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00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:28 PM

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


See preceding page for earlier entries today, May 1, 2019.

Top panel: Akihito in imperial regalia arrives for his formal abdication after visiting the shrine of his goddess ancestor; then delivers his formal abdication address, with Emoress Michiko beside him.
Bottom panel: Naruhito delivers his first address as Emperor, with Empress Masako beside him (to the right, the surviving older generation of the imperial family); right, with Empress Masako.

"When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the State with my whole being as I have done until now."
- Japan's now Emeritus Emperor Akihito
when he announced his decision to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne
in 2016 (only the third time a Japanese emperor has addressed his people since 1945)

I digress to take note of a secular story that is nonetheless compelling, about the historic abdication yesterday of 95-year-old Akihito as Emperor of Japan after 30 years, and the ascension to the throne today of his son Naruhito, 59, who referred to his father in his enthronement address as the Emeritus Emperor [as does the New York Times in its account of the event).

My special interest in calling attention to this occasion is that no one at all has faulted Akihito for the reason he gave in 2016 for abdicating, as many intelligent Catholics fault Benedict XVI for doing. And yet the principally ceremonial duties of the Emperor of Japan surely cannot compare to the immense temporal and spiritual function of a contemporary Pope.

Granted, the Emperor of Japan cannot be compared one on one to a Pope, but to the Japanese, the history of their emperors is even older than the history of the popes. [From Wikipedia: "The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing monarchical house in the world. The historical origins of the Emperors lie in the late Kofun period of the 3rd–7th centuries AD, but according to traditional accounts... Japan was founded in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu, who was said to be a direct descendant of the sun-goddess Amaterasu".]

Legend says the imperial regalia passed on today to Naruhito were handed over by the sun goddess to a grandson whom she sent down to earth to bring peace to Japan, thereafter becoming the great-grandfather of Japan's first emperor Jimmu. Therefore, the use of the regalia in the ascension ceremonies signifies that the Japanese emperors are are descendants of the goddess...

Emperor Naruhito takes the throne,
and a new era arrives in Japan

By Motoko Rich

May 1, 2019

TOKYO — A day after his father became the first monarch to abdicate the imperial throne of Japan in more than two centuries, the new emperor, Naruhito, on Wednesday received the sacred imperial regalia that represents his rightful succession to the world’s oldest monarchy.

In an eye-blinkingly brief ceremony at the Imperial Palace, Naruhito, 59, officially succeeded Akihito, 85, an enormously popular monarch who brought the royal family much closer to the people as he emphasized a message of peace in a country haunted by the legacy of war.

Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne on Tuesday, three decades after he succeeded his father, the wartime emperor Hirohito.

While the role of emperor has been chiefly ceremonial since the end of World War II, the departing monarch acted as the nation’s chief consoler during times of disaster, such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and sought to make amends throughout Asia for Japan’s wartime atrocities.

Conservatives balked at Akihito’s embrace of atonement, but his son is likely to continue to stress pacifism and war remembrance, as well as his father’s efforts to humanize the monarchy.

“In acceding to the throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the emperor emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement,” Naruhito said in his first remarks as emperor after the enthronement ceremony on Wednesday.

He added that he would work in service “of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them.”

Naruhito is taking the throne at a time when Japan faces numerous challenges, including a low birthrate and a declining, aging population. The country is making efforts to open itself to foreign workers, change the country’s brutal, entrenched work culture and reduce gender inequality.

Under the country’s postwar Constitution, the emperor — once regarded as a demigod — has no political power to address any of these issues directly, but he can set a tone. Analysts have been scrutinizing Naruhito’s previous public statements for hints of what his reign might look like.

Educated at Oxford University, Naruhito, along with his wife, Masako, a former diplomat with a degree from Harvard, represents a cosmopolitan outlook in an often insular Japan.

In his limited public statements, Naruhito has indicated he believes the monarchy should adjust to modernity.

“I believe that just as new winds blow in every age, the role of the imperial family changes in each age as well,” he said at a news conference on his birthday in 2017, shortly after Akihito indicated he wished to retire. “I would like to learn various things from the past and firmly carry forward traditions that have been passed down since ancient times, while also pursuing the ideal role that the imperial family should take in the future.”

The royal family itself faces a looming existential crisis. After Naruhito, there are only three male members left in the line of succession, including his 83-year-old uncle, his 53-year-old brother and his 12-year-old nephew.

Women are not allowed to ascend to the throne, and women born into the royal family must renounce their imperial titles and officially leave the family once they marry. None of their children can be in line to the throne.

At a news conference marking his birthday earlier this year, Naruhito acknowledged that “the declining ratio of male imperial members” and “the fact that female imperial members have to leave the imperial house” could affect the future of the royal family.

Analysts suggested that Naruhito was hinting that the rules governing the imperial household should change. “You have to try to read into what they’re saying,” said Jeff Kingston, the director of Asian studies at Temple University in Tokyo. “I think he was subtly suggesting that he, too, supports women’s succession.”

The new emperor has been fiercely protective of his wife, who gave up a promising career in the diplomatic corps when she married him and suffered bouts of depression because of the enormous pressure to produce a male heir. She has kept a curtailed schedule of public appearances for years.

“Although it is certainly the case that Masako’s condition is improving steadily, she remains subject to ups and downs,” Naruhito said in 2017. “And it is my hope that at a measured pace, she will prudently and gradually continue to broaden the scope of her activities.”

The Japanese public has been largely sympathetic to Masako, and has praised Naruhito for his devotion to her along with their daughter, Aiko, 17.

“He cares about his family so much,” said Hiroyo Abe, 48, who works at a satellite broadcasting company and was attending a theater performance in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon. “He must be a good person.”

Naruhito’s father secured his reputation as an admired figure in his extensive travels across Japan. Akihito and Empress Michiko were a consoling presence particularly after disasters. They visited the Kobe region after the 1995 earthquake that killed close to 6,500 people, kneeling before survivors in a break with tradition.

After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people in northern Japan and caused a nuclear disaster, the emperor gave an unprecedented nationally televised address, asking people to act with compassion “to overcome these difficult times.”

“Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so,” Akihito said on Tuesday in a short address inside a state room at the palace, in central Tokyo.

In a farewell address to the departing emperor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted that Japan had faced numerous challenges during Akihito’s reign.

“In such cases, His Majesty the emperor, together with Her Majesty the empress, have stood close to the people, and encouraged the victims of disasters,” he said. “He gave people courage and hope for the future.”

As the successor to Hirohito, Akihito also took on the mantle of atoning for Japan’s wartime sins. He traveled widely throughout Asia to countries that had been attacked or conquered by Japan during World War II, and spread a message of pacifism.

When Akihito took over the throne in 1989, it was after his father had suffered a prolonged illness. Akihito, who was treated for prostate cancer in 2003 and underwent heart surgery in 2012, may have wished to avoid subjecting his son to a period of such limbo.

But the decision to abdicate was not the emperor’s alone to make, and he ultimately had to wait three years after first expressing his desire to step down. The abdication required a special act of Parliament, passed in 2017. The law applies only to him and not to future emperors.

During the abdication ceremony on Tuesday, which lasted just over 10 minutes, the emperor and empress stood solemnly on a stage in a state room with wood flooring that evoked a high school gymnasium.

A crowd of nearly 300 politicians, Supreme Court judges and their spouses watched the proceedings, in which palace chamberlains placed an imperial sword, jewels and seals, all wrapped in silk cloth, on cypress benches flanking the stage.

Akihito wore a topcoat and tails with a silver tie, and Michiko wore a floor-length silver-white gown with white gloves.

In his brief address, with Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife standing to the side just off the stage, the departing emperor said he had prayed that the new era would be “peaceful and fruitful.”

At the end of the ceremony, Akihito, now emperor emeritus, stepped down from the stage, turned and waited. He wanted to give his wife a hand down the steps.

The following morning, Naruhito, the new emperor, returned to the same room at the palace to receive the sword, jewels and seals. He stood on the same stage where his father and mother had stood, but alone, without his wife, Masako. Off the stage beside him was his brother, Akishino.

Under the Imperial Household Law, which governs the line of succession as well as most matters of protocol related to Japan’s monarchy, women in the royal family are not permitted to be in the room during the sacred regalia ceremony. Satsuki Katayama, the sole woman in Mr. Abe’s cabinet, was present among a small audience of 26 people. Another woman, Misuzu Iwami, deputy chief of the board of ceremonies for the Imperial Household Agency, stood along a wall.

Empress Masako, along with several other princesses, joined the new emperor for his formal remarks.

Sputnik News has a well-backgrounded account of the abdication ceremony yesterday:

Japanese Emperor Akihito officially abdicates
at Imperial Palace in Tokyo

TOKYO, April 30, 2019 (Sputnik) - Japan's outgoing Emperor Akihito has officially stepped down at the abdication ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

On Wednesday, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne as Japan's 126th emperor.

In Japan's case, the beginning of a new era that will follow the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito is not just a figure of speech. The Asian country has its own calendar system used along with Gregorian calendar — the start of the reign of each Japanese monarch marks a new era, with its name being motto for the emperor's rule.

Akihito's three-decade rule, which will end on Tuesday, went by the name "Heisei", which can be interpreted "peace everywhere." The era name also becomes the monarch's posthumous name.

The Japanese government has unveiled that the new imperial era, which will begin on May 1 with the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito, will be named "Reiwa." The Chinese characters that make up the name of the era can be translated as "order" and "harmony," or "peace."

Since the adoption of the post-war constitution in 1946, the emperor plays a symbolic rather than a political role in Japan, and the succession of the emperor and the change of era would also be of symbolic nature, Dr Peter Cave, a senior lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester, told Sputnik.

"It is a symbolic change, which provides a convenient way of dividing up time. It also has a practical aspect in that the regnal year is often used in daily life, on forms etc. (e.g. 2018 was also Heisei 30). 2019 is unusual as until the end of April it is Heisei 31, but from 1 May it will be Reiwa 1," Cave said.

Takako Amano, a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, pointed out the importance played by the retiring imperial couple as the nation's symbols.

"He has made a lot of effort to fulfill his role always with his wife by visiting almost all prefectures of Japan, areas where it was affected by natural disasters and softened the wounds of ex-soldiers because of WWI and WWII abroad," Amano said.

She noted that Akihito and Michiko won hearts of many Japanese people not only with being financially humble and prudent in their actions, but also with moving and tender attitude to each other.
The couple has recently celebrated the 60 years of their marriage, which once shook Japan as Michiko became the first commoner to marry a member of the Japanese imperial family.

"They have demonstrated strong attachments to each other: Michiko’s strong support for Akihito has been witnessed every now and then in public. They have been truly loved and respected by the majority of the Japanese," Amano said.

US President Donald Trump will become the first leader to make a state visit to Japan in the new era. Trump and his wife Melania will meet with their majesties the Emperor and the Empress and have dinner afterward.

"Hosting President Trump and the First Lady as first state guests in the Reiwa era symbolizes the unwavering bond of the Japan-US alliance. I hope this visit will further strengthen the Japan-US global partnership that contributes to peace and prosperity in the region and the world," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a briefing in mid-April.

After reporting his abdication to the sun goddess Amaterasu, a major deity in the Shinto religion, and ancestral spirits of the imperial family in private ceremonies at the palace's sanctuaries, Akihito would walk into a state hall where he would deliver his final remarks as emperor and receive audience with representatives of the people, including Prime Minister Abe, for the last time.

The ceremony took place in one of the most beautiful rooms in the Imperial Palace, "Matsu-no ma" or "Hall of Pine," famous for its polished wooden floors and used for the court's main ceremonies.

The new emperor's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne will take place next morning at 10:30 a.m. in the same room. He will inherit the two of the sacred imperial regalia — a sword and a jewel — and state and privy seals in a sacred ceremony dating back thousands of years. It is believed that the regalia, also referred to Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, were handed over by the sun goddess Amaterasu to her grandson Ninigi-no-Mikoto, whom she sent down to earth to bring peace to Japan.

The upcoming transfer of the throne will be exceptional due to the presence of a woman, Satsuki Katayama, the only female minister in Abe's cabinet, who handles regional revitalization and female empowerment, at the ascension ceremony, which is usually off-limits to women. The exception, however, will not be extended even to Naruhito's wife and incoming empress Masako.

After the ascension, the new emperor will have his first audience at 11:10 a.m. with representatives of legislative, judiciary and executive branches in the Imperial Palace.

Naruhito will then make his first public appearance as emperor on Thursday, with thousands of people expected to flock to the Imperial Palace grounds. The Kyodo News reported that several thousand police officers would ensure security at the upcoming ceremonies and celebrations.

The official enthronement of the new emperor, however, will take place in October in a series of ceremonies, including a procession by motorcar and court banquets. The main ceremony will take place on October 22 and is expected to be witnessed by thousands of guest and foreign delegations.

Japan's annual spring holidays dubbed the Golden Week were unprecedentedly extended to 10 days to celebrate the ascension of the new emperor, causing a significant rise in tourism. According to the JTB travel agency, some 24.67 million Japanese citizens are planning to use the long holidays for trips, with number of both domestic (24.01 million) and overseas (0.662 million) travellers setting an all-time record.

"With the new name incorporating a nuance of 'creating and nurturing culture by bringing hearts and minds together,' people's expectations for the dawning of a new era are growing, and there is a feeling of anticipation and welcome in society, in contrast to the mood of self-constraint that sometimes characterized the current Heisei era," the agency said in its press release.

The abdication has drawn once again attention to the debate around the Japanese royal family’s hereditary male-only succession rules.

The Japanese government considered changes to the 1947 Imperial Household Law, which does not allow women to ascend the throne, back in the 2000s when there was no male heir born to the imperial family for almost 40 years. Crown Prince Naruhito has only one daughter, Princess Aiko, while his younger brother Prince Akishino, second in the line to the throne, had only two daughters.

The dynasty crisis was postponed by the birth of Prince Hisahito to Akishino's family in 2006. Nevertheless, as the 126th emperor of Japan is preparing to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, there are still concerns that the centuries-old succession may be threatened if 12-year-old Hisahito has no male heirs.

One of the conservatives' main arguments against a woman ascending the throne, according to Cave, is that only a man can perform certain Shinto rituals. However, the Japanese history knows the examples of female monarchs, with the last being Empress Go-Sakuramachi, who reigned from 1762 to 1771, but then abdicated in favour of her nephew.

"As the new emperor's younger brother does have a son, and there is thus a male heir for the throne, there seems no current prospect of a change in legislation unless there is a very dramatic change of view within Japanese society on the issue," Cave noted.

The expert noted, however, that there was currently no sign of such a change.

Amano agreed that immediate changes were unlikely, noting that she was surprised by how discussions of allowing Princess Aiko ascend the throne ended once the news broke that Akishino's wife was expecting a boy back in the 2000s. She noted, however, that changes to the succession rules were still possible in the long run.

"Although on the surface it looks as if they are not, such discussion has been definitely continuing behind the scene because Emperors have not had concubines since Taisho era (1921-1926) and no extended families have been allowed to take the throne since the end of WWII, so as is, realistically Japan won't be able to continue producing male Emperor for long," Amano explained.

Emperor Akihito announced in 2016 that he intended to step down, citing his age and physical inability to perform his duties. After the abdication, Akihito and his wife Michiko, who have been hosting hundreds of events and extensively traveling over the past three decades, are expected not to be involved in ceremonial duties and will peacefully retire at the Togu Palace in Tokyo.

00Wednesday, May 1, 2019 9:47 PM

Lest you forget: Jorge Bergoglio's apparent sellout of the underground Church in China to'win'the good graces of the Communist regime in Beijing (with the ulterior motiverof being invited to become the first pope ever to visit China) remains one of his most infamous anti-Catholic initiatives - something completely hostile to 'evangelization' which he claims to be pushing as the Church mission. Here's the latest commentary on the consequences of his still-kept-secret deal with Beijing...

Breaking up the underground Catholic Church in China
by Wang Yong


The Vatican-China deal of 2018 continues to be a matter of contention. The CCP interprets it to the effect that priests and bishops of the underground Catholic Church should join the Patriotic Catholic Church, or else. The Vatican has denied that this is a correct interpretation of the agreement, but in China those who refuse to join the Patriotic Church continue being persecuted.

Bitter Winter asked a Catholic priest from the southeast Chinese province of Jiangxi, to assess the situation. His name is not mentioned for security reasons. He told us that a look at the early history of Catholicism in China under CCP rule is needed in order to understand the most recent events.

“In the early years of the CCP rule", the priest remembered, "the authorities carried out violent suppression of the Underground Catholic Church by arresting Chinese priests and clergy personnel and forcibly repatriating all foreign missionaries, including the very popular Lazarists, as well as seizing church properties. However, not only did the CCP’s arrests fail to destroy the church, but on the contrary, this caused more and more people to believe in God.”

In fact, the priest argued, “in just more than 10 years, the number of churchgoers grew exponentially. This is something that the CCP never expected. It also made them realize that just simply making arrests was useless.”

As the priest reminded us, in the early 1950s, the Chinese government launched the Patriotic Church and tried to force Catholic believers to join it and leave the leadership of the Pope. Meanwhile, members of the clergy like Peter Joseph Fan Xueyan (1907-1992), a Catholic bishop who was imprisoned for more than 30 years for his refusal to break ties with the Vatican, remained loyal to the pope. Many Catholic believers and clerics followed Bishop Fan in boycotting the Patriotic Church, and were arrested.

To CCP’s annoyance, however, there were more bishops like Fan Xueyan. Bishop Thomas Zeng Jingmu (1920-2016), the late sixth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yujiang, was also imprisoned for about 30 years because he refused to join the CPCA. Since his release from prison, he continuously remained under CCP surveillance. Constantly visited by local officials and monitored at all times, the bishop not allowed to move freely or attend church events as he wished. Friends and allies of the bishop tried repeatedly to lose the surveillance but were found out most of the time.

So, the priest said, “the authorities tried to prevent the emergence of another underground bishop with the same level of influence as Bishop Fan or Bishop Zeng.”

Now, the strategy has changed. Anxious about the church’s growth, the CCP has started to implement a new means of persecution: to disintegrate the church from within.

The priest explained: “CCP ideologists believe that religion is a kind of fanaticism: the harsher the persecution, the more powerful it becomes, and the more it grows. With respect to how religions are treated, only disintegrative approaches can be adopted to break it up from the inside. The CCP is now using this disintegration method to break up our Diocese. This is scarier than being arrested, because there is simply no way to prevent such persecution.”

The priest said that there are three primary methods by which the CCP is seeking to break up the underground Catholic churches.
- First, and the most significant, for the CCP is to place the bishops who refuse to join the Patriotic Church under surveillance.
- Second, shut down underground seminaries and restrict the training of clergy.
- Third, reduce the number of congregation venues and as a consequence of churchgoers.

Chinese authorities are working hard to influence the underground clergy throughout the dioceses in China to join the Patriotic Church. If imprisonment and torture. or bribes and material incentives, don’t work, bishops who refuse to join the Patriotic Church are placed under strict surveillance to prevent them from performing their duties and deprive the clergy of leadership. Today, even bishops in their 80- and 90s are monitored.

“The CCP has a lot of tricks: threatening people, using intimidation, arresting people, as well as financial inducement,” the interviewed priest said. “As long as someone agrees to join the Patriotic Church, they will be immediately promoted. They can also enjoy excellent benefits after retiring. The ways of the devil are sinister: it carefully explores people’s hearts and goes for the greatest weakness.” The interviewed priest mentioned a case of a priest from the Diocese of Jiangxi who was offered hundreds of thousands of yuan if he joined the Patriotic Church, but he refused.

With the Vatican-China deal of 2018, bishops should be recognized by the Pope. But, when the Vatican recognizes a bishop known for his pro-CCP positions, several devotees refuse to attend ceremonies presided by him. As a consequence, the Church becomes divided.

One informant even reported rumors that, to prevent this, the CCP keeps secret the fact that some former “underground” priests and bishops have joined the Patriotic Church. On the other hand, those who stubbornly refuse to join the Patriotic Church are persecuted, and lose their parish positions.

The priest lamented, “The CCP is buying people off; it creates chaos at the church, causing the church to break up from the inside. This is a very sinister move!”
00Thursday, May 2, 2019 10:53 AM
The open letter to Catholic bishops
Its context is the pope's iron-fisted will
to 'irrevocably alter the Church'

by Julia Meloni

May 1, 2019

On the eve of the 2013 conclave, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga busily phoned cardinal voters from the Honduran embassy in Rome. He was one of the conclave’s key kingmakers — and he was vigorously promoting then-Cardinal Bergoglio for pope.

That same day, Maradiaga attended a private meeting of Bergoglio supporters, including key revolutionaries from the St. Gallen mafia. Together, they tallied at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio — who later opened, notably, with twenty-six. On the conclave’s second day, Maradiaga was back at work, shooting down a rival group’s lunchtime rumor that Bergoglio had only one lung. Four days later, the newly elected Pope Francis asked Maradiaga to head his powerful new Council of Cardinals.

Six years later, the pope and his “vice pope” are both accused of perpetuating “one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church.” A new open letter addressed to the bishops of the Church accuses Pope Francis of being “guilty of the crime of heresy” and says “a heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”

The authors, many of whom are prominent priests and scholars, argue that Francis has now “publicly and pertinaciously” demonstrated belief in seven “interconnected” heresies — including one that legitimizes “many kinds of sexual activity outside of marriage.”

The 20-page letter asserts a crucial “link” between the pope’s “rejection of Catholic teaching” and his “protection and promotion” of dissident and immoral clerics. As the authors continue:

Canon law has traditionally considered that protecting, promoting and helping heretics can itself be evidence of heresy… By choosing heretical prelates for the most important posts in the Roman Curia, [Pope Francis] manifests an intention to impose these heresies upon the whole Church. By protecting clerics who are guilty of immoral and criminal sexual acts even when this protection causes grave scandal to the Church and threatens to lead to calamitous action by the civil authorities, he manifests disbelief in Catholic teaching on sexual morality…

The pope’s words and actions, the authors say, “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.”

Affirming that Amoris Laetitia allows Communion for adulterers; claiming that conscience can discern that God is “asking” one to break the sixth commandment (AL 303); naming Cardinal Danneels to the family synod even though he protected a pedophile bishop; favoring Cardinal Coccopalmerio despite his call to emphasize the “positive elements” in homosexual relationships; promoting a cleric who reportedly got “trapped in an elevator with a male prostitute” — all these words and actions of Pope Francis (and more) are marshaled as evidence against him.

In particular, the authors note that “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.”

As one part of its voluminous evidence, the letter cites the papal favor enjoyed by Maradiaga, a revolutionary accused of fiercely covering up for a protégé bishop, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle. Pineda ultimately resigned amidst allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and embezzled over $1.3 million to “pay for sexual favors” and “maintain a network” of homosexual lovers.

According to Martha Alegría Reichmann’s book Sacred Betrayals, Maradiaga ferociously ruined the careers of at least six priests who spoke out against Pineda. She claims that the Vatican then “maneuvered so that Maradiaga would not be officially implicated as Pineda’s concealer.”

Maradiaga has also attacked seminarians reporting homosexual misconduct and downplayed the gravity of Theodore McCarrick’s homosexual predation on seminarians. According to Archbishop Viganò, both men were behind the meteoric rise of Cardinal Cupich, a top revolutionary on homosexuality. Maradiaga has himself repeatedly pushed for groundbreaking “pastoral care” for those in same-sex relationships.

Despite the scandals surrounding him, Maradiaga was recently in the media hailing a curial reform document that he helped draft. The overhaul will, reportedly, downgrade the CDF —five years after Maradiaga loudly rebuked the CDF’s then-head, Cardinal Müller, for defending the Church’s ban on Communion for adulterers.

According to Paul Vallely, that high-charged clash between Müller and the vice pope signified that the CDF “was supreme no more.” Now, any further downgrading of the CDF — critics fear — could pave the way for doctrinal and moral “anarchy.” [What 'pave the way'? There already is enough doctrinal and moral anarchy inherent in and fomented by Bergoglianism, the best-placed sect in all of Protestantism.]

Like an emissary of entropy, Maradiaga has knowingly courted that chaos. In a 2013 blueprint for this pontificate, Maradiaga glowingly announced that Vatican II “meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and Modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council.” It was an astonishing admission from the vice pope himself: this pontificate would promote pacific accommodation with the super-heresy of Modernism.

Indeed — as one signatory of the 2017 filial correction soon warned — Amoris Laetitia’s underlying premises expose the revolutionaries’ Modernist view “that doctrine is basically changeable.”

Another signatory of the 2017 filial correction, Roberto de Mattei, once described an ominous “new wind” blowing in our times: “Instead of construction there is destruction. Instead of rebuilding there is demolition.” He was speaking broadly of the “nihilism” of “the new left,” but his diagnosis hauntingly fits the Church’s hardcore revolutionaries, intent on burning down the Church’s moral tradition like “spiritual arsonists.” Blazing moral anarchy — that is what the St. Gallen mafia and its allies plotted to ignite under this pontificate.

In “so grave and unprecedented an emergency,” the authors of the open letter write:

We … request that you take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a
heretical pope. 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.

[We] believe that it will no longer suffice to teach the truth as it were abstractly, or even to deprecate “confusion” in the Church in rather general terms. For Catholics will hardly believe that the pope is attacking the faith unless this be said expressly; and hence, merely abstract denunciations risk providing a cover for Pope Francis to advance and to achieve his goal.

[We appeal to you] publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed… 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.

It is an extraordinarily grave request, but it must be assessed in the context of the revolutionaries’ iron-fisted will to irrevocably alter the Church. As Maradiaga himself said in 2015: “The pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.”

The two men heading Ignatius Press have released a video in which they both articulate what ought to have been among the first reactions to anyone who read the Open Letter to the bishops of the world, whether or not they agreed with the accusation of heresy against the reigning pope I confess I thought about it briefly but quickly discarded the idea as I have been so conditioned by this pope's adamant refusal to answer direct accusations or questions hat place him in a negative light... Nonetheless, will his communications spinmeisters advise him to answer the charge sheet and if they do, would he?

Ignatius Press bosses suggest Rome reply
to open letter accusing Francis of heresy

SAN FRANCISCO, May 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Both the founder and the CEO of the leading U.S. Catholic publishing company have issued a statement saying that an open letter released this week accusing Pope Francis of heresy should not be ignored by Catholic leaders in Rome.

On April 30, Fr. Joseph Fessio and Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press published a short video expressing their opinions on the importance of the “Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church”. About 20 prominent clergymen and scholars issued the open letter accusing Pope Francis of being "guilty of the delict of heresy." They asked that 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.

“It’s an important document,” Fessio said, mentioning that it had been published that morning by LifeSiteNews. “I think something needs to be said about it. There’ll be time for reflection later.”

Ignatius Press CEO Mark Brumley said that his first reaction was that the letter was “something that someone of some significance at the Holy See should address.”...

Mundabor continues with his commonsense commentary on the Open Letter. Bear in mind that he is unable to refer to the reigning pope in other than contemptuous terms- but that does not detract from the plain common sense of what he says here.

That Open Letter:
What is not going to happen

May 2, 2019

The Open Letter is, thankfully, making waves. Secular media like Reuters reported on it (remember, reader: it does not matter much how much the message is distorted: every time the news is reported there are a lot of people who start to reflect that a Pope accused of being a heretic can’t be a good Pope), and Catholic commenters of every colour and stripe (even those who aren’t actuall even Catholic in the proper sense) are going into the fray with all they have.

It is striking that almost no one (the only exception might be Father Fessio) seems to think that the next step might be what, in former times, would have been the most obvious one to expect: a total and complete reaffirmation of the faith, in unmistakable terms, on all points concerned, coming straight from the Pope, and putting an end to every talk of heresy.

The fact is, everyone knows this Pope is a pertinacious heretic. Everybody is so persuaded by it that the discussion is not about whether heresy has occurred, but whether the Pope is authorised to propagate is because he is the Pope, or whatever.

Therefore, faced with a public accusation of pertinacious heresy, no one thinks that the Pope himself will react saying: “You are mistaken. I will now dispel any doubt and reaffirm, in the strongest terms, the Catholic Truths you have mentioned in order to dispel all doubt”.
It really is as bad as that.

[On second thought, what if the pope and his advisers decide that they will 'answer' the charge sheet by holding a mega-event at which the reigning pope and his cardinals and as many bishops as they can gather in Rome make a Profession of Faith - but a general one, about believing everything the Church teaches, such as the CDF formulated years ago for bishops to make. Which they would think ought to suffice for everyone - as much as Bergoglio saying "I am a son of the Church" after saying "Who am I to judge?" about homosexuals in the Church, to avoid having to say to the journalists whom he admonished to read what the Catechism says about homosexuality what it does say wHich can be reduced to 10 words - "homosexuality is a disorder and homosexual acts are sinful". But he didn't say so, because obviously, he does not believe that statement at all. In the same way, by making a General Profession of Faith, he and his followers do not have to deny that Bergoglio and Bergoglianism do profess and propagate the seven heresies detailed in the Open Letter. They would merely be mouthing their 'Profession of faith' pro forma, which is as blasphemous a show as when Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden receive Communion.

Alternatively, one could read any such mass Profession of Faith by Bergoglio and company as a Profession of Faith in Bergoglianism, not in Christianity and Catholicism - and therefore, the formal inauguration of the church of Bergoglio.

This discussion is not about whether the Pope is a heretic. This discussion is between those who state an elementary truth and those who think that the new heresies are “Christ-like” in some perverted way, a way only they (having a perverted mind) can imagine.

The heretics’ strategy is, in the long term, self-defeating. Every heresy claims to be a better interpretation of the truth, a position nearer to Christ. But this makes it just that: a heresy just for stating the claim! The game is up the moment the New Scribes and Pharisees stop defending the Pope by defending the Truth!

They have already lost. We have already won. They can enjoy their circus tool as much as they like. Everybody who cares for his salvation knows where the truth lies.

He had a second post today about the authors and original signatories of the Open Letter...

Nineteen Brave Men

May 2, 2019

The Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of pertinacious heresy was released with only nineteen signatories.

Stop a moment to reflect that these brave men chose to publish the letter well knowing that the wrath of the Vatican would be focused on their little number, and that Francis would have a fit of vulgar rage including both several crude swear words and the demand that they are hit whenever the Vatican can, in every way it can.

In particular, but without in any way diminishing the courage of the others, think of Aidan Nichols. Nichols is likely the most prestigious theologian alive in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Dominican Order. Francis will try to go after him with the wrath of one thousand very stupid suns.

Pray for the Nineteen Brave Men; that any measure taken against them may spectacularly fail and, if it is God’s will that they get to suffer for their testimony, their suffering may greatly increase their glory in Heaven.

So far, I have only seen one Bergogliac reaction to the Open Letter - and it is worse than I could have imagined - even from hyper-ueber-super-ultra-Bergoglio-ultramontanist Austin Ivereigh. Thanks to Lawrence England, here is Ivereigh's tweet likening Bergoglio to Jesus himself...

And the reactions to Ivereigh:

I wonder if the official Vatican media have even acknowledged the Open Letter at all - it's not as if it were not legitimate news,and history-making
news at that. When was the last time Catholics formally urged their bishops to denounce a pope's heresies???

I did come across a second 'defense', if that is what it is. Because the Bergogliac's main argument seems to be 'no one can judge the pope' and 'he deserves the benefit of the doubt' (Come on, after six years and repeated transgressions, does anyone still deserve 'the benefit of the doubt'???] About the heresies themselves,he admits he is 'not clear' whether the citations rise to the level of material heresy. He's a Dominican, BTW, so he might want to argue it all out with Fr Nichols, one of the authors of the Open Letter.

These were the first reactions - before the first pro-Bergoglio one was posted - from a priest who said an accusation of heresy is a very serious technical charge that is difficult to prove. 'Technically difficult' to prove is used when there is an Actual tribunal hearing to determine if heresy was committed or not. No one is talking tribunal hearings here [because who would constitute the tribunal, and by what authority, etc - that's an unresolvable tangle no one wants to get into]- just the bishops' individual personal opinion if they think, from the charge sheet presented, that Bergoglio has been committing repeated acts of heresy, and if they do, why can't they call him out on it? BUT HE MUST ANSWER.

Are the Bergogliacs going to argue their side exclusivelyy on Twitter? That way, they don't have to think more than 145 characters at a time!
00Friday, May 3, 2019 12:25 AM
Mons. Gaenswein tells new priests:
He who works to ‘invent a new Church…
abuses his spiritual authority’

by Maike Hickson

May 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Georg Gänswein, personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Prefect of the Papal Household, ordained four new priests at the Stift Heiligenkreuz monastery in Austria.

In his homily, he spoke of the duty of the priest to remain loyal to the “truth of the Gospels” and rebuked those within the Church who wish to “invent a new Church.”

During his homily at the April 27 ordination, the German prelate first recounted the legend of the captain of a warship who advises what he thinks is another ship but is really a “lighthouse keeper of inferior rank” to change course to avoid a collision.

While the captain, with an air of superiority, continually orders the other to change course, the lighthouse keeper calmly repeats that it is the captain who must change course. The proud captain then boasts of the power of his ship and threatens to take measures to ensure the safety of his ship and crew. To this, the keeper replies that he’s running a lighthouse and that it’s impossible for him to change course.

Using this image of a lighthouse keeper, Archbishop Gänswein told the four priestly candidates that they too have to be like the lighthouse and its keeper, “because priests, too, deal with the matter of keeping the course and changing the course.” Priests, he explained, are “influencing the course of the lives of men, they steer, they change.” “Yes,” he added, “your position is similar to the second-class lighthouse keeper.”

Unlike some of the powerful ships in the sea, the lighthouse itself “has no warships,” the prelate explained. So, too the priest, whose “strength does not come from external means of power.” They lead people and guide them, “by simply proclaiming the Truth that has become Incarnate in Jesus Christ,” he added.

As Gänswein stated, a priest “is not strong out of his own power,” he only has strength inasmuch as he “gives witness to the truth.” People should change their ways because they have come in contact with the “truth of the Gospels,” just as a ship has to change course when coming in contact with a lighthouse. Since God entrusted that truth to His Church, the Church may “not proclaim anything else but that truth, be it in season or out of season.”

While a priest might hear voices similar to the captain of the warship ordering the lighthouse to change course, added the German archbishop, he has to give a “simple answer,” that of the “beauty and truth of the Faith,” to advise people to go the right path to “eternal salvation.”

Archbishop Gänswein advises the new priests not to teach their “own good ideas, but, rather, that which God has given to us.” It is not about “our own cherished ideas, but about salvation,” he explained. And the “strength stems from the Sacraments.”

Thus, a priest does not need to have a “striking personality,” and he will not “make the headlines,” just like the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper, Gänswein stated, “would only make headlines if he would leave his post in order to something else.”

“Only when the lighthouse keepers leave their posts, then there is disaster, and then there come the headlines.”

“And when priests, bishops do not anymore have the courage,” the prelate continued, “to proclaim the Gospels with strength and in its entirety, but to merely present one's own words of wisdom, then there comes disaster, and then there are headlines.”

“Have we not had enough of that in recent times?”
Gänswein asked, likely referring to the current revelations of clerical sex abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church and perhaps also alluding to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI's own letter on the moral and doctrinal roots of the current abuse crisis.

This is at least what Kathpress, the news website of the Austrian bishops thought. In a April 28 report on these words, Kathpress noted: “The background for these statements might very well have been the discussions about a controversial [sic] text of Benedict XVI, in which the retired Pope in the end presented a personal accounting and analysis of the abuse scandal and its consequences for the Church.”

Kathpress also states that Heiligenkreuz, as a priestly seminary, has currently 314 students and thus “is among the largest places for priestly formation in Europe.” [The famous Benedictine abbey is located just outside Vienna, and was visited by Benedict XVI in 2010, after which it established the Benedict XVI College for Philosophical and Theological Studies.]

Making another indirect reference to a recent discussion as launched by Bishop Heiner Wilmer who claimed that “abuse of power is in the DNA of the Church,” Archbishop Gänswein further stated in his April 27 homily:

“And he who wishes to invent a new Church and who wants to tinker with the so-called DNA, is on the wrong track and abuses his spiritual authority.

"The holy task is not to draw attention to oneself, not to invent anything new in order to save the Church, but to rely on Jesus Christ Himself...(which) calls for humility, but not less courage.”

The priests, Gänswein told the priestly candidates, should have an awareness that they “are being sent,” and here they may speak “much bolder than when they speak in their own name.” They “themselves did not invent the Gospels,” he added.

At the same time – while remaining in humility – the new priests should also be aware “that you have a dignity which distinguishes you from all those who are not priests. But you did not acquire that dignity by yourselves.” The German prelate encouraged the new priests further by saying that “you may have the awareness to do something great, something that will not pass away.”

It is important, he added, to have courage and humility and “only to do that which is to be done and said in the name of Jesus Christ.” That courage and humility “stem from the loyalty to the given Word and from the faith that you have something to give,” the speaker said, “and that goes beyond anything human and which contains the Divine.”

Archbishop Gänswein reminded the congregation that a priest is not an “office holder,” who fulfills certain “functions in society.” Rather, the priest “does something that no man can do out of himself.”

The priest “gives absolution for our sins in the name of Jesus Christ and speaks over the gifts of bread and wine the words of trans-substantiation,” thus opening the hearts of mankind to Grace and God.

“Priesthood is not simply an office,” the prelate added, “but a Sacrament.” In spite of our own human weaknesses, it is important to remember the “greatness of the priesthood.”

Speaking before the ordinations in a small interview with Heiligenkreuz monastery, Archbishop Gänswein explained that such ordinations “are one of the most beautiful experiences,” in that he can “administer to young men the Sacrament of Priestly Ordination.” “It is something very emotional,” he said, “something very theological, something very personal, and also something very Catholic.”
00Monday, May 6, 2019 5:36 PM
News and commentary on church affairs the past few days have been quite dispiriting - my primary excuse other than workload in my day job for my recent inactivity - to the point that heading my list of must-post's rare two excerpts from previously unpublished homilies delivered by Cardinal Ratzinger which have now been collected into a book entitled Per Amore (For love) just published in Italy, a letter from St. Augustine to a widow answering her question on how we must pray, and a lengthy piece by Hilary White on how we contemporary Catholics today can aspire to the holiness of a Padre Pio, for example.

The Ratzinger homilies I have to translate (along with recent goodies from Socci, Tosatti and Valli], and the two other items need some work in presentation 'enhancement' (how I try to make my posts look 'uniform' in terms of underscoring what I find personally significant and distinguishing my remarks from the text I am commenting on). But this morning, I came upon this post by Donald McClarey which touches on two topical items about the Church - while bringing up yet another one of those on-the-mark prophecies made by Venerable Fulton Sheen in his lifetime. The post tangentially on the ongoing debate surrounding the 'Appeal to Bishops' to investigate Pope Francis's heretical statements and actions, but concretely on the most alarming statements made in recent days by the putatively heretical pope (and one I did mean to post about but which I did not get around to doing because it required too much fisking) in his pertinacious pursuit of his political agenda for the world (his spiritual duties as pope have long been secondary and strictly pro forma):

PopeWatch: End Times?

May 6, 2019

The Pope may or may not be technically a heretic, that is a subject for debate, but he is certainly giving plenty of fodder for those who view him as an anti-Christ:

Pope Francis made a strong new push for globalism on Thursday, calling for a supranational, legally constituted body to enforce United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and implement “climate change” policies.

Speaking to members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the Pope said: “When a supranational common good is clearly identified, there is need for a special legally constituted authority capable of facilitating its implementation.”

“Think of the great contemporary challenges of climate change, new slavery and peace,” he told members of the Pontifical Academy, who are meeting this week at the Vatican for a plenary session themed: “Nation, State, Nation-State.”

Featured speakers at the May 1-3 plenary include
- German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who spoke on: “Peace Stemming from Justice. Theological Reflections Between Men, Communities and Nations”;
- Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France, who delivered the opening talk on day two, themed: “Nation, State, Nation-State and the Doctrine of the Catholic Church”; and
- German climatologist and founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who addressed the Pontifical Academy on “The State of the World.”

In his address to the academy, the Pope said that while “the principle of subsidiarity” requires that “individual nations must be given the power to operate as far as they can reach,” nonetheless “groups of neighboring nations — as is already the case — can strengthen their cooperation by attributing the exercise of certain functions and services to intergovernmental institutions that manage their common interests.”

The thrust of the Pope’s remarks, however, focused on growing trends toward nationalism which he said threatens migrants, the “universal common good” and the power of the United Nations and other transnational bodies to implement the Sustainable Development Goal agenda.

The Church “has always exhorted men to love their own people and homeland,” he said. “At the same time,” he added, “the Church has warned persons, peoples and governments about deviations from this attachment when it is about excluding and hating others, when it becomes conflictual nationalism that builds walls, indeed even racism or anti-Semitism.”

“The Church observes with concern the re-emergence, almost everywhere in the world, of aggressive currents towards foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as that growing nationalism which neglects the common good,” Pope Francis continued...

[I am not adding my fisks for now to what the Pope as de facto UN Secretary-General said.]

Go here to read the rest.

Fulton Sheen is being considered for sainthood. Perhaps what he wrote on January 26, 1947 should be tossed into the mix:

But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that He will be so much like Himself, that he would deceive even the elect-and certainly no devil we have ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?

He will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves He will write books on the new idea of God to suit the way people live; induce faith in astrology so as to make not the will but the stars responsible for sins; he will explain Guilt away psychologically as inhibited eroticism, make men shrink in shame if their fellowmen say they are not broadminded and liberal; he will be so broadminded as to identify tolerance with indifference to right and wrong, truth and error; he will spread the lie that men will never be better until they make society better and thus have selfishness to provide fuel for the next revolution; he will foster science but only to have armament makers use one marvel of science to destroy another; he will foster more divorces under the disguise that another partner is “vital”; he will increase love for love and decrease love for person; he will invoke religion to destroy religion; he will even speak of Christ and say that he was the greatest man who ever lived; his mission he will say will be to liberate men from the servitudes of superstition and Fascism: which he will never define; he will organize children’s games, tell people who they should and should not marry and unmarry, who should bear children and who should not; he will benevolently draw chocolate bars from his pockets for the little ones and bottles of milk for the Hottentots.

He will tempt Christians with the same three temptations which he tempted Christ: The temptation to turn stones into bread as an earthly Messias will become the temptation to sell freedom for security, as bread became a political weapon, and only those who think his way may eat; The temptation to work a miracle by recklessly throwing Himself from a steeple will become a plea to desert the lofty pinnacles of truth where faith and reason reign, for those lower depths where the masses live on slogans and propaganda. He wants no proclamation of immutable principles from the lofty heights of a Church, but mass organization through propaganda where only a common man directs the idiosyncracies of common men. Opinions not truths, commentators not teachers, Gallup polls not principles, nature not grace-and to these golden calves will men toss themselves from their Christ.

PopeWatch does not consider Pope Francis an anti-Christ, merely a very bad Pope. But if Pope Francis were the anti-Christ, in what ways would he have acted differently in this kidney stone of a Pontificate? [Oh Mr McClarey, surely you could have found a stronger, more graphic and more appropriate metaphor than 'kidney stone' - which hurts and is truly troubling - for this pontificate.]

Speaking of the Venerable Sheen, one prays his stalled beatification cause can move forward again, now that a New York appeals court has ruled that his remains should be moved to his hometown of Peoria, Illinois, as requested by his only living relative, from the crypt in St. Patrick's Cathedral where he was buried since he served the last 28 years of his life in New York City and New York state. The Archdiocese of New York has now lost its legal bid three times in a row to keep Sheen's remains in New York. I personally do not see the point in the archdiocese's obstinacy. It is not as if St. Patrick's would lose any tourist traffic if the future saint's remains were no longer in the Church (how many of those who visit now are even aware he is buried there or have any knowledge at all, even, of Fulton Sheen, who was a media superstar decades before there was any Internet?). Maybe because St. Patrick's does not now harbor the remains of any saint, though Archbishop Terence Cooke has been declared a Servant of God, the first step towards canonization.

Civil appeals court in New York dismisses
legal challenge from NY Archdiocese, and
says Bishop Sheen’s body can go to Peoria

Albany, N.Y., May 6, 2019 (CNA) - The New York Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal of an earlier judgement allowing Venerable Fulton Sheen’s remains to be moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria, in accordance with his family’s wishes.

The May 2 dismissal of the Archdiocese of New York’s appeal could pave the way for the Illinois-born archbishop’s beatification.

“After almost three years of litigation, the New York Archdiocese’ legal arguments have now been rejected at all three levels of the New York state court system,” the Diocese of Peoria said May 6.

“Although the New York Archdiocese may technically have legal options remaining, they are contrary to the wishes of Archbishop Sheen and his family, and would serve no genuine purpose except to delay the eventual transfer of Archbishop Sheen’s remains,” it added.

Archbishop Sheen served as host of the “Catholic Hour” radio show and the television show “Life is Worth Living.” He authored many books, with proceeds supporting foreign missions. He headed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at one point in his life, and continued to be a leading figure among Catholics in the U.S. until his death.

The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002 after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop.

However, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended the beatification cause in September 2014 on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

The New York archdiocese, however, has said that Vatican officials have said the Peoria diocese can pursue Sheen’s canonization regardless of whether his body is at rest there.

In March 2019, the New York appeals court unanimously ruled that Sheen’s remains be transferred to Peoria.

Sheen was born in Illinois in 1895, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria at the age of 24. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, and he remained there until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979.

Sheen’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after Sheen died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s niece and closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and she consented.

However, Cunningham has since said that Sheen would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria.

An initial court ruling had sided with Cunningham, but a state appeals court overturned that ruling, saying it had failed to give sufficient attention to a sworn statement from a colleague of Archbishop Sheen, Monsignor Hilary C. Franco, a witness for the New York archdiocese.

