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00Friday, December 22, 2017 2:24 AM

Cardinal Maradiaga probably has an exculpatory explanation for what this story alleges, but just in case there is some truth in all this (maybe
the sums involved were really quite modest), how will the pope spin this for his friend and probably number-1 surrogate (for which he has been
widely called 'vice-pope' by the media), as well as coordinator of his Crown Council of Nine???

35,000 euros a month for the Cardinal:
a new scandal that's shaking the Vatican

The pope's friend and adviser, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, apparently
has been receiving $600,000 a year from a Honduran university

by Emiliano Fittipaldi
Adapted from the English translation provided by
December 21, 2017

When he finished reading the investigative report by the apostolic envoy he himself had sent to Honduras last May, Pope Francis’s hands went up to his skullcap. He had just found out that his friend and main councilor — THE powerful cardinal Oscar Maradiaga Rodriguez, a staunch supporter of a poor and pauperist Church, and coordinator of the pope's Council of Cardinals since he created this in 2013 - had received over the years around 41,600 US dollars a month, with an additional 64,200 dollars bonus in December,from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa.

The Pope received the dossier six months ago, and has let it be known that all final decisions in this connection will be made by him.
[He deserves credit for ordering an investigation, to begin with - he must have had serious reason to do so; but why are we hearing about the report only six months later? Unless he gave Maradiaga and his 'co-accused' time to answer the charges, but that does not seem to be indicated anywhere in this story.]

Not included in the report he read was that several witnesses, both ecclesiastical and secular, have accused Maradiaga of investing more than $1.2 million in some companies in London, investments which have reportedly vanished into thin air.

Nor that the Court of Auditors of Honduras has been investigating the flow of large sums of money from the Honduran government to the Foundation for Education and Social Communication and to the Suyapa Foundation, both foundations of the local Church and therefore dependent on Maradiaga himself.

"The Pope is sad and saddened, but also very determined at discovering the truth," people of his entourage at Casa Santa Marta have said. [Does that mean he is assuming the veracity of the report without confronting Maradiaga to get his side?]

They say he wants to know every detail of the investigation conducted for him in Honduras by Argentine bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto. Not to mention the final destination of the jaw-dropping sums of money reportedly obtained by the cardinal.

Just in one year, 2015, according to an internal university report obtained by L’Espresso, the cardinal received almost $600,000, a sum that some sources say he has been collecting annually for a decade in his capacity as Grand Chancellor of the university.

However, some other rather unpleasant items account for the rest of the sums he received, according to Bishop Casaretto’s report. Many witnesses also made similar accusations against the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda, among the most loyal in Maradiaga’s inner circle and his de facto deputy in Central America [since Maradiaga is almost always globe-trotting].

Casaretto took the testimony of around fifty witnesses, including administrative staff of both the diocese and the university, priests, seminarians and the cardinal's driver and secretary.

Maradiaga, a Salesian like former Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, was born in Honduras 75 years ago. His birthday falls on 29 December, at which time he is expected to submit his resignation under the mandatory retirement age for bishops. At which time, we will know if the pope will keep him on or accept the resignation.

A primary school teacher before becoming a middle school math professor, the cardinal is a highly cultivated person ​​fluent in five languages, an expert in moral theology and philosophy ,and a great lover of music. He became very well-known in Latin America as a sworn enemy of corruption and a strong defender of the very poor.

That is why, in 2013, Francesco, who appreciated his intellectual and government skills, called him to head the group of cardinal advisers helping him with the reform of the Roman Curia and with governing the Church, in general. [Precisely because he is reputed to be a great intellectual - leaving aside the fact that the accusations alleged are evil - why and how would Maradiaga have done all the things he is accused of, and expect none of it to come out? Sanctimonious people should strive to be above suspicion like Caesar's wife!]

The accusations against Maradiaga's auxiliary are many: "Some [audited] expenses go to close friends of Pineda, like a Mexican who calls himself ‘Father Erick’, but who never took his vows", according to one source. "His real name is Erick Cravioto Fajardo, and for years, he lived in an apartment adjacent to that of Cardinal Maradiaga, at Villa Iris. Pineda, who has reportedly lived with him under the same roof, recently bought him a downtown apartment and a car. The money, we fear, came from university funds or from the diocese. We have denounced this close and unseemly relationship to the Vatican. The pope knows everything". [Oh dear! Another Ricca openly living in flagrante delicto, so to speak! But Worse because Pineda is a bishop!]

The witnesses also disclosed alleged investments to the tune of millions gone catastrophically sour: Maradiaga supposedly transferred large amounts of diocesan funds to some financial companies in London, like Lehman Wealth Management, and now, part of the money entrusted (and deposited in accounts in German banks) seems to have vanished.

Casaretto's report also hints at possibly huge money transfers to the media empire set up by the archdiocese, and to the Suyapa Foundation, which manages the newspapers and television channels of the diocese,

As to Bishop Pineda, local newspapers pinpointed him recently as having orchestrated reckless financial operations, receiving as much as $1.2 million in public funds allegedly meant for projects aimed at "training of the faithful to the values ​​and understanding laws and social life". According to the accusers, these expenses were never supported by valid documentation.

The Vatican is understandably worried that the Honduran Court of Auditors launched an audit of the Tegucigalpa archdiocese Catholic for the years 2012-2014. They are reportedly investigating the legality of projects for which the government transferred every year tens of millions in the local currency to the Foundation for Education and Social Communication, whose official representative is Maradiaga. As of the time of writing this story, a letter from the prosecutors that L’Espresso obtained states that Maradiaga's archdiocese has yet to produce the documentation requested.

Imagine if in their time, Cardinal Deskur (John Paul II's close friend since they were in seminary together) or Cardinal Meisner (probably the cardinal who was closest to Benedict XVI) had been accused of what Maradiaga is being accused of!...However, it's Christmastime, and I can only pray Maradiaga - as much as I dislike him - can properly and honestly answer the accusations made against him. This is a man who was listed among the front-running papabile in 2005 and 2013, after all.

Top papal adviser and critic of 'the rich'
embroiled in allegations of financial misconduct

by Steve Skojec

December 21, 2017

A top papal adviser known for his tirades against capitalism and the wealthy is under investigation by the Vatican after reports that he has been receiving over $40,000 US per month from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa and had allegedly invested amounts of over $1 million in companies in London that “later vanished into thin air.”

According to Emiliano Fittipaldi of Italy’s L’Espresso weekly newsmagazine, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras — the coordinator of the pope’s C9 council — has fallen under the scrutiny of the pope himself since the allegations have surfaced.

They implicate him in receiving of nearly $600,000 a year for up to a decade from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa of which he is Grand Chancellor.

Despite his advocacy of the poor at the expense of the rich, when asked in a 2014 interview about the wealth of the German Church — also closely tied to the Francis pontificate — Maradiaga responded that “helping the poor does not mean being poor”. In that same interview, he nevertheless blamed the wealthy in America and Europe for the 2008 financial collapse.

Of all the members of the pope’s inner circle, it has been Maradiaga who has stood out as the most enthusiastic proponent and enforcer of the pope’s agenda. He identified himself early on in his role in the papacy as a staunch progressive force, and has continued to make public statements that reinforce that impression.

In a talk given in October 2013, he claimed that the Second Vatican Council “meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council.”

He was acting president of Caritas Internationalis when it was first reported that the international Catholic relief organization held a seat on the board of a pro-communist, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual organization known as the World Social Forum — but he nevertheless took no action.

In 2014, he publicly chastised Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who at the time served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as inflexible, calling him “a professor of German theology” who “sees things in black and white terms.”

In the same interview, he said that the Church reforms championed by Pope Francis had “reached a point of no return”; a theme he reiterated in a 2015 talk in which he claimed that the pope “wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.”

He was also a point man in the attacks on the DUBIA cardinals, accusing them of not having read Amoris Laetitia before commenting on it, and of “pharisaism” in their response to it. He took things a step further with Cardinal Burke, the de facto leader of the DUBIA effort, saying that he “is a disappointed man, in that he wanted power and lost it.”

But now, it seems that the tables have turned against the brutally candid Honduran cardinal. His role as leader of the pope’s hand-picked men is now in doubt as reports of his extravagant income threaten the image of the pope’s commitment to “a poor Church for the poor.” Sources cited by L’Espresso said that Francis is “sad” about the allegations against Maradiaga, “but also very determined at discovering the truth”...

It is unclear how much Pope Francis knew about Maradiaga’s financial activities when he was brought on board as an adviser. The pope was given a dossier on the matter six months ago, and has reserved to himself the right to make all ecclesiastical decisions as a consequence of the investigation. The question remains, however, whether the pope will take action.

In the past, he has received criticism for his handling of several cases of clerical misconduct among his friends, the most significant case being that of the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, a member of the so-called “St. Gallen Mafia” who claims to have participated in a conspiracy to elect the Argentinian pope.

Danneels was caught on tape attempting to silence a victim of clerical sexual abuse in his diocese; the book The Dictator Pope alleges that Danneels was also implicated in some way in nearly 50 of 475 dossiers on allegations of clerical sexual abuse that ultimately went missing after having been seized as evidence by Belgian police and subsequently deemed inadmissible in court for unknown reasons.

Danneels was nevertheless present with Pope Francis on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of his election, and was personally invited by the pope to attend the Synod on the Family, despite his advocacy for abortion and homosexual “marriage” in his home country.
00Friday, December 22, 2017 3:24 AM
December 21, 2017's headlines are becoming increasingly insupportable - not just for rubbing in its editor's biases unnecessarily in the most offensive
(and usually grammatically incorrect) ways
- and being not the least bit careful about making elementary spelling errors posted in 72 points bold -
as in the banner headline below:

Even if today was a heavy news day for 'the Church' (Paul VI to be canonized, Cardinal Law buried, Bergoglio blasts the Curia again, and the
revelations about Cardinal Maradiaga's financial doings), I would not have posted this headline summary, were it not that it illustrates the worst
journalistic faults of this particular news aggregator.

News aggregators ought to simply collate the headlines, maybe tweak some a bit for clarity, but they have no business building their biases
into the headlines with which they choose to re-baptize existing ones and assaulting the reader with these biases the way does.

00Friday, December 22, 2017 3:59 AM

The ways of God are truly inscrutable. Who would have said even three years ago before he was beatified, that Paul VI, pope of Humanae Vitae
as well as the Novus Ordo, would become a saint so soon (40 years since his death), which means to some people, including me, that this leaves
the cause of Pius XII lagging far behind???

Pope Paul VI, beatified in 2014,
is one step closer to canonization

by Iacopo Scaramuzzi
From the English service of

December 21, 2017

In a special issue entitled “It will be the year of Saint Paul VI", the weekly magazine of the diocese of Brescia, La voce del popolo, writes that on 13 December, theologians of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Montini, after an approval had been given by the medical consultants who examined the case.

It remains for the Congregation itself and finally, the pope, to approve the miracle and thus pave the way for the 262nd pope's canonization. There will follow a Consistory with the official announcement of the approval and setting the date for the canonization.

The miracle was the birth of baby girl Amanda who in 2014 had survived in the womb and was delivered despite the fact that the placenta [the lifeline to the mother that supports the baby while it is in the womb] had broken.

The expectant mother, a native of Verona, was warned that she would miscarry, but a few days after the beatification of Papa Montini, she went to the Santuario delle Grazie in Brescia to pray for his intercession. She carried her child to turn, and the girl was born in good health, implying there had been a healing of the broken placenta in utero.

Pope Francis beatified his predecessor on 19 October 2014, concluding the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

“Rumors are so insistent and the next steps so fast to take, that everything indicates 2018 as Blessed Paul VI’s canonization year”, writes the diocesan newspaper of Brescia.

October 2018 could be the occasion, when, from Oct. 3-28, the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, focused on the problems of young people, will take place at the Vatican with the presence of a large number of prelates participating in the synod.

It will most likely take place on one of the first three Sundays of October, but some are saying, it will probably be Oct. 21.

[If the miracle has been authenticated by both medical and theological experts, why should it take another 10 months to formalize the approval and set a canonization date?]
00Friday, December 22, 2017 4:33 PM

Notice a slight re-arrangement in the Mercy tableau (left), from how it was when it was uncovered last Dec. 7 (right)? It seems an effort was made to 'isolate' the Nativity-scene proper from the rest of the overwhelming clutter.

So, someone did look more into the background to uncover relevant facts about the now-baptized 'Gaytivity scene' in St. Peter's Square, and I am [really not] surprised that no journalist had done so earlier... As it turns out, 'Gaytivity' is not at all an improper tag for it...

Italy's LGBT activists behind the scenes
of the Vatican’s 'innovative' presentation of the Nativity

by Diane Montagna

ROME, December 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican Nativity scene featuring a naked man, a corpse, and no sheep or oxen is the artistic offering of an abbey which is the focus of Italian LGBT activists, it has emerged.

Enquiries by LifeSiteNews have revealed that the Abbey of Montevergine, which donated the innovative ‘Nativity of Mercy,’ houses the Marian image that has been adopted as patroness by LGBT activists in Italy. The abbey shrine is the annual destination of a sort of sacred and profane “ancestral gay pride” pilgrimage which, according to one LGBT activist, in recent years has gained the “active, political participation of the LGBT community.”

An official of the Vatican’s Governorate has told LifeSiteNews that the abbey of Montevergine initially proposed the original idea for the ‘Nativity of Mercy.’ The Vatican discussed and developed a more detailed design with the abbey, then submitted final plans to the Secretary of State and Pope Francis for approval, which was duly granted.

“The presence of the Vatican Nativity Scene for us is a reason to be even happier this year,” Antonello Sannini, president of homosexual activist group Arcigay Naples, told LifeSiteNews on Tuesday. “For the homosexual and transsexual community in Naples, it is an important symbol of inclusion and integration.”

The Christmas crèche fury blew up on Twitter last week, when photos of a nude male figure to illustrate the corporal work of mercy ‘clothe the naked’ made the rounds on social media, sparking sharp criticism and debate.

Viewers lamented the figure’s “prominent placement and languid pose,” according to a Breitbart News report, which saidthat the figure’s pose “led many on social media to suggest that there is a vaguely homoerotic tone to the scene.”

Facebook, adding to the fury, rejected the photo referencing its policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images.

One observer remarked, regarding the 'poor' man in need of clothes: “I’ve worked with a personal trainer. That guy’s been in the gym two hours a day, six days a week.”
“This horrendous exhibit, a sacrilegious, highly deceitful and malevolent attempt to turn the holy innocence of the manger in St. Peter’s Square into a lobbying tool for the homosexual rights movement, is just the latest fiendish act, but one that’s symptomatic of this entire pontificate,” one source close to the Vatican told LifeSiteNews.

Meanwhile, the Neapolitan artist who crafted the crèche, Antonio Cantone, appeared to suggest that he intended it to be provocative.

“It is not a camp nativity; it is particular and makes you think,” he said. “It leaves no one indifferent; there are provocations.”

This year’s Christmas crèche also features a reproduction of the ancient and beautiful icon of Our Lady of Montevergine. [On the left side of the tableau: I've outlined it in red - and I apologize I did not notice it at all before this]. The original icon, housed in a chapel of the mountain shrine, measures 12 feet high and six feet wide, and depicts the Blessed Virgin seated on a throne with the divine Infant Jesus seated on her lap.

The Marian image is dark, and so the icon is often referred to as one of the “Black Madonnas.” Among local Italians, her dark complexion made them believe she was part of the serving class and so she came to be affectionately known by the faithful as “Mamma Schiavano” or “Slave Mama.”

Each year, Our Lady of Montevergine is honored through two pilgrimages to her mountain shrine: one on February 2, the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Candlemas; and the second on September 12, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, which is preceded by a three-day festival.

On the night before the feast pilgrims are hosted by Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo, the nearest town to the abbey, before making the “sagliuta” or “juta” (from the Italian “salire,” i.e. ascent) on foot to the shrine of Our Lady of Montevergine early the next morning. The three-day celebration is a mix of sacred and profane, and features dances and songs accompanied by large tambourines.

Our Lady of Montevergine has a particular significance for homosexuals and transgenders in Italy. According to a legend, Our Lady of Montevergine saved two homosexuals from death in the winter of 1256. The couple had been beaten and driven by night from their city and brought to the mountain where they were tied to a tree and left to die of the cold or be eaten by wolves. According to the legend, Our Lady of Montevergine had pity on them and ‘miraculously’ freed them. In 2017, La Repubblica called it “the progressive miracle of a gay-friendly Madonna.” [She wasn't specifically 'gay-friendly', but merciful and human-friendly - it was not a specifically gay-friendly act: she would have rescued any persons, male or female, left in the same predicament.] More commonly, she is known as the mother “who grants everything and forgives everything.”

[I am very happy that the LGBTs of Italy have a patron saint in Our Lady of Montevergine, but do they forget that Mary is also the icon of chastity par excellence? (It surely is no coincidence that the place name for her shrine in this case is Montevergine (the virgin's mountain).)

They would do well not to think of her as someone who 'forgives everything' - first, because forgiveness only comes from God, and second, because she would not forgive any offenses against God, especially offenses that are committed habitually without intention of amendment.

She has also been God's most consistent messenger to mankind for penitence, penitence, penitence! Indeed, they must avail of her patronage so she may be God's agent for the grace they need to be able to sacrifice their unnatural sexual preferences and offer that sacrifice as their gift to God, not their raw sexuality as the LGBT activists appear to imply.]

The “juta dei femminielli” [ascent of the femminielli] is therefore held each year on Candlemas Day to recall the legend through song and dance. Femminielli is a term used by the Neapolitans to refer to a population of homosexual males with markedly feminine features.

The LGBT community also looks to Our Lady of Montevergine because she sits on the ancient temple site where the pagan goddess Cybele was once worshiped. In a 2014 article entitled “The procession of the femminielli,” La Repubblica noted that the eunuch priests of Cybele ritually castrated themselves “to offer their sex as a gift to their goddess in order to be reborn with a new identity.”

Antonello Sannino, the president of Arcigay Naples, told LifeSite that the “juta dei femminielli” involves a “mix of the sacred and profane.” Admitting his own distance from the Church, Sannino said “there is a strong popular devotion among believers” but for others, the ritual represents entrusting oneself to a non-Christian divinity.

The annual Candlemas pilgrimage is a kind of “ancestral gay pride,” he said, and has been a “way to welcome into the culture of the city [of Naples], the figure of the femminiello which is disruptive in a binary ‘masculine-feminine’ society.”

In 2002, the pilgrimage made the papers when the then abbot of Montevergine, Tarcisio Nazzaro, expressed his displeasure at the presence of the Neapolitan ‘femminielli.’

According to La Repubblica, during Holy Mass, Nazzaro told them: “Your prayers aren’t prayers but a clamor that Our Lady is not pleased with and so does not welcome. You are like the merchants that filled the temple until Jesus threw them out.” Allegedly, he later confided to the Sacristan: “I don’t have anything against anyone and I didn’t wish to offend anyone, much less these individual faithful. But what’s too much is too much. We need a little respect for the sacred place, and the dignity of the shrine has to be preserved.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraphs 2358-2359, that although homosexual inclinations are “objectively disordered,” men and women who suffer this trial “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” but like all Christians they are “called to chastity” and to Christian perfection.

Sannino didn’t berate the abbot but thought that the presence at the abbey in 2002 of Vladimir Luxuria, Italy’s first transsexual parliamentarian, precipitated the dispute. “It was too political in 2002,” he said.

That incident galvanized the LGBT movement, Ottavia Voza, president of Arcigay Salerno, told LifeSite. Another minor incident followed in 2010, but the “active, political participation of the LGBT community” began after the dispute in 2002.

In September 2014 under Pope Francis, a new abbot of Montevergine was elected, Dom Riccardo Luca Guariglia. Earlier that year, Luxuria wrote a letter to Pope Francis on behalf of the LGBT community, and publicly presented it at the Candlemas pilgrimage at the Shrine of Montevergine. No one is aware of a response to that letter.

In 2017, leaders of the LGBT community met Abbot Guariglia. Voza said the relations are now “excellent” and this year they “had an opportunity for dialogue with the abbot.” Voza told LifeSite that Vladimir Luxuria was there and the abbot “stopped to speak with us.” It wasn’t a private meeting but “in essence, he gave us his blessing,” Voza continued, adding that the incident in 2002 “was completely overcome.”

“He welcomed us,” Voza said, “and understood the importance of the presence of the community.”

Matters also intensified politically in 2017 when LGBT activists inaugurated Italy’s first ever “no gender” bathroom in Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo during the February 2 pilgrimage, and a civilly ‘married’ homosexual couple was given honorary citizenship by Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo’s civic authorities. Together with the LGBT activists, the civil authorities also unveiled a plaque at the entrance of the town, reading “Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo is against homotransphobia and gender violence.”

At the ceremony, Vladimir Luxuria said the small town of Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo should serve as a model for the rest of Italy.

Abbot Guariglia was interviewed about the ‘juta dei femminielli’ in 2017, saying: “St. Benedict tells us that guests are to be welcomed as Christ himself” and the abbey has “this peculiarity, that of being welcoming every type of pilgrim who comes to the shrine, first, to give homage or to entrust themselves to the Mother of God, and then also to celebrate the Sacraments.”

Sannino welcomed the Vatican Nativity Scene, saying he believes it is an “important symbol of inclusion and integration,” but whether it signifies greater openness by the Church depends on “how conscious” Vatican officials were of the connection with LGBT activists in making the decision. [But what is this persistent myth peddled by the victimhood-mongers that there is no 'inclusion and integration' in the Church. There's a reason it is called the Catholic Church ,i.e., universal - to which everyone is welcome, but in which every member must also accept her teachings, and not expect to be exempt from any of the divine commandments that they find inconvenient to them or incompatible with their chosen lifestyle.

The attitude of Catholic victimhood-claimers - i.e., all those the Church denounces for chronic mortal sins against chastity, including the remarried adulterers and practising homosexuals, or for condoning and practising contraception, abortion, euthanasia and other anti-life crimes - seeks entitlement to being exempt from the commandments that all Catholics try to obey. They seek a moral [more properly, amoral] entitlement worse than the material and legal entitlement that they have already obtained in the secular world.]

“We hope that the Church will finally develop a real sense of openness in the wake of the Pope’s words,” he said, referring to Francis’s “Who am I to judge?” comment. “The Church is extremely slow in its transformations,” he believes, and is fairly confident “this will also happen.” [Gee thanks, but yukkkk!]

But people in Rome are wondering how Pope Francis will respond. As in past years, Pope Francis is expected to spend time before the crèche [Can we really call the 'gaytivity' mercy tableau a creche???] in silent prayer on December 31 after Vespers and the chanting of the Te Deum prayer of thanksgiving in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The concern is that the optics of his silent prayer before the icon of Montevergine and the naked man, positioned on either side of the Nativity Scene, will send a signal, or be used by the more politically motivated in the LGBT community, to push their agenda.

Officially, the Vatican isn’t commenting on the Nativity scene, so it’s unclear how aware those who made the decisions are of its connections to Montevergine abbey and its associations with Italy’s LGBT activists. LifeSite contacted Vatican spokesman Greg Burke but he declined to answer. [What else can he say really, when an official of the Governatorate (which officially funds the Christmas display on St. Peter's Square) has already explained that "the abbey of Montevergine initially proposed the original idea for the ‘Nativity of Mercy.’ The Vatican discussed and developed a more detailed design with the abbey, then submitted final plans to the Secretary of State and Pope Francis for approval, which was duly granted."

Italian Church historian Roberto de Mattei of the Lepanto Foundation sees this as the latest attempt to “paganize Italy and Europe” through indirect means, in what he calls “soft neo-paganization.”

This involves choosing places of Christian worship “to return them to their pagan origins,” De Mattei explained, sending Christianity back into the age of catacombs where it was persecuted by the pagans.

The LGBT movement is not only political or cultural but a “religious movement” with pagan characteristics, he added. “This should not surprise us, because sex was also at the center of many pagan cults,” De Mattei said. “This therefore portends a new neo-pagan persecution of those who remain faithful to Catholicism.”

De Mattei noted that next year marks 50 years since the cultural, or sexual, revolution of 1968, and he believes it is now being “transformed into a religious revolution” where sex is still at the center, but being “transformed into a divinity intended to replace Christianity.”
00Friday, December 22, 2017 8:16 PM

I'm sure we will be reading a flood of commentary on the pope's latest tirade against his Curia in the coming days. Not the best topic to dissect
during the Christmas season, but I don't think our headstrong pope ever thinks about the consequences of what he wants to say and when he
says it. In this case, the 'when' is important, if only, to use a word Bergoglio used yesterday, out of 'delicacy'.

He has had all year round in the past 5 years to write a personal letter to each member of the Curia (2500 by 365 days = 7 letters a day more
or less), if he wanted to, to let them know he is greatly burdened by their miscellaneous inadequacies and yes, sins, if not crimes. For most,
this would be a generic letter - though signed by the pope, it becomes a keepsake - but for those he considers most recalcitrant and perhaps
incorrigible, he could have their superior draft a specific letter for him to sign. But no, he must wait for the 'exchange of Christmas greetings with the Curia' to get maximum PR mileage out of it...

A pope's historically unprecedented threats
to his Curia, the Maradiaga scandal, and
increasing surveillance of Vatican personnel

Translated from

December 21, 2017

The usual series of reproofs from the reigning pontiff to the Roman Curia came this year at a particularly unfortunate time. We don't know if the temporal coincidence was intended or the result of new unhappy facts brought to light about one of Bergoglio's closest associates.

Because even as the pope was speaking about his 'ongoing reforms' saying: "Speaking of reform, I am reminded of a significant saying by Mons. Frédéric-François-Xavier De Mérode [Who he? Had to look up this latest example of academic namedropping by a trying-hard-to-sound-erudite Bergoglio. Merode (1820-1874) was a Belgian prelate who became an official in Pius IX's Vatican.] "To carry out reforms in Rome is like cleaning the Sphinx with a toothbrush", Emiliano Fittipaldi was disclosing, in a L'Espresso article, that one of the men closest to Bergoglio, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras, champion of the 'poor church for the poor', appears to be immersed in a number of questionable financial affairs involving millions of euros.

Maradiaga, of course, is one of Bergoglio's primary advisers, his strenuous defender, and coordinator of the pope's advisory Council of Nine (C9) which has been working with him on curial reform, and has so far given birth only to a mouse (in the consolidation of several pontifical councils into larger 'carriages', and a reform of Vatican media which one cannot call clear at this point).

But in the pope's address to the Curia, he vented on others [Tosatti implies that the pope could not have been referring to Maradiaga in what he said, but on the other hand, Fr. Z had second thoughts about the following after reading the expose on Maradiaga.]:

"Allow me to spend a few words on another danger, which is that of those betrayers of confidence or those who profit from the maternal generosity of the Church, even those who had been carefully selected to give greater vigor to the body of reform, but – not understanding their high responsibility – allow themselves to be corrupted by ambition or vainglory, and when they are consequently distanced from us in a delicate manner , declare themselves erroneously to be martyrs of the system, of an 'uninformed pope', of the 'Old Guard', instead of saying 'Mea culpa'. [Now, the first part of the statement may be an indirect reference to Maradiaga - 'carefully selected...', '...corrupted by ambition or vainglory'; but it is neutralized by the second part that sounds like an unveiled reference to Cardinal Mueller and not to anyone else, even I do not recall Mueller claiming to be a 'martyr' in any way.]

Besides these persons, there are others who are still working in the Curia, to whom one has given all the time for them to get back on the right track, in the hope that they might find in the patience of the Church an opportunity to convert themselves rather than profiting from it. All this, however, without forgetting the greater majority of faithful persons who work in the Curia with praiseworthy commitment, fidelity, competence, dedication, and even holiness".
[Of course, he had to say that last statement, too, although I don't recall that he made any such qualification in the omnibus denunciation he made of the Curia and its spiritual maladies in December 2014.]

The pope used the adverb 'in a delicate manner' to describe the dismissals without cause; the pressures, subtle and obvious, exercised on persons in order to force them to resign; and the resignations extorted by using the obedience 'lever', and so on, prevaricating. Delicately, indeed!

And all this while Vatican control over emails, telephone landlines, and, I am told, even on some categories of personal cell phones, is reaching surveillance levels that would be envied by North Korea. To say that the pope's words yesterday were threatening ("to those to whom all the time has been given to get back on the right track") [Ah, but the right track is what? The Bergoglian line, of course. Certainly, not orthodoxy!] is an understatement. It would have been a threat if the secretary general of the Communist Party had said it back in the 1970s.

But it is also an evident signal that the level of unease in the Curia is rising – at least among those who are not Curial officials named by Bergoglio himself and obviously homogenized to his regime. So now he must make explicit threats, certainly never heard from a Vicar of Christ, at least not in contemporary times, in order to respond. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Pezzo Grosso on the pope's threats -
Too bad Freud is no longer with us!

Translated from

December 22, 2017

The occasion was too opportune. After the threatening address by the reigning Pontiff to the Roman Curia yesterday, Pezzo Grosso found his interest piqued and wrote us forthwith. As we noted yesterday, I cannot remember a pope who throws out vague threats to those who refuse to allow themselves to be re-educated", nor one who has taken to classic tools of invective to justify his own inefficiency or of those he has chosen to carry out tasks for him.

Papa Bergoglio spoke of traitors [Has any contemporary pope ever been so paranoid and expressed it so publicly???] He might as well have cited a Fifth Column, 'enemies of the people', counter-revolutionaries, reform saboteurs, not to speak of backstabbers and the 'Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy'.

Perhaps it is not entirely his fault: as in any self-respecting autocratic and rather obsessive regime, the pope is surrounded by a hive of sycophants and coryphants all busily engaged in justifying their existence and their funding, and in pointing out 'enemies', true or false, that the sovereign's ire may fall on them, evoking in the eyes and mind of an inquiet monarch the smoke and mirrors of conspiracies. … But let's hear what PG has to say:

Dear Tosatti,
Reading 'the pope's threats to the Curia', I was, first of all, not surprised. It reminded me of the frustrated husband who, after his nth failure in work and after his chief's reproofs, comes home and beats his wife and children for no apparent reason.

But I also found new material that indicates the urgent need for the pope to have new sessions with his psychoanalyst. Because in fact, every accusation he makes against the Curia are those that have been made against him. I think it was you, Tosatti, who first wrote about the dressing down that he recently gave to a very important cardinal (one who belongs to his court, even) who reproached him for not doing what he was elected to do – am I right?

Who knows that this syndrome is called that has led the pope to call his own people 'betrayers of confidence', 'profiteers from the Church's maternal generosity", who have allowed themselves "to be corrupted by ambition and vainglory". But this takes the cake: "those who declare themselves to be martyrs to a hostile Curia that does not understand them"…

PG certainly makes his point that the Curial address yesterday betrays, more than anything so far, the serious psychological and mental affliction besetting Jorge Bergoglio (forgive the armchair diagnosis). Pure paranoia it was, and you don't have to be a psychoanalyst to recognize it. On top of his narcissistic personality disorder – which perhaps also encompasses paranoia. Not to mention his anal obsessive-compulsive pontifications at his morning homilettes. Or his habitual lying – which need not be a psychological disorder at all but simply a bad bad habit surely unbecoming of pope. Not that much of Bergoglio's conduct has been properly becoming of a Pope.

Apparently Cardinal Maradiaga has responded to the accusations against him but I only saw the story now...

Cardinal Maradiaga responds
to allegations of corruption

By Andrea Gagliarducci

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Dec 22, 2017 (CNA)- Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga has rejected accusations of financial mismanagement, and offered an explanation for allegations that he has received an excessive salary for a largely ceremonial role at the Catholic University of Honduras.

In an email interview with CNA, Cardinal Maradiaga explained that “a little more than one year ago, we had to fire a manager of the university because he was stealing,” and “shortly after, an anonymous defamatory paper was spread, filled with a series of calumnies of the kind published this week.”

Cardinal Maradiaga was referring to a report by Italian outlet L’Espresso. According to the report, Cardinal Maradiaga received $600,000 from the University of Tegucigalpa in 2015, as a sort of “salary” for being the chancellor of the University. The cardinal was also accused of losing nearly $1.2 million of Church funds through investments in some London financial companies.

The accusations were not new, since the website ConfidencialHn had reported on them in Aug. 2016. Cardinal Maradiaga said that the archdiocese has begun a legal action to defend itself, but this has “had no effect in clarifying the truth.”

Cardinal Maradiaga explained that the Catholic University of Honduras is “owned by the archdiocese.” The cardinal stressed that, during his term as archbishop, and chancellor of the university, the college has grown to 11 campuses spread across Honduras.

The cardinal added that “the university is aimed at assisting the pastoral works of the Archdiocese,” and to support that work, he said the archdiocese, not the cardinal personally, received monthly payments that were “more or less” the amount of money described in reports – approximately $41,400 monthly.

This money, he added, was delivered to “pay the seminarians’ tuition, to fund the building and renovations of churches and to provide economic assistance to priests in rural parishes or to priests who have no livelihood.”

