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00Wednesday, June 3, 2020 9:00 PM

Just acquired this book on Kindle, so I hope to be able to record my impressions, pertinent informal translations, as I go along. It is, of course, most exciting that the book is
a bestseller in Germany, for all that the German CINO(Catholics in name only) have always abominated him. Obviously, not a few German-speaking readers think enough of
Benedict XVI to plunk down $38 for a 1200-page book that would by no means be light and easy reading. Meanwhile, here is Edward Pentin's interview with author Peter
Seewald to provide more context for his new biography.

Peter Seewald’s
spiritual and historical journey’
with the Pope Emeritus

by Edward Pentin

May 28. 2020

In writing his definitive and monumental new work on Benedict XVI, biographer Peter Seewald discovered “countless” new elements to the Pope Emeritus’s life and character, including that his role in the Second Vatican Council was “not marginal but enormously significant.”

In this May 21 email interview with the Register, Seewald explains how the book, Benedict XVI: The Biography — running 1,184 pages in the German version — juxtaposes Joseph Ratzinger’s life and teaching with the dramatic and stirring events of the 20th century.

He also explains the genesis of the book, as well as Benedict’s relationship with Francis, the advice Benedict offers for dealing with the crisis of faith in the Church and the world today, and why Benedict decided to write a spiritual testament to be published after his death. Seewald also provides an update on how Benedict is faring during this time of pandemic.

The English edition of the first volume of Benedict XVI: The Biography will be published in November by Bloomsbury Continuum.

Why did you decide to write this book? How did it come about?
I sort of saw it as my job. Admittedly, there is now a wealth of books about Benedict XVI, such as the meritorious work of the Italian theologian Elio Guerriero. But there was none that showed Ratzinger’s biography and his teaching in connection with historical events, and that, above all, tries to tell the life, work and person of the German Pope in such an exciting way, as it corresponds to this life, in all its drama and its importance for the history of the Church and the world. To this end, I carried out extensive research, analyzed archives and conducted conversations with about 100 contemporary witnesses. Last but not least, Pope Benedict made himself available to me for this project in countless meetings.

It is not only about the past, but also about the future. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, therefore called my book a “brilliant pitch,” which connects the path of a scholar with the core question of what is important in the Church of today.

The book contains many new interviews with the Pope Emeritus. When did these take place?
I began them during the year 2012, when Pope Benedict was still in office. We continued the interviews until 2018, most recently in his small monastery in the Vatican Gardens.

You’ve known Benedict for many years, but when you wrote this book and from the interviews you had with the Pope Emeritus, what did you learn about him that you did not know before?
Oh, countless things. The life of Joseph Ratzinger is the biography of a century. One had always thought that the rise of the former professor of theology was one smooth progression, a career without any breaks. But there are countless ups and downs, with dramas that led to the brink of failure.

There were the experiences during the Nazi era, when it was said that after the “Final Victory” [of the Nazis], Catholic priests would either be banned or end up in concentration camps. As a student, he had fallen in love with a girl — a story that made his decision to enter priestly life an existential one. A critical essay almost cost him an appointment to a faculty chair at the end of the 1950s. In Bonn, on the other hand, he was feted as a new star of theology and, at the same time, considered to perhaps be a dangerous modernist or even a Freemason.

His proximity to uncomfortable, independent-thinking personalities is striking. I was also unaware that Ratzinger’s role in the [Second Vatican] Council is not marginal but enormously significant. He himself always played it down. But alongside Cardinal [Josef] Frings, he was basically the definitive Vatican spin doctor. Pure legend, however, is the story of his “trauma” during the student revolt in Tübingen [in 1968], or the story of his turn from revolutionary to reactionary brakeman. I have examined all these things thoroughly, including the so-called scandals, such as the [former Society of St. Pius X bishop Richard] Williamson affair or “Vatileaks,” and come to quite different conclusions than those [voices] who merely reiterate stereotypes.

Ratzinger is not without fault. Nor did he get everything right when he was pontiff. But it is not by accident that he is considered worldwide as one of the great thinkers of our time. His work is important, and his life exciting, so it is always worthwhile to study him.

In addition, the biography, with its contemporary historical background, is not only a spiritual and historical journey through an exciting and dramatic century; it also shows the lessons to be drawn from all those decades and the cutting-edge answers these provide to the current faith and Church crisis in the West.

According to what we already know from the contents of your book, Benedict says that modern society is in the process of “socially excommunicating” those who disagree with abortion or the same-sex agenda that he attributes to the spirit of the Antichrist. What does he advise believers to do in the face of these threats?
Pray and work. Just stand firm. Do not be infected by relativism, and do not despair — for, in the end, Christ will always be the victor. Society is dependent on the streams that nourish it through religion. We see from the cruel experiences of the 20th century what would be threatened if the Christian worldview and Christian ethics were to be completely banned from public debate.

At the same time, Ratzinger never had any illusions about the fundamental contradiction between secular society and the thought and life of Christians. He saw early on the situation of a diminishing community of faith coming closer. In his 1958 work The New Pagans and the Church, he says:

“In the long run, the Church cannot avoid the need to get rid of, part by part, the appearance of her identity with the world and once again to become what she is: the community of the faithful.”

Ratzinger saw in God's “path of salvation” a Church of the minority. That means a church of relatively few confessed faithful, who are then charged with representing the many. Only when the Church ceases to be “a cheap, foregone conclusion, only when she begins again to show herself as she really is,” he admonished, “will she be able to again reach the ear of the new Gentiles with her message.”

You mention that Benedict has written a spiritual testament to be published after his death. Why did he feel the need to write it, and do you have a general idea of what it might contain?
At first, the Pope Emeritus did not want to write a spiritual testament, but he has now come to think differently about it. I think that Benedict XVI wants to serve his Church and society once again with words that go beyond time. There is a good tradition in these posthumous papal texts. We think of the beautiful testament of Paul VI. I am not a clairvoyant, but I can imagine that in Benedict’s paper, he expresses concern for the future of the faith, but at the same time helps to strengthen people in troubled times, and not only the faithful.

You mention that relations between Benedict and Pope Francis are good, but there are some Catholics who wish that Benedict had not resigned, who contend that he would never agree with some of the decisions of this pontificate. What do you say to this view?
The former and the current pope have different temperaments, different charismas, and they each have their own way of exercising the office. We see from the popes of previous centuries that a more intellectual pontiff is usually followed by a more emotional one. That was never a disadvantage. Undoubtedly, there can be different views between Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. But that does not matter. The pope is the pope.

Ratzinger promised obedience to his successor before he even knew who would follow in his footsteps, and he has been scrupulously careful all these years to first of all ensure that no accusation of interference could arise. Many of the later questions I asked him, for example, he refused to answer. One answer, he said, would “inevitably constitute interference in the work of the present Pope. Anything that goes in that direction I must, and wish to, avoid.” Moreover, in my book he literally says: “The personal friendship with Pope Francis has not only remained, but has grown.”

Catholics who are disappointed with the current pontificate argue that Benedict remains pope. Is this question addressed in the book, and perhaps the concerns these people have that he seems to be promoting the image of “two popes” by retaining some of the trappings of the papacy?
As I said before, the pope is the pope. There is no other pope besides him, at least not in our time.

Talk of Ratzinger as a “shadow pope” is as nonsensical as the fairy tale that Bergoglio is hounded by the “wolves” in the Vatican. As the first really reigning pope in history who resigned his office, Ratzinger had to establish a new tradition in the Catholic Church, so to speak. Nobody knew what a resigned pope should call himself, how he should dress and which things he should or should not do after his resignation.

On the one hand, Benedict XVI is emeritus, as there are emeritus bishops; but on the other hand, as a former pope, he is different from ordinary bishops. This includes the fact that he removed the insignia of a reigning pope, but continues to wear white. I do not believe that people are so simple-minded that they do not know who is the incumbent pope and who is not. If Francis also resigns and Benedict XVI is still alive, there will even be three living popes, but only one who sits as vicarius Christi on the chair of Peter.

Does the book offer a more complete picture of Benedict’s reasons for his resignation, and if so, how?
The complete circumstances of his resignation are explained in detail in my biography. In addition, Benedict XVI once again takes a clear position on this. I think that with it, really, all has been said. Basically, this is also a very simple story. It only seems so mysterious because certain people don’t get tired of always spinning some secrets.

Anyway, the whole act was a resignation with an announcement. It had nothing to do with “Vatileaks,” as is still claimed, nor with blackmail or anything else. Like the popes before him, Benedict XVI, soon after his election, had signed a resignation declaration in case he could no longer exercise his office due to a serious illness, such as dementia.

In our interview book Light of the World, he already explained in 2010 that a pope not only has the right but sometimes also the duty to resign from office if he is physically and/or psychologically no longer able to really exercise it. John Paul II is a special case here. He had a charism of his own, and his ordeal, which was necessary to bring new strength to the Church, cannot be repeated. In the last years of Wojtyla’s life, however, a vacuum was created, which was not without problems.

Benedict XVI saw for himself another vocation. He was no longer a young man when he was elected into office. In the many decades before [his election] he also never spared himself, fighting as a front-line defender of the faith. During his pontificate, which lasted, after all, eight years, he had completely exhausted himself. The fact that he, at his old age and with health handicaps, of which the public had no idea, then also wrote a trilogy on Jesus almost bordered on the superhuman.

In the end, he was powerless and saw the necessity of giving the shepherd’s crozier to younger, fresher hands. Above all, he did not want to deprive his potential successor of the chance of starting his office with the thrust of the World Youth Day of Rio de Janeiro, as he himself began his pontificate with World Youth Day in Cologne.

Benedict XVI knew what he was getting into with his act of resignation. He thought through this step for many months and suffered through it in prayer. One can believe him when he says that he is at peace with it, especially with his Lord, to whom alone he is ultimately responsible.

Critics might say that the book is another breach of the oath that he swore to himself to remain hidden from the world, in silent prayer. Why do you think he agreed to speak not only in this book, but also already in the Last Testament and in sporadic statements and essays?
Stop — my biography is not Pope Benedict’s publication, but the work of a journalist. And Last Testament contains interviews that had already begun in 2012 within the framework of my work for the biography — that is, still during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. Ratzinger originally did not want them to be published in a separate work. But I was able to convince him to publish the work when speculation about his resignation would not be silenced. However, he made the publication of the book dependent on the approval of Pope Francis, who also gave it willingly.

Moreover, Benedict did not take a vow of silence when he resigned. His last words as acting pontiff were: “I wish to continue to work, with my heart, with my love, with my prayer, with my thoughts, with all my spiritual forces, for the common good, for the good of the Church and of humanity.”

How is Benedict doing these days, especially these days of quarantine? Are you in regular contact with him?
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, his Mater Ecclesiae residence has been subject to the general regulations for Italy. This meant for the first time: Nobody goes out; nobody comes in. Physically, the pope emeritus is now very frail. His voice has become so weak that one can hardly understand him. Mentally, however, he is still fit. He still carries out an extensive correspondence, and his letters are, as always, intellectually stimulating and refined. I only see him occasionally.

Pope Benedict has answered all sorts of questions from me over the years, and, of course, I still have some questions that I would like to ask. But at some stage, it’s enough. I am glad that the many encounters were possible and look with gratitude on our interviews, which help to correct misconceptions of Benedict XVI and give many people the opportunity to penetrate more deeply into the Christian faith through the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, or to discover Christ in a completely new way.

Meanwhile, here is a German journalist's observations - sketchy and seemingly at random - about the Seewald biography, in which he does cite some snippets from the book.

Benedict XVI’s way to God
A note about Peter Seewald's
'Benedikt XVI: Ein Leben'

By Thorsten Paprotny
Translated from

May 16,2020

Do you remember a bestseller in 1996, Salt of the Earth? It was published almost 25 years ago by journalist Peter Seewald – once a quarrelsome, later renegade agnostic, who returned to the Church and has since become a professing, deeply religious Catholic - at a time when interview books were not at all as ‘in’ as they have since become.

Seewald has undertaken many spiritual journeys with the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith who was labelled in Germany as the Panzerkardinal. And the fruits of his conversations with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger all became bestsellers.

At the time, many readers were particularly touched by the fact that the future Pope answered the question "How many ways are there to God?" quite simply: "As many as there are people." I came across this concept later, expressed in other words, for example by the Mariannhill Missionary priest Father Adalbert Ludwig Balling, who was particularly popular in Bavaria and widely read by simple-believing, pious Catholics – including the cardinal’s sister Maria Ratzinger.

Cardinal Ratzinger obviously had not specially thought out his answer but had simply stated what he always thought, using these words to express his trust in God and not to spell out any new mission ‘strategy’.

Peter Seewald succeeded like no other in conveying the personality and theology of Joseph Ratzinger in an understandable, easily accessible manner to the German-speaking world. More interview books followed [two more with the cardinal, one when Joseph Ratzinger was already Pope, and one after his resignation].

Now, Seewald’s long-awaited biography of Benedict XVI has been published, reverberations in the media that provide deep ‘insights’ which must be indulged by whoever wishes to deal with the book, which will survive the debates it is causing. Some perceptions and comments are meaningful, but what emerges more prominently are the ‘profiles’ of the commentators who range from critical to outraged. Perhaps no one should be surprised. [i.e., No one familiar with media targeting of Joseph Ratzinger in the past 50 years!]

The Christian faith is a religion ‘of the book’, but it is a story of relationships. For Peter Seewald, meeting Jospeh Ratzinger was extraordinarily important, formative, groundbreaking. Our faith thrives in relationships, and grows and matures through encounters with persons and with books. The image that we often have of the Church and theology, is sometimes sharply contoured. And it seems to me that while the public debates on the new biography [and on Joseph Ratinger/Benedict XVI] are current, they are perhaps not important in the whole picture.

Where can we hear God’s voice? What spaces are open for pilgrims of faith who only want to pray and who only seek protection and refuge? Peter Seewald’s supremely knowledgeable biography of Benedict XVI shows that the Church has offered and offers such a home. Not even surprising statements from within the Church herself, then as well as now, can detract from that.

Seewald does not hide the fact that, for example, the Freising bishops’ conference, though it did not give up its ideological reservations against the Nazis, said defensively in a 1933 statement: “Membership in the NSDAP [formal acronym designating the National Socialist Party] or any of its structures… no longer constitute a violation of Church law”.

[In contrast], the Catholic faithful often kept a clear eye. Even as the Church was preaching eschatological hope within, it was the secular spirit of Nazism that reigned outside the door. Even as a child, Joseph Ratzinge already knew that the Ratzinger family would only follow and be faithful to no one else but Jesus Christ and his Church.

All his life, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has spoken of the way with God and the way to God, through his quiet example, through the kindness, goodness and open-mindedness of the Catholic world that became his own, with humor as well as with great seriousness. Take up a copy of Seewald’s book if you want to know more of the Emeritus Pope’s life.

The stories of his childhood are particularly told lovingly. ”It is not known that he ever took part in a scuffle or a snowball fight. Nor in the wrangling of kids who would run down to the piers to lie on their belly to watch the fish during recess.”

There is the touching story of the teddy bear that the three-year-old Joseph absolutely wanted to own and which has accompanied him all his life, up to the Vatican. Seewald notes: “It [the toy] ended up on a chair in the bedroom of the papal apartment”. Even today, the almost 90-year-old toy must certainly be in the Emeritus Pope’s retirement home.

The youngest son of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger lived a somewhat ‘hidden’ life, unlike what it would be eventually: “He hardly had any playmates [other than brother Georg and sister Maria]. After school, children in rural areas mostly become occupied in farm and field work. Joseph indulged his romantic streak, preferring to pick flowers, write poems on nature and Christmas, and liked being with farm animals… Learning was easy for him, (though) he didn’t like school as much. He experienced physical education as a gruesome plague, and everything military was alien to him. He loved reading, mostly narratives, and especially the novels of Herman Hesse. Later, with Augustine, he was enthusiastic…”

“Joseph Ratzinger always lived modestly, at home, in Pentling [the only house he ever owned, located in a suburb of Regensburg] and elsewhere. When, after he was elected pope by a large majority, he first showed himself to the faithful on St. Peter’s Loggia of Benediction, his old sweater was clearly visible under the new cassoc.k”

Seewald recalls that Lufthansa once mocked the cardinal's battered suitcase as "damaging to business”. On the other hand, former students and companions report that, as a theology professor, whenever he heard about a student or employee's financial hardship, he would quietly say to them: "Write your account number on a slip of paper."

Joseph Ratzinger’s love for the Church, Seewald says, appeared to be ‘innate’. Franz Niegel, one of his students at the Freising seminary [his first teaching position], noted about him: “With the young theologian, a new sound had come into the world, at least into the world of Freising… He brought things that had never been heard before. The time was already very musty, and then someone comes and can tell you the message anew. We paid attention to the content of what he said. A new door has opened for us. Until then there was only the traditional view, and he was able to make things shine anew."

Theologically he was regarded as “left-wing Catholic”, (but) was free from professorial attitudes and was an attentive listener when students visited him or, by correspondence, as companions in faith, when they sent him troubled questions. And he would continue to do even as cardinal and pope, “as I myself would always thankfully experience with him,” Seewald notes. “How gladly Joseph Ratzinger would have had more time for theological studies in his old age. But the Lord needed him as Pope of the universal Church. Today he carries us all in prayer – even as we, too, pray for our dear Father Benedict in the Vatican”.

With his valuable book, which is important in every respect, Peter Seewald has given us valuable insights into the life of Joseph Ratzinger. We should be very grateful to him for this, and in faithfulness to God, like Benedict XVI to this day, remain connected to the Lord's Church. So we belong together as sisters and brothers in faith, safe in the great family of God, which encloses all times and places, and connects heaven and earth. How unspeakably beautiful it is to be Roman Catholic!
00Thursday, June 4, 2020 3:25 AM

I don't necessarily share Maurizio Blondet's view that the Coronavirus pandemic was an overhyped and massive worldwide ploy by well-funded
elements pushing for a one-world government under the UN, if only because the human and economic toll it has taken are much too real to be
cheapened by such skepticism. However, it is a viewpoint shared by many serious Italian commentators.

I am much more convinced that China caused the pandemic by covering up the truth of the epidemic for weeks after it first struck Wuhan,
then callously allowed tens of thousands of Chinese who had come home to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year celebrations to return to their
adopted countries while preventing any travel form Wuhan to other parts of China. (Little noted by American commentators is that Italy's
northern Lombardy region, its industrial center, was first and hardest hit in Italy because it has about 200,000 Chinese workers. If even
only 10,000 of them - and many Chinese are still tradition-bound despite Communism - went home for the Chinese New Year, and of those,
only a few hundred went to Wuhan province, that would have been more than enough to spread the virus they would conceivably have borne
back from China.)

In any case, the following item from Blondet's blog is interesting for what it reveals about a recent Lancet article about Covid-19 and
hydroxychloroquine. he prestigious British medical journal had to issue a formal statement just one week after it had published the article,
that it was reviewing the article and the methodology employed by the study, in response to protests from many scientific experts. Why it
passed its peer review board, to begin with, raises serious questions about the integrity of Lancet and many so-called scientific journals
even more, following the decades that these journals have been 'validating' through publication the most tendentious, anti-scientific
and often outright fact-defying reports on climate change and global warming. And how could Lancet fail to vet the authors of the study and
their dubious data-gatherer?

Who pays for this enormous fraud
and all its consequences?

by Maurizio Blondet
Translated from

June 1, 2020

One week! All it took was one week, and the so-called study published by Lancet [a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal in the UK, one of the oldest well-reputed medical publications in English] – which your chronicler had immediately called ‘embarrassing’ – claiming that hydrochhloroquine kills Covid-19 patients, is coming down in flames.

The study had claimed to have looked at the clinical charts of more than 96,000 Covid-19 patients 'in hundreds of hospitals around the world' (although 70% of the hospitals are in the USA). The Australian Department of Health, noting that the number of Australian Covid deaths in the report was much higher than their own records, sought clarification from the 5 Australian hospitals cited by Lancet. The hospitals were flummoxed – they had never been contacted by Surgisphere, the ‘mysterious’ start-up cited as having gathered the data (96,000 charts!), nor had they even heard of it before.

When asked to provide the list of all the hospitals from which they claimed to have gathered the data, Surgisphere refused to do so.

Medical and epidemiologic experts were astounded at the fact that the ‘study’ indicated a mortality of 16-24% among Covid patients treated with hydroxychloroquine compared to only 9% in controls. “That’s an enormous number! How is it none of us were ever aware of this?” One expert said ironically, “There are not so many medications that efficient at killing patients!”

[Several estimates have suggested that the risk of dying, for those infected with Covid-19 and showing its flu-like symptoms, is around 1 or 2 percent. Elderly adults have a considerably higher risk of both becoming infected and dying, as do people with compromised immune systems. The estimates might change as new data arrive, but the range of 1 to 2 percent for fatalities among the symptomatic seems to be the consensus for now. The overall fatality rate for people infected with Covid-19 will be lower — possibly much lower — when we know how many people are infected but asymptomatic.]

Even the fact that the paper only had 4 authors seemed strange. With 96,000 study subjects from around the world, the study should have had at least half a page of acknowledgments and gratitude to collaborators around the world.

Yet hour by hour, something worse is being found out. Surgisphere, which claims to have carried out the work of gathering the charts and digitalizing their data, appears to have been legally liquidated (compulsory administrative liquidation’ is the legal term) in Sept 2015, as proven by the ff document:

Surgisphere was created on March 1, 2007, by Dr. Sapan Desai, who is listed as one of the four authors of the Lancet study. The enterprise was supposed to specialize in ‘big data’ and the use of artfiicial intelligence in the analysis of data. Another corporation under Desai’s name, Surgisphere Corporation, was established on June 28, 20112 then dissolved in Jan 2016. It appears that corporations with the same name have been created and cancelled in various states for lack of accountability.

As for Desai, he has no other scientific publication to his name except a few plagiarisms and has been dismissed by one patient as “More a businessman than a doctor – very bad experience”. In short, a crook.

What to say about the first author of the Lancet study? Mandeep R. Mehra is a specialist in vascular surgery. Being a professor at Harvard Medical School, his name gave some ‘luster’ to the Lancet study. Interviewed by France Soir, Mehra confirmed ‘the extreme danger posed by hydroxychloroquine toCOvid-19 patients, and claimed to have started active data collection of the use of HCG in the treatment of COViD-19 since December 2019”. [1) COVid-19 was not formally identified till February 11, 2020. 2) HCQ to treat Covid-19 obviously started later than that.] So it appears that he, too, is dishonest.]

The study itself is riddled with falsifications. The Guardian has published a story on the Lancet article that the rest of the media appeared to ignore.
[The Guardian reported on June 2:

WHO resumed use of HCQ after The Lancet, which published a study based on data provided by Surgisphere, declared that it was reviewing the data and methods of the study which had come in for criticism by a large number of experts.

“We are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention. We will update this notice as soon as we have further information,” said a statement issued by The Lancet on Wednesday…

At a press conference on Wednesday, June 3, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for Covid patients taking it.]

But doubts on the credibility of the Lancet study have been expressed even by the New York Times, considering that the scandal would soon be international despite the efforts of the mainstream media to ignore it. Lancetgate, in effect.

There is now concrete suspicion that the authors were paid by some entity to organize this falsehood. And that even Lancet was paid to publish the study. Must have been really big bucks, if the journal was willing to put all its prestige in play with this fraud.

But the questions should not stop here. Based on the Lancet article and its false alarms, our own Minister of Health (Italy’s) immediately banned the use by hospitals of HCQ to treat Covid-19. Was he too paid off? One almost wishes this were so, because if he did that on his own, he would confirm himself as an ignoramus, a zombie robotically obedient to the World Health Organization in an enormous falsehood. [In fairness to WHO, despite its corrupt China-manipulated leadership, it did promptly resume its HCG testing after the Lancet disclaimer.]

He has thereby made himself complicit in the enormous hoax about the entire Coronavirus pandemic, of the mediatic terrorism that has been deliberately carried out supranationally, of the lockdown and virtual house arrest of entire populations, for the purpose of forcing them to invoke obligatory vaccination so that they can be free to return to work – if they still have work to return to in the economy which the Coronavirus fraud has devastated.

“Now, Covid-19 from the medical point of view, no longer exists,” says Dr Alberto Zangrillo, the chief of San Raffaele hospital in Milan, where he is director of intensive care. “Samples tested in the past 10 days have a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal compared to that found in patients 1-2 months ago. We cannot continue calling attention to the words of non-clinicians, no matter how ridiculous, who are not genuine virologists but who are selfstyled professors. Clinically, the virus no longer exists”.

Still to be known is whether self-administration of HCG as a preventive measure by millions of doctors, nurses and hospital workers who were exposed to contagion daily, helped to neutralize the virus – which would have passed through them without being able to multiply – so that COVID-19 cases would disappear before a vaccine can be developed that authorities threaten to impose universally.

Lancet's article could be the crude, clumsy and belated attempt to ward off this outcome by the international criminal organization organizing the pandemic. At this point, Dr. Zangrillo's other observation becomes crucial: "Terrorizing the country is something for which someone must take responsibility.”

But who pays for all this? The world economy has been stalled by the virus-terror whipped up by the WHO and the media, by the "scientific committees" that have led governments to order the lockdown even of the healthy population (young people capable of working, among whom Covid-19 has been shown not to cause serious illness) instead of isolating the truly endangered minority – those older than 70 who have other serious ailments? Who pays for the irresponsible damage to the economy? And to what extent has it been conscious and deliberate?

With the excuse of health protection, an unprecedented global therapeutic dictatorship was established, to be extended now with mandatory clinical tracking using digital tools. Who pays?

In the USA, some 40 million unemployed. In Italy, one or 2 million, with many firms forced to close permanently, the tourism industry devastated for years, chains of suicides, to which we must add those who died from major diseases because they could not be treated due to the singular focus of all health personnel on Covid-19. Who pays?

Who pays for the absurd sadistic prohibitions, the fines pitilessly imposed on harmless innocents, the inability of children to play outdoors, the despotic and arbitrary violations of our personal liberties, all in the name of a pseudo-pandemic?
Who pays for the charges, intimidations and censorship of journalists who denounced the fraud, by the notorious Monitoring Center on Disinformation on Coronavirus?

This has been an enormous supranational/international fraud with national complicities and all the ramifications thereof, from governments to the media to the ‘scientists’, that has destroyed millions of lives. The European Commission has been working since 2018 to require a certificate of vaccination for all Europeans against whatever disease they may decree.

Recently, a whole series of Italian politicians lined up to advocate obligatory mass vaccination. To what end? So that citizens will be required to get a vaccination certificate in order to be able to go on with normal life? We can see the local executors of such a mandate on TV. Who is ordering them? Who are those who engineered this criminal enterprise of a pseudo-pandemic and its devastating consequences?

They have committed a crime without historical precedent, assisted by thousands of persons in authority who have played along with them. Is there anyone who will charge them with the crime? Not in Italy, where we no longer have a magistrature, but rather a ‘palamara' [referring to a noted Italian judges indicted last year for widespread corruption (money for magistrature favors), which led to the revelation that several more of Italy’s leading judges were just as corrupt].
We put our [weak] hopes in the USA or the UK.

For someone who has worked in the medical field for the past 30 years, it was with great shock that I learned of Lancet’s published study on HCQ and Covid-19 (also published by the equally prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in the USA), following the patently false alarm caused in the USA by a report on 358 elderly Covid-19 patients (median age 65, majority black), 60% with serious co-morbidities, treated at the Veterans Hospital from March 9-April 11, 2020.

The report concluded that “the study found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.”
• Doctors and epidemiologists who know how to read reports like these properly have pointed out a lot of procedural deficiencies in the study, chief being the selection bias that patients treated with HCG +/- azithromycin were inherently more seriously ill than those who did not receive those drugs as treatment, and that for the most part, they were treated at the point where they needed ventilation, which is an advanced stage of the disease.
• The ‘Results’ summary of the report says rates of death in the HC, HC+AZ, and no HC groups were 27.8%, 22.1%, 11.4%, respectively, but it conveniently omits these numbers in the Conclusion Summary, perhaps because it is clearly an apples-and-oranges comparison.
• Significantly, one of the authors of the Veterans Hospital report is someone who has received several grants from Gilead Pharmaceutical, the company behind the recently hyped remdesivir- a clear would-be competitor against HCQ.
• And it may be a technicality, but the paper is clearly labeled by the publisher as a pre-print which it defines as a “preliminary report of work that has not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.”
Which of course, the mainstream media in the USA, led by CNN and MSNBC, completely ignored, rushing to claim that the study supported their frank and total dismissal from the very start of the possibilities of HCQ to treat Covid-19, perhaps just because Donald Trump cited the favorable outcomes found in France, for example.

Sorry I missed the really BIG story about Covid-19 yesterday, for the simple reason that none of the mainstream US media, and not even Fox News, even mentioned it at all - and yet it is a major piece of investigative reporting by the Associated Press, the premier news syndicate in the world. I first became aware of it this morning through the AsiaNews story that follows. (I will post the full AP story after that):

Recordings and emails show that
WHO and Xi Jinping lied about Covid-19

by Wang Zhicheng

June 3, 2020

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Chinese government, most notably WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Chinese president Xi Jinping, have lied to the international community:

According to the Associated Press (AP), backed by WHO recordings and emails, China did not share crucial information about the virus and its spread, whilst the WHO, aware of China’s silence, failed to voice its concern and instead praised Beijing for its response to the pandemic.

Wuhan doctors Li Wenliang and Ai Fen had already exposed delays. Medical authorities in Taiwan has also reported delays in making public human-to-human transmission of the virus.

AP noted first and foremost that China’s health authorities had sat for weeks on the virus’s genetic map or genome. Strict controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were largely to blame.

AP also found that Chinese health officials only released the genome after a Chinese lab published it ahead of authorities on a virology website on 11 January. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more at a time when the virus was spreading around the world.

According to a study by the University of Southampton, cited by Cardinal Charles Bo of Myangmar in an angry statement against the Chinese Communist Party, "if China had acted responsibly one, two or three weeks earlier, the number of people infected with the virus would have been 66%, 86% and 95% lower respectively."

At the WHO Assembly last month, Xi Jinping defended himself and his country by claiming that they had “acted with openness, transparency and responsibility” and “provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion”.

AP’s revelations come at a time of a power struggle between the UN agency and US President Donald Trump who decided to cut funding for the agency (US$400 million) accusing it of being too closely aligned with China.

According to WHO officials, cited by AP, the UN agency tried to woo Beijing in order to get it to release all the data it had. This happened, but perhaps too late.

China delayed releasing coronavirus info,
frustrating WHO,which nonetheless publicly
praised China for its pandemic 'response'

June 3, 2020

Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words.”

But behind the scenes, it was a much different story, one of significant delays by China and considerable frustration among WHO officials over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus, The Associated Press has found.

Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents.

Chinese government labs only released the genome after another lab published it ahead of authorities on a virologist website on Jan. 11. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more on providing WHO with detailed data on patients and cases, according to recordings of internal meetings held by the U.N. health agency through January — all at a time when the outbreak arguably might have been dramatically slowed.

WHO officials were lauding China in public because they wanted to coax more information out of the government, the recordings obtained by the AP suggest. Privately, they complained in meetings the week of Jan. 6 that China was not sharing enough data to assess how effectively the virus spread between people or what risk it posed to the rest of the world, costing valuable time.

“We’re going on very minimal information,” said American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, now WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, in one internal meeting. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”

“We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV,” said WHO’s top official in China, Dr. Gauden Galea, referring to the state-owned China Central Television, in another meeting.

The story behind the early response to the virus comes at a time when the U.N. health agency is under siege, and has agreed to an independent probe of how the pandemic was handled globally. After repeatedly praising the Chinese response early on, U.S. President Donald Trump has blasted WHO in recent weeks for allegedly colluding with China to hide the extent of the coronavirus crisis. He cut ties with the organization on Friday, jeopardizing the approximately $450 million the U.S. gives every year as WHO’s biggest single donor.

In the meantime, Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to pitch in $2 billion over the next two years to fight the coronavirus, saying China has always provided information to WHO and the world “in a most timely fashion.”

The new information does not support the narrative of either the U.S. or China, but instead portrays an agency now stuck in the middle that was urgently trying to solicit more data despite limited authority. Although international law obliges countries to report information to WHO that could have an impact on public health, the U.N. agency has no enforcement powers and cannot independently investigate epidemics within countries. Instead, it must rely on the cooperation of member states.

The recordings suggest that rather than colluding with China, as Trump declared, WHO was itself kept in the dark as China gave it the minimal information required by law. However, the agency did try to portray China in the best light, likely as a means to secure more information. And WHO experts genuinely thought Chinese scientists had done “a very good job” in detecting and decoding the virus, despite the lack of transparency from Chinese officials.

WHO staffers debated how to press China for gene sequences and detailed patient data without angering authorities, worried about losing access and getting Chinese scientists into trouble. Under international law, WHO is required to quickly share information and alerts with member countries about an evolving crisis. Galea noted WHO could not indulge China’s wish to sign off on information before telling other countries because “that is not respectful of our responsibilities.”

In the second week of January, WHO’s chief of emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan, told colleagues it was time to “shift gears” and apply more pressure on China, fearing a repeat of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that started in China in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people worldwide.

“This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,” he said. “WHO barely got out of that one with its neck intact given the issues that arose around transparency in southern China.”

Ryan said the best way to “protect China” from possible action by other countries was for WHO to do its own independent analysis with data from the Chinese government on whether the virus could easily spread between people. Ryan also noted that China was not cooperating in the same way some other countries had in the past.

“This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places,” he said, probably referring to the Ebola outbreak that began there in 2018. “We need to see the data…..It’s absolutely important at this point.”

The delay in the release of the genome stalled the recognition of its spread to other countries, along with the global development of tests, drugs and vaccines. The lack of detailed patient data also made it harder to determine how quickly the virus was spreading — a critical question in stopping it.

Between the day the full genome was first decoded by a government lab on Jan. 2 and the day WHO declared a global emergency on Jan. 30, the outbreak spread by a factor of 100 to 200 times, according to retrospective infection data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has now infected over 6 million people worldwide and killed more than 375,000.

“It’s obvious that we could have saved more lives and avoided many, many deaths if China and the WHO had acted faster,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

However, Mokdad and other experts also noted that if WHO had been more confrontational with China, it could have triggered a far worse situation of not getting any information at all.

If WHO had pushed too hard, it could even have been kicked out of China, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a global health professor at the University of Sydney. But he added that a delay of just a few days in releasing genetic sequences can be critical in an outbreak. And he noted that as Beijing’s lack of transparency becomes even clearer, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s continued defense of China is problematic.

“It’s definitely damaged WHO’s credibility,” said Kamradt-Scott. “Did he go too far? I think the evidence on that is clear….it has led to so many questions about the relationship between China and WHO. It is perhaps a cautionary tale.”

WHO and its officials named in this story declined to answer questions asked by The Associated Press without audio or written transcripts of the recorded meetings, which the AP was unable to supply to protect its sources.

“Our leadership and staff have worked night and day in compliance with the organization’s rules and regulations to support and share information with all Member States equally, and engage in frank and forthright conversations with governments at all levels,” a WHO statement said.

China’s National Health Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no comment. But in the past few months, China has repeatedly defended its actions, and many other countries — including the U.S. — have responded to the virus with even longer delays of weeks and even months. [????]

“Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have been continuously sharing information on the epidemic with the WHO and the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner,” said Liu Mingzhu, an official with the National Health Commission’s International Department, at a press conference on May 15.

The race to find the genetic map of the virus started in late December, according to the story that unfolds in interviews, documents and the WHO recordings. That’s when doctors in Wuhan noticed mysterious clusters of patients with fevers and breathing problems who weren’t improving with standard flu treatment. Seeking answers, they sent test samples from patients to commercial labs.

By Dec. 27, one lab, Vision Medicals, had pieced together most of the genome of a new coronavirus with striking similarities to SARS. Vision Medicals shared its data with Wuhan officials and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as reported first by Chinese finance publication Caixin and independently confirmed by the AP.

On Dec. 30, Wuhan health officials issued internal notices warning of the unusual pneumonia, which leaked on social media. That evening, Shi Zhengli, a coronavirus expert at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who is famous for having traced the SARS virus to a bat cave, was alerted to the new disease, according to an interview with Scientific American. Shi took the first train from a conference in Shanghai back to Wuhan.

The next day, Chinese CDC director Gao Fu dispatched a team of experts to Wuhan. Also on Dec. 31, WHO first learned about the cases from an open-source platform that scouts for intelligence on outbreaks, emergencies chief Ryan has said.

WHO officially requested more information on Jan. 1. Under international law, members have 24 to 48 hours to respond, and China reported two days later that there were 44 cases and no deaths.

By Jan. 2, Shi had decoded the entire genome of the virus, according to a notice later posted on her institute’s website.

Scientists agree that Chinese scientists detected and sequenced the then-unknown pathogen with astonishing speed, in a testimony to China’s vastly improved technical capabilities since SARS, during which a WHO-led group of scientists took months to identify the virus. This time, Chinese virologists proved within days that it was a never-before-seen coronavirus. Tedros would later say Beijing set “a new standard for outbreak response.”

But when it came to sharing the information with the world, things began to go awry.

On Jan. 3, the National Health Commission issued a confidential notice ordering labs with the virus to either destroy their samples or send them to designated institutes for safekeeping. The notice, first reported by Caixin and seen by the AP, forbade labs from publishing about the virus without government authorization. The order barred Shi’s lab from publishing the genetic sequence or warning of the potential danger.

Chinese law states that research institutes cannot conduct experiments on potentially dangerous new viruses without approval from top health authorities. Although the law is intended to keep experiments safe, it gives top health officials wide-ranging powers over what lower-level labs can or cannot do.

“If the virologist community had operated with more autonomy….the public would have been informed of the lethal risk of the new virus much earlier,” said Edward Gu, a professor at Zhejiang University, and Li Lantian, a PhD student at Northwestern University, in a paper published in March analyzing the outbreak.

Commission officials later repeated that they were trying to ensure lab safety, and had tasked four separate government labs with identifying the genome at the same time to get accurate, consistent results.

By Jan. 3, the Chinese CDC had independently sequenced the virus, according to internal data seen by the Associated Press. And by just after midnight on Jan. 5, a third designated government lab, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, had decoded the sequence and submitted a report — pulling all-nighters to get results in record time, according to a state media interview.

Yet even with full sequences decoded by three state labs independently, Chinese health officials remained silent. The WHO reported on Twitter that investigations were under way into an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases with no deaths in Wuhan, and said it would share “more details as we have them.”

Meanwhile, at the Chinese CDC, gaps in coronavirus expertise proved a problem.

For nearly two weeks, Wuhan reported no new infections, as officials censored doctors who warned of suspicious cases. Meanwhile, researchers found the new coronavirus used a distinct spike protein to bind itself to human cells. The unusual protein and the lack of new cases lulled some Chinese CDC researchers into thinking the virus didn’t easily spread between humans — like the coronavirus that cusues Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, according to an employee who declined to be identified out of fear of retribution.

Li Yize, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said he immediately suspected the pathogen was infectious when he spotted a leaked copy of a sequencing report in a group chat on a SARS-like coronavirus. But the Chinese CDC team working on the genetic sequence lacked molecular specialists and failed to consult with outside scientists, Li said. Chinese health authorities rebuffed offers of assistance from foreign experts, including Hong Kong scientists barred from a fact-finding mission to Wuhan and an American professor at a university in China.

On Jan. 5, the Shanghai Public Clinical Health Center, led by famed virologist Zhang Yongzhen, was the latest to sequence the virus. He submitted it to the GenBank database, where it sat awaiting review, and notified the National Health Commission. He warned them that the new virus was similar to SARS and likely infectious.

“It should be contagious through respiratory passages,” the center said in an internal notice seen by the AP. “We recommend taking preventative measures in public areas.”

On the same day, WHO said that based on preliminary information from China, there was no evidence of significant transmission between humans, and did not recommend any specific measures for travelers.

The next day, the Chinese CDC raised its emergency level to the second highest. Staffers proceeded to isolate the virus, draft lab testing guidelines, and design test kits. But the agency did not have the authority to issue public warnings, and the heightened emergency level was kept secret even from many of its own staff.

By Jan. 7, another team at Wuhan University had sequenced the pathogen and found it matched Shi’s, making Shi certain they had identified a novel coronavirus. But Chinese CDC experts said they didn’t trust Shi’s findings and needed to verify her data before she could publish, according to three people familiar with the matter. Both the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology, which oversees Shi’s lab, declined to make Shi available for an interview.

A major factor behind the gag order, some say, was that Chinese CDC researchers wanted to publish their papers first. “They wanted to take all the credit,” said Li, the coronavirus expert.

Internally, the leadership of the Chinese CDC is plagued with fierce competition, six people familiar with the system explained. They said the agency has long promoted staff based on how many papers they can publish in prestigious journals, making scientists reluctant to share data.

As the days went by, even some of the Chinese CDC’s own staff began to wonder why it was taking so long for authorities to identify the pathogen.

“We were getting suspicious, since within one or two days you would get a sequencing result,” a lab technician said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution.

On Jan. 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that scientists had identified a new coronavirus in samples from pneumonia patients in Wuhan, pre-empting and embarrassing Chinese officials. The lab technician told the AP they first learned about the discovery of the virus from the Journal.

The article also embarrassed WHO officials. Dr. Tom Grein, chief of WHO’s acute events management team, said the agency looked “doubly, incredibly stupid.” Van Kerkhove, the American expert, acknowledged WHO was “already late” in announcing the new virus and told colleagues that it was critical to push China.

Ryan, WHO’s chief of emergencies, was also upset at the dearth of information.

“The fact is, we’re two to three weeks into an event, we don’t have a laboratory diagnosis, we don’t have an age, sex or geographic distribution, we don’t have an epi curve,” he complained, referring to the standard graphic of outbreaks scientists use to show how an epidemic is progressing.

After the article, Chinese state media officially announced the discovery of the new coronavirus. But even then, Chinese health authorities did not release the genome, diagnostic tests, or detailed patient data that could hint at how infectious the disease was. By that time, suspicious cases were already appearing across the region.

On Jan. 8, Thai airport officers pulled aside a woman from Wuhan with a runny nose, sore throat, and high temperature. Chulalongkorn University professor Supaporn Wacharapluesadee’s team found the woman was infected with a new coronavirus, much like what Chinese officials had described. Supaporn partially figured out the genetic sequence by Jan. 9, reported it to the Thai government and spent the next day searching for matching sequences.

But because Chinese authorities hadn’t published any sequences, she found nothing. She could not prove the Thai virus was the same one sickening people in Wuhan.

“It was kind of wait and see, when China will release the data, then we can compare,” said Supaporn.

On Jan. 9, a 61-year-old man with the virus passed away in Wuhan — the first known death. The death wasn’t made public until Jan. 11.

WHO officials complained in internal meetings that they were making repeated requests for more data, especially to find out if the virus could spread efficiently between humans, but to no avail.

“We have informally and formally been requesting more epidemiological information,” WHO’s China representative Galea said. “But when asked for specifics, we could get nothing.

Emergencies chief Ryan grumbled that since China was providing the minimal information required by international law, there was little WHO could do. But he also noted that last September, WHO had issued an unusual public rebuke of Tanzania for not providing enough details about a worrisome Ebola outbreak.

“We have to be consistent,” Ryan said. “The danger now is that despite our good intent...especially if something does happen, there will be a lot of finger-pointing at WHO.”

Ryan noted that China could make a “huge contribution” to the world by sharing the genetic material immediately, because otherwise “other countries will have to reinvent the wheel over the coming days.”

On Jan. 11, a team led by Zhang, from the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, finally published a sequence on, used by researchers to swap tips on pathogens. The move angered Chinese CDC officials, three people familiar with the matter said, and the next day, his laboratory was temporarily shuttered by health authorities.

Zhang referred a request for comment to the Chinese CDC. The National Health Commission, which oversees the Chinese CDC, declined multiple times to make its officials available for interviews and did not answer questions about Zhang.

Supaporn compared her sequence with Zhang’s and found it was a 100% match, confirming that the Thai patient was ill with the same virus detected in Wuhan. Another Thai lab got the same results. That day, Thailand informed the WHO, said Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control at Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

After Zhang released the genome, the Chinese CDC, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences raced to publish their sequences, working overnight to review them, gather patient data, and send them to the National Health Commission for approval, according to documentation obtained by the AP. On Jan. 12, the three labs together finally published the sequences on GISAID, a platform for scientists to share genomic data.

By then, more than two weeks had passed since Vision Medicals decoded a partial sequence, and more than a week since the three government labs had all obtained full sequences. Around 600 people were infected in that week, a roughly three-fold increase.

Some scientists say the wait was not unreasonable considering the difficulties in sequencing unknown pathogens, given accuracy is as important as speed. They point to the SARS outbreak in 2003 when some Chinese scientists initially — and wrongly — believed the source of the epidemic was chlamydia.

“The pressure is intense in an outbreak to make sure you’re right,” said Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealthAlliance in New York. “It’s actually worse to go out to go to the public with a story that’s wrong because the public completely lose confidence in the public health response.”

Still, others quietly question what happened behind the scenes.

Infectious diseases expert John Mackenzie, who served on a WHO emergency committee during the outbreak, praised the speed of Chinese researchers in sequencing the virus. But he said once central authorities got involved, detailed data trickled to a crawl.

“There certainly was a kind of blank period,” Mackenzie said. “There had to be human to human transmission. You know, it’s staring at you in the face… I would have thought they would have been much more open at that stage.”

On Jan. 13, WHO announced that Thailand had a confirmed case of the virus, jolting Chinese officials.

The next day, in a confidential teleconference, China’s top health official ordered the country to prepare for a pandemic, calling the outbreak the “most severe challenge since SARS in 2003”, as the AP previously reported. Chinese CDC staff across the country began screening, isolating, and testing for cases, turning up hundreds across the country.

Yet even as the Chinese CDC internally declared a level one emergency, the highest level possible, Chinese officials still said the chance of sustained transmission between humans was low.

WHO went back and forth. Van Kerkhove said in a press briefing that “it is certainly possible there is limited human-to-human transmission.” But hours later, WHO seemed to backtrack, and tweeted that “preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” – a statement that later became fodder for critics.

A high-ranking official in WHO’s Asia office, Dr. Liu Yunguo, who attended medical school in Wuhan, flew to Beijing to make direct, informal contacts with Chinese officials, recordings show. Liu’s former classmate, a Wuhan doctor, had alerted him that pneumonia patients were flooding the city’s hospitals, and Liu pushed for more experts to visit Wuhan, according to a public health expert familiar with the matter.

On Jan. 20, the leader of an expert team returning from Wuhan, renowned government infectious diseases doctor Zhong Nanshan, declared publicly for the first time that the new virus was spreading between people. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the “timely publication of epidemic information and deepening of international cooperation.”

Despite that directive, WHO staff still struggled to obtain enough detailed patient data from China about the rapidly evolving outbreak. That same day, the U.N. health agency dispatched a small team to Wuhan for two days, including Galea, the WHO representative in China.

They were told about a worrying cluster of cases among more than a dozen doctors and nurses. But they did not have “transmission trees” detailing how the cases were connected, nor a full understanding of how widely the virus was spreading and who was at risk.