Msgr. Franco had said that Sheen told him he wanted to be buried in New York and that Cardinal Cooke had offered him a space in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The appeals court ordered “a full exploration” of the archbishop’s desires.

In June 2018, the Superior Court of New York ruled in favor of Cunningham’s request that Sheen’s body be moved to Peoria. The Archdiocese of New York then announced that the Trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral were appealing the decision.

Now, a New York appellate court has again sided with Cunningham, ruling 5-0 that Peoria may have the body. The court found that Sheen lived his life, with heaven and sainthood as his ultimate goals, which should be considered in the present dispute.

The Diocese of Peoria voiced hope that the beatification efforts for Sheen may now move forward, with Sheen’s body in Peoria. In a March statement, the diocese said that the courts have had ample opportunity to consider the arguments raised by New York, but have ultimately found them unavailing.

Both the Diocese of Peoria and the Archdiocese of New York have repeatedly voiced prayers that the beatification cause may move forward in a timely manner.

Archbishop Sheen’s intercession is credited with the miraculous recovery of a pronounced stillborn American baby from the Peoria area. In June 2014, a panel of theologians that advises the Congregation for the Causes of Saints ruled that the baby’s recovery was miraculous – a key step necessary before someone is beatified.

The baby, later named James Fulton Engstrom, was born in September 2010 showing no signs of life. As medical professionals tried to revive him, his parents prayed for his recovery through the intercession of Fulton Sheen.

Although the baby showed no pulse for an hour after his birth, his heart started beating again and he has not had any serious medical problem afterwards.

A Dec. 2016 article about the saints and possible saints of New York is informative, if somewhat outdated, because Solanus Casey for instance, has since been beatified.

00Tuesday, May 7, 2019 9:44 AM

A new 'version' of the 1965 Vatican II photograph in which Fulton Sheen and Joseph Ratzinger appear in the same photo showing the Counil's Commission on Mission at their meeting in Nemi near Castel Gandolfo to finalize their draft of the Council's document on mission The photograph features in the news item we are looking back on from July 9, 2012... [Unfortunately, the person who cropped the photo to show only Sheen and Ratzinger (and an unavoidable third person who can only be taken out of the picture by airbrushing!) committed the same mistake as the one who cropped the photo shown in the original post at the top of the post, who cropped Mons. Sheen inappropriately]

Benedict XVI in Nemi:
'My most beautiful memory of Vatican-II'

Translated from

July 9, 2012

At 11:30 this morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI left the Pontifical Villas in Castel Gandolfo by car to visit the Centro Ad Gentes of the Divine Word missionaries in nearby Nemi.

The place, then called the International Center of the Society for the Divine Word (SVD), hosted the work of the Vatican-II Commission on Mission in 1965, in which then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger took part as a theological consultant to the Council.

The Pope was greeted in Nemi by the newly-elected SVD Superior-General Fr. Heinz Kulüke, the outgoing Superior General Fr. Antonio Pernia, and the Procurator-General, Fr. Giancarlo Girardi.

At the main chapel of the Center, the Holy Father was welcomed by 150 participants in the order's annual General Chapter meeting and by the community of the diocesan Curia of Rome.

After adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Fr. Kulüke formally welcomed the Holy Father, who went on to deliver brief remarks extemporaneously.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's remarks:

I am truly grateful for the chance to revisit, after 47 years, this center in Nemi, of which I have the most beautiful memories, perhaps the most beautiful of Vatican-II.

[At the time], I lived in the center of Rome, in the Collegio di Santa Maria dell’Anima, with all the noises of the city. That, too, was beautiful. But to be here, amid greenery, to have this breath of Nature and the freshness of the air, is in itself beautiful.

And then, there was the company of so many great theologians, with an assignment as important and beautiful as to prepare the Council decree on mission.

I remember, first of all, the Superior-General at the time, Fr. Schütte, who had suffered in China, was sentenced and then expelled. He was full of missionary dynamism, of the need do to give a new thrust to the missionary spirit.

And there was me, a theologian of no importance, rather young, who had been invited to take part for some reason. But it was a great gift for me.

There was Fulton Sheen, who fascinated us in the evenings with his discourses; and Father Congar and the great missiologists from Louvain. It was truly an experience of spiritual enrichment for me, a great gift.

The decree that we worked on did not involve great controversies. But there was one that I did not really understand, between the school of Louvain and the school of Muenster: What was the principal objective of mission? Was it implantatio Ecclesiae or announcing the Gospel?

But everything converged into one dynamic: the need to bring forth the light of the Word of God, the light of God's love, to the world, and to give the world new joy by this announcement.

Thus was born in those days a good and beautiful decree, which was accepted almost unanimously by the Council Fathers, and which I also consider a very good complement to Lumen gentium, because it expresses a Trinitarian ecclesiology, which starts off from the classic idea of bonum diffusivum sui - goodness has the inherent necessity to communicate itself, to give itself.

It cannot remain by itself - goodness is essentially communication. And this we already see in the Trinitarian mystery, within God himself, which is disseminated in the story of salvation and our need to give to others any goodness we have received.

It is with these memories that I think of those days in Nemi which are, for me, an essential part of my Council experience.

I am happy to see that your society is flourishing - the Father General spoke of more than 6.000 members in so many countries. Clearly, missionary dynamism is alive, and it lives as long as there is joy in the Gospel, if we stay with the experience of goodness that comes from God, which should be communicated and wants to be communicated. Thank you for this dynamism.

I wish every blessing and great inspiration from the Lord for your Chapter meeting. May the same inspiring powers of the Holy Spirit which was with us almost visibly in those days [of the Council] be present anew among you and help pave the way forward for your society as well as for the mission ad gentes in the coming years.

I thank you all. God bless you. Pray for me, as I pray for you. Thank you.

Right, the SVD fathers show the Pope some of the photo albums and the guest register from the 1965 work session he attended. (B/W photos from tomorrow's OR).

With an original photo, VATICAN INSIDER was able to do a much better blow-up from the 1965 group photo than I could from the OR photolift - too bad their photo editor appears not to have recognized the Venerable Fulton Sheen (foreground) and cropped his face in half:

The only cardinal in the group is the commission chairman, Armenian Cardinal Gregory Agagianian (1895-1971), who was Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the time (he had turned out to be the closest competitor to Angelo Roncalli in the 1958 Conclave). Fr. Congar is one of the four Dominicans in the photo - I think, fourth from left in the third row.

Joseph Ratzinger revisits
a place associated with
his work in Vatican-II

by Alessandro Speciale
Translated from the Italian service of

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is visiting the international house of the Society for the Divine Word (SVD)in Nemi today, a town not far from Castel Gandolfo, which like is, is also perched above a lake in the Alban Hills south of Rome.

Since 2010, the SVD has named its meeting and retreat center in Nemi Centro Ad Gentes. Not by chance.

The center, in 1965, hosted the Vatican-II Commission on Missions which was drafting the Council decree on missions, Ad Gentes. Working with the Commission were theological consultants including Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, then 38, who returns today as Pope.

The decree Ad Gentes – ass SVD Fr. Stephen Bevans writes in a 2009 book Evangelization and Religious Freedom - had an 'unusually turbulent' genesis. A first version, presented to the Council at the end of 1964 and supported by Paul VI, was retracted without being brought to a vote because of opposition, such as that expressed by Fr. Ratzinger at the time.

The then Superior-General of the SVD (an missionary order generally referred to as the Verbites), Fr. Johannes Schütte, was charged with forming a commission to draft a new proposal restating the missionary task of the Church, incorporating suggestions presented by the Council Fathers. Among the experts named to work with the commission were the French Dominican theologian Yves Congar and Joseph Ratzinger.

The commission first met in Nemi in January 1965, at which preliminary meeting Fr. Ratzinger was not present. He participated in the plenary session from March 29 to April 3, when the final draft of the decree Ad Gentes was drawn up.

When Fr. Schütte presented the draft decree to the plenary of the Council in December 1965, it was approved with 2394 votes for and only 5 against/ (This was the best voting record for any of the 16 Council documents).

The SVD center was renovated in 2010, at which time the Verbites invited the Pope to revisit them. They renewed the invitation this year on the occasion of the order's chapter-general. In the words of the SVD procurator-general, "to remember and celebrate the work" of the bishops and consultants who had prepared the decree "on retreat in this center".

In his June 9 letter to the Pope, Fr. Girardi wrote, "We would be very grateful if the Pope could;d come and bless the Center, while at the same time, the participants in the Chapter-General will have the joy of meeting the Holy Father and share some moments of filial veneration and new impetus to continue our missionary service in various local churches around the world where we are present".

Welcoming him to the center will be the newly-elected Superior General, German Fr. Heinz Kulüke. The SVD, founded in 1895 by he German priest Arnold Janssen, currently has more than 6,000 priests around the world. [In my childhood, our parish priest was a Belgian SVD who was also the chaplain of the Catholic school I attended. The Philippines has one of the largest SVD presences in the world, with three SVD seminaries. I've always found it a bit strange that the Philippines has been considered missionary country all along - perhaps because we are a Third World country - even if we were Christianized in the 16th century and more than 80% of the population is Roman Catholic.]

The following is abridged from the original because I have omitted material already said in the preceding article....

That spring of 1965 -
and Congar's diary notes

by Gianni Valente
Adapted and translated from the Italian service of

"What a place! Everything is very fine: marble and decorative wood...", Dominican Fr. Yves Congar wrote about the SVD center in his Vatican-II diary published posthumously only a few years ago.

The excellent hospitality offered by the SVD when Congar was part of the Vatican II commission which met in Nemi twice to draft the conciliar decree Ad Gentes was noted with ascetic embarrassment by Congar: "A table that is a bit too abundant. Not just that there isn't anything Lenten about it [the second session took place during Lent], but there was a true excess of everything. In the evenings, meals were taken with wine. Obviously, this all helps create an atmosphere of cordiality, and that is why Fr. Schütte does it, but at what expense!"

The OR published the group photo of the Ad Gentes commission seen above, with the signatures of the participants on the Center's register, which unfortunately does not reproduce very well. Joseph Ratzinger's is the last signature, and since it does not enlarge well at all, I used a similar signature from a 1962 document for comparison (a letter written in September 1962 by Fr. Ratzinger to Cardinal Frings reporting on what he had done by way of preimianry work for their pwrticipation in Vatican-II*.

The Pope's visit will doubtless bring back memories of the brainstorming sessions on the great themes concerning the life of the Church in which he took part as a theological consultant during the years 1962-1965. [He first came to Vatican II as a consultant for the Archbishop of Cologne, Josef Frings, who immediately got him appointed as an official theological expert (peritus) for the Council itself.]

Cardinal Frings, with arguments put together by Fr. Ratzinger, had been one of the leaders in the successful move to withdraw the draft decree on missions prepared by the Vatican-II Preparatory Commission.

Although Fr. Ratzinger was not present at the first meeting of the commission on the missions decree in Nemi, an important text in the working agenda was his paper on the theological foundation of Church missions, «Considerationes quoad fundamentum theologicum missionis Ecclesiae»".

The Latin paper, recently published in the magazine of the Vatican-II study center of the Pontifical Lateran University, is dedicated to the doctrinal principles of mission, and offers relevant points of reflection even today, in view of the coming Synodal Assembly on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith.

In 1965, Fr. Ratzinger wrote authoritatively that mission "is not a battle to capture other people in order to incorporate them into our own group". He sees mission not as self-actuated by the Church, but that Christ himself through the Church, draws to him and the Father the hearts of men. "No human or religious effort in themselves can save men - all salvation comes from Christ".

The work session in Nemi confirmed the affinity and similar outlook between the Bavarian priest and the French theologian Congar, twenty years his senior. They both rejected the narrow idea of mission which was limited to the traditional idea of bringing the Gospel to pagans. They thought that this reduced everything to technical and jurisdictional problems regarding the formation of new dioceses in mission lands.

The two theologians believed in a unitary perception of mission and its theological sources and then applying it to concrete contexts and circumstances.

Congar, in his Council diary, famously gave way to his feelings even about those with whom he worked (and whom he named openly). "Fr. X is truly an ass", or "Mons. Y says nothing and seems very bored", or "Mons. Z almost does not follow [the discussion] and is of no help at all".

He makes one exception: "Fortunately, there is Ratzinger. He is reasonable, modest, dispassionate, and very helpful", he says in his notes for March 31, 1965.

[My addendum: The second of the three great French theologians who served as periti at Vatican-II, Henri de Lubac, also made observations in his Vatican-II diaries about those he encountered. He said of Joseph Raztinger that 'his powerful intellect is matched by his peacefulness and affability', and of Hans Kueng, that he had 'juvenile audacity' and was 'incendiary, superficial and polemical' in his speech.

All three French periti were made cardinals eventually: Yves Congar (1904-1995) in 1994, Henri de Lubac, SJ (1896-1991) in 1983, and Jean Danielou, SJ (1905-1974) in 1969. Paul VI would also have made de Lubac cardinal in 1969, but he declined at the time because it was required then that a cardinal must be made bishop first. John Paul II waived the requirement for him in 1983. The only other Vatican II peritus to be made cardinal was Joseph Ratzinger in 1977, whom Paul VI elevated at age 50 because of his theological work, well before his mentors De Lubac and Congar. The three French theologians were recognized but at a much older age
. I checked and saw that Cardinals Walter Kasper and Kurt Lehmann were both made cardinals in 2001, at age 68 and 65, respectively, but although both are theologians, they became cardinals by virtue of the positions they held at the time- Kasper as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Lehmann as chairman of the German bishops' conference.]

2019 P.S. 1) I am surprised, in hindsight, that Mons. Lefebvre was not in the V-2 Commission on Mission, since he was a missionary in Africa from 1932-1962, ending up as Vicar Apostolic of Dakar, Senegal, and the next year as the Apostolic Delegate for West Africa.
2) How many participants in Vatican II - Council Fathers and their periti or theological consultants - have been sainted so far, or even had the process started? None, I think. I do not count John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II, because of the ideological considerations that have 'tarnished' their canonizations [And I think it is just awful that John Paul II, the only one of the three who had a public cult for holiness ('Santo subito', remember), ended up being 'paired' for canonization with John XXIII, for whom the reigning pope waived the requirement of a canonization miracle just so he could be sainted at the same time as JP-II. I do not think John XXIII could have looked down with favor upon the exception made in his case - as if he could not be expected to bring about a second miracle! About Paul VI's canonization, the less said about it, the better.

It surely cannot be right to cheapen the canonization process by giving special consideration to popes and accelerating their sainthood iter. A general degradation, if not outright travesty, of the church's canonization process that has now led to Bergoglio beatifying his Satanellis as martyrs for dying in a car accident, or something equally absurd.

00Wednesday, May 8, 2019 7:03 PM

The reactions to the Open Letter to bishops have been most surprising. Of course, types like Ivereigh, Faggioli and the whole gang at the Fishwrap would attack it - they're Pavlov dogs reacting reflexively, i.e., without even having to think, because it is second nature for Bergogliacs (or fanatics of any other personality cult) to leap and snarl, all bark and no bite, in defense of the lord and master.

I would have to add, at this point, self-proclaimed 'autodidact' apologeticist and unregenerate Bergogliac Jimmy Akin, whose critique of the Open Letter and its signatories prompted an unusual response from the usually equanimous Fr George Rutler which many commentators have called 'ad hominem'. Akin's bullet-listed 'refutation' of the Open Letter has received a plethora of reactions across the board from Bergoglio critics agreeing with him. Which is just another manifestation of the weird turn suddenly taken in the matter of criticizing Bergoglio with reasonable arguments, not just as a Pavlov reflex. I stopped reading Akin even during Benedict XVI's Pontificate, so I have no first-hand knowledge of what he wrote about the Open Letter, but if Fr. Rutler finds fault with it (and him), I do not need to, nor have any desire to do so.

But for persons like Philip Lawler, Fr. Thomas Weinandy, Joseph Shaw and others like them who have been admirably and rightly critical about this pope, to now jump on the authors of the Open Letter to say "Yeah, fine, but you have not proved that he is heretical!" is an inexplicable copout.

[And what about the failure of the Vatican official media to even acknowledge the Open Letter by at least reporting on it? Why would they flay themselves with it, one might ask. To even report on it - and similar appeals to the reigning pope - would be to go on record, in the Opinions' section of the Vatican's media archives, with fairly widespread questions on Bergoglio's fitness to be pope at all, and why would they do that at all?]

The Open Letter was not meant to be a juridical charge sheet, nor do the authors imply that Bergoglio is to be brought before any formal tribunal and made to answer the charges. They want the bishops of the world to consider their presentation and if they agree with some, if not all, of what is presented, to do something about it, something that they as bishops and successors to the apostles, can do about and towards the Successor of Peter, but which laymen cannot do with the same authority.

My addendum, deriving from the tone of the letter, is to say that the entire 'business' of calling a pope's attention to his heterodoxies from Christianity is that it is being done in the spirit of what Jesus advises us in the Gospels:

“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector". (Mt 18, 15-17)

As the annotation in the USCCB Bible says of this last clause, "Just as the observant Jew avoided the company of Gentiles and tax collectors, so must the congregation of Christian disciples separate itself from the arrogantly sinful member who refuses to repent even when convicted of his sin by the whole church. Such a one is to be set outside the fellowship of the community."

We obviously are far from the point - and I doubt we will ever get to it - when the whole church convicts Bergoglio of any sin, but every step before that as Jesus advised has been done and is being done. 'Tell the Church' is what the Open Letter is urging bishops to do.

The Open Letter is a well-documented compendium of the most significant acts and statements of this pope that would have - at any other time in the Church until this woefully maledictive post-Vatican-II era that has culminated in Jorge Bergoglo - raised genuine scandal among all Catholic faithful. As it has with Lawler, Weinandy et al in their previous writings. Why then are they suddenly squeamish and unnecessarily 'punctilious' about the 'technical' and 'canonical' definitions of heresy, when to the commonsense mind, heresy simply is as heresy does?

Personally, of course, I have avoided the heresy trap by simply considering all of Bergoglio's un-Catholic and anti-Catholic misdeeds not just heretical but sheer apostasy - defined by Merriam-Webster as "an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith", or in its more restrictive Christian definition, "the formal rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian".

Nothing may have been 'formal' at all at this point, in his heresies or apostasy, but what has Jorge Bergoglio been doing but apostasy in his practice of Bergoglianism and his successful efforts so far to have his personal opinions supplant many essential truths of Christianity institutionalized in the 'Catholic Church' which has become, to all intents and purposes, the church of Bergoglio, not at all the Church of Christ.]

I don't care what anybody else thinks, but as far as I am concerned, Bergoglio is no longer Christian. He is first and foremost a Bergoglian, proponent and exponent of that one world religion once preached, unsuccessfully, by Hans Kueng to replace existing faiths, including Christianity. Its secular ideals are peace and prosperity, world brotherhood and humanitarianism - the very ideals professed by Soloviev's Anti-Christ and Benson's Lord of the World, and not incidentally, by Freemasonry. But his unworthiness as pope does not at all affect the way I try to live my life as a Catholic, which does not depend on what any pope says or does, only on the faith, instilled in me from childhood, in the Word of God embodied in Jesus Christ.

Maike Hickson has compiled a preliminary but by no means exhaustive compendium of the many times concerned Catholic faithful - cardinals, bishops, priests and laity alike - have tried to 'reach' Bergoglio about his corpus of misdeeds, which only keeps growing daily and has become a metastatic cancer that has invaded and is spreading unchecked throughout what once was the Church of Christ.

Whatever one may choose to call Bergoglio's un-Catholic, anti-Catholic, and even anti-Christian, anti-Christ statements and actions, the point is that in doing so, he has been trampling on Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium handed to him as pope to be transmitted faithfully to his flock.

Even Lawler, Weinandy and the other 'shrinking violet' Bergoglio critics have told the world repeatedly in no uncertain terms where and how Bergoglio has been and continues to be wrong, but are now outraged that other Catholics would call him heretical. whatever they may call what they have been denouncing so vigorously about Bergoglio, they do make it abundantly clear they think he is wrong and working against the interests of the Church and the faithful. Why quibble now when more forthright critics decide to call him out for doing wrong?

Before Pope Francis was accused of heresy,
Catholics reached out to him numerous times

[But he has consistently ignored this outreach
as unworthy of even his least attention]

by Maike Hickson

May 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The April 30 Open Letter to Bishops has caused much discussion among Catholic circles. The authors of the letter have appealed to the bishops of the world, for the sake of the salvation of souls, “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.”

Some of the heresies they name flow out of the Pope's post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, on marriage and the family, and which opened the path to many episcopal guidelines now allowing “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion contrary to perennial Church teaching.

Some Catholic commentators have argued against this Open Letter with the claim that Pope Francis deserves the benefit of the doubt with regard to some of the papal quotations as they are presented by the Open Letter. As Father Thomas Petri, O.P., for example, stated:

I’m disappointed that a group of theologians, some of whom I admire, chose to express themselves by contributing to a letter calling the Pope a heretic. Their citations of him can be all interpreted in a way that gives the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt, which we owe him.

In a similar manner, other commentators have asked whether the authors have ever first contacted the Pope privately, or whether they first went to their own bishops with their objections. For example, the Vice-President for the Center of Legal Studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), Stefano Gennarini stated on twitter:

I only want to know one thing. Did any of the folks on this list even try to express their concerns with His Holiness privately, through their bishops, or even publicly, before inciting others to schism [sic].

These are objections that should be faced and discussed. Since we are in the middle of an unprecedented situation in the history of the Catholic Church, reasonable people can come to different conclusions here. It must be remembered that during the time of the 14th-century anti-popes there were saints on both sides.

Leila Marie Lawler, wife of Catholic commentator and book author Phil Lawler, commented on this ongoing discussion on Twitter, saying: “Worst take: 'Give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt' – as if criticism is personal and not about objective issues, the defense of which he has ultimate responsibility. Instead, protect those 'little ones' exposed to error and its corrosions,” adding in her follow-up Tweet: “The 'benefit of the doubt' defense has been used from Day One of this pontificate. Where is charity for the little ones?” [So the Lawlers are in disaccord over the rightness or wrongness of the Open Letter. But in two tweets, Leila Lawler has indirectly demolished the 'technically not heretic' argument presented by her husband and likeminded critics of Bergoglio. Who cares if he is technically heretic or not - what about the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world led astray by Bergoglianism? It is in their behalf that the bishops of the world have the duty at admonish this pope. ]

In light of this piercing comment, it is worthwhile bringing to mind just how many Catholics, as children of God, have called out to the Pope for clarifications, corrections and help, and how many learned Catholics – cardinals, bishops, priests and laymen alike – have issued, during the last six years, pleas to Pope Francis himself.

This list of initiatives taken under Pope Franciss' pontificate was started on Twitter by this author, and then substantially enriched by others, such as Leila Lawler and Julia Meloni. The list is now very long, and it will prove how many chances Pope Francis has received to respond to accusations of his allegedly heterodox teachings.

In March of 2013, Pope Francis was elected. In February of 2014, he asked Cardinal Walter Kasper to give a speech to the College of Cardinals, in which he presented his idea to give Holy Communion to some “remarried” divorcees. This speech was hotly discussed at the consistory, with perhaps about 85% of the attending cardinals opposing Kasper's progressive ideas, according to a report by Marco Tosatti.

This event – together with Pope Francis' announcement of a two-fold Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family in 2014 and 2015 – inspired the first public attempts at preserving the Church's traditional teaching.

What follows is a non-exhaustive list of 20 direct attempts by clergy and laity to reach Pope Francis for clarification. Following this is a list of indirect attempts.

Direct attempts by clergy and laity to reach Pope Francis
- In October of 2014, a large U.S. Catholic parish – St. John the Baptist (Front Royal, Virginia) issued an Affirmation of Faith Concerning Marriage and the Family that gained more than 1,000 signatures from parishioners and was sent to Pope Francis.

- On 16 April 2015, the Catholic newspaper The Wanderer published an Open Letter to Pope Francis, in which the signatories asked Pope Francis that he “would celebrate the conclusion of the Synod of the Family with a clear and strong reaffirmation of the Church’s timeless teachings on the indissolubility of marriage, the nuptial nature and definition of marriage and conjugal love, and the virtue of chastity, as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

- After the first troubling synod, in December of 2014, the author of this article herself made her own small attempt to defend the Church's teaching on marriage by writing an Open Letter to Pope Francis, arguing on the basis of her own experience as a child of divorce. This letter was sent to Pope Francis, but was never responded to. It was also sent to the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, but was not responded to, either.

- On 24 April, very shortly after the publication of the papal document, Bishop Athanasius Schneider published a charitable and clear critique of Amoris Laetitia, speaking about the confusion and “contradictory interpretations even among the episcopate” flowing from this papal text, and calling upon the Church's hierarchy and the laity to beg the Pope for a clarification and an official interpretation of Amoris Laetitia in line with the constant teaching of the Church.

- On July 13, 2016, in a spirit of love, humility, and faithfulness, 16 international life and family advocates asked Pope Francis in a powerful "plea to the Pope" to unambiguously speak the truth of the Catholic faith, to end doctrinal confusion, to restore clarity, and to be the Holy Father that Catholics need.

- In July of 2016, 45 clergy and scholars published their letter to the cardinals of the Catholic Church, in which they “request that the Cardinals and Patriarchs petition the Holy Father to condemn the errors listed in the document in a definitive and final manner, and to authoritatively state that Amoris Laetitia does not require any of them to be believed or considered as possibly true.” The letter contains a very detailed list of potentially heretical or heterodox statements that could be drawn out of Amoris Laetitia.

- On 3 August 2016, Professor Josef Seifert published a detailed critique of Amoris Laetitia, listing several errors in the document that could be potentially heretical, and asking the Pope to “revoke them himself.”

- Seifert was later, in August of 2017, to issue a second text on Amoris Laetitia, with a question addressed “to Pope Francis and to all Catholic cardinals, bishops, philosophers and theologians. It deals with a dubium about a purely logical consequence of an affirmation in Amoris Laetitia, and ends with a plea to Pope Francis to retract at least one affirmation of AL.” That question pertains to AL's claim “that we can know with ‘a certain moral security’ that God himself asks us to continue to commit intrinsically wrong acts, such as adultery or active homosexuality.”

- On 14 November 2016, four cardinals published a letter to Pope Francis that they had sent to him privately on 19 September and that remained unanswered, which is very unusual. The letter contained the now-famous five dubia concerning Amoris Laetitia, for example as to whether those who live in a second “marriage” after a divorce may now receive the Sacraments and as to whether there still exist intrinsically evil acts, that is to say acts that are under all conditions to be regarded as evil. The cardinals requested a papal audience, but were never received. The four dubia cardinals are Cardinals Joachim Meisner, Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, and Walter Brandmüller. (Two of the four dubia cardinals have since died.)

- Subsequently, 15 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops individually expressed their support for the dubia, among them Cardinals Joseph Zen and Willem Eijk, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Archbishop Luigi Negri.

- At the end of 2016, two scholars, Professor John Finnis and Professor Germain Grisez, publish an Open Letter to Pope Francis, asking him “to condemn eight positions against the Catholic faith that are being supported, or likely will be, by the misuse of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.” They also called upon the bishops to join this request.

- On 23 September 2017, more than a year after the publication of Amoris Laetitia, 62 clergy and scholars issued a “Filial Correction” of Pope Francis, in which they stated: “we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.”

- On 1 November 2017, Father Thomas Weinandy published a letter that he had sent to Pope Francis in July of that year. In that letter, Weinandy says that Francis's pontificate is marked by “chronic confusion,” and he warns the Pope that a “seemingly intentional lack of clarity [of teaching] risks sinning against the Holy Spirit.”

- On 2 January 2018, three Kazakh bishops – among them Bishop Schneider – issued a Profession of the immutable truths about sacramental marriage in light of Amoris Laetitia, and especially in light of the many episcopal pastoral guidelines permitting Communion for the “remarried” divorcees. These prelates reaffirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage and the family. Subsequently, one cardinal and six bishops – among them Cardinal Janis Pujats and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò signed this statement.

- Also in January of 2018, Cardinal Willem Eijk asked Pope Francis publicly to clarify questions about Amoris Laetitia and to clear the confusion stemming from the document. Eijk proposed that the Pope write an additional document in which doubts should be removed.

- On 7 May 2018, Cardinal Eijk once more raised his voice and asked Pope Francis to clarify questions arising from the discussion among German bishops to give Holy Communion to Protestant spouses of Catholics. He observed that “the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.”

- Pope Francis, over the course of several years, made statements against the death penalty. He finally decided, in August of 2018, to change the Catholic Church's Catechism, declaring the death penalty to be immoral in all cases. Two weeks later, a group of 75 prominent clergy and scholars issued a public letter to cardinals asking them to urge Pope Francis to recant and rescind this change in the Catechism.

- In August of 2018. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published a testimony, in which he claims, among many other things, that Pope Francis was aware of the moral corruption of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of the fact that Pope Benedict XVI had placed certain restrictions upon him, but that he chose to ignore them. The Archbishop called upon the Pope to resign. When Pope Francis was asked about this document, he answered, saying that he would later respond to it (“When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak.”), but then he never made any response.

- In August of 2018, 47,000 Catholic women worldwide called upon Pope Francis to answer the question as to whether Archbishop Viganò's claim is true. The U.S. Website Church Militant – who up to then had been careful not to criticize Pope Francis for his teaching on marriage and the family – called upon Pope Francis to resign, in light of his complicity with McCarrick's sins.

- In 2019, Pope Francis signed the controversial Abu Dhabi Statement which says that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.” Both Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Professor Josef Seifert strongly opposed this formulation and called upon Pope Francis to rescind it. Bishop Schneider, on 1 March, was able to receive from the Pope in a private conversation a sort of correction that this formulation really meant the “permissive will of God,” yet both he and Professor Seifert maintain that a public and definite correction is needed.

Indirect attempts by clergy and laity to reach Pope Francis
- Cardinal Gerhard Müller – then the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – published a book The Hope of the Family, in which he maintains the indissolubility of marriage, adding that “Not even an ecumenical council can change the doctrine of the Church.”

- The Voice of the Family, an international coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations was founded ahead of the first family synod in 2014, establishing a website and organizing conferences in Rome in order to protect marriage and family from perceived threats.

- Five Cardinals – Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Gerhard Müller, Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, and Velasio De Paolis – write, together with other authors such as Professor John Rist (one of the signatories of the Open Letter to Bishops), a book in defense of the Sacrament of Marriage, called Remaining in the Truth of Christ. [This was published before the first 'family synod' but Synod Secretary-General Lorenzo Baldisseri confiscated the copies of the book sent to the Synod Fathers c/o the Secretariat so the synod participants did not get them.]

- At the first Synod of Bishops on the Family, in October of 2014, there was a group of bishops strongly opposing to introduce heterodox statements concerning homosexuality and “remarried” divorcees into the synod document; subsequently, neither the Kasper proposal nor a change of the Church's teaching on homosexuality was included in the final document.

- In 2016, before the publication of Amoris Laetitia, tens of thousands of Catholics signed a Filial Appeal, a Declaration of Fidelity to the Church's unchangeable teaching on marriage. This appeal had also been signed by Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Caffarra, Cardinal Pujats, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

- Also before the second family synod, Father José Granados – at the time Vice-president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome – published a book in defense of the indissolubility of marriage.

- In May of 2015, before the second Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family, nearly 1,000 priests issued a statement asking the synod to affirm the Church's teaching on marriage and the family.

- In August of 2015, Ignatius Press published the Eleven Cardinals Book, called Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint. The authors – among them Cardinals Paul Josef Cordes, Dominik Duka, O.P, and John Onaiyekan, but also Robert Sarah and Carlo Caffarra – once more defend the Church's teaching on marriage and publish proposals for a good pastoral care for marriages.

- In September of 2015, just before the second synod, eleven African prelates – among them Cardinal Robert Sarah and Cardinal Barthélemy Adoukonou – published a book, Christ's New Homeland: Africa, in which they analyzed and sharply criticized the essential preparatory Vatican documents for the upcoming synod, once more defending the Church's teaching on marriage and the family.

-In February of 2019, just before the beginning of the 21-24 Abuse Summit in Rome, the two remaining dubia cardinals – Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmüller – wrote an Open Letter to the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops encouraging them “to raise your voice to safeguard and proclaim the integrity of the doctrine of the Church” and also to address the protracted problem of homosexual networks in the Catholic Church.

- At the same time, the Swiss lay organization Pro Ecclesia and LifeSiteNews launched a petition to “Stop homosexual networks in the Church” that aimed at tightening the Church's law in order both clearly to punish the priests who violate the Sixth Commandment by homosexual acts and those who abuse minors and vulnerable adults such as seminarians.

- Also in 2019, Cardinal Gerhard Müller published his Manifesto of Faith, in which he restated the main tenets of the Catholic Faith and Morals as they have always been taught and as they can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He did so with the expressed reference to the many clergy and laymen who have asked him for such a doctrinal clarification in the middle of a grave confusion in the Church.

- In April of 2019, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published a letter on the sex abuse crisis, in which he points to the moral and doctrinal laxity that has entered the Catholic Church in the wake of the cultural revolution of the 1960s. He thereby tried to help to point to deeper explanations of the current sex abuse crisis than the mere references to “abuse of power and spiritual abuse,” as well as “clericalism, as they had been presented at the February 2019 Sex Abuse Summit in Rome.

- Throughout these years, there have been many individuals who have raised their voices. Among the first papal critics were the now-deceased Mario Palmaro and Alessandro Gnocchi (“We do not like this Pope") and Professor Roberto de Mattei, who accompanied this papacy with numerous articles and commentaries. Then there were also Father Brian Harrison [who has inexplicably joined the "Now, now, let's not rush to judgment" critics by saying you cannot judge anyone until you hear what he has to say in his defense, never mind that this someone has consistently chosen to play dead and dumb to the specific protests made against him] and the internationally renowned Catholic philosopher Professor Robert Spaemann who is now deceased.

- Later on, several books were written which describe in a critical manner Pope Francis's leadership and doctrinally confusing actions and words. Among them are The Political Pope by George Neumayr, The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire, The Lost Shepherd by Phil Lawler (who subsequently also authored The Smoke of Satan dealing with the sex abuse crisis), and José Antonio Ureta’s book Pope Francis’s Paradigm Shift: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church? — An Assessment of his Five-year Pontificate .

Pope Francis has not responded
This written record of some of the major charitable and urgent initiatives taken by prelates, priests, academics, and earnest laymen is by far not exhaustive, but it sheds light on the many beautiful manifestations of a loyal witness to the Faith that were meant to be pleas both to Pope Francis to amend his ways, as well as to cardinals and bishops to help him decisively act in this regard.

However, Pope Francis has not responded in any visible and clear way – nor met with those who have called upon him (not even with the four DUBIA cardinals) – to all of these initiatives, except for the recent meeting with Bishop Schneider which, nonetheless, was finally without any clear and unequivocal results.

Despite these pleas, Pope Francis appears to be continuing his course of obstinately revolutionizing the Catholic Church at the cost of doctrinal orthodoxy and her moral clarity. [Which is what matters ultimately, not whether Bergoglio can be technically defined a heretic or heretical. Forget the labels - just look at his actions and their appalling consequences already!

Peter Kwasniewski, one of the original signatories of the Open Letter, has now written twice to answer its critics. This is the more recent one...

When creeping 'normalcy bias'
protects a chaotic pope

by Peter Kwasniewski

May 8, 2019

Reactions to the Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of holding seven heretical propositions — a letter that now bears the signatures of 81 clergy, religious, and scholars — have ranged from strong support (Zmirak, Coulombe, Verrecchio) to sympathetic critiques (Lawler, Feser, Weinandy, Shaw) to undisguised hostility (Akin, Armstrong, Condon, most media outlets).

The authors in the “sympathetic critiques” category make some good points worthy of further consideration. I am all the more inclined to listen to them because they agree, right off, that Pope Francis is a colossal problem, that his pontificate has left a wreckage of errors and scandals, and that we are in full meltdown mode.

In other words, they have eyes to see and ears to hear, so their disagreements with the Open Letter have more to do with the nature of the arguments to be made, the forum in which to make them, and the ramifications for future steps. Such critics are not in denial. Our disagreements are like those among the Allied Powers as to the best strategy for resisting the Axis. [The difference is far more serious than that, though! Carrying on with the WWII analogy, Lawler et al would be worse than Chamberlain the appeaser if they had said of Hitler before the war broke out, "There, there, he may be clearly determined to 'cleanse' the world of Jews, Christians, homosexuals and other deplorables [to use a Hilary word], and impose his will on the world by war if need be, but he does not meet the DSM criteria for dementia nor for sociopath behavior".]

They complain, incidentally, that we have made the work of orthodox Catholics and especially bishops harder by supercharging the atmosphere [This specific complaint came from Fr Weinandy, to whom one might ask, "How can the atmosphere be more supercharged as it already is??? The atmosphere is so supercharged and supersaturated with intolerable Bergoglianism that it has become a deadening weight on the true Church, and an 'impotent-izing' asphyxia on even otherwise-reasonable critics like Fr Weinandy]. But the irony is that we have already helped them to be seen as moderates in the conversation, when what they are saying would have sounded extreme a year ago.

“We don’t hold that the pope is a formal heretic. We just hold that he has introduced massive confusion, has led bishops and episcopal conferences widely astray, refuses to do his duty as vicar of Christ by upholding traditional doctrine, fails to respond to reasonable petitions, and threatens to drive the Church into schism. That’s all.” [One sees clearly here the full absurdity of the Lawler-Weinandy-et-al position.]

Meanwhile, one of the signatories, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, has entered the ring with a formidable defense of the Open Letter. Pierantoni brings clarity without embellishment. I highly recommend this interview as a substantive response to our critics.

However, what has really surprised me in the past week — though perhaps it should not have — is the extent of the insensibility that has descended upon the so-called “conservatives” in the mainstream. Much criticism I have read serves only to confirm the gravity of the situation the letter addresses.

The general lack of alarm at the seven manifestly heretical propositions, or the contortionist glosses of papal texts to exonerate their author from said heresies, in spite of all words and deeds converging upon them, proves at least this much: Francis’s battle of theological attrition has been successful beyond the St. Gallen Mafia’s wildest dreams and is poised for new conquests. [And the line saiyng in effect "There, there, he is not a heretic - however wrong he may be", is the strawman argument that epitomizes the 'general lack of alarm' even among those who now advance it vis-a-vis the Open Letter, although they have been among the most forceful and cogent critics of this pontificate.]

Just a few short years ago, everyone who considered himself a conservative was up in arms about Amoris Laetitia and skeptical of the elaborate rabbinical apparatus that attempted to square it with the Church’s perennial teaching. Now it’s as if they’ve given up; they shrug their shoulders and say, “I’m sure it’ll all be fine someday. It’ll come out in the wash. Put credentialed theologians and canonists on the case, and everything Francis says and does can be justified.” We strain the canonical gnats and swallow the doctrinal camel.

It seems that many simply do not wish to confront the weighty and ever mounting evidence of the pope’s errors and reprehensible actions, of which the letter provided only a sample sufficient to make the case. This is not to say that Francis altogether lacks true words and admirable actions. It would be nearly impossible for someone to say false things or do bad things all the time. That is beside the point.

It is enough for a pope to assert a doctrinal error only once or twice in a pontifical document, or to perform really bad acts (or omissions) of governance a few times, in order to merit rebuke from the College of Cardinals or the body of bishops, sharers in the same apostolic ministry. With Francis, however, there is a lengthy catalogue, with no sign of coming to an end.
- If this does not galvanize the conservatives into concerted action, one has to wonder — what would?
- Do they have a line in the sand? Or has papal loyalism dethroned faith and neutered reason?

Things that made everyone anxious just a few years ago are now taken in stride: now we all just live in a post-Bergoglian Catholic Church, where you can make exceptions about formerly exceptionless moral norms, give Communion to those living in adultery, and say God wills many religions as He wills two sexes, or — a point not addressed in the Open Letter — dismiss the witness of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium (trifecta!) on the death penalty. The frogs have grown accustomed to floating in ever hotter water and have decided to call it a spa.

It may therefore be concluded that the pope’s strategy of dismantling the Catholic Faith plank by plank in slow motion is working.
- He ignored the dubia on Amoris Laetitia because he knew he could not answer them in an orthodox sense without undermining his entire double-synod Kasperian project.
- He has ignored over forty attempts to reach out to him, whether by the mighty or by the lowly, by small groups of reputable scholars or by petitions with tens of thousands of signatures. The Open Letter simply draws the final conclusions.

I admire and appreciate the work being done by our assiduous Catholic apologists, who beaver away, day after day, to refute Protestant Fundamentalists, militant atheists, homosexual and feminist agitators, and other such opponents. But to think the current crisis of Pope Francis can be contained by means of a few pat “Catholic Answers” is like trying to extinguish the flames of Notre Dame with a squirt gun.
- Frankly, it is a world-class scandal for a pope even to seem to be lending support to only one heretical proposition, let alone showing textual and behavioral adherence to (at least) seven such propositions.
- It is, moreover, no defense of the pope to say his statements are “ambiguous” and can be taken several different ways.

Even if the sum total of evidence did not adequately resolve our doubts, such vagueness about grave matters would be no less reprehensible in a pope than outright error. The pope is given to the Church to clarify Christ’s teaching, not to obscure it; to instruct in the truth, not to make room for fashionable theories that leave the faithful confused as to what they should believe and how they should live.

Let us not forget that Pope St. Leo II condemned his predecessor Pope Honorius for negligence in upholding the orthodox faith. A teacher wrote to me: "If my students don’t understand something I’ve taught, if they have a concern about the content (or their parents do), or think I’m contradicting myself, I stop and explain it clearly, and I apologize for causing any confusion. I’ve never read Francis say anything like that, ever. There’s an old story of a man who never lied. A stranger to the village came to meet him and question him. He realized he never lied because all he did was talk in circles."

This is why people — accurately — call the Argentine pontiff a Peronist. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth so that the progressives will get the encouragement they need to carry on, while the ultramontanists can get a comforting reassurance to go back to sleep.

The Open Letter has stirred conservatives to a frenzy because they can’t bear the thought of a heretic on the throne of Peter. Well, as parents say to children, “guess again.”

The third Council of Constantinople judged Honorius after his death to have “confirmed the wicked dogmas” of Monothelitism and anathematized him. Outside infallible ex cathedra pronouncements, it is possible for a pope to deviate from the Faith. It can happen. And Francis runs circles around Honorius. Francis is an unprecedented trial for the Church of God.

A friend of mine wrote me these sobering words, with which I entirely agree:

Paragraph 675 of the Catechism speaks of a final trial of the Church. We are entering some sort of arrest, scourging, mocking, and crucifixion of the Church that is going to be very difficult for people who love the Church to understand.

Just as Christ’s disciples had their faith shaken — “this can’t be happening if he really is the Messiah” — so it is happening now for the sons and daughters of the Church: “this can’t be happening if the Church really is infallible and indefectible and the gates of hell will not prevail.”

We are headed for a vast purification that will leave much of the Catholic landscape utterly unrecognizable, washing away the petrified filth of vice and error and restoring her to her lost beauty. But it is going to be very difficult to make sense of it as it happens, and, as Our Lord ominously warns, many will lose their faith.

In this modern-day Passion of the Church of Christ — replete with temptations all the more dangerous for their more than human subtlety, cloaked in garments of sophistry and pushed by figures of authority — let us hold fast to the Catholic Faith and pray more fervently than ever. In this way, Our Lord’s haunting question “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8) will be able to be answered: Yes.

As usual, Mundabor scoffs impatiently at all the quibbling about heresy and gets straight to the point in down-to-earth language:

Open your eyes, for heaven’s sake.

A heretical Pope is staring at you, his face full of hate for us and the Church, with his middle finger raised against you.

This is no time for quibbling.

The quibbling about heresy and
the decadence of 'sensus Catholicus'

May 8, 2019

I would like to say two words about the controversy raised by a Mr Akin’s answer to the letter inviting the Catholic Bishops of the world to declare Pope Francis a heretic and depose him, unless he recants from his many heresies.

The point that Mr Akin makes is that Pope Francis cannot really be called heretical, because the tenets of the faith he so manifestly denies are (merely!) infallible doctrines as opposed to dogmatic truths. ...My point is, building on his reflection, a different one.

No other generation of Catholics (at least before V II) would have even dreamed of having such discussions when deciding what the appropriate course of action is. Nor would they have cared of what this or that canonical text says. They weren’t blind. Therefore, they could look at reality when reality was staring them in the face.

When Pope Marcellinus sacrificed on the altar of Roman gods, they did not wonder what canon law states should exactly happen in that exact case. They did not quibble about the fact that Marcellinus had not denied any formal dogma, “merely” contravened a commandment. They did not try to walk around, above, below and through reality trying to find a way allowing them not to call reality for what it is.

They had faith. They acted on it.

I have stated many times here, and repeat today, that I do not care a straw for the technical, canon law definition of what a heresy is, because this is not what my salvation depends upon. Heretic is who heretic does, and in the common parlance and common sense (and in reality, which is so much broader than the quibbles of theologians) Francis is a heretic, because he goes head on against the truths of the Church.

On this, I think we all agree, Mr Akin included. It follows that the letter to the Bishops makes perfect sense, because it is a perfectly realistic reaction to a reality plainly in front of us. The absurdity of the legalistic denial that Francis a heretic is easily demonstrated.

Let us imagine that Francis would promulgate a modification of the canonical rules on heresy, stating that a Pope can only be proclaimed a formal heretic if he solemnly proclaims his heresy dressed in a Muslim garb, on a Friday, from the top of a Minaret, at least 100 feet high. Let us, further, imagine that Francis would proclaim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, and he did so solemnly, dressed in Muslim garb, from a minaret, 90 feet high. Would then Mr Akin, and all the other FrancisQuibblers, say that Francis is, therefore, not a heretic according to this or any other definition?