Cardinal Maradiaga stressed that “funds are not transferred in my name, but in the name of the archdiocese,” and this can be witnessed by priests. He underscored that “with these funds, we also help a lot of poor people that seek help everyday.”

Fr. Carlos Rubio of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that the Catholic University of Honduras financially supports “all the bishops [of Honduras], not just the cardinal, to help the dioceses. Remember that the university is Catholic and under the auspices of the Church.”

“All the bishops receive support for their dioceses, not for personal use,” Rubio said. The money “is support from the Catholic university for the mission of the diocese.”

Cardinal Maradiaga confirmed that there was an apostolic visit to Bishop Juan José Pineda, auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, but he stressed that the bishop himself “asked the Holy Father for an apostolic visit, in order to clear his name.”

Pineda has long been the subject of accusations of financial mismanagement, and rumors that he financially supports a male companion using archdiocesan funds. Some have alleged that he had an apartment built on the campus of the Catholic University of Honduras, in order to house this companion.

A Catholic missionary working in Honduras told ACI Prensa that Pineda’s situation is a source of scandal in the Honduran Church. The bishop “lives with an ‘aide,’ without any explanation by anyone,” the missionary said.

“Bishop Pinedo has bought him a downtown apartment and a car. The car, we fear, comes from the coffers of the university or the diocese. We have reported this unseemly relationship to the Vatican. The pope knows everything,” the missionary added.

Cardinal Maradiaga said that the Archdiocese does not yet know the results of the apostolic visit, but he also asked “how these results eventually got” to L’Espresso. He said that the report “says half truths, that are in the end the worse lies.”

The cardinal denied that the Finance Council of the Archdiocese have ever authorized “any investment” similar to those reported by L’Espresso.

Cardinal Maradiaga concluded: “Why have accusations that were published and dismissed one year ago been published now, only 8 days before I present my resignation to Pope Francis, since I will have reached the age limit of 75?”

In Maradiaga’s view, attacking him is a way to try to jeopardize Pope Francis’s reforms. And he said: “I will keep serving [those reforms] as long as the Holy Father wishes so.”

I hold no brief for Maradiaga except his right to fairness. His explanations sound plausible, and I wonder why the L'Espresso reporter did not even try to get his side before publishing his expose. But then I realized that the reporter is Emiliano Fittipaldi author of the 2015 expose book, Avarizia (Greed), on miscellaneous questionable financial episodes in the Vatican, including the story of Cardinal Bertone's costly renovations for his post-retirement residence inside the Vatican. I think expose writers, by definition, seek to show only one side - the most evil side, of course - of the things they report on.

In any case, Cardinal Maradiaga was either not asked or chose to gloss over the (to me) more scandalous report that his auxiliary bishop has been co-habitating with a man and spending diocesan funds on him. Diocesan affairs in Tegucigalpa require more serious journalistic investigation. If this is even halfway true and Maradiaga condoned the situation, then it makes Maradiaga guilty of tolerating what seems to be an openly deviant and sinful lifestyle by his deputy.

On the other hand, it seems none of the usual suspect Bergoglio defenders have denied Fittipaldi's allegations that the pope has been seriously concerned over the report submitted to him six months ago by an Argentine bishop he sent to investigate what appears to have been persistent negative reports from Tegucigalpa. Perhaps his main concern is Mons. Pineda, not Cardinal Maradiaga.

00Friday, December 22, 2017 8:27 PM

'The Mystical Nativity', Sandro Botticelli, 1500.

Thanks to David Warren for illustrating his article with this wondrous painting by Botticelli, the existence of which, Philistine that I am, I was not even aware of. (It seems to me that this 'Birth of Jesus' painting ought to have been far more famous than the 'Birth of Venus' or 'Primavera' (Spring), the Florentine master's best-known works)... Warren's article is an indirect but spot-on commentary on misrepresenting the Nativity scene in any way, with a tribute to Benedict XVI's Infancy Narratives of Jesus in his title and in his conclusion...

On the 'Infancy Narratives'
and the Christmas story

By David Warren

December 22, 2017

Recently, through my bad habit of consulting the Internet, I learned of the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” Lest I send gentle reader on the same electronic goose chase, let me explain what it is: the invention of a couple of social psychologists, which I darkly suspect to be tongue-in-cheek.

According to David Dunning and Justin Kruger, there is a cognitive bias among some people, to think themselves smarter, more capable, and better informed, than they really are. This bias is most pronounced among stupid people.

Like all good pop psychology theories, this one is easy to confirm. Look anywhere, and evidence comes into view. It can be tested, statistically. It can be demonstrated in real time. Compare, if you will, the confidence levels in a randomly selected home handyman, before and after he attempts a simple household task.

I mention that last as a means of entrapment. According to one of my own pop-psych theories, women suspect that the Dunning-Kruger Effect (henceforth “DKE”) applies mostly to men. But in my view feminism has leveled the playing field. Women are now as likely as men to imagine themselves competent.

Of course, in the design of the human metabolism, the eyes are turned outward. It is easier to spot examples of stupidity in others. It takes time to get round to observing the presence of DKE in oneself. And more time still, to invent excuses.

To be fair to Messrs. Dunning and Kruger, they mention the flip side. Smart people tend to be less confident of their own understanding and abilities. They thus mistakenly assume that all the idiots around them are smarter than they look; that they must know more than they do. (After all, they couldn’t know less.)

This leads me to my next pop-psych theory. I postulate that there is a mysterious relationship between intelligence and charity.

True. It is a complicated relation, however, and my full theory must explain why intellectuals are so dumb. This would be because, whether they have the native abilities they suppose, or not, they lack charity.

Arrogance is a great brain-freezer. It makes you stupid. A problem I can see with DKE is that it encourages arrogance. And this, because it forgets that our eyes look outward. It would be better if the whole thing were phrased: “You – and I mean YOU – are not nearly as smart as you think you are. Your superior airs are laughable to others. Better they were laughable to yourself.”

This is an odd way, I admit, to turn attention upon the “Infancy Narratives.”

It is a phrase that has irritated me for a long time. The tone of it is redolent of DKE. The authors of any academic study of those “infancy narratives” risk succumbing to the condition.

To the simple mind, there is Jesus in the crèche, and Mary and Joseph and the “waminals” (as my younger son used to call them), plus the Magi, and a Shepherd or two. The Star, perhaps Angels, are on a plane above. They have not come to participate in an infancy narrative. Rather they have come to the baby Jesus, whether from Heaven or from Earth.

Now, one might argue that the biblical scholars have come there, too. They have worked their way into the scene, even in their disbelief. They are going to explain everything to us, using terms derived from literary criticism.

I was once tempted to draw them into the scene, together with News Anchors and Cameramen. In fact, I succumbed to the blasphemous temptation. There was a Reporter with a microphone, asking Joseph how he “feels,” with the klieg lights on him. A Capitalist, elbowing his way through the Magi, had brought a “free gift” of disposable diapers. A tourist stand had set up to sell trinkets. There were other busy touches.

The intention was not blasphemous, but satirical. I was trying to depict an “infancy narrative” that included our modern narrators, deadline-sensitive and hurried. Mother Mary was shielding her Child from the lights. This made the two of them almost invisible.

A story is indeed being told, but as any humble Christian can know, its meaning goes beyond mere “narrative.” For Christ has come into the world. Rather than present this as a philosophical abstraction, the first artists made it concrete. They made it so any child could understand it, and in the knowledge that his understanding would grow.

To the modern mind, it can now be discarded. We “give up childish things.” To accept the veracity of the Biblical infancy narrative is like believing in Santa. The lit-crit terminology explains it away. In the past – in the “childhood of the race” – people probably took that sort of stuff “literally.” But we are so much smarter today.

I am not – let me insert another “of course” – proposing genocide on the scholars. We should learn everything we can about our origins and destiny. My faith, though inadequate, is at least sufficient to fear nothing from archaeological or textual discoveries. It has been rewarded, through the years, with one confirming discovery after another.

From my understanding of the material records, I have no doubt that the church at Bethlehem is correctly sited, over that ancient Nativity scene; as is the Holy Sepulcher over the Empty Tomb. For the first Christians were “literalists,” truly, and quite particular about names and places.

They knew where to locate their shrines, even before the Gospels were written; and when the Romans buried them to suppress Christianity, they knew where to find them again: right under the pagan temples the Romans had built over them. By now, the sequence is perfectly clear.

Like an old Simeon, our emeritus pope, the aged Benedict XVI, also wrote a book on the “infancy narratives.” It is more learned than almost any of the others; its scholarship is exact and current.

And as he reminds us, the story is true.

And from there, to Fr.MacRae's poignant Christmas card...

Fr. Z shares a Christmas card
from Fr. Gordon McRae

Let us pray for Fr. Macrae and all unjustly accused priests like him; for all the priests who have sinned against chastity and against innocence; and for all priests and bishops in general that they may always be worthy servants in the vineyard of the Lord.

00Saturday, December 23, 2017 1:19 AM

So the pope has shot down the hypothesis almost thought to be a certainty that he would not reappoint Mons Guido - but Andrea Tornielli tells us he did do so three months ago (more or less around the time his second five-year term ended), just that we weren't told, obviously. Brownie points for Bergoglio on this.

Marini now performs the function once played by Mueller in the Curia - the token conservative Bergoglio can pass off as his bona fides if anyone should question his orthodoxy (liturgical in the case of Guido, doctrinal in the case of Mueller). He can't use Cardinal Sarah for this purpose because their liturgical differences are too public. Of course, after AL, all bets were off as to Bergoglio's doctrinal orthodoxy, but let's see what his next big step will be in liturgy, since none of his recent moves (Magnum Principium, the 'ecumenical mass' initiative, recent comments about the Novus Ordo) bode well at all...

The Pope confirms Guido Marini as
his Master of Liturgical Ceremonies

Allows him his third five-year mandate since
he was called to the Vatican by Benedict XVI

by Andrea Tornielli

December 22, 2017

The Pope has not changed his Master of Ceremonies for Pontifical Liturgies, and in fact, reconfirmed Mons Guido Marini three months ago for another five years in the position he has held since 2007. [It is his third five-year term, so someone's pants must be constantly on fire for the facile lie of a single-term policy he told Cardinal Mueller last July and which he has not applied to anyone else.]

In recent weeks, even though Marini had been already re-confirmed [but never revealed till today], rumours on a possible change had been spreading inside the Vatican.

Actually, the relationship between the Pope and his master of ceremonies remains solid,and Francis quite appreciates the fidelity of Monsignor Marini, who is tasked with overseeing every papal liturgical celebration: both those that take place in the Vatican and Rome, and those held abroad.

This will be Marini's third five-year mandate in the Vatican. His predecessors were Monsignor Virgilio Noè (later cardinal), who was liturgical MC for Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II from 1970 to 1982. His successor, the Irish John Magee, formerly special secretary of Popes Montini and Luciani, was master of ceremonies from 1982 to early 1987, when he was nominated Bishop of Cloyne. And finally, Piero Marini, who was liturgical MC from 1987 to 2007, year he was replaced, at the behest of Pope Ratzinger, by the homonymous Guido. Piero was named an archbishop and head of the Pontifical Commission for Eucharistic Congresses.

Born in Genoa on January 31, 1965, Mons Guido Marini attended the seminary in Genoa, where he obtained his diploma in Theology. Ordained a priest on February 4,1989, he obtained his doctorate "in utroque Iure" at the Lateran University in Rome and, in 2007, a B.A in the psychology of communication from the Salesian University.

From 1988 to 2003 he was special Secretary of the Archbishops of Genoa: first Cardinal Giovanni Canestri (until 1995), then Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi (until 2002), and finally Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Marini was also master of liturgical celebrations for Cardinal Tettamanzi and Bertone, and of Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who succeeded Bertone as Archbishop of Genoa.

From 2003 to 2005 he was Director of the Diocesan Office for Education and School, where he taught Catholic religion. In 2005 he was nominated archiepiscopal chancellor of Genoa and served as spiritual director of the seminary.

In Genoa, where he grew up, Marini was called Don "Guidino", because he is tall and thin. In Rome, where he arrived by choice of Benedict XVI, he was esteemed for his kindness, but also for his commitment to put into practice Pope Ratzinger’s liturgical ideas.

Someone had hypothesized that the advent of the new Pontiff would soon lead to a change in the ceremonial office. Instead, Francis has proven to appreciate the collaboration of Marini and decided to keep him at his side.

00Saturday, December 23, 2017 2:31 AM

So now I see why Antonio Socci posted this photograph a couple of days ago on his Facebook page, although he did not cite a specific news peg. I saved the photo,of course, because I had never seen it before. But the Bergoglio line about funeral-faced Christians has been one of his staple platitudes as pope - forgetting that he himself was habitually funeral-faced before he became pope. Perhaps he had not yet experienced Christian joy at the time... But here's the news peg that apparently prompted Socci to bring out the photo above, even if it's old Papa Bergoglio stuff (not Cardinal Bergoglio) recycled. I wonder if he ever preached joy at all when he was in Buenos Aires..

Pope at Casa Santa Marta:
Christians should be joyful

December 21, 2017

Contrasting the joyful countenance of a person who has been forgiven and redeemed, with the face of someone attending a wake, Pope Francis delivered a homily on the joy that springs from the forgiveness of sin and the closeness of the Lord.

Both the first Reading and Gospel for the day speak of the profound joy that comes from within, which is very different from the pleasure that we feel at a party. The whole liturgy cries out, “Rejoice, rejoice!”

The Holy Father focused on three aspects of true joy. First he spoke of the joy that comes from being forgiven: “The Lord has removed the judgment against you.” And so we are called to rejoice, and not to live a tepid life, precisely because we have been forgiven. This, he said, “is the root of Christian joy.” It is similar to the joy of a prisoner when his sentence is commuted, or of one who is healed, like the paralytic in the Gospels. It is necessary, then, to recognize the redemption won by Christ.

The Pope told the story of a philosopher who criticized Christians:
“He said he was an agnostic or an atheist, I’m not sure, but he criticized Christians, and said this, ‘But those people – the Christians – say they have a redeemer. I will believe it, I will believe in the redeemer when they have the look of the redeemed, joyful for being redeemed.’ But if you have the face of one at a wake, how can they believe that you are redeemed? That your sins have been forgiven? This is the first point, the first message of today’s liturgy: You are forgiven, each one of us is forgiven.”

The second aspect, the Pope said, is to be joyful because the Lord “walks with us”; from the moment when He called Abraham He “is in our midst,” in the midst of our trials, our difficulties, our joys, in every moment of our life. For this reason, Pope Francis said, we should take time during to the day to speak with the Lord, “who is by our side,” who is involved in our daily life.

The third aspect of true joy is to not allow ourselves to throw up our arms in despair in our misfortunes:
“That pessimism is not Christian. It is rooted in not knowing that one is forgiven, rooted in never feeling the caresses of God. And the Gospel, we could say, makes us see this joy: ‘Joyful Mary rose up and went in haste…’ Joy brings us in haste, always, because the grace of the Holy Spirit does not recognize slowness, it doesn’t recognize it… The Holy Spirit always goes in haste, always pushes us: going forward, forward, forward, like the wind in the sails, on the boat.”

Summing up, the Pope described the joy that made the baby leap for joy in the womb of Elizabeth when she welcomed Mary:
“This is the joy that the Church tells us about: please, we are joyful Christians, we make every effort to show that we believe we are redeemed, that the Lord has forgiven us everything, and if we sometimes slip up, He will also forgive us, because He is the God of forgiveness; that the Lord is in the midst of us; and that we will not allow ourselves to throw up our arms in despair. This is the message for today: ‘Rise up!’ This is the call of Jesus to the sick: ‘Rise up, cry out with joy, rejoice, be glad and exult with all your heart!’”

00Saturday, December 23, 2017 3:09 AM

I felt very bad reporting on the funeral of Cardinal Law yesterday without a proper obituary for him because no one was willing to go on record with one, I suppose. For many, he was the devil himself not fit to be touched even with a ten-foot pole. But my own enduring memory of him is that it was he who formally proposed, at the 1985 special Bishops' Synod on the proper reception of Vatican-II, that the Church ought to issue a Catechism for today - a proposal that was carried, despite utter skepticism by his own head of delegation, and which resulted in the monumental Catechism of the Catholic Church first published in 1992.

Now, my great thanks to the blogger at the Tenth Crusade for reproducing a tribute to Cardinal Law by the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, which puts his entire life into more than just the perspective of his failure to deal effectively with the sexual crimes committed by priests in his diocese.

Catholic Action League mourns
the death of Bernard Cardinal Law

by C.J. Doyle
Executive Director

December 21, 2017

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today is mourning the death of the former Archbishop of Boston, Bernard, Cardinal Law, who died in Rome shortly after midnight, following a brief hospitalization. Law was 86.

Born in Mexico of American parents, Law, a Harvard graduate, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. In 1963, he became editor of the diocesan newspaper, where he received death threats for his support for the civil rights of African Americans.

Named Vicar-General of Natchez-Jackson in 1971, Law was appointed Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1973, serving until 1984. In 1975, he welcomed and resettled 167 priests, brothers, and novices of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, who as Vietnamese boat people, were fleeing the Communist conquest of their country. Law gave them a vacant seminary to serve as their new home.

In 1981, the Holy See appointed Law Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, which permitted married Anglican clergymen to become Catholic priests. This was the beginning of a long movement which culminated in the establishment of Anglican Catholic Ordinariates by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

Appointed Archbishop of Boston by Pope Saint John Paul II in January, 1984, Law was elevated to the College of Cardinals in May, 1985. In his homily at his installation as archbishop on March 23, 1984, Law described abortion as "the primordial darkness of our time...the cloud that shrouds the conscience of our world." A month later, Law attended a pro-life rally in front of the Massachusetts State House.

In 1986, he supported a proposed initiative amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution, which would stop the public funding of abortion, earning him a rebuke from Planned Parenthood, which claimed Law came to Boston "looking for a heavyweight fight" on this issue. His pro-life advocacy would also be criticized by former Lt. Governor Thomas P. O'Neill III, who characterized Law's views as offensive.

In 1985, in a speech in Latin at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Law was one of two bishops to advocate that a new, universal catechism be issued, the first since the Roman Catechism, promulgated in 1570 by Saint Pius V, following the Council of Trent. This resulted in the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by John Paul II in 1992. Law was given the task of overseeing the English language translation.

In April, 1985, Law wrote, at the request of the bishops conference, a letter to every American prelate detailing the findings of a conference committee which he headed, which declared that Freemasonry was "incompatible with Christian Faith and practice."

In January, 1988, Law, consistent with his longstanding civil rights position, issued a letter which was read at all parishes in Boston, urging the integration of public housing projects in the city. He became however, the first, and to date, the only Catholic prelate in the modern history of Boston to acknowledge that working class Catholic ethnics had, in controversies such as these, legitimate concerns regarding crime and public safety.

In 1989, Law opposed the so-called gay rights law, which made homosexuals a protected class in Massachusetts civil rights legislation. Following an editorial critical of the measure in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, Saint Thomas More Chapel, located next to the newspaper office, was vandalized.

In April, 1990, Law became one of the minority of American bishops who implemented John Paul II's decree Ecclesia Dei, which permitted a modest restoration of the traditional Latin Mass.

In June, 1990, while Law was presiding at ordination ceremonies at Holy Cross Cathedral, a mob of militant homosexuals surrounded the building and attempted to gain access. Unable to physically disrupt the liturgy, they attempted to acoustically disrupt it with drums, whistles and boat horns. As the ceremonies ended, they surged forward at police barriers shouting obscenities at worshipers and throwing condoms at priests.

In April, 1991, Law, through his aide, Msgr. William Murphy, asked the League's predecessor organization to oppose a domestic partners ordinance under consideration by the Boston City Council. Although The Boston Globe predicted it would pass by a comfortable margin, it was narrowly defeated following the personal lobbying of Council members by Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence Riley.

Law had a contentious relationship with Jesuit-administered Boston College during his episcopate, warning that BC was in danger of losing its Catholic identity. It was Law who intervened to prevent liberal theologian Richard P. McBrien from teaching there. He also once described the Catholic Theological Society of America as a "theological wasteland."

From 1995 to 1999, the Archdiocese of Boston, under Law's leadership, supported the efforts of the Catholic Action League to resist, successfully, a second attempt to institute a domestic partners program in Boston, this time by Mayor Thomas Menino.

In 1999, Law opposed the nomination of Margaret Marshall as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth, saying she was "open to serious charges of anti-Catholicism." As Chief Justice in 2003, Marshall would write the decision in the Goodridge case, inventing a constitutional right to "marriage" between two persons of the same gender. In it, she asserted that the belief in the universal, millenia old definition of marriage was "rooted in persistent prejudices against persons who are (or who are believed to be) homosexual."

In the late 1990's, Law told the story that he was the object of attempted extortion. According to his account, he was warned, that if he did not cease to oppose the goals of the homosexual movement, the homosexual priests in the Archdiocese would be exposed. Law said he rebuffed his blackmailer, telling him to go ahead.

Law's most egregious error, and the one that cost him his position and his reputation, was to follow the practice of his two immediate predecessors, Cardinals Cushing and Medeiros---under whom four-fifths of accused priests in Boston operated--- in viewing the molestation of minors by homosexual predators in the priesthood as a psychiatric disorder requiring treatment, and offering the possibility of rehabilitation, rather than understanding it for what it actually was, a monstrous crime which deserved immediate prosecution and prolonged incarceration. In this the archdiocese did not behave in a manner inconsistent with other institutions of its time, though it should have.

In 2002, members of the plaintiff bar, some of whom had reached settlements with the archdiocese, combined with The Boston Globe, a newspaper which celebrated predators like Paul Shanley, and which had spent thirty years attacking the Catholic Church, Catholic moral teaching, and Catholic political leaders, to expose all of this.

For eleven months in 2002, Law was subjected to a daily cascade of uniformly negative media coverage, driven by the Globe, that is unmatched even in the era of Donald Trump. After hundreds of articles, columns, op-eds, editorials, letters to the editor and television and radio reports, Law's position became untenable.

Meanwhile, victims groups with bullhorns, bent on confrontation, besieged Holy Cross Cathedral, taunting and harassing innocent Catholics going to Mass, who had never done them any harm. Parishioners were forced to walk into church through a police cordon. Mothers were told through megaphones to cover their children's genitals, because Catholic priests were abroad. The cathedral was denounced as a "house of rape."

Poor Hispanics entering Mission Church were greeted with shouts from the sidewalk of "Check their green cards!" and elderly female secretaries at the chancery were forced to pass angry, jeering protesters. This writer recalls one victims spokesman shouting profanities at him on Commonwealth Avenue.

Fifty-eight priests - at least one of whom was a personal friend and supervisor of defrocked predator Paul Shanley - called upon Law to resign. Massachusetts Attorney-General Thomas Reilly convened a grand jury to investigate the archdiocese. Law, who had repeatedly and profusely apologized for his failures, resigned on December 13, 2002, begging forgiveness, once again. He was not to receive any.

Reilly who, unethically, released a grand jury report condemning Law, later admitted that the former archbishop had broken no laws, and could not be prosecuted.

In 2004, Law was appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. He retired in 2011.

Law was, and continues to be, an object of demonization unprecedented even in the cases of prelates like Rembert Weakland, who actually committed acts of molestation themselves.

On the day of Cardinal Law's death, attorney Mitchell Garabedian held a press conference to denounce Law once again, along with the "trillion dollar corporation called the Catholic Church." During the event, victims talked of having a party, of Law burning in hell, and how they considered "hunting him down in Rome and getting him."

One victim recounted how he began a meeting with Law by shouting an obscenity at him. Remarkably, Law continued the meeting. This forbearance did not constrain the victim from suggesting that the Cardinal's body be chopped up and dropped in the ocean.

Whatever the derelictions of Bernard, Cardinal Law, this much ought to be said. With Cardinal Law, you never had to wonder where he stood on a public controversy. He was never afraid to enter the fray when he conceived it his duty to do so, and he never hesitated to defend the teachings of the Church which he headed in Boston. Cardinal Law never thought silence was the better part of valor, that speaking the truth was impolitic, or that standing up for what he believed in was divisive.

Law never practiced the fawning, obsequious deference towards politicians who reject Catholic morality that seems to obsess our prelates today.
In 1990, then state senator (and future governor) Paul Cellucci was disinvited from speaking at Hudson Catholic High School, because of his support for legal abortion.

At Cardinal John O'Connors's funeral in May of 2000, Law garnered thunderous applause when he said the Church "must always remain unambiguously pro-life," as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore sat stone faced in the congregation. The current regime in Massachussetts of awards, honors and platforms to opponents of Catholic teaching was not the norm under Cardinal Law.

Nor should anyone forget what Cardinal O'Malley said of Cardinal Law today: "He was well known for visiting the sick, the dying and the bereaved at all hours of the night and day, a ministry that extended to the rich and the poor, the young and the elderly, and to people of all faiths."

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

00Saturday, December 23, 2017 7:22 PM

I find the above item from CNS, the news service of the USCCB, a bit absurd in its touting of the pope's 'Marian
devotion'. So, he will "begin 2018 with a focus on Mary and migrants and refugees".

The focus on migrants and refugees is by choice since he chose to make them the theme of his message for the
2018 World Day of Peace, observed by 'the Church' only and no one in other faiths and the secular world, on the
first day of the year. 2018 will be its 51st edition.

And any focus on Mary would be due to the fact that the Church does celebrate on January 1 the Solemnity of
Mary, Mother of God, so it is an obligatory focus for any Catholic, including the pope (even if he is an anti-Catholic
Catholic, that is to say a Bergoglian catholic). What happens to Bergoglio's Marian devotion for the rest of 2018 -
to be conveniently displayed when he returns from a trip and visits the Salus Populus Romani icon at Santa Maria
Maggiore, and on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the Spanish Steps next December? (This year, he did
not even celebrate a Mass on Assumption Day.)

The supreme irony is that 2017 was a Marian year par excellence, because of the centenary of Our Lady's
apparitions in Fatima - and yet this pope of the many-times-self-proclaimed Marian devotion objectively
devoted much more of his time, attention and public statements to celebrating Martin Luther in 2017, and
only perfunctory pro-forma because obligatory homage to Our Lady of Fatima.

One can never reproach Bergoglio enough for his obsessive devotion to Martin Luther even at the expense of
the Mother of God herself.

00Saturday, December 23, 2017 11:34 PM


Here's Aldo Maria Valli's take on the pope's version of Christmas greetings to his Curia...

The Roman Curia gets
a good dose of Bergoglio bitters

Translated from

December 21, 2017

Once again, as he did with particular forcefulness in 2014 – when he listed 15 spiritual maladies of the Roman Curia – the pope’s address at the annual exchange of Christmas greeting with the Curia [though in the Vatican these days, given the tenor of the pope’s interventions, there is more talk of ‘siluri’ (torpedoes) than of ‘auguri’ (good wishes),] Pope Francis was extremely harsh in stigmatizing certain behaviors he attributes to the Curia (present and recently ex-). But this time, the base note seemed to be a certain bitterness mixed with frustration.

Although “Without forgetting the greater majority of faithful persons who work in the Curia with praiseworthy commitment, fidelity, competence, dedication and even holiness”, the pope began by expressing the wish that this Christmas “may open our eyes to abandoning the superfluous, the false, the malicious, and the finto, and see instead the essential, the true, the good and the authentic”, and then placed this exhortation in the context “of the actual reforms in progress”.

And it is here that the tone was marked both with reproach and with little confidence in the possibility of reaching the goal. “Speaking of reform,” he said, “I am reminded of the congenial and significant statement made by monsignor Frédéric-François-Xavier De Mérode [a French-born Curial official at the time of Pius IX], who said that 'To seek reforms in Rome is like cleaning the Sphinx with a toothbrush', which shows how much patience, dedication and sensitivity are necessary to reach the objective”.

Although he described Merode’s statement as congenial, the image chosen by the pope is substantially synonymous to useless effort, to work that is as extravagant as it is futile. Was it a way to admit to an inadequate reformatory incisiveness while at the same time justifying it?

In the face of such difficulties, he exhorted obedience and fidelity. If, he said, “structurally and always”, the Roman Curia is at the service of the pope, then today those who work there must be more than ever inspired by a ‘diaconal attitude’. They must, therefore, be to the pope as deacons are with their bishop: “Let the deacon be the eye and ear of the bishop, his heart and his spirit” in a relationship of “filial obedience in the service of the holy People of God”.

Therefore, he called on his Curia "to overcome that unbalanced and degenerate logic of conspiracies or of small circles who really represent – despite their self-justifications and good intentions – a cancer which leads to self-referentiality, which infiltrates into ecclesial organisms as such, and in the persons who work in them”.

Followed shortly by:

"Allow me to devote a couple of words to another danger, namely those betrayers of confidence or those who profit from the maternal generosity of the Church, especially persons who are carefully chosen in order to bring more vigor to the institution and to reform but who – not understanding the high responsibility they have been given – allow themselves to be corrupted by ambition or vainglory, and when they are distanced from us in a delicate manner, they declare themselves erroneously to be martyrs of the system, of ‘an uninformed pope’, of the ‘Old Guard’, instead of saying ‘Mea culpa’.

Alongside these persons there are others who continue to work in the Curia, to whom one has given all the time for them to get back on the right track, in the hope that they will find in the patience of the Church an opportunity to convert themselves, instead of seeking to gain from it”.

If these words have a meaning, the pope here certainly made reproaches but also issued warnings. With a basic message that is extremely clear: the dicasteries of the Roman Curia “must operate in a manner that conforms to their nature and their purpose: in the name and with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff”. That is, they must function like ‘sensitive antennae, both as transmitters and as receivers’.

Not by chance, the pope wished to underscore what he means by the word ‘fidelity’, which “for those who work for the Holy See, assumes a specific character, [colore#b20ff]since they must place at the service of the Successor of Peter a good part of their energies, time and daily ministry.. It is a grave responsibility, but also a special gift which, with time, develops into an affective bond with the pope, one of internal confidence, of a natural idem sentire (thinking like him), which is best expressed by the word ‘fidelity’ itself”.

As you can see, no reference at all to freedom or creativity for those who work for the pope, nor to a term that this pope has often invoked: ‘parrhesia’, which is frankness, the duty and right to say the truth, np matter how inconvenient it may be.

And even as the pope was speaking, disquieting news was emerging about the pope’s principal collaborator in the work of reforming the Curia, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of that group of nine cardinals who have been working with the pope on curial reform for five years without coming up with anything substantial.

They say the pope has been studying the dossier for six months. Perhaps the fundamental bitterness evident in the pope’s address could have arisen from the disappointment caused by these allegations? [In an interview with CNA, the cardinal has since explained that accusations he has been receiving about $600,000 a year from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa in the past 10 years were false because the payments were not for him personally but to defray expenses for the archdiocese’s social projects; and that he has never made any million-dollar investments. One imagines he already made this explanation to the pope, who has had the so-called report in his hands for six months. But Maradiaga was not asked by CNA nor did he comment on the reports that his auxiliary bishop in Tegucigalpa has been openly co-habitating with a man on whom he has allegedly lavished expenses.]

P.S. Here's Edward Pentin's update on the Maradiaga case - he points out the obvious failure of Maradiaga to address the allegations about his auxiliary bishop...

Cardinal Maradiaga denies financial allegations,
but questions remain unanswered
Sources tell the Register the most serious claims involve Bishop Juan José Pineda,
an auxiliary bishop in the Honduran cardinal’s archdiocese, to whom the cardinal is very close.

by Edward Pentin

December 23, 2017

One of Pope Francis’s chief advisers on Church reform has rejected allegations of financial corruption made in an Italian publication this week, but questions remain over diocesan accounting procedures, and his close ties with one of his bishops who is accused of misappropriating vast amounts of diocesan funds and illicit relationships.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, a member of the Pope’s Council of Nine Cardinals, told CNA Dec. 22 he was a victim of “calumnies” which included allegations, repeated in the Italian magazine L’Espresso Dec. 21, that he had received $600,000 from the University of Tegucigalpa in 2015, as a sort of “salary” for being the chancellor of the University. The cardinal, who is archbishop of Tegucigalpa, was also accused of losing nearly $1.2 million of Church funds through investments in some London financial companies.

He asserted that the money from the university (amounting to $41,400 a month) was not given to him personally but to the archdiocese and transferred in the name of the archdiocese. He said the funds went to pay for seminarians’ tuition, property maintenance, and rural or poor priests.

Cardinal Maradiaga also denied making “any investment” as the ones he is accused of losing money on, and stressed the university had grown in size while he’d been archbishop.