In an internal meeting, Galea said their Chinese counterparts were “talking openly and consistently” about human-to-human transmission, and that there was a debate about whether or not this was sustained. Galea reported to colleagues in Geneva and Manila that China’s key request to WHO was for help “in communicating this to the public, without causing panic.”

On Jan. 22, WHO convened an independent committee to determine whether to declare a global health emergency. After two inconclusive meetings where experts were split, they decided against it — even as Chinese officials ordered Wuhan sealed in the biggest quarantine in history. The next day, WHO chief Tedros publicly described the spread of the new coronavirus in China as “limited".

For days, China didn’t release much detailed data, even as its case count exploded. Beijing city officials were alarmed enough to consider locking down the capital, according to a medical expert with direct knowledge of the matter.

On Jan. 28, Tedros and top experts, including Ryan, made an extraordinary trip to Beijing to meet President Xi and other senior Chinese officials. It is highly unusual for WHO’s director-general to directly intervene in the practicalities of outbreak investigations. Tedros’s staffers had prepared a list of requests for information.

“It could all happen and the floodgates open, or there’s no communication,” Grein said in an internal meeting while his boss was in Beijing. “We’ll see.”

At the end of Tedross’ trip, WHO announced China had agreed to accept an international team of experts. In a press briefing on Jan. 29, Tedros heaped praise on China, calling its level of commitment “incredible.”

The next day, WHO finally declared an international health emergency. Once again, Tedros thanked China, saying nothing about the earlier lack of cooperation.

“We should have actually expressed our respect and gratitude to China for what it’s doing,” Tedros said. “It has already done incredible things to limit the transmission of the virus to other countries.”

The story speaks for itself and confirms the US government's accusation laying the blame on China for the unnecessary spread worldwide of what was originally a local epidemic in Wuhan in the almost six weeks before WHO obtained the necessary data to finally declare a Coronavirus pandemic on March 11, a little over 2 months since scientists in China and elsewhere had sequenced the genome for Covid-19. Donald Trump was partially wrong, it turns out, by laying the blame equally on the WHO, because apparently its officials tried unsuccessfully for weeks to get the necessary information out of China upon which WHO could issue the right warnings. But WHO's director-general, a known protege of China who owed his WHO appointment to China, proved complicit with China in publicly praising their 'incredible commitment' to the cause of world health up to January 29 despite knowing that for weeks, China had refused to provide WHO with the necessary information it needed. If Tedros had any decency at all, he would have resigned immediately when Trump made the final decision to stop US funding of WHO, because the fundamental reform WHO needs to merit that funding and the trust of the world community is for the agency not to be beholden to any single country and accept its 'convenient' lack of cooperation because that country chooses to 'protect' its reputation and national interest at the expense of the rest of the world.

It remains to be seen whether and how the rest of the world can somehow make China compensate for all the lives lost, the disrupted lives and economies left in the wake of the pandemic.
Any monetary figure, no matter how high, would simply be mere token compensation for the global devastation China has caused. As ridiculously token as the $2 billion it has pledged to WHO to fight the pandemic that China alone caused.

00Thursday, June 4, 2020 8:40 PM
Mother Earth and the new
‘heralds of extermination’

Translated from

by Aldo Maria Valli
June 3, 2020

Dear Friends of Duc in altum [Valli's blog], I offer here my contribution this week for the feature La trave e la pagliuzza [The beam and the splinter] on Radio Roma Libera. [The title of Valli’s broadcast comes from Jesus’s well-known admonition that starts with “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”]

During the days of the recent nationwide quarantine, I followed the advice of a friend and reread an old science-fiction novel entitled L’araldo dello sterminio [published 1981 as The Herald, by PulitzerPrize-winning author Michael Shaara, renamed The Noah Conspiracy in its new edition], whose plot led me to reflect.

Published in Mondadori’s Urania line of mythical books, the novel, published in Italian in 1983,is the story of the moral dilemma in which a man finds himself after having been one of the very few survivors of a wave of murderous radiation deliberately caused by a group of scientists aiming for mass extermination of humankind, thereby giving rise to a new civilization, composed only of persons who survive the radiation because they are immune and therefore considered genetically superior.

The scientists’ plan is a sort of attempt to ‘re-boot’ mankind, eliminating through genetic selection everyone who is too coarse, stupid and/or driven by aggressiveness and hatred towards others. A salvific plan to eliminate the worst elements in mankind.
[Apparently, the plan is tried out on a small scale first, wiping out a town of 70,000 inhabitants.]

The protagonist, one of the few survivors, is charged by the government to go into the town to discover the source of the radiation and to destroy it. But during his mission, he realizes that maybe the tragedy could have consequences not altogether negative. Two out of every thousand inhabitants had survived, and to live where there had been too many people,could not be bad. [Except does Shaara discount the lasting toxic effects of radiation that could make the immediate and surrounding environment unlivable for years, if not decades? Or maybe, the radiation unleashed by the plotters was something that was ‘self-eliminating’ or’ self-cleaning’ after it is emitted.] In such a situation, the state – with all that it means in terms of limiting personal liberties – would no longer exist, and interpersonal conflicts would be minimized. In short, a ‘perfect world’.

What then should he do? Block the source of radiation and put an end to further genocide, or allow the lethal radiation to spread all over the globe, enabling the scientists’ vision of a new civilization even at the cost of killing billions of innocent human beings?

I will not say how it ends. But I will observe that the Malthusian, ecological and environmental reality in a world where few human being survive, without social structures (no bureaucracy/taxes/police/army) and relational problems (traffic, the very burden of having to live so closely with other people in a crowded world) could be a seductive vision.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, some events and images, let us admit, tickled the Malthusian in each of us: the water in Venice’s infamously putrid canals said to have turned crystalline; mountain peaks visible from a distance of kilometers thanks to the absence of smog; historical centers restored to their beauty because free of noisy, maleducated crowds; wild animals emerging to be seen again because no longer terrorized by the presence of humans…

Yet, the disappearance of mankind cannot be a good solution. It would be the classic case of the remedy being worse than the evil purported to be corrected. Of course, not everyone thinks this way.

You may recall that last March 30, the Vatican news pages online,, published an article in English entitled ‘Coronavirus: Earth’s unlikely ally”, in which the writer, Jesuit priest Benedict Miyaki, commented with satisfaction that the Coronavirus quarantine, resulting in the mass lockdown at home of almost everybody, had brought “unforetold benefits to the planet”, such as the aforementioned clearing of the water and return of the fish to Venice’s canals, and the reduction in carbon emissions and therefore of air pollution.

In all this, the good Jesuit said, “there is a lesson for the future that shows us what we can do for the planet”. Ofccourse, Miyaki quoted the reigning pope’e ecological encyclical, noting that the document warned mankind of the noxious effects of human activity on the ecosystem.

But the article nowhere mentions the human suffering caused by the virus, and when authorities responsible for the Vatican news services realized this, they took the article offline. After enough people, including myself, had read it.

What to say? When, in the grip of ecologist ideology, Mother Earth is held up as the new divinity, one can only arrive at such perverted thinking. The Jesuit was probably a bit too direct and cutting, but what he did was to bring his kind of thinking – that for the planet, man is the evil - to extreme consequences. And that therefore, if we wish to save the earth, let us eliminate mankind, or at the very least, let us reduce his presence significantly. This is in line with the new prophets of Malthusianism like Jeffrey Sachs, people who are so often invited, and not incidentally, ‘revered’ at the Vatican.

In these terms, ecologism shows its close kinship to Marxism. For the ecologist ideology as for Marxism, man is not the end btu the means. In his case, a means in the service of ecology.

Ideology, when it chooses a supreme value, makes it absolute, with respect to which human life can be sacrificed. New ‘heralds of extermination’, prophets of radical ecologism, are in our midst. The fact that their preaching has been incorporated into the thinking of Catholics at the highest levels of authority, can only be disquieting.

00Thursday, June 4, 2020 9:42 PM

Watching the memorial services for George Floyd today, I am most moved by the example of his family who spoke about their brother with great affection and as part of a big family that seemed
to have been raised in love and goodness and traditional American values even if they did not have much materially. All of it spoken with a smile, spontaneously, remembering a loved one and what
they loved about him, without any of the rancor and bitter anger that has marked many of those who have been protesting and rioting in his name all these past nine days... Almost as sickening
as all the senseless vandalism, rioting, thuggery and murderous intent that have been on show are the endless hypocrisies about justice, against racism, against police brutality preached nonstop
by those who encourage all of the above by sanctioning them in the protestors while protesting against the American way of life they ought to be upholding.

Yes, majority of the protests and protestors have been 'peaceful', which is a relative adjective, and really refers to 'contained rage' by those who do not dare to directly provoke the agents of the law
as their more aggressive fellow demonstrators do. But are you a peaceful protestor when you are out on the streets with a virtual mob defying curfew hours after it is supposed to be in
effect? How much of the turnout in the streets is genuinely out of grieving and outrage for Floyd, but rather in the spirit of adventure, defiance of authority, and freedom regained
after the forced inactivity of the past two months?

I do not discount that some of the protestors may be fuelled by youthful idealism, but what concrete ideals are they standing for - other than the abstractions of justice (Many of them want instant
'justice' for the Evil Four who killed Lloyd, and how is that different from lynching? Impatience does not serve due process, which does take time but can and should be expedited in this case)
and 'peace' (which in this case means, "We can do what we want to disturb the peace, even shooting and beating up the agents of the law, because we are the good guys and all policemen and government
officials are evil").

In the following article, Dale Ahlquist goes back to the real roots of all these unnatural inhuman happenings in a refreshing reflection...

Racism is a real problem, but
it’s part of a much bigger problem

by Dale Ahlquist

June 3, 2020

Right now we need some good news. Fortunately we have it. [Of which, more later].

But right now it seems that no one even wants to hear good news. It is a difficult time to think clearly. Passions are high. It’s such a complicated mess. A sickening video of police slowly killing an unarmed black man. A horrible outbreak of violence – widespread and unimaginable – an explosion not only of
racial tension, but of the frustration of being locked down for two months under the threat of an invisible microbe. A nation polarized and spewing vitriol at each other. Civilization falling apart.

It has been surreal to witness these things, especially since the flashpoint was right in my own hometown, just minutes from where I live. In Minnesota, we are much more accustomed to being ignored by the rest of the world. To suddenly have the whole world gaping at us through every news outlet has made it all the more freakish.

Painted on the walls across the city is the name of newly canonized George Floyd. But also terse verse for the cameras consisting mostly of the once unprintable vulgar word that is now used as verb, noun, and adjective. And also everywhere is the phrase, “No peace without justice.” This last one is absolutely true.

But vandalism is not justice. Looting is not justice. Arson is not justice. Vengeance is not justice.

And the armed law enforcement officials and National Guard soldiers who came in to quell the violence did not bring peace. They only stopped the rioting. G.K. Chesterton says, “Peace without love is only a still panic.”

Let’s make signs that say that. Let’s put them everywhere.

Peace without love is only a still panic. Hate will make you a monster. As long as everyone keeps hating and blaming each other, there will be no peace. There will only be fear and eventually more violence, whether it is white against black, black against white, or any group against any other group.

Racism is a real problem, but it’s part of a much bigger problem. Sin.

And until we admit that problem, we will only have more problems. Consider the fact that every day thousands of innocent people have the life violently crushed out of them. But would a video of a late term abortion, hideous as it is, go viral, cause outrage? And why not? Why are the very peaceful pro-life activists the ones who are villainized?

There will be no justice in a nation where abortion is legal and where those who attempt to expose its evil are considered criminals. A nation where people routinely kill babies because they are babies will kill blacks because they are black, and will throw firebombs and break windows because it is instantly gratifying. Justice cannot be founded on sin.

There will be no justice in a nation where churches are not considered essential. The Church is where you confront your sin, confess your sin, and find peace. No peace without God.

We need God to forgive us, and we need to forgive those who have sinned against us. That will bring peace. Peace without love is only a still panic.​

But there is another problem that no one wants to talk about. It is difficult to say it, but unless we recognize it, we will just keep spinning our wheels, and our society will continue to decay. The institution that has done more than anything else to cause the present chaos is the public school system.

G.K. Chesterton says that education is supposed to be simply truth in a state of transmission. It is passing the truth from one generation to the next. But if a school is not teaching the truth it is not teaching anything, and we are witnessing the catastrophic consequences of generations that have not been taught the truth. Neither have they been taught goodness and beauty. That is why they are so unhappy and angry and hopeless.
- The state-sponsored, state-imposed schools are factories of fashionable fallacies.
- Students have been formed by a pervasive materialist philosophy. - They have been taught that humanity itself is simply a lucky combination of chemicals, man is just another beast on the spectrum, economics is just a battle for bread, love is just sex, literature is just ranting, civilization is just a prison of oppression built by white Christian males.
- But Evolution means everything is getting better. Anything that stands in the way of progress and efficiency is bad. The past is the culprit. Old is bad. New is good.

The philosophy of progress, however, has been steadily stumbling for the last two hundred years. It keeps encountering what Chesterton calls a “healthy shock” which is “the whole philosophy of the Fall of Man.”

Our schools don’t teach the truth because they don’t teach the fundamental reality of sin. It is that reality that unravels every political and social philosophy. Sin has only one solution. The Incarnation. The Truth that informs every other truth. But this is the Truth that has been locked out of our compulsory education, and the minds of our children and our citizens have been formed without it. Behold the results.

But I said there is good news. The very night my city was burning, I was hosting an online open house for the Chesterton Schools Network. Hundreds of people had signed up from all around the country (and Canada). The good news is that next fall twelve new Chesterton Academies will be opening, and there will be 30 schools in the network, all stemming back to our humble beginning with 10 students 12 years ago sitting around one table right here in the Twin Cities.

The good news is that we heard great excitement and encouragement and hope as the different headmasters talked about the good things that were happening in their schools, stories of tremendous faith and joy and light in the darkness. The good news is that there are more people who want to start a Chesterton Academy in their city.

This growing network is part of a revival in education at the grassroots level that is already starting to restore truth, goodness, and beauty to a world that is starving for it. We have begun rebuilding civilization even as it crumbles around us.

And may many more such creative minorities spring up everywhere to instill the values of truth, goodness and beauty that are to be found in good solid Catholic education!

Riots, technocrats, and normality
We are fallen; we are in desperate need of salvation;
we cannot manufacture such salvation for ourselves,
no matter how talented we are at programming code,
creating vaccines, and 'fixing' things.

by Carl E. Olson

May 30, 2020

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. — Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

Yesterday afternoon, the weather here in Eugene, Oregon, was perfect: warm, with a breeze, inviting. The tennis courts at a nearby high school were finally unlocked, and so I was able to hit with a friend for an hour while two of my kids walked our new puppy on the nearby walking paths. It was, in short, idyllic and peaceful, with a welcome sense of normality to it.

Early this morning, just as the sun started to battle the clouds on the horizon, a fierce thunderstorm commenced. While most thunderstorms, in my experience, have a certain sound and feel, this one was quite different. At first, my wife and I thought people were dragging something metallic in the streets; then it sounded like gunfire and heavy artillery. It was completely natural, and yet seemed quite unnatural.

Then, checking the news soon afterward, we learned that there had been riots in downtown Eugene, less than three miles from our house, involving several hundred people. A number of businesses, including some we occasionally frequent, were looted and destroyed.

“What began as a peaceful march hours earlier Friday,” reported a local news outlet, “had by early Saturday morning ‘morphed’ into violence and vandalism.” What began as peaceful protests (and Eugene has protests constantly in response to all sorts of events and people) in reaction the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis soon became ugly, nasty, and unnatural. And, yet, it also seemed, in a way, quite natural.

I say that in the context of the past three months, but also with an eye to the decades (and even centuries) prior, both of which have provided plenty of instances and evidences of social schizophrenia, moral incoherence, and a bewildering array of double standards.

Like many others, I thought that the initial responses to the coronavirus by local and national governments were generally understandable and within reason. But it was almost inevitable, given the technocratic mentality and control-freak nature of so many in the elite and ruling classes — with a direct nod to the insights of Angelo M. Codevilla — that serious problems would arise. As Dr. Codevilla told me in a 2016 CWR interview:

Above all, the ruling class defines itself by a set of attitudes, foremost of which is contempt for those outside itself. This contempt stems from the rather uniform education that the ruling class’s members absorbed from universities and which they developed by living in their subculture.

Believing themselves intelligent apostles of scientific truth, they regard others as dumb and in the grip of religious obscurantism. Religion is the greatest of the divides between the ruling class and those it deems its inferiors.

Whereas they believe themselves morally good and psychologically sound, they regard others as suffering from psychological dysfunctions and phobias — effectively as bad people. The ruling class does not believe that those outside itself have the right or capacity to conduct their own lives.

All of that can be applied easily to the past few weeks and to the growing tensions over the loosening of pandemic restrictions, religious freedom, and simply making sense of what we really know (and don’t know) about the coronavirus.

As for “intelligent apostles of scientific truth”, consider the rhetoric of software magnate Bill Gates, who wrote in late April that we will only “return to normal” when we “develop a safe, effective vaccine.” Humankind, Gates asserted with disconcerting confidence, “has never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus.” Never! Never? Those are words from a man who is either a stranger to history and reality, or who thinks history and reality can be bent to his will.

The inanity and insanity of what has been transpiring was summed up well by Michael McHaney, a judge on the Illinois Fourth Judicial Circuit Court, in a May 23rd ruling on a lawsuit brought by a Clay County small business owner against Governor J.B. Pritzker, contesting Pritzker’s shutdown order:

Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred:
- I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion, but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy.
- Selling pot is essential, but selling goods and services at a family owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential, but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.
- A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will.
- We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled.
- Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will.
- If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will.
- Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.

Along similar lines, Dr. Edward Feser, who has written several times for CWR, argues with his typical rigor and clarity that the lockdown “is no longer morally justifiable.”

The lack of common sense noted by Judge McHaney and the failure of clear logic pointed out by Dr. Feser are, however, part and parcel of the modern technocrats, who are simply disciples of what the French philosopher and Catholic intellectual Rémi Brague calls “The Kingdom of Man” and the “Modern Project”.

The Judeo-Christian heritage, Brague explains in his most recent book, understood that man was created by God and was ordered by nature to God; the goal of the modern project, which really hit its full stride in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the West, was expressed in the 1700s by the French Enlightenment thinker Raynal, who said, “The human race is what one wants it to be; it is the way one governs it that decides it for good or evil … Human beings are what the government makes them.” Man does not have a universal and objective nature; his nature is mere subjective putty in the hands of the enlightened elites.

Much more could be said on that topic, but what does this have to do with looters and “protesters” destroying eateries and other businesses in Eugene, Oregon?

A key part of the answer is that those who are deeply invested in the modern project — whether as leaders or disciples or propagandists — are either clueless about or openly antagonistic to the truth about human nature.
- They insist (rightly) on denouncing racism as evil, but then (wrongly but without a hint of hesitation) live and act as though “evil” is just an outdated religious construct created to control the masses, as people are actually inherently good.
- But, of course, “good” is not really fixed or certain; in fact, it is a continually moving target, depending on the whims (or what Christians would call “the passions”) of the enlightened few. Gender ideology, as Dr. Douglas Farrow recently and brilliantly explained here at CWR a few weeks ago, is a prime example.

As Brague notes, the Enlightenment sought, “explicitly or implicitly, the goal of rehabilitating human nature”. Salvation is no longer a concern, especially since it posits a transcendent horizon, “but rather of showing that man is already fundamentally good and, as a consequence, has no need of salvation.” In the words of Rousseau: “There is no original perversity in the human heart.” Put another way, there are simply errors or flaws that must be fixed, corrected, adjusted, tweaked, and so forth, all with scientific precision and scientistic bias.

What has happened, in short, is that words which once had substance — justice, for instance — have been stripped of their metaphysical and, ultimately, theological moorings. Most people know, instinctively (via synderesis, to use the traditional term) that murdering someone because of their race or opinion or money or any such thing is wrong. Period. They want justice.

But what does justice mean to people who are locked in the secular cocoon, insulated from objective truth and eternal perspective? How can they keep from from devolving into a passionate mob seeking revenge — or simply seeking a thrill and a pile of loot under the auspices of “revenge” — when they believe (rightly or wrongly) that “the system” is against them and so they must act?

Without any link — by way of family, or culture, or social interaction — to a sense of supernatural vocation, they act naturally, as fallen creatures seeking to be, to belong, to battle— but fall more deeply into base passions and evil pathways, what Proverbs describes as “the way of error” (Prov 12:28).

And this in fact is normal. There is, as the author of Ecclesiastes wrote so many centuries ago, nothing new under the sun. We are fallen; we are in desperate need of salvation; we cannot manufacture such salvation for ourselves, no matter how talented we are at programming code, creating vaccines, and “fixing” things.

Medicine for the body is wonderful; medicine for the soul is priceless and eternal. Only the Son — ”The wounded surgeon” who “plies the steel”, in the words of T.S. Eliot — who came below from above (cf Jn 3:13), can make things new, destroying the power of sin by His death, crushing the power of death by His Resurrection, and gifting the power of divine life when the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father in the Son’s name (Jn 14:26).

But, just as peaceful protests do not actually “morph” into violent riots, we must actively and consciously choose the grace offered, take up the Cross before us, and seek the Kingdom of God.

How the Church abandoned the inner cities
And US bishops censure Trump for visiting the JPII shrine and
holding up Bible in front of rioter-damaged 'church of the Presidents'

by Kevin Wells

June 5, 2020

One Sunday morning, during the summer of 2018, when much of America had come to regard the Catholic Church in America as a decaying organization beset by hidden evil, Baltimore auxiliary bishop Mark Brennan paid a visit to my former parish to celebrate Mass.

I was an altar boy for Bishop Brennan and knew him to be a good priest. He always seemed humble to me, devoted to prayer, and sincere. He took the CCD kids to Baltimore Orioles games, chaperoned retreats, and stopped by my St. Pius X classroom to offer catechism. He was also an intellectual. In fact, my deceased uncle, Msgr. Thomas Wells, who was in Bishop Brennan’s class in seminary, once said, “Mark Brennan is the smartest man I know.”

So when he stepped behind the ambo to give his homily at Our Lady of the Fields, I knew he’d oblige his shepherding mandate. He was dispatched by Archbishop William E. Lori, I figured that day, to address the disillusionment and outrage parishioners felt over the predator McCarrick, the Pa. grand jury findings, and multitudinous other Church scandals. American Catholics were beginning to flood out of the Church, and Bishop Brennan, I hoped that day, was asked by Archbishop Lori to help stem the tide.

Then he spoke, and his homily was centered on racism.

Heartbreakingly, I understood. This humble priest, who has since replaced the disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield in West Virginia, was told what to preach.

I approached my childhood friend after Mass. “Why would you preach on racism at this time, during this awful summer in the Church?” I don’t recall his answer, but I do remember his look. It seemed to be one of embarrassment and, even more tragically, confusion.

Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory recently said he found “reprehensible” two recent actionsof President Trump. What he and we should find more reprehensible are those actions by the Catholic Church that have contributed to racial disharmony and the tragic abdication of the black community in the U.S.

Gregory condemned President Trump and leaders at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine for his Tuesday appearance with the First Lady. Trumps’s visit had been planned long in advance “as an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom.” [Which he did, effectively appropriating $50 million to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.] Gregory used the opportunity to make Trump seem like an opportunist just a day after he was lampooned for holding a Bible in front of Saint John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House.

Various media sources and those in proximity to St. John’s claim that peaceful protesters were aggressively cleared out for Trump’s photo op, which if true, warrants rebuke. No peaceful protester should be moved an inch from his locale. A sincere apology by an administration would be in order whenever this happens. [Park police have since explained that they used smoke bombs after the demonstrators had refused three requests for them to move back from the area in front of the White House and some started throwing miscellaneous projectiles against the police. The MSM has ignored that explanation while not offering plausible evidence against it.]

Why, though, waste a precious archbishop bully pulpit on an opportunity to condemn a man for obliging an already scheduled commitment? There are enough hordes of willing participants to condemn Trump. What has Archbishop Gregory said that has brought people back to Christ and into the understanding of the unique role played by the Catholic Church in this endeavor?

The murderous event that took place on the street in Minneapolis is an unforgettable dark stain, an American evil. Eric Garner’s plea in 2014 on a New York city street for breath before becoming asphyxiated by a police officer seared the consciences of millions. Anger from the black community, and all faithful Christians [and any person who has any basic decency] is understandable.

Much of their grievances should be directed at the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Gregory, perhaps better than anyone as the first black bishop in Washington, D.C., should know why.

During the seismic upheaval in the Catholic Church in the 1960s, as the Black Power movement ascended into societal prominence, a large portion of Catholic leadership abandoned — or heavily divested itself of — its Christ-directed duty to feed, house, and care for the inner-city poor to the federal government.

Sixty years later, the question must be asked: are the souls of multi-generational welfare families closer to God? Has government welfare assistance for blacks in inner cities helped to promote virtue or holy priests like Venerable Augustus Tolton or Sister Thea Bowman?

More than 80 churches and schools have closed down in the Baltimore archdiocese over the past half-century, the majority of which were from inner cities.
- They closed because few Catholic leaders gave the community even a heartbeat’s chance to survive — they left their once tender care of the inner city mostly to the government.
- They closed because bishops said they didn’t have the money. Meanwhile, bishops continue to have personal drivers, personal secretaries, personal chefs, and personal multi-million-dollar residential accommodations.

Many have postulated about the merit or lack of merit of government programs. Yvonne Warren has lived within it the last half-century. “Once the government came into the community with the welfare system, everything changed,” said Warren, an elder stateswoman at a Catholic inner-city parish, who attended segregated Masses as a child. “Folks in the city lost their ambition and stopped setting goals. Things became disordered.”

Having worked in the construction industry for 17 years, I’d spent many hundreds of hours in poor communities in Southeast Washington, D.C. Over and over, I paid witness to horror —
- drug use in the open, murders and shootings on job sites, a pandemic of theft, stressed-out moms shouting vulgarities into their too-young children’s ears if they’re dawdling on their walk to school.
- Abortions rage, drug lords rule neighborhoods, few dads are at home, and there are killings every night.
Are souls closer to God because of government assistance? [And what has such government assistance done concretely - to outweigh the unhealthy and undesirable entitlement mentality it has encouraged and abetted among those who can avail of whatever government assistance is available?]

Why did the Catholic Church [i.e., the bishops responsible for dereliction of duty] seemingly aid and abet the secular world’s approach to meeting the needs of the poor and then abdicate its unique role? The government doesn’t do charity of heart very well. The Catholic Church does. Or does it anymore?

Just for starters, it’s simply not charitable to leave unaddressed the scandal of modern-day Catholics’ vanishing belief in the Eucharist.
- In the aftermath of Pew Research pollsters reporting that 70 percent of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, little was done by Church leaders or pastors to steer laity to the Catholic crime of their disbelief.
- It was a whitewashing of the most alarming news to rear up since McCarrick. ["Whitewashing? No, it has been plain indifference to something most of them have long taken for granted without doing anything about it, perhaps because in their heart of hearts, they share that apostate unbelief.]
- Without devotion to the actual Body of Christ, we might as well not be Catholic. The hell with it, as Flannery O’Connor said.

Accordingly, at this dark inflection point in history, there is a linear symmetry as to why so many hundreds of Catholic churches remain closed for Mass.
- If the Eucharist — the source and summit of our faith — has been relegated to a symbol by 70 percent of Catholics, why would bishops care to open up Masses and the Eucharist as a curative for the hate, destruction, and racial tension Americans awaken to each morning? The majority of Catholics don’t know of its salvific weight anyway.

Has our 2,000-year-old choir of shepherds forgotten its melody — or have they just decided to change it?
- Once, all bishops seemed to know that the cure for every single form of societal cancer was the Eucharist and the blazing furnace of the Gospel (even the thornier parts). But the Truth of the Gospel, too, has been constrained by Church leaders.
- While it was simple for Archbishop Gregory to find his Baptist-like prophetic voice on the social media topic of the day — the scoundrel Trump — he’s been muted on “transgender” genital mutilation, injecting sodomy into marriage, perversions, the secular zeitgeist, Fr. James Martin’s blasphemous rampage in the Church, and Catholic politicians who fight for the murder of a child at nine months in the womb.

That Archbishop Gregory and his confrères refuse to open Masses fully everywhere now — daily, Sunday, midnight, 5 A.M., round-the-clock, whenever — as this pandemic continues to wane speaks clearly to a lack of supernatural faith and compassion for the growing laity who hunger for the sacramental energy and restfulness found in the Mass.

If folks choose to remain home due to concerns over COVID-19, so be it. But the doors should be opened now, and Masses celebrated everywhere throughout a shaken and dispirited America. The Eucharist is the balm.

The question must be asked: have the USCCB and bishops decided to covertly re-engineer the Church’s shepherding mandate?
God desires that He be slaughtered, if necessary, for His flock; Jesus said as much at the Great Commission.

The bishop is the slaughtered lamb — the martyred apostle whose lifelong burden it is to steer souls to sanctity and to Heaven. It is easy to present a homily, dispatch a tweet on racism, or hold up a placard stating #BlackLivesMatter. What is not easy is obliging one’s identity to die to self — or to dig up the tomb of an abdication of spiritual and temporal care to a black community passed on to a welfare system in the 1960s.

The paternal deficiency of bishops and priests has been the foundational reason for the stack of lawsuits, the spiritually drained and fallen away Catholic laity, the subculture of grievous evil and shuttered parishes throughout a forlorn Catholic landscape. Perhaps because clergy have so poorly understood the essence of fatherhood the past half-century, they paid no mind to what would unfold from fatherless homes in inner-city neighborhoods.

One more vital question must be asked: Has a half-century of priestly avoidance of homilizing on the tougher aspects of Catholic teaching been the reason for what is going on in America at this grave hinge point? This dark hour in American history has little do with President Trump. It has everything to do with the ailing soul of America and the ominous place to which it’s lurching.

It’s been said that obliging Natural Law means being rooted in reality and that being rooted in reality grazes up against God’s heart. What does it say about ourselves when we abandon Natural Law — that we’ve attained a new kind of enlightenment? That we’ve progressed past antiquated cultural norms? That we’ve evolved? Well, maybe we have evolved, but God has not.

Why are Democrat mayors allowing killing,
maiming and burning in 'heavily black areas'?

June 3, 2020

The burning, looting and killing riots are not about George Floyd’s killing. Both Floyd’s girlfriend and brother have said that he would have opposed them as they oppose the riots.

The riots are pure evil.

Every sane person is against the killing of an unharmed man by a policeman and more so against mobs that are burning, killing and maiming blacks, minorities and whites in these riots against the wishes of the Floyd family.

If the riots are not about George Floyd’s killing, what are they about?

It is obvious that the riots are about giving criminals and evil groups such as Antifa the license to kill, maim and burn in “heavily black areas” at will as the Democrat mayors tell their police forces to stand down and allow the debauchery. The Washington Times reported:

Minneapolis and other major cities have finally re-opened, at least to looters and arsonists. For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. In New York City and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, police stood by as looters destroyed parts of those cities.

The same politicians who ordered police to stand down and released prison inmates are the same people who want to ban guns. These politicians prevent citizens from protecting themselves, at a time when police protection cannot be depended on.

For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. Sadly, so many of the victims of this violence have been blacks. Black store owners have lost their businesses. In these heavily black areas, blacks will lose their jobs. ]

Why are Democrat stronghold mayors giving their police forces orders “to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities… In these heavily black areas”?
Lawyer Scott Lively tells us why the Democrat mayors are destroying their own cities:

“The main purpose of the rioting, as was true of the now-waning COVID-19 Plandemic, is to spread fear. Fear is what keeps a sizable portion of the American people “sheltered-in-place,” and that phenomenon of social destabilization is the key to preventing economic recovery. An orchestrated economic depression is, of course, the cornerstone of the elites’ plan for taking down President Trump (which I again predict will fail).

That’s what this season of Psy-Ops, with all its disinformation, propaganda and political intrigue, has always been about from its very beginning, when Barack Obama first began to realize that Trump could actually beat Hillary, thanks to the sabotage of the HRC campaign and the DNC by Bernie zealot Seth Rich, the Wikileaker whistleblower who was (I opine) murdered in broad daylight for that act of treachery.

[After more than 3 years of constant lying (as we have now found out how the FBI, with the full knowledge and obvious consent of Barack Obama and now Democratic presidential wannabe Joe Biden, framed Michael Flynn for colluding with the Russians despite their investigations having found nothing derogatory about his calls to the Russian ambassador in his capacity as incoming national security adviser for the new President, in an all-out effort to hamper the new President whose election they could not accept and still cannot accept]) about the Trump 2012 campaign having been run in collusion with Russia - since debunked by the Democrats' own machinated Mueller investigation, whose findings they chose to ignore because it was against their BIG LIE - but despite all that, an inherently rigged impeachment of Trump last January by a Democrat-led House of Representatives. But no one in the MSM, or even in conservative news outlets like Fox - in fact, not even Trump himself - is blaming the Democrats as forcefully and insistently as the situation demands, for having spent three years, going into the fourth year, of relentless Trump-bashing, with all the waste of government time and resources it has entailed, to discredit his presidency since they have been able to subvert the election results of 2012 to invalidate his election.]

The timing of the rioting, and his immediate, highly inflammatory public statement, betrays the hand of Barack Obama behind it all… Lastly, I am also offering a different take on the significance of the riots. Yes, the fearmongering agenda is still in play, but I think there’s a new target for that fear added to the mix: Democratic leaders who now realize heads will likely roll for the Obama team’s actions and want to distance themselves as much as possible without being too obvious about it.

I think that’s why the race riots and Antifa aggressions are taking place in Democratic strongholds and not places like Ferguson and Charlottesville. They are reminders that pain can be inflicted on potential “traitors” as well as established enemies by the ones who wield the real power on the left.

And, call me crazy, but if that’s true, I predict master deal-maker President Trump may actually flip some Democratic leaders to his side by the time of the election. It’s a rare group of crooks that doesn’t turn on each other when actual prosecutors (as opposed to media pundits) start to draft actual indictments of their known associates.


To sum it up, the coronavirus hysteria and the riots have only one purpose which is to take down President Donald Trump and make the United States into one big hellhole like New York. Rush Limbaugh explains:

I want to go back to one point I made also at the bottom of the previous hour, the end of it. We had a caller who thinks that the governors, California and New York, do indeed want Trump to call out the military because nothing good can happen there. Military gets called out and somebody gets killed, somebody gets hurt, and that looks bad for Trump, and then the states are gonna have to be apologized to and all that. I don’t think that’s gonna be the case.

In fact, I think what these governors are actually hoping for is — they may be hoping for the military be deployed so that something happens that can harm Trump, but I think what they really are angling for is an economic bailout. Many of them, California particularly, still much more attached to things with the virus story than they are with George Floyd. They’ve got their share of protests and they’ve got their share of property destruction, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive, I mean, they’ve had their share of it, but the virus is still a dominant subject there.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if both Cuomo and J.B. Pritzker in Illinois and Newsom are doing what they’re doing angling for a federal bailout. A federal bailout to wipe out every debt they’ve got, including unfunded pension liabilities and all that. And I hope Trump doesn’t do it. I do think — you remember Kent State, remember the song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Four Dead in Ohio, four dead and Nixon’s come? Remember all that?”

“I think they’re hoping for something similar here. I think they’d love for the military to take out some innocent citizen if they’re deployed in New York or California. But I hope what really happens — I hope Trump leaves ’em alone. If you want a preview of what awaits this country if Democrats win the presidency, look at New York. Look at Minnesota. Look at California. Look at anywhere the Democrats run the show with no opposition. From nursing homes to riots, everything in between.

Everything that’s happened in these states was avoidable. The governor New York, the mayor of New York, they’re wannabe little, you know, almost miniature dictators. And they don’t like each other, and there’s none of this we’re in this together stuff. There’s, no, we’re stronger together stuff.

These two guys don’t like each other at all, de Blasio and Cuomo. Both of these guys, de Blasio and Cuomo, both of them botched the coronavirus response big time. They both botched the lockdown of the city and the state.

It was not necessary. They have destroyed so much, restaurants and other businesses that will never come back. These cities, if these people don’t get a handle on things, these cities in these states are gonna end up being unlike anything anybody remembers. There’s gonna be no reason to move back to them. With telecommuting having been a success, there’s no reason now that you have to live in New York to work there. There’s no reason you have to live in Connecticut and pay those exorbitant rents and commute to New York. Ditto, New Jersey. There’s no reason anymore.

It’s not an accident New York is imploding. It’s not an accident that people in New York are destroying it. It’s not an accident that Macy’s was looted with people holding the door open for ’em, in and out. And Joe Biden is just as incompetent as Cuomo and de Blasio. The sad thing is, voters get what they want, and voters in New York voted for what they’ve got. They got exactly what they voted for.

Now, I made mention of the fact that it may be tough to have a genuine nationwide economic recovery if we don’t get New York and California on board, that they are a large percentage of the American economy, and we need them rejuvenated economically if there is to be a national economic recovery.

I had some people say, ‘I don’t think you’re right about that, Rush. You say the U.S. economy has to have New York and California, but I think we’re about to see, Rush, that we don’t need New York or California. And here’s why I think so, Rush. New York City’s a war zone. New York City is over. New York City is done. Who in the world is gonna move back there now? Who in the world is ever gonna feel safe there? Who is gonna ever want to go back to that city and pay what it costs to live there when nobody is gonna lift a finger to protect you or your property? Now we got barbed wire, Rush, protecting Saks Fifth Avenue. Who in hell wants to live in a place where that’s required, Rush?’”

“Barbed wire at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s looted on all of its floors with the looters holding the doors open. And in one case the looters arrived in a $350,000 Rolls. Did you see that? Or Bentley? The looters arrived in a $350,000 Bentley. The looters get out, hold the door open, some looters go in. A forklift was used to get rid of some window plywood. No leadership to be seen.

"The thing you don’t get, Rush, New York was dying and sick before the China flu and the riots. The only thing different now is New York has no pulse. Just pull the plug. We’re gonna have to figure out how to live without them. And we will.”

Rush is telling President Trump to follow the Abraham Lincoln strategy.
- Lincoln never attempted to abolish slavery directly, before the war, because he knew if he limited its spread like a disease so that it was only in the South, then it would die a natural death.
- The Democrats- the slavery party- knew this too. That is why they started the Civil War.
- The Democrats of New York and elsewhere- the party of death and riots- also know also that their socialistic death policies will die a natural death if limited to their Democrat strongholds. They will not start a civil war because they are cowards and have no moral high ground.

If the Democrats of New York and elsewhere want killing, maiming and burning then let them have it and let their failed states go down in flames. As Rush said:

“The sad thing is, voters get what they want, and voters in New York voted for what they’ve got. They got exactly what they voted for.”

Maybe the voters in New York and other Democrat strongholds may wise up and kick out the party of death and riots.

For the rest of the country: New York going down in flames will be the prime example and reason to vote for Trump, again, as Rush said:

“New York Is What’s in Store for All Of Us If Trump Loses the Presidency.”[dim]

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Mass and the Church as well as for the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of the Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Mary.

Please, pray an Our Father now for President Trump and our country now because this is the important fork in the road for the United States. Please, keep this intentions in your prayers.

And what's with the stupid, deliberately thoughtless slogan that has become the name of a movement, 'Black lives matter"?

ALL LIVES MATTER! EACH LIFE MATTERS! but all the young people marching out there - feeling themselves all virtuous because they are marching in lockstep with the dominant liberal one-thought that has been imposed for decades on the US educational system - cannot possibly bring themselves to even think that 'All lives matter', because they could not care less for the lives of Trump and Republicans and conservatives and anyone who does not share their world view. And they obviously cannot say 'Each life matters' because they believe abortion is an inherent human right and the baby in the womb is not a life at all!

I will close this omnibus post with words from the ever-enlightening Fr. Rutler...

Who will guard the guardians?

June 4, 2020

Six or seven centuries “are like an evening gone” when tracing the course of common sense, and so James Madison found no anachronism in conjuring the shades of Juvenal and Cleon, more than six centuries apart, to make a point about the perils of the right and wrong manipulation of human will.

He asked with Juvenal, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The dilemma— Who will guard the guardians? — was the same dilemma that conflicted the Athenians during the Pelopponesian war when their better instincts for peace were compromised back in the fifth century B.C. by the seductive propaganda of Cleon.

In this thesis, Madison was joined by Hamilton and Jay in The Federalist Papers, which were not expected to be the daily reading of farmers and merchants, but which could easily be understood by them and anyone bound by human nature. The matter at hand was “a rage for paper money, for abolition of debts, for an equal division of property.” That rage resulted in Shay’s Rebellion, and occasioned reflection on mob rule.

People can indulge contrary instincts to riot or to stay calm, because their will is free to do so. It is a principle denied by those who excuse moral anarchy by saying, “The devil made me do it.” That is the theological version of the behaviorist’s impulse to blame disordered behavior on external influences.

The rage now inflaming our cities is taking place between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, although it is unlikely that those enraged are liturgically sensitive to that.

Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity follows Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the sublime truth of God as Three in One expands the limits of human intelligence. The perfect harmony of the Triune God is like music whose sound frequency cannot be registered by unaided hearing, but it reverberates in the systematic order of nature, evident in those things we take for granted: health, happiness, and peace.

The peace that Christ gives is not a human fabrication (John 14:27). But as the Creator has entrusted the care of His creation to humans as His most complex creatures, we are responsible for promoting what Saint Augustine called the tranquilitas ordinis — the tranquility of order.

When the human mind works in harmony with the indications of the Holy Trinity, great things can be accomplished. For example, this past week two astronauts on the SpaceX craft docked perfectly in outer space. In a devilish irony, this was accompanied by simultaneous rioting in our streets, nihilistic in its destructiveness.

As many of the bomb throwers and arsonists were middle-class suburbanites turned terrorist, this was a commentary on the collapse of family life and the abandonment of serious education in the schools, but essentially it was a specimen of the misuse of free will. Among “Millennials” grown dependent on forces that suborn conscience, who have never outgrown the need for a nanny, 70 percent favor socialism and one-third see something hopeful in communism.

The desecration of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral with graffiti was not a display of adolescent erudition in the etymology of four-letter words rooted in German cognates and Old French. It was the screech of young people who for various reasons and from various sources had come to think that the Divine Word of Life is an incomprehensible whisper.

It is my lot to be the pastor of a parish in the middle of my city’s riots, just as New York has been an epicenter of the viral pandemic. Last night a shop next door was attacked. My parish has had a long experience of mobs, and the city records claim at least 34 riots of significance.

The first pastor of my parish, who served for thirty-four years, intervened in the 1863 Draft Riots to save a Presbyterian church nearby from burning, an act that anticipated the modern ecumenical movement but with more practical benefits. His efforts were not permanent: later in his tenure, in 1873, the Orange Riots nearby saw 63 killed.

Just days ago, I watched Macy’s department store being boarded up, to little effect since looters with impunity used crowbars to break in and steal jewelry and other expensive things in what much of the media said was an expression of their desire for social justice.

By the careful orchestration of mobs, and the systematic delivery of bricks and bats, it was clear that sinister plottings were at work, and that our President was right to call it terrorism. Not every authority was as acute.

Our mayor, Bill de Blasio, who for years has functioned like one of Job’s unhelpful condolers, said he was proud of his daughter who was arrested as a rioter. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a CNN interview: “Those were not thugs and looters. These are young people who still have idealism and want to make this nation better. And that’s a good instinct, and it should be encouraged.”

From our hierarchs, there has been little in the way of prophecy, save for occasional virtue-signaling bromides. But that is the consequence of a gradual emasculation of their moral influence.

So far, our prelates have not emulated the three archbishops of Paris — Denis-Auguste Affre, Marie-Dominique-Auguste Sibour, and Georges Darboy — who were killed respectively in 1848, 1857, and 1871. Affre and Darboy died in riots, while Sibour was shot by a cleric who thought celibacy was an imposition. All wore the same pectoral cross.

This week, as a church burned behind him in Washington, D.C., one television reporter, reminiscent of Iraq’s famous “Baghdad Bob,” insisted that there was no burning and that the “protesters” were peaceful. The disinclination of so many governors, mayors, and other social guardians — along with the media — to acknowledge that their perception of reality is unreal brings to mind W.E.B. Du Bois and Walter Duranty calling Joseph Stalin “a great man” and “the greatest living statesman.” This is much like George Bernard Shaw, who added panegyrics on Mussolini and Hitler, and John Kenneth Galbraith’s immoderate flattery of Mao Zedong.

Those not averse to objective reality still have voices. The president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, Thomas Mungeer, in a genuine protest, said that Governor Cuomo had given his men “zero support.”

He explained to Cuomo:

“Peaceful protesters do not arrive with hammers and Molotov cocktails, burn police cars, smash the windows of businesses or spray graffiti on St. Patrick’s Cathedral — criminal opportunists and vandals do.

Peaceful protesters do not start fires in the streets or to businesses — arsonists do.

Peaceful protesters do not gather en masse to openly disregard laws, create havoc and impede on the rights of the general public —rioters do.”

So there sounds once again, whether in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, or any other city where the acoustics of tradition can hear the voice of Joshua along the Jordan: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…”

This week, the contrast between astronauts and anarchists is a model of the blessings and dangers of free will. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17).

This simply and artlessly boils down to the choice between Christ and chaos, challenging the human mind to be rational or irrational. The human will is not bound to some arbitrary fate, but as John Milton put it: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…”

It has been said one way or another that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside.

By choosing misrule, distorted reason prefers Hell to Heaven. The gates of Heaven are opened by choosing the tranquility of divine logic. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me"(Rev 3:20).

To appropriate Rudyard Kipling, the destiny of souls depends on what people do with the “if” of their moral freedom: “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

00Friday, June 5, 2020 11:58 PM

Both Marco Tosatti and Aldo Maria Valli have posted on their respective blogs the following contribution from Prof. Gian Pietro Caliari, a professor at the Accademia Dante Alighieri, who has multiple doctoral degrees from Italian and British universities in economics and international law, and is apparently a Catholic thinker, having co-authored a 1996 book entitled Il futuro dell’Europa: Le sue radice cristiane (The future of Europe: Its Christian roots) and having written about liturgy for Italy’s Rivista Liturgica. Tosatti calls the essay a spiritual call to arms, and I use here Valli’s headline for the article, for which the author himself uses the first part of the citation from St. Luke he uses to begin the essay, in its Latin form: “Venient dies quando desideratis videre unum diem…”

How we have become pagans –
and how we can become Christians again

by Gian Pietro Caliari
June 4, 2020

“The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ [or] ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.” (Lk 17, 22-23)

The evangelist reports this admonition from the Savior at the end of a brief conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees about the time of the coming of the Kingdom of God. after Jesus had already told them just before those lines, “Behold the Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk 17,21).

We know that the expression “Kingdom of God” appears 122 times in the text of the New Testament and that the Fathers of the Church interpreted this expression in three dimensions.

The first – strictly Christologic – indicates precisely the auto-basileia [one's own kingdom] of Christ himself, that is to say, the full and complete revelation of God and his Kingdom in Christ himself.

A second more mystical interpretation indicates the presence of the Truth of Christ within the innermost being of the believer himself.

And the third is ecclesiological, which indicates that the Kingdom of God is actualized in history in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Without overshadowing or ignoring the first two interpretations – but reaffirming them, on the contrary – the Second Vatican Council chose to affirm the third dimension in a dogmatic sense, as a doctrine that must be believed by whoever is truly Catholic.