Reality comes first. A heretical Pope is staring you in the face, with a middle finger raised against you. If you don’t see this you are part of the problem.

The first duty of the bishops is towards Christ and His Church. Even if the instruments of canon law did not allow (which AKA Catholic shows not to be the case) to act in case of manifest heresy, the obligation to act would exist anyway. The Church has always acted according to the principle that where the legal instruments at the disposal of the clergy are not sufficient to do what is necessary to do for the good of the Church, ecclesia supplet [A canon law principle according to which "the Church provides, out of her treasury of grace, the proper remedy for the defect of the minister's actions", as we have seen in the case of the SSPX or, more to the point, in the case of Marcellinus. [But not if the 'ecclesia' in question, as it is today, the church of Bergoglio and not the Church of Christ.]

That such discussions take place in the first place is a grave indication of the degradation of the sensus catholicus all over the West.

We will be remembered as the people who allowed a clearly heretical Pope to be manifestly heretic day in and day out, for years, whilst discussing his intentions, his translators, his moods, the atmospheric conditions inside aeroplanes, the cultural differences with Argentina, his grasp of English, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, and his digestion.

Open your eyes, for heaven’s sake.

A heretical Pope is staring at you, his face full of hate for us and the Church, with his middle finger raised against you.

This is no time for quibbling.

Fr. Kirk, however, offers this healthy dose of realism:

Papal accountability

May 2, 2019

Learned canonists will be disputing the matter for some time; but the question will remain. Can the Pope be admonished?

The primary question resolves itself into two subsidiaries:
- Do mechanisms exist for holding the Pope to account if his deliberate and considered teaching contradicts perennial Christian doctrine?
- And is it likely that the present Pope would pay such an admonition any heed or attention?
The answer to both questions seems to be: No.

There is much learned talk about the condemnation of Honorius. But no-one can surely suppose that the peculiar circumstances of that case will be repeated. It is no precedent for anything.

The Pope is the fount of order and of law.
- As such he is Louis XIV in a mitre. (“L’eglise, c’est moi.“)
- He hires and fires with impunity.
- Moreover, Pope Francis is almost impossible to pin down. His own statements are ambiguously gnomic.
- He leaves it to his supporters and cronies to be specific.
- And when he strays dangerously close to clarity there are others who are ready to provide him with an escape route.

Consider the recent claim that “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings”. The explanation of that claim, which Francis subsequently used to Bishop Schneider, was not his own. It was suggested by well-wishers, who were trying – against the odds – to think the best of him.
- Francis’s principal weapon of self-defence is silence.
- His belligerent refusal to acknowledge challenges and accusations dares others even to mention them.
- And he relies, self-confidently, on his popularity with the secular media. The stir which the publication of the dubia initially caused is long passed. By simply ignoring them, Bergoglio has gelded [castrated]both Burke and Vigano.

He is effectively unassailable. [True, in practical terms. and he knows it and squeezes every iota of advantage he can possibly get from that 'unassailability' But whereas his occupation of the Chair of Peter may be unassailable, the erroneous positions he takes are not.

He relies on the fact that for 2012 years before him, the vast majority of the faithful (namely, the ‘little ones’ whose faith Cardinal Ratzinger always insisted that the Church must always sustain and support, nourish and uphold) have always said ‘Amen’ to anything that ‘the pope says…’, because for them, “right or wrong, the pope is the pope” who ought to be the supreme word in the Church, with the implicit proviso, of course, that his word must not contradict or confuse the Word of God. But who are we, the 'little people', to judge?

Nonetheless, this does not relieve the individual Catholic from exercising his right and duty under Canon 212.3 to protest – vehemently and vociferously, constantly and continually, clearly and consistently, and without quibbling – any and all violations by this pope of what was handed down to him in Scripture, dogma, Tradition and preceding Magisterium to be transmitted faithfully to his flock.

00Thursday, May 9, 2019 4:04 PM

Here is the LifeSite interview with Prof Pierantoni, one of the authors and original signatories of the Open Letter. I was unable to accommodate it in the post box above because f it length.

Scholar defends letter accusing Pope of heresy:
Church is facing ‘most serious crisis’ in history

Interview by Diane Montagna

ROME, May 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The recent open letter to all Catholic bishops accusing Pope Francis of heresy and urging the world’s episcopate to investigate these charges has provoked admiration and opposition among leading Catholics and drawn considerable attention in the secular media.

Notable responses to the letter have come from Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S., and Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Capuchin.

The letter has also left many Catholics with questions:
- Are the signatories accusing Pope Francis of being a formal heretic?
- Are they contravening canon law?
- What will the effect be now that the word “heresy” has been used openly in reference to Pope Francis?
- And why did they not first seek to address their concerns with him privately, before taking this historic step?

LifeSite spoke with Professor Claudio Pierantoni, one of the lay scholars who helped to draft the open letter. The Rome-born professor teaches Medieval Philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chile (Santiago). He has two PhDs: in the History of Christianity and in Philosophy.

In this wide-ranging interview, Pierantoni addresses these questions, responds to critics of the open letter, and explains why he believes the Church is now passing through “the most serious crisis not only since the Protestant Reformation, but in all of her history.”

Professor Pierantoni, what motivated you to sign the open letter accusing Pope Francis of the crime of heresy and calling the Bishops of the Catholic Church to investigate the charges?
First, a duty in conscience as a Catholic. As the Letter notes, this act follows the publication of a document on Amoris Laetitia (AL), signed by 45 scholars in 2016 that highlighted the serious ambiguity of many passages which, in their most obvious and natural sense, seemed heretical.

Then, in 2017, with a larger group of 250 scholars, we published the Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis (Filial Correction about the Propagation of Heresies) when it was clear from various statements made by the Pope that the ambiguous passages of AL were certainly to be understood in a heretical sense.

Finally, during the last period, the Pope’s will to impose a certain line of revolutionary change in sexual and matrimonial ethics has been widely confirmed, especially through the appointment of prelates favoring such a revolution to important places of the government in the Church.

Therefore, we have now reached the point of affirming the heresy which is appropriate to call “obstinate” or “pertinacious.” Hence the need to have recourse to the bishops to remedy this tragic situation for the faith: the situation of a pope who falls into heresy.

Were you also involved in the drafting of the document?
Yes, I was a member of the discussion group from which the final version (laboriously) emerged. The letter was initially written by a single author but was then widely discussed in a small group for about four months, with numerous amendments made.

The summary of the open letter reads: “The present Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church goes a stage further [than the Filial Correction] in claiming that Pope Francis is guilty of the crime of heresy.” Many Catholics might find this language new or strange. In what sense is heresy a “crime”? And how can the Pope be guilty of heresy given the Lord’s promise to always be with His Church?
A delict (or crime) is an action that undermines the rights of others. The Catholic faithful have the right to have bishops publicly guard and teach the correct doctrine of the Church without ambiguity, change or novelty.

The concept of Tradition, of the depositum fidei [deposit of faith], is very precise in the Catholic Church: it is not a generic love of the past or respect for the wisdom of one’s forefathers, but a much more specific commitment. Just as in a deposit agreement, the depositary is required to return to the depositor exactly what he received, neither more nor less, so in the Church a bishop must deliver intact to the faithful what he has received as a deposit from the Apostles, who have received it directly from Christ.
- He has the further duty of ensuring that no one else alters or contaminates it with strange doctrines. This duty belongs most especially to the bishop of Rome, to whom Christ himself gave the primacy in this action of feeding and tending his flock.
- The words of Jesus Christ to Peter reported by the beloved disciple: “Feed my sheep,” and repeated three times (John 21:15-19), are inscribed in enormous gold letters along the base of the inner frame of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. For the Pope to fail in this duty is therefore not only “a” crime but the most serious of crimes, because it endangers the salvation of souls. It empties of meaning his very essence as Shepherd, and that is why in doing so he renounces his role as such. The bishops who recognize this fact do not “depose” the Pope, because the Pope cannot be deposed: they only take note of the fact that the Pope has spontaneously renounced his office. In juridical language, we say that the act of the bishops would have a purely declarative nature.

What heresies is Pope Francis accused of in the letter? Which to your mind is the most serious?
There are seven statements contained in the letter: the first six are distilled from passages of AL and the famous dispute over Communion for divorced persons who are living together in a new union more uxorio.

Two roads can be taken to affirm that it is licit to give Communion to this category of people.
- The first would be to deny the indissolubility of marriage. This road was tried in several studies that preceded and accompanied the two synods on the Family (2014-2015), but it was effectively refuted and this strategy was abandoned.
- The other road is to state that, while marriage remains indissoluble, there are cases in which sexual relations outside a legitimate marriage would still be lawful.

To sum up, therefore, I would say that the main heresy resides precisely in the doctrine — today called “situation ethics” — which denies that there are acts that by their very nature are intrinsically evil, and therefore cannot in any case be considered lawful. Once this false doctrine is accepted, not only is the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage at risk but the whole of Christian ethics — and not only it, but the whole of natural ethics.

In fact, on the basis of this doctrine we could say, for example, that abortion is indeed a crime, but in some cases it is lawful; that the murder of an innocent person is wrong, but not in some cases; that torture is immoral, but in particular circumstances it could be lawful; that active homosexual relationships are sinful, but not in certain cases, and so on. It is therefore a real “atomic bomb,” which entirely destroys ethics, as Prof. Josef Seifert fittingly called it in a brief but, it must be said, explosive article.

It is important to underline that the battle against this error, i.e. “situation ethics,” was one of the absolute priorities of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. To it he dedicated one of his most important encyclicals, Veritatis splendor. This is why many thousands of the most serious and committed Catholics — and not just a “tiny fringe of extremists” or “ultra-conservatives,” as some would have us believe — have felt betrayed by this new direction inaugurated by Bergoglio, which threatens to frustrate precisely one of the most important legacies of the saintly Polish Pope.

That is why Benedict XVI, in the Notes he published just a few weeks ago, also strongly emphasized that this was one of the chief errors of moral theology in the last sixty years. It is certainly a providential coincidence that these Notes came out at almost the same time as our letter.

Many people might wonder what authority a group of clergy and scholars has to accuse the Pope — the Vicar of Christ — of heresy. How do you respond?
We do not claim any particular authority, except the theological competence necessary to carry out this study to highlight a factual situation which undermines a fundamental right of all Catholic faithful. The Code of Canon Law attributes to all the faithful, in proportion to their competence, the right to speak in so far as they deem it necessary to do so in order to point out a difficulty or problem in the Church. (Can. 212 §3 reads: “According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”)

Nor, as someone has said (e.g. Fr. Thomas Petri OP), do we run into the prohibition, also recorded in the Code of Canon Law, of “mak[ing] recourse against an act of the Roman Pontiff to an ecumenical council or the college of bishops” (can. 1372).

In fact, here it is not a matter of making recourse to the bishops to overrule an act of the Pontiff in the governance of the Church as if they were a higher authority, which is what is forbidden by the canon, but of the very serious situation, in which one must take note of the fact that the Pontiff himself has fallen into heresy, which is expressly indicated by canonical tradition as one of the three causes of loss of the papal office.

As we explain in the appendix on the loss of the papal office, it is not a matter of deposing the pope, but only of declaring that he has spontaneously renounced the papacy through his adherence to heresy. Much less do we contravene Canon 1373, which punishes those who “publicly incite animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See […] because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey […]”. On the contrary we are upholding the dignity of the Apostolic See by desiring that its occupant be free of heresy.

Are the signatories of the open letter accusing Pope Francis of being a formal heretic? If so, why did you not first present the charges to him privately, giving him a chance to respond (even if a response is unlikely). Isn’t it a part of due process to do so? The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does so with any theologian suspected of heresy, so why shouldn’t the Pope be given a chance to explain himself?
First of all, I would like to distinguish between the accusation of heresy, and the formal declaration of someone being a heretic by the competent authority: The accusation of being a heretic is one thing, the sentence that formally declares him such is another, and that it is not up to us to issue, but precisely to the bishops to whom we have addressed the open letter.

Now, “formal heresy”, as distinguished from “material heresy”, means that the person upholding it is conscious that it is a proposition opposed to a teaching of the Catholic faith, and does not uphold it out of mere ignorance of the faith.

However, this must still be distinguished from the situation of a person who has already been admonished by the competent authority about the incompatibility of their doctrine with the Catholic faith: this has not, of course, yet happened with the Pope, as no one with authority has still formally admonished him: so, in this sense his position is not that of “formal heresy”, and such an admonition is precisely what we are asking of the bishops.

We are presenting these accusations after a great number of warnings have already been presented privately to the Pope, many more than would have been sufficient and fair.

In fact, this was already done in the theological censures presented to him by a number of us in 2016 (first privately); then with the DUBIA (also previously presented in private), then with the Correctio filialis (2017), which was also put directly into his hands a full month before it was published.

But this is only a part of the story. Pope Francis was already warned of these errors by many bishops and cardinals and even lay scholars during the Synods on the family; then, after the drafting of AL, by the many corrections that came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which were all rejected. Then by a series of articles, books and open letters by important authors.

Faced with all these warnings, questions, books, articles, letters and corrections, the Pope had all the time and material to reflect and eventually to respond. But instead, he clearly and consciously chose the path of ignoring them altogether

In an answer given during a meeting with the Jesuits last year here in Chile, he stated verbatim regarding these critics that he “does not read them” because he does not find in them “spiritual goodness,” and limits himself to “praying for them”. It remains to be explained how he knows that the critics do not have spiritual goodness, since he does not read them.

However, for our part we thank him for his prayers, which we reciprocate. But we are sadly forced to record that it is therefore a matter of a voluntary and stubborn closure against listening to these criticisms, which fully justifies our accusation of “fully conscious and pertinacious” heresy, although in the limited sense that can be applied to a person who has not yet been formally admonished, as I explained before.

So, as I have already said, this does not mean at all that we claim the authority necessary to issue a sentence and thus formally declare the heresy of any person, including the Pope either; indeed, although it is already obvious in itself, we have taken care to expressly state the contrary (cf. pg. 15).

So it isn’t at all true, as for example Father Brian Harrison said in his recent article (among other inaccuracies), that we “jump straight to the conclusion that he’s a formal heretic, and urge the world’s bishops to treat him as such.” This is very inaccurate.

What we are doing is simply presenting an accusation, accompanied by the evidence that we consider necessary and sufficient: it will then be up to the competent authority, in this case the bishops, to examine the evidence, admonish the Pope in an appropriate manner, give him the possibility of a retraction, and only after that, to issue the sentence.

And we are not presenting these accusations lightly at all, but, as I have already said, we are doing so after having waited several years in which a long series of prior notices, letters and corrections have already been presented.

In any case, whether the judgment actually takes place during the Pope’s lifetime or not, accusations based on a conspicuous series of evidence and testimonies is yet worthy of consideration by any serious person who cares about the good of the Church, beginning with the chief interested party.

What effect do you think it will have now that the word “heresy” has been openly used in reference to Pope Francis? What effect did you anticipate it would have before you decided to sign the open letter?
Well, we had foreseen that quite a few people, even among people who are sympathetic to our views and are, so to say, on our side in this wide controversy, would find this accusation overstated. So, many have argued that this was counterproductive, because it makes our own cause more vulnerable to attack. Many good theologians still argue that Francis’s texts, although very problematic, cannot be considered heresy because they are too ambiguous.

I challenge this claim: in fact, I maintain that Francis’s texts, in particular those contained in AL chapter VIII, are tortuous and meandering, but their aim is clear: he wanted to permit irregularly married couples to receive Communion in certain cases. And he officially confirmed his intention with his response to the Argentinian bishops, which he ordered to be included in the AAS (Acta Apostolicae Sedis). This is a historical fact and moreover, one that is in perfect consonance with too many elements in his record to be reasonably called into question.

Now, in order to find a justification for this step, he was bound to affirm a contradiction to Catholic teaching: either to the doctrine of indissolubility of marriage, or to the doctrine that some actions are always and in all cases prohibited, because they are intrinsically evil (intrinsece mala). Since he rejected the first path, he was bound to go down the other. It was a logical necessity, and so he ran headlong into a fatal contradiction with the doctrine solemnly confirmed by Veritatis Splendor.

This is a position expressed with more than sufficient clarity in AL, as many theologians have already shown in their analyses of the document. The first six of our propositions are necessarily related to this error. (On the seventh we have already commented.) So, it is wholly incorrect to affirm that our case is “overstated.” It is not a rational refutation of our position (which has not been given) but only a psychological fear of the terrible consequences of admitting papal heresy that prevents many good theologians [and non-theologian commentators] from facing the hard truth.

The signatories allege a link between Pope Francis’s rejection of Catholic teaching and the favor he has shown to bishops and other clergy who have either been guilty of sexual sins and crimes or covered them up. Can you give the most striking example?
Probably the most disturbing case is that of Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga. In the letter it is noted, among other things, that: “Maradiaga refused to investigate complaints made by 48 out of 180 seminarians about homosexual misbehavior at the Honduras seminary, and attacked the complainants. Pope Francis named Maradiaga as a member and coordinator of the council of nine cardinals that he set up in 2013 to advise him in the government of the universal church.” In this single case, the decidedly criminal inclination of a person whom the Pope insists on keeping among his closest collaborators is clear.

But, even more than a single person, what’s disturbing is the number of prelates who, having concealed, or even personally committed, serious crimes, have been promoted by the Pope to positions of the highest responsibility in the Church. As Archbishop Viganò aptly said, only one of these scandalous promotions would suffice to justify the Pope’s resignation.

However, in our letter, we use them mainly as evidence that the Pope doesn’t seem to consider these shortcomings particularly serious, and only proceeds to necessary censures when he is obliged to do so by circumstances, especially by pressure from civil authorities.

Is the Church in the worst crisis since the Reformation?
I believe that the Church is going through the most serious crisis not only since the Protestant Reformation, but in all of her history. One only need observe that it is the first time in history that a pope is accused of heresy in such a massive way, about a whole series of doctrines as important as these.

As I have already noted in previous talks and interviews, comparisons with the examples of the past, such as that of Pope Liberius, Honorius, or John XXII, don’t stand up at all.
- In the case of Liberius, the issue was a formula of Trinitarian faith that the Pope was forced to sign by the pro-Arian imperial party, at a time when the Trinitarian formula itself was not yet definitively established, and therefore there were still many terminological uncertainties.
- In the case of Honorius, it was a question of a single doctrinal formula on the problem of the two wills of Christ, a problem that was debated at the time and therefore also suffered a margin of terminological uncertainty.
- In the case of John XXII, it was a question of the denial of the doctrine of the immediate beatific vision of the blessed after death: an important doctrine to be sure, but not as vital and central as the doctrines that we are discussing here.

In the case of Francis, one has the clear impression that he wants to relativize the whole of Catholic doctrine, especially on the issues of marriage and family ethics, as we said, but also on the very important issue of the relationship of Catholicism with other religions, as we state in our seventh proposition.
- This came to light in the recent Abu Dhabi document, but perhaps even more dramatically, in the continuous affirmation that Catholics should not “proselytize,” in the sense that they should not worry in any way about convincing or converting non-Catholics to the true faith. It is a position that, in practice, is very close to religious indifferentism.

Many committed Catholics and even outside observers have the impression that the Pope — while certainly affirming some Catholic doctrines — deep down isn’t really Catholic. It’s interesting that Reuters, at the end of its article on our letter, in speaking about this subject, states: “Conservatives say the Roman Catholic Church is the only true one and that members are called to convert others to it.” Evidently Reuters doesn’t classify Francis as a “conservative,” so it agrees with us in saying that the Pope rejects this doctrine.

On this topic, too, Father Harrison unjustly accuses us of ignoring the verbal clarification of his statement that the Pope gave in a conversation with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and in a public audience. In fact, in a special note of our letter (note 4), which we ask Fr. Harrison to read, we make reference to these informal clarifications, and we explain why we consider them to be totally insufficient.

I would add to the reasons presented there, that it should already be self-evident that merely verbal clarifications can never be sufficient to eliminate the meaning of a statement present in an official document signed by the Pope that is clearly incompatible with the Catholic faith.

Would the signatories consider themselves “in communion with the Pope” or are you taking a sedevacantist position?
The answer can be deduced from the previous one. Since we have no authority to formally declare the Pope’s heresy, of course we cannot declare his loss of office. Besides, we have explicitly excluded the sedevacantist position in the appendix about the loss of papal office.

The open letter was published on the traditional feast of St. Catherine of Siena, and the feast of Pius V in the new calendar. What symbolic value do you see in this?
It was an intentional choice to publish the open letter on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. In fact, the letter was supposed to be published on April 29, then there was a brief delay. But the release still fell on the traditional liturgical feast of the saint, who lived in a time of deep crisis for the Church, as well as schism. A humble virgin, she was not afraid to speak up in order to tell the truth about the urgent reforms that the Church needed.

We trust in her intercession to exit from today’s crisis, which in my opinion is even more serious and profound. We also trust in the intercession of the Pope St. Pius V, who also was able to defend the Catholic Church, and the whole of Christian civilization, against the terrible assault from the Turks.

You’ve issued the open letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. What happens next?
It’s difficult to say what’s going to happen. I personally believe that the Catholic episcopate in general is still far from becoming truly aware of the gravity of the situation. After all, to become aware is also very uncomfortable and even dangerous: it’s much more convenient to take a sleeping pill and continue to sleep, dreaming that everything is just fine.

Therefore, I believe that this is one step in what is still a long journey. There is still a good deal of work to be done to raise awareness among the hierarchy, so that it can counter the heretical drift which, even if it had already been going on for a long time in the Church, has been accentuated in alarming proportions in the last six years.

I believe it is imperative that the few cardinals and bishops who have woken up to the gravity of the situation, such as Burke, Brandmüller, Eijk, Müller, Sarah, Woelki, Schneider, Chaput, Laun, Viganò, and others, could and should begin to form a network of relationships and communication across the various countries and continents, to begin to raise awareness among the portion of the episcopate that is still healthy and would be ready to work to encourage resistance to the heretical drift that is spreading.

This healthy, orthodox part of the episcopate certainly exists, and it’s not the tiny minority that some would try to make us believe it is, by taking advantage of the fact that it is less noisy and less scheming, let us say less astute than the heretical faction. The children of darkness are more cunning than the children of light. In short, this orthodox portion of the episcopate needs to come together, to get to know and communicate with one another, to be animated and organized in order to work effectively for a true reform of the Church.

Is there anything you wish to add?
To wrap up, I would like to respond to those critics who now, as with the previous documents we have published, punctually repeat the usual script according to which we are “ultra-conservatives,” or a “tiny fringe of extremists,” as Prof. Massimo Faggioli put it.

I’ll leave aside (because it’s so blatantly obvious to any reader) the fact that it’s very convenient to slap a nice pre-packaged label on us instead of taking the trouble to refute us, which is a bit more difficult.

I would like to underline two things, which perhaps escape our critics.
- The first is that they too naively let themselves be fooled by a trivial error of perspective: they are convinced that we are few, because few are those who dare to come out with a signature (although not so few, as the number of signatures has already more than tripled in a few days, today reaching 81).

But a look at history is enough to recall that it has always been this way: in the year 360, when it was politically correct to be pro-Arian, how many bishops dared to refuse to sign the pro-Arian formula? Perhaps a dozen. Those who didn’t sign it lost their position. Just like now.

- Their second and even more serious and fatal mistake is to confuse quantity with quality. Let’s go ahead and admit that we are a minority (even if much less sparse than they would have us believe): I say that we are in good company.

For example, we are in the company of Josef Seifert, one of the philosophers closest to Pope John Paul II in the fight against situation ethics, who in more recent interventions has expressed himself in ways very similar to our document, and for this reason has been harshly punished; he has now signed the petition in favor of our letter, and has publicly stated he agrees with us on the bulk of our letter; Robert Spaemann, who called Amoris Laetitia “chaos elevated to a system”; Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner, the authors of the dubia; Cardinal Müller, the man chosen by Benedict XVI to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who recently stated that a bishop who changes the discipline of the Church to grant the Holy Eucharist to persons not in full communion with the Church “is a heretic and a schismatic”; with Cardinal Sarah, who already in 2014 said that dividing doctrine from the discipline of the Eucharist “is a dangerous schizophrenic disease”; finally, with the Pope emeritus himself, who in his recently published Notes, as I have already said, explained how situation ethics has been the most serious error in moral theology in the last 60 years. And the list could go on.

In short, with a “small minority” of this caliber, we feel we are in good company.

In conclusion, I would like to recall that, beyond the impact on the episcopate — for which we hope but will certainly still require a wait — we are convinced that the clear denunciation of the errors being spread today is a strong reason for hope for many thousands of Catholic faithful who are deeply concerned about a situation that many describe not only as heresy and schism, but even apostasy, who hope and pray in silence that Christ will come soon to redeem his Church.

This document seeks to give voice to so many who have no voice, to send the message that, even when heresy and corruption seem to prevail, the Holy Spirit always raises up an immune response, antibodies, often even in humble people who do not occupy positions of power, but who, even against human predictions, preserve the faith and commit themselves to fighting the good fight to which we are all called.

Fr Hunwicke, who is one of the original 19 signatories of the Open Letter, has so far refrained from even referring to it in his blog, but he has reprised one of his favorite talking points about this pope:

Common sense

May 8,2019

Here is an old post from 2014...

I think it would be for the best if the Holy Father henceforth confined his public utterances to formal texts which had been passed by the appropriate and responsible Roman Dicasteries. If he wishes to publish some views qua private theologian, he should, as Professor Ratzinger did, indicate this formally and explicitly.

The present situation simply cannot be allowed to continue.

I now add ... in 2019 ... the following:
The august and necessary Teaching Authority of the Roman Pontiff does not adhere to him as an individual. It applies to him as the Bishop of St Peter's See, Rome.

That is why Blessed John Henry Newman argues that what some popes said or signed after being beaten up in Byzantine prisons does not create a problem for the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. Such a pope was not speaking as Bishop of Rome surrounded by the Council of his Presbyters or his Synod of Suburbicarian and visiting Bishops.

I argued, and still argue, that a Pope, if he wishes to act as pope, cannot act as a whimsical individual. He lost that privilege the moment he accepted election.

I think I was right in the apprehensions I felt early in this pontificate. [Oooh, what an understatement!]

00Thursday, May 9, 2019 6:01 PM

Asia Bibi finds refuge in Canada but
Muslim retribution could continue to threaten her

by Martin Barillas

OTTAWA, May 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death in Pakistan for violating Muslim law, has arrived in Canada in the hope of starting a new life.

After spending years on death row in her native Pakistan, Asia Bibi (aka Asia Noreen) may spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder despite finding refuge in Canada. Muslims have sworn to kill her despite being acquitted of charges of violating Pakistan’s laws barring blasphemy.

She was sentenced to death in 2010 after being accused of blasphemy under Pakistani religious law following a dispute with two Muslim women in her village over a cup of water. According to Bibi’s accusers, Muslim sharia law forbids Christians from using the same eating and drinking utensils used by Muslims.

Even after her sentence was overturned, Bibi essentially remained imprisoned for months in government safe houses due to the death threats against her.

Bibi told her persecutor, "I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?" For these remarks, Bibi was beaten by her Muslim neighbors who had pursued her home. Police arrived to arrest her and take her into custody, pending trial.

Once convicted, she faced possible hanging, which is the prescribed death for blasphemers in Pakistan. While no one has been hung for blasphemy yet in modern Pakistan, many of the accused have died at the hands of enraged Muslim mobs.

Bibi’s case soon garnered the attention of the world, gaining support from Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, as well as various Christian groups around the world. When they called for Bibi’s release, Salman Taseer, a Pakistani Muslim politician, and Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic who was serving as Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, were murdered on orders of Muslim militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended best wishes to Bibi, saying in a statement that she has been "safely reunited with her family." International attention forced the hand of Pakistani authorities to secure Bibi’s departure.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in November 2018 that negotiations were afoot to bring Bibi to Canada. Confirming that Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, had begged for asylum in Canada, United Kingdom, or the United States, Trudeau said Pakistan was "very dangerous" for him and his family. Recently, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told the BBC that Bibi would soon leave Pakistan.

In October 2018, the supreme court of Pakistan overturned Bibi’s conviction and she was eventually released from prison. Violent protests, led by the Islamic group Tehreek-e-Labbaik, broke out across Pakistan as Muslims called for the murder of the judges of the high court. Meanwhile, Bibi and her family were taken into protective custody. In hiding, she and her family were hunted down by Muslim extremists who went on a house-to-house search for her. While she remained in custody, two of Bibi’s daughters preceded her to refuge in Canada.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, and his family fled Pakistan fearing for their lives after her acquittal. According to Fr. Raymond J. DeSouza, a Canadian Catholic priest and columnist, 10 million Pakistani Muslims stand ready to kill Bibi for a reward, which has been offered by a Muslim religious leader.

Currently, Bibi’s whereabouts in Canada are unknown. There are reports that she may be provided with a new identity while authorities find a new home for Bibi and family. Canadian authorities are expected to protect her and members of her family. The Catholic Church is also expected to provide a welcome to her, even while there are fears that churches may in turn become targets for Muslim terrorism. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused comment on May 8.

According to the CIA Factbook, Christians and Hindus together constitute but 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million people. The majority, however, of persons accused of blasphemy are non-Muslims. Hindus constitute the largest minority group in Pakistan, which broke away from India in the late 1940s.

According to Open Doors, Christians are especially targeted by Pakistan’s sharia blasphemy laws. The group, which advocates for religious freedom, stated,

“Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christian persecution is a growing problem and Christians continue to live in daily fear that they will be accused of blasphemy — which can carry a penalty of death. Additionally, radical Islamists seem to be gaining more political power, and the new ruling government must maintain good diplomatic relationships with some radical groups. Christians are largely regarded as second-class citizens, and conversion to Christianity from Islam carries a great deal of risk.”

00Friday, May 10, 2019 8:10 PM

More timeout from the ‘heresy wars’ to reflect on a saint who was most extraordinary even in her humble beginnings as the least of the least…

‘Impossible not to love Bernadette’
A tribute from Vittorio Messori, as a rib
from the saint’s incorrupt body tours Italy

by Costanza Signorelli
Translated from

May 8, 2019

A few days ago, a relic of St. Bernadette Soubirous arrived in Orio al Serio, in the province of Bergamo, northern Italy, to begin a ‘tour’ of 34 dioceses in Italy. What does this extraordinary saint have to tell us today? We asked Vittorio Messori, who emerged from his self-imposed silence on commenting on Church affairs, because, he says, the message of Our Lady at Lourdes is more urgent than ever.

“Bernadette embodies the most radical realization of the Gospel. If she were here today, she would ask us all to look to Our Lady and her fervent desire to save souls”.

Bernadette Soubirous was, for Our Lady, like a heavenly space without borders and obstacles, he says – ‘Mary’s chosen piece of heaven on earth,’ within whom she could move in total freedom towards achieving salvation for souls and the whole world. Perhaps that was why Our Lady felt very much ‘at home’ with the little saint of Lourdes.

“If one gets to know who Bernadette is, it is impossible not to be enamored of her and not to think of Paradise,” Messori says with certainty, having written what is possibly the most comprehensive book yet on the 18 Marian apparitions at Lourdes and on the girl she appeared to [Bernadette non ci ha ingannati] (Bernadette did not deceive us), published in 2011]. By his own admission, Messori is one of the most fervent devotees of the Marian shrine in Lourdes as well as “the little unlettered girl on whose shoulders rested the truth of this supernatural event”.

That is why we asked to talk to him about this extraordinary saint on the occasion of the Italian visit of a primary relic – a rib taken from her incorrupt body.
[Wikipedia tells us the account of the doctor who performed the third and last exhumation of Bernadette’s body in 1925:

"I would have liked to open the left side of the thorax to take the ribs as relics and then remove the heart which I am certain must have survived intact. However, as the trunk was slightly supported on the left arm, it would have been rather difficult to try and get at the heart without doing too much noticeable damage. As the Mother Superior had expressed a desire for the Saint's heart to be kept together with the whole body, and as Monsignor the Bishop did not insist, I gave up the idea of opening the left-hand side of the thorax and contented myself with removing the two right ribs which were more accessible. ...

What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon."

What do you think Bernadette would say to us today?
I will answer with an anecdote. When Bernadette first arrived, late at night, in the convent in Nevers where she would be cloistered to the end of her days, she lifted her eyes to heaven and said: “I have come here to hide myself. The Holy Virgin made me an instrument of her wishes and has now placed me in my proper place. I am very happy for this”. One day, after she had been cloistered for so many years, it was proposed that she revisit her beloved Lourdes once more, but she replied: “I will never go back there. I am not important. The Lady is, and I would not want to be a distraction from her, not even for a day. My place is here, not among a crowd”. Therefore, I do not know if she would be happy that a part of her incorrupt body is making a tour. But of course, she would be very happy if the occasion would serve to draw all possible attention to Our Lady and her messages. Her dearest wish was simply to ‘disappear’.

Can we say that her desire for complete obscurity was one of the great signs of her sanctity?
Her desire for obscurity was without a doubt one of the principal characteristics of her holiness. She always said she was only an instrument chosen by Our Lady for her purposes, but one who was to remain hidden afterwards. Yet she did not understand why Our Lady chose someone like her. Once she had told the world what Mary asked her to say, she would have wanted never to speak again. In fact, in Nevers, she requested that the subject of Lourdes should never be brought up with her. So the day after she arrived, the Mother Superior called all the sisters of Nevers and neighboring towns to a meeting at which Bernadette spoke to them of her experience in Lourdes, after which everyone obliged themselves to total silence about what they heard. However, the convent was besieged with requests to see her, but Bernadette, obliged by her superiors, only received visits by bishops. But to all their questions, all she did was to reiterate: “Stay with the things that I related right after each apparition”. And she stuck to her desire for obscurity to the day she died.

Whoever visits the church in the convent of Nevers will not immediately see Bernadette’s remains. One must look to find her incorrupt body in a side altar. She had said before she died, “If you really wish me to be buried in the church, then place me somewhere hidden”. I do not think she would be happy with the luxurious casket in which she lies.

Now we come to the message of Lourdes. The first thing Our Lady said to Bernadette was “I do not promise to make yu happy in this world, only in the next”…
And that is what happened. Bernadette lived her whole life in physical pain. She died when she was 35, after great sufferings, which she never lamented. She did not seek the pain – she certainly was no masochist – but she always accepted and welcomed it. One time during her final days, since she could only breathe with great effort, she said, “I would be so happy if someone opened my chest so I could breathe better”, but she quickly expressed repentance for what she considered a lament. And one day, when she was brought to the infirmary for the nth time, she said, “My occupation is to be sick”. Bernadette lived within the dimensions of true faith: she accepted always and willingly everything that Heaven sent her, never asking or anything else, not more and not less.

Getting back to the apparitions: Our Lady spoke of eternal life – ‘the other world’ - as a promise of happiness…
One day, one of her fellow nuns said to Bernadette: “You are suffering greatly, but you have the certainty that you will go to Paradise because the Blessed Virgin promised it to you”. Bernadette, who knew that she could at times be rather severe, answered drily, “Paradise? I shall go there only if I deserve it”, not being sure at all that she would merit it. This is to illustrate the awareness of eternal life that Bernadette had during her days on earth.

Many times Lourdes is considered as a place for physical healing, but Our Lady never spoke about phyically ill persons nor of bodily ailments….
She came to help us heal in our spirit. Lourdes is not a clinic for the body, it’s a clinic for the spirit. Bernadette herself never asked for physical healing, but incessantly prayed for spiritual healing. Let us be clear about this: the physical healings granted by Heaven are precious, beyond value – they are the material proof of the truth of the Marian apparitions. Lourdes is the only shrine in the world which has its own medical office which records and investigates all reported miracles. Yet it must be underscored that in her 18 apparitions. Our Lady spoke of sin, of penance and reparation for spiritual evil, but never of physical illness and healing. Which is why what became of Bernadette’s body after her death is most interesting.

What happened?
When she died in 1979, at age 35, her body had been so consumed, virtually rotten by the illnesses that devastated her, that she looked 70, the sisters said. Well, not only did death fail to decompose her body, but it was transformed to be young and beautiful. The old nuns who had lived with her during her last days and were present at the [first] exhumation of the body [in 1909; it would be exhumed again in 1919 and in 1925, when her face and hands were covered with wax masks for protection] were stupefied to see with their own eyes how she had been transformed. Two of them fainted and collapsed in shock.

Turning back to what Our Lady said during her apparitions. On Wednesday, February 24, 1858, she said, “Penance, penance, penance. Pray for the conversion of sinners”. What did ‘doing penance’ mean for Bernadette?
Papa Bergoglio has said many times that he wants the church to be like a field hospital. Well, Lourdes is exactly that, a hospital – but let us not forget – one that is primarily intended for spiritual healing Our Lady of Lourdes came to help us with our spiritual wellbeing, to heal our soul. So the penance that she invoked three times reminds us of this: We must pray a lot, we must keep away resolutely from sin, and we must safeguard what is good in our soul.

Today, there is the dangerous tendency to think of the church as a horizontal reality, instead of a vertical one. They would reduce the church to an NGO, an organization committed to ‘cure’ the material deficiencies of the world. Well, Our Lady at Lourdes reminded us that the principal mission of the Church is to lead us to eternal life. Work sof material charity are necessary and priceless, but only if they are a consequence of our faith.

One last question: Among all the Marian apparitions, why are Lourdes and St. Bernadette so special to your heart?
I was born on April 16, which is Bernadett’es birthday in heaven. It is also the birthday of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and we always told each other how we rejoice that we were born on the feast day of the saint of Lourdes. But anecdotes apart, what has always attracted me to Lourdes is the evidence that it imposes on us: the plans of God are not those of men. When we wish to announce something that is truly important, we choose the most important, the best known, the most titled person we can think of. But when Mary wished to speak to us, to mankind, she chose someone who was truly the least of the least. No one could have been more ignorant, more sickly, more insignificant, more ignored, less appreciated and more an object of suspicion than she was: her father had been accused of robbery, her mother was known as a drunkard. She herself told Our Lady: “If you had meant to choose the most ignorant and stupid girl on earth, you did”. To know Bernadette, it is impossible not to love her – the Gospel in its pure state lived in her. That is why every night, I pray to her to intercede for all of us.

A tribute from Benedict XVI

On his 85th birthday, on April 16, 2012, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, in which he paid this tribute to St. Bernadette, in one of his trademark extemporaneous homilies:

On the day of my birth and of my Baptism, 16 April, the Church’s liturgy set three signposts which show me where the road leads and help me to find it. In the first place, it is the Memorial of St Bernadette Soubirous, the seer of Lourdes; then there is one of the most unusual Saints in the Church’s history, Benedict Joseph Labre; and then, above all, this day is immersed in the Paschal Mystery, in the Mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection. In the year of my birth, this was expressed in a special way: it was Holy Saturday, the day of the silence of God, of his apparent absence, of God’s death, but also the day on which the Resurrection was proclaimed.

We all know and love Bernadette Soubirous, the simple girl from the south, from the Pyrenees. Bernadette grew up in the France of the 18th-century Enlightenment in a poverty which it is hard to imagine. The prison that had been evacuated because it was too insanitary, became — after some hesitation — the family home in which she spent her childhood. There was no access to education, only some catechism in preparation for First Communion. Yet this simple girl, who retained a pure and honest heart, had a heart that saw, that was able to see the Mother of the Lord, and the Lord’s beauty and goodness was reflected in her. Mary was able to appear to this girl and through her to speak to the people of the time and beyond it.

Bernadette could see with her pure and genuine heart. And Mary pointed out the spring to her: she was able to discover the spring of pure and uncontaminated living water; water that is life, water that gives purity and health. And down the centuries, this living water has become a sign from Mary, a sign that shows where the sources of life are found, where we can purify ourselves, where we can find what is uncontaminated. This sign is all the more important in our time, in which we see the world so anxious, and in which the need for water, pure water, becomes pressing. From Mary, the Mother of the Lord, from her pure heart, pure and genuine life-giving water also wells: water which in this century — and in centuries to come — purifies and heals us.

I think we can consider this water as an image of truth that comes to us in faith: not simulated but rather uncontaminated truth. Indeed to be able to live, to be able to be pure, we need to have within us a longing for pure life, for undistorted truth, for what is not contaminated by corruption, a longing to be unblemished.

So on this day, this little Saint has always been a sign for me, who has shown me where the living water we need comes from — the water that purifies us and gives life — and a sign of how we ought to be: with all our knowledge and all our skills, although they are necessary, we must not lose our simple hearts, the simple gaze of the heart that can perceive the essential, and we must always pray the Lord to preserve in us the humility that enables the heart to remain clairvoyant — to see what is simple and essential, the beauty and goodness of God — and in this way to find the spring from which flows the purifying life-giving water…

00Friday, May 10, 2019 9:13 PM
Of course, much criticism already follows the new Bergoglian motu proprio – which is to be expected about anything Bergoglio says or does. But ChurchMilitant underscores its main shortcomings in the article below.

I add my own supplementary criticism: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the crowd assembled to hear his words: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden… Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Mt 5, 14,16)

While obviously meant by the pope to be an exhortation to his bishops, choosing this particular text to provide the title for his new Apostolic Letter (Vos estis lux mundi – You are the light of the world) on clerical and episcopal sex abuse is prima facie ludicrous – not to mention, gratuitously pompous – considering the circumstances that forced it to be issued…

It would have been more appropriate to use Matthew 18,6 as an epigraph – in which Jesus says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Pope’s new norms on sex abuse
leave power in the hands of the bishops

Closely resemble Wuerl-Cupich alternate proposal
presented to the US bishops in Baltimore last November

by Christine Niles

May 9,2019

VATICAN CITY ( - The pope's new motu proprio on sex abuse allows the bishops to investigate themselves, cutting laity out of any investigation and failing to direct clergy to report abuse to secular authorities.

Published Thursday, 'Vos Estis Lux Mundi,' places the metropolitan archbishop in charge of any investigation into allegations of abuse by brother bishops. The metropolitan's power is near-total.

In the initial stages, the metropolitan is given authority to reject a claim as unfounded and drop any investigation. "If the Metropolitan considers the report manifestly unfounded, he shall so inform the Pontifical Representative" — the papal liaison, who then informs the competent dicastery in Rome.

If the metropolitan believes the claim is founded, he is then placed in charge of overseeing all aspects of the investigation, including the following:
a) collect relevant information regarding the facts;
b) access the information and documents necessary for the purpose of the investigation kept in the archives of ecclesiastical offices;
c) obtain the cooperation of other Ordinaries or Hierarchs whenever necessary;
d) request information from individuals and institutions, including civil institutions, that are able to provide useful elements for the investigation.

Article 19 — the last article — gives brief mention of complying with state law on reporting requirements; however, nowhere in the motu proprio are clergy instructed to report abuse to secular authorities, leaving the investigation entirely within the ranks of the Church.

Critics are slamming the document as insufficient, noting its striking similarity to the Wuerl alternate sex abuse proposal heavily promoted by Cdl. Blase Cupich in Baltimore, Maryland in November. That plan also proposed placing sex abuse investigations of fellow bishops under the auspices of the metropolitan.

In the case of Cupich, he would be the metropolitan in charge of overseeing any investigation of brother bishops in his jurisdiction. Theodore McCarrick — laicized after being exposed as a serial homosexual predator — would have been the metropolitan in charge of investigating abuse by bishops, if the norms had been in place during his time in Washington D.C.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio, stunned American bishops in Baltimore when, in his opening speech, he rejected the possibility of a lay board to investigate sex abuse. Pierre had been spotted dining and conferring privately with Cupich and Wuerl at the Marriott hotel, and both Wuerl and Cupich had been seen frequently together in Rome in the weeks leading up to the November Baltimore bishops meeting.

Although the majority of bishops, including DiNardo, were caught off guard by the turn of events — there was an audible gasp in the room when DiNardo announced that Rome wanted the votes on sex abuse reform delayed until the February synod — it was clear Cupich had already been aware of the plan. He was first on his feet to address the news with what seemed a prepared speech, insisting that the Holy Father is "serious" about getting to the bottom of the McCarrick abuse scandal and that bishops should spend the remaining months discussing next steps.

Those "next steps" never came at the February summit, widely criticized for its failure to propose concrete steps to address abuse at the hands of bishops.

The only significant difference in the motu proprio from the Wuerl/Cupich proposal is that the motu proprio includes adult seminarians and religious in the same criminal categories as minors and vulnerable adults. Even so, a seminarian or religious who alleges abuse at the hands of a bishop must still submit to the investigative authority of the metropolitan, who then submits his final determination to the Holy See.

Confidence in Church leadership is at an all-time low, after revelations last summer exposing McCarrick as a serial sexual predator, after having been the public face of the response to the sex abuse crisis in 2002. He played a key role in formulating the Dallas Charter, meant to hold clergy accountable for abuse — all while abusing minors, seminarians and clergy himself.

The publication of the Pennsylvania grand jury report in mid-August, followed by Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò's testimony about a clerical homosexual network within the Church conspiring to cover up McCarrick's crimes, led to a cascade of criminal probes launched in multiple states, with a number of attorneys general insisting the Church cannot police itself.

The new norms issued by the Vatican Thursday continue the same paradigm, allowing the Church to police itself, and leaving power to investigate abusive bishops in the hands of the bishops themselves.