Honduran Catholic officials have said the financial irregularities are aimed at discrediting the archbishop; the Vatican, meanwhile, confirmed Friday that Francis had ordered an investigation. [Wait! Weren't the allegations 'exposed' in L'Espresso based on a report made to the pope six months ago by an Argentine archbishop he had sent to Honduras to investigate various accusations about diocesan finances, and reports that Maradiaga's chief deputy, Auxiliary Bishop Pineda, was using diocesan funds to, in effect, support a male companion in style. Now, six months later, he orders a new investigation? What happened in the six months since he got the report? He just sat on it, hoping none of it was true?]

So far, no results of the investigation have been made public, and questions remain over exactly how these funds were spent as there is no accounting to refer to. Some details of archdiocesan income and expenditure were passed on to Pope Francis during the Honduran bishops’ ad limina visit in September. The documents, which the Register has obtained, show general figures denoting gross income for the archdiocese and spending running into millions of dollars, but with no particulars.

One source with a detailed knowledge of the issue told the Register the documentation omits $1.3 million that the Honduran government gave the archdiocese to be spent on Church projects.

The money is alleged to have found its way into the hands of Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda of Tegucigalpa, a close friend of the cardinal, but no accounting exists detailing how the money was spent.

Bishop Pineda has long been the subject of accusations of financial mismanagement, and rumors that he financially supports a male companion using archdiocesan funds. Some have alleged that he had an apartment built on the campus of the Catholic University of Honduras, in order to house this companion, according to CNA.

The bishop has said he wanted an investigation to clear his name, but the Register has been told he is a “cancer” for the cardinal due to these accusations, including misappropriating funds for a number of “intimate” friends. These relationships are said to be of “far greater concern” than the allegations of financial impropriety.

“The cardinal’s relationship with Pineda is very close and the cardinal defends him across the board,” an informed source told the Register Dec. 23. One of the bishop’s close companions, called “Mike,” is said to be a police chaplain and has celebrated the sacraments for a number of years, despite not being ordained, nor even a Catholic. “The cardinal knows everything,” the source said. [So if Maradiaga 'knows everything' and the situation with Pineda is as messy as it is alleged to be - and that this is part of the report made by the Argentine bishop to Bergoglio - does that not make the behavior of the pope and Maradiaga more questionable even than the late Cardinal Law's failure in the early years of the new century to discipline his abusive priests?

It's been 15 years or more since the Church culture context within which Law mis-acted gave way to the CDF crackdown on abusive priests whom their local bishops failed to discipline and call to account - There can be no excuse today to cover up for a bishop who seems to have misbehaved egregiously. Or for Don Mercedes and Coccopalmerio's aide and assorted other prelates whom this pope has tolerated despite even if they are known sexual libertines.]

L’Espresso reported that on hearing of the allegations, Pope Francis sent retired Argentine Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto, 80, as an apostolic envoy to Honduras last May.

The Register has been told that Bishop Casaretto was shocked by the extent of the corruption he discovered, including accounts of sexual abuse perpetrated against priests and seminarians. The bishop sent the Pope a report on the archdiocese based on the testimonies of more than 50 witnesses, including diocesan staff members and priests, according to L’Espresso.

As well as the Pope, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the third highest official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, were all informed.

Vatican and Honduran sources say on receiving the report, the Pope decided to take the matter into his own hands rather than have a commission or a more extensive apostolic visitation deal with it further, but so far the only action that has been taken has been to send Bishop Pineda to stay with Jesuits in Madrid on a short retreat.

When the claims became public knowledge, the apostolic nuncio to Honduras, Tanzanian Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, began looking into the allegations against Bishop Pineda and Cardinal Maradiaga. The Register tried to contact the nuncio but was unable to reach him.

Cardinal Maradiaga turns 75 Dec. 29, and many will be looking to see if the Pope will accept the Honduran cardinal’s mandatory resignation which he is obliged to submit on turning 75. [He and his supporters have claimed that the 'false allegations' were part of a campaign to discredit him and cause the pope to accept his resignation.]
00Sunday, December 24, 2017 12:12 PM

Does it seem like they have uncluttered the scene somewhat? Is the manger the thing covered in white for now? Isn't it a bit too high?And what are those two heads at the foot of Mary? Someone has called them 'gayngels'?**

It appears Fr Longenecker has moved out of Patheos 'because of the increased commercialism there' to have a free-standing site of his own. His first offering
might as well be entitled 'An open letter to Pope Francis' because all the criticisms he has for the Nativity travesty on St. Peter's Square happen to be exactly
the main criticisms one has for the false faith Bergoglio is propagating deceitfully in the name of the Catholic Church. Fr L is too intelligent not to realize that's
what he is doing here, so maybe an indirect critique of this pontificate's misguided zeal was his real intention...

The real problem with the Vatican ‘Nativity Scene’:
Faith is reduced to do-goodism

Far be it from me to join the Catholic prudes who are being negative about the Vatican nativity scene. People are grumbling about the naked man who is being clothed as an act of mercy. Some are also creeped out by the dead person being prepared for burial because it looks like a scene from a horror film.

Like most things in the Catholic Church, we’ve been there before. Folks were not pleased at all the naked bodies in Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel paintings, and you’ll see lots of partial nudity or gruesome scenes in plenty of Catholic arworks. David holding Goliath’s severed head? Jael nailing Sisera’s head to the ground with tent stake? For goodness sake, the central image of our faith is that of a naked man tortured, exposed and nailed to an execution tree.

[Please, Father, the examples you’ve mentioned refer to art that specifically meant to depict nudity or gruesome scenes, but where in the history of art do you find such elements introduced into the Nativity scene? The nude man in the Vatican mercy tableau sticks out not just because of his inappropriate nudity, but because it is so obviously not of a piece with all the other figures executed in so-called traditional Neapolitan style.

In any case, it is just as ugly as all the other figures, and why must the Vatican impose such ugliness on the public at Christmastime? An ugliness which is, of course, exacerbated by the extremely poor taste of the artists who executed the work, and the total acceptance of this humongous display of ugliness and utter bad taste by the Vatican which paid for it… Above all, however, it is extremely offensive for relegating the Nativity to a pretext to show off social activism. Why must the central event of Christmas have to be secondary to anything?]

I don’t mind the nudity and gore. I sort of mind that it is bad art–schmaltzy and poorly executed. The figures are stilted and awkward. It looks like one of those tableaus in a third rate wax museum. You could say, “C’mon. This is Catholicism. We’re used to kitsch.” OK, but the Vatican should do better.

[But it’s worse than kitsch because it is unmitigated ugliness. Some kitschy items acquire an aesthetic of their own – my favorite example, because I have a little collection of them, are the little ceramic faces, masks and statuettes of Hindu deities, of which there are a staggering panoply, which one can acquire at any shrine in India, which are redeemed from kitschiness by the rules in place for centuries as to how these individual personages must be depicted - a discipline of form and feature that the humblest artisans must follow.]

Then there’s the problem that they have imposed upon the Nativity scene their own little clever sermon. That is typical 1970s social awareness junk. It reminds me of those churches where they would put sand in the holy water stoops during Lent or those clever folks who put out arrangements of barbed wire and bricks instead of flowers for Easter to remind us about prisoners – or those Christmas cartoons where Joseph and Mary are portrayed as homeless hippies. [But Father L, that happens to be the aesthetic of our reigning pope, who approved this travesty of the Nativity in order to propagandize his ‘mercy’ line!]

But the real problem (that nobody else seems to have picked up) is not the nudity, the gore or the bad art –or even the sad sermonizing. It’s the theology.

One of the main problems in the church today is what I call neo-Pelagianism. Pelagianism is the idea that you can earn your way to heaven with good works. Neo-Pelagianism is what is otherwise called “the social gospel”. It is reducing the supernatural Christian message to “Let’s all make the world a better place and be kind to one another and give peace a chance.” [Again, Fr L, you are describing the essence and message of Bergoglio!]

The corporal works of mercy are important, yes, and theologically it can be said that they flow directly from the nativity of Christ. Because Christ took corporeal form we are engaged in the corporal acts of mercy. Because he took a human body we care for the human bodies around us. Because he entered this world of matter –matter matters.

The Vatican ‘Nativity’ scene worries me because it is placing good works front and center rather than the incarnation. In fact, the good works swamp the Nativity itself– override the Nativity and make it take second place. The good works are literally front and center. The nativity of Christ the Son of God and Son of Mary is in the background. [There you are! Don’t you ask yourself, Fr L, why that thought never occurred to the pope - yet he claims he is in direct communication with the Holy Spirit?]

The biggest temptation in Christianity today is to make the church relevant by focusing on good works rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. We quietly forget the message of a lost and sinful humanity alienated from God and in need of redemption, and we substitute a religion of helping people, and making the world a better place. [Which describes Bergoglianism perfectly.]

It is easy to think this is just a case of marketing. Folks think it is more attractive and easier to sell a religion of being nice than one that preaches the need for repentance and faith. That is part of the problem, but the real problem is even worse.

Churchmen substitute a religion of works for a religion of grace because they don’t believe any longer in the need for redemption and salvation, and they don’t believe in the need for repentance, redemption and salvation because they are universalists. They think everyone will go to heaven in the end.

So follow the logic. If everyone is going to make it to heaven in the end, what’s the point of all that talk about sin, hell, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? None of that matters is everyone is going to heaven in the end.

And all that is left therefore of the Christian religion is to be kind, preach a sort of bland message that every cloud has a silver lining, look on the sunny side of life and let’s solve the problem of climate change if we can.

So it reminds me therefore of that ill-judged slide show that was projected onto the facade of St Peter’s some time ago which was all about climate change and ecology. [Oh yes, speaking of kitsch and profanity! At least what they profaned was the façade of St. Peter’s, and not the Incarnation!]

That’s all well and good, and far be it from me to be a party pooper and be down on saving panda bears, but when are we going to recognize this false gospel for what it is, call it out, condemn it and remember the Christian faith and start preaching the need to repent of our sins and have faith in the incarnate Son of God who died to redeem the world? [Fr L, if you were not such a Bergoglite (not Bergoglian all the way), I think this makes a perfect letter to send to the pope. But you're still hedging your initial bet on Bergoglio, so no, you wouldn't.]

**To get back to that increasingly unspeakable display of profanity and vulgarity in St. Peter's Square: If you still have any doubts that the travesty is really a not-too-subtle subversive LGBT project presented to the Vatican in the guise of a tableau on mercy, this close-up of those two 'gayngels' at the foot of Mary should dispel all of it, courtesy of Ann Barnhardt:

Vatican Gaytivity:
The baby boy angel heads have 'boobs'

by Ann Barnhardt

December 23, 2017

Close-up of the two winged angels at the foot of the Blessed Virgin in the Vatican Nativity Scene. Note the cleavage, and the rouged coloring
of the “pushed-up” bosoms. There are two other winged angels, like this, with the same protruding “bosoms” surrounding the Holy Family.

If you look at the faces of the baby angels, first, they have extremely disturbing facial expressions, and second it seems to me that they are little boy baby angels. So, yes, it seems that not only is this a winking nod to the transvestites (and the word folks is TRANSVESTITE, not transsexual – there is no such thing as a “transsexual” because no one can change their sex, the entire notion is utterly irrational and detached from reality), and it also definitely enters into the domain of pedophilia and the sexualization of small children.

And yes, I know that some people will look at that and say that the “bosoms” are a double-entendre of sorts for butt cheeks, which at this point, I wouldn’t put past these perverts.


So, once again, this monstrosity needs to be torn down. A group of Catholic men need to muster – preferably in a group of at least one thousand, notify the Italian police and the Swiss Guards that they will be arriving at St. Peter’s Square in the wee hours of the morning so as not to disrupt traffic, and that they will quietly and quickly dismantle this blasphemous manifestation of the satanic powers now occupying the Vatican, and then all kneel and pray the Rosary in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and then leave. And tell them that they are all, every one, willing to be arrested.

But, of course, no one will do this, because this would require virility and potency, and a willingness to suffer. Better to just let the God-hating sex perverts have their blasphemous fun and not be inconvenienced ourselves, right?...

00Sunday, December 24, 2017 8:21 PM

I am very grateful for Fr. Cipolla's homily for the day. I heard Mass at Holy Innocents today and it was certainly the first time I remember ever attending
a Christmas Vigil Mass in the Extraordinary Form. (My pre-Novus Ordo memories date to my childhood when my Christmas recollections are dominated by the
Midnight Mass and the nine-day Mass novena that precedes it starting December 16, that is observed in the Philippines at cock's crow, hence the dawn Masses are
called 'misa de gallo'). Fr Cipolla does the great service of picking out the passages that made the EF Mass today so special...As St.Joseph devotee, I especially
love the Gospel reading.

Sermon for the Vigil of Christmas
By Fr. Richard Cipolla
St. Mary's Church
Norwalk, Connecticut

December 24, 2017

“And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His Name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) -
from the Gospel reading of the Christmas Vigil Mass
Extraordinary Form

How wonderful to be able to celebrate the Vigil of Christmas today in a Solemn Mass on this Sunday! The Novus Ordo calendar keeps this as the Fourth Sunday in Advent and the focus of the readings is on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

But the Traditional Roman rite insists on continuing with the theme of expectancy that is at the heart of Advent. The introit, the gradual and alleluia, the opening Collect: the focus is on tomorrow both in a literal and profoundly religious sense.

The Introit sings: “This day you will know that the Lord will come and save us; you will see his glory.”

This verse is from the book of Exodus where Moses speaks to his people who are starving in the wilderness of the heavenly manna that will save them from death. The Liturgy applies this to the birth of the One who is the bread from heaven who will give eternal life to those who eat of this bread.

St Paul, in the Epistle reading from Romans speaks of God’s promises to the Jews that have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ: his birth, his teaching and above all the power of his Resurrection and its promise of eternal life to those with faith in Him.

The Gradual repeats the words of the Introit and the Alleluia sings: “Tomorrow shall the iniquity of the earth be abolished; and the Savior of the world shall reign over us”. And tomorrow is indeed when we celebrate the conquering of sin and death in the birth of Christ.

But the magnificent Collect of the Day prays with such eloquence all these meanings of tomorrow:

"O God, You fill us with gladness each year in the expectation of our Redemption. Grant that your only-begotten Son, whom we joyfully receive as our Redeemer, may be seen by us also without dread, when He comes as our judge, our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit word without end. Amen."

And the Gospel speaks about tomorrow as well in the context of the Annunciation to Joseph. The immediate future:

“Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to thee Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth—the future of ninth month — a Son, and thou shalt call His Name, Jesus; and then the ultimate future: for He shall save his people from their sins.”

And yet all of these Propers are sung in the present, and each is in the context of the past of the Israelite people whose origin lies in the covenant between them and God. Our presence here today is the present and yet this present is in the midst of the past and the future. And it is precisely in this Mass in the present that the past and future become real.

We see so clearly now the disintegration of Christianity that has occurred in the past fifty years. And that applies to Catholicism as well. Now surely one of the chief reasons why this is happening is because more and more people who call themselves Christians in some way have no clue, have no real information about what the basics of the Christian faith are.

The anti-dogmatic principle of Protestantism that is, in the end, at the heart of what it means to be a religious American, that principle that resists any formulations of faith, any creed, to which one has an obligation to subscribe to, to give oneself to: this principle acting through time has destroyed the basic Christian understanding of Tradition and its binding force. Certainly Catholicism in this country has not been immune to this pernicious and potent solvent of Tradition.

And once you are cut yourself free, free in a negative sense, from the bonds of Tradition, bonds that are the source of true freedom, then you are free to float in a religion that is purely personal and idealistic, free from any bonds to human history, free from any bonds to a particular time and place.

Then Jesus becomes an idea instead of a person who lived at a particular time and in a particular place. Then you can do whatever you want with him. He becomes like a paper doll that you dress in any style you want of any time and place. He becomes one more teacher, one more guru, one more guy who talks about love and peace.

But the gospel tells us something very different: that irruption of the kingdom of God took place at a very particular time and place, about two thousand years ago in what is now called the Holy Land.

The past twenty-five years have seen a rise in those who call themselves atheists. When you read what they say, it is clear that they would be amazed to know that what we believe is that at a particular time and place God became man, the infinite become finite in the womb of a woman and was born as a man, a real man, and the finite death of the infinite God healed the horrible wound that lies at the heart of the physical and spiritual universe in which we live.

These self-styled atheists would not recognize this as the Christian faith. For they think that what Christianity is, is some sort of vague belief in a bearded old guy in the sky who issued orders on how to live according to his Ten Commandments and that this has nothing to do with this world and even less with reason itself.

That they are fools the psalmist tells us clearly: the fool says in his heart — there is no God. But their foolishness is mitigated by the fact that what passes for Christianity today is a shadow at best of the heart of the Christian faith who is Jesus Christ, the very heart of human history.

The grey fetid breath of secularism, this plague that threatens us so much more than any physical virus can, encourages us to leave the child-like faith that believes that ours is a historical religion that changed history and instead to enter into the Disney world of religion, where religion is something to make you feel good, a theme park to satisfy all needs and wants and delights —as long as it is not real.

It is precisely this Mass, the Mass of Tradition, that is the antidote to the grave affliction that is besetting the Catholic Church today. For it is only within the bonds of Catholic Tradition that the past, the present and the future make ultimate sense.

It is here at this Mass that is the heart of the Tradition of the Church where the past and the future, where time and eternity intersect at this time and at this place as the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross is offered at this intersection point of past, present and future. And for this and for all the blessings this Mass brings to the people of St Mary’s: we say: Deo gratias.

Now to another Christmas sermon that I had never heard about before - and yet, it is by the Doctor Seraphicus, St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. I wonder if Joseph Ratzinger ever annotated this sermon, which was unearthed by the ultra-traditionalist site TRADITION IN ACTION, which translated it to English from the original Latin - after some gay activists accused the site of falsely reporting that St. Bonaventure had claimed one of the miracles around the world that took place at the time Jesus was born was that 'all the sodomites of the whole world died, male and female...' So the appropriate volume of Bonaventure's OPERA OMNIA was brought out that contains the full text of the sermon (see above) and was translated by the TIA desk.

St. Bonaventure’s 22nd Sunday Sermon At Lyon

Courtesy of

"Bless, O my soul, the Lord who liberated Jerusalem, His city, from its many tribulations, He the Lord our God. Confess the Lord, O children of Israel, for He has shown His majesty to a sinful nation" (Tobias 13:19)

Moved by a great devotion of heart for today’s celebration, the soul of each one of the faithful should bless and confess God for His great works, exalting the men of Israel and the elect of Jerusalem, as seen in the 24 considerations of the meditation on today’s feast set forth briefly in the Gospel of Christmas Eve. Four considerations are on God the Father, four on God the Son, four on the Blessed Mother, four on Joseph, four on the Shepherds and four on the Angels.

We should consider and bless God the Father for His most admirable liberality in sending His Son to take flesh and be born; and praise His fidelity for fulfilling His promise in the due time, His ineffable charity because He had compassion on us and was thus pleased to help us, and His eternal goodness because He wanted to make himself known to us in this way.

Regarding the Son being born, we should consider and bless His admirable and dignifiedcbenignity, imitate His promptitude in obeying the Father and His pity and incredible clemency toward us, and appreciate His submissive poverty, humility and simplicity.

As for the Mother who gave birth, we should consider and bless her immaculate virginity and glorious fecundity, the singularity of her delivery and the generosity of her fortunate and joyful childbirth.

On the part of Joseph, we should consider and bless his profound reverence, enormous justice, dedicated compliance and indefectible charity.

On the part of the Shepherds, we should consider and bless their holy simplicity, pious joyfulness, praiseful solicitude and their expanding faith and devotion.

On the part of the Angels, we should consider and bless the clarity of their omnipresent grandeur, the intimacy of their new tenderness, the learnedness of their preaching and thepurity and sublimity of their new praises.

In all these meditations our souls should bless God, on this day.

On this day, He liberated His city showing His majesty to a sinful nation, not only by sending His Son to be born, but by bedecking and adorning the day, hour and time of His Nativity with miracles.

The miracles shown to the sinful nation at the time of the Nativity of Christ are these, according to various histories.

First, a fulgent star appeared in the sky in parts of the East, which displayed the form of a most pure Infant, and over it was a shining cross to signify that He who was born would spread His doctrine, life and death throughout the whole world.

Second, in the middle of the day, from the Capitoline Hill in Rome, a golden circle that appeared near the sun was seen – [also] by the Emperor and the Sibyl – and in it was a most pure Virgin giving birth to an Infant, signifying that He who was born was the Monarch of the world and came to demonstrate the splendor of the paternal glory and figure of His substance.

Third, the temple of peace in Rome fell to the ground. When it was built, the devils were asked how long it would last, and they responded that it would stand until a Virgin gave birth to a Son, as a sign that He who was born would destroy the works and practices of vanity.

Fourth, in Rome a large gush of oil sprung up from the ground and flowed into the Tiber, to show that a source of piety and mercy had been born.

Fifth, on the night of the Nativity, the vinae Engaddi, from which perfume is made, sprouted, flourished, extended its branches and produced its scented liquid, to show that He who was born would make the spiritual world flourish, grow and give fruits, and that its fragrance would attract the whole world.

Sixth, 30,000 criminals were killed by the Emperor, to show that He who was born would subject the whole world by His Faith and that the rebels would be lost in Hell.

Seventh, all the sodomites in the whole world died, both male and female, according to Jerome commenting on the Psalm: "The light was born for the just, which shows that He who was born came to reform nature and to promote chastity".

Eighth, brute animals spoke in Judea, among them, two oxen, to make us understand that He who was born would transform the most bestial men into rational persons.

Ninth, all the idols of Egypt were destroyed when the Virgin gave birth; according to Jeremiah that sign was given to the Egyptians to make them understand that He who was born was the true God and the only One worthy of adoration with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Tenth, when the Infant was lying in the Manger, the ox and donkey knelt before Him, as if they had reason, and adored Him, which makes us understand that He who was born would call both the Jews and the Gentiles to His religion.

Eleventh, the whole world was in peace as described, to show that He who was born would love and promote universal peace and that His elect would enjoy eternal peace.

Twelfth, in the East three suns appeared in the sky, which progressively merged into a single celestial body to show that by the birth of Christ the world would be informed of the Triune God, and that Divinity, spirit and flesh had been united in one Person.

About all these things, our souls should bless God and venerate Him because He liberated us and His majesty was shown to us, a sinful nation.

The Lord Jesus was born in the 5,199th year after the constitution of the world, after the constitution of the 750 gens of the City [of Rome], in the year of the 194th Olympics, in the 42nd year of Emperor Octavianus Augustus, in the 39th year of the reign of Herod of Ascalon in Judea, on the 8th day of the Kalendas of January, having Cyrenius as governor of Syria.

00Tuesday, December 26, 2017 9:46 AM
00Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:41 PM
The day after Christmas, Antonio Socci posted this on Facebook:

Christmas Day 2012 vs Christmas Day 2017: In 2012 the crowd extends all the way back to the Via della Conciliazione. This year, it didn't even get as far as the obelisk (and that dreadful Gaytivity scene)!

I did not know exactly what mistake the pope may have committed - how do you make a mistake in giving a blessing? The following item explains it - and it is appalling! - but first, here is the entire blessing:

The apostolic blessing urbi et orbi

Sancti Apostoli Petrus et Paulus: de quorum potestate et auctoritate confidimus, ipsi intercedant pro nobis ad Dominum.
℟: Amen.
Precibus et meritis beatae Mariae semper Virginis, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioannis Baptistae et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus; et dimissis omnibus peccatis vestris, perducat vos Iesus Christus ad vitam æternam.
℟: Amen.
Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium veræ et fructuosae pœnitentiae, cor semper paenitens, et emendationem vitae, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus; et finalem perseverantiam in bonis operibus tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
℟: Amen.
Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper.
℟: Amen.

May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we trust, intercede for us before the Lord.
℟: Amen.
Through the prayers and merits of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you and forgive all your sins, and may Jesus Christ bring you to everlasting life.
℟: Amen.
May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution and the remission of all your sins, a season of true and fruitful penance, a well-disposed heart, amendment of life, the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit and final perseverance in good works.
℟: Amen.
And may the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you forever.
℟: Amen.

‘Descendat super vos et maneat semper’:
Bergoglio cuts off the papal blessing

Translated from

December 26, 2017

A reader alerted me that on the occasion of the papal Urbi et Orbi blessing last Christmas Day, the ritual formulation was truncated by Bergoglio, thus making the blessing ineffective.

Obviously, not having a TV set and having wished to sit myself at Christmas lunch without having to listen to the populist discourse of the Self-styled One, I had to verify this by looking at the video available online. Seeing which, I thought, well, so much the better that I had saved myself new outrage on Christmas Day after the ‘labor union’ homily at Midnight Mass.

Beyond the fact that Bergoglio never chants anything, augmenting the squalor of what he says with a flat and bored delivery, this year it is aggravated by a significant omission from the blessing, because after the invocation Sancti apostoli… and Precibus et meritis and the Indulgentiam he read: "Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."

When the entire line is: Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos, et maneat semper. To which it is the faithful who respond: Amen!

Yet he had the prayer card open right before his eyes, with the zealous Mons. Marini by his side. All he had to do was read, for God’s sake! Just read. And perhaps understand what he was reading. [Because clearly the sentence he read was incomplete - it lacks a predicate! All he read was "May the blessing of almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" then saying the Amen himself. I think he thought he was saying "May almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bless you". Knock, knock? Any brain inside that cranium?]

One has to ask whether the omission of those final words of the Blessing was deliberate. Because to leave out ‘et descendat super vos et maneat semper' simply rendered the blessing void, depriving the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square and everyone participating via radio and television throughout the orbe the plenary indulgence that comes with the blessing.

Did he do it on purpose? It’s hard to think it was simply an oversight since he had the text in front of him in big bold letters, Even my sister, who has no priestly inclination whatsoever, can recite from memory the words which she has heard from so many popes, live at St. Peter’s or from our old kitchen radio.

How many times, while taking off her apron after having prepared Christmas or Easter lunch, she would call me and say, “Come now, for the Holy Father is imparting his blessing” . And first, with our parents, or later, by ourselves, or with any guests we had, we would hear that sacred and solemn melody echoing from all the houses around us, to be followed by the acclamation of the faithful present in the square.

Note the full solemn regalia of the pope, as for Mass, including the fanon and the gloves. P.S. And the tiara - it seems to fit so naturally!

It is impressed in my mind, a dear memory from my childhood, especially when Pius XII, hieratic, would appear on the loggia of St. Peter’s and impart the blessing with that limpid voice, his rolling r’s and his perfect intonation. As if to say, “Shake off your torpor! Carry on with virtue as you should”. And in St. Peter’s Square there would be at least 200,000 faithful to roar their acclaim, not the four cats we saw on Christmas day.

Now the radio is silent. Waiting for when, once more, from that loggia, one can hear the authentic voice of the Pope.

00Wednesday, January 3, 2018 2:36 PM
00Wednesday, January 3, 2018 2:37 PM
I couldn't be happier to begin 2018 with this post...

Five bishops reaffirm
traditional teaching on Communion

by Dan Hitchens

January 3, 2018

Five bishops have reaffirmed the Church’s traditional teaching on Communion for the divorced and remarried, in an apparent response to recent statements from Pope Francis.

The statement was originally issued by three Kazakhstan bishops – Tomash Peta, Archbishop of Saint Mary in Astana, Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop of Karaganda, and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Mary in Astana – on December 31, which, they observed, was the Feast of the Holy Family in the centenary year of Fatima.

Yesterday two Italian prelates – Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the United States, and Archbishop Emeritus Luigi Negri – added their signatures, according to the website Corrispondenza Romana.

[Now what is to stop as many cardinals and bishops who believe in the intrinsic truths of the statement from coming forth and adding their signatures ASAP? Cardinals Burke and Brandmueller, to begin with, and then Cardinals Sarah and Mueller, who head and headed, respectively, the two Vatican dicasteries whose functions have been most transgressed by AL and its Bergoglian initiatives.

I must say that Mons. Vigano's quick adhesion to the Kazakhstan bishops' initiative surprised me, but then, he did make a number of emphatically orthodox statements and actions while he was the Apostolic Nuncio to the USA that I chose to consider as his 'mea culpa' for the selfish excesses that led to his 'exile' from the Roman Curia and away from his ambition at the time to be named a cardinal. So, let other bishops and cardinals follow his lead and that of the estimable Mons. Negri, late of the Archdiocese of Ferrara, too early retired by this pope from the active episcopate.]

The statement, which has been published on several websites, notes that some bishops’ conferences have said divorced-and-remarried Catholics may receive Communion, even if still living in a sexual relationship with their new partner.

The traditional teaching of the Church, reaffirmed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, is that the remarried can only receive Communion if they resolve to refrain from sexual relations.

While some bishops have recently upheld this teaching, others, such as the two bishops of Malta, have contradicted it. The bishops claimed that avoiding sex may be impossible, and that those who decided they were “at peace with God” could receive Communion. The Pope has reportedly praised this statement.

An ambiguous document from the Buenos Aires bishops has been interpreted by some commentators as contradicting the traditional teaching, although others disagree. Pope Francis has given this document public approval.

In the new statement, the five bishops said that some episcopal statements supporting Communion for the remarried had “received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church”, presumably a reference to the Pope’s statements.

In response, the five bishops reiterate traditional teaching, placing in bold type the words:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

The bishops argue that the tradition of the Church on Communion for the remarried is binding, because it follows Jesus’ teaching on marital indissolubility. There cannot be a contradiction, the bishops say, between “the discipline of the sacraments and and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage.”

They quote the Second Vatican Council as teaching that “The sacraments not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith’.”

Last year, the three Kazakh bishops urged Catholics to pray for Pope Francis, and in particular to pray that he rescind pastoral guidelines which contradict Church teaching. They said that the sacramental discipline is a “proven custom, received and faithfully kept from the time of the Apostles and more recently confirmed in a sure manner by St John Paul II … and by Pope Benedict XVI.”

In their new document, the bishops look more closely at the theological foundations of the teaching. They refer to another document of St John Paul II’s, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, which, with reference to the remarried, says: “The Church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions.”

John Paul said that the Church was unable to alter this discipline because of two principles: first “compassion and mercy”, and second “truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good”.

The Italian politician and philosopher Rocco Buttiglione has argued that a priest could, instead of giving absolution, tell certain penitents that they are not in a state of mortal sin. The priest would encourage the penitent to receive the Eucharist even if they decide to carry on committing grave sins. But the Kazakh bishops cite the Council of Trent as teaching that “The Church does not possess the infallible charism of judging the internal state of grace of a member of the faithful.”

As a consequence, they say, the “non-admission to Holy Communion of the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ does not therefore mean a judgment on someone’s state of grace before God”. Rather, it is “a judgment on the visible, public, and objective character of their situation”. Because the sacraments and the Church are visible institutions, “the reception of the sacraments necessarily depends on the corresponding visible and objective situation of the faithful.”

The bishops make the statement “before our conscience and before God who will judge us”, and say they are convinced that their profession is a service to the Church and the Supreme Pontiff.

Kazakhstan bishops say communion for remarried divorcees is
'alien to the entire tradition of the Catholic and apostolic faith'

January 1, 2018

Almost exactly a year after they issued a call for prayer that the pope would uphold Catholic teaching on marriage, three bishops from Kazakhstan — Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana — have issued a new statement, saying that any change in sacramental discipline that would allow Catholic divorcees living in new sexual unions to receive Holy Communion is “alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith”.

One year ago this month, these same bishops issued a joint statement urging the faithful to pray that Pope Francis would “confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.”

As 1P5 reported last January:

The statement, issued on January 18th, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, is much more than a solicitation to storm heaven. The bishops document their concerns with “published norms” for the “application and interpretations” of Amoris Laetitia “whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist without fulfilling the duty, established by God, of ceasing to violate the bond of their existing sacramental marriage.”

The bishops assert that “Pastors of the Church who tolerate or authorize, even in individual or exceptional cases, the reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist by the divorced and so-called “remarried,” without their being clothed in the ‘wedding garment,’… are complicit in this way with a continual offense against the sacramental bond of marriage, the nuptial bond between Christ and the Church and the nuptial bond between Christ and the individual soul who receives his Eucharistic Body.”

Making mention of particular churches that have issued pastoral guidelines for the implementation of Amoris Laetitia along such lines, the bishop say that such guidelines “contradict the universal tradition of the Catholic Church, which by means of an uninterrupted Petrine Ministry of the Sovereign Pontiffs has always been faithfully kept, without any shadow of doubt or of ambiguity, either in its doctrine or its praxis, in that which concerns the indissolubility of marriage.”

Pope Francis did not, however, respond to their insistence that “only the voice of the Supreme Pastor of the Church can definitively impede a situation where in the future, the Church of our time is described with the following expression: ‘all the world groaned and noticed with amazement that it has in practice accepted divorce'”.

Instead, he chose to add his confirmation of the permissive interpretation in the guidelines of the bishops of Buenos Aires to the official acts of the Holy See — a decision that Cardinal Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said makes it a part of the pope’s “authentic magisterium.”

In their new statement, issued on the Feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 31), the Kazakhstani bishops do not specifically mention the recent actions of the pope, but nevertheless warn that “The admission of so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.”

