe and the United States. Closing wallets to the Vatican, sends a message that American Catholics want the border closed and secure. Like the Pope, Americans deserve a wall to keep us safe.

On the last Sunday in June, the second collection basket will be passed for Peter’s Pence. Close your wallet.

Remember, Peter’s Pence rejects the fence.

And about Bergoglio's decision to name a laywoman to head the Secretariat for the Economy to replace Cardinal Pell, in the current Roman Curial hierarchy - before Bergoglio's forthcoming revolutionary Apostolic Constitution - that position is supposed to be #3 after Secretary of State. Which was anomalous enough because it certainly indicated that the two positions of temporal power, State and the Economy, are considered superior to the dicasteries directly responsible for carrying out Christ's mandate - that of the Doctrine for the Faith, which is the content of the Church's mission, and that of the Evangelization of Peoples, which is the mission itself.

Of course, we have now been forewarned that the dicastery for Evangelization will be La Suprema under the new Bergoglio constitution, which seems to ignore that evangelization must have a firm, unchanging and global content because, of course, the new Constitution would presumably also provide that every diocesan bishop will have doctrinal autonomy, as Bergoglio forewarned us all in Evangelii gaudium. Which makes any such entity like the CDF completely superfluous. Which was also one of Bergoglio's intentions all along, as we gather from all his asides to visiting bishops ("ignore what the CDF says") and similar statements from his former one-man brain trust, Mons Tucho Fernandez.

As I remarked earlier, this is really Bergoglio's ultimate slap at Benedict XVI, because with his new Constitution, any bishop can simply choose to ignore Summorum Pontificum - or any other pre-Bergoglio papal teaching or decree, for that matter (so a slap, too, against all preceding popes, even the three he has canonized) - in the exercise of their doctrinal autonomy.

Anyway, with some former auditor of a global accounting firm KPMG as Prefect of the Economy, the Roman Curia will have, for the first time, a layperson with powers and prerogatives outranking all the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia other than the Secretary of State and the putative Prefect for Evangelization. Did Bergoglio and his advisers even think of this? Francesca Chaoqui, the former Bergoglio female pet, must be livid with envy.

On to another anti-Bergoglio riff: The problem with prophecies, even those that abound in the Bible, is that anyone can give it any interpretation. The two 'prophecies' referred to in this post by a guest on Giuseppe Nardi's blog are a good example. In hindsight, they may be said to refer in some way to the reigning pope today, but that's all speculation... Still, the post is worth reading, as the saints cited for making the statements they did are not 'questionable' saints.

Were we given prophetic warnings
about Pope Francis?

By David Martin

April 28, 2019

It is not generally known that St. Faustina, known for her role in establishing the devotion to Divine Mercy, penned an unusual entry into her diary on December 17, 1936. Entry 823 is as follows.

"I have offered this day for priests. I have suffered more today than ever before, both interiorly and exteriorly. I did not know it was possible to suffer so much in one day. I tried to make a Holy Hour, in the course of which my spirit had a taste of the bitterness of the Garden of Gethsemane. I am fighting alone, supported by His arm, against all the difficulties that face me like unassailable walls. But I trust in the power of His name and I fear nothing."

Note that Faustina that day was making reparation for priests, an offering that brought upon her the worst suffering she had ever endured. But too, on that bitter day of December 17, 1936, was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who would later reign as Pope Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

Could it be that Faustina that day was atoning for the many priests, bishops, and cardinals of the future who would be misled by Francis? But could it also be that her mysterious torment signaled the arrival of a future anti-pope who would destroy the Faith in the name of “mercy?”

While complacent Catholics entertain the false security that popes can never err or inflict harm on the Church, the fact remains that the papacy under Francis has become a debacle of errors that have inflicted [are inflicting and will continue to inflict] great harm on the Church. Aside from his having abetted anti-life forces, betrayed the underground Church in China, sacked loyal priests, empowered homosexuals, rewarded abortionists, praised Luther, blessed adultery, and denied the miracle of the loaves, Francis more than once has professed heresy.

For instance, on February 4, 2019, he signed a joint statement with the head of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, which states that "diversity of religions" is "willed by God," thus contravening the Church’s infallible teaching that God wills only the Roman Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation.

This coincides with his ongoing efforts to dissuade Catholics from their attempts to convert other religions. For instance, he asked Moroccan Catholics on April 2 not to seek Catholic converts to the Faith, arguing that the Church's mission does not consist in baptizing and converting people but in generating "change."

Herein he denies the Church’s commission from Christ to bring the knowledge of God to the world and "teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19), that all peoples might leave their particular idols and creeds and be converted to the Catholic Church. Under the guise of brotherhood and mercy he withholds the mercy of God from mankind.

Before his death in 1226, St. Francis of Assisi called together the friars of his Order and detailed this prophecy of what was to come in the latter days concerning a future pope. The following is taken from Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, R. Washbourne Publishing House, 1882, pp. 248-250, with imprimatur by His Excellency William Bernard, Bishop of Birmingham. The source of this prophecy is the Writings of St. Francis (1623) by Fr. Luke Wadding, preeminent historian and scholar on St. Francis of Assisi.

"At the time of this tribulation, a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavor to draw many into error.... Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true pastor, but a destroyer."

[About this prophecy, one might point out that for all intents and purposes, de jure and de facto, Jorge Bergoglio is considered to have been canonically elected Pope on March 13, 2013. An act of God - whatever form it takes - would be necessary to invalidate that in the history books.

However, a Church historian can probably unearth when it was - if it ever was so - in the history of the Church, that sanctity of life was ever "held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it". Bergoglio certainly does profess it outwardly when he has to, but can we say he holds the idea in derision? True, he may have a relativistic view of the sanctity of life - one might think he believes 'Islamic lives matter' but that Christian lives are expendable if their persecution and death mean martyrdom. It's hard to tell with someone as incoherent as he is over what he believes.]

00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:48 AM

Finally, timid and 'prudent' persons like me can unmuzzle ourselves and say the word HERESY baldly, without hedging, no if's or but's, to apply to Jorge Bergoglio's most intemperate assaults on Catholic doctrine...

Prominent clergy, scholars accuse
Pope Francis of heresy in open letter

by Maike Hickson

April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy.

They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to "take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation" of a pope committing this crime.

[Aye, there's the same old stumbling block! What steps, exactly, can they take, assuming some of them respond positively? As I understand it from the text of the open letter, the bishops are asked to openly rebuke the reigning pope for statements he has made that they consider heretical. If only a handful so far in the past six years have dared to express any open criticism at all of Jorge Bergoglio for lesser misdeeds, will God now miraculously open the hearts and minds of other bishops who observe the daily erosion of the Catholic faith at the hands of this man, so that they will finally speak out to at least voice their objections - or reservations, if they prefer to be prudent - about the reigning pope's most outrageous affronts to the faith??? They could even play devil's advocate and reflect on why such-and-such a statement or action is not and should not be considered heretical.