The mystery of the holy Church is manifest in its very foundation. The Lord Jesus set it on its course by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, which, for centuries, had been promised in the Scriptures: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”(Mk 1, 15; cf. Mt 4, 17).

In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men. The Word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field (Mk 4, 14); those who hear the Word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ (Lk 12, 32) have received the Kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until harvest time (Mk. 4, 26-29).

The Miracles of Jesus also confirm that the Kingdom has already arrived on earth: “If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you “ (Lk 11, 20; cf. Mt 12, 28). Before all things, however, the Kingdom is clearly visible in the very Person of Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who came “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10, 45). When Jesus, who had suffered the death of the cross for mankind, had risen, He appeared as the one constituted as Lord, Christ and eternal Priest (cf. Acts 2, 36; Heb 5, 6; 7, 17-21) and He poured out on His disciples the Spirit promised by the Father (cf. Acts 2, 33).

From this source the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom. While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King. (Lumen gentium, 5)

This very choice was prophetic because it seems as though someone had foreseen that the time of “Christ, yes, the Church, no” would soon be followed by something even more tragic, when the slogan would be “Not even Christ and his Kingdom, No”.

In short, the time of a return to paganism or of neo-paganism within the Church herself, as the central nucleus of contemporary preaching!

In the winter of 1958 – that’s right, 1958 – a young priest and theologian wrote:

The image of the modern Church is characterized essentially by the fact that it has become and is becoming ever more a Church of pagans in a completely new way: no longer, as originally, a Church of pagans who had turned Christians, but rather a Church of pagans who still call themselves Christian but who have really become pagans for some time. Paganism today resides in the Church herself, and this is really the characteristic of the Church in our day as it is of the new paganism. It is paganism in the Church, and a Church inhabited in its core by paganism. [Joseph Ratzinger, “Die neuen Heiden und die Kirche” (The new pagans and the Church), Hochland, LV, 51, 1958-1959, p.1)]

What did that young theologian already see in the second half of the last century? To understand him, we must be clear about what we mean by modern paganism or neo-paganism.

According to Doniger and Eliade, it comprises “diverse spiritual movements which, although distinguishing themselves from the magic rituals of the ancient pagans, revive authentic pantheons and rituals from ancient cultures, especially through an approach that is deliberately eclectic and reconstructionist, and through a particularly contemplative and celebratory attitude” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Merriam-Webster, 2000, pp. 794-795).

More descriptive and precise is the definition given by the Italian philosopher Salvatore Natoli,for whom although the new paganism is a movement with distinct theological, cosmological and anthropological visions, but a common and precise approach that is naturalistic, humanistic and relativistic (cfr. La salvezza senza fede (Salvation without faith), Torino, 2007).

Many Catholics, rightly so, were scandalized and enraged when they had to attend (or witness on TV) a disgusting satanic ritual of priests and nuns happily prostrating themselves in an act of apostatic adoration of the Pachamama and a phallic idol in the Vatican Gardens and in the presence of the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. [Well, as of Jan 1, 2020, those titles have been relegated to mere historical footnotes that should not detract from what supreme narcissist Jorge Mario Bergoglio appears to think is all the identification he needs – his name, plain and simple, unencumbered by references to Christ and Peter or the Catholic Church for that matter.]

Or to the lugubrious procession of bishops who, ignoring that as bishops , they are successors to the apostles, carried these same idolatrous effigies on their shoulders from the Altar of the Confession at St. Peter’s Basilica to the Synod Hall.

But this was not just about Amazonian folklore!

Too many Catholics, wrongly, have not been indignant at all about the constantly hammered, spreading and ever more dishonest preaching that has all but expunged, if not altogether excluded, the announcement of Christ and his Kingdom, in order to impose a neo-pagan dogma whose content is shamelessly naturalistic, humanistic and relativistic.

Yet this, it appears, is the central nucleus of the ‘outgoing Church’ and of ‘going beyond the Church’ by avoiding’ any self-referentiality’ in the name of ‘integral ecologism’, of ‘neo-humanism’, of the ‘concrete situation’, and of ‘universal brotherhood’, all of which must be integral [to each other]. Simply replace ‘integral’ with dogmatic, and the game is over.

What then must the Catholic do who does not wish to fall into the trap of those who neo-paganistically point to ”Look at this!’ And “Look at that!”? Certainly, “do not go there, do not follow them” (Lk 17, 23). But exactly how, concretely?

Three elements appear to be essential.

Before everything else, the recovery of liturgical sacredness in the face of the banalization of the Sacrum of God himself, the Most Holy Trinity. Because it is this banalization, precisely, that has shown the total failure of the post-Vatican II liturgical reform.

“In fact, the foundation of man’s union with God is the full distinction between man and God. That is why Christian Revelation spells out the fullness of this union, which places the union between God and man starting with the distinction between God and man. The redemptive act is a unique action, by Chtist alone: yet an inter-trinitary action in which the Son offers his humanity and that of the world in sacrifice to the Father in an act of absolute adoration. It is here alone that the trinitarian Mystery is manifested in all its truth” (G. Baget Bozzo, The Anti-Christ: The prince of the world works out of small fissures in history, Milan, 2001, p. 46).

Indeed, it is in the liturgy that the gravest and most lethal blow has been inflicted on the faith and the Catholic people, in the sense of liturgy’s original and most essential dimension as Mysterion, Sacrum.

Then, there is non-conformism as an essential dimension of the Catholic faith: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12,2).

This admonition by the Apostle to the Gentiles was commented on by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

“We must rediscover the courage of non-conformism in the face of the tendencies of the opulent world. Instead of following the spirit of the times, it must be we ourselves to brand that spirit with evangelical austerity. We have lost the sense that Christians cannot live as any others live. The stupid opinion according to which a specific Christian morality does not exist is an expression particularly driven by the loss of a basic concept: the difference between a Christian and the models of the world.” (V. Messori, The Ratzinger Report, 1985. P. 64)

This means the necessary rediscovery of Catholic identity, nourished by the simple but radical joy of having encountered He who alone is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (Jn 14,6), but also by the humble pride of the Catholic Church continuing to be “the homeland of the soul” for those who are “exhausted and oppressed” by the increasingly pervasive and deadly oppression of the dominant neo-paganism.

To rediscover, therefore, the martyrologic-missionary characteristic of our faith, without unfounded and suspicious proselytism, which is itself integral and therefore, dogmatic.

Ratzinger continued in the interview book with Messori:

“The atheist culture of the modern West continues to live thanks to freedom from fear of the devil inherent in Christianity. But if Christ’s redemptive light should be extinguished, then despite all its knowledge and all its technology, the world will fall back into terror and desperation. There are already signs of the return of these obscure forces, while Satanic cults continue to grow in the secularized world (V Messori, op.cit. p. 79).

In short, it is not enough to be a good neighbor to others in the name of an integral and charitable neo-humanitarianism, stuffed with gaudium and laetitia. Paul VI wrote,

“These will always be insufficient, because even the most beautiful testimony will show itself impotent in time, if it is not enlightened, justified – what Peter called ‘give reason for your hope’ – expressed by a clear and unequivocal announcement of the Lord Jesus… There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom, the mystery, of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, are not proclaimed (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22).

[Something, however, that Bergoglio, who professes to be a follower of Paul VI, has chosen to completely ignore in his constant proselytizing for a single world religion that bears the characteristics of both Freemasonry and the appalling United Nations, and in which he shamelessly quashes Christianity along with all other world religions and faiths.]

In the end, it comes down to three apparently banal points for reflection. Yet, it would appear that we are not certain ourselves that they would suffice to avoid "the abomination of desolation, of which the Prophet Daniel spoke” (Mt 24,15).

Of one thing, we are nonetheless certain – and these are not themes for hossanizing, festive masses, but sought after by others – that is, a way to a parvulus grex, that little flock that is strong, joyful and proud of its Lord who continues to encourage it to resist the world and invites it not to despair: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12,32). [i.e., Cardinal Ratzinger's 'creative minorities' who would seem to be the immediate future of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.]

Similar neopagan hypotheses have obviously relaxed missionary tension. Some have started to ask themselves: “Why ‘disturb’ non-Christians inducing them to baptism and faith in Christ, seeing that their religion is their way of salvation in their culture, in their part of the world?” Forgetting in this way the link that the New Testament establishes between salvation and truth - knowledge of which, as Jesus explicitly affirms, will make us free, and therefore saved.

Or, as St. Paul says, “God our savior wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2, 4-7). That is how much we must continue to announce Jesus - humbly but forcefully – to the world today, following the committed example of the generations which have preceded us in the faith.

One of my regrets about the past months I was absent from the Forum is having had to forgo translating and therefore transmitting to Forum readers the always remarkable and tireless reportage-commentary by Aldo Maria Valli on the state of the Church today under Bergoglio. There is no doubt he has become the foremost lay voice in the Church today who has been documenting and commenting on practically every new anti-Church initiative by the reigning pope. I do not think there has been any writer more proactive in this kind of genuinely Catholic documentation of the state of the Church. He now writes up to four different posts on his daily blog. In addition to which, he has been turning out books to reinforce his witness. Here are four of his latest books:

From left:
1) Non avrai altro Dio (Thou shalt have no other God)
Reflections on the Abu Dhabi Declaration
2) Gli strani casi (Strange cases)
Surprising and unexpected stories of lived faith
3) Le due chiese (The two churches)
The synod on the Amazon and Catholics in conflict
4) 'Non abbandonarci alla tentazione' (Do not abandon us to
temptation) - in which he collects reflections
on the new Bergoglio-approved translation of the 'Our Father'
for Italian missals
00Monday, June 8, 2020 7:25 AM
Thanks to Beatrice for calling my attention to this item which properly rebukes Donald Wuerl's and Theodore McCarrick's successor as Archbishop of Washington, D.C. for his sanctimonious arrogance in ignorance...

In this case, who is truly
'baffling and reprehensible'?

(On the emblematic hypocrisy of Bishop Gregory
and other frankly anti-Trump bishops)

By Phil Lawler

June 3, 2020

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles,” said Archbishop Wilton Gregory after President Donald Trump visited the St. John Paul II Shrine in Washington.

Do you want to know what I find baffling and reprehensible, Archbishop Gregory?

I find it baffling and reprehensible:

… that a Catholic archbishop would issue a patently partisan statement at a time when our nation is already deeply divided.
… that any responsible leader would issue an inflammatory statement without checking the facts — and learning, in this case, that Trump’s visit to the Shrine was not connected with the demonstrations and riots in our cities, had been planned well in advance, and was intended to focus attention on the international quest for religious freedom — which, the last time I checked, was a cause that did not violate Catholic religious principles.
… that a Catholic prelate evidently didn’t bother to contact an important Catholic institution, to hear its side of the story, before issuing a public condemnation. The Knights of Columbus, who administer the St. John Paul II Shrine, have been scrupulously loyal to the Catholic hierarchy; they deserve at least this elementary courtesy in return.
…that a Catholic archbishop ripped into the President at a time when Trump was advancing a cause that is, in fact, unequivocally in accordance with Catholic principles. While at the Shrine, Trump signed an executive order that directs the US government to make religious freedom a high priority in foreign affairs, and provides [$50 million] funding for that campaign. Whatever else Catholics might think about White House initiatives, this one deserved support, not angry denunciation.
that a Catholic pastor who has passively accepted the imposition of government restrictions which effectively prevent the public celebration of Mass would make a political matter — not the administration of the sacraments — his top priority.
… that Archbishop Gregory would be hypocritical enough to criticize someone else for allowing the manipulation of the Church for political purposes, when he has given over the pulpit of his cathedral to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose ardent defense of abortion on demand unquestionably “violates our religious principles.”
… and for that matter, that Archbishop Gregory, who devoted a Pentecost Sunday statement to a condemnation of racism, so blithely overlooks the most evident display of racial disparity on our nation: the systematic extermination of African-Americans in the womb, aided and abetted by the liberal Catholic politicians who welcomed the archbishop’s latest petulant outburst. [Petulant? This was more than just bad-tempered sulking. This was a deliberately malicious, aggravated by the willful ignorance it betrayed about the subject matter, and most execrably reprehensible indeed, to correctly use Gregory's own adjective to describe an action he did not even bother to inform himself about before getting on his lame stilts!]

America’s utopian city wreckers
We live in the real world, not the world of John Lennon’s imaginings.
Those who seek utopia rather than rational reform will never be happy with what they get.

by William Kilpatrick

June 7, 2020

“The best is the enemy of the good.” That observation by Voltaire may help to explain the vast destruction resulting from two weeks of violent protesting following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The saying means that those who are satisfied with nothing less than perfection will never be satisfied. In the case of the death of George Floyd, the sentiment is encapsulated in the slogan “no justice, no peace.” One suspects, however, that what is sought is not practical, achievable justice, but perfect justice — the kind only God can deliver.

In a perfectly just world, George Floyd would never have been killed in the first place. But there can be little doubt that practically the whole nation agreed that he had been done an injustice, and that everything possible ought to be done to right that injustice.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota authorities acted quickly. The officer who killed Floyd was quickly removed from the force, jailed and charged with third, then second degree murder. The three other officers who were involved have also been jailed. The Minneapolis City Council has even proposed that the police force be dismantled.

Moreover, many of those who are protesting the killing of Floyd are white. In some cities, white protesters seem to be in the majority. [White protesters who, more than anything, are virtue-signalling, and since most of them are young people who have been victims of America's mind-crushing, free thought-stifling, relentlessly liberal and ultimately anti-American educational system over the past half-century, their hysterical rants of the senseless slogan 'Black lives matter!, sounds very much like 'mea culpa' screams of self-flagellation for 'white guilt'.]

Would this be the case if America were an irredeemably racist society in which blacks will never see justice? What’s more, many of the racial justice reforms that were sought in the past have long been in place. Numerous cities have black mayors, black city council members, black judges, black police chiefs and, in some cases, black majority police forces. In Minnesota, where the nationwide protests first erupted, the chief justice officer is Attorney General Keith Ellison, a black man.

Of course, there is, and will always be room for improvement. But, once again, it seems that what many people [i.e., the demonstrators] — both black and white — want is not improvement, but perfection: the kind of perfection that human beings by their very nature are incapable of.

It’s not just perfect justice in the area of racial relations that is sought, but, increasingly, in every area of life. And, in some cases, what is demanded is not simply perfection, but impossibilities. Thus, some people believe that there can be no justice in society until everyone is free to choose their own gender. And not only that, but they believe there can be no justice until everyone else is forced to assent to their beliefs. In their quest for justice for one group, they deny it to another.

Likewise, the nationwide protests over the injustice done to George Floyd have resulted in myriad new injustices: almost two dozen killed, more than a thousand injured, many hundreds of businesses destroyed and livelihoods lost.

I am not discounting the role of outside agitators, such as Antifa, in fueling anger and discontent among the throngs of protesters. They play a large role in provoking violence, in spreading the protests and in keeping them alive long after they would normally die down. These groups —mostly leftist — did not spontaneously “hijack” the protests. They had for some time been organizing and preparing to exploit just such an occasion as the one that arose in Minneapolis. And human nature being what it is, the occasion inevitably did arise.

Antifa and Antifa-like groups tend to subscribe to a Marxist vision of society. And that vision is essentially a utopian one. [Not to forget that u-topia literally means 'no place' or 'nowhere', so utopias would and could never be.] It promises an almost perfect society which will emerge once wealth is equally shared. Although some of these leftist agitators seem to be without conscience, it’s probable that some of them are motivated by idealistic dreams of a perfect society and perfect justice. [About youthful idealism, one recalls the saying, falsely attributed to Winston Churchill, to the effect that "If you are not socialist or communist by age 20, you have no heart. But if you are still a socialist or communist after age 30, then you have no brain."]

The question is, why are so many others so susceptible to the same dream? Why do they find it intolerable that perfect justice and peace has not yet been achieved? Why do so many in our society believe that utopia is or ought to be just around the corner?

The answer is that they have been exposed to an educational system that is heavy on societal responsibility and light on individual responsibility.
- Part of this comes from a therapeutic strand in education that is obsessed with the goodness of the child’s inner self, and the wrongness of inhibiting its expression.
- Part comes from the Marxist-socialist strand (typified by Howard Zinn’s view of history) that blames social structures for all of life’s ills.

This approach dwells on the many imperfections in American history and gives the impression that perfect harmony is the normal state of mankind, and anything less is the result of oppressive racist and capitalist institutions. Each new injustice, such as the killing of George Floyd, is used to confirm this narrative.

The overall message is that you are not responsible for your troubles, society is. Likewise, you are not responsible when you cause troubles. Indeed, your rioting, looting, and arson may be justified by the oppressions you have suffered at the hands of society. Or, as the gang member in West Side Story explain, “We’re depraved ‘cause we’re deprived.”

The evidence that we are in the grip of this Rousseauian-utopian delusion keeps piling up. The latest iteration of this noble savage view of human nature is the “We-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-cops” movement now underway in numerous cities. The theory behind the movement is that once you remove the police from the scene, everyone will begin to act like Jean Valjean after the bishop saved him from the gendarmes.

Thus, the mayor of Los Angeles wants to severely cut back the budget for the Police Department, dozens of cities want to defund the police, and, as mentioned, Minneapolis wants to disband its police force. But that’s okay. It will be replaced, says one city council member, by a “public safety” committee.

Hmm. “Committee of Public Safety.” Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, that was the group that organized the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. But not to worry, says the city council member: “We can reimagine what public safety means…we can invest in cultural competency and mental health training, de-escalation and conflict resolution…we can declare policing as we know it a thing of the past, and create a compassionate, non-violent future.”

Polls show that the police are more highly trusted by the public than most other professional groups. So perhaps they are more compassionate than the city council member gives them credit for. But, even supposing that police forces can be made super compassionate, does that solve the problem of the lack of compassion in spouse-beaters, looters, arsonists, muggers, and rapists? Will restructuring law-enforcement reshape the criminal? Will you feel safer in a community where the police have been disbanded and re-imagined as social workers and therapists?

I’m reminded of T.S. Eliot’s comment on men who try to solve the problem of fallen human nature “by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.”

It’s interesting that the line occurs in the context of the Church’s duty to talk about “Evil” and “Sin,” lest men be deluded into thinking that salvation comes from reforming societies rather than reforming lives.

In a press conference during the protests, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio invoked John Lennon’s utopian song “Imagine.” “What about a world where we didn’t live with a lot of the restrictions we have right now?” asked the mayor.

Restrictions? Like prisons? Like the presence of police? But we live in the real world, not the world of John Lennon’s imaginings. Those who seek utopia rather than rational reform will not be happy with what they get. Utopian cities without police to enforce the law will not be pleasant places. The word “utopia,” of course, means “nowhere.” And the cities of the utopian dreamers’ imaginations are nowhere that any sane person would want to live.

[DIM98pt]Well, Mayor No-Goodnik De Blasio, if you believe yourself, why not abolish the NYPD - and dismiss all 40,000 members of the force - and see what happens! Crime rates soar where police forces are inefficient; what would happen if there were no police forces at all? And isn't it the elected leaders' first duty to protect and defend the citizenry? How would you do that - do you think those demonstrators would volunteer en masse to give up everything else in order to proactively guarantee law and order for the city?

You could, of course, say that you will spend the considerable police budget on 'community programs to improve black communities' (as if the city weren't supposed to be doing that, anyway), but you will also suddenly have 40,000 men and family bread-earners suddenly out of work. And this goes for all those Brave New World cities deluding themselves that any community today can live without a police force to enforce law and order, and that it would be an 'easy exercise' to dissolve a police department and throw all of its members out of work.

June 9, 2020
It appears that more than just Abp Gregory's nauseating hypocrisy about President Trump, he was guilty of far worse in this case: he was actually invited to be present at the JPII shrine event days before it happened, and the White house has released both the White House invitation and Gregory's rejection of it on the ground that he had' prior commitments'.

Of course, it should be no surprise that Gregory lies, since we are all familiar with the record of BIG LIES told since Day 1 of his papacy by no less than Gregory's Supremo, and all the big and little lies told by the hundreds, if not thousands, of priests and bishops invoved in the sex abuse scandals, starting with McCarrick and et alia (not just 'and others' in this case but 'and allies/accomplices' who have all covered each other's asses all these years.

Archbishop Gregory was invited to
Trump event at JPII Shrine days before
the bishop's censure statement

By JD Flynn

Denver Newsroom, Jun 8, 2020 (CNA) - The White House said Sunday that Washington’s archbishop was invited to attend an event with President Donald Trump several days before it took place, amid media reports that the archbishop did not learn of the event until it was announced publicly the night before it took place.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNA June 7 that “Archbishop Gregory received an invitation to the President’s event at the St. John Paul II Shrine the week prior to the President’s visit. He declined due to other commitments.”

Correspondence between Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s office and the White House indicates the same.

In correspondence dated May 30th and obtained by CNA, Gregory’s office declined “the kind invitation to attend the event celebrating International Religious Freedom on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at the Saint John Paul II Shrine.“

The correspondence further stated that the archbishop had “a prior commitment on his schedule at Catholic University and unfortunately must decline,” and added that Gregory had personally conveyed his regrets at being unable to attend when he spoke to a member of the White House staff directly on the evening of Friday, May 29.

Crux reported June 7 that Gregory had not been told of the visit until June 1, when it was publicly announced by the White House.

Trump’s June 2 visit to the shrine has been the subject of considerable controversy.

On the day of Trump’s visit, the shrine said that the White House had “originally scheduled this as an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom.”

The visit was cut into a shorter event following Trump’s controversial visit the night before to St. John’s Episcopal Church, adjacent to the White House.

Trump stood outside that church in front of cameras holding a Bible in one hand in an apparent photo-op. The church had suffered fire damage during protests on Sunday night.

[So what's wrong with a 'photo op'? All politicians see every moment of their public life as a photo op(portunity) - those moments at least that will withstand scrutiny. All those demonstrators see everything they do in public as a photo op. So most photo ops are genuine in the sense that they do record actual events, as the photo of Trump did.

I was watching the event live on TV, and I was really taken by surprise when he held up the Bible - it was a gesture I had not expected at all but one I immediately appreciated: he was demonstrating his Christian faith unashamedly - as he has done so in his countless pro-life initiatives - in defiance of the thoughtless Godless who had tried to burn down the historic church. Those who call themselves Christian and professed to be offended by his gesture are really offended because at least in their own minds, Trump has shown them up to be the real hypocrites.

I dislike and deplore Trump's blatant narcissism and coarseness in dealing with those he perceives as enemies, and I deplore his past record of womanizing, etc., as much as most decent people do, but I also give him credit for all the positive things he has accomplished as President, most of them things he promised during the campaign and things none of his precedessors had done -such as the economic upturn not just for the country as a whole but for all US minorities, which none of is opponents can dispute - that is what I judge him about. By what he does for the American people, because I dare anyone to cite what, if any, he has done against the American people.]

Before the president arrived at the episcopal church, crowds had stood across from Lafayette Square behind the White House, protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Those demonstrators were cleared from the square by police shooting pepper balls and other non-lethal weapons, before Trump walked across the square to visit the church.

On June 2, before Trump arrived at the John Paul II Shrine, Gregory issued a statement denouncing the visit.
00Monday, June 8, 2020 9:24 AM

Stained glass from St Etheldreda's church in Ely Place, London. (Photo: Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.)

A great meditation for Trinity Sunday...

The Trinity: Three Persons in One Nature
Excerpt from his classic work Theology and Sanity, in which the late great apologist addresses the “arithmetical problem” of the core Christian doctrine.
by Frank Sheed

June 7, 2020

The notion is unfortunately widespread that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery of mathematics, that is to say, of how one can equal three.
- The plain Christian accepts the doctrine of the Trinity; the “advanced” Christian rejects it; but too often what is being accepted by the one and rejected by the other is that one equals three.
- The believer argues that God has said it, therefore it must be true; the rejecter argues it cannot be true, therefore God has not said it.

A learned non-Catholic divine, being asked if he believed in the Trinity, answered, “I must confess that the arithmetical aspect of the Deity does not greatly interest me”; and if the learned can think that there is some question of arithmetic involved, the ordinary person can hardly be expected to know any better.

Importance of the doctrine of the Trinity
Consider what happens when a believer in the doctrine is suddenly called upon to explain it — and note that unless he is forced to, he will not talk about it at all: there is no likelihood of his being so much in love with the principal doctrine of his Faith that he will want to tell people about it. Anyhow, here he is: he has been challenged, and must say something. The dialogue runs something like this:

Believer: “Well, you see, there are three persons in one nature.”
Questioner: “Tell me more.”
Believer: “Well, there is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.”
Questioner: “Ah, I see, three gods.”
Believer (shocked): “Oh, no! Only one God.”
Questioner: “But you said three: you called the Father God, which is one; and you called the Son God, which makes two; and you called the Holy Spirit God, which makes three.”

Here the dialogue form breaks down. From the believer’s mouth there emerges what can only be called a soup of words, sentences that begin and do not end, words that change into something else halfway. This goes on for a longer or shorter time. But finally there comes something like: “Thus, you see, three is one and one is three.” The questioner not unnaturally retorts that three is not one nor one three. Then comes the believer’s great moment. With his eyes fairly gleaming he cries: “Ah, that is the mystery. You have to have faith.”

Now it is true that the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery, and that we can know it only by faith. But what we have just been hearing is not the mystery of the Trinity; it is not the mystery of anything, it is wretched nonsense.

It may be heroic faith to believe it, like the man who "wished there were four of ’em, That he might believe more of ’em".
Or it may be total intellectual unconcern – God has revealed certain things about Himself, we accept the fact that He has done so, but find in ourselves no particular inclination to follow it up.

God has told us that He is three persons in one Divine nature, and we say “Quite so”, and proceed to think of other matters – last week’s Retreat or next week’s Confession or Lent or Lourdes or the Church’s social teaching or foreign missions.

All these are vital things, but compared with God Himself, they are as nothing: and the Trinity is God Himself. These other things must be thought about, but to think about them exclusively and about the Trinity not at all is plain folly. And not only folly, but a kind of insensitiveness, almost a callousness, to the love of God.

For the doctrine of the Trinity is the inner, the innermost, life of God, His profoundest secret. He did not have to reveal it to us. We could have been saved without knowing that ultimate truth. In the strictest sense it is His business, not ours. He revealed it to us because He loves men and so wants not only to be served by them but truly known. The revelation of the Trinity was in one sense an even more certain proof than Calvary that God loves mankind.

To accept it politely and think no more of it is an insensitiveness beyond comprehension in those who quite certainly love God: as many certainly do who could give no better statement of the doctrine than the believer in the dialogue we have just been considering.

How did we reach this curious travesty of the supreme truth about God? The short statement of the doctrine is, as we have heard all our lives, that there are three persons in one nature. But if we attach no meaning to the word person, and no meaning to the word nature, then both the nouns have dropped out of our definition, and we are left only with the numbers three and one, and get along as best we can with these.

Let us agree that there may be more in the mind of the believer than he manages to get said: but the things that do get said give a pretty strong impression that his notion of the Trinity is simply a travesty. It does him no positive harm provided he does not look at it too closely; but it sheds no light in his own soul: and his statement of it, when he is driven to make a statement, might very well extinguish such flickering as there may be in others. The Catholic whose faith is wavering might well have it blown out altogether by such an explanation of the Trinity as some fellow Catholic of stronger faith might feel moved to give: and no one coming fresh to the study of God would be much encouraged.

“Person” and “Nature”
Let us come now to a consideration of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity to see what light there is in it for us, being utterly confident that had there been no light for us, God would not have revealed it to us. There would be a rather horrible note of mockery in telling us something of which we can make nothing. The doctrine may be set out in four statements:
o In the one divine Nature, there are three Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
o The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father: no one of the Persons is either of the others.
o The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
o There are not three Gods but one God.

We have seen that the imagination cannot help here. Comparisons drawn from the material universe are a hindrance and no help. Once one has taken hold of this doctrine, it is natural enough to want to utter it in simile and metaphor – like the lovely lumen de lumine, light from light, with which the Nicene Creed phrases the relation of the Son to the Father.

But this is for afterward, poetical statement of a truth known, not the way to its knowledge. For that, the intellect must go on alone. And for the intellect, the way into the mystery lies, as we have already suggested, in the meaning of the words “person” and “nature”. There is no question of arithmetic involved.

We are not saying three persons in one person, or three natures in one nature; we are saying three persons in one nature. There is not even the appearance of an arithmetical problem. It is for us to see what person is and what nature is, and then to consider what meaning there can be in a nature totally possessed by three distinct persons.

The newcomer to this sort of thinking must be prepared to work hard here. It is a decisive stage of our advance into theology to get some grasp of the meaning of nature and the meaning of person. Fortunately the first stage of our search goes easily enough.

We begin with ourselves. Such a phrase as “my nature” suggests that there is a person, I, who possesses a nature. The person could not exist without his nature, but there is some distinction all the same; for it is the person who possesses the nature and not the other way round.

One distinction we see instantly. Nature answers the question what we are; person answers the question who we are. Every being has a nature; of every being we may properly ask, What is it? But not every being is a person: only rational beings are persons. We could not properly ask of a stone or a potato or an oyster, Who is it?

By our nature, then, we are what we are. It follows that by our nature we do what we do: for every being acts according to what it is. Applying this to ourselves, we come upon another distinction between person and nature.

We find that there are many things, countless things, we can do. We can laugh and cry and walk and talk and sleep and think and love. All these and other things we can do because as human beings we have a nature which makes them possible. A snake could do only one of them – sleep. A stone could do none of them. Nature, then, is to be seen not only as what we are but as the source of what we can do.

But although my nature is the source of all my actions, although my nature decides what kind of operations are possible for me, it is not my nature that does them: I do them, I the person. Thus both person and nature may be considered sources of action, but in a different sense. The person is that which does the actions, the nature is that by virtue of which the actions are done, or, better, that from which the actions are drawn.

We can express the distinction in all sorts of ways. We can say that it is our nature to do certain things, but that we do them. We can say that we operate in or according to our nature. In this light we see why the philosophers speak of a person as the center of attribution in a rational nature: whatever is done in a rational nature or suffered in a rational nature or any way experienced in a rational nature is done or suffered or experienced by the person whose nature it is.

Thus there is a reality in us by which we are what we are: and there is a reality in us by which we are who we are. But as to whether these are two really distinct realities, or two levels of one reality, or related in some other way, we cannot see deep enough into ourselves to know with any sureness. There is an obvious difference between beings of whom you can say only what they are and the higher beings of whom you can say who they are as well. But in these latter – even in ourselves, of whom we have a great deal of experience – we see only darkly as to the distinction between the what and the who.

Of our nature in its root reality we have only a shadowy notion, and of our self a notion more shadowy still. If someone – for want of something better to say – says: “Tell me about yourself”, we can tell her the qualities we have or the things we have done; but of the self that has the qualities and has done the things, we cannot tell her anything. We cannot bring it under her gaze. Indeed we cannot easily or continuously bring it under our own.

As we turn our mind inward to look at the thing we call “I”, we know that there is something there, but we cannot get it into any focus: it does not submit to being looked at very closely. Both as to the nature that we ourselves have and the person that we ourselves are, we are more in darkness than in light. But at least we have certain things clear: nature says what we are, person says who we are. Nature is the source of our operations, person does them.

Now at first sight it might seem that this examination of the meaning of person and nature has not got us far toward an understanding of the Blessed Trinity. For although we have been led to see a distinction between person and nature in us, it seems clearer than ever that one nature can be possessed and operated in only by one person. By a tremendous stretch, we can just barely glimpse the possibility of one person having more than one nature, opening up to him more than one field of operation.

But the intellect feels baffled at the reverse concept of one nature being totally “wielded”, much less totally possessed, by more than one person. Now to admit ourselves baffled by the notion of three persons in the one nature of God is an entirely honorable admission of our own limitation; but to argue that because in man the relation of one nature to one person is invariable, therefore the same must be the relation in God, is a defect in our thinking. It is indeed an example of that anthropomorphism, the tendency to make God in the image of man, which we have already seen hurled in accusation at the Christian belief in God.

Let us look more closely at this idea. Man is made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore it is certain that man resembles God. Yet we can never argue with certainty from an image to the original of the image: we can never be sure that because the image is thus and so, therefore the original must be thus and so. A statue may be an extremely good statue of a man. But we could not argue that the man must be a very rigid man, because the statue is very rigid. The statue is rigid, not because the man is rigid, but because stone is rigid.

So also with any quality you may observe in an image: the question arises whether that quality is there because the original was like that or because the material of which the image is made is like that. So with man and God. When we learn anything about man, the question always arises whether man is like that because God is like that, or because that is the best that can be done in reproducing the likeness of God in a being created of nothing. Put quite simply, we have always to allow for the necessary scaling down of the infinite in its finite likeness.

Apply this to the question of one person and one nature, which we find in man. Is this relation of one-to-one the result of something in the nature of being, or simply of something in the nature of finite being? With all the light we can get on the meaning of person and of nature even in ourselves, we have seen that there is still much that is dark to us: both concepts plunge away to a depth where the eye cannot follow them.

Even of our own finite natures, it would be rash to affirm that the only possible relation is one person to one nature. But of an infinite nature, we have no experience at all. If God tells us that His own infinite nature is totally possessed by three persons, we can have no grounds for doubting the statement, although we may find it almost immeasurably difficult to make any meaning of it. There is no difficulty in accepting it as true, given our own inexperience of what it is to have an infinite nature and God’s statement on the subject; there is no difficulty, I say, in accepting it as true; the difficulty lies in seeing what it means. Yet short of seeing some meaning in it, there is no point in having it revealed to us; indeed, a revelation that is only darkness is a kind of contradiction in terms.

Three Persons – One God
Let us then see what meaning, – that is to say, what light – we can get from what has been said so far. The one infinite nature is totally possessed by three distinct persons. Here we must be quite accurate: the three persons are distinct, but not separate; and they do not share the divine nature, but each possesses it totally.

At this first beginning of our exploration of the supreme truth about God, it is worth pausing a moment to consider the virtue of accuracy. There is a feeling that it is a very suitable virtue for mathematicians and scientists, but cramping if applied to operations more specifically human. The young tend to despise it as a kind of tidiness, a virtue proper only to the poor-spirited. And everybody feels that it limits the free soul. It is in particular disrepute as applied to religion, where it is seen as a sort of anxious weighing and measuring that is fatal to the impetuous rush of the spirit.

But in fact, accuracy is in every field the key to beauty: beauty has no greater enemy than rough approximation. Had Cleopatra’s nose been shorter, says Pascal, the face of the Roman Empire and so of the world would have been changed: an eighth of an inch is not a lot: a lover, you would think, would not bother with such close calculation; but her nose was for her lovers the precise length for beauty: a slight inaccuracy would have spoiled everything. It is so in music, it is so in everything: beauty and accuracy run together, and where accuracy does not run, beauty limps.

Returning to the point at which this digression started: we must not say three separate persons, but three distinct persons, because although they are distinct – that is to say, no one of them is either of the others – yet they cannot be separated, for each is what he is by the total possession of the one same nature: apart from that one same nature, no one of the three persons could exist at all.

And we must not use any phrase which suggests that the three persons share the Divine Nature. For we have seen that in the Infinite there is utter simplicity, there are no parts, therefore no possibility of sharing. The infinite Divine Nature can be possessed only in its totality. In the words of the Fourth Council of the Lateran, “There are three persons indeed, but one utterly simple substance, essence, or nature.”

Summarizing thus far, we may state the doctrine in this way:
o The Father possesses the whole nature of God as His Own, the Son possesses the whole nature of God as His Own, the Holy Spirit possesses the whole nature of God as His Own.
o Thus, since the nature of any being decides what the being is, each person is God, wholly and therefore equally with the others. o Further, the nature decides what the person can do: therefore, each of the three persons who thus totally possess the Divine Nature can do all the things that go with being God.

All this we find in the Preface for the Mass on the Feast of the Holy Trinity: “Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, … we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead …: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.”

To complete this first stage of our inquiry, let us return to the question which, in our model dialogue above, produced so much incoherence from the believer – if each of the three persons is wholly God, why not three Gods?

The reason why we cannot say three Gods becomes clear if we consider what is meant by the parallel phrase, “three men”. That would mean three distinct persons, each possessing a human nature. But note that, although their natures would be similar, each would have his own. The first man could not think with the second man’s intellect, but only with his own; the second man could not love with the third’s will, but only with his own.

The phrase “three men” would mean three distinct persons, each with his own separate human nature, his own separate equipment as man; the phrase “three gods” would mean three distinct persons, each with his own separate Divine Nature, his own separate equipment as God. But in the Blessed Trinity, that is not so. The three Persons are God, not by the possession of equal and similar natures, but by the possession of one single nature; they do in fact, what our three men could not do, know with the same intellect and love with the same will. They are three Persons, but they are not three Gods; they are One God.

Frank Sheed (1897-1981) was an Australian of Irish descent. A law student, he graduated from Sydney University in Arts and Law, then moved in 1926, with his wife Maisie Ward, to London. There they founded the well-known Catholic publishing house of Sheed & Ward in 1926, which published some of the finest Catholic literature of the first half of the twentieth century.

Known for his sharp mind and clarity of expression, Sheed became one of the most famous Catholic apologists of the century. He was an outstanding street-corner speaker who popularized the Catholic Evidence Guild in both England and America (where he later resided). In 1957 he received a doctorate of Sacred Theology honoris causa authorized by the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities in Rome.

Although he was a cradle Catholic, Sheed was a central figure in what he called the “Catholic Intellectual Revival,” an influential and loosely knit group of converts to the Catholic Faith, including authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Arnold Lunn, and Ronald Knox.
00Monday, June 8, 2020 9:32 PM
Archbishop Vigano writes
President Trump

June 6, 2020

AMV has published on his blog both the Italian and English texts of a letter sent by Archbishop Vigano to President Trump on Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2019. It is sure to earn him an avalanche of new anathemas by those who have started to excoriate him unforgivinglyfor his increasingly more militant and outspoken views on the increasing secularization towards a one-world-government under the aegis of both Jorge Bergoglio blatantly misusing his position (as de facto and de jure temporal head of the Roman Catholic Church) and the United Nations whose agenda he supports 200 percent.

Holy Trinity Sunday
June 7, 2020

Mr. President,

In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority.

And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them in a situation of moral inferiority with respect to their adversaries, who often hold strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media. In an apparently inexplicable way, the good are held hostage by the wicked and by those who help them either out of self-interest or fearfulness.

These two sides, which have a Biblical nature, follow the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent.
- On the one hand there are those who, although they have a thousand defects and weaknesses, are motivated by the desire to do good, to be honest, to raise a family, to engage in work, to give prosperity to their homeland, to help the needy, and, in obedience to the Law of God, to merit the Kingdom of Heaven.
- On the other hand, there are those who serve themselves, who do not hold any moral principles, who want to demolish the family and the nation, exploit workers to make themselves unduly wealthy, foment internal divisions and wars, and accumulate power and money: for them the fallacious illusion of temporal well-being will one day – if they do not repent – yield to the terrible fate that awaits them, far from God, in eternal damnation.

In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans.

They seem to be so certain of already having everything under control that they have laid aside that circumspection that until now had at least partially concealed their true intentions.
- The investigations already under way will reveal the true responsibility of those who managed the Covid emergency not only in the area of health care but also in politics, the economy, and the media. We will probably find that in this colossal operation of social engineering there are people who have decided the fate of humanity, arrogating to themselves the right to act against the will of citizens and their representatives in the governments of nations.
- We will also discover that the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances, because they would be followed by repression which, although legitimate, could be condemned as an unjustified aggression against the population. The same thing is also happening in Europe, in perfect synchrony.

It is quite clear that the use of street protests is instrumental to the purposes of those who would like to see someone elected in the upcoming presidential elections who embodies the goals of the deep state and who expresses those goals faithfully and with conviction.

It will not be surprising if, in a few months, we learn once again that hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence there are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom: Solve et coagula [Dissolve and coagulate] as the Masonic adage teaches.

Although it may seem disconcerting, the opposing alignments I have described are also found in religious circles. There are faithful Shepherds who care for the flock of Christ, but there are also mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves.

It is not surprising that these mercenaries are allies of the children of darkness and hate the children of light: just as there is a deep state, there is also a deep church that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God. Thus the Invisible Enemy, whom good rulers fight against in public affairs, is also fought against by good shepherds in the ecclesiastical sphere. It is a spiritual battle, which I spoke about in my recent Appeal which was published on May 8.

For the first time, the United States has in you a President who courageously defends the right to life, who is not ashamed to denounce the persecution of Christians throughout the world, who speaks of Jesus Christ and the right of citizens to freedom of worship. Your participation in the March for Life, and more recently your proclamation of the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, are actions that confirm which side you wish to fight on. And I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons.

For this reason, I believe that the attack to which you were subjected after your visit to the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II is part of the orchestrated media narrative which seeks not to fight racism and bring social order, but to aggravate dispositions; not to bring justice, but to legitimize violence and crime; not to serve the truth, but to favor one political faction.

And it is disconcerting that there are Bishops – such as those whom I recently denounced – who, by their words, prove that they are aligned on the opposing side. They are subservient to the deep state, to globalism, to aligned thought, to the New World Order which they invoke ever more frequently in the name of a universal brotherhood which has nothing Christian about it, but which evokes the Masonic ideals of those want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches.

The American people are mature and have now understood how much the mainstream media does not want to spread the truth but seeks to silence and distort it, spreading the lie that is useful for the purposes of their masters. However,

it is important that the good – who are the majority – wake up from their sluggishness and do not accept being deceived by a minority of dishonest people with unavowable purposes. It is necessary that the good, the children of light, come together and make their voices heard.

What more effective way is there to do this, Mr. President, than by prayer, asking the Lord to protect you, the United States, and all of humanity from this enormous attack of the Enemy? Before the power of prayer, the deceptions of the children of darkness will collapse, their plots will be revealed, their betrayal will be shown, their frightening power will end in nothing, brought to light and exposed for what it is: an infernal deception.

Mr. President, my prayer is constantly turned to the beloved American nation, where I had the privilege and honor of being sent by Pope Benedict XVI as Apostolic Nuncio. In this dramatic and decisive hour for all of humanity, I am praying for you and also for all those who are at your side in the government of the United States. I trust that the American people are united with me and you in prayer to Almighty God.

United against the Invisible Enemy of all humanity, I bless you and the First Lady, the beloved American nation, and all men and women of good will.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana
Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America

June 9, 2020
A public reaction to the letter has come from Giuseppe Pellegrino, familiar to many who follow sites like OnePeterFive and Stilum Curiae, for whom he has translated articles on the Church from Italian to English and vice versa. He wrote this article for Church Militant. A site, BTW, that has had its share of baffling twists and turns and controversies, the latest being a seeming crusade against the FSSPX for alleged sexual abuses by its priests and the coverup thereof.

For the open letter to Trump,
a light shining in darkness.

by Giuseppe Pellegrino

June 8, 2020

“It is important that the good — who are the majority — wake up from their sluggishness and do not accept being deceived by a minority of dishonest people with unavowable purposes.”

With these words in his “Open Letter to President Donald Trump,” released on the first Saturday of June in this most distressing and unprecedented year of 2020, Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò has kindled a light for the Church in these hours of darkness that shines as a beacon above the present chaos and confusion.

Like the paschal candle that rises in the darkness on the night of Easter, inviting the children of Israel to follow it through the turbulent waters of the Red Sea to freedom and joy, so Vigano’s powerful and prophetic words invite the Church of 2020 to reflect on what is really happening with the eyes of faith and to raise our eyes to the things that are above and to what endures.

Viganò addresses his letter to President Trump, thanking him for his unprecedented pro-life witness. This gratitude should have been expressed by the bishops of the United States on the occasion of President Trump’s visit to the John Paul II Shrine to promote religious freedom. But since it was not, Abp. Viganò has chosen to fill a vacuum of leadership, expressing this gratitude on behalf of the many faithful Catholic laity and clergy who recognize Trump’s courageous leadership on behalf of life.

But Viganò also intends by his letter to instruct the faithful and all people of goodwill — to rouse us from our sluggishness — inviting us to understand and reflect on what is really happening.

As a good teacher and father, Abp. Viganò is reminding the flock to remember what is most fundamental, what is most essential — an act of leadership that is vitally important since we live in such superficial times. Invoking the foundational text of Genesis chapter 3, he reminds us of the biblical nature of a struggle as ancient as Eden: The serpent wages war against the woman and her offspring.

This is the same struggle that Our Lady reminded her children of at Fatima in 1917 — it is a battle for souls, a battle that involves the entire human race, a battle that will ultimately end in victory for the woman and her divine Son but that, at present, in many ways appears to be tilting in favor of the serpent.

Viganò reminds us, in accord with fundamental biblical principles, that although the wicked — the children of darkness— constitute a minority, they hold undue authority and power over the good — the children of light. This means that the good suffer at the hands of the wicked, and in a mysterious way, this also happens within the Church.

How refreshing and consoling it is to have such clarity spoken to us from a Catholic bishop!

Here is Mundabor commenting on another act of recent blatant hypocrisy in the USA. An act that was, surprisingly, criticized
in many of the leftist Democrat-coddling media and by some African Americans...

Nancy 'Kente' Pelosi and
her band of walking memes

June 9, 2020

Firstly, a warning: nowadays, everything must to go on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds exactly. Not one more, not one less. When you have breakfast, I suggest you make it go on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds exactly, “to honour George Floyd”.

I am pretty sure this is the duration of Nancy Pelosi’s expensive ice cream sessions from her extremely expensive and, well, oh very white fridge. I would like to know how long an abortion procedure takes on average. We can then suggest to Nancy that she has her lunch – including very expensive ice cream dessert if needs be – go on for exactly the same time.

End of your lunch and of a human life, Mrs Pelosi. Are you satisfied?

Secondly, a suggestion: if you want to become a walking meme, try to impress the inhabitants of the Democratic Plantation by doing something that shows to the poor simpleton that their Democrat Overseers really, really care.

The warning and the suggestion were admirably combined by the elite echelons of the Dumbocrat Party yesterday, and the comic effect will remain forever.

Let us forget for a moment that, in a further comedy moment, Nancy couldn’t get up, further raising the question whether she is far too old to make a joke of herself in this way, or actually to be Speaker of the House in the first place. This post is not about that.

The real news is the stupidity of using “cultural appropriation” (a big liberal no-no) for their pathetic exercise in tokenism, and the ultimate futility of it. The reaction, as you can see from the link, was not awaited for long, and drew anger and mockery from both the left and the right. They really had it coming.

This was really myopic, and certainly done on the spur of the moment; without any reflection about the countless, and ever increasing, rules of political correctness. Democrats hate “cultural appropriation”, and the more on the left they are, the more they hate it. These people are trying to impress a segment of the population that finds racism in absolutely everything, including Nancy being still alive.

They should understand that, being White, there is nothing they can do that can appease the Black Communist Party; but the more they try to do it, the more they expose themselves as ridiculous, manipulative, pathetic tools in the eyes of many Democrats. Therefore, they keep digging a deeper and deeper hole around themselves, and think that somehow, magically, they will be able to jump out of it and appeal to the – largely White – moderate base they also desperately need.