Further, they say, the new norms being implemented by bishops in various parts of the world (in line with the pope’s support of the Buenos Aires bishops) represent “a matter of spreading the ‘plague of divorce’ even in the life of the Church, when the Church, instead, because of her unconditional fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, should be a bulwark and an unmistakable sign of contradiction against the plague of divorce which is every day more rampant in civil society.” [This implicit endorsement of divorce in AL's permissiveness is one of the greatly overlooked objections to AL - very few have pointed it out, and not often enough.]

The bishops go on to explain the gravity of the shift in direction from the Vatican:

Unequivocally and without admitting any exception, Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce. An approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment.

This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year-old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine. [Since AL represents, in its lethal Chapter 8, an overall relaxation of discipline in the sacraments of Penance,the Eucharist and Matrimony (not to mention Holy Orders, by allowing priests and bishops to breach sacramental discipline in the other 3 sacraments), it represents an egregious case on which the Congregation for Divine Worship should be heard from, since its full name, after all, is Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. But since the CDW-DS is part of the Roman Curia, which is technically an instrument of papal governance, I suppose it would be both 'unseemly' - and certainly not to be tolerated in the Bergoglio court, under pain of the direst 'off with their heads' conseqeunces - and unlikely for the dicastery to formally oppose this pope's clear and manifest intentions. In the same way that the CDF under Mueller could not and did not.]

The constant Magisterium of the Church, beginning with the teachings of the Apostles and of all the Supreme Pontiffs, has preserved and faithfully transmitted both in the doctrine (in theory) and in the sacramental discipline (in practice) in an unequivocal way, without any shadow of doubt and always in the same sense and in the same meaning (eodem sensu eademque sententia), the crystalline teaching of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage.

Because of its Divinely established nature, the discipline of the sacraments must never contradict the revealed word of God and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage.

In support of their position, the Kazakhstani bishops make ample reference to teaching and thought not just of the Second Vatican Council, but also of the conciliar and post-conciliar popes and other Vatican dicasteries, making it difficult for papal defenders to dismiss their claims as a solely traditionalist critique.

They then invoke their obligation as bishops, who have a “grave responsibility” and “duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage.”

“For this reason,” they say, “we are not allowed to be silent.”

They conclude:

We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth.

The full text of the Kazakhstani bishops’ statement:

Profession of the Immutable Truths About Sacramental Marriage

After the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (2016) various bishops issued at local, regional, and national levels applicable norms regarding the sacramental discipline of those faithful, called “divorced and remarried,” who having still a living spouse to whom they are united with a valid sacramental matrimonial bond, have nevertheless begun a stable cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.

The aforementioned rules provide inter alia that in individual cases the persons, called “divorced and remarried,” may receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, while continuing to live habitually and intentionally more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. These pastoral norms have received approval from various hierarchical authorities. Some of these norms have received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church.

The spread of these ecclesiastically approved pastoral norms has caused a considerable and ever increasing confusion among the faithful and the clergy, a confusion that touches the central manifestations of the life of the Church, such as sacramental marriage with the family, the domestic church, and the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.

According to the doctrine of the Church, only the sacramental matrimonial bond constitutes a domestic church (see Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 11). The admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.

The mentioned pastoral norms are revealed in practice and in time as a means of spreading the “plague of divorce” (an expression used by the Second Vatican Council, see Gaudium et spes, 47). It is a matter of spreading the “plague of divorce” even in the life of the Church, when the Church, instead, because of her unconditional fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, should be a bulwark and an unmistakable sign of contradiction against the plague of divorce which is every day more rampant in civil society.

Unequivocally and without admitting any exception Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce. An approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment. This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year-old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine.

The constant Magisterium of the Church, beginning with the teachings of the Apostles and of all the Supreme Pontiffs, has preserved and faithfully transmitted both in the doctrine (in theory) and in the sacramental discipline (in practice) in an unequivocal way, without any shadow of doubt and always in the same sense and in the same meaning (eodem sensu eademque sententia), the crystalline teaching of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage.

Because of its Divinely established nature, the discipline of the sacraments must never contradict the revealed word of God and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage. “The sacraments not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 59).

“Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125).

The Catholic faith by its nature excludes a formal contradiction between the faith professed on the one hand and the life and practice of the sacraments on the other. In this sense we can also understand the following affirmation of the Magisterium: “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 43) and “Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

In view of the vital importance that the doctrine and discipline of marriage and the Eucharist constitute, the Church is obliged to speak with the same voice. The pastoral norms regarding the indissolubility of marriage must not, therefore, be contradicted between one diocese and another, between one country and another.

Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has observed this principle as St. Irenaeus of Lyons testifies: “The Church, though spread throughout the world to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the Apostles and their disciples, preserves this preaching and this faith with care and, as if she inhabits a single house, believes in the same identical way, as if she had only one soul and only one heart, and preaches the truth of the faith, teaches it and transmits it in a unanimous voice, as if she had only one mouth” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

Saint Thomas Aquinas transmits to us the same perennial principle of the life of the Church: “There is one and the same faith of the ancients and the moderns, otherwise there would not be one and the same Church” (Questiones Disputatae de Veritate, q. 14, a. 12c).

The following warning from Pope John Paul II remains current and valid: “The confusion, created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings in theology, in preaching, in catechesis, in spiritual direction, about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitenia, 18).

The meaning of the following statements of the Magisterium of the Church is fully applicable to the doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning the indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage:

“For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient doctrines faithfully and wisely, which the faith of the Fathers has transmitted. She strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grow only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning” (Pius IX, Dogmatic Bull Ineffabilis Deus)

“With regard to the very substance of truth, the Church has before God and men the sacred duty to announce it, to teach it without any attenuation, as Christ revealed it, and there is no condition of time that can reduce the rigor of this obligation. It binds in conscience every priest who is entrusted with the care of teaching, admonishing, and guiding the faithful “(Pius XII, Discourse to parish priests and Lenten preachers, March 23, 1949).

“The Church does not historicize, does not relativize to the metamorphoses of profane culture the nature of the Church that is always equal and faithful to itself, as Christ wanted it and authentic tradition perfected it” (Paul VI, Homily from October 28, 1965).

“Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ” (Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 29).

“Any conjugal difficulties are resolved without ever falsifying and compromising the truth” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

“The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm [of the Divine moral law]. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

“The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34).

“The Church’s firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man’s true freedom. Because there can be no freedom apart from or in opposition to the truth”(John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).

“When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal” (emphasis in original) (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).

“The obligation of reiterating this impossibility of admission to the Eucharist is required for genuine pastoral care and for an authentic concern for the well-being of these faithful and of the whole Church, as it indicates the conditions necessary for the fullness of that conversion to which all are always invited by the Lord“ (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration on the admissibility to the Holy Communion of the divorced and remarried, 24 June 2000, n. 5).

As Catholic bishops, who – according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council – must defend the unity of faith and the common discipline of the Church, and take care that the light of the full truth should arise for all men (see Lumen Gentium, 23) we are forced in conscience to profess in the face of the current rampant confusion the unchanging truth and the equally immutable sacramental discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage according to the bimillennial and unaltered teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. In this spirit we reiterate:

Sexual relationships between people who are not in the bond to one another of a valid marriage – which occurs in the case of the so-called “divorced and remarried” – are always contrary to God’s will and constitute a grave offense against God.

No circumstance or finality, not even a possible imputability or diminished guilt, can make such sexual relations a positive moral reality and pleasing to God. The same applies to the other negative precepts of the Ten Commandments of God. Since “there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17).

The Church does not possess the infallible charism of judging the internal state of grace of a member of the faithful (see Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The non-admission to Holy Communion of the so-called “divorced and remarried” does not therefore mean a judgment on their state of grace before God, but a judgment on the visible, public, and objective character of their situation. Because of the visible nature of the sacraments and of the Church herself, the reception of the sacraments necessarily depends on the corresponding visible and objective situation of the faithful.

It is not morally licit to engage in sexual relations with a person who is not one’s legitimate spouse supposedly to avoid another sin. Since the Word of God teaches us, it is not lawful “to do evil so that good may come” (Romans 3, 8).

The admission of such persons to Holy Communion may be permitted only when they with the help of God’s grace and a patient and individual pastoral accompaniment make a sincere intention to cease from now on the habit of such sexual relations and to avoid scandal. It is in this way that true discernment and authentic pastoral accompaniment were always expressed in the Church.

People who have habitual non-marital sexual relations violate their indissoluble sacramental nuptial bond with their life style in relation to their legitimate spouse. For this reason they are not able to participate “in Spirit and in Truth” (see John 4, 23) at the Eucharistic wedding supper of Christ, also taking into account the words of the rite of Holy Communion: “Blessed are the guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19, 9)
The fulfillment of God’s will, revealed in His Ten Commandments and in His explicit and absolute prohibition of divorce, constitutes the true spiritual good of the people here on earth and will lead them to the true joy of love in the salvation of eternal life.

Being bishops in the pastoral office, who promote the Catholic and Apostolic faith (“cultores catholicae et apostolicae fidei”, see Missale Romanum, Canon Romanus), we are aware of this grave responsibility and our duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage. For this reason we are not allowed to be silent.

We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth .

31 December 2017, the Feast of the Holy Family,
in the year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

+ Tomash Peta, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop of Karaganda

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

Here is why ‘non licet’
Translated from

January 3, 2018

Let me be frank. I had promised myself that I would quit commenting on AL and its application because I think that the positions in play have become very clear, and that the debate, for lack of any substantial novelties, has become a bit nauseating.

But a novelty has arrived which cannot be ignored. It is the document “Profession of immutable truths regarding sacramental marirage” signed and made public by the the three Catholic bishops of Kazakhstan (once a Soviet republic).

Tomash Peta, metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana; Jan Pawel Lenga, emeritus Bishop of Kraganda; and Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, speak from a country where Catholics are less than one percent of the population, and where the Church had been reborn in the 1930s, thanks to some priests and faithful who had been veterans of Stalin lagers and chose to remain in Kazakhstan to engage in clandestine missionary activity.

The document cannot be ignored because it is not a new demand for clarity on AL, but is, in fact, a correction of the errors and ambiguities in that document. Moreover, not coming from scholars but from bishops, it certifies that there is a division in the Church today on decisive matters.

In underscoring that the Church is held to speak with one voice, the three bishops do not hesitate to denounce the present state of confusion in everyhting that has to do with “the central manifestations of the life of the Church such as sacramental matrimony and the family as the domestic church, an the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist”.

And we have just learned that two more bishops have joined to sign the Profession: Mons. Luigi Negri, emeritus Archbishop fo Ferrara-Comacchia, and Mons. Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the USA until this pope replaced him in 2016.

But read the full text, in which the problem of the applicative norms regarding communion for remarried divorcees is clearly confronted in the light of the Church’s immutable doctrine on the sacramental bond of matrimony.

The Kazakhstan bishops''Profession':
A model of clarity compared to the statements
from the German and Maltese bishops

January 2, 2018

The presentation of Catholic teachings on marriage and morality set forth in the brief statement from Kazakhstan Bps. Peta, Lenga, and Schneider is quite sound. Indeed, in contrast to, for example, the ambiguous statement from the Argentines, the Kazakhstan profession is a model of clarity; set against the disastrous statements by, among others, the Bishops of Malta and German episcopal conference the Kazakhstans are withering. I offer three notes for those reading on the Kazakhstan profession.

First, while the Kazakhstans address only sacramental marriage (that is, marriage between two baptized persons) much of their message applies to any marriage, for all marriage is, as canonists say, intrinsically indissoluble.

Second, when the Church talks about “marriage”, she always means marriage valid in her eyes and not necessarily marriage in the state’s eyes or marriage as many people use the term in common speech. It is, of course, far too cumbersome to include every qualifier that the Church assumes in regard to marriage every time the word “marriage” is used, but these qualifiers must be recalled when one composes and analyzes technical texts closely.

Thus, third, with regard to the Kazakhstans’ assertion that “Unequivocally and without admitting any exception Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce”, two important qualifiers (briefly indicated later, but easy to miss in this first assertion) are necessary for this statement to stand, namely, we must be talking about sacramental marriage (else, the Pauline and Petrine Privileges fall), and second, we must be talking about consummated Christian marriage (else, papal dissolution of ratam-non-consummatum marriages falls).

These three exceptions to the permanence of marriage comprise, to be sure, a minuscule percentage of the divorce-and-remarried cases actually faced by pastors, but sweeping language must account for legitimate exceptions to its terms, however rare such exceptions are in real life.

I'd have gladly done without the following post which for the most part predicts what is already too predictable about what Bergoglio will do about the Kazakhstan bishops' and their 'Profession...' It's the last paragraph of the item that I find more significant and most ominous, indeed - a clever plan to impose Bergoglio thought on all the priests int he world, and through them, their parishes! Speaking of gross misuse of technology!

Rumors Part 56:
The quiet before the storm
What is Bergoglio preparing for the bishops who have
signed what is, in effect, a correction to AL

by Fra Cristoforo
Translated from

It is quite predictable. All this silence so far on the part of the Vatican media and those closely associated with them on the correction from the bishops of Kazakhstan does not augur well. In fact, Bergoglio is working on his counterattack.

My source at the Vatican says that last night, Bergoglio met at Casa Santa Marta with various Vatican media officials and his close advisers on how best to deal with this ‘unforeseen’ initiative from the Kazakhstan bishops. My source said Omissis [that’s a new nickname but quite appropriate for someone who habitually omits any part of Christ’s words in the Gospel which do not concur with Bergoglianism] was furious as only he can be. Because he cannot stand any opposition. He is said to have screamed: “They will repent this! They will repent this!” They being the courageous bishops who have dared the contradict the neo-gospel of the new church: Amoris Laetitia.

But my source also found out the outcome of this meeting – which I am publishing only so that the three bishops and anyone else who joins them can be prepared.

In short, Bergoglio and his acolytes are preparing to ‘counter-attack’ [which means they consider the statement of Catholic doctrine by the Kazakhstan bishops an ‘attack’.]. But it will not be Bergoglio who will frontally rebut the ‘corrector’ bishops – he has given carte blanche to his official and non-official media consultants and experts to start a denigratory media campaign against them.

But this is a standard operational procedure for Latin American dictatorial regimes. [And nothing new here on the part of Bergoglio, who refuses to even meet with his critics though they are ranking and senior cardinals, but prefers to snipe at them from a distance as he pleases]. For Bergoglio, it won’t be a problem to muzzle journalists

The denigratory campaign would, of course, serve to discredit the bishops, perhaps publishing stories from their past, true or false, or planting fake news that will serve to lessen the bishops’ credibility. Exactly as they did in Communist regimes before they proceeded to eliminate a ‘dissident’.

So in the next few days, expect Bergoglio’s media experts to publish something damaging about the 3 Kazakhstan bishops and their 2 Italian supporters so far. [Mons Carlo Maria Vigano stands to be smeared mercilessly because of his pre-Vatileaks-1 antics, and whatever wrongdowing the Vatican ould accuse him of doing while he was the Nuncio to the USA. I am sure he knew this risk going in.] But expect Bergoglio to say something snide, anyway. [He just cannot resist yapping to show off “how good I am and how bad all these others are”!]

It is for us who are not under Bergoglio’s thumb to act as a shield for these courageous bishops.

We know that a totalitarian regime is in charge at the Vatican. Multiple sources have confirmed that Bergoglian ‘controls’ have become near obsessive. E-mails and personal cellphones and the activities of everyone are said to be under strict surveillance. It’s the order of the day.

And now, hear this: the Holy See has developed an App that every priest in the world can download, so that every week, they will have a homily all prepared for Sunday Mass. Prepared of coruse by the pope’ aides. With the themes of Bergoglo. With the words of Bergoglio. Downloading these pre-cooked homilies is optional for now. In a few months, it will be ardently recommended. Within a year, it will be mandatory. So that every priest too lazy to think up his own homily becomes obliged, every Sunday, to repeat only and exclusively the words of the Jefe Maximo.
00Wednesday, January 3, 2018 4:44 PM

Amazon's blurb:
Faithful Catholics are beginning to realize it’s not their imagination. Pope Francis has led them on a journey from joy to unease to alarm and even
a sense of betrayal. They can no longer pretend that he represents merely a change of emphasis in papal teaching.
Assessing the confusion sown
by this pontificate, Lost Shepherd explains what’s at stake, what’s not at stake, and how loyal believers should respond.

Apparently, this book has been written about in some quarters as early as September 2016 - but since that includes my lost month and a half of Forum work, I failed to see any of that. It will not be out till next month, but it's getting some play already in the Catholic blogosphere, though to my knowledge, the author himself has yet to plug it on his catholic column.

Christopher Ferrara devotes a long piece to it at year's end 2017 - or rather, to the perceptions brought to bear on the book and its author by two Vatican II Catholics who are proud of being Vatican II Catholics (Ferrara calls them neo-Catholics, and he includes Lawler among them). Which is the paradox of their arguing how many devils can dance on the point of a needle just to keep from admitting that Lawler is merely writing what many traditionalist Catholics have been saying and writing from almost Day 1 of this disastrous pontificate...

Quick background: Both Keating and Armstrong are prominent Catholic apologists, Keating (born 1950) was founder and former president of Catholic Answers, a lay apostolate for apologetics and evangelization; and Armstrong (born 1958) has a blogsite that has published more than 2500 articles defending Christianity. Both have authored several books on Catholic apologetics - Armstrong has 20, Keating has 15.

The importance of not being us
by Christopher A. Ferrara

December 31, 2017

While Francis sows chaos and subverts the Church, three neo-Catholic figures bicker over whether one of them has become a “radical Catholic reactionary” because he has recognized that Francis is sowing chaos and subverting the Church. If only it were a joke...

Someone has brought to our attention a running online debate between Karl Keating and one Dave Armstrong over Philip Lawler’s upcoming book Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock. Therein Lawler, a prominent spokesman of the Catholic “conservative” or neo-Catholic* versus traditionalist** constituency, expounds the reasons for his “reluctant” conclusion that Francis is a “radical [who is] leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith” and is “engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.”

*Neo-Catholic: a Catholic who accepts and defends the officially-approved ecclesial novelties of the past half-century, despite their destructive results and even though no Catholic is obliged to embrace a single one of them in order to be a member of the Church in good standing. These novelties, none of them binding on the Catholic conscience, have arisen primarily under the headings of “liturgical reform,” “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “inter-religious dialogue,” and the “updating” of priestly and religious formation, which has emptied the “reformed” seminaries and convents.

Neo-Catholicism, whose ensemble of characteristics would horrify a Pope such as Saint Pius X, the arch-foe of Modernism and what he called “the Modernist as Reformer,” is the ecclesial equivalent of “neo-conservatism” in the political realm: i.e., a liberalized, “moderate” form of conservatism that attempts to reconcile true doctrine with novel practices, attitudes and fashions of the day that tend to undermine true doctrine. The current prevalence of the neo-Catholic “style” of Catholicism constitutes the essence of the post-Vatican II crisis in the Church.

**Traditionalist: a Catholic who, being perfectly free to do so, prescinds from the recently introduced ecclesial novelties and continues to practice the unreconstructed Faith of his ancestors, including the traditional liturgy and the traditional formation of priests and religious in seminaries and convents that are full. The descriptor “traditionalist” was unnecessary before the Second Vatican Council, because every practicing and believing Catholic was, by today’s prevailing neo-Catholic standard, a traditionalist.

What Keating and Armstrong think about Lawler’s exposition of what has long been obvious to traditionalists is uninteresting in itself. Worth noting, however ­— if only as a kind of sociological observation of our troubled ecclesial commonwealth ­­— is that here we have two “conservative” Catholics bickering over how to approach a book that essentially echoes the traditionalist view of what Lawler himself calls “this disastrous papacy”.

For Armstrong, it is a matter of maintaining the neo-Catholic polemic of “radical traditionalists” as objects of fear and loathing, even though Lawler, a decidedly non-traditionalist commentator, agrees with them regarding Francis.

For Keating, it is question of how Lawler can be defended without also conceding that the traditionalists who preceded him by years in reaching the same conclusion were right from the beginning.

Both agree, therefore, on the same implicit premise: under no circumstances can the traditionalist assessment of Francis be credited at all, much less acknowledged as prescient, for this would mean that the neo-Catholic commentariat has been wrong and wholly lacking in prescience.

Wrong not only about Francis, but the entire course of the post-conciliar crisis in the Church whose roots in unprecedented and manifestly destructive ecclesial novelties they, being neo-Catholics, refuse to acknowledge. While Francis has made that refusal untenable as to his own novelties, the neo-Catholic polemic nonetheless precludes any admission that traditionalists had a point concerning him.

As one of our correspondents astutely observes: the argument between Keating and Armstrong, who are friends, is thus really over how to continue discrediting the traditionalist position now that Lawler, a non-traditionalist, has been driven to accept its accurate diagnosis of this pontificate. The interplay between the two disputants, ultimately joined by Lawler himself in the compendium of comments linked to above, is really rather amusing.

In his approach to Lawler’s book, Armstrong recalls that precisely on August 3, 2013 he coined the term “radical Catholic reactionary” to replace his earlier epithet “radical traditionalist” (“radtrad”) and then revised his many writings accordingly ­— as if anyone should care ­— to reflect the new epithet, which he defines as follows:

I define “radical Catholic reactionaries” as a rigorist, divisive group completely separate from mainstream “traditionalism” that continually, vociferously, and vitriolically [sic] (as a marked characteristic or defining trait) bashes and trashes popes, Vatican II, the New Mass, and ecumenism (the “big four”): going as far as they can go without technically crossing over the canonical line of schism. In effect, they become their own popes: exercising private judgment in an unsavory fashion, much as (quite ironically) Catholic liberals do, and as Luther and Calvin did when they rebelled against the Church. They can’t live and let live. They must assume a condescending “superior-subordinate” orientation.

The reader will note that Armstrong’s “definition” is merely a string of insults and further undefined terms amounting to nothing more than a caricature of the traditionalist view of our unparalleled ecclesial situation.

The resulting cloud of pejoratives allows Armstrong to smuggle back into his polemic precisely the condemnation of “mainstream traditionalism” he professes to eschew, as seen by his inclusion in the category of “radical Catholic reactionary” pretty much the entire universe of traditionalist and even quasi-traditionalist commentary, including “The Remnant, 1 Peter 5, Lifesite News, Rorate Caeli, [and] the reactionary-dominated Correctio,” the last being that group of Catholics who, like Lawler, have publicly protested the chaos Francis has provoked with Amoris Laetitia, the very document Lawler calls “subversive.”

Armed with his new definition of the same old target, Armstrong has hit upon the saving tactic of denouncing Lawler’s book as a “radical Catholic reactionary” tract while absolving Lawler of the personal delict of radical Catholic reaction. He thus informs Keating: “I didn’t classify Phil as a reactionary, though I can see why someone would think so. I merely noted that in what I have been able to see so far in his book, he is thinking like one in some key/characteristic respects.”

According to Armstrong, while Lawler quacks like a radical Catholic reactionary he is “not a reactionary now, but he may yet be. And if he ends up there, I called it, and warned people that it was coming…”

For his part, Keating protests that “Lawler isn’t a reactionary at all (even though, granted, he is ‘reacting’ to certain papal actions), and I can’t think of any Traditionalist Catholics who would label him even a Traditionalist.” So, Lawler is neither a reactionary nor a Traditionalist. This must be made clear, lest Lawler’s respectable credentials be tarnished. Rather, Keating continues: “he is a man of conservative temperament, slow to draw conclusions, anxious to give Churchmen the benefit of the doubt. He is more a Russell Kirk than a Michael Voris.”

Here Keating reveals more than he realizes, for a “Russell Kirk Catholic” would be precisely the kind of modern conservative — which is to say, a moderate post-Enlightenment liberal — suggested by the ecclesial equivalent “neo-Catholic.”

Just as Kirk accepted the fatal principles of political modernity while arguing for their compatibility with traditional values via a “conservative” application, so does the neo-Catholic accept the officially approved novelties of the past fifty years, despite their manifest incompatibility with the traditional teachings he would defend. Francis, however, has made that exercise impossible. Hence Lawler’s book and the ensuing sociological disturbance it has caused in a neo-Catholic cohort that did not even exist before Vatican II.

But just a moment: Voris absolutely refuses to criticize Francis [a stupid untenable stance by anyone who criticizes many of the popes statements and actions, and the positions taken by his lackeys], no matter how much evidence accumulates against him. So, what does that make Lawler in comparison with Voris, given that Lawler has concluded that Francis is a radical “leading the Church away from the ancient sources of faith” in “deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches”?

It seems that Voris would join Armstrong in denouncing Lawler as someone who at least quacks like a radical Catholic reactionary. I will leave Keating to sort out his own confusion in this regard.

Armstrong in reply frets that Lawler is “possibly heading down the road to reactionary Catholicism” and is “starting to argue and think more and more like them.” But Keating assures Armstrong that no such awful prospect is in view: “No, Dave, what Steve Skojec may opine tells us nothing. If you were to say something he agrees with on some other issue, he might praise you and claim that soon you’d join his little army. But you wouldn’t be doing any such thing. That Skojec or someone else praises Lawler tells us nothing about Lawler, other than that he has written on a subject that Skojec is interested in. You’re trying to draw far too much out of the situation…. As for Lawler sliding down what you consider to be a slippery slope (and without brakes), someone could take your logic and say about some well-known theological liberal who recently has embraced a few orthodox positions: ‘there’s no stopping his slide, from one extreme to the other–he’ll end up a Traditionalist!’”

Translation: Don’t worry. There is no chance that our man Phil will become one of them. He is the Russell Kirk of papal criticism, who takes his time before declaring that Francis is a dangerous radical who is trying to change Church teaching, that Amoris Laetitia is a subversive document and that his papacy is disastrous. Not like those radical Catholic reactionaries — which Lawler is most assuredly not — who said the same things much too soon. Big difference, you see.

Finally, Lawler has entered the fray personally to assure Armstrong that he has not become a radical Catholic reactionary: “If you give me your email address, I can send you a copy of the proofs, and you can make your judgment on the full book. I don’t doubt that you’ll still have problems with it, but I hope you won’t conclude that I have become a reactionary.”

Perish the thought that any Catholic would react radically against a radical Pope bent on changing Church teaching! Catholics must always remain inert in the face of radical attacks on the Faith, especially when the radical is a Pope. Lawler thus hastens to give assurances of his continued inertness, despite his book.

So, Armstrong, Keating and Lawler himself are all essentially agreed: one must never allow oneself to become a radical reactionary Catholic, even if what those unclean ones at The Remnant and elsewhere are saying happens to be perfectly true.

The neo-Catholic narrative of passive acceptance of the post-conciliar regime of novelty qua superior fidelity to the Church remains intact, even if Lawler has unsettled the quiescent status quo by observing that Francis has gone too far down the road to officially approved disaster they have all been following for decades without protest. Despite this lapse of protocol, Lawler is still not one of them. He has not sullied himself by joining the untouchable caste. And isn’t that what matters before all else?

Such is the profound sociological disease of the human element of the Church in the midst of the worst crisis in her long history.

I do not see, however, why Ferrara chooses to polemicize, and in the process, sound smug and self-congratulatory, instead of being thankful that more Catholics with some degree of influence in shaping public opinion are coming around to the traditionalist views critical of Bergoglio - and for solid reason!

Lawler's decision to write his book reminds me of Aldo Maria Valli's publication of his 200-page 'pamphlet' 266 at year's end 2016 - when AL crystallized all his misgivings about this pope and his pontificate and he begain to write critically of Bergoglio on is blog. Before that, the Vatican bureau chief and anchor of Italian state TV's Vatican reporting had been among the staunchest of Bergoglists. He has not stepped back since then, thank God, nor do I think Lawler will.

Let me indulge myself by re-posting what I did about Valli and his book at around this time last year. '266', of course, refers to the fact that Bergoglio is
the 266th Successor of Peter. (Maliciously, I like to think Valli chose it for his title because it is only one number away from '666').

Aldo Maria Valli:
Questions about this pope
from a son of the Church

by Lorenzo Bertocchi
Translated from

January 2, 2017

The documented summary-review of Pope Francis's nearly four-year Pontificate so far by Italian State TV's Vaticanista Aldo Maria Valli leaves the reader with many questions, as in an unanswered quiz.

In almost 200 pages, Valli offers a long and detailed series of episodes and citations from the 266th Successor of Peter, raising courteous questions but without leaving any doubt as to the 'perplexities' that this pope has engendered.

In the beginning was Cardinal Kasper. As everyone recalls, at his very first Angelus remarks, the Pope made a praiseful citation of the German cardinal-theologian, who at the time, was rather on the fringes of the Catholic intelligentsia.

Called by the new pope "a theologian on the ball, a good theologian", and praised for his book about mercy, Kasper can be considered the academic reference for what would become - perhaps not all that strangely - the heart of this pontificate: mercy. [Of which, one must note, there's mercy and mercy!]

And we must go back to Kasper again in order to understand the two 'family synods' which this pope synthesized in the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia. The synodal marathon over almost a two-year period got underway with Kasper's infamous 'gospel of the family' preached to a secret consistory in February 2014 [on express assignment by Bergoglio], which has now led to allowing communion 'in certain cases' for remarried divorces living together adulterously and continuing to do so.

Of all the dissertations on the possible controversial interpretations of divine mercy according to Kasper, there remains the paradigmatic passage that seems to guide the pontificate of someone who is a man of action, and certainly not a theologian or a philosopher [not that theologians and philosophers cannot be men of aciton, as well]: "from the logic of doctors of the law to that of the Good Samaritan". [Typically false Bergoglian dichotomy!]

It is unfortunate, writes Valli, that this line "entails numerous problems". The most serious - especially in the light of 'case by case' erected as a system in AL - would be the apparent "triumph of the contingent over the absolute, of the transitory over the stable, of the possible over the necessary".

Struck by propositions like 'discernment' and 'accompaniment', we ask ourselves whether reality does not end up resolving itself as simply the experience of the individual as the sole judge of himself, of what he believes is good or evil. Many have described this as ignoring moral absolutes and the triumph of situation ethics, which John Paul II condemned in the encyclical Veritatis splendor.

Valli's book hammers away at these questions - questions effectively condensed in the famous FIVE DUBIA presented by the Four Cardinals to the pope regarding AL Chapter 8.

The 'who am I to judge' pope - who made this Generation-Me mantra into a cult phrase, drawn from one of his answers in his first inflight news conference - is the pope of repeated confidential encounters with the king of Italian secularists, Eugenio Scalfari, during which the pope has used other catch phrases like the much-cited "There is no Catholic God".

He has called Martin Luther 'medicine' for a Church that was sick, and took part in opening the fifth centenary year of the Reformation, expressing possible ways towards interfaith communion which he had first treated equivocally [many saw it as an endorsement in yet another relativistic formulation, "Do what your heart tells you!] during a visit to Rome's Lutheran Church in 2015.

On his visit to Lund, Sweden for that joint celebration of Luther's Schism, he took it for granted that the problems separating Catholics and Lutherans on the doctrine of justification would be overcome (despite the 1999 Joint Catholic-Lutheran Declaration on Justification, towards which Cardinal Kasper had been among the most diligent of its drafters) [and to which the CDF, under Cardinal Ratzinger, felt it was necessary to issue a document listing the problems that remain open on that question].

On Islam and terrorism, Valli says the problem is that this pope says nothing "about the problem of violence in Islam". "Just as reductive [as well as irrational and willfully blind] is his reading of terrorism only in sociological and economic terms".

Still on terrorism, this pope let loose another unfortunate buzz phrase in essentially equating Catholic 'fundamentalism' to the Islamic kind. Returning from his WYD trip to Poland, the pope told newsmen on the plane that "I don't speak of Islamic violence because everyday when I read the newspapers, I see the violence taking place in Italy - someone shoots his fiancee dead, another kills his mother-in-law, yet these are baptized Catholics! They are violent Catholics! If I would speak about Islamic violence, then I must also speak of Catholic violence". [Surely one of the most idiotic (and fundamentally anti-Catholic) statements ever made by a pope, by a leader, even by an average person!]

Socio-economic issues are among the repeated topics of 'analyses' presented by this pope - they are cited especially in his advocacy of climate activism as expressed in his encyclical Laudato si, but especially in his sponsorship of 'popular movements' which generally have a clearly Marist matrix. And so, he repeatedly makes generic attacks against 'the system' ["This economy kills!] and the 'idolatry of money', which he even blames as a cause for why young people are more and more rejecting marriage. [When Francis's follies and fallacies are enumerated like this, you have to wonder whether he is not somewhat mentally 'not there'!]

All this, and much more, is found in Valli's 200-page book which details the perplexities that wrack him as a result of his papal chronicle.