Anything to have their input, instead of being just sitting ducks and dumb pawns in Jorge Bergoglio's hubristic and narcissistic power game. For this is all about power - his power to proclaim to all and sundry, by virtue of his 'absolute' supremacy and prerogatives as elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church, to build his own church on the abject and forcibly bowed back of the institutional Church of Christ as its purportedly better model. If this isn't the most arrogant and totalitarian exercise of clericalism at its worst!]

The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis' embrace of positions contrary to the faith, and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church's faith and morals.

"We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis's words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church," the authors state. The open letter is available in Dutch, Italian, German, French, and Spanish.

Among the signatories are well-respected scholars such as Father Thomas Crean, Fr. John Hunwicke, Professor John Rist, Dr. Anna Silvas, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, and Dr. John Lamont. The text is dated "Easter Week" and appears on the traditional Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena, a saint who counseled and admonished several popes in her time.

The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church,” especially in light of his 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

The authors of the open letter state in a summary of their letter that it has now become clear that Pope Francis is aware of his own positions contrary to the faith and that the time has come to go a "stage further" by claiming that Pope Francis is "guilty of the crime of heresy.”

"We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied," the authors state.

They clarify that they are not claiming Pope Francis has "denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching."

"We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit," they state.

In light of this situation, the authors call upon the bishops of the Church to take action since a "heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”

For this reason, the authors “respectfully request the bishops of the Church to investigate the accusations contained in the letter, so that if they judge them to be well founded they may free the Church from her present distress, in accordance with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex (‘the salvation of souls is the highest law’). The bishops can do this, the writers suggest, “by admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies, and if he should persistently refuse, by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.”

The authors first present in detail – and with theological references to substantiate their claims – the different positions against the fait hthat Pope Francis has shown himself to hold, propagate, or support, including “seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth.”

One of the heresies the authors accuse Pope Francis of committing is expressed in the following proposition: “A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.”

Many of these heretical statements touch on questions of marriage and the family and are to be found in Amoris Laetitia, but there is also a new claim made by Pope Francis in 2019 – namely, that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” – that is listed in the open letter.

In one section of the open letter, the authors list the many prelates as well as lay people, who, despite openly dissenting from Catholic doctrine and morals — either by word or by deed — have been by Pope Francis either publicly praised (such as Emma Bonino) or raised to influential positions (such as Cardinal Oscar Rodrigez Maradiaga). [Er, where is Theodore McCarrick in all this?] On this list are names such as Cardinal Blase Cupich, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, and Bishop Juan Barros.

The fact that Pope Francis never responded to the DUBIA (questions) concerning Amoris Laetitia published by Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner, Walter Brandmüller, and Raymond Burke is mentioned.

Moreover, the authors point out that Pope Francis has changed the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life to such an extent that orthodox Catholic experts have been replaced by heterodox experts, such as Father Maurizio Chiodi.

Addressing the bishops of the world – among whom are to be found all the present 222 cardinals – the authors of the open letter express their gratitude toward those bishops who have defended Catholic doctrine by their own personal witnesses.

“We recognise with gratitude that some among you have reaffirmed the truths contrary to the heresies which we have listed, or else have warned of serious dangers threatening the Church in this pontificate,” they state. Here, the DUBIA cardinals, but also Cardinal Willem Eijk, are mentioned. The authors also thank Cardinal Gerhard Müller for his Manifesto of Faith.

The authors believe, however, that at this time in history, six years into the Francis pontificate, more is needed, namely a more direct and authoritative approach. They recognize their own limits when they tell the bishops:

“Despite the evidence that we have put forward in this letter, we recognise that it does not belong to us to declare the pope guilty of the delict of heresy in a way that would have canonical consequences for Catholics.

"We therefore appeal to you as our spiritual fathers, vicars of Christ within your own jurisdictions and not vicars of the Roman pontiff, publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed.

"Even prescinding from the question of his personal adherence to these heretical beliefs, the Pope's behaviour in regard to the seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth, mentioned at the beginning of this Letter, justifies the accusation of the delict of heresy.

"It is beyond a doubt that he promotes and spreads heretical views on these points. Promoting and spreading heresy provides sufficient grounds in itself for an accusation of the delict of heresy. There is, therefore, superabundant reason for the bishops to take the accusation of heresy seriously and to try to remedy the situation.

The authors make it clear that it is up to the bishops to take action and that they do not need a majority among the bishops to do so.

"Since Pope Francis has manifested heresy by his actions as well as by his words, any abjuration must involve repudiating and reversing these actions, including his nomination of bishops and cardinals who have supported these heresies by their words or actions. Such an admonition is a duty of fraternal charity to the Pope, as well as a duty to the Church," they state.

"If – which God forbid! – Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime,” they add.

[Of the world's 5,000-plus bishops and cardinals, how many will it take to make such a declaration? And what would be those 'canonical consequences' if, say, more than one bishop or cardinal did this? Clearly we are in uncharted waters because, at least in modern times, has there ever been a precedent for the laity urging the bishops of the world to act against a reigning pope for committing heresy? Or even for a pope to be so publicly accused of heresy?]

Thus, the authors state, “these actions do not need to be taken by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, or even by a majority of them. A substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church would have the power to take these actions.”

[So, what exactly would constitute 'a substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops', especially if at this point, one might say that other than a handful of bishops who have openly stuck out their heads to profess their orthodoxy against the heterodoxies and heresies of the reigning pope and his 'faithful' followers. How many bishops are there today who are faithful to the Church of Christ and his Gospel, rather than to the man now unworthily holding the title of Vicar of Christ on earth? Say there are a dozen of them - would that number represent 'a substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church'? Seeing as there are no others right now until they choose to speak up and be counted?

Despite all these questions and my underlying skepticism about the effectiveness of this petition, I promptly and gladly signed this petition and its various outreach modalities because I believe with all my heart that Jorge Bergoglio represents a greater menace to the faith than Martin Luther ever was because he wields the supreme powers of the papacy an is therefore able to do all his evil work from within and from atop 'the Church. He is without a doubt the most frightening monstrosity nonpareil that has emerged from the abundant spawn of Satan generated and deposited by Vatican II.

Even if he had not said or committed any heresies, the mere fact that, from the beginning, he has revelled in confusing and confounding the faithful - even in simple things like the inseparability of mercy and justice, of mercy and truth - rather than confirming them in their faith, is already evil in itself, and doubly so because it violates his principal duty as pope.]

- The full 20-page document may be read here
- A select bibliography to support the case made in the open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church about Pope Francis’s heresies may be read here.
A petition launched by the organizers of the open letter to support their initiative can be found here.


Summary of Open Letter to Bishops
By the Authors

The Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church is the third stage in a process that began in the summer of 2016. At that time, an ad hoc group of Catholic clergy and scholars wrote a private letter to all the cardinals and Eastern Catholic patriarchs, pointing out heresies and other serious errors that appeared to be contained in or favoured by Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia.