A conservative President tends to drive the Democrats to the left, leaving too much space to the activist cooks, who then ruin the soup for the population at large. Ask Walter Mondale if you don’t believe me. Riots and disorders are also no great friends of the Democrats. They can excite the fringes, but they scare the middle ground.

Also, there is no way to appease the fringes anyway. The likes of Black Lives Matter and assorted extremist movements will never be happy with her, will always ask for more concession from her, will ultimately criticise her merely for being part of the White Democrat Establishment. Nancy and her merry band of Walking Memes are playing a stupid game.

This is like scratching mosquito bites. A very short sense of relief is followed by a bigger sense of discomfort. The Democrat Overseers scratched their bites with this stunt, but the discomfort will go on, and become more painful.

They are playing a game without possibility of victory, and they are playing even that in a very stupid way.

Nancy, you should have stayed near your fridge.

Amusing post-scripts to the Pelosi stunt:

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York is one of the most sanctimonious politicians ever
to disgrace the national scene. At least, Pelosi tried to 'kneel'. Doesn't it call
to mind Bergoglio who cannot even bring himself to genuflect briefly at
Consecration or before the Blessed Sacrament, even if he effortlessly kneels
before persons whose feet he so 'humbly' washes? But no humility before the
Lord, eh? Of whom he apparently considers it beneath him to be called 'Vicar' of!

BTW, what is loosely called 'kneeling' as in the poses of athletes defying the
American anthem and flag is really half-kneeling, or genuflection, what
traditional Catholics do when first entering a church or upon leaving it,
as opposed to full kneeling during liturgy. I bet none of those models of
American machohood and robust health, nor any of their congressional imitators,
could really kneel with both knees if they had to, at least not for longer than 8:46

More hypocrisy - not to mention
disrespect for the dead -
from the uber-sanctimonious
types at

The headline, plastered on C212's homepage the day of Floyd's funeral, would seem to imply that the police victim was nothing but a 'violent career criminal and drug addict'. He did have a criminal past, for which he served his time in prison, but he came to Minnesota to start a new life in 2014. There is no evidence he had any brushes with the law since then until the day he was killed by a rabidly overzealous policeman.

In fact, nothing about that criminal past is mentioned in the letter from the Botswana bishop for the simple reason that he became friends with George before the latter began his life of crime.

Does the world of and Frank Walker not recognize repentance and second chances made good, or does it just choose to tar everyone they (and he) disapprove of with pejoratives like 'evil', 'thug', 'Francis-something-or-other', etc? What is Christian about that at all? George Floyd does not deserve to be unjustly dishonoured in death - that is killing him all over, and just as brutally as Derek Chauvin did.

And just to put the right perspective about 'racism' in America, consider the figures and other relevant facts cited in this article:

Let’s take a closer look
at #BlackLivesMatter

by Robert Hutchinson

June 3, 2020

On Monday night, the Black Lives Matter protest came to the sleepy beach town of Huntington Beach, California: about 500 protesters, most of them white, denouncing police brutality against black men.

A diverse group of students, retirees and mothers with children faced off against about 200 police officers, some mounted on horses, many of them Hispanic.

There had been a report that more ominous Antifa demonstrators were being bused in to loot local shops, so about 30 stores had boarded up their windows with plywood, just in case. The police found weapons hidden in several alleys, including cinder blocks, weights and rocks, indicating plans for possible violence.

Yet in the end, little happened. The demonstrators chanted “I Can’t Breathe” at the cops, held up signs for TV camera crews, then left. This is what occurred in most small and medium towns across America.

But in America’s cities, it’s a different story.

For a week now, Americans have been sitting in front of their televisions, transfixed, as cities across the United States erupt in riots not seen since the 1960s. At least 40 major cities have imposed curfews, with 23 calling in units of America’s National Guard to restore order.

After two months of strict lock-downs engineered primarily by Democratic mayors and governors, some 40 million Americans are now unemployed [Had been left unemployed by the pandemic, but a significant number of them have now been reinstated in their old jobs], most of them without savings, many with no hope of returning to work.

When people ventured out to beaches or parks for fresh air, some of the overzealous mayors and governors ordered arrests and imposed US$7,000 fines.

Not surprisingly, the entire country, like the entire world, has been on edge for weeks.

And then came the tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man killed or allowed to die on May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis’s ethnically diverse police department.

Like the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago, the brutal treatment of Floyd triggered an explosion among disparate groups across the country – the black community, extreme left groups like Antifa, and run-of-the-mill criminals, thugs and looters.

Most Americans, including most police officers, appear to be sincerely outraged by what happened to Floyd. Police chiefs across the country denounced the actions of the officer involved.

Yet what happened to Floyd was hardly unique – and not confined to black males.

Three years ago, a 40-year-old Australian yoga instructor named Justine Damond called the Minneapolis police to report what she thought was a sexual assault then taking place.

When Minneapolis police arrived around 11:30 pm, Damond ran up to the squad car to report what she had heard. One of the police officers, a Somali immigrant named Mohamed Mohamed Noor, reached across his partner in his squad car and, through the car’s open window, shot Damond in the chest, killing her.

There were no riots for Damond, no quick arrests for the officer involved.

Instead, nine months after the shooting, a warrant was finally issued for Noor’s arrest. He was convicted a year later of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, a conviction the Somali Police Association said was racist.

According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, which claims to track every police shooting in the United States, since 2015 America’s various police agencies have shot or otherwise killed a total of 5,360 people – about three per day on average.

Of those, 887 were Hispanic, 1,262 were black, and 2,412 were white. Another 799 were unknown or “other.”

The media often highlight the cases involving black men, because that fits the narrative of “systemic” white racism, but the reality is that police shootings are not perpetrated solely, or even primarily, against black males.

There are literally hundreds of cases every year of American police shooting to death white males (and a few females) who confront police with weapons, or, in a handful of egregious cases, fail to comply with police orders.

- In December 2010, a drunk white man named Douglas Zerby, 35, was sitting on his porch in Long Beach, California, playing with his garden hose. Responding to a false report that a man might have a gun, two police officers approached, and, seeing the hose and without issuing any commands, opened fire, shooting Zerby 12 times. The Long Beach prosecutor declined to press charges against the two officers.
- In 2011, a white homeless man, Kelly Thomas, the son of a retired L.A. Police Officer, was killed by three members of the Fullerton, California police department when they beat him to death for failing to obey their commands. The officers were eventually tried for second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter but acquitted by a jury.
- In 2012, two police officers in the sleepy community of Bainbridge Island, Washington, responded to a call of a mentally ill man, who was white, yelling in the garage apartment of his parents. One of the officers ordered the man to drop an axe he was holding and, when he refused, shot him dead. A jury acquitted the officer of using excessive force.
Examples such as these fail to mollify media critics who claim the
police are inherently racist.

The critics point out that, while more whites are killed annually by police than blacks, blacks are only 12.1% of the US population.

The critics say that this means that African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by American police than are white people – 30 deaths per million for blacks versus 12 deaths per million for whites — and point to this fact as proof that “systemic” racism permeates American society in general and the police in particular.

“There are two viruses killing Americans,” said CNN anchor Don Lemon after the riots began. “Covid-19 and racism”.

Yet supporters of the police say that the shooting statistics don’t tell the whole story.

For one thing, about 50 police officers are shot and killed in the line of duty each year, some from deliberate ambushes.

Every police officer knows of incidents in which a cop inadvertently stepped into an ambush and paid with his or her life – such as the five officers killed in Dallas in 2016 when they were ambushed by a black military veteran named Micah Xavier Johnson.

Johnson, who watched Black Lives Matters protests over and over on TV, told friends that “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

In addition, when it comes to interracial violence blacks are many times more likely to commit violence against whites than whites are against blacks.

According to the US Department of Justice statistics,
- in 2018 there were 547,948 acts of violence perpetrated by black offenders against white victims… compared to 56,915 acts of violence committed by white offenders against black victims.
- When it comes to homicide generally, the offending rate for African Americans is almost 8 times higher than for whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher.

Thus, if racism is defined by acts of violence, it would seem that black racism is at least as much of a problem ín America as white racism.

Plus, a study of police shootings by Michigan State University professor Joseph Cesario found that white police officers are not more likely to shoot minority citizens than non-white officers for a very simple reason: most of the shootings of black suspects by police are done by black police officers, not white ones.

“We found that the race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot,” Cesario said. “If anything, black citizens are more likely to have been shot by black officers, but this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens there are in a community, the more black police officers there are.”

Thus, it turns out that the entire premise behind the current round of riots – that American police are inherently racist and more likely to shoot or cause harm to black offenders than to white ones – is likely false in two different ways.

Not only are more whites killed by police every year than blacks, but, if the Cesario study is accurate, then most shootings of black offenders are done by black officers, not white officers.

The cases the media constantly highlight – such as unarmed black men being shot or choked – are relatively rare and, thanks to improved training, decreasing.

According to the Washington Post, of the 5,360 people killed by police over the past five years, only 321 were unarmed. Most involved suspects brandishing firearms (3,053) or knives (924) or driving vehicles towards police (126).

In the end, stoking the flames of racial hatred, as the media and the political left are now doing so enthusiastically, ultimately serves no one.

Despite what left-wing activists claim, studies have shown that riots, violence and looting usually trigger an electoral backlash that bolsters conservative political parties – as occurred with the election of Richard Nixon following the 1968 riots.

In the ultimate irony, it could well turn out that the looters now stealing TVs and beating up old women will only succeed in re-electing Donald Trump.

Robert J. Hutchinson is the author of many works of popular history, including, most recently, What Really Happened: The Lincoln Assassination (2020).

00Tuesday, June 9, 2020 7:04 PM
A precious lesson from
'ignorant' peasants

Translated from

by Aldo Maria Valli

Dear Friends of Duc in altum, I offer herewith my latest contribution to the feature La trave e la pagliuzza for Radio Roma Libera:

I remain most impressed by a video that a friend sent me recently, with the testimony of some elderly peasants and animal breeders, presumably from central Italy, who, when asked about the pandemic, Coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it, candidly show they know nothing about all this. The video is beautiful because the testimonies are laden with disarming sincerity, the faces show simple dignity, and none of those asked tries to be anything other than who he is.

In turn I sent the video to some friends and one of them, who is in agronomy, commented: “They are lovable, and how many like them I know! Persons who are not well educated, far from the social media and the world shaped by the media. I love them all, because they are our [Italian] history: Woe to those who would touch them!”

A female friend commented: “Simple to the point of making you feel protective about them! They live in the same world as we do but they have not been overwhelmed by it. They deserve our attention and respect.”

None of my friends even thought of calling the persons in the video ‘ignorant’. Nor would I say that of them. Though they are truly ignorant, in the literal sense, because they ignore or don’t know about so many things - but it is not as if we, educated metropolitanites, know any much more than they!

If we think about what we really know about Covid-19, we must admit that we remain profoundly ignorant. Despite our exposure to social media and our daily reading of so much news and commentary, we are full of doubts and questions, and the things we do not know surpass by far the things about which we think we know, more or less.

We still do not know well how and where the virus was born, nor how it was first transmitted to humans. We do not know exactly how many deaths attributed to the virus were really due to other pre-existing conditions. We don’t know exactly who died of Covid-19 or because of Covid-19, and who did not. [The fatality numbers in Italy are particularly suspect because health officials have admitted that most Covid-19 deaths reported, especially of the elderly, were attributed to the virus even when the dead persons may not have been infected at all.] We do not know if the virus has really ‘gone away’, we don’t know if it will come back, we don’t know if we should all get vaccinated or not, we do not know what would be the best treatments if the virus came back, etc. etc.

If we know that we do not know very much, we would be cautious and humble, but since we have been overloaded with ‘information’, we presume to know, and so, we become aggressive. It is the aggressivity of the weak who attacks out of uncertainty.

The rural people interviewed in the video had the beautiful bronzed faces of older people accustomed to being in the open air. The fact that they live in isolated rural villages placed them automatically outside the risk for contagion, but not just of what the virus caused: I also refer to their contagion from ‘information’.

Their faces show they have not been stressed by terror of the unknown or by sensationalism. Having been without television, newspapers, the social media and all other sources of outside information, they have maintained a regal detachment and an unassailable serenity.

Does this mean we should not keep informed? Of course not. But the lesson we get from our older rural compatriots is nonetheless instructive: one can die of (mis/dis) information overload as much as of Covid-19. One can die of information indigestion, of news-related stress, of nervous exhaustion from the information overload.

It’s not easy to say how much ’news’ we should have in order not to develop some kind of neurosis. We can each regulate our personal dose as we think appropriate. But the problem is not just quantitative. One should discern the quality of the information we get, information that is truly ‘free’ [and objective] – rara avis in terris!

Watching the video with the elderly peasants, I also thought back to the TV appearance of our Prime Minister during the pandemic when, in the primest of prime time, he entered our houses, in which we had been cooped up by the nationwide quarantine, and he started to reel out figures and to announce measures the government was taking on the recommendation of its ‘scientific and technical committee’.

This was the classic case in which we presume we have received knowledge but in reality, knew nothing at all. We had no way of knowing how the data we were being given was collected, we were unable to compare it with other sources of information, we had no way to understand how the committee came to take certain decisions, we did not know the true competence of these persons who were called on to make the decisions.

All of us, lacking any objective means of judgment, were called on to nothing less than an act of faith. Which gave the sensation, totally illusory, that we knew something when it was simply that we believed [or were made to believe] we knew something.

We must admit that we have lived – and are living – in illusion. The illusion of knowing, of being free to make up our pown minds, the illusion of being free to judge. And the illusion continues.

One naturally starts to think of Plato’s cave, with its enchained slaves who did not know they were only seeing shadows because, being unable to face the source of the projections, identified the shadows cast as effective reality.

It is well to hear the voices of those who, in helping us to recognize our limitations, would call us back to the realism of humility.

Tomasso Scandroglio, who often writes about scientific developments and their bioethical implications, indulges his philosophical fancy about the virus.

The shameless realism of Mr. Coronavirus
By Tomasso Scandroglio
Translated from

June 9, 2020

The virus confesses that it came to expose human illusions: “You marched for peace, and I have turned you into epidemic bombs. Your fear is a reflection of your selfishness, so I have given you isolation. You loved to laugh at the void, and I have covered your mouths. You have been living virtual lives, so I have taken away your real life. You thought of science as liberating, now scientists are keeping you at home”.

I hear someone calling me. I turn around. I recognize those eyes above the now-mandatory face mask. It Is Marco, with whom I had played soccer many glacial years ago. Stouter now but not aged, he starts to recount anecdotes from the past while our shopping carts are in violation of social distancing. Other customers swarm attentively but prudently around us.

At one point, Marco, whose cart is already loaded, says, “You know, I read your interviews. You really do meet all kinds of odd people”.
- “But that’s what the world has to offer, my friend”.
- “You know who you should interview?”
- “Tell me!”
- “Why not Mr. Coronavirus?”
- “I’ll leave that pleasure to others”.

And after a series of exchanges, each one horribly banal, Marco finally broke off and resumed his rounds of the supermarket aisles. At that point, I heard a flat atonal voice addressing me: “Your friend was right. You should interview that which you call Coronavirus.”

I turned and found myself facing an older man, short and rather lean, who wore ‘important’-looking eyeglasses, with completely opaque lenses. He took off his face mask and stepped towards me. One step too near, which forced me instinctively to take one step away. I step back.

- “But yes, interview the Coronavirus. Interview me!”
- “Excuse me?”
- “My pleasure! I am the ex-detainee SARS-CoV-2”, and saying this, he held out his hand as if he was holding a pistol. I moved back farther, while he smiled in a friendly manner: “With armed hands, carissimo”. The two esses in carissimo (‘dearest’) came out hissing and prolonged, like the sound of a dentist’s drill.
- “So, today, each hand has become a weapon, and a gesture of peace becomes a threat! You have taunted war as much as you have marched for peace and I have changed each of you into a potential epidemic bomb. It’s the law of counterpoint, carissimo”.

Again, the hissed esses annoy me. I am also short of breath because of the face mask, but my interlocutor has his hanging from his ear like a big earring. Then I manage to mentally frame the question that seems most logical to me: “Are you really who you say you are?”

"I notice you are at a loss for words," said the little man in a very bored tone, reminding me of the most tedious of my high school teachers.
- “Prove to me that you are Mr. Covid!”
- “First of all, don’t confuse me with Covid-19 – that’s the disease. I am a virus. And I can easily prove who I am. If someone else comes nearer, I can prove it to you.” A strange light flickered in his eyes. I step back again.

He turns, takes three steps and touches a girl, a curly-haired brunette, wearing a fancy mask.

I move towards him, and say: “Well, let’s say you are our Coronavirus. Why do you call yourself an ex-detainee?”

The old man, putting his mask back on, turns to me and asks in a completely different tone: “Excuse me, are you talking to me?”

The brunette, after removing her mask, tells the old man: “Look, he was talking to me!” in a flat exhausted tone.

I immediately understood what had happened. Sars-whatshisname had transferred from the old man to the girl. I was more amazed than frightened.

«I am an ex-detainee because I escaped. Don't ask me if it was from a lab or from the body of a bat. Useless question - even if it is true that before moving here, I had adapted myself to live in those hideous bats. Then, spillover, a jump between species, happened. Listen to how nice it sounds, s-pill-o-ver. Come on, repeat after me: s-pill-o-ver”.

I pay no attention. My reporter’s nature asserts itself. “How would you define yourself?”

“I am a parody of Original Sin – which also made the jump from animal to man, from a serpent to a human being. It’s curious how some things repeat themselves, no?” She puts out her hand and touches the collar of a boy in a crumpled baseball cap who had strayed from his mother’s side. The same thing happened as earlier. The girl put back her mask, and the boy, taking off his, turned towards me.

“What is your greatest value, assuming you have one?”, I ask the boy.

And the boy, in a flat and colorless tone, answered: “I am a realist who obliges everyone to face facts for what they are. Thank me because I have made you know your limitations, I have forced you to look into the mirror. I am the personification of the evil within you and which consumes you, which has infected you and which is killing you. I have given form to your sin because my contagion is wide-spreading, just as the evil in you is diffusive. I am your counterpoint”.
- “What do you mean?”
- “The company you sought before this blazing time of darkness was nothing else but food for your individualism, a showcase for your vanity. So I made you a gift of isolation in which you can savor all the rancid fruits of your selfishness. You loved to laugh at the void, so I covered your mouths with a mask – I have taken away your smiles. Speaking of masks, you are liars, not authentic, hiding yourselves behind a thousand masks, so I have gifted you with millions of masks. You were so enamored with the social media and the possibilities offered by the Web, and now I have chained you to it as your only possibility to communicate with the world. For years, you have enclosed yourselves in a virtual life and now your real life is only virtual. Finally, you had always thought of science as liberating. And now the scientists have you imprisoned at home”.

A woman of exceptional size passes by the boy. He takes a step and touches her shoulder with a finger. As if on cue, she takes off her mask.
- “ And who might you be?” I ask.
- “I will tell you who I’m like, carissimo,” she says in the same tone as the earlier ‘hosts’ of Mr Sars-CoV-2, and pronouncing those esses like a dentist’s drill as they did. “I am like God. I am here but I also in many other places, I can give death or I can save lives, I shake consciences in their innermost.” She smiles and shows her teeth.
- “I observe your pride”, I say.
- “Pride is a luxury I can afford. Come on, it’s clear for all to see: a such a tiny thing has brought all of mankind to its knees. Of course, I feel much better than you all. One example out of many? For some time, you have stopped having children. Whereas I can replicate as much as I wish to”. She laughs, almost to tears. “Better give me a sedative, or I will suffocate from laughter”.
- “You indulge in black humor…”
- “Let me ask you a question: are you afraid of me?”
- “Of course. Naturally”.
- “Then let me tell you that your fear is the reflection of your selfishness. For instance, no one is scandalized by the one million and a half children who die every year of tuberculosis, for the simple reason that they are not your children. But for the first time in a hundred years, a daily scourge in one part of the world is now also your scourge. And so, your consciences have awakened from torpor and numbness which is lethal. And yet, the scourge has merely touched you briefly. I decided to pluck out the flowers that had already faded, to end the silver years, to visit those in the winter of their existence, leaving the buds to be able to germinate even amid unforeseen spring chilliness”.

A man in his 30s, tall and robust, risks turning his back on the woman. She extends a leg and gives him a kick in the calf.
- “It really seems as if you take pleasure in infecting him”.
- “I do not take pleasure in it, Sir. It’s just an attempt to survive. In this, you and I are alike. You survive. But you certainly don’t live. You drag yourselves by the belly because you think and act according to what your belly and lower belly demand".
- "Another question. You have lived hundreds of thousands of deaths up close, even from within. How do men prepare to die? "
- «Those who believe always find the right word, those who do not believe simply do not find any words. It is death that says the last word for them."

The man in his thirties puts on his mask again without having touched anyone and then quickly leaves me. I understand that the interview has ended.

After a few minutes of disorientation, I start shopping again and then I go to the checkout. I go out and in the parking lot, I notice, scattered about, an old man, a girl with dark curls, a boy with a crumpled baseball cap, an obese woman and a well-built man in his 30s, who all turn towards me at the same time, take off their masks, and say in the same flat voice: “Next time, I will interview you”.
00Wednesday, June 10, 2020 1:06 AM

Martin Luther at Wittemberg.

No one could be happier than I am that more of the prestigious widely-read Catholic writers are increasingly using the word 'apostasy' to
describe the overall doctrinal laxity that has plagued the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church since Vatican II, and which, since March 2013,
has spread like a vast evil inkblot throughout the Church starting from the man who was elected to symbolize the unity of that Church. Those
who have spoken of 'heresy' all these years are being too kind and totally wrong in their imprecision. Almost from the start, 'apostasy' was
my word of choice for this evil.

A paradigm drift to apostasy?
By George Weigel -June 8, 2020

June 8, 2020

Yale University’s Carlos Eire masterfully demonstrated in Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 that there was no one “Protestant Reformation” but rather several religious movements, often in disagreement with each other, that shattered western Christendom in the 16th century.

Still, Martin Luther’s protest at Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, has long been taken as the starting gun for “the Reformation,” and various Protestant denominations celebrate “Reformation Day” on the Sunday closest to that date.

So “Wittenberg” can serve as a synonym for other efforts to distance Christian communities from the authority of Rome and the papacy.

Which suggests that what’s afoot in German Catholicism today is “Wittenberg” in synodal slow motion. In this instance, there is no nailing of contested propositions to church doors.

Rather, the gears of a vast, well-funded ecclesiastical bureaucracy are grinding away toward outcomes that seem baked into the process from its inception:
- a German revision (meaning abandonment) of the discipline of clerical celibacy;
- some form of installed, or ordained, role for women in German Catholicism;
- a German substitute for the Catholic ethic of human love;
- a German “democratisation” of Church governance
– in short, the dreams of the Catholic Revolution That Never Was, realised at last from Cologne to Berlin and from Hamburg to Munich.

This is the “synodal path” on which the Church in Germany has launched itself.

The anti-Roman and anti-papal subtext to all this has typically been disguised or flatly denied by Cardinal Reinhard Marx and other German Catholic bishops.

But the Central Committee of German Catholics – the lay Politburo (to use a more accurate and related title) that is co-managing the “synodal path” with the German bishops’ conference – recently let the cat out of the bag.

Gobsmacked that bucketloads of German money at the 2019 Amazonian synod did not produce the desired results, the Zentralkomitee responded to Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on Amazonia by deploring the absence of a papal endorsement of married priests and women deacons.

And it did so in baldly Wittenbergian terms: “We very much regret that Pope Francis did not take a step forward in his [exhortation]. Rather, it strengthens the existing positions of the Roman Church both in terms of access to the priesthood and the participation of women in ministries…”

“…the existing positions of the Roman Church…” Well, well. That formula at least has the merit of candour, if not theological heft. But please note what is going on here.

The “Roman Church,” it seems, is but one among any number of local Churches. Which implies that the Bishop of Rome, its head, is but one among the bishops who form the episcopal college. And that flatly contradicts both Scripture (see Matthew 16:13-19) and the authoritative tradition of the Church as expressed in the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.


But I’m now wondering whether that’s quite right, and whether the more appropriate description for what’s going on along this German synodal path is apostasy: an arrogant determination to break with settled Catholic doctrine in the name of a contemporary intelligence superior to what Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation called Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

That, it seems to me, is what’s implied by the formula used in the Central Committee’s smackdown of Pope Francis. In light of this, those who believe that the Catholic Church does “paradigm shifts” might want to re-consider.

For what’s happening along the German synodal path is a true paradigm shift: a shift toward the notion of the Catholic Church as a federation of local Churches, each of which legitimately espouses its own doctrine, moral teaching, and pastoral practice.

That, however, is not Catholicism. It is Anglicanism. And anyone who knows anything about world Christian demographics knows that local-option Anglicanism hasn’t turned out very well.


It is astonishing that, confronted by unmistakable empirical evidence that liberal Protestantism has collapsed around the world, German Catholic leaders, ordained and lay, seem determined to create a nominally Catholic form of liberal Protestantism through a slow-motion “Wittenberg.”

But perhaps this sad business is not all that surprising. Almost 20 years ago, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told me that “organised Catholicism in Germany is a task force for old ideas.” At the time, we both understood him to mean the tried-and-failed ideas of the 1970s. It now looks, however, as if those “old ideas” have a 16th-century pedigree.

00Thursday, June 11, 2020 2:57 AM

On April 16, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI turned 93.


Anti-racism demonstration at the Lateran Plaza last Sunday.

Out in force for anti-racism,
but no processions allowed
for Corpus Domini

by Andrea Zambrano
Translated from

June 9, 2020

In Prato [a town next to Florence], they have opted for a more ‘convenient’ Mass in the churchyard. But in almost all other Italian dioceses – unless there in rare exceptions where a bishop decides otherwise – this year, we will not be able to experience one of the fundamental moments of Christian liturgy: the traditional procession through the city (or town, or village) on the feast of Corpus Domini.

Obviously, this is the fault of recent governmental dispositions which prohibit public manifestations, and of a protocol between the Italian bishops’ conference and the Italian government which, while allowing the restoration of public Masses, continues to close the doors to all other forms of popular piety which are central to Christian life.

No baldachins or monstrances solemnly borne through the streets and lanes this Thursday night (the true date for Corpus Domini) nor this Sunday, to which many churches have chosen to move the procession supposedly to allow more of the faithful to participate.

So anyone who would want to observe Corpus Domini with a procession must organize something in the private areas of the parish, and necessarily, without as many people as one would expect. We live in a time when faith may be practiced in private only, within fenced gardens and yards.

Thus, once more, Catholic sentiments are made to pay the price, even if everyone knows that while Italy’s public squares can fill up with thousand of anti-racism demonstrators not wearing masks or observing any distancing or other sanctions at all, as they did last weekend, millions of Catholics, this Thursday and Sunday, will be banned from going out on the streets to celebrate the King of Kings, singing ‘We adore you, O divine Host!”

Anti-racism crowds, yes - in fact, they are encouraged if not mandatory – but processions with the Most Holy Sacrament, no! This is, of course, aggravated be the widespread perception that even the bishops have not bothered at all to insist on the minimal restoration of spiritual life for their people.

But we should not be surprised. During the lockdown, how many priests were fined for having dared to carry the Holy Sacrament in solitary procession, as in the case of the parish priest of Rocca Imperiale, who, believing he was doing something that his flock would welcome, he went though the main streets of the town to bless everyone with the Blessed Sacrament. He ended up being blocked by a carabinieri patrol who first ordered him to return to his church and then, slapped him with a very high fine. None of which even caused the least indignation among the Church hierarchy who would instead have raged at the poor priest.

It is therefore most ‘normal’ that at this stage of our probationary liberty, the thought of holding any processions has been set aside as being nonessential. And so, quite in keeping with new Coronavirus-dictated diocesan customs, just as last May 13 and May 31, the processions with the statues of Our Lady for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and for the closing of the Marian month of May did not take place, this week, it will be Our Lord who will remain inside the church and will not be celebrated with colorful festive streets with rosepetals strewn ahead and flags draped on balconies and windows.

Yes, government dispositions can well be foregone if the cause is racism as we have seen these days (especially in the USA, where the gatherings are also anti-Trump), nor did those sanctions hold on June 2, when people gathered to listen to President Mattarella in a packed and festive square in Codogno. And to heck with face masks when it came to celebrating the 25th of April (feast of Italian unification) with the ANPI (association of anti-fascist resistance movements).

In short, for anything that has to do with the new civil religion of rights, of anti-racisim and of secular values, the rules can well be violated and, as a circular from the Ministry of the Interior says, ‘somehow, a way will be found to do it’. But when it comes to honoring Christ and giving public testimony of one’s faith, suddenly all the prohibitions against public assembly are applied.

But we cannot even put the blame here on an anti-Christian government that persecutes, because we do not even have the excuse that this all comes ‘from above’. In these days, not one bishop has stood his ground to say processions must be allowed. We are told that the bishops' relations with the government must be carried on ‘in a regular way’ while they wait for the government to grant new concessions. This is the impression gathered by those who have had occasion to deal with the Italian church hierarchy.

In short, go ahead, Peter, but take your time. The bishops seem to expect that the possibility of returning to normality would be a concession that the government will delegate to them. But if Christians themselves do not take the lead in reactivating their rights – in this case, the right to a procession on a major Church holiday – no government will take the initiative to do it for them.

While everyone else in Italian society have gone about trying to reclaim their normal rights, from restaurant owners to bars and theaters, in May when the government ‘graciously’ allowed that public Masses could be resumed (under strict conditions), the Italian bishops remained static, harnessed like divers waiting for a signal, even though the pandemic situation was no longer what it had been and that even the government now seems to think that it is all over.

Today there are provinces with zero new infections and without new Covid deaths. Why are their citizens deprived of the right to public assembly like a procession, which by its nature can allow for the necessary distancing? This is the argument for an urgent intervention by Senator Enrico Aimi of Forza Italia who will request the Interior Ministry to allow religious processions. But that's as far as the State is concerned.

For the Church, other questions are more urgent. It is not just freedom of worship that is in play here, but something more profound. As Stefano Fontana underscored in a recent editorial, “the freedom of the Church is based on her divine institution. Christ constituted her, He sent the Spirit to sustain and guide her, he taught her what to believe and profess, made her the administrator of graces, has given her a hierarchical structure, and a mission, has taught her how to adore God in the liturgy, how to pray, has given her spiritual motherhood of the faithful, and told her to respect earthly authorities who rule according to the natural law of which God is the author, but to obey God first rather than other men”.

But if these commands and teachings are ignored because they are subordinated to the power of a state that would regulate the Church, what room remains for the faith which gives form to all this?

In short, what things are worth fighting for when, in oeder to hold a procession, one must await the ‘kind concession’ of an authority that does not have the right to keep freedom hostage for as long as it wants to? What Christian strength, what witness, what martyrdom will be useful in this battle?

The Solemnity of Corpus Domini began in the 13th century to celebrate the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in opposition to those who insist that his presence is only symbolic. But if this Presence is no longer defended or loved, even litigating with bureaucrats representing an anti-Christian government becomes a titanic undertaking. But this is not, of course, ‘advisable’ for the public relations of a church which is slowly but ever more being tamed by worldly authority.

On gloves, masks and Communion in the hand:
Latest news and some reflections

Translated from

June 10, 2020

Dear friends of Duc in altum:

Alessandro Martinetti, who has been tireless in monitoring the news about Coronavirus and its related topics, has sent us a contribution on the use of gloves to distribute Communion. Following which, my impressions upon taking part in a Mass according to the Hygienized New Rite.

When even WHO now tells us
that gloves should not be used

by Alessandro Martinetti

Dear Valli, the distribution of Communion using a single-use glove is not supported by any consistent hygienic-prophylactic reasoning: It should be enough that the priest disinfects his hands with sanitizer before distributing it, and the glove can ingloriously exit the scene.

The confirmation of this now comes from the most unexpected source: the WHO has affirmed that the use of gloves in public places is not recommended.

As to the distribution of Communion on the tongue and not in the hand, consider that:
1) Prof Filippo Maria Boscia, national president of Catholic Doctors, said a month ago, that communion on the tongue is far safer than in the hand.
2) Dr Sasonna, examining the scientific literature, concluded that neither communion in the hand or on the tongue present any serious risk of infection.
3) Prof. Clementi has demonstrated that, compared to March 2020, Covid-19 in Italy has lost significant viral load in an "absolutely macroscopic way, up to 100 times”.
4) Prof Tarro (a virologist who is not a TV fixture and perhaps because of this, little heeded), has repeatedly said for some time that an epidemic emergency no longer exists in Italy, because the virus has lost almost all of its aggressivity (thanks to the synergy of many factors, such as the heat which it cannot tolerate, and a population that is increasingly more immune and increasingly adapted to the virus to the point that it can no longer be as damaging, or if it still is, only in a mild manner).

Therefore, we can now say that the time has come to abandon the gloves permanently and to restore in complete compliance the universal law of the Church, namely to eliminate the ban of receiving Communion on the tongue, a ban that is not only canonically inadmissible, but as, we have explained, no longer has any sense and basis in terms of any hygienic-prophylactic reasons.

All the horrors of a hygienized Mass

I braced myself and went to a hygienized Mass, according to the new rite excogitated by pastors who have been so terrorized and consecrated to the dominant thought, to have placed themselves under the protection of St. Amuchina. [‘Amuchina,’ which simply means disinfectant, is also the brand name of Italy’s most widely-used hand sanitizer.]

It is not easy to express in words what it means to be disheartened. I see the scene before me again. In which the masked faithful seem to me the exact image of our current pre-comatose Cathlicism, marked by intellectual and moral self-censorship carried out in order to please the world.

And when the celebrant, also masked, walks towards the altar preceded by three likewise masked acolytes, I cannot help comparing it all to a grotesque carnival. The church where we are is a big one that could easily house thousands of persons. But there are only about 50 of us, all well separated, so there is absolutely no risk of the much-feared spreading of the virus, no risk at all of transmitting those infamous infectious droplets through the air. Regardless, the scene resembles an infectious ward.

And what about the ‘liturgy of the latex glove’, when, before distributing Communion to the faithful, the celebrant pulls on that horrible glove and sprinkles it with gel? It brings me to tears to see Our Lord treated this way, as if he were a plague-spreader, while the celebrant, who is supposed to be alter Christus, is reduced to a kind of orderly preparing for an unpleasant operation.

“Stay in your seats,” he says, “I will walk to the pews. Remember to extend your hands out”, as, masked and gloved, he starts to distribute the Host as if they were pills placed into the hands of the faithful. One is in a dispensary, not in a church!

Those who take Communion will move their mask long enough to put the Host into their mouth. As if our Lord were an intruder, a dangerous presence, whom one must approach with the greatest circumspection. We are in his house, we are there for him, we are responding to his call, but we partake of him with ‘suspicion’, as if the Real Presence were not the source of salvation but of possible disease.

While the masked and gloved priest goes among the masked faithful, the Crucified Lord observes the scene. Dear Jesus, what profanation have we come to? Could you ever forgive us? You who gave your life for us, you who should be received on our tongue, while we are on our knees, because we are children who need everything from you, you have now been reduced to nothing better than a pill.

When the priest comes to me, I feel impelled to kneel and receive the host on my tongue, but I follow the intructions and hold out my hands, right over left. I feel like a traitor. I am taking you, Lord, in a hand full of germs. The passage from the priest’s horribly gloved hand to mine is almost furtive. You who are life, you have been delivered to me in furtive haste – the task must be done expeditiously.

My Jesus, I feel I am participating in a sacrilegious scene. While you pass into my mouth from my germ-laden hands, the masked and gloved priest is already elsewhere. And I put my mask back on.

During the prayer of thanksgiving, I could only ask forgiveness of you, in my name and of the whole hygienized Church, which has gone mad from terror. When reason sleeps, it generates liturgical monsters. Holiness (santita) is cheaply bartered for alleged health (sanita). For the Enemy, a spectacle that he cannot do without!

At the end of the Mass, while the masked priest returns to the sacristy accompanied by his masked acolytes, small groups gather at the back of the church, chatting. In mini-assemblies. No one respects the one-meter distancing rule. Not even outside the church. It seems that only in your presence, Lord, are we conditioned and paralyzed. Why? Why this sad and monstrous fact? There is something deformed in the hygienized liturgy. But Lord, shall we ever learn a lesson? Have mercy on us!

(Back home, I read the news that the WHO has changed its mind about the use of gloves. Now it says it can do more harm than good. And that’s what happens when you elevate Science and Health to be the new gods in place of God the Father. The Enemy is surely enjoying all this.)

00Thursday, June 11, 2020 4:12 AM

There are several creeds used in the Catholic Church. The three most important are: (1) the Nicene Creed, which we recite every Sunday; (2) the Apostles Creed,
used exclusively in the Western Church, usually for the education of children; and (3) the Athanasian Creed.

St. Athanasius was one of the four Great Greek Doctors of the Universal Church. St. Athanasius was the bishop of Alexandria, Egypt in the Fourth Century.
He was an ardent opponent of the Arian heresy, and produced the list of books that became the accepted canon of the Catholic Bible.

This creed, though named after him, is now thought to be of much later origin. Its attribution to St. Athanasius was probably due to its strong Trinitarian doctrine.
It is probable this Creed was written in the West, perhaps in Rome. The Athanasian Creed was generally not used in the Eastern Church.
It was used
in certain services of the Roman Church, but has now generally fallen out of use. This creed is much more explicit in some of its affirmations
than the Nicene Creed, and so is of great spiritual interest.


1. Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith.
2. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.
3. This is what the Catholic faith teaches:
we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity.
4. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance.

5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.
6. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty.
7. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.
8. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
9. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless.
10. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.
11. Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being.
12. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings,
13. but one uncreated being and one boundless being.
14. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.
15. Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being.

16. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
17. However, there are not three gods, but one God.
18. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord.
18. However, there as not three lords, but one Lord.
19. For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord,
20. so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
21. The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone.
22. The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone.
23. The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated,
but proceeds from the Father and the Son.

24. There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers;
one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
25. In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less.
26. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another.
27. So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshipped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.
28. He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity.

29. It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man.

31. As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time;
32. as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother.
33. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh.
34. He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity.
35. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ.
36. And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh,
but because His humanity was assumed unto God.
37. He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person.

38. As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ.
39. He died for our salvation, descended into hell, and rose from the dead on the third day.
40. He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
41. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
42. At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies;
and they are to give an account of their own deeds.
43. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life;
those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.
44. This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved.


I meant to post this on Trinity Sunday but better late than never. The more I read this creed, the more awestruck I am.
00Friday, June 12, 2020 11:52 PM

Being simple-minded in many ways - and often by choice (employing the Occam's razor argument that "the simplest explanation is often correct") - I have never had cause to doubt the 'validity' of Benedict XI's renunciation on February 11, 2013, and therefore, the consequent 'validity' of Jorge Bergoglio's election as Pope (or, if we are to take him literally, as 'Bishop of Rome') - even if I have personally considered those conjoined events my most desolating experience as a Catholic, worse even than what I thought could not be any worse - the no-ifs-or-buts overnight imposition of the Novus Ordo in 1969.

The exposition that follows, despite some relatively minor points that are unnecessary to the main argument and help weaken it, is making me rethink my assumptions. It is intriguing, to say the least, but it also sounds plausibly founded, if we limit ourselves to an analysis of the renunciation Declaratio and the way it was written with many grammatical and lexical errors that have been apparently obvious to most Latinists from the very beginning. Of course, most of them only pointed out two or three errors at the most, so my worst reaction was, "How could Joseph Ratzinger, who has spoken Latin as a second language since seminary, make such apparently elementary mistakes without thereupon making the formal corrections as soon as the errors were pointed out?"

I am biased. of course, in considering this new hypothesis at all, simply because I would welcome any possibility that Bergoglio's election as pope could be found invalid - hopefully not far into the future when it becomes a merely academic question, but soon enough as to start effectively reversing the most un-Christian course he has set for the Catholic Church under his dubious stewardship. I had not seen that possibility before this.

First a word on the expression 'to break the bank' in the title of Cionci's article - 'per far saltare il banco' in the original Italian. This refers to what happens in a game of chance when the player decides to bet everything against the entire sum put up by the house and wins it.

The strange case of B-XVI's renunciation:
A new explanation

June 12, 2020

Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae:
Giuseppe Pellegrino has translated a very interesting article by Andrea Cionci, from the Italian daily Libero, on the renunciation of Joseph Ratzinger from the papacy. Cionci is a art historian, and writes about history, archeology and religion. He has reported from Lebanon and Aghanistan. I am presenting first the English translation, then the original article...

Ratzinger intentionally wrote
his renunciation statement
badly to 'break the bank'

A Latinist friar explains the true meaning of the Latin text
that has been falsified by the Vatican

By Andrea Cionci
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino from

June 11, 2020

For the past few days there has been discussion on the internet about the critique made of Benedict XVI’s resignation from the papacy by an Italian-American Franciscan Latinist who is an expert in Scholastic texts and in canonical argumentation about the papal resignation.

Brother Alexis Bugnolo, who has translated over 9000 pages of Saint Bonaventure from the original Latin and has a mastery of the Church’s language as few others, was interviewed on YouTube by Decimo Toro.

Through an attentive reading of the text of Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of resignation, following a thread of logic, canon law, and the meaning of the original Latin, Brother Bugnolo maintains that the text was written by Benedict, with extreme skill and subtlety, intending that it would eventually be discovered to be invalid.

By so doing, he says, Ratzinger permitted the Sankt-Gallen Mafia, the Masonic-progressive ecclesiastical lobby that [is thought to have] forced him to abdicate, to take power hastily and so reveal itself. Benedict resigned in such a way that all of the acts, appointments, and changes in doctrine done by the “false church” can eventually be swept away in one fell swoop precisely because of the invalidity of his resignation from the papacy.

For this reason, according to Brother Bugnolo, the Vatican has deliberately falsified the translations of Benedict’s Latin Declaratio, attempting to remedy his intentional flaws in the original text, but in fact thus demonstrating further malice.

Forty years ago, John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger already knew, thanks to the Third Secret of Fatima, that the gay-Masonic lobby of clergy would attempt to seize power, and for this reason they changed the Code of Canon Law in time, setting up an emergency system to “break the bank” in case of usurpation. This, in essence, is Bugnolo’s thesis.

In order to prevent accusations that his reconstruction of events is a conspiracy theory, Brother Alexis cites only the documents from the Vatican website that we have attached below. All of them may be checked at the Vatican website.

It is quite clear that the text of Benedict’s Declaratio contains a number of huge grammatical errors, which were already noted in 2013 by eminent classicists such as Luciano Canfora and Wilfried Stroh. The lack of the majestic plural “nos” which is always used in official documents is already surprising, but Brother Bugnolo, who has translated more than 9000 pages of Saint Bonaventure, has identified forty other linguistic imperfections: verbs that are wrongly declined, “decisionem” being used in place of the correct “consilium,” “vobis” in place of “vobiscum,” the erroneous use of “explorata” to say “investigated,” etc. The complete list may be seen here.

But the biggest problem is the construction of Ratzinger’s text that renders the papal resignation invalid. Since it was reformed by John Paul II and Ratzinger in 1983, the Code of Canon Law requires the resignation of the “munus petrino” – the office, the charge of the papacy that comes from God and from Saint Peter. (Previously, the pope only had to say “renuntio” – “I resign” – so the 1983 modification to the requirement was probably added in order to reinforce possible future papal abdications).

In his Declaratio, Ratzinger writes that his strength, due to advancing age, “is no longer suitable for adequately exercising the munus petrino.” However, he does not say at all that he is renouncing it, but rather, “well aware of the gravity of this act, I declare to renounce the ministry [that is, the exercise] of Bishop of Rome – [declaro me MINISTERIO Episcopi Romae…renuntiare].

Thus at the beginning of the Declaratio he cites the munus in a generic way, but then he formally declares to renounce only the ministerium, which according to many canon law experts is completely useless for the validity of the act. It would be like an abdicating king saying that he is renouncing the exercise of his power without renouncing the throne he obtained by divine right.

Among other things, Ratzinger does not even write “renuntio” but rather “declaro renuntiare,” which does not imply that his resignation is sincere, just as “declaring to love” does not necessarily correspond to “love.” Supposing that Benedict was subjected to pressure – faced with a choice, for example, of either resigning or having the Vatican go bankrupt (on this, refer to the well-known affair of the Vatican SWIFTcode being cancelled and the blocking of Vatican bank accounts that occurred in the weeks preceding the resignation in 2013) – he could have freely chosen to “declare to resign” – which is much different than saying “I freely resign.”

Another question raised by Bugnolo: Why did Ratzinger write that the See would be vacant after 18 days? The act of resignation should render the See vacant either from the moment of either the death or the act of resignation of the pope.

[Not necessarily, and this is a weak and unnecessary point in Bugnolo's argument. The monarch or sovereign who is resigning - who remains the supreme authority until he does actually steps down from the office - is free to determine when he will actually step down. For instance, Spain's Juan Carlos announced June 2, 2014 that he would be abdicating in favor of his son, now King Felipe, but did not actually step down until he signed the Bill of Abdication on June 18, 2014.

Benedict's supreme authority between his announcement and his actual vacating the position allowed him to define the terms of his post-renunciation life, as he did, in terms of how he would be called, what he would wear, etc. Presumably, these practical matters were all part of what he had to grapple with and work out in the months that led him to his decision to renounce. No other pope-resignee before him had that chance because the circumstances of their removal were completely different, as each of them was immediately and contemporaneously deposed from all authority and power at the moment their deposition was announced.]

The argument over the word munus is not new, and it has been amply addressed by Vittorio Messori, Antonio Socci, and other authoritative Vaticanists. But now Brother Alexis, for the first time, has divulged that in all of the translations of the Declaratio published on the Vatican web site, the word munus is also translated as “ministry,” thus bringing together into one meaning two prerogatives that canon law clearly distinguishes.

Brother Bugnolo asks: “Who authorized these translations? Munus should be perfectly translatable into all languages. This is the proof that the Vatican has attempted to annul the fundamental distinction that Pope Benedict, in his most recent interview [post-face to Peter Seewald's biography Benedikt XVI: Ein Leben, restated by declaring that he still retains the “spiritual office” (spirituelle Zuordnung) having renounced the concrete exercise (konkrete Vollmacht) of the office.

Bugnolo points out that he is still the reigning pontiff and he continues to wear the white robe, to give the Apostolic Blessing and sign his name P.P., Pontifex Pontificum, the title that belongs to the reigning pope.”

[More superficial and unnecessary points by Bugnolo which are also wrong in obvious ways:
1) Wearing a white cassock, never with the capelet of papal office, makes him just like any priest or bishop in tropical countries who typically wear white instead of black robes;
2) When did Benedict XVI ever impart an 'Apostolic Blessing', orally or in writing, since February 28, 2013? If he has ever done so, the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church says "Bishops are empowered to do so three times a year", so Joseph Ratzinger as a retired bishop could do so; and
3) It is such a blatant error by Bugnolo to claim B16 continues to sign himself with P.P. after his name - Benedict XVI has never signed anything with P.P. after his name since he resigned. Doing that would constitute a 'concrete exercise' of papal authority which he himself underscores he has renounced. Every published signature of his, post-2/28/13, has simply been BENEDETTO XVI, BENEDIKT XVI, OR BENEDICT XVI.]

In 2016, Msgr. Giuseppe Sciacca, Bishop-Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura, responded to the arguments over munus in an extremely technical article that was completely incomprehensible to non-experts.