At one point, he cites an unnamed journalist who offers a synthesis of the Bergoglio who is pope. It has been pointed out that the Argentine pope is rather repetitive [tiresomely so, ad nauseam] and so, the journalist summarizes using the pope's own recurrent themes and terms:

God? He is merciful ("He is greater than all our sins!") [Another IDIOTIC statement! So idiotic one cringes in embarrassment for Bergoglio! How can one compare God to sin???? It's like comparing him to Satan himself!]. The Church? let it be poor and for the poor, going outwards to the peripheries, let it heal wounds as in a field hospital.] [I suspect he does not really know what a field hospital is, otherwise he would realize that it is a most faulty metaphor for the Church] Pastoral care? Don't impose duties. just facilitate an encounter with the Lord.

Then there are the corollaries, similarly repeated over and over:'Pastors should take on the odor of the sheep, they should stop gossiping, they should not be careerists. Society? Fight the throwaway culture and money as god ("Corruption is an evil worse than sin") [Another can-you-believe-how-idiotic line!] Grandparents must be respected. Housing, land and jobs must be guaranteed for everyone. [Another one of those mindless Bergoglian Marxist formulations. 'Land' for everyone? In a society that is rapidly and universally urbanizing??? What planet is he living on?]

I will leave it to the reader who gets a copy of Valli's book to discover the conclusions he draws from the many questions that constellate the pages of this freely open book written with respect by a true son of the Church. [Remember JMB's copout when asked about his attitude towards homosexual practices? "I am a son of the Church - Read what the Catechism says!' Some 'son of the Church' this anti-Catholic pope is!]

And here is my translation of the chapter Valli chose to post on his blog. It is a formidable analysis that comes from someone who has been a lifelong progressivist Catholic and who, until several months ago, was quite Bergoglian. But AL came along and changed his view of this pontificate to the point that he felt compelled to write a book documenting his critical inquiry into this pope, his statements and his actions.

Truth, justice, mercy:
Analyzing the 'Francis method'

by Aldo Maria Valli
Book excerpt published in

“I believe in God. Not in a Catholic God. A Catholic God does not exist. God exists”. Words of Pope Francis.

The concept is not new, because it was already expressed, more completely, by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini [whose definitive biography so far was written by Valli] in his interview-book with fellow Jesuit Fr. George Sporschill.

But now an analogous question is being asked, but with a different subject. Not “Does God exist?” but “Is Pope Francis Catholic?”

September 2015, eve of the pope’s trip to the United States: On a pitchblack background, the face of the pope appears in half shadow. It is the cover of Newsweek, and the device is familiar: Whenever the Roman Pontiff is the subject of discussion, he is always depicted in obscurity, or else, facing away, back to the people. But it is the title that is immediately striking: “Is the Pope Catholic?”

The newsmagazine, an expression of a cultural, religious and political world that is certainly not approving of the Catholic Church, dramatizes the provocative question, which arises in part from Francis’s famous words “Who am I to judge a gay person?”, and more generally, because of Papa Bergoglio’s pastoral line, characterized not by condemnation [But which contemporary Pope’s pontificate has been characterized by condemnation???],, not by conflict with modernity but by dialog.

The weekly’s intention was transparent. By asking the question, it hits two birds with one shot: It accuses the Church pre-Bergoglio of having been always retrograde, while at the same time, touching the open wound of the divisions that the Argentine pope has been provoking in the Catholic Church by his decisions and by his [anti-Catholic] line in general.

In fact, the magazine hastens to note that the pope’s popularity in recent surveys of American Catholics, has been in free fall, because many conservative Catholics see him as the Fifth Column of he left and of radical ecologism, while acknowledging that the pope is a ‘superb communicator’ [How can someone who so habitually confused and confusing,If not outright incoherent when he is not insulting, be a ‘superb communicator’?], and “a cunning reflection of the Catholic image’ insofar as he "makes it superfluous to remind Catholics what they believe in, relying instead on eloquent gestures such as renouncing princely vestments [What contemporary pope has dressed in princely vestments, unless one considers the traditional liturgical vestments preserved from previous popes in St. Peter’s sacristy and occasionally worn by the popes before Francis ‘princely vestments’?], using a utility vehicle for moving around, and choosing to live in a small room in Casa Santa Marta. [Such is the substance of myth that by constant repetition, gets to be established as a convenient factoid. But his room at CSM is hardly small – it is the hotel’s equivalent of a royal suite, and has an adjoining sitting room and study. In fact, a whole wing on one floor of the hotel is occupied by him and his personal and security staff, and if someone would report on the actual square-footage in this papal wing, it could well be beyond the square-footage of the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace, which did not have to provide lodging for security personnel because by its very location, it is internally as secure as anything could be in the Vatican.]

But the title of Newsweek’s cover story is a reason to reflect: If this question arises in anyone, does it mean that Francis himself is legitimizing it? Is there something in the words, in the teachings and in the gestures of this pope that clashes with the Catholic faith, or at least, does not fully mirror it?

December 8, 2015. An appeal from the American biweekly newspaper The Remnant, which expresses the sentiments of traditional Catholic groups, calls on the pope to step down because

“a growing number of Catholics, including cardinals and bishops, are starting to acknowledge that your pontificate… is the cause of serious harm to the Catholic Church. It has become impossible to deny the fact, they wrote, that you, Holiness, do not possess the capacity nor the intention to fulfill that which is the duty of every pope according to the words of your immediate predecessor: “He must constantly link himself to the Church in obedience to the Word of God, in the face of all attempt to adapt or dilute it, as in the face of every opportunism’.

According to the Remnant, instead of focusing on the teaching of the Church on the Word of God, Francis is instead bent on proclaiming his own ideas, doing it in

“…multiple homilies, news conferences, off-the-cuff statements, interviews with newsmen, discourses of all kinds and idiosyncratic interpretations of the Gospel. These ideas, which range from simply disquieting to plainly heterodox, are perfectly represented by a document that is more or less his personal manifesto, Evangelii gaudium, containing a series of incredible pronouncements which never befoe had any Roman Pontiff dared to say.

“Among this, we must list a statement like “the dream… of transforming everything in the Church because the customs, the styles, the scheduled, the language and every ecclesial structure may become an adequate channel for the evangelization of the present world, rather than for self-preservation”. It is inconceivable that a Roman Pontiff could even hypothesize an inexistent opposition between the self-preservation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and her mission in the world. [See? That was one of the idiocies I missed noting in my perfunctory scans of a document I find unsupportable in style as well as in content. Idiotic because how can the Church carry out her mission if she does not also take care to preserve who she is and the faith she embodies??? ]

The signatories do not excuse the pope for writing in EG of the temptation to which Catholics could yield, namely, in the Catholic enclosing himself in ‘structures’ that offer ‘false protection’, in ‘norms’ that transform believers into ‘implacable judges’ and in ‘habits’ whose only purpose is to keep things tranquil.

What the pope calls structures, norms and habits are, in fact, the appeal’s signatories write, the very framework of doctrine that prevents the Church from disintegrating.

The pope’s rebukes, they add, are generic and produce disconcert, whereas his epithets, sometimes insults, which the pope reserves for those who do not think like him, are quite specific against those whom he variously calls ‘fundamentalists’ , ‘Pharisees’, ‘Pelagians’, ‘triumphalists’, ‘gnostics’, ‘nostalgics’, ‘superficial Christians’, ‘gang of the privileged’, ‘peacocks’, ‘pedantic moralists’, ‘uniformists’, ‘arrogantly self-sufficient’, ‘aristocratic intellectuals’, ‘Christian bats who prefer the shadows instead of the light in the presence of the Lord’, and the like.

There are many accusations against the pope in the letter-appeal. In the foreground, his banalization of the concept of mercy, that he has been propagating in the name of a generic ‘tenderness’ which overshadows binding moral rules, whereas the only true ‘revolution of tenderness’ takes place through Baptism.

Now, another magazine cover. This time, in November 2015, the British weekly The Spectator, which has a conservative outlook. It is a cartoon: Francis merrily rides a giant wrecking ball that crashes into a church and reduces it to a pile of rubble, with the title “Pope vs Church: The anatomy of a Catholic civil war”. The thesis of Damian Thompson, who wrote the cover story, can be summarized thus: The ‘disordered’ reforms of Bergoglio and his ‘wild’ declarations are generating apprehensions among average Catholics who think that the pope has gone out of control.

So then: Is Francis not Catholic? Or hardly Catholic? On September 22, 2015, while this pope was in flight from Cuba to the USA, correspondent Gian Guido Vecchi of Corriere della Sera asked the question directly: “First, it was said that the pope is communist, and now some are asking whether the pope is Catholic, more or less? What do you say?”

Here was the pope’s response:

A cardinal friend of mine told me that one day, a lady came to him very concerned – she was very Catholic, a big rigid, this lady, but a good Catholic, who asked him if it was true that the Bible spoke of an anti-Christ. And he explained to her – that this is said in the Apocalypse, right? Then, she asked if it was also true that it speaks about an anti-pope. ‘But why do you ask this?” the cardinal asked. “because I am sure that Pope Francis is the anti-pope”. “Why would you think that?” he asked. “Because he does not use red shoes”. [See, how consistent he is even in this hypothetical, perhaps imaginary anecdotes! He ridicules this hypothetical ‘very Catholic, good Catholic but 'rather rigid' lady for being idiotic in her ‘rigid Catholicity’! Obviously, this was another notable milestone I missed in the documentation of Bergoglio’s inability to simply say Yes or No to a question.

One would have thought that a pope would have begun by answering, “Of course, I am Catholic. I was elected to lead the Catholic Church. I would not have been elected if I were not Catholic”. Not relate an anecdote that reduces opponents to objects of ridicule.]

So that's the way it is... there are historical reasons for thinking that one is Communist or not… I am sure that I have not said anything that is not within the social doctrine of the Church. .. [Evasion, evasion, your name is Bergoglio! So he shifts to the other accusation without ansswering the first at all, not that he has answered the second either!]

On another trip, when I was preparing to address the meeting of the ‘popular movements’ [in Bolivia], a colleague said to me: “You have held out your hand to these popular movements … but will the Church follow you?” And I said, “It is me who follows the Church”, and in this, I think I am not wrong, I believe I have not said anything that is not in the social doctrine of the Church.

Everything can be explained. Maybe the explanation will give the impression that I am being a bit ‘leftist’, but it would be an error of interpretation. No, my doctrine, in all this, in Laudato si, on economic imperialism and all that, is that of the social doctrine of the Church. And if it is necessary that I recite the Creed, I am ready to do so. [Excuse me! Where did that come from? As if by reciting the Creed if called to do so, he would thereby prove he is Catholic and not a communist???]

Bergoglio’s response, even if it was off the cuff and in imprecise Italian, allows us to understand the pope’s attitude in the face of some criticisms.

First of all, regardinjg the concern of the ‘good Catholic lady’ who sees in him an anti-pope, he has recourse to the rhetorical device of ridiculing her. “What, I am an anti-pope because I don’t wear read shoes?” As if to say: These ‘good Catholics’, so attached to tradition, are nothing but formalists. Then comes his substantial self-defense: “Actually, I have never said anything that is not contained in the social doctrine of the Church”. [Yes, but that addresses the accusation of being Communist, not of whether he is Catholic!]

But this pope is too intelligent not to know that even the way one says things have a certain importance. In fact, he acknowledges that some of his explanations could appear ‘leftist’.

A bit ingenuous and a bit sly, as he has described himself, and as he always appears when he is with journalists, he says that in order to avoid any doubts, he is even ready to recite the Creed, with which he makes known that he is quite aware of the disconcertment he is provoking in some sectors of the ecclesial community.

But he moves ahead the way he wants to, because he is convinced that today, it is more important to intervene on social injustices, on old and new poverty, on ecological problems and the ‘throwaway culture’ rather than speaking on doctrinal matters and moral questions (those famous ‘non-negotiable values’ in Benedict XVI’s Pontificate – abortion, euthanasia, homosexual practices, artificial procreation) - messages which, in the recent past, were hammered home.

That explains his strategy, although in truth, it has not kept him from reiterating the line of his predecessors on abortion, euthanasia and artificial procreation. [Hardly reiterating, but rather studiously avoiding having to say anything on such topics, because as he told the Italian bishops shortly after he became pope, it is not necessary to have to say the same things again and again. Of course, he does not follow his own counsel because on the secular issues which he has made his priority, he does tirelessly repeat himself again and again!]

Nonetheless, the covers of Newsweek and Spectator, like the petition from The Remnant, tell us that there is a certain discomfort, perhaps even distress about this pope, yet these are only three cases among the many that can be cited. A distress that has only worsened after the publication of Amoris laetitia, his post-synodal apostolic exhortation on ‘family love’.

Although I have become used to discussions and polemics regarding the work of popes (I have been doing this for more than 20 years), I must admit that I have never witnessed a confrontation as strident as this. In Italy, it is perhaps still a bit imperceptible, but it is underway especially on the Internet. And at the center of all the polemics is he, Pope Francis. Praised by some, criticized and opposed by others.

Something similar happened with John XXIII, especially after his decision to convoke the Second Vatican Council. Even Papa Roncalli, who was so loved as to pass into history as ‘the good pope’, was in fact accused of modernism and progressivism. And like Francis, he too was considered by some to be ‘Communist’, or too ecumenical and with little respect for Tradition. [A strange accusation against someone who happily followed every papal tradition, including wearing the red shoes, hats and capes that popes are entitled to wear ‘casually’, and who loved Castel Gandolfo as much as his predecessors and successors, except the present one.] In some circles, his call for aggiornamento [keeping up to date] was seen by some as a betrayal of tradition, and the debate on his actions became heated, but never as harsh and strident as for Francis today, if only because at that time, mass media were not omnipresent 24/7 as today, and there were no social networks which are catalysts of extremisms.

In any case, Bergoglio is between two fires: If the greater part of the criticisms continue to arrive from the ‘right’, even the more progressivist circles are in a state of fibrillation, and after having invested so much hope in him, are now starting to accuse him of inconclusiveness.

So there is a ‘Francis case’. Which one must look into with some inconvenient but inevitable questions: Wny, alongside the hosannahs from many, the increasingly hard stands against him continue to grow? What has gone wrong? What no longer convinces? And what do his opponents fear?

Many claim that those who are ranged againsgt this pope are fearful of the future and of losing their privileges. [??? Ordinary Catholics like me who only wantw to continue living the faith in which I grew up – because it represents a firm foundation for what one must do to be worthy of God’s grace – have no privileges to lose! Daily life is a continuing struggle, but we make do with God’s help which does not have to be material but which does bring joy and comfort in the midst of difficulties.] This hypothesis is widely held, and probably there is some truth to it. But if it's happening, there is more to it.

Juan Carlos Scannone, the Argentine theologian who is a friend of Bergoglio and a Jesuit like him (the theoretician, with Lucio Gera, of that ‘theology of the people’ that has influenced this pope considerably) [a variant of Liberation Theology which advocates its Marxist goals but rejects armed militancy] explains that with Francis, the Church has finally become the paradigm of Vatican II. That from the preceding paradigm, considered a-historical because it started off from ‘what must be’ without considering the reality of the time, we came to the historical paradigm desired by John XXIII, who wanted to take the personal and the subjective more in consideration. [Not true, of course. One only has to read his opening address to the Council in DEcember 1965!]

This was a change, Scannone explains, that is evident in Gaudium et Spes – the root and inspiration for Evangelii gaudium, which seeks to put into practice the method of ‘see, justify, act’, the central pastoral strategy of the Conference of Latin American Bishops in Medellin, Colombia, in 1968, and at every subsequent continent-wide conference until the 2007 Conference in Aparecida, whose final document, drafted under Bergoglio’s chairmanship , is the other source of inspiration for this pope.

[What Valli does not point out is that despite all these Latin-American bishops’ conferences and their hefty final documents – the first of which (Medellin 1968) spelled out the goals, strategy and tactics of frankly Marxist liberation theology with the establishment of the so-called ‘base communities’, going on to more radical documents in Puebla and Santo Domingo in the next twenty five years.

Meanwhile, the churches of Latin America simply continued to hemorrhage their members who joined assorted independent evangelical churches so that by the time Bergoglio became Pope, a continent that had once been 90% Catholic (forever, it seemed) was down to 69% - and in more than half of the countries of Latin America, Catholics now make up less than 50% of the population.

Aparecida in 2005 obviously did nothing to staunch the bleeding. Yet what did a 2014 Pew survey show, conducted during the first year of Bergoglio's Pontificate?
- Protestant Latin Americans attend Church more frequently, read the Scriptures and pray more often than Catholics.
- Catholics, the survey said, are less morally opposed to abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce and contraception.
- About 60 percent of Protestants surveyed in Latin America said they were looking for a church that “places greater importance on living a moral life.”

What was Bergoglio doing in Argentina all that time? Playing kumbaya with the evangelicals – even then, he had no interest in converting anyone to Catholicism, nor obviously, in stopping Catholics from leaving the Church. The pollsters had a catch phrase: While the Catholic Church was proclaiming an empty ‘preferential option for the poor’, the poor were manifesting a preferential option for the Protestants.

And that is why, Scannone says, this pope is committed to accompanying the poor, why he denounces the throwaway culture, and why he asks pastors to pay attention and solicitude to every single person: Reality is more important than ideas, Bergoglio already liked to say this in 1974, when he was head of the Jesuits in Argentina. [Another Bergoglio idiocy – as if reality could be appreciated independent of the mind!]

To inquire into the roots of this pope's thinking makes us understand how much he is bound to a certain climate – cultural, social and theological – that continues to influence him. But we can ask legitimately: has not that season passed by - at least in some of its important aspects - however heady it may have been for him? [What exactly did he do that kept the church in Buenos Aires together, if he tried at all, and with his decision to give priority to pastoral leniency, if not downright license, was he not bucking the obvious trend that the Catholics leaving the Church for Protestantism were not finding what they wanted in the Catholic Church? As the Pew survey found, the median percentage of converts from Catholicism to Protestantism left the Church for the following main reasons:
Are seeking a personal connection with God: 81%
Enjoy the style of worship at a new church: 69%
Wanted a greater emphasis on morality: 60%]

Today, in the face of the spread of subjectivism and relativism, immersed as we are in ‘liquid’ culture of post-modernity, exposed to the risk of seeing all the instruments that could assure us of moral stanards vanish before our eyes, can the ‘historical paradigm’ introduced by the progressivist reading of Vatican II still be our principal interpretative tool? Is it not perhaps necessary to update and integrate what has gone before into new reflections? Is not the problem today perhaps the opposite of what it was half a century ago?

Today, as a Church, don’t we risk now – which we did not before – of becoming too immersed in history so that we are incapable of having stable points of reference that can enable us to help orient a humanity that is morally out of control?

Theologian Inos Biffi [one of two winners of the 2016 Ratzinger Prize], in an article which never mentions Pope Francis but seems to be addressed to him indirectly, warns against any deviations of contemporary culture that the Church could well assume.

When subjectivism prevails above all, Biffi explains, the subject is "prey to impressions” and “human action ends up missing enlightened solid reason” which is what makes it possible to make good choices.

It is the great problem of our time. We no longer have principles and fundamental ideas to explain who we are and what we do. Or, better said, we have principles and notions which fatally lead us back “to instinctivity or incontestable opinions”, which is to say, allergic to any measure whatsoever.

Which leads us to "the absolutization of the subject, which has become the undisputable principle of good and evil, of valid and invalid”. A question, says Biffi, that would seem at first to be merely anthropological and logical inevitably becomes theological.

To reject this ‘liquidity’ of reality is to reclaim for man his faculty of “discerning intelligibility, order and the light of things as being a reflection of the Word, and therefore of the Father".

This is the dramatic challenge that faces all of us, especially the believer, in this age of a liquid society. But Pope Francis does not seem interested to assume this challenge.

On some occasions he has used harsh words against that which he calls ‘pensiero unico[In current discourse, usually used in its original form pensée unique" (French for "single thought") - a pejorative expression for mainstream ideological conformism of any kind, almost always opposed to that of the speaker], except that he uses the term in its original economic and social meaning [that neoliberalism is the only correct way to structure society, implying that mainstream discussion is limited by ideological assumptions of what is possible], not in its philosophical meaning and its possible theological implications.

Therefore, Bergoglio’s theology appears to reduce itself to a theology of rights that excludes duties, or relegates them to the background. [Is this properly called theology, or is it not, rather, ethical philosophy?]

“Spiritual intrusion into personal life is not possible,” he says in that first interview with La Civilta Cattolica in July 2013.

This is one of the most problematic of his dicta. In which Bergoglio takes upon himself, voluntarily or not, a commonplace typical of post-modernity – that individual judgment, or what is commonly called conscience, is always good, or at least, is always valid, something that no one can judge externally, with any universal standard.

But if individual choice, by the very fact of being taken ‘in conscience’, is in itself good and incontestable, are we not in full relativism? [That is quite obvious but very few, even among serious orthodox commentators, ever remarked on Bergoglio’s blatant relativism, evident almost from Day 1 of his pontificate. And we must be thankful Valli calls it by its name. Otherwise, it has been a continuing omission after four years that I find inexplicable considering that his predecessor had been the first world leader and intellectual who ever took such a strong – and widely quoted – public stand against the dictatorship of relativism the day before he was elected pope!]

And is it not perhaps true that along this road of relativism, it would be so easy to arrive at the idea – already widespread in the pastoral activity of the Church’s ministers – according to which ‘sincerity’ and spontaneity cancel out the nature of sin? [One of the heresies proposed with technically evasive casuistry in AL Chapter 8.]

And is it realy merciful to respect the choice of life of every individual who has made his choice freely and sincerely? [Sincerity is in itself a relative term – one can been completely sincere and be totally wrong at the same time.]

Is it not the duty of the Church to expose lifestyles characterized by sin? And is doing this not perhaps the highest form of mercy?

If the Church does not expose sin, if she is not able to make a sinner see clear within himself following Christ’s law, does she not condemn herself to irrelevance?
[Which the 9aforementioned experience of the Church in Latin America abundantly demonstrates – in which 60% of those who left the Church for Protestantism claimed their principal reason was that they want ‘greater emphasis on morality’. That seems to me to be the most damning verdict on the church of Bergoglio – the pope’s personal extension to the universal Church of his ultra-permissive, ultra-lenient governance of the Church in Buenos Aires.]

Primacy of conscience [not in the sense of the Catholic formed conscience, but conscience as ‘what I think is right and good for me’] does not mean the impossibility or incapacity to judge. [But a relativistic conscience, what one might call purely self-referential, to use a Bergoglian pet term, is incapable of making any judgment that is not what it wants, what it thinks is right and good for itself.]

At stake here is not just the eternal destiny of the souls who think this way but the authoritativeness of the pope himself.

[So why have not more intelligent Catholics with access to media exposure ever spoken out against this most un-Christian Bergoglian idea of conscience, taken verbatim from the ‘me-myself-I’ self-centeredness of the generations formed by the 1968 cultural revolution – Bergoglio among them.

And with all due respect to Valli himself, who has finally taken off his progressivist blinders to the horrible reality of who Bergoglio really is and what he represents, he was among those who just let Bergoglio’s un-Christian, anti-Catholic ramblings and rantings pass unremarked!

When Francis says that “everyone has his own idea of good and evil, and must choose to follow the good and combat evil as he conceives them” [one of the most outrageous statements in the first Scalfari ‘interview’ that the Vatican never refuted – even if Scalfari admitted that what he reported were his own paraphrasing of what he deduced from his conversation with the pope – and indeed, for months, reproduced Scalfari’s report on the Vatican webpage dedicated to Pope Francis’s Documents after finally taking it off but including it in the first anthology of the pope’s interviews collected and puiblished by the Vatican publishing house, and what better imprimatur/nihil obstat can there be?], what are we to think?

This is a subjectivist relativist conception of moral conscience which certainly is not what the Church has always taught. Does true good not exist objectively for the Catholic/ [or for anyone using his reason sanely and not selfishly]?

Besides the media manipulations and omissions (that one must always take into account), one must return to the greater problem which comprehends all other problems: In a cultural and spiritual context like ours – which is profoundly characterized by subjectivism (reality must be solved within the particular life experience of the subject, who is the sole judge of himself) and by emotionalism (the criterion for moral action does not come from well-formed reason but in the emotion evoked by living through a particular experience), does not the Bergoglio paradigm make a formidable contribution - not to say, a surrender – to the spirit of the times [Zeitgeist, to use the German term that has been absorbed into English usage], which is already characterized by the trioumph of the contingent over the absolute, of the transitory over the stable, of the possible over the necessary?

In short, is Pope Francis a product of relativism? [HE IS ITS VERY EXPRESSION!] A question which carries another within itself: On the basis of AL, is the “Francis method’ that it proposes intended to bring sinners to salvation, or simply for the ‘wellbeing’ [a subjective feeling] of the individuals concerned?

From a spirituality based on the rights of God and the duties of man, have we now come to a spirituality focused on the duties of God and the rights of man?

“If by fundamentalist one means someone who insist on fundamental things, I am a fundamentalist. As a priest, I do not teach my own thoughts and I do not act for myself. I belong to Christ”. So spoke Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, canonist. A way of saying that he does not agree with the Bergoglio line.

But even the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, is very explicit:
“We have the doctrine of the Church which is expressed in the Catechism, in the Council of Trent, in the two Vatican Councils, in declarations from our congregation. Pastoral care cannot have a concept different from that doctrine – doctrine and pastoral ministry are the same thing. Jesus Christ as Pastor and Jesus Christ as Teacher of the Word are not different persons. And the mercy of God does not contradict the justice of God”. [Brave words said before his recent January 8 capitulation asserting that AL presents no danger to the faith.]

And what about Cardinal Robert Sarah, who in his best-seller God or nothing, maintains that the Church is headed for self-dissolution if it fails to indicate a cure doctrinal and moral way?

“‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’, Jesus said. That is what remain stable. And it is what I seek to bear witness to”, Sarah said in an April 2016 interview.

Despite Benedict XVI’s warnings against relativism, Sarah said, we now find ourselves in a world [and a Church] where everything is possible:

“We no longer have roots. Nothing stable. But we do have a stable doctrine – we have Revelation. And for us bishops, it is a duty to make our faithful go back to the roots of our faith, to Revelation.

We cannot leave our faithful without a sure and secure way to follow. Without a rock on which to rest and lean on. In the parish, that rock is the parish priest; in the diocese, the bishop; and in the universal Church, the Pope.

We must help the Holy Father assure the faithful that there is stability in the Church. That there is a way, one way forward. And that is Jesus Christ”.

When he was asked if, like Cardinal Burke, he considers himself a ‘fundamentalist’, he smiled and said, “Yes, of course!”

A pastor like Sarah is too faithful to the pope to engage him in direct polemics, but when he says, for example, that the greatest injustice is to give the need only ‘bread’, forgetting they need God, first of all, then his opposition to the Bergoglio line is not hidden at all.

Moreover, according to critics like Sarah, there is an error underlying Bergoglio’s propositions. That when he and his followers speak of the ‘poverty of the Church’, he really means desacralizing it. That when they say the Church should accompany the needy [in the material and emotional sense], they seem to deny a perception of the grandeur and majesty of God, in whose place, they would substitute human action.

Christ said the truth would make us free, but today, the question of Truth is hardly ever taken into consideration. We have become preoccupied only with freedom, thus our thinking is crippled and incomplete, because there is no authentic freedom without truth.

If the Church will not remind the faithful, on the basis of correct doctrine, of the line between authentic freedom and slavery, then who will show them the way. Sarah says:

“True freedom is that which commits us to seek the true, the good and the beautiful, to seek true justice. We can only be free in Jesus Christ. Only he can liberate us. And his freedom has nothing to do with what I personally want for myself. The Church should stay along this path”.

It is not surprising that, especially since AL was published, many observers, including pastors, announced the birth of a new church – ‘the church of Pope Francis’, a Church that is no longer judgmental but ‘in dialog’ in the sense that the dominant culture understands dialog, namely, a neutral and neuter Church, devoid of the ability and will to distinguish, to evaluate, to express a judgment.

Which makes it inevitable to ask: If the Church does not judge, does not distinguish, does not evaluate, then what is her function?

This pope, with his pastoral paradigm of ‘mercy’, seems to say that the purpose of the Church is to console and to accompany, but can one give comfort without any evaluation of the situation? Can there be any accompaniment without first making some judgment [about what accompaniment is necessary]?

Has the pope not decreed, in effect, that the subjective way of living any experience is the only measure to evaluate the moral quality of the experience?

If a grieving Paul VI, in a now-remote 1972, came to the conclusion that “through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church”, can we not now ask: Through which fissure has relativism also entered? [The fissure has a name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, pope and dictator of relativism par excellence!]

At this point in our inquiry, we can maintain that basically, there is not just one kind of relativism, that there are at least two – one bad and one good.
- Bad relativism leads directly to nihilism, and eventually to desperation, to the impossibility of harboring any kind of hope in anything that is stable and absolute.
- Whereas good relativism would be that which, while acknowledging the extreme variablity of human situations, continues to believe in an Absolute.

[‘Absolute’ here does not mean only a Supreme Being who is absolute, but also all the truths that have come to us from this Supreme Being, none of which can be relativized in evaluating any human experience. So, in this sense, all relativism – a rejection that anything can be stable and unchanging despite continually changing circumstances - is just BAD without ifs or buts. This is the relativism so strongly denounced by Benedict XVI and which his successor champions primarily as situational ethics, roundly denounced by John Paul II in Veritatis splendor.]

Some observers claim that with his paradigm of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis is exercising ‘good’ relativism: he announces Christian hope but takes into account that everything in life is contingent.

Now the great question is: How is he announcing Christian hope: In his catecheses on mercy, he reiterates: “We are all called upon to follow the example of the Good Samaritan who is a figure of Christ. God has bent down towards us, has made himself our servant, and thus he saved us because we too can love eash other as he loved us”.

But what does it mean, exactly that “God has bent down towards us”?

It can be answered: It means sustaining us, encouraging, showing his compassion, help us concretely” [No, he does not always help us ‘concretely’, for which he has reasons we do not understand, but we don’t have to understand in order to bow to his will. If he, the Creator, bends down to us, can we do less than bow to his will?]

Yes, but only that? If we speak about giving Christian hope, does that not mean first of all to ‘transmit’ Jesus? And does this transmission of Jesus [which is a good definition for Christian mission!] consist only in helping others materially and emotionally, or does it not also mean the transmission of essential and inseparable moral standards, without which ‘transmitting Jesus’ would only consist in proof of human solidarity without witnessing to the Truth?
00Wednesday, January 3, 2018 6:28 PM

This is supposed to be a Christmas Mass in the Novus Ordo. The ‘table altar’ does not have a crucifix – or at least the ChristChild in a crib- and look at all the people coming and going behind the priest.
Not to mention the black-clad ‘acolyte’. A great advertisement for the liturgical abuses that the Novus Ordo has encouraged.

Marco Tosatti took a Christmas Octave break and is back with a new blog logo, and a new hair-raising tale from the 'sidelines'... Tosatti does a unique service by reporting, via his follower-correspondents, sundry events in Catholic life in Italy, the only country whose Primate is the pope, events which for the most part depict how much Catholicism has degenerated even in the land which has hosted the heart of Christendom for over 2000 years. A degeneracy which only mirrors the degeneracy of the man who is now pope... BTW, among Anglophone bloggers, it is Father Z who is able,
also through his follower-correspondents, to share the minutiae of how Catholicism is lived at the 'sidelines' (as opposed to usual reporting and commentary about the 'main events' with the pope, teh Vatican and the hierarchy.

‘Don Fredo non credo…’
Father Fredo does not believe,
omits the Credo at Midnight Mass

But the YouTube video of the event has now
been ‘cleansed’ of his shocking statements

Translated from

January 3, 2018

If you have not read about it, do so now at La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana about the parish priest of San Rocco in Turin, don Fredo Olivero, icon of progressivist Catholicism, who at Midnight Mass last Christmas, chose not to recite the Credo after his homily.

“The surprise came shortly after a homily that called on parents to transmit the fiath to their children but to “stop talking to them about hell because it helps no one and instead does harm”. [If he had been at Fatima in 1917, he would have admonished the Mother of God accordingly! Imagine showing a vision of Hell to children!]

The music director had announced the singing of the Credo “Page 39 of your hymnal”. But Don Fredo said instead: “Do you know why I do not recite the Credo? Because I do not believe in it”. [Well, that’s honest, but why still call himself a Catholic, and function as a priest? Besides, how much simpler can the Credo be? I don’t think children being catechized to prepare them from First Communion have any problem understanding what it says – not theologically, of course, but as a simple recitation of the ‘essentials of the faith’ every Catholic ought to know and which one accepts ‘on faith’.] Laughter from his congregation. He went on: If anyone understands it… But I, after so many years, realized it was one thing I did not understand and could not accept. Let us sing something else which says something about the essentials of the faith”. [Is there no canonical punishment for outright apostasy like this? How can a priest who says that and does, in fact, not recite the Credo at Mass, be allowed to continue being a priest? Committing this apostasy so openly while supposedly celebrating the birth of Christ!]