The following year, after Pope Francis had continued by word, deed, and omission to propagate many of these same heresies, a ‘Filial Correction’ was addressed to the pope by many of the same people, as well as by other clergy and scholars.

This second letter was made public in September 2017, and a petition in support of it was signed by some 14,000 people. The authors of that letter stated however that they did not seek to judge whether Pope Francis was aware that he was causing heresy to spread.

The present Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church goes a stage further in claiming that Pope Francis is guilty of the crime of heresy. This crime is committed when a Catholic knowingly and persistently denies something which he knows that the Church teaches to be revealed by God.

Taken together, the words and actions of Pope Francis amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and the forgiveness of sins.

The Open letter also indicates the link between this rejection of Catholic teaching and the favour shown by Pope Francis to bishops and other clergy who have either been guilty of sexual sins and crimes, such as former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, or who have protected clergy guilty of sexual sins and crimes, such as the late Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

This protection and promotion of clerics who reject Catholic teaching on marriage, sexual activity, and on the moral law in general, even when these clerics personally violate the moral and civil law in horrendous ways, is consistent enough to be considered a policy on the part of Pope Francis.
- At the least it is evidence of disbelief in the truth of Catholic teaching on these subjects.
- It also indicates a strategy to impose rejection of these teachings on the Church, by naming to influential posts individuals whose personal lives are based on violation of these truths.

The authors consider that a heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil. It strikes at the basic good of the Church and must be corrected. For this reason, the study concludes by describing the traditional theological and legal principles that apply to the present situation.

The authors respectfully request the bishops of the Church to investigate the accusations contained in the letter, so that if they judge them to be well founded, they may free the Church from her present distress, in accordance with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex (‘the salvation of souls is the highest law’).
- They can do this by admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies, and if he should persistently refuse, by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.

While this Open letter is an unusual, even historic, document, the Church’s own laws say that “Christ's faithful have the right, and, indeed, sometimes the duty, according to their knowledge, competence, and dignity, to manifest to the sacred pastors their judgment about those things which pertain to the good of the Church” (Code of Canon Law, canon 212.3).

While Catholics hold that a pope speaks infallibly in certain strictly defined conditions, the Church does not say that he cannot fall into heresy outside these conditions.

The signatories to the Open Letter include not only specialists in theology and philosophy, but also academics and scholars from other fields. This fits well with the central claim of the Open Letter, that Pope Francis’s rejection of revealed truths is evident to any well-instructed Catholic who is willing to examine the evidence.

The signatures of Fr Aidan Nichols OP and of Professor John Rist will be noted. Fr Nichols is one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, and the author of many books on a wide range of theological topics, including the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger.

Professor Rist, who is known for his work in classical philosophy and the history of theology, has held chairs and professorships at the University of Toronto, the Augustinianum in Rome, the Catholic University of America, the University of Aberdeen, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Open Letter is released just after the celebration of Holy Week and Easter Week, in the hopes that the present ‘passion’ of the Church will soon give way to a full resurrection of God’s saving truth.

Clergy and academics who wish to sign the open letter may send their name and credentials to organizers at this email address: All requests will be thoroughly vetted.

List of initial signers:
Georges Buscemi, President of Campagne Québec-Vie, member of the John-Paul II Academy for Human Life and Family
Robert Cassidy, STL
Fr Thomas Crean, OP
Matteo d’Amico, Professor of History and Philosophy, Senior High School of Ancona
Deacon Nick Donnelly, MA
Maria Guarini STB, Pontificia Università Seraphicum, Rome; editor of the website Chiesa e postconcilio
Prof. Robert Hickson, PhD, Retired Professor of Literature and of Strategic-Cultural Studies
Fr John Hunwicke, former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford
Peter Kwasniewski, PhD
John Lamont, DPhil (Oxon.)
Brian M. McCall, Orpha and Maurice Merrill Professor in Law; Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Family News
Fr Cor Mennen, JCL, diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), canon of the cathedral Chapter, lecturer at the Diocesan Seminary of ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Stéphane Mercier, STB, PhD, Former Lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain
Fr Aidan Nichols, OP
Paolo Pasqualucci, Professor of Philosophy (retired), University of Perugia
Dr. Claudio Pierantoni, Professor of Medieval Philosophy, University of Chile; former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Professor John Rist
Dr. Anna Silvas, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, University of New England, Australia
Prof. dr. W.J. Witteman, physicist, emeritus professor, University of Twente

In the following list, I have omitted the supporting citation provided...

CWe accuse Pope Francis of having, through his words and actions, publicly and pertinaciously demonstrated his belief in the Following propositions that contradict divinely revealed truth (for each proposition we provide a selection of Scriptural and magisterial teachings that condemn them as contrary to divine revelation; these references are conclusive but are not intended to be exhaustive.)

I. A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin...

II. A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action...

III. A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience...

IV. Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts Between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each Other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right, or requested or even commanded by God...

V. It is false that the only sexual acts that are good of their kind and morally licit are acts between husband and wife..

VI. Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object...

VII. God not only permits, but positively wills, the pluralism and diversity of religions, both Christian and non-Christian...

These heresies are interconnected. The basis of Catholic sexual morality consists in the claim that sexual activity exists for the sake of procreation within marriage and is morally wrong if Knowingly engaged in outside of this sphere. The claim that forms Part of (IV) above, that persons who are civilly divorced from their spouse can licitly engage in sexual activity with another who is not their spouse, repudiates this basis. Consequently, to assert (IV) is to permit the legitimation of many kinds of sexual
activity outside of marriage, not just sexual intercourse between the civilly married.

Pope Francis has protected and promoted homosexually active clerics and clerical apologists for homosexual activity. This indicates that he believes that homosexual activity is not gravely sinful. These beliefs fall under the broader claim made in (V), to the effect that not all sexual acts between persons who are not
married are morally wrong.

The claim that a Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, and not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action, depends on Pope Francis's endorsement of Luther’s claim that justification does not demand observance of the divine law.

Taken together, all these positions amount to a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexual activity, Catholic teaching on the nature of the moral law, and Catholic teaching on grace and justification.

The list of accusations is followed by a section entitled
Evidence for Pope Francis's being guilty of the delict of heresy

This evidence is twofold: Pope Francis’s public statements, and his public actions (the
statements quoted below from Amoris laetitia should not be read as isolated utterances, but in their true meaning in the context of the whole of chapter VIII of that document.)