“Like a clever lawyer,” Brother Bugnolo says, “Sciacca says, correctly, that the power cannot be divided between two popes, but he takes the validity of the resignation for granted and then he avoids the real question. He then says that renouncing the ministerium automatically included renouncing the munus, but in fact this is not true, because Benedict could have easily named a Vicar to manage the ministerium while maintaining his own office, the munus, which is also essential for theological and dogmatic questions, not only for canonical ones, inasmuch as it comes directly from God.”

Then there are other very strange anomalies in the translations published by the Vatican: “I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, IN SUCH A WAY, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant.” As Brother Bugnolo specifies, “In such a way” is written by Ratzinger in Latin as “ut” which however ought to be translated as “SO THAT.” In contrast, IN SUCH A WAY would properly be rendered in Latin as “quomodo.”

These are two very different things: “in such a way” presupposes the absolute legal automatism of an act-consequence relationship. In contrast, “so that” can also reveal a hidden intention or a desired effect that is generated on purpose. It is the difference between an external and natural “way” as compared to a subjective “end.”

For example, it is not correct to say: “I put the bait in the trap in such a way that the mouse may be captured,” because it is not a given that the mouse will fall for the deception. Rather, it must be said: “I put the bait in the trap so that the mouse may be captured.”

Let’s imagine for a moment that Benedict was actually forced to abdicate: he writes therefore that “he declares to resign” his “ministry” “SO THAT” the see may be vacant…thus perhaps also through the action of the usurpers. If he had actually written “in such a way” it would have implicitly admitted the validity of his resignation. But in fact, he did not.

Here is another anomaly, according to Bugnolo: "Furthermore, Ratzinger does not specify the PRECISE DATE of the new, true conclave for the election of the Pontiff. He says only that it will have to be convoked AFTER THE SEE WILL BE VACANT, which is, really, the moment after his death. This is why the valid election of the new Pontiff would be, in that case, the competence only of SOME CARDINALS, the ones appointed prior to the coming of Bergoglio who are disposed to recognize the “coup” that happened. In fact the cardinals appointed by Bergoglio would not be legally valid, because they came from an invalid pope, because the resignation was invalid. In the event that many more years pass and the “legitimate” cardinals created by Benedict or John Paul II are no longer alive or active, the new Pontiff would have to be chosen by the Roman Church, as in ancient times. Seen in this light, this is why a new conclave would have to be convoked “by those whose competence it is” and not by the cardinals he is addressing." The logic is faultless.

Is this political fiction? Or is it a Declaratio that, while appearing to be botched, reveals itself to be, if read in the right way, a document of unbreakable “Ratzingerian” coherence?

Brother Bugnolo is certain: the errors in the Latin were purposely intended by Ratzinger in order to draw attention to the invalidity of the document, and so that, when it was attentively read, the truth would emerge when the time was ripe.

The same opinion is held by the Viennese lawyer Arthur H. Lambauer, a noted expert in international law, who had already noted the anomalies in 2013: “I believe that Benedict made mistakes on purpose in order to render his successor invalid, in such a way he would not create anything irrevocable (homosexual marriage, female diaconate, etc.) and so that, if necessary, the successor could be swept away.”

Above all, there is one objective and incontestable fact: in those strange 18 days that passed from the “resignation” to the vacant see (which, as a rule, should start from the resignation) no one was able to or wanted to correct the Declaratio written so “badly” by Benedict. Why? And yet it is the specific competence of the cardinals to correct the pope in a caring and filial way, if he is in error.

“This demonstrates,” Brother Bugnolo maintains, “that the cardinals were disloyal and blinded in their haste to take power, while other officials of the Apostolic Secretariat, who certainly could not have failed to notice certain errors, were 'accomplices' of Benedict who were well aware of the trick, and they remained silent so that one day 'the bomb would go off'. In both cases, a usurpation is revealed.”

Let’s consider some objections:
“Perhaps Ratzinger does not know Latin well enough or he was already too old to write it well.”
- It is difficult to believe that the German theologian, who was for fourteen years the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who is the author of outstanding writings in Latin, would not know how to master this text. [More to the point, "to write his Declaratio in impugnable Latin".]
- Moreover, the pope is surrounded by excellent Latinists who would have been able to assist him.
- In February 2013 he was lucid enough to be able to give a spontaneous discourse for 58 minutes. [His typically Ratzingerian 'print-ready' extemporaneous exegesis of Vatican-II and the 'Council of the media' vs 'the real Council' for the Clergy of Rome on February 14, 2013, three days after announcing his resignation.]

“In any case,” Brother Alexis responds, “the invalidity would remain, because resignation requires not only full mental lucidity but also absolute awareness of canon law.”

Another possible objection is: “Perhaps someone else who does not know Latin well wrote it.”
- But if the document came from a coercer or a counterfeiter, why would they construct it in such a way that it would be canonically invalid?

A final possible criticism: “Benedict XVI would never deceive anyone.”
-In fact, Pope Benedict did not deceive anyone, he only wrote to declare his resignation of the papal ministerium. According to Brother Bugnolo, there are others who have not wanted look at what was actually written and at how Benedict has comported himself since 2013. Thus, they have deceived themselves out of their greed for power.

At the first reading, all of this leaves you dazed: it seems absurd, but terribly coherent. In this case, there is no point in launching the usual charge of dismissing it all as a “conspiracy theory” because there are facts here that deserve an explanation that is EQUALLY logical and coherent.

In the secular world, an inheritance can be legally challenged for far less, and yet the question of the validity of the resignation of a pope from the throne of Peter was thought to be all wrapped up very quickly, indeed perhaps too quickly.

What happens next?
Brother Bugnolo’s arguments are based on the evidence [the document of resignation] and also provide a motive that explains them. Perhaps they will simply be ignored and derided, or else their author will probably begin to undergo a series of attacks ad personam. We will see what happens.

Original Latin Version of
the Declaratio on Feb. 11, 2013

Fratres carissimi,

Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad MUNUS Petrinum aeque administrandum.

Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam.

Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me MINISTERIO Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

Official English translation
from the Vatican website

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine MINISTRY.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the MINISTRY entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

00Sunday, June 14, 2020 12:06 AM
The bigger headline from Sandro Magister's June 11, 2020 blog post comes in his P.S., in effect, "Zanchetta back at his post in the Vatican", which underscores yet again the continuing
shameless hypocrisy of Jorge Bergoglio about most of the things he periodically pays lip service to - in the case of the PS, his supposed commitment to dealing with sexual abuses (including
perceptions of sexual abuse), all the while being overtly lax and permissive if the persons accused are those for whom he appears to have intractable loyalty (e.g.,Maradiaga, Parra Pena, and
in this case, the infamous Bishop Zanchetta who keeps turning up at the Vatican and Casa Santa Marta like a bad dime). And in the case of the main story on the Vatican's always problematic
finances, an apparent new attempt at 'reform' along the lines Cardinal Pell had started, but it remains to be seen what will actually change, other than some cosmetic touch-ups.

Does new Vatican law tightening control
of Vatican finances mean belated payback
for Cardinal Pell against the Secretariat
of State which had neutralized him?

June 11, 2020

There was a stir on June 5 over the arrest and jailing, at the Vatican, of Gianluigi Torzi, the financier accused of extorting 15 million euros from the Secretariat of State, in the tawdry dénouement of the purchase of a pricey building in London, backed in 2014 by the Secretariat with money taken mostly from Peter's Pence [the donations given directly by Catholic faithful around the world and intended for use by the Pope in his various charitable undertakings].

The investigations are in the preliminary phase and the trial has not yet been set. But at the top of the Vatican Curia the war is already on. Deputy Secretary of State (Sostituto) Edgar Peña Parra [in effect, the #2 man at State], is in the sights of one of the suspects, Mauro Carlino, who in turn was the secretary of the previous Sostituto, Giovanni Angelo Becciu, now cardinal prefect of the congregation for the Causes of Saints.

And Becciu, who gave the go-ahead for the London transaction in 2014, has become a target of criticisms by his direct superior at the time, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, even as Alberto Perlasca, another top-ranking suspect, accuses Parolin of having approved the operation as well.

Everything suggests that the trial will spare no one. And likely in order to prevent other such disasters in the future, produced by out-of-control operations and by incompetent and unreliable executors, a severe tightening of financial rules became law on June 1, regarding, among other things, public contracts made by any Vatican agency, including those involving “real estate,” a clear reference to the London operation.

The cornerstones of this new reform of the Vatican codes are the centralization of contracts, which will henceforth be under the sole jurisdiction of the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, or of the governorate of Vatican City, and restricting access to such contracts by a single register of professionals whose absolute correctness must be certified. All under the supervision of the Secretariat for the Economy and the
Auditor General.

This reorganization and centralization of powers, in the face of an administrative disorder whose wreckage has long been plain for all to see, was welcomed at the Vatican with a general chorus of approval, although it is not known how sincere this was.

Considering that the announced 'reforms' appear to be nothing but the implementation of reforms courageously initiated at the beginning of the current pontificate by Cardinal George Pell, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis asPprefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy. Reforms which had been opposed immediately and then completely reversed, with Bergoglio's approval, by the Secretariat of State and by its leaders and officials. some of whom are now under investigation.

Pell left Rome in 2017 for his home country of Australia, where he was hammered with allegations of sexual abuse that led to a six-year prison sentence, confirmed on appeal, but finally overturned completely by the Australian Supreme Court, which last April 7, Tuesday of Holy Week, set the innocent cardinal free.

But in that year of 2017, the reforms initiated by Pell at the Vatican had already been mostly demolished. Not only that. In June of that same year, Auditor General Libero Milone [first person named to a position newly created at the time] was also driven out with brutal methods.

Three months after his summary dismissal, Milone, in a joint interview with Corriere della Sera, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Sky TV - singled out none other than Becciu as the executive at the Secretariat of State who had most of all wanted his expulsion.

But Milone did not fail to complain about the silence of the pope, who already as of the spring of the previous year was refusing to receive him and even to respond to any request of his for a meeting.

In effect, it was no secret that Francis had made an about-face shortly after calling Pell to put the Vatican’s finances in order.
The pope had initially entrusted the Australian cardinal with the centralization of the assets of all the offices of the curia, including the large sums, never shown on the public balance sheets of the Holy See, administered by an almighty office in the Secretariat of State that was even obeyed by the APSA, the strongbox of the Vatican's major assets and real estate.

Pell hadn't pulled any punches. Right away he publicly disclosed that the Secretariat of State and other Vatican offices had unaccounted (never reported) funds totalling $1.2 billion and claiming control of these funds. He also indicated that the all-powerful APSA would soon be absorbed into the Secretariat for the Economy.

He never got that far. Quietly, the power centers targeted by Pell circled the wagons and then counterattacked. With the pope listening to and siding with them more and more, instead of the Australian cardinal. And with Cardinal Parolin, whom Francis had in the meantime added to his eight cardinal advisers for the government of the curia and of the Church, pulling the strings of the counter-offensive.

Now, however, the fortunes appear to have reversed. Cardinal Pell, restored to freedom in Australia during the days of Easter, has also had his Pentecost, with the publication on the eve of this holiday of the new Vatican codes on contracts, all finally in line with his much-opposed reforms.

And the Secretariat of State is now in the vortex of an investigation that has already toppled a few midranking officials but that tomorrow could also hit its top executives of today and yesterday, already tarnished by involvement in the investigations.

As for Francis, it appears he has gotten into step with Pell reforms he stopped in 2016, even voluntarily anticipating - during his news conference on the return flight from Japan - that the State secretariat officials embroiled int he purchase of the London building could be convicted for corruption. [So he enables them - or at least their enablers, Parlin and Becciu - and then, when push comes to shove, throws them under the bus. What a holy example!]

But if one just goes back to December 26, 2018, at the height of Christmas celebrations, one discovers that the pope's guest at Santa Marta, along with his family, was none other than that Gianluigi Torzi who is now behind bars in a cell of the papal gendarmerie.

From Corriere della Sera of June 11, 2020, in an item by Massimo Franco:

Meanwhile, at APSA, with the end of the quarantine imposed by Covid-19, employees were greted with a surprise: The reappearance of Mons. Gustavo Zanchetta, friend of Bergoglio, against whom an Argentine magistrate had issued a warrant of arrest last November for investigation into alleged sexual abuses attributed to him. Zanchetta, whom Bergoglio named a 'consultant' to APSA in 2017, has apparently resumed his work. One other Vatican mystery at this point.

One has to wonder what's really behind Bergoglio's intractable and unswerving loyalty and support for Zanchetta. Even assuming charitably that perhaps he considers him the son he never had, what does it say of a father who indulges his son in wrongdoing, especially of offenses unworthy of a priest who is supposed to be alter Christus?

00Sunday, June 14, 2020 9:14 PM
For a few days now, I have been meaning to devote a post to Mons. Viganò's most recent interventions - first, his response to Bishop Athanasius Schneider's lifesite interview on June 1, 2020,
in which he reaffirms that "there is no divine positive will or natural right to the diversity of religions" but also denounces the 'subversive mosnter generated by modernist circles', and then,
his open letter to President Trump. I have been unable to do so, because the best commentaries I have seen on them so far (and Vigano's first intervention itself) are in Italian and have to be
translated. Aldo Maria Valli's blogpost today on the first intervention has impelled me to break my self-imposed logjam, because he does point out the central points of the first intervention,
and I can leave the full translation for later.

Vatican-II and the origins
of the Church's derailment

Translated from

June 13, 2009

Dear friends, herewith my latest contribution to La trave e la pagliuzza on Radio Roma Libera.

The recent intervention of Mons. Carlo Maria Viganò on the links between the Second Vatican Council and the “doctrinal, moral, liturgical and disciplinary deviations that have emerged and progressively developed since then” focuses on a question that, as much as it has been a source of suffering for many of us who grew up in the so-called post-Conciliar church, is inescapable.

Monsignor Viganò, taking off from a recent contribution of Bishop Athanasius Schneider to LifeSite News, openly speaks of a “monstrum (monster) generated in modernist circles” which now shows itself for “its subversive and rebellious nature”.

No way to get around it: If today we have a ‘Church’ that on many occasions has taken heretical paths of a gnostic matrix inspired by that vague humanitarianism so dear to ‘the world’, and which, not by chance, earns this ‘Church’ the applause of those who have always been enemies of the Church herself, it is because Vatican-II, unlike all the preceding ecumenical councils, set out, after all is said and done, to establish a ‘new Church’.

It is true that this was never formally proclaimed by the Council itself ,which instead spoke of the need to renew the Church without affecting the depositum fidei, but modernist circles have in fact used the Council to introduce discontinuity. And the rhetorical instrument with which it did this was the expression, altogether unprecedented, ‘spirit of the Council”, a concept which indeed allowed the introduction of upheavals far beyond what the conciliar texts said.

There is a passage, in Mons. Viganò’s intervention, that struck me most especially, because it is very personal to me and which I think more than one reader will recognize as such: “There comes a moment in our life when, by the disposition of Providence, we are placed before a decisive choice for the future of the Church and of our own eternal salvation. I speak of the choice between understanding the error into which practically all of us have fallen – and almost always, without bad intentions – and wishing to turn our gaze elsewhere or to justify our choice”.

I think that this statement highlights the tragedy of those who, having grown up in the post-Vatican II church, cannot but open our eyes, from a distance of decades, to realize the deception we have been living.

In the ecumenical as well as the liturgical fields, Viganò writes, for a long time “we have thought that some excesses were only an exaggeration by those overwhelmed by enthusiasm for novelty”, but we have been wrong. Referring to the horrendous Pachamama episode, Mons. Viganò says clearly, “If the simulacrum of an infernal divinity was able to enter into St. Peter’s Basilica, it was just part of the crescendo that the [modernist] script foresaw from the beginning”.

At the same time, if “numerous practising Catholics, and perhaps even a large part of the clergy, are now convinced that the Catholic faith is no longer necessary for eternal salvation”, and if many have now become intimately convinced that “the One and Triune God revealed to our fathers is the same god of Mohammed”, it is because the seed of error and heresy was planted more than half a century ago and cultivated over the following decades.

“Progressivists and modernists,” he continues, “astutely knew how to hide within the Vatican-II texts those equivocal expressions which at the time appeared innocuous to many but which are now being manifested in all their subversive value”.

I am not a Church historian, much less a historian of Vatican-II, but I feel I can adhere to what Mons. Viganò says when he says that there has been deception and that many fell into its trap. When the archbishop speaks about ‘a course towards the abyss’ and expresses dismay over the fact that “there is an obstinate will not to look into the first causes of the present crisis in the Church – instead merely deploring the excesses as if they were not the logical and inevitable consequence of a plan that had been orchestrated decades earlier”, I think he confronts us with an unavoidable task.

Viganò is very clear when he shows the direct link between Pachamama and Dignitatis humanae [V-II Declaration on Religious Freedom] the protestantized liturgy of the Novus Ordo with the known hypotheses of Annibale Bugnini [orchestrator and chief executor of the Novus Ordo], the Abu Dhabi document and Nostra aetate [V-II Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions].

I know very well that so many Catholics, even among those who belong to the faction that opposes the modernists, will jump out of their seats to say that the evils and abuses were not born with the Council but because the Council has been betrayed. This is not the time to enter into this dispute.

On my part, I feel I can adhere to Mons. Viganò’s analysis that “the Council has been used to legitimize – in the face of silence from Church authorities – the most aberrant doctrinal deviations, the most daring liturgical innovations, and the most unscrupulous abuses. Vatican-II has been so exalted [by prevailing Catholic thought] as to be considered as the only legitimate reference point for Catholic laymen, bishops and clergy, obscuring with a sense of contempt the doctrine that the Church has always authoritatively taught and prohibiting the perennial liturgy that for centuries had nourished the faith of uninterrupted generations of faithful, martyrs and saints”.

And I can also agree when Viganò writes, “I confess with serenity and without argument: I have been one of the many who, despite much perplexity and fearful doubts – now shown to be absolutely legitimate – placed my trust in the authority of the Church hierarchy with unconditional obedience. In fact, I think that many – I among them – initially had not thought of the possibility of a conflict between obedience to the hierarchy andd faithfulness to the Church herself. But the present pontificate certainly has certainly underscored the unnatural, indeed perverse, separation between the hierarchy and the Church, between obedience to one and fidelity to the other”.

In short, “notwithstanding all the attempts at a hermeneutic of continuity that was miserably shipwrecked at the first confrontation with the present crisis, it is undeniable that since Vatican II, a parallel church, superimposed and opposed to the true Church of Christ, has been constituted. It has progressively obscured the divine institution founded by Our Lord to replace it with a spurious entity corresponding to the desired one world religion which Freemasonry had first theorized. Expressions like 'new humanism',' universal brotherhood', 'the dignity of man', are the watchwords of a philanthropic humanism which denies the true God, of a horizontal solidarity with vague spiritualist inspiration, and of ecumenical irenism which the [true] Church unappealably condemns.”

To come to this conclusion, I repeat, provokes suffering, and yet, as Viganò writes, we must face reality. “This operation of intellectual honesty requires great humility, above all in acknowledging that we have bee drawn into error for decades, in good faith, by persons in authority who have failed to guard and protect the flock of Christ – some of us, to live ‘peaceably’, some because too occupied with other things, some for convenience, and finally some, in bad faith or even with malicious intent.

"This last group, who have betrayed the Churhch must be identified, taken in hand and invited to make emends, and if unrepentant, to be expelled from the Church [he uses the phrase ‘sacro recinto’, sacred place]. Thus would a true shepherd act who has the health of his flock at heart and who would give up his life for them. We have had many mercenaries and still have too many of them, for which the consensus approval of the enemies of Christ is more important that faithfulness to his Bride”.

The trap has sprung, into which so many of us have fallen, but this does not justify persevering in error. “And if up till Benedict XVI,” Viganò observes, “we could still think that the coup d’etat pulled by Vatican II (which Cardinal Suenens [powerful Belgian progressivist at Vatican-II] defined at the time as the ‘Church’s 1789’ [i.e, the equivalent of the French Revolution]) had been slowed down in its progress, even the most ingenuous among us have understood, these past several years, that silence, for fear of inspiring schism, the attempts to ‘adjust’ papal documents to give them a ‘Catholic sense’ to mask their intended equivocations, the appeals and dubia sent to this pope which have remained eloquently unanswered, are a confirmation of the gravest apostasy in the highest levels of the Church hierarchy, while the Christian people and the clergy feel themselves to be irremediably kept at a distance and treated almost with annoyance by the bishops”.

Often, facing the root causes of a disease provokes suffering and pain – and can also give birth to an insidious sense of failure. Nonetheless, it must be done if we wish to find a way to health.

In effect, both Viganò and Valli are indirectly rebuking Benedict XVI who has been, contra mundum, the most passionate advocate of the hermenetic of continuity in Vatican II, while fully aware of how that hermeneutic was fully contradicted and neutralized by the discontinuity believers almost from the time of the Council itself.

Having taken part in Vatican-II himself though not as a Council Father as John Paul II was, Benedict XVI was seeking to reinforce the rearguard efforts taken during his predecessor's pontificate. John Paul II's defense of Vatican-II 'as it really was' and 'as it should be implemented' was a hallmark of his pontificate.

To little avail, of course. Especially since he was responsible for naming many progressivist 'spirit of Vatican II' cardinals and bishops - including the reigning pope - who have, for decades, reinforced that dubious spirit to the now-pervasive pall of apostasy that darkens the Church hierarchy from the very summit.

I am not questioning the sainted pope's good faith in naming those cardinals and bishops - perhaps he thought he could thereby 'co-opt' them back into the true Church, but that has not, of course, worked out at all, because they ended up effectively taking over the Church, culminating in the election of Bergoglio.

(Benedict XVI, too, named a few progressivist bishops and cardinals, the most egregious of which is Bergoglio's widely considered successor-in-waiting, Cardinal Tagle. In Tagle's case, despite B16's knowledge of Tagle's progressivist record, he probably had no choice in view of the historical and practical circumstances having to do with the leadership of the Church in the Philippines. Of course, even if he had not made Tagle a cardinal, the latter would have been the first cardinal nomination made by Bergoglio anyway.)

Benedict XVI's efforts to assert the hermeneutic of continuity were similarly unavailing. The false church constructed by the 'spirit of Vatican II' had become too well entrenched by then, and his renunciation - however well-intentioned - simply opened the way for the false church to openly take over and be in charge. That, unfortunately, is his tragic and inescapable legacy, and at this point, it is doubtful how much of his solid spiritual legacy will remain in the future if the false church persists.

Meanwhile, here is Giuseppe Pellegrino's English translation of the Viganò intervention discussed above:

Vigano writes on Vatican II
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

9 June 2020

This article was first published on the blog Chiesa e post-concilio under the title, translated to English, "It's showdown time! An excursus
into Vatican II and its consequences"
. The first clause of the headline, 'Siamo ad redde rationem', literally means "We are at the point
of giving full account", redde rationem being from Luke 16,2 in which the rich man tells a dishonest steward to prepare 'a full account'
of his stewardship.

June 8, 2020
Feast of St. Ephrem

I read with great interest the essay of His Excellency Athanasius Schneider published on LifeSiteNews on June 1, subsequently translated into Italian by Chiesa e post concilio, entitled "There is no divine positive will or natural right to the diversity of religions".

His Excellency’s study summarizes, with the clarity that distinguishes the words of those who speak according to Christ, the objections against the presumed legitimacy of the exercise of religious freedom that the Second Vatican Council theorized, contradicting the the testimony of Sacred Scripture and the voice of Tradition, as well as the Catholic Magisterium which is the faithful guardian of both.

The merit of His Excellency’s essay lies first of all in its grasp of the causal link between the principles enunciated or implied by Vatican II and their logical consequent effect in the doctrinal, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary deviations that have arisen and progressively developed to the present day.

The monstrum generated in modernist circles could have at first been misleading, but it has grown and strengthened, so that today it shows itself for what it really is in its subversive and rebellious nature. The creature that was conceived at that time is always the same, and it would be naive to think that its perverse nature could change.

Attempts to correct the conciliar excesses – invoking the hermeneutic of continuity – have proven unsuccessful: Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret [Drive nature out with a pitchfork; she will come right back] (Horace, Epist. I,10,24). The Abu Dhabi Declaration – and, as Bishop Schneider rightly observes, its first symptoms in the pan-religious gatherings in Assisi – “was conceived in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council” as Bergoglio proudly confirms.

This “spirit of the Council” is the license of legitimacy that the innovators oppose to their critics, without realizing that it is precisely confessing that legacy that confirms not only the erroneousness of the present declarations but also the heretical matrix that supposedly justifies them.

On closer inspection, never in the history of the Church has a Council presented itself as such a historic event that it was different from any other council: there was never talk of a “spirit of the Council of Nicea” or the “spirit of the Council of Ferrara-Florence,” even less the “spirit of the Council of Trent,” just as we never had a “post-conciliar” era after Lateran IV or Vatican I.

The reason is obvious: those Councils were all, indiscriminately, the expression in unison of the voice of Holy Mother Church, and for this very reason the voice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Significantly, those who maintain the novelty of Vatican II also adhere to the heretical doctrine that places the God of the Old Testament in opposition to the God of the New Testament, as if there could be contradiction between the Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.

Evidently this opposition that is almost gnostic or cabbalistic is functional to the legitimization of a new subject that is voluntarily different and opposed to the Catholic Church. Doctrinal errors almost always betray some sort of Trinitarian heresy, and thus it is by returning to the proclamation of Trinitarian dogma that the doctrines that oppose it can be defeated: ut in confessione veræ sempiternæque deitatis, et in Personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in majestate adoretur æqualitas: Professing the true and eternal Divinity, we adore what is proper to each Person, their unity in substance, and their equality in majesty.

Bishop Schneider cites several canons of the Ecumenical Councils that propose, in his opinion, doctrines that today are difficult to accept, such as for example the obligation to distinguish Jews by their clothing, or the ban on Christians serving Muslim or Jewish masters. Among these examples there is also the requirement of the traditio instrumentorum declared by the Council of Florence, which was later corrected by Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis.

Bishop Athanasius comments: “One may rightly hope and believe that a future Pope or Ecumenical Council will correct the erroneous statement made” by Vatican II. This appears to me to be an argument that, although made with the best of intentions, undermines the Catholic edifice from its foundation.

If in fact we admit that there may be Magisterial acts that, due to a changed sensitivity, are susceptible to abrogation, modification, or different interpretation with the passage of time, we inevitably fall under the condemnation of the Decree Lamentabili, and we end up offering justification to those who, recently, precisely on the basis of that erroneous assumption, declared that the death penalty “does not conform to the Gospel,” and thus amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

And, by the same principle, in a certain way we could maintain that the words of Blessed Pius IX in Quanta Cura were in some manner corrected by Vatican II, just as His Excellency hopes could happen for Dignitatis Humanae.

Among the examples he presents, none of them is in itself gravely erroneous or heretical: the fact that the Council of Florence declared that the traditio instrumentorum was necessary for the validity of Orders did not in any way compromise priestly ministry in the Church, leading her to confer Orders invalidly. Nor does it seem to me that one can affirm that this aspect, however important, led to doctrinal errors on the part of the faithful, something which instead has occurred only with the most recent Council.

And when in the course of history various heresies spread, the Church always intervened promptly to condemn them, as happened at the time of the Synod of Pistoia in 1786, which was in some way anticipatory of Vatican II, especially where it abolished Communion outside of Mass, introduced the vernacular tongue, and abolished the prayers of the Canon said submissa voce; but even more so when it theorized about the basis of episcopal collegiality, reducing the primacy of the pope to a mere ministerial function.

Re-reading the acts of that Synod leaves us amazed at the literal formulation of the same errors that we find later, in increased form, in the Council presided over by John XXIII and Paul VI. On the other hand, just as the Truth comes from God, so error is fed by and feeds on the Adversary, who hates the Church of Christ and her heart: the Holy Mass and the Most Holy Eucharist.

There comes a moment in our life when, through the disposition of Providence, we are faced with a decisive choice for the future of the Church and for our eternal salvation. I speak of the choice between understanding the error into which practically all of us have fallen, almost always without evil intentions, and wanting to continue to look the other way or justify ourselves.

We have also committed the error, among others, of considering our interlocutors as people who, despite the difference of their ideas and their faith, were still motivated by good intentions and who would be willing to correct their errors if they could open up to our Faith.

Together with numerous Council Fathers, we thought of ecumenism as a process, an invitation that calls dissidents to the one Church of Christ, idolaters and pagans to the one True God, and the Jewish people to the promised Messiah. But from the moment it was theorized in the conciliar commissions, ecumenism was configured in a way that was in direct opposition to the doctrine previously expressed by the Magisterium.

We have thought that certain excesses were only an exaggeration by those who allowed themselves to be swept up in enthusiasm for novelty; we sincerely believed that seeing John Paul II surrounded by charmers-healers, Buddhist monks, imams, rabbis, Protestant pastors and other heretics gave proof of the Church’s ability to summon people together in order to ask God for peace, while the authoritative example of this action initiated a deviant succession of pantheons that were more or less official, even to the point of seeing Bishops carrying the unclean idol of the Pachamama on their shoulders, sacrilegiously concealed under the pretext of being a representation of sacred motherhood.

But if the image of an infernal divinity was able to enter into Saint Peter’s, this is part of a cresecendo which the other side foresaw from the beginning. Numerous practicing Catholics, and perhaps also a majority of Catholic clergy, are today convinced that the Catholic Faith is no longer necessary for eternal salvation; they believe that the One and Triune God revealed to our fathers is the same as the god of Mohammed. Already twenty years ago we heard this repeated from pulpits and episcopal cathedrae, but recently we hear it being affirmed with emphasis even from the highest Throne.
We know well that, invoking the saying in Scripture Littera enim occidit, spiritus autem vivificat [The letter brings death, but the spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6)], the progressives and modernists astutely knew how to hide equivocal expressions in the conciliar texts, which at the time appeared harmless to most but that today are revealed in their subversive value.

It is the method employed in the use of the phrase subsistit in: saying a half-truth not so much as not to offend the interlocutor (assuming that it is licit to silence the truth of God out of respect for His creature), but with the intention of being able to use the half-error that would be instantly dispelled if the entire truth were proclaimed. [This phrase 'subbsistit in' has been widely admitted, even by Joseph Ratzinger, as a compromise expression.]

Thus “Ecclesia Christi subsistit in Ecclesia Catholica” does not specify the identity of the two, but the subsistence of one in the other and, for consistency, also in other churches: here is the opening to interconfessional celebrations, ecumenical prayers, and the inevitable end of any need for the Church in the order of salvation, in her unicity, and in her missionary nature.

Some may remember that the first ecumenical gatherings were held with the schismatics of the East, and very prudently with other Protestant sects. Apart from Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, in the beginning, the countries of Catholic tradition did not welcome mixed celebrations with Protestant pastors and Catholic priests together.

I recall that at the time there was talk of removing the penultimate doxology from the Veni Creator so as not to offend the Orthodox, who do not accept the Filioque. Today we hear the surahs of the Koran recited from the pulpits of our churches, we see an idol of wood adored by religious sisters and brothers, we hear Bishops disavow what up until yesterday seemed to us to be the most plausible excuses of so many extremisms.

What the world wants, at the instigation of Masonry and its infernal tentacles, is to create a universal religion that is humanitarian and ecumenical, from which the jealous God whom we adore is banished. And if this is what the world wants, any step in the same direction by the Church is an unfortunate choice which will turn against those who believe that they can jeer at God.

The hopes of the Tower of Babel cannot be brought back to life by a globalist plan that has as its goal the cancellation of the Catholic Church, in order to replace it with a confederation of idolaters and heretics united by environmentalism and universal brotherhood. There can be no brotherhood except in Christ, and only in Christ: qui non est mecum, contra me est (Who is not with me is against me).

It is disconcerting that few people are aware of this race towards the abyss, and that few realize the responsibility of the highest levels of the Church in supporting these anti-Christian ideologies, as if the Church’s leaders want to guarantee that they have a place and a role on the bandwagon of aligned thought.

And it is surprising that people persist in not wanting to investigate the root causes of the present crisis, limiting themselves to deploring the present excesses as if they were not the logical and inevitable consequence of a plan orchestrated decades ago.
- If the pachamama could be adored in a church, we owe it to Dignitatis Humanae.
- If we have a liturgy that is Protestantized and at times even paganized, we owe it to the revolutionary action of Msgr. Annibale Bugnini and to the post-conciliar reforms.
- If the Abu Dhabi Declaration was signed, we owe it to Nostra Aetate.
- If we have come to the point of delegating decisions to the Bishops’ Conferences – even in grave violation of the Concordat, as happened in Italy – we owe it to collegiality, and to its updated version, synodality.
- Thanks to synodality, we found ourselves with Amoris Laetitia that sought a way to prevent what was obvious to everyone from appearing: that this document, prepared by an impressive organizational machine, intended to legitimize Communion for the divorced and cohabiting, just as Querida Amazonia will be used to legitimize women priests (as in the recent case of an “episcopal vicaress” in Freiburg) and the abolition of Sacred Celibacy.

The Prelates who sent the Dubia to Francis, in my opinion, demonstrated the same pious ingenuousness: thinking that Bergoglio, when confronted with the reasonably argued contestation of the error, would understand, correct the heterodox points, and ask for forgiveness.

The Council was used to legitimize the most aberrant doctrinal deviations, the most daring liturgical innovations, and the most unscrupulous abuses, all while Authority remained silent.

This Council was so exalted that it was presented as the only legitimate reference for Catholics, clergy, and bishops, obscuring and connoting with a sense of contempt the doctrine that the Church had always authoritatively taught, and prohibiting the perennial liturgy that for millennia had nourished the faith of an uninterrupted line of faithful, martyrs, and saints.

Among other things, this Council has proven to be the only one that has caused so many interpretative problems and so many contradictions with respect to the preceding Magisterium, while there is not one other council – from the Council of Jerusalem to Vatican I – that does not harmonize perfectly with the entire Magisterium or that needs so much interpretation.

I confess it with serenity and without argument: I was one of the many people who, despite many perplexities and fears which today have proven to be absolutely legitimate, trusted the authority of the Hierarchy with unconditional obedience.

In reality, I think that many people, including myself, did not initially consider the possibility that there could be a conflict between obedience to an order of the Hierarchy and fidelity to the Church herself. This Pontificate has certainly made tangible this unnatural, indeed I would even say perverse, separation between the Hierarchy and the Church, between obedience and fidelity.

In the Room of Tears adjacent to the Sistine Chapel, while Msgr. Guido Marini prepared the white rocchetto, mozzetta, and stole for the first appearance of the “newly elected” Pope, Bergoglio, [is said to have] exclaimed: “Sono finite le carnevalate! [The carnivals are over!],” scornfully refusing the insignia that all the Popes up until then had humbly accepted as the distinguishing garb of the Vicar of Christ.

But those words contained truth, even if it was spoken involuntarily: on March 13, 2013, the mask fell from the conspirators, who were finally free of the inconvenient presence of Benedict XVI and brazenly proud of having finally succeeded in promoting a Cardinal who embodied their ideals, their way of revolutionizing the Church, of making doctrine malleable, morals adaptable, liturgy adulterable, and discipline disposable.

And all this was considered, by the protagonists of the conspiracy themselves, the logical consequence and obvious application of Vatican II, which according to them had been weakened by the critiques expressed by Benedict XVI.

[For them], the greatest affront of that Pontificate was liberally permitting the celebration of the venerated Tridentine Liturgy, the legitimacy of which was finally recognized, disproving fifty years of its illegitimate ostracization. It is no accident that Bergoglio’s supporters are the same people who saw the Council as the first event of a new church, prior to which there was an old religion with an old liturgy.

It is no accident: what these men affirm with impunity, scandalizing moderates, is what many Catholics also believe, namely: that despite all the efforts of the hermeneutic of continuity which shipwrecked miserably at the first confrontation with the reality of the present crisis, it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ.

This parallel church progressively obscured the divine institution founded by Our Lord in order to replace it with a spurious entity, corresponding to the desired universal religion that was first theorized by Masonry. Expressions like 'new humanism', 'universal fbrotherhood', 'dignity of man', are the watchwords of philanthropic humanitarianism which denies the true God, of horizontal solidarity with vaguely spiritualist inspiration, and of ecumenical irenism that the Church unequivocally condemns.

“Nam et loquela tua manifestum te facit [Even your speech gives you away]” (Mt 26, 73): this very frequent, even obsessive recourse to the same vocabulary of the enemy betrays adherence to the ideology he inspires; while on the other hand the systematic renunciation of the clear, unequivocal and crystalline language of the Church confirms the desire to be detached not only from the Catholic form but even from its substance.

What we have for he past few years heard enunciated, vaguely and without clear connotations, from the highest Throne, we then find elaborated in a true and proper manifesto by the supporters of the present Pontificate:
- the democratization of the Church, no longer through the collegiality invented by Vatican II but by the synodal path inaugurated by the Synod on the Family;
- the demolition of the ministerial priesthood through its weakening through exceptions to ecclesiastical celibacy and the introduction of feminine figures with quasi-sacerdotal duties;
- the silent passage from ecumenism directed towards separated brethren to a form of pan-ecumenism that reduces the Truth of the One Triune God to the level of idolatries and the most infernal superstitions;
- the acceptance of an inter-religious dialogue that presupposes religious relativism and excludes missionary proclamation;
- the demythologization of the Papacy, pursued by Bergoglio as a theme of his pontificate;
- the progressive legitimization of all that is politically correct: gender theory, sodomy, homosexual marriage, Malthusian doctrines, ecologism, immigrationism…

If we do not recognize that the roots of these deviations are found in the principles laid down by the Council, it will be impossible to find a cure: if our diagnosis persists, against all the evidence, in excluding the initial pathology, we cannot prescribe a suitable therapy.

Such an operation of intellectual honesty requires great humility, first of all in recognizing that for decades we have been led into error, in good faith, by people who, established in authority, have not known how to watch over and guard the flock of Christ: some for the sake of living quietly, some because of having too many commitments, some out of convenience, and finally some in bad faith or even malicious intent.

These last ones who have betrayed the Church must be identified, taken aside, invited to amend and, if they do not repent they must be expelled from the sacred enclosure. This is how a true Shepherd acts, who has the well-being of the sheep at heart and who gives his life for them; we have had and still have far too many mercenaries, for whom the consent of the enemies of Christ is more important than fidelity to his Spouse.

Just as I honestly and serenely obeyed questionable orders sixty years ago, believing that they represented the loving voice of the Church, so today with equal serenity and honesty I recognize that I have been deceived.
- Being coherent today by persevering in error would represent a wretched choice and would make me an accomplice in this fraud. - Claiming a clarity of judgment from the beginning would not be honest: we all knew that the Council would be more or less a revolution, but we could not have imagined that it would prove to be so devastating, even for the work of those who should have prevented it.

And if up until Benedict XVI we could still imagine that the coup d’état of Vatican II (which Cardinal Suenens called “the 1789 of the Church”) had experienced a slowdown, in these last few years even the most ingenuous among us have understood that silence for fear of causing a schism, the effort to repair papal documents in a Catholic sense in order to remedy their intended ambiguity, the appeals and dubia made to Francis that remained eloquently unanswered, are all a confirmation of the situation of the most serious apostasy to which the highest levels of the Hierarchy are exposed, while the Christian people and the clergy feel hopelessly abandoned and that they are regarded by the bishops almost with annoyance.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration is the ideological manifesto of an idea of peace and cooperation between religions that could have some possibility of being tolerated if it came from pagans who are deprived of the light of Faith and the fire of Charity.

But whoever has the grace of being a Child of God in virtue of Holy Baptism should be horrified at the idea of being able to construct a blasphemous modern version of the Tower of Babel, seeking to bring together the one true Church of Christ, heir to the promises made to the Chosen People, with those who deny the Messiah and with those who consider the very idea of a Triune God to be blasphemous.

The love of God knows no measure and does not tolerate compromises, otherwise it simply is not Charity, without which it is not possible to remain in Him: qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo [whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him] (1 Jn 4:16).

It matters little whether it is a declaration or a Magisterial document: we know well that the innovators' subversive means plays with their sort of quibbling in order to spread error. And we know well that the purpose of these ecumenical and inter-religious initiatives is not to convert those who are far from the one Church to Christ, but to divert and corrupt those who still hold the Catholic Faith, leading them to believe that it is desirable to have a great universal religion that brings together the three great Abrahamic religions “in a single house”: this is the triumph of the Masonic plan in preparation for the kingdom of the Antichrist!

Whether this materializes through a dogmatic Bull, a declaration, or an interview with Scalfari in La Repubblica matters little, because Bergoglio’s supporters wait on his words as a signal to respond with a series of initiatives that have already been prepared and organized for some time.

And if Bergoglio does not follow the 'directions' from his supporters, ranks of theologians and clergy are ready to lament over the “solitude of Pope Francis” as a premise for his resignation (I think for example of Massimo Faggioli in one of his recent essays). On the other hand, it would not be the first time that thir likes would use a pope when he goes along with them, and get rid of him or attack him as soon as he does not.

Last Sunday, the Church celebrated the Most Holy Trinity, and in the Breviary, it offers us the recitation of the Symbolum Athanasianum [the Athanasian Creed], now outlawed by the conciliar liturgy and already reduced to only two occasions in the liturgical reform of 1962.

The first words of that now-disappeared Symbolum remain inscribed in letters of gold: “Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est ut teneat Catholicam fidem; quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit – Whosoever wishes to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith; For unless a person shall have kept this faith whole and inviolate, without doubt he shall eternally perish.”

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

00Monday, June 15, 2020 1:04 AM

Remembering one of my favorite saints and intercessors... He is the saint whose shrine I have most often visited for the simple reason that in all
my travels to Italy and through Italy, Padova (Padua) is on the train route to northern Italy, whether one is going to Milan and nearby points
or the Swiss border, or to Venice and nearby points or the Austrian border, so it was always a pleasure and great spiritual joy for me to stop over
and visit his shrine there. My devotion to him and to St. Joseph dates to my childhood when most of the pious women in my hometown were devotees
to these two saints and always wore the right-colored dresses to identify themselves on the devotional days dedicated to those saints.

SAINT ANTHONY warns negligent superiors
and prelates of the dire personal
consequences of their sins of omission

by New Catholic

June 13, 2020

Exsulta, Lusitania felix! O felix Padua, gaude!
(Exult, fortunate Portugal! Rejoice, o happy Padua!)

With these words, Pope Pius XII, of most glorious memory, started his Apostolic Brief naming Saint Anthony of Padua Doctor of the Church. The Doctor Evangelicus was a fiery preacher, filled with the righteous indignation of a true saint -- not at all like the emasculated simpleton some seem to believe him to have been.

We present below two excerpts of his "Sermon on the justice of hypocrites and of true penitents", commonly included, in the "Sermones Dominicales", in the sermons for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. Saint Anthony warns negligent superiors and prelates of the dire personal consequences of their omission -- and the danger of ambition, particularly of superiors ("In superiori gradu præferuntur, ut lapsu graviore ruant.")

If the ox was wont to push with his horn yesterday and the day before, and they warned his master, and he did not shut him up, and he shall kill a man or a woman: then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. [Exodus xxi, 29]

The ox that pushes with his horn is the carnal appetite, which with the horn of pride kills a man or a woman: that is to say, his reason or his good will. Because his owner, the spirit, does not shut him up, he is killed along with the ox: body and soul will be eternally punished together.

Hear this, you abbots and priors! If you have an ox that pushes with his horn, a monk or canon who is proud, a lover of wine and pleasure, and you will not shut him up, so that men and women are not scandalized by his bad example: the ox shall be stoned to death, and die in his sin, and the abbot or prior who would not restrain him will be punished eternally.

There follows: And call on the names of your gods, etc. They call on, and worship, as many gods as they have mortal sins. It says in Exodus: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. [Exodus xxxii, 4]

Alas! How many religious there are today, who still worship, in the desert of religion and the cloister, the same gods that they worshiped in Egypt, the world! Because they lack the fire of charity, their sacrifice is useless to them.

From morning until noon the cry out: Baal, hear us! [3 Kings xviii, 26: 'And they called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying: O Baal, hear us.' What is "crying to Baal" if not desiring to be a superior? But there is no voice, no one who answers their will. So they cry again, still louder. To cry is to desire. They cut themselves with knives and lancets, with fasts and disciplines. They disfigure their faces, fasting early in the day, so that later on they can celebrate the festival of the belly!

In Elijah's day, the prophets of Baal cried and were not heard. Nowadays, they cry and are heard! They are promoted to higher office, so that their fall is more ruinous.

First they displayed a humble voice, a rough habit, a thin belly, a pale face, and assiduous prayer. Now they utter threats, and go coped and robed. They walk with ample stomach and ruddy face. They are assiduous in sleeping: but prayer -- not at all! Come, Elijah, come! Take the prophets of Baal and slay them at the brook Cison [cf. 3 Kings xviii, 40].

Here is Benedict XVI recounting the life of St. Anthony:

General Audience of February 10, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Two weeks ago I presented St Francis of Assisi. This morning I would like to speak of another saint who belonged to the first generation of the Friars Minor: Anthony of Padua, or of Lisbon, as he is also called with reference to his native town.

He is one of the most popular Saints in the whole Catholic Church, venerated not only in Padua, where a splendid Basilica has been built that contains his mortal remains, but also throughout the world. Dear to the faithful are the images and statues that portray him with the lily a symbol of his purity or with the Child Jesus in his arms, in memory of a miraculous apparition mentioned in several literary sources.

With his outstanding gifts of intelligence, balance, apostolic zeal and, primarily, mystic fervour, Anthony contributed significantly to the development of Franciscan spirituality.

He was born into a noble family in Lisbon in about 1195 and was baptized with the name of Fernando. He entered the Canons who followed the monastic Rule of St Augustine, first at St Vincent's Monastery in Lisbon and later at that of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, a renowned cultural centre in Portugal. He dedicated himself with interest and solicitude to the study of the Bible and of the Church Fathers, acquiring the theological knowledge that was to bear fruit in his teaching and preaching activities.

The event that represented a decisive turning point on his life happened in Coimbra. It was there, in 1220, that the relics were exposed of the first five Franciscan missionaries who had gone to Morocco, where they had met with martyrdom. Their story inspired in young Fernando the desire to imitate them and to advance on the path of Christian perfection. Thus he asked to leave the Augustinian Canons to become a Friar Minor. His request was granted and, having taken the name of Anthony, he too set out for Morocco, but divine Providence disposed otherwise.

After an illness he was obliged to return to Italy and, in 1221, participated in the famous "Chapter of the Mats" in Assisi, where he also met St Francis. He then lived for a period in complete concealment in a convent at Forlì in northern Italy, where the Lord called him to another mission. Invited, in somewhat casual circumstances, to preach on the occasion of a priestly ordination, he showed himself to be endowed with such knowledge and eloquence that the Superiors assigned him to preaching.

Thus he embarked on apostolic work in Italy and France that was so intense and effective that it induced many people who had left the Church to retrace their footsteps. Anthony was also one of the first if not the first theology teachers of the Friars Minor.

He began his teaching in Bologna with the blessing of St Francis who, recognizing Anthony's virtues, sent him a short letter that began with these words: "I would like you to teach the brethren theology". Anthony laid the foundations of Franciscan theology which, cultivated by other outstanding thinkers, was to reach its apex with St Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and Bl. Duns Scotus.