A priest who does not believe in the Credo? It’s not unlike the Superior-General of the Jesuits who doubts the words of Jesus reported in the Gospels because there were no tape recorders at the time. Why would this priest have wanted to become a Roman Catholic priest if he does not believe what is the summary of the Catholic faith, that for which one ought to live by and die for, if need be?

But we have been informed by a Twitter correspondent that “The original video of the Mass has been edited. What can be seen on YouTube now no longer contains the statements “Do you know why I do not recite the Credo?... something else which says something about the essentials of the faith”.

[Tosatti posts the links to both the original video – downloaded earlier by some who had noticed the aberration’ - and the edited video.]

Perhaps the video was edited for fear that the Archbishop of Turin, the Congregation for the Clergy, and perhaps the CDF woud summon don Fredo-non-credo to ask him, “If you don’t believe, what ar e you doing here? To teach others not to believe?” [So everything he did at this Mass – and in all his other Masses – has been by rote and for show, which perhaps one can say of many who go to Sunday Mass out of mere obligation or social habit.]

Another Italian Church watcher reports from a larger perspective... Thanks to Beatrice and her website ( for the tip.

The pope extends himself
(in secular affairs)
while Catholicism declines

by Marcello Veneziani
Translated from

December 23, 2017

Instead of preoccupying himself with the mediatic effect of his appearances, with persecuted Muslim Rohingya (persecuted Christians interest him less) or unleashing anathemas against conspiracies, gossip and malfeasances in the Curia, this pope should show concrete concern for something which is chilling for most Catholics but lethal for a pope: Italians who call themselves Catholics today are only 60.1% of the population, compared to 79.2% in 2000.

The figure has decreased by one-fourth in less than 20 years – a rate of de-Christianization tha is unprecedented. [Perhaps the more accurate term instead of ‘de-Christianization’ is ‘decline of Catholicism’, because who knows how many of the one-fourth who fell away ended up being Protestant Christians].

Meanwhile, one out of 3 Italians claim they do not believe in any religion. Those who attend liturgies have been cut in half – 25.6% today compared to 2000. Just one-fourth of Italians – a number similar to football fans in the country, or followers of a TV news show. The new data is reported by Giorgio dell’Arti in Anteprima, and confirm the failure of the current papal course, or at least, its absolute inability to reverse the trend.

Is it too much to ask Bergoglio to at least interrogate himself about this and come up with an honest answer, without seeking alibis or conspiracies to blame for the situation? Because the figures in Italy also reflect what is happening to Western Christianity, even if it may not be as obvious in the ‘peripheries’ as it is in the most important sites of Christian civilization.

But the trend is clear, and if we combine it with the demographic decline in Christian countries, the picture if disconsolate and points towards further decline, if not extinction. I dedicated many pages to the decadence of Christianity in the book Tramonti (Sunsets) published late last year. It is striking to note how general reflections reflect actual statistics, how a line of thought is confirmed as a phenomenon supported by data.

Sure, this falling away from Catholicism can also be explained by many if unchronicled episodes involving parish priests, bishops and cardinals in sordid financial and sexual misconduct. But more importantly, rapid de-Christianization in our time is due to the replacement of God by one’s own ‘I' [In Italian, it is memorably stated as ‘io, non Dio’ (I, not God)], or by other fleeting idols; obsession with high-tech instead of devotion; consumerism in place of religion; drugs like ‘ecstasy’ instead of mysticism; political correctness instead of moral values.

This has been a long and profound process which certainly did not start with this pontificate. [Yet the entire mindset just described encapsulates the spirit of the 1968 Cultural Revolution which has largely dictated the culture that has emerged in the West in the past five decades, the same culture that took over the interpretation and implementation of Vatican-II as ‘laissez-faire’ in the Church, which Bergoglio has brought to almost full fruition.]

But this upsurge, this acceleration in recent years, this progressive and unstoppable emptying out of churches, vocations and the faith itself is obviously not stemmed by the presence of a pope so acclaimed by the media and the manufacturers of consensus, but aggravated by his replacing of the Church’s bimillennial tradition – with its rites, its liturgies, its worldview of man – with his own personal preferences for conforming to ‘the spirit of the times’.

Being in step with the times is not a virtue when the times happen to call for mindless and desperate denial of any sense of the sacred, of God and of human limitations, in favor of radical practical atheism which is unprecedented.

God may have seemed to abandon Christianity, but the pope monopolizes media attention. [Because the media, in the control of ultra-liberal seculars who hire only ultra-liberal seculars to work for them, have always been rabidly anti-Catholic, and for the first time, they have a pope who thinks like them, “So, hey, he’s doing our work for us and has achieved so far what we failed to do for centuries since the ‘Enlightenment’!”]

Confirming the papal predilection for all things secular...

And more of the same...

Even lay commentators are 'perplexed' by this pope
Bergoglio has been criticized by traditionalists for his Christmas homily,
but over the years some prominent laymen have questioned many of his actions

by Francesco Boezi
Translated from
December 29, 2017

Pope Francis's Christmas homily was controversial because he drew an analogy with immigrants today to Mary and Joseph's trip to Bethlehem at the time she was to deliver her Son.

As Antonio Socci pointed out, Joseph went to Bethlehem, native city of his ancestor David, to register in the census ordered by Augustus Caesar, not for economic reasons [and certainly, not to find a new place of residence]. In other words, the pope 'forced' a message out of the Gospel in order to talk about the reception and welcome of immigrants today.

[I actually had translated Socci's Facebook post on Christmas morning - and here it is:

I can't believe it! He is really obsessed! Even in his Christmas homily last night, the Peronist-Obamian spouter pope spoke of migrants instead of Jesus. Only and always politics! He has been ordered [No, he has himself decided it!] to hammer home this message, and for close to five years now, he has bombarded us almost daily with it…

However, above all, one is struck by his seeming ignorance. Can someone explain to him that Joseph was bringing his pregnant wife and therefore her unborn child, as well, not to a foreign land for economic reasons, but to the native city of his ancestor David in his own land, the Palestine of that time which was a province of the Roman empire, for the census ordered by Caesar? The Holy Family was very much 'at home' in Judea. And the line "…there was no room for them at the inn" only referred to the fact that in the caravanserai [inn with a central courtyard meant for travelers], there was no separate quarters for women in labor. How can anyone [least of all, the pope who is the nominal head of all Christendom] destroy the Christmas message with such banal populist demagoguery?

My first thought, reading the reports on Bergoglio's midnight Mass homily was that he was conflating the travel to Bethlehem for the census with the later, longer travel the Holy Family undertook to escape the murderous rage of Herod – when they travelled to nearby Egypt over a route commonly used at the time connecting Palestine and Egypt. Muddled addled thinking has no place in a papal homily - but alas, we do have a pope who is not right in the head this way! P.S. I just read the Vatican's English translation of the homily
and am appalled by so many wrong and misleading statements just to 'force' an analogy between the Holy Family and migrants/refugees!

In L'Osservatore Romano, Lucetta Scarrafia writes that the Church has fallen into a 'spiral of falsification'. [And who might the falsificator-in-chief be???]

"To say it simply, [the pope's critics] choose to say nothing about anything he says that appears consistent with Christian tradition, but choose instead to magnify statements, often taken out of context, that are in keeping with the image of a progressivist pope that they have of him and which they wish to prove at all costs, even by stretching reality...[

Their [the critics'] effect must not be under-estimated. Even if today, it is easy for anyone to recover the original words said by the pope, few do so if only to check out facts, because most of them trust blindly in the media, and above all, in screaming headlines".

[I have two significant objections to Scaraffia's 'Bergoglio right or wrong, but he is always right' generalizations:
1) Responsible critics of this pope always make sure to refer to his original statements and do not just rely on what the media says he said. (Sometimes, surprisingly, he says things that are even worse than what the media reports but which they do not report because they are pleased with the first handy 'sound bite' or headline material they come across) and
2) One cannot always trust what Bergoglio says even if he is apparently saying something Christian - because he habitually misrepresents Christ's words themselves by omission or deliberate distortion (and these can be documented countless time over). As he has misrepresented the Holy Family's trip to Bethlehem as well as their trip to Egypt to flee Herod's persecution to claim they were refugees! They fled to Egypt because an angel told Joseph to do so - obviously God would not allow the Baby who was to be the Redeemer on the Cross to be eliminated before he could fulfill his mission! It is intellectually dishonest for anyone to defend Bergoglio's habitual lying which is a sin against the Eighth Commandment (Thou shalt not bear false witness - and here is the Vicar of Christ habitually bearing false witness against God , no less!)]

It would seem that the pope's critics have made an art of distorting the image of the pope and of feeding this distortion. Yet the 'perplexity' over how this pope works does not come only from so-called 'ultra-Catholic' circles.

The philosopher Diego Fusaro went as far as to say that the Christmas homily seemed to be inspired “by Soros more than Christ”.

Over the years, other secularists have raised criticism regarding this pontificate.

Giuliano Ferrara, former editor of this newspaper [and one of Benedict XVI’s famous ‘devout atheist’ admirers] , said in an interview with Luigi Mascheroni:

“But now, one is not supposed to criticize a pope who allies himself with the world, who seduces the world, who gives interviews to Eugenio Scalfari – the truly devout atheist – in order to assuage the latter’s conscience. A pope to whom, when he says, ‘I don’t believe, and I suffer for not believing, but bless me anyway’. [Excuse me, but I don't think Scalfari has ever said he 'suffers' for not believing. He always professes his atheism as a matter of intellectual pride] And he apparently does so, “’Very well, my son, do as you please…’. Well, see, if you criticize a pope for such behavior, you become a minority who is not liked either by the Vatican nor by laymen”.

In 2014, Ferrara wrote a book with Alessandro Gnocchi and the late Mario Palmaro, entitled Questo papa piace troppo (This pope pleases too much), a book that says Bergoglio’s words and actions represent ‘a compendium of moral relativism’. [And this was two years before Amoris Laetitia!]

Vittorio Sgarbi [born 1952,Italian art critic, cultural commentator, politician, TV personality], commenting on a photo of Bergoglio with the imam of Al Azhar mosque in Cairo, wrote on Facebook: “Why did the pope not ask him for the reasons of so many massacres of Christians in the past few months in Iraq, Syria or Pakistan? Why did he not ask the imam in the name of what God they were killed?... What would we have said if Pius XII had embraced Hitler?” Strong words, which cannot be attributed to the ‘ultra-conservatives’.

Franco Battiato [born 1945, one of Italy most popular singer-songwriters, known as Il Maestro for the philosophical and spritiaul themes of his songs, also a film-maker and painter] said in 2014: “I am sorry for Papa Bergoglio, who is even a likable man, but I don’t think he has any idea what God really is... He is a populist but I would prefer him to speak of God in a serious way”. He thinks that the Argentine pope’s magisterium is spiritually deficient.

Gian Enrico Rusconi, who teaches political science at the Univerity of Turin, wrote the book “La teologia narrativa di Papa Francesco”, which questions three aspects of Bergoglianism, namely, “A narrative that sows doubt”, “The myth of the people against the oligarchy”, and “A mercy that forgets all about sin”. Rusconi is eminently progressivist.

Marcello Pera, an ex-President of the Italian Senate and thus, a senator for life, answered a question about Bergoglio’s approach towards migrants: “I frankly do not understand this pope – what he says is beyond any rational understanding. It is obvious to everyone that indiscriminate acceptance of migrants is not possible – there is a critical point that cannot be crossed, and yet…”

When even the gulls appear to protest...

‘Eerie and ominous’ sign appears
as Pope Francis visits the 'Gaytivity'

by Anthony Wagner

ROME, January 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Would Pope Francis say anything about this year’s Vatican 'Nativity scene' — which was so clearly meant as a nod to the LGBT lobby — when he paid it a visit on New Year’s Eve?

He spoke not a word of course, but instead blessed it and chuckled as a few dignitaries, responsible for what some have called a “hideous” and “sacrilegious” crèche, gave him a guided tour.

And yet something very eerie and ominous happened that evening.

At exactly the same time as the Pope left St. Peter’s Basilica and walked to the crèche in St. Peter’s Square, a squabble of about 500 seagulls suddenly flew up from behind the basilica and circled around the crèche.

They swarmed above it, squawking and squealing for about the exact time it took for the Pope to walk from the basilica to the crèche. They then disappeared into a night sky lit up by an almost full moon.

Facebook had banned users posting the figure of a naked man in the crèche, and when LifeSite revealed its creators came from Montevergine, a town with close links to Italy’s LGBT community, its sordid nature became clear.

The naked, athletic figure was ostensibly meant to be a poor man, showing one of the seven corporal works of mercy (clothing the naked) while other disturbing figures, in what is normally a scene of holy innocence and purity, showed a dead man covered in a blanket (burying the dead) and what looked like a decapitated head behind iron bars (visiting prisoners).

That the Pope should remain silent about the crèche, which even the Italian police in the square disliked and thought “strange,” is not surprising as he had seen the plans for the crèche weeks ago and had given it his approval.

Also the timely appearance of the seagulls, who scavenge on any filth they can find, is actually not new to St. Peter’s Square during this pontificate.

In the adjoining piazza and around the colonnade, passers-by have been shocked at the degradation and squalor that emerges there at night. The seagulls descend on the headquarters of the Church and pick at rubbish bins, leaving debris strewn across the sidewalks and roads.

The homeless are allowed to bed down under main thoroughfares and archways, on the outskirts of the colonnade and in front of the Holy See press office. Often they are drunk and disorderly, sometimes threatening passing tourists hoping to get a shot of the basilica.

For all of the Pope’s worthy outreach to the poor and the homeless, he hasn’t lifted them up and off the streets, but instead created a culture of homelessness around the Vatican.

Some have called the miserable scene “apocalyptic.”

And yet the general waste and degeneration, the screaming, scavenging birds circling over the Vatican like a dead carcass, is perhaps highly symbolic of this pontificate, one that many see leading the Church in the direction of a kind of death.

And all the time that the degradation and squalor continue in the Church — both physically and morally — no one is really speaking up and coming to her rescue.

Even allowing for the melodrama of the report and the reporter's biases, the accounts of the screaming gulls and of homeless men shown 'mercy' by allowing them to consider open Vatican premises a dormitory do sound plausible. Not that I would expect a Catholic reporter to lie.
00Wednesday, January 3, 2018 10:57 PM
A brief note on the Maradiaga case: It is now 5 days past the mandatory December 29 retirement for Cardinal Maradiaga who turned 75 that day, but there is no word from anyone whether the pope has chosen to keep him on or not. Not that anyone thinks Bergoglio will accept the pro forma resignation from his 'vice pope' and Crown Council coordinator. Especially not after what Vatican News reported that very day...

Pope tells Cardinal Maradiaga:
'I am sorry for the evil they have done against you'

Dec. 29, 2017

Pope Francis has called Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga to reassure him after the cardinal was accused of financial mismanagement.

Vatican News, the Vatican’s official media outlet, reports that Pope Francis told Cardinal Maradiaga: “I am sorry for all the evil they have done against you, but do not worry.” The cardinal reportedly responded: “Holiness, I am at peace – at peace because I am with the Lord Jesus who knows everyone’s heart.”

The allegations were published last week in Italian magazine L’Espresso. Investigative journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote that allegations include large payments from a Catholic university, failed investments, and payments by a Honduran bishop to an “intimate friend.”

Cardinal Maradiaga is one of the most high-profile and influential Latin American bishops, and was chosen by Pope Francis to chair the “C9” council of cardinals to lead reforms of the Curia.

Earlier, however, there was this brief comment by Phil Lawler which I found quite on the mark, and one I should have picked up on, without prompting (I always faulted myself as a journalist for not being consistently skeptical about what people say, and in this case, I simply accepted the cardinal's explanation about the funds paid by the university to help defray diocesan expenses as plausible.)

Cardinal Maradiaga’s explanation does not compute
By Phil Lawler

Dec 26, 2017

A Catholic university in Honduras has been sending $40,000 or more monthly to Cardinal Maradiaga, who chairs the Council of Cardinals. Hmmm.

Don’t worry, the archbishop explains: the funds were not intended for the cardinal’s personal use; they were for the general needs of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa. Oh, all right then.

But wait a minute. How does a Catholic university, in an impoverished country, have $40,000 a month to spare? We’ve all heard of Catholic schools that are subsidized by the local diocese. But have you ever heard of a Catholic diocese subsidized by a local school?

Does not compute.

There may be an innocent explanation for the funds pouring into Cardinal Maradiaga’s accounts. This isn’t it.

00Friday, January 5, 2018 11:26 PM

Every index shows this pope is not getting more attention from Catholics as he is nearing the end
of five years as pope. Starting with he attendance at events in St. Peter's, which has dipped to an
embarrassing low of 10,000 average for his Wednesday audiences. And while one does not wish
to start a new year chronicling mishaps, this news comes to us, as Antonio Socci points out, from
a rubric today in Repubblica's Friday opinion page, entitled "Catholicism in crisis should
also take note of Auditel"
(this is Italy's equivalent of the Nielsen ratings).

I shall translate, for now, the excerpt Socci chose:

Pope Francis has been the protagonist of a program entitled Padre Nostro (Our Father) [One wonders which ‘father’ is meant here – il papa, or God] aired every Thursday evening since Oct. 25, 2016, on TV2000, the so-called ‘bishops’ TV’ [it is the TV network of the media conglomerate belonging to the Italian bishops’ conference]. It is hosted by don Marco Pozza, chaplain of the prison in Padua.

The program had been accompanied by a grand and lengthy publicity barrage on every possible organ of communication, from the press to radio, and don Pozza’s appearance on all the major national TV channels. But despite all that, it has attracted so few viewers as to be embarrassing.

Confirming, above all, what the TV audience data for the past 3 years have been attesting: Pope Francis on TV gets half the audience that Pope Benedict XVI had. The latter had an average audience [for his Angelus and Wednesday catechesis] of 20% of viewees, whereas his successor has been registering an audience of 9-12%. [Gee, whatever happened to the most popular man who ever walked the earth, as the media inflated his image at the start? - contributing to the impressive turnouts at St. Peter's in 2013, but which then steadily got cut in half every year since then.]

If as McLuhan famously said (the late Canadian media guru who was a practicing Catholic and was highly disapproving of microphones on the altar and had a profound disgust for ‘contemporary’ Masses), “the medium is the message”, what does it say when people tune out and switch to another program when watching a ‘talking’ cassock on TV? There must be a reason!

BTW, The writer is no lightweight - a Carmelite who holds doctorates in civil and canon law, he is a judge in the Church's regional tribunal for Lazio. But Fr. d]Di Giacomo has been a Vaticanista on the side, writing for La Stampa and Il Messaggero during the Benedict XVI years, but who has now apparently switched to La Repubblica.

He first came to my notice when he wrote a stunningly unfair and subjective article entitled "Behind the papal flop in Brazil" comparing Benedict XVI's trip to the three visits John Paul II made there - yet in his article, all he cited was the Mass attendance at Aparecida (without giving the comparative Mass attendance when John Paul II was there). (In reporting today on Bergoglio's TV 'flop', however, Di Giacomo does not rely on his own perception but was presumably using figures from Auditel.) The curious thing about that 2007 article was that the second part was very positive, starting out this way:

But he was also an extraordinary preacher, calm and lucid, witness of truth and evangelical freedom.

In his speech to the bishops at Aparecida, it was immediately evident that the Pope had set aside, without consideration, their preparatory texts, and imposing on them, with impressive realism, a confrontation with facts and not with theories.

Your Church, Benedict XVI told them bluntly, is in crisis. Sociologically, you still have the numbers, but as a church, you risk disappearing. This is something that Latin American prelates do not say.

This given, not spoken of by the bishops of Latin America of whatever theological current, has three objective levels, for Benedict XVI: confronting the real challenges of the Latin American Church, rather than dreams of the past or messianic visions; knowledge of the Christian proposition through the cultural mediation of the great social documents of the Church; and the need to envision and establish adequate ecclesiastical structures on the Continent...

[This analysis resonates today because Jorge Bergoglio, who chaired the committee that prepared the final document for Aparecida, has since proudly claimed Aparecida as one of his great moments before becoming pope, and the media has largely concurred with him. Even if there are even less Catholics now in Latin American since 2007.]
00Saturday, January 6, 2018 12:12 AM

There is growing concern among some Catholics in the blogosphere that this pope has really set his sights next on dismantling Humanae Vitae, or at least ignoring
its existence from here on, as he seemed to ignore there ever was a Veritatis splendor, while pushing through his own progrwssivist ideas about artificial
contraception. I was going to say I find it hard to believe given that he may have to canonize Paul VI next year, but then he also canonized John Paul II, and look
how he tore up his Familiaris consortio afterwards. Father Z comments on an article by the usually laissez-faire canonist Ed Condon in the Catholic Herald.

Is the #AmorisLaetitia agenda just the warm-up
for the full assault on #HumanaeVitae?

January 5, 2018

If the unrepentent sinner, unshriven and without a firm purpose of amendment, can officially be admitted to Holy Communion, it’s game over for discipline in the Church. It’s over for authoritative teaching on faith and morals. [Yet that is exactly what this pope, through AL, has decreed - oh yes, case to case, purportedly, but when you make an exception to a moral rule, you might as well exempt everyone - that's just human nature.]

If Christ was wrong about marriage and divorce, then He isn’t God and everything we are doing is pointless and idolatrous. [But the current Vicar of Christ on earth doesn't seem to get that, having acquired Lucifer's hubris and now rivalling Lucifer/Satan himself for thinking himself better than God and 'tinkering' with his Commandments and his words in the Gospel.]

In the Catholic Herald [Fr. Z's comments in red]:

There’s a movement to undermine Catholic morality –
Communion is just the start

by Ed Condon

January 5, 2018

Modern-day Pharisees are trying to get round the Church’s teaching on objective right and wrong. Their next target? Humanae Vitae. [It’s always about sex, isn’t it.]

I am going to risk a prediction: 2018 will be the year we see an end to the fighting over Amoris Laetitia.

This might seem rather presumptuous, given that just this week five bishops [Kazakhs + 2 Italians – and now Card. Pujats] have underscored the Church’s traditional teaching on the reception of Communion by the divorced and remarried. The bishops’ statement is a positive delight to read for its clarity of thought and expression – especially after some of the tortured sophistries we have had to endure of late.

The document unflinchingly reminds us that some things are just wrong, and no amount of personal reflection or mitigating circumstances can change that.

Seeming to address directly the various interpretations of that single contentious footnote in Amoris Laetitia (the one Pope Francis cannot remember), the five bishops quote St John Paul II: “The confusion created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings … about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it.”

This describes all too well the results, and I would say the intentions, of many of the opaque and tendentious “pastoral” guidelines which have followed Amoris Laetitia.

The doctrinal errors in interpreting Amoris Laetitia are part of a serious movement afoot in the Church to undermine her clarity of thought and expression on the moral order, especially regarding marriage, sexuality and personal conscience. What drives this movement?

Let’s be clear: it has nothing to do with helping divorced and remarried Catholics. [Exactly.] [Have said so from the very beginning. RCDs were simply the wedge issue used as a pretext for 'relaxing' sacramental discipline in general, though it has been more like 'ditching' it! And never say 'discipline' to Bergoglio and his followers - they think Catholics cannot possibly live up to God's commandments, and so lower the bar as far as you can go!]

Those of us who work in marriage tribunals, where canonists and priests have more contact with such couples on a daily basis than most working in bishops’ conferences have in a year, can tell you that the divorced and remarried are, in the vast majority of cases, desperately seeking clarity from the Church, not to be told to “do whatever they think is right". [That’s why this push of false “mercy” without truth is destructive and evil.] [But not to Lucifer-Bergoglio!]

Those so vocally opposing a “legalistic” approach, in which some things are objectively right or wrong, show themselves to be a peculiar kind of Pharisee. The law of the Church, including canon law, is made up of Divine Law, which no power on earth can change, and ecclesiastical law, which the Church promulgates on her own authority to better help the faithful understand their situation, live in accord with Divine Law and, ultimately, get to heaven. [Remember: If Christ is wrong, then he isn’t God, we are all idolatrous, and the Eucharist really is just what it is more and more becoming in the eyes of the poorly catechized and their “pastors” who don’t shepherd them: the white thing they put in my hand before we sing the song – my token that I am okay just as I am.] [Oh how Bergoglian!]

Contrast this with many of the “interpretations” of Amoris Laetitia which call for the divorced and remarried to be admitted to Communion, even if they are living as husband and wife. Some are arguing that canon law can be twisted to vindicate a person’s situation through their desire for it to be different, even if they have no intention to change it. Essentially, as long as someone wishes they were really married, or wishes they were able to live according to the truth that they are not, that is close enough.

It is a nonsense solution which, even if it could technically be argued to satisfy ecclesiastical law (which it does not), would do nothing to change the Divine Law regarding the sinfulness of living with someone who isn’t your husband or wife as if they were.

Those who think it could, do so from a dangerously flawed and warped legalistic mentality, one which thinks that the Church makes laws, and we get to heaven by following them. In fact, the Church uses law as a means of guiding us towards God’s truth, not reinventing it. Canon law is a tool, not a means of salvation. It is a light for our steps.

Those using tortured philosophical and legal rationales to justify what the Church knows and says to be wrong are marking out a very different path, with a different destination. [Ironically, the antinomians who label the faithful as “legalistic” are the real legalists.] [Which has always been Bergoglio's egregiously embarassing blinder when he denounces those he calls 'Pharisees' in the Church today - he does not realize that it is he who is being 'pharisaic' above all.]

The push for a change, or “development,” in Church teaching regarding the divorced and remarried has much wider implications. The real goal is to spin the Church into an abdication of her objective and absolute moral authority, especially in the realm of human sexuality. [It’s always about sex, isn’t it. And that means that, in the long run, it’s about more ways to abuse women.] The language of “personal conscience” is being used to dress up the grave evil of moral relativism. Those fighting for it are the remnant and inheritors of the liberal generation of the 60s and 70s. [That's exactly who Bergoglio and his loyal cohorts are!]

Which brings me to the reason I am predicting that the debates around Amoris Laetitia will come to an end in 2018. The reason is not that the Communion issue will be resolved, but that the faction will move on to their real agenda. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the issuing of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s affirmation of the dignity of human sexuality, and the intrinsic and unbreakable link between the unitive and procreative aspects of the sexual act. [It’s always about sex, isn’t it.]

Last year the National Catholic Register’s Edward Pentin quoted a “well-respected Church figure” as telling him during the 2014 family synod: “Of course, you realise this is all about Humanae Vitae. That’s what I think they’re after. That is their goal.” Pentin says the current mood in Rome suggests his source knew what she was talking about. I have to agree with him: the efforts to “interpret” Amoris Laetitia and the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage will prove to have been a mere dress rehearsal for an all-out assault upon Pope Paul’s great encyclical. [I’m afraid he’s right.]

At the time of the cultural and sexual revolution, the Church (through Paul VI and HV) poke powerfully and prophetically against the inevitable consequences of what was happening. In the last half-century, Paul VI’s encyclical has proven ever more prescient and relevant.

It is a bitterly comical irony that, just as wider society is beginning to wake up to the consequences of a sexual ethic based solely on consent and the pursuit of personal fulfillment, the Church is having to defend herself against those within who deny not just the Church’s teaching, but the last 50 years of history which have so convincingly vindicated it. [But what 'Church'? If the man elected to be leader of the Roman Catholic Church is himself leading those who deny the Church's immutable teaching in favor of: "Be merciful! Let the people do as they please, what they think is best for them! They're incapable of following discipline that is too 'rigid' - why must the Church impose discipline at all?"]

Alas, we had better buckle on the armor.

Watch the activity of the New catholic Red Guards. Keep an eye on what they write and at whom they take aim.

00Saturday, January 6, 2018 2:48 AM

Despite a new book -
We are no closer to learning details
about the Kolvenbach report opposing
Bergoglio's nomination as bishop in 1990

January 5, 2017

A new book about Pope Francis is on the way, one that has already been making a stir, even before its scheduled release on February 26:
> Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock

The title sounds decidedly critical. But not from prejudice. The author of the book, Philip Lawler, is one of the most authoritative and balanced Catholic writers in the United States. He was editor of Catholic World Report, the news magazine of Ignatius Press, the publishing house founded by the Jesuit Joseph Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger. And today he is the editor of Catholic World News. He was born and raised in Boston, married and the father of seven children.

In the initial phase of Francis’s pontificate, Lawler did not fail to appreciate its novelties. But now, as it turns out, he has come to see in him the “lost shepherd” of a flock sent out to wander.

And he has developed this critical judgment on Jorge Mario Bergogio as pope in part through a careful re-examination of Bergoglio as a Jesuit and bishop in Argentina.

Which is exactly what has been done by other biographers of the current pope, both for and against him: to reconstruct his Argentine journey, in order to obtain from this a better understanding of his activity as pope.

One striking example of this revisitation of Bergoglio’s Argentine phase is in the most recently published book about him: The Dictator Pope, released as an e-book in Italian and in English at the end of last autumn by an anonymous author, likely a native English speaker, who conceals himself under the pseudonym of Marcantonio Colonna.

One of the passages of The Dictator Pope that has raised the biggest uproar is the one in which the author lifts the veil on the judgment on Bergoglio written in 1991 by the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Peter Hans Kolvenbach (1928-2016) of the Netherlands, in the course of the secret consultations for and against the appointment of Bergoglio as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.

The pseudonymous Marcantonio Colonna writes:

“The text of the report has never been made public, but the following account is given by a priest who had access to it before it disappeared from the Jesuit archive: Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as Provincial of his own order.”

Too little and too vague. Beyond doubt, however, is the existence of a judgment on Bergoglio that the Vatican authorities requested from Kolvenbach in view of his appointment as bishop.

Just as beyond doubt is the severe friction that existed between the ordinary Jesuit at the time and his superiors of the Society of Jesus, both in Argentina and in Rome.

Abundant, solid, and concurrent information on this friction is provided by other biographies of Bergoglio, not suspect of preconceived hostilities, because they were written by authors very close to him or were even reviewed by him in the course of their composition.

This latter is the case, in particular, with the boo Aquel Francisco [That Francis], written by the Argentines Javier Cámara and Sebastián Pfaffen with the pope’s supervision, dedicated precisely to the years of Bergoglio’s greatest isolation within the society of Jesus. [If the book was devoted to this, why call it 'That Francis'? He certainly was not 'Francis' at the time, nor does the episode recall Francis of Assisi in any way (in fact - it is the very opposite.]

It does not cover up the fact that Jesuits who were opposed to him went so far as to circulate the rumor that Bergoglio had been sent into exile in Córdoba “because he was sick, crazy.”

But it is completely silent on the judgment against his appointment as bishop written by Jesuit general Kolvenbach, whose name does not appear even once in the more than 300 pages of the book. [Now that's a major omission, or shall we say gloss-over, i.e., cover-up, cosmetic cover-up.]

Nor is there any news of the Kolvenbach report in what is so far the most exhaustive and “friendly” biography of Bergoglio, written by the Englishman Austen Ivereigh[who has turned out to be one of the most annoying and dishonest of Bergoglidolators]:
> The Great Reformer. Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

But on the origin and context of that negative judgment of Kolvenbach, the information given by Ivereigh/Bergoglio is extensive and valuable. And it deserves to be reprised here:

Bergoglio himself referred to this friction with his Argentine confreres in the interview he granted to La Civiltà Cattolica and to other magazines of the Society of Jesus shortly after his election as pope:

“My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative. But I have never been a right-winger.” [This highlights the problem of using political labels to describe men of the Church as men of the Churhch. Being authoritarian [and making hasty decisions] has nothing to do with one's leanings - they are personal attributes that anyone can have, whatever place he may occupy on the spectrum between ultraconserative-conservative-to-liberal-ultraliberal. But Bergoglio himself thinks that 'ultraconservative' applied to him meant he was being accused of being a 'rightwinger', which he denies emphatically - and which nothing in his record would indicate, anyway, unless you consider his early enthusiasm with Peron. Hhe always emphasizes - and imitates - Peron's populist rhetoric, except that Bergoglio's populist rhetoric always was and continues to be defiantly 'leftist', to keep with the political labelling.]

In Argentina, in effect, the campaign against Bergoglio was led by the Jesuits of the Center for Research and Social Action, CIAS, made up “mostly,” Ivereigh notes, of “older, academic, upper-class” progressives irritated over the success of this Jesuit “from a lower-middle-class background, and not even a doctorate in theology,” who “privileged popular religiosity while neglecting the research centers”: a type of religiosity “very close to the people, to the poor,” but in their judgment “more Peronist than modern.” [So, what happened to the CIAS Jesuits? Someone should follow up. Have they all eaten crow and have now become full-fledged Bergoglians? Or are there any who continue to oppose him? And at what cost?]

It was not enough to placate them that Bergoglio, in 1979, ended his term as provincial of the Argentine Jesuits. His leadership over a substantial portion of the Society was by no means diminished. On the contrary, Ivereigh writes, “he had more influence by the end of his time of rector than he had had as a provincial.”