These two forms of evidence are related. His public actions serve to establish that the public statements listed below were meant by
him to be understood in a heretical sense.
The actions are listed under three headings:

(A) Pope Francis's public statements contradicting truths of the faith (12 listed)
(B) Pope Francis’s public actions that indicate a rejection of truths of the faith (The charge sheet here includes a comprehensive list of prelates and priests that Bergoglio has privileged or favored in some way despite their known and repeated violations of Gd's commandment on chastity, or against killing (in the case of Italy's Emma Bonino who has publicly boasted she personally performed more than 10,000 abortions)

(C) Pope Francis's pertinacity in adhering to heretical propositions (citing his documented familiarity with Veritatis splendor and Familaris consortio, whose major principles he repudiated in Amoris laetitia)

The Open Letter concludes with these paragraphs:

Given the open, comprehensive and devastating nature of the heresy of Pope Francis, willingness publicly to admonish Pope Francis for heresy appears now to be a necessary condition for being a faithful bishop of the Catholic Church.

This course of action is supported and required by canon law and the tradition of the Church. We provide below a brief account of the canonical and theological basis for it.

We ask the Holy Trinity to enlighten Pope Francis to reject every heresy opposed to sound doctrine, and we pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of the Church, may gain for your Lordships the light and strength to defend the faith of Christ.

Permit us to say with all boldness that in acting thus, you will not have to face that reproach of the Lord: 'You have not gone up to face the enemy, nor have you set up a wall for the house of Israel, to stand in battle in the day of the Lord' (Ezekiel 13:5).

We humbly request your blessing, and assure you of our prayers for your ministry and for the Church.

00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:04 AM

ever since the 16th century and the Council of Trent has so much been written on what can be done about a heretical pope, but since in those days, the question was really hypothetical - and deemed unlikely
after the examples of Liberius, Honorius and John XXII - it was a question that engaged only theologians and canonists in the highest circles. Jorge Bergoglio and his variety of outrageous anti-Catholic and
un-Catholic words and actions, however, have prompted an ongoing debate in the media, conventional and online, among canonists and theologians, lay and clerical alike, on the same question. The authors of
the latest Open Letter regarding Bergoglio's heresies so far, offer an appendix that summarizes the various positions on this issue. I reproduce it here without needing to comment.

Canon law and Catholic theology
concerning the situation of a heretical pope

By the Authors of the Open Letter

The situation of a pope falling into heresy has long been a subject of discussion by Catholic theologians. This situation was brought into prominence after the ecumenical Third Council of Constantinople anathematized the Monothelite heresy in 681, and posthumously anathematized Pope Honorius for his support of this heresy; this condemnation of Honorius as a heretic was repeated by Pope St. Leo II when he ratified the acts of that Council.

Since that time, Catholic theologians and canonists have reached a consensus on several essential points concerning the implications of a pope falling into public heresy. We will briefly present these points here.

It is agreed that no pope can uphold heresy when teaching in a way that satisfies the conditions for an infallible magisterial statement. This restriction does not mean that a pope cannot be guilty of heresy, since popes can and do make many public statements that are not infallible; many popes indeed never issue an infallible definition.

It is agreed that the Church does not have jurisdiction over the pope, and hence that the Church cannot remove a pope from office by an exercise of superior authority, even for the crime of heresy.

It is agreed that the evil of a heretical pope is so great that it should not be tolerated for the sake of some allegedly greater good.

Suarez expresses this consensus as follows: 'It would be extremely harmful to the Church to have such a pastor and not be able to defend herself from such a grave danger; furthermore it would go against the dignity of the Church to oblige her to remain subject to a heretic Pontiff without being able to expel him from herself; for such as are the prince and the priest, so the people are accustomed to be.'

St Robert Bellarmine states: 'Wretched would be the Church’s condition if she were forced to take as her pastor one who manifestly conducts himself as a wolf' (Controversies, 3rd controversy, Bk. 2, cap. 30).

It is agreed that ecclesiastical authorities have a responsibility to act to remedy the evil of a heretical pope.
- Most theologians hold that the bishops of the Church are the authorities that have an absolute duty to act in concert to remedy this evil.

It is agreed that a pope who is guilty of heresy and remains obstinate in his heretical views cannot continue as pope.

Theologians and canonists discuss this question as part of the subject of the loss of papal office. The causes of the loss of papal office that they list always include death, resignation, and heresy. This consensus corresponds to the position of untutored common sense, which
says that in order to be pope one must be a Catholic.

This position is based on patristic tradition and on fundamental theological principles concerning ecclesiastical office, heresy, and membership of the Church.
- The Fathers of the Church denied that a heretic could possess ecclesiastical jurisdiction of any kind.
- Later doctors of the Church understood this teaching as referring to public heresy that is subject to ecclesiastical sanctions, and held that it was based on divine law rather than ecclesiastical positive law.
- They asserted that a heretic of this kind could not exercise jurisdiction because their heresy separated them from the Church, and no-one expelled from the Church could exercise authority in it.

The canon law of the Church supports this theological consensus. The first canon to give explicit consideration to the possibility of papal heresy is found in the Decretum of Gratian. Distinctio XL, canon 6 of the Decretum states that the pope can be judged by no-one, unless he is found to have deviated from the faith:
Cunctos ipse iudicaturus a nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur a fide devius (‘he, the one who is to judge all, is to be judged by none, unless he be found straying from the faith.’)

The wording of this statement seems to have been influenced by Cardinal Humbert's De sancta Romana ecclesia (1053), which stated that the pope is immune from judgment by anyone except in questions of faith: ‘a nemine est iudicandus nisi forte deprehendatur a fide devius.’

The claim made in the canon is a development of Pope Gregory the Great’s statement that evil prelates must be tolerated by their subjects if this can be done while saving the faith (Moralia XXV c. 16: ‘Subditi praelatosetiam malos tolerant, si salva fide possint …’).

The canonical assertion that the pope can be judged for heresy came into being as an explication of the canonical principle that the pope is judged by no-one. The statement in this canon is an enunciation of a privilege; its object is to assert that the pope has the widest possible exemption from judgement by others.

This canon was included, along with the rest of the Decretum of Gratian, in the Corpus iuris canonici, which formed the basis of canon law in the Latin Church until 1917. Its authority is supported by papal authority itself, since the canon law of the Church is upheld by papal authority.

It was taught by Pope Innocent III, who asserted in his sermon on the consecration of the Supreme Pontiff that "God was his sole judge for other sins, and that he could be judged by the Church only for sins committed against the faith" [“In tantum enim fides mihi necessaria est, ut cum de caeteris peccatis solum Deum iudicium habeam, propter solum peccatum quod in fide committitur possem ab Ecclesia judicari.”]

Rejection of the canon in the Decretum would undermine the canonical foundation for papal primacy itself, since this canon forms part of the legal basis for the principle that the Pope is judged by no-one.

The canon was universally accepted by the Church after the compilation and publication of the Decretum. The heresy referred to in this canon is understood by virtually all authors to mean externally manifested heresy (the thesis that a pope loses his office for purely internal heresy was advanced by Juan de Torquemada O.P., but it has been conclusively refuted and has been rejected by all canonists and theologians ever since.)

Neither the 1917 Code of Canon Law nor the 1983 Code of Canon Law abrogate the principle that a heretical pope loses the papal office. This is agreed by all commentators on these codes, who state that this principle is correct.