Not surprisingly, Christopher Ferrara is even more blunt about what he arguably sees as the most morally objectionable in the Bergoglian norms - something clearly ignored by those or whom the take-away message given by the reporting on the new norms have stopped at stressing that
1) it makes it mandatory for church officials to report to their superiors all information about sex abuses - which is, of course, nothing new, as that was always in the books since 2002, only the clergy have been ignoring it.
Or even that more critical reports quickly noted how
2) senior bishops are even more firmly in charge now of judging bishops under their suffragan jurisdiction, and how the norms do not at all provide for layman participation in the investigation of accused bishops:

Pope Francis signs document
that protects 'consensual' clerical sodomy

by Chris Ferrara

May 9, 2019

Yes, the title of this column is provocative, to say the least, but that is what is really going on with the just-signed Apostolic Letter “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (VELM). VELM lays down requirements for reporting “crimes of sexual abuse” committed by clerics, which “offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful.” But VELM is just another layer of bureaucratic procedure that ignores the underlying rot of the widespread homosexual infiltration of the clergy.

We know this as soon as we read the description of the prohibited “delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue”:
- “… forcing someone, by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts…
- “… performing sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person;
- “… production, exhibition, possession or distribution, including by electronic means, of child pornography, as well as by the recruitment of or inducement of a minor or a vulnerable person to participate in pornographic exhibitions…”

The term “vulnerable person” is defined as “any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offence…”. Notice how even the term “vulnerable person” is limited to cases of physical or mental deficiency or coercion. Apparently, “vulnerable person” does not include legal adults who are persuaded to engage in sexual acts by clerics who convince them there is nothing wrong with such conduct.

So, to sum up: VELM does absolutely nothing to address
(1) “consensual” acts of sodomy involving clerics and their willing partners in one of the sins that cry out to Heaven for retribution;
(2) the “production, exhibition, possession or distribution” of adult (versus child) pornography, or
(3) consensual adult participation in pornographic exhibitions.

That is, the entire “gay subculture” and its practices among the clergy are left untouched so long as they do not manifest themselves in criminal offences against minors or the coercion of “vulnerable” adult partners in sodomy. Otherwise, VELM exhibits no concern about sexual “delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue.”

Clearly, therefore,
- Francis sees no need to remedy the homosexual corruption of the priesthood.
- He does not even intimate that “consensual” sodomy involving clerics is also an evil that “offends Our Lord, causing physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and… the community of the faithful.”
- In fact, the carefully limited definitions in VELM implicitly treat sodomy between “consenting adults” in the clergy as something that is not even to be reported, much less punished. We see at work here a kind of positivism in ecclesiastical law: whatever is not prohibited is permitted. Indeed, in this case what is permitted is not even worthy of mention.

What a mockery, then, are VELM’s pious declarations that “Our Lord Jesus Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness” and that “a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed… so that personal sanctity and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the full credibility of the Gospel message and the effectiveness of the Church’s mission.”

Here as elsewhere, it is evident that not only has “the Great Reformer” reformed nothing, he has actually made the corrupt ecclesial status quo worse, as Henry Sire (aka Marcantonio Colonna) documents beyond reasonable doubt in his “The Dictator Pope.”
- VELM is just another sign of a radically dysfunctional papacy that represents what has to be the terminal phase of the ecclesial crisis the Church has endured since Vatican II.

But it is precisely at such points in Church history that Providence opens the way to restoration — in this case with the heavenly assistance of the Virgin Mother of God.

It goes without saying that the Bergogliacs were 5000% euphorious over the Bergoglian norms, as in "Hallelujah! The first fruit of the February summit on abuse, and see how fast this pope acts???"" Here's a sampling of mostly headlines, pro and con (the right-hand block of the bottom panel are from PewSitter):

00Sunday, May 12, 2019 5:21 AM

This is probably the best reaction I have read so far on Benedict XVI's April 2019 essay on the roots of the clerical sex abuse scandals in the Church. It states what ought to have been most obvious about the essay, but which even a 'hawk-eyed' Benedict watcher like me’ missed’ - I always took it for granted that, of course, Benedict XVI would have answered the Five DUBIA No, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes, as any orthodox Catholic would. But taking this for granted is far from having before you eyes a written articulation of those answers by the Emeritus Pope himself- although not primarily intended to answer the DUBIA - in a restatement of the truths underlying those answers...

The occasion was most unexpected. But apparently, the Emeritus Pope saw an opportunity to express himself on the most troubling consequences for an already much-beleaguered faith because of his successor’s un-Catholic and anti-Catholic statements and actions - whether you consider these heretical or not. And he availed of it to great effect, so far.

It was a genius move for him to get an imprimatur, as it were, from his successor, through his Secretary of State, so no one can accuse him of being underhanded in any way. Devious, yes, but necessarily so, in order to let the world know he has not derelicted on his Catholic duty, despite the constraints of his self-imposed 'silence' and vow of obedience to his successor.

I think it is important to note that, as far as we can tell, he expressed none of this to any of the visitors who have seen him at Mater Ecclesiae, and in that sense, he has kept his ‘silence’. Bergogliac Benedict-haters like Robert Mickens – and with him, many others in the secular and in the supposedly Catholic media - immediately rose up to protest, “This time, Benedict has really gone over the line!” What line?

As a Catholic, he is fully entitled to exercise his duty and right under Canon 212.3, and that is what he has done. Without any gratuitous statements or gestures to underscore that he was doing just that, in his analysis of the sexual abuse crisis as fundamentally a consequence of the crisis of faith. Which effectively means the absence of God from the hearts of even those who were ordained to serve him and his Church, no matter how much they they try to continue to appear Catholic pro forma. It is the worst evil that could befall His creatures.

The DUBIA were answered
Only not by the pope who should have answered them

by Elizabeth A. Mitchell

May 11, 2019

Perhaps it was because Notre-Dame de Paris was burning. Perhaps it was because the best place to hide something from view is in plain sight. Or perhaps it was because we look for power in wind, earthquake, and fire, but miss the “still small voice” of God when He passes by. (1 Kgs 19:11-13)

Whatever the reason, the world watched, read, and missed the answers to the DUBIA proposed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his April essay, “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse.”

In offering a three-part response to the crisis in the Church, he indirectly answers the five dubia that Cardinals Brandmüller, Caffarra, Meisner, and Burke presented years ago to Pope Francis. The pope emeritus fulfilled a duty that Pope Francis has not, namely, to maintain the bishops and all the faithful in the unity of the Church’s constant teaching on faith and morals.

What did the pope emeritus say? He gives the Church and the world an unequivocal No, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Five questions, five answers.

Dubium One: It is asked whether, following the affirmations of “Amoris Laetitia” (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by[] Reconciliatio et Paenitentia n. 34 and Sacramentum Caritatis n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia” be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

Benedict’s response: No.

“We run the risk of becoming masters of faith instead of being renewed and mastered by the Faith. Let us consider this with regard to a central issue, the celebration of Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern. . . .What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. . . .The 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. . . . It is rather obvious that we do not need another Church in our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the Faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament. . . .And we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.

Dubium Two: After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

Benedict’s response: Yes.

“Pope John Paul II, who knew very well the situation of moral theology and followed it closely, commissioned work on an encyclical that would set these things right again. . . .It was published under the title Veritatis splendor. . .and did indeed include the determination that there were actions that can never become good. . . .He knew that he must leave no doubt about the fact that the moral calculus involved in balancing goods must respect a final limit.”

Dubium Three: After Amoris Laetitia n. 301, is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

Benedict’s response: Yes.

“A society without God – a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent – is a society that loses its measure. . . .Western society is a society in which God is absent in the public sphere and has nothing left to offer it. And that is why it is a society in which the measure of humanity is increasingly lost. At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.”

Dubium Four: After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia n. 302 on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

Benedict’s response: Yes.

“There are goods that are never subject to trade-offs. There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. . . .God is (about) more than mere physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life.”

Dubium Five: After Amoris Laetitia n. 303, does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

Benedict’s response: Yes.

“The crisis of morality. . .was chiefly the hypothesis that morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action that prevailed. . . .Consequently, there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative value judgements. There no longer was the (absolute good), but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances. . . .But there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith and which must be defended if faith is not to be reduced to a theory but rather to be recognized in its claim to concrete life. All this makes apparent just how fundamentally the authority of the Church in matters of morality is called into question. Those who deny the Church a final teaching competence in this area force her to remain silent precisely where the boundary between truth and lies is at stake.”

Benedict’s response ends the deafening silence from the Vatican with regard to the fundamental questions of faith addressed by the DUBIA. He answers them, clearly and unequivocally. He knows the hour is late.

Benedict warns us that “the very faith of the Church” is being called into question. “It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth: Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible. . . .Today God also has His witnesses (martyres) in the world. We just have to be vigilant to see and hear them.”

Elizabeth A. Mitchell, S.C.D., received her doctorate in Institutional Social Communications from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in Rome, Italy, where she worked as a translator for the Holy See Press Office and L’Osservatore Romano. Mitchell writes from Wisconsin, where she serves as Dean of Students for Trinity Academy, a private K-12 Catholic school. Her dissertation, “Artist and Image: Artistic Creativity and Personal Formation in the Thought of Edith Stein”, focused on the saint’s understanding of the role of beauty in evangelization. Mitchell also serves on the Board of Directors of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, and is an adviser to the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life.

On the other hand, we have Fr. De Souza who has turned all jesuitical on us and wrongheadedly chosen to give Jorge Bergoglio the benefit of the doubt, yet again, after having spent the last two years at least, trying to show us through his commentaries that he had taken off the blinders about his fellow Jesuit to see him for the knave that he is. His principle reason for not agreeing with the Open Letter authors that Bergoglio cannot and should not be accused of heresy does not stand up: that they are "attempting to interpret in a precise way a teaching style that is not intended to be precise".

Excuse me, Father! He is the pope - how can he intend his teaching not to be precise? What happened to Peter's mandate from Christ to 'confirm your brothers in the faith'? He cannot even aspire to be a teacher, much less to confirm anyone's faith in anything, if he has made a habit of imprecision - both deliberately to dissimulate his true intentions, and because it arises from his own disordered way of thinking which expresses itself in his disordered, often incoherent, use of words.

In the middle of his arguments, Fr De Souza seems to poke ironic fun at the Spadaro principle that in Bergoglio's world, 2+2 is often 5. An assertion that should never be dismissed as being mere silliness because six years of this pontificate has abundantly shown us that it is the 'logic' by which Bergoglio and his world operate...Yet after six years of this relentless Bergoglian assault on our commonsense and on the Catholic faith, Fr. De Souza still calls it 'the puzzling pontificate'? What is puzzling about it when Bergoglio and his followers have told us from the start that "In four years, he will change the Church"? Should Fr. De Souza not focus on the frightening implications of Bergoglio's wreckovation of the Church so far rather than indulging himself by joining the 'heresy wars"?

The puzzling pontificate of Pope Francis
The signatories of the open letter accusing the Pope of heresy are attempting to
to interpret in a precise way a teaching style that is not intended to be precise

by Raymond J. de Souza, SJ

It’s a grave matter — and for that reason practically unprecedented — for learned and respected Catholic scholars to accuse the Holy Father of heresy, as recently was done by 19 signatories to an open letter.

The letter has occasioned much analysis. A certain consensus has emerged that where there is smoke there is usually fire, but in this case there is plenty of smoke but no real fire. And calling for the fire brigade when there isn’t a fire actually raging may lead to a certain complacency about all the smoke in the air.

I agree with the consensus that Pope Francis is not guilty of heresy, in part due to the fact that his teaching style is not sufficiently clear as to sustain such a charge.

I would not make the charge myself. But if a theologian of the world-class reputation of Dominican Father Aidan Nichols and a philosopher of similar status, professor John Rist, would take this step, it is noteworthy on those grounds alone. Father Nichols and Rist are serious scholars who know the Catholic tradition far better than nearly all of their critics. They deserve to be heard.

If they are crying wolf, it is not because they are out to make mischief; it is because there are wolves about. Even if the charge that the chief shepherd is indeed a wolf is not sustainable, it does not mean that the flock is entirely safe from danger, even from the pastors of the Church.

There is here a flawed approach. The signatories of the letter are attempting to interpret in a precise way a teaching style that is not intended to be precise. To put it another way, a pontificate whose principal interpreter — Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the magazine La Civiltà Cattolica — argues that in theology 2+2 can equal 5 is a pontificate that challenges the usual way of understanding pontifical texts. [No, Fr. De Souza, there should only be one way, the correct way, to read any pontifical text. If it is not clear and it is imprecise, it ought to be rewritten or tossed into hellfire. It is the worst sign of Bergoglio's disregard for - and maybe basic ignorance about - the primary duty of a pop,e that he treats tradition, papal protocol and magisterium according to whim, rather than upholding and keeping intact the deposit of faith handed down to him to be transmitted intact to the flock he serves.']

Consider some recent examples of papal communication.

On the recent return flight from North Macedonia, Pope Francis answered a question about the study commission he had set up to investigate the history of women deacons in the Church. This was a major study of great import, which long ago reported and about which nothing has been publicly said.

Pope Francis gave a long answer, summarizing that the commission did not come to a consensus. His answer is at best confusing and does not cohere easily. At the end of the answer, it is possible to reach various, contradictory conclusions about the state of the issue.

We can think also of the Holy Father’s response to a question a few years ago about whether the non-Catholic spouse in a Catholic-Protestant marriage can receive Holy Communion. The answer was a meandering collection of half-sentences and ellipses that muddied rather than clarified an issue on which Church teaching is actually reasonably clear.

Last month, Pope Francis gave an audience in which he answered questions about the international arms trade and the “Nigerian mafia” in Italy. The Holy See Press Office thought those remarks ill-advised, and so they were simply omitted from the official transcript, despite being captured on video. The issue there was not what the Pope’s words meant, but whether they existed in the first place.

That recalls the famous incident when Pope Francis stated that the “great majority” of marriages are “invalid.” That too got ex post excision, with the official transcript rendering it that “some” marriages are invalid, completely changing the meaning of what the Holy Father said.

These examples are not the doctrinal matters raised in the accusation-of-heresy letter. Nevertheless, they indicate an informal approach to papal teaching that emphasizes general dispositions rather than precise definitions. It is intended to be taken seriously, but not literally, to adapt the post-2016 election characterization of Donald Trump’s rhetorical style. [Donald Trump is not pope, and his effectivity as US president does not depend on his tweets or his self-indulgent pronouncements, but on the policies he is able to have made into law and to execute, and the people he depends upon to do this.

On the other hand, the faith - and the souls - of 1.2 billion Catholics are affected by anything the pope merely says or is reported to say. "The pope says... so it must be right" is both an immense responsibility no pope can ignore and an awesome power that can easily be misused as Bergoglio has been doing.][/di]

The same is true of the most serious charge in the heresy letter, namely that the teaching of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in Chapter 8 is not compatible with the teaching of the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. That’s rather evident to anyone who reads the two texts side by side for their plain meaning.

But the Holy Father himself, echoed by many senior bishops, has insisted that no doctrinal change has been made. [Just because they say so does not mean it is so! This is not even a valid argument. When it comes to matters of faith and morals, anything equivocal is simply unacceptable. Has Fr. De Souza, like the pope and his praetorian phalanx, forgotten Jesus's words in Matthew 5,37 "Let Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one"? That's not from the DUBIA cardinals, nor from the Open Letter writers but from the Lord himself. Would it be a stretch to say that all of Bergoglio's equivocations and doublespeak truly come 'from the evil one'?]

So it may be that Amoris Laetitia conforms to Veritatis Splendor in an unusual manner, as if 2+2=5. Or maybe that it contradicts settled teaching on the Eucharist in a manner that might be heretical. Or it might be that nobody really knows the answer, and the whole matter remains ambiguous. [oclore=#0026ff][What bullshit! What is ambiguous about the fact that Bergoglio caused the Argentine bishops' interpretation of AL's discernment BS about the Eucharist to be entered into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis as equivalent to a papal decree - authorizing Eucharistic sacrilege, in this case? It was an unforgivably cynical way of seeking to escape any technical accusation of material heresy since he is letting others say outright what he dare not say himself. This last option is not satisfactory, but it is not heresy.

Another example is the teaching in 2018 that the death penalty is “inadmissible.” To say that the death penalty is intrinsically evil would be a departure from Catholic tradition. But the new teaching did not say that. It said that it is “inadmissible,” a novel term with no fixed meaning in Catholic theology.

Indeed, that term was evidently chosen because it was new and had no fixed meaning. So it is not possible to conclude that the teaching of Pope Francis on the death penalty contradicts earlier teaching. [Just listen to that jesuitical blather that only underscores how ludicrous it is!]

The examples can be multiplied. Even on the issue on which Pope Francis seems unambiguous — open borders for migrants and refugees — there is doubt. Returning from Sweden in 2016, he departed from his usual emphasis, saying that countries should only accept as many refugees as they can reasonably integrate. So is the Holy Father in favor of welcoming all those who “knock on your doors,” as he said in Bulgaria this week, or just as many as can be handled properly? Both. Or perhaps neither. Or something in between.[Hah! And you, Fr. De Souza, are taken in by that one extremely rare outlier, if not the only one, in Bergoglio's almost daily riffs, thousands by now, about open-door illegal immigration???]

May 15, 2009
P.S. I had noted earlier that Fr Hunwicke, one of the original signatories/co-authors of the Open Letter t bishops about the reigning pope's heresies, has so far refrained from mentioning the Open Letter on his blog. Today, he did bring up something that ought to be remembered by Fr. De Souza and all those who would deny any heresy on the part of Bergpglio, simply because his language is never clear. Never mind that such ambiguous language is obviously deliberate to avoid anyone accusing him of material heresy when he is knowingly ambiguous, and even if his anti-Catholic intentions are unmistakable in everything else.

Hermeneutics of Magisterium (1)

May 15, 2019

Some five years ago, PF wrote:

"I have written an encyclical and an apostolic exhortation, and I continually make declarations and give homilies, and this is Magisterium".

On a more recent occasion, he said that the liturgical dispositions of the 1960s and 1970s were 'irreversible', and added: "This is Magisterium".

Such an understanding of what Magisterium is and how magisterial teaching operates seems to me to be at the level of toddler-talk. It must give rise to the suspicion that none of the teaching of someone who functions at this sort of level can be analysed as adult or as authentically magisterial.

Yesterday, he shared this ominous report:
14 May 2019

Earlier in this pontificate, I received a letter from a friend which included these words:

"You will know that all of us who require the nihil obstat of the Holy See for our work have been threatened with its removal if we identify with any formal criticism. I received a renewal of this 'advice' only this morning".

[The nihil obstat is a certification by an official censor that a book is not objectionable on doctrinal or moral grounds, and that therefore it can be published without fear of church censure.]

Lovely lot, these Bergoglians, aren't they?
00Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:43 PM
Those of you who may have followed Lawrence England when he blogged regularly on his 'Bones' site - or have read any of his posts - may want to read his latest entry
in which he returns to blog (after leaving off, which he explains) to make this lengthy exposition of his thoughts (and thought processes) about Jorge Bergoglio and his pontificate, and the fact that he has been accused of heresies. I share much of his thoughts - except his questionable endorsement of an Ann Barnhardt video purportedly meant to 'prove' that Benedict XVI is still the pope - but most of all, I share his obvious passion and pain in behalf of the Church and the Catholic faith, and therefore, in behalf of the truth.

However, I find his 'conclusion' that Bergoglio is not the pope but an anti-pope unhelpful to anyone, because that is wishful thinking.

For all intents and purposes, de jure and de facto, Bergoglio is the pope, and is wielding all the power and authority that come with it to the fullest extent and with the worst - and ever worsening - consequences. At this point, only an act of God can remedy that: death, or a miracle that will have Bergoglio become a true Catholic and Christian once again, so he can revoke in some way the wreckage he has already caused to the faith and to the Church.

In my daily prayers, as I pray for all those who work in the Church, beginning with the pope, my addendum for him is "Please, God, stop him in his tracks now, and keep him and his followers from doing more harm than they have already done".

A recent example of the utter shamelessness - and concomitant self-righteousness - of Bergogliacs who carry out in action what they perceive Jorge Bergoglio is telling them - or at least allowing them - to do:

Hardliner Chilean archbishop justifies
refusal to give Communion to kneeling faithul

May 15, 2019

Mns. Celestino Aós, the Apostolic Administrator of Santiago, the Chilean capital, insists that his refusal to give Communion to kneeling faithful on Holy Thursday was correct.

He told (May 14): "Where you are going, do whatever you see." [????]

In July 2002, the Congregatoin for Divine Worship said that "any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful."

Aós added that "Christ is in the Holy Host, whether I’m standing or kneeling" [so why then does he discriminate kneeling faithful?].

Then he turns his abuse into a problem of his victims, "If they felt humiliated, I ask forgiveness, it was not the intent."

He stresses that he feels no repentance, "Despite this incident, I’m calm." Aós's liturgical abuse went viral after a report about it.

Paging Cardinals Sarah and Ouellet! Shouldn't your congregations step in to do something abut this? And see if Bergoglio calls you down for doing so!

And what about this bleeding-heart lawless cardinal?

Curial cardinal breaks Italian law
to help those who break the law

May 15, 2019

On May 11, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, broke a seal placed by the Italian power company, in order to restore electrical power for about 500 illegal immigrants who have been occupying the state-owned Spin Time Labs building in Rome since 2013, with the help of Italian Communist radicals.

Krajewski tearfully called his crime tearfully a “gesture of desperation.” [He might have called the power company to ask for a grace period while he tried to work out how the building occupants could settle their debt on some workable payment plan that would also account for their continued use of power. In New York, con-Edison offers a reasonable payment plan that amortizes the debt over an extended period during which the consumer pays the amortization monthly, along with his current bill.]

The power company interrupted its service to the building on may 6 because the illegals had outstanding bills for over 300,000 Euros.

During a Sunday rally in Cuneo, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s popular interior minister, expressed his hope that Krajewski would now pay this debt and also help poor Italian families, not just immigrants.

“It would be nice if everyone were helped, not just those who occupy buildings and break the law.”

Others, including Marco Tosatti, have denounced Krajewski's lawbreaking as a legal affront by the minister of a foreign state (the Vatican) to another state (Italy) by contravening a legal act by the state-owned power company of Italy. One reader commented: "The cardinal preferred stealing from the electric company rather than paying the bill".

Increasingly, Krajewski's acts as Papal Almoner have become publicity stunts. He can't keep doing these at random for the benefit of whatever happens to be the lucky group he favors at the moment - whether it is treating them to a meal, to a day on the beach, or breaking the law to remedy a debt they owe the state. Because while they may earn him headlines, he obviously cannot do this for everyone. Rome today, with an estimated 4.5 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, is not the Rome in the early days of the Church when church deacons sought to try and help all 'widows and orphans'(there probably were no illegal immigrants at the time) in need as the early Christian community in Jerusalem did.

00Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:32 PM
Homosexuals in the seminaries:
A startling survey In Brazil

May 13, 2019

The survey is not brand-new - its results came out in the spring of 2017 in Portuguese in the Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira. But Il Regno - Documenti has recently published a complete translation of it in Italian, thus making it known to a much wider public. On a question that is as relevant as they come: homosexuality in the seminaries.

For several months, among the Church’s leadership, mention of homosexuality has been taboo. It was even forbidden to talk about it at the summit on sexual abuse held at the Vatican from February 21 to 24. And yet its widespread presence among the clergy and in the seminaries has been a well-known reality for some time, to the point that in 2005 the Congregation for Catholic Education issued an instruction precisely on how to address it.

This instruction reiterated not only that homosexual acts are “grave sins,” but also that “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” are “objectively disordered.” Because of which those who perform such acts, manifest such tendencies, or in any case uphold “gay culture” should not in any way be admitted to sacred orders.

These were the pastoral directives back then. But in reality to what extent were they applied? The survey cited above was deliberately set up to verify what is happening today in two seminaries in Brazil, taken as a sample.

The authors of the survey, Elismar Alves dos Santos and Pedrinho Arcides Guareschi, both religious of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeeme,r and both specialists in social psychology and with prestigious academic qualifications, conducted in-depth interviews with 50 theology students of these seminaries, coming away from them with results that are decidedly alarming.

First of all, the interviewees say, homosexuality in their seminaries “is a common thing, a reality ever more present.” So normal “that it even reaches the point of being trivialized.” It is the widespread conviction among them “that in reality 90 percent of seminarians today are homosexual.”

Some homosexuals - they say - “seek the seminary as a means of escape so as not to take on before their families and society the responsibilities connected to their behavior.” Others “discover that they are homosexual when they are already in the seminary,” finding a favorable environment there. And almost all of them, some say 80 percent “go in search of sexual partners.”

Homosexuality is, in fact - they state - "a reality present in the seminaries not only in the order of being, but also in the order of practice.” Many practice it “as if it were something normal.” The authors of the survey write: “In the view of the research participants, in the present context of their seminaries, a good part of the seminarians are in favor of homosexuality. And, even more, they maintain that if there is love in a homosexual relationship, there is nothing wrong. They say: ‘’If there is love, what harm is there?’”

The interviewees ask rather that “there should be a dialogue between homosexuals and the Church.” But indeed, a dialogue to bring it about that “homosexuality in the seminaries may be accompanied and guided well.”

In other words, the interviewees complain that the superiors do not do anything in regard to homosexuality, but they expect to be accepted and admitted to sacred orders as such, with “a humanizing welcome of the person as he is.”

“It is clear,” the authors of the survey conclude, “that there exists a discrepancy between that which the Church proposes on how to manage homosexuality in the seminaries and the way in which the seminaries and the houses of formation perceive and address this phenomenon.”

Absolutely a discrepancy! Between the 2005 instruction and the behaviors revealed in the survey there is an abyss.

But it must also be noted that it is as if the 2005 instruction no longer applies, to judge by how the leaders of the Church are acting on this crucial topic.

To break the silence on homosexuality in the seminaries and among the clergy, PopeEemeritus Benedict XVI had to move into action, in the “notes” on the scandal of abuse that he published last April 11 after his successor Francis had kept them locked away in a drawer for two months. “Vox clamantis in deserto.” (a voice crying in the wilderness).

00Monday, May 20, 2019 3:31 PM

5/22/19 P.S. I was preparing to illustrate this post with the most recent photo I have on file of Cardinal Sarah visiting the Emeritus Pope, but Scneron at La Vigna dei Signore posted these new ones, presumably taken this month, which shows the cardinal accompanied on his visit by French journalist Nicolas Diat, to whom he has given three book-length interviews so far, as well as by the cardinal's secretary.

Having been away from the Forum for a few days, I find that the most important item I must post ahead of any is this one from Sandro Magister today. I am among those who hope and pray that God sees fit to have Cardinal Robert Sarah as the next Pope, but I was quite stunned several days ago to read a report in which he was quoted as having listed Pope Francis along with John Paul II and Benedict XVI as 'blessings' from Vatican II - I cannot now find the article and I wish I had bookmarked it, but I do know I came across it through a 'headline link' which predictably - and rightly - ridiculed Sarah for having said so, if he did say so. I had meant to look further into the report but never had a chance to do so.

I had been thinking that Cardinal Sarah's failure to subsribe to any of the various public appeals to Pope Francis having to do with his anti-Catholic statements and actions was in keeping with Curial decorum since he is part of Bergoglio's official family as the titular head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. In the same way Cardinal Mueller did not do so while he was Prefect of CDF - nor has he done afterwards, although he has given interviews right and left to criticize Bergoglio on his own, not as part of any group, in the one-step-forward, two-steps-back approach he seems to take with Bergoglio (the latest being to disagree with the authors of the Open Letter to Catholic bishops that Bergoglio is a heretic at all, even as he, Mueller, continues to defend Amoris laetitia in the same statement of being, at worst, 'ambiguous'on the matter of adultery. About Mueller, I truly do not understand Fr. Hunwicke's continual praise of him as a theologian - citing only those statements of Mueller that are orthodox and theologically sound, and not any of his inconsistencies about Bergoglianism.]

I believe Cardinal Sarah - at the risk of being lumped with the overwhelming majority of the world's cardinals and bishops who have vociferously or mutely cast their lot with Bergoglio - has decided that remaining CDW Prefect for now and avoiding any direct criticism of Bergoglio is his most prudent course of action, even as he continues to contradict the key elements of Bergoglianism in the three interview-books he has published so far during this pontificate. The following report is yet another way of doing it:

Cardinal Sarah endorses the 'Notes'
of Benedict XVI, 'martyr for the truth'

May 20, 2019

Cardinal Robert Sarah took everyone by surprise on the evening of May 14 in Rome, in the auditorium of the cultural center of the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (St. Louis of the French), when everyone was expecting him to present his latest book, entitled Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse (Night approaches, already the sun is setting) [from St. Luke's account of the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday, "It is nearly evening and the day is almost over" on the Church’s crisis of faith and the decline of the West.

Because instead, the cardinal said as he began, to speak, “This evening I will not talk about this book at all.” And the reason - he explained - is that “the fundamental ideas that I develop in it were illustrated, presented, and demonstrated brilliantly last April by Pope Benedict XVI in the ‘notes’ that he had composed in view of the summit of the presidents of the episcopal conferences on sexual abuse convened in Rome by Pope Francis from February 21 to 24.”

Cardinal Sarah continued:

“His reflection has revealed itself to be a true source of light in the night of faith that touches the whole Church. It has prompted reactions that at times have bordered on intellectual hysteria. I have felt personally struck by the wretchedness and coarseness of several comments. We must be convinced that once again the theologian Ratzinger, whose stature is that of a true father and doctor of the Church, has seen correctly and has touched the deepest heart of the Church’s crisis.

“I would therefore like us this evening to allow ourselves to be enlightened by this demanding and luminous thought of his. How could we summarize the thesis of Benedict XVI?

Allow me to simply cite him: ‘Why has pedophilia reached such proportions? In the final analysis, the reason is the absence of God.’ This is the architectonic principle of the entire reflection of the pope emeritus. This is the conclusion of his long argumentation. This must be the starting point of every investigation of the scandal of sexual abuse committed by priests, in order to propose an effective solution.

“The crisis of pedophilia in the Church, the scandalous and distressing multiplication of abuse has one and only one ultimate cause: the absence of God. Benedict XVI summarizes it in another formula that is also clear. I quote: ‘It is only where faith no longer determines the actions of man that such crimes are possible.’

“The theological genius of Joseph Ratzinger here touches not only upon his experience as pastor of souls and as bishop, as father of his priests, but also upon his personal, spiritual, and mystical experience. He goes back to the fundamental cause, he allows us to understand what the only way can be for getting out of the frightening and humiliating scandal of pedophilia. The crisis of sexual abuse is the symptom of a deeper crisis: the crisis of faith, the crisis of the sense of God.”

Cardinal Sarah's entire lecture is reproduced in full in the French edition of this blog:
> Lumière dans la nuit. Au cœur de la crise des abus sur mineurs, le regard de Benoît XVI sur l’Église
[A light in the night: At the heart of the sexual abuse crisis, n Benedict XVI's look at the Church today]

Cardinal Sarah goes over Joseph Ratinger’s analysis step by step, agreeing with it completely.
- He refutes, in biting terms, the criticisms that have been brought against it.
- He emphasizes the effects of the crisis of faith in the lives of priests and in the formation of seminarians.
- He stigmatizes the false “guarantism” that, in tolerating doctrines contrary to the integrity of the faith, also encourages practices contrary to chastity.
- He invokes that profound respect for the “Eucharistic body of the Lord” without which there is no longer any respect for “the pure and innocent bodies of children.”

And this is the finale, more than ever in unison with Ratzinger:

“To conclude, I say to you again with Pope Benedict: yes, the Church is full of sinners. But it is not in crisis, we are the ones who are in crisis. The devil wants to make us doubt. He wants to make us believe that God abandons his Church.

But no, this is always ‘the field of God. There are not only the weeds but also the good wheat of God. To proclaim these two aspects with insistence does not stem at all from a false apologetics: it is a service that it is necessary to render to the truth,’ says Benedict XVI.

He proves it, his prayerful and teaching presence in our midst, in the heart of the Church, in Rome, he confirms it for us. Yes, in our midst is the good wheat of God.

“Thank you, dear Pope Benedict, for being according to your motto a cooperator with the truth, a servant of the truth. Your word encourages and reassures us. You are a witness, a ‘martyr’ for the truth. Thank you.”

No need to say that this impassioned apologia for Ratzinger’s analysis made by Cardinal Sarah is the polar opposite of the gelid welcome reserved for it by Pope Francis:
> Between the Two Popes There Is “Fracture.” The Silence of Francis Against Benedict

As for the most recent book by the cardinal, the third in a trilogy preceded by Dieu ou rien (god or nothing) and La force du silence (The power of silence), it is still only available in the original French edition, but by September, it will also be available in Italian, English, Spanish, German, and Polish.

Further P.S. - Thanks to Beatriz at her site, for calling my attention to Magister's little post-scriptum in the Italian version of the above post in which he reports the ff (my translation):

Speaking of another book, it must be noted that the last one published by the Emeritus Pope, with 25 prevously unpublished homilies dating to his years as theologian and cardinal, was among the top ten best-selling books in Italy last week. It is entitled Per amore, and Settimo Cielo published an excerpt from one of the homilies recently.

It speaks volumes of the public appreciation for Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's thoughts and teachings that books for and about him continue to make the bestseller lists. Might it reflect a thirst and hunger on the part of the faithful for firm unequivocal Catholic teaching in place of the grossities they have been forcefed for the past six years?... I am, of course, very happy, that these homilies have now been published - and I am still hoping for some fortuitous turn that will come, in terms of all the Thursday homilies he delivered for years 40 weeks a year at the German chapel in the Vatican from 1982 when he came to Rome to be CDF Prefect till early 2005. surely, someone must have recorded some or all of them!
00Wednesday, May 22, 2019 5:41 PM
I often regret that Sandro Magister does not post often enough on his blog - twice a week is probably the most he does - but it says something that for the second time in a row when I find time to post something on this forum after a few days absence, his new blogpost is the one I consider most significant to post first... The primary dictionary meaning of 'phantasm', BTW, is 'a figment of the imagination', in which sense, this pontificate and this pope are serial purveyors of miscellaneous phantasms - and in a plainer word, 'lies' - that are all toxic to the faith.

Proselytism - Pope Francis's phantasm

May 22, 2019

In entitling the speech given on May 20 by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Vatican News, the official digital news bulletin of the Holy See, emphasized his umpteenth inevitable broadside against “proselytism.”

The text that Francis was reading did not mention it, but the pope could not resist making this addition off the cuff:

“There is a danger that is popping up again - it seems overcome, but it pops up again: confusing evangelization with proselytism. No. Evangelization is testimony to Jesus Christ, dead and risen. It is He who draws in. This is why the Church grows by attraction, and not by proselytism, as Benedict XVI had said. But this confusion has arisen to some extent from a political-economic conception of evangelization, which is no longer evangelization. Then the presence, the concrete presence, through which they ask you why you are this way. And then you proclaim Jesus Christ. It is not seeking new members for this ‘Catholic society,’ no, it is showing Jesus: that He should show himself in my person, in my behavior; and with my life opening up spaces for Jesus. This is evangelizing. And this is what your founders had in their hearts.”

Further on Francis added, again off text:
“On this allow me to recommend to you the last sections of ‘Evangelii Nuntiandi.’ You know that ‘Evangelii Nuntiandi’ is the greatest pastoral document of the post-Council: it is still recent, it is still in effect, and has not lost its power. In the last paragraphs, when it describes what an evangelizer should be like, it speaks of the joy of evangelizing. When Saint Paul VI speaks of the sins of the evangelizer: the last four or five sections. Read it well, thinking of the joy that he urges for us.”

None of these extemporaneous additions are surprising. Both the criticism of proselytism and the exaltation of “Evangelii Nuntiandi” are the mantra of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, every time he speaks of missions.

But it is the why and the how of this twofold insistence of his that are difficult to understand.

If by “proselytism” Francis means a missionary effort pushed to the extreme 'forced', so to speak, and measured by the number of the newly baptized, it is a mystery how he could have the conviction that this is a real “danger” in the Catholic Church which “is popping up again today.”

Because if there is one incontestable reality in the Church of the past half century, it is not the excess but the collapse of the missionary drive.

It is a collapse that was well-known to Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, who tried in various ways to oppose it and call the Church back to an authentic mission: the first, among other ways, with a synod on evangelization and with the subsequent apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Nuntiandi” of 1975; the second with the 1990 encyclical “Redemptoris Missio”, the third with the 2007 “Doctrinal note on some aspects of evangelization” and with a new synod on the missions.

Without receiving a favorable welcome for these appeals of theirs, except in the vitality of some young Churches of Africa and of Asia or, in the West, in a few isolated pockets that have been able to keep alive the authentic missionary impulse. Among which none other than the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions received in audience three days ago by the pope.

One member of this institute was Fr. Piero Gheddo (1929-2017), to whom John Paul II entrusted the composition of the encyclical Redemptoris Missio and who even before that was among the main authors of the missionary decree Ad Gentes of Vatican Council II. [In which the participation of then Vatican-II peritus Joseph Ratzinger, alongside the now Venerable Fulton Sheen, among others, I recalled last week with a post on the final drafting session for Ad Gentes held in Nemi, Italy, in 1965.]

But contrary to his predecessors and on the basis of an opposite interpretation of the missionary experience of the Church in the last few decades, Francis seems to want instead to put the brakes on the missions.

In essence, he wants a silent “testimony” to the Christian faith with one’s life, with one’s behavior, in the first place with love of neighbor. And only after the testimony eventually prompts questions does he encourage “proclaiming Jesus.” But without ever clarifying this second step, and instead stopping every time with insisting on the first, the only healthy alternative - for Francis - to the much-deplored “proselytism,” complete with citations from Paul VI’s encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, which Bergoglio thinks to be “the greatest pastoral document of the post-Council.”

However, even Francis’s frequent recourse to this document of Paul VI opens contradictions. Because it is true that Paul VI assigns a “primordial importance” to the silent testimony of life, in the hope that this may touch minds and hearts and ignite an expectation. But immediately afterward he writes:

“Nevertheless this always remains insufficient, because even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified - what Peter called always having ‘your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have’ - and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed.”

And that’s not all. Because proclamation is not enough - Paul VI continues - if it does not “arouse a genuine adherence in the one who has thus received it,” an adherence to the Church and a desire to become an evangelizer in turn. “Witness, explicit proclamation, inner adherence, entry into the community, acceptance of signs, apostolic initiative:” all of this is, for Paul VI, the “complex process” of evangelization.

Francis systematically skims over all of this. [As he consistently omits passages from the Gospel quotations of Jesus which do not reflect what he, Bergoglio, chooses to 'teach' as 'Christian' doctrine.]

And even the appeal he addresses to the missionaries of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions - to reread in the last paragraphs of “Evangelici Nuntiandi” the warnings of Paul VI against “the sins of the evangelizer” - appears contradictory.

If for example one rereads section 80 of the exhortation, one will see that Paul VI brands as errors precisely those modes of thinking that for the most part apply to the many supporters of the current pontificate, and that in fact paralyze any sort of missionary impulse:

“One too frequently hears it said, in various terms, that to impose a truth, be it that of the Gospel, or to impose a way, be it that of salvation, cannot but be a violation of religious liberty. Besides, it is added, why proclaim the Gospel when the whole world is saved by uprightness of heart? We know likewise that the world and history are filled with ‘seeds of the Word;’ is it not therefore an illusion to claim to bring the Gospel where it already exists in the seeds that the Lord Himself has sown?”

And again, in section 78, against certain facile domestications of the truths of faith:
“The preacher of the Gospel will be a person who even at the price of personal renunciation and suffering always seeks the truth that he must transmit to others. He never betrays or hides truth out of a desire to please men, in order to astonish or to shock, nor for the sake of originality or a desire to make an impression. He does not refuse truth. He does not obscure revealed truth by being too idle to search for it, or for the sake of his own comfort, or out of fear.”

Of course, Bergoglio trusts that most if not all, of those he addresses will always follow the path of least resistance and not even bother to read what he asks them to read, simply taking it for granted that all they have to know is what he tells them, and trusting his word that what they have not read will be consistent with what Bergoglio says. In which they cannot be more wrong: This man is a deliberately purposeful serial obscurantist, in the dictionary meaning of the term - "a person who deliberately prevents the facts or full details of something from becoming known" - and not in the misleading way Bergoglio and his fellow anti-Catholics use to describe any Catholic who sticks to what the faith has taught in its first 2012 years.

As to doing mission work primarily through 'witness', i.e., teaching by example, Spain and Portugal would never have evangelized the Americas and their Catholic outposts in Asia if their missionaries - usually a handful in each expedition - had relied on 'witness' alone to evangelize.

What could a handful do - with no knowledge of the local language and limited means to traverse the newly-conquered lands - to evangelize by example, unless they first did as they did out of necessity: learn the local language as fast as they could, and immediately teach those they could immediately reach the basics of the faith, and with the missionaries' example of living the faith, gain converts convinced enough of their new faith to spread it by word and deed to their countrymen, and so on and so forth? Sure, there were also mass conversions effected by sheer dint of conquest, but that didn't mean the missionaries simply left them to their own devices and did not seek to inculcate in them the essentials of the faith in doctrine and practice.

And after the initial years of conquest, obviously Catholic missionary work in Latin America had become effective enough so that indigenous religions, with their pantheism and polytheism, not to mention pagan rituals involving human sacrifice, died out on the continent and in neighboring Central America. Catholic faith did not require other sacrifices to propitiate God than the Supreme Sacrifice offered by Jesus which the faith relives daily in the sacrifice of the Mass.

How sad that Bergoglio, who grew up in Latin America, could so ignore the history and reality of the evangelization that made it possible for him, among tens of millions of Latin Americans since the 16th century, to be born and raised Catholic, and hence to qualify to be elected pope in his case (even if, alas, his Catholicism appears to have been nothing but a veneer he expunges daily in word and deed).

I was going to translate Antonio Socci's latest Libero column blasting the pope and his mindless minions in the Italian Church for their open electioneering against the candidates of Italy's current majority party for the European Parliament. The Lega is headed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who has been called Satan by pro-Bergoglio Catholic periodicals in Italy because he opposes mass illegal immigration to Italy, upholds Italian national sovereignty, and last weekend took out his rosary during a political rally in Milan to say he wished to consecrate Italy to the Mother of God. Bergogliacs quickly accused him of 'instrumentalizing' his faith for political purposes.

The first image pair on the left was CRUX's illustration of an AP article entitled 'Italy's Catholic establishment faults Salvini for rosary"; Salvini has referred to the power of the Rosary more than once before at political rallies, doing what no other politician does and has done to profess his Catholicism openly .

Christopher Ferrara, commenting on these developments in his Fatima Perspectives, has translated much of Socci's column, so here he is:

Italy's anti-'mass migration' minister:
More Catholic than the pope?

by Chris Ferrara

May 21, 2019

LifeSiteNews reports that during a rally attended by a huge crowd in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, outside its world-famous cathedral, Italy’s deputy premier and interior minister Matteo Salvini “appealed to the six patron saints of Europe, Ss. Benedict of Norcia, Brigid of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, Cyril and Methodius, and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)… then kissed his rosary, looked up to [the] statue of the Blessed Mother atop the 14th-century Milan Cathedral and said: ‘I entrust Italy, my life, and your lives to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who I’m sure will bring us to victory.’”

Salvini is the head of Italy’s Lega (League) Party, which is part of a growing pan-European movement for the assertion of national sovereignty against the tyranny of the EU, including its insane policy of Islamization through the mass migration of predominantly military-age Muslim males into EU member states.

Salvini’s checkered personal life aside (a divorce and a child born out of wedlock), the objective significance of his words is a stunning development in European politics, whose arid secularity had long since buried in the desert sands of post-Christian and post-modernist Europe even the bare mention of God, much less His Blessed Mother.

And who should be perceived as the most formidable opponent of Salvini’s rude interruption of the sociopolitical status quo but Pope Francis? [It must be remembered BTW that Bergoglio, who often touts his great Marian devotion, once derided pro-lifers praying the rosary beofre aborton centers as 'professional bead counters". That's how devoted he is to Mary. Of he had been the pope at the time of the Battle of Lepanto, he would have led an armada to welcome the conquering Ottoman Muslims!]

In a blistering column entitled “The Electoral Campaign of Bergoglio,” Italian Catholic journalist Antonio Socci notes the “collective obsession of the elite” (my own translation) with Salvini, giving rise to a “party of demonization” that “appears to be envenomed by the desire to cripple him and stave off the victory of the Lega [in the next elections].”

But what Socci finds most disconcerting is that the party of demonization has “identified as its moral and political leader a bishop who should occupy himself with the things of the Church, a bishop who is not even Italian and is the head of a foreign state, that is, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.”

“For weeks,” Socci continues, “Bergoglio has been engaged in an electoral campaign to the applause of the media, employing the theme of migrants. Heedless of the fact that, finally, with departures [from Africa] blocked, there has been a vertical drop in the number of victims at sea, he continues to impose his bombardment of Italy to surrender to mass immigration (but he does not welcome even one of them in the Vatican)…. Lucia Annunziata [a prominent liberal journalist-activist] yesterday celebrated ‘the opposition of Pope Bergoglio’ to Salvini.”

Not for Francis, notes Socci, is any concen for the crisis of faith in Italy, which has seen a further seven percent drop in Church membership during this pontificate. Nor does he seem much concerned with the worldwide persecution of Christians by communists and Islamists, whom he never criticizes as such, whereas for Christians “he reserves ferocious criticisms and even insults…”

What appears to occupy this Pope is “politics rather than God. A politics of the extreme Left that, for example, leads to him to receive in the Vatican royalty such as the Leoncavallo Social Centre [a leftwing social justice organization], but not the Catholics of Family Day or the March for Life, who are disgusted.”

Socci notes the damning fact that Francis has said of Salvini: “I cannot and do not want to shake his hand,” whereas “instead he shook the hand of Emma Bonino… an ultra-abortion, anticlerical laicist” Francis has lauded as “one of the greats of Italy today.”

Meanwhile, “Bergoglio’s right-hand man, Father Spadaro, has unleashed horrified invective against Salvini because he held up a Rosary before the gathering in Milan (Bergoglio prefers Bonino and Napolitano, who wave very different banners).”