But precisely for this reason his opponents became more and more antagonistic. The criticisms of the CIAS and of others made their way to Rome, to the curia generalizia of the Society of Jesus, where the assistant for Latin America, José Fernández Castañeda, was also hostile to Bergoglio, and evidently they convinced the new superior general, Kolvenbach. Who in fact, in 1986, at the time of choosing the new head of the Argentine province, appointed none other than the candidate of the CIAS, Víctor Zorzín, who immediately took as his right-hand man “one of Bergoglio’s fiercest critics,” Ignacio García-Mata, who succeeded him.

After this came a purge that Ivereigh compares with the “clash between the Peronists and anti-Peronists” of Argentina in the 1950’s, with the difference that now “the ‘gorilas’ [fanatical anti-Peronists] were in the CIAS, and the ‘pueblo’ was with Bergoglio and the others.” In short: “a cleansing, in which everything associated with the deposed regime was reversed.”

And Bergoglio? In May of that same year of 1986, in agreement with the new provincial, Zorzín, he travelled to Germany, officially for a doctorate on Romano Guardini. But in December of the same year he was already on his way back home, to the rejoicing of his still numerous followers. Who in fact succeeded in electing none other than him as procurator of the Argentine province for a summit at the curia generalizia of Rome in September of 1987.

The next year it was Kolvenbach who went to Argentina, for a meeting with the provincials of the continent. But he avoided meeting Bergoglio, in spite of the fact that he was staying very near by. Ivereigh writes: “Over the next two years, the province increasingly polarized and turned in on itself” and Bergoglio “was increasingly blamed for stirring this up.” He cites the minutes of the meetings of the provincial consultors: “In every one of them we spoke about him. It was a constant worry, what we were going to do with this man.” [None of this was really a secret at the time of the 2013 conclave, but the cardinal-electors appeared to have allowed themselves to be sold on the bill of goods presented to them by Bergoglio's Grand Electors, and never bothered to research him. Because two of his worst defects as pope were already obvious in his troubled history with the Jesuits of Argentina - his authoritarianism and his fomenting of division. It is even worse now, of course, because he is the pope - with all the authority and power that he can wield as pope. How could such an inherently divisive figure ever be a symbol of unity for the Church? The record of the past five years clearly shows his divisiveness - a divisiveness and frank division that he has chosen to inflict on the Church.]

In 1990 they exiled Bergoglio to Córdoba, no longer with any position, and they sent his closest confreres abroad. But soon after came the miracle. The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Antonio Quarracino, asked Rome for none other than Bergoglio as his auxiliary bishop. And he got him.

Ivereigh does not mention this. But it is here, in the secret consultations that precede the appointment of every new bishop, that Jesuit superior general Kolvenbach set down in writing his negative judgment on the appointment of Bergoglio. He was not heeded. But there is one episode immediately after the consecration of Bergoglio as bishop, in the summer of 1992, that shows how bitter the discord between the two remains.

While waiting for his new residence to be prepared, Bergoglio was accommodated at the house of the Jesuit curia of Buenos Aires, where in the meantime his archenemy García-Mata had become provincial.

Ivereigh writes: “But it wasn’t an easy relationship. Bergoglio blamed García-Mata for defaming him in a report the provincial had written to Rome - the report was secret, but one of the consultors had informed Bergoglio - while García-Mata felt threatened by Bergoglio’s popularity among the younger Jesuits.” [I wonder what Garcia-Mata, if he is still alive, would have to say to that!]

The weeks went by and Bergoglio was for García-Mata an ever more “interfering” presence. Until on July 31, the feast of Saint Ignatius, the provincial hinted that he should leave. “But I’m very comfortable here,” Bergoglio answered.

Ivereigh continues:“If he wanted him out, said Bergoglio, he should inform him formally. So García-Mata wrote to Father Kolvenbach, who backed the provincial, who left the general’s letter in Bergoglio’s room. García-Mata received a written response in return, in which Bergoglio gave the date of his departure.”

Against this background one can understand why from them on, during his many trips to Rome, Bergoglio never set foot in the curia generalizia of the Jesuits, staying instead at the clerical residence on Via della Scrofa, nor did he ever speak with Kolvenbach.

In order to be reconciled with the Society of Jesus, in short, the first Jesuit pope in history had to do nothing less than precisely that, be elected pope.

But today we know about the preceding conflict almost exclusively from his point of view, mediated by his biographer friends.

The point of view of the others, starting with the judgment of his general from a quarter of a century ago, is still to a large extent unknown to us.

Which brings me back to some 'minor' facts in the official Vatican biography of Bergoglio that always bothered me for being inherently dishonest, deliberately approximative and non-informative. I've just looked back to lift the quotes, and it appears that there have been changes since I last looked - but not to provide more information, rather to reduce the episodes described to the least number of words possible, which only raises more questions.

#1: "He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto." That somehow implies that he had a degree as a chemical technician - in fact, some early accounts in the media upon his election as pope claimed he had a master's degree in chemistry. All other available sources do say he attended a technical high school in which he trained as a chemical technician, thus getting a 'diploma' for this. And he did work a couple of years as a chemical technician at a food processing plant, and at some point, working as a bouncer and janitor. Good for him.

#2: "In March 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis; his superiors then sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba as spiritual director and confessor." Just 12 words, to imply that he had begun a doctoral thesis in Argentina and only went to Germany to finish it (implying also that he did finish it, even if it doesn't even mention the topic for the thesis). In fact, Wikipedia reproduces in a footnote a news brief from the the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, published March 14, 2013, which says (my translation): "(He) spent a few months in Sankt Georgen in order to get advice from some professors for a dissertation project. He did not arrive at any decision in Sankt Georgen".

Of course, we have since learned from him and his biographers that he meant to write a dissertation on Romano Guardini, and he says his crazy four postulates (Time is greater than space", etc) come from the draft of his dissertation. So be it. But in fact, Bergoglio's entire education and pre-bishop existence are carefully glossed over and skimmed and/or minimally informative in the Vatican biography, that one has to check out Wikipedia for more facts (and I make sure that Wikipedia documents its sources for these facts).

#3: Immediately following that last sentence about going to Cordoba: "It was Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who wanted him as a close collaborator." Why, and on what basis, as I have asked before.

To limit myself to the popes in my lifetime, I have not seen the Vatican biographies of Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI glossed over in any way at all. There was no need to.

BTW, I must confess I have not worked up enough courage to post 'the' big news about the Emeritus Pope as we rang in 2018. You may read all about in Magister's blog.

I understand the praises for Cardinal Mueller - after all Benedict XVI's letter was meant to be the Foreword to a book of tributes to the cardinal on his 70th birthday. He did choose him to be the editor of his Opera Omnia (not that it meant Mueller himself would, could or did edit any of the texts - Benedict himself did all that) and then to be prefect of the CDF. So there's friendship as well as professional esteem there.

What galls me is the line “You defended the clear traditions of the faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis you also sought to understand how they can be lived today.” Because a) it is not true that Mueller has 'defended the clear traditions of the faith' - he has flipped and flopped countless times in his declarations; and b) 'in the spirit of Pope Francis, you sought to understand how they can be lived today'??? [(a) would seem to be for Mueller's flips, and (b) for his flops. Did this sentence have to be there at all? What reason is there to invoke Francis at all, and for the reason given "to understand how they can be lived today", which sort of excuses all the rhetorical acrobatics resorted to by Bergoglio and his supporters to justify the outrages contained in AL.

As for the attack on Joseph Ratzinger by Radaelli and Livi for his 1968 INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY, why did they wait 50 years to suddenly bring this up? Did they just read it now? Not one word from them about this when he was Pope! Not one word when he made his December 2005 address on the 'hermeneutic of continuity'. Not one word from them when he made that remarkable off-the-cuff presetnation on Vatican-II to the priests of Rome just a few days before he stepped down as pope!

Beatrice on her site quotes a French observer of Church affairs, Denis Crouan, president of the Association Pro Liturgia (my translation):

In a recently published book, Mons. [Antonio] Livi, dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, claims that Joseph Ratzinger and his theology contributed notably to 'the rise to power' of what Livi calls "modernist theology and its evident heretical drift" which, since Vatican II, has more and more established itself in seminaries...

It would seem that Mons. Livi is not really au courant with what is happening in the seminaries. One cannot see how Ratzinger could have influenced a 'modernist theology' in the seminaries, considering that - at least in France - seminarians have been strongly advised from reading his works since he is considered 'a dangerous crypto-traditionalist whose mind is closed to the evolution of the post-conciliar Church'.

Beatrice also found an impromptu but eloquent essay-tribute to Benedict XVI from a certain Tralcio [in Italian it means 'shoot' as in a vine, so I suppose he is saying he is a shoot from the Benedettian vine] in the comboxes of the site chiesaepostconcilio where a lively discussion has been going on relative to the Radelli-Livi attack on Ratzinger. Here is my translation (with some contextual additions to the text:

Pope Benedict ‘stepped aside’.

He has not disappeared, neither physically nor canonically.

He was pope, and he annoyed quite a few. He is still around, and hestill annoys those who were annoyed with him to begin with.

Benedict XVI is a 90-year-old man who took part in the [Second Vatican Council] and shared its spirit [the genuine spirit of the ‘Council of fact’ and not the ‘Council of the media’, and certainly not the much-vaunted progressivist ‘spirit of Vatican II’] and after that, he lived it while trying to reduce all of its tragic and ruinous drift from orthodoxy. He is a man who grasped the very roots of the error that is ecclesial modernism.

To argue at this point about) [for the Church] is futile.

The tragedy of the ecclesial disaster in the last few decades was seen, recognized and denounced by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI more than everyone else. [Something else that Radaelli and Livi have clearly forgotten is that THE RATZINGER REPORT in 1985 was his critique of how influential progressivists in the Church had managed to subvert Vatican II in 20 years, and that John Paul II had convoked an extraordinary synod that year precisely to assess and correct the ‘reception’ of Vatican II throughout the Catholic world, but especially among men of the Church themselves.]

And that is why the paladins of the ‘new church’ have focused their attacks on him, firmly opposing any restraints and indeed eager to get back as much of their own ground. And those who had earlier declared themselves ‘free’ and ‘adult’ Catholics now cry out and crackle with obedience.

‘Dominus Iesus’ which he wrote as Prefect of the CDF, was like a lighthouse in a storm. His attempt to restore dignity to the liturgy, indeed restoring the Vetus Ordo itself, and his efforts to rescue the Gospel from the mess created by modern exegetes were lifeboats in the roiling currents of the post-Vatican II innnovations. He tried it with the proper translation of ‘pro multis’, but was ignored by some. [Thank God for the English-speaking countries which promptly stood by the right translation – ‘for many’ and not ‘for all’.] He tried to make the Church give up any excuse for ‘filth’ [generated by men of the Church themselves]. He even showed respect to those who tried to sabotage him as pope.

Then, he stepped aside, still dressed in white.

He said he did so freely, voluntarily; but he never said (and anyone who paid attention would have seen that clearly) that he had not been constrained by some factors. [Yes, he was, and he said so - by his age and increasing infirmity. I hate to see insinuations of other, perhaps sinister external constraints attributed to him in an essay that is clearly meant as a tribute.] Not to exaggerate by comparison, even Jesus said he was carrying out the will of the Father freely, but this did not mean that the actions of three powers (Rome, Herod and the Sanhedrin) and a traitor from his own circle, did not objectively lead to his death.

Benedict XVI has been capable of true humility amid peacocks, prima donnas and popinjays.

He could have made mistakes when he was younger, but he was certainly not aided very much inside the Church.

Outside the Church, with his denunciation of the dictatorship of relativism and his firm insistence on Truth, he was much hated and feared. But as Bishop of Rome, one of the secular universities of Rome, La Sapienza [the one founded by a pope], closed its doors to him.

Yet now, those who seek the applause of the world, eschew the language of truth that Benedict XVI spoke.

Today, many are indeed unworthy of even meeting the emeritus Pope.

And what does he do? He waits. He hopes in the Lord. He will not be confused. Let us hope the same for us.

00Saturday, January 6, 2018 6:56 PM

Fr Z has been using this graphic to illustrate some of his AL-related posts - it is a perfect at-a-glance commentary on a document which even dares to [mis]quote the saint out of context in order to justify its most outrageous propositions.

The crisis we are living
by Fr. Gerald E. Murray

January 6, 2018

The publication in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis of Pope Francis’s letter confirming the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region marked a new phase in the serious crisis affecting the Church. We now know that the pastoral advice of this group of bishops embodies what Pope Francis intended in chapter 8 of AL.

Pope Francis wrote to them: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.” Pope Francis’s endorsement had previously been in the form of a private letter. Such a letter does indicate the pope’s mind on a certain matter, but it is not an act of official teaching for the whole Church.

With its publication in the Acta (along with the Argentine document) under the new title of Apostolic Letter, and further described in an accompanying note as possessing the quality of “authentic magisterium,” it is no longer a private letter.

And it’s no surprise that three Kazakh bishops this week issued a public statement affirming traditional teaching and (in an extraordinary move) were quickly joined by former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Archbishop Luigi Negri – with perhaps others to follow. [Only one so far – Cardinal Janis Pujats (born 1930), emeritus Archbishop of Riga, Latvia. Where are Cardinal Burke and Brandmueller of the DUBIA - here is the Correctio they might have made if they had the guts and commonsense to followup on their DUBIA instead of waiting for Ber-godot - and Cardinals Sarah and Mueller, who surely cannot be faulted by the Vatican – and the Dictator himself – for simply subscribing to immutable Catholic truth (especially Mueller who keeps insisting that AL changes nothing in Catholic teaching – well, so! Sign up with the profession, and make it be the final flip in your rhetorical acrobatics, one on which you will henceforth remain firm! ] [P.S. Marco Tosatti has just posted that Mons. Andreas Laun, former Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, Austria, has signed up on the 'Profession'. Laun, a Salesian born in 1942, was promptly retired by this pope as soon as he turned 75 last October.]
It’s worth noting, however, that the Buenos Aires guidelines leave room for further interpretation by each bishop: “We believe it is convenient, as bishops of the same pastoral region, to agree to certain minimal criteria. We offer them without prejudice to the authority that each bishop has in his own diocese to specify them, complete them, or restrict them.”

So the guidelines for interpreting AL do not ask individual bishops, in the Buenos Aires region or now of the whole world, simply to follow what they propose. Rather, individual bishops can “specify, complete, or restrict” the “minimal criteria.” And thus, the papal endorsement also implies that each bishop retains authority in his own diocese. The advice given in the guidelines seems at first to reaffirm – but then contradicts – the constant teaching and discipline of the Church. [But that’s the tangled web any deceiver weaves around himself once he starts to deceive – he is no longer able to keep track of his perpetual ‘accomodations’ to justify his decepti0n(s) and ends up contradicting himself all over the place.]

The Buenos Aires bishops write:

“When the concrete circumstances of a couple [in a second marriage] make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence.”

The encouragement to live as brother and sister, when their particular circumstances (for example, ill health, young children, advanced age) would make separating inadvisable, in order to receive worthily the help of the sacraments, was clearly taught by Saint John Paul II in various places.

The next paragraph from the Argentine bishops, however, teaches the exact opposite:

In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment.

If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
(cf. notes 336 and 351). These, in turn, dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace.

Here’s the problem: When a group of bishops [openly stating what their leader the pope is too cowardly to say so straight out himself but chooses to remain ambiguous because "I'm not giving anyone a chance to cite my own words as proof of material heresy"] teaches that persons in invalid second marriages are free to judge that it is not “feasible” for them to avoid committing acts of adultery, they are telling the faithful that they are not at fault for doing what the Catholic Church teaches to be gravely sinful. [Which is exactly what Bergoglio has been doing in many indirect ways.]

“Feasibility” means “the state or degree of being easily or conveniently done,” and even more precisely “capable of being done, accomplished or carried out.” The avoidance of mortal sin does involve difficulty and inconvenience. But the Church does not teach that grown-up people in their right minds are incapable of obeying God’s commandments.

To say to someone that it may be infeasible for him to refrain from acts of adultery is to advise him that, in effect, he is not subject to God’s law in this matter. When pastors tell Catholics living in sin that they are not really guilty of mortal sin as long as they decide that they cannot “feasibly” observe God’s law, the shepherds have seriously failed them.

This unchristian fatalism of denying man’s freedom and ability to avoid committing mortal sin leads to the incredible claim that adultery is not that bad for some people, that they are free to receive both sacramental absolution and Holy Communion without renouncing the intention to commit acts of adultery, and that this reception of the sacraments will “dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace.” This plainly contradicts the Gospel as taught by the Church through the ages.
[But that, in effect, is what Bergoglio does and has been doing with his unilateral relaxation of sacramental discipline. It is not out of sheer prejudice that I keep saying he is anti-Catholic and worse, anti-Christ, in that he seems to truly believe he can improve on Christ’s Gospel. It is a lethal Luciferian hubris that few do not see or do not denounce enough. How can the elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church be a stand-in for Satan himself, who never had such an instrument at his disposal in all of human history?]

Cardinal Walter Kasper recently said:

“Universally valid objective commandments . . . cannot be applied mechanically or by purely logical deduction to concrete, often complex and perplexing, situations.” He denies that this is moral relativism: “[This] has nothing to do with situational ethics that knows no universal commandments, it is not about exceptions to the commandment, but about the question of [sic] understood as situational conscience cardinal virtue of prudence.”

To justify this novel position,Cardinal Kasper caricatures the Church’s unwavering fidelity to God’s word as a “mechanical” (read “inhuman”) attempt to apply “purely logical deductions.”

It is offensive to describe fidelity to the Church’s perennial doctrine and discipline in the matter of divorced and remarried Catholics as acting as an unthinking and uncaring machine. Speaking Christ’s truth is the perpetual mission of the Church’s pastors.

As the Kazak bishops rightly say: “The Catholic faith by its nature excludes a formal contradiction between the faith professed on the one hand and the life and practice of the sacraments on the other.”

Yet that is where one arrives if one claims that for some people mortal sin is both inevitable and inculpable. The Gospel is compromised, the constant Magisterium of the Church is repudiated and those who object to this are stigmatized.

Herein lies the crisis we are living.

Part of the crisis is that so few men of the Church are willingly to commit themselves openly to say what they do stand for. At least that parish priest in Turin had the courage to openly say, "I don't believe in the Credo" - not that I have read of any action against him so far. This is a priest whose every act is sacrilegious since he does not believe in the essentials of the faith - yet there he was, saying Christmas Mass to celebrate an event he does not believe in. And the paradox is that, as an ordained priest, every time he says the Mass it is 'in persona Christi' and so the sacrament is considered valid! Should he perhaps be investigated now and determine whether he will be denied his priestly faculties for open apostasy?... But the silence of the shepherds is no more deafening than in the non-reaction to AL - and other anti-Catholic outrages perpetrated by this pope.

The five bishops are surely not alone
in being concerned about Communion

A silent majority of bishops agree, but one can appreciate why they haven't spoken out

[And the discipline of sacraments, in general,
but why aren't more signing up with their 'Profession'?]

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

4 Jan 2018

The news that five bishops have made a declaration upholding the Church’s teaching about marriage and its teaching about divorce is cheering news. At the same time it is depressing that only five (so far) have signed up to it. The whole thing is worth reading, but the key word to note is found in the title, namely “immutable”.

The Bishops are not saying anything new, but merely restating what has been always and everywhere believed. [In St. Vincent de Lerins's elegant Latin formulation, Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.] Moreover, no one should object to this, given that we are constantly being told that “the doctrine has not changed”.

What I particularly like in the statement is the following, which cannot be stressed enough:

“The admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.”

The document then goes on to note that Our Blessed Lord prohibited divorce in no uncertain terms.

The divorce by the back door argument has been made before, by many, including myself. I have yet to see any proper response to this argument. [It's one of those things that are so obvious everyone misses it! All this hooplah about remarried divorcees is an open admission by the powers-that-be in this misguided 'Church' that divorce is here to stay and it has become so routine that it has endangered the discipline of sacraments, which AL has since rendered 'untenable', anyway. But start your arguments against AL with that unspoken but obvious assumption - Bergoglio and his minions have simply accepted divorce as so common it might as well be inevitable.]

Of course, some may dismiss this latest statement as just the work of a small unrepresentative minority. I doubt that it the case, while at the same time not expecting many others will sign this document, and noting that two of the bishops who have are already retired.

But there will be many who do not sign but who will heartily endorse what is said, and I can think of several. One only needs to remember how few have endorsed the guidelines of the Maltese Bishops, for example, and how the vast majority of Bishops in the world have said nothing at all on the subject.

“But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?” as Fr Thomas Weinandy asked. These bishops constitute the silent majority: it would be great if they all spoke, but one can perhaps appreciate their reasons for keeping shtum.

After a time, though, one notices a pattern. This declaration of the five bishops comes after numerous other declarations, letters, corrections and other documents. The first of these, the letter of the five hundred or so priests, I signed, and have no regrets about signing. All the other declarations essentially repeat what was said then, to wit: “We wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.”

Almost four years have passed since then, and has the conversation moved on? It would be nice if we could have a proper dialogue on this matter, and a good place to start would be with an answer to those dubia of the four Cardinals. After all, we are not afraid of dialogue, are we? [Please, Fr. Lucie-Smith! I wish I could detect greater irony in this paragraph. Otherwise, i just sounds so naive. Just as there is none so blind as he who refuses to see, so there is none so dumb and deaf as he, Bergoglio, who has no use for the 'dialog' he otherwise advocates incessantly, when he is too cowardly to come out and say what he means unequivocally!

At this point, no one really expects Bergoglio to 'dialog' about AL - it's a fait accompli, his fait accompli, and he's never going to renounce his bastard child, as hideous and infamous as it may be. The important thing for Bergoglio is not to give anyone a handle so they can use his words to technically accuse him of material heresy under canon law. Failing that, he is the pope nontheless - and everything that means in power and authority - and therefore IMPREGNABLE!]

Meanwhile, some Italian entrepreneurs probably think it is still worthwhile to invest in a Bergoglio product line. Here's the latest novelty out
for Epiphany (photo from Antonio Socci's Facebook).


I call it the LOLLIPOPE. The Italian 'lecca-lecca' literally means 'lick, lick', so maybe in Italian, it could be LECCA-PAPA! Which sounds gross but
appropriate: See, whoever thought this up probably failed to consider that the only one who would normally lick a face is a dog, but probably
they also intended it for all those dogs out there eagerly licking up to this pope. And who in his right mind would pay 4 euro for a 'lollipope' even
if it includes a prayer?.
00Sunday, January 7, 2018 4:21 AM
Super-Ex has some previously unpublished
recollections of Cardinal Caffarra - and
pre-announces a major Catholic symposium
in Rome this spring that the cardinal wished

Translated from

[Obviously, Tosatti's correspondent Super-Ex, is not your generic man-on-the-street, but has Catholic creds in his CV, as one can glean from his latest letter to Tosatti, who has now given Super-Ex his own 'logo'!]

Our Super-Ex – who says he is ex-Movimento per la Vita, ex-Scienza e Vita, ex-journalist for Avvenire, ex-teacher at a Catholic school, but by the grace of God, not ex-Catholic – has written us with a previously unpublished recollection about the late Cardinal Caffarra.

But on top of that, he also gives us advance notice of a gathering in Rome next spring when Catholics will speak about the current state of the Church and will pray together so that, against the strong waves of popular ‘in’ thinking and demagoguery, the ship may continue to stay afloat and navigate through the storm. Against wind and tide! Here is what he wrote:

Dear Tosatti,

Four months ago, Cardinal Caffarra was born in heaven. It is right to remember the man and his silent martyrdom in this time of ecclesiastical swaggering. Caffarra was a man of the Church in all respects: he loved the Church intensely and profoundly with all of himself. And he truly suffered to see her so brutalized and divided.

One day, when I asked him, “But how are you, personally?”, he answered: “Humanly, I am in despair because I cannot see any salvation for the Church today. But as a Christian, I am serene: God will never abandon his boat, even when that seems this is happening”.

When he died, someone recalled one of his addresses that began this way: “xscuse me for the statement. But I would be happier if someone said the Archbishop of Bologna had a lover than if they say that I have any hostile thought against the pope”.

He said that in 2014 – namely, at the beginning of Bergoglio’s ‘doctrinal revolution’. But whoever knew Caffarra closely knows that he would not have repeated those words, neither at the end of 2015, after Amoris Laetitia, nor in the last year of his life, 2017.

Yet Caffarra never crossed certain boundaries. No one ever heard him say a word too much, no one ever saw him make a gesture of anger. Yet he suffered terribly: He – and his fellow DUBIA cardinals – were not considered worthy of a response from the pope, whether written or oral. Not even of an audience with him.

The swaggering Bergoglio, who telephones everyone right and left, who gives interviews as if he were an entertainment celebrity, who pops up at the birthday parties of prelates close to him, who did not hesitate to take up his pen to write a chastising letter to Cardinal Sarah – he could not spare half an hour to meet face to face with a man who was held in highest esteem by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI [And also, at least for show, by Bergoglio himself, who ostentatiously named him as one of his personal appointees to the ‘family synods’ of 2014 and 2015. But that was, of course, pre-DUBIA].

I do not say he should have done this to try to challenge the cardinal’s certainties, or to listen to a position opposite his, but at least as a gesture of charity and respect. [But Bergoglian ‘mercy’ and ‘charity’ are, so it seems, restricted to those he likes (Mons. Ricca, Cardinal Maradiaga, all his other sycophants) or those he champions (undocumented migrants and refugees, Muslims, global warming catastrophists) but does not extend to anyone else.]

When Bergoglio made a visit in April 2017 to Carpi [the neighboring diocese to the Archdiocese of Bologna], he had no time to speak to the cardinal at all – sure, there was a quick embrace for the benefit of the photographers, but after that, nothing more, as the pope attended to the whirlwind of activities programmed for him on the brief visit.

I remember asking the cardinal, “But when you were together in Carpi, face to face, did you speak of the Dubia?” Sadly, Caffarra said that it seemed the pope tried his best to avoid any opportunity for talking, but limited himself to that one photograph.

When I learned on Sept. 6 that Caffarra had died, on the very day when I was tyring to get a pass for Bergoglio’s scheduled October 1 Mass in Bologna, I remembered that failed opportunity in Carpi, and said to myself: “Bergoglio is coming to Bologna, Caffarra’s own city, but not even for that visit, did he schedule any meeting with Caffarra. [Of course at the time the Bologna schedule for the pope was drawn up, no one thought Caffarra would no longer be alive for the visit.] How difficult it is to love one’s neighbor when he is someone you know, and how easy it is to love migrants, strangers, from afar, while pontificating from the Vatican or chatting with journalists on a plane!

A final curiosity: In the last months of his life, Caffarra thought it might be important to convoke Catholic scholars in Rome in order to confront an issue that is much discussed in the Church, and not just today: papal infallibility. What are its limits, its proper boundaries? I understand that his wish did not fall into the void, and that someone did begin organizing something to that end.

And so shall we soon see in Rome a symposium of courageous Catholics meeting in the name of St. Paul and his teachings? Shall we see someone who will rise to say – in the face of so much ambiguity, heretical tendencies and the silent complicity of the world – an obsequy to the teaching of the Doctor Angelicus: “Thus, St. Paul, who was subordinate to St. Peter, rebuked him publicly because of an imminent risk of scandal regarding a matter of faith. As St. Augustine commented, 'St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern, so that when they occasionally stray from the right path, they may not refuse as unworthy of them a correction that comes from one of their subjects'? (Summa theologiae, II-II, 33, 4, 2)?

Meanwhile, the undersigned, orphaned of a true father, of saintly priest who was shy, humble, silent and highly cultured (that is, how much farther can he be from the models we now have at the top), comfort myself by reading the cardinal’s last book: Prediche corte, tagliatelle lunghe: Spunti per l’anima (Short homilies, long noodles: Reflections for the soul).

It is not a recipe book for setting up sacrilegious propagandistic lunches in a cathedral [Which exactly what the Archdiocese of Bologna organized for Bergoglio – a sitdown lunch in church with hundreds of homeless men or unemployed men, I believe it was; you’d think the city of Bologna had no other place to hold such a lunch other than within the Cathedral! and you'd think the pope would have objected to such a sacrilege, but then, he would tell us, "How can it be a sacrilege when I am lunching with hundreds of persons, each of whom is Jesus himself for me?"]

Rather, these are pages of ‘healthy doctrine’ we can follow, for our daily life and for our divine life to be. Thank you, Your Eminence, your true faithfulness remains for many a light in the profound darkness, a light that precedes a new day.


00Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:12 PM

Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock
Philip Lawler
Gateway Editions
256 pages, $25.79 Hardcover; $14.99 Kindle

Phil Lawler on the Pope
as the 'Lost Shepherd'

A book review
by Maike Hickson

January 8, 2018

A book that is already drawing the attention of international media despite a publication date nearly two months out (at the end of February) is Phil Lawler’s upcoming work, Lost Shepherd. How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock.

This (disclosure: I received a free advance copy in order to prepare this review) is yet another book offering a critical look at Pope Francis and his current reign over the Catholic Church. Previously, two other books have taken a similar approach: first, George Neumayr’s The Political Pope. How Pope Francis is Delighting the Left and Abandoning Conservatives; and second, the pseudonymous writer Marcantonio Colonna’s recent book The Dictator Pope. (Another big book in the same vein will arrive in March of 2018, with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism.)

Sandro Magister, recently discussed Lawler’s forthcoming book, and pints out that Lawler is of the most authoritative and balanced Catholic writers in the United States. He was editor of Catholic World Report, the news magazine of Ignatius Press, the publishing house founded by the Jesuit Joseph Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger. And today he is the editor-in-chief of Catholic World News.” Born and raised in Boston, he is married and the father of seven children.

Before we look at Lawler’s criticisms of Pope Francis in more detail, therefore, it should be stated that arguably the greatest importance of Lawler’s book does not lie in its newness of approach or in its originality of argument; rather, it is significant because Lawler is a prominent and well-respected Catholic conservative – that is to say, a Catholic who is not known as a stringent traditionalist, and thus, not an obvious or easily-dismissed papal critic.

Lawler makes clear in the book that he identifies with the teaching of the two previous popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and that he considers them still to serve as a bulwark against some of the devious and specious developments in our times. It is, for example, Lawler’s view that one should approach the Second Vatican Council through Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” which implies that all of the 1962-1965 Council’s teachings can and should somehow be reconciled with the 2,000 year-old traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.

Such a perspective should stand as a counter-argument against those who claim that resistance to the “reforms” of Pope Francis is mainly “Lefebvrist” or “traditionalist” in origin. Andrea Tornelli, a confidant of the pope and journalist for La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, recently put it this way:

Philosopher Rocco Buttiglione had said this, commenting on the Correctio Filialis which accused Pope Francis of propagating heretical teachings: “At the origin of many doctrinal criticisms against the current Pontiff there is also the opposition to his predecessors and ultimately to the Council”.

And now this observation finds further confirmation in a book signed by Enrico Maria Radaelli, who critiques Joseph Ratzinger’s theological thought and his fundamental work Introduction to Christianity, and has been endorsed] by theologian Antonio Livi, former professor at the Pontifical Lateran University and a signatory of the Correctio.

[Of course, Tornielli ignores the common-sense question begging to be asked - one I will bring up everytime Radaelli and Livi's anti-Ratzinger line is repeated : Why are Radaelli and Livi now suddenly 'critiquing' Introduction to Christianity 50 years after it was published? Are they saying they have only just now read it, and have concluded that the book - and Joseph Ratzinger's thought - is to be blamed for post-Vatican II modernism in the Church? I don't recall either Radaelli or Livi criticizing Benedict XVI during his Pontificate. Can someone please ask them to explain these strange circumstances, and why they are now classifying Benedict XVI with Bergoglio as 'heretical'?]

"I don’t know all the other signatories of the Correctio", Buttiglione said last October. "Of those I know, some are Lefebvrians. They were against the Council, against Paul VI, against John Paul II, against Benedict XVI and now they are against Pope Francis." [Buttiglione cannot really have us believe that someone as prominent as he has been for the past couple of decades is acquainted only with the 'Lefebvrian' signatories of the Correctio].

On the contrary, what may become the most prominent book taking a critical look at Pope Francis has now been written by a non-traditionalist Catholic, as it were! My own husband, Dr. Robert Hickson, as a matter of fact, first memorably encountered and debated Mr. Lawler in 1985 when the latter had come to Christendom College to deliver a laudatory talk about Pope John Paul II and the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops’ 1985 Relatio Finalis (20 Years after Vatican II), which was an encomium of the Second Vatican Council itself, as well as of its twenty-year aftermath. (Of some significance is that that document was drafted by now-Cardinal Godfried Danneels.)