The early canonical tradition generally requires that in the specific case of papal heresy, the pope must be admonished several times before being treated as a heretic. The Summa of Rufinus, the Summa antiquitate et tempore (after 1170), and the Summa of Johannes Faventius (after 1171) all assert that the pope must be warned a second and third time to desist from heresy before he can be judged to be a heretic.

The Summa of Huguccio states that before the pope can be judged a heretic, he must be admonished to abandon heresy and must contumaciously defend his error in response to such admonition.

Sedevacantist authors have argued that a pope automatically loses the papal office as the result of public heresy, with no intervention by the Church being required or permissible. This opinion is not compatible with Catholic tradition and theology, and is to be rejected.

Its acceptance would throw the Church into chaos in the event of a pope embracing heresy, as many theologians have observed. It would leave each individual Catholic to decide whether and when the pope could be said to be a heretic and to have lost his office.

It should instead be accepted that the pope cannot fall from office without action by the bishops of the Church. Such action must include adjuring the pope more than once to reject any heresies that he has embraced, and declaring to the faithful that he has become guilty of heresy if he refuses to renounce these heresies.

The incompatibility between heresy and membership in the Church is what leads to the loss of the papal office by a heretical pope. The Church's determining that a pope is a heretic [In this case, who constitute or represent 'the Church' which makes the determination, and how do they make that determination?] and the announcement of his heresy by the bishops of the Church, is what makes the pope's heresy a juridical fact, a fact from which his loss of office ensues.

There are some lesser differences of opinion between Catholic theologians concerning the measures that the Church must take in dealing with a heretical pope.
- The school of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas asserts that in order for the papal office to be lost, the Church, after ascertaining and
pronouncing that the pope is a heretic, must also command the faithful to avoid him for his heresy.
- The school of St. Robert Bellarmine does not reject the step of commanding the faithful to avoid the pope as a heretic, but it does not consider it a necessary precondition for the pope's losing office for heresy.

Both these schools have adherents, up to and including the present day. We do not take a position on these disputed questions, whose resolution is a matter for the bishops of the Church.

More practical questions:
- Is there perhaps a 'formula' the authors could suggest for a bishop who agrees substantially with their conclusions about Jorge Bergoglio's heretical words and actions, whereby he might announce that, as a bishop and a successor to the Apostles, and under Canon 212.3, he finds the reigning pope heretical on one or more points, and that therefore he is admonishing the pope publicly to abjure the heresies that he has professed?
- Assuming there are bishops and cardinals who might be willing to stick their heads out this way, they would have to repeat their public admonition at least two more times - and have the pope ignore them all (as he has ignored the DUBIA and Mons. Vigano's Testimonies). How much time should they wait between admonitions until having to repeat it, and how much time after the last presumably unanswered admonition will they declare him guilty of heresy?
- If this were the way to go with what one must call 'fraternal correction', why have Cardinals Burke and Brandmueller, the two surviving DUBIA cardinals, not gone ahead with this move? Or Bishop Schneider, for that matter? Or Bishop Gracida, instead of his obstinate campaign to declare Bergoglio invalidly elected?
- Will Cardinals Mueller and Van Eijk - since they have already spoken out against this pope- take the lead this time?
- Will Cardinal Sarah - who would have been the obvious great hope for the next pope - be willing to give up his position in the Roman Curia in order to freely speak his mind and join the putative 'band of brothers' willing to make a public fraternal correction of the pope?
- Assuming the most optimistic of scenarios and we had at least a dozen cardinals and bishops fraternally correcting Bergoglio three times - and being ignored - will they all then get together to declare that, having given him three chances to abjure his heresies (or at least, to defend them if he could and if he dared), they now must declare him guilty of heresy?
- AND THEN WHAT? What force will their declaration have if 95% of the world's bishops and cardinals profess their loyalty to Bergoglio and the latter excommunicates the 'faithful bishops' as schismatics? [Actually, no! He will use the situation to say to the world, 'Christ-like, "Father forgive them for they know what they do!", while dishing out his choicest insults for them from his Casa Santa Marta pulpit.]
- Where does such a situation leave the world's 1.2 billion Catholics? More firmly than ever under Bergoglio's totalitarian control in a church built on the quicksands of his whims and caprices and the world's fickleness???

In any case, the following item seems apropos:

‘Competing visions’ of how to be Catholic
by Raymond Kowalski

April 29, 2019

We heard recently from two disparate Catholic authors who surprisingly agree about the current condition of the Catholic Church.

One of the authors is Ross Douthat, self-described conservative Catholic and author of To Change the Church (subtitled “Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism”), a recent book that explores “what exactly constitutes the Catholic core.”

The other author is James Martin, S.J., author of Building a Bridge (subtitled “How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity”), a recent book that questions a core Catholic teaching.

Mr. Douthat was writing from his regular perch on the op-ed page of the New York Times. His column, dated April 15, 2019, was headed “From the Ashes of Notre Dame” and sub-headed “How a burning cathedral rebukes a divided Catholic Church.” He confesses that the column was originally going to be about the recent reflections of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the causes of the sex abuse crisis, which were met with “fierce criticism from Francis partisans.”

Then the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral happened. Not one to pass up a good metaphor, Mr. Douthat describes the two camps as “competing factions convinced that they are the firefighters inside Notre-Dame, and their rivals are the fire.”

The point of Mr. Douthat’s column is that the Catholic Church today is “a church in pieces,” a Church that “mirrors the polarization of Western culture, rather than offering an integrated alternative.” He says the Church of today is “torn between competing visions of how to be Catholic.” He likens the Church to “a museum whose docents all seem to hate one another.” [Which I don't think is a particularly appropriate metaphor. stay with the bipolar image - you can't go wrong with that. It's not as if all the 'docents' are against one another - they are simply lined up, with differing degrees of hostility, on opposite sides of the aisle, as it were.]

Father Martin was writing from his pulpit on Twitter on April 24, 2019. (I do not follow Father Martin, but someone I do follow retweeted him.) The tweet said, “One Catholic’s experience with a traditionalist group in a local parish: ‘Worse, as this shadow church grows, the unity implied in the very word ‘Catholic’ is jeopardized.’”

This tweet about “one Catholic’s experience” in that Catholic’s parish seemingly had nothing to do with Pope Emeritus Benedict’s reflections on the root causes of clerical sex abuse, which Benedict placed, at least in part, on “homosexual cliques” in seminaries, which “significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”

Nor did this tweet have anything to do with the Notre Dame fire. (In fact, it appears that the parishioner’s unpleasant experience with a traditionalist group in his parish happened in 2017.) Nonetheless, Father Martin saw some use in bringing it up at this time. Perhaps it is just the “hit dog, will holler” proverb in action. Or perhaps it was a dog whistle to summon the pack.