In sum, Socci concludes — as should be obvious to all but the most resolutely obtuse by now — “many in the Vatican have forgotten God and pretend that everyone else has done the same. But the Catholic people do not want to betray their own faith and their own values. To Bergoglio, who makes objectionable declarations (even on Jesus) and conducts the politics of the Left, the greater part of Catholics prefer Salvini, who invokes the protection of the Madonna for Europe…”

Writing for Crux, the liberal commentator John Allen clucked his disapproval over the telling fact that “when Salvini mentioned Pope Francis, the crowd booed.” Lost on people like Allen is the chilling reality of the situation that crowd reaction reflects: that the Catholic people, even a not very observant Catholic people, have reason to believe that one of their politicians is more Catholic than the Pope. Yet another sign of an ecclesial crisis like no other the Church has ever witnessed.

Here is the AP story on Salvini and his rosary:

Italy’s Catholic establishment
faults Salvini for rosary

by Nicole Winfield

ROME, May 20, 2019 (AP) - Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Monday defended his invocation of God at a political rally, after Italy’s Catholic establishment criticized it as a cynical exploitation of faith ahead of European Parliament elections this weekend.

Salvini brandished a rosary and entrusted Italy to the Virgin Mary at a rally on Saturday, which featured a host of far-right European leaders. He spoke glowingly of St. John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI for having tried to remind Europe of its Christian roots.

Asked to comment, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said God was for everyone and “invoking him for yourself is always very dangerous.”

An Italian Jesuit close to Pope Francis, Father Antonio Spadaro, denounced the use of the rosary and the invocation of God for political campaigning. Spadaro, who has criticized the influence of right-wing evangelicals in U.S. politics, tweeted a photo of a commemorative coin of U.S. President Donald Trump being promoted by U.S. evangelicals as a “point of contact” with God.

“There are those who in electoral campaigns use God and saints, and those who even sell coins to pray for the re-election of their candidate,” he said. “The exploitation of religion seems to know no decency.”

Salvini has increasingly sought to portray his anti-migrant policies as driven by a desire to save lives by discouraging migrant crossings from Libya, and as being entirely consistent with the Christian message. At least one Italian bishop has warned voters that anyone who votes for Salvini’s League isn’t Christian.

In a tweet Monday, Salvini refused to comment directly. “I’ll continue to give witness to my Faith with my work for a more beautiful and secure Italy. Gossip I’ll leave to others. Amen.”

The Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana said Salvini’s performance “was the latest example of the exploitation of religion to justify the systematic violation of human rights in our country.” [What phantasm is the magazine talking about??? FC is the magazine that featured Salvini on its cover last year with the headline, "Begone, Satan!"]

It was a reference to recent criticism by U.N. human rights investigators that Salvini’s migrant policies violate international human rights conventions. [Excuse me! what a preposterous claim! If they think they have a case, why don't they sue Salvini at the International Court of Justice or one of those ultra-liberal UN tribunals the left loves to patronize? If they don't file a formal complaint, it means they can't because they don't have a case and are merely blowing hot and poisonous air.]

LifeSite had a very good round-up of the reaction to Salvini's trbute to Mary and the Rosary in MILAN last weekend...The headline should really read "Vatican leaders outraged that a Catholic politician should openly show he is Catholic"...

Vatican leaders outraged as anti-immigration
Italian minister commends Italy to Mary

by Lisa Bourne

May 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Italian politician with whom Pope Francis reportedly refuses to meet because of his immigration stance held and kissed a rosary during a political rally over the weekend and invoked the Blessed Mother, drawing criticism from some quarters and support from others.

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini also commended his country, its citizens, and himself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something unheard of from a Catholic political leader.

During a Saturday political rally attended by tens of thousands in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Salvini appealed to the six patron saints of Europe, The Tablet reports - Ss. Benedict of Norcia, Brigid of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, Cyril and Methodius, and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein).

Salvini then kissed his rosary, looked up to statue of the Blessed Mother atop the 14th-century Milan Cathedral and said, “I entrust Italy, my life, and your lives to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who I’m sure will bring us to victory.”

Salvini, head of Italy’s Lega (League) Party, led the rally with 10 other populist European leaders ahead of this week’s European Parliament elections, in a growing resistance to centralized European Union (EU) control, and in particular, support for tightening immigration laws.

Salvini is a conservative Catholic politician known for prioritizing his country over the European Union, garnering himself the “nationalist” label by the media and the left.

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and close confidant of Pope Francis, was among the Catholic figures disapproving of Salvini’s use of the rosary at the rally. Spadaro issued several critical tweets, spreading the criticism on Facebook as well, saying Christians should be outraged.

Last year, Spadaro opposed a proposed Italian law mandating that crucifixes be placed in all public buildings, accusing Salvini’s League party on Twitter of seeking to use the crucifix as an action figure, which is “blasphemous.”

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin issued an apparent rebuke of Salvini as well on Sunday.

“I believe partisan politics divides, but God belongs to everyone,” Parolin told reporters at the Cathedral of St. John Lateran. “Invoking God for oneself is always very dangerous.”

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the European Bishops’ Conference, also denounced Salvini to Italian newspaper La Stampa, according to The Tablet, saying particular groups cannot appropriate Christian values and that “acceptance and integration are essential values of the Gospel” and have “no color.”

Bishop Domenico Mogavero, of Mazara del Vallo, a port in western Sicily, head of the judicial affairs panel of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), said Salvini can no longer call himself a Christian, according to ANSA new service.

“We can no longer stay silent over the bragging of an ever more arrogant minister,” Mogavero said.

“We can no longer allow (people) to appropriate the sacred signs of our faith to peddle their inhuman, anti-historic views, diametrically opposed to the Gospel message,” he said. “Those who are with him cannot call themselves Christian because they have reneged on the commandment of love.”

Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana termed Salvini’s kissing of the rosary and response to the pope an instance of “fetishist sovereignty.”

Enzo Bianchi, lay [non-Catholic] founder of the ecumenical Monastic Bose Community and an influential figure in the Italian Church, said he was “profoundly disturbed” by Salvini’s actions.

“How is it possible that a politician today, at an electoral rally, can kiss the rosary, invoke the patron saints of Europe and entrust Italy to the immaculate heart of Mary for the victory of his party?” Bianchi tweeted. “Catholics, if you love Christianity, do not be silent. Protest!” [Protest what? A Catholic doing what the so-called Catholics in the church of Bergoglio ought to do but are too cowardly to do? How Bergoglian to avoid professing the Catholic faith in any way, especially in public that 'the world' would find offensive and objectionable! Nothing could be more 'politically incorrect' and therefore taboo, verboten, in the church of Bergoglio!]

At the same time, Catholic Herald columnist and associate professor of theology for the Catholic University of America C.C. Pecknold offered reasoned analysis, pointing out among other things that Salvini echoes what Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah has said on immigration.

Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has affirmed a nation’s right to differentiate between refugees and economic migrants and acknowledged a globalist effort to de-Christianize the West via mass migration. He has also criticized the idea that social justice issues such as immigration displace or are on the par with the Church’s primary purpose to save souls.

Pecknold also noted that Salvini quoted Sarah in his speech, along with G.K. Chesterton, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI.

Conceding that Spadaro’s politics are different from Salvini’s [more significantly, his church- the church of Bergoglio - is not the Catholic Church of Salvini and all Catholics who do not abide by Bergoglianism], Pecknold said he was nonetheless baffled by Spadaro’s comment that rosaries in politics should anger Christians.

“The Church does not have political models to commend, or defend,” Pecknold wrote. “The Church teaches precepts which are elevating standards for any order. Salvini appears to be cognizant of these principles, and that should be praised by the Church, regardless of policy disagreements.”

“There is nothing wrong with rosaries in politics” [What an undertatement! Pius V and the Catholic armada that defeated the Ottoman Muslims in Lepanto under the banner of Our Lady of the Rosary would have something to say to that!], he said. “We need whole nations consecrated to Our Lady.”

While Salvini was one among 11 European leaders to appear at the rally Saturday, the Associated Press reports that most of the tens of thousands of supporters who filled the square outside Milan’s Duomo cathedral were there for the Italian interior minister, with League flags filling the square among a “smattering” of national flags from other countries.

Pecknold had also written that at the end of the campaign rally, when Salvini commended himself and his country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “the Milan crowd cheered with Beatle-mania-like vigor.”

Salvini mentioned Pope Francis during the Milan rally Saturday, answering Francis’s comments to a group of journalists that same day at the Vatican not to forget that the Mediterranean had been turned into a cemetery due to migrant drownings.

“To His Holiness, Pope Francis,” Salvini said, “I say that the policy of this government is eliminating the dead in the Mediterranean with pride and Christian charity.”

The crowd promptly booed at the rally when they heard the pope’s name, The Tablet report said.

Several Italian publications reported in recent months based on information from anonymous sources that Pope Francis refuses to meet with Salvini because of Salvini’s strong stance against illegal immigration — this while Francis has met on repeated occasions with supporters of abortion and other issues in conflict with Church teaching.

More recently, papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, a close aide to Francis, said as well that the Vatican would deny Salvini a papal blessing for the same reason, comparing Salvini to an abortion-provider and Venezuelan dictators in making the point. [Thus speaks the lawbreaking Vatican official who knowingly performed a criminal act against another state (Italy) for a stunt that was really in behalf of a Commmunist organization that has been occupying an abandoned building for years and made it into a commercial center - complete with a 1000-capacity disco and rave center, a movie theater and other revenue-making enterprises, including rent from a few dozen families in whose behalf Krajewski claims he pulled his stunt. Latest development is that not only is an Italian magistrate laying the appropriate charges against Krajewski, but he is also being dunned for having allegedly promised after he restored electricity to the illegally-occupied building that he would pay the accumulated bills - at least 300,000 euros - that the bulding occupants never paid the electric company.]

Immigration policy is a prudential issue over which Catholics can disagree regarding specifics of its handling. Abortion, however, is a mortal sin and non-negotiable according to Church teaching.

Francis continually signals support for open immigration, condemning attempts to stem the tide of Muslim immigration into Europe, even at the cost of national security.

Since 2015, Europe has faced large-scale to crisis-level immigration, mostly from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Many migrants risk and lose their lives while trying to move, and there is rampant disagreement over refugee status, national sovereignty and security concerns, and terrorism and crime, as well as the burden of funding social support for migrants and refugees.

A complicit media establishment has continually downplayed any downside to open borders in most arenas throughout the crisis.

The pope has condemned walls related to national borders on more than one occasion — a veiled reference to U.S. president Donald Trump for Trump’s national security policies deferential to the U.S. Along this same ostensible vein, Francis even said in 2016 that “building walls” instead of “building bridges” “is not Christian.” Then he said again last month, “He who builds a wall ends up a prisoner of the wall he built.”

Salvini said on Monday that he would like to meet the pope, and he cited the Catechism to say the possible limits of welcoming immigrants had been exceeded.

“I would like to be received by the pope, but I have never asked for it,” Salvini said. “If the occasion will arise, I will be more than willing to meet him,” Salvini added, according to ANSA. Salvini said welcoming migrants “is a ‘duty within the limits of the possible,’ according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church(, and) the possible has been surpassed.”

On Monday before an ANSA forum, Salvini questioned the idea that invoking the Blessed Mother is offensive.

“I hear I’m being called inhuman because I go around with a crucifix in my pocket,” he said. “May I ask for Mary’s help, or will someone be offended?”

Salvini admitted to being a sinner and said it does not stop him from keeping a rosary with him, Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s reports.

“I am the last among good Christians,” said Salvini, “but I am proud to always have a rosary in my pocket.

Salvini tweets a PS to relate what happened at a May 21 rally:

"Today at Gioia de Colle, I was moved - Signora Maria came n a wheelchair to the piazza just to meet me and present me with a crucifix, saying, "Matteo, I am with you". Such eetings give me the strength to go on and never to back down".

The 00:27 video clip shows him greeting the lady in the wheelchair who gives him the crucifix which he kisses.

The new president of Brazil has even been more 'blatant' than Salvini in professing his Catholicism:

President has Brazil consecrated
to Mary by 'old rite' bishop

Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan consecrated Brazil on May 21 in presence of President Jair Bolsonaro to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Arêas Rifan heads the old rite Personal Administration of Campos, an Old Rite Diocese which is unique in the world.

At the end of the ceremony, President Bolsonaro signed a consecration document. Catholic parliamentarians attended.

[More information from Wikipedia about Mons. Rifan and the diocese of Campos: Rifan is the Apostolic Administrator of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney established in January 2002 by Pope John Paul II for traditionalist Catholic clergy and laity within the Diocese of Campos. It is the only personal apostolic administration in existence, and the only Catholic Church jurisdiction devoted exclusively to celebrating the pre-1965 form of the Roman Rite.

The diocese was headed from January 1949 to 1981 when he retired by Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer (died 1991), who opposed the use of the Novus Ordo in his diocese. The priests of Campos who shared his traditionalist Catholic views formed themselves into the Sacerdotal Society of St. John Marie Vianney (SSJV). In 1988, Mons Mayer joined Achbishop Marcel Lefebvre in consecrating the four bishops of the FSSPX, for which, like Lefebvre and the four bishops, he was excommunicated. In 2001, through the mediation of the Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (died 2017) who was then the head of Ecclesia Dei, the SSJV wrote Pope John Paul II asking to be received into full communion with Rome. In answer, the pope granted them their request and subsequently arranged for the Personal Administration to enable them to continue using the traditional liturgy exclusively.]

Sandro MMagister has posted a PS to his May 22 blog commentary:

More on 'proselytism'
Translated from

May 23, 2019

My post yesterday on the nth assault by Pope Francis on ’proselytism’ [really an attack on active Christian mission - "you do not have to preach Christianity at all, just live it"] prompted the following letter from Prof. Leonardo Lugaresi who is a scholar specialist on the Fathers of the Church. Readers of this blog will remember hi recent illuminating commentary on the topic of ‘the wrath of God’.

Dear Magister,
I found your article on May 22 on the myth of proselytism very timely, and I particularly appreciated your invitation to read Paul Vi’s Evangelii nuntiandi not in a reductive and misleading way.

That [Catholic] mission can be achieved substantially by the silent witness of a virtuous Christian life – which is certainly indispensable, and no one disputes this - is an error that has become increasingly cultivated in ‘the Church’ , along with the pious illusion (which is really not so pious as one can see) that in this way, Christians would be better ‘accepted’ in the world while avoiding differences and divisions which could harm dissemination of the Gospel, but which would, in fact, result in attracting ‘remote’ persons to thereby spontaneously wish to adhere to faith in Christ. [Which is a most unrealistic and totally false idea of human nature after the Fall!]

Of course, this can happen in isolated cases. and it is undeniable that there are countries in the world with concrete situations in which it is difficult to do anything else [i.e., where active Christian mission is not possible]. But to make ‘silent witness’ the norm for Christian mission is a true and proper betrayal of Christ’s mandate which was unequivocal: “Go, therefore, and make disciples (mathetéusate) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them (didaskontes) to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28, 19-20)
The Fathers of the Church, who lived in a world that was by no means ‘easier’ than ours, were fully aware of this. I am happy to bring up an acute observation by Tertullian which I think is most pertinent to the question. At the start of his Apologeticum (3,1), he comments on the effects of ‘good example’ by single Christians on a society that is generally hostile to Christianity:

What to say then of the fact that many, with eyes closed, have such an odium for the very word Christian that, even while acknowledging a good example, nonetheless condemn the quality?, Thus, “Oh, Gaio Seio is a good man, except that he is Christian”, or, “I find it surprising that Lucio Tizio, who is such a wise man, has suddenly turned Christian”. No one stops to reflect that if Gaio is good and Lucio is wise, it is because they are Christian, or whether one becomes good and wise by being Christian.”

In a non-Christian world, one that is hostile to Christianity such as the world in which Tertullian lived, and the world in which we now live, the silent witness of ‘good living’ by Christians is not enough. Because it becomes ‘sterilized’ by the world which reduces it to mere individual phenomenon, one that is ‘private and therefore culturally and socially irrelevant.

Witness does not suffice if it does not become ‘critical’ – and therefore inevitably ‘public’- which is to say, if it does not cause others to consider the link between goodness, of which Christian life is an undeniable sign and witness, and the fact that Christ is the only reason underlying that goodness. [For which purpose, the Gospel has to be preached as well as lived.]

The inconvenient question posed by Tertullian is precisely that which the world would never think about. So it is totally illusionary to expect that Christian witness – if it is ‘true’ in the sense of being able to question worldly living – could expect not to be met with hostility and contradiction.

Christian living is, in itself, a judgment on the world [Christ warned that it would always be ‘a sign of contradiction’] – and it cannot be otherwise, in the forms and limitations with which from time to time, circumstances make it possible to express the faith in words – as Evangelii nuntiandi says very well in the passage you cited quoting 1Peter 3,15 – in order to ‘give the reasons’ on which that life and the judgment it implies are based.

Leonardo Lugaresi[/dim

00Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:17 PM
I'm totally with Mundabor on this one - in which he comments on Maike Hicksons' recent blog on LifeSite reporting on the negative reaction of of Cardinals Gerhard Mueller and Willem Eijk and Mons. Athanasius Schneider to the recent Open Letter to Bishops asking them to investigate what they arguably consider to be the heresies of the reigning pope.
To all the cardinals and bishops - almost everyone who bear these titles, really - who share this inexplicable madness on the part of undoubtedly intelligent men: All this time, 976 days since the pope received the DUBIA letter, you are still expecting him to 'clarify' what he meant in Amoris laetitia? That is sheer madness and inability to be a 'man man' and be done with hemming and hawing once and for all. Well, Mueller for one has given his unqualified verdict, without waiting for the clarification he continues to ask: Bergoglio is not a heretic, and his questionable statements do not rise to the level of heresy. What does Fr Hunwicke say now of Mueller after his clearcut and blanket dismissal of the Open Letter he, Fr. H, co-authored and signed? Still one of his theological models whom he never mentions without heaping praises such as he usually reserves for Cardinal Newman?

Wet your lips but never whistle!

May 23, 2019

In recent days, two Cardinals and one Bishops (actually, they are among the usual suspects when it is about trying to defend, albeit timidly, orthodoxy against a heretical Pope) have renewed calls for the Evil Clown to “clarify Church teaching” concerning his heresies.

Firstly, the men clearly have not received the memo, in form of the “no hay otra interpretacion” letter which, in fact, abundantly clarifies where the Evil Clown lies on the matter of communion for divorced and, by extension, on the matter of what he thinks of heresy. [That he caused this letter to be posted, in explicit terms, as Papal Magisterium in the Acta Apostolis Sedae, is obviously not 'clarificatory' enough for them! What else do they need but "No hay otra interpretacion'? Do they really expect him to say outright, "Yes, I meant Amoris laetitia to absolve all unqualified remarried divorcees of adultery and therefore be worthy of the Eucharist?"]

Therefore, it seems to me that the intervention of these prelates is a bit like talking to the wind, or to the wall. They are clearly not talking to Francis, who obviously ignores them.

Secondly, it is almost fun – in a somewhat depressing way – that all three Orthodoxy Musketeers take stand against the open letter of the theologians inviting the bishop to take action against a heretical Pope. This is like saying that it is good for bishops and cardinals to wet their lips; however, they should never whistle! How this follows any kind of logic is beyond me.

Words have a meaning if they are underpinned by facts. Words that are meant to remain only words are useless. Any bishop, any cardinal must know this. It is as if in their vision of things, Popes could go on for 70 years spreading heresies and it would be fine for a couple of bishops and cardinals to invite them to “clarify Church teaching” (which never happens) thinking that the request itself, not the clarification, is the answer to the problem.

One of the effects of Vatican II has been to create an awful lot of prelates who think they are journalists. They analyse and invite. They comment and reflect. They love to read their name in print. What they never do, what they think they have no duty to do, is, actually, act.

Words, without facts, are rather empty. You need to do what you say needs to be done. A Bishop or Cardinal is not called to give commentaries about the faith. He is called to actively defend it; in season and out of season, and with no respect for authority when this authority defies God.

He is not one who comments about those in power. He is one of those who actually have it.

You would think this simple concept would be clear after 2000 years of Christianity. Instead, prepare yourself for the next lame interview in which a prelate thinks that wetting his lips is the same as whistling.
00Sunday, May 26, 2019 8:24 PM

The Miraculous Draught, Henry Picou, 1850.

Fr. Rutler is such a fine writer and great mind in both spiritual and secular matters that like the late great Fr. Schall, he ought to be required reading for anyone who wants to be stimulated and edified...And to benefit from the nuggets of information one gathers from his erudition.

A great catch: The 153 fish
Did you ever wonder why 153?

May 17, 2019

“I welcome you on the eve of a great battle.” So began General Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 15, 1944, solemnly addressing the admirals and generals and officers of the Allied Expeditionary Force, announcing the proposed strategy for Operation Overlord, codename for the Normandy invasion. Underestimated as an orator, Eisenhower’s speech riveted the attention of all in the tense atmosphere.

The location was an unlikely one: a lecture hall of Saint Paul’s School in London. The boys had already been evacuated to Berkshire during the Blitz. The top brass, who had arrived from the advance command post of the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Forces at Southwick House in Hampshire, were seated on school chairs, with two armchairs occupied by King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. General Bernard Montgomery, the future Field Marshall, brought out his maps to show the British and American positions.

The school served as headquarters of the XXI Army Group under Montgomery, and he felt at home there because he was an Old Pauline. Planning took place in the office of his old Headmaster, or High Master, which was the title used from the day of the school’s foundation in 1509 by John Colet.

As a close friend of Erasmus, and an even closer spiritual advisor to Thomas More, Colet was the epitome of a Renaissance humanist, laden with learning he had brought back from France and Italy for lectures in his own university at Oxford. More lured him back to his birthplace of London where his father had been a rich merchant and twice Lord Mayor.

As Dean of Saint Paul’s cathedral, Colet put his reforming principles to work with eloquent imprecations against the pride, concupiscence, covetousness, and worldly absorptions that had tainted the priesthood. Archbishop Warham of Canterbury dismissed frivolous charges of heresy brought against Colet by offended clerics. Colet’s combination of charm and audacity engendered the respect even of Henry VIII, despite his bold preaching against the king’s French wars.

As a priest with no children of his own, and no nieces or nephews because all twenty-two of his siblings had died in childhood, Colet devoted much of his inherited fortune to founding Saint Paul’s school for teaching 153 boys literature, manners, and, with Renaissance flair, Greek on a par with Latin.

Erasmus said that when Colet lectured he thought he was hearing a second Plato. If so, his Platonism was Christian. He wanted a great catch, similar to the 153 fish that the apostles had hauled in at the command of the Risen Christ. The boys would be welcome “from all nations and countries indifferently.”

The catch was great indeed, and since then the school has turned out graduates including, just for starters: John Milton, Samuel Pepys, John Churchill, G.K. Chesterton, three holders of the Victoria Cross, and the astronomer for whom Halley’s comet is named—all rising from the first 153.

Exegetes, sometimes with too much time on their hands, and even earnest saints, have teased 153 and other numbers into signifying possibly more than their meaning.
- Jerome tried to find some significance in the fact that the second-century Greco-Roman poet Oppian listed 153 species of fish in his 3,500 verses about fishing, the “Halieutica,” dedicated rather sycophantically to the emperor Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus. Of course, Oppian was wrong in his counting; besides, he wrote after the compilation of the Gospel.
- Augustine found that 153 is the sum if the first seventeen integers, which may reveal nothing more than his skill at arithmetic.
- In his devotion to the Rosary, Louis de Montfort found something prophetic between the catch of Galilean fish and the sum of fifteen decades of Hail Mary’s plus the first three beads.

There may be no end to such agile mental exercises, and I once wrote a book — Coincidentally — rather whimsically illustrating how it is possible to detect endless matrices if you try hard enough. For example, faddish New Age fascination with the esoteric numerology of Kabbalah cultism can strain minds. It may not have been a helpful influence on the popular singer who gave millions of dollars to a Kabbalah institute and recently was confined to a mental health facility purportedly against her will.

Carl Jung wrote at some length about what he termed “synchronicity” and warned that an obsession with “acausal principles” could unbalance reason. Yet even a detached observer might pause at the fact that the Sacred Tetragrammaton appears 153 times in Genesis.

The point here is that there are many levels of meaning in divine revelation that may be clues to the operation of Divine Providence. “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).

Even our limited mathematics may articulate something of the symmetry by which the pulse of Creation may be taken: “‘To whom then will you compare Me, or who is My equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, who brings out their host by number” (Is. 40:25). Perception of this saves the saints from madness and inspires them to awe.

Contemplation of the unity of the True God and True Man encounters layers of reality beyond the comprehension of human intelligence. Nonetheless, we can perceive the existence of those dimensions.

A “Participatory Anthropic Principle,” first forwarded by John A. Wheeler, suggests that the universe is structured with a set of physical constants or “cosmic coincidences” without which there would be no intelligent life on Earth, and that it is only by participating in that structure by rational perception that the constants or coincidences have their potency. So there may be in those 153 fish the Voice saying: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).

It would be a mistake to suppose that the apostles went back to fishing in disobedience to the Master’s command years before that they drop their nets and follow him. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, meaning that he is able to know everything from start to finish at the same time.

Before the Resurrection, Jesus told the apostles that they would meet a man in Jerusalem carrying a pitcher of water, from whom they would rent an Upper Room: “So they went and found it just as Jesus had told them (Luke 22:13).” Thus he was also able to “set up” his men, ordering them to go to the Sea of Tiberius, knowing what he had prepared for them there, in order to instruct them.

In his humanity he did a domestic thing in cooking breakfast. In his divinity he predicted what the apostles would become. Whatever else may be encoded in the number 153, the fact is that this event happened, for had it been an oriental myth there would have been a million fish. This number was a detail never to be forgotten. Even when the youngest of them, the cadet of the Twelve, was the last to survive and his mind was weary with age, he said with a thrill like that of a youth: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

There is one thing we know that prevents miniaturizing Christ as the best of men but only a man: “For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (I Col. 16-17).

In him was an urgent appeal to the intellect, which for the Jew was a function of love and not confined to the brain, as is clear in the Resurrection appearance to Cleopas and his companion on the Emmaus road: “O foolish ones, how slow are your hearts to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).

Here was the culmination of his earlier rabbinical catechesis: “‘Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ ‘Twelve,’ they replied. ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ They answered, ‘Seven.’ He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’” (Mark 8: 18–21).

The unseen calculus that fascinated Oppian when counting fish in coastal Cilicia much more amazed William Blake when describing an imagined “Tyger” which certainly was not rampant in London: “What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

If there is substance to some anthropic principle in the play of numbers, it is found in the fact that after the 153 fish had been dragged to shore, a small fire was burning as Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. And Peter wept in remembering that by another small fire in Jerusalem he had said three times that he never knew the Man.

In contrast, Fr. Rutler's pastoral column this week is fraught with his always pragmatic and informed commentary on topical events - in this case, the Bergoglio Vatican's agreement with the Chinese Communist government, whose text and full contents remain secret six months after the fact. Six months during which, other than to defend the agreement and its rightness, the Vatican has not said a word about how Beijing has stepped up its campaign to 'Sinicize' the Church in China at the expense of the faithful bishops, priests and laity of the underground Church who have refused to go over to the official Chinese 'Catholic church' known as the Chinese Patriotic Catholics' Association.

Bergoglio's still-secret agreement with Beijing
is all about who gets to control 'the Church' in China

May 26, 2019

A chronic temptation of the historian is to play the “Monday morning quarterback” who assumes that he would have made a correct decision in a past crisis. But the players at the time could only postulate consequences.

The appeasers who signed the Munich Agreement in 1938 do not enjoy a happy legacy, but then the thought of repeating the carnage of the Great War was unspeakable. In his first use of the term, back in 1911, Churchill described “une politique d’apaisement” [a policy of appeasement] as a wise strategy.

A magnanimous Churchill wept at the coffin of Neville Chamberlain and eulogized: “The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.” But if blundering by innocence is forgivable, not learning from mistakes is unconscionable. That distinguishes innocence from naiveté. Experience has crafted the adage: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Some future historian may impute a lack of probity to the Vatican agreement with Beijing in 2018, which conceded civil interference in the appointment of bishops. Though difficult to assess since the full text has not been published, this clearly contravenes the canonical stricture that “In the future, no rights and privileges of election, nomination, presentation, or designation of bishops are granted to civil authorities.” (Code of Canon Law c. 377.5)

After Pope Pius XI realized that the Reichskonkordat of 1933 had been abused by Nazi Germany, he issued the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (with burning indignation). Damage had been done, just as the Yalta Agreement of 1945 put Poland on the chopping block, a betrayal never forgotten by a Polish pope (Centesimus Annus, n. 24). He denounced the fallacy of communism in Warsaw in 1979, and Reagan did the same in his Westminster speech in 1982. The New York Timew displayed its propensity to be fooled more than twice, by editorializing that John Paul II “does not threaten the political order of the nation or of Eastern Europe” and that Reagan was “bordering on delusional.”

While the Holy See invokes two thousand years of diplomatic experience, China beats that by more than twice, and has treated the 2018 agreement as tissue, tearing down churches and persecuting faithful Catholics, not to mention banishing over a million Uighur Muslims and Falun Gong cultists to concentration camps. The issue is not theology but control.

The Vatican Secretary of State said that “an act of faith is needed” for the agreement to work, but the heroic Cardinal Zen replied that a “miracle” is needed, and miracles are rare in Rome and Beijing.

Diplomacy is a delicate art, and there have been saints among Catholic emissaries, though few remember Eusebius of Murano, Conrad of Ascoli, Anastasius Apocrisarius, and Fulrad of Saint Denis. There remains the haunting specter of the only diplomat among the Twelve Apostles [Judas who negotiated his betrayal of Jesus with the Jewish Sanhedrin], “who by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25).

No papal words, however self-righteous, can eradicate the betrayal of the underground Church in China by the Sept 2018 agreement, which was accompanied by the Vatican's legitimization of 7 excommunicated 'official' Chinese bishops (including one publicly known to have a family), even as it asked some of the underground bishops legitimately named to head dioceses by previous popes to step down in favor of 'official' bishops.

That fact alone, followed by the Bergoglio Vatican's absolute silence on the blatant and numerous anti-Christian acts perpetrated by the regime since then, define the betrayal which is unconscionable under any circumstances. But even more execrable - and doubly sinful - because it was a move openly courting Beijing's favor in order to get an invitation for the reigning pope to visit China.

Everyone has been so distracted by the open accusation of heresy levelled at Jorge Bergoglio by some Catholic scholars and theologians that his other offenses - other than his unconditional endorsement of the Islamization of Europe through illegal mass migration - have tended to be shunted aside and momentarily eclipsed. The China error is as terrible in its own way as Bergooglio's collusion with Islam and his other pertinacious anti-Catholic teachings and practices.

I suggest that orthodox Catholic organizations and individuals in Rome get together to bear the cost of putting up an maintaining a giant info-ad TV screen near the Vatican - perhaps adjoining Castel Sant'Angelo and the entrance to Via della Conciliazione - something like the advertising screens on Times Square in New York, which will keep a constantly updated list of all the transgressions committed by Jorge Bergoglio against the Church and the faith since he became pope.

The list is to run continuously on a loop, to remind everyone just how insupportably far and extreme this man has gone in his no-doubt-sincere-because- hubristic [and therefore insane] belief that he knows better than Jesus what to teach and better than the Church's unbroken 2012-year Tradition and Magisterium what to practice.

If someone can start this loop - which they can surely link to a permanent website o fits own - I am sure enterprising Internet habitues who are also faithful Catholics will find a way to replicate it online anyway as an instant reference for anyone. This would seem to be the only way to keep constant and continual track of the monstrosity that Bergoglio and Bergoglianism have become without allowing the Bergoglian scandal du jour to eclipse everything else that went before.

00Sunday, May 26, 2019 11:06 PM
Fr Z saved me much of the work - plus additional bonuses thrown in - by fisking the report of some remarks made by the reigning pope to Caritas Internationalis last week - remarks which I had found outrageous, in the typical Bergoglian anti-Catholic manner, that I thought they could not be posted without being extensively fisked. Overall, it seemed to me that he was trying to defend his consistent lack of clarity by outrageously because falsely likening himslelf yet again to Jesus, to whom he attributes his own personal reasons for being as muddled and unclear as he habitually is. Fr Z has fisked the remarks, ghough probably more haritably than I would have done (as usual, following his own convention, I indicate his remarks in red):

Bergoglio says 'the Church' must
learn to abandon old 'traditions'

May 24, 2019

Today is the Feast of St. Vincent of Lérins. He bequeathed to the generations a few principles of identifying sound doctrine. I wrote something at length about that.

It might be a good idea to read that in tandem with what I offer here below. [Never - in centuries, I think - has this St. Vincent been invoked so much as during the Bergoglio Pontificate, because the saint was, back in the 5th century, the source of timeless teachings about the doctrine of the faith and its immutability. In 434, Vincent wrote his Commonitory to provide himself with a general rule to distinguish Catholic truth from heresy, committing it to writing as a reference. It is known for Vincent's famous maxim: "Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all."

There’s a story today at Breitbart about the pope's address to Caritas International, a very influential organization because it doles out money to needy churches. The head of Caritas is in a position to garner gratitude from many in regions where aid is needed. But I digress.

Francis made a remarkably odd speech to Caritas. However, the Breitbart piece explains in part why Francis made his comments. We should always try to understand what Francis said, no matter how incoherent it seems at first. [Really? Often, for all his fuzzy language indicating a fuzzy thought process, he is all too clear about what he is saying. In this case, it is just a more extensive variation of a mantra he has had occasion to reiterate many times in the past six years.]

Pope Francis: Church must learn
to abandon old ‘Traditions’

May 21, 2019

It is a mistake for the Church to try to hold onto old traditions or to have clear answers for everything, Pope Francis said Thursday. [For everything? No. But for those things which can lead to or impede salvation, it is our duty to find clarity. And we can find clarity, with reason and the help of revelation.]

Jesus intentionally omitted telling his disciples many things so that the Church would learn to renounce the desire for clarity and order, the pope told participants in the 21st general assembly of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s global charitable outreach. [Ummm…. really? Maybe He didn’t tell them everything precisely so that they would strive to figure them out! After all, He gave them HIS authority to teach. What we believe MUST be rooted in some old and traditional, namely, the Apostolic Faith, the Apostolic Tradition. As far as Christ wanting the Church to renounce clarity and order, the Apostles seem to have had another impression. There was the Council of Jerusalem, for example. Paul, who understood the difference between local customs (as in the case of veils on women) didn’t write to various Churches to leave them in doubt or to say “do as it seems best to you.”]

When pagans first embraced the Christian faith, the question arose as to if they would have to abide by all the precepts of the Jewish law, something Jesus never spoke of, the pope noted.

By not always giving “clear rules” that would quickly resolve issues, Jesus was protecting the Church from the temptation of “efficientism,” Francis said, which is the desire for the Church to have everything under control, avoiding surprises, with its agenda always in order. [And yet… there they were, a very short time after the Ascension, resolving questions and conflicts.]

This is not the way the Lord acts, he continued. He does not send answers from heaven. “He sends the Holy Spirit.” [And the Holy Spirit isn’t separate in will from the Son. The Lord said I will send MY Spirit. Distinct Persons, but one divinity. They cannot conflict.] [Bergoglio also seems to imply that the Holy Spirit isn't 'from heaven'.]

“Jesus does not want the church to be a perfect model, satisfied with its own organization and able to defend its good name,” he said. “Jesus did not live like this, but on a journey, without fearing the upheavals of life.” [Isn’t this a bit of a mishmash? “Jesus did not want the church to be a perfect model…”. Oh? He did say to His disciples, “be perfect”. He told them to love on another. He desired that they “be one”. Francis introduced the notion of “organization”, as if that’s a bad thing. The Apostles right away chose deacons. That was a moment of “organization” that the Holy Spirit clearly guided.]

Living like Jesus demands the “courage of renunciation,” the pontiff said, a willingness to abandon traditions that are dear to us. [What just would those traditions be, I wonder? Is he setting up something for the upcoming Synod? This is to Caritas after all, and the Synod will deal with places that Caritas works with. Is this a set-up for dropped celibacy? After all, that’s a “dear tradition”. What traditions is he talking about?]

Changing and adapting is not about imposing something new, he said, “but leaving aside something old.” [With all respect, this is hardly to be understood. Natura abhorret a vacuo. Nature abhors a vacuum. Create a vacuum and something else will rush in to fill it. Think of this in our human, lived experience. If you have a bad habit, you will more than likely never break it, unless you replace it with a good habit. In the parable of the Lord about the demons driven out, they return to the empty house in greater numbers – it wasn’t filled with that which could resist the demons. It was empty.

When there is lack of clarity in law or teaching, unity breaks down as home-brewed ideas and customs fill the blanks. Also, when you impose something new, you can create chaos, just as what happened with the sudden and largely undesired imposition of the Novus Ordo. Stability allows for slow and organic development. Patience and tradition are key.]

Those early Christians had to learn to leave behind “important religious traditions and precepts, dear to the chosen people,” he said, by which their very “religious identity” was at stake. [Hang on. Sure, early Christians changed, for example, laws about food and circumcision and the day they worshiped God. But these changes were explained in light of the Good News, the New Creation in the person of the New Adam, Christ, who made all things new and who will make all things new in the end. Moreover, the changes were explained even as new practices were introduced… nay rather… imposed even in the face of the resistance of the Judaizers.]

In the end, they did not need a bunch of doctrines and traditions. but the simple announcement that “God is love,” Francis said, and in the face of this great truth, “even convictions and human traditions can and must be abandoned, since they are more of an obstacle than a help.” [!.. !..! Wait just a minute! Jesus challenged the human traditions of the Jews when he outlawed divorce and remarriage in so stunning a way that even the Apostles gasped for air (Matt 19). So, Jesus did NOT come merely to teach that “God is love” and leave us on our own.

Also in the Council of Jerusalem, Peter, while giving in to Paul’s demands, nevertheless banned Gentile converts from INCEST AND POLYGAMY (porneia). So not everything that looks like marriage is marriage. From the beginning, the Lord gave rules, structures,
laws and the Apostles, who understood Him clearly, continued in that line probably because of all the things Christ told them before He ascended. They didn’t just make things up.

“God often purifies, simplifies, and makes us grow by taking away, not by adding, as we might do,” he said. “True faith cleanses from attachments... As a church, we are not called to corporate compromises, but to evangelical enterprise.” [Hang on! Every credal formula of every Council was a “corporate compromise”. They were the very definition of corporate compromises! Various factions came together in moments of unclarity to seek clarity. They fought over language. They came up with compromise formulas that were simultaneously rooted in Apostolic Tradition but also just ambiguous enough that all parties could sign on. If every problem wasn’t solved at that moment, what they passed on would be the foundation for another Council’s work when more questions came up. Rinse and repeat. Slowly, over centuries, the Church came up with, for example, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed which we recite at Masses. Is that something we give up, because it was a corporate compromise? It is a dear tradition, too.

The documents of the Second Vatican Council were all “corporate compromises”, worked on in draft after draft and eventually voted on. Let’s jettison those first, since they are chronologically nearest. Wait, no. John XXIII when he called for Vatican II also called for a new Code of Canon Law. That came out in 1983. That has to go, too.]



I get it, in a way. That above all law and formulations of doctrine is the love of God, our love for Him and His for us. That grasped, all our formulations of doctrine and law, all our customs and productions of art and music, our gestures of liturgical worship grow up simultaneously in different cultures, side by side, reflecting at their core the same Apostolic Faith handed down through the Church to us today.

Christ gave Peter the obvious vice-headship of the Church when He renamed him, gave him His “keys” and then revitalized him three times over on the shores of the sea after the Resurrection. That’s a visible sign of unity for clarity.

The Church has its Four Marks for the sake of clarity, so that know which Church is the Church Christ founded, lest we stray. The Church has its Attributes, again for clarity and security within her embrace.

Unity in worship is guaranteed by laws so that we do not become, over time, divided in prayer and divided in belief, because how we pray affects what we believe. Common worship connects us not only with people overseas, but also over the boundary of death, across generations.

I get it, in a way. He wants to stress the love of God. I don’t see the need to create a conflict between that vision and the traditions various peoples have evolved, with love, over centuries.

It seems to me that structure also frees us up to love as we ought.

At the top I mentioned St. Vincent of Lérins and a previous post about him . Here is an excerpt.

Tracking back to Vincent of Lérins I found a sobering and consoling passage.

Allow me a slight editing choice from “he” to “you”… which doesn’t change the sense at all!

“….he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who set light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; [Here start reading aloud…] but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine you shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all or contrary to that of all the saints, this, you will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, ‘There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you:’ as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not forthwith rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.” Commonitorium 20.48]

Opportunity, dear readers. Opportunity!

If you hear something strange, then that strange thing becomes the cause of the clearer revelation of the truth. God even tolerates heresies for the sake of pointing more clearly to the good teachers and teachings. [If only most Catholics had this perspective! Unfortunately, what still prevails, it seems, among the majority of the world's Catholics is the reflex reaction, "If the pope says so, it must be so". And if their priests and bishops happen to be mindless ministers who follow the path of least resistance and simply fall into lockstep with a fault-filled it not downright heretical pope, nstead of standing firm in the straight path of orthodoxy, then the hapless flock will now know any better and will simply follow their 'lost shepherd' into perdition.]

00Monday, May 27, 2019 8:09 AM
I posted the full text of Cardinal Sarah's address as the last item on the preeding page, but I am re-posting it here for reading convenience, as I have now also added the address given by his interviewer Nicholas Diat on the same occasion.

CWR has obtained the text of the address that Cardinal Sarah chose to give instead of talking about his new book at its formal presentation in Rome last May 14. His unconditional endorsement means, among other things, that he too sees it as an indirect answer to the fundamental questions on morality and the offense to the Eucharist inherent in Amoris laetitia, as raised by the Four Cardinals in the Five Dubia they presented to the reigning pope 979 days ago (and counting). Which all leads back to Benedict XVI's identification of 'the absence of God' from the hearts and minds - and worldview, in general - of those among his supposed ministers who commit sex abuses, condone them or cover up for them, and who use the ploy of 'discernment' to justify violations of Christian morality and making exceptions to Jesus's own judgment that adultery is a sin.

A light in the darkness:
Benedict XVI’s view of the Church
and the clerical sex abuse crisis

The full text of Cardinal Sarah’s address given in Rome on May 14,
at the presentation of the French edition of his latest book

Translated from the French by Zachary Thomas for

May 26, 2019

Dear friends,

Permit me first of all to thank you for this invitation to the prestigious venue of the French Institute, the Centre Saint-Louis, on the occasion of the publication in French of my book The Day Is Now Far Spent. This book analyses the crisis of the faith, the crisis of the priesthood, the crisis of the Church, the crisis of Christian anthropology, the spiritual collapse and moral decadence of the West and all of its consequences. I am very honored to be able thus, in my own humble way, to join the ranks of theologians and Catholic thinkers of the French language who have contributed to Roman intellectual life.

But this evening, I do not wish to speak about this book. The most fundamental ideas that I develop there were dealt with, illustrated, and argued with great vigor last April by Pope Benedict XVI, in the notes he published in the context of the meeting of the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences on sexual abuse, convoked in Rome by Pope Francis February 21-24 last. The Pope Emeritus published these notes in a Bavarian review with the agreement of the Holy Father and the Cardinal Secretary of State.

His reflection has become a true source of light in the night of faith that overshadows the entire Church. Some of the reactions it has provoked brim with intellectual hysteria. I was personally struck by the foolishness and poverty of some of the commentary. Once more, Ratzinger the theologian has clearly perceived the nuclear meltdown that is the crisis of the Church, revealing once more his stature as a true “Father and Doctor of the Church.”

Therefore, this evening I propose that we permit his luminous and demanding thought to be our guide. How might we summarize Benedict XVI’s thesis? Allow me simply to cite the man himself:

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God” (III, 1).(1) This is the overarching principle of the Pope Emeritus’s whole reflection, and the conclusion of his long argumentation. It is the place where all inquiry into the scandal of sexual abuse committed by priests must commence if an effective solution is to be found.

The crisis of pedophelia in the Church and the scandalous flurry of abuse has one, and only one ultimate cause: the absence of God. Benedict XVI says as much in another clear phrase. I quote: “Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible” (II, 2).

Here the theological genius of Joseph Ratzinger draws not only on his experience as a pastor of souls, as a bishop and father of his priests, but also his personal spiritual and mystical experience.

He perceives the fundamental cause. He points out the only way out of the staggering and humiliating scandal of pedophilia. The crisis of sexual abuse is a symptom of a deeper crisis: the crisis of faith, the crisis of knowledge of God.

Some commentators, through malice or ineptitude, have represented Benedict XVI as having claimed that only clerics who are doctrinally deviant become abusers of children. But it is clear that he had more in mind than such a simplistic solution. What Pope Ratzinger wants to argue is much more profound and radical: namely that a climate of atheism and absence of God creates the moral, spiritual, and human conditions for the proliferation of sexual abuse.

Psychological explanations have a certain persuasiveness, but psychology merely allows us to locate fragile subjects who are at risk of commiting the act. Only the absence of God can explain the current situation, wherein abuse has proliferated to such a staggering extent.

We are coming to Pope Benedict’s argument. But first, we should deal with the trifling and superficial commentators who have tried to disqualify his theological reflection by accusing him of confusing homosexual behavior and the abuse of minors. Benedict XVI in no way claims that homosexuality is the cause of abuse. Obviously the vast majority of homosexual persons are not suspected of wanting to abuse anyone. But we cannot avoid the fact that inquiries into the abuse of minors have demonstrated the tragic scope of homosexual practices and other unchaste behaviour among the clergy. As we shall see, this phenomenon is itself a saddening manifestation of the absence of God and loss of faith.