Having become Provincial Superior of the Friars Minor in northern Italy, he continued his ministry of preaching, alternating it with his office of governance. When his term as Provincial came to an end, he withdrew to a place near Padua where he had stayed on various other occasions. Barely a year later, he died at the city gates on 13 June 1231.

Padua, which had welcomed him with affection and veneration in his lifetime, has always accorded him honour and devotion. Pope Gregory IX himself, having heard him preach, described him as the "Ark of the Testament" and subsequent to miracles brought about through his intercession, canonized him in 1232, only a year after his death.

In the last period of his life, Anthony put in writing two cycles of "Sermons", entitled respectively "Sunday Sermons" and "Sermons on the Saints" destined for the Franciscan Order's preachers and teachers of theological studies.

In these Sermons he commented on the texts of Scripture presented by the Liturgy, using the patristic and medieval interpretation of the four senses: the literal or historical, the allegorical or Christological, the tropological or moral, and the anagogical, which orients a person to eternal life.

Today it has been rediscovered that these senses are dimensions of the one meaning of Sacred Scripture and that it is right to interpret Sacred Scripture by seeking the four dimensions of its words. St Anthony's sermons are theological and homiletical texts that echo the live preaching in which Anthony proposes a true and proper itinerary of Christian life.

The richness of spiritual teaching contained in the "Sermons" was so great that in 1946 Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed Anthony a Doctor of the Church, attributing to him the title "Doctor Evangelicus", since the freshness and beauty of the Gospel emerge from these writings. We can still read them today with great spiritual profit.

In these Sermons St Anthony speaks of prayer as of a loving relationship that impels man to speak gently with the Lord, creating an ineffable joy that sweetly enfolds the soul in prayer. Anthony reminds us that prayer requires an atmosphere of silence, which does not mean distance from external noise but rather is an interior experience that aims to remove the distractions caused by a soul's anxieties, thereby creating silence in the soul itself.

According to this prominent Franciscan Doctor's teaching, prayer is structured in four indispensable attitudes which in Anthony's Latin are defined as obsecratio, oratio, postulatio, gratiarum actio. We might translate them in the following manner. The first step in prayer is confidently opening one's heart to God; this is not merely accepting a word but opening one's heart to God's presence. Next, is speaking with him affectionately, seeing him present with oneself; then a very natural thing presenting our needs to him; and lastly, praising and thanking him.

In St Anthony's teaching on prayer we perceive one of the specific traits of the Franciscan theology that he founded: namely, the role assigned to divine love which enters into the sphere of the affections, of the will and of the heart, and which is also the source from which flows a spiritual knowledge that surpasses all other knowledge. In fact, it is in loving that we come to know.

Anthony writes further: "Charity is the soul of faith, it gives it life; without love, faith dies" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi II, Messagero, Padua 1979, p. 37).

It is only the prayerful soul that can progress in spiritual life: this is the privileged object of St Anthony's preaching. He is thoroughly familiar with the shortcomings of human nature, with our tendency to lapse into sin, which is why he continuously urges us to fight the inclination to avidity, pride and impurity; instead of practising the virtues of poverty and generosity, of humility and obedience, of chastity and of purity.

At the beginning of the 13th century, in the context of the rebirth of the city and the flourishing of trade, the number of people who were insensitive to the needs of the poor increased. This is why on various occasions Anthony invites the faithful to think of the true riches, those of the heart, which make people good and merciful and permit them to lay up treasure in Heaven.

"O rich people", he urged them, "befriend... the poor, welcome them into your homes: it will subsequently be they who receive you in the eternal tabernacles in which is the beauty of peace, the confidence of security and the opulent tranquillity of eternal satiety" (ibid., p. 29).

Is not this, dear friends, perhaps a very important teaching today too, when the financial crisis and serious economic inequalities impoverish many people and create conditions of poverty? In my Encyclical Caritas in Veritate I recall: "The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred" (n. 45).

Anthony, in the school of Francis, always put Christ at the centre of his life and thinking, of his action and of his preaching. This is another characteristic feature of Franciscan theology: Christocentrism.

Franciscan theology willingly contemplates and invites others to contemplate the mysteries of the Lord's humanity, the man Jesus, and in a special way the mystery of the Nativity: God who made himself a Child and gave himself into our hands, a mystery that gives rise to sentiments of love and gratitude for divine goodness.

Not only the Nativity, a central point of Christ's love for humanity, but also the vision of the Crucified One inspired in Anthony thoughts of gratitude to God and esteem for the dignity of the human person, so that all believers and non-believers might find in the Crucified One and in his image a life-enriching meaning.

St Anthony writes: "Christ who is your life is hanging before you, so that you may look at the Cross as in a mirror. There you will be able to know how mortal were your wounds, that no medicine other than the Blood of the Son of God could heal. If you look closely, you will be able to realize how great your human dignity and your value are.... Nowhere other than looking at himself in the mirror of the Cross can man better understand how much he is worth" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, pp. 213-214).

In meditating on these words we are better able to understand the importance of the image of the Crucified One for our culture, for our humanity that is born from the Christian faith. Precisely by looking at the Crucified One we see, as St Anthony says, how great are the dignity and worth of the human being.

At no other point can we understand how much the human person is worth, precisely because God makes us so important, considers us so important that, in his opinion, we are worthy of his suffering; thus all human dignity appears in the mirror of the Crucified One and our gazing upon him is ever a source of acknowledgement of human dignity.

Dear friends, may Anthony of Padua, so widely venerated by the faithful, intercede for the whole Church and especially for those who are dedicated to preaching; let us pray the Lord that he will help us learn a little of this art from St Anthony.

May preachers, drawing inspiration from his example, be effective in their communication by taking pains to combine solid and sound doctrine with sincere and fervent devotion. In this Year for Priests, let us pray that priests and deacons will carry out with concern this ministry of the proclamation of the word of God, making it timely for the faithful, especially through liturgical homilies.

May they effectively present the eternal beauty of Christ, just as Anthony recommended: "If you preach Jesus, he will melt hardened hearts; if you invoke him he will soften harsh temptations; if you think of him he will enlighten your mind; if you read of him he will satifsfy your intellect" (Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, p. 59).

On the lighter side...

00Monday, June 15, 2020 2:18 AM

Left, Saints Juliana of Mont Cornillon, Eva of Liège and Isabelle de Huy in adoration before the Holy Sacrament presented by the Virgin. Englebert Fisen, 1690. Collégiale Saint-Martin, Liège, Belgium. Right, Benedict XVI in the Corpus Domini processions he used to lead in Rome.

features Benedict XVI's 2010 catechesis on the saint who did most to promote the celebration of the Eucharist in the Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) liturgy...
Here is how I reported it in this Forum at the time...

Springtime of the Eucharist

NOV 17, 2010 (RV) - On Wednesday Pope Benedict said that the Church is witnessing a “springtime in Eucharistic devotion”, particularly among young people who are finding time to “stop in silence before the tabernacle to spend time with Him”.

The Pope described this as a “wonderful development” and specifically mentioned the Eucharistic Adoration he led in Hyde Park London during his recent apostolic visit there.

He said he hoped that this “springtime of the Eucharist” would spread to other parishes, particularly in Belgium, the birthplace of St Juliana of Liège, a 13th century Augustinian nun, whose devotion to the Eucharist gave rise to the universal feast of Corpus Christi, and to whom he dedicated his catechesis this week:

Intelligent and cultured, she was drawn to contemplative prayer and devotion to the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the result of a recurring vision, Juliana worked to promote a liturgical feast in honour of the Eucharist.

The feast of Corpus Christi was first celebrated in the Diocese of Liège, and began to spread from there. Pope Urban IV, who had known Juliana in Liège, instituted the solemnity of Corpus Christi for the universal Church and charged Saint Thomas Aquinas with composing the texts of the liturgical office.

The Pope himself celebrated the solemnity in Orvieto, then the seat of the papal court, where the relic of a celebrated Eucharistic miracle, which had occurred the previous year, was kept.

As we recall Saint Juliana of Cornillon, let us renew our faith in Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist and pray that the “springtime of the Eucharist” which we are witnessing in the Church today may bear fruit in an ever greater devotion to the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.

Here is the full catechesis:

Dear brothers and sisters.

This morning I wish to present to you another female figure, little known, but to whom the Church owes a great deal, not just for her holiness in life, but also because, with her great fervor, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important liturgical solemnities of the year, the Feast of Corpus Domini.

She is St. Juliana of Cornillon, also known as St. Juliana of Liege. The information we have about her life comes above all from a biography probably written by a churchman who was her contemporary, and who recounts various testimonies by persons who knew the saint directly.

Juliana was born in 1191 or 1192 near Liege in Belgium. It is important to emphasize the place, because at that time, the Diocese of Liege was, so to speak, a true 'Eucharistic cenacle'.

Before Juliana, distinguished theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and in Liege, there were women's groups who were generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Guided by exemplary priests, they lived together, dedicating themselves to prayer and charitable works.

Orphaned at age 5, Juliana and her sister Agnes were entrusted to the care of Augustinian nuns in the convent-leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon. She was educated particularly by a nun named Sapienza who followed her spiritual maturation until Juliana received the religious habit and became an Augustinian nun herself.

She acquired remarkable culture, to the point where she read the works of the Church Fathers in Latin, particularly St. Augustine and St. Bernard Clairvaux.

Besides her lively intelligence, Juliana showed, from the start, a particular propensity for contemplation. She had a profound sense of the presence of Christ which she experienced with particular intensity in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, often meditating on the words of Jesus: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age"
(Mt 28,20).

At 16, she experienced her first vision which was repeated several times afterwards during her Eucharistic adorations. The vision showed the moon in full splendor, with a dark stripe which crossed it diametrically. The Lord made her understand the significance of what she saw. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth, the opaque line represented the absence of a liturgical feast, for the institution of which Juliana was called on to work effectively - that is, a feast in which believers could adore the Eucharist in order to augment their faith, advance in the practice of virtues, and repair offenses through the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Also involved was a much-esteemed priest, John of Lausanne, canon of the Church of St. Martin in Liege, whom the women devotees asked to advocate their dearest cause among theologians and ecclesiastics. The responses were positive and encouraging.

What happened with Juliana of Cornillon is often repeated in the life of saints: In order to confirm that an inspiration truly comes from God, one must always immerse oneself in prayer, know how to wait patiently, seek the friendship and opinion of other good souls, and submit everything to the judgment of the pastors of the Church.

It was the Bishop of Liege himself, Robert de Thourotte, who, after initial hesitation, welcomed the proposal of Juliana and her companions, and instituted for the first time, the Solemnity of Corpus Domini in his diocese. Later, other bishops imitated him, establishing the feast in the territories entrusted to their pastoral care.

Nonetheless, the Lord often asks the saints to overcome trials in order to further increased their faith. This happened to Juliana, who had to suffer the severe opposition of some members of the clergy and of the superior of her monastery.

Therefore, of her own will, Juliana left the convent of Mont-Cornillon with some companions, and for ten years, from 1248 to 1258, she was a guest in various monasteries of Cistercian nuns. She edified everyone with her humility, she never had a word of criticism or reproach for her adversaries, but continued to zealously spread the Eucharistic cult.

She died in 1248 at Fosses-La-Ville, in Belgium. In the cell where she lay, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and according to her biographer, Juliana had died, contemplating, with her last impulse of love, Jesus in the Eucharist, whom she had always loved, honored and adored.

Also conquered by the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Domini was Jacques de Troyes who had known the saint when he was archdeacon of Liege. It was he who, as Pope Urban IV, in 1264, instituted the Feast of Corpus Domini as a required feast for the universal Church on the Thursday after Pentecost.

In the Bull instituting the feast, entitled [CC]Transiturus de hoc mundo (dated August 11, 1264), Pope Urban discreetly evoked the mystical experiences of Juliana, valuing their authenticity, and wrote:

"Although the Eucharist is solemnly celebrated everyday, we think it is right that at least once a year, a greater and more solemn commemoration should be held. In this sacramental commemoration of Christ, under the species of bread and wine, Jesus Christ is present among us in his own substance. Indeed, before he ascended to heaven, he had said: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age"
(Mt 28,20).

The Pontiff himself wished to set an example, celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Domini in Orvieto, the city where he lived at the time. By his order, the city's Cathedral conserved - and still does - the famous corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle that had taken place the year before, 1263, in Bolsena.

A priest, as he was consecrating the bread and wine, was seized by sudden doubt as to the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Miraculously, drops of blood started to ooze from the consecrated Host, confirming what our faith proclaims.

Pope Urban asked one of the greatest theologians in history, St. Thomas Aquinas - who was at the time with the Pope in Orvieto - to compose the texts for the liturgy of this new feast. Those texts, which are still in use today, are masterpieces in which theology and poetry merge.

They are texts which make the chords of the heart vibrate to express praise and gratitude to the Most Blessed Sacrament, while the mind, penetrating with wonder into the mystery, acknowledges in the Eucharist the living presence of Jesus, of his sacrifice of love which reconciles us with the Father and gives us salvation.

Although, after the death of Urban IV, the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Domini was limited to some regions in France, Germany, Hungary, and northern Italy, yet another Pontiff, John XXII, renewed it in 1317 for the whole Church. Since then, the feast developed marvelously, and even today, it is devoutly felt by the Christian people.

I wish to affirm with joy that today, in the Church, there is a Eucharistic spring! How many persons stop for a moment of silence before the Tabernacle, to have a conversation of love with Jesus! It is comforting to know that not a few groups of young people have rediscovered the beauty of praying in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament. I think, for instance, of the Eucharistic Adoration we held in London's Hyde Park.

I pray that this Eucharistic spring may continue to spread even more in all parishes, particularly in Belgium, St. Juliana's homeland. Venerable John Paul II, in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, noted that "in so many places... the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament finds ample space in the daily routine and becomes an inexhaustible spring of holiness. The devout participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, is a grace from the Lord, who every year fills with joy all who participate in it. Other signs of Eucharistic faith and love can be mentioned"
(No. 10).

In remembering St. Juliana of Cornillon, let us renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, "Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is, in fact, present in a true, real and substantial way: with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and with his Divinity. In it, he is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine - Christ who is whole and total, God and man"(No. 262).

Dear friends, fidelity to the encounter with the Eucharistic Christ in the Sunday Mass is essential for the journey of faith, but let us also seek to frequently visit the Lord present in the Tabernacle!

Contemplating the consecrated Host in adoration, we encounter the gift of God's love, we encounter the Passion and the Cross of Jesus, as well as his Resurrection.

Through contemplating him in adoration, the Lord draws us towards him, within his mystery, to transform us as he transforms the bread and wine. The saints have always found strength, comfort and joy in the Eucharistic encounter.

With the words of the Eucharistic hymn 'Adoro te, devote', let us repeat before the Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament: "Make me believe ever more in you, because in you, I have hope, and because I love you". Thank you.

00Monday, June 15, 2020 3:29 AM
Interestingly, at that General Audience dedicated to St. Juliana, Benedict XVI issued an appeal for the release of Asia Bibi, who needs no introduction by now...

Pope's appeal for Asia Bibi

At the end of his general audience Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI joined the international community in expressing his concern for the plight of Christians in Pakistan, “often victims of violence or discrimination”.

He said “especially today I express my spiritual closeness to Mrs. Asia Bibi and her family, while I ask for full freedom to be restored to her, as soon as possible”.

Pope Benedict XVI added “I also pray for those who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and their fundamental rights be fully respected”.

Nongovernmental organizations are re-launching campaigns against Pakistan’s blasphemy law following the recent death sentence of the Christian woman, Asia Bibi, a mother of five children. Bibi has been on trial for over a year after a row with a group of Muslim women.

She is the first woman to be convicted on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan – a law that the Christian minority says is often misused to settle personal scores.

“The death sentence has shocked the civil society here,” says Peter Jacob, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistani Bishops Conference.

“Civil society in Pakistan is very active,” Peter Jacob told Vatican Radio. “There’s a number of appeals going on – signature campaigns – to make the authorities, the prime minister and parliament aware of people’s sentiment that this injustice is not acceptable to the people of Pakistan.”

A few months ago, Asia Bibi had occasion to publicly thank Benedict XVI (and Francis) in her new book published in France recently.

Center, Asia Bibi with Anne Isabelle Tollet, with whom she co-wrote her memoir.

Asia Bibi’s memoir published in France
by Daniele Zappalà
Translated from
February 4, 2020

“If I had renounced my Christian religion and converted to Islam, I would not now be here before you.”

After a decade of imprisonment and tribulations, and then constrained to live under a false name in Canada after her release, the Pakistani mother Asia Bibi summarizes in that line full of pride her profound understanding of her Calvary, never deserted by hope tenaciously anchored on her faith.

The stages of her ordeal, the scathing interrogations, her moments of intimate prayer, the whole background of a story that has moved the entire world, are now recounted by her in the moving book Enfin libre! (Free at last!), co-written with French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet, and just published in France by Rocher.

Tollet had been among the journalists who persistently fought for the release of Asia, and who from the very start had aligned themselves with the Pakistani woman who had been unjustly accused of blasphemy towards Islam and condemned to death. Her supporters followed every excruciating day of her Calvary for eight years, and had gathered 31,000 signatures in support of her release.

She was imprisoned for a total of 3,421 days, until the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled on October 21, 2018, to annul her sentence and set her free.

“I know that I became a prisoner of fanaticism. Often, people ask why my case has become so well known in the world. They forget that it was because of the Popes,” she writes in grateful acknowledgement, in a chapter entitled “The popes’, dedicated to the role that Benedict XVI and Francis had played, in showing their nearness to the cause of the woman who had become a symbol of the marginalization of Christ’s followers in Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world.

“The day I learned that Pope Benedict XVI knew who I was, I trembled under the thin and worn blanket that I had. But for the first time, I fell asleep with a warm heart”.

From that day, she says, an internal flame was lit in her: “With the Holy Father thinking of me and praying for me, I asked myself whether I was worthy of such honor and attention. And I still ask it today, because later, Pope Francis was also moved by my situation. I am just a peasant woman, and in the world, there are so many people who are suffering”.

Among the most persecuted of Christians, the most discriminated against, are the Christians of Pakistan, especially since the law on blasphemy against Islam came into force in 1989. There are some 4 million of them, 2 percent of Paksitan’s 201 million total population. But consider the ff statistics:
- 700 Christian girls are abducted every year, forced to convert to Islam and to marry Muslim men, especially in the rural areas.
- 16 Pakistanis were imprisoned for blasphemy in 2018 – 9 of them Christian, 4 Ahmadis (members of a Muslim sect founded in 1889 and persecuted because they believe their founder is the promised Mahdi/Messiah awaited by Muslims), 2 Muslims and a Hindu woman
- 42 Christians were released from prison last January 24 after having been jailed for protesting the destruction of a church in Lahore

Persecuted and condemned to death for having offered a drink of water to a Muslim woman beside whom she had been harvesting some fruit [the blasphemy apparently was in offering the woman a glass 'contaminated' by her infidel impurity], Asia Bibi offers in her book a splendid lesson in spiritual resistance, enlightened by simple prayers she addressed everyday to the Virgin and to heaven. This was her shield that made her endure the whiplashes of humiliation and insults in solitary confinement.

“No, I never blasphemed, but Muslim fanatics used me to sow terror in my country. How could I, a 54-year old simple peasant woman, become a symbol of the worldwide fight against religious extremism?”, she humbly asks.

She reflects on one particular moment: “Before the mullah of my village who had officially denounced me, I simply refused to give up my faith ine xchange for immediate freedom. I have asked myself why God had chosen to impose such sufferings on me. I fought long in the obscurity of my prison cell, fighting the battle of my life without any preparation”.

Her exile to Canada, after she was released, in a place that was never made known, would prove to be another trial, but there at least, reunied with her family, Asia recovered the joys of family life. She is now learning English and has discovered the magic of snow which she had never seen before. Meanwhile, one of heer daughters, steeled throughout her teenage years by the hard battle for her mother’s freedom, is studying to be a lawyer, to the great pride of her uneducated mother.

The family also thanks Salman Taseer, ex-governor of Punjab, and the Catholic Shabaz Bhatti, former Pakistani Minister for Minorities, who both fought to defend Asia, and paid with their lives for this, assassinated by extremists.

Asia dedicates a chapter to the lot of Pakistani Christians who “are not considered respectable persons” in their country, and whose destiny, "like a tiny seed, has nevertheless already yielded much fruit".

“We must never cease to believe and hope,” she writes. “I very much wish that to be Christian in Pakistan should no longer be a problem and that we should be treated like Muslim citizens are”.

00Monday, June 15, 2020 4:17 AM

Race Riot by Andy Warhol, 1964 [private collection]. The painting, was originally part of a Paris show called Death in America. Race Riot sold in a 2014 New York auction for $62,885,000. Imagine that!

A refreshing take on the current international hysteria about 'racism in America' from someone who grew up white and unDder-privileged. Because in the USA as elsewhere,
privilege is a prerogative of those who do not want for the means to live a minimally decent life. Black, white, brown or yellow, everyone who is poor is under-
privileged or without privilege.
The 'American dream' as it used to called was precisely the realistic aspiration that in the USA, individuals have the opportunity to rise above
the circumstances into which they are born, and that millions have done so.

'White privilege' and other matters
by David Carlin

June 12, 2020

I grew up the beneficiary of white privilege. It was my “privilege” to spend my first fifteen years in a cold-water tenement at 131 Beverage Hill Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. There was no central heating. The tenement was heated by the same kitchen stove on which the cooking was done.

If you wanted to wash your hands or face in warm water, you had to heat a bucket of water on the stove and then pour it into a sink. If you wanted a warm bath, you had to heat many buckets of water and pour them into the bathtub. There was of course no shower.

In the winter, to conserve heat, you closed off the front room of the tenement. The kitchen became our all-purpose room. To replenish the fuel that supplied the heating segment of our stove, you went down to the basement, filled a container with kerosene, then walked up two flights of stairs.

When my young sister needed medical treatment, we had the “privilege” of selling our old second-hand (or was it third-hand?) car, and then living for years without an automobile. But this in turn gave us the “privilege” of riding the bus to downtown Pawtucket to do our shopping. On Friday evenings my mother and I would go to one of the supermarkets then located in downtown Pawtucket, and I, a shrimp of a lad, had the “privilege” of lugging heavy grocery bags back home on the bus. My mother had the same “privilege.”

Around 1950, my father suffered a crippling attack of arthritis that kept him out of work and often in bed for a year. At that time we had the “privilege” of slipping from near-poverty into downright poverty. Fortunately, almost miraculously, my father recovered, and as soon as he did he got a job and went back to work, traveling via three buses from our home to his workplace at the distant western edge of Providence.

But in addition to my many “privileges,” I had some real advantages growing up in Pawtucket. First and foremost, I had two married parents with a very strong sense of parental duty. They worked hard, they played by the rules, they put family above individual self.

Second, I had Pawtucket public schools: Prospect Street School and Goff Junior High School. The teachers, the great majority of them unmarried women, were marvelous. They stuffed my head with knowledge and, more importantly, the desire for further knowledge.

Later, when my family had rebounded from poverty and could afford to pay the $100 annual tuition, I went to St. Raphael Academy, a Christian Brothers school with marvelous teachers. (The tuition now is well over $10,000 per annum; and there are no longer any Christian Brothers there.)

Third, I had the Catholic religion and its many Pawtucket churches. The religion reinforced the lessons in good conduct that I had learned at home and at school. It taught me to behave myself, and it taught me to feel guilty when my behavior fell below ideal standards (which it sometimes still does).

Fourth, I had the Pawtucket Boys’ Club, which supplied me with friends and with good clean recreation.

Finally, I had the city of Pawtucket itself – “the birthplace of the American industrial revolution,” for it was here that America’s first textile factory was built in 1790. In my boyhood (the 1940s and ‘50s) Pawtucket was in the last stages of what may be called its golden age. It was a splendid city for a boy to grow up in – a blue-collar city just right for boys from blue-collar families.

Downtown Pawtucket was vibrant, filled with people and stores and banks and restaurants and movie theaters – plus the Boys’ Club. (Nowadays downtown is a ghost town). The streets were safe. Violence rarely went beyond an occasional fistfight. Even though much of the city was densely packed with tenement houses, there always seemed to be plenty of room for kids to play.

Everybody who is not a complete idiot knows and admits that America has a long and horrible history of anti-black racism – 250 years of slavery and 100 years of post-emancipation racial segregation. And everybody, not just virtuous liberals, deplores that history. But everybody who is not self-deceived also knows that white racism is at most a minor factor in the misery that prevails today in much of black America.

If blacks, on average, are worse off than the average white in almost every category of well-being – health, income, education, jobs, and many others – this is chiefly because of an appallingly dysfunctional culture that is pervasive among the black lower classes and tends even to “percolate” upwards into the black middle classes.

This culture fosters and condones attitudes that lead to astronomical rates of out-of-wedlock births (more than 70 percent of black births are to unmarried women), millions of fathers who give little or no support to their children, high rates of crime and violence, high levels of drug abuse, a poor work ethic, very poor academic achievement.

Unless these aspects of the culture are reformed and healed, we may expect that great numbers of blacks will live in misery for the next few hundred years.

The greatest enemies of American blacks today are, in my humble opinion, white liberals who have a vested interest in keeping alive the myth of white racism. White liberals – who by and large are truly privileged, having good educations, jobs, incomes, houses, cars, wine, coffee, etc. – like to believe that all whites other than themselves are racists. For this allows white liberals to feel morally superior to everybody else.

And so white liberals – who dominate the “command posts” of American moral propaganda (the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, and our leading colleges and universities – are endlessly telling blacks that they are the victims of white racism, thus encouraging blacks to feel powerless, angry, and resentful, and diverting them from focusing on their real problem, a dysfunctional subculture.

Dear God, send us some truth.

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

Another Catholic Thing reflection on the topic...

Are these not my people?
George Floyd and his white murderer,
Donald Trump and the rioters ,
slaveowner and slave -
they are all Americans

by Stephen P. White

June 11, 2020

When the bishops of the United States issued their first pastoral letter on racism in forty years, titled “Open Wide Our Hearts,” in November of 2018, it was not front-page news. At the time, the Church in the United States was reeling from the McCarrick scandal, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the Viganò testimony.

The big story from that week’s meeting in Baltimore was that the bishops’ plans to vote on accountability measures for episcopal malfeasance had been forestalled at the request of Rome.

As sadly prescient as it may seem today, the pastoral letter may not have made much of a splash even if it had not been drowned out by other headlines. Americans do not particularly like thinking about racism – and here I will venture to say that this is especially true of the large majority of Americans who happen to be white. For one, racism is ugly. More than that, Americans are exceptionally bad at talking about it.

We are bad at talking about race, in part, because we do not trust each other – a fact that for some reason we are not supposed to admit. Racial differences, inextricably intertwined with cultural and class differences, make some Americans visually and unmistakably distinct from other Americans.

I do not need to point out to any African-American that he is part of a racial minority. Nor do I need to point out to him that I am not. Nor do I need to explain that the minority to which he belongs has suffered terribly in this country, in myriad ways, for centuries, mostly at the hands of people who look like more like me than like him.

I don’t assume when I meet a black person that he distrusts me. But neither would I be surprised nor upset to find that his trust is less easily won on account of our differences. Nor do I think he would be the least bit surprised to learn that, for a great many white Americans, the feeling is mutual.

Such a lack of trust is not racism – though it can be a breeding ground for it – but it is a barrier to honesty. And it is hard to have meaningful conversations without that. Not wanting to admit a trust deficit between Americans of different races (and it’s mostly white people who don’t want to admit it, for fear of sounding racist) doesn’t make things any easier.

A second reason we Americans are terrible at talking about race is related to the first. We have become confused about how to speak sensibly and truthfully to one another as members of communities. We lack a clear sense of just what it is we belong to and, thus, lack a clear sense of what and to whom we owe in justice. (Identity politics has made this problem worse, I believe, but it has not caused it. Identity politics can be understood as a misguided attempt to resolve it.)

There is a natural tendency to seek solidarity with others in a moment of crisis. The masses of Americans marching in protest of the killing of George Floyd show this impulse to solidarity. Then again, so do the police unions. Solidarity joins people together, but it also, in practice, always divides as well. A lot depends on whom one sees as “one’s own.”

It is natural to seek refuge in solidarity. We take pride in the triumphs of the communities to which we belong. We also share responsibility. This idea – that we are somehow both responsible to and responsible for the communities to which we belong – has largely been choked out by an ethos of individualism. The idea of collective guilt offends our American sensibilities. (Collective triumph, we’re OK with: USA! USA! USA!)

But the notion of collective responsibility – of “social sin,” to use a much-maligned phrase – ought not to be foreign to anyone familiar with Scripture. God judges us as individuals, yes, but also as members of peoples, assigning guilt and judging grievance both personally and corporately.

The price of the sin of Adam and Eve is paid by all their descendants. The sin of Cain, likewise. The repentance of Nineveh, the plagues against Egypt, Israel wandering the wilderness of Sinai, the Babylonian Exile – the Scriptures are filled with examples of people being made to share in punishment for sins on behalf of the peoples of which they are part.

There is another side to this as well. As Abraham asked, as he pleaded with the Lord to spare the city of Sodom for the sake of ten good men, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”

Above all, there is the example of Christ himself, offering himself as one sacrifice for the sins of all.

The point here is this:
- Perhaps one problem with our conversations about race is that we want to have things both ways – to heal as one without accepting any responsibility for a whole.
- We want to proclaim ourselves one people, but without taking responsibility for the parts to which we do not wish to belong.
- We treat the healing of one people as a meeting of many nations. We don’t belong to one another.

As a descendant of Irish Catholics, I’d rather not take responsibility for the sins of English Protestants who owned slaves. As a resident of Virginia, I’d rather not be blamed for the sins of that cop in Minnesota who murdered George Floyd.

As an American, though? Are these not my people? The slave owner and the slave . . . the white police officer and Mr. George Floyd?

What makes us think we get to pick and choose?

That is not just a rhetorical question. I think it is a hard question and one with serious implications. How we answer it will determine a lot about how our national conversation about race plays out this time.

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
00Monday, June 15, 2020 6:57 AM
Closed fists and genuflection
by Marcello Veneziani
Translated from

June 12, 2020

If symbols and rites mean anything and convey reality more than facts and words, then those closed fists, those cities set ablaze by the Antifa, that parody of religion with genuflection and wearing a rainbow stole during 8:46 minutes of silence [staged by Democratic congressmen], could mean that a new fanatical religion and a new communism are rising in the West.

A ‘premeditated’ religion that goes far beyond the intentions of those who embrace it. Because for so many who have gone down on one knee for the telecameras, simulating a religious gesture, there was a base objective: to crush under one’s knee The Enemy, The Beast, Donald Trump. And so, this great international mise-en-scene because the US presidential elections are a few months away.

Trump is being blamed for an assassination with which he had nothing to do, a killing that is not uncommon when policemen anywhere exceed their powers, something that has happened in the USA under both Democratic and Republican administrations. But it must be said that American policemen are likewise being blamed in general for homicidal delinquency.

Because America is still a violent society, at times savage, under its veneer of progress and technology, flab and indulgence. To get down on one's knee for one victim, when everyday, common delinquency, religious persecution and dictatorships everywhere are killing thousands, is sheer bad faith.

[It is also a virtue-signalling expression of idealistic righteousness, and possibly, on the part of the thousands of young white protestors, who far outnumber their black counterparts and having been brainwashed by the US educational system to hate their country for the wrong reasons, expressing a collective ’mea culpa’ to their black co-nationals for all the injustices that black people have experienced in the USA.]

But a new religion is really taking shape in Western societies based on the catechism of political correctness. That religion is the moral support of something colossal that is taking part in our day, above our heads and under our noses. That which for years was called One-Thought (i.e., intellectual orthodoxy) is becoming One-Power.

Like every totalitarian system, it is based on an absolute. In the case of Italy, it is the absolute of Health, the imperative to save ourselves from death and disease at any cost: to protect ourselves from something bad is OK; it is infecting others that is bad.

But the pandemic has presented itself in two forms: Covid-19 and factionalism. That is, the virus itself, and civil insubordination in the form of unallowed assembly, social protest, and conscientious objection to vaccination, to the most absurd restrictions, to the attempt to make these restrictions permanent, and to the most fanatical and senseless prophylactic (preventive) proposals.

The dogmas laid down by science and the virologists are used by those in power to widen their power and make this last as long as possible. The implicit model is the source of the virus itself, whose serious responsibility for all this is daily being exposed: the totalitarian People’s Republic of China.

The spread of the contagion and omerta [the silence and secrecy about it in the first weeks of the epidemic], the consequent long-lasting restrictions, militarized populations, totalitarian control, prohibition against demonstrations, repression of dissent, the totalitarian use of science and technology, global commercial dominance – all with communism as both foundation and horizon. The Chinese model has become the paradigm in Italy and in many progressivist sectors of the West.

After decades of collusion between capitalism and radical progressivism, that marriage is now openly in public view. The bridge between capitalism and communism is the imperative use of science and the totalitarian application of control. The end, as in communism, is always supposed to be the good of mankind, a better world, a new man, perhaps even trans-human to be even newer.

I spoke about the health-dictated totalitarianism in March when it was just starting to emerge. Italy was vying to become its pilot country, the guinea pig for the experiment. Today, after three months of it, we have an oversupply of analyses and denunciations. I wish to cite two philosophers who are quite different from each other, though both are far from reactionary, Catholic-traditionalist, much less fascist in their thinking.

I refer to Giorgio Agamben, who has denounced the uneasy marriage between the new medical religion and capitalism that are at the base of a new totalitarian system inclined to suspend freedoms and democracy. Catholic clergy, it seems, in particular, the church of Bergoglio, have succumbed to the system’s health diktats and now consider physical health a priority over salvation.

On the other hand, there is the young philosopher Michel Onfray who has theorized on atheism and criticized religion, but now denounces, following Orwell, the advent of a global dictatorship based on seven commandments:
- destroy freedoms and designate all dissidents and insubordinates as ‘fascists’
- impoverish language in order to manipulate minds
- abolish truth by encouraging One-Thought
- suppress history and rewrite it according to present needs
- deny nature, starting with human nature
- propagate hate, and
- establish a progressivist and nihilist global imperium.

According to Onfray, we have no recourse but to profess social atheism, in order not to ‘kneel’ before the new rainbow gods. He uses the verb ‘to kneel’, long before its current mystico-political use these days, aping religion. (In the Bible, the devil is simia dei, the monkey of God.)

Both Agamben and Onfray denounce the theological matrix of the new totalitarianism, the attempt to replace God with a new divinity. The new fanatics call themselves Antifa, a contraction of anti-fascist. The fact that the element of hate, implicit in ‘anti-‘, overrides the noun, says it all. The global enemy is Trump, the complementary enemy is Putin, and the ideological enemy is anything that can be construed as sovereignism [the desire of a country to acquire or preserve its national independence].

The plan foresees three essential substitutions:
- medico-progressivist faith replacing faith in a sacred and transcendent God;
- a mobile population of migrants in place of peoples or nations who are geogrqaphically rooted; and
- post-humanism 'man', according to science and willful design, in place of man according to nature and procreation.

But there is no pre-established global plan nor are there planners – some of its movers act knowingly, but many others unknowingly. [The pre-established global plan is really the Bergoglio-supported United Nations one-world-government program.]

Italy, because of her weakness, her theatricality, her transformism and servility, the unpreparedness of her current government, the ideological residues left by communism and fascism, makes for an exemplary sample. In us, sloppiness, as I have written before, tempers totalitarianism with inefficiency and comicality.

Whereas the closed fist is the enemy of an open mind.

June 14, 2020
I thought the following a good companion piece for the above. Both articles ultimately denounce the growing trend towards a One-Thought regime where any view or voice that is not politically correct - i.e., aligned with, supportive of, and openly advocating only the One-Thought - must absolutely be silenced. Indeed, writer Andrew Sullivan gets into it far more explicitly than Veneziani's mostly generic considerations. More to the point, he describes the situation in the USA concretely as it is today.

Douglas McClarey of American Catholic pointed me to this article with a post that he introduced with only one line: "When Andrew Sullivan is a voice of reason, you know how out of joint the times are".

For those who may not be familiar with Sullivan's name, he is a self-described conservative whom Time magazine once featured as one of the top 25 liberal thinkers of our time, though he disputed the label 'liberal'. He has written and bloggd for leading liberal outlets like Time itself, the New York Times magazine, New York magazine, the Atlantic, the Daily Beast and Huffington Post. A British-born American, Roman Catholic but openly gay, he is best known for his gay activism and for his strident support of Barack Obama, claiming in 2012 that "Against a radical right, reckless, populist insurgency, Obama is the conservative option, dealing with emergent problems with pragmatic calm and modest innovation. He seeks to reform the country's policies in order to regain the country's past virtues. What could possibly be more conservative than that?", ignoring, of course, that Obama did none of that in his first term.

Is there still room for debate?
by Andrew Sullivan
June 12, 2020

In the last couple of weeks, as the purges of alleged racists have intensified in every sphere, and as so many corporations, associations, and all manner of civic institutions have openly pledged allegiance to anti-racism, with all the workshops, books, and lectures that come with it, I’m reminded of a Václav Havel essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”

It’s about the dilemma of living in a world where adherence to a particular ideology becomes mandatory. In Communist Czechoslovakia, this orthodoxy, with its tired slogans, and abuse of language, had to be enforced brutally by the state, its spies, and its informers. In America, of course, with the First Amendment, this is impossible.

But perhaps for that very reason, Americans have always been good at policing uniformity by and among themselves. The puritanical streak of shaming and stigmatizing and threatening runs deep. This is the country of extraordinary political and cultural freedom, but it is also the country of religious fanaticism, moral panics, and crusades against vice. It’s the country of The Scarlet Letter and Prohibition and the Hollywood blacklist and the Lavender Scare. The kind of stifling, suffocating, and nerve-racking atmosphere that Havel evokes is chillingly recognizable in American history and increasingly in the American present.

The new orthodoxy — what the writer Wesley Yang has described as the “successor ideology” to liberalism — seems to be rooted in what journalist Wesley Lowery calls “moral clarity.” He told Times media columnist Ben Smith this week that journalism needs to be rebuilt around that moral clarity, which means ending its attempt to see all sides of a story, when there is only one, and dropping even an attempt at objectivity (however unattainable that ideal might be).

And what is the foundational belief of such moral clarity? That America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start; that, as Lowery put it in The Atlantic, “the justice system — in fact, the entire American experiment — was from its inception designed to perpetuate racial inequality.” (Wesley Lowery objected to this characterization of his beliefs — read his Twitter thread about it here.)

This is an argument that deserves to be aired openly in a liberal society, especially one with such racial terror and darkness in its past and inequality in the present. But it is an argument that equally deserves to be engaged, challenged, questioned, interrogated. There is truth in it, truth that it’s incumbent on us to understand more deeply and empathize with more thoroughly. But there is also an awful amount of truth it ignores or elides or simply denies.
- It sees America as in its essence not about freedom but oppression.
- It argues, in fact, that all the ideals about individual liberty, religious freedom, limited government, and the equality of all human beings were always a falsehood to cover for and justify and entrench the enslavement of human beings under the fiction of race.
- It wasn’t that these values competed with the poison of slavery, and eventually overcame it, in an epic, bloody civil war whose casualties were overwhelmingly white.
- It’s that the liberal system is itself a form of white supremacy — which is why racial inequality endures and why liberalism’s core values and institutions cannot be reformed and can only be dismantled.

This view of the world certainly has “moral clarity.” What it lacks is moral complexity. [But you cannot expect complexity of thinking in people who willfully and literally see everything as either black or white - nothing in between - in which black equals everything good that is also oppressed, downtrodden and abused, and white equals pure evil with no redeeming virtue at all, never mind if the person who thinks this is white as driven snow himself. One-Thought brainwashing really washes out completely all common sense and the ability to think for oneself.]
- No country can be so reduced to one single prism and damned because of it.
- American society has far more complexity and history has far more contingency than can be jammed into this rubric.
- No racial group is homogeneous, and every individual has agency.
- No one is entirely a victim or entirely privileged.
- And we are not defined by black and white any longer - we are home to every race and ethnicity, from Asia through Africa to Europe and South America.

- A country that actively seeks immigrants who are now 82 percent nonwhite is not primarily defined by white supremacy.
- Nor is a country that has seen the historic growth of a black middle and upper class, increasing gains for black women in education and the workplace, a revered two-term black president, a thriving black intelligentsia, successful black mayors and governors and members of Congress, and popular and high culture strongly defined by the African-American experience.
- Nor is a country where nonwhite immigrants are fast catching up with whites in income and where some minority groups now out-earn whites.

And yet this crude hyperbole remains. In yesterday’s New York Times, in a news column, there was a story about the attempted purge of an economics professor for not being adequately supportive of the protests of recent weeks. It contained the following sentence, describing research into racial inequality: “Economics journals are still filled with papers that emphasize differences in education, upbringing or even IQ rather than discrimination or structural barriers.”
- But why are these avenues of research mutually exclusive?
- Why can’t the issue of racial inequality be complicated — involving many social, economic, and cultural factors that operate alongside the resilience of discrimination?
- And wouldn’t it help if we focused on those specific issues rather than seeing every challenge that African-Americans face as an insuperable struggle against the hatred of whites?

The crudeness and certainty of this analysis is quite something. It’s an obvious rebuke to Barack Obama’s story of America as an imperfect but inspiring work-in-progress, gradually including everyone in opportunity, and binding races together, rather than polarizing them. [??? A rebuke? Really? Would the 'newspaper of record' risk doing that and willingly 'offend' all-too-tender black sensitivities? Or maybe, the writer thought 'black Americans' would be too dense to read behind the lines?]

In fact, there is more dogmatism in this ideology than in most of contemporary American Catholicism. And more intolerance. Question any significant part of this, and your moral integrity as a human being is called into question.
- There is little or no liberal space in this revolutionary movement for genuine, respectful disagreement, regardless of one’s identity, or even open-minded exploration.
- In fact, there is an increasingly ferocious campaign to quell dissent, to chill debate, to purge those who ask questions, and to ruin people for their refusal to swallow this reductionist ideology whole.

The orthodoxy goes further than suppressing contrary arguments and shaming any human being who makes them. It insists, in fact, that anything counter to this view is itself a form of violence against the oppressed.

The reason some New York Times staffers defenestrated op-ed page editor James Bennet was that he was, they claimed, endangering the lives of black staffers by running a piece by Senator Tom Cotton, who called for federal troops to end looting, violence, and chaos, if the local authorities could not.

This framing equated words on a page with a threat to physical life — the precise argument many students at elite colleges have been using to protect themselves from views that might upset them. But, as I noted two years ago, we all live on campus now.

In this manic, Manichean world you’re not even given the space to say nothing.
- “White Silence = Violence” is a slogan chanted and displayed in every one of these marches.
- It’s very reminiscent of totalitarian states where you have to compete to broadcast your fealty to the cause.
- In these past two weeks, if you didn’t put up on Instagram or Facebook some kind of slogan or symbol displaying your wokeness, you were instantly suspect.

The cultishness of this can be seen in the way people are actually cutting off contact with their own families if they don’t awaken and see the truth and repeat its formulae.
- Ibram X. Kendi insists that there is no room in our society for neutrality or reticence.
- If you are not doing “antiracist work” you are ipso facto a racist. By “antiracist work” he means fully accepting his version of human society and American history, integrating it into your own life, confessing your own racism, and publicly voicing your continued support.

That’s why
- this past week has seen so many individuals issue public apologies as to their previous life and resolutions to “do the work” to more actively dismantle “structures of oppression.”
- corporate America has rushed to adopt every plank of this ideology and display its allegiance publicly. If you do this, and do it emphatically, you can display your virtue to your customers and clients, and you might even be left alone. Or not.

There is no one this movement suspects more than the insincere individual, the person who it deems is merely performing these public oaths and doesn’t follow through.
- Every single aspect of life, every word you speak or write, every tweet you might send, every private conversation you may have had, any email you might have sent, every friend you love is either a function of your racism or anti-racism.
- And this is why flawed human beings are now subjected to such brutal public shamings, outings, and inquisitions — in order to root out the structural evil they represent.
- If you argue that you believe that much of this ideology is postmodern gobbledygook, you are guilty of “white fragility.”
- If you say you are not fragile, and merely disagree, this is proof you are fragile.

It is the same circular argument that was once used to burn witches. And it has the same religious undertones. To be woke is to wake up to the truth — the blinding truth that liberal society doesn’t exist, that everything is a form of oppression or resistance, and that there is no third option. You are either with us or you are to be cast into darkness.

And that’s where Havel comes in. In his essay, he cites a greengrocer who has a sign he puts up in his window: “Workers of the World, Unite!” If he did not put one there, he’d be asked why. A neighbor could report him for insufficient ideological zeal. An embittered employee might get him fired for his reticence. And so it becomes, over time, not so much a statement of belief as an attempt to protect himself.

People living under this ideology “must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”

Mercifully, we are far freer than Havel was under Communism. We have no secret police. The state is not requiring adherence to this doctrine. And it is not a lie that this country has some deep reckoning to do on the legacy of slavery and segregation.

In so far as this movement has made us more aware and cognizant of the darkness of the past, it is a very good thing, and overdue. But in so far as it has insisted we are defined entirely by that darkness, it has the crudeness of a kind of evangelist doctrine — with the similar penalties for waywardness.
- We have co-workers eager to weaponize their ideology to purge the workforce.
- We have employers demanding our attendance at seminars and workshops to teach this ideology.
- We have journalists (of all people) poring through other writers’ work or records to get them in trouble, demoted, or fired.
- We have faculty members at colleges signing petitions to rid their departments of those few left not fully onboard.
- We have human-resources departments that have adopted this ideology whole and are imposing it as a condition for employment.
- And, critically, we have a Twitter mob to hound people into submission.

Liberalism is not just a set of rules. There’s a spirit to it.
- A spirit that believes that there are whole spheres of human life that lie beyond ideology — friendship, art, love, sex, scholarship, family.
- A spirit that seeks not to impose orthodoxy but to open up the possibilities of the human mind and soul.
- A spirit that seeks moral clarity but understands that this is very hard, that life and history are complex, and it is this complexity that a truly liberal society seeks to understand if it wants to advance.
- It is a spirit that deals with an argument — and not a person — and that counters that argument with logic, not abuse.
- It’s a spirit that allows for various ideas to clash and evolve, and treats citizens as equal, regardless of their race, rather than insisting on equity for designated racial groups.
- It’s a spirit that delights sometimes in being wrong because it offers an opportunity to figure out what’s right.
- And it’s generous, humorous, and graceful in its love of argument and debate.
- It gives you space to think and reflect and deliberate.

Twitter, of course, is the antithesis of all this — and its mercy-free, moblike qualities when combined with a moral panic are, quite frankly, terrifying.

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values,” President Kennedy once said. “For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” Let’s keep that market open. Let’s not be intimidated by those who want it closed.
00Monday, June 15, 2020 8:00 AM

Stop the presses! America magazine has actually published an article in praise of Donald Trump - well, an action of his, anyway -violating the
sacrosanct never-Trump principle that anything this President says or does is automatically wrong, an offense, an evil, a crime for which
he should be impeached right away, and over and over, if not wiped out from the surface of the earth altogether.