In any case, both authors see the church as divided into two camps: between Francis partisans and Benedict partisans; between progressives and traditionalists; between the universal Church and the “shadow church.” Please, let us not debate where the dividing line really falls and which popes stand where. The point is that there is a line — somewhere — and people know in which camp they reside. [There it is.]

Mr. Douthat and Fr. Martin both make the same point. As Mr. Douthat put it, the docents in the museum all seem to hate one another. Why should that be the case? Are we all not Catholics and members of the church that He founded? No one wants to say it, because doing so inevitably leads to the S-word, but it now seems inescapable that the answer is “no.”

The “competing visions of how to be Catholic” are now so different, so opposed, that they cannot be said to be complementary visions of the same faith.
- If one is right, the other cannot also be right.
- If the faithful in one camp are sure that theirs is the path to Heaven, those in the other camp assuredly must be on the path to…someplace else, if it exists.
The most bitter disputes arise when both sides of an argument are convinced they are right.

Ironically, there is one point of agreement between the two factions — namely, that there are two factions, only one of which can be right. Recall that Der Spiegel, in 2016, reported that Pope Francis told some friends, “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.” It has come to pass, whether or not anyone will say it.

Which faction will win out? Father Martin thinks his faction has already won, but he is clearly worried about the growing “shadow church,” the members of which Father Martin’s friends find so annoying. ]['Shadow church'? Excuse me! Already consigning the anti-Bergoglio Catholics to the catacombs???]

Mr. Douthat, on the other hand, thinks it will take a thousand years for the answer. As he puts it: "What lies beyond the stalemates and scandal and anger of our strange two-pope era? Go ask the Catholics of 3019 A.D. It’s for them to know, and us, if God wills it, to find out.

[Reputable commentators like Douthat don't do anyone any good by gratuitous throwaways like 'two-pope era' which is an obvious fallacy that it tends to perpetrate]

Having “two popes” is proving to be much like having no pope. “In those days there was no king in Israel: but every one did that which seemed right to himself” (Judges 21:24).

[I beg to disagree! Having Jorge Bergoglio as pope is much like having no pope. There is no sense factoring in Benedict XVI when discussing the situation of the Church today, even by those who do not blame him for having made it possible for Bergoglio to become pope.

Unfortunately for the Church and the faithful, Bergoglio is pope and he has the upper hand - in fact, the only hand - in everything that has to do with the Church concretely and otherwise. Benedict XVI's influence - which is primarily spiritual - extends only to those who feel themselves deeply marked by his Pontificate and by his personal example in various ways, and we know that this influence has no 'market value' in the Church or in the world. Sure, he may stir up a few days media attention from time to time, but he remains completely peripheral and superfluous to the current Pontificate- and for most of the Catholic world, for that matter, human nature being what it is: An ex-anything is an ex- and will never be anything more or anything else. (A recent article claims that the Bergogliacs are 'afraid' it is in his power to 'destabilize' his successor's pontificate, and I bet Spadaro and company split their sides laughing about that).

I like to believe that although in his innermost heart, Bergoglio recognizes but decries Joseph Ratzinger's obvious superiorities over him, he nonetheless gloats at how easily he has 'wreckovated' the institutional church into his own personal fiefdom and play-dough model, casting aside 2012 years of Church doctrine and Tradition which all the 'lesser popes' who preceded him, especially Benedict XVI, 'foolishly' sought to preserve and defend. In vain against the spawn of Satan.]


BTW, those of you who may have taken note of the recent beatification' of three more faux-martyrs created by Bergoglio should read Christopher Ferrara's well-researched backgrounder on the chief martyr by car accident, the bishop called Satanelli by his former flock.

Even without his heresies, Bergoglio deserves his very own circle in Hell for the travesty that he has made of the idea of martyrdom and for his shamelessly ideological string of beatifications and canonizations. As Ferrara writes of 'Satanelli':

“Blessed” Enrique Angelelli is hardly what the Church envisions as a beatus. But he is certainly Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s idea of a saint. Here, as elsewhere, Bergoglio has imposed his own ideas upon the Church, heedless of anything to the contrary in her traditional teaching and practice. In a papacy already bereft of all credibility, Pope Bergoglio has managed to find a new low. All the better, one supposes, for the case in support of a successor’s negation of his entire pontificate.

[Come now, Mr. Ferrara. Why fantasize the implausible? You think all those Bergoglio cardinals will elect a pope who will then turn around and decree "Let my predecessor's entire pontificate be anathema!"? Actually, who knows? If something as unthinkable as the Bergoglio pontificate has come to pass, then why not something equally unthinkable to condemn it?]
00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 7:10 AM

April 30

ST.PIUS V (b Italy 1504, Pope 1566-1572), Dominican, Pope and Confessor
Any first reading of the basic facts about Pius V's life is bound to raise the question, why is he not called Pius V the Great? He was a thoroughly holy man who faced great political and ecclesial challenges decisively, beginning with having to implement the epochal Council of Trent (which sat from 1545 and ended in 1563, just three years before he became Pope). What he did in the six years of his papacy, at the peak of the Counter-Reformation, defined the outward identity of the Church for the next 400 years. Born Antonio Ghislieri to a poor family near Turin, he took the name Michele when he became a Dominican friar, distinguishing himself as a professor of theology in Pavia for 16 years. Strongly committed to the defense of the faith, he asked to be named an Inquisitor and caught the attention of Paul IV who made him a cardinal and the Supreme Inquisitor. He was opposed by the next Pope, Pius IV, who deprived him of his office, only to be elected as his successor in 1566 - without the support of any Catholic monarchs, as was usual at the time, but championed by the man many thought would have been elected Pope, the future St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan. Pius V inherited a Church that was plagued by corrupt clergy and the immediate consequences of the Protestant Reformation, as well as a Holy Roman Empire under threat from the Turkish armies, and constant bickering among the new nation states of Europe. At the same time, it fell to him to implement the Counter-Reformation measures of the Council of Trent. He established seminaries for the proper formation of priests; he published a Catechism of the Catholic Church during his first year as Pope; he promulgated a standard Roman Missal in 1570 by purging the existing Roman liturgy of non-essential additions over the centuries - a Missal which remained in use, except for minor revisions, until Paul VI's liturgical reform of 1969-70); he revised the breviary for priests; he legislated against clerical abuses; and he served the poor of Rome by using papal funds for banquets to build and fund hospitals. He proclaimed Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church and promoted the liturgical music of Palestrina. He dismissed eight French bishops for heresy and declared Elizabeth I of England a heretic. He organized the Catholic states of Europe into the Holy League that defeated the Turks in the 1571 Battle of Lepanto against all odds, a victory he attributed to Our Lady of the Rosary, also called Our Lady of Victory after Lepanto. Interestingly, he helped Malta in its role as an outpost of Christian defense by sending his architect to design the fortifications of La Valletta, the capital. Yet all his life, he kept strictly to the Dominican Rule of prayer, fasting and austerity. Like a previous Dominican Pope, Innocent V, he preferred to wear his white Dominican habit, and ever since, Popes have worn white. Because of his enlightened defense of the faith, he is the patron saint of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and was canonized in 1712.