Others, either obtuse or hasty readers – I don’t know which – have taxed Benedict XVI with ignorance of history, on the pretext that he begins his argument by evoking the crisis of 1968. Abuses began before that year. Fine. Benedict XVI knows and acknowledges this. What he wants to show is that the moral crisis of 1968 was already itself a manifestation and symptom of the crisis of faith, and not the ultimate cause. Of the crisis of 1968 too, he could have said: “Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible.”

Now let us follow the argument in the first part of his text step by step. He wishes first to show the wider context of the process at work here, a process he claims was “long-prepared” and “on-going.” He locates one source of the present crisis in the evolution of moral theology, pointing out three stages.

The first was the complete abandonment of natural law as the foundation of morality, with the (otherwise laudable) intention of basing moral theology on Scripture. This attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, as illustrated by the case of the German moralist Bruno Schüller.

This led inevitably to the second stage, where the idea prevailed that “morality was to be exclusively determined by the purposes of human action” (I, 2). Here we can recognize the teleological tendency of which consequentialism was the most extreme result. (2) This tendency, which ignores the notion of moral objectivity, claimed (in Pope Benedict’s words) that “nothing is fundamentally evil,” that “there no longer was the absolute good, but only the relatively better, contingent on the moment and on circumstances” (I, 2).

Finally, the third stage consisted in the claim that the magisterium of the Church was not competent in the moral sphere. The Church could teach infallibly only on questions of faith. However, as Benedict XVI says, “there is a minimum set of morals which is indissolubly linked to the foundational principle of faith.” Refusing to listen to the Church’s magisterium on moral issues removes any link between faith and concrete life. In the end, it is faith that finds itself devoid of meaning and reality.

I wish to point out how the absence of God is at work from the very beginning of this process. From the first stage, the rejection of natural law reveals a forgetting of God. Nature is God’s first gift. It is, in a sense, the first revelation of the Creator. To reject the natural law as a foundation of morality and to oppose it to the Bible shows a particular intellectual and spiritual process already at work in people’s minds: man’s refusal to receive his being and the laws of his being, which manifest his coherence, from God.

Nature, says Benedict XVI, “is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a ‘grammar’ which sets forth ends and criteria.” (3) “Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself.” (4)

To discover nature as wisdom, order, and law, leads to an encounter with the author of this order. Moreover, Benedict XVI asked: “Is it really pointless to wonder whether the objective reason that manifests itself in nature does not presuppose a creative reason, a Creator Spiritus?” (5)

I believe with Joseph Ratzinger that the rejection of God as Creator has long been rampant in the hearts of Western people. This rejection of God has been at work since long before the crisis of 1968. We will follow its successive manifestations as traced by Pope Benedict.

Rejection of nature as a divine gift leaves the human subject in desperate solitude.
- In this condition, nothing matters save his own subjective intentions and his own conscience.
- Morality is reduced to discovering and understanding the motivations and intentions of such subjects.
- It no longer guides man toward happiness in an objective natural order that permits him to discover the good and avoid evil.
- Rejection of natural law leads inevitably to rejection of the notion of moral objectivity. Therefore there are no acts that are objectively and intrinsically evil in every instance and no matter what the circumstances.

Faced with these ideas, St. John Paul II insisted in Veritatis Splendor on the objectivity of the good. Benedict XVI does not tell us what sort of collaboration he had personally with Pope John Paul on this pivotal encyclical, nor the role played by a large number of collaborators that could not be reduced to a particular school of theology. Veritatis Splendor forcefully affirmed that there are acts that are “‘intrinsically evil’ (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances” (n° 80) because these acts “radically contradict the good of the person.”

I would like to emphasize with Benedict XVI that this claim is nothing more than a consequence of the objectivity of the faith and ultimately of the objectively of the existence of God.
- If God exists, if he is not a creation of my subjectivity, then in the words of the Pope Emeritus, there are “values which must never be abandoned” (II, 2).
- In a relativist morality, everything becomes a question of circumstances. It is never necessary to sacrifice one’s life for God’s truth and so the martyr is no longer of use.

To the contrary, Benedict XVI affirms that “martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence. The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in this theory shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here” (II, 2). In a word: if there is no value that is objective to the point that one must die for it, then God himself is no longer an objective reality who is worth the suffering of martyrdom.

Amidst this crisis of moral theology, there is thus a refusal of the divine absolute, of the irruption of God into our lives that surpasses everything, that governs everything, that governs our whole manner of living.(6) Pope Benedict’s argument is clear and definitive. It could be summarized in the words of Dostoevsky: “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted!”

If the objectivity of the divine absolute is challenged, then even the most unnatural transgressions are possible, even sexual abuse of a minor. In any case, the ideology of 1968 has sometimes advocated for the legitimation of pedophilia. The writings of these champions of libertinism, who boast about their transgressive relationships with minors, are still available for all to read.

If every moral act becomes relative to the intentions of the subject and to circumstances, then nothing is definitively impossible and radically contrary to human dignity. It is the moral atmosphere caused by the rejection of God, the spiritual climate of rejection of the divine objectivity, that renders possible the proliferation of abuse of minors and the banalisation of acts contrary to chastity among the clergy.

In the words of Benedict XVI: “A world without God can only be a world without meaning. For where, then, does everything that is come from? (…) It is somehow simply there and has neither any goal nor any sense. Then there are no standards of good or evil. Then only what is stronger than the other can assert itself. Power is then the only principle. Truth does not count, it actually does not exist” (II, 1).

If God is not the principle, if the truth does not exist, then only power counts. At this point what stops the abuse of this power by an adult with a minor? Pope Benedict’s argument is clear. In the final analysis, “the reason [for abuse] is the absence of God”; “Only where faith no longer determines the actions of man are such offenses possible.”

After posing this principle, the Pope Emeritus draws out its consequences. I was personally very touched by the fact that for him ,the first consequence is the “question of priestly life” (II, 1) and the formation of seminarians. On this point he confirms one of the central intuitions of my latest book.

Benedict XVI writes: “In the context of the meeting of the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences from all over the world with Pope Francis, the question of priestly life, as well as that of seminaries, is of particular interest.” Thus he points out that the direct consequence of forgetting God is a crisis of the priesthood. Indeed we can say that priests have been the first ones touched by the crisis of faith, and have implicated the Christian people with them. The crisis of sexual abuse is the particularly visible and revolting sign of a profound crisis of the priesthood.

What is at stake here? Again, in the words of the Pope Emeritus, we have witnessed for a long time now the spread of a “priestly life” that is no longer “determined by the faith.” Now if there is any life that must be entirely and absolutely determined by the faith, it is the priestly life. It is and must be a consecrated life, i.e. a life given, reserved, and offered to God alone and totally buried with God. Too often we have seen priests live as if God did not exist.

Benedict XVI cites here the words of the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar: “Do not presuppose the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but present them” (III, 1)! He means to say: do not make an abstract notion out of God. On the contrary, in the words of Pope Benedict: “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” (III, 1).

“The theme of God seems so unreal, so far removed from the things that concern us.” With these words Benedict XVI is describing a style of priestly life that is secularized and profane, a life in which God passes into the background. Pope Benedict gives several examples.
- The first concern of bishops became no longer God himself but a “radically open relationship with the world” (II, 1).
- Seminaries were transformed into secularized places in which, Pope Benedict says, the climate “could not provide support for preparation to the priestly vocation.”
- The life of prayer and adoration was neglected, and the understanding of priestly life as consecration to God was all but forgotten.

The Pope Emeritus points out several symptoms of this forgetfulness: an unhealthy mixing with the lay world, which introduced noise and denied the fact that every priest is by his priesthood a man separate from the world, set aside for God (II, 1).

He also points out that homosexual cliques became established in seminaries. This is not so much a cause as a sign of the forgetfulness of God that was already reigning. Seminarians who live in open contradiction of natural and revealed morality show that they were not living for God, that they do not belong to God, that they are not seeking God. Perhaps they have found a career, perhaps they like the social aspects of the ministry. But they have forgotten the essential: a priest is a man of God, a man for God.

What is most grave in this situation is that their formators said nothing or voluntarily promoted this horizontal and mundane conception of the priesthood.
- It was as if the bishops and formators in seminaries had themselves renounced God’s centrality.
- It was as if they too had made the faith a matter of secondary concern, making it ineffective;
- as if they too had replaced the primacy of life for God and after God by the dogma of openness to the world, of relativism and subjectivism.

It is shocking to see how the objective reality of God has been eclipsed by a form of religion worshipping human subjectivity. Pope Francis has aptly spoken of it as auto-referentiality. [With all due respect, and understanding that Cardinal Sarah wants to be able to say something positive about the man he now works for, Jorge Bergoglio has invoked self-referentiality, as he calls it, to criticize the institutional Church - as being nore concerned with its perspective and problems than with the lives of the faithful; certainly, never in the sense of individual self-referentiality. What is his deceptive mantra of 'discernment' after all, but an appeal to the individual to practice self-referentiality in the worst possible way, i.e., 'discernment' has become the Bergoglian acknowledgment and synonym for the primacy of individual conscience, and what could be more self-referential than that?]

I think that the worst form of auto-referentiality is one that denies our relation to God and his objectivity, and retains only the relation of man to himself in his subjectivity. [There we are! But that is most certainly not the self-referentiality Bergoglio criticizes!]

In the current climate, how is one to live an authentic priestly life? How are we to limit the temptation to regard ourselves as omnipotent? A person who has only himself as a reference point, who does not live for God but for himself, not according to God but according to his own desires, will end up falling into the logic of the abuse of power and that of sexual abuse. [That is, whither 'discernment' but towards a denial of God? When it is the 'I' alone who determines what is good or bad?]

Who will rein in his desires, even the most perverse of them, if his subjectivity is all that matters? Forgetting God opens the door to every form of abuse. We can already observe this in our society.

But this forgetfulness of God has entered even into the Church, into her priests and bishops. Inevitably, abuses of power and sexual abuse have spread among priests. Sadly, there are priests who practically do not believe any more, who no longer pray or only very little, who no longer live the sacraments as a vital dimension of their priesthood. They have become lukewarm and practical atheists.

Practical atheism facilitates an abusive psychology. The Church has allowed herself for a long time now to be invaded by this all-pervasive atheism. It should not surprise us to discover perverts and abusers in her ranks. If God does not exist, then all things are permitted! If God does not exist concretely, then all is possible!

In this regard, I would like to point out Pope Benedict XVI’s beautiful reflection on canon law in general and penal law in particular.

Canon law is a structure that aims fundamentally to protect the objectivity of our relation with God. As Benedict XVI points out, law should “protect the faith, which is also an important legal asset” (II, 2). The faith is our primary common good. Through it we become sons of the Church. It is an objective good, and the primary duty of authority is to defend it.

As the Pope Emeritus observes, “the faith no longer appears to have the rank of a good that requires protection. This is an alarming situation which must be considered and taken seriously by the pastors of the Church” (II, 2).
- Bishops have the obligation to defend the deposit of Catholic faith, doctrine, and moral teaching that the Church as always faithfully taught.

This is a crucial point. The crisis of sexual abuse has revealed a crisis of the objectivity of the faith, which is also manifested on the level of Church authority.
- In fact, just as pastors refuse to punish clergy who teach doctrines contrary to the objectivity of faith, in the same way they refuse to punish clergy guilty of practices contrary to chastity or even sexual abuse. It is the same logic.
- It is a false expression of “guarantorism,” which according to Pope Benedict means “that above all, the rights of the accused had to be guaranteed, to an extent that factually excluded any conviction at all” (II, 2).

Here we find the same ideology again.
- The subject, his desires, his subjective intentions, and the circumstances of his actions have become the only reality.
- The objective character of faith and morals is secondary. This idolatry of the subject excludes all punishment, for heretical theologians as much as for abusing clergy.

By refusing to consider the objectivity of moral acts, we have abandoned the “little ones,” the weak and vulnerable, to their executioners’ deliriums of omnipotence.
- Indeed, out of so-called mercy, we have abandoned the faith of the weak and vulnerable.
- We have left them in the hands of intellectuals who play at deconstructing the faith with their dubious theories which we have refused to condemn.
- In the same way, we have abandoned the victims of abuse. We have failed to condemn the abusers, the murderers of our children’s innocence and purity, and sometimes of our seminarians and religious sisters.

All of this has come about under the pretext of ‘understanding’ subjectivity, of a refusal of the objectivity of faith and morals. I believe that to condemn and inflict punishment, in the orders of both faith and morals, is a proof of sincere mercy on the part of authority.

As Benedict XIV points out, sexual abuses are objectively a “delict against the faith.” This description is not “a trick to be able to impose the maximum penalty, but is a consequence of the importance of the faith for the Church” (II, 2).

I hold that those who play with either the faith or the moral life of the faithful with impunity are the ones truly guilty of clericalism.
- Yes, clericalism is the attitude that refuses to punish offenses against faith and morals.
- Clericalism is a cleric’s refusal to acknowledge the objectivity of faith and morals.
- The clericalism that Pope Francis is calling us to eradicate is ultimately this impenitent subjectivism of the clergy! [Best exemplified, paradoxically, by Jorge Bergoglio's arrant and unabashed subjectivism! Though he is too narcissistic to realize that - to a narcissist, everything is subjective and self-referential in that he himself is his only reference point!]

I want to address one last consequence of this forgetfulness of God and of the objectivity of faith. If the faith no longer governs our behavior, then the Church is for us not a divine reality received as a gift but a reality to construct according to our own ideas and our own program. [Which is precisely how Jorge Bergoglio looks at it!]

I was profoundly shocked and wounded by the reception that Benedict XVI’s text was given by certain people. They have said that “this is not what needs to be said,” it is not what the Church needs to be credible once more.

The Church does not stand in need of communications experts. She is not an NGO in crisis that has to reinvent itself to become popular again. Her legitimacy is not found in surveys, but in God!

As Benedict XVI says, “The crisis, caused by the many cases of clerical abuse, has urged us to regard the Church as something almost unacceptable, which we must now take into our own hands and redesign. But a self-made Church cannot constitute hope.”

As the Pope Emeritus points out, it is precisely because we have ceded to the temptation to make a church in our own image that we have put God aside [Does anyone think Jorge Bergoglio felt even remotely alluded to in this???] and that we see the multiplication of abuse cases today. Let us not fall into the same snare! These abuses uncover a church that men have tried to take into their own hands!

I am thus profoundly saddened when I read a theologian writing that the Church is guilty of a “collective sin.” The same Dominican sister calls us to question the Catholic Church’s “conception of truth.” The Church in her view must renounce “every pretension of expertise or excellence in the domain of sanctity, truth, and morals.” (7)

Such an approach leads only to an even more extreme form of subjectivism. It leads us right back into the very thing that has caused the crisis. For if the Church no longer teaches truth and morality, then who could claim that there are things we must never do? Once more, if God does not exist objectively, if truth does not make claims upon us, then everything is permitted! [Cardinal Sarah's commentary on Benedict XVI's essay leads to the startling conclusion that in its major lines, the emeritus Pope's critique is really a critique of Bergoglianism! I have been obtuse in not coming to this conclusion much earlier. It is as if by writing on the sex abuse crisis, he found a way to release all the thoughts that have been pent up the past six years by his public vow to obey and respect whoever his successor would be!]

What, then, is the way forward that Benedict XVI proposes? It is simple. If the cause of the crisis is our forgetfulness of God, then we must place God back in the center!
- In the Church and in our liturgies, we must once more recognize the primacy of God, the presence of God, his objective and real presence.
- As Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, I was touched by a remark of Benedict XVI. He claims that “In conversations with victims of pedophilia, I have been made acutely aware of the need for a renewal of the faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament” (III, 2).

I must insist: we are not dealing here with the conclusion of a theological expert but the wise words of a pastor who has allowed himself to be deeply touched by the stories of the victims of pedophilia. Benedict XVI has understood with his profound sensitivity that respect toward the Eucharistic body of Our Lord conditions our respect toward the pure and innocent bodies of children.

“The Eucharist has been devalued,” he argues. Today we witness a manner of treating the Blessed Sacrament that “destroys the greatness of the Mystery." With the Pope Emeritus I am profoundly convinced that if we do not adore the Eucharistic Body of Our Lord, if we do not treat him with a fear at once joyful and full of reverence, then the temptation to profane the bodies of children will arise in our midst.

I want to highlight Benedict’s conclusion: “When thinking about what action is required first and foremost, it is rather obvious that we do not need another Church of our own design. Rather, what is required first and foremost is the renewal of the faith in the Reality of Jesus Christ given to us in the Blessed Sacrament” (III, 2).

In conclusion I repeat with Pope Benedict:
Yes, the Church is full of sinners. But the Church is not in crisis. We are. The devil wants us to doubt. He wants us to think that God is abandoning his Church. No, She is always God’s field, where not only bad, but also good, grain grows. “To proclaim both with emphasis is not a false form of apologetics, but a necessary service to the Truth.”

Benedict XVI himself proves this point in his own person. His presence, praying and teaching in our midst, in the heart of the Church, in Rome, confirms it. Yes, among us there are truly beautiful divine grains.

Thank you, dear Pope Benedict, for being a co-worker of the Truth, a servant of truth, according to your motto. Your words comfort and reassure us. You are a “witness” and a “martyr” for the truth, and you have our gratitude.

1 The reference to Benedict XVI’s letter are given according to the text published by Catholic News Agency.
2 See Saint John-Paul II, Enc. Veritatis splendor, § 74 & 75.
3 Caritas in Veritate, 48.
4 Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Reichstag, Berlin, Thursday, 22 September 2011.
5 Ibid.
6 “The Christian faith is not the product of our own experiences; rather, it is an event that comes to us from without. Faith is based on our meeting something (or someone) for which our capacity for experiencing things is inadequate. (…) Certainly, what touches us there effects an experience in us, but experience as the result of an event, not of reaching deeper into ourselves. This is exactly what is meant by the concept of revelation: something not ours, not to be found in what we have, comes to me and takes me out of myself, above myself, creates something new (J. Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance, ch. “Is Christianity a European Religion?”), p. 87-88.
7 See V. MARGRON, Un moment de vérité, Paris, 2019, p. 65-69 & 149.

As Cardinal Sarah chose not to speak about his book at the Institut Francais presentation in Rome, here is the address given on the occasion by his interviewer for his now-completed trilogy, a presentation in which French journalist Nicholas Diat, Cardinal Sarah's Peter Seewald, as it were, recalls his most powerful memories in the course of those interviews:

'Abide with us: for it is
toward evening, and the day is far spent'

by Nicholas Diat
Translated from the French by Zachary Thomas for

May 26, 2019

We are gathered around you this evening, Your Eminence, my dear Cardinal Robert Sarah, with joy and gratitude. We have come here to the Centre Saint-Louis to present the last volume in your trilogy, a volume you have desired to write for several years.

In February 2015, Fayard press published your first volume, Dieu ou rien, with the subtitle Entretien sur la foi (God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith, Ignatius, 2015). This book was both a personal biography and an excellent introduction to the Christian life.

If I had to evoke just one of many memories about the work for God or Nothing, I would choose the days when we reverently recalled the days of your childhood in the small village of Ourous, in a remote part of Guinea, not far from the border with Senegal. You told me:

“When I look back at the past and the early days of the mission, or at Guinea in general, when I consider one by one the exceptional gifts from Providence, I know that God truly guided and adopted us. I remember how enthralled I was when I saw the Holy Ghost Fathers walking every afternoon while reading their breviaries. I never tired of watching them, with a sense of awe...

How many times I was profoundly gripped by the silence that reigned in the church during the Fathers’ prayers! At first, settled in the back of the building, I watched these men and wondered what they were doing, kneeling or sitting in the half-light, not saying anything. . . . But they seemed to be listening and conversing with someone in the semi-darkness of the church, lit by candles...

The Holy Ghost Fathers* had a profound impact on Guinean Catholicism. How could we forget the way these priests took care of everyone, even the most wretched lepers? They touched them and treated them, even though the patients gave off an unbearable smell. They taught them the catechism, considering that the sick, too, had the right to be instructed in the mysteries of the faith and to receive Christ’s sacraments.

Despite the political sufferings that accompanied Sékou Touré’s Marxist dictatorship, the Church in Guinea stood fast, for she was founded on the rock, on the sacrifices of missionaries, and on the joy of the Gospel. Communist doctrine never got the better of the priests who traveled on foot to the smallest villages, accompanied by a few catechists, carrying their suitcase-chapel on their heads!

The humility of the Spiritans’ faith was the strongest defense against the egalitarian aberrations of the revolutionary Marxist ideology of the State Party in Guinea. A handful of zealous and courageous Guinean priests kept the flame of the Gospel burning".

*[Not incidentally, Mons. Marcel Lefebvre was a Holy Ghost Father who served as a missionary in Africa from 1932-1962 where he eventually bcame the Archbishp of Dakar, Senegal from 1952-1962. Upon his return to Europe, he served as Superior of his congregation from 1962-1968.]

Then there is the unforgettable letter sent to you by Fr. Bracquemont. In God or Nothing, you wanted to preserve the memory of this priest who encouraged you to enter the minor seminary at the age of 11, which involved leaving your village and astonished your parents, who did not know that an African could become a priest. He wrote:

“I received, via my religious superiors, your charming invitation to the celebration of the centennial of Saint Rose parish in Ouros, of which I have fond memories of having seen your courage as a server fetching the cruets, while menaced by a snake on top of the credence table. This courage is perhaps what brought you to the attention of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The expulsion in May 1967 separated us . . . I had other assignments. But I have never ceased to think about you. Cardinal Sarah, the small only child of Alexander and Claire, I assure you of my prayers. May you continue for a long time to be as courageous as when I knew you.”

Then in October 2016, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise appeared. This second volume was born in the cell of a gravely sick man, Br. Vincent of the Abbey of Lagrasse. You had become close to a young, 36-year-old canon with severe multiple sclerosis, who had lost the power of speech. Despite the obstacle of the silence imposed by the disease, you were able to establish a spiritual relationship with this exceptional religious, whom, unfortunately, you eventually buried. In The Power of Silence, you wrote:

“The sentiments that emerge from a silent heart are expressed in harmony and silence. The great things in human life are experienced in silence, under God’s watchful eye. Silence is man’s greatest freedom. No dictatorship, no war, no barbarism can take this divine treasure away from him.”

In this book it was your wish to lead your readers into the school of the Psalmist, who writes: “The gossip errs without a guide”, and of Ecclesiastes, who writes: “There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak.”

The Power of Silence is built around 365 thoughts. Your last words were:

“When the soul is detached from the body of the departing person, it rises in an incomparable silence. The great silence of death is the silence of the soul that travels toward another homeland: the land of eternal life. It is necessary to be in unison with the soul-silence of the deceased.

The great works of God always occur in silence. The moment when the body was united to the soul and the moment when that soul came apart from its carnal envelope are moments of silence, eminently divine moments. All that is from God makes no noise. Nothing is sudden, everything is delicate, pure, and silent".

I cannot speak about The Power of Silence without an affectionate recollection of the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. The last part of the book is a dialogue between you, Eminence, and the successor of Saint Bruno, Dom Dysmas de Lassus.

I recall our trip to the Chartreuse, in the dead of winter, in the swirling snow storm that met you upon your arrival. I remember the night office from 12:15 to 2:30 in the morning, that prayer said in complete darkness. The Church was plunged in pitch-black darkness, the only light the dancing red point of the lamp of the Blessed Sacrament, as the Carthusians chanted the psalms they knew entirely by heart.

I remember the intense hours of our extraordinary conversation with Dom Dysmas, who told you, and our readers:

“In a Charterhouse [Carthusian monastery], we seek, not silence, but, rather, intimacy with God by means of silence. It is the privileged space that will allow for communion; it is on the order of language, but a different language. Thus the Statutes of the Order begin with this foundational sentence: ‘To the praise of the glory of God, Christ, the Father’s Word, has through the Holy Spirit, from the beginning chosen certain men, whom he willed to lead into solitude and unite to himself in intimate love. In obedience to such a call, Master Bruno and six companions entered the desert of Chartreuse in the year of our Lord 1084 and settled there’ (Statutes I.1) ...

As long as there are lovers on earth, they will seek to see each other alone, and silence will have a part in their encounter. This is perhaps the simplest way to explain our choice of life. Silence and solitude in a charterhouse have their meaning in this great desire for intimacy with God. For the sons of Saint Bruno, silence and solitude are the perfect place for a heart-to-heart conversation".

This heart-to-heart is also the most beautiful way for us to access The Power of Silence.

Today, we have come to celebrate the publication of the third volume The Day is Far Spent. The book’s analysis of the spiritual and moral collapse of our times combines vigor and sweetness, making no concessions in its impressive accuracy.
Observers have rightly pointed out that these pages are as deep as a book-length meditation on Good Friday, that day of the cross when the great veil of the Temple was split in two and darkness covered the whole world. But Jean-Marie Guénois rightly points out in Le Figaro that The Day is Far Spent is actually “a hopeful book.”

In the book’s evocative introduction, entitled 'Alas, Judas Escariot!', you wrote:

“Today, in these pages, I offer you the heart of my life: my faith in God. In a short time, I will appear before the eternal Judge. If I do not pass on to you the truth that I have received, then what will I say to Him? We bishops ought to tremble at the thought of our blameworthy silences, our silences of complicity, our silences of complacency with the world...

We have no fear! Listen to Jesus: ‘You are Simon (…) You shall be called Peter!’ (John 1:42). From these very first hours, the fabric of the history of the Church’s life is woven: a golden thread, the infallible decisions of the popes, successors of Peter; a black thread of the human and imperfect acts of popes, successors of Simon.

In this incomprehensible overlapping of intertwining threads, we perceive the little needle guided by the invisible hand of God, careful to weave the only name by which we can be saved, the name of Jesus Christ!...

In truth, do we love the Church? Enough to die for Her? If we can respond humbly, simply: ‘Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you,’ then he will smile at us, then Mary and the saints in heaven will smile and say to every Christian, as they did once to Francis of Assisi: ‘Go rebuild my Church!’ Go, repair Her by your faith, by your hope and your charity. Go and repair Her by your prayer and fidelity. Thanks to you, the Church will become my house once again.” [Benedict XVI posed that question of martyrdom for the Church in the essay Cardinal Sarah chose to speak about at this book presentation.]

In the conclusion of this book, I wrote that when I think of you, I often think of the abbatial mottos of the recent abbots of Fontgombault: “Unum necessarium – The one thing necessary”; “Donec dies elucescat – Until the daybreak [of the eternal day]”; “Ad superna semper intenti – Looking ever on high”; “Modo geniti infantes – As newborn babes”. You are a man favored and captivated by the manna of heaven, whose sole and constant concern is the love of God. You strive to return what you have been given a hundred-fold.

The title of our book is from St. Luke. It is a bit truncated. The full phrase is of course: “Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.”

Permit me a personal, poetic interpretation. I say simply, as a disciple at Emmaus: Stay with us, yes, stay with us. Do not forget us in your prayers, Eminence, dear Cardinal Robert Sarah, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.
00Monday, May 27, 2019 8:51 AM

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


See preceding page for earlier entries today, May 27, 2019.

I find this presentation very clear and informative. Let the Bergogliacs refute it, argument by argument, if they can..

A reply to criticisms of the open letter
to bishops concerning the heresies of Pope Francis

by John Lamont

May 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In the recent “Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church", a number of Catholic theologians and scholars accused Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy and asked the bishops to take action to address this situation. The letter has not surprisingly been the target of a number of criticisms.

These criticisms are not always easy for the general Catholic reader to assess, because the document is long, precisely rather than accessibly formulated, and sometimes technical in its language. These features of the letter are required by its purpose; a legal accusation against a Pope must be careful, detailed, and sometimes technical in its facts and arguments.

It may, therefore, be helpful to offer an explanation of some of the aspects of the letter that its critics have attacked. As a signatory of the letter, and a theologian who had some input into its drafting, I offer the remarks below with the intention of indicating why these criticisms lack any force.

What is the crime that Pope Francis is being accused of?
The letter accuses Pope Francis of having committed the canonical delict of heresy. A delict is a crime in canon law; an external violation of a law or precept that is gravely imputable by reason of malice or negligence.

The canonical delict of heresy is not the same as the personal sin of heresy. A Catholic can commit the personal sin of heresy by deliberate, obstinate, but purely internal doubt or disbelief of a truth of the Catholic faith. If this doubt or disbelief is never shown by word or deed, the canonical crime of heresy is not committed.

Canon law deals only with sins that are outwardly manifested and that can be established through publicly available evidence.
- The canonical crime of heresy requires public manifestation of doubt or disbelief in some teaching of the Catholic faith, in circumstances where it is clear that the person expressing disbelief knows that the teaching he is rejecting is a part of the Catholic faith.

One can reasonably suppose that when the canonical crime of heresy is committed, the personal sin of heresy has been committed as well; but a condemnation for the canonical crime of heresy is not in itself a condemnation for the personal sin of heresy. The two offenses are dealt with by different tribunals. The canonical crime of heresy is judged by a canonical, non-sacramental act of ecclesiastical authority; the personal sin of heresy is judged (if it is ever presented for judgment) in the sacrament of penance.

Are the views that Pope Francis is accused of maintaining really heresies?
Some opponents of the letter have denied that the positions listed as heretical are in fact heresies. The letter’s explanation of the canonical crime of heresy contains an account of the nature of heresy:

For the canonical delict of heresy to be committed, two things must occur:
- the person in question must doubt or deny, by public words and/or actions, some divinely revealed truth of the Catholic faith that must be believed with the assent of divine and Catholic faith; and
- this doubt or denial must be pertinacious, that is, it must be made with the knowledge that the truth being doubted or denied has been taught by the Catholic Church as a divinely revealed truth which must be believed with the assent of faith, and the doubt or denial must be persistent.

According to this passage, a heresy is a proposition that contradicts a truth that is divinely revealed, and that has been taught by the Catholic Church as a divinely revealed truth that must be believed with the assent of faith. This is the generally agreed definition of a heresy that is offered by canonists and theologians. The question is thus whether the propositions that are given in the letter as heresies satisfy this definition. These propositions are the following:

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 manner, 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.

The only proposition in these seven that involves some sort of theological sophistication is the first one. It describes theses concerning justification that were asserted by some Protestants. It was condemned as heretical by the Council of Trent.

All of the other six propositions concern fundamental aspects of Christian life and morals. They are denials of things that most adult Catholics need to explicitly grasp, believe, and practice in order to lead Christian lives and get to heaven.

So the fact that these propositions are false, and that they must be held to be false by Catholics, cannot reasonably be denied.
- The question is whether they are not just false, but heretical; that is, whether their contradictories are truths that have been taught by the Church as being divinely revealed, and as calling for the assent of faith.

For each one of these propositions, the open letter provides texts of the divinely revealed Scriptures that condemn them, and magisterial texts that condemn them as contrary to the faith. They thus satisfy the conditions for being heresies.

There is a further point to be made about the Catholic teachings denied by I) to VII). They are so fundamental that
- if you accept IV) and V), you will be left with no true moral principles about sexual behavior at all;
- if you accept VI) you will be left with no true moral principles, full stop;
- if you accept I), II), and III) you will be left with no connection between acting rightly and eternal salvation; and
- if you accept VII), you will be left with no true worship of God, and no true religion.

So if the claims described by the letter as heresies are accepted, every other teaching of divine revelation will be either falsified, or made pointless and powerless to redeem. As a result, if we hold that I) to VII) are not divinely revealed and proposed by the Church for belief, we will have to conclude that what is divinely revealed and taught as such by the Church is on its own useless for salvation. But this consequence is absurd.

Has Pope Francis in fact committed the crime of heresy?
The evidence for Pope Francis having maintained the heresies listed above is set out in the letter.
- It is not a complete description of the evidence for his heresy, and does not claim to be one.
- It simply claims to be sufficient to establish that he has publicly maintained these heresies.
- Catholics must judge for themselves in reading the letter whether this evidence is sufficient or not.

To assist Catholics in making this judgment, it can be pointed out that although much of the evidence consists of statements or actions that could individually be given a Catholic interpretation, for each of the numerous pieces of evidence, a Catholic interpretation would be strained or improbable to a greater or lesser degree.

From this it follows that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that all of this evidence taken together cannot be given a Catholic interpretation.

One should keep in mind a principle of the probability calculus; if the probability of event A is .25 (25 percent), and the probability of event B is .25 (25 percent), then the probability of A and B together is .25 multiplied by .25 = .05 (5 percent). If the probability of event C is .25 (25 percent), then the probability of A, B, and C together is (.25 times .25 times .25) = 0125 (1.25 percent); and so on. So even if there is a 25 percent chance of a given word or action by Pope Francis not being heretical, the probability of three words or actions with this chance of being Catholic all having an orthodox meaning is 1.25 percent.

Since he is the Pope, we should make every effort to understand the words and actions of Pope Francis in an orthodox sense. But even with the most strained, charitable and generous interpretation of the words and actions listed in the letter, after a certain point the weight of probability in favor of his being a heretic becomes overwhelming. Only a prior decision to never accept the conclusion that Pope Francis is a heretic can resist this weight of evidence.

We should therefore accept that Pope Francis has publicly and persistently upheld the heresies listed above. [Those who criticize the Open Leter and its authors have not even bothered to refute these documented facts, because they cannot. The documentation is far too substantial and abundant, starting with the Vatican's own daily chronicles and annals of the Bergoglio Pontificate!]
- It cannot be seriously questioned that Pope Francis knows that these heresies are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. He is the Pope. The charism of office given to him as Pope has the specific purpose of ensuring that he knows what the Catholic faith contains. He has taught Catholic theology for many years, as the letter documents.
- The heresies are not arcane or remote ones — it is not a question of his advancing the Monothelite heresy, or the Christological positions of Theodore of Mopsuestia. The heresies in question have been at the heart of theological debate — a debate in which he has taken part — for decades.

At this point, the ambiguity of most of Pope Francis’s heretical actions can be seen as a strategy rather than an excuse.
- Pope Francis is following the method of Arius, Nestorius, and other heretics in advancing his heretical views.
- He expresses himself in a plethora of words, confessing Catholic doctrine and the need for adherence to it in a general way, while undermining or denying it with other, more specific expressions and actions.
- Thus he couches his heretical utterances in words which are naturally understood to express heresy, while admitting of an orthodox meaning if they are given a strained and non-natural interpretation.
- He will allow others to take the lead at times in promoting heresy and show his approval of their views without necessarily endorsing their statements explicitly.
- These tactical oscillations are a most effective way for him to promote the heresies in which he manifests his belief.
- If he were to repudiate the Catholic faith in an open and straightforward manner, he would lose the power and the opportunity to exercise influence that stems from his office; his ability to advance his heretical views would be largely eliminated.

Is the course of action that the bishops are requested to take a reasonable or legitimate one?
To address this question, we must specify what exactly is being requested of the bishops. When a crime is committed and then dealt with by the law, three things occur.
- There is the commission of the offense itself;
- the judgment that the offender is guilty of the offense; and
- the punishment imposed for the offense by a legal sentence.

The signatories of the letter are not attempting to pass a judgment or a sentence on the crime of heresy.
- They are reporting to the responsible authorities — the bishops of the Catholic Church — that a crime has been committed.
- They assert that there is sufficient evidence to show that the crime has been committed, but they are not asking these authorities to rule that Pope Francis is a heretic on the basis of this evidence alone, strong as it is.
- They ask the bishops to take further steps to determine with complete certainty whether or not Pope Francis is a heretic.
- This determination, following the canonical tradition of the Church, is to be done by the bishops formally requesting Pope Francis three times to abjure these heresies and withdraw the words and actions that indicate his belief in them.
- If these steps are taken, and Pope Francis persists in his heresy, the bishops will then have both the right and the duty to judge that Pope Francis is a heretic, and to announce their judgment to the faithful.

This judgment would not be an exercise of superior jurisdiction, but the recognition of a public fact.
- The role of this judgment would be to give the public fact a juridical force; it would not be an exercise of authority that would create this fact or its consequences.

The sentencing for this crime can only be done by Pope Francis’s superior. This superior is God. We cannot expect a direct divine intervention to carry out this sentencing, but we do not need such an intervention, because God has made His will concerning heretics known to us through His law. The divine law concerning heretics is given in the Holy Scriptures.
- “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema”
(Galatians 1:8–9).
- “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: knowing that he that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment” (Titus 3:10–11).

A heretic is thus separated from the Church, and a fortiori from any office in the Church. If Pope Francis chooses to persist in heresy in such as way as to make this persistence a juridical fact, through the decree of the divine law he separates himself from the Church and from the papal office.

The letter is not intended to bring about this lamentable result. It is issued in the hope that the legal punishment that is due for the crime of Pope Francis will exercise its medicinal purpose of withdrawing a sinner from his sin through anticipation, rather than through actual infliction. [Insh'Allah, as the Muslis say! May God will it. Through a miracle no one expects, but we can pray, can't we?]

00Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:31 AM

Just in time to 'rescue' Jorge Bergoglio from having his face ground in the dust after the humiliating defeat of his policy of 'immigrants first and always, and the hell with Italian sovereignty and nationalism' which his bishops in Italy actively campaigned for in a bid to defeat Matteo Salvini's Lega candidates for the European Parliament, a couple of new bombshells which may momentarily distract from the voter slapdown of Bergoglio's immigrationism, but do aggravate earlier self-generated Bergoglio scandals.

The first has to do with former papal pet McCarrick - who became Bergogio's sacrificial lamb when he defrocked him in the full glare of the world's media spotlights. It was, of course, Bergoglio's way of trying to beat back the ignominy of having privileged McCarrick for years to make him one of his closest advisers and personal envoy for all the significant diplomatic initiatives of his pontificate.

Not only has McCarrick's former longtime secretary made public a correspondence file showing that McCarrick was indeed disciplined by Benedict XVI back in 2008, but also how the wily and then very powerful cardinal managed to violate the restrictions, following which the next pope 'rehabilitated' him completely by endowing him with the extraordinary and plenipotentiary powers he wielded in this pontificate until he was exposed to the public in June 2018 as a serial sex predator of boys and seminarians since the 1960s. Then, Bergoglio had no choice but to appear to renounce and denounce one of his favorite pets in the zoo of doctrinal and moral deviants that make up his satanic menagerie.

To make things look even worse for Bergoglio on the McCarrick front, he decides to give an interview to a Mexican TV outlet in which he declares - apparently with a straight face - that "About McCarrick I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing. I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea" because "I don’t remember if he [Mons. Vigano] told me about this. If it’s true or not. No idea! But you know that about McCarrick, I knew nothing. If not, I wouldn’t have remained quiet, right?”

It's a brazen tissue of lies, if only because this is the first time that he makes such a denial, having in the past 270 days, by Marco Tosatti's running count, staunchly refused to answer Vigano's charge sheet. Why couldn't he have said all the above when he as first asked about it, instead of the smug and self-righteous song and dance he made challenging journalists to find out the truth themselves!

Spadaro and Tornielli should provide Bergoglio with a constantly updated 'cheat sheet' as an aide memoire citing what he has already said about controversial issues, so that he does not embarrass himself - and all of us who have to witness the spectacle of a habitually lying pope - by contradicting what he has said before.

Writing for The Tablet, Ines San Martin reports on the highlights of the Bergoglio interview which contains at least a couple of other egregious examples of Bergoglian bloopers and whoppers having to do with his capricious and deceitful ways of appearing to 'deal' with episcopal and cardinalatial involvement in sex abuse scandals. [The way he dismisses Cardinal Pell as having been 'condemned' already is bloodcurdlingly callous and lacking one iota of mercy and charity!]

But it is his rationalization of how he has dealt so far with Mons. Zanchetta that takes the prize for most incoherent and least credible cover story that Bergoglio's devious mind has yet devised. Perhaps like all liars, he has not heard or completely ignores Sir Walter Scott's lament back in the 16th century - "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we set out to deceive!"

In new interview, pope claims
he 'knew nothing' about McCarrick

[Lies, lies, on videotape]
By Inés San Martín

May 28, 2018

NEW YORK – In his first direct comments about the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis said that “about McCarrick I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing.”

“I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea,”
Francis said in an interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki.

Speaking about the allegation made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who claimed last August that he had told Pope Francis about Vatican-imposed restrictions against the former Archbishop of Washington, the Holy Father said that “I don’t remember if he told me about this. If it’s true or not. No idea! But you know that about McCarrick, I knew nothing. If not, I wouldn’t have remained quiet, right?” [At least, he had the conscience not to say flatly, "No, he never told me what he claims he did!", resorting instead to the tried-and-tested legal ploy of saying "I don't remember..." But the ploy doesn't work and can't work because how can a pope not remember being told about such shocking misconduct by one of his favorite cardinals and agents???]

McCarrick was removed from the College of Cardinals last year, after he was alleged to have sexually abused both minors and seminarians. Earlier this year, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had removed him from the clerical state, after he was found guilty.

In a wide-ranging interview, he also spoke about the United States and Mexico.

Speaking about the trip he took to Mexico in 2016, where he said Mass at the U.S. border, Pope Francis said that he doesn’t understand this “new culture of defending territories by building a wall.”

“We know of one, the Berlin one, that brought us many headaches and a lot of suffering … But it seems that what man does is what animals don’t. Right? Man is the only animal that falls twice in the same hole. Right? We go back to the same. Right? [Man] lifts up walls as if this was the defense. Right? When the defense is dialogue, growth, welcoming and education, integration, or the healthy limit of saying ‘we can’t [welcome] anyone else.’” [Omigod, can he stop already with that self-righteous and oh-so-annoying rhetorical 'Right?' as a substitute for common sense argument!!!]

Still talking about migration, the pontiff turned to the example of what’s going on in the Spanish region of Ceuta and Melilla, which is on the coast of North Africa and is separated from Morocco by razor-wire fences. He said that it’s cruel to separate children from their parents, and that it goes against natural law.

Asked what he’d say if instead of Alasraki he was facing American President Donald Trump with no cameras on, Pope Francis said that he would say the same thing because he’s said so in public before.

“I also said in public that who builds walls ends up prisoner of the walls they build,” he said, adding that the territory can be defended, but perhaps through a bridge and not a wall. “But I’m talking about political bridges, cultural bridges. We cannot build bridges at every border, right? It’s impossible.” [Aaaargh, I want to 'kill' him already!]

The case of the disgraced Argentine
bishop ‘parked’ at the Vatican

Forgive me for resorting to one of Frank Walker's tawdry headlines, but in this case, it is as tawdry as the story it refers to.

Alazraki also asked Pope Francis about Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, the former Bishop of Oran, in northern Argentina, who was transferred by the Holy Father to the Vatican, and who’s currently suspended from his position at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA).

The journalist said many don’t understand why Pope Francis brought him to Rome to begin with, when there were already allegations against the Bishop.

The pontiff confirmed that Bishop Zanchetta is currently being judged by the Vatican.

“Before I asked for his resignation, there was an accusation, and I immediately made him come over with the person who accused him and explain it,” Pope Francis said. The accusation involved the Bishop’s phone, which contained homosexual pornography, and explicit sexual images of the Bishop in his bedroom.

“The defense is that he had his phone hacked, and he made a good defense,” Pope Francis said, adding that it created enough doubt, so Francis told Bishop Zanchetta to go back. [Assuming his phone was hacked, how would the hacker(s) have explicit sexual images of the bishop in his bedroom? Jorge Bergoglio, call your mind back home fron Alpha Centauri!]

“Evidently he had, some say, despotic treatment of others – he was bossy,” and a “not completely clear dealing of finances,” though as the pontiff noted, this hasn’t been proven.

“But certainly, the clergy didn’t feel well treated by him,” Pope Francis said. “They complained until they made an allegation as a body to the Nunciature,” meaning the Vatican’s embassy in Argentina.

Pope Francis says that he then called the Nuncio, who told him that the allegation of mistreatment was “serious,” and he understood it to be a case of “abuse of power.” So, he sent Bishop Zanchetta to Spain to receive psychological treatment and asked him to resign from the Diocese of Oran.

The treatment, Pope Francis said, found that Bishop Zanchetta was within the normal range, but they advised he received further treatment once a month in Madrid, so Pope Francis took him to Rome. In his own words, “parked him” in Italy.
[Psychological 'treatment', huh? Wasn't Bergoglio among those who have been denouncing the 1970s-1980s view of homosexuality as a 'treatable disease' - which he now invokes for Zanchetta!]

When it comes to the fact that Bishop Zanchetta is accused of misusing funds, Pope Francis said that at present there is no evidence of that, only that he wasn’t “ordered” when it came to money. Despite not being good at keeping track, the pontiff said, the Bishop had a “good vision.”

Once he had a replacement for the Bishop, the pontiff said, he opened the investigation of the allegations. He received the result of the investigation 15 days ago, “and I decided that it’s necessary to have a trial. So, I gave it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Regarding the “impatient ones” who accuse him of having done nothing, Francis said that the pope doesn’t have to “go publishing everyday what he’s doing, but I was never not on this case from the first moment.”

As Pope Francis noted, he asked for the investigation late last year, but between the holidays and the slowness of Argentina’s summer- which takes place from December to March – things took longer than they should have.

“There are cases that are long, that wait more [like this one], and I explain why, because I didn’t have the elements,” he said. But now that he does, Bishop Zanchetta is on trial. “Meaning, I didn’t stop.”

Francis also said that he must always follow the principle of “presumption of innocence,” something even the most “anti-clerical judges” follow. However, he said, there are cases where the guilt “is evident,” as was the case of McCarrick, which is the reason why he removed him from the college of cardinals even before the trial had ended.