If he says 'black is black', his opponents would jump all over him and protest, "But no, black is not black and could never be black!" That's how
irrational they have become over him. And they're blissfully unaware of their collective madness... And of course, the writer of this article -
a professor at Notre Dame U - takes a stab at Trump every chance he gets, clearly not happy that he has to say something good about this
executive order.

Ignore the optics:
Trump’s executive order could jump-start
the cause of global religious freedom

by Daniel Philpott

June 09, 2020

On June 2, President Trump signed the Executive Order Advancing International Religious Freedom, but few noticed amid everything else that happened that week. The day before the signing, law enforcement officers used rubber pellets and tear gas to forcefully remove peaceful protesters near the White House so that Mr. Trump could hold a Bible aloft in a photo op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

This sparked two more days of controversy in which the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, brandished their own Bibles; the archbishop of Washington, Wilton Gregory, denounced the managers of St. John Paul II National Shrine for allowing Mr. Trump to appear there; and thousands of citizens fanned a firestorm of tweets, denunciations and recriminations.

Has anyone read the executive order? Religious freedom advocates might well be frustrated that tear gas and controversy occluded a measure whose very purpose is to lift the cause of religious freedom out of the shadows.

The second sentence of the order contains words that these advocates have been waiting for years to hear a president utter: “Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom.

Why are these words important? The answer lies in the previous sentence: “Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative.”

Why is religious freedom a moral imperative? While the pandemic has surged around the world and the United States agonizes over racism and police violence,
- several hundred Christians have been killed in Nigeria;
- China has escalated its brutal crackdown on churches and continues to hold a million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps in Western China; and
- Christians, Muslims, Jews, Bahais and people of other religious traditions suffer “high” or “very high” levels of restrictions on religion in 50 other countries, according to the widely respected Pew Research Center.

But is religious freedom also a national security imperative? This has been a hard sell for foreign policy makers in the past several administrations, which have subordinated religious freedom to fighting terrorism, securing alliances and expanding trade.

Much recent research shows, though, that religious freedom mitigates terrorism and civil war, strengthens democracy, enhances economic development, fosters peace, enables reconciliation and advances opportunities for women.

Religious repression has contributed to violence, terrorism and instability in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and other countries that have preoccupied U.S. foreign policy makers in the past two decades.

President Trump is an unlikely promoter of human rights. [WHY? That is a totally unfounded statement tht is nothing but sheer bias!] But the right message still merits support.
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True, President Trump is an unlikely promoter of human rights. Beginning with his 2016 campaign, he has stoked animus against Muslims, immigrants, African nations and numerous other vulnerable groups of people, and he has trampled on many global norms. [Speaking the harsh truth about certain groups of people in specific situations - not those groups in any or every situation - to justify proposed measures to remedy said situations is not sowing animus.]

Still, if the message is crippled by the messenger, the message still merits support when it is the right one. The Trump administration, whose staff includes sincere and dedicated experts on the issue, has promoted global religious freedom through:
- an annual ministerial conference that has brought together hundreds of foreign policy officials, religious leaders and civil society leaders from around the world;
- the appointment of Sam Brownback as a committed and effective ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom; and now,
- last week’s executive order.

The order helps to lift the U.S. government’s advocacy of religious freedom abroad into high-level foreign policy. It expands upon the work that Congress began in 1998 when it sought to ensconce the promotion of religious freedom into U.S. foreign policy through the International Religious Freedom Act, which established an office of religious freedom in the State Department, added an advisor on religious freedom to the National Security Council, and created the independent and nonpartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Since that time, annual reports have raised awareness and provided solid information about violations of religious freedom, helping to secure religious freedom’s place in global discourse about human rights. Some nations have freed religious dissidents from prisons. And several European states and the European Union have followed the lead of the United States and taken up global religious freedom in their foreign policies.

Yet it would be difficult to argue that these policies have made any country more religiously free, and the world as a whole may well be less religiously free than it was 20 years ago. Contributing to this lack of efficacy are the lukewarm commitments of presidents, who have allowed the policy of religious freedom to languish in a corner of the State Department, and of foreign policy makers who have failed to integrate the issue into their strategic thinking.

The Trump administration’s executive order aims to end this torpor, giving the cause more teeth by
- making religious organizations and communities partners to the government in promoting religious freedom,
- requiring our diplomatic missions in violator countries to develop plans of action for improving the situation on the ground,
- providing serious funding for programs that promote religious freedom,
- mandating the training in religious freedom for all civil service employees in the State Department, and
- channeling foreign assistance toward promoting religious freedom.

The chief threat to these welcome changes would be a presidential administration that reverts to lukewarmness or even becomes hostile toward religion freedom as a priority. The executive order gives the Secretary of State 180 days to develop an implementation plan — but that deadline could arrive in the middle of a presidential transition. [It could also be met much earlier, as surely, work has already been done on it.]

Should there be a Biden administration, let us hope that it would live up to the candidate’s promise of restoring national unity by taking up a cause as American as fireworks on the Fourth of July.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed religious freedom as one of the four freedoms that defined the United States’ aims in the Second World War. After he died, his widow, Eleanor, secured religious freedom’s place in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Let us hope that whoever wins the election in November will carry on this legacy, along with racial justice and protecting the health of our citizens, long after the tear gas [smoke bombs. not tear gas] over St. John’s Episcopal Church has wafted into the atmosphere.

A big step for religious freedom:
A new executive order puts the
neglected issue at the heart
of U.S. foreign policy

By Nina Shea

June 11, 2020

For decades religious freedom has been treated as the unwanted stepchild in the human-rights side of U.S. foreign policy. But in a rare ray of light this dark spring, America’s defining right has been recognized at the highest level as a “moral and national security imperative.” This is more than a symbolic gesture.

On June 2 President Trump signed an executive order that declares support for religious freedom a foreign policy “priority.” It mandates that “the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom” abroad. It has been a long journey to this point.

The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor was created in 1977 to help advance individual liberty and democratic freedoms around the world. The U.S. had pledged to do so since 1948, when it backed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Technically religious freedom was covered along with other fundamental rights in the bureau’s mandate.

In reality, many officials saw religious freedom as irrelevant—neither universal nor inalienable. In a 1997 speech at Catholic University, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dismissed calls to press for religious freedom. Speaking in the context of Sudan’s mass killing, rape and deportation of religious minorities, Ms. Albright said, “We must also take into account the perspectives and values of others.” U.S. officials often vociferously protested the torture and imprisonment of journalists, lawyers and political dissidents. But Washington’s record on standing up for religious believers was spottier.

A broad, faith-based movement — incensed that reports of religious persecution were habitually ignored by the American foreign-policy establishment — successfully lobbied for the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The IRFA institutionalized concern for religious freedom. It established a new office and the post of ambassador-at-large, along with an independent bipartisan commission to recommend policies. The legislation mandated State publish an annual report that identifies the world’s worst persecutors of religious freedom. A 2016 bill empowered the ambassador-at-large to report directly to the Secretary of State.

Greater awareness has led to results. Many of the persecuted draw courage and receive better treatment because they are not forgotten. Some were even freed from prison, with several high-profile cases in recent years. American Pastor Andrew Brunson, detained on false charges in Turkey for more than two years, finally was released in 2018, in large part thanks to help from the Commission on International Religious Freedom.

But problems persisted. Washington didn’t begin directing humanitarian aid in Iraq to the Christian and Yazidi communities until 2018 four years after Islamic State destroyed their towns and two years after State officially designated them victims of genocide. The effort to overcome the bureaucratic inertia that slowed aid was considered Vice President Mike Pence’s pet project—essentially recognition that it wouldn’t have happened if not for his special interest and specific direction.

There’s always more to do, but the Trump administration has elevated the cause of international religious freedom since the president came into office. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy cited violent attacks on religious minorities. In a notable first, the document promised to “place a priority on protecting” such groups.

The recent executive order, which applies beyond the Middle East and religious minorities, ensures the NSS pledge will become operational. For example, Nigeria is on the IRFA “special watch list” and will automatically be given priority through a selection of diplomatic tools — from assistance for rights defenders to help improving security for targeted houses of worship and villages. China, a “country of particular concern” because it suppresses all religions, will receive similar treatment.

The Secretary of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. embassies around the world must produce specific plans to advance religious freedom. They also will carry out educational training in international religious freedom for the Foreign Service and other federal employees.

Another important provision appears to take aim at America’s previously unconscionable negligence in Iraq by mandating “foreign assistance programs shall ensure that faith-based and religious entities, including eligible entities in foreign countries, are not discriminated against.”

The order puts teeth in IRFA’s listing of severe persecutors by directing the secretaries of state and Treasury to prioritize economic sanctions and visa denials to pressure offending individuals in those countries. It allocates $50 million for new programs to protect religious communities and their culture.

Religious freedom remains a salient foreign-policy issue for a simple reason: Billions of people are religious, and many are persecuted. The U.S. has taken an important step toward ensuring it always stands with them.

Ms. Shea, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (1999-2012).

An Italian journalist picks out other important features of the Executive Order on religious freedom that are not mentioned in the first two articles translated above:

How Trump will 'punish' those states
that violate religious freedom

by Benedetta Frigerio
Translated from

June 11, 2020

The executive order signed by the US President on the day when he was attacked by the Archbishop of Washington, DC, for having honored John Paul II, decrees that states which violate religious freedom shall not be given US economic aid, will have limited visas to the USA, and opens the doors for those who are persecuted anywhere because of their faith.

In a way, this scales back – and not just in words – the era of free trade and firm handshakes between the democracies and totalitarian regimes. If indeed, heads of governments in the West have ‘always’ supported the cause of religious freedom, their statements have never been followed by facts that truly give it priority. Because, of course, capitalism has always held up commerce and profit as its primary value.

“The religious freedom of every person around the world is a priority of American foreign policy”, says the Executive Order signed by President Trump last June 2, after his visit to the shrine of John Paul II, which caused Archbishop Wilton Gregory to express his indignation publicly. The president and his wife had prayed before a relic of the sainted Pope who had fought regimes, especially the Communist ones, in behalf of religious freedom.

The Word ‘priority’ is nothing new with regard to this subject, but what really matters is what follows. Trump did not limit himself to upholding religious freedom in the USA. His executive order, in fact, provies for sanctions against states and their functionaries who persecute their citizens and residents because of their faith. Thus, besides underscoring that “our founding fathers understood religious freedom not as a creation of the State, but as a gift of God to every person and as a fundamental right in order to prosper in our society”, and that “at least $50 million a year will be allocated for programs that promote religious freedom around the world”.

The order then lists desired objectives, such as the prevention of attacks on individuals or groups, promoting punishment of the culprits, or increasing security measures for places of worship.

Moreover, “the departments and agencies of the United States government that finance foreign aid programs should make sure that entities based on faith and religion… are not discriminated against when they compete for federal funds”.

The Secretary of State (currently Mike Pompeo) should aid US ambassadors who are at particular risk so that they may develop concrete actions that encourage their host nations to eliminate violations of religious freedom. These ambassadors, in dialog with local governments, “should raise concerns about international religious freedom and about cases which involve the imprisonment of individuals because of their faith”.

It asks religious organizations to present to the President their plans for the protection of religious minorites, while federal employees involved in such actions shall be obliged to “follow courses of instruction on inrernational religious freedom”.

But the true novelty is contained at the end of the order: The USA will withdraw foreign aid from states that violate religious freedom and will limit their access to US visas, while it will open the doors to persons persecuted for their faith.

It also speaks of economic sanctions: “The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State. may consider the imposition of sanctions” such as “blocking the propeerty of persons involved in grave violations of human rights”. It means, for instance, that public functionaries who persecute Christians in their countries could lose every asset they may possess in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Republicans managed to pass a bill that would sanction functionaries who violate religious freedom in China (while anti-Beijing demonstrations continue in HongKong), where Christians as well as the Uighur Muslims are persecuted. This caused the Chinese ambssador in Washington to say: “We call on the United States to immediately remedy this error and to stop using the question of Xinjiang [where the Uighurs are persecuted] to interfere in the internal affairs of China.”

Trump’s actiopn also responds to the growth of new Islamic terrorist alliances n Africa, with increasing attacks on Christians in Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Nigeria. In Nigeria, last week, the latest to be killed by jihadists were the Protestant pastor Emmanuel Bileya and his wife, who left behind eight orphans and a flourishing Christian community.

“The Executive Order underscores that religious freedom is not just a human right,” says Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, “but a moral and national security imperative”. Farr pointed out that the order offers the ‘certainty’ that the government will always seriously counter any attack against believers with the adoption of important measures.

Farr expressed his dismay at the Washngton Archbishop’s attack on Trump because, he says, “whether you like the President or not, to condemn him for having honored the great St. John Paul II, whose defense of religious freedom ois honored everywhere, is simply shortsighted”

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, says the order will advance actities in behalf of religious freeom “in the states that are on the State Department’s Special Watch List”.

00Monday, June 15, 2020 10:34 PM

Mundabor has a very good post today with his common-sense observations of the audacious self-declared 6-city-block 'nation' within the city of Seattle that first called itself CHAD
(for Capitol Hill Autonomus Zone) and has since renamed to CHOP (Capitol Hill Open Protest). Whatever it is, it represents the epitome of the radical reactions provoked by the cop-
killing of George Floyd three weeks ago - the reactions themselves a distillation of righteous rage and indignation over the crime, of the ever-simmering anti-white animus harbored
by the black community in the USA - fed by the ideological indulgence and inflammatory encouragement within a US educational system long captured by the liberal left - and the
release of pent-up cabinfever rage among young people 'freed' after three months of forced lockdown.

CHAZ: Meet the 'new world'
[or, Bringing to life the dystopian worlds
imagined by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley]

June 15, 2020

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle (CHAZ) is making headlines and it might not be long before copycat versions pop up in several other Democrat dominated cities. The Mayor of Seattle has, without any irony, called it a potential Summer of Love. This shows the kind of poison these old 68ers have in their heads.

Still, it seems the new world is a worsened version of the old one. Let us see some of its defining features:

Racism: White people inside the zone are pressured to give money to the people “of colour”. Clearly, some people are more equal than others. Whites must sit at the back of the bus, and they are paying to boot.

Boundaries And Walls: the new world has boundaries, checkpoints, the lot. Why do they have it? Let us see: to keep undesired elements out, avoid invasions from the outside powers and populations, and let the people inside feel safe? I thought they were against, er, all of it?

No Undocumented People: same as the point above, with a variation: the CHAZ people really, really do not want undocumented people inside. The controls are everywhere. You live in the CHAZ? You need to show ID to get in, every time.

Police: the New World Order Boys have their own security service. It is, in fact, their own police. This means that they do not believe in any love-in among the happy insiders. They do think they will need to have some people maintain order to prevent lawlessness from exploding. Plus ca change

Illegality and Waste: Leftist tree-huggers donate food to the “new world” inhabitants. The latter invite the homeless to share it. The homeless steal everything. The Revolutionary Youth ask for… more food! Vegan if you can, please. So: resources from the dumb are spread around and appropriated by a minority without scruples, and this causes a request for more resources to be wasted. It looks like they have learned fast how to be a Democrat-run territory.

However, in all this, there is something that is, very clearly, not as it was in the old world, and this is: democracy.

In the old world, the people elected a Mayor, who in turn was in charge of selecting the Chief of Police. The CHAZ has not held any referendum to know whether the locals actually agree with the New Republic. They have no mandate at all. No. What they have done is:
a) appropriate a territory, and
b) impose their will on others.

I thought they considered this stuff, actually, bad? Or is it only bad when… others do it?

This CHAZ is becoming more Orwellian by the day, and one needs to be deeply rotten inside not to see it. My take is that, even in Seattle – where, I think it’s fair to say, they deserve everything that will happen to them – more and more people are opening their eyes.

Outside of the big Democrat-run big cities, it is a fair bet that the Democrats will lose more and more ground, and that they will lull themselves into a false sense of security – with all the fake [dubious] polls that are going around now – until Hurricane Donald makes landfall in early November.

By the bye: I hope the homeless who have stolen all the food go back and demand more of it... Oppression, hunger, and all that.

It would be interesting to see the answer of the Brave New World (particularly after they discover that food is not unlimited) to the issues that have always plagued the old one. [For now, at least, they definitely have shown more balls than any of the elected leaders of Seattle and Washington state, who have so far decided not to do anything ,six days now and counting, into the obviously illegal occupation and 'colonialization' by dissidents of six blocks in the city center.]

And how's this for a denunciation of the largely leftist-corrupted US educational system?

School’s. Out. For. Ever.
by Jason Morgan

After the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus last year many American schools suspended in-person classes. Even now students across the country are taking part in their school day online. Instead of getting on a bus or rolling out of bed in a college dorm to go to school, kids are propped up at their parents’ kitchen tables, staring at a screen while a teacher or a professor delivers lectures via Zoom.

Parents, now finally able to see what they are getting for their tax or tuition dollars, have not been amused. It is not the online-ness of the classes that is the problem. It’s the classes themselves.

More specifically, it’s the instructors. Public school teachers are tax-guzzling ideologues who can’t diagram a sentence but who do have a very highly-developed ability to watch pornography at their desk and harass Christian kids at lunchtime. Many of them are criminals. [Unless the word 'criminals' is not intended here as a direct indictment and is merely used figuratively, as in 'unscrupulous opportunistic brainwashers', that is a most intemperate and reprehensible accusation that cannot be loosely said by any responsible person, absent any evidence to support it, even if only anecdotal.] ,

University professors are even worse. Whether your child is enrolled in a “Fat Studies” course or one of the endless varieties of Race, Class, Gender, and Grievance 101, you have probably stood by agog as he, she, ze, xe, or shim has Zoomed with an “intellectual” explaining the finer points of lesbian protest literature or Maoist theater. Fifty thousand dollars for fifteen PowerPoints about Haymarket is pretty steep, eh Dad? How much would those slide presentations, and the expert commentary that goes along with them, be worth in the real world?

As the virus runs its course and we begin to look ahead to next semester, the question in the news has lately been, will schools reconvene in September, or will everything remain online for the rest of the year? This is understandably a big question to ask for those who have made an investment of time and often real estate in their children’s education.

But it is the wrong question. It does not matter if the school bell rings again in the fall. As the current revolution in the streets of a hundred cities is making very clear, the students have already learned everything they needed from public school. School’s out for summer, and that is partly why the streets are now choked with delinquents who would otherwise be in a classroom.

But school might as well also be out for ever. Here’s the real question we should be asking: What else is there to study? What we are witnessing now is the final exam in Socialist Insurgency, really the only subject that almost every “educational” institution has taught since the 1970s. Congratulations, grads—if you have taken the past week to burn down a building or beat up an old lady defending her livelihood, then you get an A-plus. Your diploma is your mail-in ballot for 2020. (We don’t think you need to be told how to use it.)

A few years ago, many of us were surprised to learn that among the leaders of Antifa, the Left’s favorite organization for killing innocent people apart from Planned Parenthood, are a number of public school teachers. That fact is not so surprising today.

Antifa 'foot soldiers'. They sure look far more sinister than Hitler's Brownshirts or Mussolini's Blackshirts. In fact, they look like the ISIS executioners chopping heads off for fun.

The truth is that Antifa and our education system are the same thing. This is more than apparent this week. The country is coming apart, and the “teachers” are not only egging the street punks on, the teachers are the street punks.

With a few exceptions — nearly everyone who disagrees with the Left has been ousted ousted from the schools and academia years ago. Classrooms in America are simply where the revolutionaries have been drawing the X’s and O’s of the battle plans being put into action today.

New York City is burning, but that’s only proximately the work of roid-enraged snowflakes on loan from Columbia. The real brains behind all this is the legion of Antifa coordinators who throng the faculty lounges at just about every place — K-to-Grade-12, college, and especially graduate school — where “social justice” long ago became the only item on the curriculum.

Social justice is just Leninism biding its time, the comic book version of Rules for Radicals wedged into a math or science textbook. You thought you were putting your kid on the school bus to go study calculus. They were probably learning how to throw Molotov cocktails instead.

Like ISIS recruits fresh out of the training camps, the kids on the streets today have outlived their need for public schools. And I can’t imagine the teachers will bother with the charade any longer, either. School’s out. Forever.

This may sound like wild rhetoric, but in fact limiting our critique to the public schools does not go nearly far enough.
- One Molotov cocktail devotee, Urooj Rahman, was bailed out of jail by a former Obama official after she was “charged with intentionally torching a police cruiser” in New York last week.
- The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, held a press conference a few days later in which he praised his own daughter for her arrest in the riots engulfing the city he was elected to protect.
- Keith Ellison, the attorney general of the State of Minnesota, has tweeted out photographs of himself holding up Antifa literature. - Ellison’s son, not to be outflanked by his radical old man, has declared his support for Antifa, too.
- So it’s not just the public school teachers who are declaring themselves in lockstep with the terrorists. It’s public officials, too. (Did you think the Democrats were going to give up their chance at a coup d'etat that easily?)

And this is all to say nothing of the raft of celebrities and politicians mouthing the usual pabulum about supporting other terrorist organizations and hate groups such as By Any Means Necessary (what “means” do you think they mean by that?), Black Lives Matter, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and even the Biden Campaign, apparently committed to ensuring that chaos reigns wherever poor black people cannot afford private security. And being able to tweet your support for mayhem from your compound in the Hamptons while black businesses get looted by Bernie Bros. If that’s not white privilege I simply cannot think of what is.

But don’t expect anyone on the left to start calling for reform. The lines are drawn now and there is no going back to the old hypocrisy. An article in a recent issue of Harvard Magazine profiles the work of Elizabeth Bartholet, for example, an anti-Christian bigot and demagogue who alleges that homeschooling is the source of so many of America’s ills that the very practice should be banned. This is what they think of you, America. I have spent many years among this tribe. The Left mocks the very idea of civilization and debate. They simply want to put you in camps and be rid of you.

The real solution to all of this would be to shut down all the universities and public schools and make homeschooling the only option for the next twenty years. One generation untouched by institutionalized Weather Underground-ism would revitalize the entire nation, perhaps even the whole world.

To wit, I would be interested in statistics showing how many among the rioters and looters — and, now, murderers — running wild through the streets of our country have slogged through a Great Books program under the tutelage of dear old fascist mom and dad. Probably zero. But according to Elizabeth Bartholet, it’s you who are the problem, not the blood-soaked arsonists.

Not just Elizabeth Bartholet. His Holiness has spent his pontificate mocking you, too. In all this swirling din and bomb-smoke let us not forget the silence of our Catholic leadership. Pope Francis, the fairweather pacifist, has said nothing to attempt to calm the storm. (Maybe he’s against wanton murder only when it’s not the communists who are carrying it out — that was certainly his view in Latin America, at any rate.)

One of his cathedrals was desecrated in New York, and the rioters soughtro burn down a historic Episcopal church right next door to the White House. This is terrorism against Christians right in the financial and political heart of America. Francis is mum. Not a single word.

As with the crackdown against Christians in China, and now in Hong Kong, Francis seems to give new life to an old truth: qui tacit consentire videtur {He who is silent is seen to agree.] Et tu, Jorge? Why won’t you come to stricken Christian parishes in the US and smell like American sheep?

Churchmen have not all held their tongue, though. The Archbishop of Washington, Wilton D. Gregory, took time out of his day to condemn President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for visiting, and praying at, the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. No Republicans welcome at the altar of God. (But don’t politicize the Eucharist!)

Archbishop Gregory, in a stunning display of historical amnesia, used the example of Pope John Paul II to chide the Trumps, saying that the late pontiff would not have approved of dispersing armed mobs. Archbishop Gregory may not be aware that John Paul spent his entire adult life before becoming pope living under the same communist terrorists who now torch churches in the United States. Your Grace, please, do yourself a favor and google “Poland under communism”. No, better yet, google “Mindszenty in Hungary”.

But maybe if you try appeasing the Red Guards outside your office window it will all work out for the best. The American Vendée has started, but Archbishop Gregory appears to be throwing in his lot with Canclaux.

Nice try, Wilton. (I simply cannot wait to hear what Dolan is going to have to say about all this. Dolan? Hello?) The archbishop should not be faulted too harshly, though. He spent his childhood in Catholic schools. As we are now learning, those are even worse than the secular institutions.

Whatever happens over the coming “long, hot summer,” the fact is that the mask, ironically, is now off the Left. The nexus of terrorism in this country is the taxpayer-funded educational system. For some fifty years the entire purpose of that system has been to foment socialist revolution, to soften up the two generations required to minimize resistance to communism. That objective now splendidly accomplished, the schools are no longer necessary. School’s out for summer. School’s out forever.

Jason Morgan is an associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.
00Friday, June 19, 2020 3:32 AM

The Ratzinger brothers in the garden of the pope's former home in Pentling, in 2010, on the occasion of Benedict XVI's visit to Bavaria.

Emeritus Pope visits
seriously ill brother
in Regensburg

by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

June 18, 2020

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has left the Vatican for the first time since he resigned in order to visit his seriously ill brother in Regensburg.

Benedict XVI, 93, who stood down in 2013, decided to visit his brother Georg, 96, in Bavaria at short notice after consulting with Pope Francis.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told the German press agency dpa that the emeritus Pope had left the Vatican by plane this morning on a purely private visit. He stay in Regensburg “as long as necessary”.

Benedict is accompanied by his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his doctor, his carer and a religious sister.

The emeritus Pope landed at Munich airport where he was welcomed by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg who accompanied him on to Regensburg by car, Clemens Neck, spokesman of the Regensburg diocese told KNA. He is staying at the Regensburg seminary. He visited his brother straight away this afternoon.

“It is with great joy and respect that I welcome emeritus Pope Benedict,” the president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, declared in Bonn. He was praying for Benedict and his brother, he said.

The diocese of Regensburg has appealed to the public to understand that this deeply personal meeting was absolutely private. It was the heartfelt wish of the two brothers, both of whom were very advanced in years, to meet. “Those who want to express their sincere sympathy are invited to say a silent prayer for them.”

The two brothers Georg and Joseph Ratzinger entered the seminary in Munich together in 1946. They were ordained together in 1951. They remained close all their lives and usually spent their holidays or at least part of them together. In recent years, Georg visited his brother in the Vatican several times a year.

The Vatican made the announcement 12 hours ago on Vatican News. There are no new updates so far from Regensburg.

Benedict XVI visits
his sick brother in Germany

by Alessandro de Carolis

June 18, 2020

Pope emeritus Benedict left the quiet of the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican for a visit to Germany to be close to his brother, Georg. He is 96 and in poor health.

The emeritus pontiff traveled Thursday morning accompanied by his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein; his doctor and his nurse; a collaborator from the Memores Domini community; and the vice commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie.

A statement from the Diocese of Regensburg indicated that Benedict arrived in Munich at 11:45. He was greeted by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, who accompanied him to Regensberg, where he will reside at the diocesan seminary.

The statement from the diocese asked the faithful to respect the wishes of the two brothers, who requested that the "deeply personal meeting remain private." Hence no public appearances are anticipated.

According to Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Benedict will remain in Germany for “as long as necessary."

Always very close, the two Ratzinger brothers, born three years apart, were ordained priests on the same day, 29 June 1951, in the Cathedral of Freising. The circumstances of life have taken them in different directions: Georg, a brilliant musician, and Joseph a noted theologian.

Their mutual bond has always remained firm, however, as evidenced by the numerous visits Fr Georg Ratzinger has made to the Vatican between 2005 and 2013, during the years of his brother's pontificate, and even after his resignation.

When, in 2008, the city of Castel Gandolfo offered honorary citizenship to his brother, Benedict XVI expressed himself with these words: "From the beginning of my life my brother has always been for me not only a companion, but also a trustworthy guide. For me he has been a point of orientation and of reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions."

The Pope’s remarks showed his great affection for his brother, when experiencing happier circumstances, made all the more poignant in this moment.

Brother Bugnolo has this post-scripts:

June 18, 2020:

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The Corriere della Sera, one of the leading Left wing newspapers of Milan, has confirmed the report, writing:

Ratzinger è accompagnato dal segretario particolare, l’arcivescovo Georg Gänswein, e da medico, un infermiere, una delle memores domini — le religiose laiche che ne hanno cura nel monastero vaticano Mater Ecclesiae — e dal vicecomandante della Gendarmeria vaticana.

In English:
Ratzinger is accompanied by his special secretary, Archbishop George Gänswein, and by a doctor, a nurse, one of the Memores Domini — lay religious women who have the care of him in the Vatican Monastery of Mater Ecclesiae — and by the vice-commandant of the Vatican Gendarmeria (Vatican Police).

This detail is ominous. Only prisoners travel with police escort. The Corriera della Sera adds that the Pope landed at 11:45 A.M. in the morning (UTC +2) and is staying at the Seminary of the Diocese of Regensburg as the guest of the Bishop, Rudolf Voderholzer.

Brother Bugnolo is needlessly alarmist. 'Police escort', or security detail, to be more precise in this case, is SOP for the most highly-placed ex-VIPs, as in ex-Presidents of the United States who retain Secret Service protection for the rest of their lives. The Vatican would have been guilty of serious oversight if it had not provided someone as security person for the Emeritus during his sojourn outside the Vatican. One would imagine that the City of Regensburg, too, will be looking after the security aspect of Benedict XVI's sojourn.

One always imagined that the only reason the Emeritus would leave Italy at all after his renunciation would have to do with his brother's health, who has been unable to visit him at the Vatican for more than a year now, if I am not mistaken. Let us pray this visit will end on a happy note.

Italian Air Force post on the flight that took Benedict XVI from Rome to Munich today. CIA stands for Ciampino, the Rome airport from which the flight took off, and MUC for Munich.
00Friday, June 19, 2020 4:50 AM
Three essays this week, so far, from THE CATHOLIC THING, touching on general truths that need to be said aloud and in public today, over and over, in order to counteract the tsunami of blatant untruth and outright lies peddled endlessly by the virtue-signalling, uber-vociferous, media-overhyped enemies of Truth today, whether they call themselves antifa, Black Lives Matter, Democrats, or never-Trumpers.

Life in a 'post-totalitarian' world
by Randall Smith

June 17, 2020

Signs of “woke” culture are popping up everywhere in a society increasingly dominated by white people falling all over themselves to show how much more “woke” they are than everyone else and how much less tolerant of anything they consider “unwoke” and “unclean.”

It’s the contemporary equivalent of the Victorian attempt to show how much more “cultured” they were than others with their grandiose demonstrations of righteous indignation at any example of behavior that appeared to them insufficiently “cultured.”

In such circumstances, Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals has become the textbook for political involvement rather than the Constitution or the Framers. But Vaclav Havel’s The Power of the Powerless should become required reading for all those who wish to defend, against seemingly insurmountable forces, what is increasingly America’s most threatening counter-cultural movement: creedal Christianity.

Havel described life in 1970s Communist Eastern Europe as “post-totalitarian,” not because the system was not totalitarian, but because the way the totalitarianism was exercised in society was radically different from the totalitarianism of dictators like Hitler or Mao. Havel’s biographer, John Keane, described Havel’s definition of a post-totalitarian world thus:

Within the system, every individual is trapped within a dense network of the state’s governing instruments. . .themselves legitimated by a flexible but comprehensive ideology, a “secularized religion”. . . .It is therefore necessary to see, argued Havel, that power relations. . .are best described as a labyrinth of influence, repression, fear and self-censorship which swallows up everyone within it, at the very least by rendering them silent, stultified and marked by some undesirable prejudices of the powerful.

Havel’s most famous example was the greengrocer who displays in his shop window the sign “Workers of the world, unite!” – not because he is especially interested in the workers of the world, but because failure to do so would signal an impermissible disobedience from the ruling ideology of the society.

Those who would enforce obedience upon him, refusing to tolerate any failure to display the required sign of submission, are no more concerned for the “workers of the world” than the greengrocer. But they will report him and see him punished to show that they remain faithful adherents of the ruling ideology, even though the greengrocer is himself one of those workers for whom they claim concern.

The greengrocer would be embarrassed to put up a sign saying, “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” Displaying the required “Workers of the world, unite!” sign allows the greengrocer to hide his cowardice behind a façade of disinterested concern. “But the workers of the world are being oppressed,” he can say. And that is undoubtedly true. But that is not why he posted the sign. The sign is a sign of his submission, not of his personal conviction.

avel writes:

“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something supra-personal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. . . .

It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class.”

It is a “world of appearances,” says Havel, “trying to pass for reality.”

“The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies:
- government by bureaucracy is called popular government;
- the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation;
- depriving people of information is called making it available;
- the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code;
- the repression of culture is called its development;
- the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed;
- the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom;
- farcical elections become the highest form of democracy;
- banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views.”

Havel argued that the restoration of a free society could only be achieved by refusing to lend power to empty slogans and meaningless rituals – by refusing to become part of the lie that oppresses others without liberating anyone. Havel described this as “living in truth.” And this, he argued, was the most important power left to the powerless.

And yet “truth” by itself is rarely enough. “Truth” must be defended by courage and the willingness to serve others and sacrifice oneself. The greengrocer will almost certainly lose his shop if he refuses to display the sign. What then? Will others rise to his defense? Will they help support him, perhaps hire him? Or will they stay silent so the harsh glare of suspicion is not cast upon them?

Those who speak “truth to power” must have the credibility that comes from serving others in truth. When people cannot deny that you care for workers, it makes it harder for them to tear down your store. They still will. But when they do, it reveals the system for what it is: a thin tissue of lies. The choice is ours: To care for others in truth, or to put up signs of our submission to the narratives that oppress without liberating.

Today is not that Day
by Robert Royal

June 15, 2020

Somewhere in his vast corpus (thanks in advance to any reader who will remind us all precisely where), Chesterton says, in effect: it takes three to fight. Two to disagree and one to try to make peace between them.

He didn’t try to tackle the even greater difficulty when two are already fighting, bitterly, and another, seeking to bring peace, only opens up a third front, vilified by both.

So in full knowledge that I’m ignoring my own best judgment, I offer what follows.

I will not try to solve America’s – and the world’s – race problems today. Many are already hard at work on what will necessarily be that long-term task. Others merely agitate. Anyway, emotions are too raw at the moment.

On some calmer day, I may write another column in which I’ll try to define terms like systemic racism, privilege, violence, crime, justice, so that maybe we can start to understand what we’re arguing over. Such words fly past us all, as if they were merely rocks you pick up to throw in a street fight, not things needing to be carefully considered.

But today is not that day.

Readers may recognize the phrase, Aragorn urging the troops into battle in Tolkien’s Return of the King:

Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!

Every day on Earth is a day of battle for women and men of true spirit against various evils – for Christians, that includes the evils lurking in our own hearts.

But not every day on Earth is a day for outward engagement, even to remedy historic injustices or to defend law and order. There are days of inner battle and silence as well, that may even be more important and more challenging than an outward clash.

Now, more than ever in recent times, is a moment for reflection. Public clashes are raucous – and on some days refreshing and invigorating for that very reason. Today is not that day.

Most of the world’s bandwidth is currently being taken up with lobbing charges at each other of wimpy “wokeness” or unconscious “racism.”

I’ve been splattered myself in this pointless mudfight – in my case in the context of calling on Washington’s archbishop to be a voice of reconciliation and unity and, even worse, in writing about righteous anger vs. mere rage – which drove one reader to say I should be ashamed of writing and the newspaper for publishing such a thing.

So I may be a little oversensitive about it. But to me it’s clear that it would be insanity to continue further in the way we have been going – like some lost tourist, hoping that, by shouting louder, you can make someone who does not speak your language understand you.

Calm is sometimes complicity, but not always. Quiet is sometimes cowardice or despair, but not always. Silence, pace the current nostrum, is never automatically violence.

Silence, as Cardinal Robert Sarah has reminded us, and the contemplation it can engender may be a way to resist the temptation to be drawn into an all-consuming swirl of worldliness in which everything is judged by political partisanship.

And that’s why some of us, at least, would do well to pause and reflect, for our own sake as well as that of others.

It may be Christian self-delusion or hubris, but there must be a different way than the mutual anathemas and anonymous name-calling that social media have made the default way of public speaking now. It’s as if we are afraid that if we don’t add fuel to the hysteria, we have nothing worth anyone’s attention. And we love attention.

There’s always plenty to get agitated about in the world. Besides the turmoil all over America, my wife noticed that there have been 608 Nigerian Christians martyred by their Muslim fellow Nigerians since the beginning of 2020. Courtesy of Fr. Antonio Spadaro (a close advisor to the pope), we’ve learned that a dozen Africans (presumably black since he tagged the story #blacklivesmatter), including children, just drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy.

And there’s news from Atlanta that another young black man is dead in messy circumstances. New protests have erupted, though this case is far from the brutality of George Floyd’s murder. The city’s police chief has resigned.

But getting agitated is not the same as getting motivated. Anyone motivated to deal with these and numberless other problems has to begin the hard work of thinking through what is to be done. As we saw during the Covid-19 outbreak, even scientific experts, dealing with scientific matters, simply cannot always know with certainty what’s happening as it unfolds. It takes patience and unremitting effort. And people who just hurl insults at one another as we try to sort things out may be the least helpful of all.

I’m going to end with the words of Aristotle, a pagan, a wise pagan. I’ve quoted him before and been told he sets standards impossible to meet. Maybe so, but it’s always worth hearing the truth:

“Anyone can get angry – that is easy. . . but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.”

Words, perhaps, if not for this day then for another.

The ebbing of truth
by Hadley Arkes

June 16, 2020

St. John Paul II famously warned against the tendency to reduce “conscience” to the level of feelings passionately held.

Conscience, rightly understood, takes its guide from a body of objective moral truths. Detached from that understanding, he warned, “the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and ‘being at peace with oneself’, so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment.”

Long before Benedict XVI spoke of the “dictatorship of relativism,” we were already aware of “dogmatic relativism.” Students who blithely say that “there is no truth” had not the slightest doubt of the truth of their own epiphany. But the incoherence never cast up any barriers to the swift surge of these convictions, and we find it, in our current crises, taking now an even more dramatic form.
The people who insist that their sexual definition, as males or females, depends most decisively on their own feelings about themselves, have nevertheless turned with raging contempt against those who would not accept the truth of their claim.

Ms. J.K. Rowling made herself beloved in the world with her authorship of the Harry Potter stories, but suddenly she found herself the target of an orchestrated outrage because she dared to express reservations about transgenderism. She had commented archly on a document that referred to “people who menstruate.” She remarked that we used to have a familiar term for them (whisper: women). She had also written in support of a woman, Maya Forstater, who had lost her job because of what were called “transphobic tweets.”

But the tribunal hearing her case refused to agree that she had been fired wrongly for what Rowlings described as “a philosophical belief that sex is determined by biology.” First, of course, Ms. Forstater’s moral objection was reduced to a mental illness, a “phobia.” But then she herself, or the tribunal, reduced her claim to a mere “belief.” The dispute was detached even further from that anchoring, objective truth that should have supplied the ground of the judgment.

Ryan Anderson, drawing on the full range of texts in biology, has condensed the truth of the matter in this way:

Sex, in terms of male or female, is identified by the organization of the organism for sexually reproductive acts. . . .The fundamental conceptual distinction between a male and a female is the organism’s organization for sexual reproduction.

Those obvious anatomical differences mark the telos, the purpose, of why there are men and women: to beget more of our kind. - The hard news, then, to some people is that the males who become females will still not be part of those “people who menstruate.”
- The news even harder to bear is that the conservative judges dealing with these cases seem quite reluctant to move beyond the mechanics of procedure and make that appeal to the objective truth of the matter.
- But a jurisprudence that cannot touch that ground will be condemned to be a morally incoherent jurisprudence.

Juliana Pilon reminds us in The Utopian Conceit, that totalitarian regimes rested upon lies, and every day they needed to enjoin their populace to affirm those lies anew. And now, even without a prodding coming from our own government, we are being scolded by the surging crowds – and by some of our leading corporations – to join the affirmation of the lies in Black Lives Matter.

The former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, had the temerity to respond that “all lives matter,” and he was quickly brought to heel. He was made to abase himself in apologizing, along now with the professional athletes who have expressed their own reservations.

“Black Lives Matter” is inescapably right as a principle, [I disagree because 'all lives matter and every life matters', not just 'black lives'] but what is inescapably clear is that the principle is so deeply disrespected by the people who have reduced this principle to a slogan.

As we have come to know by now, the number of unarmed black people killed by the police in shootings – nine in 2019 – was but one-tenth of a percent of the African Americans killed in homicides in 2019, mostly at the hands of young black males.

And those deaths at the hands of black people, are dwarfed by the numbers of black abortions exceeding live births at times in New York and Chicago. In New York, between 2012 and 2016 black mothers “terminated”136,426 pregnancies and gave birth to 118,127 babies. But these are not the Black Lives that count in the moral reckoning of Black Lives Matter.

That is the incoherence, the lie, that some of our most prestigious colleges and churches are willing to broadcast to the world as their own as they hoist the banner of Black Lives Matters over their buildings and websites. Amazon now affirms BLM, and Starbucks is willing to put the slogan on tee shirts worn by their employees. They are willing to stamp now these phrases as one of their own new orthodoxies, their own reigning half-truths.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this in our country in my own lifetime, approaching fourscore years. It is tempting to say that we are witnessing a “war on truth,” but the metaphor is overdone. It would be more accurate to say that, for a scarily large portion of our people, there has been a simple ebbing of that ancient conviction that truth matters.

A commentary on the appalling hypocrisy of corporate America whenever push comes to shove...

Corporate America’s strategy of appeasement
will destroy it, just as it always has

by Christopher Bedford

June 17, 2020

Twenty-six years ago, Morgan Stanley hired Marilyn Booker as their first diversity director, charged with overseeing corporate efforts from the firm’s New York City headquarters, a 685-foot, glass, Times Square skyscraper. Ten years ago, Booker left that post to work in their financial wealth management division. Seven months ago, Booker was fired.

But that was before video aired of George Floyd’s death, and spreading, national protests escalated into riots, violence, church burning, monument defacing, and occupations. How quickly things change.

Now Booker is leading a group of black women in suing the company that employed her for a quarter-century, charging that the firm systematically discriminates against black employees.

The suit comes after a notably active week for the investment bank’s activism. Since Black Lives Matter blasted back into our Alzheimer’s-addled news cycle, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, James Gorman, committed $25 million to a new internal “diversity” effort, sent $5 million to the NAACP, promoted two black women, and sent an email about it all to staff. For his efforts, he was personally named in Booker’s lawsuit.

But Morgan Stanley is not uniquely stupid for empowering an activist whose sole job was to call them racists. For decades, corporate America has launched similar efforts in the vain hope that money, press releases, and choice divestments could virtue-signal them out of the mob’s cross-hairs and even hurt their competitors. None of it saves them. On the contrary, moves to embrace the mob have placed corporations more clearly in their sights than they were before.

At root is the reality that corporations are cowardly, and there’s a reason for that. While conservative consumers are adept at patronizing companies that support their worldview, a la Chick-fil-A, they rarely target private industry for blatant Democratic partisanship.

Liberal consumers and their media enablers, on the other hand, will boycott a company for the slightest connection to the slightest transgression. Over the past 30 years, this has taught corporations like Nike that attacking conservatives has no consequence, while pushing left-wing values has no detriment. Until now.

We’ve seen this sort of suicidal partnership before — and recently — with the secret alliance between environmental radicals and energy companies. First, the energy companies went after their competition in the coal industry, with firms like Chesapeake Natural Gas sending more than $25 million to the Sierra Club. Now this is the model, and at the moment, major oil companies like Exxon are funding a Republican-staffed carbon tax effort that would disproportionately hurt their smaller competitors.

The list goes on, but one thing remains constant: Soon enough, as company after company and job after job are forced to climb to the guillotine, the corporations paying the bills get closer and closer to the front of the line.

The left employs this tactic because it works. And part of why it works is that Wall Street capitalists and corporate leaders think its better to pay homage to the mob, feeding it employees, executives, and competitors and hoping this will satisfy the demands. It doesn’t, of course, and won’t ever.

Now the mob is both inside the door and at it, its supporters running H.R. departments and manning diversity posts while boycotting, threatening and suing from outside. While they could once count on their friends in the GOP to help them out, they no longer have any real friends in the party. If executives don’t stand up for themselves now, no one will. And the scaffold is calling.

The Federalist is in the headlines this week because MSNBC and a UK accomplice instigated Google to penalize the website, perhaps even block it completely, because of politically incorrect comments to some of its articles. This has provoked an outcry against the increasingly high-handed moves by the BIG TECH companies now controlling Internet platforms - the most powerful media enterprises ever, since the era of mass media began - to censor the publication of views that are not in line with their far-left liberal views...

June 20, 2020
P.S. Let me add another CATHOLIC THING essay having to do with the current culture war in the USA - perhaps the worst ever since the 1968 global Cultural Revolution that ushered in the Me generations of sex-drugs-rocknroll-and-anarchy (a Revolution that simply happened overnight without the other side ever having had a chance to react until it happened), that has to do with another absurd and ungrammatical neologism from the fast-becoming mainstream culture in the West, 'woke'.

On being “woke”
by P.J. O’Rourke

June 17, 2020

Real humor depends upon irking the dour, the censorious and the po-faced. Lemon-sucking puritans were sadly scarce for most of the last century. And so we were living in a mirth-deprived world.

But the long prudery drought is over.

Thanks to a New Piety — ‘wokeness’ as it’s called — we have many more bluenoses, calamity howlers and vinegar-pusses to upset.
- Japes at Tartuffian cant can begin anew.
- 21st-century thought-leaders have returned to a straitlaced piousness, not only in opinion but even in grammar.
- The woke are claiming offense at such terms as ‘mankind’ and grappling with English as if the language were a professional wrestling villain attempting to pin ‘womynkind’ to the mat. (Rematch to be announced. ‘Womyn’ is considered trans-exclusionary by gender activists.)

To be woke is to maintain a state of mind where you are constantly and acutely alert to social injustice and permanently on the lookout for more social injustice to be alert to. Or what I would call a good reason to take a nap.

Which you’d think would be acceptable since being woke doesn’t actually entail doing anything. But, thankfully for the jester, hypocrisy never sleeps.
- If you’re woke you must stay ‘conscious’, in order to continually ‘communicate’ how vigilant you are about toxic masculinity, how mindful you’re becoming about cultural appropriation and so forth ad infinitum.
- Being woke is a parody of being Born Again: instead of your accepting Jesus, people like Jesus (‘privileged’, famously well- connected fathers) have to accept you.

“Puritanism is back . . . and welcome to it.”

00Friday, June 19, 2020 5:36 PM

Top Photo: Benedict XVI and his brother in the garden of Joseph's Pentling home during the Pope's visit to Bavaria in 2010. Bottom: B16 visiting Georg when he was hospitalized in December 2005 at Rome's Gemelli Hospital for a pacemaker problem during his first Christmas
holiday visit to his brother in the latter's first year as Pope.

Benedict XVI celebrates Mass
with ailing brother today,
Feast of the Sacred Heart,
as he did yesterday on arrival

REGENSBURG, June 19, 2020 (CNA)- Pope emeritus Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass with his ailing brother on the feast of the Sacred Heart during his first full day in Germany Friday.

A June 19 statement from the Diocese of Regensburg said that after Benedict XVI arrived from Rome at noon on Thursday he immediately visited his 96-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

The brothers celebrated Mass together at Mons. Georg's house in Regensburg, and the pope emeritus then traveled to the diocesan seminary in the afternoon to rest. In the evening, he returned to see his brother.