My husband – then a Professor and Head of the Literature Department at Christendom College – challenged Mr. Lawler (as well as Christendom Philosophy Professor Russell Hittinger) – and with it the Council – concerning some of its problematic aspects. He then questioned whether the College effectively wished to “preserve the revolution of the Second Vatican Council,” and he added that he believed that parts of the teaching of the Council cannot be reconciled with the Church’s tradition, especially about religious liberty, syncretism, and indifferentism, and about grace, a sincere but erroneous conscience, and about the very nature of the Church (de Ecclesia).

We hope that this debate will be continued in good Faith with Mr. Lawler at some point in the future. Having taken the opposite position in that earlier debate, let us now honor him for his courage in taking such a stance on the current crisis in the Church.

For many readers of OnePeterFive, Lawler’s book will serve mostly as a review of what we have also reported closely over the course of this papacy, and it moves step by step. Lawler’s book is organized along a chronology – starting with the election of Pope Francis and his first programmatic test, Evangelii Gaudium, and later describing the two 'family synods' and the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

It also deals with different problematic themes of this papacy, such the reform of the Roman Curia, the pope's statements about contraception, the gender issue (the famous “she who is a he” statement!), Islam, environmentalism, and more. He ends the book with the discussion of whether a pope can be wrong and what the response of the clergy and laity could now be.

In the following, we shall not recapitulate Lawler’s — in many ways very painful — depiction of the trajectory of revolutionary papal steps, but we shall concentrate on the assessments and the criticisms that Mr. Lawler presents along the way. As he puts it at the beginning of his book:

I did my best to provide assurance — for my readers and sometimes for myself — that, despite his sometimes alarming remarks, Francis was not a radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith. But gradually, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he was.[….] I found I could no longer pretend that Francis was merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No, it was more than that. He was engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches.

As many of us then reported, Francis’s own theological adviser, Archbishop Victor Fernández, had made it clear already in 2015 that the pope was aiming at an “irreversible reform.” Here is how Lawler comments on this matter. After talking about how loyal Catholics, trying to maintain their Faith, had under the previous popes the further “support of the Vatican,” he continues, saying:

No longer. Francis has reopened the debate about the continuity of Catholic teaching. His supporters see him as the liberator of the spirit of Vatican II, bringing permanent change to the Church, while his critics protest that the Church cannot alter its fundamental doctrine...

The pope’s closest advisers have stated on several occasions, Francis intends not only to change the Church but to lock in the changes. Archbishop Victor Fernández, a fellow Argentine who helped the pontiff draft his first encyclical, remarked in 2015, “You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible.”...

For Catholics who have weathered two generations of confusion and conflict, clinging to beliefs they hold precious, the prospect of ‘irreversible change’ along the lines suggested by Fernández is horrifying.

When dealing with Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s removal from his position as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July of 2017 – as an example of how the pope is dealing with those who stand in the way of his intended “irreversible reform” – Lawler sees a “striking reversal of roles.” He says: “It was not the stern German ‘inquisitor general’ but the smiling Argentine pope – supposedly the embodiment of mercy and compassion – who demanded unquestioning acquiescence to his authority.”

These words make it clear that Phil Lawler is past the point of trying to attenuate or mince words. He comes back to the pope’s manner of dealing with critics within the Vatican when saying:

From early in his pontificate, Francis showed no patience with officials of the Roman Curia who questioned his policies. As tensions heightened, morale plummeted in Vatican offices. Reports circulated in the Italian media – too many to be ignored – of staff members called before the pope for reprimands because of unguarded remarks in private conversations. The pope demanded immediate dismissal of three clerics on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, angrily refusing to give an explanation and insisting that he had the authority to insist on obedience.

With regard to some of the close advisers of the pope, Mr. Lawler also has some strong words to say. The record of the new President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, is “troubling.” He is responsible “for a shocking sex-education guide that featured explicit images, instructed children in sexual techniques, and encouraged discussion of sexuality without reference to the Church’s moral teaching.”

One other adviser, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras, “has not been a conspicuously successful pastor at home.” While the number of Catholics in his diocese were plummeting, Maradiaga was “the epitome of the ‘airport bishop’ that Francis denounces, jetting around the world to deliver speeches rather than tending his flock.”

The German Cardinal Reinhard Marx “has, like Maradiaga, presided over the collapse of the Church in his own diocese.” Pope Francis, says Lawler, “longs for ‘a Church that is poor, for the poor.’” But: “He would not find that Church in Germany.” Lawler proceeds to show the immense material wealth of the German Catholic Church — a wealth amassed amidst a “mass exodus from the pews.”

Lawler also speaks about the pope’s constant denigration of loyal Catholics. This seems to be one of the aspects of this papacy that is most offensive to Lawler. As he puts it at the beginning of his book: “Every day I pray for Pope Francis. And every day (I am exaggerating, but only slightly), the pope issues another reminder that he does not approve of Catholics like me.” Lawler describes the pope’s discourse in another place as follows:

Even a cursory reading of the pope’s daily homilies reveals harsh rhetoric, stinging rebukes, and angry denunciations such as we have not heard from a Roman pontiff for generations.

[And yet, the mainstream media, as well as Catholic media, seem to take Bergoglio's tirades for granted, as if it were 'normal' for a pope to almost daily castigate in unforgiving terms Catholics he does not like because they do not profess nor practice his peremptory heterodoxies. In fact, for the MSM and Catholic media, Bergoglio's heterodoxy - not to get into the weeds of technicality by saying 'heresy' - has been a matter for great praise without the least attempt at critical reflection.]

Additionally, Lawler touches upon the matter of the Sankt Gallen Mafia (the title of a sub-chapter of his book), although he does not come to a clear conclusion himself as to whether it unduly influenced the election of Pope Francis or not. As the author puts it:

Maybe there was no active conspiracy or illicit campaign for the election of Bergoglio. Maybe three different cardinals – Danneels, Murphy-O’Connor, and McCarrick – exaggerated their own roles in the process for the sake of a good story. But there can be little doubt that a group of liberal prelates saw the Argentine cardinal as their best hope for changes in the Church.

[Yet, in more ways than one, Bergoglio was reported to have expressed his gratitude to his Grand Electors, directly or indirectly, in the weeks that followed the Conclave. They clearly sold their candidate successfully because right after the conclave - and for the first few months thereafter - there was nothing but Hallelujah choruses from the cardinals for the pope they had elected.]

Lawler shows there to be a certain lack of seriousness in the pope when he asked Cardinal Christoph Schönborn after promulgating his post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia as to whether it was “orthodox”, and for showing himself “comforted” after a positive response from the Austrian cardinal. Lawler comments:

It is to be expected that Francis consults Schönborn, one of his close advisers and a respected theologian. But he apparently sought assurance of his writing’s orthodoxy after the document had been issued. Publishing the document first and soliciting opinions about its doctrinal soundness later bespeaks a dangerously insouciant approach to the integrity of the Faith.

[More likely, the subsequent 'consultation' of Schoenborn, whom, after all, he had expressly asked to be the lead presenter of AL, was merely for show. To get an express opinion from a theologian that AL is 'orthodox' Would Schoenborn, after presenting the document and defending it countless times, now say to him that it was not 'orthodox' at all? Schoenborn would be condemning himself as well - and he may still have ambitions at trying for the next Conclave, selling himself to the 'orthodox' cardinals as a [faux] Ratzingerian and to the majority Bergoglio-cardinals as the latter's favorite theologian after Walter Kasper!]

Finally, let us turn to Lawler’s more fundamental discussion on the “Limits of Papal Authority,” the title of one of his other sub-chapters. Lawler makes it clear that “when he [the pope] speaks on questions of faith and morals, there are some things the pope cannot [may not] say.” The author gives an example:

The Pope cannot say that 2+2=5. Nor can he repeal the laws of logic. So if the pope makes two contradictory statements, they cannot both be right. And since every pontiff enjoys the same teaching authority, if one pope contradicts another pope, something is wrong.

Applying this principle of non-contradiction, Lawler himself concludes, as follows:

Thus if Amoris Laetitia contradicts Veritatis Splendor and Casti Connubii – earlier papal encyclicals, which carry a higher level of teaching authority [than a post-synodal exhortation] – the faithful cannot be obliged to swallow the contradiction.

In the context of some statements issued by Rocco Buttiglione, the Catholic philosopher and defender of Amoris Laetitia, Lawler makes this principle of non-contradiction clear when he states:

Thus, Buttiglione assumes that a couple should remain together, even in an illicit marriage, for the sake of their children. But that assumption contradicts the understanding of marriage set forth by a previous pontiff. In his 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, Pius XI, quoting St. Augustine, wrote that the marriage bond is so sacred that “a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring.”

It is our hope that the excerpts presented here give our readers enough of a sense to see that the Catholic Church has in Phil Lawler a loyal and morally earnest Catholic layman willing to take a lucid stance in confronting an all-too-insouciant (and often abrupt) pope for his being a “lost shepherd” and for “leading the sheep astray.”

May Lawler’s book help to open the eyes of many well-meaning Catholics who still have illusions about this pope, especially for the sake of their salvation and the salvation of their children.
00Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:49 AM
Aldo Maria Valli has been trying his hand lately at fantasy-satires, and he has a very good one here... An all-purpose commentary for the situation in 'the Church' today where those at the top habitually ignore Christ's exhortation to "Let your Yes mean Yes and your No mean No" in favor of purposeful ambiguity to please 'everyone'...

A voice from the planet Ambiguous
Translated from

January 8, 2018

“To be in touch with extra-terrestrials? I don’t think that can come about soon. The problem is the great distances involved. The farther away from earth we look, the better the probability of another planet with intelligent life, but the more difficult it will be to communicate with them in any significant way”.

I confess that when I came across this statement, I had to smile. Thus, Fr. Guy Consolmagno, great astronomer, Jesuit, and director of the Vatican Observatory, while maintaining that the hypothesis of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligent beings is not entirely drawn out of thin air, says that the distances would be too great to allow contact.

To think that we, here on planet Ambiguous, have already resolved the problem, and it has been at least 1,200 years since we first came to know everything – I mean everything – about what is said and done there by you on planet Earth.

By avant-garde computers? Complicated calculations? Mega-antennae? Powerful radio-telescopes? No. Just one click on the wrist of our central arm, where Interceptor Plus is implanted, and presto! instantaneously we are able to connect to all the sources of information on Earth, in every available language, and the Interceptor Plus translates it automatically into our language, called ambiguous, of course.

What, you on Earth have never heard of the Interceptor Plus? I don’t believe it! Don’t you have implanted microchips for communications? Not even a central arm? It’s really true, as my grandmother always said, that the universe is beautiful because it is so varied.

Nonetheless, back to Fr. Consolmagno, I would have expected a more accurate analysis from someone like him. He heads the Vatican Observatory, he has three post-graduate degrees, he has given his name to an asteroid, he has written a heap of books, and he still thinks that ‘the distances are too great'.

Speaking of books, the one that has generated much attention is entitled “Would you baptize an extra-terrestrial?”, which made me think that our brilliant astronomer lacks some basic information. Because here on our planet, we have been baptizing aliens for some time now, we have even dutifully given them religious instruction, and now, they are the catechists, which relieves us of a great burden so we can therefore dedicate ourselves fully to the new evangelization, whatever that may be.

Consolmagno says it will take at least 20 years to discover anything on Mars, and what lies under the ice that covers its moons like Europa and Encelado. Further, that any answer about life [could be simple forms, but life as we know it] on other planets in our solar system will not come in for another 50 years.

Well, to think we already have explored Mars and quickly abandoned it (nothing but a big dump, if you must know) thousands of years ago, and we made expeditions to Europa and Encelado when it was all the rage to go skating on the original ‘luna parks’.

Fr. Consolmagno does not exclude the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, but he explains that terrestrials know so little that even if they found it, they would not recognize it. If he only knew that we Ambiguans feel we are quite at home here on Earth. And that it is religion which interests us the most.

Few in the universe know (and on Earth, no one does) but who do you think contributed decisively to produce the Instrumentum laboris of the last ‘family synod’? We, of course. And who provided the decisive suggestions for Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia? Who else but us?

Here on planet Ambiguous, we have information catalysts and algorithms so powerful that allow us to provide answers to every problem. And our language, ambiguous, lends itself very well to that purpose.

For example, the entire question of how to circumvent absolute moral norms is grist to our mill, produced right here on Ambiguous and immediately transferred to Earth for your benefit!

How do we do it? Now you are asking too much. Let’s just say we have a system and we know how to inculcate our ideas into the mnfs of terrestrials at the right moment.

I do not know when, but for some time now, we have been particularly successful with priests, religious, theologians, bishops. All of whom, though they speak in their respective terrestrial languages, sometimes – maybe too often – seem to speak our language, ambiguous. Quite progressive, alert and ingenious!

On the other hand, everyone on Earth who seeks to clarify ambiguity, specially in Amoris Laetitia, brings us some pain. They are so retro, so ingenuous! They cannot even imagine how much research we did here, on Ambiguous, to arrive at formulations that are authentically ambiguous such as to overcome any possibility of responding according to that obsolete Yes-No schematism!

The process was not easy. We on Ambiguous spent thousands of years to liberate ourselves from slavery to the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction and of ‘tertium non datur’ (There is no third way). But here on Ambiguous, ‘tertium sempre datur’ (Thre is always a third way), but also a ‘quartus’, ‘quintus’, ‘sextus’, and so forth. Our algorithms allow us to have abundant responses way beyond what Terrestrians have heretofore imagined.

Nonetheless, from time to time, we have succeeded in bringing you some of our intellectual richness. An operation that would be far simpler, obviously, were it not for the resistance on the part of the obscurantists.

Let us take the case of the critics of AL, according to whom it is not acceptable that a document shuld be applied one way in one diocese, and another way in another right next to it. Poor retrogrades! They simply demonstrate that on Earth, terrestrials are still conditioned by the obsolete logic of uniformity.

On Ambiguous, it has been centuries that we have advocated, to general satisfaction, the cause of multiformity: We like everything to be polymorphous and protean. We like A but also B. We believe that A does not exclude B and vice-versa. We like to change, deviate, undulate, fluctuate. Which, on Ambiguous, is easy because we have little gravity, but also, let me repeat, because of our language which at the same time says something and does not, which says No but also Yes, Yes but also No.

Our best allies on Earth are perhaps some theologians who succeed in applying the laws of Ambiguous almost to the letter. Most specially, thanks to the word ‘discernment’, which lends itself to all purposes and allows a heap of shortcuts and circumventions. The important thing is never to say what – or who – one should arrive at through discernment.

But let me not bore you further.

To Fr. Consolmagno, I would just like to say this: Don’t be too pessimistic about finding other forms of life in the universe.

A small indicator: Who was that rather chubby cardinal who was going round the offices of the Batican Observatory with innocent (too innocent?) curiosity? And who was that young monsignor, so well-educated, who, a few days ago, in perfect (too perfect?) Oxonian English, asked you for an update on the program SETI (Searh for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence? And to the synodal fathers I ask: Were you never curious about the monsignor who preached with mercy (too much mercy?) on the need to maintain that good and bad do not exist objectively, but there is only an ethic that is adaptable to every single situation?

Well, I’ve said too much already. It is not true that distances are a problem. Believe me, my terrestrial friends, not only are there aliens, but they are among you now. For quite some time.

We on Ambiguous will never leave you alone. And know that our stockpiles of our prime resource – that so precious ambiguity – which is extracted ceaselessly from the subsoil of our planet, can deal with any question whatsoever.

Ambiguous here, to planet Earth: Transmitting, now closing.

A few days ago, Valli had this piece, which sort of recapitulates some of the weird things that took place in Europe for Christmas 2017...

A report on Christmas 2017
Translated from

January 5, 2018

On the azure door, in gold letters, is written ‘TRINITY’, below which someone has added a placard that says “Complaining allowed”.

The angel, a seraph in the Trinity’s Confidential Information Service, smiles to himself and says, “The Trinity always finds some way to surprise me”.

He has just returned from earth and is to make a report. Under one of his wings, he has a binder full of notes. He approaches the door but before knocking, he hesitates. He is thinking, “Maybe I shall be a disturbance”.

“Not at all!” from inside comes the exclamation from three voices which sound like one. “Come in, come in, we were expecting you”.

The angel enters, and even though he himself is light like fire, he is dazzled by the fulgor within.

“Praise be and blessings for the Most Holy Trinity!”, the seraphim greets the Presence.
“And blessed be the Trinity and indivisible Unity! Welcome!”

“Thank you. I was outside and I was afraid that…
“Oh, why do you always think you may be a disturbance? Have you not read the placard? How’s it going? Everything well with the Service?

"Yes, a lot off work, but everything is in place…
“And you are here to make your Report…
“But you seem to be less radiant than usual. Or are we wrong on that?
Well… The angel does not know where to begin. First the good news, then the bad?
“Don’t be afraid! Start where you wish. We are listening…

“If you will allow me then, I will start with the news that is less good… Which really amounts to just one thing: down there, they have become ashamed of Christmas.
“They are ashamed of it?
“Yes, in effect”. The angel looks through his notes: ”Consider this. In my travels, I found out that many Christmas markets in the major cities of Europe, from Amsterdam to Brussels, from London to Munich, this year changed their name to holiday market, or winter market, things like that! No mention of Christmas at all…”
“Go on…
“In a school in France, they stopped the showing of a film cartoon called ‘The heroes of Christmas’. In the name of secularism, they said.
“Let’s see… In Denmark, a school abolished Christmas celebrations in order not to offend the minorities. In Italy, a principal prohibited Christmas carols in his school. And in Belgium, the head of the International Red Cross ordered the crucifix taken down from any Red Cross building. [I wondered at the time I read this in the news, why does not the Red Cross change its name to, I don’t know, ‘the Red Pentagram’ or something?]
“Oh great”, said the Second Person.

“But those are not the most striking cases,” the angel said. “In Norway, an elementary school decided it would keep Biblical readings for the children provided they would also be read verses from the Koran. And in Madrid, in the name of inclusion, they held an International Fair of Neo-Pagan Cultures”.
“Oh great”, said the Third Person.

“Then we have this priest in Italy who did not say the Creed at Mass because he told his congregation that he does not believe on the Creed”.
“Now that’s really something!” exclaimed the First Person.
“Yes, but I was also told other things. Here, in Italy, many churches are being used as restaurants even as pizzerias…
“And did you take advantage of that?
“Oh no! I had to be running here and there, to be able to make this report!
“Ok, we know that those of you in the Service are irrepressible. But go on…
“Well, in Carpi, in front of the Cathedral, the Christ Child in the Nativity Scene was decapitated… And at the Vatican on Christmas Day, the solemn Benediction on Christmas Day was incomplete! Maybe it was just out of distraction? Or so they said in the news reports… Going on to content… well here, they have relaunched the idea that Christmas should generically be the feast of peace, not the festivity of the Birth of Jesus who exhorts us to welcome his peace. And of course, the tendency now to emphasize not the gift of salvation brought by Christmas, but the question of migration, all because, it is claimed, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were migrant refugees in their time, even if they came to Bethlehem only to be registered for the census…
“We know that,” said the Second Person.

“And always that other story keeps coming up…
‘Which is…?
“That Christmas is nothing but the transformation or adaptation of the pagan feast of the winster solstice…
“Oh but that is old…” the three Persons say in one voice.
“Yes but they all say that the date for Christmas was established to coincide with the winter solstice. They simply ignore that the date for the birth of Jesus was arrived at with respect to the birth of John the Baptist who preceded him by six months…

A collective sigh comes from the Three Persons, who then ask, “And the good news?”
“I must say that even if the adults do all they can to deprive them of true Christmas, children still love it and look forward to it…”
“Because of the gifts…
“Of course, but not just for that. They also really love the ‘Nativity scene’…
“Yes, it is they, the children, who urge their parents and tell them it is absolutely necessary that there should be a Nativity scene in the house.
“How beautiful!” The light from the Trinity is more fulgurant than ever.
“Yes, in many cases, I watched children insist: at Christmas, there must be a Nativity scene in the house.
“Did you help?
“As far as I could, yes! Obviously, with the help of my colleagues, the guardian angels – they did most of the work. Including to defeat the laziness of the elders.”
“Bravo! Any more good news?

“Well, there’s one here that I really don’t know how to classify. Il Foglio, an Italian newspaper, published a beautiful interview with a French historian… Here’s the name: Jean-Marie Salamito, who defends the historicity of Jesus against the efforts to make him nothing but a myth. I read it from beginning to end. It is where I found the confutation of the idea that Christmas is nothing but the substitution for a pagan feast.

The angel hands over a press clipping, with a couple of sentences underlined: “We can never be conscious enough of the Christian mystery of the Incarnation because it is beyond our imagination and our understanding. The Christian mystery expressed at Christmas is so extraordinary that we can live all our life trying to understand it… But the West is tired of its own culture… Probably Europe has lost confidence in herself – it is full of remorse, of complexes and of a sense of guilt. I think that the tendency to cultural self-destruction represents the West’s psychological malady”.

“Interesting,” said the First Person in rotund tones.
“Enlightening”, said the Second, with tenderness.
“Courageous,” said the Third, breathing out.

“Yes, he also says: "The contemporary illusion is to think that only be denying our own identity will it be possible to dialog with others, but dialog is not possible where one does not come to it with a definite identity and the cultural and spiritual wealth that comes with such an identity". If I may be allowed, those words about identity stuck me particularly. I think the professor explains from his elevated knowledge what children know intuitively when they insist on having a Nativity scene at Christmas.
“True… A pity that children grow up”, The Trinity sighs.
“More’s the pity..” says the angel.

“Well”, the Trinity exclaims, “this meeting has been profitable. And your report offers us, as it does very year, many points to reflect upon. Now you may go. With our thanks. Say hello from us to all your colleagues in the Service.
“Honor, glory and blessings to the Holy and Adorable Trinity forever and ever!” says the seraph in farewell.

The angel leaves, still blinded by the dazzling light of God.
The azure door closes. The 'Complaining allowed" placard flutters.
“Done for the year,” he tells himself. Then from under one of his six wings, he takes out an object he had forgotten about. A little figurine of a cherub, a terracotta angel.

He imagines the boy who gave it to him on Christmas Eve, before a creche, down below, in that big city. The boy said he couldn’t sleep he was so moved by the occasion. Of course, he also seemed somewhat bratty, to tell the truth.

“How did he manage to see me? And to recognize who I am?,” the seraph asks himself. “ It is really quite mysterious. But it’s not uncommon with children”.

A radiant smile comes to his face. Caressing the little angel figurine, he tells himself, “Notwithstanding everything. There is hope. I’d say there is hope”.
00Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:15 AM

‘A sword for life:
Towards rediscovering Christian virility’

A book review
Translated from

January 9, 2018

We have been alerted to a book by Emiliano Fumaneri (born 1974 in Veron)a, which anthologizes a series of ‘war stories’ filed during the two huge Family Day events in Italy (at Piazza San Giovanni, in front of the Lateran Basilica, on June 20, 2015; and at the Circus Maximus, on January 30, 2016).

The first part of the book contains a reasoned polemic against the dispensers of ‘ideological colonization’ (peddling gender ideology, aggression against traditional marriage and the family, the culture of death, biotechnologies, etc). The second part deals with the now neglected issue of Christian virility. We remember reading some of the articles in Part 1 during the events described.

The publisher’s blurb says of the book:

“Today, in fact, Catholicism is seduced by a misguided ‘misericordism’ – that is, the ideology, but not the practice, of mercy. Pas de miséricorde pour les ennemis de la miséricorde! (No mercy for the enemies of mercy!) In confronting this new ideology, Fumaneri does not keep back a rebellious impulse: “Nietzsche accused Christians of being a gathering of resentful people, seeing them as weaklings quick to dress up as idealism their incapacity to face life. As did the ‘devout Catholics’ much reproved by Charles Peguy as the eternal emblem of all those who think themselves elevated after having brought down the healthy and the strong, Christian flaccidity survives by denigrating everything that is noble, prosperous, vigorous, forward-moving. Christian resentment proves that under the mask of ‘virtue’ often smolder the false gods of hatred, envy and contempt for life. I am sure that today Nietzsche would address his invective against those Christians quick to fill their mouth with noble-sounding words like ‘inclusiveness’, ‘unity’, ‘welcome’, dialog’, ‘mercy’, without ever thinking that to have mercy is exactly the opposite of idiotic indifference to the misfortune of others”.

True mercy, Fumaneri writes, is a liberating exercise of the faith:

It was St Thomas Aquinas who said that «iustitia sine misericordia crudelitas est, misericordia sine iustitia mater est dissolutionis» (Justice without mercy is cruelty; mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution).

Justice without mercy becomes cruelty, ferocity, violence. But mercy with justice brings dissolution, weak-spiritedess, lack of energy. The false alternative between mercy and justice is between rigidity and putrefaction – a false battle between two attributes of corpses.

Mercy demands justice. No one is more alien to being indulgent to sin as the truly merciful man. Only the saints know how to be so merciful as to experience affliction because of the evil that enchains another creature, as if they had been flayed in their own flesh. And only the saints are free enough to have the strength and the will to free those prisoners from their chains.

The book leaves the reader with a disquieting question: “Suppose the cultural and political subordination of Catholics were nothing but a disconcerting though well-disguised lack of virility?” Mind you, not virility as a gender attribute, opposite to femininity, but virility as greatness of spirit manifested by both men and women? If you wish it, you can be virile in your faith.

00Wednesday, January 10, 2018 3:10 AM

So, finally one cardinal has called out Gerhard Mueller when he does one of his appalling flip-flops over AL...

Card. Burke debunks Card. Mueller's
'exception' for RCDs who
continue conjugal relations

by Bradley Eli

January 9, 2018

DETROIT ( - The former head of the Vatican's highest court has debunked a so-called exception floated recently by Cdl. Gerhard Müller that supposedly allows some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion while still living as husband and wife.

Church Militant reported on statements made by the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during an interview published December 31. During the interview, Cdl. Müller stated, "It is possible that the penitent may be convinced in conscience and with good reasons of the invalidity of the first marriage even though they cannot offer canonical proof."

Speaking of such Catholics living as husband and wife in a second civil marriage, the cardinal stated, "In this case, the marriage that is valid before God would be the second one, and the pastor could grant the sacrament."

Cardinal Raymond Burke was asked last September by the Hungarian independent Catholic news website, Katolikus Válasz, "Are there really such cases? His Eminence responded, "Such cases do not exist." He further explained:

No priest has the authority to declare a marriage null in the internal forum. Marriage is a public state in the Church, and the judgment regarding an accusation of nullity of marriage must be made in accord with the long practice of the Church. If a college of judges in a matrimonial tribunal is not able to arrive at moral certitude regarding the nullity of a marriage after a careful and thorough examination of the petition of nullity, how can an individual priest be capable of making such a judgment having to do with the eternal salvation of the soul in question?

Cardinal Burke then reiterated the Church's unbroken discipline of requiring that Holy Communion is granted only to those not living in an objective state of sin:

The only case in which a priest could admit a person living in an irregular matrimonial union to receive the sacraments of penance and Holy Eucharist is the case of a couple who agree to live "as brother and sister," that is to respect the marriage to which they are bound by not living in a marital way with another person.

His words are identical to remarks made Sunday to Church Militant by Fr. Dean Perri, who works in the marriage tribunal for the diocese of Rhode Island. Asked specifically about Cdl. Müller's so-called exception, Fr. Perri replied:

If a Catholic has been married before in the Catholic Church ... then that Catholic is not permitted to enter into a new sacramental marriage bond without an annulment. If the Catholic parties divorce and attempt to marry civilly to another person, then that marriage is invalid. The second marriage is not sacramental and therefore not valid in the eyes of the Church. ... If the Tribunal and all the appeals declare that the first marriage is valid, then, no, there is no second marriage, and the couple will either have to bear the Cross of Christ and live as brother and sister in order to receive Communion.

Cardinal Müller is well respected by all including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who last month wrote about the cardinal [in a Foreword to a book published as a tribute to Mueller on his 70th birthday]: "You have defended the clear traditions of faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis, you have tried to understand how they can be lived today." [It is with such unspeakable sorrow that I must quote something so 'mendacious' from the pen of Benedict XVI.]

This hesitancy on the part of Cardinal Müller to clarify teaching in the current hierarchy was evidenced in the same above mentioned interview. The cardinal was asked about the highly controversial guidelines on the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia that were presented by the Buenos Aires bishops last year. Current papal approval of those guidelines preceded a strong response last month by the bishops of Kazakhstan. Asked to weigh in on the debate concerning the guidelines, Cdl. Müller responded, "This is an issue on which I would not like to comment." [And that is 'defending the clear traditions of the Faith', when he refuses to even comment on a statement that does not attack anyone and says only what the Church has been teaching for 2012 years???? Excuse me, dear Benedict XVI, but your double-whammy statement praising both Mueller and Bergoglio is just beyond my comprehension - and acceptance!]

Instead of bringing up rare or impossible exceptions to Church teaching, concerned Catholics are calling for clear and faithful teaching to clear up the confusion plaguing the Church. They want Church leaders to preach and teach, instead, on the indissolubility of marriage, mortal sin, the Real Presence of Our Lord in Holy Communion and what a terrible sacrilege it is to receive Him in a state of mortal sin.

Now, there's a widening division among prelates on how to address the issue of divorced and civilly remarried couples receiving Holy Communion. This hearkens back to another approved apparition by Our Lady of Akita, who in 1973 predicted, "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops."
00Wednesday, January 10, 2018 3:33 AM

Mons. Negri takes up the position that the late Cardinal Biffi stood for so uncompromisingly in the final decades of his life...

Italian archbishop says uncontrolled
immigration will crush European society

Says pope is being instrumentalized by the reigning worldview

[I beg to differ: He came to office with
that very worldview. Remember Lampedusa?

by Thomas D. Williams

January 9, 2018

Immigration must be “rational,” says the fiery Italian archbishop Luigi Negri, because uncontrolled immigration leads to the “crushing and extermination of our society.”

“You can’t just open the doors, as if it were a party,” Negri states in an interview with Italian media Tuesday. It is essential to “highlight the economic, human and cultural costs of immigration,” since failing to do so means caving in to “ideology.”

“I am a Catholic and therefore I believe in welcoming diversity,” said Negri, the recently retired archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio and a close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, “but this cannot be unmeasured because otherwise it leads to a crushing and extermination of our society.”

“This is not the way that Christian Europe down through the centuries integrated elements of novelty that contributed to bringing about its richness,” he said.

Asked why the globalist movement is pushing so hard for increased immigration, Negri said that they are ideologically driven to seek a homogeneous culture where everyone thinks the same.

The movement seeks to normalize mass immigration, the Archbishop said, “because this serves the great globalized economy, one of whose objectives is to create a low-paid immigrant workforce.”

The archbishop said that in this regard, Pope Francis is being exploited by secularist society, who use his words to justify their own positions, which have nothing to do with Christianity. [No, Your Excellency, Jorge Bergoglio shared that worldview even before he became pope, and once he was pope, has obsessed with it as no other topic has in the past five years. If he is an instrument of 'the world', that's because he's been ready, willing, able and most happy to serve their agenda as he has been voluntarily doing on immigration, on climate change, on treating Muslims with the utmost political correctness, and on basically seeking to degrade the Church of Christ to a secular institution.]

“Pope Francis is being instrumentalized by the reigning worldview,” Negri said. “Today there is a connivance between a certain Christianity and the secularist society, which the Church seems no longer able to say ‘no’ to, which in my view is exactly what is needed.” [It's the pope - not the Church! - who is unable to say NO because he believes what 'the world' does!]

“The Church has embarked on a slippery slope that is leading it to give in to the rampant force of ‘anti-Christianity,’” he said. “It is yielding to the dominant mentality and is content to take refuge in a sort of reservation, already imposed in these centuries on many other religious and cultural minorities.”

Far worse than the personal moral failings of a few people is an ideological error that leads to doctrinal “inconsistency” in the Church, Negri said.

“We are tending to come to terms with secularism, to carve out a niche and make Catholicism a sort of element of folklore that does not trouble this atheistic society,” he said.

This loss of identity and a clear sense of mission has not been similarly experienced by Islam, the archbishop noted, because Islam “has a political rather than a religious vocation.”

“More than a faith, Islam is a law, a status, summarized by the word ‘sharia,’” he said.

“Unlike Christianity, which extols man’s freedom and his irreducibility, to the point of making him God’s partner in faith,” he said, “Islam does not take the person into consideration. The Muslim only has value for the social and political context in which he lives.”

“It is no coincidence that Islam spreads among the weak,” he continued, “who need authority to feel protected.”

The archbishop also expressed his concern over “Islam’s tendency to break down the values ​​of Western civilization, especially that of the essential distinction between politics and religion,” which is one the key aspects of the Western rule of law, he said.

“In Islam, religious authorities, which in many cases also act as civil authorities, administer justice in their courts by issuing fatwas that even provide for the death penalty,” he noted.
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