The Council of Cardinals
Speaking about the Council of Cardinals that advises the pope on the reform of the Roman curia, Pope Francis said that it was “obvious” that Cardinal Javier Errazuriz, Emeritus of Santiago, Chile, couldn’t continue to be a part of the team. Pope Francis doesn’t give a reason, though he does lump him in with Australian Cardinal Goerge Pell, who’s “imprisoned and condemned, well, he appealed, but he has been condemned.”

Bishop Errazuriz is one of nine Chilean bishops who’ve been subpoenaed by the Prosecutors’ Office on charges that he covered up cases of clerical sexual abuse.

As Alazraki noted, there are also allegations against the coordinator of the group, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, of Honduras. Pope Francis said that “the poor [man] will get things from every side, but there’s nothing proven, no … He’s honest and I made sure to find things out. In this case, it’s calumnies.” [This is exactly what he said for the better part of three years about the accusations made by Chileans who objected to is appointment of Juan Barros as a diocesan bishop! Until he was forced to eat crow.]

“No one has been able to prove anything to me,” the pontiff said. “Maybe he made some mistakes, he’s done things wrong, but not at the level that they want to hang on him. It is important, so I defend him on this.” [Really? So why does he not release the report on Maradiaga and the hanky-panky in Honduras subitted to him almost two years ago by the Argentine bishop he sent to investigate the allegations against the cardinal and his now-dismissed #2 man about moral and financial shenanigans in Tegucigalpa? Is Maradiaga shaping up to be Bergoglio's next McCarrick?.. and BTW, I am surprised Alazraki did not bring up that report to challenge Bergoglio's reply!]

Violence Against Women
Pope Francis said that he wouldn’t know how to give a sociological explanation for what’s happening with violence against women, but “I would dare to say that women today are still in a secondary place.”

In the collective imagination to this day, he said, when a woman reaches a position of power, it’s noted as a thing: “Oh, see, a woman made it! She got a Nobel prize. Great coincidence.”

Going from being “in second place” to being treated as slaves, Pope Francis said, it’s not a long road. It happens in Italy, he said, in the streets of Rome, where women are forced into prostitution. “They are enslaved women. Enslaved. They’re for that … And well, going from there to killing them …” [Oh, please! It's all among the terrible consequences of the Fall. Isn't prostitution widely considered as 'the oldest profession'? Why doesn't Cardinal Krajewski devote some of his time to breaking up the prostitution rings in Rome and trying to rescue the prostitutes from sin - those who are prostitutes by choice, as well as those who are driven by necessity into a life of sin as slaves of organized crime? Wouldn't that be a more worthy enterprise than taking busloads of homeless to the beach on Sundays to have a day of'fun'?]

The number of femicides is growing throughout Latin America, with one woman being killed every 40 hours in Argentina by a partner or former partner.

“The world without women doesn’t function,” he said. “Not because she’s the one who brings children [into the world], let’s leave procreation to the side … A house without women doesn’t function. There’s a word that is about to fall out of the dictionary, because everyone is afraid of it: Tenderness. It’s the patrimony of the woman. Now, from there to femicide, slavery, there’s one step. What is the hatred, I wouldn’t be able to explain it.”

Alazraki came to international attention when she was asked to address the Vatican summit on clerical sexual abuse which took place in Rome Feb. 21-24. She told the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences that journalists will be the bishops’ “worst enemies” if they continue to cover up abuse.

The subhead to the following story reads: "While confirming some elements of the allegations made last August by former Vatican nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Monsignor Figueiredo’s report does not answer key questions about what Pope Francis knew about McCarrick’s actions." [Isn't that a stupid remark? Does anyone really think that McCarrick and Wuerl between them would knowingly make any written references to the reigning pope's decision to ignore the sanctions imposed by his predecessor on someone he liteally cherrypicked to be a major powerplayer in his behalf???]

Correspondence confirms Benedict XVI
placed restrictions on McCarrick in 2008

by the Staff

May 28, 2019

A priest who was ordained by then-archbishop Theodore McCarrick and who worked with the defrocked prelate for decades has published a report detailing correspondence that confirms that Pope Benedict XVI had placed restrictions on McCarrick’s ministry in 2008.

The correspondence quoted in the report also indicates that these restrictions were known to then-Archbishop Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as head of the Washington, DC archdiocese; it further demonstrates that McCarrick’s disregard of the restrictions began almost immediately upon their being imposed.

Msgr. Anthony J. Figueiredo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, was secretary to Archbishop McCarrick for a year in the 1990s, and worked in Rome for decades in various Vatican offices, including the Curia and the Pontifical North American College. He stated that he published his report on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood by McCarrick, to “help the Church as she further endeavors to create a culture of transparency.” Reporters from Crux and CBS News have seen the correspondence quoted in Figueiredo’s report and confirmed its authenticity.

Crux has compiled the Figueiredo documents here:

Figueiredo’s report contains an admission by McCarrick that he showed “an unfortunate lack of judgment” in sharing his bed with priests and/or seminarians at his summer house, but denies ever having or seeking sexual relations “with anyone, man, woman, or child.”

Confirming that restrictions were imposed on his ministry, McCarrick states in an August 2008 letter to Archbishop Pietro Sambi that, “having studied the letter of Cardinal Re [then prefect of the Congregation for Bishops] and having shared it with my Archbishop [Donald Wuerl],” McCarrick would seek a new residence with the help of Wuerl and would “make no commitments to accept any public appearances or talks without the express permission of the Apostolic Nuncio or the Holy See itself.”

In a letter to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then the Vatican’s Secretary of State, McCarrick again acknowledges the restrictions placed on him and expresses his willingness to be “less public a figure.”

While confirming some elements of the allegations made last August by former Vatican nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano —specifically that McCarrick was placed under some sanctions during the pontificate of Benedict XVI and that Cardinal Wuerl was aware of them — Figueiredo’s report does not substantiate Vigano’s accusations that Pope Francis knew about sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick; that Francis knew about Benedict XVI’s restrictions on McCarrick’s ministry; or that Francis “freed” McCarrick from his predecessor’s restrictions. [Further stupidity! I doubt that McCarrick's or Wuerl's candor - or of anywone in similar circumstances - would extend to incriminating themseles and their lord and master by acknowledging such things in writing.]

Figueiredo’s report does demonstrate that Benedict’s restrictions were disregarded by McCarrick almost immediately. Figueiredo writes: “Since the restrictions imposed were not made public and despite McCarrick’s promises, he continued his public ministry, including taking a highly visible public role, interacting with high-ranking Vatican officials (including Cardinals Sodano and Bertone and heads of Dicasteries), public officials in the United States and around the globe.” [As much as I love Benedict XVI, I do think it was a major error on his part not to have made his disciplinary action against Mccarrick known to the public. Failure to do that was tantamount to covering up for McCarrick, shielding him from public exposure, and was, in effect, a betrayal of his almost single-handed battle since 2002 to extirpate if possible the scourge of clerical sex abuses from the Church.]

McCarrick’s globe-trotting continued after the election of Pope Francis, Figueiredo writes: “Without any sense of the lifting of the restrictions, McCarrick continues his foreign travel after the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, as evidenced by a number of communications from him regarding his extensive activity around the globe.”

These included communications with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and with Pope Francis himself, in which McCarrick provides updates on his whereabouts and activities in China, the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Philippines, among other places.

The same day Figueiredo’s report was published, a lengthy interview with Pope Francis by a Mexican television station was published, in which the Holy Father stated, “I knew nothing about McCarrick, of course, nothing. I have said it several times, I knew nothing.”

In concluded his report, Msgr. Figueiredo states that he has other documents relating to McCarrick, and that these “will form the basis of further possible reports if this contributes to the good of the ongoing investigation and efforts to address the abuse crisis, love of Holy Mother Church, and ultimately the salvation of souls.”

LifeSite's Diane Montagna not only reports on Mons.Viganò's reaction to the reigning pope's latest untruth, but reports on parts of the interview not covered by San Martin in her account:

EXCLUSIVE: Abp Viganò says Pope is lying
in latest denial about McCarrick

by Diane Montagna

ROME, May 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — For what appears to be the first time, Pope Francis has openly denied that he knew anything of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s immoral activities, directly contradicting Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s account of their conversation on the subject.

“I didn’t know anything ... nothing, nothing,” Pope Francis said in a new interview on Vatican News.

In response, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States has directly accused Pope Francis of lying.

In comments to LifeSite following the release of the interview, Archbishop Viganò said: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. [...] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”

Both interviews coincide with the release of a leaked correspondence between Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, confirming that restrictions were placed on McCarrick by the Vatican in 2008, and that the former cardinal (who has now been laicized over charges of sexual abuse) travelled extensively during the Francis pontificate, playing a key diplomatic role in establishing the controversial Vatican accord with Communist China.

In the May 28 interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, Pope Francis sought to explain why he has never openly denied Archbishop Vigano’s original testimony, while issuing a denial seemingly for the first time.

Readers will recall that news of the former US nuncio’s testimony broke last August 25, while Pope Francis was attending the World Meeting Families in Dublin. One day later, during an inflight press conference on his return to Rome, the Pope sidestepped questions about the explosive allegations that he knew of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s abuse.

“Read the [Viganò] statement carefully yourselves and make your own judgment. I am not going to say a word about this,” the Pope told journalists aboard the papal plane (see video here). You all have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions.

It is an act of trust. When a little time goes by, and you have drawn conclusions, perhaps I will speak about it, but I would like your professional maturity to do this work. It will do you all good, really.”

[What shameless drivel! It was drivel then, and it is contradictory drivel now, when he claims he cannot remember what Vigano told him. If I were a journalist on that plane, would I have had the good sense to courteously protest and say, "But Your Holiness, what is there to carefully read about this one point: His statement is clear and direct that he told you about McCarrick when you brought him up yourself. Did he or didn't he?"

Maybe that might have forced him to come up then and there with the 'I don't remember...' ploy, which is used only by those who don't want to actually lie and/or who are constrained to be evasive on the grounds of avoiding self incrimination. Or maybe he mught have bitten the bullet, and lied through his teeth and the bullet, "No, we never ever spoke about McCarrick". Which he could have easily said right off the bat, without any hemming or hawing, if Vigano had been merely spinning a tale. Instead, Bergoglio indulges in self-righteous evasive folderol.]

In today’s interview with Alazraki, the journalist and long-time friend of John Paul II candidly tells Pope Francis: “That silence has been very burdensome, because for the press and for many people, when one is silent it is like a husband and wife, isn’t it? You catch your husband and he doesn’t answer you. And you say, ‘There’s something rotten here.’”

“So why the silence?” Alazraki pointedly asks Pope Francis. “The time has come to answer that question we asked you on the plane.”

“Yes,” Pope Francis responds.

“Those who studied Roman law say that silence is a way of speaking. The Viganò case: I saw it, I hadn’t read the whole letter. I saw a little and I already knew what it was, and I made a choice: I trust the honesty of journalists and I said to them, “Look, here you have everything. Study it and draw your conclusions.” And that’s what you did, because you did the work, that was great, and I was very careful to say things that weren’t there, but then, three or four months later, a judge in Milan said them when he was convicted.

“You’re talking about his family,” Alazraki asks.

“Of course,” the Pope responds. “I kept quiet, why should I make it worse. Let the journalists find out. And you found it, you found that whole world. It was a silence of trust towards you … And the result was good, it was better than if I had started to explain, to defend myself.” [What did anyone find out exactly about McCarrick and Vigano's allegations, when the Vatican has not provided access to any of the confirmatory documents he refers to? Bergoglio is delberately muddling the issue by misrepresenting Vigano's involvement in a family civil suit as a conviction - it was not - as if somehow that amounts to a refutation of any allegations made by Vigano.]

Pope Francis is suggesting that Archbishop Viganò has been exposed as unreliable because of a legal conflict with his brother that was settled in a Milan court.

In comments to LifeSite, Archbishop Viganò dismissed the Pope’s attempt to cast doubt on his reliability over a dispute with his brother concerning the management of their inheritance — a question he pointed out had “no relevance to the allegations regarding Cardinal McCarrick.”

“What Pope Francis said regarding the Milan ruling and my family has nothing to do with anything, because it has been completely clarified. It was only a division of property between brothers. I accepted it to make peace. Neither me nor my brother appealed the ruling, so the story ended there. And it has nothing to do with McCarrick. It is one of the many stories that they raised to destroy my credibility.”

Archbishop Vigano’s account of these proceedings has been extensively verified by LifeSite News.

In Oct. 2018, the Vatican announced that a “thorough study” of all relevant documents housed in Vatican offices would be conducted. It’s unclear however why Pope Francis would require an archival investigation to say whether he knew about Cardinal McCarrick’s misdeeds.

In his comments to LifeSite, Archbishop Viganò said: “On the return flight from Dublin, the Pope told journalists: ‘I trust in your professionalism.’ He promised to provide documents and he doesn’t provide the documents. Tell me how journalists are supposed to know the truth if you don’t provide the documents.”

“How much time has passed since the Vatican promised an investigation? It’s all a contradiction. He completely contradicts himself,” he said.

“The Pope pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick,” Archbishop Vigano added. “He pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place. And he pretends not to remember what I told him.”

The Pope even claimed during the interview that there have been allegations that Archbishop Vigano was bribed to make damaging claims about him [it is obscure to whom the Holy Father is referring], insinuating in the context a comparison of the former US nuncio to Judas Iscariot.

In the May 28 interview, Alazraki presses Pope Francis further on whether or not he knew about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misdeeds.

“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick, obviously, nothing, nothing,” he says. “I’ve said that several times, that I didn’t know, I had no idea.”

It’s unclear as to what Pope Francis is referring to when he says that he denied knowledge of McCarrick’s immoral activities on several occasions as his refusal to comment one way or another has been a particularly notable element of the scandal.

Pope Francis continues: “When [Archbishop Viganò] says that he spoke to me that day [on June 23, 2013], that he came … I don’t remember if he told me about this, whether it’s true or not, no idea! But you know that I didn’t know anything about McCarrick; otherwise I wouldn’t have kept quiet, right?”

Archbishop Viganò observed of this remark: “He tries to be clever, claiming that he doesn’t remember what I told him, when he was the one who asked me about McCarrick.”

The Pope says in the interview that there was a twofold reason for his silence. “First,” he tells Alazraki, “because the evidence was there, you judge. It was really an act of trust.”

“Secondly,” he adds, “because of the [example of Jesus], that in moments of viciousness it is better not to speak, because it makes it worse. Everything is going to go against you. The Lord taught use that path and I follow it.”

News of Pope Francis’s comments about Archbishop Viganò coincide coincided with today’s release of a correspondence between Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The correspondence, obtained by former aide to Theodore McCarrick, American Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, confirms that restrictions were placed on Theodore McCarrick by the Vatican in 2008, and that the former cardinal, who was laicized over charges of sexual abuse, travelled extensively the Francis pontificate, playing a key diplomatic role in establishing a Vatican accord with China.

Asked today about the correspondence, Archbishop Viganò told LifeSite “the letters sing.”

“Msgr. Figueiredo was McCarrick’s personal secretary when he came to Rome,” the former US nuncio said. “He has released these letters from McCarrick to Parolin and the Pope in which he reports on his trips to China, to Iran and other places. Therefore, they were all well informed about this.”

Archbishop Viganò also noted that the correspondence shows that the Vatican was informed about the fact that McCarrick was sharing his bed with seminarians. “McCarrick admitted it,” he said.

“To defend himself with the Pope, McCarrick said he never had sexual relations with anyone, but that he slept in the same bed with seminarians and priests,” the former US nuncio said. [McCarrick obviously cribbed a leaf from Michael Jackson's excuse book! Or this is the standard answer of sex predators who are in denial about their perversion.]]

Archbishop Vigano pointed out:

It’s the same thing he said before the ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The sentence to reduce him to the lay state him was based on abuse against adults, minors and also abuse in Confession. Either the sentence from the Holy Office [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] is irrelevant, or what McCarrick said, that he never had relations with anyone, is a lie — just like what the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie, just like what he said about not remembering what I told him is a lie, when he was the one who asked me.

The former nuncio to the United States also noted that the letters confirm Cardinal Parolin’s involvement in the McCarrick affair, adding that it’s time for him to be investigated.

“As I wrote in my first testimony, in May 2014 — when the article came out in the Washington Times referring to McCarrick’s trip to Central Africa — I wrote to Cardinal Parolin, asking him: Are the restrictions that were placed on McCarrick still valid or not?”

“Parolin never responded to me,” the archbishop said, adding that the Vatican Secretary of State should also be investigated. “He never responded to my letter, because is a total yes-man, as we see with the China deal.” [I am starting to develop an active odium towards Parolin who is now touted by even someone like Sandro Magister as the ranking papabile to succeed Bergoglio. I find him a blood-curdling political chameleon who is as slimy and slipery as an eel, and occasionally pipes up with something seemingly at odds with Bergoglio's position I suppose to show he is his own.. er.. eel.]
00Thursday, May 30, 2019 5:56 PM

No amount of self-righteous drivel can dissimulate the deceit in Jorge Bergoglio's decision not to answer, until 270 days later, Mons. Vigano's account that the latter told him about Theodore McCarrick's misdeeds when they met for 40 minutes at the Vatican on June 23, 2013. Which was in reply, he said, to the pope asking him - as then Nuncio to the USA - "And how is Cardinal McCarrick?" (1P5's translator translates 'E Cardinal McCarrick, com'e?" below as "And what is Cardinal McCarrick like?", which is not the same as 'And how is Cardinal McCarrick?").

Then, according to Vigano, following his answer, the pope promptly switched the subject without comment - and of course, went on to make McCarrick his principal adviser on episcopal and cardinalatial appointments to the US Church, and his personal envoy to at least a dozen countries to advance the most important (and questionable) of Bergoglio's diplomatic initiatives.

When first asked about it back in August 2018, Bergoglio delivered that infamous shtick 'challenging' the journalists to find out 'the truth' for themselves:

“I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this... When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you."

Asked in a follow up question when he first learned about the abuse allegations against McCarrick, he said:
“This is part of the statement. Study it and then I will say.”

A load of bullcrap and a masterpiece of obfuscation and evasion. Which, of course, none of the journalists addressed dared to challenge farther, as in - "Your [Un]Holiness, what is there to study about the Nuncio's straightforward account of what he claims he told you on June 23, 2013? Did he or did he not then speak to you about McCarrick? That's all."

If Vigano had lied outright, why couldn't Bergoglio have simply answered then and there:
1. "No, he didn't talk to me about McCarrick at all" - the simplest answer to give to refute Vigano, if that was indeed the case. Or,
2. "Yes, McCarrick was mentioned in our conversation, but Vigano never told me what he claims he told me" - also a simple denial that, like the first one, places the burden on Vigano to prove his account of the conversation. Or
3. "I don't remember that he did", as he now claims after 270 days of 'reflection'.

So why could he not say any of those alternatives last August? Did he perhaps fear that Vigano carried a pocket tape recorder with him and recorded their conversation, so he, Bergoglio, couldn't risk lying by denying Vigano's statement about the June 23, 2014 conversation outright. Only to decide 270 days later that his safest answer - which he did not think of last August - was to resort to a trial witness's lawyer-advised ploy to say "I don't remember..." in order to avoid a) self-incrimination or b) perjury, and still give an answer for the record.

On second thought, I believe he must have known all along that all his private audiences are nonetheless taped 'for the record', and that if the tape of his June 23, 2013, meeting with Vigano were ever scrutinized, Vigano would be proven right, and then what? Not that there would ever have been a chance of anyone other than a Bergogliac listening to such a tape. and if anyone did, he probably did a quick Nixon-style erasure, or simply dumped the tape irrevocably, and who's to know better?

Obviously, Bergoglio could not - and cannot, perhaps can never - admit in any way that Vigano told him what he claims he did about McCarrick, because his apparent failure to react to Vigano's account - and subsequent privileging of McCarrick in every way - would have meant he either knew about those misdeeds earlier (remember, this is a man who often boasts he knows about everything that's happening in the Vatican) or, very unlikely, that he was hearing about it for the first time, implies his complicity in 'tolerating' and therefore covering up for McCarrick whom he would subsequently make one of his most trusted associates.

In this article, Steve Skojec saves me a translation task by providing an English translation of Marco Tosatti's blog post yesterday recounting the Vatican's attempt to 'clean up' what Bergoglio said in the interview for Mexican TV.

Vatican tries to edit pope's statements on Vigano
but restores omitted line when caught out

by Steve Skojec

May 29, 2019

In an interview published yesterday, Pope Francis finally addressed the allegations made by former US Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that he knew about the illicit sexual activities of former-Cardinal (and Bergoglio-promoter) Theodore McCarrick. Viganò has always claimed since his first testimony was released in August of 2018 that he personally told the pope about McCarrick.

The pope has now gone on record denying that he knew anything.

In response, in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Viganò has rebuffed the pope’s denial: “What the Pope said about not knowing anything is a lie. […] He pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick, and he pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place.”

The former nuncio issued stinging criticism for the pope, who had dodged the allegations by telling journalists last year that he would say nothing, and to instead look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions.

“He promised to provide documents and he doesn’t provide the documents,” Viganò told LifeSite. “Tell me how journalists are supposed to know the truth if you don’t provide the documents. How much time has passed since the Vatican promised an investigation? It’s all a contradiction. He completely contradicts himself.”

“The Pope pretends not to remember what I told him about McCarrick,” Viganò continued. “He pretends that it wasn’t him who asked me about McCarrick in the first place. And he pretends not to remember what I told him.”

Meanwhile, Italian Vaticanista Marco Tosatti noticed a glaring discrepancy in the interview text published yesterday by the Vatican, compared to the original transcript sent to him by Valentina Alazraki, the Mexican journalist who interviewed the pope.

On his blog, Stilum Curiae, Tosatti writes that the Vatican omitted an entire line from the text, which it only replaced once he brought the error to their attention.

Thank God for screenshots of published texts - if captured at the right times, they can be and are irrefutable proofs of lying, deceit, and other kinds of textual
manipulation. The translations of the captures by Tosatti are found in 1P5's translation of his blogpost below.

Tosatti's observations bear quoting in full, and we thank Giuseppe Pellegrino for his translation.

Did the Pope lie?
The Vatican censors him by 'cleaning up' his statement
on Vigano after Stilum Curiae denounced an omission

May 29, 2019

After nine months Pope Bergoglio has responded, in a certain sense, to the testimony of Archbishop Viganò on the McCarrick case. In the last post we saw how he responded: very weakly, entrenching himself behind an “I don’t remember.” Here are his exact words: “And when he [Viganò] says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea.”

In response to this, Archbishop Viganò said to me, very simply, that if the Pope says something like this he is lying.

In order to understand why the Archbishop can make such an assertion, it will be good to reread his testimony concerning the days of June 20-23, 2013:

On the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2013, I went to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, to join my colleagues who were staying there. As soon as I entered the hall I met Cardinal McCarrick, who wore the red-trimmed cassock. I greeted him respectfully as I had always done. He immediately said to me, in a tone somewhere between ambiguous and triumphant: “The Pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China.”

At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election, as McCarrick himself would later reveal in a lecture at Villanova University and in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter. Nor had I ever thought of the fact that he had participated in the preliminary meetings of the recent conclave, and of the role he had been able to have as a cardinal elector in the 2005 conclave. Therefore I did not immediately grasp the meaning of the encrypted message that McCarrick had communicated to me, but that would become clear to me in the days immediately following.

And here is Viganò’s account of his audience with the pope (which lasted forty minutes) on Sunday, June 23, 2013:

I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday. And the Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: “Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing — and he added, raising both arms — and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.” Of course, the logic of the correlation between being left-wing and being homosexual escaped me, but I added nothing else.

Immediately after, the Pope asked me in a deceitful way: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” I answered him with complete frankness and, if you want, with great naiveté: “Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick, but if you ask the Congregation for Bishops there is a dossier this thick about him. He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”

The Pope did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject. But then, what was the Pope’s purpose in asking me that question: “What is Cardinal McCarrick like?” He clearly wanted to find out if I was an ally of McCarrick or not.

Thus it was Pope Bergoglio who asked Viganò about McCarrick. This detail, and the tone of Viganò’s response, which was so dramatic and serious, takes away credibility from the Pope’s present statement, “I don’t remember.” Besides, if this is so, he should have simply said so on August 26.

But perhaps – and this is what many people think – he wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any documentation that would dramatically contradict what he said.

But is it possible that upon hearing such a dramatic denunciation of McCarrick, the Pope did not bat an eyelash (as Viganò asserts) and [assuming he was learning about this for the first time] didn’t then try to find out for himself? A person who has worked in the Vatican for a long time made this comment:

Upon hearing what Vigano said, because of the high office to which he was elected and his great moral responsibility to both the Church as well as God, he [the Pope] should have made inquiries [regarding McCarrick] in the appropriate offices, at the very least for the sake of prudence and verification. Did McCarrick do these things or not? And what answers would have been given to him, if not the truth, of which the particulars are now known, as a result of which McCarrick has been reduced to the lay state?”

Thus, “I don’t remember” is certainly an unbelievable response, as well as an embarrassing one – so embarrassing that it was not reported in the FIRST version of the interview published by Vatican News. That sentence was expunged. Apparently somebody who is an expert in journalism (and we can easily imagine who), realized that that response was very difficult to defend, and thought it would be best to throw it out.

Except that the Vatican decided to restore the omitted statement, after Stilum Curiae noted the discrepancy with the original, which our outstanding colleague Valentina Alazraki kindly pointed out to us. Here are the two versions of the interview which prove what we are saying:

There are some who continue to think it is true and continue to ask whether you knew about McCarrick or not. In the press of course there are all sorts of things being said.
Pope: Concerning McCarrick I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did not know anything. You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I could not have kept silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because the proofs were there,[???] [colore-#b200ff] as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly an act of trust. And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus, that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is going against you. The Lord showed us this way and I follow it."

The pope's reply, now including the statements omitted from the above:
"Concerning McCarrick I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did not know anything. And when he says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea! You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I could not have kept silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because the proofs were there, as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly an act of trust. And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus, that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is going against you. The Lord showed us this way and I follow it."

Once again we must postpone a more detailed analysis of the part of the interview which concerns the Viganò testimony, and which shines a disturbing light on the personality of the Pontiff. [Yes, because every single phrase of his answer can be and ought to be fisked to question its veracity, logic and plain commonsense.] But we will be back.

Again and again, we are confronted with duplicity from a Vatican that can’t be trusted [which only reflects the habitual duplicity of a pope who cannot be trusted]. We’ve seen them change the text of papal comments before. We’ve watched them attempt to deceive and manipulate us. We know about the method of self-contradiction I call “The Peron Rule” and the fact that the pope is adept at gaslighting – a form of spiritual abuse. [We can call it many things, but in simple words, Jorge Bergoglio simply LIES whenever it is expedient for him. The reigning pope is a habitual liar. Period.]

Even so, some of the pope’s allies seem confused by our concern:

They continue their attempts to discredit Viganò, and it looks as though Msgr. Figueiredo, who issued yesterday’s report on McCarrick’s sanctions, may be next.

Nevertheless, Catholics have begun to see the truth: the only people who have given us reason to question their side of the story are the pope and his little cabal of collaborators. They lie to us with an apparent feeling of impunity. They seem not to recognize that fewer and fewer people every day see any reason to believe them.

[I would strongly qualify Skojec's observations by saying that he refers to the tiny minority of Catholics who regularly follow Vatican affairs and what the pope says and does through the super-abundant information overflow available on the Internet. The observations do not apply at all to the vast majority of Catholics - pewsitters, non-Churchgoers, and merely nominal Catholics alike - for whom whatever their local priest or bishops tell them that 'the pope says' take it to be 'gospel truth' literally.

So no- it is a great illusion and delusion to say outright that "Catholics have begun to see the truth", etc. The world's Catholics, by and large, continue to think Bergoglio is not only everything a pope should be, but based on the media myths created about him from the start - no doubt hammered home in every way by priests and bishops who are acting as mindless puppets literally following, acting out and preaching Bergoglio's every whim and caprice to their hapless parishioners - also the best pope that ever was.

Let us be realistic. Don't ever under-estimate the power of media myths in the Internet world, and the easy gullibility of the man on the street who has absolutely no idea that popes can be bad, if not evil, and certainly anti-Catholic, simply because, since the terrible popes of the Renaissance, Catholics have never before experienced having a truly bad pope and cannot even imagine an anti-Catholic one.

In fact, in another blogpost yesterday, Tosatti fisks Bergoglio's responses on the Vigano question. I have added ny own comments, and in general, I am far more severe on Bergoglio than Tosatti. ("Who am I to judge the pope?" Just an ordinary Catholic who is outspoken about what I perceive to be the reigning pope's deliberate destruction of the one true Church of Christ and of the Catholic faith as it has been professed and practised before he came along in March 2013, and who takes my duty under Canon 212.3 very seriously.)

‘The unfortunate one has answered’:
But it would have been better for him, after all,
to have remained silent on McCarrick

Translated from

May 29, 2019

Dear followers of Stilum Curia:
Never has Alessandro Manzoni’s famous phrase – this time in reference to a male – sounded more true.

[The phrase, “La sventurata rispose”, was the title of a chapter in Manzoni’s classic I Promessi Sposi, in which he describes the wrong-headed response of a cloistered nun of Monza (the unfortunate on)] forced by her father to be a nun at an early age, andwho succumbs to a seductor and thereafter enjoys her sinful life (the nun's response to her misfortune is to bring on more misfortune). In fact, my preferred translation for 'sventurato' or 'sventurata' for either the Pope or the nun of Monza would be 'The disgraced one" - disgraced, not just unfortunate or disgraceful.]

We refer to the interview that the excellent journalist Valentin Alazraki had with the reigning pope, seeking answers to some questions - obviously not all – to clarify obscure points about an embarrassing situation.

We present herewith the part of the interview concerning Mons. Carlo Maria Vigano’s Testimony in August 2018 about what he told Pope Francis in June 2013 regarding the sexual misdeeds of Theodore McCarrick. I ask you to be with me in a precise examination of the pope’s statements on the matter, point by point, and I will propose considerations which I hope will merit your attention. My remarks after each Q&A are in italics.

Alazraki: The issue of McCarrick leads me to another question I wished to take up with you. You asked me during one of your recent trips abroad to read Lettere della tribolazione’ which I have done, so I have fulfilled my assignment.

[It is a book published in Argentina in 1987 with a preface by Bergoglio to an anthology of eight letters written between 1758 and 1831 by two Superiors-General who led the Society of Jesus during the period the Jesuits call ‘the great tribulation’, when the Vatican suppressed the order. La Civilta Cattolica published an Italian edition in January this year, to which Fr. Antonio Spadaro added two letters written by Bergoglio as pope to the Bishops of Chile – one in May 2018 at the start of the meeting he convoked in the Vatican after he finally chose to take the accusations against Mons Juan Barros seriously . having dismissed them for three years as ‘calumny’, and the other, after the meeting, to ‘the People of God” in Chile – plus a third letter, Bergoglio's pro forma letter to the ‘People of God’ in the USA, in August 2018, after the release of the Philadelphia Grand Jury report detailing clerical sex abuse cases investigated in the dioceses of Pennsylvania. Obviously, Spadaro considered these letters major enough to rank with the writings of the Jesuit superiors at the time of the Jesuit suppression.]

Many times, I came across the word ‘silence’ and the explanation of why at times, silence is necessary./b] [I am betting the explanations are by way of self-justification. I hope Alazraki has read Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence - as against random justifications of silence in the pope’s letters - for a wide-ranging, fuller and far more authoritative testimony about the uses of silence!] Don’t laugh, Pope Francis, that’s how it is. You remember when eight months ago, there was this statement by the ex-Nuncio to the USA, Carlo Maria Vigano, who said that he had told you, at an audience shortly after the start of your pontificate, exactly who McCarrick was, and you did nothing. You answered us at the time, “I will not answer. Judge for yourself. I will answer at the right time”. That silence has weighed a lot, because for the media and for many people, when one chooses not to say anything .. well, it’s like between a husband and wife, no? Nag your husband, and when he does not answer, the wife says, “Something must be wrong here’. Why then have you kept silent about this? The time has come for you to answer the question we asked you on the plane – it has been eight months since, then Pope Francis. [Brava, Senora Alazraki!]
PF: Yes, those who have studied Roman law say that silence is a way of speaking. This case of Vigano – I had not read the whole letter, I saw a bit of it, and so I know what it is about.

[When asked about the Vigano testimony last August, his first words were I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested. Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word about this. I believe the statement speaks for itself... ” [#0026ff] Yes, it did and does speak for itself. It alleged two things that the journalist on the plane asked him specifically to say if they were true: that Vigano spoke to him in June 2013 about McCarrick’s record, and that Benedict XVI had imposed restrictions on McCarrick. There is absolutely no reason, other than fear of self-incrimination and/or perjury, that he could not have answered the question right there!]

So I made a decision: I trust in the honesty of journalists. [Really? Did he not infamously define the media a few months before he was elected pope, as 'shit-lovers and shit-eaters’ (though he used the Latin-derived terms coprophilia and coprophagia), to Andrea Tornielli, no less???]
So I told you (the journalists): “Look, you have everything in your hands. Study it [the Vigano testimony] and draw your own conclusions”.

[What a deliberate misdirection! They had Vigano’s allegations, but no access at all to any of the confidential documents he cites to support his statements about McCarrcik’s misdeeds and the sanctions imposed by Benedict.
- The obvious follow-up question would have been, “Well, will the Vatican let us see the documents he cites, so we can judge for ourselves?”
- No one asked that, and the Vatican has been promising it will release the documents as soon as it has completed its ‘investigation’ into Vigano’s allegations, but nothing has come out so far,
- And on May 28, in the wake of the new brouhaha over the Figuereido report and the pope’s TV interview, Cardinal Parolin repeated the promise, but with no timeline.

This is absurd! What ‘investigation’ is even needed to just, for a start, release the documents Vigano has cited , providing the corresponding dates ? The Vatican has never denied these factual and easily verifiable elements of Vigano’s testimony.
- The pope simply had to order to the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Bishops, the office of the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, DC, and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC., to make those documents available instantly (redacted as the Vatican sees fit, but at least available).
- We’re not talking here of voluminous archives such as those regarding Pius XII’s wartime activities, just ‘routine’ bureaucratic letters.
- If the Vatican has been footdragging so embarrassingly on these documents, it must be because they cannot afford to make those documents public and thereby corroborate Vigano’s testimony.
- McCarrick has already been dealt the ‘worst’ punishment the Church can impose on him, so it’s not as if he had any reputation that the Vatican felt called upon to ‘safeguard’.
- Moreover, other Vatican officials, including the current Prefect of Bishops, have already acknowledged in writing that the Vatican knew for years about McCarrick’s record and that Benedict XVI did indeed impose sanctions on him in 2008.

That the Vatican has not released any of the documents that journalists need in order to ‘judge for themselves' simply proves Bergoglio’s bad faith In making his sanctimonious and empty challenge to them, a very Bergoglian grandstanding attempt that simply does not play at all.]

Bergoglio: And this you have done, because you did the work, and in this case, it was fantastic! [What work? No one did any investigating; everyone simply branded Vigano a liar and frustrated cardinal-aspirant! That’s the work Bergoglio calls ‘fantastic???]

I have been very careful not to say things which weren’t there [in the testimony?] but which a judge in Milan three or four months later said [about Vigano] when he convicted him.

[Tosatti’s comment: He says he did not even read the whole letter [from Vigano]. And that he simply decided not to answer. Trusting in journalists. Well, he was right. Because apart from a couple of courageous journalists – Anna Mtranga and Cindy Wooden – there was no attempt on the part of the journalists to press the pope on the questions which everyone had. Not on that trip, not on the following trips. Instead, everyone – or almost everyone – launched themselves in support of the character assassination against Vigano undertaken by the team of journalists in the pope’s magic circle.

Everyone joined in the anti-Vigano campaign – from Catholic and para-Catholic media outlets, financed directly or indirectly by the Church (including those outlets who now rejoice at the end to this blog’s day-to-day count of how long Bergoglio has not answered Vigano’s main challenge) to the major newspapers and international news agencies: in short– all the letists and politically correct. Quite rightly, Bergoglio calls their work ‘fantastic’. And I must say that if I were one of them, I would cower in shame like a thief to be described as having done ‘fantastic work’.

As to Vigano's 'conviction' by a court, someone who has spent years working in the Curia pointed out: “Mons Vigano was ordered by a court to return money to a brother who is a priest, who had accused him of using part of their common inheritance from their parents for his own (Carlo Maria’s) benefit. He complied with the order and also paid the accrued interest on the questioned funds. It was a civil case, not a criminal one, and had nothing to do with the McCarrick case”.
] [Bergoglio’s intention in bringing it up was obviously to further discredit Vigano as someone who ostensibly ‘cheated’ a brother out of his share of their inheritance, so why should anyone trust the word of a cheat?]

Alazraki: You mean the problem with his family?
Bergoglio: - Of course. I did not say anything because that would have been muck-raking. Let the media find out for themselves. [This was an open and notorious case that had been known to the media for years, since at least 2011, around the time Vigano was still Secretary, or #2 man, at the Vatican Governatorate.]

And you did discover it – you found out all about ‘that world’. My silence was based on my confidence in you. I also told you at the time, “Look at it [Vigano’s testimony on McCarrick], study it – it says everything”. And the result was good – better than if I had tried to explain anything, to defend myself”. [The man is delusional and lives coccooned in self-delusion. That has to rank among Bergoglio’s most embarrassing self-justifications – because incoherent, illogical, and irrelevant in this case, deliberately mixing up Vigano’s family troubles with his denunciation of McCarrick.]

[Tosatti: So now he chooses to sling the mud. And again, he congratulates the journalists - who did not do their job as far as the Vigano testimony was concerned, and have since been constrained, step by step, to acknowledge that Vigano did not invent anything about McCarrick (the Figuereido report is only the most recent vindication of Vigano). I insist, because I believe it, that it would be a good time for many of my colleagues to examine their conscience.]

Bergoglio: Judge for yourself, with the proof in your hands.

[What proof???? Certainly none that would exculpate Bergoglio or the Vatican for having covered up for McCarrick, in effect, all these years. To the contrary, every fact so far unearthed about McCarrick simply reinforces Vigano’s testimony. In this interview, Bergoglio indulges in the fantasy that he never knew anything about McCarrick’s clerical sex abuse record.

In fact, after June 2013 and his meeting with Vigano, Bergoglio didn’t do anything to diminish McCarrick in his privileged position as papal adviser and confidante, in fact reinforcing his role with many favors, until a New York archdiocesan investigation concluded in June 2018 that a young man’s accusation of sexual abuse by McCarrick, a family friend, when he was a teenager, was credible and substantiated. This was quickly followed by public acknowledgement by two dioceses in New Jersey that they had paid substantial amounts to settle sex abuse complaints against McCarrick by ex-seminarians. After that, the floodgates opened to disclose ‘Uncle Ted’s’ long history of misconduct with seminarians for decades, a history that was an open secret to Church officials in the USA and in the Vatican. By which time, Bergoglio had no choice but to go into full hypocritical 'zero tolerance' mode - swiftly ending McCarrick's heretofore impunity in record time!]

Bergoglio: There’s another thing that has always struck me: The silences of Jesus. He always answered, even his enemies when they provoked him – ‘Can such and such be done, or not?” - to see whether he would fall into their trap. In that case, he answered. But when it became a ‘hounding’ on Good Friday, a hounding by the people themselves, he was silent. To the point that Pontius Pilate has to ask, “why don’t you answer me?” Which is to say that, in a climate of being hounded, one cannot answer. And that letter was a hounding, as you yourself have noticed, from the results.

[He is mad. Who exactly is hounding him and about what? No one dared question him again about Vigano until Alazraki did in the recent interview! What ‘results’ is he talking about? Does he consider the successive corroboration of almost everything Vigano said in his three testimonies as a ‘hounding”? Strange attitude towards the truth, but then we all know now that Bergoglio has habitual disregard for the truth. Yet brazenly cites Jesus who is the Truth to justify his falsehoods.]

[Tosatti: He continues to enlist the sympathy and complicity of newsmen. One cannot understand how a single document . [Three, actually, because the first Testimony was followed by two shorter ones] – which he refused to answer - can be called a ‘hounding’, which means repeated episodes. And to liken his refusal to answer a precise and documented question of fact to the silence of Jesus before Pilate – you be the judge whether that is not, at the very least, disrespectful, if not outright blasphemous.

Bergoglio: Some of you have even written that he (Vigano) was paid to do what he did. I don’t know, but I don’t think so. . [YECCH! How hypocritical, to bring up an insinuation few have bothered to even think about, and then to say, “...but I don’t think so!” Has any pope – in the age of audio and video recordings – ever allowed himself to say such hair-raisingly revelatory bits of malice and pettiness before?]

[Tosatti: Yet another insinuation that is objectively negative about the person who makes it. In the same way that what he says at the end is [B truly ‘clerical’ in the worst sense of the word: He brings up a calumny, and then says he does not think it is true - because he cannot prove it.]

Alazraki: There are those who continue to think you must have known about McCarrick and continue to ask why you would not say whether you did or did not know. Obviously, one can read anything in the media.
Bergoglio: Of course, I knew nothing about McCarrick, Nothing. I have said it several times. I knew nothing,, I had no idea at all…

[Tosatti: This statement sounds ‘shameless’. [Tosatti uses the Italian word 'inverecondia’, whose dictionary meaning is ‘shamelessness’, ‘indecency’.]/dim] “Many times”? To whom? When? Where? Alazraki’s courage apparently didn’t rise to making those obvious follow-up questions.] Until this interview, Bergoglio had not said anything in public about the Vigano testimony, nor in private but later reported publicly. This statement is either a pure lie, or the outcome of some mental disequilibrium.]

Bergoglio: And when he says that he spoke to me about it that day that he came to see me... I don’t remember if he spoke to me about this, if it is true or not. I have no idea.

] [Wow! This man does not even lie well!
1) There are two components in the sentence: the second - about whether what was said was ‘true or not’ - implies that something was said! And
2)How can you – even if you were not the pope – not remember if one of your most important nuncios tells you, in response to your fishing question “And how is Cardinal McCarrick?’, “Don’t you know about him? There’s a whole dossier in the Vatican about his questionable record with seminarians and priests?”, and don’t even deny it but simply change the subject?

It might have been more honest to say to Alazraki now, six years after the episode, “He may have mentioned something, but I ignored it”, which is what he apparently did. Or simply, “It was six years ago – I really don’t remember what we talked about”, because even now, he cannot bring himself to say, “We never talked about McCarrick at all!”

Of course, I am taking Vigano’s account as essentially truthful. If he had fabricated the entire story, Bergoglio could have easily said from the start, “The nuncio is lying. We never discussed McCarrick, much less his supposed abuse record.” Human nature and common sense all militate against Bergoglio’s truthfulness in this matter.]

[Tosatti: On this point, Vigano is very clear: The pope is lying. That it was the pope who asked him about McCarrick, to which he got an explosive, harsh and very serious answer. In the face of which he apparently did not bat an eyelash. And now to pretend that he does not remember such dramatic accusations against an important cardinal whom he expressly asked about, is simply not credible. And an offense to the intelligence of his listeners. Always trusting, obviously, in the sympathy and complicity of the media – those of the Vatican, those who are servile to the Vatican and those who have interests to protect.

Bergoglio: You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick [his record of sexual misconduct], otherwise I would not have kept quiet. [Yeah, right!]

[Tosatti: How was anyone supposed to know what he knew about McCarrick when he refused to say anything? In other cases – Grassi, Inzoli, Murphy O’Connor, Barros, Maradiaga, Danneels, Zanchetta, just to cite the known cases – silence and complicity (i.e., covering up for the guilty) has been the pope’s rule of behavior. In October, he promised that all the documents relative to McCarrick in the archives of the Curia would be made public. It is almost June, and the only documents we have seen came from Mons. Figuereido. How can we trust him at all? ]

Bergogio: “The reason for my silence was first of all that the proofs were there. [Proofs of what, and where? Really, sir, you cannot expect us to ‘discern’ what you mean to say if you do not learn to speak as responsible grown-ups do. What is there to ‘discern’ about infantile twaddle, and why would anyone bother?]

Bergoglio: As I told you, ‘Judge for yourselves’. It was really an act of trust [in the media]. [ [AW, SHUT UP ALREADY! His [Un]Holiness does protest too much, and his word, such as it is, gets increasingly debased with every new protestation.]

An then, there’s what I said about Jesus, who in moments of provocation, could not speak because it would make things worse. The Lord has shown us this path, and I am following it.

[Tosatti: What proofs is he talking about? Since August 2018, every new revelation about the McCarrick case has only confirmed much of what Vigano said. And once again, the pope drags Jesus into the picture to justify his silence till now.

But the pope was perhaps right on one thing. That he could not speak about the Mccarrick case because ‘it would have been worse”. This interview he gave during which he finally ‘broke his silence’ on the Vigano Testimony shows it would have been better for him to keep refusing to answer. In order not to bring out in broad daylight the stuff of which his humanity is woven. It is not ‘the pope’, or better, it is not just the pope who is the problem: it’s the man who is the pope, as one of his fellow Jesuits, Fr. Joseph Fessio, pointed out.

[Tosatti ends this post by quoting what Vigano wrote in August about his meeting with the pope and what he claims he told him about McCarrick. This was also quoted in Tosatti’s companion post fully presented in Skojec’s post above.]

Now, we have a fresh example of the many petty and mean ways the Bergoglio Vatican can 'take it out' against anyone who publicly questions the reigning pope, let alone that he co-authored and signed the Open Letter accusing the pope of heresies... I think 'shame' is one of the words lke 'sin' and hell' that is no longer in the lexicon - and worldview - of Bergogliacs.