The diocese said: “For the first morning in his old homeland, an authentic Bavarian breakfast awaited the pope emeritus in the seminary. There were pretzels, which Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who accompanied him, was also pleased about.”

“In the course of the morning the two brothers will celebrate together a High Mass for today’s Feast of the Sacred Heart.”

News of Benedict XVI’s visit broke on the morning of June 18. It is his first trip outside Italy since he stood down as pope in 2013.

In a statement Thursday, Regensburg diocese said: “Pope emeritus Benedict XVI flew this morning from Rome to Bavaria to be at the side of his seriously ill 96-year-old brother. It is perhaps the last time that the two brothers, Georg and Joseph Ratzinger, will see each other in this world.”

The diocese asked the public to respect the two brothers' privacy during the visit.

“All people who wish to express their sympathy are invited to say a silent prayer for the two brothers,” it said.

The statement continued: “The 93-year-old pope emeritus landed in Munich on Thursday, June 18, at about 11:45 a.m. There Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer welcomed him warmly and accompanied him on the journey to Regensburg. The pope emeritus is staying in the seminary of the Diocese of Regensburg. The date of his return journey is not yet fixed.”

“Benedict XVI is traveling in the company of his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his doctor, his nurse and a religious sister. The Pope emeritus made the decision to travel to his brother in Regensburg at short notice, after consulting with Pope Francis.”

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger is a former choir master of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg.

On June 29, 2011, he celebrated his 60th anniversary as a priest in Rome together with his brother. Both men were ordained priests in 1951.

The UK's Daily Mail has provided some photos of Benedict XVI's arrival in Regensburg yesterday:

Top photos show the wheelchair-bound Emeritus being boarded into a vehicle and then waving to onlookers from the car. Bottom photo shows the street leading to Georg Ratzinger's house cordoned off, and German army troops assigned to the Emeritus's security.
00Friday, June 19, 2020 11:58 PM
Mons Vigano replies to
question "What do we do now?"

June 17, 2020

Dear Readers of Stilum Curiae, as you will recall, a few days ago “Pezzo Grosso” [“Big Shot”] sent us an open letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, asking him: In these difficult times for the Church and the Faith, what should we do? Here is His Excellency’s answer. Happy reading.

15 June 2020

Dear Tosatti,

I read with interest the Appeal that “Big Shot” addressed to me on the pages of Stilum Curiae. Since it addresses a very serious question that is rightly in the hearts of many of your readers and of great concern to them, I hasten to give an answer.

The response which immediately comes to my soul is the one we find in the Gospel: “Estote parati, quia nescitis diem, neque horam” [Keep watch, because you do know the day or the hour] (Mt 24:44). We must be prepared, not only for the coming of the Son of Man, but also for the trials that will precede it and which will oblige us to choose which side we are on: either with Christ or against Him.

If it is true that “Whoever watches the wind never sows, and whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Eccl 11:4), it is equally true that the time available to us does not permit us to wait for the wind to die down or for the clouds that darken the Church to be dispelled.

If we want to sow a little good and reap its fruit, with the grace of God, we can act like the prudent virgins: waiting with lighted lamps for the coming of the Bridegroom – holding the lamps of Faith and the Holy Mass, the Sacraments and prayer. The foolish virgins, who did not take care to keep their lamps filled with the oil of the life of grace and virtue, will too late discover that they are unable to go and meet the Lord who comes.

Another important thing is to know how to decipher what is happening in this historical moment. We must learn to know and evaluate the facts, not only taken in themselves as individual tesserae, but also in their placement in the overall mosaic, which, permits us to discover the entire design in the light of Faith.

For decades now, we have heard inflated words that have emphasized only a generic eschatological dimension of existence, neglecting preaching about the Last Things. This has certainly not prepared us to face the final trial and has left us unprepared to defend ourselves from the enemy, even completely unable to recognize him and his underhanded deceptions.

With firm determination, we must oppose the empty phrases of those who seek to surround us with the eternal words of the Word of God, which the politically correct discourses of the foolish virgins crash against. According to some, the vision of the Gospel is a simplistic vision that horrifies those who, loving the world and its false and hypocritical mentality, cannot love the Lord, the blazing Truth who admits of no exceptions: divisive, just as light compared to darkness and as good compared to evil.
- Let us learn to call things by their name, with simplicity and calmness;
- let us stop following, for the sake of living quietly, the illusions of those who speak to us of tolerance and acceptance only when it comes to making room for error and vice;
- let us stop using their magic words like “dialogue,” “solidarity,” and “freedom” which conceal the adversary’s deception and veil the exploitation, tyranny, and persecution of dissenters.

We are Christians, so let’s speak the language of Christ! “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One (Mt 5:37).
- We are at war with an enemy who even wants to decide the weapons with which we are able to resist him.
- We have allowed him to penetrate to the point of profaning our altars, our sacraments, and the Most Holy Eucharist!
- The rules have been imposed on us in order to shamelessly favor the opposing side.
- The time has come for us to refuse to accept this obscene invasion and the way in which the enemy makes impossible any efficacious action on our part to drive him out!

The first thing to do is to be aware that we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil. In this war we cannot remain neutral, we cannot ignore it, and even less can we take sides with the Enemy.
- We find ourselves in the absurd situation in which our own commander himself appears to refuse to guide us.
- It even seems that he flirts with our adversary, pointing a finger at us as enemies of concord and fomenters of schism, while our generals ally themselves with the opponent and order their troops to lay down their weapons.
- It is apparent that, without the help of God, all hope fails. And yet we must fight, we must be ready, we must keep our lamps alight and our loins girt, certain that together with Christ we have already conquered.

All that we can do – prayer, especially the Holy Rosary, faithfulness to the duties of our state in life, responsibility towards the people entrusted to our care, the witness of Faith and Charity, social commitment – all of this must be carried out as is possible for each one of us, in accordance with what Providence has disposed for each of us.
- Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Lord with total trust, and we will understand what is required of us, day by day, moment by moment.

Along with “Big Shot” I again take up the beautiful Oratio Universalis [Universal Prayer] of Clement IX: Redde me prudentem in consiliis, constantem in periculis, patientem in adversis, humilem in prosperis. Make me prudent in planning, courageous in danger, patient in adversity, humble in prosperity. Discam a Te quam tenue quod terrenum, quam grande quod divinum, quam breve quod temporaneum, quam durabile quod aeternum. May I learn from you how fragile are the things of earth, how great are the things of heaven, how brief what happens here on earth is, and how enduring is that which is in eternity.

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

00Saturday, June 20, 2020 9:39 AM

Abbé Barthe to Mons Vigano:
Your helpful example on Vatican II

Translated from

June 20, 2020

Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae:
Abbé Claude Barthe, author of numerous books, among which we can cite “Trouvera-t-il encore la foi sur la terre ? Une crise de l’Église, histoire et questions” (Will He still find faith on this earth? A crisis of the Church, history and questions)(François-Xavier de Guibert, 2006, 3rd edition) and “La Messe de Vatican II. Dossier historique” (The Mass of Vatican II. Historical dossier) (Via Romana, 2018), has read the recent declarations of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò on the Second Vatican Council and has sent us this open letter (original in French). Good reading!

A historic event:
Mons Viganò’s critique of Vatican-II
An open letter by
Abbé Claude Barthe

I am taking the liberty of reacting to Your Excellency’s declaration “Excursus on Vatican-II and its consequences” (published in Chiesa e post-concilio, 6/9/20), to underscore that it is of very great interest to the Church. Which you will permit me to summarive in five points:

1 – Vatican II contains texts “in clear opposition to the doctrine that up til then had been expressed in the Magisterium”.
Your attack on the Council takes aim at:
- Those texts in direct disaccord with previous doctrine, as on religious freedom in the declaration Dignitatis humanae, and on the basis for new relations with non-Christian religions in the declaration Nostra aetate (to which one could add the decree on ecumenism, Unitatis redisintegratio, which introduced the novelty of ‘imperfect communion” with Christ and the Church of those who have separated from the Church) (no. 3).
- The ambiguities that could be used as truth or as error, such as the 'subsistit in' found in No. 8 of the Dogmatic Cnstitution Lumen gentium: “The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church”, rather than: “The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church”.

2- These doctrinal distortions are the source of errors which followed – justified as the ‘spirit of the Council’.
You explained that the deviations, or those elements which are most damaging to the Christian faith, that have marked the post-conciliar period (you cite the Abu Dhabi Declaration, but also the Days in Assisi, the liturgical reform, and the use of collegiality) find their origin in these distortions.

Moreover, it emerges from your text that the very concept of ‘the spirit of the Council’ confirms the innovating specificity of that assembly, because “there never was ‘the spirit of the Nicaean Council’ nor the ‘spirit of the Councilof Ferrara-Florence’, much less ‘the spirit of the Council of Trent’. just as there never was a so-called ‘post-Council after Lateran IV or Vatican I’”.

3- These distortions cannot be corrected.
You say that the attempts to correct the excesses of Vatican-II have been impotent:
- A) Whether one takes the inadequate way of the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. Because, in effect, this hermeneutic is not a return to the previous Magisterium, but represents the search for a third way between novelty and tradition.

Benedict XVI, in his address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, declared a ‘hermeneutic of renewal in continuity’ against “the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”, but by the latter, he referred as much to ‘traditionalists’ as to ‘progressivists’ who both considered that Vatican-II had produced some ruptures.

- B) Or whether encouraging the Magisterium to ‘correct’ the errors of Vatican II. You rightly show that this attempt, “even with the best intentions, undermine the foundations of the Catholic edifice”. In effect, to oppose the Magisterium today with a Magisterium of tomorrow, which would contradict it, would only end in showing that no magisterial act would never be considered definitive.

Therefore, in a supplementary text on June 15 (in Chiesa e post concilio), you express the opinion that a future pope “could annul Vatican II entirely”.

If I may be allowed to amplify your analysis, I would say that the only solution to contradict by a magisterial act a preceding one is to consider that the latter was not magisterial in the full force of the term. For example, Pastor aeternus, from Vatican-I in 1870, annulled de facto the decree Frequens of the Council of Constance which, in 1417, had institutionalized the superiority of an ecumenical council over the pope. This annulment was possible because the Holy See had never recognized the dogmatic force of Frequens.

Thus, with Vatican-II, we find ourselves in the same situation as Frequens presented, since the organs of Vatican-II itself and all of its subsequent interpretations made assurances that Vatican-II was simply ‘pastoral’ in nature, namely, not ‘dogmatic’.

Indeed, the major way to get out of the present magisterial crisis is to give up what has been called ‘pastoral’ and call it ‘dogmatic’: that this pope and the bishops in union with him are expressing their [Vatican-II-based] Magisterium dogmatically not ‘pastorally’.

4- The present pontificate is a paradoxical clarification.
You write: “What we have understood for years, vaguely and without clear connotations, we now find elaborated as a real manifesto by supporters of the present pontificate.”

And that is what many feel among those who seek to give a pia interpretatio of the controversial texts of Vatican-II: They acknowledge it is not possible to do so, because of the application of those texts in this pontificate, some of which are the outcome of contentious points from Vatican-II, such as the erroneous recognition of the ‘rights of conscience’ in the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in which No. 301 declares that in some circumstances, adultery is not a sin.

5- Thus, a duty of conscience weighs on those prelates of the Church who recognize the situation.
Speaking for yourself, you write: “Just as I obeyed dubious orders honestly and serenely for 60 years, thinking that they represented the loving voice of the Church, so today, with as much honesty and serenity, I recognize that I allowed myself to be deceived. And to be consistent today by persevering in error, would be an unfortunate choice that would make me an accomplice to the fraud”.

A number of prelates, especially after the most recent synodal assemblies, have been led to go back from current consequences to their causes posed half a century ago. Your example and your encouragement can help them to express, conscientiously, for the good of the Church, their disagreement with these causes: the faulty points of Vatican II.

Born in 1947, Abbé Barthe was ordained a priest in 1979 in the FSSPX by Mons. Lefebvre himself, but without being expelled from the fraternity, he was gradually emarginated and followed his own course. He devoted himself to researching the history of Vatican II, while he wrote at least 20 books on the crisis in the Church, the Roman liturgy and Catholic literature. He taught on these same subjects at the seminaries of the traditionalist Institut du Bon-Pasteur and Institute of Christ the King. He has been the almoner for the annual Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage to Rome every October since 2012, organized to give thanksgiving at St. Peter’s Basilica for Benedict XVI’s motu proprio which authorized the return of the Traditional Mass to the Church.
00Saturday, June 20, 2020 10:01 PM
Ratzinger returns home
Conjectures abound as he fulfills a personal promise
to be by his older brother in case he dies, as he almost failed
to be with sister Maria at her sudden death in Regensburg

by Nico Spuntoni
Translated from

June 20, 2020

18-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, then still considered a POW although he had escaped his US detention camp in Germany, returned home to his family in Hufschlag on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1945. Exactly a month later, it was his older brother Georg who came home from Italy where he was serving with the German army towards the end of World War II. It was just as unexpected as Joseph’s homecoming, and the family celebrated by breaking out into the Germany hymn, “Great God, we praise Thee”.

The lives of the brothers Ratzinger had always been in synchrony, like two notes struck together. Once again demonstrated by the sudden and courageous trip to Regensburg undertaken by the 93-year-old Emeritus Pope to be by the bedside of Georg, now seriously ill.

Benedict XVI has not been in Germany since 2012, his third and last trip to Germany as Pope, and not in his native Bavaria since 2006, during his emotion-laden apostolic trip to Bavaria and the places where he grew up and spent his earlier life before coming to Rome. At that time, the then reigning Pope admitted his nostalgia for his beloved Bavaria and could not hide his sadness that the visit would probably be his last trip to the region that was always considered the stronghold of Catholicism in Germany.

But the Lord has willed otherwise. The aging Emeritus Pope landed at Munich airport around noon Thursday, and in a van of Malteser International [the health services arm of the Knights of Malta], proceeded to the Regensburg diocesan seminary, where he is residing during this visit, and which is not far from his brother’s apartment on Luzengasse.

One of the Malteser services is to enable aged persons who are unable to ambulate to visit ailing family members, which illustrates the urgency of a ‘journey that starts the last stage of my pilgrimage on earth’ [as Benedict XVI described his post-Papacy life in his last address as Pope on February 28, 2005] despite his own personal health problems brought on by advanced age.

Upon his arrival in Regensburg, despite streets barricaded by the German police, groups of faithful welcomed him festively, waving the blue-and-white Bavarian flag. He acknowledged them, waving from the van window. He was accompanied by his personal secretary, Mons. Goerg Gaenswein, the new vice-commandant of the Vatican Gendarmerie Davide Giulietti, one of Benedict’s Memores Domini housekeepers, a doctor and nurse, and two Vatican policemen.

On the trip from Munich to Regensburg, he was also accompanied by Regensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer (nominated by him in 2012). Diocesan spokesman Clemens Neck said that the Emeritus appeared ‘radiant’ after his first visit to his brother’s bedside. But he also said that Benedict would not be making any public appearances because he wants this visit to be exclusively private. At the Regensburg seminary, he is occupying the same room he was given during his Apostolic Visit in 2006, which has since been used only by Cardinal Gerhard Mueller on his visits to Regensburg.

There are 26 seminarians and a few other priests living in the seminary but will not be sharing the refectory with the pope, who will be served his meals in a room adjoining his bedroom, joined by Mons. Gaenswein and other members of his delegation from Rome.

Since Benedict became Pope in 2005, and even after he had stepped down in 2013, it was Georg who came to the Vatican regularly – usually during the Christmas holidays till after his birthday on January 15, and in the summer – despite his blindness and difficulty in walking (he had his own nurse to take care of him in the Vatican). The two brothers spent their time together in conversation, listening to music, prayer and a daily promenade to and from the grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. But his worsening health and the Covid-19 pandemic led to a forced interruption of those visits, leading Benedict XVI to make the decision to travel to Regensburg upon receiving the news that Georg was in serious condition.

It is reported that Georg spent Thursday morning checking his watch awaiting his brother’s arrival. During Benedict’s first visit Thursday morning, they said Mass together, as they did Friday morning on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The Emeritus Pope was said to be ‘exhausted’ by his trip from Rome, but ‘incredibly happy’ to be near his brother again, despite some difficulty between the two of them, according to German CNA, because “one is very ill and the other has problems with speaking”.

On Friday, BILD (the German tabloid with the highest circulation in Europe) reported that Benedict XVI could remain in Germany and not return to the Vatican at all. A speculation also advanced by American Vaticanista Edward Pentin who reported in a tweet that the Italian military aircraft that brought Benedict XVI to Germany had returned to Rome immediately.

Matteo Bruni, Vatican press director, said that Benedict XVI would stay in Germany ‘as long as necessary”, about which diocesan spokesman Neck had said, “No one knows the date or time when and if Mons. Ratzinger would be called back to the house of the Father”, when asked about Georg’s condition.

It was known to all that Joseph Ratzinger had always planned to end his own days ‘tranquilly’, as he used to say, in his beloved Bavaria, and particularly in Pentling, the Regensburg suburb where he had built a home where he hoped to retire, with his brother, after ending his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both brothers had looked forward to it, to the point that Georg used to take the bus to and from Pentling frequently to make sure that ‘everything was all right’ with the house and report this to his brother.

But St. John Paul II, who considered Ratzinger irreplaceable as his ‘custodian of the faith’, always rejected Ratzinger’s requests to be allowed to retire, a goal he never achieved because he was elected Pope in 2005. Joseph Ratzinger lived in the house in Pentling [since bought by the Regensburg-based Benedict XVI Foundation as a museum and adjunct library] while a professor at the University of Regensburg and always returned to it for regular vacations (usually around Pentecost, All Souls’ Day and the Christmas holidays) while he was Archbishop of Munich, and later, as CDF Prefect).

As she did since he became a a professor at the University of Bonn, his older sister Maria kept house for him. It was her work as a secretary in a lawyer’s office that had enabled the family additional income to afford sending both Georg and Joseph to the seminary in 1937.

Her sudden death in 1991 was probably the saddest trauma to Joseph’s life. All three siblings observed the custom of being together on All Souls’ Day to visit their parents’ grave near Pentling. That year, however, the cardinal could not go with his sister because he was sick. On November 1, she had a cerebral hemorrhage from which she died the same day. Joseph was therefore unable to say goodbye to the sister who had served him for 34 years,* although he celebrated her funeral Mass at the Regensburg Cathedral.

Goerg Ratzinger said that their sister’s death made the brothers’ relationship even more profound. One may presume that Joseph Ratzinger this time did not wish to experience something similar as with Maria when he decided to fly to his brother’s bedside as soon as he got the news that he was seriously ill.

The desire to be with the person whom he had said was “always a point of orientation and reference for me” made him defy the challenges of his own poor health, an airplane ride which his doctors warned against, and the Covid-19 risk for persons his age, to travel to Regensburg, once he had obtained the consent of Pope Francis.

On the other hand, far from the unpleasant nicknames tagged on him by his detractors in the media since the 1980s, Joseph Ratzinger has shown himself to be a free spirit who has always felt what he called ‘a congenital wilfullness’.

It is a trait shared by his older brother who despite his age and difficulty in moving about, had refused to reside in Rome after his brother’s election as Pope because “the rent is high and it is difficult to find a good apartment”, hoping instead that his brother could come to visit him in Bavaria. And Joseph, whioeven when he was already the powerful CDF Prefect, would sometimes introduce himself as “the younger brother of the famous choirmaster of Regensburg”, has finally done that.

* [Beatrice at corrects this by citing a recollection made by Cardinal Ratzinger himself about this in 1995 - saying that the day he stayed behind in Rome, he decided to visit the Paesetta della Madonna, a village near Rome's Fiumicino airport, which a cardinal friend had urged him to visit for its peaceful recuperative atmosphere.

"I must say that it was a providential intervention because on that day, in a completely unexpected way, my sister would die - and it was thanks to the help of the religious in the village, so near the airport, that I was able to see my sister for a few hours before she died. And that is why I will always keep in my heart a great remembrance of my visit to that village".

00Monday, June 22, 2020 9:51 PM

BILD headline on Benedict's departure from Germany today:
'Farewell from brother and homeland:
Pope Benedict, 93, left [Munich] at 11:56 today'

The plane with Pope Benedict takes off from Munich airport.

Benedict XVI back at Vatican
after visit to ailing brother

VATICAN CITY, June 22, 2020 (AP) - Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican on Monday after a four-day visit to his ailing elder brother in their
native Germany in what was his first trip out of Italy since he resigned as pope.

Benedict, a Bavarian native, flew from Munich to Rome aboard an Italian air force plane. He was seen off by Bavaria's governor, Markus Soeder, who said it
was a moment “of happiness and melancholy,” news agency dpa reported.

Benedict returned to his home in the Vatican gardens in the early afternoon, said Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni. It was his first trip outside Italy in over
seven years. The 93-year-old retired pontiff arrived in Germany on Thursday to be with his 96-year-old brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger. The two brothers
have long been close and were ordained priests on the same day, June 29, 1951.

On Saturday, Benedict greeted old neighbors and prayed at his parents' grave. He stayed at a seminary during his trip, visiting his brother twice a day.

He spent about 45 minutes at his old home in Pentling, a suburb of Regensburg, where Rupert and Therese Hofbauer, neighbors who 'looked after' the Ratzinger house for decades during his years in Rome, could not hide
their great joy at the retired Pope's unexpected return to Germany. The house is now a museum-adjunct library for the Regensburg-based Benedict XVI Foundation.

Earlier, he paid a visit to the family grave in a village cemetery not far from Pentling, which he last visited in 2006, thinking at the time it was the last chance he would have to do so.

egensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer said Germans saw Benedict in all his frailty during the brief visit, saying it was clear the retired pope was himself
“near his end.” “He speaks in a low, almost whispering voice, and he visibly has trouble articulating. But his thoughts are fully clear; his memory and his powers
of deduction are phenomenal.”

Voderholzer noted that for nearly every aspect of his life, Benedict must rely on the help of others, but he praised Benedict for allowing his frailty to be seen.

"It takes a lot of courage, but also humility to put yourself in the hands of other people, and also to show up in public. It was clear to him that he could not be hidden entirely,” he said after Benedict had left.

Benedict has lived at a monastery on the Vatican grounds since shortly after his 2013 retirement, a decision that stunned the world. Elected to the papacy in 2005 to succeed St. John Paul II, the former Joseph Ratzinger was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign the post.

Benedict XVI returns to Rome after
visiting ill brother in Germany

June 22, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Benedict XVI returns to Rome after visiting ill brother in Germany
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI arrived back in Rome on Monday after a four-day trip to Germany to visit his ailing brother.

The Diocese of Regensburg reported June 22 that 93-year-old Benedict XVI said goodbye to his 96-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who is in poor health, before departing for Munich airport.

“It is perhaps the last time that the two brothers, Georg and Joseph Ratzinger, will see each other in this world,” the Regensburg diocese said in an earlier statement.

Benedict XVI was accompanied on the journey to the airport by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg. Before the pope emeritus boarded an Italian air force plane he was greeted by Bavaria’s Premier Markus Söder. The Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German daily newspaper, quoted Söder as saying that the encounter was a moment of “joy and melancholy.”

Benedict XVI was born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger in the town of Marktl in Bavaria in 1927. His older brother Georg is his last living family member.

On his final full day in Bavaria, Benedict XVI offered Sunday Mass with his brother in Luzengasse, Regensburg. He later went to pray at the shrine of St. Wolfgang, the patron saint of Regensburg diocese.

Archbishop Nikola Eterović, the apostolic nuncio in Germany, travelled from Berlin to meet with the pope emeritus in Regensburg over the weekend.

“It is an honour to welcome the pope emeritus again in Germany, even in this difficult family situation,” Eterović said June 21 following their meeting.

The nuncio said his impression during his meeting with Benedict was “that he feels good here in Regensburg.”

The former pope arrived in Bavaria on Thursday, June 16. Immediately upon his arrival, Benedict went to see his brother, the diocese reported. The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then went to the diocesan seminary, where he stayed throughout the visit. In the evening, he returned to see his brother again.

On Friday, the two celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, according to a statement.

On Saturday the former pope visited the residence in Pentling, just outside Regensburg, where he lived while serving as a professor from 1970 to 1977.

His last time seeing the home was during his 2006 pastoral trip to Bavaria.

The diocese said Benedict XVI then stopped at the Ziegetsdorf cemetery to spend time in prayer at the graves of his parents and sister.

Christian Schaller, deputy head of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute, told Regensburg diocese that during the pope emeritus’s visit to his former home “memories awoke.”

“It was a trip back in time,” he said.

Benedict stayed at his Pentling home and in its garden for about 45 minutes, and was reportedly moved by old family portraits.

During his visit to the cemetery an Our Father and Hail Mary were prayed.

“I have the impression that the visit is a source of strength for both brothers,” Schaller said.

According to Regensburg diocese, “Benedict XVI is traveling in the company of his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, his doctor, his nurse and a religious sister. The Pope emeritus made the decision to travel to his brother in Regensburg at short notice, after consulting with Pope Francis.”

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger is a former choir master of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg.

On June 29, 2011, he celebrated his 60th anniversary as a priest in Rome together with his brother. Both men were ordained priests in 1951.

Mons. Rudolf Voderholzer, Bishop of Regensburg, summmarized Benedict XVI's trip for the media at a news conference after the Emeritus had left for Rome yesterday.

Summing up Benedict's
blitz trip to Regensburg

by Mons. Rudolf Voderholzer
Translated from

Website of the Diocese of Regensurg
June 22, 2020

Most esteemed ladies and gentlemen!

The last day of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s short visit began in a surprising way, again, but not really. Benedict decided before leaving to pass by Luzengasse [the street where brother Georg’s apartment is located] once more and to be with his brother for the last time, perhaps forever. And so the circle closes. Their first and last reunion this time was at the sickbed of his older brother debilitated by age and illness.

At the airport in Munich, Bavarian Minister President Soeder and State Minister Florian Hermann were waiting to see him off, as they were when he arrived last Thursday. Many media represetnatives were also there.

President Soeder spoke of what a great honor and joy it was for Bavaria to welcome the Emeritus for this brief visit. Benedict XVI thanked him for his welcome and generous words, best expressed, he said, by the very presence of the president himself.

I then wished the Emeritus God’s blessings and a good flight back to Rome, and promised him that we would all look after his brother.

This farewell ended an unforeseen and highly emotionally visit that was planned on the go, which was challenging for everyone involved but one which ultimately went very well.

I must tell you that I was naturally greatly relieved that the reunion, which was the deepest wish of both brothers, was very constructive for both of them, and obviously, strengthening.

Benedict VXI, who has been Emeritus Pope since 2013, was in Regensburg for 5 days – a man who came to visit his seriously ill older brother, concerned that he might no longer see him alive in this world.

He visited his homeland, the grave of his parents[and older sister], his [former] house for which he always felt nostalgia and where he had wanted to spend his life after retirement, as well as the Pope Benedict Institute here, which is dedicated to the comprehensive documentation of his theological work and which has been publishing his Collected Works, and we prayed together at the shrine of St. Wolfgang in Regensburg Cathedral.

It so happened that his spontaneous visit coincided with the beginning of our annual Wolfgang Week, a festive diocesan week in preparation for annual ordinations [traditionally held by most dioceses on June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul]. It was intended to be a purely private visit without official or diplomatic protocol, which was, of course, difficult to do with a public figure like he is.

That is why the Apostolic Nuncio [Croatian Mons. Nikola Eterovic, who was the Secretary General of the Bishops’ Synod under Benedict XVI and moved out by Pope Francis to make way for his protégé, Cardinal Baldisseri], the pope’s representative in Germany, came to Regensburg. His visit, which was not from the outside but from the inside, so to speak, was a sign of benevolence and goodwill from Pope Francis.

In my homily yesterday [Sunday], I called Benedict XVI the theologian of the century and the greatest homilist on the Chair of Peter since Leo and Gregory, both called ‘the Great’. Countless people have been gripped by his words and still find encouragement and find their faith reinforced in his works.

The writings of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI have given rise to international bestsellers selling in the millions. I shall merely cite here his Introduction to Christianity which was first published in 1968 and his trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth. Through his words, he has inspired millions of young people, hundreds of thousands, for example, just by his participation in the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne.

He has directly addressed the doubts of those who are looking for a meaning to existence, as well as the challenge of strengthening faith with reason. He significantly influenced some of the central texts of Vatican II which intended to show the way to the Church today and tomorrow.

In hindsight, his theological work has been, in many ways, prophetic, and in their profundity, an epochal testimony to human greatness, dignity and faith.

As Pope, he led 1.3 billion Catholics of every race and nation in the world. But he always was a bridgebuilder, ‘Pontifex’ [to use the Latin word], who, with his quiet, indeed, humble ways, has won countless persons to seek an encounter with Christ.

In the past five days, we experienced this man in his fragility, his age-related debility, and his finiteness. He now speaks in a faint voice, almost a whisper, and he clearly has difficulty articulating. But his thinking remains clear, his memory and powers of analysis continue to be phenomenal.

For practically everything he has to do in his day-to-day life, he must now depend on the help of others. It takes a lot of courage, and with it, much humility, to put himself so completely in the hands of others, while at the same time, having to show himself in public as he did these days. It was clear to him that he could not stay fully hidden from sight, and all we could do was to call on the public to respect his privacy.

He had to mobilize whatever strength he has left in order to come to bid farewell to his brother. Benedict XVI showed himself to all of us in all the debility of his advanced age, enabling us to understand what is really important at the end, beyond human greatness and creative powers.

First, there is the love that a person experiences from his parents. They raise him, encourage him to follow a path in life, giving him the strength to follow this path. And this love continues to live in him even when his own end is in sight.

I said at my homily yesterday, speaking about marriage anniversaries and in view of the priestly ordinations in Saturday, that parental love is the first sacrament in the life of any person, even and especially of a priest, even one who becomes pope. Parental love is an image of God’s love which they receive from him and which they then pass on to their children.

It was in gratitude for this fundamental experience that Benedict XVI on Saturday visited the grave of his parents in Ziegetsdorf a village near Pentling]. It must be remembered that the Ratzinger siblings decided in 1974 to have the remains of their parents transferred from Traunstein, where they were first buried – their father died in 1959, their mother in 1963 – to Regensburg so that the family could all be 'together again'. In 1991, their sister Maria [who died of a sudden heart attack] was also buried here.

All of this shows how much Regensburg represents his earthly home, which is constituted primarily through relationships. This love for ‘home’ does not conflict in any way with the hope of seeing his loved ones again in the eternity of God. It is the same love that impelled Benedict to make this trip to be at his older brother’s sickbed. One can only wish for everyone the same affection and fraternal reciprocity in the relationship between the Ratzinger brothers, nurtured by loyalty, trust, and selflessness, proceeding from a solid foundation – in their case, the living faith in Christ, Son of God.

During this visit, they saw each other nine times. Each meeting clearly gave both a visible strength, fresh courage and joy. Nine times they met, with few words said, but with familiar gestures and above all, in prayer. Each day, Mass was said, restricted to very few persons. On Friday, Feast of the Sacred Heart, I was asked to lead the celebration. And you could tell - the Eucharist is the source from which the two brothers live.

Benedict's trip was perhaps also a farewell to his Bavarian homeland. Home is the horizon of one’s first memories and to which a man’s fundamental relationships are linked. You could feel how much Benedict blossomed when he saw the familiar landscape, the familiar alleys and paths, and above all, the people through the windows of his transport car. I think he would have wanted to ride a bicycle from Pentling to the old town of Regensburg, and he would have liked to sit down with the young people on Bismarckplatz to listen, to laugh and to chat a little.

Benedict’s trip was also spiritual. I personally felt that a circle closed when we prayed together on Sunday at the shrine of St. Wolfgang in Regensburg Cathedral. We prayed a litany of intercession to the saint, the Our Father and Hail Mary, before singing the Te Deum and Salve Regina. I asked Benedict for his blessing for the faithful and the Church in Regensburg, which he gladly gave. Our prayers together sprung out of hope and faith of being safe in God, who keeps the doors of heaven open to us, who has a place ready for each of us in the eternal homeland where our lives will gain meaning and fullness. A God who looks down on us with grace and mercy.

Some saw the visit as a historic event. Others who attach little importance to Christ and his Church probably just shrugged it off. For myself, it was above all a very human undertaking. A man, to whom we can ascribe so many great things, came to us as a fragile, indeed helpless, man, whose remaining strength barely suffices to cope with the essentials of day-to-day living. I was very moved by the experience and have needed to distance myself to appreciate an experience that hit me suddenly and for which I was unprepared.

My first reaction when Archbishop Gaenswein first informed me of the trip was that we would do everything in our power to make the Pope’s visit possible, and it has been for me and all my co-workers an honor to render service to the Emeritus Pope.

I thank everyone in the bishops’ conference, in the Cathedral's chapter of canons, and in the diocesan seminary under Mons. Martin Priller who quickly organized to provide lodgings for Benedict XVI, the people who accompanied him from Rome, and the officers assigned for his security. And I thank the director of Regensburg Caritas, Deacon Weissman, who is a trained nurse as well as a theologian, for his organization’s excellent work in the background.

I am most thankful for the voluntary service of the Malteser who were responsible for providing appropriate land transport for the pope, and the quick-adapting, friendly and professional work of the police and others persons responsible for security. I express these thanks also in behalf of Benedict XVI and of Mons. Gaenswein.

Last but not least, I would like to express my thanks to you, the journalists, who have reported on the visit with much prudence and did all you could so that this essentially private trip could remain a private one, and yet the moving event that it became for many people in Regensburg, for the whole region, and, as I am told from various sources, for Christians around the world.

Thank you so much!

00Tuesday, June 23, 2020 11:29 PM

What has the Vatican gained - or lost - after
almost 2 years of its secret accord with China?

[Which has still not been made public]

June 22, 2020

Next September 22, the secret accord signed in 2018 between the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops “will expire”, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, a longtime lead Vatican contact with the Communist regime, said on June 7.

He added: “I think we should probably reconfirm it for one or two years, but the Holy See has not yet made a decision in this regard, which will then be communicated to the Chinese authorities.”

Celli acknowledged that the negotiation “is not an easy path,” since there are “still snags” and "situations that are more than thought-provoking, I would say worrisome.”

In effect, almost two years after the signing of the accord, the bottom line for the Holy See is disaster. [Which it already is and has been from the very start!]

Not counting Hong Kong and Macao, which have separate statutes governing their respective Churches, there are 135 dioceses and apostolic prefectures in China. And of these, at the time the agreement was signed, only 72 were under the leadership of a bishop, just over half. Today those with a bishop at their head are still holding steady at 72. So with almost as many dioceses that continue to remain vacant, even though one of the Holy See’s aims in signing the agreement was precisely to fill these gaps.

The only two new episcopal ordinations that have taken place after September 22, 2018 - those of Anthony Yao Shun, ordinary of the diocese of Jining, and Stephen Xu Hongwei, coadjutor of the diocese of Hanzhong - are both from April 2019 and had been arranged before the signing of the agreement.

But it is instructive to analyze in greater detail the changes that have occurred in the past two years.

Heading into the signing of the accord, 50 Chinese dioceses were governed by “official” bishops, meaning, they were recognized by both Rome and Beijing, and 17 by “clandestine” bishops, meaning recognized by Rome but not by the Chinese government.

In addition, however, there were 7 bishops hit with excommunication, 5 of whom had been installed by the regime in as many dioceses deemed by Rome still vacant, and 2 installed in dioceses already run by bishops who are legitimate in the eyes of Rome but clandestine according to the Chinese authorities.

Upon the signing of the secret agreement, Pope Francis lifted the excommunication of those 7 bishops and assigned to each of them the governance of their diocese of residence. Also in the two dioceses where there were already legitimate but clandestine bishops, Rome chose to entrust the governance to the two formerly excommunicated bishops. To make this possible the 90-year-old bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian was removed from the diocese of Shantou, while in the diocese of Xiapu-Mindong the 60-year-old bishop in office, Vincent Guo Xijin, was demoted to auxiliary.

In both cases the transfer of power has been rough, and in the second ,it is still far from being smoothed over. Bishop Guo’s courageous refusal to bow to the regime's “diktats” as irreconcilable with the Catholic faith - which includes signing up for a so-called “independent Church” - has come at the expense of a hailstorm of retaliation from the regime, expulsion from his home, and the complete loss of his freedom.

In the judgment of the most ardent Vatican supporters of the accord - such as Professor Agostino Giovagnoli of the Community of Sant'Egidio and journalist Gianni Valente, who heads the Fides news agency of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith - the diocese of Xiapu-Mindong was to be the model diocese that would demonstrate to the world the rightness of the secret agreement.

Instead, it is precisely the example of the continual one-sided yielding by the Holy See, without the slightest reciprocation from Beijing.

We have mentioned the immediate revocation by the pope of the excommunication of seven bishops who had been most in thrall to the regime. But Beijing has barely moved to 'legitimize the clandestine bishop's.

These latter, at the time of the signing of the agreement, governed 17 dioceses; today, they govern only 12. Chinese authorities have given approved only two of them: Peter Jin Lugang, 65, of the diocese of Nanyang , and Peter Lin Jiashan, 86, of the diocese of Fuzhou. The latter's advanced age is not an isolated case. Among the clandestine bishops still in office, four more are over the age of 80, and another died in 2019 at the age of 92. Probably, the regime is counting on their deaths soon through natural causes.

As for the rest, they are certainly not being treated well.
- Mention has been made of Bishop Guo of the diocese of Xiapu-Mindong, demoted to auxiliary and placed under surveillance.
- Augustine Cui Tai, coadjutor of the diocese of Xuanhua, has been under arrest since 2014.
- Thaddeus Ma Daqin, bishop of Shanghai, has also been under house arrest since the day of his ordination in 2012, when he publicly announced he was quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the instrument with which the regime controls and regiments the Church.

He failed to obtain clemency even with an act of public submission in 2015 which gained the useless applause of La Civiltà Cattolica [Jesuit journal edited by person widely thought to be the pope's leading grey eminence, Fr. Antonio Spadaro] which called his gesture an exemplary model of "reconciliation between the Church in China and the Chinese government.” To no avail.

However, neither the Holy See nor the Pope himself has said a word in public calling for these bishops to be set free.

Then there is the mysterious disappearance of two other bishops who may not even be alive anymore: James Su Zhimin of the diocese of Baoding, who would be 88 today, and Cosmas Shi Enxiang of the diocese of Yixian, who would be 98 years old. Nothing has been heard of the former since 1996, the date of his last arrest, or of the latter since 2001.

But that’s not all. Remaining unchanged, after the 2018 accord, are also the hierarchies of the two key bodies through which the regime dominates the Chinese Church, in which the seven formerly excommunicated bishops occupy prominent positions.

One of these bodies is the Council of Bishops, a false simulacrum of an episcopal conference, from which bishops recognized only by Rome are excluded.

The agreement supposedly vests this Council with the responsibility to propose to the pope the names of future bishops, following their [rigged] 'election' in their respective dioceses by representatives of the clergy, religious and laymen obviously working hand in glove with the regime.

Heading this Council of Bishops are three of the formerly excommunicated bishops: Joseph Ma Yinglin of the diocese of Kunming as president, Joseph Guo Jincai of the diocese of Chengde as vice-president and secretary general, and Vincent Zhan Silu of the diocese of Xiapu-Mindong as second vice-president.

In addition, eight other bishops with the regime's seal of approval are vice-presidents of the Council: Joseph Li Shan of the diocese of Beijing, John Fang Xingyao of the diocese of Linyi, Joseph Shen Bin of the diocese of Haimen, Peter Fang Jianping of the diocese of Tangshan, Paul Pei Junmin of the diocese of Liaoning, John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of the diocese of Yulin, Paul He Zeqing of the diocese of Wanzhou, Joseph Yang Yongqiang of the diocese of Zhoucun.

The other body is the aforementioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) whose president is Bishop John Fang Xingyao of the diocese of Linyi, and counts with four of the once-excommunicated bishps as vice presidents: Joseph Ma Yinglin of the diocese of Kunming - the same who presides over the Council of Bishops; Paul Lei Shiyin of the diocese of Leshan, Joseph Huang Bingzhang of the diocese of Shantou, and Joseph Yue Fusheng of the diocese of Harbin-Heilongjiang.

The vice-president and secretary general of the association is the layman Liu Yuandong, while four other vice-presidencies are entrusted to the bishops Joseph Shen Bin of the diocese of Haimen and Paul Meng Qinglu of the diocese of Hohhot, to the religious sister Wu Lin, and to the laywoman Shi Xueqin.

What then is the head count of the bishops in China, updated to now?
Below is a complete list of them by categories, with names, birth years, and respective dioceses.

For a comparison with the list of bishops heading into the accord between the Holy See and China, see our post from two years ago, based on Vatican sources effectively rearranged by Gianni Cardinale in the book “Bishops in the land of Confucius”:
> Chinese Bishops - Illegitimate, Official, Clandestine….Which Ones Francis Is Rewarding and Which He Is Not

That previous list was dated February 5, 2018, but was still valid the following September 22, the date of the accord, with the only change being the passing of a bishop who died on June 15 of that same year at the age of 94, Joseph Li Mingshu of the diocese of Qingdao.


Vincent Zhan Silu, n. 1961, Xiapu-Mindong
Giuseppe Huang Bingzhang, n. 1967, Shantou
Giuseppe Liu Xinhong, n. 1964, Anhui
Paolo Lei Shiyin, n. 1963, Leshan
Goseph Ma Yinglin, b. 1965, Kunming
Joseph Guo Jincai, b. 1968, Chengde
Joseph Yue Fusheng, b. 1964, Harbin-Heilongjiang
Jospeh Li Shan, b. 1965, Beijing
Francis An Shuxin, b. 1949, Baoding
Peter Feng Xinmao, b. 1963, Jingxian
Joseph Liu Liangui, b. 1964, Xianxian-Cangzhou
Joseph Sun Jigen, b. 1967, Yongnian-Handan
Peter Fang Jianping, b. 1962, Yongping-Tangshan
Methodius Qu Ailin, b. 1961, Changsha
Joseph Tang Yuange, b. 1963, Chengdu
Joseph Chen Gong'ao, b. 1964, Nanchong
Paul He Zeqing, b. 1968, Wanxian-Wanzhou
John Lei Jiaipei, b. 1970, Xichang
Peter Luo Xuegang, b. 1964, Yibin
Joseph Cai Bingrui, b. 1966, Xiamen
Joseph Gan Junqiu, b. 1964, Guangzhou
Paul Su Yongda, b. 1958, Beihai-Zhanjiang
Paul Liang Jiansen, b. 1964, Jiangmen
Joseph Liao Hongqing, b. 1965, Meixian-Meizhou
Paul Xiao Zejiang, b. 1967, Guiyang-Guizhou
Matthew Cao Xiangde, b. 1927, Hangzhou
Paul Meng Qinglu, b. 1962, Hohhot
Joseph Li Jing, b. 1968, Yinchuan-Ningxia
Matthias Du Jiang, b. 1963, Bameng
Joseph Zhang Xianwang, b. 1965, Jinan
John Fang Xingyao, b. 1953, Linyi
Joseph Zhao Fengchang, b. 1934, Yanggu-Liaocheng
John Lu Peisan, b. 1966, Yanzhou
Joseph Yang Yongqiang, b. 1970, Zhoucun
Joseph Zhang Yinlin, b. 1971, Jixian-Anyang
Joseph Han Zhihai, b. 1966, Lanzhou
Nicholas Han Jide, b. 1940, Pingliang
John Baptist Li Sugong, b. 1964, Nanchang-Jiangxi
Francis Xavier Lu Xinping, b. 1963, Nanjing
Joseph Shen Bin, b. 1970, Haimen
Joseph Xu Honggen, b. 1962, Suzhou
John Wang Renlei, b. 1970, Xuzhou
John Baptist Tan Yanquan, b. 1962, Nanning-Guanxi
Paul Pei Junmin, b. 1969, Shenyang-Liaoning
Paul Meng Ningyu, b. 1963, Taiyuan
Peter Ding Lingbin, b. 1962, Changzhi
John Huo Cheng, b. 1926, Fenyang
Paul Ma Cunguo, b. 1971, Shuoxian-Shouzhou
Anthony Dan Mingyan, b. 1967, Xi'an
Peter Li Huiyuan, b. 1965, Fengxiang
Louis Yu Runchen, b. 1930, Hanzhong
Stephen Yu Hongwei, b. 1975, coadjutor Hanzhong
Anthony Yao Shun, b. 1965, Jining
Joseph Han Yingjin, b. 1958, Sanyuan
John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, b. 1964, Yan'an-Yulin
Joseph Martin Wu Qinjing, b. 1968, Zhouzhi
John Baptist Ye Ronghua, b. 1931, Ankang
John Baptist Wang Xiaoxun, b. 1966, coadjutor Ankang
Joseph Tong Changping, b. 1968, Tongzhou-Weinan
Peter Wu Junwei, b. 1963, Xinjiang-Yuncheng
Peter Lin Jiashan, b. 1934, Fuzhou
Peter Jin Lugang, b. 1955, Nanyang


Vincent Guo Xijin, n. 1958, auxiliary Xiapu-Mindong, under surveillance
Thomas Zhao Kexun, b. 1924, Xuanhua
Augustine Cui Tai, b. 1950, coadjutor Xuanhua, under arrest
Julius Jia Zhiguo, b. 1935, Zhengding
Joseph Hou Guoyang, b. 1922, Chongqing
John Baptist Wang Ruohan, b. 1950, Kangding
Peter Shao Zhumin, b. 1963, Yongjia-Wenzhou
Joseph Gao Hongxiao, b. 1945, Kaifeng
John Wang Ruowang, b. 1961, Tianshui
John Pei Weizhao, b. 1966, Yujiang
Andrew Han Jingtao, b. 1921, Siping-Jilin
Joseph Wej Jingyi, b. 1958, Qiqihar-Heilongjiang
Joseph Zhang Weizhu, b. 1958, Xinxiang
Thaddeus Ma Daqin, b. 1968, Shanghai, dismissed and arrested


Stephen Yang Xiangtai, b. 1922, emeritus Yongnian
Peter Zhang Zhiyong, b. 1932, emeritus Fengxiang
Joseph Zhong Huaide, b. 1922, emeritus Sanyuan


Peter Zhuang Jianjian, b. 1931, emeritus Shantou
Melchior Shi Hongzhen, b. 1929, emeritus coadjutor Tianjin
Joseph Shi Shuang-xi, b. 1967, emeritus auxiliary Yongnian
Placidus Pei Ronggui, b. 1933, emeritus Luoyang
Peter Mao Qingfu, b. 1963, retired, Luoyang
Joseph Xing Wenzhi, b. 1963, emeritus auxiliary Shanghai
Matthias Gu Zheng, b. 1937, emeritus Xining
John Zhang Qingtian, b. 1956, emeritus auxiliary Yixian
John Chen Cangbao, b. 1959, retired, Yixian


James Su Zhimin, b. 1932, Baoding, missing since 1966
Cosmas Shi Enxiang, b. 1922, Yixian, missing since 2001

Finally, there is the case of a bishop illegitimate bishop for both Rome and Beijing: Paul Wang Huiyao, born in 1959 and active in the diocese of Zhouzhi, where there is already an “official” bishop.

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