The great Pope Saint who didn't say
"Who am I to judge?

April 30, 2019

Confronted with clerical depravity in Rome, Pius V did not say, “Who am I to judge?”

On August 30, 1568, Pope St. Pius V issued the bull Horrendum Illud scelus (That horrible crime). We present it now on its four hundred and fiftieth anniversary.

That horrible crime, by which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation, causes us most bitter sorrow and shocks our mind, impelling us to repress such a crime with the greatest possible zeal.

§ 1. Quite opportunely the Fifth Lateran Council [1512-1517] issued this decree: “Let any member of the clergy caught in that vice against nature, given that the wrath of God falls over the sons of perfidy, be removed from the clerical order or forced to do penance in a monastery” (chap. 4, X, V, 31).

§ 2. So that the contagion of such a grave offense may not advance with greater audacity by taking advantage of impunity, which is the greatest incitement to sin, and so as to more severely punish the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime and who are not frightened by the death of their souls, we determine that they should be handed over to the severity of the secular authority, which enforces civil law.

§ 3. Therefore, wishing to pursue with greater rigor than we have exerted since the beginning of our pontificate, we establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be put to death, as mandated by law as the fitting punishment for laymen who have sunk into this abyss.
Nothing to the contrary withstanding, etc.

- Pius V
Horrendum illud scelus,
August 30, 1568, Bullarium Romanum

A brief note on the continuing relevance of Horrendum illud:
It is occasionally suggested by critics of integralism that the existence of bad or corrupt clergy proves that integralism, with its high concept of the authority of the church, is unworkable. This argument taken to its logical conclusion would of course rule out any authority in the here-below. For integralists, however, the existence of lamentable and execrable corruption in the Church, far from calling her authority into question, rather demonstrates the need for it.

Pope St. Pius V responded to the vicious immorality then widespread among the clergy repeatedly and with force, most prominently, perhaps, here in this bull. His response offers us even today an exemplar of church-state relations and of the medicinal power of the law....
00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 3:52 PM

A couple of first reactions to the Appeal to Bishops - it is surprising there are not more the morning after the appeal went public...But then, reaction has also been tardy, few and far between to the disclosures made so far by two of the pope's cardinal advisers on his proposed Apostolic Constitution on the governance of the Church. Whose main features, as I see it, would formally eliminate the unity, catholicity, apostolicity and Romanity of the Roman Catholic Church, and because this is clearly the work of Satan, whatever 'remains' without those hallmarks of the one true Church of Christ can hardly be called holy.

Mundabor is surprisingly 'equanimous', though he overstates the letter's aim as asking for this pope's removal...

Prominent clergy and scholars ask for
pope's removal as pertinacious heretic

May 1, 2019

Oh well, this made my day.

The clergymen and scholars asking for the removal from office of Pope Francis are a welcome step in the unfolding drama of this Pontificate.

You can follow the link and read the two documents (one a synopsis for the benefit of leftist journalists) explaining the reasons for this step.

Note here that the document does not really attempt to examine the countless ways in which the Evil Clown has gone against Church teaching. As the signatories state: “We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied”

In other words, the letter only focuses on those teachings for which Pope Francis has shown not only on single occasions, but with a constant effort of demolition, that he has them in contempt.

I am aware that, as always, the usual grumpy old men and professional losers will state that this is useless because nothing will happen anyway. As always, they are wrong.

What will happen is the loss of another piece of credibility of this incredibly scandalous papacy. Every time that Francis is publicly condemned, this has several highly beneficial effects:
- It puts the Bishops and Cardinals under more pressure to act and, if they don’t (which they won’t), makes their responsibility graver when the useless, spineless pussies finally croak.
- It gives further warning to the common pewsitters, so that the less intelligent among them avoid being lured by the prestige of the office into the pit of heresy.
- It makes it more difficult for the secular press to push the agenda of the modernising Pope; unless, that is, they shoot themselves in the foot explaining to their readers that the Pope is under attack from Catholics for not wanting to be a Catholic.
- It creates more pressure to pick a halfway Catholic guy by the next Conclave.
- Last but not least, it is the fulfilment of the duty of all Catholics to defend the Catholic Truths in season and out of season, irrespective of final outcome.

Make no mistake, Francis will ignore the letter and, if asked about it (which is unlikely, seen the sycophancy of most journalists around him), will dismiss it with the usual bad joke. But this will hurt.

The man is collecting historic censures, not seen in many centuries of Church history, like they are model cars. He is now, for everyone with a functioning brain, a pathetic leftist clown unable to get out of the pit he has dug for himself. His loss of face is total. He is an embarrassment for the devil himself. His stupidity clearly surpasses the deviousness of his mind, which is vast anyway.

Francis will react like he always does: more heresies, more insults, more embarrassing, openly socialist statements. He will do it, as always, out of spite, because he is a petty, stupid old man.

This open letter is another public sign of the grand failure of this papacy, of the moral bankruptcy of an arrogant cretin who thought he could remake the church in his own lewd image. We welcome it as we welcome every attack on this man, who deserves to be insulted and taken as an example of evil behaviour for millennia to come.

No, nothing will happen, in a way. The Bishops will not wake up, and Francis will not be deposed.

Still, a lot is happening, day by day, as this Pontificate goes down in flames for all the world, and all the future generations, to see.

The other reaction is from Steve Skojec, who begins with a rundown of the Letter, which I need not repeat, then offers the following commentary - of which the best part is Peter Kwasniewski's forceful but terse explanation of why he signed the letter and his rerfrence to St. Athanasius's stubborn and lonely batle against Arianism :

Catholic scholars accuse Pope Francis of
'the canonical delict of prophecy'

by Steve Skojec

April 30, 2019

In the seemingly interminable war between Catholics and Pope Francis, another salvo has been fired. This time, it lands a bit closer to the target.

In a 20-page open letter addressed not to the pope, but to the bishops of the Church, 19 Catholic scholars, some of them clergy, state that they “accuse Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy” and ask the bishops of the Church to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a heretical pope.”...

This is an interesting document. It works well as a compendium of not just the deeply problematic statements of Pope Francis, but a number of his more egregious actions. I have long believed that these actions, while not in themselves able to be defined as heretical, certainly provide a deep insight into the character of the man himself and his concern — or lack thereof — for the integrity of the Catholic faith he is charged by God with safeguarding.

There were, to my mind, some obvious pieces missing, and that surprised me.
- One was the omission of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia from the list of papal villains.
- Another was the pope’s attempt to categorize the death penalty, at least implicitly, as an intrinsic evil.
I’ve written about this before and won’t belabor it here, but it’s good to remember that Bishop Athanasius Schneider also addressed this point in his essay “On the Question of a Heretical Pope.”