Pontifical university revokes parking privilege
for 83-year-old British scholar who signed the recent Open Letter-
and Catholic University press in DC now declines to publish
a book of tributes to Prof Rist's scholastic achievements

[C'mon, guys - what's next? Fire him from his job?]
by Dorothy Cummings McLean

ROME, May 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the English-speaking world’s greatest living scholars of classical philosophy was told he has been barred from all Pontifical Universities after he signed an Open Letter along with a number of prominent clergymen and scholars accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy.

Professor John Rist, 83, who converted to Catholicism from agnosticism in 1980, told LifeSiteNews that aafter a short absence from Rome, he had been refused entry into the Augustinian Patristic Institute in Rome where he has been doing academic work for 15 years.

A Pontifical university is an ecclesiastical school which has been established or approved by the Holy See.

“For years I have been allowed to leave a car at the Augustinianum where I am still doing [academic] work,” the scholar told LifeSiteNews by email.

“On May 18, I drove it out, chatting in passing with an old priest friend in the Augustinian curia, telling him I would be away for a week. When I returned on the 25th I drove in through the gate and found the barrier down. I waited for the porter to open it, but nothing happened. So I got out and was told I could not enter the property. Apparently ... this was because some Vatican apparatchik had issued a decree that I [was] now [persona] non grata and … to be forbidden entry to all pontifical universities,” Rist continued. [Of course, despite many instances where Jorge Bergoglio has demonstrated he has a penchant to micromanage some matters himself, I cannot think he ordered the parking ban on Rist, and that it is his mini-me's who are more Bergoglian than Jorge who decided it on their own. But what do I know?]

“Since I had received no previous indication of it ― not even when I had collected the car ― this less than Christian response took me completely by surprise, not least since I had been there a week before, and nothing was said about my being unable to return the car.”

The ban would be a sharp about-face for the pontifical universities: Professor Rist was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical institute Università della Santa Croce in 2002.

It is particularly worrisome to the professor because he was still supervising the PhD work of a student at the Institute, whose doctoral candidature is therefore now in doubt. Professor Rist told LifeSiteNews this morning that he has now been informed by the president of the Augustinianum, Fr. Giuseppe Caruso, O.S.A., that he may no longer supervise this student.

On April 30 Rist and eighteen others signed the Open Letter. The authors state in the letter that they based their charge of the Pope committing heresy on the many examples of the Pontiff embracing positions contrary to the faith, calling attention to seven in particular. The letter writers asked 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.

Rist suspects that he has been barred from the Pontifical Universities because he signed the Open Letter.

When Rist attempted to return the car to the Augustinianum, he exchanged “free and frank” views with priests there but did not succeed in budging the “bureaucratic brick wall,” he said.

“When I was told by one of the priests that he could do nothing about it, I replied that he could just open the barrier - that being greeted with a cynical smile and shaking head: one felt the man of God (an American) was enjoying it.”

After the scholar, who had taught part-time at the Augustinianum as a visiting scholar for 15 years, told his interlocutor that he had nowhere else to leave the car and a plane to catch in four hours, he was told: “That’s your problem, not mine, isn’t it?”

“In the upshot, I left the car in the long-stay car-park at Ciampino [airport] and shall have to return for it before the costs mount too high,” Rist told LifeSiteNews. So far they are estimated to be 400 Euros ($446).

“I feel I have been treated with grotesque discourtesy,” he said.

Another discourtesy to Rist and a number of scholars is the refusal of the Catholic University of America Press to publish his Festschrift, a traditional collection of essays by former students and academic colleagues published to celebrate the achievements of a notable scholar. A Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto, Rist was the Kurt Pritzl, O.P. Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America (CUA) from 2012 to 2014.

LifeSiteNews has seen a communication explaining that Catholic University of America Press had rejected the book because the CUA Committee and Press believed it is “imprudent, at this time, to publish a volume” in Rist’s honor.

Scholars who had contributed essays in the collection included Catholics and non-Catholics, philosophers, ethicists, and theologians, scholars hailing from the Catholic University of America; Ave Maria University; Trinity College, Dublin; Yale University; the University of Toronto; Boston College; the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas; the University of Georgia, and a number of Italian universities.

Dr. Trevor Lipscombe, the Director of the CUA Press, confirmed that the Festschrift had been rejected.

“I can confirm that it was indeed declined for publication by the Catholic University of America Press,” Lipscombe told LifeSiteNews by email.

“The deliberations of the editorial committee are confidential, so I am not at liberty to go into any further detail. But I will add that, at that same meeting, another project to which Professor Rist was a contributor was approved, and we are proud to be the publisher of his book Plato's Moral Realism: The Discovery of the Presupposition of Ethics." Rist’s acclaimed Plato’s Moral Realism was published in 2012.

Rist was one of the contributors to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, a volume prepared prior to the Extraordinary Synod of the Family. Although it was sent to the members of the Synod through the Vatican Post Office, most of the copies never reached them, having been intercepted by the general secretary, Cardinal Baldisseri. Rist had contributed an essay on “Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church”.

Among Rist’s fellow essayists in the suppressed Remaining in the Truth of Christ were Cardinals Burke, Brandmüller, Caffarra, and Müller, as well as Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, SJ. The other scholar of Rist’s stature who signed the Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church was Fr. Aidan Nicholls, O.P.
00Friday, May 31, 2019 2:06 AM
Time now to examine one of Jorge Bergoglio's trademark shibboleths, the delusional 'poor church for the poor'...

The spiritual bankruptcy
of the 'poverty gospel'

by Ed Faust

May 29, 2019

“You cannot live charity without having interpersonal relationships with the poor, living with the poor and for the poor.”
– Pope Francis, May 27, 2019
Address to Caritas International

The enemy of souls in our time is materialism. Like a mist that spreads over the landscape, the vapor of materialism reaches everywhere, into every household, into every crevice of every structure; it is the air we breathe. It is in us and ever before us. It becomes the unspoken and barely conscious assumption that permeates our thinking.

When Nietzsche said that God is dead, even in the heart of the believer, he meant that the supernatural was no longer a living reality for modern man. Even those who profess belief in God find it difficult to see in the world the working of Divine agency.

Science has replaced God. We look to natural causes for an explanation of physical phenomena, not to the Logos. The creative Word has been replaced by the Big Bang: an explosion out of nothing from which all else is supposed to have “evolved” for no particular purpose. And all will disappear just as mysteriously. The world has been reduced to “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Matter becomes the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all things, and our very consciousness, our self-awareness, is taken to be an “epiphenomenon” of the brain, totally dependent on its physical structure and colored in its individual way by genetic happenstance. There is no truth; only sense impressions which we order in arbitrary ways so that we might survive for a time amid the chaos of existence.

This is materialism in a nutshell. It shapes our thoughts, often unconsciously, for it permeates the atmosphere in which we live and work. Religion is also conditioned by materialism. Christianity has been largely reduced to what might be called the Soup Kitchen Religion, according to which those of us who enjoy material comfort should offer some of our time, or at least some of our money, to those who are less well to do.

In the latter-day Catholic Church, the Soup Kitchen creed is formulated in what is called “the preferential option for the poor.” This is a decidedly odd and awkward phrase, made even more perplexing by the redundancy of “preferential option” (are there any other sort of options?).

The tone of the phrase is also at variance with the meaning given it by its adherents. An option is by definition not obligatory, yet the Soup Kitchen creed would make the “preferential option for the poor” not only obligatory but the essence, the sine qua non, of Christianity. Note the Pope’s radical declaration quoted above.

This identification of Christianity with Soup Kitchen Religion reaches its zenith in Liberation Theology, an attempt by South American Marxists to interpret the Gospel in the light of dialectical materialism. Pope Francis imbibed this sort of religion during his formative years in South America and it has become the font from which he draws his homilies and exhortations. He is, when all superficiality is stripped away, a Marxist ideologue railing against economic inequality.

So committed is he to this ideology, that he has proclaimed that we can only be Christian if there are poor people about to whom we can offer some assistance. So lacking in a sense of irony is the Pope that he fails to see that his ideology is one that limits the practice of Christianity to the affluent. If charity is dependent upon having “interpersonal relationships with the poor” through giving material aid, then it would seem the poor are not in a position to be Christians. The man who has nothing to give to another would seem to be left out of the picture.

But the Pope’s Soup Kitchen creed includes spiritual philanthropy: “…the preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.” In providing this care, we are said to grow spiritually. In fact, this is how, according to Francis, we imitate God.

But again, the emphasis is placed on the benefits accruing to the affluent, whether that affluence be material or spiritual. And again, the Pope fails to realize what a one-sided and condescending creed he is proposing.

Francis goes on to say, “The worst discrimination that the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual attention.” He also declares, without any supporting reasoning, that the majority of the poor “have a special openness to faith.” So, according to Francis, the poor not only suffer a deprivation of material goods, but they are also denied spiritual instruction. By whom? By the greedy capitalists who not only hoard their worldly wealth but make spirituality their private preserve?

Francis continues in a way reminiscent of what used to be called “the white man’s burden”: the idea that the Europeans must raise up the heathen races in Africa, India and elsewhere, so that they could share in the benefits of civilization.

Concerning the spiritual destitution of the poor, Francis says: “They need God and we cannot fail to offer them His friendship, His blessing, His word, the celebration of the sacraments, and the proposal of a path of growth and maturation in the faith.”

At this juncture it seems good to point out that the poor are very much like the rich, but they don't have money. That’s the main difference. An openness to the Faith is not dependent upon one’s income or social status, but upon the heart’s longing for truth and love. Not only do the poor not enjoy a privileged position in their receptivity to virtue, but crime statistics relative to income would indicate that the opposite may well be the case.

The poor need God. The rich need God.
- Why should the rich be seen as in a position to bring God to the poor? If anything, the Gospel teaches that wealth can be a great hindrance to spiritual advancement.
- And who is keeping the poor from religious instruction and the sacraments?
- And are the poor really waiting upon the affluent to propose for them “…a path of growth and maturation in the Faith”?

The Pope also abuses the affluent who are aiding the poor “with almsgiving, with beneficence” as possibly guilty of a “hypocritical or false charity.”
- He speaks with disdain of charitable organizations who aim at “philanthropic efficacy” but whose donors are not engaged in the work in a heartfelt way.
- No exhortation from Francis would be complete without his assuming the moral high ground and denouncing those below him (always unnamed miscreants) who fail to rise to the level of his understanding and ideals.

It is a universal characteristic of the ideologue that he never looks at reality, but always at his prefabricated notions, into which reality must fit, even if it be necessary to lop off a limb or two. Francis, as an ideologue, does not look at people as individuals, but as categories in his schema of the world. And he regards Scripture as an adjunct to his socialist manifesto.

But the Gospel does not show Our Lord practicing a “preferential option” for any group. And it is not the equalization or redistribution of wealth that Christ commends as the essence of charity. The essence of charity – charis – is charity: love itself. Love has no program, no calculus, no ideology. If all the poor in the world were to become rich, if everyone had the same amount of wealth, charity would not disappear. It does not depend upon our “interpersonal relationships with the poor.” It depends upon our relationship to Christ.

There is no equality in this world because we are unique creations of the Word, all at different points in our pilgrimage to Christ, the heart of our being, the Logos from whom we all descend. No one who lives for Christ would deny another his help. But no one who lives for Christ would define charity as dependent upon his interaction with the poor. He may very well be one of the poor. It is worldliness, not wealth, that leads one away from God.

The poor are just the rich with less money, objectively speaking. And a poor man and a rich man may be equally fixated upon wealth and, thus, both equally impoverished spiritually. To live in Christ is a possibility for every man, regardless of his circumstances. And if Christianity were dependent upon a heartfelt philanthropy, it would be restricted to those with the wherewithal to become philanthropists.

The dangers of the Pope’s ideology are manifold.
- It encompasses the sort of class distinction that breeds the envy and resentment which Marxist revolutionaries exploit.
- It materializes religion and focuses our attention on the passing circumstances of this world.
- It presupposes a class of superiors, both in wealth and spirituality, who must lift up those beneath them. This is not genuine charity, but condescension.

Ultimately, the Pope’s ideology is just that: an ideology, i.e. a mental construction of how the world ought to function according to a presumed human wisdom that vies with Providence. And like all ideologies, it generates anger toward those who will not submit to its demands. This is why the Pope cannot speak without denouncing someone or something. He is an angry ideologue.

Christ proposed no ideology. Even the doctrines that are formulated from His teaching have no meaning unless they are lived. We cannot merely give our assent to certain formulas and continue to go about our business as though materialist assumptions are correct. And we cannot fulfill Our Lord’s command to become perfect “even as your heavenly Father is perfect” by embracing the banalities of Soup Kitchen Religion.

If Our Lord teaches us anything about poverty, it is that it is a blessing to be embraced, not a disease to be cured. Liberation theology can find no basis in the Gospel. And the Pope can find no support for his ideology in Christianity. He took the name of St. Francis, Il Poverello (the little poor man). Let us pray that he will find the true spirit of Franciscan poverty, which is to have nothing in one’s heart but a burning love for Christ.

By definition, a narcissist cannot be humble. And hubris is, of course, the Luciferean drive that makes man think he can surpass God. It is hard to see where Jorge Bergoglio, hubristic narcissist nonpareil, can find any point in his being where Christ can have a foothold. Of course, I would say these things, but without any sanctimony, only with profound distress and daily despair. What would all of us, devout Catholics as we see ourselves, not give to be proven completely wrong about Jorge Bergoglio? To have him experience a Damascus-like re-conversion to the faith? It is the miracle I pray for every day when I pray for the Church and all who work in the Church, especially the faithless.

And Bergoglo's most recent affirmation of his most favored shibboleth for now, along with climate catastrophism? A move that didfollowed defiantly in the wake of the anticipated victory of Matteo Salvini's Lega party, as 33% of Italians voted to support his candidates for the European Parliament, and therefore, for his anti-illegal immigration, Italy-first policy - even as Italy's bishops, carrying out the Argentine pope's immigrationist pro-Islam activism, openly called on Italians to 'vote against Salvini', but saw instead the resounding defeat of the leftist parties which are unconditionally in favor of EU dominance over national sovereingty and also supported unconditionlly by the Church in Italy.

Pope Francis released document about ‘meanness’
to migrants to coincide with EU elections

by Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, May 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, May 27, the day after the European Union parliamentary elections ended, Pope Francis released his World Day of Migrants address. However, according to the Vatican’s Arabic, German, and original English translations, the document was signed on April 30, 2019.

This adds weight to speculation that Pope Francis timed the release, which condemns even 'unconscious racism', to coincide with the elections, so that his words would be seen as a rebuke to Europeans who voted for nationalist parties that oppose mass migration.

Quoting two of his own recent homilies, the pontiff condemned an attitude towards migration conditioned by 'ear'.

“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid! (Mt 14:27). It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears. The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of ‘the other,’ the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner...We see this today in particular, faced with the arrival of migrants and refugees knocking on our door in search of protection, security and a better future...

“To some extent, the fear is legitimate, also because the preparation for this encounter is lacking (Homily in Sacrofano, 15 February 2019)...But the problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realizing it – racist...

“In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord [EXCUSE ME AS I SNORT!] (cf. Homily at Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 14 January 2018).”

Pope Francis targeted what he called “the most economically advanced societies,” saying that they are “witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism” which is combined with a “utilitarian mentality” and “reinforced by the media.”

“In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills,” he wrote.

But at the same time, the pontiff decried the West’s acceptance of the best and brightest of the world’s migrants, saying, “Developing countries continue to be drained of their best natural and human resources for the benefit of a few privileged markets.”
[But 'the best and the brightest' who do manage to migrate have done so by legal means, and if Bergoglio says that everyone who wants to find a better life elsewhere is entitled to emigrate wherever he wants, by hook or by crook, then why would he deny that same right to the ones who do it by the book? Which is not to say that the hordes of would-be illegal immigrants could not possibly include any of 'the best and the brightest'. But could anyone be numbered among 'the best and the brightest' who is willing to commit a subversive and ciminal act by flouting immigration laws as if any country ought to be obliged to receive any intending immigrant with open arms?]

Pope Francis did not refer to the millions of unborn lives, particularly those belonging to disabled babies, which have been lost thanks to Europe’s 50-year scourge of legal abortion. In western Europe, legal abortion followed the moral decay of the sexual revolution.

Sustainable development in the countries migrants are fleeing came second to the pontiff’s assumption that “the most economically advanced societies” must take in migrants.

“Dear brothers and sisters, our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” he wrote.

But at the same time, Francis said that this program should include anyone “living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated.”

“If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man,” he wrote.

“We will promote the integral human development of all people. We will also help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve.”

The success of conservative, nationalist or patriotic, and anti-illegal immigration parties in the European Parliamentary elections were pronounced in Italy, Hungary, Poland, France, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, and Slovenia.

In the European Parliament, the center-right was diminished as conservative-minded voters threw their support behind populists and nationalists. However, according to a chart produced by the BBC, there was a slight list to the left in the European Parliament overall, as other voters opted for liberals and, most dramatically in Germany, environmentally conscious “Green” parties.

The 2019 EU parliamentary elections, which took place between May 23 and May 26, followed four years of crisis-level illegal mass migration into Europe over the sea from North Africa, a phenomenon in which thousands of trafficked people have drowned. Some European nations, mindful of a rise in Islamic terrorism in Europe and other acts of violence linked to migration, have strongly resisted calls to embrace multiculturalism and accept large numbers of migrants.

In a recent lecture on the virtues of filial piety and patriotism, Cardinal Raymond Burke expressed his opinion that the resisting of large-scale Islamic migration to majority-Christian countries was a “responsible exercise of one’s patriotism.”

The 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will fall on September 29, 2019.

[And so the papal message for that occasion is released four months in advance! Not that I really think any but a handful of vested interests pay any attention to or make use of most 'occasion-driven' papal messages.

In Bergoglio's case, the secular world celebrates and exploits any messages he makes to advance its priorities which are also his - UN 'develop,ment' goals (he doesn't care that they openly promote population control but they are supposed to eliminate hunger and poverty in the world by 2030! - yes, we're 11 years away from 'paradise on earth'), globally enforced climate control measures, and yes, politically correct toleration if not encouragement of Islam. It's excruciatingly depressing just to think of this surreal and infernal agenda.] ]

00Monday, June 3, 2019 8:02 AM

The pope's comments on those
who wrote the Open Letter

I get the impression from the relative lack of stories and commentary about the pope's recent interview with Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Televisa - after the understandable flurry of reactions to his too-late-too-little and embarassingly incoherent and self-contradicting statements about Vigano and McCarrick - that few n the media and the blogosphere have bothered to go through the entire transcript which is available on the Vatican site in Spanish and Italian (I have not checked the other languages).

While I can understand that after six years of enduring and haing to report on self-indulgent papal logorrhea, Bergoglio-blather fatigue may have set in among Vatican observers, professional and otherwise, and Vatican news junkies, I realize more and more that it would be useful not to ignore what he says, not only for its inherent content, which runs the gamut, but as an ongoing record of his thought processes, almost a stream of consciousness, in which oftentimes, he does not even mask open expressions of negativity, hostility and even contempt for those who oppose him in any way.

For example, only a couple of sites have reported Bergoglio's comments on the recent Open Letter to Bishops - or better, on those who wrote the Open Letter. Brief but telling comments on a subject he voluntarily introduced into the interview, taking advantage of Alazraki's remarks about polarization in the Church. I translated the ff from the Spanish transcript:

Pope Francis, there is much polarization, though not something sudden, in the world in general, and also in the Church, right here, for instance – not in this room - but inside the Vatican. Everywhere. It is not a prerogative of the Vatican.
A: To polarize is a destructive temptation.

But in the Church itself, these groups are felt to be very strong...
A: Yes, well… Now that you mention it, some have accused me of heresy, and…

How did you take that?
A: With a sense of humor, my child.

You don’t give it much importance...
A. No, not at all! Besides, I pray for them because they are wrong - poor people, some of them have been manipulated. I saw who were those who signed… No, seriously, [I took it] with a sense of humor, and I would say, tenderness, paternal tenderness. Which is to say, I don’t feel wounded at all, not at all.

What wounds me is hypocrisy, lying – that wounds me. But a mistake like that, which involves some whose heads were inflated, no, please! One has to take care of them, too. They must be taken care of...

The contempt and condescension - and 'incidental' insult - he packs into those few words chill the marrow. What paternal tenderness is there in calling the signatories "poor people, some of them manipulated... and whose heads were inflated"? When has he ever been even minimally charitable -m uch less paternal! - to all the various 'categories' of Catholics he dislikes and continuously insults?

"I don't feel wounded at all, not at all" sounds to me like whistling in the dark.

And what hypocrisy and lying is he talking about? The signatories came out in the open with what they had to say, no hypocrisy there - risking the head-shaking, finger-wagging disapproval and disparagement of many leading 'orthodox Catholic' voices one would have expected to add their signatures to the letter - among them those who in the past three years at least have been the most outspoken in denouncing the doctrinal errors advocated by this pope, errors the writers consider heresies and have ask the bishops of the world to at least 'investigate', given the super-abundant documentation that exists to support the charges. Documentation that rules out any possibility of lying on the part of the Open Letter authors.

Yet their detractors berate them for having 'gone too far'. These detractors are really saying that "Yes, Bergoglio has been trampling roughshod on many essential teachings of the faith, but that's not heresy! And not a matter for the bishops to look into!" Then what is it? When it's the pope himself who openly teaches doctrinal error, as the Open Letter detractors daily denounce? I have been calling it apostasy - informal yes, but very much de facto - because every anti-Catholic thing Bergoglio says and does is an act of apostasy.

Of course, Bergoglio is using the familiar psychological mechanism of projecting one's own besetting faults - certainly hypocrisy and lying are for Bergoglio - on one's opponents, which makes his words even more pathetic.

Mainly, he wants it made known that he scoffs at the Open Letter and everything it alleges. As he scoffed at the DUBIA - and at Mons. Vigano's testimony, originally - though never directly, as he does here at the Open Letter.

For the first time in living memory, serious Catholic theologians draw up a charge sheet of heretical words and acts against a pope - and it is nothing but 'humorous', and therefore, un-serious, to the man concerned. He is really also telling all Catholics who share the message of the Open Letter that he truly does not care what they think; he is the pope, afteralll, and his word will prevail over those he considers as nothing but insignificant 'poor people' who together represent only a minuscule minority in the Church, an infinitesimal fraction he can afford to ignore and ridicule because might is always right.

And how does he intend to 'take care' of these 'poor people'? In Spanish, "hay que cuidarlos" does not have the ominous connotation that "We must take care of them" can have in English. Is he going to assign 19 of his chief lieutenants to 'mentor' each of the authors of the Open Letter and get them to see the error of their ways? Not that any of them can even rise to the intellectual level and Catholic credentials of the authors! It would be like sending gnats to do battle with an elephant.

Or maybe he will host an Enemies' Day at Casa Santa Marta, inviting the surviving Dubia Cardinals, Mons Vigano and the Open Letter authors, maybe even Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli, Antonio Socci and Sandro Magister, along with Matteo Salvini, so that each may confront him, one on one, with the most important question each would like him to answer, framed like the Dubia so that he can answer simply with a Yes, No or Maybe, while looking at each interlocutor directly in the eye.

00Monday, June 10, 2019 6:16 PM
00Monday, June 10, 2019 6:16 PM

Will this count as #2 of the 'filial corrections' addressed to the reigning pope after the Correctio Filialis of September 2017? If it does, then one more such filial correction has to be issued publicly to comply with Jesus's injunction in Matthew 18: 15-17):

“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Not that I think even Scrioture can prevail over a pertinaciuusly hubristic - if not heretical - pope who really does cherrcypick an/or edit Jesus's words to0 suit his agenda...

Cardinals Burke and Pujats and 3 Kazakhstan bishops
issue Declaration of Truths as an 'aid' to Pope Francis

June 10, 2019

A small group [5 persons] including Card. Burke and Bp. Schneider have issued a Declaration of Truths comprising some 40 paragraphs over 8-pages under various subheadings, and have also issued an Explanatory note comprising some 1300 words and 2 single spaced pages.

Declaration of Truths

Declaration of Truths Explanatory Note

From the Explanatory Note:

A common voice of the Shepherds and the faithful through a precise declaration of the truths will be without any doubt an efficient means of a fraternal and filial aid for the Supreme Pontiff in the current extraordinary situation of a general doctrinal confusion and disorientation in the life of the Church.

Another document that will be completely ignored by the pope and his Vatican media, and will be thoroughly mocked as ineffectual and futile by those who, desite their token protests and protestations, are really throwing in the towel in the doctrinal, ecclesial and moral battle - a fight to the death, really, in behalf of the fath - against the numerous and daily-increasing errors of thie very anti-Catholic pope, who IMHO is an undeclared but de facto apostate.

10Tuesday, May 26, 2020 9:50 PM

On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 93.


Resuming this endeavor without much ado after almost a year of inactivity, having relocated in the meantime to Stockton, California, where despite being in California, the pandemic mania was never as manic or all-pervasive as it has been in Manhattan or Frisco/Los Angeles, for that matter. Even I who meet the highrisk criteria of age and co-morbidities have been unencumbered in my activities, as I live within walking distance of my bank, grocery stores, Metro PCS, Target, Office Depot, Home Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens and the main transfer station to get on and off the local buses. Only problem is that with public transport suspended, Lyft and Uber both have less drivers available than usual, so it can take up to 20 minutes for them to find a nearby driver if I have to go someplace I can't walk (I don't drive). I still keep my co-op in New York but who knows when I can travel back there without having to quarantine myself for 14 days when I get back here?

My worst setback is that the nearest TLM is in Sacramento, 45 minutes away by bus, which meant getting up early to get the only Sunday morning bus to Sacramento, in order to attend the 10:30 am High Mass at St Stephen the Martyr church which is run by the FSSP. I must say that the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan has spoiled me for other TLMs (even those I have had to tune to after the churches closed, and that includes reliable Father Z's daily Masses in Milwaukee, those of St. John Cantius in Chicago, and the Institute of Christ the King's Masses in Limerick, Ireland).

Anyway, the pandemic has brought much of everything to an ultimate testing point, and the consensus is that the Catholic Church, still under the nominal - but oh-so-unChristian - leadership of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has come out for the most part shamed and forever tainted by the treasonous abandonment by the pope and most bishops and priests of their vows and supreme duty to provide spiritual guidance and consolation at all times to the faithful, by abjectly submitting to whatever the secular authorities have dictated. They have therefore abdicated the universal fundamental right to freedom of worship, setting a fatal precedent from which the Church will take a long time to undo.

Bergoglio, of course, keeps building up and escalating his shameless record of un-Popelike, un-Christian betrayals in every way (thankfully, enough right-thinking Catholic commentators have taken due note, renounced and expatiated enough on his behavior and actions, so everything is on the record) that no one should be surprised anymore at his self-indulgent, self-promoting, anti-Church and anti-Christian excesses, including his self-celebratory year of extraordinary events to mark the fifth anniversary of his demented science-defying Greta Thunberg encyclical.

In a Dark Time
by Theodore Roethke
The New Yorker
January 9, 1960
(Collected in The Far Field, 1964)


In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.


What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.


A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.


Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

With thanks to THE CATHOLIC THING which featured this poem today. Below, Irish journalist John Waters sums up the consequnce of the pandemic mania which simply morphed into a self-perpetrating, self-deating exaggeration of man's fear of death, disease and suffering.

On True and False Infinities

by John Waters

May 23, 2020

The playwright Arthur Miller, while he wrote, would place a card in full view in front of him with one word on it. The word was: forgo. It was a memo to himself to avoid bringing things to a head until the very last moment, so as to maintain the audience’s speculations and engagement until the final curtain.

In a way, the method catches also a key aspect of the religious sensibility. The “religious” person tends more than others to postpone satisfaction and forgo immediate pleasure or reward in anticipation of an ultimate prize on the far side of the horizon. The religious person knows that every material thing eventually disappoints.

Joseph Ratzinger, many years ago, warned us against the “false infinities” that might mislead us as to the nature of existence. “Infinities” of some kind — satisfactions false or real — are essential. Otherwise, human beings would stop dead in their tracks, as though their batteries had suddenly died.

Desire for infinite, eternal reality, for the embrace of the Creator who generates us, is ultimately what enables us to transcend the limitation of the false infinities, which lure us astray and always leave us deflated.

Man, diverted from the ultimate horizon, grows weary and skeptical. Materialism interposes itself for a time between him and the true destination of his desiring. For a time this encroachment proceeds unnoticed; but over the course of his life, a man discovers that his desiring for earthly things loses its lustre with escalating rapidity, that the false infinities become will-o-the-wisps.

When this happens, a man will either look upward again to the horizon, or downward to the bottom of a glass or pill bottle in search of the dregs of hope. Shadowing these attempts at self-delusion is our ineluctable awareness that we are unable to find in this dimension what we seek: We can’t get no satisfaction. But we try and we try and we try and we try.

In the encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI spelled out the process by which this works through a human life:

Day by day, man experiences many greater or lesser hopes, different in kind according to the different periods of his life. Sometimes one of these hopes may appear to be totally satisfying without any need for other hopes.

Young people can have the hope of a great and fully satisfying love; the hope of a certain position in their profession, or of some success that will prove decisive for the rest of their lives. When these hopes are fulfilled, however, it becomes clear that they were not, in reality, the whole.

It becomes evident that man has need of a hope that goes further. It becomes clear that only something infinite will suffice for him, something that will always be more than he can ever attain.

In this regard our contemporary age has developed the hope of creating a perfect world that, thanks to scientific knowledge and to scientifically based politics, seemed to be achievable. Thus Biblical hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world which would be the real “Kingdom of God.”

This seemed at last to be the great and realistic hope that man needs. It was capable of galvanizing — for a time — all man's energies. The great objective seemed worthy of full commitment. In the course of time, however, it has become clear that this hope is constantly receding. Above all it has become apparent that this may be a hope for a future generation, but not for me.

In the 1960s, freedom was redefined in Western cultures as the impulse to instantly cash in on every opportunity for pleasure, gain, and reward, with increasing skepticism about “the afterlife” providing an added rationale. The result was a growing but undiagnosed collective dissatisfaction — amounting to collective alienation — camouflaged by the creation of a “freedom escalator” on which previously unrecognized freedoms achieved in turn their fifteen minutes of fame.

The “boomers” (dread word, especially when it seems to include you) having already ceased to believe, then ceased to forgo —indeed repudiated that very idea —and all generations that followed implicitly acquiesced in their cultural leadership.

Since then we have been constructing cultures in which the religious dimension — that certain sense of a place beyond the beyond — is broken off from the collective consciousness, and can be preserved within the individual consciousness only with the greatest attention. Life goes on, but largely by dint of the false infinities, which have become all-important. With God eclipsed in culture, even the best-adjusted souls need to utilise as stepping stones the tiny pleasures that enliven an otherwise nondescript, meaningless-seeming day.

My book Beyond Consolation, published a decade ago, was inspired by the death of a colleague, Nuala O’Faolain, at my then newspaper, The Irish Times, following a short illness with cancer. An atheist, she went on radio soon after she received the terminal diagnosis to speak about her grief and despair.

In one section of the interview, she described how, after hearing the news, she had returned alone to her beloved Paris to revisit, one last time, “some of the joy of living.” She booked a room in a swanky hotel and next morning went out in search of a café. She described buying a coffee and tartine, sitting down and thinking, “Well, this is it. I love this.” She adored being there with her copy of the International Herald Tribune and her thick, crusty slice of bread and milky coffee. “And it worked great for half an hour. But then I walked too far and fell down and stuff and that didn’t work out too well.”

The devil is in the adjectives: “crusty,” “milky,” “International": all words denoting freedom, albeit of an ephemeral, fragile kind. Yet we instantly recognize the explosion of pure joy that such an evocation can release. The joy of being idle in a foreign country on a sunny morning in a trapped moment of pure, simple pleasure — a false infinity as real as anything earthly as long as it lasts, but here exposed in the dread light of imminent death.

This is so sad: That Nuala did not come to see the “little infinities” as gifts, or signs, from somewhere beyond. These things, the religious journey brings us to see, resonate only because there is beyond them the promise of something infinitely greater.

Coronavirus lockdown has brought us to a moment when, many of our “little infinities” withdrawn, we get to face the horizon with an enhanced chance of seeing that all joys, small and great, come from the same place.

It has been remarked already how strange it is that COVID-19 hit the West at the start of Lent. But I wonder if there was before, across the whole of Western civilisation, a time when the access to both the churches of God and most of the cathedrals of Mammon were blocked at one and the same time.

Not only are our churches closed, but so too are our shopping malls, gyms, and bars, the places to which Western populations have in recent years repaired to pursue the false-infinite joys that, if pursued obsessively, cause a short-circuit of the Infinite, Eternal, True connection.

Now, with the malls and pubs shuttered, we must make contact with infinities of whatever kind without assistance from middlemen. Although even in lockdown, there are still the off-mainstream diversionary delights on offer from Amazon and YouTube, we are mostly restricted to our contemplations, prayers and meditations, or else those lower-cased varieties of “infinity” capable of being accessed at home with a bottle opener, modem or remote control. It is hard, sometimes, to avoid the thought that this situation is the ambiguous gift of some mischievous, supernatural imagination, and not necessarily an evil one.

Secular materialism imposes pressure on all its subjects to foreshorten their horizons, to draw their desires closer to themselves so that they no longer stretch out toward an infinite Otherness.

In today’s Germany, or Spain or Italy or France or Ireland, it is almost pointless to speak even to the general population about the hope that manifests in Christianity. Even the elderly are cast adrift before a destination that surges towards them, and in this transfixed situation they busy themselves with what they can settle for: those “little false infinities” that make a day seem to be worth living — the trip to the secondhand bookstore to pick up a bargain, the cup of coffee afterward in the café across the road, the stroll in the park listening to a podcast on earphones, meeting an old friend at the gate and luxuriating in another cuppa, and so forth.

It is strange, in an age of ceaseless talk about mental illness, that the authorities of so many countries have so blithely sentenced the elderly, cast adrift on a cultural rock of secular nihilism, to deprivation of these small pleasures — as though, just as they have forgotten about the indispensability of God, they have now forgotten about the indispensability of what replaced him.

But perhaps, before the months of lockdown become a barely credible half-memory, we may find time to meditate on an experience that, properly observed, may allow us to look more usefully into our driving mechanisms, and comprehend more precisely the nature of our tick-tocking.

Temporarily deprived of so many of our “little infinities,” perhaps we will see that these transient joys are just stepping stones on the road to lasting joys. Let us hope that, when they rediscover their courage, Church leaders will grasp the opportunity offered to remind their congregations of the true meanings of earthly moments of happiness, and direct them thereby to the deepest nature of reality.

Sandro Magister underscores the extraordinary self-centeredness and total disregard for God on the part of Bergoglio in all of his pronouncements and all the 'Laudato si' celebrations he has lined up for the year.

In the celebratory year for 'Laudato Si',
party time for everyone,except for 'My Lord'

May 25, 2020

In these times of global shortages, those who hold the purse strings in the Vatican - the Jesuit Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, prefects respectively of the Secretariat for the Economy and of the Council for the Economy - have issued urgent calls to the heads of the Roman Curia to be “sober” and to “cut the costs of conferences, travel abroad, external consultancy.”

But the celebrations for Laudato Si’ are evidently an exception. Yesterday, Sunday May 24, was the fifth birthday of the signing of the encyclical, and a whole jubilee year was announced to celebrate it, with a seemingly endless program.

To begin with, there has already been a prologue, “Laudato Si’ Week”, launched on May 16 with a video message from Pope Francis amid evocative images of zebras, camels and savannas, and crowned on Sunday the 24th with the common recitation throughout the world, at noon according to local time, of a prayer composed at the Vatican for the occasion, so that we may all “know how to listen and respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Among those who took part in the preparatory week - with a multiplicity of local initiatives - the United States came in first with 2,316 registrations, followed in the ranking by Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and then other nations, with minor numbers, with China dead last with just one signup.

But there is more in store for them. Because at the end of the summer they will meet together in the “Season of Creation,” as in years past to be observed from September 1, World Day ofPprayer for Creation, to October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, with the commitment to invent and put into practice over the span of those days acts of “reparation of our relationships with others and with all creation.”

This is an ecumenical initiative launched not only by Pope Francis but jointly by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and by the outgoing secretary general of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, the Lutheran Olav Fyscke Tveit.

In the middle of the 2019 edition of the “Season of Creation,” a global climate strike made headlines on Sept. 20, with students from all over the world skipping school and with Greta Thunberg in the starring role. [Wikipedia says the strike organizers claimed 4 million participated worldwide, with 1.2 million from Germany alone. That's a minuscule percentage of the worldwide student population!]The strike is expected to have an encore this year.

But before the “Season of Creation” arrives, The Vatican has scheduled two initiatives of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson.

The first, on June 18, will consist of a web seminar (webinar) - - with experts from all over the world, called to formulate “assessments” and plan “future journeys” inspired by Laudato Si’.

The second will be the publication of an “Inter-Dicasterial Text with Operational Guidelines” as a practical follow-up to the encyclical.

Other webinars unspecified in number and content have also been announced for the autumn, these too organized by Turkson's dicastery.

Not to mention the round table - not via the web but with physical presences - that the Vatican will organize at the end of January in Davos, during the World Economic Forum that brings the who’s who of world powers together every year in that Swiss town.

At the beginning of the spring of 2021, a meeting is also on the agenda - for now only at the “proposal” stage - among leaders of the various religions, also under the auspices of Laudato Si’ and naturally with the pope.

All of it resulting in the concluding triduum, between May 20 and 22 of 2021, for this 'jubilee year', during which an international conference will be held at the Vatican and a “Multi-Year Action Platform” inspired by the encyclical will be launched.

The final triduum will be gladdened with the voices and sounds of the “Living Chapel” created by Julian Revie in partnership with the United Nations and the Global Catholic Climate Movement, with a choir of children from disadvantaged areas of the world, with the songs of birds recorded in forests devastated by man, with sounds from oil barrels and other recycled materials, and with texts by Saint Francis and by the pope who took his name.

Not only that. The Vatican has announced that it will
- support the goal of the “Living Chapel” to “create natural gardens and sacred spaces” inspired by “Laudato Si’”;
- promote the creation of a documentary film and an “immersive show” on the encyclical;
- join the battle against polluting plastic materials;
- upport the organization “Laudato Tree” in planting one million new trees every year in the arid regions of Africa; and
- launch on social media the first worldwide competition on reinterpreting the Bible in the light of “Laudato Si’.

In addition, the Holy See will put to work a number of volunteer dioceses, parishes, families, schools, farms, etc in “a 7-year journey of integral ecology in the spirit of Laudato Si’,” with the aim of doubling the number of those engaged in it every year and so mobilizing “a critical mass needed for radical societal transformation invoked by Pope Francis.”

To individuals who distinguish themselves through their efforts in the various areas of activity, starting in 2021 the Vatican will assign a dozen Laudato Si’ awards.

But that's not all. On the agenda of the celebratory year announced a few days ago, two separate events which were initially scheduled for this spring but then postponed until the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are two events in which Pope Francis has invested a great deal, but which also reveal the most vulnerable point of his pontificate.

The first will be held on October 15 at the Vatican and is entitled “Reinventing the Educational Global Compact.”

It comes as no surprise that a pope like Jorge Mario Bergoglio would take so much to heart the education and training of the new generations, being a member of the Society of Jesus, which has been,for centuries, a great educator of ruling classes.

But what is striking is the total absence in his educational project of any Christian specificity.

In the video message with which Francis launched the initiative there is not the slightest verbal trace of God, Jesus, or the Church. The dominant formula is “new humanism,” with its accessories of “common home,” “universal solidarity,” “fraternity,” “convergence,” “welcome”… And the religions? These too lumped together and neutralized in an indistinct dialogue.

The novelty of this initiative of Francis consists precisely in the fact that it is the first time - in the history of the Church - that a pope has made his own and placed himself at the helm of a worldwide educational pact so radically secularized.

The second event, to be convened November 21 in Assisi, has the title “The Economy of Francesco” (the saint, not the pope who bears his name) and has as its objective nothing less than “a pact to change the current economy of world.”

It will be “a festival of the economy of young people with the pope, a middle way between Greta Thunberg and the powerful of the earth,” according to the announcement by the main organizer, economist Luigino Bruni, a member of the Focolare movement and a consultant for the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

Among the figures who have already confirmed their presence will be the Malthusian economist Jeffrey Sachs, in this pontificate an inevitable guest of every Vatican event concerning the economy and ecology; Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, who was Bergoglio’s personal guest at the synod for the Amazon; and the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, as highly praised among the “popular movements” dear to the pope (she participated in their third world gathering) as she has been discredited by the scientific community worthy of the name.

Curiously, Vandana Shiva and Carlo Petrini were a few years ahead of their time in the condemnation of the sin of “ecocide” that Francis has said he wants to introduce into the catechism. In fact, in October of 2016, the two of them staged a symbolic trial in Holland, at the Hague, in which they convicted the international biochemical company Monsanto, in absentia, for 'ecocide'.
In this other initiative of Pope Francis as well there is a glaring absence of any specifically Christian feature, replaced by a generic alignment with the dominant agnostic ideology of environmentalism, pacifism, and individual rights.

It’s all happening as if the invocation Laudato si’ from the canticle of Saint Francis had been purged of what comes next: “my Lord.” [Most of the verses in the saint's Canticle of Creatures start with 'Laudato si, mi Signore.." ("Be praised, my Lord...")].

On the same subject, the usual common-sense reaction of Padre Jorge Gonzalez on his blog...

A year for ‘Laudato si’
(I’d love to be an ostrich)

Translated from

Well! One more ‘incident’. I feel like paying attention to less ‘important’ things, perhaps because we don’t know, we don’t want to, we don’t dare to, ‘they’ won’t let us, or we cannot – best not to get started on why not – dedicate ourselves to things that I think are of extraordinary importance to the Church.

To dedicate an entire year to something, one would imagine it is because the 'thing’ is of extraordinary importance and gravity, and that it is almost a question of life and death that the whole world be made conscious of a reality that it is essential to transform. It’s another thing when, as the Church, we have nothing more urgent to think about than ecology as a whole.

Quite the contrary. Not to go very far, Rafaela and with her, Joaquina and all the good people of Braojos, Gascones and La Serna [three mountain villages near Madrid of which Fr. Gonzalez is now parish priest, or cura, having been reassigned from the more central Madrid parishes he had served for 30 years] do take care of the environment, they recycle and sort their wastes religiously – chimney ashes, cardboard, plastic, glassware, batteries, organic wastes. Practically every announcement tells us what is ecological, energy-saving, respecting the environment. The laws say so. We have forest agents who take care of our surroundings, and a unit from the Guardia Civil for the same thing. And there’s the UN and who knows how many other institutions preaching about the ecology all the time.

So I don’t think that our parishes and communities – with probably a rare exception – could be branded as ‘tree killers’, terrorists against nature, totally alien from the subject. On the contrary.

That is why it seems to me we do not need a year to keep insisting on this to us. Of course, there is always room to do better, but this is a concern that is faring more than well, with practically all of mankind aware of it, including the Church, of course. To dedicate an entire year to ecological concerns is simply to deploy efforts that could be better directed to other matters.

As a servant, speaking from the limited viewpoint of the three rural villages in my care, I will be using the year much better in any of three other directions.

Possibly the most urgent would be to dedicate the year to Veritatis splendor. I say this because if there is anything that has seeped to our very marrow about the state of the Church today, it is moral relativism, a consequence of doctrinal relativism, under which we have gone from being followers of Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life, to followers of Pilate – ‘And what is truth?’

We see it every day. Depending on your confessor, your spiritual director, your preacher, things can be black, white, green or fuchsia, or they can simply ‘not be’, or ‘seem to be’, or ‘perhaps are’ (what they seem to be). This goes back to ‘the Church' which, far from putting an end to it, encourages and accepts it. I wrote once that to find interpretations from bishops’ conferences that are altogether divergent from Christian morality is simply desolating.

The second possibility for which I would like a year dedicated is the defense of the unborn. According to official data, Spain now has some 100,000 abortions a year. In the world more than 55 million. But this is hardly spoken about in the Church, such that many Catholics, while not fully justifying abortion, exculpate it. Yet the sin of abortion is serious enough to merit excommunication. Is that not worth a year of study, reflection, preaching and consciousness raising?

My third suggestion would be to dedicate a year to the pastoral care and morality of the family. In Spain, the number of marriages has been decreasing every year. In 1981, there were 5.3 matrimonies per 1,000 inhabitants. Now, it is hardly 3 per thousand, of which only 20% are church marriages. Spain has gone from a fertility rate of 14.1 children per 1000 inhabitants in 1981 to hardly 9 today. Another interesting fact is that 40% of Spanish children today are born out of wedlock. Another: 6 out of every 10 marriages in Spain today ends in a break-up.

I could suggest more possibilities. But I leave it to the readers.

But I say that a Church comfortably ‘installed’ in relativism, which loses its members like water down the drain, in a world that yearly suffers millions of assassinations in their mother’s wombs, and in which the family, supposed to be the domestic church, is submerged in utmost crisis. To dedicate a year to ecology seems to me a form of fooling us.

Having said this, I will speak to Rafaela [the cura's quintessential parishioner] about what we can do.
10Tuesday, May 26, 2020 10:18 PM
Welcome back!
Dear dear Teresa!
It’s wonderful to see you posting here. When you get a minute can you send me an email ( my regular one- not via this forum). Much love,
Aqua xoxo
00Monday, June 1, 2020 7:47 PM
So happy to see you again!
Dear Teresa,
Have missed you so much and have been worried about you.
I hope this posts OK, I have forgotten how this Forum works.
I think my name used to be Music of Lorien.
So happy you are OK.

Thank you both to Aqua and Remantharum (I do remember Spirit of Lorien from both the Benedict XVI Fan Club and the Papa Benedetto Forum). I'm still trying to manage my time here in Stockton, where I have a completely different job description and therefore a new work rhythm.

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