That essay, in fact, is directly relevant here, inasmuch as it represents the countervailing school of thought on the crisis presented by Pope Francis. Bishop Schneider at least implicitly also places Francis in the category of “heretical pope,” if only by mentioning specific propositions of his in the context of a document about heresy in the papacy. (He, like the authors of the open letter, also cites Francis’s positions on allowing “sexually active adulterers” to receive Holy Communion and the Abu Dhabi statement.)

In his essay, however, Bishop Schneider made clear that he believes that “the pope cannot be deposed by anybody, only God can intervene and He will do this in His time, since God does not fail in His Providence (‘Deus in sua dispositione non fallitur’).” [But the new Letter does not call for outright deposition (because they cannot themselves define how it can be done at all) - only for a preliminary stage, and that needful and urgent preliminary is for faithful bishops to come out and call on this pope to abjure one or more of the heresies they think he has committed, and t do this three times within some undefined time frame during which their challenge remains unanswered, before they, even if they are only a handful, can then say, "All right, we have given you three chances to abjure and you have not. You have thereby deposed yourself for heresy". Even if that is all they can do - go on the record - because the Evil Clown will obviously not give in to them one iota, but will simply add to his hubristic string of heresies. That is all that that the Catholic protesters against this pope can do for now - just go on the record endlessly, bang the drum ceaselessly as Athanasius did during the Arian crisis.]

He goes on to say:

The deposition of a heretical pope will ultimately foster the heresy of conciliarism, sedevacantism, and a mental attitude similar to that which is characteristic in a purely human or political community. It will also foster a mentality similar to the separatism in the Protestant world or to autocephalism in the commonwealth of the Orthodox churches.

The authors of the open letter, on the other hand, appear to support the idea of an “imperfect council” that could depose a pope. They do not say so openly, but they state:

These actions do not need to be taken by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, or even by a majority of them. A substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church would have the power to take these actions. Given the open, comprehensive and devastating nature of the heresy of Pope Francis, willingness publicly to admonish Pope Francis for heresy appears now to be a necessary condition for being a faithful bishop of the Catholic Church.

This course of action is supported and required by canon law and the tradition of the Church. We provide below a brief account of the canonical and theological basis for it.

In that brief account, the authors state that “a pope who is guilty of heresy and remains obstinate in his heretical views cannot continue as pope” and that “the Fathers of the Church denied that a heretic could possess ecclesiastical jurisdiction of any kind.”

They go on to cite theologians like Cajetan, John of St. Thomas, and St. Robert Bellarmine, all of whom are known for speculating on whether or not a heretical pope might be deposed — although they stop short of citing those specific arguments. “We do not take a position on these disputed questions,” the authors conclude, “whose resolution is a matter for the bishops of the Church.”

I think this, too, is the right road to take. They defer to the bishops, because the duty to deal with this situation falls on them. This open letter, as I see it, amounts to a group of Catholics without ecclesiastical authority assembling a weapon, providing a brief instruction on how it might — in a very specific hypothetical situation — be used, then placing it on a table before the bishops of the world within easy reach.

You can lead a horse to water…

Here’s the problem, though.
You know, and I know, and we all know that the bishops aren’t going to take action. Not based on this, and not based on anything I can think of. (Remember that the majority of them don’t like weapons very much at all, and most seem never to have heard of the Christ of Mt. 10:34.)

This means that even if the authors of this letter are correct, and Bishop Schneider is not, the practical effect is the same:
- We have now restated, once again, more clearly and formally, what we already know, and so, the Roman standoff continues.
- We can also surmise that any bishop who touches this with even a ten-foot pole will find, as a friend said to me today, “his mitred head on a platter.”

Similarly, there will almost certainly be retaliation of some kind against the signers of this document. I hope they either have very little to lose or are locked and loaded and ready for what’s coming their way, because they put a lot on the line to move the line in the sand an inch closer to Rome. Their courage is to be applauded.

I asked my friend Dr. Kwasniewski why he signed it. He replied:

It seems to me to be valuable for three reasons:

1. It documents smoking-gun instances of heresy that cannot be denied. This may not help take away the scales from the eyes of those who refuse to see, but it seems like the next step after the Filial Correction that argued that Francis supported or did not oppose heresies. This goes a step further: he is a formal heretic and can be judged as such.

2. It is something we do for the historical record, for posterity. Not everyone during Pope Francis’s reign was a wilting wallflower who refused to call out the emperor with no clothes.

3. It is something we do before God, as a testimony of our conscience.

I regret that it did not garner more signatures. As a theologian, I can’t see a single thing in it to disagree with…

I told him I was feeling very cynical, and he reminded me, in kind, that cynicism is not a Christian virtue. He then offered a useful comparison:

During his decades of fighting against Arianism, St. Athanasius had few supporters. The emperor was against him. The pope was against him. He was probably told to shut up, or to give up.

What did he do? He wrote endless letters and treatises, one after another, condemning Arians and refuting Arianism. It all looked futile, but nothing would stop him.

We look back at this period and say “Thank God for Athanasius, he never stopped. What a hero.” I’m sure it didn’t look like heroism to him — merely burning necessity.

He kept the heat on. He kept banging the drum. He never stopped sounding the alarm. We owe him a lot for that stubbornness

Admittedly, stubbornness is sometimes the only thing that keeps me coming back to the keyboard. The idea that no matter what happens, no matter how little you think you’re moving the needle, you can’t quit the field and let the bad guys just march to victory unopposed. Like it or not, it’s a fight to the finish.

I expect that there will be some who quibble with the theology of the letter. I don’t feel qualified to make any definitive statements on that, any more than I feel qualified to sign it. It looks solid to me, but I’m not a theologian.

At the end of the day, I’m still inclined to think that, all things being equal, Bishop Schneider’s approach is the one that makes the most sense. Even if the authors of the open letter are technically correct, practically speaking, nobody is going to depose the pope, and so, as Bishop Schneider said, “only God can intervene and He will do this in His time, since God does not fail in His Providence.”

I am grateful for the efforts of those who wrote this letter, and for their Christian witness. I am also grateful, if I’m being honest, that the ultimate conclusion to this matter is out of my hands. I’ve long wanted to see the dramatic deposition of the pope, but I do wonder if it would set the stage for worse things to come. So, patience is the only choice. Patience, and trust in Divine Providence.

I am not, however, particularly hopeful — not in human terms, anyway — that our next pope will be particularly wise, holy, or traditional. We should certainly be praying fervently to that end, but we can’t expect it. The deck has been stacked. So we should steel ourselves against the likelihood that this matter may not be resolved any time soon.

“In His time” rarely means anything close to when we want it.

In conclusion, I think this letter, like so many of the efforts put forward in opposition to the errors of this papacy — among which I hope our work here at 1P5 will be included — will have little immediate practical effect, but it will not be for nothing. Ultimately, only God can set the ship aright, but we should fight to the last man until He does.
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